Greetings, dear readers, and welcome to another edition of TC Weekender. We are thrilled to present to you the most significant news from across the African continent. This week, South Africa, Kenya, and Nigeria are particularly noteworthy.
South Africa has recently welcomed the arrival of a new data center, 2Africa’s submarine cable, and has established rules for the advertising of cryptocurrency. Nigeria has made history by launching the first domestic card on the continent. Kenya, on the other hand, has been causing disappointment to digital lenders and its citizens by delaying the digital lenders licensing process and reversing previous rulings on mobile money.
Read on to stay informed about these and other exciting developments.
Pamela Tetteh Editor, TechCabal.
Nigeria launches a domestic card
Nigeria has decided to tap into its pulsating $18 billion payments and card market with its new domestic card, Afrigo. AfriGo works just like Mastercard, Verve, or Visa cards, but unlike those, it will not charge users in foreign currency but in naira. This card is the first of its kind in Africa.
The Kenyan High Court has ruled for banks in the country to resume charges on transfers between bank accounts and mobile money operators. This ruling comes less than two weeks after the same court ordered the suspension of such charges ending the two-year run of free transfers.
The Communications Authority of Kenya has published a draft of the “Framework for Emerging Technologies Regulatory Sandbox” and is seeking the public’s feedback by February 3, 2023. The sandbox is a controlled environment in which innovators can conduct live tests of new products that the current regulations don’t adequately cater to.
Cape Town has gotten yet another data centre—a 20MW IT load facility that is expected to be up and running by mid-2024. The country is becoming the data hub of the continent despite the electric power troubles it has been experiencing.
Low on cash and high on losses, the Cairo-born Nasdaq-listed bus operator Swvl wants to undo its 2022 acquisition of Turkish transportation-as-a-service operator Volt Lines. for $40 million as it searches for a way to survive and become profitable this year.
In other news, Swvl has narrowly escaped Nasdaq delisting through a reverse stock split that granted each shareholder 25 shares for each share held. The company has regained compliance with Nasdaq, but it has to keep the price from falling below $0.37 for 10 consecutive days between now and July 10, 2023.
Our State of Tech report for Q4 2022 will be available for download soon. Till then, download the Q3 report if you still haven’t.
Delayed CBK licence threatens digital lenders
Since it approved 10 digital lenders last year, the Central Bank of Kenya has not issued fresh licensing to any of the other 278 lenders that have been waiting in line. Now Google is refusing to host their mobile apps, and investors are hesitating to give them money due to their lack of licence. The digital lenders are losing customers and funding for loans.
Last year, South Africa classified crypto assets as financial products. Now, the country’s Advertising Regulatory Board (ARB) has updated its Code of Advertising Practice with a clause specifically targeting the advertisement of crypto assets.
Cape Town to pay residents for power
In response to the country’s energy crisis, Cape Town will be paying residents and businesses cash for feeding excess electrical power from their own generators into its power system. Before now, power sellers had their municipal bills credited for excess power instead of actual cash payments.
2Africa’s submarine cable has landed in South Africa, from where it will travel to other landing points in Africa to power advanced internet infrastructure. It landed in a Vodacom facility in Gqeberha and is scheduled to begin full operations in 2024.
Nearly 3 months after announcing its shaky 2022H1 financial results, Africa’s most valuable public company, Naspers, and it subsidiary, Prosus, are planning a 30% workforce reduction over the course of the year.