22 issues that occurred for the primary time in 2022 within the African tech scene

22 issues that occurred for the primary time in 2022 within the African tech scene

2022 was a special 12 months for the African tech ecosystem as the results of the financial downturn shook the ecosystem. The 12 months was full of tales of triumph, failures, and progress. Right here’s an inventory of twenty-two issues that occurred for the primary time within the African tech ecosystem this 12 months. 

  1. Kenya grew to become the primary African nation to show coding as a topic in faculties

In August, former Kenyan president, Uhuru Kenyatta, announced the addition of laptop programming as a topic in its main and secondary faculties curricula. This announcement was effectively acquired as a result of laptop programming teaches kids to experiment and offers them the boldness to be artistic. It’s additionally seen as a transfer to make sure that Kenya continues to keep up its place as one of many hotbeds for digital innovation on the continent. 

The South African Division of Training made an analogous announcement earlier within the 12 months about introducing coding and robotics to colleges.

  1. Nigeria and DRC Congo now have startup acts

Throughout Africa regulation is seen as a vital instrument required to foster innovation. This has led to a clamour for supporting regulation for the tech ecosystem by startup acts. A startup act is a authorized and institutional framework for the development of startups in a rustic. It helps to create an atmosphere that encourages the formation, progress, and operation of startups inside a rustic.

In December 2019, Senegal grew to become the second African nation to enact a nationwide startup act, following Tunisia’s landmark invoice that handed in April 2018.  This 12 months Nigeria and DRC joined that listing of African nations which have startup acts.

Over 10 African nations, together with Kenya, Rwanda, Ghana, and Ethiopia, are nonetheless within the means of drafting their startup payments.  

  1. The Central African Republic grew to become the primary African nation to make bitcoin authorized tender

Bitcoin has gained worldwide recognition and use previously decade—with world adoption rising by 2,300% since 2019 and 103 countries allowing crypto trading. (Governments and regulators worldwide are nonetheless debating its security.) 

In April, the Central African Republic (CAR) became the primary African nation to make bitcoin authorized tender, and the second nation on the earth after El Salvador. Because of this bitcoin have to be accepted as cost alongside the Central African CFA franc.

Carefully associated to this, South Africa’s Monetary Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA), by the Monetary Advisory and Middleman Companies (FAIS) Act, in October declared that cryptocurrency belongings are labeled as monetary merchandise, permitting them to be regulated.

These two African nations are outliers, in comparison with many African nations which have banned crypto or restricted its use. 4 African nations—Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, and Tunisia—have banned all types of crypto buying and selling, whereas seven together with Nigeria, Cameroon, and Gabon, have some types of prohibition relating to crypto buying and selling. These governments have cited quite a few causes for the bans, from fraud and cash laundering to tax evasion and terrorist financing. 

  1. A large wave of layoffs

Layoffs are a standard incidence throughout an financial downturn and African startup staff weren’t exempt from experiencing them this 12 months. 

Information from layoffs.fyi, a crowdsourced database of tech layoffs, exhibits that 1,495 tech firms have sacked 246,267 staff because the onset of COVID-19. Over 50,000 of such layoffs occurred in 2022, with at the very least over 1,000 tech employees in Africa laid off. 

The layoffs began with Egyptian mobility startup Swvl shedding about 400 people in Could. Startups corresponding to Twiga foods, Quidax, Vendease, 54 Gene, Sendy and plenty of extra additionally carried out an analogous train, attributing it to the financial downturn.

  1. Nigerian fintech firms battled with fraud allegations in Kenya

Nigerian startups have been beneath scrutiny by Kenyan Authorities companies, significantly the Central Financial institution of Kenya and its Asset Restoration Company (ARA), over allegations of card fraud and worldwide cash laundering.

Flutterwave Cost Expertise Restricted, Boxtrip Journey and Excursions Restricted, Bagtrip Journey Restricted, Elivalat Fintech Restricted, Adguru Expertise Restricted, Hupesi Options, Cruz Experience Auto Restricted, Korapay, and one Simon Ngige have been all accused of cash laundering. 

Various these fintech firms corresponding to Flutterwave, Kora Pay and Kandon have been cleared of those fraud prices.

  1. Over $4 billion raised in enterprise capital funding

The jury continues to be out on how a lot precisely African startups raised in 2022, however from all indicators, it’s near what was raised final 12 months. Over $4 billion has been raised to date in 2022 in accordance with the Big Deal.

Whereas there was no unicorn minted this 12 months, quite a few notable funding offers have been made. Tanzanian startup, Ramani, raised a $32 million Sequence A, the biggest Sequence A ever from the nation; Wasoko (previously Sokowatch), closed a $125 million Sequence B at a $625 million valuation;  Algerian Yassir raised $150m Sequence B;  Nigerian Fintech TeamApt raised $50 million; and Congo-based crypto startup Jambo raised $37.5 million cumulatively this 12 months.

  1. African firms embraced the Metaverse

Previously 12 months, the recognition of the Metaverse has soared with many firms making a play into the house by patents or experiments carried out.

