Welcome to TC Daily! In today’s digest: Internet access partially restored in Ethiopia; TradeDepot raises US$10million in pre-Series B funding and Uber partners Moove to launch drive-to-own service for drivers.
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According to reports from AFP, internet connectivity has been partially restored in Ethiopia two weeks after all access was cut off. Connection is said to have been restored Tuesday evening but access to social media platforms like
Facebook and Instagram remain unaccessible without a virtual private network.
This latest round of internet shutdown which began on June 30 was sparked by unrest following the death of political activist and musician, Hachalu Hundessa, who was quite a powerful voice about the rights of the Oromo people, Ethiopia’s largest ethic group. A province in the Oromia region was without internet connectivity from January till March earlier this year.
State-owned Ethio Telecom often resorts to shutdowns during unrests in the country. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has plans in place to break this monopoly and open up the sector but time will tell what effect this will have in keeping Ethiopians online whether there are unrests or not.
B2B e-commerce platform, TradeDepot, has raised US$10 million in a pre-Series B equity round co-led by by Partech, International Finance Corporation, Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) and MSA Capital. The company launched in 2016 to help retailers order stock and manage their inventory on one hand and to help suppliers plan and monitor their sales routes in real time using
insightful retail data. With this new investment, the company plans to capture more market segment and to launch a suite of financial products and credit facilities to support its retailers in improving business efficiency.
Moroccan edtech company KoolSkools has raised about US$416,000 from MITC Capital’s Maroc Numeric Fund II and an angel investor to enable schools digitize their courses, create a content bank, and deliver live courses to their students. 30 schools and over 20,000 students currently use the platform and the company plans to reach 5x this number in two to three years.
Morocco is one of a few African countries that were somewhat prepared for the outcome of global shutdowns on its educational system as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. From 2004 till 2019, Morocco’s Ministry of Education was part of two USAID-funded distance learning projects which culminated in it designing digital learning courses, creating an online learning platform Collab.ma, and adapting the national curriculum to multimedia content ahead of time. Schools have been closed since March and the country has only just initiated the first phase of easing down lockdowns in the country this week with schools scheduled to reopen in September.
One more day to go to get a $10,000 grant from the 2020 Nigeria Oil and Gas Hackathon. Submit your digital technology innovation tackling cyber-crime, health, renewable energy and oil and gas technological solutions at www.nogtech.ng
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In May, the Ekiti state government in western Nigeria signed an Executive Order reducing Right of Way charges for laying broadband infrastructure from ₦4,500 ($12) to ₦145 (37 cents) per metre. A number of states have since followed suit. With sights set on a 70% broadband penetration by 2025, these moves to encourage infrastructure building across the country will drive the growth of the digital economy outside of hubs like Lagos and Abuja.
In this piece, Alex Onukwue asks whether this is enough to make the small western state a ‘saner’ alternative to its too-bubbly neighbour, Lagos.
Join healthtech and legal experts from around the world in this webinar discussing how to support growth and deepen inclusion in Building the African Healthtech Sector of the Future. The event takes place online on July 16 and is free to attend. Click here and register to attend.
CcHUB and iHub have called for applications to the second edition of its Women in Business program focused on providing business support across four key areas to women-led businesses in Nigeria and Kenya. To find out more and apply, please click this link.
Uber has partnered with Moove (a subsidiary of Grace Lake Partners) to provide drivers in Sub-Saharan Africa access to brand new cars with which to operate for a weekly payment which will cover maintenance, car insurance as well as free roadside assistance. Drive-to-own plans over a 24 or 36 month period will also be launched soon to enable drivers become their own bosses, the ride-hailing company says. Currently available to existing and potential driver partners in Lagos, the company plans to launch across the continent later this year.