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Tech News Update

weekly news update with ITSA

1.  Microsoft supports Tech4Dev to create jobs in Africa through outsourcing

Microsoft, one of the world’s leading technology companies, has announced its partnership with Tech4Dev, a Nigerian non-profit social enterprise, to create 100,000 jobs for young Africans over the next seven years through Business Process Outsourcing (BPO). BPO is a practice of contracting out business functions or processes to third-party providers, such as customer service, data entry, transcription, etc. BPO can help businesses reduce costs, improve efficiency, and access a global talent pool.

Tech4Dev, founded in 2016, is an organization that aims to empower young people in Africa with digital and creative skills to solve social problems and create economic opportunities. Tech4Dev has launched Taltrix, a BPO social enterprise, to provide employment opportunities for its graduates and other skilled youths across the continent. Taltrix has set up infrastructure in 14 cities in Nigeria, with a capacity to employ 1,000 people, and plans to expand to 100 cities across Africa by 2030.

Microsoft has pledged its full support to Tech4Dev and Taltrix, as part of its mission to empower every person and organization on the planet to achieve more. Microsoft’s Country Director for Nigeria and Ghana, Ola Williams, said that Nigeria has a large and vibrant population of young and enterprising people who can benefit from the opportunities offered by BPO. She also said that Microsoft will provide tools, training, and mentorship to help Taltrix succeed in the outsourcing sector.

The launch of Taltrix, which was held in Lagos on December 26, 2023, was attended by representatives from Microsoft, Meta, American Tower Corporation, and the Ondo State Information Technology Agency. The initiative has also received support from the Nigerian government, which has committed to creating one million jobs through outsourcing. Taltrix hopes to become Africa’s largest outsourcing company by 2030, and contribute to the economic growth and social development of the continent.

 

2. Nigeria to launch CNGN stablecoin in partnership with ASC

Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, is preparing to launch its own stablecoin, the cNGN, on February 27, 2024. A stablecoin is a type of crypto currency that is pegged to another asset, such as a fiat currency, to maintain a stable value. The cNGN will be backed by the Nigerian Naira, the country’s official currency, and will be issued and redeemed through bank accounts held by the Africa Stablecoin Consortium (ASC).

The ASC is a collaborative effort between Nigerian financial institutions, fintechs, and blockchain experts, with the aim of creating a compliant and regulated stablecoin that can facilitate fast, secure, and cross-border trade denominated in the Naira. The ASC has received approval from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to launch the cNGN in its regulatory sandbox, a testing environment for innovative financial products and services.

The cNGN will be compatible with multiple blockchains and financial systems, enabling users to access global markets, remittances, and financial inclusion. The cNGN will also complement the eNaira, the digital currency developed by the CBN, which was launched in October 2023. The eNaira is a digital representation of the Naira, while the cNGN is a cryptocurrency that is pegged to the Naira.

The cNGN is expected to revolutionize the way Nigerians transact, save, and access financial services, as well as boost the country’s digital economy and innovation. The cNGN will be the first compliant Naira stablecoin, and the ASC hopes to become Africa’s largest outsourcing company by 2030.

 

3. NIMC issues NIN to 104.16 million Nigerians as of December 2023

According to the NIMC, it has issued the NIN to 104.16 million Nigerians as of December 31, 2023. This is an increase of 10.13 million NINs from the previous year, when the NIN database stood at 94.03 million. The NIMC said it achieved this feat by sheer determination and hard work of its staff, who pushed themselves beyond their limits.

The NIMC also said it has started working to accelerate the issuance of the NIN in line with the renewed hope mandate of President Bola Tinubu’s administration. The NIMC has secured a $433 million loan from the World Bank, Agence Francaise de Development, and the European Union, to expand its enrolment centers to 4,000 and upgrade its IT infrastructure. The NIMC has also launched the diaspora enrolment program, which allows Nigerians living abroad to obtain their NINs in 15 countries.

The NIMC said its goal is to issue the NIN to 148 million Nigerians by June 2024, as part of the Digital Identification for Development (ID4D) project. The ID4D project aims to provide Nigerians with a digital identity that can facilitate fast, secure, and cross-border transactions, as well as enhance financial inclusion, social protection, and public service delivery. The NIMC said the NIN will complement the eNaira, the digital currency launched by the Central Bank of Nigeria in October 2023, which is a digital representation of the Naira.

The NIMC urged all Nigerians who have not yet enrolled for their NIN to do so as soon as possible, as it is a mandatory requirement for accessing various government services and benefits. The NIMC also advised Nigerians to verify and update their NIN records regularly, and to report any cases of fraud or identity theft to the appropriate authorities. The NIMC said it is committed to ensuring the security, privacy, and data protection of all Nigerians in the NIN database .

4. African startups face funding decline in 2023

According to a report by Africa, The Big Deal, a venture company that tracks funding and financing into tech startups in Africa, startups across the continent raised a total of $2.9 billion in 2023, representing a 39% year-on-year decline in funding. This is in line with the global slowdown in venture capitalist activities, as reports indicate that tech startups were only able to attract $76 billion globally in Q1 2023, compared to $162 billion in Q1 2022.

The report also revealed that 500 startups raised at least $100,000 in Africa in 2023, compared to 821 in 2022, which also represents a 39% year-on-year decline. However, the average deal size remained stable between 2022 and 2023, which suggests that the funding decline was not due to a lack of quality or innovation among African startups.

One of the notable trends in 2023 was the rise of debt financing, which accounted for $1.1 billion of the $2.9 billion raised, a 47% growth year-on-year. Debt financing can help startups reduce their reliance on equity funding, which often involves giving up ownership or control of the business to investors.

Equity funding, on the other hand, accounted for $1.7 billion of the $2.9 billion raised, a 57% decline year-on-year. Equity funding is a practice of raising money from investors, such as venture capitalists, in exchange for a share of the business or profits. Equity funding can help startups access large amounts of capital, expertise, and networks from investors, but it also comes with risks, such as dilution, loss of autonomy, and pressure to deliver returns.

The report also highlighted the performance of the ‘Big Four’ countries in Africa, namely Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, and Egypt, which attracted 87% of all the startup funding in Africa, their largest share since 2019. Kenya overtook Nigeria as the top destination for startup funding in Africa, with $800 million raised in 2023, followed by Nigeria with $700 million, South Africa with $600 million, and Egypt with $500 million.

The report concluded that despite the funding decline in 2023, the outlook for African startups remains positive, as the continent continues to produce innovative and impactful solutions to address various social and economic challenges. The report also predicted that the funding landscape will become more diverse and competitive in 2024, as more players enter the market, such as corporates, governments, and international organizations.

5. Laptop storage prices to rise by 50% in 2024 due to NAND flash shortage

NAND flash memory is a type of non-volatile memory that can store data without power. It offers faster performance, lower power consumption, and higher durability than traditional hard disk drives (HDDs)3. However, NAND flash memory is also subject to supply and demand fluctuations, as well as technological challenges, such as scaling down the size of memory cells and increasing the number of layers.

 According to a report by TrendForce, a market intelligence firm, prices of storage drive laptops and computers will go up by 50% in 2024. The report attributes this price hike to the shortage of NAND flash memory, which is a key component of solid state drives (SSDs) that are widely used in laptops and computers.

The report states that the demand for NAND flash memory has exceeded the supply since 2023, due to the rapid growth of cloud computing, artificial intelligence, 5G, and other applications that require large amounts of data storage. On the other hand, the supply of NAND flash memory has been constrained by various factors, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the US-China trade war, the power outage in Texas, and the fire at the Renesas plant in Japan.

As a result, the prices of NAND flash memory have increased significantly, affecting the prices of SSDs and other products that use NAND flash memory, such as smartphones, tablets, gaming consoles, and smart TVs . The report predicts that the prices of SSDs will continue to rise in 2024, as the NAND flash shortage is expected to persist until 2025. This will in turn lead to higher prices for laptops and computers that use SSDs as their primary or secondary storage devices.

The report suggests that consumers who are planning to buy or upgrade their laptops and computers should do so as soon as possible, before the prices of SSDs and other components increase further. Alternatively, consumers can opt for laptops and computers that use HDDs instead of SSDs, as HDDs are cheaper and more abundant, although they offer lower performance and reliability .

 

6. Nigerian tech startups raise over $415 million in debt financing in 10 years

A report by Briter Bridges, a research and market intelligence firm focusing on emerging economies, Nigeria’s tech startups have raised over $415 million via debt financing in the last 10 years. 

