Photograph — Aspiration Software

Angola’s $89 million cloud project.

In another move to transform its digital economy, the government of Angola recently announced a new $89 million project to construct a unified national cloud that offers several services. The project includes building two data centres and updating an existing centre to be linked by a fibre optic ring. Once completed by Q1 2024, the centres will provide high-speed internet connectivity to all government departments and help unify data from all ministerial departments.

The goal is to transfer all data centre silos from different ministerial departments into a unified location. This will make all of the data safe and easily accessible. According to André Pedro, the director of the National Institute for the Promotion of the Information Society (INFOSI), the project will also offer a secure environment for citizens’ data and increase the availability of electronic services.

Every technology-dependent company needs data centres to function optimally. Such infrastructures could also impact the success of your bank transfers or the clarity and smoothness of your YouTube or Netflix shows.

Chipper Cash and Bolt layoffs. 

The African ecosystem is experiencing a spillover from last year’s tech layoff wave. African cross-border payments platform Chipper Cash conducted a second round of layoffs just ten weeks after it cut approximately 12.5% of its workforce (affecting its engineering team the most). In addition to the first round of layoffs, the five-year-old payments and the crypto startup has let go of over 150 employees in the last three months to cut costs amidst global economic turbulence.

Similarly, Bolt laid off 17 of its 70 workers in Nigeria to restructure its operations in the country. The layoff comes a day after Bolt announced its plans to recruit 326 staff globally and invest $500 million in Africa. Interestingly, the Estonia-based ride-hailing platform closed a $711 million funding round at an $8.4 billion valuation in January 2022.

M-Pesa eyes the global remittance market.

With its success on the African mobile money front, M-Pesa, the fintech service provided by telecom company Safaricom, is now testing itself in the global remittance market as the demand for seamless, fast and affordable remittance services spikes through a partnership with eCommerce behemoth, Amazon.

In May 2021, the fintech giant hinted about this partnership, stating that the move was part of its efforts to expand its global reach and bounce back from its first profit decline in a decade. The fintech giant already has a huge presence in Africa serving about 51 million customers across seven countries. Although growth may not come easy in the foreign market due to competition from existing players such as Western Union and MoneyGram, expansion into new markets could be a game-changer for the company and the financial services industry as a whole. 

ICYMI: Market roundup

  • The NGX All-Share Index increased by +0.55% to close the week ending 24th of February at 54,949.21 points. The top gainers were McNichols Plc +10.00%, John Holt Plc +10.00%, The Initiates Plc +10.00%, Conoil Plc +9.94%, Mrs Oil Nigeria Plc +9.89%. The top decliners were Regency Alliance Insurance Company Plc -3.45%, Courteville Business Solutions Plc -4.17%, Cornerstone Insurance Company Plc -0.05%, Living Trust Mortgage Bank Plc -10.00%, Japaul Gold and Ventures Plc -3.33%. 
  • The naira rose to close the week at N459.00/1$ on Friday compared to the 460.54/1$ recorded the previous week.  
  • Brent crude closed the week at $82.85, while US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude closed at $76.45.
  • The global cryptocurrency market cap stood at $1.06 trillion, as of 4:24 pm Sunday, the 26th of February 2023. Bitcoin stood at $23,218.07, a 6.76% decrease in 7 days, Ethereum stood at $1,603.48, a 6.23% decrease in 7 days, and Binance coin stood at $304.09, a 4.05% decrease in 7 days.
  • Kenyan HR and payroll startup, Workpay raised US$2.7 million in pre-Series A funding to expand its HR, payroll, compliance, and benefits tools across Africa.
  • Hollydesk, an expense management platform in Egypt, raised $ 1 million in venture debt financing to help more small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in the country manage and track their daily expenses.

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