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Happy pre-Friday ☀️

If you’re an avid gamer or just looking for a short sweet read today, check out this article on what gaming can teach us about mastery and efficiency.

In the article, a League of Legends player tells us how people who want to learn new things should focus on efficiency first before they aim for mastery. 

Read Mastery v Efficiency: A gaming perspective.

Policies

Nigeria launches Startup Engagement Portal

Image source: Bosun Tijani (X)

The Nigerian government has launched its Startup Engagement Portal thirteen months after its Startup Act was signed into law.

On Wednesday morning, minister for communications, innovation and digital economy Bosun Tijani announced the launch of the Startup Support and Engagement Portal

What is the Startup Engagement Portal? It’s the doorway into the Startup Act…literally. Every benefit or opportunity given under the Nigerian Startup Act hinges on the startup portal. Established under S. 30 of the Act, the Portal is a one-stop shop for startups. 

It helps startups easily handle paperwork and registration with agencies like the Corporate Affairs Commission, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Central Bank of Nigeria. Startups that also register on the portal will get access to fiscal and tax incentives like tax breaks. 

The Act hints that only startups registered on the Portal—otherwise called “labelled startups” will be allowed to operate in the country. 

As Tijani says in his tweet, the Portal will also help the Nigerian government select representatives for the Startup Consultative Forum, a forum that will select leaders for a National Council for Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship (NCDIE)—the body in charge of implementing the Startup Act.

The minister has urged all startups, VC firms, accelerators and angel investors in the country to register on the Portal

Zoom out: Nigeria’s implementation of its Startup Act might be a year behind schedule, but the delay could be understandable given the transition of power following its elections. So far, the country remains one of five—after Tunisia, Senegal, DRC, and Togo—to have a Startup Act. Several other African countries including Ghana, Rwanda and Kenya are reportedly developing similar laws.

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Big Tech

OpenAI reopens doors to CEO as board shuffles out

Guess who's back GIF
GIF Source: Giphy

OpenAI has annulled its divorce to CEO Sam Altman and co-founder/president Greg Brockman. 

Yesterday, the ChatGPT parent company announced that Altman and Brockman will be reinstated to their previous positions. The company also announced that its board of directors have been reconstituted to include ex-Salesforce CEO Bret Taylor, former US secretary of treasury Larry Summers, and Quora CEO Adam D’Angelo who was on the old board of directors.

JSYK: Altman was fired abruptly on Friday after the board accused him of being incapable of leading OpenAI forward. Shortly after his dismissal, Brockman, who was also removed as president, also quit along with senior researchers at OpenAI. Chief technology officer Mira Murati was then appointed interim CEO. 

By Sunday, blindsided OpenAI investors like Microsoft pushed the board to negotiate Altman’s return but things began to fall apart when my brother Jaja Altman demanded the board’s removal as a condition for his return. The board then, on Monday, hired another interim CEO, former Twitch CEO Emmett Shear, to replace Murati who had begun siding with Altman. 

On Tuesday, Murati, along with lead scientist Ilya Sutskever who many say spearheaded Altman’s removal over a disagreement the two had, joined 500 employees at OpenAI to demand the board’s removal and Altman’s reinstatement—or face mass resignations. At the same time, Microsoft had already hired Altman and Brockman to lead an AI division, and it was offering all OpenAI employees places on the new team.

And now? Now, it appears pressure from investors, the media and the employees have panned out. Altman is set to go back to his position, and the new board is going to create a larger board of nine people to govern OpenAI. There’s also going to be an investigation into what prompted the Altman’s dismissal in the first place.

Government

Kenya adopts Microsoft’s cloud-first strategy in public sector

The Kenyan government is looking to improve its flexibility and responsiveness in its public sector.

The government announced its adoption of Microsoft’s cloud-first strategy to enhance public service delivery.

What’s a Microsoft cloud-first strategy? It is an approach to IT that prioritises the use of Microsoft cloud services over on-premises solutions.

Microsoft will collaborate with the national government, Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) through the ICT Authority to establish a joint working framework. The framework is expected to be finalised by February 2024.

