Here are the top three events from last week in Africa’s business and technology space that you might have missed.

The CBN says it’s cleared FX backlogs

Nigeria’s naira recorded steep gains last week in official and parallel markets after authorities announced clearing a backlog of unmet foreign exchange obligations to industries and foreigners. According to Hakama Sidi Ali, a CBN spokeswoman, the apex bank has settled “all valid” foreign exchange backlogs amounting to $7 billion. The last payment it made was $1.5 billion.

Forex backlogs have been a heavy millstone for the naira, causing it to plunge to an all-time low near $2000 in February. It has also spooked many foreign investors over the last year as capital inflows plunged in 2023.

However, there’s still a debate on the CBN’s FX clearance. According to a BusinessDay report, Kingsley Nwokoma, President of the Association of Foreign Airlines and Representatives in Nigeria, (AFARN), claimed “nothing has changed.” What happened is that the CBN offered them the option to get their funds from the banks using the rates at the I&E window. The airlines refused because the current I&E window rate is not the same as they used to sell tickets.

Meta wants to pay Nigerian creators

Meta Platforms will allow content creators in Nigeria to make money through ads and other features, hoping it will keep the country’s top content creators on its platforms. Those options and features are expected to be ready before June 2024, said Nick Clegg,  the company’s President of Global Affairs.

Content creators in America, Australia, Canada, and South Korea were the first to earn through “Ads on Reels,” in 2023, a performance-based program that pays according to the number of plays their reels get.

“With a performance-based model, creators can focus on the content that resonates with their audience and help them grow,” Meta said in May 2023 after months of testing the program.

Senegal is getting a new president

Senegal held its general elections on Sunday, March 24th, and results have started streaming in. Voters chose from 19 candidates approved by the Constitutional Council, Senegal’s top court. President Macky Sall, whose tenure will end on April 2nd, is not on the ballot having served two terms.

It marks an end to a month-long drama which Sall started by postponing the elections. That decision sparked worries among many countries because Senegal has long been seen as an example of stability in West Africa. It has never suffered a military coup, even as military juntas have recently taken over several of its neighbours.

As of report time, supporters of the opposition contender, Bassirou Diomaye Faye, have taken to the streets of the capital, Dakar, in celebration as early results from Sunday’s vote showed he was in the lead. The celebrations came as at least five of the 17 candidates in the race issued statements congratulating Faye on what they called his victory.

ICYMI: Market roundup

  • The NGX All-Share Index and Market Capitalization depreciated by 0.42% to close the week at 104,647.37 and N59.169 trillion respectively.
  • The top gainers were Juli Plc. (+46.10%), NEM Insurance Plc (+45.11%), International Energy Insurance Plc (+22.95%), Jaiz Bank Plc (+20.40%), and Thomas Wyatt Nig. Plc. (+19.78%). The top decliners were Julius Berger Nig. Plc. (-17.15%), Daar Communications Plc (-14.10%), UPDC Real Estate Investment Trust (-12.73%), Deap Capital Management & Trust Plc (-12.50%), and MTN Nigeria Communications Plc (-12.25%).
  • The naira closed the week at N1422.85/$ at the NAFEX window.
  • Brent crude fell to $85.91/barrel, while WTI oil fell to $81.14.
  • The crypto market cap now stands at $2.55 trillion. Bitcoin fell 1.65% to close at $66,845; ETH lost 3.95% to close at $3445; and BNB gained 2.61% to close at 582.
  • ClusterLab, the Tunisian company behind the Arabic audiobook summarisation app Reedz, has secured$600k in pre-seed funding.
  •  Acasia Ventures has invested a six-figure bridge round in Cairo-based digital marketplace Pharmacy Marts.
  • Egypt’s MNT-Halan has acquired Advans Pakistan Microfinance Bank.

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