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Looks like Muskerberg event might not happen after all.
Yesterday, Meta CEO said he’s ready to move on from the planned fight as his opponent, Tesla CEO Elon Musk, doesn’t appear to be ready..or serious. Since Musk and Zuckerberg agreed to a fight in June, the world has waited to finally see the rich eat themselves.
So far, only the Meta CEO has shown any enthusiasm with Musk delaying for several reasons including surgery, and more recently, a request for a practice match with Zuckerberg.
🎵 C’mon Elon, you can do it, pave the way, put your back into it. 🎵
South African taxi drivers call off strike
South Africa’s mobility industry is once again in the news.
Last month, it was because Uber drivers were implicated in attacks on passengers. This month, it’s because taxi drivers in Cape Town embarked on a week-long strike that caused hardships for everyone from commuters to e-hailing drivers.
On Thursday, August 10, eight days after it began, the strike was called off.
Why did they strike? Late in July, the city of Cape Town implemented a new by-law that allows the city to impound vehicles that don’t have licence plates displayed. Under the old laws of 1996, drivers who did not display licences were simply fined but their cars weren’t confiscated. This new law, however, means something different.
Subsequently, on August 3, the Western Cape branch of the South African National Taxi Council (SANTACO) announced a one-week strike which immediately turned violent after the government began impounding cars under the new law. The taxi drivers, at the time, vowed to strike until the new law was repealed.
Image source: Reuters
Five dead and 120 arrested: Angry protesters took the street, torching buses and cars that refused to join in the strike action.
Per South African police minister Bheki Cele, five people were reportedly killed during the protests while 120 suspects have been arrested in connection to the violence. SANTACO also says about R120 million ($6 million) was lost in income and properties during the strike.
Many others were affected by the strike action including commuters as taxis make up 75% of transportation in the province. Local media reported that dozens of passengers who could not get buses or ride-hailing services slept at bus stations or their workplaces. Even ride-hailing services who did not join the strike and were caught with commuters had their cars burnt.
Zoom out: After eight days, the association called off the strike as SANTACO and the government reached an agreement that would see to the release of impounded vehicles. The new laws will still be in force, under the agreement, but a task team with participation from SANTACO will define which offences other than operating without a licence will make drivers liable for impoundment.
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Kobo360 CEO appointed commissioner in Nigeria
Obi Ozor, CEO of Kobo360
Nigeria’s tech ecosystem is slowly infiltrating governance.
Last week, Obi Ozor, CEO of logistics startup Kobo360, was appointed commissioner of transport in Enugu, Nigeria.
This comes weeks after founder of incubator CcHub Bosun Tijani was nominated and confirmed as a federal minister for the country’s new regime.
Ozor was one of 20 ministers appointed by state governor Peter Mba who, in his speech, said that the commissioners were appointed based on their experience and track record.
The Kobo360 founder spent five years studying in a seminary before serving as Kobo360’s CEO for the same duration. Prior to this, he held positions at JP Morgan and was the director of operations at Uber Nigeria. Kobo360 which Ozor co-founded with Ife Oyedele in 2017 is a digital logistics platform that enables cargo owners to book freight trucks via phone or online. If anyone knows about transportation, it’s definitely Ozor.
The big picture: While startup founders have previously been appointed to governmental roles in Nigeria, such as Oswald Guobadia during President Buhari’s administration, the appointments of Ozor and Tijani offer fresh recognition for the Nigerian tech sector. With governmental barriers now reduced, the Nigerian tech ecosystem is poised for its next phase of growth.
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China reduces screen time for minors
For kids in China, the word “Tik Tok” will have a different meaning.
Earlier this month, the Cyber Administration of China released a new proposal that will reduce screen time for minors to two hours.
ICYMI: In 2021, the Chinese government implemented new laws that limited the number of hours minors can spend gaming online. Minors were barred from gaming during the weekdays, and weekend gaming was limited to three hours. At the time, Douyin—China’s alternative to TikTok—also implemented new policies that limited the amount of time children under 14 could spend on the app to 40 minutes per day.
GIF Source: Zikoko Memes
Limited screen time: Now, under the proposed laws, all minors—people under 18—will have limited screen time. With “Minor Mode” on across devices, no minor will be able to access their screen between 10 PM and 6 AM.
Kids under eight can use their phones for up to 40 minutes daily. Those aged 8 to 16 are allotted an hour of screen time, and those between 16 and 18 can have two hours. After 30 minutes of device usage, every age group will also get a break reminder.
Not just time but content: The rules also dictate what kind of content the minors are allowed to consume within their allotted times. Content on elementary education, interests and hobbies and liberal arts education is what’s allowed. Internet service providers and creator platforms have been urged to create content that “disseminates core socialist values” and “forges a sense of community of the Chinese nation.”
The proposed rules are open to discussion in the country right until September 2.
Zoom out: Meanwhile, states in the US like Chicago are enacting laws that ensure children benefit from being on screen. Per new laws, minors who are also social media influencers must be compensated for being on screen and can sue if a percentage of their earnings aren’t put in a trust fund.
How fintechs should adapt to FX reforms
In recent years, African countries have embarked on foreign exchange reforms aimed at fixing inefficiencies within their FX markets and stemming the decline in foreign currency reserves.
The Nigerian government, for instance, announced significant changes to its FX market structure, dislodging a multi-market system that had existed for over six years. One of the changes involved consolidating various FX windows into the Investors & Exporters (I&E) platform, enabling market forces to determine unified exchange rates between buyers and sellers.
Image source: TC Insights
Before the reform, the FX market had been characterised by disparities between official and parallel market rates. Between 2019 and June 2023, the rate in Nigeria surged from ₦362 to ₦760 per dollar, marking more than a twofold increase.
However, as the FX space gradually transformed, it also had a ripple effect on the cross-border fintech sector. Startups that facilitated FX trading and cross-border payments found themselves at a crossroads as the changes had earlier prompted local banks to halt international payments conducted on naira cards. This has left consumers and businesses turning to alternative means of making payments for services across streaming platforms, online courses, tuition fees, and so on.
Amidst the constraints with traditional banks, fintech innovation is redefining product offerings with virtual bank accounts and dollar cards. This affords consumers a means of making international payments by streamlining the process and eliminating the need to source dollars from the black market.
Nevertheless, the attraction of cross-border payment convenience does not come without trade-offs. The exchange rates offered by these platforms often surpass those presented by official channels like the I&E window, primarily attributable to the limited accessibility fintechs have to official FX sources. And in a bid to counterbalance this limitation, they resort to using parallel market rates, which further widens the discrepancy.
But can cross-border fintechs still sustain their appeal if banks embark on a trajectory of offering lower exchange rates and more accessible FX options? More than ever, fintech companies must continue to recalibrate their strategies, ensuring that their value proposition remains attractive even in periods when traditional banks will begin to level the playing field.
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The World Wide Web3
* Data as of 22:15 PM WAT, August 13, 2023.
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