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Welcome to TC Daily! In today’s digest, 9Mobile’s CEO announces his presence to his regulator, a big South African bank retires cheques, and Silicon Valley bros invest in a Kenyan innovation lab.
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9MOBILE REPORTS TO THE BOSS
Yesterday, 9Mobile’s new CEO Alan Sinfield visited Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city, to introduce himself to Isa Pantami, the Minister for Communications and Digital Economy. Sinfield was hired in June to lead the telco back to the heights it was at before debt troubles started in 2017. In the three months since, he has been deliberate about putting himself out as the man ready for the hard work ahead.
In his meeting with Pantami, Sinfield and the 9Mobile delegation that went with him said the things you’d expect from an operator aiming to be on their regulator’s good book. They praised Pantami for helping declare telecom infrastructure as Critical National Infrastructure, for taking over the supervision of the Nigeria Identity Management Commission, and for addressing Right of Way challenges (in fact, the Ministry has not been able to do much with RoW charges; it’s been up to individual states to move the needle by reducing charges. For example, Ekiti).
9Mobile has some catching up to do if it’s going to compete in Nigeria’s slow-growth telecoms market. Sinfield’s to-do list as CEO surely includes visits like this, provided they are valuable for the two big tasks he has at hand: win back customers and grow revenues.
NO MORE CHEQUES
South Africa’s Nedbank has come to terms with the fact that digital methods have accelerated the death of paper-based payments. And so from January 2021, the bank will no longer honor cheques as means of payment.
Nedbank announced this on Tuesday citing, among other things, the high cost of managing cheques. The bank’s COO bluntly said the method had become “obsolete” and he wasn’t exaggerating; cheques constitute only 0.1% of payment volumes in South Africa.
The extinction is not just happening in South Africa though. In Nigeria, volume of cheque transactions have fallen every year since 2017, according to data from the Nigeria Inter-bank Settlement Scheme (NIBSS). Transactions were very close to zero in April due to the pandemic, but it has come back up, reaching 400,000 transactions in August.
With Nedbank’s announcement, no major South African bank will be issuing or honoring cheques by 2021. How long before banks in other markets follow suit?
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Impact Africa Network, a Kenya-based organisation aiming to lead innovation through a fellowship programme, has received donations from a number of notable players from Silicon Valley. Stewart Butterfield (Slack’s CEO), Aaron Levie (Box’s CEO) and Craig Newmark (founder of Craiglist) have donated to the new enterprise, Disrupt Africa reports.
Founded in 2019, Impact Africa has reportedly provided its fellowship to 40 Africans. The new donations will be used to give more people access to the fellowship, whose main goal is to increase young people’s capacity for
WHAT ELSE DO YOU NEED TO KNOW?
MTN Nigeria’s stock rose 2.41% to close as one of the top gainers on the Nigeria Stock Exchange yesterday
Mobile operators in Zimbabwe had over “500% losses” in Q2 2020 due to the country’s currency crisis.
Who will own Tik Tok after it is sold? And why is it being sold in the first place? The Guardian captures the meat in five subheadings.