Return of Twirra, Mali Mayhem and Southy Love
This episode was edited while we were listening to:
Quotes of the week
“I hated every minute of training. But I said 'Don't quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.”
What’s the Palava (What’s happening in Nigeria?)
Return of Twirra
We’re back and boy do we have an episode for you.
The Nigerian government has finally permitted the return of Twitter, 222 days after the app was initially banned. That's right, you can all officially delete your VPNs, your app no longer needs to travel no visa…well except for this guy:
My brother, if you’re reading this, you have to enjoy that 5 years. We’re with you in spirit. If you send us the log-in details, we will be with you in VPN too.
Before Twitter could return though, the Federal Government made a series of demands. Namely: that Twitter must register in Nigeria, appoint a designated country representative, pay tax in Nigeria, create a portal for government officials to manage content that violates Twitter’s rules, and respectfully acknowledge Nigeria’s laws. We couldn’t find fault with most of these demands, however the vagueness of some triggers questions of unenforceability. But that content moderation demand is slightly scary.
2022 has come strong with the election bug and we all seem to have caught it. The presidential aspirants are now beginning to make themselves known, including Lagos’ finest, Bola Ahmed Tinubu. But, don’t worry, this story isn’t about him. Someone else, perhaps less well known, has caught our attention: Dr Hakeem Baba Ahmed, the official spokesperson for the Northern Elders Forum, who urged all eligible voters in the North to not re-elect the likes of President Buhari in 2023. He claims Nigeria, and particularly the North, are worse off since Buhari came into power in 2015. Still early days but it would be interesting to see how this sentiment affects the voting patterns of the youths in Northern Nigeria.
RIP Ernest Shonekan
This week, Ernest Shonekan, who was interim Head of State of Nigeria in 1993, passed away at the age of 85 at Evercare Hospital in Lagos. His administration started in August 1993, only to be ended abruptly three months later, in November, by a coup headed by the infamous Sani Abacha.
What’s Going on Across Africa?
Tax tax tax
Cameroonians are unhappy with the new finance bill which has come into force. The bill enforces a 0.2% tax on the transfer and withdrawal of money via mobile wallets.
In Cameroon, mobile money is popular amongst its 65% unbanked population. The country accounts for about 65% of the mobile money wallets in the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa. Cameroon now joins Ghana, Uganda and Tanzania as countries which are implementing or have implemented fees on mobile money transactions.
PAPSS (No Smear)
Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS) , the new Africa payment system is estimated to save $5bn in fees while lifting trade.
Traders have, until now, had to settle payments via U.S. and European banks and the new system is expected to save the continent about $5 billion in offshore clearance and transaction costs, according to its developer, the African Export-Import Bank. This payment system is one of the key steps to making the African Continental Free Trade Area a reality!
Mali is in a bit of mayhem. Assimi Goita, the military leader who proclaimed himself president in May following a coup in August 2020, has proposed a five-year transition to democracy. For context, the elections were supposed to be held next month to mark the transition to civilian rule.
The failure to return to civilian rule, has prompted the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to seal their borders with Mali, only allowing trade in essential consumer goods. This is super important because Mali is a landlocked nation whose main route to the sea is through Senegal.
Simultaneously, Mali’s accounts with the regional central bank, which held about $1.5 billion at the end of 2020, have also been frozen. Without access to its reserves, the government may struggle to pay its workers, including the military. Wahala dey.
And the backdrop for all this is the increased influence of China and Russia. France, the colonial power in the country, has begun withdrawing troops and has ceased flights between the countries in protest of Mali hiring Russian mercenaries to fight against insurgents. Russia and China also vetoed the UN’s decision to ratify the ECOWAS sanctions.
We have also just received information that Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, the president who was ousted in the August 2020 coup has passed away.
Elon Musk’s SpaceX will launch three South African produced nanosatellites into orbit as part of its upcoming mission. This is the first ever satellite that was entirely made on the continent, so this is pretty big news.
The most exciting part to us at theBrief is that the South African government is directly involved through the Department of Science and Innovation, and the satellites will be used to monitor the country’s coastline. South Africa was already a leader in small satellite development on the continent and this move only helps to further cement their position.
SeamlessHR, an HR-tech startup based in Nigeria closed a $10 million Series A round led by TLcom Capital. Capria Ventures as well as existing investors such as Lateral Frontier Ventures, Enza Capital, and Ingressive Capital, and several strategic private investors also participated in the round.
Ivory Coast-based e-commerce startup Afrikrea, raised a $6.2 million pre-Series A round and rebranded as “ANKA”. The round was led by Investisseurs & Partenaires, with participation from Alibaba’s executive Vice-Chairman Joe Tsai, Bestseller Foundation, VestedWorld, Enigmo, Groupe Prunay, and Rising Tide Africa.
Alexander Smalls Opened the World’s First African Food Hall — And He Plans to Expand Soon
Fintech Farm, a newly launched fintech startup based in the U.K. that creates digital banks in emerging markets, has raised $7.4 million in seed funding. The company said it plans to use the investment to launch neobanks in eight countries (including Nigeria) over the next 24 months.
MTN and Huawei have partnered to launch 5G in Zambia.
What in the World?
(The segment where we highlight the most outrageous story we have come across while scraping the web for news articles for you. We have taken to using what we call the Ehn scale. The longer the Ehn the more incredulous. For example, President Buhari is not Nigeria’s most prolific travel blogger: Ehnnnnn? Got it?)
The Nigerian anti-graft group, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) announced the arrest of a fake army general.
You could tell the fake had been doing this for a while. He’d apparently gotten as bold as claiming he was the Chief of Army Staff, and was only caught after being involved in a N270m fraud case.
22nd Century Gutter
We were reading this quite interesting piece about how some startup entrepreneurs are considering how to make Zambia the Delaware of Africa i.e. a low-tax tech hub with lighter regulation.
We also have our newest addition to theBrief, our artwork of the week: