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Happy pre-Friday ☀️

Headlines are coming back to X (Twitter) soon. 

In November 2023, X CEO removed headlines from link cards because he thought it would make X look better, and while X did look cleaner, it also meant people couldn’t distinguish between link cards and images. The billionaire quickly learned that not all that glitters is gold, and reversed the decision after a month. 

Now, the new link cards—which will carry headlines in the bottom-left corner of feature images—are finally rolling out on Android, and will be available else everywhere soon.


Nigeria to launch stablecoin later this month

Image source: TechCabal

Crypto transactions are back in Nigeria but with stricter rules and new twists. 

Nigeria’s Central Bank, on December 22, removed a two-year restriction on crypto transactions in the country. The apex bank had previously blocked crypto transactions in 2021, citing money laundering and terrorism financing concerns.

Now, the apex bank has new ideas.

What ideas? Aside from introducing stricter KYC rules for crypto transactions, which stakeholders say is a good place to start, CBN has asked Nigerian banks and other stakeholders—First Bank, Access Bank, Sterling Bank, and Providus Bank—to develop a stablecoin, a cryptocurrency pegged to the naira’s value. The stablecoin will be launched later this month.

A stablecoin? Just like popular stablecoins Tether (USDT) and the USD Coin (USDC), Nigeria’s new stablecoin token, cNGN, is a digital currency that will carry the same value as the fiat currency, Naira. 1 cNGN equals one naira (₦1). 

While Nigerians can expect cross-border transactions through the new token, only time will tell if cNGN can navigate the rough waters that swallowed the eNaira, Nigeria’s embattled central bank digital currency (CBDC).

Another failed crypto project? The eNaira was launched with much fanfare in October 2021 and was touted to be an alternative to the Naira. However, the project has been rocked by low adoption rates.

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Egypt and Ethiopia join BRICS

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in July 2023. Image Source: Reuters

BRICS has more building blocks.

The group of emerging markets nations has welcomed five new nations—Saudi Arabia, Iran, the United Arab Emirates, Ethiopia, and Egypt—to join its crew starting January 1. 

This expansion comes as part of the invitation extended by the current BRICS members—Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa—to six other nations in August.

Why the move? Founded in 2009, BRICS brings together some of the world’s biggest emerging economies, offering a platform for collaboration and economic influence. With these new members, the group gains enhanced cooperation and coordination among the BRICS nations, fostering economic and diplomatic ties on a global scale. 

Notably, the sixth country, Argentina, was the only nation to decline the invitation, with President Javier Milei reversing his predecessor’s membership bid after assuming office this month. Looking ahead, the expansion process will continue with the new members sending officials to a sherpa meeting scheduled in Moscow on January 30. 

Side bar: A sherpa meeting is a preparatory gathering where senior officials from member countries discuss and iron out the details of upcoming summits and other major initiatives.

Thirty nations reportedly express interest in forming connections with the group. Per Bloomberg, Nigerian minister of foreign affairs Yusuf Tuggar has expressed the country’s interest in joining the other three African countries—Ethiopia, Egypt, and South Africa—who are part of BRICS, within the next two years.


Sunil Taldar appointed as Airtel Africa CEO

Sunil Taldar, Segun Ogunsanya
L-R: Sunil Taldar, Segun Ogunsanya. Image Source: Innovation Village

Airtel Africa has a new CEO.

The telecommunications company has announced Sunil Taldar as the new CEO of Airtel Africa who will succeed the retiring Segun Ogunsanya from July 1, 2024.

Taldar, who joined Airtel Africa in October 2023 as Director for Transformation, will work alongside Ogunsanya for a smooth handover. Ogunsanya will also be available to advise the Chairman, CEO and the Airtel Africa board for 12 months.

Ogunsanya who Joined Airtel Africa in 2012, has a remarkable career spanning over 12 years at the telecom company and played a pivotal role in leading the company’s Nigerian operations and mobile money division. Post-retirement, Ogunsanya will assume the role of Chairman for the Airtel Africa Charitable Foundation. This newly established foundation, operating independently of the Airtel Africa Group, aims to accelerate the company’s commitment to sustainability initiatives and charitable operations in Africa.

