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Let’s dive into the news 😊

Nigeria

It’s Elections Day in Kogi & Bayelsa

8 Months after the initial gubernatorial elections that happened in 29 states, Kogi and Bayelsa have theirs today.

Overview

In Kogi, 23 candidates are vying for the governor’s seat with the oldest candidate being 61 years while the youngest 38 years.

In Bayelsa, 45 candidates are contending for the position of the governor with the oldest candidate being 70 years, twice the age of the youngest candidate.

Let’s take a closer look

Most elections in Nigeria are between the two major parties which are People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressive Congress (APC), so we’d just cut to the chase and see how these two parties go up against each other.

Kogi: Incumbent poor performing Governor Yahaya Bello goes against Musa Wada the younger brother of the immediate past governor, Idris Wada. 

It would be a tough one for the Incumbent Governor to win as his tenure appears to be filled with complaints of insecurity, owed salaries and few completed projects, even Kaduna state governor Malam El-Rufia and  Edo State deputy governor, Philip Shuaibu had to kneel down during a recent rally to beg the people of Kogi to forgive Yahaya Bello for the past mistakes he has made.

One more thing: Apart from the governorship election, the Kogi West Senatorial District rerun is to hold. The contest is between PDP’s Dino Melaye, who was declared as the winner of the first election before the Elections Petitions tribunal revoked it, and APC’s Smart Adeyemi.

Bayelsa: It’s between Governor Seriake Dickson-backed PDP governorship candidate, Douye Diri, and a currently unsettled APC.

APC has two possible candidates: Ex-governor Timipre Sylva-backed candidate, David Lyon and ex-minister Heineken Lokpobiri. Both candidates are still battling in court about who won the primaries.

Should APC win the elections in Bayelsa, the true governor would be decided by whoever wins the ongoing court case between these two? 


Investing in a Unicorn? Sounds about right…

Global payments giant, Visa have indicated their interest in purchasing a 20% stake in Interswitch, one of Africa’s veteran fintech companies. The investment places a billion-dollar valuation on Interswitch because the 20% stake is valued at 200 million dollars, enabling Interswitch to attain the status of a Unicorn (A Unicorn is described as a company or business whose valuation is a billion dollars or more). Visa’s move to acquire Interswitch is largely connected to the Interswitch planned IPO where shares would be listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange and the London Stock Exchange later this year.

Why?

Global payment companies have identified African fintech companies like Interswitch as a high growth segment because of their value proposition of providing of powering payments, facilitating savings and providing financial services unbanked and small businesses in emerging markets. The move is also a competitive reaction to Visa’s closest rival, Mastercard which invested $300 million in Dubai-based network international ahead of its stock market debut in London.

The race to dominance

While Interswitch owns Verve, the largest domestic card scheme in Africa, and Quickteller, a consumer payments platform, its intention to cede a 20% stake to Visa indicates its intention to dominate the fast-growing digital payments space. The African fintech company has also acquired stakes in VANSO and Paynet, companies specializing in financial services in the past, and recently it acquired a majority stake in e-Clat healthcare, a health tech company. Interswitch currently provides financial services to 20 African countries.

 Nigeria hosted Global Tech Giants Back to Back

@senisulyman

This month has been a memorable one as Nigeria has hosted two global tech CEOs. 

Jack Dorsey, Twitter co-founder, and CEO who didn’t just stop by Nigeria, he also had long meetings alongside his team with tech enthusiasts, startups and Twitter influencers. 

Also, Jack Ma, former CEO of Alibaba came into the country to attend the Nigerian Digital Economy Summit in Abuja. Jack Ma had, in time past, launched a $10 million funding for African entrepreneurs but hasn’t really been involved in the Nigerian tech industry like his Facebook counterpart.

What does this mean for the Nigerian Market?

Their visit to Nigeria can be said to be a show of interest in the Nigerian tech industry considering that Jack Dorsey said he wants to gain a proper understanding of the challenges of starting a company in Nigeria and how he can help startups.  

Zoom out:  Jack Dorsey will be spending the whole of November in Africa, exploring Ethiopia, Nigeria, South Africa and Ghana. These visits should provide a great boost for startups and a huge opportunity for collaborations and engagements for businesses.  

Question: Who do you think would visit Nigeria next?

Our Bet: If it’s going to be another Jack, we’d love to have Jackie Chan.

Africa

Elections: Terror doubles down in Mozambique

Remember the last time we wrote about the Mozambican elections? Well, the results are ready now.

And?

They’re (not) looking good. Filipe Nyusi’s Frelimo party won 73% of votes for president, won in every province, and extended its majority in the National Assembly to more than two-thirds needed to change the constitution. Frelimo doesn’t seem to have run out of gas – 44 years and counting.

How did they win by that much?

There are many reasons, really. The election turnout was drastically low, as only 51.8% of registered voters came out to vote. Turns out others already knew that nothing would change. And about the 51.8%, 300,000 ghost voters had been registered in Gaza province in the run-up to the elections.

