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 community.
You know we love feedback, so please keep them coming.
MasterCard invests in Flutterwave as CEO steps down
We begin this week with cheering news from Nigeria’s Fintech startup, Flutterwave, announcing the completion of its Series A Extension round of financing. Investors from this round of investment include Mastercard, CRE Ventures, Fintech Collective, 4DX Ventures, and Raba Capital among others.
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Flutterwave was launched in 2016 and the platform has processed over US$2.3 billion in payments across 60 million transactions and partnered with the likes of Standard Bank, FirstBank, and Ecobank. Clients include Transferwise, Flywire, Booking.com, JumiaPay, and Uber. Till date, the startup has raised a total funding of more than US$20 million.
Also, as part of the financing, current Green Visor Capital Chairman and general partner, who is also former Visa Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Joe Saunders, has joined the Flutterwave board of directors.
During the week, Flutterwave CEO Iyinoluwa Aboyeji also announced that he was stepping down as the CEO, while its co-founder, Olugbenga Agboola, will take over as the new CEO.
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The platform says that it is building modern payments technology and infrastructure for Africa to enable people and businesses to connect with the global economy.
Flutterwave provides an end-to-end payment technology and infrastructure that enables payment service providers, global merchants, licensed money transfer operators and Pan-African banks to process payments across all available payment options in Africa.
At the FirstBank Fintech Summit, Team Cashflow won the star prize of N3 million for the FirstBank Hackathon. The team had presented a solution on a smart ledger invoicing platform for banks to discount SME invoices.
Other teams that won prizes were Team Ace (second position) and Team Cybersmart (third position) which won N1.5 million and N750,000 respectively. The hackathon event had 10 contesting teams, of which Team Cashflow emerged winner.
Team CyberSmart uses AI to analyse Big Data for detecting and combating fraudulent financial transactions, while Team Ace’s solution integrates AI and USSD with the aid of voice command to provide banking services.
CBN reaffirms its position on bitcoin and blockchain
At the just concluded FirstBank Fintech Summit in Lagos, the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) Deputy Director of Banking and Payment Systems Department, Musa Itopa Jimoh, reaffirmed the apex bank’s stance on cryptocurrency, saying that since it does not have control over bitcoins, it cannot guarantee the safety of its transactions and in the event of fraud, CBN does not have a recovery policy.
Mr. Jimoh also said that they are looking into blockchain technology; they intend integrating some transaction processes into blockchain.
Africa Code Week gets underway in Nigeria
Africa Code Week (ACW), a continent-wide initiative of SAP, supported by partners such as Google, UNESCO, BMZ, Camden Trust, and Cape Town Science Centre has commenced a 2-week training for students in Lagos.
Organisers say hundreds of thousands of students will be trained on coding language. The training, which started on the 15th of this month, will run till 26th of the month.
Some state governments have already thrown their full weight behind the program, with a common goal of ensuring that all students in post-primary education are introduced to coding during the 2 weeks.
Facebook set to clamp down on ‘fake news’ in Nigeria
Social media giant, Facebook, has launched a Third-Party Fact-Checking program to help curb the spread of fake news in Nigeria and reduce the spread of misinformation on its platform, few days after the launch of the program in Kenya.
Facebook said that it will partner with Africa Check, Africa’s first independent fact-checking organisation and AFP, a news organisation, to achieve this. Both mediums are part of a global network of fact-checking organisations, certified by the non-partisan International Fact-Checking Network.
The fact-checking program relies on feedback from the Facebook community as one of many signals Facebook uses to raise potentially false stories to fact-checkers for review.
Local articles will be fact-checked alongside the verification of photos and videos. If one of the fact-checking partners identifies a story as false, Facebook will feature it lower in News Feed, significantly reducing its distribution.
Facebook Shareholders are calling for Mark Zuckerberg to step down as chairman
These are not the best of times for Facebook Founder, Mark Zuckerberg, as pressure continues to mount on him to step down as Facebook chairman after several major shareholders called for more accountability following a string of controversies.
These controversies include the sharing of personal data of 87 million users with Cambridge Analytica, the platform’s role in US election meddling, and propagating violence in Myanmar, India, and South Sudan. It also comes just a week after Facebook revealed that cyber attackers had stolen data from nearly 30 million users.
The shareholders, which include the lead investment officers of several US states, as well as the privately-owned firm, Trillium Asset Management, demanded on Wednesday that the roles of CEO and Chairman be split. Zuckerberg, who co-founded the social media giant, currently holds both positions.
Shareholders say Facebook’s governance structure puts investors at risk and should fall in line with other major tech firms like Google, Microsoft, and Apple in having separate CEO and Chairperson roles.
Oracle aims to reach over 1.5 million students across 10,000 academic institutions
Oracle Academy announced a new collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Education of Nigeria (FMOE) to create new computing education pathways for local students.
Through the agreement, FMOE plans to integrate Oracle Academy computer science curriculum and resources across 10,000 academic institutions across the country, reaching over 1.5 million students within the region.
Over the next three years, Oracle Academy will also facilitate the training of 4,000 educators at the Secondary and Higher Education levels to teach computer science.
Africa’s first novel masters in machine intelligence launched
African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) launched its African Masters in Machine Intelligence (AMMI) at its AIMS Rwanda Campus, in partnership with Facebook and Google.
The AMMI program is a one-year intensive foundational masters that will offer Africa’s talented scientists and innovators world-class training in machine intelligence, preparing them to figure out new ways to solve local and global challenges.
Uber Launches New Safety Features in South Africa
Ride-hailing app, Uber, has launched new safety features for its South African customers and drivers.
The new features are being introduced in 38 countries and will be rolled out in the next few weeks to riders, drivers and delivery partners using the app across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.
The new feature includes: Emergency button, Trusted Contacts, Safety Centre, and Speed Alerts.
Youtube Outage this week
In the early hours of Wednesday, Google’s video sharing platform, YouTube, experienced a major outage across the globe. Users could not access the website on Tuesday evening and the website inaccessibility extended to Wednesday morning.
This is coming barely two weeks after Instagram also experienced an outage on its platform. Services have been restored on the platforms.