The report, titled “Debt Financing in Africa’s Innovative Ecosystem”, reveals that African startups as a whole raised a total of $2.1 billion in debt financing between 2014 and 2023, with Nigeria’s $415 million ranking second behind Kenya’s $800 million. The report also shows that debt financing accounted for 20% of all the funding raised by African startups in 2023, compared to 10% in 2019.

The report attributes the rise of debt financing in Africa to various factors, such as the increasing maturity and diversity of the startup ecosystem, the growing demand for alternative and flexible sources of capital, the emergence of innovative and specialized lending platforms, and the support of development finance institutions and impact investors.

The report also highlights the benefits and challenges of debt financing for African startups. On the one hand, debt financing can help startups reduce their reliance on equity funding, which often involves giving up ownership or control of the business to investors. Debt financing can also provide faster and cheaper access to capital, lower the cost of capital, and improve the cash flow and profitability of startups. On the other hand, debt financing can also pose risks, such as high interest rates, strict repayment terms, collateral requirements, and potential default or bankruptcy.

The report concludes that debt financing is a viable and attractive option for African startups, especially those that have a proven business model, a positive cash flow, and a clear growth strategy. The report also predicts that debt financing will continue to grow in popularity and availability in Africa, as more players enter the market, such as fintechs, peer-to-peer lenders, and crowdfunding platforms.

 

7. Nigeria’s telecom sector sees 158% increase in FDI in Q3 2023

According to the data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Nigeria’s telecommunications sector attracted a total of $64 million in Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) in the third quarter of 2023. This represents a 158% increase compared to the $25.81 million investments recorded by the sector in Q2. However, on a year-on-year basis, the Q3 2023 figure showed a 17% decline compared to the same period in 2022, when $77.26 million in investments were recorded.

The NBS data also showed that the telecom sector accounted for 5.6% of the total FDI inflow into Nigeria in Q3 2023, which stood at $1.14 billion. The telecom sector ranked fourth among the top sectors that attracted FDI in Q3 2023, behind the banking, oil and gas, and manufacturing sectors.

The increase in FDI into the telecom sector reflects the growing demand and potential of the sector, which has been one of the most resilient and innovative sectors in Nigeria’s economy. The telecom sector contributed 12.45% to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Q3 2023, and recorded a 5.9% growth year-on-year. The sector also added 3.2 million new subscribers in Q3 2023, bringing the total number of active subscribers to 211.5 million, with a teledensity of 110.76%.

The telecom sector has also been a key driver of digital transformation and inclusion in Nigeria, as it provides access to various services, such as e-commerce, e-government, e-health, e-education, and e-agriculture. The sector has also supported the development and adoption of the eNaira, the digital currency launched by the Central Bank of Nigeria in October 2023, which is a digital representation of the Naira.

However, the telecom sector also faces some challenges, such as multiple taxation, regulatory uncertainty, infrastructure vandalism, and security threats. These challenges have been identified as some of the factors discouraging further investments in the sector by the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON). ALTON has called for a more conducive and enabling environment for the telecom sector to thrive and attract more FDI.

8. Sophos report reveals surge in remote ransomware attacks in 2023

Sophos, a global leader in cyber security, has stated that there has been a 62 per cent rise in encryption attacks known as ransomware in the last one year. It disclosed this in its latest report titled “CryptoGuard: An Asymmetric Approach to the Ransomware Battle”, which provides a detailed analysis of anti-ransomware techniques and solutions.

According to the report, some of the most prolific and active ransomware groups, such as Akira, ALPHV/BlackCat, LockBit, Royal, and Black Basta, are deliberately switching to remote encryption for their attacks. Remote encryption is a technique that leverages an organization’s domain architecture to encrypt data on managed domain-joined machines, without leaving any traces of malware or execution on the affected hosts.

The report also reveals that Sophos CryptoGuard, an anti-ransomware technology that Sophos acquired in 2015, is one of the few solutions that can detect and prevent remote encryption attacks, by monitoring the malicious encryption of files and providing immediate protection and rollback capabilities. CryptoGuard is part of Sophos Intercept X, a next-generation endpoint protection platform that combines multiple layers of defense against ransomware and other threats.

The report concludes that remote encryption is a serious and growing threat for organizations, and that defenders need to adopt a layered and asymmetric approach to combat it, by combining proactive prevention, detection, and response measures. The report also provides best practices and recommendations for organizations to enhance their security posture and resilience against ransomware.

 

9. African smartphone market shows resilience in Q3 2023

According to a report by Canalys, a market intelligence firm, the African smartphone market grew by 12 per cent year-on-year in Q3 2023, despite facing macroeconomic challenges, import restrictions, and currency volatility. The report states that 17.9 million smartphones were shipped to the continent in Q3 2023, compared to 16 million in Q3 2022.

The report also reveals that the top four smartphone vendors in Africa were TRANSSION, Samsung, Xiaomi, and OPPO, with market shares of 48 per cent, 26 per cent, 9 per cent, and 5 per cent, respectively. TRANSSION, the maker of Tecno, Infinix, and iTel brands, maintained its leading position by focusing on the sub-$100 price segment and expanding its footprint in emerging markets. Samsung, on the other hand, suffered a 13 per cent decline due to challenges in its mid-to-high-end devices.

The report attributes the resilience of the African smartphone market to the increasing demand for connectivity, digital services, and entertainment, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The report also predicts that the market will continue to grow in 2024, as more consumers upgrade their devices and access new technologies, such as 5G and eNaira.

 

10. NITDA praises NBTE for creating specialized IT courses at polytechnics

The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has said that Nigeria is now poised to bridge the existing Information Technology (IT) skills gap through the unbundling of the Computer Science programs at polytechnics by the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE). The unbundling means that the Computer Science program will be split into four distinct specializations, namely Artificial Intelligence, Network and Cloud Computing, Software and Web Development, and Cybersecurity and Data Protection.

According to NITDA, this move is a game-changer for Nigeria’s IT sector, as it will equip Nigerian graduates with in-demand skills that are crucial for the digital economy. NITDA also said that it has identified 12 IT skills that are in high demand both locally and globally, and that the new courses will help the country to build more capacities in these areas.

NITDA commended the NBTE for implementing the change, and said that it will support the polytechnics in developing the curriculum, providing the infrastructure, and training the teachers for the new courses. NITDA also called for collaboration among educational institutions, industry stakeholders, and regulatory bodies to ensure the successful implementation and adoption of the new courses.

11. WEF warns of AI misinformation and cyberattacks as top global risks in 2024

The World Economic Forum (WEF) has listed AI-generated misinformation/disinformation and cyber-attacks as some of the top risks that countries globally will face this year. The WEF, an international organization that brings together leaders from various sectors to address global issues, published its annual Global Risks Report 2024, which ranks the most likely and impactful threats to the world in the short and long term.

According to the report, 53% of the respondents saw AI misinformation as the biggest global risk in 2024, bringing it to number 2 out of the top 10 risks for this year, after extreme weather, which topped the risks table. Cyberattacks occupied the 5th position on the global risks of 2024 with 39% seeing it as a major risk.

The report explains that AI misinformation refers to the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to create, manipulate, or spread false or misleading information, such as deepfakes, synthetic content, or fake news. AI misinformation can undermine trust, influence public opinion, disrupt elections, incite violence, and erode democracy.

The report also states that cyberattacks refer to the malicious use of digital technologies to compromise the security, integrity, or availability of data, devices, networks, or systems. Cyberattacks can cause significant damage to individuals, organizations, or nations, such as identity theft, data breaches, ransomware, espionage, sabotage, or warfare.

The report warns that AI misinformation and cyberattacks are becoming more sophisticated, widespread, and harmful, as the world becomes more digitized and interconnected. The report also urges governments, businesses, and civil society to collaborate and take action to prevent, detect, and respond to these threats, and to build a more resilient and trustworthy digital environment.

 

12. Co-creation Hub invests $700,000 in Edo tech startups

Co-creation Hub, a technology innovation centre, has announced an investment of $700,000 in tech startups based in Edo State to apply through its Innovation Challenge and Support programs. This initiative, which was launched in partnership with the Edo State Government and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, aims to accelerate the growth of technology-driven enterprises within the state.

Under the investment programs, a total of 50 startups will receive grants ranging from $10,000 to $20,000 each, depending on their stage of development and market potential. The startups will also benefit from mentorship, training, and access to markets and networks from Co-creation Hub and its partners.

The Innovation Challenge and Support programs are open to startups that are solving problems or creating opportunities in various sectors, such as health, education, agriculture, governance, and finance. The programs are also focused on supporting diverse and underrepresented founders and teams, especially women.

The applications for the programs are open until February 15, 2024, and interested startups can apply through the Co-creation Hub website. The selected startups will be announced in March 2024, and will join the Co-creation Hub Edo Innovation Hub, a state-of-the-art facility that provides workspace, infrastructure, and support for tech entrepreneurs in Edo State.

