Why not? 🙄

SIM registration resumes in Nigeria, Naspers growing the South Africa startup ecosystem, South Africa suspends vaccine rollout again

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When you say 'Forward' or 'Back', your lips move in those directions. Interesting!


Why not?

Earlier this week, Twitter announced setting up its first African office in Ghana. Many expected it to be Nigeria by default because of its larger population, but a look at the difficulty of doing business and recent government regulations made it clear why Ghana was a better option.

Talking government regulations

After four months of suspending the registration of new SIM cards, Nigeria’s Communications Commission (NCC) has lifted the ban.

Backstory: The suspension of SIM registrations began in December 2020 when the NCC said that all telcos should link National Identification Numbers (NIN) to every mobile subscriber. The deadline has been moved twice, with the newest deadline being May 6. 

How did this affect people?

As per Benjamin Dada, A Medical Doctor had to get a pre-registered sim card that previously cost ₦200 ($0.41) for ₦20,000 ($41). SIM registration agents who used to make at least ₦40,000 ($82) every month had their source of income taken away.

What’s next? Registration will now begin on Monday, 19th of April 2021 only for persons who have already linked their NIN to their SIM.

In other news: The Central Bank of Nigeria has announced it’ll place sugar and wheat on its FX restriction list. This increases the ever-growing list of restricted items and also a reminder that there’s an almost completed $500 million sugar processing facility in Nasarawa state, belonging to Dangote Sugar.


Naspers growing the South Africa startup ecosystem

Quick Refresher

Known for being the most valuable publicly traded company in Africa, Naspers started out as a newspaper group and has built a solid business around technology-based investments in internet services and entertainment. Back in 2001, it made an investment of US$32 million, purchasing a 46.5% stake in Chinese company Tencent. Fast forward to 2018, the initial investment had ballooned to a stake worth over $175 billion!

At the moment, the market valuation of Tencent is more than that of Naspers and it recorded a revenue of $54 billion in 2019, in comparison to Naspers’ $19 billion. Tencent nearly hit a market cap of 1 trillion in January. 

Recently it has been concentrating on two major markets, India and South Africa. In India, it has spent over $5 billion in the past five years which made it the country’s largest investors after SoftBank. 

For South Africa: The Foundry

It established a fund worth $92 million called Naspers Foundry whose focus is to back South African startups with global potential. So far it has invested in e-learning, food supply chains, domestic services and agritech.

Juiced up

The Foundry led an investment round with other investors to empower Aerobotics, a startup that uses drones and AI tech to help farmers track crop yield and manage crop health. The investment was worth $17 million. 

Another startup focused on was the Food Supply Network, an online marketplace connecting food distributors and buyers in South Africa, Namibia and Zambia. 

The Student Hub received about $3 million from the Foundry, offers training courses online and offline courses along with internships which all help to connect professionals to the job market.

Zoom out: Despite having its start in Africa, the company’s investments on the continent had yet to find the same success as its endeavours elsewhere. This is because South Africa’s startup scene is just starting to come up. 

But things are starting to change. According to global investment platform Partech Africa, South Africa has become the fourth most attractive country for investors on the continent. There were around 72 concluded deals in South Africa in 2020, valued at $259 million.


South Africa suspends vaccine rollout again

Earlier this week, South Africa temporarily suspended its Johnson & Johnson (J&J) COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

Again?

Yes, The South African government in January bought 1.5 million (estimated to cost $7.8m at $5.25 per dose) AstraZeneca vaccines but early findings by scientists and researchers showed that it only offered minimal protection from infection by the new variant. So it backed out and ordered nine million (estimated to cost $90m at $10 per dose) doses of the Johnson and Johnson (J&J) vaccine.

Why this time?

It’s because of a recommendation from U.S. health officials to pause the use of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine based on concerns about rare and severe blood clotting side effects. So far six women under 50 developed rare blood clots in the United States among more than six million people given the J&J shot.

Big picture: Less than 2% of Africans have been vaccinated, compared to over 60% in some other developed countries. Out of 54 African countries, 45 have received vaccines and 43 have started the vaccination process. 

South Africa’s COVID-19 vaccine deals with Johnson & Johnson (J&J) and Pfizer have non-refundability clauses, meaning down payments will not be returned under any circumstances. With over $100m spent South Africa can not afford to let its second set of vaccine waste.


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Originality is nothing but judicious imitation.

– Voltaire