Nigeria, which celebrated its 63rd independence anniversary yesterday, has made significant strides despite facing many challenges, like limited access to healthcare, insecurity, and poverty.
Technology is arguably the nation's most promising industry. And over the years, Nigeria's tech sector has grown significantly, attracting both domestic and global investors, talent, and media attention.
Policies like the Nigeria Startup Act, signed into law by former President Muhammadu Buhari in 2022 with plans to create a favourable environment for tech startups to thrive, have significantly contributed to Nigeria's tech ecosystem’s development.
However, Nigeria's tech ecosystem faces challenges like uncertain regulations, a talent gap, and funding limitations. But, Nigeria's tech sector is resilient and optimistic. Do you agree? Please, leave a reply.
Here's what I've got for you today:
- MTN MoMo South Africa gets new features
- Takealot faces pushback from regulator
- WhatsApp is testing a personal assistant for its users
MTN MoMo South Africa gets new features
MTN's mobile money platform, MoMo, introduced several features last week to compete with South Africa's traditional banks.
The platform offers several services, including payments, online shopping, personal insurance, and lending. Now, it has included an international remittance service and a business wallet.
Bradwin Roper, Chief Financial Services Officer for MTN South Africa, said the wallet allows companies to accept payments directly from customers for several transaction types, including prepaid services and gift cards, without charging a fee.
MTN is also introducing MoMo Eazi, a feature that enables users to register a profile on the MoMo App that allows card payments without the hassle of a thorough registration process.
Roper claims that MTN stores will also have new Point of Sale systems that will enable customers to pay with cards at a lower service fee, allowing them to make purchases with MoMo and receive cashback rewards.
What’s more, 12 African nations now offer MTN MoMo international remittance destinations thanks to a collaboration with SARB-approved dealer Clicksendnow.
These countries are Benin, Cameroon, Congo Brazzaville, Ghana, Guinea Conakry, Guinea Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
Sidebar: In July 2023, Emmanuel chatted with MoMo PSB Nigeria CEO about the company's ambitious plan for Nigeria's untapped resources. Check it out here: Our grand plan to unlock riches from Nigeria's hidden wealth - MoMo PSB CEO, Eli Hini
Takealot faces pushback from regulator
South African eCommerce platform Takealot might not compete with international players like Amazon and Shein.
Why? According to the Online Intermediation Platforms Market Inquiry Report by the Competition Commission, Takealot dominates the eCommerce market and accounts for a significant portion of all online sales.
Consequently, the online retailer has been subjected to several requirements set forth by the Commission.
What are these conditions? The company must, for instance, separate its retail operations from its marketplace operations, expand the scope of its employee code of conduct, and establish a separate channel for complaints that covers infractions based on unfairly harming marketplace sellers.
The Commission also found that Takealot's business model limits the ability of historically disadvantaged companies to compete successfully in the market.
As a result, the eCommerce company must launch a Historically Disadvantaged Persons (HDP) programme that offers several benefits, including customised onboarding, a three-month subscription fee waiver, and at least R2,000 ($105.69) in free advertising credit.
But the Commission is leaving something out: Takealot isn't profitable yet.
While it competes with local online retailers like Massmart, JD Group, and TFG, customers only favour Takealot over its competitors because of its service quality..
WhatsApp is testing a personal assistant for its users
WhatsApp is testing an AI-powered chat system that allows users to communicate with an AI agent.
As a personal assistant, the WhatsApp AI agent will send AI messages to users to help them with their daily tasks. They can also mention AI agents in WhatsApp groups to communicate with them.
Even though some of these messages might be inappropriate or unreliable, reporting them to WhatsApp is advised to improve the service.
Besides, the company claims that while WhatsApp may share AI messages with Meta to improve the quality of the AI, all of your other personal messages will continue to be end-to-end encrypted.
What’s more, users will soon be able to join a waitlist to test out AI-powered chats once they are available.
Last week on Techpoint Africa
- 5 Nigerian startups join Techstars Toronto as it makes its 100th investment in 6 years
- Inspired by the #ENDSARS protest, this 23-year-old programmer is making mental health care more accessible in Nigeria
- Nigerians have to work almost 5 times longer than an average European to afford mobile Internet
- Risevest acquires Chaka
- South African fintech, Revio raises $5.2 million to reduce failed payments for businesses
What I'm reading and watching
- Has Google’s monopoly on the search engine market finally timed out?
- The Dangers of Western Feminism to African Women
- One Health Hack From Every Type Of Doctor
- Google has announced the opening of applications for the Hustle Academy Fund strictly for Nigerian SMEs. Apply by October 12, 2023, here.
- Do you live in Nigeria and work with a local or foreign company? Whether it's remotely, on-site, hybrid, full-time, part-time or as a freelancer, @TheIntelpoint is trying to understand the Nigerian workspace: how you work, and toxicity in the workspace among others. Please, fill out the questionnaire here.
- Afrifursa is hosting its annual tech event, Afri Future Tech Summit, in Toronto, Canada, from October 14-16, 2023. At the event, you will gain access to the most innovative companies and tech leaders from across Africa and Canada. Register here.
- The International Organisation of Employers (IOE) and Seedstars have launched the fourth edition of The Migration Challenge. The programme seeks global tech startups, particularly those in Northern Africa, the Middle East, and Central and Eastern Europe, to develop innovative standard migration procedures that benefit migrants, companies, and governments. These solutions should also address migration caused by the climate and support green transitions with migrant workforces. Apply here by October 6, 2023.
- Apply for the Design and Digital Marketing School Lagos Program if you want to learn skills in Graphic Design, Product Design, and Digital Marketing for 7 weeks, starting Monday, October 9, 2023. Apply here.
- Are you an MVP-stage impact-driven founder shaping the future of healthcare? Apply for the Halcyon Fellowship by October 21, 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 great week!
Victoria Fakiya for Techpoint Africa.