It’s been quite an eventful week with many things happening:

El Chapo (a Mexican drug lord) sentenced to life imprisonment on the week La Casa De Papel (Money Heist) season 3 is coming out.  If you know, you know 😉

Africa is still raving about “The Lion King: The Gift” album produced by Beyoncé featuring many African artistes who got the memo and deliverredd!

The African Cup of Nations came to an end with favourites Senegal losing to Algeria. Nigeria clinched the third spot with Odion Ighalo as the tournament’s highest goal scorer. This wasn’t a bad outing for Nigeria.

Let’s dive into the news


New Wallpaper for you


We found this somewhat funny and didn’t even know there was such a thing as approving new official portrait.

What should you do?

You can get a sample copy of the new official portrait from the official website of the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.

What happens if you use another picture?

We don’t know

But someone seems to have a better idea

O what’s happening here?

The Story

The budding motorcycle-hailing market in Lagos got intense in June when Opera Software AS, the company that makes Opera browser introduced OPay. An app that lets you book a ride. However, unlike the other players in the e-hailing market that allow riders to hail a ride with or without a mobile app, you need the OPay app — Opera’s payment platform– to book a ride on ORide.

Looks like there’s a twist here

It’s supposed to be an e-hailing service but the logo on the bikes are Opay, not ORide. 

Mobility is important to the survival of man so in June when Opera pegged all rides on ORide within Lagos at ₦100. Nigerians went crazy, jumping on the cheapest mobility option available. A clever customer acquisition strategy.

The app also has OFood, a feature that lets you order food from restaurants in Lagos.

What’s the end game?

On the surface, Opera is coming for the likes of MAX Okada and Gokada. But the endgame for Opera per Techpoint appears to be more of payment and not e-hailing as it seems. 

It’s another online payment platform that’d allow almost every form of payment.

Why it matters?

Could posing as an e-hailing company be a better way to acquire users than just outrightly coming out as a payment company?

How Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises are doing

The National Bureau of statistics has got another set of interesting statistics for us this week.

A survey on Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises. 

FYI:  This how you classify Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises.

Micro Enterprise: Staff strength of fewer than 10 people, Assets (excluding Land and Building)  that are worth less than N5m.

Small Enterprise: Staff strength of 10 – 49 people,  Assets (excluding Land and Building) ranging from N5m to less than N50m.

Medium Enterprise: Staff strength of 50 -199 people,  Assets (excluding Land and Building) ranging from N50m – less than N500m.

Okay, what did the report say?

The total number of enterprises is 41, 543, 028,  of which 99.8% are Micro-enterprises.

States with the most SMEs: Lagos (11.5%), Oyo (8.4%), Osun (4.1%)

States with fewest SMEs: Yobe (0.1%), Bayelsa (0.4%), Borno (0.7%)

Type of Business

Wholesale/Retail Trade, Agriculture, as well as other services and activities, make up 76.3% of Micro-enterprises.

Education, Manufacturing, and Wholesale/Retail Trade make up 68% of small enterprises in Nigeria.

Manufacturing, Wholesale/Retail Trade, and Human Health & Social Works make up 68% of medium enterprises.

Jobs created & Gender Parity

Out of the almost 3m jobs created by SMEs, Males accounted for 57% of the jobs compared to 43% of women.

The education sector employs more females than males while manufacturing employs 3 times more male than females.

Raising Capital

Personal savings is the most common source of raising capital for SMEs. The majority of micro-businesses started with less than N50,000 in initial startup costs. 

Only 17.5% of SMEs owners got loans, while 11.7% resorted to family as a source of capital.

23.6% of Micro Enterprises source funds from families and cooperatives/Esusu.

For SMEs who had access to bank credit, commercial banks were the main source of these funds (91.9%), while 4.7% accessed credit from Micro-Finance Institutions, and 1% from Development Institutions. 

Financial and Support Services

No Business Plan: 75.6% Micro, 65% SME have no business plan.

When you fail to plan, you…😶

Unregistered: 97.8% of Micro are not registered

Unregistered businesses are hard to track for development and policy planning, regulation, and revenue generation purposes.

Uninsured: 96.61% Micro, 63.9% SME 

MSMEs are particularly vulnerable to business shocks.

Dig Deeper: Survey on Micro, Small and Medium Scale enterprises 2019

Here’s how the Government plans to stop suicide on the 2nd Niger Bridge 

The Story

The typical response to suicide is often therapy or swift response but with the advent of people jumping over the third mainland bridge in Lagos, the Federal Government is factoring the rate of suicide in the country into the design of the 2nd Niger Bridge.

Engineers say that the bridge needed to be redesigned to avoid the same incidents recorded at the Third Mainland Bridge in Lagos.

What’s the solution: A 1.5m walkway by the side of the bridge with an attachment that makes it difficult for anyone to jump over the bridge. 

What this means

There should be fewer cases of suicide when the 2nd Niger Bridge is completed, however, this afterthought will mean the redesign would cost the government a bit more than it budgeted to spend on this project.


Russia’s growing interest in Africa

With a 0.5% economic growth in the first quarter of 2019 and its working population dropping 1% a year, Russia seems to be paying more attention to Africa, Russian trade with Africa rose 26 per cent to $17.4bn in 2017.