 

13. BVN registration grows by 300,000 ahead of CBN deadline

According to the latest data from the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS), registration for the Bank Verification Number (BVN) increased to 60.2 million as of January 10, 2024. This shows that about 300,000 new registrations for BVN were recorded between late December 2023 and early January 2024.

The BVN is a unique 11-digit number that serves as a proof of identity and citizenship for Nigerians who have bank accounts. The BVN is also required for accessing various government services, such as passport renewal, voter registration, bank account opening, etc.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has announced that it will freeze accounts without a BVN and National Identification Number (NIN) from April 2024. The CBN has also directed banks to electronically revalidate the BVN or NIN attached to all accounts by January 31, 2024.

The increase in BVN registration suggests that bank customers are complying with the CBN directive and trying to avoid the account freeze. However, there is still a gap between the registered BVN and the number of bank accounts, as the NIBSS data shows that active bank accounts in the country stood at 133.5 million as of December 2021.

The NIBSS has urged all Nigerians who have not yet enrolled for their BVN to do so as soon as possible, as it is a mandatory requirement for accessing various government services and benefits. The NIBSS has also advised Nigerians to verify and update their BVN records regularly, and to report any cases of fraud or identity theft to the appropriate authorities.

 

14. Google Cloud offers free data transfer to other clouds

Google has announced that its cloud customers can now transfer their data to another cloud service provider free of charge. This is part of Google’s commitment to support data portability and interoperability among different cloud platforms.

According to Google, customers can use the Storage Transfer Service, a fully managed service that automates the transfer of data to, from, and between object and file storage systems, including Google Cloud Storage, Amazon S3, Azure Storage, on-premises data, and more. Customers can easily create and run Google-managed transfers, or configure self-hosted transfers that give them full control over network routing and bandwidth usage.

Google said that it will not charge any fees for data egress, which is the process of moving data out of a cloud platform, when customers use the Storage Transfer Service to migrate their data to another cloud. This will help customers save money, reduce vendor lock-in, and increase flexibility and choice.

Google also said that it will continue to work with other cloud providers and industry partners to promote open standards and best practices for data portability and interoperability. Google is a founding member of the Data Transfer Project, an open-source initiative that aims to create a common framework and ecosystem for data transfer across online platforms.

 

15. FCCPC boss sacked amid rising complaints from digital borrowers

Babatunde Irukera, the CEO of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), was removed from office by President Bola Tinubu on January 8, 2024. The FCCPC is the apex agency responsible for ensuring consumer protection and regulating competition in Nigeria. Irukera’s removal came as a surprise to many Nigerians, who praised his efforts in sanitizing the operations of digital lending companies, which offer loans through mobile apps or websites.

According to the FCCPC, it received over 40 petitions from digital borrowers in 2023, alleging various violations of their rights by digital lenders, such as harassment, privacy breach, high interest rates, and unfair terms and conditions. Irukera led the FCCPC in investigating and sanctioning several digital lenders, such as Soko Lending, GoCash, OKash, EasyCredit, Kashkash, Speedy Choice, Easy Moni, and Sokoloan.

Irukera also initiated the Limited Interim Regulatory/Registration Framework and Guidelines for Digital Lending 2022, which required all digital lenders to register with the FCCPC and comply with certain standards and principles. As of December 2023, the FCCPC had approved the operations of 160 digital lenders, while delisting 28 others from the Google Play Store.

However, Irukera’s dismissal has created a gap in consumer protection in Nigeria, especially in the digital lending space, which is growing rapidly and attracting millions of customers. Some analysts have speculated that Irukera’s removal was influenced by some powerful interests in the financial sector, who were unhappy with his regulatory actions. Others have suggested that it was part of Tinubu’s plan to restructure and reposition critical agencies of the federal government.

The FCCPC has not yet announced a replacement for Irukera, and it is unclear how his removal will affect the ongoing regulation of digital lenders. Some stakeholders have expressed concern that the removal of Irukera will embolden some digital lenders to resume their unethical practices and exploit vulnerable consumers. They have also called for the appointment of a competent and independent successor, who will continue the good work of Irukera and protect the rights of Nigerian consumers.

