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We’re excited to bring you a comprehensive roundup of funding, acquisitions, and significant developments in Africa’s tech ecosystem for Q4, 2023. Yes, we’re launching the State of Tech Report for Q4 2023 on Friday, January 26, 2023.

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Amazon Prime lays off staff and pulls back from Africa

Amazon Prime is scaling back its operations in Africa.

The streaming platform is restructuring its business, reducing local content production and laying off staff in Africa and the Middle East to focus on European markets.

This comes after Amazon Global announced that it was laying off hundreds of employees across its Prime Video and MGM studio teams. Although Amazon will still be present in Africa, it will only concentrate efforts on areas that “drive the highest impact and long-term success”.

Ambitions take a turn: Amazon Prime’s retreat comes after big plans to become the top streaming platform on the continent.

Marked by a hiring spree and inked partnerships with at least four local production studios, the platform had set up dedicated teams for their two biggest markets: Nigeria and South Africa. In 2021, the streaming platform was estimated to have 575,000 customers in sub-Saharan Africa, and they were projected to hit 1.9 million by 2026.

Africa’s streaming market: Tech-focused professionals are financing and creating Nollywood content for international platforms, with Netflix’s The Black Book as an example, which was watched more than 70 million times in less than three weeks on Netflix. 

While Africa’s streaming market has seen growth, challenges persist. IrokoTV, Africa’s oldest streaming service, had only 46,000 active users in December 2022, a 76% decline from the beginning of the year. Last year, Netflix with its 1.2 million subscribers, also lost its market leader position to Showmax, MultiChoice’s streaming service, which now has 1.4 million subscribers on the continent.

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Venture Capital

Timbuktoo, the $1 billion UNDP fund

Image Source: UNDP

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Rwanda, and seven other African countries have joined forces to launch the Timbuktoo African Innovation fund which will invest $1 billion in 1,000 tech startups across the continent in the next 10 years.

Timbuktoo? Timbuktoo will invest in African startups across pre-seed, seed, and pre-Series A stages. Of the $1 billion funds earmarked for investment, the Timbuktoo Fund will contribute $350 million of risk-tolerant capital which it hopes will attract an additional $650 million from private investors. 

Timbuktoo will also provide financing for accelerators and venture builders from the $1 billion fund. 

Spread of the funds: Timbuktoo is taking a targeted approach to disbursing the funds across the continent, in various sectors: Morocco (hospitality and tourism), Senegal (edtech), Nigeria (fintech), Ghana (agritech), South Africa (creative economy), Kenya (green tech), Rwanda (health tech), and Egypt (trade, logistics, and e-commerce).

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Globacom gets an extra 21 days to pay interconnect fees

Meme source: Tenor

Glo users can rest now. 

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has granted the telecom a 21-day extension to settle interconnect fees owed to MTN, delaying a planned phased disconnection.

Sidebar: Interconnect fees are the charges paid by one network operator to another for handling and terminating calls on the receiving network.

ICYMI: Globacom reportedly owes MTN about ₦6 billion ($6.7 million) in interconnect fees, which led the NCC to approve the partial disconnection of Globacom from MTN Nigeria on January 8. The disconnection would have been implemented yesterday, but the commission extended the grace period after both telecoms agreed to work things out within the next 21 days. 

Had the phased disconnection proceeded, Globacom’s 61.39 million subscribers would have been unable to call MTN users, but MTN users would still have retained the ability to reach Glo users.

A persistent dispute: Although Glo reportedly denied owing MTN any outstanding fees, this ongoing dispute over interconnect fees has persisted for over 15 years, with previous threats from MTN to disconnect Glo. In 2019, MTN disconnected Globacom for five days, resulting in Glo paying ₦2.6 billion ($3 million), out of a total ₦4.4 billion ($5.1 million) owed, in interconnect fees. During the same period, Airtel also issued threats to disconnect Glo.


Telecom Egypt Secures 15-Year $150 Million 5G licence from NTRA

Image source: Daily News Egypt

In more telecom news, Egypt has taken the first leap into 5G.

The National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (NTRA) of Egypt has awarded the nation’s first 5G licence to the state-owned Telecom Egypt.

