27 OCTOBER, 2021


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Good morning ☀️ ️

We often talk about biting off more than you can chew, but this man took it several steps further: he swallowed more than he could digest.

An unnamed Egyptian man swallowed a cellphone six months ago but didn’t seek help as he hoped it would pass through his body naturally.

In today’s edition

  • So long, eShop!
  • Amazon’s controversial Africa headquarters
  • Uganda’s fraud problem
  • Digitising how commercial transport vehicles are leased in Nigeria
  • How AfriLabs is spurring the growth of Africa’s innovation space


It’s another day to be reminded that everything that has a beginning has an end.

After two years of operation, DHL Africa is shutting down its pan-African online retail platform, eShop, at the end of the month.

Remind me about eShop: Launched in 2019, eShop was designed to help global retailers sell goods to Africa’s consumer markets. Through the platform, consumers in Africa could shop directly from more than 200 US- and UK-based online retailers, with purchases delivered to their door by DHL Express.

Once considered a threat to leading e-commerce players in Africa, DHL’s eShop offered relatively faster delivery compared to its peers but was also one of the most expensive platforms for international shopping, some of its users told TechCabal.

Michael shares more about this developing story in this article.

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“How can an Amazon headquarters become a symbol of our heritage?”

That’s Tauriq Jenkins, the high commissioner for the Goringhaicona Khoi Khoin Indigenous Traditional Council. He’s not a supporter of the location for Amazon’s new African headquarters.

Remind me, how did we get here?

Back in May, word got out that Amazon would be opening its first African office in South Africa with a real estate investment of over 4 billion rand ($280 million)—although Amazon never formally announced it was building a new office in Cape Town. The news only came to light as Liesbeek Leisure Properties Trust (LLPT), real estate developer, was in the process of obtaining a required environmental authorisation from the government.

Hmm, tell me more

The headquarters will stand on 70,000 square metres (17.3 acres) of land on the outskirts of the city centre. Amazon is expected to be the anchor tenant of a controversial real estate development dubbed the River Club, which will also include housing units, public green space, and other amenities.

The controversy: Some locals don’t want Amazon to set up its base in their community, and newly public court documents suggest the site wasn’t even a finalist for Amazon’s Cape Town office and may not have met requirements it initially laid out for the headquarters.

The issues as per Rest of the World :

  • There’s a possibility that building the headquarters there could lead to regular costly flooding of the neighbouring areas as the project plan includes filling in parts of a nearby floodplain.
  • In one section of the project plan, it notes that Amazon would provide a bus service to “a large portion of staff working at the Amazon campus”, since the majority don’t have cars and can’t easily walk to public bus stops or train stations. In its RFI, however, the e-commerce giant said that it heavily favoured building an office that would have access to transportation.
  • The River Club wasn’t one of the shortlist of five finalist sites for Amazon’s Cape Town Campus. This is according to Ambrose Henstra, the executive chairman of DHK Architects, a design studio that worked on several of the developer proposals submitted to Amazon.

Zoom out : While there’s been strong pushback from locals of the community about the project, Amazon has remained largely silent. Cape Town officials have continued to defend the project, despite the ongoing disputes. It’s expected that the construction project will create thousands of jobs in a country beset by high unemployment, and help to promote the city as a hub for Africa’s growing technology industry.

Dig Deeper: New documents shed light on Amazon’s controversial Africa headquarters.


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Fraudsters sure do have something to show for their work in Uganda, as $3.9 million was lost in the past year from 200 cases of hi-tech fraud in the East African country, according to data released by Interpol Uganda on October 17.

Wait, that’s not all

Over a one-year period, fake visas accounted for a loss of $542,500, online business fraud led to a loss of $112,44, internet fraud $2,699,055, and email hacking $1,115,609.

…MMOs too?!

Yes, mobile money operators. Interpol director, Charles Birungi, says that there were 10 cases of fraudulent bank transactions reported.

When bank fraud happens in Uganda, mobile money companies are also affected. MTN and Airtel Uganda, the nation’s two largest mobile money companies, hold escrow accounts with banks that have been hard hit by hackers.

In October 2020, the two companies also lost billions after hackers targeted third-party payments provider, Pegasus Technologies. MTN and Airtel were forced to temporarily suspend their mobile money transactions until they were able to contain the situation.

The increasing occurrence of high-tech fraud in Uganda points to a need for updated cybersecurity protocols for financial institutions. But, according to Dataprotect, only 6% of cybersecurity incidents in sub-Saharan Africa are detected by cybersecurity staff, and 55% of financial institutions outsource cybersecurity needs.

Digitising how commercial transport vehicles are leased in Nigeria

In Nigeria, the majority of taxis and public transportation buses are leased to drivers, who have to deliver rental fees to the owners either daily, weekly or monthly.

This commercial transport vehicle leasing market is believed to be very lucrative, but due to its informal nature, players in the space are usually subject to fraudulent activities. It’s either the drivers default on agreed payments or dubious investors lease out unroadworthy vehicles.

Nigerian startup, Envio, is tackling these problems by digitising the value chain through its platform, mygarage.africa.

Enter mygarage.africa

Usually, Nigerians wanting to go into the commercial transport vehicle leasing business rely on the recommendations of close acquaintances, and without any form of guarantee on rental fees to be paid.

But with mygarage.africa, car owners can create virtual garages to list vehicles for commercial rent or vehicle finance lease and connect with verified drivers.

A telemetry device is installed in the cars to generate data on the maintenance and roadworthiness of the vehicles while in use. In addition, mygarage.africa has a billing gateway that guarantees rental fees.

“Insurance can cover theft but won’t cover default on rental fees or misuse of the vehicle by the driver,” Envio co-founder Sylvester Chude told TechCabal. “What we’re bringing to the table is discipline, keeping drivers on their toes, and preventing investors from losses.”

Fundraising and expansion

Having gained some popularity in Nigeria’s capital city, with the Envio device installed in over 1,000 vehicles so far, mygarage.africa is launching in Lagos, the country’s commercial hub, this month.

Due to the size of its total addressable market, the startup is also currently raising $1 million to improve its technology and inventory.

Timothy Nunu, an early investor in Envio and co-founder, is upbeat about the company’s prospects.

“This is a home-grown solution to a local problem, but it’s software and adaptable to several other markets. We have very good traction, a clear revenue model, and the problem being solved is obvious.”

Read more about how mygarage.africa is digitising how commercial transport vehicles are leased in Nigeria.

How AfriLabs is spurring the growth of Africa’s innovation space

For Maha Khannoussi, Senior Programme Officer at Flat6Labs Tunisia, being one of the first movers in Tunisia came with a lot of lessons such as the need to create awareness around entrepreneurship in Tunisia. Vincent Kumwenda, CEO of Malawi’s first technology and innovation hub, Mhub also faced the same issues Flat6Labs face.

Many entrepreneurs in Africa start businesses out of necessity without adequate experience and training on how to run their businesses.

This is where organisations like AfriLabs come in. AfriLabs allows innovators to become part of a larger community of individuals with similar goals and objectives. The opportunities they provide also helps young and emerging entrepreneurs improve their business development.

Learn more about how how AfriLabs is spurring the growth of Africa’s innovation space.

What else we’re reading


Written by – Daniel Adeyemi, Alexandria Williams & Michael Ajifowoke

Edited by – Kelechi Njoku


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