 

16. Google workers protest layoffs in hardware and engineering divisions

The Alphabet Workers Union (AWU), a group representing the interest of workers at Google’s parent company, has kicked against the latest moves by Google to lay off hundreds of staff working on its digital assistant, hardware, and engineering teams. The AWU, which was formed in January 2023, is a minority union that aims to advocate for the rights and welfare of Google workers, as well as the social and ethical impact of the company’s products and policies.

According to the AWU, the layoffs are part of Google’s ongoing restructuring and cost-cutting measures, which have affected thousands of workers across various divisions since 2023. The AWU claims that the layoffs are unfair, arbitrary, and harmful to the workers and the company’s innovation and quality.

The AWU has launched a petition to demand that Google stop the layoffs and reinstate the affected workers, or provide them with adequate severance packages and outplacement support. The AWU has also called for more transparency and accountability from Google’s management, and for more worker participation and representation in the company’s decision-making processes.

The AWU has received support from other labor groups, such as the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the Tech Workers Coalition (TWC), which have expressed solidarity with the Google workers and urged the company to respect their rights and dignity. However, Google has defended its actions, saying that they are necessary to align its resources with its strategic priorities and opportunities. Google has also said that it will continue to support the impacted workers as they look for new roles within or outside the company.

17. Mobile app spending grows by 3% in 2023 despite pandemic challenges

According to a report by Data.AI, a market intelligence firm, mobile users globally spent $171 billion across the App Store, Google Play, and third-party Android app stores in China in 2023. This represents a 3% increase compared to 2022, when mobile app spending reached $166 billion.

The report attributes the growth in mobile app spending to the rising demand for digital services, entertainment, and social interaction, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which disrupted many offline activities and businesses. The report also notes that non-game apps accounted for 37% of the total mobile app spending in 2023, up from 34% in 2022, driven by the popularity of social apps and the creator economy.

However, the report also reveals that mobile app downloads remained flat in 2023, at 257 billion, up only 1% from 2022. The report suggests that this is due to the saturation of the mobile app market in mature regions, such as North America and Europe, as well as the competition from web-based platforms, such as Meta and Snap.

The report concludes that the mobile app economy is still resilient and dynamic, despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, the economic downturn, and the regulatory pressures. The report also predicts that the mobile app spending will continue to grow in 2024, as more consumers adopt new technologies, such as 5G, eNaira, and AI.

18. X to launch peer-to-peer payments as part of Musk’s vision

X, the social media company formerly known as Twitter, is planning to roll out a peer-to-peer payment system on the platform this year. This is part of the billionaire owner Elon Musk’s vision to turn X into an ‘everything’ app, where users can access various services, such as social media, video, cryptocurrency, and many more.

The payment system will allow users to send and receive money from each other, as well as pay for goods and services on X. The system will be powered by X Payments, a subsidiary of X that has obtained money transmission licenses in several states.

X hopes that the payment system will enhance user engagement, loyalty, and revenue, as well as create new opportunities for commerce and the creator economy on the platform. X has not revealed the exact launch date or the details of how the payment system will work, but Musk has hinted that it could be ready by mid-2024.

 

19. EIB supports African startups with $30 million investment in Seedstars fund

The European Investment Bank (EIB), the long-term lending institution of the European Union, has announced a $30 million equity investment in Seedstars Africa Ventures I, a venture capital fund for African innovative entrepreneurs. This is the first investment by the EIB in an African-focused fund, and it is part of the EIB’s strategy to boost the development of the digital economy and the innovation ecosystem in Africa.

Seedstars Africa Ventures is a $100 million fund launched by Seedstars, a Swiss-based company that organizes startup competitions and acceleration programs in emerging markets. The fund aims to invest in early-stage startups across various sectors, such as fintech, health tech, edtech, agritech, and e-commerce that have the potential to scale and create positive social and environmental impact in Africa.

The EIB’s investment in the fund will help to mobilize additional capital from other investors, such as development finance institutions, foundations, and private sector partners. The EIB will also provide technical assistance and advisory support to the fund and its portfolio companies, as well as facilitate linkages with the European innovation ecosystem.

The EIB and Seedstars share the vision of empowering African entrepreneurs to solve the continent’s challenges and create opportunities for inclusive and sustainable growth. The EIB’s investment in the fund is expected to contribute to the creation of 10,000 direct and indirect jobs, the improvement of access to essential services for 30 million people, and the reduction of 5 million tons of CO2 emissions in Africa.

 

 

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