Hello,

Welcome to a new month, It’s safe to say we have less than 90 days in 2019. We hope you’re making the year count. 

Let’s dive into the news 😊

Nigeria

What Buhari had to say on Independence Day 

Psst! We have a confession, normally we wouldn’t have listened to the President’s independence day address because we kinda know what to expect but hey we have a job to do. Here are the major points he raised.

Security and insurgency: His administration has, in the past four years, made efforts to combat the scourge of Boko haram & Niger Delta Militants in the country, by introducing major enhancement opportunities in the military and police force. 

On Cyber Crimes and freedom of expression: His attention is focused on Cyber Crimes and abuse of technology through hate speech on social media. While freedom of expression is a major constitutional right, the government would take action on expressions that infringes on others’ rights and threaten national security.

About the Economy: He inherited a skewed economy, however, things are getting better now as the exchange rate in the last 3 years has remained stable, with Foreign reserves increasing from US$23 billion in October 2016 to US$42.5 billion as at today.

Bottom line: President Buhari used this opportunity to reel out his progress report, however, to the everyday Nigerian, it sounds like “audio money” – you hear it but you can’t see it. 

CBN moves the bar higher to 65%

In the game of high jump, the bar is moved higher until a winner emerges, it appears the Central Bank of Nigeria has taken a leaf from the pages of this sport. The CBN isn’t satisfied with the number of loans given out by banks so it’s increasing the loan to deposit ratio (LDR) – the ratio between the banks total loans and total deposits – of banks from 60% to 65%

Backstory: In July, The CBN ordered banks to increase their LDRs to 60% or punish banks that fail to comply with this directive by increasing the compulsory amount they have to keep (Cash reserve ratio) with the CBN from 22.5% to 50%. This means 50% of a bank’s deposit will be sent to the CBN.

And true to its word, 12 banks have already been fined N499 billion for failing to meet the earlier set target of 60% LDR set by the CBN. 

Mitigating Risks involved: While this move is targeted at stimulating the economy by making more loans available to more business sectors, a downside of the 65% LDR is that it would force banks to lend to some vulnerable sectors.
In order to mitigate the risks involved the apex bank has granted approval for Banks to retrieve funds from loan defaulters’ other bank accounts. This means, for example, if you are defaulting a GTB loan, GTB can obtain the defaulting amount from your First Bank account and any other Bank account you have. Thanks to BVN.

Optional reading: Selected Banking Sector Data: Sectorial Breakdown of Credit, ePayment Channels and Staff Strength (Q2 2019) [PDF]

The Nigerian Police is getting it hot this time

Scanning…

Features: Young, using an Apple Device, has a laptop, dressed decently or indecently (whatever that means)… 

Verdict: It’s a Yahoo Boy!

This appears to be the way Nigerian Police now identifies individuals who carry out internet crime. However, the Tech Community in Nigeria has had enough of this, it recently launched a #StopRobbingUs campaign to fight the recurring incidents of police brutality on young Nigerians especially those in the tech industry.  

What brought this up again?

You must have in the past heard of at least one incident of police brutality, extortion and illegal detention of young Nigerians. These incidents have led to the #EndSARS movement that has been on since last year. However, this time, a software developer, Akinmolayan Oluwatoni, earlier in September, relayed his experience on how he was harassed and brutalized by members of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) in Lagos because he was found with computer devices. 

@toniastro_

So what did the tech community do?

The tech Community did not only speak up about the intimidation of their colleagues, but they also decided to raise funds to secure robust and concerted legal support to combat SARS attacks on young Nigerian Tech Workers. 

How’s that going?

As at last count, the fundraising has yielded over 13Million Naira ($38,000), to fund their lawsuit as well as finance other legal actions against the Nigerian Police Force. Also, four of the Police culprits have been arrested and are undergoing internal investigation and disciplinary actions. 

Why this matters

With most Nigerian Youths looking to leave the country, this response by the tech community is timely and necessary.



