BD Insider, Letter 141
Santa Ben returns with $100,000 worth of tech scholarships.
This is time for Africa!
Yet another first! Recall that, in October 2022, Morocco was announced as the host of the historic launch of GITEX Africa—the first edition of the tech exhibition outside of Dubai, after 42 years of its existence.
In BD Insider, Letter 141, we examine:
- Why DRC authorities closed down Vodacom offices
- Over eight million unregistered SIM cards were barred in Ghana
- Moove raised over $183.3 million in 2022
and other noteworthy information like:
- #SantaBen2022: $100,000 worth of tech scholarships for young Africans
- the latest African Tech Startup Deals
- opportunities, interesting reads and more
The big three!
DRC authorities shut down Vodacom offices
The news: The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has shut down the offices and also sealed the accounts of South Africa-headquartered telecommunication company, Vodacom.
"On December 6 and 7, 2022, agents of the General Directorate of Taxes (DGI) presented themselves at our technical, commercial and administrative offices and proceeded with the installation of seals," the company disclosed.
Insights: The dispute relates to a tax audit for the period 2016-2019 by the DGI, which resulted in an adjustment of $243 million in July 2021, the statement said. The amount was later reduced.
"In accordance with the relevant tax legislation and procedures, [Vodacom] contested the said adjustment by exploiting all the administrative remedies that led the Tax Administration on August 16, 2022, to the notification of a decision of partial relief by maintaining taxes of the order of $165 million," Vodacom added.
According to the company, it requested that the DRC finance minister review the decision on 13 September. It also appealed to the courts on November, 4 and 16 2022.
Zoom in: Although DGI has not disclosed the legal backing for its action—at the time of this report, Vodacom argues that it is "in flagrant violation of and in disregard of the legal procedures".
"Despite these deplorable facts, Vodacom continues to use all the means of recourse provided by the legislation in force to ensure that the law is established and is awaiting the outcome of the procedures underway before the various competent judicial and administrative bodies," the company added.
Zoom out: Recall that in August 2022, DRC banned some Vodacom executives from leaving the country for the same reason.
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Ghana blocks over 8 million unregistered SIM cards
The news: Last week, Ghana's Ministry of Communication and Digitisation and the National Communications Authority (NCA) disclosed that it has blocked more than eight million unregistered SIM cards.
The owners of these cards will no longer be able to make calls or access the internet, nor will they be able to use mobile money services.
Context: In October 2021, the government instructed that individuals residing in the country should register their SIM cards as part of efforts to help fight crimes such as fraud and to ensure digital security. Since its commencement, the process has gone through several deadline extensions.
According to NCA, over 20 million lines have been fully registered so far—representing about 46% of the total SIM cards issued in Ghana. Individuals are allowed to register a maximum of 10 SIM cards with one national ID card.
Outside Ghana, but in Africa: After several deadline extensions, the Nigerian government in April 2022 also blocked 73 million SIM cards— that is over a third of all active mobile lines in the country.
The government had in December 2020 instructed residents and mobile users to link their SIM cards to their National Identity Number (NIN) as part of efforts to curb the rising security issues in the country. In fact, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) claimed that the SIM-NIN linkage frustrated the efforts of terrorists in Nigeria's North East.
In October 2022, Kenya also blocked an undisclosed number of unregistered SIM cards.
SantaBen is in town!
Benjamin Dada returns with over $100,000 worth of tech scholarships, thanks to training and infrastructural partners. Participants stand a chance to win laptops, solar inverters and skill training.
Moove raised $183.3 million in 2022—after five funding rounds
The news: Last week, Nigeria-founded mobility company, Moove secured $30 million in debt financing from Sukuk issuance arranged by Franklin Templeton Investments (ME) Ltd.
According to the company, this funding will enable its objective to build the largest electric vehicle (EV) ride-hailing fleet in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
$183.3 million in 12 months: In H1 2022, Moove raised $135 million between January and June, per BD Funding Tracker. These funds were mostly debt financing from institutions like NBK Capital Partners Mezzanine Fund II and British International Investment (BII).
With this latest investment, the company has raised $183.3 million between January and December 2022. The company has used some of these funds to expand outside of sub-Saharan Africa Africa to other regions and countries including UK, India and MENA. In June 2022, the mobility fintech announced its plan to scale its Nigerian operations following a $20 million debt financing from BII.
Controversy: A few days before the announcement of the latest funding, several media reports alleged that laid off an undisclosed number of its workforce, globally. However, the company has since debunked the claim stating that the employees were dismissed "due to issues related to performance as well as gross misconduct".
💰 State of funding in Africa
Quick funding facts:
- Last week, about 12 African startups jointly secured over $53.72 million across pre-seed, seed and debt financing rounds. Most of the funds were raised by Kenyan startups.
- As of December 11, 2022, Kenyan startups have raised over $864.8 million out of the ~$3.5 billion secured by African startups this year.
Get FREE access to authentic African startup funding for 2022.
Here are other important stories in the media:
- Inside Sycamore—the peer-to-peer lending platform empowering Africans financially: Launched in March 2019, Sycamore is a digital P2P lending platform that is “elevating SMEs to achieve their goals” by making loans accessible to these businesses.
- How a microbiology graduate broke into tech through an internship: The fascinating story of how Fiyinfoluwa Akinsiku, a microbiology graduate, transitioned into tech through an internship, and currently works at Flutterwave.
- Jack Dorsey is back in Africa, this time for Crypto: Last week, Jack Dorsey, Twitter's ex-CEO was in Ghana to attend the Africa ₿itcoin Conference. The Bitcoin advocate also visited Kenya, where his company—Block and Stillmark have invested a $2M seed fund into Gridless, a bitcoin mining company.
- Chipper Cash's valuation dropped by 37.5%: Per documents released by the Financial Times, Chipper Cash's valuation was slashed by 37.5%—from $2 billion to $1.25 billion before FTX's bankruptcy—FTX led the company's $150 million in a Series C extension round in 2021.
- CBN sets cash withdrawal limits to boost its cashless policy: Effective January 9, 2023, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has revised withdrawal limits to ensure a cashless economy.
- Inside the hell that Lagos tech bros go through to rent a house: The standard of living in Lagos is highly expensive, and the perennial flooding makes living in Lagos chaotic, but how chaotic can it be with renting houses as a tech bro in Lagos?
We carefully curate open opportunities in Product & Design, Data & Engineering, and Admin & Growth every week.
Product & Design
- Klasha — Graphic Designer (Remote)
- Stitch — Head of Product (South Africa)
- TeamApt — Technical Product Manager (Lagos, Nigeria)
Data & Engineering
- Turaco — Data Engineer (Kenya)
- Kuda — e-Learning Developer (Lagos, Nigeria)
- Bitmama — Software Engineering Intern (Nigeria)
Admin & Growth
- Techstars — Social Media & Content Associate (Lagos, Nigeria)
- Binance — SEO Content Specialist and Manager (Lagos, Nigeria)
- Chipper Cash — Revenue Strategy Manager (UK, South Africa and Nigeria)
- €100,000 for Kenyan or Tanzanian innovators: Applications are now open at develoPPP Ventures, which supports young companies with a scalable and innovative business model that addresses challenges.
- Five female-focused accelerator programs for African founders
- BD Talks—December 16 by 6:00 PM (WAT): Financial Literacy Workshop on the savings and investment opportunities for 2023 featuring Oluwatosin Olaseinde, Founder of Money Africa and Ladda. Set a reminder!
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