7 SEPTEMBER, 2021

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On Sunday, Guinea’s president, Alpha Condé, was ousted in a coup d’etat led by military personnel. 

Photos of Conde, who amended the West African country’s constitution to award himself a third term in power, were shared on social media after his capture by the military officials. Other photos and videos were also shared and they showed Guineans jubilating at the news. Not everyone is happy though and a few organizations and countries have tagged the action as an attack on Guinea’s constitutional process.

To me, coup d’états seem archaic, stories you listen to during History or Government classes. That they still happen in 2021 shouldn’t surprise me though, considering the fact that there was an attempt in Niger earlier this year, and two recent coups in Mali.

In today’s edition:

  • Agricorp is spicing things up with $17.5 million
  • Nigeria moves to study crypto
  • The inaugural cohort of Endeavor Nigeria’s Scale Up program
  • Events: Pitch your startup at the #FutureOfCommerce

AGRICORP IS SPICING THINGS UP WITH $17.5 MILLION

Agricorp International, a Nigeria-based spices producing, processing, and exporting company has raised $17.5 million in pre-series A funding. 

The round was supported by One Capital and AFEX but the leading investment was made by Vami-Farms who invested $11.5 million in equity funding. 

With its newfound support, Agricorp is turning up the heat! The company will increase its spices processing capacity up to 7000 metric tonnes (MT), expand into new markets, hire more talents and build more processes that enhance global food systems. 

The grind

Founded in 2018 by Kenneth Obiajulu and Wale Omotimirin, Agricorp supports smallholder farmers with input and training on good agronomic practices. Its plant in Kaduna can process and package 0.5 metric tonnes of produce per hour. 

Agriculture has contributed 22.35% of Nigeria’s total GDP since 2019 and over 70% of Nigerians are engaged in the sector. A majority of these farmers, however, are undocumented and underbanked as they live in rural communities with reduced access to pertinent amenities. 

Agricorp is working to change this narrative with tech. The company uses its proprietary technology, Farmbase, to create detailed profiles and income for farmers by registering, aggregating, and paying them for their produce. 

The data Farmbase collects is then shared with key stakeholders like financial institutions who can use it to provide loan-credit facilities or private companies who use the detailed insights to make informed agricultural decisions.

Since its launch, the company has supported over 5,000 smallholder farmers and grown its revenue by over 585% to service global clients in the food processing and pharmaceutical industry.

Moving forward

Agricorp aims to stand at the forefront of enhancing global food systems and plans to use the $17.5 million investment to contribute to meeting the growing demand for spices as an export material. 

To do this, Agricorp will be increasing their capacity to 7000 metric tonnes which will, as Co-founder and CEO Kenneth Obiajuli said, help Agricorp, “…maximise the potential to boost Nigeria’s forex earnings through export, contribute our quota to improving the Nigerian GDP from agriculture, and serve as a worthy model to African youth who aspire to be agribusiness owners.”

NIGERIA MOVES TO STUDY CRYPTO

After months of moving against key players in the crypto market, Nigerian authorities have finally advanced to understanding what the market is all about.

The Nigerian Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), a regulatory institution of the Nigerian capital market, has set up a department that will study the crypto market and aid in the creation of informed regulatory policies for the market. 

The announcement was made on the 2nd of September by the agency’s Director-General, Lido Yuguda, who was holding a virtual interview with Reuters. 

“We are looking at this market closely to see how we can bring out regulations that will help investors protect their investment in blockchain,’’ Yuguda said.

Why this is important:

It means that policymakers may finally be taking the right attitude towards the crypto market. 

Earlier this year, Nigeria’s apex bank, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) ordered all commercial banks to close any accounts that had histories dealing in crypto. The order was a pointer to an earlier 2017 CBN directive that banned cryptocurrency

banking system ensures safety for Nigerians. The governor, Godwin Emefiele, even said, “Since many Nigerians delved into its usage, we have been studying its development and paying close attention to occurrences in that space. Now we know enough at this stage to decide that a continuation of these opaque activities significantly threatens the safety and soundness of our financial system.” 

The SEC too has had a rocky history with the crypto market as it previously warned investors about trading virtual currencies in 2017. Three years later, in September 2020, the Commission recognized the validity of cryptocurrency as investment. 

Could the move have come earlier? 

Some crypto experts think this decision could have come earlier, allowing local fintech and crypto companies to pool their resources to support the SEC and help the institution write policies that drive economic development. 