In February, after its rebrand Africa’s largest telco MTN bought 144 plots of digital land within the Africarare metaverse Ubuntuland for an undisclosed sum, changing into the primary African firm to take action. Later within the 12 months, Nedbank and South African retail Game, additionally adopted swimsuit.

  1. 5G is right here to remain, with extra African nations having access to this know-how 

For lengthy 5G has been touted to revolutionise the connectivity house; some analysts predict that 5G will add a further $2.2 trillion to Africa’s economic system by 2034.  This has led many African nations to start trials with Gabon beginning as early as 2019, however few have commercially launched 5G. This may be largely attributed to challenges round spectrum regulation readability, industrial viability, and deployment deadlines.

This 12 months MTN launched its 5G companies throughout Nigeria and Zambia within the fourth quarter. Orange additionally launched 5G in Botswana. These industrial launches are a constructive step ahead because the continent battles with low citizen buying energy of 5G-enabled smartphones and costly web.

  1. International tech firms arrange African places of work 

A bodily presence speaks volumes of an organisation’s dedication to a rustic. This 12 months quite a few world tech firms arrange their first African places of work.

In March, Microsoft opened a brand new African Growth Centre at Ikoyi, Lagos. The centre, which is a $100 million funding by the multi-billion greenback agency, is the place software program engineering options are anticipated to be supplied to Africa. 

In April, Google announced its first African improvement centre in Nairobi. The centre is anticipated to assist create transformative services and products for individuals in Africa.

In April, Visa opened its first African innovation studio in Kenya. This facility will serve the sub-Saharan Africa area and joins a network of innovation centres operated by Visa since 2016, in cities together with London, Dubai, and Singapore. The Nairobi studio is the primary in Africa and sixth globally.

In July, Bolt launched its first African headquarters in Nairobi, a regional hub for the seven African nations during which Bolt is operational—Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, and Tunisia.

  1. Techstars Accelerator programme returned to Africa after 5 years

In April, Techstars announced the launch of the ARM Labs Lagos Techstars Accelerator Programme targeted on serving to fintech and proptech startups with merchandise that serve an African viewers.

The announcement signified a break from the five-year hiatus the accelerator with over $500 million belongings beneath administration (AUM) had taken in Africa. Techstars earlier ran an accelerator programme in South Africa from 2016 to 2017, in partnership with Barclays Financial institution the place they invested in 21 startups, out of which three have been acquired, 5 have gone out of enterprise, and 13 are nonetheless operating. 

  1. Swvl grew to become the primary African firm to get listed through SPAC  

Egypt-born and Dubai-headquartered mobility startup, Swvl, merged with Queen’s Gambit Progress Capital in April at a valuation of $1.5 billion, changing into the primary African startup to go public through a particular function acquisition firm (SPAC).

Since getting listed, nevertheless, Swvl’s valuation has crashed, and the startup is now valued at less than $40 million

  1. The race for African information centres and cloud continues

At the beginning of the 12 months, Oracle, the world’s largest database administration firm, opened its first cloud area (a cluster of information centres) in Africa. Different world cloud and database service suppliers adopted swimsuit later within the 12 months.

In October, Google declared its intention to determine the primary African Google Cloud area in South Africa. Amazon Net Companies (AWS) in November opened its first workplace in Lagos, Nigeria, 5 years after its first workplace in Johannesburg was opened in 2017. In December, Liquid Clever Applied sciences formally launched operations in Nigeria, having earlier expanded to Zambia in August.

  1. Amazon Prime Video grew to become extra pronounced in Nigeria

Amazon’s Prime Video has been strategically increasing its Nigerian content material providing in the previous couple of years, however this 12 months pushed extra aggressively with advertising and marketing and providing Nigerians the chance to pay for the service in native forex, the naira. Prime Video was beforehand unavailable to Nigerians, as many had to make use of VPNs to entry it.

In January, the corporate struck a multi-year unique licensing deal with Anthill Studios, a Lagos-based firm behind a few well-received films together with Elevator Child and Day of Future. A 12 months in the past, it closed an analogous cope with Inkblot Studios which produced the commercially profitable The Wedding ceremony Social gathering movies. 

In June, Amazon Prime Video commissioned Nollywood’s Nemsia Movies, makers of God Calling (2018) and Journey of an African Colony (2019), to provide three movies.

Just lately, Nigerian Highlife singer, Flavour, was reported to have signed an unique cope with the streamers for the discharge of a biopic. 

With these strikes, Amazon Prime Video joined Africa’s video-on-demand (VOD)  streaming struggle.

  1. Vodacom pulled the plug on its video streaming service

The entry of recent gamers to the African VOD scene additionally means there have been some exits. Video Play, a video streaming service launched by Vodacom in August 2015, was shut down in July 2022.

The companies had over 1 million downloads on the Google Play Retailer alone and was made lately free. The corporate had in 2019 secured the rights to live-stream the English FA Cup on the service in addition to securing rights to broadcast American movie manufacturing studio firm Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)’s content material in 2020.

The streaming service joins a prolonged listing of South African streaming companies by cell community operators to be discontinued, as competitors within the on-demand content material streaming house continues to get harder.

  1. Google’s Africa web cable arrives in Africa

Equiano, a subsea web cable running by Portugal to South Africa, arrived in Africa in 2022. The cable runs by Togo, Nigeria, Namibia, and South Africa. It’s anticipated to turn into operational this month. 

This venture marks a milestone in Google’s plan to offer reasonably priced web entry in Africa by constructing world infrastructure to assist convey quicker web to extra individuals and decrease connectivity prices.

The venture, which is known as after Nigerian-born author and abolitionist Olaudah Equiano, is anticipated to assist help additional digital transformation on the continent and speed up financial progress with GDPs of Nigeria anticipated to rise by $10.1 billion, South Africa $7 billion and $260 million in Namibia.

Carefully associated to that, Elon Musk’s Starlink acquired approval to offer web service in Nigeria and Mozambique.

  1. Meta-backed 2Africa Subsea Cable web lands in Africa

At 45,000km, 2Africa Pearls is the world’s largest subsea web cable and is about to attach 33 places at 46 places throughout Africa, Europe, and Asia as soon as it’s full. In December, the cable landed in Cape City. The 2Africa venture goals to offer Africa with higher web entry.

Launched by Meta in Could 2020, the 2Africa venture is finished in collaboration with MTN, Orange, Vodafone, and China Cellular. Not like Equiano, the 2Africa cable will ultimately encircle the complete African continent, with the primary a part of the system scheduled to go stay subsequent 12 months.

  1. Meta quietly shuts down its low-cost web programme throughout Africa

After greater than 5 years in operation, Meta shut down Specific Wi-Fi, a programme designed to offer low-cost web in growing nations by partnerships with native communities, cell operators, and companies. The Specific Wi-Fi program was operational in nations corresponding to  Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Kenya, Côte d’Ivoire, Zambia, Cameroon, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Madagascar, South Africa, and Uganda.

  1. Office tradition points and scandals

Along with layoffs and the financial downturn, scandals rocked the booming African tech ecosystem in 2022.

This 12 months noticed quite a few tech startup CEOs being challenged for misconduct. 

In March 2022, the alleged toxic behaviour of Ebunoluwa Okunbanjo, Bento Africa CEO, was uncovered after a collection of interviews with former and present staff. In gentle of those revelations, Okunbanjo was requested to step except for the corporate for just a few months by the board of administrators. He later returned to the helm of the corporate as CEO.

In April, Flutterwave CEO Olugbenga Agboola was within the highlight for a myriad of allegations starting from harassment to insider buying and selling, based mostly on completely different revelations. Flutterwave has denied these allegations. Different notable startups that confronted scandals embody Egyptian B2B e-commerce Capiter, Kloud Commerce, Risevest, and Healthlane.

  1. A wave of acquisitions 

There’s been an increase in acquisition offers occurring on the continent this 12 months. Within the first half of 2022, TechCabal tracked 26 acquisitions; in the meantime, in Q3 2022, we tracked 17. A few of these acquisitions are: 

B2B market TradeDepot’s acquired Accra-based GreenLion;  Silvertree’s $12.3 million acquired South African meal package supply startup Ucook; MFS Africa’s $34 million bought International Expertise Companions; Liquid Clever Applied sciences acquired of Israeli Telrad; Belgium-based Dstyn’s purchased Egyptian Tactful AI; Nigerian house concierge startup Eden life acquired Kenyan-based Lynk; UK-based energy firm Bboxx acquired West Africa-based photo voltaic vitality supplier Peg; Moroccan B2B e-commerce Chari acquired Ivorian B2B e-commerce startup Diago;  and mPharma acquired a majority stake in HealthPlus. 

  1.  A South African was charged within the largest fraud scheme involving bitcoin

In July, 2022, the U.S Commodities Futures Buying and selling Fee (CFTC) charged South African resident Cornelius Johannes Steynberg in a bitcoin fraud scheme case totalling $1.7 billion. Sternberg was lately detained in Brazil on an Interpol arrest warrant. 

  1.  Zanzibar launched Silicon Zanzibar 

Zanzibar, a semi-autonomous island in East Africa, launched its plan to be Africa’s main tech hub, by its Silicon Zanzibar venture.

Led by the Zanzibar Ministry of Funding and Financial Growth alongside a number of African tech firms, Silicon Zanzibar goals to draw know-how companies and employees from throughout Africa and past. To lure tech firms, Zanzibar is allotting work visas for relocating tech employees, one thing that has been problematic in mature markets like Nigeria, Kenya, Egypt, and South Africa.

Different incentives within the Zanzibar Free Financial Zone embody exemption from company tax for 10 years.

  1. MTN exits the Center East

In November, Africa’s largest wi-fi service, MTN Group announced that it bought its Afghanistan enterprise to Beirut-based M1 New Ventures for $35 million because it continues to scale back its presence outdoors the continent. 

This transfer is in step with MTN’s strategic precedence, since 2020, of narrowing concentrate on its house continent. The group has earlier deserted its Syrian enterprise and transferred its Yemen unit to a associate. MTN stays current in Iran.

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