In this letter, we cover:
- Starlink's launch in Benin Republic
- Unpaid salaries at the defunct Twitter Africa
- how African startups raised in October
#1. Starlink launches high-speed satellite internet in Benin
The news: Starlink has expanded its services into the Republic of Benin, making it the seventh location where it has commenced its African operations since January.
In Benin, the service is available at a monthly rate of CFA30,000 (equivalent to $48.66), along with a one-time equipment charge of CFA400,000 (approximately $650) and CFA15,000 for shipping and handling fees. Additionally, users within the country will be required to pay an extra CFA3,125 per month to the national telecom regulatory authority (ARCEP) for access to the electromagnetic spectrum essential for service provision.
Based on the most recent data provided by ARCEP (as of March 2023), the nation boasts 10.14 million users of mobile internet services and 24,641 subscribers to fixed internet services.
Zoom out: Before its launch in Benin, Starlink has been active in Nigeria, Rwanda, Malawi, Kenya, Mozambique, and Zambia. While it has received licensing to operate in Sierra Leone, the Starlink Availability Map indicates that the service will be launched there next year.
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#2. Elon Musk still owes ex-employees at Twitter Africa
The news: One year after Elon Musk laid off all staff and shuttered the Twitter Africa office in Ghana, the social media company, now known as X, still hasn't met its financial responsibilities to the former employees.
"Every time we get close, they go silent for weeks on end with no explanation. It has been one year since they were all laid off, defeating the entire purpose of a redundancy package, which is meant to cushion employees against the adverse effects of being laid off," according to Carla Olympio, a representative from Agency Seven Seven, which offers legal representation to the ex-employees.
Know more: Under Ghana's labour laws, the sudden and unannounced mass layoff at the Twitter Africa office falls under "mass redundancy." Redundancy is defined as a situation where an employer contemplates a significant alteration in production, programs, organisation, structure, or technology within a business, which is likely to result in the termination of employment for workers within the industry.
According to the law, the employer is required to notify the Chief Labour Officer three months before implementing any of the aforementioned changes. In the case of Twitter, this notification was not provided. Additionally, the specifics of redundancy pay and the terms and conditions of payment are subject to negotiation between the employer or their representative and the affected workers or the relevant trade union.
Despite the former employees sending letters to Ghana's Chief Labour Officer, no concrete actions have been initiated. As a result, they are now considering pursuing the matter outside the legal jurisdiction of Ghana.
"We are now concluding arrangements with international colleague lawyers to pursue the matter in other jurisdictions, where Twitter, now X, might perhaps be compelled to do the right thing," says Olympio.
Zoom out: The legal action filed against X by the Africa team is just one of several cases brought against the company by former employees. Some of these individuals claim they have not received compensation even after Musk's $44 billion acquisition last year.
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💰 State of Funding in Africa
African tech startups raised $156.2 million in October 2023
Last month, African startups secured a total funding of $156.2 million from 16 deals, according to BD Funding Tracker. Four of the deals were undisclosed. Although more deals—about 19—were recorded in September, the funding value is a 23.8% increase.
Cleantech startups, through two deals, accounted for approximately 74.12% of the funding. The sector has continued to lead funding inflow on the continent this year. The fintech sector contributed 15.99%, claiming the second-highest share.
Furthermore, in October, funding also flowed into various other sectors, including artificial intelligence, healthtech, communication, logistics, e-commerce, edtech, HRTech, and insurtech.
In terms of primary markets for these investments, Nigeria attracted the majority of funding at 65.88%, primarily due to Husk Power's $103 million funding round. South Africa, Egypt, and Cameroon were the subsequent beneficiaries of significant funding within the continent.
Meanwhile, seven of the disclosed deals fell within the early-stage category, comprising seed and pre-seed rounds. In contrast, the other seven deals belonged to the growth stage, encompassing pre-Series A, Series A, and Series D rounds.
How African startups raised in the first week of November
November kicked off with the announcement of the final close of Norrsken22's $205 million African Tech Growth Fund.
According to a statement seen by Bendada.com, the fund will focus on growth-stage entrepreneurs developing fintech, edtech, and healthtech across Africa. The fund was backed by over 30 local and foreign unicorn founders, including Olugbenga Agboola, co-founder and CEO of Flutterwave.
Concurrently, in the first week of November, six African startups collectively secured $8.5 million in funding.
Here are other important stories in the media:
- Chargeback fraud at Interswitch: In a staggering financial setback, Interswitch, a leading African payments company, has been hit with a massive ₦30 billion loss attributed to chargeback fraud, underscoring the escalating threat of fraudulent transactions in the digital payment landscape.
- Book your Lagos-Ibadan train tickets online: The Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) on Wednesday launched an e-ticketing platform for the Lagos-Ibadan route. Here's a step-by-step guide to get your tickets.
- Why Kenya’s visa-free plan for Africans is fueling tension: Workers in Kenya’s informal sector are worried about losing jobs and opportunities following the announcement of visa-free access to the country for all African citizens by the end of this year, Semafor Africa reports.
- Koo had a golden opportunity, and squandered it: Indian microblogging platform Koo gained traction in Nigeria after a temporary government ban on X in 2021. Per Rest of World, experts believe the government’s endorsement was one reason why Koo failed to succeed in Nigeria.
- Odalo, Nigeria’s Twitter swindler faking “heart disease” to scam women: Odalo will tactically charm you in the DM and win your affection some more by telling you of his fatal heart disease, hoodwinking you into sending him some money, DUBAWA reports.
We carefully curate open opportunities in Product & Design, Data & Engineering, and Admin & Growth every week.
Product & Design
- Sun King — Senior Graphics Designer, Lagos
- Kuda — Graphics Designer, Lagos
- Press One Africa — Product Design Lead, Lagos
Data & Engineering
- Moniepoint — Head of Data, Kenya
- Renmoney — Data Scientist, Lagos
- Zepz — Principal Engineer, Kenya & South Africa
Admin & Growth
- Moniepoint — Storyteller, Lagos
- Nomba — State Sales Coordinator, Across Nigeria
- Yellow Card — Country Ops Manager, Zambia
- For Business Journalists: The Economist is hiring an African correspondent. The deadline is November 20.
- Women Who Code fellowship: Because She Can has opened applications for their annual fellowship providing laptops, mentorship and internships to women in tech, targeting 10 awards this year. Apply by November 25.
- Interested in becoming a technical talent? The Nigerian Federal Ministry of Communications, Innovation & Digital Economy is accepting applications for its 3 Million Technical Talent Program. Learn more about the program.
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Have a great week ahead!