Africa


Maybe it’s time for a trans(it)ion.

What’s happening?

If you’re a fan of the African kings Infinix and Tecno, it might interest you to know that their manufacturing company, Transsion Holdings has listed in an IPO on Shanghai’s STAR Market.
The company has issued a stock market filing 80 million A-shares to raise 2.81 billion yuan ($395 million).

Hmm. I really don’t understand what this is about.

That’s why we’re here. An Initial Public Offering (IPO) occurs when a company sells pieces of itself ( what they call ‘shares’) to the public for the first time. It’s essentially the process of a company going from private to public, and companies do it to raise money.

A-shares are a different type of shares – they’re issued by mainland Chinese companies, and all things being equal, only mainland citizens can buy them (scary, isn’t it?). And the Science and Technology Innovation Board (STAR Market) is the Shanghai Stock Exchange’s new board just for tech companies…

Hold it right there. Why does Transsion need this much money?

Because they want to deliver better products and make more profits. The company plans to spend about $227 million of its market raise to build more phone assembly hubs and about $62 million on research and development.

Transsion has struck the right chords, in terms of features and price, with the African market. The company holds 54% of the feature phone market in Africa and is second only to Samsung in smartphone sales.

Interesting. So where do the dots connect?

Well, we could say that Transsion – and indeed the whole of China – is playing a delicate chess game on Africa. While the company works actively on dominating the African smartphone market, it also understands that our preferences will change as economies improve. It’s worth noting that Transsion is also moving towards investing in African startups based on mobile technology, and they’re gambling on increasing Africa’s smartphone penetration by themselves so more of these startups can emerge.


Temtem gets more money to move people around

Mobility is proving to be a very lucrative business category in Africa so far, and it appears it’s better when Africa’s problems are solved by Africans.

TemTem, an Algerian transportation startup, has raised US$4 million in Series A funding to diversify its product offerings and expand into new markets, securing its place as the best-funded Algerian startup so far. 

TemTem is a mobility app that allows users to order private drivers and deliver products. It was launched last year and it’s being used by over 200,000 clients.

Huh,  funding series A ?

Basically, series A funding is an investment in a privately-held startup after it has shown progress in building its business. It typically ranges from US$1 million to US$5 million and is provided by well-established investing firms (in this case, it was Tell Venture Automotive) and private investors.

Okay, I get that. So why does this concern me?

You’re probably not an Algerian, but expect to see TemTem in your neighbourhood in future, as they’re looking to go continental. It’s noteworthy that nearly 60 ride-sharing services operate across 21 countries in Africa, and finance remains a challenge for many of them. Even with the absence of Uber in Algeria, the competition is fierce – especially against already established non-African companies, but this should be a confidence boost. 

Things are going south in Zimbabwe (as usual)

As protests build up in Zimbabwe, President Emmerson Mnangagwa has pleaded for patience in resurrecting the country from a terrible economic meltdown.

The country currently grapples with fuel and electricity shortages as well as soaring prices and frightened foreign investors. It’s facing the worst economic crisis in a decade.

I’m gonna need a refresher.

Thanks for asking. In 2009, after inflation had reached 500 billion per cent the previous year, the country abandoned the Zimbabwean dollar (yeah, that’s how ‘worthless’ their currency had become) and adopted the US dollar, South African rand and other currencies. When the supplies of these currencies ran out, Zimbabwe launched an alternate currency called paper ‘bond notes’ in 2016 to be used as cash. And now these supplies are running out too. Tragic.

Mnangagwa, who assumed office upon the removal of Robert Mugabe (of ‘blessed’ memory) in 2017, he seemed to be a beacon of hope to the country. Now his people believe he’s either unable or unwilling to act, and thus he should use the door.

Aww. Is there hope for them?

It’s hard to say, given that Mnangagwa can’t focus on fighting this battle – that is if he’s really fighting. The country reintroduced the local Zimbabwean dollar back in June, but we’re not sure how potent this will be in the long run. 

