BD Insider, Letter 130
BD Insider, Letter 130 covers Nigeria's plan to relaunch a national carrier, updates on the Amazon HQ construction in Cape Town and how Zoom's latest vulnerabilities threaten users' safety.
GOOD NEWS ✨: We are launching a new web series this Saturday!
As a tech media publication, we are focused on telling stories about the startup ecosystem. The ecosystem's operations are typically powered by three major stakeholders: entrepreneurs (founding startups), talents (working at startups) and investors (funding startups)—(aside from the aforementioned, users and regulators are also key players in the ecosystem.)
So far, we have covered the first two stakeholders with our Zero to Scale and Under the Hoodie series. Next, we will be sharing our conversations with investors in a new series titled "The Investors" Corner (TIC)".
The Investors' Corner Series will go behind the scenes to share with you the stories of African-focused investors and how they make investments on the continent. We have an interesting guest line-up and the first episode will drop on Saturday by 8:00 (WAT).
In BD Insider, Letter 130, we cover:
- Nigeria's plan to relaunch a national carrier.
- Updates on the Amazon HQ construction in Cape Town.
- How Zoom's latest vulnerabilities threaten users' safety.
- the latest African Tech Startup Deals
- opportunities, events and more.
Nigeria to relaunch national airline this year
Driving the news: So much has been happening in the Nigerian aviation industry lately, from the high cost of JETA1 that has resulted in expensive local flight tickets to the blocked funds of foreign airlines and the challenges around the bilateral air services agreement (BASA) agreement.
The news: Last week, the Nigerian government announced its plan to relaunch Nigeria Air—a national carrier after a 20-year halt due to debt, mismanagement, corruption and a suspended take-off in 2018.
How it will work: According to the Aviation Minister, Hadi Sirika, Nigeria Air will relaunch with a shuttle service between Abuja and Lagos using three Boeing 737-800—"other domestic destination will follow thereafter." Sirika said that Ethiopian Airlines, Africa's biggest airline, is the lead technical partner in the new carrier and the single largest shareholder, owning a 48% stake.
"After a careful, detailed and Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC)-governed selection process, Ethiopian Airlines (ET) Consortium has been selected as the preferred bidder," he said. The Nigerian government will own 5% of the carrier, meanwhile, three local investors; MRS, SAHCO and the Nigerian Sovereign Fund will own the remaining 46%.
The airline which plans to launch this year has since announced the recruitment of pilots, engineers and cabin crew members.
Zoom out: Experts have warned that if the deal—which is meant to be approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) within six to eight weeks—is not closed, the relaunch might be "problematic".
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SA Court rules in Amazon’s favour to build HQ in Cape Town
The news: A South African court has dismissed an interdict against a multi-million dollar building construction project in Cape Town involving Amazon's proposed African headquarters.
The proposed HQ is part of a real estate project at a site known as the River Club, located on a floodplain at the confluence of the Black and Liesbeek Rivers near Cape Town—which is expected to see Amazon become the anchor tenant, along with other large commercial businesses – if completed.
Why it matters: In March 2022, an interdict was issued preventing the developers—Liesbeek Leisure Properties Trust (LLPT), from continuing with construction pending the outcome of a High Court review of authorisation decisions due to controversies related to the sacred land.
Despite the interdict, the developers allegedly returned to the site on June 27 to resume construction, according to members of the Liesbeek Action Campaign, which consists of the Observatory Civic Association (OCA) and indigenous groups.
The OCA again filed an urgent application for an interdict but the court led by Judge MJ Dolamo ruled in favour of the developers, after hearing the application on Friday, September 2, 2022.
Although LLPT welcomed the ruling, OCA said that they "are disappointed [that Dolamo] did not recognise the urgency of the matter" citing that the "interim interdict of March 18, 2022, has not been overturned and remains in force." This Tuesday, OCA and other activists will hold a town hall meeting on the issue.
What's next?: In October, the full bench of the Western Cape High Court will hear the appeal application for dismissal of the orders issued in March 2022 against the developers. "Pending the outcome of this hearing, the construction work on the site continues lawfully," LLPT said.
Zoom out: In July, Amazon warned LLPT that further postponement of the construction project could result in termination of the development and lease agreements signed with the company.
Zoom's latest vulnerabilities threaten users' safety
The news: The Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) on Monday (September 19, 2022) identified multiple vulnerabilities in Zoom products that can allow remote hackers to gain access to restricted meetings on the platform.