One of such experts is Mayowa, an Ethereum Blockchain Engineer and Founder/CEO of Walletcloud, who believes that the move would have, “… probably led to the fastest regulation development ever in the country had it come earlier than now.”

Damilare Dosunmu has more in SEC creates a special division to study the crypto market

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THE INAUGURAL COHORT OF ENDEAVOR’S SCALE UP PROGRAM

Endeavour Nigeria has unveiled the cohorts for its inaugural Scale Up program. 

The 10-week accelerator program is designed to support entrepreneurs with high-impact potential in the Nigerian ecosystem to scale their startups.

The seven entrepreneurs include Releaf’s

CEO and CTO, Ikenna Nzewi and Uzoma Ayogu; Tomilola Majekodunmi, co-founder and CEO at Bankly; John Oke, CEO at Wallet Africa; and Julian Flosbach, Moses Nmor, and Chuks Enyi, the three co-founders of BFREE

What the cohort will get: Great insight and tips from veterans in the game. 

This program will include a series of group workshops facilitated by Endeavor entrepreneurs, board members, and mentors, where the cohort will be given direct and actionable feedback to support their growth as business leaders.

The workshops will be facilitated by Bolaji Balogun, CEO of Chapel Hill Denham and Vice Board Chairman at Endeavor Nigeria; Ife Orioke, CIO and co-founder of Flutterwave; and Tosin Eniolorunda, CEO and co-founder of TeamApt. 

This new cohort will be also mentored by the likes of Seni Adetu, former MD/CEO at Guinness Nigeria Plc; Adepeju Adebajo, former CEO of Lumos Nigeria; Anders Einarsson, CEO Food Products International, Promasidor Nigeria Limited; and Felix Ike, co-founder, and CTO at TeamApt. 

Zoom out: Since its founding in 1999, Endeavour Nigeria has dedicated its work to supporting entrepreneurs, supporting more than 2,000 whose companies generate combined revenues of over $28 billion, have created more than 3.9 million jobs, and in 2020 alone, raised over $4 billion in capital. 

The inaugural cohort is in great hands, especially when you consider that Endeavor is supporting Flutterwave, Carbon, Helium Health, Paga, Autochek, and more.

EVENTS: Pitch your startup at the #FutureOfCommerce

On the 24th of September, you’ll not only be listening to business leaders and top executives globally, but you could also get a chance to, wait for it…. pitch at one of our breakout sessions!

Yes, you read that right! There’s more, keep reading.

What are these pitch sessions and why should you care?

The pitch sessions are a chance for startups building innovative products in e-commerce, payments, logistics, and SaaS sectors to pitch to investors (investment pitch session) and corporate partners (partnership pitch session).

Why should you register for the investment pitch session?

Startups that participate in the investment pitch session will not only get a chance to pitch to potential investors but also win some great prizes that we’ll be revealing soon!

Want to be a part of this session? Register here for a chance to participate. To attend as an investor, click here.

If you haven’t registered for the Future of Commerce yet, you’d best book a slot now.

The Future of Commerce is brought to you in partnership with DAI Magister and Paystack and is sponsored by DorokiChipper CashKlashaVerifyMe, and GIG Logistics.

IMPROVING CYBERSECURITY IN MENA

KB4-CON EMEA is a free, highly engaging, cybersecurity-focused virtual event designed for CISOs, security awareness and cybersecurity professionals in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

The event will be on Thursday, September 23rd and features keynotes from two of the most well-known figures in cybersecurity. Mikko Hyppönen will cover how our global networks are being threatened by surveillance and crime, and how we can fix our technical, and human, problems. Kevin Mitnick will reveal social engineering tradecraft and insights and wow you with a live hacking demonstration. You can register here

What else we’re reading

  • Last month, Oluyomi Ojo departed from Printivo after seven years as CEO. Now, the branding company is under new management as it appoints Temitope Ekundayo as the new CEO. 
  • In the first half of 2020, Access Bank made ₦21.8 billion from its e-channels. A year later, that revenue increased by 37% to ₦29.9 million ($73 million).
  • Naivas, Kenya’s largest supermarket chain, has partnered with Jumia Food to give Kenyans increased access to food delivery options.
  • Facebook is apologizing to the public after its AI identified black men as ‘primates’.
  • Last year, Autochek, an automotive tech company acquired business from Cheki Nigeria and Cheki Ghana. This year, it’s gone eastward to acquire Cheki Kenya and Cheki Uganda.

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Written by – Timi Odueso

Edited by – Daniel Adeyemi

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