International

Facebook and Amazon are trying to win some back

For the first time ever, Amazon held its annual hardware event the same day as the keynote for Facebook’s Oculus Connect conference.

How did it go?

Amazon made 80 announcements which included a full fifteen hardware products with products like the Echo Buds and Echo Loop ring. An approach that is the exact opposite of its previous hardware announcement, the Fire Phone: instead of pouring all of its resources into one high-priced device, Amazon is making just about every device it can think of, and seeing if they sell. Also, they are doing this at prices that significantly undercut its competition.

Facebook, meanwhile, consolidated its Oculus product line from three to one – announcing a new hand-tracking technology and a social game called Horizon.

What’s the catch here?

What Amazon and Facebook have in common is that Apple and Google are their biggest obstacles to success, and it’s because of their smartphone platforms. Both companies have tried to launch their own smartphones in the past only to shelf such plans after it turned out to be a disaster.

Bottom line:

Amazon wants to take charge of your home with Alexa, but Google seems to have made progress on that with Nest products and Google home pods.

Facebook wants to control the future of social connection, which it believes is virtual reality. However, Apple appears to have one foot in the door already with Augmented reality.

World Trade Growth expected to Slow down

We live in a fast-paced world but it appears that not everything is moving fast after all.

The World Trade Organization slashed its forecast for trade growth for this year and next, for this year it dropped it to 1.2 percent, down from a 2.6 percent pace of growth it anticipated in April.

What are the reasons?

We bet took a wild guess you’d come up with the answers but we’d spare you the effort and tell you.

President Trump’s trade war and a shaky Brexit.

The US and China Trade war has meant that people are hoarding their resources in anticipation of the worst, companies are moving their manufacturing from China to neighbouring Asia countries. All this mean less trade as everyone is hedging for the unexpected.

Brexit – the Uk’s final divorce from Europe which has been postponed many times – is having the same effect in Europe too, as people are conservative in their spendings. Seeds of fear and uncertainty mean less activity, less activity mean less trade, less trade mean a weakening world economy. This report by the WTO doesn’t come as a surprise as the OECD already earlier projected that the global economy will grow by 2.9% in 2019 and 3% in 2020 – the weakest annual growth rates since the financial crisis, with downside risks continuing to mount.

Signs: German manufacturing has plunged because China is buying less German equipment and one of the reasons Thomas Cook folded up was less demand from Travellers who were cautious due to uncertainty about Brexit.

What’s not happening anytime soon?

A global recession remains unlikely, even as growth slows down. At least that’s some consolation. 😊

China celebrates 70 years of communist rule

China this week celebrated 70 years of the rule of the communist party. The Chinese Communist Party reached a moment the U.S.S.R. did not: 70 years in power — one more than the Soviet Union lasted.

What’s Working?

China is richer and stronger than ever before. Now the world’s ­second-largest economy and could overtake the United States for top spot as soon as next year. Its gross domestic product per capita has risen from about $200 at the republic’s founding in 1949 to more than $10,000 per head now.  Also, the party claims it has lifted 750 million people out of poverty. 

What’s not working?

In more recent times, China’s economy appears to be slowing down from the economic drag of the trade war with the United States. It is also fending off condemnation of the government’s mass detentions of Muslims in Xinjiang; battling an epidemic of African swine fever that has driven up prices for that Chinese staple, pork; and trying to contain months of protests in Hong Kong that have surged into an open defiance of Beijing’s rule.

Bottom line: At the mark of the anniversary, the party is doing its best to make sure the 1.4 billion people of China feel proud and remain loyal. However, it’s uncertain if what it’s doing is enough.

Dig Deeper: Read China and the World in The World New Era: A 49-page white paper detailing the achievements of the communist party.

In Slow-Mo 👀



Worth reading 📚

Child Sexual Abuse Material Online, The Problem With Community, Towards More Friction: How privacy Work go against us.


This Isn’t Your Grandmother’s Tech Company, But It Should Be 

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