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4 MAY, 2023


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Happy pre-Friday ☀️

If you’re in Ghana for the foreseeable future, here’s a reminder that you have until May 31, 2023, to register your SIM card.

By then, the National Communications Authority will deactivate every card that isn’t connected to its owner’s National Identity Card. So far, about 25 million out of 36 million SIM cards have been registered. 


If the idea of a currency redesign makes your skin crawl, you must have lived through—and survived—Nigeria’s unnecessary currency redesign, which almost crippled the economy.

South Africa is touting a similar path. For the first time since 2012, the South African Reserve Bank—the country’s apex bank—has unveiled new designs for rand notes and coins. 

At the launch event held yesterday at the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg, the Reserve Bank governor, Lesetja Kganyago, announced that the new currencies will have enhanced security features to prevent counterfeiting. 

What’s changing? The new notes feature colour-changing ink. Large watermarks that feature Africa’s five biggest animals, one per denomination, have also been embossed on the notes: rhino on the R10 note, elephant on the R20, lion on the R50, buffalo on the R100, and leopard on the R200 bill. 

The notes also have inclusive features for visually impaired users, including numerals and unique shapes printed in positive and negative ink on the currencies. 

You can check out the new coins and notes here.

Lessons learnt: Nigeria has a lot of lessons to learn from South Africa; even the redesign is more inclusive and well-thought-out than Nigeria’s vanity project.

Unlike Nigeria which tried to limit the use of old notes, South Africa will keep the new and old notes in circulation together. The new notes, which will enter circulation today, May 4, will also be rolled out in Lesotho, Namibia and Eswatini, where the rand is legal tender. 

It will be the first time the country is releasing new coins since 1989. 

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At Moniepoint, we’re creating the best workplace for global talent using the 4M framework- Meaning, Membership, Mastery and Money. This isn’t an ad designed to convince you to join us, but it has all the reasons why you should. Watch it here.

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Yesterday, Zenith Bank, one of Nigeria’s big commercial banks, suffered a fire incident at one of its primary data centres. Multiple sources told TechCabal that a backup power system caught fire, leading to a power cut to the data centre and subsequently downtime across its services.

Zero accountability: While the bank unsuccessfully tried to switch to its disaster recovery infrastructure, millions of customers had to deal with the failure of its services. But even hours later, at the time of this report, the bank didn’t use any of its social media channels to acknowledge to its customers that it is experiencing a downtime. A member of the communications team who spoke to TechCabal on the phone said that she could neither confirm nor deny the incident. 

One source told TechCabal that the delay in switching to its disaster recovery is connected to the fact that the services running active standby now have to be switched manually. This begs the question we have asked before: why don’t banks move their infrastructure to the cloud?

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Long-distance relationships are about to get expensive for Nigerians as the cost of phone calls and data will be going up soon.

The federal government of Nigeria has reintroduced a 5% excise duty on telecom services, as part of the fiscal measures to be implemented this year.

Surprise, surprise: The announcement came as a surprise to many, as in September last year, the federal government suspended the proposed excise duty on telecommunication services and eventually exempted the sector from the duty in March.

Tax upon tax: In March when Nigeria’s minister of communication Isa Pantami announced that the president had exempted the telecoms sector from the 5% excise duty, he stated that the telecoms industry was under threat from excessive and multiple taxes. According to him, ICT firms pay about 41 duties. 

Who’s gonna pay? Last year, when the excise duty was first announced, stakeholders in the telecoms sector told everyone who cared to listen that the burden would be on the consumers. The news has been met with dissatisfaction by Nigerians who are dealing with increasing inflation.

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The Kenyan government wants its banks and payment operators to work together.

Yesterday, it announced the launch of the Kenya Quick Response Code Standard 2023, or the “KE-QR Code Standard 2023”. 

Pay with QR codes: The KE-QR is simple. It will offer all payment service providers regulated by the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) the ability to process payments using QR codes. According to the CBK governor, Patrick Njoroge, merchants will now be able to receive payments from multiple channels, be they banks (Equity, KCB, Cooperative Bank, Absa, and more), mobile money wallets, and other payment processors such as VISA and Mastercard.

For consumers, this means that, instead of using debit cards, USSD codes or transfers to pay for stuff, they can simply scan a single QR code and pay. 

Will QR Codes work though? The CBK states that the KE-QR will allow consumers access to fast and easy payments without the hassle and friction of previous payment processes. 

QR codes—those black and white square boxes—are just links on a picture. That means after scanning, customers still have to click links and enter some details. From the basic definition of QR codes, it doesn’t seem like there will be much difference. At this stage, the CBK is still implementing the QR codes, but once TechCabal tries it out, we’ll be able to share more on whether the KE-QR is truly a better payment alternative. 

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Let’s revisit and review the tech sector in Q1 2023. Here are the main points:

  • African startups raised $857 million in Q1 2023 alone, down by 42% from Q1 2022’s total VC funding raised. 
  • The fintech sector raised about 69% of the total funding.
  • The number of acquisitions increased by 43%..
  • Over 400 tech workers were laid off in Africa.

Technology in Africa is growing at an unprecedented rate and we want you to have a bird’s eye view of it. The State of Tech in Africa report launches in a few days.

Don’t miss a thing, sign up here for early access.

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Nigerian VC firms want to create a blacklist of unethical startup founders

Entering Tech #28: The machines are taking over, here are five AI careers to consider.


  • The SaaS Accelerator Program: Africa 2023 has opened applications for its accelerator programme to enable early startups in Africa to receive funding. Selected startups will receive up to $70,000 in funding. Apply by September 7.
  • Growth4Her, a 6-month investment program, is calling for applications from founders in West and Central Africa. Apply by May 8.
  • Young Impact Associate (YIA) fellowship which is funded and implemented in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation is open for applications. Apply by May 15.
  • Innovation for Ecosystem Restoration, an accelerator for entrepreneurs championing ecosystem restoration throughout sub-Saharan Africa, is open for applications. Apply by May 14.
  • Wise Guys SaaS Accelerator Program is looking to help SaaS startups level up through tailored guidance and support from world-class mentors and experts. Apply before September 7.
  • Applications for a new cycle of the Global Cleantech Innovation Program (GCIP Nigeria) have kicked off. If you are passionate about clean technologies, tackling climate change and making a positive impact in Nigeria apply by May 5.
  • The Africa Business Heroes (ABH) Prize Competition, a philanthropic initiative sponsored by the Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Philanthropy, is calling for participation from Africa’s entrepreneurial talent. Apply by May 12.


Written by – Timi Odueso & Ngozi Chukwu

Edited by – Kelechi Njoku

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