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Congratulations to Nigeria and Côte d’Ivoire 🎉

WhatsApp is treading routes Apple has barred. 

The company is proposing a new feature that will allow WhatsApp users send messages, images, videos, anything really, to users on other messaging apps like Telegram, Signal and yes, even iMessage. While this move—which is forced by a new EU law—sounds revolutionary, it all depends on the other messaging apps agreeing to the service. 

And we can already guess Apple’s response: “No”. The tech behemoth recently shut down one messaging app that allowed non-Apple users access iMessage. It’s also fighting the same EU law that mandates it to share its iMessage technology with other companies. 

Fintech

Inside Hydrogen’s big plans

In Nigeria’s tech space littered with fintech startups, there is a new kid on the block with ambitious goals. 

Hydrogen, a spin-off from Nigeria’s banking giant, Access Hold Co, was launched in 2022 with a vision to become Africa’s most powerful payment business network. The payment startup caters to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and large businesses.

It provides these businesses with POS terminals, payment links, and a payment gateway that allows merchants to receive payments via their website. Hydrogen also offers Insta Pay—an app that allows businesses monitor real-time transactions across multiple outlets. 

The fintech which competes in the same market as Paystack, Flutterwave, Moniepoint, and GTCo’s squad is betting on its infrastructure as a stand-out feature. So far, Hydrogen claims to have processed over ₦15 trillion ($10.6 billion) since its launch in 2022. 

Here’s how Hydrogen plans to compete with other fintechs.

Access payments with Moniepoint

Moniepoint has made it simple for your business to access payments while providing access to credit and other business tools. Open an account today here.

Telecom

Vodacom to appeal $1 billion case

In 2000, faced with communication roadblocks in his long-distance relationship, former Vodacom employee Nkosana Makate invented the “Please Call Me” idea, sparking a 15-year legal battle with Vodacom.

Now, the telecoms giant is taking Makate to the Constitutional Court after losing its appeal. This comes after the Supreme Court of Appeal ordered Vodacom to pay Makate R20 billion ($1 billion) for inventing the service.

What legal battle? After Makate came up with the “Please Call Me” idea in 2000, the service was launched in 2001 and became a South African staple, allowing users to request callbacks via free text messages. In 2007, a few years after leaving Vodacom, Makate submitted a letter to the company requesting compensation, but his letters went unanswered, and he sued in 2008.

There were attempts to settle after a court order in 2016, with Vodacom’s CEO offering Makate R47 million ($2.4 million). Makate rejected the offer, leading to further litigation. In February 2022, the High Court set aside Vodacom’s offer and ordered Vodacom to reconsider the settlement offered to Makate.

What now? Now, with the recent ruling, the court has instructed Vodacom to reassess compensation for Makate within 30 days, and the compensation is to range between 5% and 7.5% of the total voice revenue from the service over the past 18 years, along with interest. Makate is also entitled to 27% of revenue from daily messages sent via “Please Call Me” as revenue from return calls. The judgment amount is 10% of Vodacom’s market capitalisation. 

Vodacom has expressed its disappointment at the judgement and will appeal to the Constitutional Court.

Secure payment gateway for your business

Fincra’s payment gateway enables you to easily collect Naira payments as a business; you can collect payments in minutes through bank transfers, cards, virtual accounts and mobile money. Create a free account and start collecting NGN payments with Fincra

Big Tech

Microsoft to build new data centre in South Africa

Microsoft is pushing forward in the scramble for Africa’s cloud goldmine.

The tech giant has announced its plans to build a new data centre campus in Kosmosdal, South Africa. Microsoft’s push comes shortly after Google opened its first cloud region in Africa last week.

Africa’s cloud boom: With Africa and Europe’s global cloud value share estimated to be $797 billion by 2025, major players like Microsoft, Google, and Oracle are flocking to the region. Still, in 2025, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) predicts that the continent’s internet economy will surge to $180 billion. 

However, strict data residency regulations in many African countries, like those in Algeria and Kenya, require foreign tech giants to establish local infrastructure. This has become a key driver for companies like Microsoft to build data centres within the continent, highlighting the competition for cloud dominance.

Why is this important? While the cost of greenfield data centres reportedly ranges from $7 million to $12 million per megawatt of commissioned IT load, the potential returns for a continent like Africa, where demand for cloud computing services is increasing at an annual rate of 25% to 30%, go beyond infrastructure. The expansion is expected to generate more job opportunities, enhance skills, and empower businesses in South Africa.

