BD Insider 191: What we know about the UAE visa ban on Nigerian travellers

Kenya is positioned “Africa’s business process outsourcing and creative economy hub,” according to President William Ruto. We also covered the Nigeria-UAE visa ban and the latest at the CBN.

BD Insider 191: What we know about the UAE visa ban on Nigerian travellers
Nigeria's president, Bola Tinubu and Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE president

Ahead of the United Nations General Assembly this week, Bosun Tijani, Nigeria's minister of communication, innovation and digital economy has released the agenda that he intends to pursue at the sidelines of the assembly in New York.

Tijani said his top priorities include: expanding the Universal Service Provision Fund, positioning Nigeria as a hub for AI training, and accelerating economic diversification through technology.

“By collaborating with global leaders and stakeholders, we aim to bring forth a brighter, digital and inclusive future for Nigeria. It is an opportunity to reinforce our global ties, understand emerging trends and co-design pathways that can elevate the prosperity of our nation,” he added.

Just as we did during the G20 meeting in India, we will bring you coverage of the UNGA as it affects Africa's digital economy.

In this letter, we will explore:

  • the visit of Kenya's president to the Silicon Valley
  • controversies around the Nigeria-UAE visa ban
  • what's happening at CBN's helm

We also curated updates on the state of funding in Africa, other noteworthy information, and several opportunities.

The big three

#1. Ruto woos tech investors at Silicon Valley

The news: Kenya's president, William Ruto was at Silicon Valley in San Francisco last week to woo American tech investors and companies to invest in the East African country, as part of the US-Kenya Business Roadshow.

“Kenya is a full package investment destination; economically stable, entrepreneurial, secure, innovative with a favourable tax environment, skilled labour force, technological expertise, green energy credentials and a gateway for six undersea fibre-optic cables providing reliable data connectivity,” he said.

Know more: At home in Kenya, Ruto has been accused of increasing taxes for businesses, including those in the tech sector.

However, Ruto insists that “[Kenya has] a tax code that is simple to enforce, consistent, fair, and predictable”. “We have eliminated value-added tax on exported services and the tax on stock-based compensation for employees of startups, as well as the domestic equity requirement for ICT companies,” he said.

In July, Ruto's administration reversed the 30% shareholding rule that was imposed on Big Tech and other multinational companies in 2016. The rule required these companies to cede at least 30% of their shareholding to persons who are Kenyan citizens by birth.

“Our country is not only a thriving economy of the hardest workers you can find anywhere,” Ruto said. In recent times, Kenya has been accused of poor labour laws that have led to the exploitation of Kenyan workers by Big Tech companies. Meta and Sama, its [former] main subcontractor for content moderation in Africa, have faced several lawsuits in Kenya over alleged unsafe and unfair working conditions.

#2. What we know about the UAE visa ban on Nigerian travellers

Zoom in: Last week, the Nigerian government announced that the 11-month visa ban by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has been lifted and that the Gulf state-owned Emirates and Etihad would “immediately resume flight schedules into and out of Nigeria without any further delay,” Ajuri Ngelale, Nigeria's spokesperson, said.

As of Monday (September 11) when the news broke, a report from Emirates News Agency, the UAE-state media, which was posted by the UAE Embassy in Nigeria did not corroborate Ngelale's statements in detail. “The UAE President and Nigerian President explored opportunities for further bilateral collaboration in areas that serve both countries’ sustainable economic growth, including the economic, development...,” reads the report.

Later that day, Ngelale told local media Channels TV that: “Every agreement comes with mutual responsibility. There is no free lunch. What I mean by that is the notion that floodgates will open up and we go back to business as usual. That is not what Nigerians should expect. I want to be very clear about this so that everybody can understand.”

Contrary to the widely circulated news, an anonymous UAE official told CNN that “there are no changes on the Nigeria/UAE travel status so far.”

Context: A year ago, UAE's Emirates suspended all its flights in and out of Nigeria due to its inability to repatriate $85 million stuck in Nigeria. Later in October of the same year, the UAE imposed a visa ban on all Nigerian travellers.

#3. President Tinubu reforms Nigeria's central bank leadership

On Friday, Nigeria's president Bola Tinubu nominated Olayemi Michael Cardoso to serve as the new Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

He also approved the nomination of Emem Nnana Usoro, Muhammad Sani Abdullahi Dattijo, Philip Ikeazor, and Bala Bello as deputies. If approved by the Nigerian Senate, all nominees will serve at the apex bank for a five-year term at first instance.

These nominations come about three months after Tinubu suspended former CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele with immediate effect, following an ongoing investigation of his office and planned reforms in the financial sector, he was later arrested by the State Security Service (SSS). Per Reuters, Emefiele resigned last month.

Aisha Ahmad, deputy governor of the CBN in charge of financial system stability was also arrested by the SSS, some media reports cited “alleged fraudulent acquisition of shares in Polaris Bank, Titan Bank/Union Bank.”

💰 State of Funding in Africa

Barely a week after we reported that LipaLater is crowdfunding $1.2 million at a $30,000,000 valuation, the Kenyan fintech has announced that it secured $5 million in a privately placed debt issuance, and is planning to raise $20 million in both equity and debt “to spur our growth further as we work towards unlocking a $500 billion financial inclusion opportunity in urban Africa”.

Aside from Lipa Later, two other African tech startups also raised funding last week. Find below a summary of the activities.


  • West Africa’s largest cloud infrastructure company, WhoGoHost, has acquired SendChamp, a Nigerian cloud communications startup that powers online messaging for African businesses for an undisclosed amount.

📚 Noteworthy

Here are other important stories in the media:

💼 Opportunities


We carefully curate open opportunities in Product & Design, Data & Engineering, and Admin & Growth every week.

Product & Design

Data & Engineering

Admin & Growth

Other opportunities

  • Become the next YC-backed startup: Y Combinator is accepting applications from startups for the Winter 2024 funding cycle. The deadline for on-time applications is October 13.
  • Innovating for the African Bitcoin ecosystem: Btrust Builders has launched the Build for Africa, a hackathon that allows African Bitcoin enthusiasts to build solutions that solve African challenges and increase Bitcoin adoption in Africa. The winning idea will win about $5000.
  • Research & Data Fellowship: OCCRP is seeking applications for its new 8-week hybrid Research & Data Fellowship. They're looking for 6-8 fellows who are excited to learn about OSINT, research, & data. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis till Sept. 29.
  • 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.

If you enjoyed this edition, please share and give us a shout-out.

Thank you for trusting us to bring you news about the African tech ecosystem.

Much love!

Get weekly insights on tech startups and VC in Africa