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We might have a date for the Muskerberg event: August 26.
Or at least that’s the date Mark Zuckerberg suggested to Elon Musk who has been tweeting about how he’s lifting weights in preparation for the fight. Don’t hold your breath though, Zuck says Musk—who tweeted that he, Musk, might need surgery soon—is yet to confirm.
South Africa’s internet slows after undersea cables break
This week, South Africans will have to deal with load shedding and slow internet speeds.
On Sunday, two undersea cables that connect South Africa to the global network broke. The cables are the West African Cable System (WACS) and the South Atlantic 3 (SAT–3).
What caused the break? Using a tool called the Coherent Optical Time Domain Reflectometer, the distance measured showed that the break was caused by a rockfall in the Congo Canyon. The break also happened between the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Cameroon,
The SAT-3 break happened on Sunday morning, while the WACS cut out later that evening.
The Leon Thevenin, Orange Marine
Repairs are underway through a ship, Leon Thevenin, which was designed for laying cables and has been dispatched to carry out repairs in deep water. MarineTraffic reports that the vessel arrived in Mombasa, Kenya, yesterday, completing a 10-day journey from Cape Town.
Zoom out: South Africans have experienced the frustration of sluggish internet speeds before, as the country faced disruptions in mobile and landline data speeds across the nation due to outages in the two undersea cables during the lockdown period.
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Kenya seizes Worldcoin’s machine
Kenya isn’t letting up on Worldcoin.
Yesterday, Kenyan law enforcement officials raided a warehouse situated on Mombasa Road, Nairobi, and seized machines that they suspect contained data collected by the crypto project Worldcoin.
They shipped the equipment to the directorate of criminal investigations headquarters.
ICYMI: Until a few days ago, about 350,000 Kenyan residents queued up to have their eyes scanned in exchange for 25 Worldcoin tokens (worth $50), a token named after the Worldcoin project. The project is focused on developing a World ID ecosystem that uses iris scans to verify that users trying to access financial services are human beings and not robots.
Worldcoin scanning in Kenya. Image source: Odhiambo Ogola
So what happened? Privacy experts stepped in and raised some serious red flags. They’re worried that these enthusiastic individuals might be unknowingly trading away their precious eye data without fully grasping the potential consequences.
They also worried that the scanned irises might get into the wrong hands. Last week, Kenya’s Interior Cabinet Secretary of Kenya, Kithure Kindiki, suspended the firm’s activities.
Is Worldcoin illegal? TechCabal has confirmed that the parent company of the project, Tools for Humanity, is actually a registered data processor in Kenya.
However, Immaculate Kassait, the Data Commissioner of the Data protection office which had previously registered Worldcoin’s parent company (Tools for Humanity) as a data processor, said Tools for Humanity failed to disclose its true intentions during registration. So far, nothing much is known about criminal investigations into the firm’s activities, or if there even is one, but it is still suspended in Kenya.
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Meet the startups in Y Combinator Summer 23
Image source: Y Combinator
Y Combinator has published three African startups selected for the Y Combinator Summer 2023 class.
This includes Vault Pay, a payments infrastructure company from DRC Congo that helps telcos to directly distribute banking services, Nigeria’s food delivery startup ChowCentral, and Rwanda’s health insurance startup Eden Care.
Y Combinator is taking a few steps back: This year’s selection is much fewer than the last.
In 2022, eight African startups got accepted into Y Combinator’s summer batch—six of which were fintech, and the other two were food delivery startups. YC’s Summer 2021 batch had 15 African startups, while the Winter 2021 batch had 24 startups from the continent.
African startups for this year’s Y Combinator’s summer class cohort signal that the accelerator is focusing on narrower bets and is thinking deeply about the companies it backs. But at least, Y Combinator is still optimistic about food delivery in Africa.
Autochek launches financing arm in South Africa
Autochek executives, including founder Etop Ikpe (middle) in 2021
Nigerian automotive tech startup, Autochek, is working towards making car ownership and transportation more attainable and cost-effective across Africa.
As part of Autochek’s efforts, the company has established its financial services arm in South Africa to offer various vehicle financing options to individuals and businesses across the entire African continent.
A little backstory: After Autochek’s successful launch in 2020, the company announced the launch of its financial arm, Autochek Financial Services, to double down on vehicle financing in 2022. Vehicle financing is when you borrow money to buy a car and pay it back in instalments over time.
Following its inception, Autochek has grown by acquiring automotive marketing ventures in multiple African countries, including Nigeria and Ghana. The company has collaborated with over 70 financial institutions and over 2,000 dealerships, facilitating the handling of over 100,000 car loan applications.
Revenue generation: Autochek earns revenue by partnering with dealerships, finance firms, insurance providers, vehicle service centers, and tracking companies. Its financial services division also gains from various income sources, which include the interest accrued from vehicles financed through Autochek.
This news comes a year after Autoccheck expanded into North Africa after acquiring Morocco’s KIFAL Motors.
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The World Wide Web3
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* Data as of 05:50 AM WAT, August 8, 2023.
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- In support of the Government’s Youth Initiative to develop a pool of young talent for the Kenyan labour market, Kenyan Revenue Authority (KRA) is open for applications from undergraduates and diploma students for its three months Industrial Attachment Programme (Ksh.7000 monthly stipend). Apply by August 6.
- The Thomson Foundation Young Journalists Award 2023 is open for applications from brilliant young journalists to demonstrate a wealth of investigative journalism skills. The three finalists will be flown to London to attend the gala award, along with other potential award winners and leading figures from the world of journalism. Apply by August 11.
- Google is offering 2000 African Scholarships for a Career Certificate in Cybersecurity. In this certificate program, you’ll learn in-demand skills that can have you job-ready in less than 6 months, and gain hands-on experience with Python, Linux and SQL. Enroll here.
- If you are an aspiring economist entering your first year of undergraduate studies in the 2024 academic year, the South African Reserve Bank’s (SARB) Economic Research Department in collaboration with the SARB Academy, invites you to apply for competitive SARB bursaries in the field of economics, economics and econometrics, economics and mathematical statistics and economic science. Apply by September 30.
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