13 AUGUST, 2021


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Good morning ☀️ ️

Twitter changed its font. Did you notice?

If you didn’t, perhaps you haven’t gotten the latest update on the App or Play stores. 

To be very honest, I didn’t either, not even after I updated the app. The font is thinner than what we’re used to and get this, it’s called Chirp.

One other thing you’ll notice is the reduction of Twitter’s default blue color on the app.

In today’s edition:

  • Quick Fire  🔥
  • Zambia’s shut down internet access amidst elections
  • Who will be speaking at The Future of Commerce?
  • The top 20 Africa challenger brands 
  • TC Insights: Funding Tracker

Quick Fire 🔥 with Cynthia Obioha

Explain your job to a five-year-old

My team and I find what will make people within the African & Middle Eastern communities have fun and connect easily on the internet. We, then work towards bringing those ideas to life.

What’s something you wish you knew earlier in your career/life?

It’s okay to say, “I do not know this now but let me come back to you on it.” The career journey is a learning experience.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received in your career?

One of my best would be: Stay in your lane, literally. Be inspired and learn from others but always remember that your journey is unique to you.

Tell us about something you love doing that you’re terrible at. And tell us about something you really do not like doing that you’re great at.

Love doing and terrible at: on a jocular note, dancing, I would say.

Do not like doing but great at: routine tasks

What new ways of doing things will you keep from this past year?

Deliberately joining meetings a few minutes earlier, when I can, to hang out with people who might turn up early for brief check-ins & small talks. It’s been an interesting year.

Cynthia Obioha is passionate about leveraging technology in innovative ways to solve emerging markets’ needs. She’s the lead, International Product Growth for Middle East & Africa at Facebook.


Curious about fintech in Africa? We’re inviting you to the Decode Fintech roundtable, where we’ll discuss hiring, funding, and international expansion in fintech.

Grab a ticket →


It’s happened again. 

This year alone, at least eight African countries have experienced partial or total internet shutdown. Today, that number becomes nine as Zambia joins the tally.

In yesterday’s newsletter, Daniel opened with some news about Zambia’s upcoming election, a competition between sitting president, Edgar Lungu, and newcomer, Hakainde Hichilema who is a national critic.

Today, amidst general elections, the Zambian government restricted access to social media platforms including WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. 

While the government has denied this, stating that the claims are malicious, there are reports that the shutdown was hinted at earlier in the week as Zambians were warned [by the government] to use the cyberspace responsibly during the elections. 

A recurring scenario

Zambia won’t be the first African country this year to initiate a shutdown amidst its elections. Earlier in January, the Ugandan government employed the same tactics during its presidential elections. The Senegalese also experienced the same thing in March during a series of online and offline protests. 

In fact, Chad had major social media sites like WhatsApp, Facebook or Twitter blocked for sixteen months from 2018 to 2019.

Why does this keep happening?

Many governments claim they enforce internet shutdowns to protect the interest of the people as shutdowns prevent the spread of misinformation on social media. Security risks are always higher during election periods and perhaps these governments want to make sure that people don’t receive unverified news that could spur violence.

Another reason, however, is to cause information blackout: preventing vital information – whether in form of electoral malpractices or campaigning – from reaching voters and international parties. 

So even though there’s misinformation online, there are also vital key points that ruling parties may not want circulated, and shutting off the internet addresses that. 

Back to Zambia

Zambians aren’t taking this sitting down, of course. They’re using VPNs to circumvent the block and share their experiences online. 

Only social media sites are affected now and it is unclear if the Zambian government plans to enforce a total internet shutdown later, or when the partial shutdown will be lifted. 

Good luck to all our Zambian readers!


Join the Future Africa Collective – an exclusive community of investors who invest in startups building the future of Africa. With a $1,000 annual or a $300 quarterly subscription fee, you get access to invest a minimum of $2,500 in up to 20 fast-growing African startups each year. Learn More


Last week, you met a few of the speakers at the Future of Commerce. We’ve brought you more of them this week. By registering for the conference, you get the opportunity to learn from and network with these speakers as well as other key players who’ll be attending:

Stephen Deng – Co-founder and Partner, DFS Lab

Stephen leads DFS Lab’s investments in early-stage digital commerce startups across Africa. He has also spent time advising global clients on the growth of fintech and e-commerce in frontier markets such as those in Africa, China, and Indonesia.

Tayo Oviosu – Founder & CEO, Paga Group

Tayo is the founder and Group CEO of Paga Group. Paga is a mobile payment company focused on digitizing cash and delivering financial access in emerging markets. Paga is the leading mobile money service in Nigeria, its first market. 

Fatma Nasujo, Global Head of Operational Excellence, Sokowatch

Fatma is a financial services professional with 12+ years of experience working in FinTech, EdTech & banking. Her expertise is in Operations, Tech & Finance, and she has used her skills to serve businesses across East Africa.

