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Happy pre-Friday ☀️

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Nigeria to send its first citizen to space

Have you ever dreamed of being an astronaut or think of what it feels like to look down on Earth? It may be possible soon enough. 

Space Exploration and Research Agency (SERA), a global space agency building a global community for space exploration is offering an opportunity for regular folks to go to space. The agency has teamed up with Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin to send six people on a short trip to space on its New Shepard suborbital space flight. His partnership with Blue Origin lets people from countries that haven’t sent anyone to space yet join the mission.

“Until now, space has been an exclusive domain, with over 80% of all astronauts to date coming from just three countries,” said Joshua Skurla, Co-Founder of SERA

SERA has now agreed with Nigeria’s National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) to send a civilian to fill one of the six seats on the New Shepard suborbital spaceflight. 

What does this mean?  The space flight will take passengers on a short journey to the edge of space, crossing the Kármán Line (the internationally recognized boundary of space at 100 km/62 miles altitude). Passengers will experience a few minutes of weightlessness and witness stunning views of Earth.

You have a shot to be the Nigerian who will occupy the seat, you just need to be 18 years and above, the slot will be available till the end of the year or in 2025. You can pre-register to kickstart your astronaut journey here

Is it safe enough to chase your dreams? In June 2022, the initiative sent Victor Hespanha, a Brazilian civil engineer, to space. However, Blue Origin has not been able to launch tourists into space since August 2022, when an unmanned rocket encountered an engine nozzle malfunction shortly after liftoff. This issue forced the New Shepard capsule to abort the mission. In March this year, it sent six people into the edge of space from west Texas, US, in its first crewed mission since the company’s flights were grounded in August of 2022.

Nigeria has always also had its sights set on the stars. The country launched its first satellite, Nigeria Sat-1, into orbit in 2003, and has launched a total of five satellites with the last one in 2009 

This feat is significant for Nigerians because the country had plans to send an Astronaut to space by 2030, but it will now get to send a civilian years earlier. 

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BYD partners Ampersand to make EVs in Rwanda and Kenya

When it comes to electric vehicles, many people will turn their sights, first, on Tesla partly due to its popularity—and maybe also a CEO whose mouth runs almost as fast as a Tesla engine. But the largest and most expansive EV manufacturer in the world—at least since January 2024—is Chinese-owned BYD which sold over 526,000 EVs from October to December 2023 alone!

However, the manufacturer has faced huge challenges in its global expansion. Across the globe, countries are upping levies and taxes on Chinese-owned items in what many describe as a silent trade war. In the US, President Biden, last month, increased tariffs on EVs from 25% to 100%. The European Union followed suit this month with a 38.1% tariff increase in Chinese EVs, up from 17%!

Now, with all these upped expenses, BYD is setting its sights away from the US and the EU—where it has a 5% market share—and testing the waters in Africa. And who better to welcome the company than the countries leading the EV charge on the continent: Rwanda and Kenya.

Ampersand, which has been making electric bikes and setting up charging stations in Rwanda and Kenya since 2016 is teaming up with BYD to build 40,000 electric motorcycles in both countries. Kenya and Rwanda have offered incentives and government-friendly policies to aid the launch of EV manufacturing plants. In the latest tie-up with BYD, both countries will wave import duties on batteries and offer rent-free charging stations. 

While the collaboration offers some relief to BYD, Ampersand will benefit from the EV maker’s expertise in making smaller inexpensive batteries to help drive its growth in the East African market. 

Frank writes more about the collaboration here.

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NITDA’s bill eyes 1% tax levy for tech companies

The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) is working the channels and clamouring for the passage of its proposed bill that will give the agency more control over tech companies in Nigeria. 

The proposed NITDA Bill, initially introduced four years ago, aims to repeal the current NITDA Act of 2007 that regulates information technology practices in the country. 

The bill has had a rough ride. At a public hearing in 2022, 14 out of 31 people raised concerns that the bill would stifle tech growth and cause problems with other tech legislations. 

A major provision in the bill is the implementation of a 1% profit-before-tax levy for tech companies with revenues over ₦100 million ($65,000). Other provisions include having regulation power over the acquisition and use of digital systems and services in Government establishments, the regulation of the use of data for business and security and analytics intelligence, subject to any other law on the subject and responsibility for issuing permits and licences to these companies and issuing contravention notices, among others. 

Stakeholders against the bill say the 1% tax might hurt small tech businesses and startups, making it harder for them to invent new things and start new companies. They are also worried the bill gives NITDA too much control, which could lead to confusion, conflict and duplicity of rules.

Supporters of the bill argue it offers several benefits like creating better regulations for things like internet networks and data storage. The bill will encourage new ideas and creativity in the tech sector. It would also give Nigerian businesses new tools and resources to succeed.

The Federal Executive Council reviewed the bill in 2022. Now, it’s up to lawmakers in the National Assembly to decide what happens next. NITDA remains unfettered, it says the bill will help the tech industry grow by giving it clearer rules and making it easier to use technology in areas like education. 

For a better understanding of the bill, read Timi’s breakdown of the bill and check out Caleb’s analysis here.

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South Africa launches free streaming platform

Why share a Netflix login if you can stream for free? 

Sentech, a state-owned signal distributor in South Africa has launched Freevision Play, a free streaming service for local TV and radio channels. Stylised Freevision Play, the over-the-top (OTT) video streaming platform will allow you to stream channels like KZN TV, Cape Town TV, Soweto TV, Tshwane TV, on your mobile devices and smart TVs.

Why does this matter? The new free streaming channel will help local broadcasters reach a broader audience without needing to build their own OTT platforms which can be expensive. The free streaming service will also help generate more advertising revenue for these local broadcasters.

Freevision Play joins a crowded market with both local and international streaming services like MultiChoice, Showmax, Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, AppleTV+, SABC+, eVOD, VIU, Jou Afrikaans, Marquee TV, AfriForumTV, PrideTV, and CineMagic.

While Freevision Play offers access to local content without subscription fees, it offers lesser resolution than its competitors. MultiChoice for instance offers up to 4K, while the maximum viewing resolution for Freevision is capped at 1080p. Channels like Cape Town TV and Tshwane TV offer resolutions as low as 576p.

Although Freevision Play allows users stream via their mobile devices, Sentech also offers, Freevision, a satellite television service, that requires a decoder to access. 

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Crypto Tracker

The World Wide Web3


Coinmarketcap logo

Coin Name

Current Value



Bitcoin $65,080

– 0.21%

– 2.67%

Ether $3,579

+ 0.45%

+ 14.27%



– 4.68%

– 25.36%

Solana $135.04

– 3.95%

– 25.81%

* Data as of 06:45 AM WAT, June 20, 2024.


Written by: Faith Omoniyi & Towobola Bamgbose

Edited by: Timi Odueso

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