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Facebook, and its flagships Instagram and WhatsApp, experienced a six-hour blackout yesterday due to problems with its Domain Name System (DNS).
While we’re yet to find out how much Facebook spent on rectifying the problem, Mark Zuckerberg’s personal wealth went down by $6 billion while Facebook’s shares fell by 4.5%.
In today’s edition:
- Pandora Papers
- Paga partnership to digitise payments
- Zoom abandons biggest tech deal of the year
- Triggerfish’s offerings for African animators
What’s that saying about letting the cat out of the bag?
Well, whatever it is, it’s out and happening in Kenya and coming soon to other African countries near you.
The largest financial data leak has just happened and it’s exposing the secrets of the elite in Africa, most notably the first family of Kenya.
Tell me what’s going on
Can you keep a secret? No worries, the Pandora Papers doesn’t require you to.
The Pandora Papers is a 2.9TB (yes, terabyte!) data collection that exposes the offshore secrets of wealthy elite from more than 200 countries and territories. These files take a deep dive into the finances of politicians, celebrities, religious leaders, billionaires, and even the occasional notorious criminal, most of whom are hiding funds and evading taxes in offshore accounts.
Whoa, how can I be sure it’s legit?
Well, the papers are based on a leak of confidential records of 14 offshore service providers that give professional services to wealthy individuals and corporations seeking to incorporate shell companies, trusts, foundations, and other entities in low- or no-tax jurisdictions.
In the past year, over 600 journalists from 117 countries have pored over the Papers, analysing and researching the data in it to make sure it’s accurate.
It’s also important to know that this isn’t the first time such a huge leak is happening. In 2016, there was a 2.6TB leak called the Panama Papers, and a 1.4 TB leak in 2017 called the Paradise Papers.
So what’s happening in Kenyatta?
About 35 world leaders have been exposed in the recent installment to these leaks, including Gabon’s President Ali Bongo Ondimba; President of Congo-Brazzaville, Denis Sassou-Nguesso; King Abdullah II of Jordan; and former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair.
For Kenya, the papers revealed that the family of Kenya’s president, Uhuru Kenyatta, has for many years secretly owned a web of offshore companies in Panama, the British Virgin Islands, and other tax havens.
This, of course, is coming three years after President Kenyatta told the BBC – while stating his intention to fight corruption and promote transparency – that his family’s wealth was known to the public, and that he had declared his assets, as required by law.
Michael Ajifowoke has more in Pandora Papers: Kenya’s first family implicated in the biggest-ever offshore data leak.
PAGA’S PLANS TO DIGITISE PAYMENTS
Paga, a Nigeria-based mobile payment company, has partnered with investment firm, Untapped Global, to help small businesses and merchants digitise their payments.
With POS devices.
POS payments increased from 34 million in 2015 to 438 million in 2019, a 1118% increase in four years, and Paga is moving to contribute to this growth. The company has been at the forefront of payment solutions in Nigeria, offering financial services to 17 million unique users and processing over $8 billion worth of transactions.
Now, Paga’s POS devices will make it easier for small business owners to get paid while providing other value-added services to their customers. Businesses will be able to accept cards, mobile payments, and other forms of digital payments; and the interesting thing is, they don’t even have to pay for the devices upfront.
It’s a buy-now-pay-later system for SMEs that want to offer digital payments to their customers.
The financing, provided via Untapped Global, is structured to lower the overall cost of entry for merchants to acquire handheld POS terminals, with payments recovered from the revenues earned on the devices.
Tested and trusted
Paga has tried this before.
Earlier this year, it ran a successful pilot programme, which saw 2,000 business owners provided with financed POS devices. It’s based on this success that Paga and Untapped Global have, according to Paga founder and Group CEO Tayo Oviosu, decided to scale their partnership.
What’s the partnership aiming for next? Well, they want to get their POSes into the hands of 120,000 SMEs within two years.
Read more: Paga partners with Untapped Global to digitise payments for 120,000 Nigerian SMEs.
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TRIGGERFISH’S OFFERINGS FOR AFRICAN ANIMATORS
In the past two years, there’s been some work done in getting African stories on the global screen.
Services like Netflix have helped bring series like Queen Sono and a range of other movies made in Africa to their ten-figure audience. In fact, Netflix’s teen crime drama, Blood and Water, ranked high in black-populated countries like Kenya and Jamaica, and in European countries as one of the top ten most-watched shows in the UK, Belgium, and Switzerland.
More interestingly, perhaps, is the showcase of African animation which is currently booming. There are studios all over Africa developing colourful sketches of African worlds. Some, like Magic Carpet’s adaptation of Cyprian Ekwensi’s The Passport of Mallam Ilia, are getting funded by bigger studios while others are still struggling.
There’s a lot of heavy lifting going into animation, and Triggerfish wants to help lighten the load a bit.
Free animation editing courses
The global animation market is valued at $270 billion, and it takes a lot of skill to develop animation that can break into the market.
To this end, Triggerfish, a South African animation studio, has launched a free online course on animation editing, led by African industry experts.
The studio is partnering with the German-funded Employment for Skills and Development in Africa (E4D) programme to introduce 10,000 graduates to the animation industry and improve the portfolios of 6,000 creatives.
Triggerfish is also hoping the push will create 200 jobs.
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ZOOM ABANDONS THE BIGGEST TECH DEAL OF THE YEAR
“One day, you will meet someone who will make you realise why it never worked out with anyone else.”
If you can, please help us send this message to Zoom, the video conferencing platform.
Tell me more
Zoom’s agreement to buy cloud contact centre software company, Five9, was abandoned last month after Five9 shareholders rejected the deal.
Wait, how did we get here?
As the effects of the pandemic wane and many people now attend meetings fully clothed, Zoom has been trying to expand its product offering to keep up with the times. So, in July, the company announced it was acquiring Five9 in an all-stock purchase for $14.7 billion, its first billion-dollar-plus purchase and, at the time, the second-biggest tech deal of the year.
Remember that Zoom went public just two years ago, and last year it was one of the pandemic’s favourites as customers rushed to sign up for its video chat software. All that hype brought in more money ($1.9 billion in cash and equivalents on its balance sheet at the end of July) but, more importantly, a higher share price.
Stock down and small premium
But after the announcement things went downhill. Its stock went down 28% since the deal was first struck and Five9 shareholders were unsatisfied with the small premium that Zoom was set to pay. At the agreed-upon price, they were only going to receive a 13% bump in the value of their shares when exchanged for Zoom’s own.
For context, Square agreed to buy Australia’s Afterpay for $29 billion, at a 30% premium. While Microsoft’s purchase of Nuance Communications for $19.7 billion, including debt, amounted to a 23% premium over Nuance’s prior close.
Looking forward: Despite this setback, Zoom and Five9, which had a product partnership prior to the acquisition agreement, said they will maintain support for the integrations.
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OPPORTUNITIES: WORLD BANK INTERNSHIP PROGRAMME
The World Bank is currently open for applications for the Winter 2021 cohort of its internship programme.
The Bank Internship Programme (BIP) offers selected individuals an opportunity to experience the mission and work of the World Bank. The programme is open to postgraduate students pursuing master’s degrees or PhDs who may choose to intern in different fields including economics, finance, human development, social sciences and information technology.
Selected interns will also be paid an hourly salary and, where applicable, a travel allowance no greater than $3,000.
Find out more and apply here.
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What else we’re reading
Written by – Timi Odueso & Daniel Adeyemi
Edited by – Kelechi Njoku
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