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Good morning ☀️

This newsletter is brought to you by one sleep-deprived writer, and one sleep-deprived editor who stayed up to cover the Apple Event.

Before we get into what the new MacBooks look like, you should know that Meta has launched ad-free versions of Instagram and Facebook. For €9.99 on web or €12.99 on mobile, you’ll get no ads across all Meta products. 

But this shouldn’t excite you unless you live in Europe where the service is exclusively available. Onto the new Apple sensations 👇🏾.

Big Tech

Apple unveils new MacBook Pros with M3 chipset

Apple GIF
GIF source: Apple

Today, Apple announced its latest MacBook Pro lineup, alongside its new M3 chipset, its latest chip for Macs.

The new chips—M3, M3 pro and M3 Max—are the first chips for a personal computer built using a 3-nanometer technology. This means that they are smaller, more efficient, and more powerful than the previous M1 and M2 chips.

MacBook Pro features: The new MacBook models include the 14-inch MacBook Pro with M3, and the 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro with M3 Pro and M3 Max.

All MacBook Pro models come with a Liquid Retina XDR display, a built-in 1080p camera, and an immersive six-speaker sound system, all supported by up to 22 hours of battery life. The release also includes macOS Sonoma, introducing a new high-performance mode in Screen Sharing that enables responsive remote access to another Mac so professionals can securely work on their content from anywhere.

Pricing: The 14-inch MacBook Pro with M3 is priced at $1,599, while the 14‑inch MacBook Pro with M3 Pro costs $1,999, and the 16‑inch MacBook Pro is offered at $2,499. Additionally, the MacBook Pro models with M3 Pro and M3 Max come in a stunning new space black colour.

Options for every user: The 14-inch MacBook Pro with M3 caters to a diverse audience, including students and entrepreneurs, the 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro with M3 Pro is designed for users with more demanding workflows, such as coders, creatives, and researchers, and the 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro with M3 Max is designed for extreme workflows, serving machine learning programmers, 3D artists, and video editors.

Customers can start placing their orders for the new MacBook Pro today, with deliveries set to commence on November 7.

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Mobility

Kenya renews Bolt’s licence

Congratulations meme
Image source: YungNollywood

Bolt is driving to freedom in Kenya. 

Yesterday, the National Transport Safety Authority (NTSA) renewed the company’s operating licence weeks after it initially declined the ride-hailing platform’s request. Bolt had recently removed its problematic 5% booking fees in the country pending the NTSA’s decision.

Why is the fee problematic? The regulator declined the initial request, stating that both Bolt and Uber were charging illegal booking fees which were contrary to Kenyan regulations. 

Bolt, in November 2022, introduced a 5% booking fee which it says “covers support and enhanced technological features that ensure an even more efficient service on our platform”. Uber also charges an 11% booking fee which it says is used for VAT. 

Initially, the NTSA didn’t appear too confident in these responses, and the regulators even received letters from drivers who threatened to strike unless the charges were removed. It appears that everything may have worked out as the company’s renewed licence indicates that the NTSA believes Bolt is adhering to Kenyan regulations. 

Zoom out: It may have worked out for the company, but riders in Kenya will be facing higher fares moving forward. The company recently announced a fare increase in response to Kenya’s rising fuel prices. The base fare was increased between KES70 ($0.46) and KES100 ($0.66) across the economy, base, boda, and XL categories. The minimum fare was also increased, with a range of KES200 ($1.33) and KES250 ($1.66) across the categories.

Telecoms

Airtel records 19.7% increase in revenue

Image source: Airtel

Airtel Africa reported a 19.7% increase in revenue in the first nine months of this year, according to its financial statements published on the Nigerian Exchange Group (NGX) on Monday.

The result indicates that Airtel is bouncing back from a $151 million loss which it incurred in the first quarter of the year due to the naira devaluation.

A mixed tale: Despite increasing revenue, the company lost $13 million after tax due to a $471 million foreign exchange loss, and a $317 million loss after tax due to the naira devaluation. Per the report, Airtel experienced double digits growth on its mobile services—data and voice—and its mobile money services. 

Airtel’s voice revenue grew by 11.5% and its data revenue grew by 28.1%, while its mobile money revenue grew by 30.9% in constant currency. Airtel’s customer base grew by 9.7% to 147.7 million, with data customers increasing by 23% to 59.8 million and mobile money customers growing by 23.1% to 36.5 million.

Lights out: Airtel’s revenue increase shows a positive sign after the telecom battled a loss due to gruelling naira devaluation and inflation which affected consumer spending. The company is also planning to list shares on the Uganda Securities Exchange. The telco intends to sell 20% of its wholly-owned subsidiary in Uganda, Airtel Uganda Limited.

