Bolt's #IWD2021 tech women, Techpoint Writer Bootcamp, Liquid Telecom raises $840m

March 8, 2021
5 min read
Women in tech. Photo by lt;a href="" target="_ blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Guzeartworld Photography</a>

Good day,

Múyìwá here. Happy International Women's Day to every woman reading this.

Today I am exploring

  • Bolt's bid to get more African women in tech.
  • Techpoint Writer Bootcamp 2.0 and why you should apply.
  • Liquid Telecom's $840m raise and the implications for connectivity in Africa.

Bolt launches tech internship programme for women

techpoint women in tech
Women in tech. Photo by Guzeartworld Photography

A 2018 report by global online tech community, Adeva puts the global participation of women in tech at a paltry 25%.

Closer home, Techpoint Africa's West African Startup Decade report reveals that only 10% of women-founded tech startups in the region raised over $1m between 2010 and 2019. That's appalling. Which is why it was exciting news when women-focused super-early-stage fund, FirstCheck Africa launched in January.

Estonian-based ride-hailing company, Bolt is also looking to contribute its quota towards building a more inclusive industry. Last week, the company announced an internship programme through which it plans to help 12 women across Africa "fast-track their career in the tech world".

From all indications, the 12 women will work on a transportation solution that might be more beneficial to Bolt. Nevertheless, the company promises a "wide range of career choices and an opportunity to join different teams in Engineering, Operations and Marketing".

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But there's a catch. Intending participants have to be nominated on social media. Top nominees will then pitch to Bolt and only 3 top applicants each from Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, and one other country I've been unable to confirm will be selected for the internship. Here's how to nominate/be nominated from Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya.

Meanwhile, later today by noon (WAT), Oluwanifemi will publish her interview with an inspiring woman doing great things around tech policy in Africa. Don't miss it. Remind me (Tip: add a notification before you save).

In other somewhat related news, the Lagos state government has launched yet another ride-hailing service. 

Why you should apply for the Techpoint Writer Bootcamp

bootcamp 2019
Techpoint Writer Bootcamp 2019

Last week Tuesday, we announced the second edition of the Techpoint Writer Bootcamp with the promise of a paid internship for successful applicants.

First instituted in 2019, the Techpoint Writer Bootcamp is building a formidable pipeline for tech journalism talent in Africa, if I do say so myself.

I mean, just this January, one of our 2019 finalists, Tage Kene-Okafor, was grabbed by US-based media giant, TechCrunch, barely a year after he officially joined Techpoint Africa. It means we are definitely doing something right. And yes, I got Tage's permission to shamelessly plug him in. 

Techpoint Writer Bootcamp couldn't hold in 2020 due to the pandemic, but now it's back!

The second edition of Techpoint Writer Bootcamp is scheduled to hold in Ile-Ife, Osun state, from April 6th to April 10th, 2021. During the bootcamp, 6 finalists will be lodged at a shared house in Ife, Osun state. They will get an intensive, hands-on introduction to the world of tech journalism and what we do at Techpoint Africa.

At the end of the bootcamp, at least three of the best participants will be offered a paid 6-month internship with Techpoint Africa, with future work potential for the right candidates. 

Like TechCrunch’s Tage, and our own Titilola, Emmanuel and Oluwanifemi, you do not need any journalism or tech experience to apply for the bootcamp. You just need to know how to communicate effectively in writing.

You also need to be above 18 by April 6th, be available for a 4-day stay in Ile-Ife, Nigeria and, if you are selected for the paid internship, be available to work from Ile-Ife for 6 months.

Sounds like you or know someone who would be a good fit? Here's the application link.

Oh, and here are Oluwanifemi and Emmanuel sharing their 2019 bootcamp and paid internship experience.

Liquid Telecom raises $840m in bond and debt to accelerate Africa expansion

Undersea fibre optic

Last week, news of Liquid Telecom group successfully securing a $840m bond and term loan financing package made the rounds. Apparently the news was announced in February but somehow, almost everyone missed it.

The $840m includes a $620m bond sale and $220 million in debt refinancing. The $620m bond sale alone is touted to be the largest fundraise by any African telecoms company.

With a 73,000km fibre network covering the Northernmost to Southernmost parts of the continent, Liquid Telecom is Africa's largest independent fibre infrastructure provider. The company already operates five data centres in South Africa, Kenya and Rwanda. This new round of financing will help Liquid Telecom expand its reach, further deepening availability of crucial infrastructure in existing areas of coverage and beyond.

The $840m is likely to be a drop in the ocean though. For perspective, West Africa-focused MainOne was capitalised with $240m in 2010.

Meanwhile, there is an unprecedented demand for connectivity in Africa. According to GSMA, 61% of the world’s population will be connected to the internet by 2025 and of that projection, Sub-Saharan Africa alone will contribute 495 million new users.

Little wonder that Facebook alone is looking to splurge $1bn in laying a 37,000-kilometer undersea internet cable, to connect 23 countries in Africa, Europe and the Middle East. All in the race for the next half-a-billion users.

Dive deeper: Subsea Internet cables and the race to connect Africa to the Internet.

Stuff I'm following

  • Did you notice that ex-Googler Fola Olatunji-David recently updated his Twitter bio with "Head of LottoKing" at BetKing?
  • Jack Dorsey's Square acquires Jay Z's TIDAL, barely 3 weeks after the duo launched a bitcoin endowment fund. .

Last week on Techpoint Africa

  • Report: In 2020, foreign investments dominated 71% of Nigeria’s startup funding. Read.
  • Lagos launches another ride-hailing service, signs vehicle assembly partnership. Read.

Featured Image by Guzeartworld Photography.

Have a great day!
Múyìwá Mátùlúkò for Techpoint Africa.

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