Takealot tests an on-demand service in Cape Town

August 17, 2023
5 min read

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It’s not Friday yet, but I’m excited.💃 Guess why?

Today is Intelpoint’s — Techpoint Africa's research and data arm — Fintech Executive Mixer. It’s happening at Lekki Phase 1, Lagos, on Thursday, August 17, 2023.

Techpoint Africa will also host The Modern Workplace Africa Conference on Saturday, October 21, 2023, at Landmark Centre in Victoria Island, Lagos. You should attend this event whether you are an employer or employee, a HR enthusiast or expert, a remote or 9 to 5 worker, a techie or trying to transition into tech, or you don’t even have a job.

This event will be empowering, and I’m not even joking. To attend, please, register here.

Here's what I've got for you today:

  • M-PESA is now live in Ethiopia
  • AWS Skills Center in South Africa
  • Takealot to launch an on-demand service

M-PESA is now live in Ethiopia


Safaricom rolled out M-PESA in Ethiopia yesterday to help increase revenue from its operations in the country and support its goal of turning a profit by 2027.

Why? The cost of launching operations in Ethiopia in October 2022 caused Safaricom's core earnings to decline by 5% in March 2023.

Ethio Telecom, whose profits more than doubled in its most recent fiscal year, is a fierce competitor for the company. Its mobile money service, Telebirr, reported over 34 million subscribers as of July.

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In May 2023, Safaricom obtained a Payment Instrument Issuer Licence from the National Bank of Ethiopia to launch its mobile money service, M-PESA, in the country.

If you’re wondering why it didn’t launch until yesterday, the company said it had to complete a demanding three-month pilot and testing phase as well as technical readiness, secure significant bank partnerships, and hire, train, and onboard M-PESA agents.

Customers can pay for goods and services, purchase airtime, transfer and send money, and receive money domestically and internationally using the mobile money service.

Safaricom Ethiopia customers can use M-PESA services by dialling *733# on their line on both Android and iOS devices. The app currently supports five languages for Android smartphones and is accessible via the Google Play Store; it will be made available for IOS phones in the upcoming weeks.

M-PESA isn’t only in Kenya or Ethiopia. The mobile money service is also available in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Mozambique, and Tanzania.

AWS opens Skills Center in South Africa

AWS Skill center

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has launched its first African Skills Center in Cape Town, South Africa.

The new centre will offer free education programmes to non-technical workers.

What's the AWS Skills Center? It's a specialised, on-site cloud learning facility designed by Amazon for anyone interested in cloud computing, potential career paths within the industry, and developing the skills required to advance their professional aspirations.

This facility in Cape Town is the company’s third AWS Skills Center in the world. Its other two centres are in Arlington (Virginia) and Seattle (Washington), both in the United States.

Why South Africa? AWS Training and Certification Vice President, Maureen Lonergan, said there is a wealth of talent in Cape Town and that upskilling the workforce can help foster innovation, ignite economic growth, and speed up digital transformation in South Africa.

Takealot to launch an on-demand service


South African eCommerce platform, Takealot, is testing TakealotNOW, an on-demand service in Cape Town that will allow it to deliver any of its products to its customers within an hour.

Takealot Group’s delivery service, Mr D, will handle the logistics and deliver several items until 11 p.m. Additionally, the first month's delivery is free.

The service will initially be available only in the northern suburbs of Cape Town, specifically Durbanville, Belville, Brackenfell, Kraaifontein, Kuilsriver, and Parow. But there are plans to expand

Why is Takealot doing this? Apart from the accelerated adoption of online retail in South Africa due to the impact of COVID-19, one thing comes to mind: Project Fela.

Project Fela is the codename given to Amazon’s expansion project into Africa, including South Africa.

Consequently, the South African online retailer might be launching TakealotNOW to maintain a larger market share even if Amazon opens a local marketplace.

Makwe Masilela, Chief Investment Officer of Makwe Fund Managers, added that Takealot's entry into the on-demand service market is a good one, particularly given the success it has already brought to South Africa's grocery retailers.

What I'm reading and watching


  • Apply for the AWS Startup Builds Accelerator 2023 for pre-MVP founders before September 22, 2023, here.
  • Stears is hiring a Senior Research Associate. Apply here.
  • TechCircle is hiring a Venture Analyst. Apply here.
  • Gen F, a three-month initiative sponsored by Founders Factory Africa, is open to idea-stage founders. Participants will receive a monthly stipend, an experimentation budget, and access to experts to help them test and launch their ideas. Apply here.
  • MTN MoMo is hosting tech developers and innovators from 15 African countries, including Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Ghana, and Cameroon, to participate in its online application programming interface (API) hackathon. Apply before September 3, 2023, here.
  • African Startups can now apply to join the first cohort of the Visa Africa Fintech Accelerator programme. Startups up to the Series A stage are encouraged to apply for the opportunity to acquire unrivaled expertise, beneficial industry connections, cutting-edge technology, and potential investment funding. Apply by August 25, 2023 here.
  • If you are a software engineer, creative designer, product manager, design researcher, or a techie looking for an internship role, please, check out this website.

Have a lovely Thursday!

Victoria Fakiya for Techpoint Africa.

She's autistic and interested in mental health and how technology can help Africans with mental disorders. Find her on Twitter @latoria_ria.
She's autistic and interested in mental health and how technology can help Africans with mental disorders. Find her on Twitter @latoria_ria.
She's autistic and interested in mental health and how technology can help Africans with mental disorders. Find her on Twitter @latoria_ria.

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