Tuesday, 21 June 2022



Good morning!

Dennis here!

Seriously, that thing that people say about if they were stuck in an elevator with Bill Gate they will step out a billionaire, have you ever believed it? How feasible is it? What will you do? Harangue him to invest in your business?

I doubt I'll even say a word to him.

Below are the tech stories and news you need to know to start your day, carefully curated by Technext.

Summary of the news

  • Amazon is planning to expand to Nigeria by April 2023.
  • Afropolitan from ClubHouse has raised $2.1 million in a pre-seed round.
  • The Ugandan authorities said that it will launch its first satellite in September.
  • The President of El Salvador says Bitcoin’s value will immensely grow after the crash.

Look out Jumia, Amazon is coming

Technext Round1
The moment Amazon, the OG e-commerce giant lands on the shores of Africa in April, it's game over for the gazillion e-commerce companies that have struggled for years to keep their house in order.

Business Insider reports that Amazon is now eyeing Nigeria as a new market for its massive retail division. The report says that operations will start in Nigeria in April, two months after it starts operation in South Africa, in February next year.

According to the report:

South Africa, codenamed Project Fela, is also expected in February 2023. The marketplace in Nigeria is due to launch in April 2023. That project shares the codename Project Fela with South Africa.

Amazon is also moving into Belgium, Chile and Colombia.

Last week I reported that Amazon is already pumping vast amounts into the Nigerian filmmaking industry for original African content for its Amazon Studios division.

This underscores Africa's impact on the global market and the expedient need for Nigerian companies to sit tight.

With Amazon coming with a more expansive catalogue and more rigorous vetting systems, the likes of Jumia and Konga that have dominated the Nigerian space will need to work extra hard to get Nigerians' attention or fade away into oblivion.

But this will also dep[end on the Amazon team. Will the team be dedicated to excellence and retaining standards? Whichever way, I'll certainly be returning back to the unbridled online shopping I ditched after multiple terrible "what I ordered versus what I got" experiences.

Afropolitan, the ClubHouse club has raised $2.1 million in pre-seed round

It's always a good sight for me when another funding news makes its way into the news cycle and it's not the umpteenth fintech doing what every other fintech does.

Case in point Afropolitan, the ClubHouse club founded by Eche Emole and Chika Uwazie, popular with Nigerians in the diaspora in those days of CH, which also does event has raised $2.1 million in a pre-seed round to build a digital nation in the cloud.

This is a really striking raise because I remember this club very well on ClubHouse, and even then I had always suspected that they had their sight on a bigger fish; the way they promoted their rooms, had a website, and had massive followers on Instagram. It felt very calculated.

I have never been one to latch onto snail oil salesmen's analogies of if you meet Bill Gate in an elevator you'll get off a billionaire. But If there's one thing these guys can do, is build a community.

See what TechCabal writes about how it will work:

Afropolitan’s digital nation will be built in 4 phases. In the first phase, it will admit people into its community or decentralised autonomous organisation (DAO), with NFTs serving as digital passports. In the second phase, it will build a super app that will allow people to monitor their holdings, send money to anyone across borders, earn by contributing to the DAO, and buy goods and services from one another. The next phase is what is called a “minimum viable state” which will allow it to offer some government services—case in point, help Africans stuck in the Russian-Ukraine crisis. Afterwards, it intends to push for full-scale sovereignty and acquire physical lands in cities across the world.

See who some of the participants in the round are:

Iyinoluwa Aboyeji of Future Africa, Olugbenga Agboola of Flutterwave, Elizabeth Yin of Hustle Fund, Shola Akinlade of Paystack, Ian Lee of Syndicate, Walter Baddoo of 4DX Ventures, Jason Njoku of IROKOtv, Tobenna Arodiogbu of CloudTrucks, Ngozi Dozie of Carbon, and Dare Obasanjo, Senior Product Manager at Meta.

See what the founders told TechCabal below:

Think a ‘Chinatown/Afropolitan Town’ in every city in the world where our members can establish a physical presence to create economic opportunities. Our network state will serve as the capital that governs these enclaves that will serve as embassies.

Uganda to launch its first satellite in September

Uganda has announced that it will launch its first satellite into the low Earth orbit from the International Space Station, in collaboration with the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) this September, Benjamin Dada blog reports.

The satellite, PearlAfricaSat-1, is the latest mission from the Joint Global Multi-Nation Birds Satellite project. The project, first announced in 2019, recently took a major step forward with the approval of funding for a ground station near Kampala. The station, located at the Mpoma facility where Uganda already has two antennas, will serve as the operations and communications centre for satellites launched by the government and universities. The existing antennas are associated with Intelsat's Atlantic Ocean and Indian Ocean satellites.

Uganda signed a collaborative research agreement with the Kyushu Institute of Technology (Kyutech), Japan. The agreement involved enrolling and upskilling three graduate engineers to design, build, test, and launch the first satellite for Uganda. In May 2022, the three Ugandan students, namely; Edgar Mujuni, Derick Tebusweke and Bonny Omara, completed the development work on the 10 cubic metre satellite named PearlAfricaSat-1, which was handed over to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) for final testing.

Ugandan authorities said that the ground station at Mpoma, Mukono, will receive data from the satellite, which will be used for meteorology, environmental monitoring, urban planning, mineral exploration, and disaster management, among other purposes. He said that the government has allocated UGX 274.4 billion towards advancing innovation and technological development in the country.

According to Ugandan Finance Minister, Matia Kasaija Uganda has invested significant resources to develop the technology. Local media reports that the country has committed $2 million for technology, research, and development and another $200,000 to improve infrastructure at Mpoma.

President of El Salvador says Bitcoin’s value will immensely grow after bear market

El Salvador's Bitcoin advocate and investor president Nayib Bukele is not losing faith in the cryptocurrency.

As tensions rise amid falling BTC prices, Bukele decided to share advice for fellow Bitcoin investors that may be concerned about the prolonged bear market, Nairametrics reports.

After Bloomberg reported that the country has lost almost $56 million since he made Bitcoin a legal tender in the nation, calling the move "gambling on the digital asset,” he had some thoughts of his own on social media.

See what he aid below in a series of tweets:

I see that some people are worried or anxious about the #Bitcoin market price. My advice: stop looking at the graph and enjoy life. If you invested in #BTC your investment is safe and its value will immensely grow after the bear market. Patience

I have said it repeatedly: A supposed loss of 40 million dollars has not occurred because we have not sold the coins.”

There is a clear criticism of Bitcoin as such, not of El Salvador’s strategy.”

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