The evolution of agency banking in Africa

In this longform Decode Fintech piece, Paystack explores agent networks in Africa, how they converge with SMEs, and what the future of agency banking means for how money moves across the continent.

Read the blogpost.

Telecoms

MTN Nigeria’s revenue rise by 21.76%

Image source: MTN

African telecoms are not giving in. 

MTN’s revenue in Nigeria also increased by 21.76% in the first nine months of the year, according to the company’s financial statements.

A decline in profits:

While the telecom’s revenue grew by 21.76% to ₦1.77 trillion (~$2.1billion) in the first nine months of 2023, profits declined by 45.22% to ₦148 billion ($188 million).

According to the CEO, Karl Toriola, high rising inflation, fuel subsidy removal, and a currency devaluation affected the telecoms revenue. MTN’s financial statement showed that it added 2 million mobile subscribers to reach a total of 77.6 million in the 9 months. Active data users increased by 3.6 million and active mobile money (MoMo PSB) wallets increased by 53.1% to 3.6 million. MTN’s service revenue grew by 21.4%, driven by a 10.6% increase in voice revenue and a 36.4% increase in data revenue.

More data: MTN Nigeria will increase investments in data revenue as the telecommunication giant saw a slump in its profit after tax for the first nine months of 2023. Toriola said the telecom will expand their quota of 4G and 5G data subscribers. 

Zoom out: The telecom is also doing all it can not to lose any more money. Last week, after a year of consideration, a Lagos-based Tax Appeal Tribunal ordered the telecom to pay $72.6 million in unpaid taxes and penalties. The telecom, yesterday, announced plans to appeal the decision. 

Innovation

Kenya opens its first local smartphone assembly plant

Kenyan president, William Ruto, holding one of the launched devices. Source: Safaricom

Speaking of new devices, Kenya is manufacturing its own smartphones. 

The country has partnered with East Africa Device Assembly Kenya Limited (EADAK), Safaricom, and Faiba, to launch the first of its kind locally assembled smartphones—Neon Smarta and Neon Ultra. 

The devices will sell from KES7,499 ($50) and will be available countrywide at Faiba shops and dealer stores as well as Safaricom shops and Masoko online platform. Both phones have 2GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage, and support 4G. The Neon Smarta has a smaller display than the Ultra, measuring 5 inches compared to the Ultra’s 6.5 inches. The partnership plans to diversify the product range in the coming months and add a locally assembled tablet.

Lights out: The average price of a smartphone in Kenya is around $100. Kenya’s new development offers more affordable phone options in the country. The assembly plant will support the government’s goal of enhancing digital inclusion in Kenya. The new phone assembly plant joins a list of phone manufacturers in the country including HMD Global, which manufactures Nokia phones, and has plans to assemble its devices in Kenya to lower smartphone prices.

Crypto Tracker

The World Wide Web3

Source:

Coin Market Cap logo

Coin Name

Current Value

Day

Month

Bitcoin $34,293

+ 0.11%

+ 27.24%

Ether $1,802

+ 1.18%

+ 7.83%

BigTime

$0.18

– 4.32%

+ 162.39%

Polygon $0.64

– 1.39%

+ 20.32%

* Data as of 06:30 AM WAT, October 31, 2023.

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Opportunities

  • The New Venture Competition by the HBS African Business Club is now open to applications. The competition is aimed at fostering and supporting innovative businesses on the African continent. Ten semi-finalists will be invited to pitch their business in front of over 1,000 attendees at the conference, and the three top companies will receive non-dilutive cash prizes of $30,000, $15,000, and $10,000. Apply by November 15.
  • The citizens of Commonwealth countries in Africa can now apply for the Commonwealth Africa Cyber Fellowship Programme 2024. Selected experts will serve as fellows for a year, and get exclusive access to academic research opportunities, networking events and annual conferences, with a focus on enhancing cybersecurity policies and institutions across Commonwealth countries in Africa. Apply by December 10.
  • Applications are open for the Mastercard Foundations Scholars Program 2023/2024 at the Carnegie Melon University Africa. The program provides generous financial, social, and academic support for students whose talents and promise exceed their financial resources. Apply by January 15, 2024.
  • Applications are open for the Aurora Tech Award 2024. The Award is an annual global prize for women founders of tech startups. Winners of the first prize get $30,000, the second prize gets $20,000 and the third prize gets $10,000. Apply by December 1.

Written by – Mariam Muhammad & Faith Omoniyi

Written by – Timi Odueso

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