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Starlink is still illegal in Ghana!
Yesterday, the country’s National Communications Authority released a circular cautioning anyone reselling the satellite internet device or related services to stop. It is not just in Ghana. Last Tuesday, South Africa’s telecommunications industry regulator, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA), also made a similar announcement, discouraging the use or provision of Starlink’s services in the country as it is unlicensed.
Kippapay transferred to Bloc
Kennedy Ekezie-Joseph, founder and CEO at Kippa
Kippa, a Nigeria fintech, has transferred the operation of its agency banking product, KippaPay, to Bloc.
Why? Kippa shuttered the operations of KippaPay in October after the naira devaluation meant that the fintech couldn’t keep up with buying point-of-sale (POS) terminals which its banking agents used. The fintech would not have been able to recover those expenses without increasing the fees it charged its agents.
KippaPay has now been incorporated into GPay, Bloc’s payment subsidiary.
Taking full control: Bloc confirmed via email today that KippaPay’s Android terminal and mobile app are now fully operational again. Additionally, it provided guidance on how to resume using the agency banking platform.
However, service is yet to be fully restored to the Linux terminals which processes payments from POS. Merchants have also been told to return their POS devices to Kippa. According to a source close to the situation, those who don’t return the POS devices will not be onboarded as GPay users.
Lights out: Bloc’s takeover of Kippapay is an unusual move. Kennedy Ekezie, a Kippa cofounder, claims that Kippa is still the owner of the product.
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Fuse Network launches $10 Million grant programme
Mark Smargon, founder and CEO of Fuse.io
Fuse Network, a blockchain payments provider, has launched a $10 million grant programme dedicated to supporting startups and businesses interested in Web3 payments globally.
With a particular focus on emerging markets like Africa, Fuse Network wants to bridge the gap between the growing interest in Web3 and the lack of resources and infrastructure needed for businesses to adopt these innovative solutions.
Crypto adoption thrives in Africa: Countries such as Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, and Tanzania rank among the top 20 in the Global Crypto Adoption Index, with a transaction volume comprising retail-sized transfers at 7%, surpassing the global average of 5.5%.
The grant programme is now open for applications and seeks to support businesses that are building and utilising Web3 payment technologies.
Zoom out: Fuse Network actively supports projects in decentralised finance (DeFi), non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and the gaming sector. Additionally, the network provides a blockchain payments API platform—Fuse Charge—granting businesses and developers access to advanced payment capabilities.
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WIC Capital raises $1 million to empower women entrepreneurs in West Africa
Evelyne Dioh Simpa, managing director of WIC Capital
WIC Capital, a Senegalese investment fund has secured a $1 million loan from FSDAi Nyala Facility, a UK investor focused on sub-Saharan Africa.
With a commitment to supporting women-owned businesses, this loan will fuel WIC Capital’s mission to provide financing, create innovative products and provide targeted mentoring and training to women entrepreneurs in Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire.
Understanding the issues: In Senegal, a mere 3.5% of businesswomen have access to credit from traditional financial institutions. This lack of funding hinders growth and limits their ability to contribute to the local economy. In April 2022, WIC Capital secured a $1.6million investment fund for female entrepreneurs based in Francophone Africa, including Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire.
Although the amount to be invested in these individual businesses is still unknown, the $1 million loan will aid WIC Capital in significantly expanding its reach and impact.
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Meta adds new AI features for social media
Image source: Meta
Meta wants you to have the coolest experience on social media.
Through Meta AI, the company’s AI bot capable of answering questions and generating images, Meta has added features to allow for more fun for its users.
Reimagined features? Users in group chats can now recreate AI images using prompts through the “reimagine” feature.
To use reimagine in group chats, users need to first create images using the “/imagine” prompt on Meta AI. After creating the images, friends or foes in the group could add spice to it when they press and hold the image and then suggest another text prompt. Meta AI will automatically generate a new image afterwards.
That’s not all: Meta is also rolling out Reels
in Meta AI Chats, where the AI chatbot can share video responses in the form of reels to a user query. Say you’re planning a trip to Tokyo with friends in your group chat, you can ask Meta AI to recommend the best places to visit and share Reels of Tokyo’s top sites to help you decide which attractions are must-sees.
How to use the new features? To start enjoying all the fun, start a new message and select “Create an AI chat” on WhatsApp, Facebook or Instagram. You can also access any of the features by typing “@MetaAI” in a group chat, followed by what you want help with, e.g “@MetaAI/reimagine a tsetse fly”. Alternatively, you can say “Hey Meta” while wearing the Ray-Ban Meta smart glasses.
There’s more: While the new features sound fun and have started rolling out, Meta is not done yet. Meta says that it is testing 20 new generative AI tools which will be focused on finding new people, ads, business messaging, and more.
This week, Kenyan electric bus solutions startup BasiGo secured a $5 million debt facility from British International Investment (BII), the UK’s development finance organization.
Here are other deals for the week:
- Egyptian online car parts marketplace Mtor raised $2.8 million in pre-seed funding. The funding round was led by Algebra Ventures, with participation from the Dutch Founders Fund (DFF), Aditum Ventures, LoftyInc Capital Management, and several local and global angel investors.
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That’s it for this week!
Follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn for more funding announcements. You can also visit DealFlow, our real-time funding tracker.
The World Wide Web3
* Data as of 00:07 AM WAT, December 8, 2023.
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Art of Technology conference
Speakers seated at the Art of Technology conference
At the fifth edition of the Art of Technology Conference, officials of the Lagos government announced that they had invested over $700,000 in more than 50 startups. The event, which focuses on the creator economy, also showcased the state’s intention to fund creators and build its budding creator economy.
Lagos, which is home to four tech unicorns, wants to extend this success to its creator economy.
How so? With the global creator economy estimated to be worth over $20 billion, the future for Nigeria’s creators is immense. Olatubosun Alake, the commissioner for innovation, science, and technology in Lagos State, told TechCabal that the state is carving out a part of the fund for companies and individuals in the creative sector.
Other people are eyeing the creative sector, too. Besides the state government, venture capital firms also indicated interest in funding the state’s creator economy. In a breakout session, Damilola Teidi, the head of platform and networks at Ventures Platform, one of the most prolific VC firms on the continent, said creators need to understand how venture capital funding works and how to get investors into the system before the VC industry can back creators. Even Meta pledged to support Nigerian creators in September.
Revving up the Startup Act: The year-old Startup Act, which was designed to be domesticated by Nigerian states, has not been domesticated by any state. At the event, Ibilola Kasunmu, the permanent secretary of Lagos’ ministry of science and technology, told TechCabal that the state will domicile the Startup Act next year.
What else is happening in tech?
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