Zoom out: With 15 years experience as a member of various management boards including Bharti Airtel, where he was Director of Market Operations, Cadbury China and Mondelez India and Indonesia, Taldar is expected to drive further growth and development for the Group which recorded a $151 million loss in the first quarter of 2023 caused by the devaluation of the naira in June. The company rebounded in October and disclosed a revenue growth of 19.7%.

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Starlink debuts direct-to-cell service

Image source: Starlink

Elon Musk’s Space X is redefining global mobile communication dynamics.

The satellite company has launched six Starlink satellites with direct-to-cell capability to eliminate mobile dead zones. This means mobile phones can connect directly to the satellite, skipping the need for traditional cell towers. Instead of connecting to a nearby cell tower, your phone communicates directly with Starlink satellites orbiting in space.

This makes it possible for mobile connectivity to work in remote areas and other places where traditional networks reach poorly or not at all.

No need to ditch your phone: Users won’t need to upgrade their phones as the service is designed to seamlessly integrate with existing 4G-enabled devices. Musk also clarified that Starlink’s satellite service is not positioned to compete with traditional terrestrial mobile networks, as the satellites only support 7 MB per satellite beam.

According to Starlink, the satellites will offer basic texting this year and will expand to voice, data, and Internet of Things (IoT) by 2025.

Zoom out: During the initial testing phase of the direct-to-smartphone service, SpaceX’s Starlink will utilise the cellular spectrum provided by its U.S. mobile partner, T-Mobile. SpaceX has also partnered with mobile operators in Australia, Canada, Chile, Japan, New Zealand, and Switzerland.

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T-vencubator: An Egyptian VC firm-incubator hybrid

Gindstoen Africa headshots
GIF source: Tenor

There is a new kid on the block.

T-vencubator, a new Egypt-based VC firm has launched operations to invest in local startups that are using technology to solve everyday problems in the country.

A VC firm + an Incubator: T-vencubator offers a unique blend of an incubator and venture capital model. Arming startups with support and funds, the firm will offer startups with go-to-market mastery to help them navigate the Egyptian market and also act as the financial muscle they need to grow.

Startups in Egypt received $607 million in funding last year. T-vencubator will add to the list of venture capital investing top dollar in local startups in the country. Per the CEO Reem Safy, the firm will invest in exceptional talents shaping Egypt’s future.

Zoom out: Egypt’s new VC firm comes at a time when investors are employing controlled measures in investment. The VC firm’s birth also occurs at a time when VC firms globally are reeling in from the impact of increased interest rates and a shuttered public offering market which has affected returns. With the funding winter pushing VC firms to take piercing looks at the sustainability of the ventures they invest in, could T-vencubator’s model be the right approach?

Crypto Tracker

The World Wide Web3


OneLiquidity  logo

Coin Name

Current Value



Bitcoin $45,375

– 4.75%

+ 8.58%

Ether $2,221

– 5.92%

+ 2.85%



+ 12.18%

+ 210.02%

Solana $98.69

– 8.75%

+ 95.06%

* Data as of 19:25 PM WAT, January 3, 2024.

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  • Deji Alli ARM Young Talent Award (DAAYTA) 2024 for Innovative Nigerian startups (₦12,000,000 in funding) is open for applications. DAAYTA is an ARM initiative, in partnership with TechnoVision’s TVC Labs, that aims at providing young Nigerians with an opportunity to develop innovative startup ventures that add economic value to Nigeria. Apply by January 16.
  • Applications are open for the World Press Photo Contest 2024 for Photographers Worldwide (5,000 euros cash prize). The Contest recognises and celebrates the best photojournalism and documentary photography produced over the last year, selected by an international independent jury. Apply by January 11, 2024.
  • Applications are open for the Mastercard Foundations Scholars Program 2023/2024 at the Carnegie Melon University Africa. The programme 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 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.

Written and Edited by: Timi Odueso, Faith Omoniyi & Mariam Muhammad

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