The announcement follows the Egyptian government’s plan, unveiled two months ago, to issue 5G licences. The $150 million licence isn’t exclusive, though, and the NTRA could award more 5G licences in the future. 

The future of 5G in Africa: While over a dozen African countries have launched 5G, it’s mostly in select cities or test projects. Building the full networks takes time, so even though Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, and Kenya have officially started 5G, 4G will likely rule for a while longer.

According to a report from Ericsson, from the present until 2029, 4G subscriptions are projected to constitute 49% of total mobile subscriptions in the region. In contrast, 5G subscriptions will make up 16% of all mobile subscriptions by that time. 4G is expected to remain the dominant technology for the foreseeable future due to its broader reach and lower cost.

Zoom out: AlthoughSouth Africa reportedly boasts 41% 5G coverage and a projected top 10 list of African 5G markets by 2030, Egypt’s entry marks a significant step towards continental connectivity. Telecom Egypt has implemented a 30% price hike for its landline internet plans and reports suggest that the NTRA may approve such price increases as an incentive for operators to acquire 5G licences.

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Openview attacks DStv’s SuperSport monopoly

GIF Source: Tenor

South African broadcaster Openview has taken MultiChoice to court for monopolising broadcasting rights for the Rugby World Cup.

The eMedia parent company argues that Multichoice, through its sports channel SuperSport, unfairly excludes other platforms, like the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) channel from airing the popular event, hindering competition and limiting viewer choice.

However, MultiChoice says e-media is seeking to reap where it has not sown. 

No money, no problems? According to local media, SABC balked at the R38 million ($2 million) fee to sub-license all seven confirmed and potential Springbok matches from MultiChoice. However, the broadcaster claimed that it couldn’t attract advertisers on such short notice to cover the cost of the broadcasting rights. 

In Openview’s defence, although it carries several SABC channels on its platform, the broadcaster has no direct way of monetising them, as all advertising revenue goes back to the SABC, making it difficult to purchase a sub-licensing the rights from SuperSport.

This isn’t MultiChoice and eMedia’s first monopoly tussle. The duo’s most recent dispute was in 2023 when eMedia launched legal action against Multichoice over its sublicensing agreement with the SABC for the Rugby World Cup, alleging it unfairly restricted access to the event.

Zoom out: In more about monopoly, News World TV, a little-known Togo-based broadcaster, is set to outbid Multichoice Super Sport for the broadcasting rights of the ongoing AFCON tournament, breaking the age-long monopoly by the South African broadcaster. Per Financial Times, News World TV, with just over 100,000 subscribers, paid about $80 million for the streaming rights to the tournament, as well as 12 other competitions organised by the Confederation of African Football. However, MultiChoice, with 22 million customers across Africa, reached a “commercially viable agreement” with New World to allow it screen the tournament.

TC Insights

Funding tracker

This week, Yodawy, an Egyptian digital pharmacy startup, received $10 million in funding. The funding came via Ezdehar, through the Ezdehar 2 Mid-Cap Fund, giving it a minority stake in the startup.

Here are other deals for the week:

  • Canza Finance, a Nigerian Web3 neobank, closed $2.3 million in a strategic round led by Polychain Capital, with participation from Protocol Labs, Avalanche’s Blizzard Fund, 99 Capital, Stratified Capital, Hyperithm, and others.
  • Zeal, an Egyptian fintech startup, raised $4 million in funding. Raed Ventures and Cur8 Capital led the round, while several angel investors participated.
  • FriendyM, an Egypt-based autotech startup, raised $2 million. The company has not revealed the investor(s) in this funding round.
  • Kenyan climate-tech startup KOKO raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Rand Merchant Bank (RMB).

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.

Core Africa Innovation Fund

CoreDAO actively seeks to support the best web3 projects within the African Web3 space with the $5M Core Africa Innovation Fund. If you’re building any interesting projects with value to the local community, connect with the Core community here

Crypto Tracker

The World Wide Web3


OneLiquidity  logo

Coin Name

Current Value



Bitcoin $42,279

– 3.27%

– 3.25%

Ether $2,467

– 2.22%

+ 11.17%



– 6.81%

+ 26.93%

BNB $312.68

+ 1.04%

+ 29.74%

* Data as of 00:19 AM WAT, January 19, 2024.

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