It’s salary week for many people, and if there’s anything we’re all talking about, it’s how wages can barely keep up with the ever-rising inflation rate.
In Nigeria, it’s at 19.64%, a few points higher than July 2021’s 17.38%. In Egypt, it’s 13.2%, way higher than the 5.3% recorded around the same time last year.
It’s affecting people, and startups too, many of whom are finding it difficult to raise money and break even.
In Ghana, for example, the inflation rate has been rising for 11 months, hitting 31.7% in July alone. Startups like DOBIISON, a virtual reality startup, are struggling to stay in business due to the rising cost of fuel which has made travelling around Ghana more expensive.
CONGO BANS TELECOM EXECUTIVES’ TRAVEL OVER NEW TAX
The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has barred several telecom executives from leaving the nation after they refused to pay a new sector tax projected to cost them roughly $180 million per year.
What new tax?
In a renewed search for means to increase the country’s revenue, President Felix Tshisekedi’s administration is seeking to extend its tax base. A 15% increase in taxes has been enacted on phone calls, text messages, and megabytes of data.
All the operators in Congo were handed invoices for the tax, which apparently spans a six-week period and amounts to almost $20 million. These bills have been rejected by the operators, who claim they contain anomalies and are hence unenforceable.
Are they unenforceable?
The DRC government believes it is, and is already applying force to the leadership of these companies. Executives from the country’s four largest carriers—Orange SA, Airtel Africa Plc, Vodacom Group, and Africell Holding SAL—have been barred from travelling, and their passports have been confiscated.
DRC is not hiking alone
Nigeria recently announced an impending increase in taxes on carrier services like calls and SMS. Telecom operators and some government officials are not in agreement and have voiced these concerns, but the Nigerian government is yet to retract the announcement.
SEND BY FLUTTERWAVE
Don’t just send money, send money fast. Send and receive money directly to mobile wallets, bank accounts, Barter or through cash pickup with $end.
The Kenyan Ministry of Health might be up for a legal battle, but Japanese multinational company Toyota wants no part in it.
The company recently sold its 9.5% stake in Kenyan IT firm Seven Seas Technologies Limited.
What does the Kenyan MoH have to do with it?
Time for a little backstory.
Toyota is leaving Seven Seas because of the firm’s rocky relationship with the Kenyan MoH. The IT firm was recently embroiled in a legal fight with the government over a Ksh4.7 billion ($39 million) contract.
In 2017, the Kenyan MoH and Seven Seas signed a contract that would allow Seven Seas provide technological components to 98 state hospitals across Kenya. At the time, Seven Seas provided Toyota and another firm, Dubai-based Abraaj, as its shareholders.
However, in 2019, the Kenyan government terminated the contract. The reason? The MoH claimed that Seven Seas did not have the money to lead the deal, despite the fact that Seven Seas had already spent Ksh1.32 billion ($11 million) on the contract.
Seven Seas sued and on Monday, the arbitrator found the Kenyan government guilty of breach and awarded Seven Seas damages worth Ksh1.59 billion ($13 million).
Toyota—which bought a stake in Seven Seas through its venture fund, CSV Africa—wanted out because the case is bringing it negative spotlight.
According to Seven Seas CEO, Michael Macharia, “The institutional investors exited because of reputational risks. They don’t like drama.”
Macharia reportedly bought the shares back from Toyota once they showed their intentions. Toyota is also not the first shareholder to back out of Seven Seas since its fight with the MoH began.
Another stakeholder, Actis—which held the 21% stake it bought from now-defunct Dubai firm Abraaj—also pulled out due to the legal battle.
GOOGLE WALLET ROLLS OUT IN SOUTH AFRICA
Google Wallet has rolled out in South Africa and five other countries across the world. The Google Pay app will be folded into the wallet and discontinued as an individual app in the country.
The wallet app was launched in partnership with banks like FirstRand Absa, Nedbank, Standard Bank, Discovery Bank, and Investec.
What does it do?
It works like your physical wallet. The Google Wallet features Google Pay, which facilitates payment at points of sale (POS). Users can tap—yes, tap—their phones on POS devices and authenticate themselves with a fingerprint, their face, or a pin to pay for goods or services.
