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There’s been a coup in Niger.
The country’s military has ousted President Mohamed Bazoum and overthrown the parliament. The soldiers took to national TV, late last night, to announce the coup. All national borders are now closed and a curfew has been enforced.
This is the seventh coup in Africa since 2020, following behind coups across Burkina Faso, Chad, Tunisia, Guinea, and Mali.
Namibia signs law to regulate crypto exchange
Image source: TechCabal
Good news for crypto lovers in Namibia: the country has officially approved the licensing of crypto exchanges.
The Namibia Virtual Assets Act 2023 was successfully passed earlier this month. The Act is a bill to regulate digital assets, cryptocurrencies, and Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASPs) in the country.
This new legislation marks a reversal of Namibia’s previous stance on the ban on cryptocurrency in 2017. Although the specific enforcement date for the new set of laws remains unclear, the country’s ministry of finance is responsible for determining a date to make them effective.
The new law: The main objective of the new law is to regulate the virtual asset market, safeguard consumers, prevent market abuse, and combat money laundering activities. Additionally, the law requires individuals or entities involved in providing virtual asset services to register with the regulatory authority.
Those who do not register appropriately and continue their operations could be subject to severe penalties. These penalties include fines of up to N$10 million ($570,000) and imprisonment for a maximum of 10 years or both.
Zoom out: Despite the bill, the country’s central bank, the Bank of Namibia (BoN) warns the public that because virtual assets like cryptocurrencies are not legal tender, people who transact with them do so at their own risk.
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CBN unfreezes bank accounts of BetNaija, Risevest and others
Image source: Zikoko Memes
Nigeria’s central bank unfroze 440 bank accounts of some individuals and companies that it previously accused of “illegally trading” in foreign exchange in Nigeria.
The apex bank froze the accounts two years ago to investigate the firms. The affected firms included tech startups like BetNaija, RiseVest, Bamboo, Chaka, Trove, Fliqpay and Yellow Card.
Why are they being unfrozen? The account freezing directive was originally issued by the former CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele. However, he has since been replaced by the acting CBN governor, Folashodun Shonubi.
Interestingly, Shonubi swiftly ordered the banks to lift the restrictions on the frozen accounts within 24 hours of raising the interest rates to 18.75%. Some of these firms bring foreign exchange to the country so experts think that the apex bank is unfreezing their accounts to keep more doors open for forex to come in.
Copia lays off staff for the third time
Image source: Copia
Copia, a Kenyan e-commerce platform, has laid off 25%—350 members of its workforce. This is the third time this year that Copia has trimmed its headcount.
Earlier in the year, the company laid off 50 Kenyan workers, and in April, they closed down their Ugandan operations, resulting in 300 employees losing their jobs. With this most recent layoff, the total number of people let go now stands at about 700.
Why all the layoffs? The job cuts are coming over a year after Copia raised $50 million in a Series C round. The company says it is laying off staff due to money problems but that it is taking these measures to reduce the costs of operation, especially because of the state of the economy.
This move aligns with the broader trend among many companies that have been prioritising cost-cutting strategies for over a year now. Reducing labour costs has become a common approach adopted by numerous companies facing economic uncertainties and challenges.
Google Play Store introduces Verve payment option in Nigeria
Image source: BusinessDay
Google has announced its partnership with Verve to make digital transactions on Google Play Store easier and more accessible for Nigerians.
What is Verve? Verve is a pan-African payment card scheme owned by Interswitch that can be used to make payments at merchants, withdraw cash from ATMs and transfer money between accounts.
Nigerians can now use their Verve cards to make purchases on the Google Play Store, Google will conduct the transactions in Naira (₦), and banks will treat these transactions as local transactions.
How to use the Verve card on Google Play Store:Open the Google Play Store app, choose the app you want to purchase and click on the price of the app, select “add credit or debit card” and enter your Verve card details. You can also visit pay.google.com and log in with your Gmail account, select “Add a payment method” and enter your Verve card details. Once you have saved your card details, you can return to the Google Play store and make purchases.
Nigerians can now access the apps they need without stress which contributes significantly to a more inclusive digital environment for them.
The World Wide Web3
* Data as of 05:00 AM WAT, July 27, 2023.
TC Live: The State of Tech in Africa, Q2 2023
Join us on Friday, August 4, 2023, for a special edition of TC Live, as TechCabal Insights will be launching The State of Tech report, the Q2 2023 edition. This is our flagship report offering a bird’s eye view of African tech trends and analyzing quarterly data on funding, acquisitions, expansions, regulations, policies, and emerging developments in the continent’s digital economy.
The latest edition will explore happenings during the previous quarter in retrospect with actionable insights and expert perspectives on notable patterns and trends to look out for. At the launch event, we would also bring together various ecosystem stakeholders to discuss our exciting findings and highlight from the report with you towards shaping conversations about the general outlook of African tech.
Register to reserve your seat here.
- The AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Awards 2023 ($5,000 prize) is now open to applications from reporters doing work for independent news organisations around the world, with articles readily accessible to the public by subscription, newsstand sales or online access, with the submitted work available in English are eligible to Apply by August 1.
- 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 L’Oreal-UNESCO Young Talents for Women in Science Program – Maghreb 2023. Awarded doctoral and post-doctoral candidates will each receive an endowment of €10,000. Apply by July 30.
- Are you a startup founder looking to build your company? The ARM Labs Lagos Techstars Accelerator program is open for applications. Each company receives up to $120,000 in funding, and access to the worldwide network of investors, hands-on mentorship, and over $4M of perks. Join the 7,000+ founders who built their businesses with Techstars. Apply by August 9.
What else is happening in tech?
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