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In today’s edition:
Scrapays is turning trash into treasure
The Epic Apple battle
TC Insights: Last mile insurance
How connected are you?
SCRAPAYS IS TURNING TRASH INTO TREASURE
What if I told you that you could turn your trash into a little bit of cash?
Every year, the world produces about 2.1 billion tonnes of trash. To put it into perspective, we produce enough trash, daily, to fit into 14.7 million football stadiums, depending on the density of the waste, and if the standard size of each field were half an acre.
That’s a lot of plastic bottles, styrofoam packs, paper, nylon bags, and straws being thrown away every year. There are options to recycling this waste but they’re not as popular as you’d think.
The US, which contributes 12% of the global garbage, recycles only 35% of its waste while Germany, the highest as of 2019, recycles 65% of its waste.
Bringing it a little closer to home, Sub-saharan Africa produces 174 million tonnes annually; and of that number, Lagos, Nigeria contributes about 5 million tonnes annually. Per day, the number is about 15,000 tonnes and only 40% of waste generated is collected and just 13% is recycled each year. The rest – including materials that could feed the local recycling industry – litters the streets and clogs open drains.
Scrapays, a trash-for-cash initiative in Nigeria, is tackling the waste problem in Lagos and helping everyone from waste collectors, and recycling centers to turn a profit. There’s an $8 billion potential in recycling waste, and Scrapays is tapping into the industry.
The alchemy behind it all
Scrapays is the brainchild of Boluwatife Arewa, Tope Sulaimon, and Olumide Ogunleye, while they were students at the Federal University of Technology Akure (FUTA).
The startup is using technology to facilitate a decentralised ecosystem for recovering recyclable waste in Nigeria. The startup facilitates the transfer of waste starting with everyday waste producers such as individuals or SMEs, who can request waste pickup through Scrapays’ USSD code, mobile app or website.
The next link on the chain are the collectors who receive the waste from the producers. Scrapays collectors are largely made up of informal waste pickers who are equipped with digital scales and customized carts. They collect the waste, sort through it, and calculate the monetary value using the mobile app.
Next are the agents who temporarily store the waste received from the collectors, before logistics partners can transport them to centralised processing spaces where they are sold off to several local companies that convert the material into finished products like tissue paper or textile materials.
How much does everyone receive?
Using a wallet-based system, Scrapays operates a revenue-sharing model that allows all stakeholders in the value chain – from producers to all its partners – to earn commission per kilogram recovered.
Waste producers get paid directly in mobile wallets and funds can be redeemed in cash or directly transferred to the individual’s account. They can also be used to buy airtime or make purchases on Scrapays’ partner marts.
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.
HOW CONNECTED ARE YOU?
Last week, Wiza Jalakasi, VP of Global Developer Relations at ChipperCash, tweeted this question: “How many things in your house have the ability to connect to WiFi?”
This question, and the replies under it, brought some pretty interesting notes I wanted to share with you.
Internet penetration in Africa stands at 29% – a pretty low compared to other continents. And the replies to Wiza’s question reveal just how much this low number affects IoT penetration in Africa.
Sidebar: Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the ability of physical devices to collect data and connect to the internet due to sensors, or software embedded in them. Think of remote-controlled devices like rechargeable fans, toys, traffic lights, or even jamboxes.
IoT Penetration around the world
There are about 10 billion devices using IoT right now, and the value of the industry is greater than $500 billion. While other parts of the world have been pretty open towards embracing IoT, embedding the system in simple household items like vacuum cleaners, or complex systems like smart cities, Africa is understandably a little behind.
Challenges in Africa
As I’ve said, the replies to Wiza’s tweet are interesting. Some people had claimed to have as many as 57 devices connected, while the lowest number – the most likely number for many – is 2, a laptop and a phone.
In conversations like this, I like to remind myself that as exciting as the numbers appear on social media, they’re probably lower in real life, considering how many people have access to the internet or even social media.
Since internet penetration in Africa is quite low, then it stands to reason that the percentage for connectivity of things is low as well.
The reason? Well, poor power supply, low internet penetration, network capacity constraints, and even poverty all play contributory roles to this. In essence, there’s a lot of work to be done as this paper explains.
Nevertheless, there are still a few countries that are doing exemplary work with IoT in Africa. There are waste management systems in Kenya, remote appliance control systems in Egypt, product verification initiatives in Nigeria, and electronic tolling systems in South Africa that make lives easier for Africans.
Even with all the barriers, people are still finding a way to connect themselves to the rest of the world. I’m connected in seven ways. How connected are you?
TechCabal Insights – Lead Analyst – Lagos, Nigeria – Deadline: September 17
There are more opportunities here. If you’d like to share a job opening or an opportunity, please fill this form.
OPPORTUNITIES: FT X SEEDSTARS CHALLENGE
Financial Times is partnering with Seedstars to host a competition aimed at empowering promising, impact-driven startups and entrepreneurs with learning and funding opportunities.
On the FTxSDG Challenge, one hundred and fifty (150) participants will be invited to solve real business challenges and present innovative strategies with a focus on the SDGs.
The event programme includes one-month’s access to the Investment Readiness Sessions by Seedstars and a five-day event filled with workshops, masterclasses, talks, mentoring and networking hosted by FT and Seedstars experts. Winning startups will be fast-tracked to the Seedstars Investments Fund and have the opportunity to secure up to $500,000 in funding.