24 FEBRUARY, 2022

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In today’s edition

  • The Nigeria Startup Bill takes a step further
  • Solving Africa’s talent problem
  • TradeDepot acquires Green Lion
  • What Polygon’s $450 million raise will do
  • Event: Building from Ground Up
  • Opportunities

THE NIGERIA STARTUP BILL TAKES A STEP FURTHER

Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari has signed the Nigeria Startup Bill (NSB) and approved its movement to the National Assembly (NASS)

Nigerian Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Ali Pantami, revealed this on Tuesday at a Breakfast Interactive Session held in Lagos. 

The signing comes a year after the Nigeria Startup Bill—a coalition of efforts to create an enabling regulatory environment for the burgeoning startup ecosystem—was first announced.

The initiative is led by the Nigerian presidency, in collaboration with 30 tech leaders including Ventures Platform founder Kola Aina and Future Africa founder Iyin Aboyeji, NITDA officials and the Minister of Digital Economy, Isa Pantami.

What’s next?

Now, Nigeria’s legislature will deliberate the contents of the bill and decide which parts of it, if any, are fit to be law. NASS’ decision is ultimately what will determine if the NSB becomes an enforceable law. 

Speaking on the recently signed startup bill, the minister mentioned six pillars—understanding of the market, ecosystem consolidation, building the ecosystem, networking within and outside the ecosystem, working with the governmental bodies, and honesty—that will support the implementation as the council moves forward.

Zoom out: Everyone, understandably, has concerns, one of which is execution. If the bill gets approved by NASS, how long will execution take? Nigeria has a grave history of slow and unreliable execution of its already existing laws. Its startup ecosystem is growing at an impressive rate and will need commensurate legislative and judicial attention.

SOLVING AFRICA’S TALENT PROBLEM

Across the continent, unemployment rates are steadily growing. 

According to a 2021 Bloomberg report South Africa has the highest unemployment rate (34.4%) on a global list of 82 countries. Closely behind on that list are Namibia (33.4%), and Nigeria (33.3%) coming in second and third respectively.

A popular and widely accepted explanation for this discrepancy is the gap between the skills the unemployed and underemployed Africans possess and the expected skills they need to excel on the job. 

Granted, there aren’t even enough jobs on the continent; only 3 million formal jobs are created annually in Africa, according to a 2015 report by the African Development Bank, while 10 million to 12 million youth enter the workforce in Africa each year. So, many graduates end up doing work outside of what they trained for in school.

But, while the demand for job creation is valid, there’s a need to look into how to solve the current problem of ensuring that the existing vacant jobs are filled in the first place. The answer, it appears, doesn’t reside in one approach.

Startups are popping up to help address the talent gap. What started with Andela, Decagon, and Semicolon has now grown to accommodate others like Irawo, Hacklab Foundation, TalentQL, AltSchool Africa and Fuzu.

In this deep dive, Daniel Adeyemi explores the different approaches these startups are taking in solving Africa’s tech talent problem.

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TRADEDEPOT ACQUIRES GREEN LION

Mergers and acquisitions (M&As) across the continent are off to a steady start.

There have been at least 4 including Lami’s acquisition of Bluewave Insurance Agency, and Branch International’s majority stake acquisition of Century Microfinance Bank.

Now, TradeDepot has joined the fray with its recent acquisition of its competitor, Green Lion—described as the biggest and fastest-growing B2B e-commerce platform in Ghana.

Why?

The acquisition is set to help accelerate the delivery of its services across Ghana where the retail sector is valued at $24.4 billion and is expected to reach $33.16 billion by 2024, with SME retailers accounting for about 90% of the market.

Green Lion, founded in 2018, enables digital commerce for neighbourhood retailers in Ghana. Building on this work, TradeDepot will leverage Green Lion’s data, technology, and robust logistics operations to connect more retailers in more Ghanaian cities to suppliers and make financing more accessible and affordable, the company said in a statement. 

The startup already has active operations in Ghana, as well as its operations in Nigeria and South Africa, and this acquisition is expected to expedite the delivery of its services to more cities to enable increased sales, higher margins, and other value-added services for all parties across the retail value chain.

TradeDepot will take on all existing Green Lion Africa relationships and assets in Ghana, the company said. In addition, the Green Lion team will join TradeDepot to support its mission to “build the future of retail and make food and supplies more accessible and affordable for even the most remote consumers” in Africa.

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WHAT POLYGON’S $450 MILLION RAISE WILL DO

Last month, Polygon—an India-based blockchain scalability platform—raised $450 million, to expand its portfolio of ethereum scaling solutions and footprints in the developer ecosystem. 

Sandeep Nailwal, Polygon’s co-founder, has said that the raise is to help Polygon build larger developer ecosystems in several markets. 

One of the developer ecosystem expansion strategies is to establish Polygon Guilds, a structure that will help educate “Web2 developers” and onboard them to Web3. This guild model will adopt a similar approach to Google Developer Group, a small meetup across different locations where people can learn about Google technologies. 

Polygon Guilds are live in over 19 cities across the globe and a large number of them are in Africa—Lagos, Abuja, Delta, Warri, Port Harcourt, Nairobi, and Mombasa. Polygon is also expanding its presence in France, India, the Netherlands, and the United States.

Earlier this month, Polygon created the Polygon Academy, which intends to be a comprehensive guide for anybody that wants to understand Web3. This academy consists of eight modules and learners will earn an NFT when they complete them. 

The end game of Polygon, Naiwal also said, is to become the AWS of Web3, and if Web3 is going to be as big as investors are saying it would be, its recent efforts will no doubt be a win for African developers.

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EVENT: BUILDING FROM GROUND UP

As a founder, how do you motivate and inspire your team to achieve better results? How do you build and maintain a culture of team productivity and satisfaction?.

If this is something you’ve always been curious about, join us tomorrow, February 25 at 11 AM (WAT) on #BuildingFromGroundUp.

We’ll be speaking with Elizabeth Tweedale, the founder and CEO of the UK’s leading coding school, Cypher Coders. Elizabeth will be sharing important tips for founders and aspiring founders who are seeking ways to build resilient and efficient teams, as well as other useful lessons from her experience as an entrepreneur.

The event is open to experienced and aspiring entrepreneurs as well as everyone else who is playing in the African technology industry.

Register now to attend.

The #BuildingFromGroundUp series is powered by the UK-Nigeria Tech Hub in partnership with TechCabal.

Note: By clicking on the registration link for any of these events, you’ve indicated interest in the event and will get an invite to attend. To opt out, please ignore the invite..

OPPORTUNITIES

  • The Mastercard/Entrepreneur Middle East SME Leaders Awards 2022 is now open to nominations from women leaders in the Middle East and Africa. The Awards will be given across three categories including Personal Achievement Awards, Industry Related Awards, and Small Size Business Awards. Find out more here
  • Applications are now open for the United States African Development Foundation/Stanbic Kenya Grant Foundation Programme 2022. MSMEs in Kenya that are 100% African-owned are invited to apply for the chance to get up to $50,000 in grants. Check it out.
  • The Casa Africa Photography Contest is now open to submissions for photographs that showcase the positive aspects of Africa’s digital transformation. Selected winners will be awarded prizes worth €1,800 ($2,000). Shoot for the prize.

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Written by – Timi Odueso, Damilare Dosunmu & Boluwatife Sanwo

Edited by – Kelechi Njoku

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