KENYAN TELCOS TO RE-REGISTER ALL SIMS WITHIN 60 DAYS
Image source: Business Alive
If you have a bone to pick with any Kenyan telco operator, this is your chance to make them pay.
The Communications Authority (CA) has ordered all Kenyan mobile providers to ensure all of their subscribers re-register their SIMs within 60 days or pay a fine of up to 0.5% of their yearly gross revenue.
Following a directive from the Communications Authority (CA) in February, Kenyan operators asked their customers to re-register their sim cards in order to update their personal information. The telecoms threatened to disconnect the lines of customers who didn’t comply by the new deadline—April 15 2022—and they actually did. Millions of SIM cards remained unregistered – even after a 6-month extension of the deadline – and some of them were disconnected by the operators.
The telcos now have 60 additional days from the CA to guarantee complete compliance. It expects mobile providers to refuse service to unregistered subscribers in order to foster compliance. The CA currently reports that 93% of Safaricom users and 91% of Airtel users have updated their registrations, but it is still determining Telkom’s compliance. The CA will determine each telco’s compliance level again after 60 days, and any telco with less than 100% compliance will pay a fine of up to 0.5% of their annual gross revenue.
The B2B e-commerce startup was listed by Business Daily on Monday as one of six Kenyan startups that had failed this year. The list included Wasoko, Kune Foods, Notify Logistics, WeFarm, BRCK, Sendy, and Sky-Garden.
Wasoko raised $125 million in a Series B equity round led by Tigers Global in March of this year. It currently employs about 936 people to serve a local clientele of more than 48,000 people and has 12 locations across Kenya. The business also expanded into West Africa, opening offices in Abidjan, Dakar, Senegal, and Côte d’Ivoire.
In support of the government’s initiative to create Silicon Zanzibar, Wasoko opened an innovation hub in Fumba Town, Zanzibar. The hub is expected to house hundreds of innovative engineers, product managers, UX designers, and researchers from around the world.
There are no overt indications that the business has shut down or will do so soon.
Other false alarms
Sendy, a listed logistics startup, has also refuted the assertion. In order to concentrate on its fulfilment service and streamline its services for its business clients, the startup only discontinued one of its services, Sendy Supply. Nevertheless, it is still operating.
This scheme allows MTN users to pay for modern, internet-enabled phones with embedded voice and data plans within a period of 6–12 months.
How will this work?
MTN is partnering with Intelligra, a pioneering smartphone financing company in Nigeria to execute this BPNL scheme. Other named partners include SLOT, a nationwide mobile phone dealer; Stanbic IBTC bank, a key financier; VFD microfinance bank, and other retail partners.
While MTN provides the embedded voice and data plans, the financiers provide the deep pockets needed to scale the mass rollout of the BNPL product, and fulfilment partners like SLOT help to complete last-mile delivery for users.
According to MTN, the overarching purpose of this scheme goes beyond profit-making. Their goal is to connect more Nigerians to the internet and create a Nigeria where people are not restricted from achieving their dreams due to a lack of internet access.
Zoom Out:According to a GSMA report, between 2019 and 2020, the number of sub-Saharan Africans subscribed to mobile services grew by 20 million. Africa’s rapidly growing technology space is currently mobile-led and a move like this from MTN and Intelligra is commendable.
LAGOS STATE PLANS TO LAUNCH A VENTURE FUND
Image source: Zikoko Memes
Between halting its planned audits of tech hubs, and plans to domesticate the Nigeria Startup Bill, Nigeria’s most populous state has more good news for tech folks: Lagos State has plans to launch a new venture fund.
The announcement was made at the just-concluded GITEX 2022 in Dubai where the special advisor to the Lagos state governor on innovation and technology, Olatunbosun Alake, revealed that the government is planning to launch its a venture capital fund that will “write bigger equity cheques for Nigerian startups than most privately-owned VC.”
“We are working to launch a Lagos venture fund of bigger ticket sizes,” Alake said. The advisor also mentioned that the fund would focus on several sectors including agritech, fintech, healthtech and “mission critical products that will serve citizens.”
While Alake didn’t reveal the size of the funds and the actual ticket sizes, he mentioned that it will launch “a few weeks from now” and the state is already in conversations with some local and foreign investors who will join as limited partners (LP) while Lagos state serves as the managing partner.
Zoom out: This news comes after the state reportedly made equity-free investments in Lagos-based startups through Lagos State Science Research and Innovation Council (LASRIC). Nigeria might be enforcing laws that make tech entrepreneurship difficult, but it looks like Lagos is embracing them.
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EVENT: #ENDSARS, WHAT HAS CHANGED?
As the second anniversary of the October 20 massacre approaches, Zikoko Citizen is taking time to reflect on the aftermath of the #EndSARS movement, its impact since then and the present state of police brutality in Nigeria.
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Telecel Group’s African Startup Initiative Program is now open for applications. The 10 selected startups will receive €15,000 in cash each and benefits valued at more than €500,000, including credits from AWS, Google Cloud Services, Hubspot, and more. Apply by November 11.
Applications are now open for Apple’s Entrepreneur Camp. The immersive virtual camp will give founders and developers from underrepresented communities mentorship, technical support and access to the alumni network. Apply by December 5.
The Next Einstein Forum is receiving applications for its new cohort of NEF Ambassadors (2022-2024). The ideal candidates are young Africans who are champions of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), and Social Sciences in their respective countries. Apply by October 24.
If you have a business in the agricultural sector, apply to the African Development Bank’s AgriPitch competition—a 2-week virtual program—-to get business mentorship and win access to a grant pool of $140,000. Apply by November 4.
Applications are open for the Association of Commonwealth Universities Emerging Career Conference Grants. There are about 25-40 grants available to emerging researchers and university teachers who need funding to attend virtual or physical conferences. Apply by November 28.
African Research Leaders 2023 is calling for funding applications from African medical researchers who have completed a PhD and need the support of £750,000 over the course of five years. Apply by December 1.