Welcome once again to Nairametrics’ weekly tech news roundup. This week, as always, we bring you a compilation of the major tech events and activities that made the news.
We go behind the scenes, focusing on some of the major talking points and backstories just to keep you updated with the latest developments in the tech space.
This column is dedicated to investors, as well as enthusiasts of Nigeria’s growing tech sector. You can follow the stories by subscribing to our tech newsletter which is sent out to our readers every Saturday.
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Paylater is winning big time
We begin this week’s tech roundup on an exciting note because one of Nigeria’s leading fintech and online lending platforms, Paylater, announced a major achievement. The company’s Chief Executive Officer, Ngozi Dozie, took to Twitter, on Monday, to announce that so far this year, they have recorded N4 billion in loans. This amount, he said, is more than what the company recorded within the same period last year.
How do we startups frame it again – super-pleased, pumped? I forget.
— iServeData (@ngozidozie) June 19, 2018
https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsThis is a really good development for the fintech company which makes it less cumbersome for Nigerians to access short-term loans in order to meet “unexpected expenses or urgent cash needs.”
Considering the volume of loans recorded, it is obvious that Paylater is in for good times. This is because, depending on the interest rates for each loan, the company will probably be raking in millions as profit by the end of the year.
The company is owned by One Finance & Investments Limited.
Vodacom is committed to girls in ICT
Vodacom Business Nigeria is committed to inspiring Nigeria’s next generation of female tech professionals. The telecoms provider brought together a group of school girls for a tech event in Lagos, in commemoration of the 2018 International Girls’ ICT Day.
The female students, who were drawn from select secondary schools in Lagos, participated in a lineup of activities including STEM quizzes and coding competitions.
Speaking at the event, a Senior Manager at Vodacom Business Nigeria, Funke Atanda, stated that the company is committed towards the acceleration of the much-needed change that will create opportunities for women through technology.
According to Atanda, one of the ways they are demonstrating this commitment is by exposing young girls to ICT early in their lives. In her own words, “by supporting ICT skills acquisition for young girls, bringing them into our organisations and opening their minds to new technologies that exist and continue to develop, we are able to encourage more girls to choose courses in the ICT sector. This will help increase the number of women in the ICT sector in the near future.”
On Nigeria’s inability to achieve 30% broadband penetration and the implications for mobile money market
As the second quarter of 2018 steadily comes to an end, and with just six months till the end of the year, stakeholders are beginning to worry about Nigeria’s ability to meet its national broadband target of 30%. So far, only 22% of the target has been actualised.
One of the negative implications of Nigeria’s inability to meet this target is that other sectors of the economy that depend on broadband penetration will fail. One of such sectors is the mobile money market, which is seeking to gain an 80% financial inclusion by 2020, according to a mandate set by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Professor Umar Danbatta, over the week reiterated the NCC’s commitment towards actualising the national broadband plan of 30%. He gave insight into some of the efforts that are being put in place, including the fact that some “international submarine cables and landing station services operators have landed cables in the country.”
Meanwhile, Nigeria’s teledensity growth continues
While Nigeria continues to struggle to meet its broadband penetration target of 30%, its teledensity ratio has grown for the ninth consecutive month.
According to a report published by the NCC, Nigeria’s teledensity has grown by 114.66% between August, 2017, and April, 2018.
The reason given for this growth is the continued rise in the number of active telecoms subscribers. As at April, 2018, the total number of active telecoms subscribers across networks stood at 160,524,590,000.
According to the report, although Nigeria’s teledensity reduced earlier in 2017 (between January and July), it picked up again in August, and has since then continued to grow.
Uber to introduce safety tips that will prevent drowsy driving
Uber said that it will be introducing a new hours policy for its driver-partners in Sub-Saharan Africa. The policy is expected to prevent accidents by forestalling drowsy driving, thereby ensuring safety for both passengers and drivers alike.
The policy comes in the form of a new feature on the Uber App which will require drivers to go offline after 12 hours of consecutive driving. Without observing this mandatory break, drivers will not be able to log in to the app and take trips.
Note that even though Uber already has a similar app in place which is equally aimed at ensuring safety, this is the first time that drivers would be required to observe breaks.
Akin Alabi to step down as CEO of Nairabet
In what is obviously an interesting, yet somewhat surprising development, the CEO of Nairabet, Akin Alabi, announced that he will soon step down as the company’s CEO.
According to the announcement made, on Wednesday, through his personal Twitter page, he stated that the move is to enable him concentrate on contesting for and possibly winning a seat in Nigeria’s lower legislative chamber, where he hopes to represent his constituency.
In a few weeks, I will be resigning as CEO of @NairaBET so I can fully concentrate on my campaign to contest for a seat in the House of Representatives. If I lose, my seat will be waiting for me at the head office. Politics is not a do or die affair.
— Oloye Akin Alabi (@akinalabi) June 20, 2018
Mr Alabi also stated in the tweet that should he lose election, he would return to his CEO position at Nairabet.
He founded the sports betting company in 2009, and the platform has so far grown to become one of the most successful startups in Nigeria.
Kwese TV opens experience centre in Lagos
Satellite TV network, Kwese TV, has opened a customer experience centre in Nigeria, barely a month after launching KweseInflix, its premier digital entertainment platform in the country.
The new ultramodern experience centre is expected to boost the more than 600 Kwese dealers’ outlets that currently exist in the country, even as it helps to meet the demands that come with the FIFA World Cup.
Customers can, among other things, buy Kwese TV decoders, renew subscriptions and receive all other kinds of assistance at the experience centre.
Interestingly, the inroad made by Kwese TV in recent times presents competitive challenges to the likes of MultiChoice Nigeria, which for a long time has dominated the market.
Jumia attributes growth to its interconnected ecosystem
Jumia said that its success over the years can be attributed to an integrated and interconnected ecosystem which was designed to capture customers’ daily needs on a single platform, instead of making use of multiple platforms.
The system currently operates across all the twenty-three African markets, where the company currently operates.
The company’s Chief Executive Officer, Juliet Anammah, made this known while speaking to journalists. According to her, the integrated ecosystem is helping to scale the business, while “building one brand across the continent and building the same experience for consumers across the continent. Rather than just focusing on shopping, we included the other things people would normally do: order food, book flights and hotels.”
The company has hopes of becoming the biggest e-commerce platform in Africa and one of the biggest in the world.
Nigeria’s Accounteer wins the 2018 Mest Africa Summit $50,000 pitch competition
Online accounting platform, Accounteer, has received $50,000 in equity investments after winning a pitch competition during the 2018 Mest Africa Summit which held recently in Cape Town, South Africa.
Accounteer’s win followed a three-day event, which saw lots of pitches by other companies that were hoping to clinch the top price.
Note that the Mest Africa Summit is a pan-African entrepreneurial training programme, as well as seed incubator which has assisted entrepreneurs over the last ten years.
This year’s event saw the gathering of some of the biggest innovators and investors in global tech, all of whom discussed trends, challenges and opportunities available for tech entrepreneurs.
NBS and SMEDAN will collaborate for MSMEs on database
The Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency (SMEDAN) and the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) are working together towards the creation of a database for Nigeria’s micro, small and medium enterprises. To do this, the agencies will carry out a research aimed at identifying some of the challenges facing the sector.
SMEDAN’s Director General, Dr Dikko Radda, disclosed this during a meeting with stakeholders in the MSMEs sub-sector.
This article was written by Emmanuel Abara Benson, with contributions from Meka Aluko