24 JUNE, 2021


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ECOWAS has issued a restraining order stopping the Nigerian government from unlawfully imposing sanctions, arresting, or prosecuting anyone still using Twitter in the country. 

Will the Nigerian government comply?

In today’s edition:

  • My Life in Tech
  • Chaka receives SEC license for digital stock trading
  • Airtel Uganda separates Mobile Money unit from telecom business
  • South African Brothers vanish along with $3.6 Billion in Bitcoin

Jesse Forrester started an e-mobility company in Kenya after deciding against going to university

If you were to look at three different pictures of Jesse Forrester today, you will notice the same unmistakable red cap.

It was given to him by a dear friend. For him, it represents the people that have supported him.

His red cap has often gotten him mistaken as Nigerian, something he does not shy away from. But he never fails to remind people that the cap is actually from Tunisia in North Africa. 

Jesse grew up in Nairobi, Kenya. After high school, he travelled to South Africa where he finished his A-levels at the African Leadership Academy (ALA).

After ALA, Jesse took up a fellowship. It was his first stab at being employed and he quickly found that it was not something that he fancied. 

The idea of going to university didn’t thrill him either. So he did something he’d always wanted to do – he started his own business.

Today, his company Mazi Mobility is backed by global venture builder, Satgana, and is aiming at implementing an electric vehicle ecosystem in Africa. To this end, they recently launched a new fleet of electric bodas or motorcycles.

In this week’s edition of My Life in Tech, Edwin talks to Jesse Forrester who started an e-mobility company in Kenya after deciding against going to university


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Chaka becomes the first startup to receive SEC license for digital stock trading in Nigeria

In Nigeria, squabbles between startups and regulators rarely have a fairy tale ending like this.

After months of uncertainty regarding regulations, Chaka received a license from Nigeria’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to operate its digital platform for buying and selling stocks. 

Chaka’s app hosts over 4,000 stocks from publicly traded companies in Nigeria and the US. Founded in January 2019 by Tosin Osibodu with Olaolu Ajose as the chief technology officer, the startup bills itself as an “investment passport” which powers borderless investing for users. 

Backstory: On the 19th of December 2020, the SEC published a statement that effectively barred Chaka from offering its services in Nigeria. The SEC’s complaint was that Chaka operated “outside the regulatory purview of the Commission and without requisite registration, as stipulated by the Investment and Securities Act 2007.”

SEC ordered Chaka to stop advertising to users, justifying it as a need to prevent “unscrupulous actors” from harming the investing public. Though the order was particular to Chaka, it was the first major signal that regulation was coming to the investment-tech sector.

After this warning, Chaka and the SEC sat down to iron out their differences.

The solution: Acquiring a license that affirms Chaka’s commitment to full regulatory compliance and provides clarity to the market. The license costs ₦5m ($12,500) according to a document obtained.

Big picture: Looks like a good ending for both parties. It’ll be good to see other issues between startups and regulators resolved like this. 

Read more: SEC approves Chaka as first licensed stock trading app in Nigeria

Airtel Uganda separates Mobile Money unit from telecom business

Yesterday, Airtel Uganda announced the separation of its Airtel Money unit from its telecom business. The latter will become a new company.

Why the separation?

It started in 2015 when a commercial high court ruled against five telcos — MTN, Warid, Uganda Telecom, Airtel, and Africell — operating mobile money in Uganda, saying that mobile money operations were illegal. 

The reason was that the companies were registered as telcos and not as financial institutions, which means the Bank of Uganda did not license them.

Zoom out: In Africa, separating mobile money units from telcos for ‘better regulation’ is becoming a trend. 

In 2015, Ghana broke up its telecommunication services from financial services, ensuring that all institutions offering the latter are regulated under the Banking Act, 2004 (Act 673).

The Kenya Information and Communication (Amendment) Bill 2019 is looking to do the same if approved. 

In 2020, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) reportedly sent a circular to telecom companies, among other non-financial institutions, to apply for licences to become payment banks. 

Recently, MTN Uganda also promised to hand over its financial services and change its name from MTN MoMo to MTN Uganda Limited on June 1, 2021.

Read more: Airtel Money Separates From Airtel Uganda To Meet Regulatory Requirements 

South African Brothers Vanish along with $3.6 Billion in Bitcoin

It’s still a mystery, $3.6 billion gone, just like that.

Two South African brothers – Ameer and Raees Cajee (17 and 20, respectively) – can’t be found, along with Bitcoin worth $3.6 billion from Africrypt, their cryptocurrency investment platform.

How it happened

As per Bloomberg, “The first signs of trouble came in April, as Bitcoin was rocketing to a record. Africrypt Chief Operating Officer Ameer Cajee, the elder brother, informed clients that the company was the victim of a hack. He asked them not to report the incident to lawyers and authorities, as it would slow down the recovery process of the missing funds.”

Africrypt employees lost access to the back-end platforms seven days before the alleged hack.

Investors got a law firm to look into the matter. The firm’s investigation found Africrypt’s pooled funds were transferred from its South African accounts and client wallets, and the coins went through tumblers and mixers to make them essentially untraceable.

Zoom out: Africrypt’s saga comes less than a year after the collapse of another South African Bitcoin trader, Mirror Trading International. It was called the biggest crypto scam of 2020 with $1.2 billion lost.

Read more: South Africa Africrypt Bitcoin Scam? Cajee Brothers Missing Along With Billions

This Friday!

This Friday, June 25th, Sterling Bank’s CEO, Abubakar Suleiman will speak on TC Live. 

Abubakar will share his perspective on how fintechs can get the best value from partnering with banks and other big institutions.

He will be joined by Tosin Osibodu, CEO – Chaka; Elsa Muzzolini – CEO, Tomilola Majekodunmi – Co-founder/CEO, Bankly; Tayo Oviosu – Founder/CEO, Paga; and Robert Kotei – Operations Director for Africa at Ria Money Transfer.

The event will be moderated by Topsy Kola-Oyeneyin, Partner at McKinsey & Company.

It will be a practical and insightful discussion for fintech innovators, bank executives and other professionals in the financial sector. Even if you don’t belong to this category but are enthusiastic about Africa’s financial sector, you should still totally join in.

Register now: http://bit.ly/tclivejune25

This event is brought to you in partnership withChaka. It will also offer expert insights from McKinsey & Company.

Note: By clicking on the registration link for this event, you’ve indicated interest in the event and will get an invite to attend. To opt-out, please ignore the invite.


Written by – Daniel Adeyemi

Edited by – Edwin Madu


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