Onyekachi Izukanne – Co-founder/CEO, TradeDepot

Onyekachi‌ ‌is‌ ‌a‌ ‌serial‌ ‌entrepreneur‌ ‌with‌ ‌two‌ ‌decades‌ ‌of‌ ‌experience‌ ‌innovating‌ ‌solutions‌ ‌to‌ ‌address‌ ‌real-world‌ ‌business‌ ‌problems.‌ ‌Onyekachi‌ ‌has‌ ‌a‌ ‌deep‌ ‌understanding‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ complexities‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌African‌ ‌business‌ ‌environment and ‌the‌ ‌key‌ ‌challenges‌ ‌SMEs‌ ‌face‌‌.

Jessica Anuna – Founder/CEO, Klasha

Jessica is the founder and CEO of Klasha, a technology company specialising in building software to power African commerce. Klasha is based in Lagos, Nigeria and San Francisco, USA and is backed by Techstars. 

🔔Haven’t registered yet? Best to book a slot now.

The Future of Commerce is brought to you in partnership with DAI Magister and Paystack and is sponsored by Doroki ,Chipper Cash and Klasha

 🤝 Looking to sponsor? Send an email now to favour@bigcabal.com.


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Fourth Canvas has released a list of twenty African tech startups who are challenging the norms. 

Building and scaling tech brands in Africa takes a considerable amount of work. From regulatory barriers to availability of market and funding, succeeding in this clime requires some tenacity and certain brands are excelling at it. 

Last year, tech startups raised $1 billion in the first half of the year alone, and this was amidst an unprecedented scale prompted by the pandemic. 

Fintech brought in a huge chunk of this but there are healthtechs, and even e-hailing services that also succeeded where traditional brands and businesses could not. 

Fourth Canvas’ Africa Challenger Brands Report looks into what each of these brands did right and what the African tech ecosystem can learn from them.

Tell me a little bit about the report

Drawn from a pool of one hundred (100) brands, the Africa Challenger Brands Report highlights twenty (20) African start-ups who have, within the past one year, positioned themselves for global adoption. 

The report highlights five key trends these brands have employed in scaling their businesses. 

These trends include nurturing communities, building strategic partnerships, inspiring [and promoting] employees, connecting to bigger causes, and a willingness to show what’s happening behind the scenes. 

Who says they’re at the top?

Seasoned professionals of course. 

The startups were selected by a panel of thirteen veterans including TechCabal’s Managing Editor Koromone Koroye, experience and service designer Lade Tawak, marketing professional Ized Uanikehi, researcher Phokeng Setai, and storyteller Priscilla Ojwang. 

Okay, who’s on the list?

No one you haven’t heard of. The list comprises startups from Nigeria, Uganda, South Africa, Ghana, Egypt, and Tanzania.

Fintechs dominate the list with Bamboo, Flutterwave, PiggyVest, Paystack, Patricia, Nala, Kuda, Cowrywise, Chipper, Bitsika and Fundall. There’s also health-tech LifeBank, and Helium Health; e-hailing services, SafeBoda, Swvl, and Gokada; and edutech, Utiva. Others include Eden Life, Farm Crowdy, Sweep South.

Read the full report here.


One thing most people are unaware of is that you are allowed to tell any organization that you want them to delete your data but it is usually found in the fine prints of the terms and conditions agreement that the majority of users never bother to read.”

YouID is the future of biometric identification—Dr. Gbenga Odegbami, CEO of Youverify. Read more here

TC Insights: Funding Tracker

This week, Nigerian mobility-fintech startup, Moove closed a $23m Series A round led by SpeedInvest and Left Lane Capital. The other deals for this week also went to Nigerian startups in agritech, product authentication, and e-commerce.

Here are the other deals for the week:

  • B2B e-commerce platform Omnibiz raised a $3m seed funding round led by V&R Africa, Tangerine Insurance and Timon Capital, with participation from Lofty Inc, Sunu Capital, Ventures Platform, Rising Tide Africa and Musha Ventures.
  • Chekkit, a product authentication platform raised $500K in a round led by Launch Africa, Japan Strategic Capital and Blockchain Founders Fund.
  • Zowasel, an agri-tech startup received $100K from Guinness Nigeria and Promasidor Nigeria at the UN World Food Programme Zero Hunger Sprint.
  • Female-focused fund FirstCheck Africa also announced its first four portfolio companies – Tushop (Kenya), Healthtracka (Nigeria), Foondamate (South Africa), and Zoie Health (South Africa).

That’s it for this week!

For more updates, stay tuned and follow us on Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.


The largest hackathon in West Africa is set to take place in Lagos, Nigeria from Friday 13th – Sunday 15th of August 2021.

Over 500 developers will work in teams to develop tech-enabled solutions that will address problems in Nigeria and the rest of Africa with a special focus on Artificial Intelligence. 

Learn more here


Every week, TechCabal shares job opportunities in the African ecosystem.

There are more opportunities here. If you’d like to share a job opening or an opportunity, please fill this form.

What else we’re reading


Written by – Timi Odueso

Edited by – Daniel Adeyemi


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