So why is this a problem?

It’s a HUGE problem, as things may get worse in Mozambique going forward. For one, the country is known for public disdain and apathy. No one has a good word to say about Frelimo – well, except its members. Second, what’s the possibility that a party ruling through corrupt means has any good plans for the people?

More importantly, as Mozambicans succumb to such oppression, the government is empowered to not only disregard the needs of the people but also be more diplomatic. It’s a military rule under the guise of democracy.

Ready to travel to Jo’burg?

Uhh, you might have to wait a bit longer.

What’s happening?

The South African Airways, which has been failing to realize profits since 2011 despite flying approximately 6.8 million passengers annually to six continents. Last Tuesday, the SAA board hinted a restructuring plan which would save the firm about $47 million based on 944 employees being fired.

Uh oh.

That’s exactly what the employees said – and that’s why they can’t let it happen. About 3000 of the state-owned company’s 5000-strong workforce are striking over this plan and the government’s failure to increase salaries. They’re demanding job security for three years and an 8% increase in salary.

There’s something fishy about this…

Well, we thought so too. The SAA has no permanent chief executive and has failed to file annual results for the two most recent financial years. It’s worth noting that the SAA isn’t the only government firm actively seeking to reduce staff costs. E.g. the South African Post Office is also cutting hundreds of jobs and giving packages to about 776 employees at the end of November.

We were just kidding, though – you can still fly down south as private operators and flights by subsidiaries (Mango, SA Express, and SA Air Link) aren’t affected.

International

World Energy Outlook: Things aren’t looking good

So, there’s been so much fuss in recent times about global warming and the need to switch to clean energy sources. Well, the IEA just said we’re still getting a D in class.

Tell me more.

Sure. The International Energy Agency (IEA) just published its annual World Energy Outlook, an 810-page report forecasting global energy trends to 2040. According to them, energy policies countries currently have could cause global greenhouse gas emissions to keep rising for the next 20 years.

But I thought countries were going green!

Technically, they are – but not fast enough. The world’s energy demand keeps rising, and renewable energy technologies aren’t being developed fast enough to satisfy the demand. So fossil fuel use (especially natural gas) keeps growing to supply the rest.

Some good news, though: the world’s consumption of coal – the dirtiest of fuels – is going down, as population-dense countries like India are falling more in love with solar technologies. In Europe, countries are building humongous wind turbines to exploit offshore wind.

Here’s the catchy part

Whether the world achieves its 2050 renewable energy goals largely depends on Africa, IEA says, as the continent is expected to urbanize at a fast pace in the next few decades. This could be perfect timing for African energy businesses to sprout and invest effort in renewable technology whilst securing great profits.

Soft Bank’s prepares for Vision Fund 2

With almost 85% of its $100 billion spent, Vision Fund 1 is nearly closed to and all eyes are on Vision Fund 2 – if there’d be any.

Take me back to where it all began

In the bid to fund companies working on leading technologies and innovation, Soft Bank raised $100 billion in 2016 with the intention to invest it over 5 years.

When the SoftBank Vision Fund was introduced in late 2016, it was heralded as a new paradigm for venture capital investing. With $100 billion to invest, its size roughly equalled what all U.S. venture capital firms combined raised in the previous two and a half years. At the time, it was announced that it would be led by almost 50% from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund while the remainder would come from SoftBank and other partners.

But…

Things have moved really fast with Softbank investing most of the fund within 2.5 years and a couple of its investments have been marked down causing Softbank to lose money

Two of SoftBank’s biggest investments, WeWork and Uber, Uber, the ride-hailing service, had an underwhelming initial public offering in May and posted a $1.2 billion loss last week. WeWork, the office leasing company, recently ousted its chief executive and accepted a rescue plan from SoftBank as its value was cut. Investments in companies Door Dash and Oyo face similar fates.

Zoom out: While Softbank has a history of earning big on its early investments in initially loss-making companies like Yahoo and Alibaba, It’s CEO Masayoshi Son is considering changing his Vision Fund investment strategy to concentrate on companies with clearer pathways to profitability and public offerings.

A clear reminder of the words of Henry Ford:

Business must be run at a profit, else it will die. But when anyone tries to run a business solely for profit, then also the business must die, for it no longer has a reason for existence.  

Bolivia doesn’t have a President

A confusing situation aroused in Bolivia as it turned out that the country is yet to have a president even after its general elections. 

Give me this gist

Last week, Bolivia voted to decide whether or not to have their incumbent president, Evo Morales for the fourth tenure, after collation, despite Evo Morales winning most people were uneasy with the results and they took to the streets to protest. 

So…

So Morales, who declared himself the winner after a suspected foul play counting system, had to resign under pressure on Sunday after weeks of protests and violence.

And then what?

Top leaders have also resigned, including the vice and senate president who could have taken charge of the country. Meanwhile, an opposition lawmaker insists she must be the interim president until new elections. 

We wish her all the best. 

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