Wasoko cuts Zanzibar, pauses operations in Uganda, Zambia

March 18, 2024
5 min read

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Victoria from Techpoint here,

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

  • Wasoko cuts Zanzibar, pauses operations in Uganda, Zambia
  • SEC to increase crypto fees in Nigeria
  • MNT-Halan acquires Advans Pakistan

Wasoko cuts Zanzibar, pauses operations in Uganda, Zambia


Wasoko, a Kenyan eCommerce startup, has decided to shut up shop in Zanzibar, Tanzania and hit the pause button on operations in Uganda and Zambia.

But the eCommerce says it’s still representing the Silicon Zanzibar initiative as a "private sector ambassador." The company will continue to operate in Kenya, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. 

Why this move, you ask? The company says it’s part of a company-wide restructuring to focus on its robust markets. 

Remember, in December 2023, Wasoko and MaxAB, an Egyptian eCommerce company, revealed plans to merge to create a powerhouse serving 65 million customers across eight African markets.

However, it has not all been smooth sailing since the announcement. Some big-shot executives, like co-founder Josh Raine and the CFO and CTO, reportedly jumped ship. Even the HR head bailed in February 2024.

But it's not just the top dogs feeling the heat. About 10% of the workforce got the boot in January due to overlapping roles after the merger announcement. 

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There is some drama, with former employees claiming they were given a raw deal with their exit packages, taking legal action against Wasoko. 

So, yeah, Wasoko's been through the wringer lately, and with this recent news, we can only wait and see what the future holds for this African eCommerce company.

SEC to increase crypto fees in Nigeria

Image by vwalakte on Freepik

The Securities and Exchange Commission of Nigeria (SEC) is upending the cryptocurrency industry. It’s proposing some hefty changes to the rules for crypto platforms.

First, it wants to jack up the registration fee for crypto exchanges big time. Right now, it's sitting at ₦30 million ($18,620), but it plans to bump it up to ₦150 million ($93,000). Yep, that's a 400% increase!  

But that's not all. It’s also tweaking the fees for other crypto-related services. The filing/application fee for digital asset exchanges and offering platforms could jump from ₦100,000 ($62.81) to ₦300,000 ($186). 

And the processing fee? The price could rise from ₦300,000 ($186) to ₦1 million ($628.06). 

And it's not just about the money. The SEC also proposes changing the name of the rules and guidelines from "New Rules on Issuance, Offering Platforms, and Custody of Digital Assets" to "Rules on Digital Assets Issuance, Offering Platforms, Exchange, and Custody". Bit of a mouthful, but okay.

SEC claims these changes are all about clarity and incorporating feedback from industry folks. However, some are already calling foul. They're saying these new fees are way too steep and will only benefit foreign companies, leaving local players in the dust.

Sidebar Alert: In February, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) increased the licencing fee for international money transfer operators to ₦10 million ($6,280.58). Seems like everyone's feeling the pinch.

MNT-Halan acquires Advans Pakistan

MNT-Halan founders, Mounir Nakhla and Ahmed Mohsen

MNT-Halan, an Egyptian fintech, recently acquired Advans Pakistan Microfinance Bank. It’s keeping the exact details of the deal under wraps for now. 

The deal's been in the works for a while. The latest African unicorn inked the agreement in August 2023 and got the State Bank of Pakistan's approval in October 2023. And now, after jumping through a few hoops, the Competition Commission of Pakistan has finally given it the thumbs up.

The fintech has a financial presence in Pakistan through subsidiaries such as Halan Wallet and Halan Finance. And so you know, MNT-Halan is a collaboration between Dutch microlending company MNT and Egyptian fintech startup Halan.

MNT-Halan Pak B.V., the Dutch-Egyptian holding company behind this development, is all set to take over. 

This move comes after MNT-Halan raised $400 million to fuel their expansion plans in February 2023.

Mounir Nakhla and Ahmed Mohsen founded the unicorn in 2017. It provides several financial and non-financial services, including lending, buy now, pay later, and even on-demand logistics. 

On the flip side, Advans Pakistan Microfinance Bank is a big player in Pakistan's microfinance scene. Over the last few years, the company has been having trouble and has accumulated losses. With the acquisition, MNT-Halan aims to turn things around. 

Through this agreement, MNT-Halan, via its parent company Advans S.A. SICAR, based in Luxembourg, now owns 100% of Advans Pakistan Microfinance Bank.

Last week on Techpoint Africa

What I'm reading and watching  


  • Signal is looking for a product designer. Apply here.
  • Restaurant365 is hiring a Software Engineering Manager. Apply here.
  • Story Protocol is recruiting a product designer. Apply here.
  • Headway is looking for a data analyst. Apply here.
  • Seedstars has announced  INFUSE 2024, a global invitation for innovative applications aimed at fortifying health systems against climate threats and improving immunisation delivery. Apply here.
  • Application for the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) Class of 2025 is now open. Check out the one-year, fully sponsored, graduate-level programme in tech entrepreneurship here before March 18, 2023.
  • 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.
  • Explore this website to find multiple job opportunities in Data that align with your preferences.
  • 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 productive week!

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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