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Happy pre-Friday ☀️

Yesterday, renowned tech billionaire, Bill Gates, paid a visit to Lagos, Nigeria, where he delivered a keynote address at a conference titled “Unleashing the power of youth in science and innovation”. During his speech, Gates shed light on the initiatives undertaken by his foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and shared insight into their forthcoming endeavours for the country.

Of course we attended it. Here are our four takeaways from his speech.


Somalia launches standard QR Code

SOMQR Launch Photos
Image source: Central Bank of Somalia

The Central Bank of Somalia has launched a Quick Response Code (QR code) standard—the SOMQR—to facilitate cashless payment across the country.

Sounds familiar? This comes a month after Kenya launched its own QR Code standard.

This is really good news and yet more evidence that Somalia is trying to rebuild its financial services infrastructure, after years of destabilising conflict.

ICYMI: After war broke out in 1991, financial institutions in the country collapsed, and depositors lost their money. But since the war came to an end, the country has been trying to fix the situation. 

It’s the thought that counts. Per Techpoint, the QR code standard may not do much to drive digital payments as there is a significantly low level of internet and smartphone penetration in Somalia. Still, this proves the government’s willingness to spur digital payments in Somalia.

Other efforts include the adoption of International Bank Account Numbers (IBAN) and the launch of a national payments system to drive interoperability among its 13 lenders. 

Moniepoint ranked 2nd fastest-growing African company


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Airtel set to expand its network in Kenya

Google BFF
Image source: Airtel

Yesterday, Airtel revealed its intention to expand its network in Kenya.

Why? Well, Airtel wants to meet the country’s growing demand for data services.

The teleco is actively deploying 349 new sites, expected to be fully operational by year-end, and has an additional 300 sites in the pipeline.

What are sites? They are physical locations where network infrastructure, such as cell towers or base stations, are installed to provide coverage and connectivity for mobile services.

As part of the expansion efforts, Airtel will be deploying long-term evolution (LTE) technology on a 2600 megahertz band to enhance capacity and improve network performance. Additionally, the company has plans for rolling out 5G technology, which is the next generation of wireless communication, and launching voice over LTE (VOLTE ) services, which will allow for high-quality voice calls over the LTE network.

There’s more. Airtel Kenya is also working to lower their carbon emissions by introducing lithium-ion batteries to its infrastructure to make their operations more environmentally friendly.

Zoom out: Airtel Kenya reports that their existing network infrastructure encompasses more than 3,200 sites, providing coverage to approximately 89% of the country. The network expansion initiative aims to improve connectivity and enhance the quality of service for customers.

Consumer Tech

Phone brands ignore Kenya’s ICT Regulator guidelines

too small meme
Image source: YungNollywood

Samsung is breaking the law in Kenya.

The company is defying the country’s ICT regulator’s guidelines by selling phones without chargers in Kenya.

Why is this happening? Across the world, it’s becoming the norm for devices to be sold without wired or wireless headsets, as phone companies claim environmental reasons for excluding chargers and earphones from packages. While reducing packaging waste and e-waste is cited, the primary motivation behind this move is the massive cost savings, allowing smartphone brands save billions of dollars.

Kenya isn’t having it and it enforced laws to stop brands from selling phones without chargers.

The guidelines: In 2018, Kenya’s ICT regulator, the Communications Authority (CA), dropped some guidelines on features and technical specifications for mobile devices imported and distributed within the country. While the guidelines can’t be located on the regulator’s portal, indicating their removal, a portion of it states, “The AC Adaptor for a mobile cellular device should be equipped with a fitting and suitable power supply cord and mains plug that conforms to the standards established by the regulatory entity responsible for electricity in Kenya.”

Apparently, phone brands like Samsung are going against these guidelines in Kenya.

A trend: Apple set the trend in 2020 with the iPhone 12 series, selling it without a charger. Subsequently, Samsung and other companies followed suit, offering their phones in Kenya—like the S23 lineup and certain A-series smartphones—without a charger included.

What’s next? So far, Kenyan authorities are yet to enforce the law, but the European Union (EU) is beating them to it. Last year, the EU enacted new laws, stating that by the end of 2024, all mobile phones, tablets, and cameras sold in the EU must come equipped with a USB Type-C charging port. Additionally, beginning in spring 2026, this requirement will also apply to laptops.

Big Moves

Safaricom Ethiopia’s CEO steps down

Anwar Soussa

Anwar Soussa is exiting his role as CEO of Safaricom Ethiopia. He was the first CEO of the telecom, which launched in the country in 2021

His work so far: Soussa led the acquisition of 4 million customers, and the expansion of Safaricom’s coverage to 50 cities in the country. He also oversaw the launch of digital products and devices in the country such as eKYC, 2G, 4G feature phones, and 4G smartphones.

The company also received the Payment Instrument Issuer (PSSP) Licence from the National Bank of Ethiopia under his leadership. With this licence, Safaricom Ethiopia will establish M-Pesa and start providing mobile financial services in the country.

More feathers to his hat. Before Safaricom, Anwar had previously served as the CEO for Airtel Uganda and Airtel Chad. He has also served as the managing director for Vodacom Congo. This news comes weeks after the International Finance Corporation (IFC) injected a $257.4 million (Ksh35.88 billion) debt and equity investment in Safaricom Ethiopia.

Crypto Tracker

The World Wide Web3



Coin Name

Current Value



Bitcoin $30,311

+ 4.99%

+ 13.34%

Ether $1,915

+ 5.41%

+ 6.23%



+ 0.86%

– 17.13%

Solana $17.46

+ 3.62%

– 10.88%

* Data as of 06:25 AM WAT, June 22, 2023.

For the second time this year, bitcoin has passed $30,000 in trading value. CoinDesk reports that the increase is due to bullish sentiment in the market following a number of traditional finance (TradFi) players pushing further into crypto. Firms like WisdomTree and Invesco have filed applications for spot bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) in the US, following BlackRock’s move on June 15.

More NFTs are coming. Footwear company Puma is teaming up with Web3 brand Gutter Cat Gang to and NBA player LaMelo Ball to release a non-fungible token (NFT) sneaker collection. The “GutterMelo MB.03” digital sneaker collection will open its mint on NFT marketplace OpenSea on June 29, and go for as low as $175. 


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  • If you are a young (no older than 24 years of age) and emerging photographer looking to embark on a career in the world of photojournalism, the Ian Parry Photojournalism Grant 2023 (up to £10,000) is open for Applications. Apply by August 31.

  • Applications are open for the IBM Hyper Protect Accelerator 2023. Startups will receive connections, 1 year of mentorship, training, advice, exposure and access to $120,000 in IBM cloud credits, up to $10,000 per month for the first year. Apply by June 30.

  • The window for applications for the TWBS-ICCBS Postdoctoral Fellowship Programme 2023 (Stipend available) is now open to scientists from developing countries (other than Pakistan) with a maximum age of 45 years, who wish to pursue postdoctoral research. Apply by June 30.

  • Applications are open for the Google Women Techmakers Ambassador Program 2023. If you are 18 years or older, you stand a chance to network with over a thousand Ambassadors worldwide, lead and organise events in your tech community with support from Google, and receive exclusive access to Google-led talks and workshops. Apply June 30.

Written by –

Ngozi Chukwu & Mariam Muhammad

Edited by –

Timi Odueso & Kelechi Njoku

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