Since we started writing the weekend brief, it feels like there is a word that describes the major news stories for the week, this time, it's “expansion”.
This afternoon, we will bring you news about:
- Flutterwave expansion into India
- the location of InstaDeep's African AI research hub
We also curated opportunities and other noteworthy information.
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📰 The Weekend Brief
#1. Flutterwave expands remittance offering to India
The news: Yesterday, Flutterwave announced that it has partnered with IndusInd, the 6th largest bank in India by assets, to expand its remittance product, Send App to the South Asian country.
Why it matters: “The Indian expansion for Flutterwave will be the first African company to do this at a scale where remittances from India to Africa become seamless and quick,” Olugbenga Agboola, the co-founder and CEO of Flutterwave, said in an interview with Bloomberg.
Know more: Last week, we reported that the Indian government is planning to drive cross-border payments in Africa through the expansion of its Unified Payments Interface (UPI), via commercial partnerships between payment platforms. UPI can be likened to the Nigeria Interbank Settlement System; an instant payment settlement network that connects Nigerian banks.
Flutterwave CEO is part of the Nigerian delegation that is attending the G20 summit in India. On Thursday, he attended a meeting between African and Indian tech leaders that was organised by Kola Aina, founding partner at Ventures Platform. The details of the conversations are yet to be made public.
Outside the payments ecosystem, there was another expansion in the AI sector.
#2. InstaDeep picks Rwanda as AI research hub in Africa
The news: Tunisian-born AI startup, InstaDeep has picked Rwanda as its AI research hub in Africa. “InstaDeep has always offered exceptional opportunities for Africans passionate about AI,” InstaDeep CEO Karim Beguir said. “It makes sense to deploy and grow our team in Kigali as Rwanda emerges as a leader in building the economy of the future.”
Beguir disclosed this on Thursday at Deep Learning Indaba, the annual meeting of the African machine learning and artificial intelligence community with the mission to strengthen African AI.
In April 2023, Rwanda became one of the few countries in Africa to develop a national AI policy with six priority areas[pdf] including AI literacy, infrastructure, data strategy, and ethical implementation.
The East African country says it needs about $76.5 million to implement the policy in the next five years.
Know more: Earlier this year, a German biotech company, BioNTech acquired InstaDeep with an upfront payment of cash and unspecified BioNTech shares worth £362 million, and a balance of £200 million payable based on InstaDeep’s future performance.
👀 What else happened this week?
- Google Africa gets MD: Google has appointed Alex Okosi as the managing director in Africa. Until his appointment, Okosi was the managing director for YouTube in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa emerging markets.
- $1.9 million On-board: Nigerian crypto and Web3 startup, Nestcoin announced that it has raised $1.9 million in a strategic round to fuel the growth of its new product, Onboard Wallet.
- ₦120 billion USSD debt resolved? Umar Danbatta, executive vice chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, has disclosed that telcos and banks in the country have agreed to settle their four-year-long dispute which has posed a threat to financial inclusion.
- More controversies at Ghanaian fintech, Float: In the last weekend brief, we reported that Float lost ₦5 billion to Nigeria's FX crises and fraud. A new report by WeeTracker says a client at the fintech has accused its CEO of “acting in bad faith and perpetrating fraud”.
- For African tech startups: Applications are open for the 2023 MEST Africa Challenge. Only early-stage startups in Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, Kenya, and South Africa, are eligible to apply for the $50,000 in equity prize.
- For pre-MVP founders: AWS Startups Builds Accelerator is receiving applications for its 10-week virtual program where pre-MVP founders get the training and support needed to launch their startups to market.
- For research and data experts: OCCRP is seeking applications for its new 8-week hybrid Research & Data Fellowship. Between 6-8 fellows will be selected to learn about OSINT, research, & data. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis till September 29. Apply here
- Job vacancy: Moniepoint is hiring for several roles across its engineering, business operations, compliance, marketing, and customer success teams.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend.