Week 05, 2023
Read time: 5 minutes
This week, Amazon launches in Nigeria, while Elon Musk brings his internet service Starlink to the country. In other news, while MTN Nigeria announced revenues of ₦2 trillion (a number that fairly boggles the mind), Gokada is still battling empty pockets and Jumia hits a shocking low.
Dive in for more stories from the tech ecosystem are in this week’s edition of TC Weekender.
Pamela Tetteh Editor, TechCabal.
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MTN Nigeria declares trillions in revenue
MTN is the most profitable company in Nigeria, according to public financial records. Despite a rocky 2022, it recorded a ₦2.01 trillion revenue. Since it crossed the ₦1 trillion mark in 2018, the company has continued to record a steady and impressive growth rate, doubling its revenue in just 5 years.
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Africa’s newest unicorn: MNT-Halan
MNT-Halan, an Egyptian fintech and e-commerce company, has galloped its way to unicorn status! The firm secured $400 million in equity and debt financing, including $260 million in equity and $140 million in debt. Egypt now has two of Africa’s nine unicorns: Fawry and MNT-Halan.
Cash scarcity in Nigeria
The central bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said that the old notes will continue to be redeemable even after they cease to be legal tender on February 10th. Due to the deadline extension by the CBN, bank traffic has decreased, and ATMs are overcrowded. As a result, some POS agents are turning away customers seeking to withdraw money or charging them excessive fees due to cash scarcity.
Jumia’s concerning low
Jumia’s liquidity has hit a concerning low. Despite raising over half a billion dollars in 2020, cutting advertising spend, and launching a logistics business, Jumia failed to meet its goal to be profitable by 2022. It is now in a precarious cash situation due to high general and administrative costs.
Is the end of Tech Nation in sight?
The end of Tech Nation, a UK’s tech startup support system, is near. After losing its funding to a Barclays Bank program, its doors may close by the end of March. CEO Gerard Getch remains optimistic and seeks a buyer to keep Tech Nation’s initiatives alive.
Starlink launches in Nigeria
Elon Musk’s SpaceX internet service, Starlink, has finally landed in Nigeria, offering speed that may feel like a shooting star compared to those of the country’s existing internet service providers. The monthly service fee of ₦19,260 ($42) might seem low, but the one-time hardware cost and a ban on international transactions on domestic cards may dent users’ wallets.
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CBK approves 12 more digital lenders
The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) handed out 12 more licenses to digital lenders, bringing the total number of licenses given out to 22, out of the 381 applications the CBK has received. Some providers say the CBK was delaying their license, but the apex bank says it is doing all the legal evaluations for the safety and protection of consumers.
Ghana’s back tax list
Ghana’s playing a loud debt tune and demanding back taxes from multinationals like MTN Ghana, Gold Fields Ltd, Kosmos Energy and Tullow Oil Plc. The companies are refusing to dance, disputing the back taxes. MTN is already out of the woods; the telecom announced yesterday that Ghanaian tax authorities have withdrawn the GHC8.2 billion (~$665 million) fine it slapped on MTN’s door.
Convergence Partners raises $269 million
Convergence Partners is making waves with a $296 million pool to power Africa’s digital ecosystem! The funding pool is named the Convergence Partners Digital Infrastructure Fund and is ready to invest in digital infrastructure solutions like fibre networks, cloud services, and AI.
Gokada lays off staff…again
Last-mile delivery company, GoKada, gave 54 employees from its quality assurance and rider-ops teams the boot without notice or pay. The startup which is trying to raise $100,000 through crowdfunding reportedly considered selling the business to a competitor, Kwik Logistics, in 2022.
Zipline aces Kenyan test
Kenyans, get ready for a high-flying healthcare experience. Zipline, the global drone delivery company, nailed its test flights in Kisumu County and is ready to launch its instant logistics operations in the country and bring healthcare to new heights.
Amazon launches in Nigeria and delays SA launch
So, it seems South Africa’s “Prime” time has not come. Ecommerce giant Amazon launched in Nigeria but postponed its South African launch till the end of the year due to a “challenging environment”. Amazon has faced several challenges, including protests over building on sacred land.
MAFAB launches 5G in Nigeria
MAFAB Communications is rebranding as Mcom and has joined MTN as the only two licensed to offer 5G in the country. Mcom plans to roll out the service across 6 cities, relying on partnerships and existing infrastructure for nationwide coverage.
Who brought the money this week?
This week, Egyptian fintech company MNT-Halan received $340 million in equity & debt funding from Chimera Abu Dhabi and Commercial International Bank (CIB).
South African fintech Lulalend raised $35 million in a Series B funding round led by Lightrock and with participation from DEG, Triodos Investment Management, Women’s World Banking Asset Management, IFC, and Quona Capital.
Trade Lenda, a Lagos-based fintech startup, secured $520,000 in a pre-seed funding round from Africa-focused investors, including Sovereign Capital, ARM Labs, and Expert Dojo, as well as Nigeria-based angel investors.
Three African agritech startups, ThriveAgric from Nigeria, DigicCow from Kenya, and Brastorne Enterprises from Botswana, won the 2022 AYuTe Africa Challenge securing $1.5 million in grant funding.
Guess the word: A billion-dollar horse
Guess the word. Hint: It’s a billion-dollar horse, a 7-letter word and you have 6 chances to guess it correctly. Play! Don’t forget to share your play with me on social media!
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What else to read this weekend?
MoMo’s “system glitch” cost MTN Nigeria ₦10 billion in 2022
Next Wave: Nigeria’s central bank seems to be copying India without reservation
What does a 2023 IPO or lack of it mean for Flutterwave?
Developers seem to be ditching StackOverflow since ChatGPT launch.
Meet the 12 African startups in the Inaugural ARM Labs Techstars Accelerator Programme
10 trailblazing startups in GrindstoneX: empowering women in tech
Samira Nwaturuocha is leveraging digital banking products to champion small businesses
How to pay for DStv subscription via Mpesa in Kenya
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Written by: Ngozi Chukwu
Edited by: Pamela Tetteh
18, Nnobi Street, Surulere, Lagos, Nigeria
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