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Hello BD Insider,
#HorribleBosses and #OSCAFest2022, which of these conversations from the Nigerian tech Twitter did you find interesting last week? For me, both hashtags are a reflection of the importance of community and advocacy to the growth of the ecosystem.
Inside letter 106:
- Ethereum Founder is Backing Zambia’s bid to be Africa’s tech hub
- Meta releases ads transparency tools ahead of Kenya’s 2022 elections
- Nelson Mandela's arrest-warrant NFT raises $130,550 in auction
Let's dive in!
Ethereum Founder is Backing Zambia’s bid to be Africa’s tech hub
Described as the “undiscovered gem of Africa”, Zambia holds 6% of the world's copper reserves and is the fourth largest copper producing nation in the world. However, with the global decline of commodity prices, its economic growth has slowed, leading to increased poverty and a high national debt profile.
To enable the role of technology in economic growth, tech leaders are pushing to transform Zambia into Africa’s low-tax startup hub. With support from Ethereum co-creator, Vitalik Buterin, startup founders from the southern African country and abroad are talking to the government about creating the regulatory and business environment that would attract more tech firms and capital.
Buterin, who helped create the world’s second-largest cryptocurrency in 2013, expressed his support in a virtual meeting with Zambian President, Hakainde Hichilema.
For Hichilema, attracting tech firms could be a means of delivering on one of his key election pledges — boosting employment. More than one in four Zambians under the age of 24 have no income, according to data from the International Labour Organization, and the ratio has been worsening since 2013. The President’s commitment to resolving the issue played a major role in his last August’s election victory.
According to reports, the group of tech leaders — led by Perseus Mlambo, co-founder of Zambian fintech company Union54, and Mwiya Musokotwane, CEO of Thebe Investment Management — is in the process of organizing a conference in Lusaka, the capital, in May to draft detailed policy proposals that they believe will see Zambia succeed where previous African tech hubs have stuttered.
Isn’t this a tough battle? Prior to Zambia’s bid to become Africa’s tech hub, other African countries including Nigeria, Tunisia, and Senegal have either proposed or passed startup acts to enable tech innovation and also create a favourable business environment. “The vision of our tech working group is not just to compete on one service [financial services], but to compete across all services,” Mlambo told Rest of World.
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Meta releases ads transparency tools ahead of Kenya’s 2022 elections
“Preparing for the 2022 Kenya Elections, we take a look at best practices to help you launch your campaign, reach and engage voters and get out the vote leading up to election day on 9th August 2022.” Meta (formerly known as Facebook) disclosed in a statement on its Government, Politics and Advocacy page.
Advertisers seeking to run political ads in Kenya will undergo a verification process to prove who they are and that they live in the country. Meta will then run additional checks to ensure compliance with its policies. Political ads in Kenya will also be labelled with a “Paid for by” disclaimer to show who’s behind the ad.
“Meta has continued to invest in technology towards election integrity. We believe political discussion and debate should be transparent to every voter, which is why over the past few years we’ve introduced a number of tools that provide more information about political ads on Facebook and Instagram.” Meta’s Public Policy Director, East & Horn of Africa, Mercy Ndegwa said.
In ensuring election integrity, Meta is focused on combating foreign interference, fighting fake accounts, boosting investments and security, reducing the spread of false news, and increasing ads transparency.
Nelson Mandela's arrest-warrant NFT raises over $130,000 in auction
The arrest warrant of former South African President and anti-apartheid activist, Nelson Mandela has raised $130,550 (1.9 million rands) after it was auctioned as an NFT (Non-Fungible Token) last Saturday in Cape Town.
Proceeds from the sale will go toward the Liliesleaf Museum Heritage Site, which received the original document in 2004 as a donation, said Ahren Posthumus, the CEO of Momint — the marketplace for NFTs that sold the Mandela item.
The Warrant of Arrest is the one that led to the infamous incarceration of Nelson Mandela on Robben Island for 27 years. This was preceded by the 1963 Rivonia trial for treason. The original document, dated 1961, now aged and discoloured is handwritten in both English and Afrikaans.
According to Posthumus, the funds will help the “museum sites stay afloat.” Last year the museum received about $50,000 following an auction of an NFT of a pen gun owned by another freedom fighter, Oliver Tambo.
“They have been badly affected by the lack of tourism due to Covid. So this is a way to revitalize their flow and keep history alive.” Ahren Posthumus added.
The buyer of the NFT will have exclusive access to the original document at Liliesleaf Museum. Liliesleaf, situated on the outskirts of Johannesburg, was used as the secret headquarters of the African National Congress from 1961 and was where Mandela and other party leaders hid from authorities. Leading activists were arrested there during a raid by police in 1963.
2021 was arguably the big breakthrough year for crypto art and NFTs in general. Although both had been around for several years, 2021 saw the birth and growth of several NFT marketplaces spurred on mostly by crypto art.
Here are some of the interesting stories that we've come across in the past week:
- Inside Flutterwave's plan for Tanzanian SMEs. Find out!
- "African startups disrupt nothing!". Really?
- What prompts African nations to print money in Europe?
- The rise and (maybe) fall of BuzzFeed News — and larger dreams for digital journalism. Dive in!
- 46% of all funding in African Fintechs goes to Wallets & Digital Banking players. How!?
💼 Job Opportunities
Check out these openings. Share them with your network.
- Polygon - Senior Technical Writer
- Binance - Community Manager [Kenya]
- Bundle - Social Media Specialist
- Flying Doctors Nigeria - Communications Lead
Product & Design:
- OkHi - Head of Product
- Reliance Health - Design Lead
- Paystack - Product Specialist [Nigeria, South Africa & Ghana]
- Kudi - Data Analyst [Lagos, Kenya, Rwanda & Ghana]
- Sendwave - Engineering Manager
- Moove - Senior Frontend Engineer [Lagos]
- CcHub - Frontend Developer [Lagos]
- Google - Software Engineer [Accra]
- Netflix Creative Equity Scholarship for TV/Film students in East Africa
- The Bulb Africa's tech fellowship for no-code tech professionals
Thanks for reading and sharing
Have a great week!
🖊 Johnstone Kpilaakaa