Midweek Update: You can make payment with rings in South Africa

In this letter, we explore; A new payment ring in South Africa, Uganda reinstates import duties on Electric and Hybrid Vehicles, Ex-assistant faces life imprisonment for tech entrepreneur's murder.

Midweek Update: You can make payment with rings in South Africa

VezoPay Launches New Payment Ring in South Africa

Image Source: Gauteng News

When you hear the word "ring," you might think of a dazzling engagement ring, a piece of jewellery, or the legendary " Lord of the Rings." But for South Africans, this is about to get a high-tech twist. Vezopay is introducing a ring set to change the game — imagine a sleek, comfortable accessory that adorns your finger and makes payments a breeze.

While tech giants like Apple and Samsung are rumoured to be developing similar wearables, VezoPay has stolen the show with its first-to-market approach. Developed by a team of South African innovators, the rings cater to diverse styles, ranging from sleek ceramic to sophisticated silver and even luxurious gold. Durability is another key feature—these rings are shockproof and waterproof and miraculously never require charging.

“Our ring is designed to be always worn. You can forget about it until you need to make a payment and it’s right there on your finger, ready to go,” said Jake Pinkus, co-founder of VezoPay.

VezoPay's impressive investor pool includes Phuti Mahanyele-Dabengwa (the CEO of Naspers South Africa) and two investors from Investec, Elizabeth Fick and Tristanne Farrell. The company is already in the process of onboarding several South African banks.

How it works: A payment card is linked to the ring, but rather than storing the actual card details, the ring only stores a one-time token, which allows the user to make payments with just a tap. VezoPay's ring leverages Near Field Communication (NFC) technology to make this possible. Its advanced encryption and tokenisation technology safeguards the owners' financial information, even if the ring is lost or stolen.

Looking forward: VezoPay joins the roaster of global fintech companies such as McLEAR, Twinn, and TAPSTER, which offer payment rings.

The big question is whether payment rings will catch on like cards, considering their cost — around $50 to $200 or more. VezoPay will have to find a way to bring down the cost or make this a premium product targeted at the upper class.

Uganda Steps on the Brakes for Importation of Electric Vehicles

Photo by Michael Fousert on Unsplash

Electric vehicles (EVs) were having a moment in Uganda. Import duties were zero, and sales were climbing—from a mere 26 units in the 2022/2023 fiscal year to a whopping 420 units the following year. But hold on a minute, says the Ugandan government. Just as EV enthusiasts were celebrating, the Ugandan government reimposed a 25% import duty on all electric and hybrid vehicles.

This move has dampened EV sales. Car dealers complain that the unpredictable tax regime makes planning difficult, and they fear the new tax will scare away investors. The price of Kampala's most affordable electric car has jumped by over 25%, making it a much less attractive option.

So why the sudden change of heart? The Ugandan government wants to encourage the domestic production of EVs. Their state-owned car company, Kiira Motors Corporation, is already producing electric buses and plans to expand their production.

There is a silver lining for EV hopefuls, though. The Ugandan government is offering tax breaks to companies that manufacture EVs or charging equipment in Uganda if they employ 80% of Ugandans. The government has also secured export orders for electric buses from Tanzania, South Africa, Eswatini, and Nigeria. So, while it might be a bumpy road for imported EVs in the short term, Uganda's electric vehicle future is still being written.

Ex-Assistant Awaits Sentence Following Brutal Murder of Tech Entrepreneur

Tyrese Haspil, a former assistant to Fahim Saleh, the founder of the Nigerian motorbike ride-sharing startup Gokada, is awaiting a criminal sentence for the meticulously planned murder and dismemberment of his one-time employer.

Haspil, entrusted with managing Saleh's finances, succumbed to greed and began embezzling substantial sums to fund a lavish lifestyle. This blatant violation of trust tragically culminated in Saleh's murder in his New York apartment on July 13, 2020.

Details surrounding the crime paint a disturbing picture. The brutal act was followed by a botched attempt at dismemberment the following day, ultimately leading to Haspil's capture four days after the act.

Haspil faces sentencing on September 10, 2024, and is likely to receive a life sentence without the possibility of parole.

Read more about this story: Culprit in gruesome Gokada founder murder awaits sentencing

By the Numbers
107 million

As of May 2024, the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) reported over 107 million Nigerians enrolled for their National Identification Number (NIN). This falls short of the ambitious target of 148 million by June 2024. With June figures yet to be released, it seems unlikely NIMC will reach the goal set in collaboration with the World Bank's Digital Identification for Development project.


Which African country was the first to begin producing Electric Vehicles?

Hint: It shares a border with 5 African countries.

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