Zoom out: The agreement aims to accelerate Kenya’s digital transformation and align with the objectives of the Kenyan digital economy blueprint, with a focus on fostering technological adoption, improving the efficiency of e-government services, and enhancing cybersecurity awareness.

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Energy

M-KOPA to bring affordable solar energy to South Africa amidst electricity crisis

M-KOPA Solar
M-KOPA Solar. Image source: The Kenyan Wallstreet

M-KOPA is bringing light to South Africa amidst the country’s electricity crisis.

The digital financing firm is expanding its pay-as-you-go model for solar panels and smartphones to Soweto, five months after it secured $250 million in debt and equity to fund its expansion across Africa.

Loadshedding in SA: Earlier reports in July show a 12-hour-long power outage in January, which eased up in May following South Africa’s efforts to enhance its generating capacity. However, Eskom warned in September that load shedding might worsen in 2024, projecting that electricity generation capabilities will fail to meet the demand for a 52-week period.

Despite the electricity challenges in South Africa, M-KOPA aims to replicate its success by partnering with local retailers and distributors to bring its suite of smart products to low-income households in Soweto. The company will utilise its pay-as-you-go model, allowing customers to purchase solar panels and smartphones through affordable installments.

A cheaper alternative:

In Kenya, around eight million households spend over $1 billion annually on kerosene lighting. With M-KOPA’s pay-as-you-go model, customers can deposit $35 for a high-quality solar home system and make daily mobile top-ups of $0.45, costing less than kerosene. The company’s offerings will help several South Africans with affordable energy during the country’s electricity crisis.

Download the State of Tech in Africa Q3 Report

Let’s revisit and review the tech sector in Q3 2023. Here are the main points:

  • African startups raised $499 million in Q1 2023 alone, down by 47% from the $916 million raised in Q2. 
  • Energy-focused startups received the most funding compared to other sectors.
  • The number of acquisitions stood at 7.
  • Over 738 tech workers were laid off in Africa as harsh macroeconomic conditions persist.
  • Namibia and South Africa officially approved the licensing of crypto platforms mandating all crypto platforms in both countries to hold a license before they can operate.

Download the report here and get more information about the major trends that shaped African tech in Q3 2023.

Regulation

South African regulator FSCA warns against GS Partners

The Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) of South Africa has issued a warning against Gold Standard (GS) Partners, a company linked to Gold Standard Bank (GSB) and the G999 cryptocurrency.

Why? The FSCA cautions that GS Partners lacks the necessary licence under financial sector laws to offer financial products or services in South Africa. Expressing concerns about the unrealistic returns promised by GS Partners, the regulatory body is conducting an investigation into the company’s activities within the country. GS Partners has been granted until November 24, 2023, to address the regulatory inquiry.

In addition to the FSCA’s warning, nine international regulators have issued warnings about GS Partners. The company has also been involved in legal disputes with individuals who have raised concerns about its activities.

What concerns? In 2021, GSB owner Josip Heit sued three South Africans—Louis Nel, Francois Harris, and Gareth Grobler—for defamation and loss of income. The latter trio operated a small YouTube channel called G-Crypt, where they discussed crypto and blockchain topics.

The plaintiffs took issue with seven specific videos on the G-Crypt channel, alleging that it was destroying their income and claimed damages of up to R476.3 million ($25.2 million).

The G-Crypt YouTube channel was taken down in October 2023 reportedly due to copyright claims filed by one of the defendants, Gareth Grobler. Grobler, however, has asserted that he was impersonated and is working to reinstate the channel.

Crypto Tracker

The World Wide Web3

Source:

OneLiquidity  logo

Coin Name

Current Value

Day

Month

Bitcoin $36,711

+ 1.54%

+ 23.01%

Ether $2,076

+ 4.15%

+ 20.02%

Solana

$57.31

+ 4.98%

+ 91.28%

BNB $235.61

– 2.07%

+ 6.06%

* Data as of 21:55 PM WAT, November 22, 2023.

OneLiquidity GIF

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Opportunities

  • 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.
  • 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.

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