More recently, in a public notice, the Bank of Tanzania (BoT) gave an update on the East African country’s progress, stating that it was taking a “phased, cautious and risk-based” approach in the adoption of a CBDC. According to the BoT, it’s taking this approach after discovering that six countries across the world abandoned their CBDC plans after encountering technical and structural challenges.
“The Bank of Tanzania will continue to monitor, research and collaborate with stakeholders, including other central banks, in the efforts to arrive at a suitable and appropriate use and technology for issuance of Tanzanian shillings in digital form,” the statement read.
At this stage, only Nigeria and Ghana have launched CBDCs across Africa, but at least 17 more African countries including Zimbabwe, Kenya, and Zambia have plans for digital currencies.
STARLINK TO LAUNCH IN KENYA
Elon Musk’s satellite internet firm, Starlink, has announced plans to set up shop in Kenya. The internet service is awaiting regulatory approval and is on course to be accessible in a number of cities, including Nairobi, Kisumu, Mombasa, and Nakuru, by June 2023.
Sidebar: Starlink is an internet broadband system capable of delivering 150Mbps internet speed to any place on the planet as long as its satellite dish has a clear view of the sky. In May, last year, SpaceX received the licence to operate in Nigeria and Mozambique. Several Nigerians who pre-ordered it have reportedly been receiving their Starlink kits.
The kit entails a Starlink dish, a mounting tripod, a WiFi router, a power supply, and cables. It costs Ksh74,216 ($599 ). Kenyans can pre-order and deposit a fully refundable deposit of Ksh12,260 ($99) to reserve a Starlink kit.
Albeit pricey, this means faster internet speed in Kenya (even in rural places) and bigger competition for internet service providers (ISPs) like Telkom, Airtel, Safaricom, Zuku, Faiba, and others who mainly offer internet connectivity through fibre optics.
SEND BY FLUTTERWAVE
Receive money from family and friends living abroad in minutes this holiday season with $end.
Telecommunications giant Vodafone is considering laying off hundreds of employees to rein in costs. Like others in the tech sector, it is battling with soaring energy prices and interest rates.
The group is toeing the path of several other global tech companies like Meta, Amazon, and others that are trying to cut costs in response to the global economic downturn.
The impending layoff seems to be part of the review and streamlining of its operating model, but it’s not yet clear how many of its reportedly 104,000 employees will be affected by the massive layoffs, or how these changes will impact its subsidiary Vodacom.
KENYA’S KWARA RAISES FRESH $3 MILLION
Kwara, a three-year-old Kenyan startup has announced the close of a $3 million seed extension round—about one year after raising $4 million in seed funding
What does Kwara do?
They digitise credit unions’ brick-and-mortar processes and leverage technology to upgrade their back-office operations.
Side bar: Credit unions are organisations usually formed by people with a common interest or members of an industry who regularly pool their savings and can obtain loans from the union when necessary.
Last year, Kwara took its offerings a notch higher, building a full-fledged neobank that allows members of the credit unions to interact digitally, perform transactions online, and unlock financial services such as loans and insurance.
Kwara’s barrier to entry is made of steel
Kwara also announced an exclusive partnership with the national umbrella body representing savings and credit co-operative societies (SACCOs), the Kenya Union of Savings & Credit Cooperatives (KUSSCO), ushering the startup into a connections pool of over 4,000 SACCOs.
For context, this agreement means that no other tech startup can market with KUSSCO. “It is an opportunity to deepen our competitive moat,” CEO Cynthia Wandia said.
Kwara, which already operates in South Africa and the Philippines, hopes to use this funding to double down on the Kenyan market and achieve dominance.
The fintech also plans to add more features to cater to the SACCOs, especially the large-scale ones, and innovate additional products for its neobank app users.
TIKTOK FINED $5 MILLION
If you find it hard to say no to cookies, here’s a conversation you might want to chip in.
In news on big fines, everyone’s favourite short-form video platform has been fined €5 million ($5.4 million) for making life hard.
On December 29, France’s data protection agency, the Commission Nationale Informatique & Libertés (CNIL) fined TikTok for making cookies hard to refuse.
JSYK, cookies are website files that store your information and make browsing easier—you know, the same way choc-chip cookies make browsing through life easier.
Anyway, CNIL fined TikTok for making cookies easier to accept than they are to refuse. The fine also covers non-disclosure for the purposes of different cookies. According to CNIL, this infringes on the rights of users because the windy refusal process prompts more people to accept cookies they might not need!
Zoom out: This is TikTok’s first European fine since July 2021 when it was fined €750,000 for infringing on data privacy laws in the Netherlands. It has, however, been the subject of many class-action lawsuits for data privacy violations, including a $92 million lawsuit from October 2022.
GROW WITH PAYSTACK
Build programmable, in-person payment experiences with Paystack Terminal.
The GROW Impact Accelerator is now accepting applications from agritech startups offering solutions to the problems facing the processing, packaging and transportation of food. Apply by January 30.
The 100x Impact Accelerator is open to applications from impact-driven social enterprises that work across eight sectors including health, climate and education. Selected enterprises selected will receive £150,000 grants and access to LSE’s world-class expertise, plus a 12-week programme of bespoke support from experts and social unicorn founders. Register by March 10.