Tell me more

Russia is making this move because of a number of reasons namely, Western sanctions against Russia; turning to China doesn’t seem to be successful; expected billions of dollars in Middle East investment have not arrived as they ought to, and African countries are having more say at the United Nations.  

So what is Russia doing in Africa?

Oil and gas deals with Algeria, Egypt, Ghana, Nigeria and Mozambique; nuclear deals with Rwanda and Zambia; and big supplies of arms to countries including Egypt, Sudan and Angola.

Bottom line: The attention of the West was on China and its engagement in Africa. However, they are only beginning to pay attention to what Russia might be doing. Is this a new development that should be applauded?


Facebook’s hearing on Libra

The hill

For two days, David Marcus Head of Calibra was grilled by US senators with questions about how Facebook’s intends to run its lastest projects: Calibra – A digital wallet and Libra – A digital Coin.

How it went

Facebook Inc. was questioned by senators who had issues trusting the social-media giant to operate as a global cryptocurrency. Majorly asking how it would protect users of its cryptocurrency, considering the political hurdles the company needs to scale before it can issue the digital cash.

Facebook replied that its digital coin, known as Libra, won’t be an investment vehicle and that the company and its partners have no plans to act as a central bank. It said it intends to be like other US payment services such as Paypal and Venmo.

How Facebook sees the world

Facebook sees the world as a global community it can unite but the reality is that the world is still very fragmented especially when money is involved. The Physical world still has borders.

Why it matters?

The implications of Facebook running Libra and Calibra mean that there would be greater scrutiny on Facebook. Is Facebook ready for this?

What would it take to convince the Senate that a distrusted private company run that tracks your every move for the purpose of selling advertising should be entrusted with handling more financial responsibility?

With greater power, comes greater responsibility.

Netflix is losing US subscribers 

Don’t worry El Chapo we’re coming to save you.

The Story

For the first time in almost a decade, the number of people subscribing to Netflix in the U.S. declined. Globally, Netflix added 2.7 million subscribers in the second quarter, far fewer than the 5 million it had forecast and below the 5.5 million it added in the second quarter of 2018.

Why so?

Netflix had a relative lack of new hit shows (which drives subscriber acquisition) and raised prices (which increases churn).

Any other reason

The slowdown in Netflix’s growth came just as rival streaming services from Walt Disney, Apple, AT&T’s WarnerMedia and Comcast’s NBCUniversal prepare to enter the marketplace this year.  This is dubbed as “The Streaming Wars” by Wall Street. 

On the bright side, as per Stratechery “there will be a shakeout in streaming; most content companies simply don’t have the business model or stomach for building a sustainable streaming service, and will eventually go back to licensing their content to the highest bidder, and there Netflix has a massive advantage thanks to the user base it already has.”

China’s Slowest quarter in a long while

The Story

China’s economy grew 6.2% between April and June 2019, While such economic growth would be the envy of most of the world, its China’s slowest rate since 1992.

What it means

While the growth rate was in line with economists’ expectations – and with China’s target of 6-6.5% for 2019 as a whole – a closer look at the data shows a Chinese government working hard to boost the country’s economy and combat the negative impact of the trade war with the US. 

Why it matters

China’s response to an expected slow growth rate was to increase government spending on Infrastructure while reducing taxes and interest rate to stimulate its economy but for how long can China keep this up?

US Companies that make cameras (GoPro), shoes (Nike), furniture (Lovesac) and many others are increasingly moving production of items subject to American tariffs away from China to neighbouring low-cost countries like Vietnam. This could shift the attention of the US to Vietnam.

You were worth the wait

Before we had Brown skin girls emoji all over the place, all we had was the same white emojis. Thanks to Lobbyists it different now.

Another lobbyist is at it again, but this time fighting for something bigger.

What is happening?

Ford spent two years and roughly $50,000 lobbying for a truck emoji to be included, according to The Atlantic, and the design looks strangely similar to a Ford Ranger.  

How do Emojis come into the digital world?

It’s simple, anyone can suggest an emoji.

Then they’re selected by the Unicode Consortium, a volunteer organization that oversees the appearance of every computerized text and emoji – Now here’s a volunteer opportunity that sounds exciting or boring depending on your personality.

What’s in an emoji?

Vultlab says that adding custom emojis to your message increase a brand’s Twitter presence by nearly 420%.

The alternative of making the default truck emoji look like a Ford range is to get a custom emoji made by a social network – think Games of thrones or olympics emoji.

A custom emoji like this is known to cost something close to $1M, taking a cue from Pepsi which paid Twitter $1,000,000 for its custom hashtag. 

Bottom line: Getting the default truck emoji to look like a ford range just for $50k sure does look like a steal!

Stories that couldn’t make it into the newsletter but are worth reading 

In Lagos, billions generated as ‘tax’ by road unions are never accounted for

How Nigeria’s fear of child ‘witchcraft’ ruins young lives

Thank you for reading the 19th issue of this newsletter. Please share this newsletter with a friend and expect us by midday next week Saturday ❤