This has been quite an interesting week in tech in Africa. We covered a number of great announcements here at TechTrendsKE, especially startups. Brass, a Nigerian digital bank delivering easy access to affordable premium banking services for small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs), secured $1.7mn in funding. Wapi Pay Board of Directors announced that the company’s founders; Eddie and Paul Ndichu will be stepping down from their roles with immediate effect to allow for investigations into assault allegations.
The announcement came just a few hours after Eddie stepped down as a board member of the Association of Fintechs in Kenya following the scuffle. Japanese VC firm Kepple Africa Ventures had earlier on Tuesday also announced that it will be revoking its investment in Kenyan fintech startup Wapi Pay.
Still on startups, Africa ClimAccelerator opened applications for its climate change accelerator programme. In Nigeria, e-commerce startup Sendbox announced the completion of a $1.8 million seed round from investors including 4DX Ventures, Enza Capital, FJLabs and Golden Palm Investments. Autochek, the automotive technology startup that aims to facilitate auto finance across Africa, officially launched its operations to Kenya. We also compiled a list of 9 Kenyan startups selected to receive equity-free funding from Google. Remember Google recently announced that it will be investing up to $50 million in African early- and growth-stage startups via its Africa Investment Fund.
In Kenya, Safaricom had the highest internet speeds among top providers in the country in Q3 2021. This is according to Ookla’s Q3 Internet Performance Report on the state of Kenya’s mobile and fixed networks released this week. The telco and the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) also launched the NHIF mini-app within the M-PESA Super App. It also received an honorary recognition from the IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC) East African Climate Action Awards for having a strategic approach towards managing its environmental impacts. We also updated our previous article on Safaricom 5G: Speeds, Availability, Supported Phones, Coverage
On matters cybersecurity, Kaspersky this week unveiled a free platform with tips and tricks for small businesses to help them quickly improve their organization’s security. Sophos also released new insight on an international cryptocurrency trading scam targeting iPhone users through popular dating apps, such as Bumble and Tinder. There were 16% more users attacked with password stealers in Kenya between January and September 2021 compared to the same period last year. This is according to new data from cybersecurity firm Kaspersky.
This week, Liquid Intelligent Technologies announced the launch of its shortest terrestrial fibre route between the East to the West coasts of Africa, connecting Mombasa, Kenya to Muanda, DRC.
We also had some news on Chinese tech giant Huawei. 2 years after the US ban, will the company survive? Our report was based on a report released by IDTechEx on 5G – “5G Technology, Market and Forecasts 2022-2032“.
Other top highlights that we covered include Facebook reportedly planning to rebrand next week, vivo launching its latest mid-range smartphone, the vivo Y33s in Kenya, Minet advising businesses to adapt To Covid – 19 Disruptions, and Equity revamping its online banking offering, previously known as Eazzy Net.
Our podcast interview with Stanbic Bank’s Head of Trade, Martin Azenga also went live this week. In the interview, I discuss the future of banking and how collaboration and partnerships between banks and FinTech companies are essential for the growth of African banks with Martin. You can listen to it here.