According to CERT-In, one of the vulnerabilities can allow an unauthorised remote attacker to join a Zoom meeting, another could allow a remote hacker to download audio and video from meetings they aren't authorised to join if exploited.
Next action: Matt Nagel, Zoom's Security & Privacy PR Lead told Benjamindada.com on Sunday [September 25, 2022] that "we have already resolved these security issues. As always, we recommend users keep up to date with the latest version of Zoom to take advantage of Zoom’s latest features and security updates."
Prior to CERT-In's discovery, Nagel said that "these vulnerabilities were discovered by the Zoom Offensive Security team". According to the company's security bulletin, only Zoom On-Premise Meeting Connector MMR [before version 4.8.20220815.130] was affected.
Zoom out: With over 300 million daily active users, Zoom is one of the biggest videoconferencing platforms in the world since its rise during the COVID-19 pandemic. In Q1 2022, Zoom recorded total revenue of $1,073.8 million, a 12% year-over-year increase.
The company has recorded about five security and privacy breach this year, according to Tom's Guide. For instance, in August, the Zoom installer allowed a researcher [Mac security specialist Patrick Wardle] to hack his way to root access on macOS.
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💰 BD Africa Funding Tracker
Last week, African startups jointly raised over $46.6 million. Two out of the three venture deals will tracked were fintechs, however, Pan-African Crypto Exchange Yellow Card's $40 million Series B was the highest round in the week under review.
According to the BD Funding Tracker, as of September 25, 2022, African fintech startups have jointly raised ~$1.2 billion this year, placing it as the sector with the highest funding so far, followed by e-commerce and cleantech startups.
Get free access to our carefully-curated, real-time updated Funding Database for 2022.
Here are other important stories in the media:
- Nigerian investors sue over $11m Flutterwave cash frozen in Kenya: More than 2,000 Nigerian investors have petitioned the Kenyan courts to unfreeze $11.8 million locked in Safaricom and four banks, saying they were swindled in transactions involving Flutterwave.
- YouTube wants to provide 45% of ad revenue to Shorts creators: In an attempt to enable creators with monetisation, YouTube has announced that it would introduce advertising to Shorts and give creators 45% of the revenue.
- The latest global cryptocurrency adoption index: Nigeria and Kenya have dropped out of the top ten countries globally that have adopted cryptocurrencies, Dara explains why both countries have declined.
- Lending to Nigerian SMEs: We spoke with credit providers at Pennee and Triift Africa on the repayment rate and the lending landscape in Nigeria.
- Bamboo has expanded into Ghana: Last week, Bamboo officially launched in Ghana to offer residents in the West African country easy access to U.S. stocks, the Nigerian fintech is partnering with a licensed Ghanaian firm, 10th Capital Investments to enable its expansion.
- Binance appoints global advisory board: The board which is led by Max Baucus, a former US ambassador to China, also includes two prominent Africans—Ibukun Awosika and Leslie Maasdorp.
- Tanzania has cancelled mobile money transfer fees: Three months after slashing its mobile money (MOMO) transaction levy by 43%, Tanzania has scrapped the MOMO transfer levy starting October 1, 2022.
- Starting September 30, First Bank will suspend international transactions on its Naira Mastercard "due to current market realities on foreign exchange"
Every week, we carefully curate open opportunities in Product & Design, Data & Engineering, and Admin & Growth.
Product & Design:
- Moni — Brand Designer and Illustrator
- Paystack — Technical Product Specialist (South Africa)
- Interswitch — Product Owner (Data Analytics)
Data & Engineering:
- Microsoft — Cloud Solution Architect - Data & AI
- Airtel Africa — Reward & HR Data Analytics Specialist
- Team Apt — Enterprise Architect (Lagos, Nigeria)
Admin & Growth:
- Bolt — Nigeria Country Manager
- Carry1st — Head of Marketing (Lagos)
- Binance — Community Manager (West Africa)
- GetEquity Startup Festival to hold this November: The Festival which was initially scheduled to hold in July has been rescheduled to November 19, 2022, at Glitz Event Centre, Lekki, Lagos. Reserve a seat!
- For Nigerian final year undergraduates and graduates: Bloomberg will be coming to Nigeria for its Africa Campus Recruiting. The recruitment process requires one to complete a HackerRank upon application submission.
- For content creators: Apply for the World Nomads Content Creator Scholarship and stand a chance to win 1-of-4 scholarships worth over $5,000.
Thank you for reading.
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