Somalia offers Africa's cheapest mobile data plans
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Somalia ranks 7th globally for the cheapest mobile data plans
in partnership with FLUTTERWAVE 26.08.2020
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Welcome to TC Daily! In today's digest, there are three questions: what countries have the cheapest mobile data plans, how is 9Mobile thinking about the future with a new CEO at the helm and what will happen at Wejapa, the venture backed startup facing questions about its CEO.

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MOBILE DATA

“In this era, if you are not digital, and if you don’t have globally competitive digital tools and skills, you simply will not survive. You will get disrupted. You will be outcompeted. You will be left behind. You will become irrelevant.” -Mukesh Ambani- MD, Reliance Industries In 2016, Mukesh Ambani launched his telecoms venture, Reliance Jio. At the launch, Ambani admitted the obvious; that India was behind the rest of the world for mobile broadband access. At the time,1 gigabyte of data in India cost 225 rupees ($3) and Ambani's ambition was that mobile should become as cheap as 16 cents. It has taken four years, but thanks to hyper competition, Ambani has led India to record levels for mobile data prices. Thanks to a survey by cable.co.uk, we now know mobile data in India now costs $0.09 on the average, the cheapest in the world. Away from India and Asia, the Sub-Saharan sub-region is seeing mixed prices for mobile data. Somalia is ranked number 7 on the list for countries with the cheapest mobile data plans, behind India, Israel, Kyrgyzstan, Italy, Ukraine and Kazakhstan. The average price of 1GB of mobile data in Somalia is $0.50. But Africa’s most populous nation, Nigeria is ranked 58th with an average price of $1.58 for 1GB of mobile data. Its neighbor, Ghana (rank: 38th, average price of mobile data, $0.94), fares better. In all, five of the ten most expensive countries to buy mobile data in the world are in sub-Saharan Africa. Read all about how African countries pay for mobile data here.

TELECOMS
Etisalat made a splash when it entered the Nigerian market. Although it was playing catch up to the telcos: MTN, Glo and Airtel, it had a great start. Its PR campaign caught the imagination and six years after its launch, the company had 20.2 million mobile subscribers. Its closest competitor at the time, Airtel had 26.5 million after 13 years. There was enough to suggest that Etisalat had room for growth. So its $1.3 billion loan from 13 Nigerian banks to enable growth didn't seem like a bad business decision. Until Nigeria's famous currency devaluation.... The value of Etisalat's loan rose and it became difficult to restructure the loan. Its UAE investors walked out of the door quickly and the company rebranded to 9Mobile. In 2018, 9Mobile was sold to Teleology Nigeria. The new buyers inherited debts and a customer base of 12.1 million, down from 23.5 million in 2015. It's a position no one can envy. But Alan Sinfield, 9Mobile's new CEO is weirdly optimistic. He says that he believes in the "scale of opportunity" that 9Mobile has. His optimism has me asking a few questions and Abubakar Idris covers all these questions and what 9Mobile's new direction is in this article.
STARTUPS AND A DASH OF CONTROVERSY

Over the weekend, WeJapa, a Nigerian startup that helps techies gain access to tech jobs across Africa, Europe and North America was in the news for all the wrong reasons. The company's founder, Favour Ori, was accused of manipulating software developers whom his startup was supposed to connect to jobs. Alexander Onukwue says in this report that, "claims against Ori allege that he often underpaid or did not pay for work, undermined and berated people after disagreements, and that he exaggerates his achievements to polish an unsavoury personality." While Favour Ori has published an apology to all those he wronged, the issue is a little stickier than that. The company has equity funding and has received up to $50,000 equity funding from a number of angel investors. Microtraction, the early-stage Nigerian investment firm is one of those investors. Microtraction, and other investors in Wejapa have begun an investigation. A statement by Microtraction said that independent auditors will be appointed and publicly announced and that once the auditors come to a conclusion, it will be made public. In the interim, Favour Ori will step aside as CEO and Hauwa Aguillard, the company's co-founder will take over the duty of running the company. It's early days, but you get a feel that Tizeti's investors could take a leaf from Microtraction in public accountability.

APPLY

Ventures Platform in partnership and Acumen, with support from LoftyInc, has launched the Nigeria Impact Startup Relief Facility (NISRF). The NISRF is designed to disburse grants to ensure qualifying post-MVP stage high-growth startups who create impact remain viable and resilient through the COVID-19 crisis. The facility will provide grants between $5,000 - $20,000 to support applicants whose businesses are either being adversely affected or modified in response to COVID-19 for a period of six months. The call for applications opened on Monday, 24th August 2020, and will close on Friday, 7th of September 2020. Apply here.

FINTECH & ACQUISITIONS

Standard Bank has acquired a 35% stake in South African fintech, TradeSafe. Established in 2013, TradeSafe is an online escrow platform that safeguards the buyer’s funds in trust in a transaction involving two or more parties. Tradesafe was the first digital escrow organisation in the world to offer an API gateway which allows for online marketplaces and stores to offer escrow payments to customers.

WorldRemit Ltd., a U.K. online money transfer company, has agreed to buy Africa-focused, app-based remittance firm Sendwave as the global pandemic intensifies demand for digital banking. According to Bloomberg, "the cash and stock deal is worth more than $500 million, according to a person with knowledge of the matter. The combined company will be valued at more than $1.5 billion, according to one of the people, who asked not to be identified as the information is private."

TECHCABAL LIVE

This Friday, August 28th, for the 8th episode of "Building in Africa" we are interviewing, Carina Rumberger, CEO, Beyonic. It’s the second in our series of interviews about exits and acquisitions in African tech titled How big deals get done.

The Ugandan-based digital payment company, Beyonic was acquired 100% by MFS Africa in a deal that was paid for in cash and shares. MFS Africa is a mobile money gateway in Africa, which connects mobile network operators in 34 countries across the continent through a single API. The deal which was announced in June 2020 is considered a major win and milestone for the African tech industry where exits are relatively rare. It’s an indicator of the growing appetite for them.

Rumberger has been CEO at Beyonic since 2018 and has over 10 years’ experience in Eastern and Southern Africa working in SME development, compliance, stakeholder engagement, capacity building, last-mile delivery and management.

She will answer questions about the biggest lessons in doing the deal for founders and executives. Attendees will be able to ask Carina Rumberger burning questions in an interactive session.
Register here.

WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING?
That's about it,

See you tomorrow.
- Olumuyiwa

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