If you know me, you know how loudly I advocate for African women in technology and business. Women tech leaders are notoriously absent in global board rooms; manels are still a thing, and African female founders are not raising as much funding as their male counterparts.
But let us put aside the world’s smallest violin for a second—the news isn’t all doom and gloom. In recent times, several organisations and venture collectives have announced opportunities designed for women. Like the eTrade for Women initiative by the United Nations which launched in 2019.
To help address the challenges women entrepreneurs face with growing their businesses, the eTrade initiative will host a masterclass in Lagos, Nigeria, from the 6th–9th of December. This is a great opportunity for women co/founders from select African countries.
Cheers to the next cohort of exceptional female founders 🥂
CRYPTO MARKET: BINANCE ANNOUNCES SOUTH AFRICAN HEAD
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* Data as of 22:10 PM WAT, August 15, 2022.
Two years after setting up a branch in South Africa, crypto exchange platform Binance has announced a new head of operations in the country.
Yesterday, the platform announced former HSBC head of global banking Hannes Wessels as the new country head for South Africa.
According to Binance, Wessels is coming to take advantage of and boost South Africa’s growing crypto adoption rate which is at 10%, lower than Nigeria’s 27%, Ghana’s 20%, or Kenya’s 15%.
WILLIAM RUTO WINS KENYAN ELECTIONS
Deputy president William Ruto has been declared the winner of Kenya’s presidential election. According to the official results, he received 50.5% of the vote. He was followed closely by 77-year-old Raila Odinga, former prime minister and 5-time presidential candidate, who got 48.8% of the vote.
An opaque or transparent election?
Electoral commission chairman, Wafula Chebukati, said that he and his team ensured it was a free, fair, and credible election.
However, 4 of the 7 members of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), including the vice chairperson, refused to endorse the result, saying it was “opaque”.
Well, was it?
We don’t know. We do know that it was hackable. According to an insider at the IEBC, about 200 hacking attempts had been made between Thursday 4 PM and Friday 8 AM (EAT). These attempts were reportedly blocked by the EIBC.
The hackers attempted to rig the election as Kenya employed an electronic voting system—one of the few in Africa. The polling stations had biometric devices which admitted voters registered at that specific location. The signed forms from each station were QR-coded, and the scanners at each polling station sent each copy to the IEBC servers for analysis and reporting. Copies were also sent to selected media houses and to the participating parties for transparency.
The physical tools such as the signing forms, ballot boxes, and others were used together with the digital system to ensure a credible election.
Big picture: Aside from Kenya, a few countries like Ghana, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, and Uganda have used biometric voter authentication.
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Canal+, the pay-TV unit of French media holding company Vivendi, started its streak of acquisitions in October 2020 when it acquired 6.5% of Multichoice shares in the open market. Since then, the company has continued to make regular increases to its stake.
What does MultiChoice think?
MultiChoice CEO, Calvo Mawela, said they continue to have monthly interactions with Vivendi and that the French media company likes MultiChoice, its management, and its prospects.
Mawela said their relationship with Canal+ is growing, and they are working together on many products, including content co-productions and sub-licensing content.
Merging Canal+ and MultiChoice Africa’s subscriber bases will give a new entity better negotiation rights on satellite costs, rights on sports and movie rights, and channel distribution agreements.
Combining Canal+ and MultiChoice Africa’s advertising sales teams will also extend their reach and improve efficiency. A combined advertising offering reaching most countries on the continent will appeal to many global and African brands. MultiChoice’s expertise in online streaming—DStv Now and Showmax—can also assist Canal+ in its online endeavours.
Zoom out: According to Cheesman, a deal with Canal+ could help unlock MultiChoice Africa’s value faster than it will happen under MultiChoice. MultiChoice has been loss-making for years, and although it is targeting an even break in the next financial year, it is likely to happen quicker in partnership with Canal+.
PASTEL RAISES $5.5 MILLION
Pastel, a startup helping small Nigerian businesses move online, digitise their bookkeeping, and access financial support has raised $5.5 million to scale its operations and build better products.
Backstory: In Nigeria, 80% of Nigeria’s 40 million micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) fail to last beyond 5 years. Experts have attributed it to a lack of digitisation and sub-optimal business practices, which are services Pastel is helping MSMEs overcome.
How is Pastel saving Nigerian businesses?
They build apps.
Pastel has built a suite of apps that serve different purposes for MSMEs. The first is Sabi, a bookkeeping app that allows small businesses to closely monitor transactions, manage customers, evaluate cash flow and handle debt. Quick Receipt, their second product, is a simple invoicing and receipt tool. They also have the Swift Money app in the company’s pipeline. When launched, the app will focus on digitising the Ajo system, a popular thrift savings scheme in Nigeria.
Zoom Out: Pastel is playing in one of Nigeria’s most important markets, but a major pushback may come from the same people they are trying to help. Digitisation in traditional retail settings is not commonplace in Nigeria, and Pastel must paint the picture of urgency if it wants to increase adoption amongst its target audience.
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The 2022 Female-Led Healthtech Startups in Ghana Call is now open to applications from healthtech startups in Ghana who have at least 1 woman on their leadership team. Five selected startups will receive $50,000 each in funding and incubation support from Villagro Africa and GTL. Apply by August 19.
Fintechs focusing on financial inclusion in Africa can now apply for the CATAPULT: Inclusion Africa Programme 2022. Ten selected fintechs will participate in a one-week all-expenses-paid bootcamp, and participate in the Arch Summit event. Apply by September 15.
The GrowUp Incubator Programme is now open to applications from social business entrepreneurs who are providing sustainable solutions to tourism and mobility issues. Entrepreneurs in Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and Burundi can apply for the chance to get 6-month training, networking opportunities, and support. Apply by August 28.