2 FEBRUARY, 2023

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Happy pre-Friday 🎊

It’s time for you to judge us…or at least judge our show.

Last year, we launched The Next Wave show, a 30-minute show that explores and dissects the potential of Africa’s tech ecosystem. 

We’re all wrapped up with Season 1, and we’d like you to tell us what you loved, or didn’t, about it.

Which topics do you wish we focused on? Which guests would you like to see on the show? And, perhaps more importantly, what should our CEO Tomiwa Aladekomo do with his hands?🤔

Help us answer these critical questions here

EGYPT BIRTHS ANOTHER UNICORN AFTER A $400M FUNDING ROUND

MNT-Halan co-founders:Mounir Nakhla and Ahmed Mohsen

The Egyptian fintech and e-commerce company, MNT-Halan, has just made history by becoming the country’s second unicorn! In a tough VC funding market, MNT-Halan has managed to secure a whopping $400 million in equity and debt financing at a $1 billion valuation. 

The round includes $260 million in equity financing and $140 million in debt funding through two securitized bond issuances secured within the past year. About $200 million of the investment came from Abu Dhabi–based Chimera Investments in exchange for 20% equity. 

Last year, MNT-Halan raised $120 million from private equity firms, including Apis Growth Fund II, Development Partners International (DPI) and Lorax Capital Partners, and venture capitalists such as Middle East Venture Partners, Endeavor Catalyst and DisruptTech. Now, MNT-Halan is also in the advanced stages of raising $60 million, 40 million of which will reportedly come from the International Finance Corporation.

That’s a lot of money…

Yes, it is, and for good reason. MNT-Halan is currently Egypt’s leading lender to the unbanked; it has disbursed over $2 billion, according to its website. This innovative company goes beyond just lending, as it has created a digital ecosystem of products, including e-commerce, FMCG delivery, and mobile POS payments, that often provide customers individual and corporate for its lending business. 

MNT-Halan has big plans for the future, as it intends to add a debit card to the suite of services offered to its 5 million customers by the end of March. The company is also actively seeking opportunities to consolidate its position in the country’s fintech and e-commerce market through mergers and acquisitions.

Now, Egypt holds two of the continent’s nine unicorns: Fawry, and MNT-Halan. 



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WHAT’S NEW FROM SAMSUNG?

It’s that time of the year when tech companies start pressuring everyone to make upgrades they don’t really need.

Yesterday, Samsung held its Galaxy Unpacked event where it announced its 2023 device lineup. So which Samsung phones are coming this year, and what minor updates will they bring? 

Here’s a quick rundown:

  • The latest in the S Series are the Samsung S23, S23 Plus and S23, Ultra which come with slight updates. The S23 is 6.1 inches, with a 3,900mAh battery; the S23 Plus is 6.6 inches, with a 4,700 mAh battery; and the S23 Ultra comes with an S Pen, a 6.8-inch screen, and a 5,000 mAh battery. All phones are equipped with Samsung’s new Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset—or at least the US versions will be—which Samsung says will give better battery experience. The S23 starts at $800, the S23 Plus at $1,000 and the S23 Ultra at $1,200.
  • A major upgrade to the S23 is the Gorilla Glass Victus 2 which will help the phones survive drops of up to two metres. Samsung has also added a new selfie camera—a 12-megapixel sensor that does better high-def photos
  • Finally, Samsung added three new computers to its lineup. First is the Galaxy Book 3 Ultra, a 4-pound laptop which comes with an Nvidia RTX 4050 chip and a Core i7 processor for $2,400. There’s also the Galaxy Book3 Pro and 3 Pro 360, which don’t tell us anything new except that Samsung needs a new naming convention.


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NIGERIA EXTENDS DEADLINE FOR OLD NOTES SUBMISSION…AGAIN

At this point, Nigeria’s Central Bank governor might be moonwalking, as he has walked back on yet another decision concerning the submission of old naira notes.

After a meeting with the country’s House of Representatives, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has agreed to extend the time limit for the redemption of old naira notes in compliance with Section 20(3) of the CBN Establishment Act. Even after they cease to be legal tender by February 10, the ₦1,000, ₦500, and ₦200 notes will now continue to be redeemable, but only at CBN offices

This move is yet another backtrack by Emefiele, who had previously announced that there would only be a one-week grace period for the redemption of old notes, and even before then announced that the initial January 31 deadline was irreversible..

Why was this deemed necessary?

There is a scarcity of cash in the country, and POS agents, in response, have been charging withdrawal customers as much as 10% of the cash withdrawn.

Bank CEOs claim that new naira notes are not available in sufficient quantities. Bank employees whom TechCabal interviewed made similar claims. It is due to these reports that the House of Representatives called for the meeting that yielded these decisions. Emefiele has also been directed to provide weekly reports on the release of new notes to commercial banks to enable the House of Representatives to verify the claims made by bank CEOs.

The CBN was additionally instructed to restore over-the-counter transactions by banks and increase ATM cash withdrawal limits to fast-track the circulation of the new notes. 



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EVENT: AFRICANXT 2023

Heading into its 11th year, AFRICANXT returns to Landmark Centre from February 6–10, 2023.

With nearly 4,000 registered attendees to date, AFRICANXT 2023 will gather founders, startups, and entrepreneurs, as well as policymakers and a broad range of industry stakeholders for five days of curated programming and immersive experiences designed to facilitate ideation and solution-focused dialogue. The conference theme for 2023 is Cooperate. Collaborate. Innovate. Unlocking Our Potential, Ensuring Africa’s Prosperity.

AFRICANXT 2023 will host 200 sessions and experiences featuring keynote guests like VC executive, Biola Alabi; CEO of Herconomy, Ife Durosinmi-Etti; filmmaker Daniel Etim-Effiong; and influencer Samuel “Broda Shaggi” Animashaun Perry. 

Register to attend here and get a 20% discount when you register with our code TCNXT2023.

IN OTHER NEWS FROM TECHCABAL

Entering Tech #017: How to become a product manager.

Will Flutterwave move ahead with its IPO plans this year?

My Life in Tech: Samira Nwaturuocha is leveraging digital banking products to champion small businesses.

OPPORTUNITIES

  • The Scaling Civic Tech SolutionsProgramme is now open to applications from civic hubs, incubators, civic tech startups, and community organisations that use technology to influence citizen participation in the 2023 General Elections. Selected applicants will receive financial support, increased visibility and an opportunity to co-create with other innovators. Apply by February 3.
  • 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.
  • Do you have what it takes to become the next supplier to leading South African enterprises in the furniture sector? Apply for the 2023 eThekwini Furniture Cluster Acceleration Programme. Apply by February 28, 2023.
  • The Jasiri Talent Investor Programme is looking for highly driven individuals with a history of achievement and/or entrepreneurial action who aspire to launch a high-growth venture. Apply by April 23, 2023.
  • The GSMA AgriTech Accelerator is accepting applications from innovative, revenue-generating digital agriculture solutions that support the shared vision of improving smallholder farmers. Cohort members will benefit from targeted consulting from the GSMA team, user experience and product design/management support, farmer feedback surveys, access to GSMA events and insights and capacity building for investor readiness. Apply by February 10, 2023.
  • Are you an ambitious and innovative leader who wants to learn how to bridge the gap between desire and action on sustainability? Then apply to join the Swedish Institute Management Programme 2023.  Apply by February 13, 2023.

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Written by – Timi Odueso & Ngozi Chukwu & Caleb Nnamani

Edited by – Kelechi Njoku

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