TechCabal Daily – Kill bill: the Ghanaian edition

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THE DAY IN REVIEW

1. THE WINNERS OF FINANCIAL TIMES AND SEEDSTARS’ FTxSDG CHALLENGE

The Financial Times and Seedstars have announced the six global winners of the FTxSDG Challenge.

In September, the Financial Times and Seedstars put out a call for applications from impact-driven startups and entrepreneurs in emerging markets who are creating innovative solutions that tackle the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and would like funding and learning opportunities. It was a theme-based competition with challenges tackling goals from gender equality to climate change.

Kenyan retail tech company, Duhqa, has emerged as one of the six global winners winning for the category/theme of “Reduced Inequalities”. Duhqa solves the problem of logistics and delivery inefficiencies by connecting retailers with manufacturers and suppliers, both locally and internationally.

The other winners are: 

  • Anthem (India), for the category of Quality Education
  • Medl (Trinidad and Tobago), winner for Good Health & Wellbeing
  • Pinky Promise (India), for Gender Equality
  • Trii (Cayman Islands), for Good Jobs & Economic Growth, and
  • Safearth Clean Technologies (India), for the Climate Action category.

The winners have the opportunity to receive $500K in funding for their startups and free access to Seedstars’ growth program.

2. GHANA’S E-LEVY BILL IS LEADING TO STRIKES AND FIGHTS

The drama surrounding Ghana’s proposed e-levy bill continues to unfold, and the last parliamentary hearing even led to a brawl. 

We already told you how Ghana is set to impose a 1.75% charge on all electronic transactions above GH₵100 by February 2022 and how the bill made it to the parliament. Earlier this week, parliamentarians got into a physical brawl as an argument ensued while voting on the bill. On Monday, after Deputy Speaker Joseph Osei-Owusu suggested the bill be debated and voted upon under a hastened “urgency” procedure to quicken the process, a fight broke out during voting.

The reason for the brawl is not clear, but this is just one of a number of issues currently plaguing the e-levy bill. Calls from both citizens, minority-party members, and consumer advocacy groups to scrap the bill have thrown the bill and its proposed intentions into negative light. Even the Mobile Money Agents Association of Ghana (MMAAG) is set to begin a strike on the matter.

A notice of the impending strike was put out to the general public on December 19, with the association describing it as “very regressive”. The strike is set to begin on Thursday December 23.

If passed, the levy will affect mobile money payments, all digital financial service providers, and remittances into Ghana. Ghana has one of the fastest-growing mobile money markets. A report by the American research firm Boston Consulting Group (BCG) pegged Kenya and Ghana as having the highest mobile payment rates after China, with mobile wallet transactions accounting for 82% of Ghana’s GDP.

A vote on whether to proceed with the hastened urgency voting after the fight in the parliament was postponed to January 18.

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3. AfDB APPROVES $170 MILLION LOAN TO NIGERIA

The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved a $170 million loan to finance the Digital and Creative Enterprises Program (i-DICE) in Nigeria. 

This investment into i-DICE is a federal government initiative promoting investments in digital and creative startups to create jobs for its large youth population. The programme is focused on Nigerian entrepreneurs between the ages of 15 to 35, who run “innovative, early-stage, technology-enabled startups” or run MSMEs in the creative sector. According to plans by the Nigerian government and AfDB, through this loan this program will “stimulate investments in 226 technology and creative startups and provide non-financial services to 451 digital technology and small and medium enterprises”. 

The programme is also expected to increase Nigeria’s job creation efforts by creating 6.1 million direct and indirect jobs. Speaking of the initiative in the announcement, Dr Beth Dunford, the Vice President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development for AFDB said, “This programme is among the latest series of our operations meant to bolster the implementation of the Bank’s Jobs for Youth in Africa Strategy. Given that tech-enabled enterprises cut across all the economic growth sectors, the programme’s focus on the digital sector will deepen Nigeria’s job creation efforts.” 

This initiative is co-financed by the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB).

4. TIKTOK OVERTAKES GOOGLE AS THE INTERNET’S MOST VISITED SITE

In a move surprising to no one, TikTok has overtaken Google as the most visited site in 2021. This information is according to Cloudfare, a web performance and security company and it creates web rankings by calculating aggregated data on internet traffic patterns.

The Chinese video app—owned by ByteDance—has rapidly taken over the social media world, with an increase in usage during the pandemic. The app celebrated a billion active monthly users in September, a 47% increase from July 2020 when it had 689 million active users. To put this in context, in July, Facebook reported that it had 2.9 billion active monthly users and this was a 7% increase year-on-year.

The hold over the daily top stop between TikTok and Google fluctuated throughout the year, but from August 10, TikTok held the top spot on most days.

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QUICK FIRE 🔥: A COMPILATION

So, we started Quick Fire 🔥 in April to demystify the lives of people who have hacked success in the African tech ecosystem. We aimed to have light and brief conversations with everyone whose work intersects with tech, from community managers to growth experts and senior leaders. 

Since then, we’ve interviewed 36 brilliant minds from 9 countries including Mali, Ghana, Zambia, and Uganda. 

Here are five of some of the most interesting answers to everyone’s favourite question, “Explain your job to a five-year-old”:

  • “If you had your own lego shop, you would hire me to make sure that everyone who needs lego knows that your shop is open. I would also make sure people buy your lego and that they keep coming back to buy more and also recommend us to their friends, family, colleagues, and anybody who needs lego.” – Chioma Ugo, Co-founder and Head of Growth at Prospa.
  • “I am the class captain who makes sure everything is in order.” – Ibrahim Bashir, CEO and co-founder of dillali, an income and expense management tool for SMEs.
  • I make sure that the people who come to my workplace are able to get what they are looking for. It’s like when you visit your aunt/uncle, and you need a drink of water and ask your aunt for water? I am the aunty/uncle who makes sure you get the water.” – Eugene Kavuma, Community Lead at MoTIV
  • “I am in charge of keeping the computers running!” – Sizwe Ndlovu, Chief Technology Officer at Pineapple.

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