Here are three major stories from Africa’s business landscape you should keep in mind this week:

Billionaires battled for Transcorp

Over the past few weeks, two of Nigeria’s wealthiest men battled for control of the Transnational Corporation of Nigeria (Transcorp) Plc, one of the country’s biggest conglomerates. It all started on April 12th when Femi Otedola, former chairman of Forte Oil Plc and current executive chairman of Geregu Power Plc, spent over N2 billion to purchase a 5.5% stake in Transcorp.

Otedola did not previously own shares in Transcorp, and the acquisition would have made him the biggest individual shareholder in the firm, displacing Tony Elumelu, another famous billionaire who also serves as chairman of the company. Hence, the drama began.

On Thursday, Elumelu raised his share in Transcorp dramatically to 25.58% from 2.07%. By the next day, Otedola sold his stake to Elumelu in what seemed like a sheathing of swords. However, he made a fortune from it. Between the time of his purchase and exit, Transcorp’s share prices had surged by over 100%.

Sudan is killing its internet

In Sudan, the political turmoil has taken a troubling turn with reports of a countrywide internet shutdown. According to cybersecurity firm NetBlocks, the country’s online connectivity has plummeted to a meagre 2% from its typical 40%. While some areas have since had their access partially restored, the larger picture remains bleak.

At the heart of the unrest lie two military commanders, Lt Gen Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and Lt Gen Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, who in 2019 ousted longtime dictator Omar al-Bashir. In a further bid for power, the duo recently toppled a civilian government led by prime minister Abdallah Hamdok, thwarting the transition to democratic rule.

Since then, international organizations have urged these military leaders to relinquish power, threatening sanctions if they refuse. However, the situation has since escalated, as former allies turned enemies have unleashed their armies against each other, resulting in mass displacement and loss of lives.

Meta is on a losing streak in Kenya.

Meta is losing several battles in Kenya. Last week, a Kenyan court ruled in favour of two Ethiopians who accused the social media giant of neglecting to moderate inciteful messages on its platform. This is the second legal battle Meta has lost in Kenya this month. Earlier this month, a Kenyan High Court issued an order prohibiting Meta from using any third-party content moderator company other than Sama to examine its platform’s content. In the same lawsuit, it was also decided that Kenyan courts have the jurisdiction to determine petitions against Meta.

Last December, Abrham Meareg sued Meta in Kenya for the death of his father which happened amidst the two-year Ethiopian war from 2020–2022. Meareg claims that his father was killed after his Facebook account was profiled and he was accused of being associated with the Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF), a rebel group. So his lawsuit seeks to make Meta create a Ksh250 billion ($1.8 billion) fund to compensate victims of hate crimes fuelled on all Meta platforms. And last week, the court granted Meareg permission to serve Meta a lawsuit outside Kenya. However, that’s still a long way from victory.

ICYMI: Market Roundup

  • Nigeria’s stock market recovered with a 2.04% surge in the All-Share Index. Top gainers were Honeywell Flour Mill PLC (34.91%), Cadbury Nigeria (32.35%), CWG (19.32%), Chams Holding Company (16.67%), and Transnational Corporation (14.69%). The top decliners were Nigerian Brew. (-11.48%), Royal Exchange (-11.11%), Red Star Express PLC (-10.00%), International Energy Insurance (-8.82%), and Prestige Assurance (-7.69%).
  • Brent crude’s price closed the week at $80.25 per barrel, while WTI oil closed at $76.70 per barrel.
  • The naira declined from N461.52/$ to N463/$ at the Investors’ and Exporters’ Window.
  • The crypto market stands at a $1.18 trillion market cap, up from last week’s $1.17 trillion. Bitcoin gained 4.38% to start the week at $28,633; Ethereum traded flat at $1843 and BNB gained 1.4% to start the week at $333.
  • Capria Ventures, one of the leading Global South specialist firms investing in early-growth Global South startups, has announced the first close of its USD 100 M fund. Its new fund will focus on investing in 20-25 tech startups in the entrepreneurial hotspots of Africa, India, Southeast Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East.
  • Storspay, a Nigerian fintech startup, has raised a $320,000 funding round and has been selected to participate in the Techstars NYC accelerator.
  • Smile Identity has acquired Appruve’s parent company (Inclusive Innovations, Inc.) to expand its footprint across Africa.
  • Maholla, a South African viral consumer rewards app, has raised $ 1.5 million in seed funding.

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