This Week in African Tech 🌍

Microsoft is not dumping Nigeria 💞

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Tech roundup

  • Microsoft has denied the rumours that it’s leaving Nigeria. Last Monday, their country manager met with Nigeria’s finance minister to clear the air after news of staff cuts and the closure of its Lagos office broke.

  • Airtel Kenya has expanded its 5G network to 39 counties in Kenya, with over 690 operational sites. It will launch another 1,000 sites before the year ends.

  • The cubicle is making a comeback to offices as Meta plans to reduce its Lagos office space after the 2023 layoffs affected its Nigerian staff. It has introduced desk-sharing for employees who spend little time working from the office.

  • Customers are calling out YC-backed fintech Prospa for being unable to process withdrawals for the second time in five months. The last time this happened was in February and customers had to wait weeks before withdrawals resumed.

  • Starlink is finally live in Sierra Leone one year after receiving a license to operate. This makes Sierra Leone the 100th country where Starlink is live, and internet penetration is expected to rise from 21% to 40% by year-end.

  • Ethiopia has launched its biggest electric vehicle (EV) factory in Debre Berhan, Amhara region, which is expected to produce around 1,000 cars a year. Local entrepreneur Belayneh Kinde built the factory at the cost of $52 million.

  • Zimbabwe plans to develop a crypto regulatory framework and has opened a public consultation, asking crypto service providers for inputs on how crypto regulations should work in the country. This framework is expected to be delivered to the public by the 26th of June.

  • A Kenyan court has revoked a ruling that forced Wasoko to retain nine of its laid-off employees last year. According to the company's lawyers, even after Wasoko obeyed the court ruling and reinstated the employees, they did not resume work.

  • Multichoice Group, Africa’s biggest Pay-TV company, has recorded a $217 million annual loss. Inflation and currency devaluation have reduced its active subscriber base in Nigeria to 8.1 million.

  • Zambian Agri-Tech startup, eMsika, will expand its e-poultry solution to four new markets. The startup provides poultry and livestock farmers with convenient access to farm inputs, such as chicks, feed, and vaccines, as well as on-farm visit support through its FarmHouse app.

Gilbert Mwale, founder and CEO of eMsika. Source: How We Made it in Africa

Deal roundup

  • Copia Global is seeking fresh funding after layoffs gut the whole team last week. The company is currently under administration and it plans to cut operating costs while raising new capital to get back in the game.

  • Egyptian bill payment startup, Sahl, has closed two funding rounds at $6 million. The rounds are a combined seed and series A round, and the company plans to be a one-stop shop for household bills in the Middle East.

Sahl’s cofounders, Ahmed Othman, Ibrahim Assal and Abdullah Assal. Source: Wamda

  • Tech-enabled beauty startup, Zuri, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Renew Capital. Zuri is an e-commerce platform serving Africans with high-end beauty products, and it plans to use the latest round of funding to accelerate its growth in Africa and beyond.

  • i’Supply, an Egyptian pharma distribution startup, has raised a pre-series A funding deal, bringing its total funding to date to $2.5 million. The round was led by Disruptech VenturesOneStop Capital, Axian Investment CVC and Egypt Ventures.

Events and opportunities

  • The pan-African Ecobank Group has opened applications for the seventh edition of its Fintech Challenge, with US$50,000 in prize money up for grabs. Fintech companies and developers building for Africa can enter the Fintech Challenge here until the 7th of July.

  • The Africa Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum (AWIEF) has opened nominations for its annual AWIEF Awards, which celebrate the achievements and contributions of women founders and entrepreneurs across Africa. Nominations can be made here until the 5th of August.

  • African storyteller Gerald Black has launched a documentary series titled “Discovering New Tech Destinations Across Africa”. In this series, he’s unveiling new markets for founders and investors, and uncovering fresh destinations for tech nomads across Africa. Its debut episode features the tech ecosystem in the Benin Republic(🇧🇯), and you can watch it here on YouTube.

And that's a wrap for this week!

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