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Zone in partnership with TechCabal Insights has released the first edition of the Nigeria Payments Report

The report gives a deep dive into Nigeria’s payment industry and offers:

  • A comprehensive analysis of the evolution of payments in Nigeria
  • An overview of key trends that have defined the current state of Nigeria’s payment ecosystem, and 
  • An examination of the challenges faced with digital payments.

To learn more about Nigeria’s payment sector, download the report here.


Kenya’s Finance Bill passes second reading despite protests

Kenyans are facing a tough choice: shrinking wallets or even heavier tax burdens. The proposed Finance Bill 2024, currently debated in Parliament, has sparked outrage with its plan to raise taxes on essential goods and services.

Hundreds of young Kenyans, under the banner “OccupyParliament,” have taken to the streets, their placards and signs a stark contrast to the government’s seeming indifference. President William Ruto’s administration is pushing for the bill’s passage, aiming to raise KES 3.9 trillion ($23 billion) to finance government projects. However, citizens, stakeholders, and organisations vehemently oppose the bill.

Why the controversy? The bill proposes a value-added tax (VAT) on bread, a staple food for many Kenyans. It also includes a 25% excise duty on vegetable oils, a 2.5% motor circulation tax, and a 5% increase in excise duty on financial transactions like bank transfers and mobile money payments, crucial tools in Kenya’s digital economy. Additionally, the bill grants the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) sweeping powers to enforce tax collection, including access to citizens’ bank and mobile money accounts.

Facing the protest: The “OccupyParliament” movement has seen determined protestors occupy streets, forcing police to resort to water cannons and tear gas for dispersal. The lack of central leadership among the protestors has made it difficult for authorities to negotiate.

Facing mounting pressure, the government has conceded on some controversial aspects. The proposed VAT on bread, taxes on mobile money transfers, bank charges, car ownership, and cooking oil have been removed. However, Kenyans are calling for the bill’s complete rejection, fearing a domino effect leading to higher prices across the board on top of existing inflation.

The Bill’s future: Despite protests, petitions, and opposition from various groups, the bill passed its second reading with 204 votes in favour and 115 against. It now faces committee review, a third reading, and finally, presidential assent to become law.

OccupyParliament protestors remain resolute, maintaining that the bill will further cripple purchasing power and worsen poverty in Kenya. As of June 20th, the stand-off continues with police using force to disperse protestors and journalists in Nairobi. The protesters are also receiving some help from a hacktivist group—more on that in the next blurb. 

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Anonymous threatens to expose Kenyan officials over 2024 Finance Bill

Africa has seen its fair share of attention from the global hacktivist group Anonymous. Last year alone, the group set its sights on Nigeria, Zimbabwe and Tunisia where it launched cyberattacks against several companies.

Now, the hacktivist group is Kenya for some civil justice—fighting the Kenyan Finance Bill. Just before protests erupted in major cities, a leak exposed the phone numbers of Kenyan government officials. Anonymous, known for its Guy Fawkes mask and online activism, capitalised on this development.

In a 57-second video, the group threatened to expose “corrupt deals involving members of parliament” if the 2024 Finance Bill passes. This echoes the public outcry against the bill’s proposed tax hikes.

Anonymous expressed solidarity with the 2020 #EndSARS protests in Nigeria, further demonstrating their global reach. Their message is clear: reject the bill or face the consequences.

“There will be an uprising of hackers… Your secrets may no longer be safe,” warns a masked figure in the video, circulating widely online. Anonymous is known for launching digital attacks like DDoS campaigns, overwhelming government websites with traffic and rendering them inaccessible.

As Kenyan youth continue their protests and the bill nears its third reading on June 25th, the world watches with bated breath. Will the government cave to public pressure and protestors, or will Anonymous make good on their threat?

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Big Tech

Ilya Sutskever, who tried to oust Sam Altman, launches new AI startup

In November we were treated to an episode of drama at the world’s largest AI company, OpenAI, when Ilya Sutskever, the company’s Co-founder tried to oust CEO Sam Altman.

Sutskever, who was responsible for some of the biggest breakthrough research at OpenAI, argued that Altman was moving swiftly to commercialise OpenAI at the expense of potential safety concerns.

After a round of voting on whether or not Altman should remain with the company, Sutskever, alongside the board fired him around. Altman’s departure led to revolt within the company leading to many high profile resignations

While the battle ended with Altman returning as CEO of the ChatGPT maker, and Sutskever leaving the company, Sutskever is finally getting to do things his own the safe way.

On Wednesday, Sutskever announced that he was launching a new AI company, Safe Superintelligence (SSI) which would develop safe and responsible AI systems.

“We plan to advance capabilities as fast as possible while making sure our safety always remains ahead,” Sutskever wrote announcing the company’s launch. 

Sutskever launched the startup with former OpenAI researcher, Daniel Levy and startup investor Daniel Gross. The co-founders said they hope to develop AI without the pressures of short-term revenue generation. 

“Our business model means safety, security, and progress are all insulated from short-term commercial pressures,” Sutskever said in the announcement. “This way, we can scale in peace.”

The launch of SSI adds to a list of competition for OpenAI which already battles rival Anthropic—started by former OpenAI employees—and xAI which was founded by co-founder Elon Musk. But is it really competition if the ChatGPT maker is already servicing one of the world’s biggest tech companies, Apple, who will use OpenAI to supercharge AI across its iPhones? Time will tell.

While we wait for time though, we asked Sutskever’s baby, ChatGPT, what if it thinks its creator will succeed. Here’s what it had to say: “His [Sutskever’s] proven track record and deep expertise in AI give him a solid foundation, but competition in the AI sector is intense, with established players like OpenAI, Google DeepMind, and others constantly pushing the boundaries of the field. While the specifics of Sutskever’s new venture are still under wraps, his background and previous successes suggest a strong potential for impact. However, success will hinge on various dynamic factors within the rapidly evolving AI industry.”

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TC Insights

Funding Tracker

This week, Senegal-based cloud communication startup LAfricaMobile raised $4.6 million in a Series A round of funding led by Janngo Capital and included French footballers Aurélien Tchouaméni and Jules Koundé. Expensya founders Karim Jouni and Jihed Othmani also invested, as did VC firms SouthBridge Investments and Ciwara Capital. (June 20)

Here’s the other deal for the week:

  • Immobazyme, a South African biotechnology startup, raised $1.3 million in funding from The University Technology Fund (UTF) in a round led by the University of Stellenbosch Enterprises. (June 19)
  • Climate tech startup, Downforce Technologies, raised $4.2 million from Equator VC, Tiverton Agriculture Impact Fund, Dragonfly Enviro Capital, Perivoli Innovations, and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC). (June 20)

Follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn for more funding announcements. Before you go, our 2024 Nigerian Payments Report is out. Click this link to download it.

Crypto Tracker

The World Wide Web3


Coinmarketcap logo

Coin Name

Current Value



Bitcoin $64,316

– 1.02%

– 6.82%

Ether $3,512

– 1.62%

– 6.19%



– 17.82%

– 17.82%

Solana $132.83

– 2.68%

– 26.84%

* Data as of 07:25 AM WAT, June 21, 2024.


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