Microsoft’s new facility adds to the growing number of data centres from various providers like Amazon Web Services (AWS) in South Africa. This will also be Microsoft’s third cloud centre in South Africa after its 2019 and 2022 launches.

Funding

Telecel secures $20 million investment

The Africa Credit Opportunities Fund (ACOF) and Telecel Group have invested $20 million into Telecel Global Services.

The investment will fuel the telecom’s growth aspirations of expanding across West Africa.

Telecel? This collaboration comes shortly after Vodafone Ghana announced its rebrand to Telecel Ghana earlier this month, following a 70% stake acquisition in 2023. In October 2023, Telecel announced that it had successfully expanded Vodafone Ghana’s network infrastructure by adding 300 new 4G sites, most of which had already been activated across Ghana.

Furthermore, a partnership between Telecel Group and Lynk Global aims to provide full coverage for Vodafone Ghana’s subscribers through innovative ‘space-based cell towers’ technology, enhancing rural coverage, service resilience, and supporting Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

Telecel now has a presence in over 15 African countries across telecoms, e-commerce, and startup initiatives.

You’re invited to Paystack’s AFCON Mixer! ⚽️

Join us in Abidjan for a casual evening of good food, great conversation, and more! RSVP here →

Innovation

Apple is building a foldable iPhone

After years of watching its Android rivals bend over backwards, Apple has finally thrown in the towel—and folded it too!

Apple is reportedly building prototypes of two foldable iPhones. The company is finally joining the party long after many have teased that the giant will not yield to the demands of making a foldable device. 

Something different: Unlike most popular foldables today which fold outwards like a book, Apple appears to be exploring a clamshell design that folds inwards. This comes as no surprise as Apple is known for its focus on design which sets it apart from competitors. 

Apple doesn’t want the phone in your hands just yet as it will begin mass-producing the foldable iPhones by 2024 or 2025.

Been in the works for a while: Apple has been putting plans in place for the foldable iPhone since 2018—one year before Samsung launched its Galaxy fold—when CEO Tim Cook asked the company’s designers and engineers about the possibility of a foldable iPhone.

A mixed bag: While Apple hops on the bandwagon of other foldable phone makers like Samsung, Google, Motorolla, and Chinese brand, Tecno—yes Tecno—the move represents a mixed bag. 

On one hand, Apple’s engineering expertise could overcome past technical hurdles associated with foldable displays. On the other hand, convincing consumers to shell out extra cash for a foldable iPhone hinges on demonstrating unique value beyond the novelty factor, especially considering existing competition and potential cost barriers. 

Attend GEC+ Africa

Join entrepreneurs and leaders from 43+ African countries in Cape Town at this year’s GEC+Africa conference. Register here to reserve your place. 

Crypto Tracker

The World Wide Web3

Source:

OneLiquidity  logo

Coin Name

Current Value

Day

Month

Bitcoin $44,202

+ 2.33%

+ 0.44%

Ether $2,424

+ 1.96%

+ 9.10%

Dymension

$5.59

+ 5.59%

+ 20.49%

Solana $100.84

+ 3.41%

+ 3.04%

* Data as of 00:15 AM WAT, Febraury 8, 2024.

OneLiquidity GIF

Effortlessly make global settlements in over 30 currencies across 120+ countries spanning four continents, delivering cost-effective and reliable solutions to your clients, suppliers, and customers. Get started today.

Opportunities

  • For African founders, applications are open for the Accelerate Africa accelerator for startups on the continent. Founders will receive coaching from two of Africa’s top operating founders, access to a network of 75+ investors on demo day, and Clinics and office hours for your legal, finance, and tech needs. Apply by February 16.
  • Are you a young girl with a passion for technology and innovation? Apply now for the National Girls in ICT Competition 2024. The competition is an initiative that creates a platform for girls in secondary school to showcase their skills and creativity in various ICT-related domains. Apply by February 18.
  • Applications are now open for the 10th cohort of the Orange Corners Nigeria Incubation Programme(40,000 Euros in funding). The programme empowers aspiring entrepreneurs to transform their dreams into thriving realities. Apply by February 18.
  • Report for the World once again invites independent news organisations across the globe to join its growing network of host newsroom partners. Newsrooms will be asked to make the case for the beat they want to cover and how they will provide support and mentorship to their prospective corps members. In turn, Report for the World will fund half the salary of the reporters for up to three years. Apply by February 20.

Written by: Faith Omoniyi & Mariam Muhammad

Edited by: Timi Odueso

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