SA telecommunications giant Vodacom’s minority shareholders voted in favor of plans to acquire a majority share in Kenya’s largest company, Safaricom. The shareholders voted at the telecoms company’s annual general meeting, with 99.59 percent voting in support of the resolution, while only 0.40 percent were against the acquisition. In May Vodacom proposed the purchase of a 34.94 percent indirect stake set to be bought from the Kenyan government.
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Peter Pedroncelli, 6:34 am
Former Dell executive Akin Banuso has been appointed as the new Microsoft Nigeria general manager, bringing over 20 years of digital industry experience to the company. The seasoned tech professional is tasked with leading the company’s digital transformation drive in the West African nation. Nigeria represents an important market for Microsoft, as the continent’s most populous nation and one of the biggest economies in Africa.
Peter Pedroncelli, 6:11 am
Four South African banks have joined the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication’s (SWIFT’s) blockchain proof of concept initiative, joining a number of major global banks in doing so. South Africa’s four traditional banking giants, Absa, FirstRand Bank, Standard Bank and Nedbank have joined the blockchain proof of concept initiative, which aims to determine whether blockchain can assist banks improve their global liquidity by reconciling their international nostro accounts in real-time.
Staff, 10:25 am
VCs and startup founders rarely pay attention to slow-moving but powerful macro global events, especially with so many fast-moving things to focus on at the micro level, like technology, teams, and trends. While VCs and startup founders often are the earliest to know about technological advances bubbling from the bottom up (while public-market hedge fund and global macro investors find out about them only later), they often are the last to know about global macro forces that may impact them.
Peter Pedroncelli, 7:23 am
Kenya is the first country in the world to issue a mobile phone-based bond that does not require the availability of a bank account. The Kenyan government began selling a three-year infrastructure bond, known as M-Akiba, on March 23, issuing an initial $1.44 million worth that was sold out in a matter of days. The success of the bond issue via mobile has led to another $9.64 million being made available following the first part of the bond being fulfilled.
Kurt Davis Jr., 11:08 am AFKI Original
As the second half of 2017 comes into focus, entrepreneurs and private equity managers alike want the narrative in investor circles to change regarding sub-Saharan Africa and fundraising opportunities. Investor sentiments remain that sub-Saharan Africa is still rebounding from the economic challenges of 2015 and 2016, but the focus for entrepreneurs and private equity managers should be on the oil importers and emerging Francophone Africa.
Peter Pedroncelli, 4:27 am AFKI Original
Based in Johannesburg, South Africa, Facebook’s Africa headquarters was recently custom-built and launched, with the social media mega-company now building a larger presence on the ground in Africa. From a mothers’ room to numerous meeting rooms and a stunning balcony that overlooks the city, a glimpse of Facebook’s Africa offices makes one wish that their company would offer the same awesome facilities. We take a look at 12 things you didn’t know about Facebook’s Africa headquarters.
Peter Pedroncelli, 3:54 am
Naspers, Africa’s biggest company by market value, is set to approach American and British investors to discuss a bond issue in an effort to continue the expansion of their online businesses and interests through more acquisitions. Cape Town-based Naspers is a global internet and entertainment group that has built a reputation as one of the largest technology investors in the world. It owns stakes in numerous international companies including Multichoice, ShowMax, Mail.ru, Flipkart, PayU, Konga, Takealot.com, OLX and Chinese investment holding company Tencent, giving Naspers a market value of around $90 billion.
Peter Pedroncelli, 6:38 pm AFKI Original
Africa is a continent of great opportunity and potential, but as a whole, the continent needs to work to become more globally competitive for the benefit of industries such as tech to truly thrive. Africa competes for foreign direct investment with other emerging markets such as Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Africa needs to address a number of key issues in order to rival their main competitors in the market and carve out a competitive landscape that will attract foreign direct investment. Africa’s average competitiveness ranking is 21 percent compared to Latin America and The Caribbean’s average ranking of 40 percent, and Asia’s average ranking of 57 percent.
Peter Pedroncelli, 6:15 am
While wearable tech is all the rage across the globe, Africa is not being left behind, with first quarter data showing impressive growth for the African region, alongside the Middle East. Wearable devices such as the Samsung Gear and Apple iWatch have gained traction in Africa, and the latest figures compiled by the International Data Corporation show an upward trend for the fashionable and functional accessories. The International Data Corporation’s Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker for the first three months of 2017 illustrates that shipments of wearables were up 30.2 percent year-on-year.
Staff, 9:01 am
One of the biggest current challenges for the impact investing community is the aggregation and deployment of growth capital equity in the world’s poorest countries. Few would argue with the proposition that for the world’s poorest countries to move out of poverty there must be a new investment model. In view of the absence of local private equity, growth capital and venture funds in those countries, as well as the small deal sizes, there is a challenge in which growth capital can be deployed.
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