$103 million and counting

Cattle database & Nigerians aren’t backing down on bitcoin, Amazon's African headquarters, Showmax and Streaming in Africa 

Hello there,

It sounded like a joke at first but it’s true, a bill to create a national database for livestock in Nigeria has passed second reading in the Nigerian Senate. 

The reason? Despite owning 40% of the cattle population in West Africa, Nigeria has been unable to participate in the export of meat and other dietary products due to the absence of a management system. Really?

How could this pan out? A similar bill was previously passed for a third reading by the Eighth Senate as at 2019 but was never signed into law. 

Nigerians aren’t backing down on bitcoin 

$103 million. That’s the value of Bitcoin Nigerians have traded on just Paxful and LocalBitcoins channels alone in the past three months.

According to Usefultulips (a Bitcoin analytic data provider), the usage of Bitcoin’s peer to peer trading in Nigeria surged by 27% since the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) banned cryptocurrency trading about 85 days ago. 

Why the interest?

High returns within a short time: Few assets have appreciated in value like bitcoin, with its price increasing by almost 500% since the start of Q4 2020. Few assets promise such high returns within a short time. Coupled with Nigeria’s relatively young educated population, its growing internet adoption and smartphone penetration, Bitcoin is seen as a safe haven amidst the rising inflation that has eroded the savings of many Nigerians. 

Low transaction costs: Compared to traditional banking channels, Bitcoin allows Nigerians to make cross border payment with little friction at an outrageously low cost. For example, many Nigerian banks charge 1–2.5%. For a $1 million offshore transfer, bank charges may go up to $10,000, but with Bitcoin, a similar transfer would not exceed $300, even at peak periods.

Amazon's African headquarters 

Last time it was Twitter setting up its first African office in Ghana, this time it’s Amazon.

Amazon, the US retail giant announced that it would be opening its first African office in South Africa with a real estate investment of over R4 billion ($280 million). The headquarters would reside on 70,000m² (17.3 Acres) of land -  about two-thirds as big as King Shaka International Airport (DUR).

The duration: The building project is expected to take place in phases, with construction set to take place over three to five years.

Benefits:  5,239 jobs will be created in the construction phase alone. The project will also create up to 19,000 indirect and induced jobs.

In other related news: Hyundai and Kia also announced plans to set up assembly plants in Ghana by 2022. The automobile giants will join Toyota-Suzuki, Nissan, Kantanka, Volkswagen, and Sinotruck who already have plants.

Why it matters: Amazon currently serves people in 120+ countries, among which are 17 African nations and already launched its data centres for Amazon Web Services (AWS) in cape town but its eCommerce services are not available in Africa. This could be a hint that Amazon might be revisiting its eCommerce play in Africa.

Showmax and Streaming in Africa 

Earlier this week, Showmax, the multi-choice owned on-demand streaming service, revealed that it has slashed subscription plans by up to 20% for African mobile subscribers. 

Just for mobile subscribers in Africa

This discount doesn’t apply to non-mobile subscribers. You may ask what is the difference between the Showmax plans? The mobile version of Showmax plan is different from the Standard version. The former only allows for use on mobiles and tablets while the latter can be accessed using a laptop or a tv.

Competitors: This step by Showmax has now placed it among the cheapest video streaming platforms in Africa. While the rest, including Netflix, struggle to grow. 

In 2020, Netflix announced it was testing a cheap mobile-only subscription plan in Nigeria. It was reported to be priced at ₦1,200 ($2.65) monthly as opposed to the current plan of $7. It is yet to kick off.

Challenges: One of the major challenges streaming platforms face is multiple persons using one account. A Netflix subscriber could create 5 different accounts for friends and family. Streaming services also face piracy problems and limited access to broadband. 

Figuring this out: It’s not clear that any of the streaming platforms have figured out how best to solve this, following the fact that the majority of the African population live in poverty. Perhaps, reducing their subscription prices is one big step into solving it.


Visual Capitalist recently created  this infographic on “Which Streaming Service Has The Most Subscriptions?”

Too tiny? See the web version here 

Worth reading 📚

Quote 💭

“You can never leave footprints that last if you are always walking on tiptoe.”

– Leymah Gbowee (a Liberian peace activist)