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Court dismisses $2 billion case against Safaricom
Image source: YungNollywood
A Kenyan high court, yesterday, dismissed a class action lawsuit against Safaricom and Vodafone.
The case was thrown on the orders of Justice Nixon Sifuna who noted that the petitioners—the plaintiffs—had no case because they had failed to comply with the orders of the court.
Backstory: In March 2023, three petitioners sued Safaricom, claiming it operates its loan service Fuliza illegally. Gichuki Waigwa, Lucy Nzola, and Godfrey Okutoyi argued that Safaricom was using M-Pesa as a banking service for which it had no licence. The petitioners also argued that they, and other M-Pesa users, should enjoy accrued interests from the M-Pesa deposits Safaricom loans to Fuliza users.
The case sought for KES305 billion ($2 billion) in damages for fraudulent misrepresentation and non-disclosure of information.
Uninterested plaintiffs: The case has now been dismissed as the petitioners failed to comply with an October 4 ruling which required them to serve Safaricom and 21 other defendants—including Vodafone—the evidence they were to share in court.
“By the plaintiffs’ own indolence and consistent non-compliance of the court orders, they dismissed their own suit,” the judge ruled.
Zoom out: It’s not the end though. The three petitioners still have the chance to file a fresh case, but so far, it looks like they either have no evidence to back up their claims in court or are uninterested in chasing what is sure to be a long and arduous process.
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Nigeria to launch geospatial data repository
GIF source: Tenor
This week, the Nigerian government announced the launch of an electronic Civil Registration and Vital Statistics System (eCRVS) and geospatial data repository.
eCRVS? eCRVS is a digital system that collects, stores, manages, and analyses vital events such as births, deaths, marriages, and divorces. It replaces traditional paper-based records with an electronic database, making it more efficient and secure to record and track vital information.
The country’s minister of population said the move was in agreement with the resolution made at the Sixth Session of the Conference of African Ministers responsible for Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CVRS) held at the United Nations Conference Centre in Addis Ababa in October 2022. The resolution encouraged all countries in the continent to automate the CRVS process and ensure the implementation of the United Nations Legal Identity Agenda.
Lights out: Nigeria’s implementation of eCRVS systems is a positive step towards improving the accuracy and completeness of vital statistics. However, the country’s attempts at implementing tech solutions for national projects have had questionable implementations in the past. Its $663 million Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) flopped during the last elections with the government claiming that the device was not “ready for large-scale use”. It remains to be seen whether the implementation of the eCRVS will have plain sailing.
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Uber goes electric in SA
Uber at the launch of Uber Package. Image source: MyBroadBand
Uber will launch its first electric vehicle-based service in South Africa in December, according to MyBroadband. The vehicles will be used for Uber Package which allows users to book same-day pickup and delivery of a package within a single geographical area.
In August, the ride-hailing company also launched electric scooters in Kenya which the company estimated could reduce operational expenses by between 30% to 35%. Uber stated in March that it plans for 25% of kilometres driven on the platform to be by electric cars by 2030.
More on the vehicles: Electric scooters will be used for the Uber Package service, and unlike traditional electric vehicles where charging is done directly through a station or outlet, the scooters will feature hot-swappable battery packs.
The service will commence in Cape Town in December 2023 and expand to Joburg in February 2024.
Oh, the irony: Of course, the irony here is that Uber is launching the service amid South Africa’s power challenges as the country’s national grid struggles to keep up with demand. Last month, the World Bank approved a $1 billion loan to help the country reform its energy sector.
Despite the struggles, South Africa has the most advanced e-mobility market in Africa according to Statista, with about 1,000 electric vehicles in 2022 out of a total fleet of 12 million automobiles.
Gozem acquires Mooneex
The Gozem and Moneex teams. Image source: Moneex
Gozem, a Togolese super app platform has acquired Moneex, a Beninese fintech.
How much? The acquisition details were not announced but Moneex’s founders will take an equity stake in Gozem.
Moneex? Launched in 2021 as Kryptonite Africa, Moneex started as a crypto remittance startup. It then pivoted in 2022 to provide multi-currency accounts to businesses and individuals.
A bigger play: Gozem’s acquisition of Moneex allows the super app to introduce a mobile money service—Gozem Money—which will launch in Togo and Benin in the coming days. The mobile money feature will add to the list of available offerings on Gozem’s super app which features on-demand transportation, food delivery, and courier services.
Martial Konvi, global head of product at Gozem says the acquisition of Moneex represents the company’s commitment to providing digital services to its users on the African continent.
Lights out: Gozem’s acquisition of the two-year-old Moneex strengthens its presence on the continent. The super app platform, which aims to walk in the shoes of global giants WeChat and AliPay, has footprints in four African countries including Cameroon and Gabon. Per Gozem’s chief executive Raphael Dana, the startup has about 160,000 unique customers.
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The World Wide Web3
* Data as of 21:55 PM WAT, November 8, 2023.
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This Switzerland-based VC firm wants to invest $30 million in African crypto startups. In a TechCabal exclusive, principal of Crypto Valley VC Benton Naicker talks about how his VC firm wants to invest in early-stage founders across the African continent who are solving some of Africa’s largest problems using blockchain technology.
Binance has launched a web3 wallet for all its 150 million users. But what does it do? CoinDesk reports that the wallet can be used to interact with the decentralised finance (DeFi) ecosystem. Users can create a wallet through Binance’s mobile app, which will also serve as the venue for DeFi activities like staking, lending and borrowing.
- Applications for the New Venture Competition by the HBS African Business Club is now open. 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.
- Applications are open for the Next Generation Social Sciences in Africa: Doctoral Dissertation Research fellowship 2024(up to $15,000). The Social Science Research Council offers fellowships to support the completion of doctoral degrees and to promote next-generation social science research in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda. The fellowships support dissertation research on peace, security, and development topics. Apply by February 11, 2024.
- 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.
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