Here are the top stories in Africa and the Middle East region we are covering today – February 1, 2024.
- Startup Nation Central is laying off 18% of its workforce
- Ivorian startup Auto24 acquires Tanzania’s Kupatana
- Ghana sets deadline for Electronic Money Issuers to link accounts
- Uganda Centenary Bank launches banking services on WhatsApp
- British firm Bboxx relocates its headquarters to Rwanda
Startup Nation Central is laying off 18% of its workforce
Startup Nation Central (SNC), a nonprofit organization that promotes Israeli tech startups, has announced that it will be laying off around 18% of its workforce, citing a decline in donations as the reason for the cuts.
The organization, which has been a key player in Israel's thriving tech ecosystem, has faced financial challenges in recent months, as donations from its primary donors have decreased.
SNC stated that the ongoing conflict in Israel has reshaped the focus and priorities of Jewish philanthropy and as an organization funded solely by donation it has had to make adjustments to its activities, given the foreseen challenges in raising donations in 2024.
According to the latest data from SNC, the total investment in Israeli startups reached only $9.9 billion in 2023 marking a significant 50% decrease compared to the previous year (2022) and falling considerably short of the record high of $30 billion.
Ivorian startup Auto24 acquires Tanzania’s Kupatana
AUTO24, a leading certified used car marketplace under the Africar Group, has recently acquired Kupatana, Tanzania's foremost online classifieds platform, to bolster its presence in sub-Saharan Africa.
The SEK 750,000 ($71,900) cash deal positions Auto24 to tap into Tanzania's used car market, valued at $38.50 million and projected to reach $55.66 million by 2029, later this year.
AUTO24, launched in collaboration with Stellantis and Africar in 2022, provides services, such as warranties, insurance, and a 150-point inspection, addressing the growing demand for high-quality and certified used cars among local consumers. It currently operates its pre-owned car marketplace in Côte d’Ivoire, Morocco, South Africa, Rwanda, and Senegal.
Ghana sets deadline for Electronic Money Issuers to link accounts
According to a recent announcement by the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications, all Electronic Money Issuers (EMIs) in Ghana must link their accounts to their Ghana Card or Tax Identification Number (TIN) by February 1, 2024, to avoid being blocked.
In a statement released and signed by Regulatory and Research Manager Louis Bobbie Osei on Tuesday, January 30, 2024, the telco regulator warned that defaulting agents will have their accounts blocked immediately from Thursday, February 1, 2024.
This directive is part of efforts to enhance the security and regulation of mobile money transactions in the country.
Uganda's Centenary Bank launches banking services on WhatsApp
Centenary Bank, a leading commercial bank in Uganda, has recently launched a new WhatsApp banking service, CenteWhatsApp, that enables customers to access various banking services through the popular messaging platform.
The new service allows Centenary Bank customers to check their account balances, view mini-statements, transfer funds, and pay bills, all through WhatsApp. To use the service, customers simply need to save the bank's verified WhatsApp number, 0744 200 555, in their phone contacts and follow the prompts to complete their transactions.
This move is part of the bank's efforts to provide more convenient and accessible banking solutions to its customers.
British firm Bboxx relocates its headquarters to Rwanda
Bboxx, a data-driven utility platform, has made a bold move by relocating its headquarters from London to Kigali, Rwanda. This development was announced at the UK-Rwanda Business Forum held in Kigali.
This strategic decision underscores the company's commitment to becoming an Africa-first company and investing in the continent's growth. In 2010, Mansoor Hamayun (CEO), Chris Baker-Brian, and Laurent Van Houcke established Bboxx with the mission to eliminate energy poverty through clean energy solutions.
Bboxx plans to invest $100 million in Rwanda and train over 1000 Rwandans in the next five years through a strategic partnership with Kuwait's EnerTech. Bboxx provides electricity and other essential goods and services to more than 10% of Rwandan households, including pay-as-you-go solar-powered water pumps, clean cooking solutions, and electric cars.
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