Welcome to this week’s episode of The Brief where we bring you news from across Nigeria and Africa!
Quote of the week:
“Friends are better than money. Almost anything money can do, friends can do better. In so many ways a friend with a boat is better than owning a boat.”
- Kevin Kelly
In Issue #59, we reported on the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the former Nigerian Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, being subjected to allegations of corruption by a whistleblower. In response and despite the whistleblower being judged ‘unfounded’ and ‘unsubstantiated’ by the AfDB ethics committee, the U.S. Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, demanded an independent investigation into the allegations.
Fast forward to this week, Dr. Adesina was exonerated by an independent review panel led by Mary Robinson, the former president of Ireland. Specifically, the panel said it “...concurs with the committee in its findings in respect of all the allegations against the president and finds that they [the allegations] were properly considered and dismissed by the committee” (emphasis added).
Why did the U.S. demand this independent report? According to a letter by Steven Mnuchin, it had “...deep reservations about the integrity of the committee’s process” (see the actual letter here). Dr. Adesina argued that it was merely an attempt to discredit his re-election bid. What is clear is that this attack on Dr. Adesina’s credibility has failed and the path is now clear for Dr. Adesina, as the sole candidate, to be re-elected in the upcoming election.
My man just buss case.
What's up in Nigeria? The unemployment rate.
The number of people looking for work through Jobberman, Nigeria’s biggest recruiting website, has jumped five-fold since the start of the pandemic. The data from Jobberman, which recruits mainly white-collar employees and doesn’t track those looking for non-skilled, blue-collar jobs, jibes with official estimates that see unemployment in the nation of more than 200 million soaring to 34% by the end of the year.
Houston, we have a problem. Nigeria prides itself on the large and growing population. But a large young population is a double edged sword. It can either be the engine for growth of a great civilization, or a demographic time-bomb.
The below is an excerpt from TechCabal
Here's what everyone knows: on Saturday, July 25, hundreds of concerned Nigerians used the hashtag #SaynotoNIPOSTfees to protest the new regulations imposed on logistics companies.
Because of public censure, Isa Pantami, the minister of Communications and Digital economy publicly denounced the new licencing fees.
Here's what really happened: the Courier and Logistics Services Operations regulation (2020) was issued by the Ministry of communications and Digital economy. It is the framework under which the new licencing categories are contained. It is especially important because the new regulations repealed the Courier Service Regulations (1992) in which NIPOST acted as operator and regulator.
Here's what everyone should really be worried about: According to Regulation 8(5) of the Courier Service Regulations, logistics companies are mandated to contribute part of their revenues to a postal fund.
“There is now an obligation on a courier operator to contribute a sum equal to 2% of its total revenue to the Postal fund, which will be used for postal development and delivery of postal services in rural and under-served states.”
While licencing fees are worrying, what company wants to give 2% of its revenues to a postal fund?
This week, Zimbabwe agreed to pay approximately $3.5 billion in compensation to white farmers whose land was expropriated by the Government under the Robert Mugabe regime. According to the agreement, the farmers will be paid 50% of their compensation within one year. While the remaining amount will be paid over a five year period. This development has been described as a step towards resolving an extremely divisive and controversial policy on the continent. And also important for mending ties with the West.
However, if you’ve heard much about Zimbabwe, you would know that they do not just have $3.5 billion sitting around. Instead, they have decided to raise the money by issuing bonds and intend on approaching international donors - an innovative approach, we must say. But who exactly is going to buy these bonds? Especially given that arrears account for 73% of the country’s external debt. We think it is safe to say that it will be difficult for them to raise these funds.
Zimbabwean billionaire, Strive Masiyiwa, is under pressure to sell some shares in his cloud and fibre company, Liquid Telecom.
According to Bloomberg, Strive wants to sell up to 34% of the company for as much as $600 million in a bid to offset a $375 million loan he used to finance his pay-TV company, Kwese, which failed in 2019. As collateral for the loan, Strive pledged shares in Liquid Telecom.
Since then and with the pandemic, he has struggled to find buyers for the limited stake in the company. But Strive has limited time. After already granting one extension, PIC (the main backers of the loan) has reportedly given Strive till the end of August to conclude a deal.
This adds even more pressure to Strive as he comes under fire from Emmerson Mnangagwa, the president of Zimbabwe, his home country. President Mnangagwa administration on June 27 restricted almost all mobile-money transactions in a country where 90% of commerce is conducted on handsets because of cash shortages. On July 17, the police accused Econet Wireless Zimbabwe, owned by Strive and dominant in mobile-cash transfers, of money laundering.
Somalia’s parliament impeached the country’s Prime Minister in a surprise vote on 25 July. Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire’s government is accused of failing to tighten the country’s security and more importantly, provide a proper plan for its first one man one vote elections in five decades.
The election is planned for early 2021.
Dubai's Network International is set to acquire Nairobi-based fintech DPO Group for $288 million.
DPO Group is one of the largest pan-African online payment platforms with a presence in 19 countries across the continent. In 2019, it reported $16 million in revenue. The acquisition helps Network International consolidate and accelerate its presence in Africa.
The DPO deal is the second major fintech acquisition within the space of a month in Africa where tech exits are few and far between. But there've been at least 3 others within the past year. Last month, MFS Africa acquired Beyonic, a Uganda-based digital payments company. Earlier this, Paga acquired Apposit, a software development company based out of Ethiopia.
We hope this is a sign of things to come, but it's still too early to tell!
(our segment where we highlight the most outrageous story we have come across while scraping the web for news articles for you). We have taken to using what we call the Ehn scale. The longer the Ehn the more incredulous.
Nothing this week folks