Just like we don’t carry only money in our wallets, the Google Wallet goes beyond payments—you can store digital items like loyalty cards, vaccination cards, digital car keys, ID cards, and event tickets in it too. Global airlines like KLM, United, Air France, and Singapore Airlines have partnered with Google Wallets so users in South Africa can purchase flight tickets online, create the digital version in their Wallet Store, and store it in their wallets.
Other wallets in the game
South Africa is the first African country Google Wallet has launched in, but it is not the first digital wallet provider in the country. Google Wallet will be competing with products like Samsung Pay, Huawei Pay, and Apple Pay (well, this is for users of Apple devices while Google Wallet is for Android users, so no competition here).
SELL MORE WITH PAYSTACK
Increase your online sales with a Paystack Storefront – a free, beautiful seller page that helps you bring creative ideas to life.
ACCELERATE TV LAUNCHES ITS VIDEO STREAMING APP FOR AFRICANS
Accelerate TV, a Nigerian digital entertainment company with a focus on filmmaking, has joined the list of companies streaming African content to the world with the release of a streaming app dubbed Accelerate Plus.
The app is the latest innovation of the 6-year-old digital media company established to tell “authentic and diverse stories that reflect African societies”.
Another streaming app?
Yes. The more, the merrier, right?
Not sure this phrase applies to movie streaming platforms because of the library dilution that comes with them, but Accelerate is ready to play in the expanding market bringing global companies to Africa.
Big Picture: There’s been a surge in global companies entering the African video streaming market in recent years. In 2020, Netflix officially launched in Nigeria, heralding other competitors, Disney+ and Amazon Prime, to launch across other African countries this year.
Well, it makes sense that these companies are marking Africa for their global expansion plans, especially as the subscription numbers of video-on-demand users in Africa are projected to reach 15 million by 2026, at a growth rate that adds 2.5 million people yearly.
What is Accelerate doing differently, though?
Accelerate Plus is separating itself from its competitors with two major unique value offerings: exclusive African content and an incredibly low subscription rate.
While Netflix in Nigeria offers between ₦1,200 ($2.85) to ₦4,400 ($10.45) for different plans, Accelerate Plus claims to offer a flat fee of ₦2,100 ($4.99) to users outside Nigeria and a range of ₦100 ($0.23)–₦500 ($1.18) to its users in Nigeria.
EVENT: BLOCKCHAIN BENEFITS FOR CONTENT CREATORS
Cryp.Africa is inviting everyone within the media and content creation space and blockchain enthusiasts to the Cryp Sessions webinar on “How blockchain can benefit content creators”.
The event will dig into use cases of the blockchain to grow a content creation business, with internationally acclaimed Web3 content and technology experts, including a Forbes 30u30 lister.
The session holds Wednesday, August 24, 2022, by 12 PM WAT on LinkedIn and Twitter at @CrypAfrica.
Join Endeavor Nigeria tomorrow at 12:00 PM WAT for a Thinking Big session with Karl Toriola (CEO of MTN Nigeria and Endeavor Nigeria mentor). Karl will be talking about and answering questions on “Technology and the future of telecoms in Nigeria”.
Applications are now open for Meta’s AR/VR Africa Metathon. XR developers, programmers, UI/UX designers, artists, animators, storytellers, and professionals resident in Africa can sign up to get curated learning resources from XR experts who will provide mentorship, and facilitate masterclasses and workshops. Apply here.
The UN’s Youth Climate Innovation Lab is calling all young innovators in MENA that are creating climate technology solutions to join a 3-day launchpad. Winners from the launchpad will participate in the 6–8 week Climate Innovation Academy Programme, and the top 3 teams will receive a cash prize as well as the chance to attend the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) happening in Egypt this November 2022. Apply by September 4.
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.
Netflix has extended its Netflix Creative Equity Scholarship Fund (CESF) to film and television students in the West and Central Africa region. Applications are now open for students to apply to study at institutions in Nigeria, Ghana, Benin and Gabon. Apply by September 4.