20 JULY, 2021


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Good morning ☀️ ️

Richard Branson might have beat him to it, but today Jeff Bezos and his brother are going to space

Who else will be onboard? Oliver Daemen, a recent 18-year-old high school graduate and Wally Funk, an 82-year-old American veteran pilot. They could end up being the youngest and oldest people to reach space.

Who isn’t going? The anonymous winner, who paid ~$30m to join Jeff Bezos earlier. He can’t make it due to “scheduling conflicts.” 

Looks like he has other pressing issues to attend to.

In today’s edition:

  • Kenyan electoral commision denies being hacked
  • Hundreds of MTN, Vodacom towers damaged in South Africa unrest
  • Senegal partners with major biotech companies to produce rapid Covid tests
  • Nigerian fintech startup, Chaka raises $1.5m pre-seed

Kenyan electoral commision: We weren’t hacked

On Saturday 17th July, a story by The Standard revealed that a 21-year old had gained access into the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) database and acquired personal details of 61,617 registered voters from a county in western Kenya. 

He was later arrested with a lot of incriminating materials. Data found in the suspect’s possession included names of registered voters, their ID numbers and birth dates.

Wow, that’s a lot!

It sure is, but Kenya’s IEBC has responded refuting the claims that hackers infiltrated its servers and obtained the personal details of 61,617 registered voters.

The IEBC’s defence: IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati explained that the register of voters is kept in a Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) system, which he claims has never been tampered with since its installation eight years ago.

He went on to state that IEBC’s systems are isolated and “not connected to the open internet,” meaning that hackers will not be able to gain access to it. In addition, the rest of the commission’s entire internal network is behind a high-security firewall system.”

The information he stated was possibly legitimately obtained from the commission through formal requests and upon payment of requisite fees.

Zoom out: Irrespective of whether it’s true that the IEBC wasn’t hacked, the IEBC still needs to look into how a 21-year-old gained access to records of over 61,000 voters records. Could there be other undiscovered incidents like this? 

The next kenyan election is slated to take place in August 2022. This is a wake-up call that interested parties are already taking steps to win the elections.


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Hundreds of MTN, Vodacom towers damaged in South Africa unrest

South African Telecom operators and other businesses are caught in the middle of a political conflict.

What happened?

Last month, the former president Jacob Zuma was sentenced to 15 months jail time. His offence? He defied an order to provide evidence at a judicial inquiry set up to probe high-level corruption during his nine-year tenure (2009 – 2018).

The result: Chaos. His supporters started protests that swiftly degenerated into violent marches and looting. As a result of this, hundreds of businesses have been destroyed and more than 200 people have died.

MTN alone reported damage to over 100 of its base stations which the company’s technicians could not safely reach the sites to repair.

Big Picture: South African authorities believe the unrest was deliberately provoked by political opponents to force president Cyril Ramaphosa to pardon Zuma or even step down. 

Read more: Hundreds of MTN, Vodacom towers damaged in South Africa unrest


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Senegal partners with major biotech companies to produce rapid Covid tests

Why take 12 hours or 3 days to get a Covid-19 test result, when you can get it within 15 mins?

That’s possibly the question that spurred the Pasteur Institute in Senegal to decide to produce rapid antigen tests for diagnosing the coronavirus disease from early 2022.

To achieve this feat, the Dakar-based centre is partnering with Bionote, a South Korean company that provides diagnostic solutions for Covid-19, and Mologic, a British biotech company set to be acquired by a Bill Gates-backed consortium.

Tell me about this Antigen test

An antigen test is regarded as a suitable ‘first line of defence’ against the coronavirus disease for individuals who have symptoms. It is a simpler and quicker procedure compared to other approaches like PCR testing.

A typical antigen testing takes around 15 minutes to determine whether a patient is infected, although it is less accurate than PCR, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Big picture: Compared to its regional peers like South Africa and Nigeria, Senegal has seen fewer coronavirus-related cases and deaths. However, the rapid antigen test deal involving the Pasteur Institute comes at a time when Senegal is grappling with soaring coronavirus cases

Read more: Senegal to produce rapid Covid tests in tech deal with major biotech companies


Job Description

Ajua is Africa’s first Integrated Customer Experience (#IntergratedCX) company driving business growth and giving consumers options on the continent.

Ajua is searching for a competent Product Manager that has Experience as a manager of a top tier/premium quality Fintech product or a mobile app that was personally developed and scaled. One who is ambitious, experienced, energetic and highly talented Product Manager to take up the exciting role of pioneering growth and penetration in the Nigeria market.

Nigerian fintech startup, Chaka raises $1.5m pre-seed

Last month Nigerian fintech startup Chaka made the news for being the first Nigerian startup to receive an SEC license for digital stock trading.

Well, it’s back again this month, with the announcement of its pre-seed investment of $1.5 million led by Breyer Capital. Other investors like Future Africa, Golden Palm Investments, Seedstars, Musha Ventures, and 4DX Ventures participated in the round.

Backstory: For a long time, investing in stocks for Nigerians was limited to high net worth individuals. But, the emergence of startups like Chaka, Bamboo, Trove and Risevest levelled the playing field, paving the way for regular Nigerians to come into the stock market.

What’s next? 

With this fresh injection of cash, the company plans to expand to other West African countries, hire more talents, form more partnerships, and integrate more advanced functionalities into their investment and wealth management solutions.

Read more: Nigerian Investment-tech Startup, Chaka Raises $1.5m Pre-seed, Led By Breyer Capital

Nigerian Startup Bill

The official website for the Nigeria Startup Bill is now live!

In May, talks began around creating a startup bill to regulate tech-enabled companies in Nigeria and provide an enabling environment for them to operate. These talks were spearheaded by ecosystem players in conjunction with The Presidency.

Yesterday, July 19th, the website for the Bill was officially launched. This is just one step in the journey to drafting the bill, but it’s progress and we’re happy to share it with you.

You can access the website here and share your feedback and suggestions through this form.

If you’re also interested in volunteering to support the work being done by different stakeholders in the ecosystem, please send an email to partners@venturesplatform.com


Written by – Daniel Adeyemi


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