Digital fraud in Tanzania's commercial banks increased by 84% in Q4 2023

March 19, 2024
7 min read

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Victoria from Techpoint here,

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

  • Digital fraud in Tanzania's commercial banks increased by 84% in Q4 2023
  • EFCC to dig deep into Binance’s data
  • Can homegrown cloud hosts support Nigerian startups?
  • Nigeria loses $593.6 million due to Internet disruptions
  • Zone gets $8.5 million seed

Digital fraud in Tanzania's commercial banks increased by 84% in Q4 2023


According to the central bank, digital fraud in Tanzania's commercial banks increased by 84% during the last three months of 2023 compared to earlier in the year. 

The Bank of Tanzania sent out a memo on March 5, saying over TSh 1.65 billion (about $647,000) got swiped through mobile and internet banking scams, including cyber-attacks, in the fourth quarter. That's a big jump from TSh 901.8 million ($353,600) in the third quarter!

Theft from ATM card skimming also shot up by 60% to about TSh 159.87 million ($62,700) in Q4, compared to TSh 99.64 million ($39,100) in Q3. But it's still not as high as the crazy numbers seen in Q2.

On the flip side, there was less cash grabbed through forged cheques and the Tanzania Interbank Settlement System in Q4, which is somewhat good news.

Can homegrown cloud hosts support Nigerian startups?

Equinix, data centre
(Photo: Equinix)

Ever since Nigeria's Central Bank decided to let the naira's value float back in June 2023, things have been pretty rough. 

The naira took a nosedive, losing around 68% of its value. This hit businesses hard, especially those dealing with expenses in dollars. 

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For example, MTN Nigeria lost ₦137 billion in 2023 due to tower costs tied to the dollar. And it’s not alone. Companies like Cadbury Plc and BUA Foods also took a hit, losing billions.

Consequently, Nigerian startups are making some changes. Many are shifting their tech needs to local providers to save some cash. They're ditching pricey tools for more affordable options like Zoho, which lets them pay in naira. Some startups are even putting specific projects on hold to save money.

However, cloud hosting has not changed much. Startups rely heavily on services like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Azure, and Google Cloud for database management. 

These providers frequently offer freebies to entice startups, but as the naira's value falls, some founders are considering switching to local cloud hosts to save money, despite concerns about how unreliable the local options are.

But Ahmad Mukoshy, the CEO of Gigalayer, believes that local cloud hosting providers can do a solid job of helping out startups. 
But how? Read Chimgozirim’s latest to find out: Naira devaluation forces Nigerian startups to seek local alternatives to AWS, Azure

Nigeria loses $593.6 million to Internet disruptions

A screen showing the Internet in a red background with the "@" symbol
Photo by Leon Seibert on Unsplash

Nigeria lost over ₦273 billion ($593.6 million) due to Internet disruptions from Thursday to Sunday. 

NetBlocks used the Cost of Shutdown Tool (COST) to determine the economic impact of the Internet being down. 

While it was estimated that Nigeria alone lost over ₦273.98 billion during those four days, Top10VPN chimed in, estimating that the Internet outages in West & Central Africa cost around $112.5 million up to midday on Friday. 

As you are aware, several African countries have been affected by these disruptions, resulting in poor Internet connectivity. Even some banks in Nigeria took a hit, with customers unable to do their transactions smoothly. I am still unable to conduct transactions and am still penniless. 😭

The Nigerian Communications Commission, to the rescue: On Saturday, March 16, 2024, the NCC stepped in and confirmed repairs to the undersea cables. 

Ghana has its issues. It estimates that repairing its subsea cables could take up to five weeks. That's a long time to be without proper Internet!

Sidebar Alert: Global Internet shutdowns in 2023 cost a staggering $9 billion, affecting 747 million people. Africa was hit hard, ranking second only to Europe in losses. 

If you ask me, it is mind-boggling how much we suffer when the Internet goes down.

Zone gets $8.5 million seed

Zone leadership picture

Zone, a Nigerian fintech startup, just nailed an $8.5 million seed round.

TLcom Capital and Flourish Ventures led the round, while Digital Currency Group, Verod-Kepple Africa Ventures, Alter Global, and Endeavor Catalyst participated. 

CEO Obi Emetarom is pumped about it, seeing it as proof of the company’s worth in a tough funding scene.

Zone is part of the Appzone Group, which started back in 2008. Originally, it was all about banking infrastructure, serving loads of banks in Nigeria. But in 2022, it shook things up with a rebrand. 

It split off its banking software business into a separate entity called Qore and focused Zone on blockchain-powered payments.

According to Emetarom, Zone plans to be the first regulated, decentralised payment network in Africa. Even with Nigeria's Central Bank not always being crypto-friendly, its blockchain solution has been getting love from lots of players, with over 15 banks already on board.

The fintech is planning to use some of that new funding to link up even more financial institutions in Nigeria and test out its cross-border payment system before 2025.

Meanwhile, Zone's not just about crypto. It’s focused on streamlining fiat transactions and utilising blockchain technology to increase their dependability and speed.

But, there's a catch. While the startup promotes decentralisation, it’s had to keep things somewhat centralised to comply with regulators. Emetarom's saying it need that balance to get widespread adoption.

Overall, Zone's aiming high. It’s looking to expand across Africa, bringing more blockchain innovations into the fold while staying on regulators' good side. It's definitely one to watch!

EFCC to dig deep into Binance’s data

Binance logo on a phone
Photo by Vadim Artyukhin on Unsplash

There's this big showdown going on between Binance, a cryptocurrency platform, and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Nigeria.

The EFCC went to court, waving its arms over potential criminal activity on Binance's platform. 

A judge named Justice Emeka Nwite dropped a quick ruling on February 29. It was all about an urgent request made by the EFCC against Binance, the crypto exchange platform. 

The EFCC's lawyer, Ekele Iheanacho, argued in a motion with the code FHC/ABJ/CS/259/2024 that Binance's operations in Nigeria have some shady stuff going on, which goes against certain laws like the EFCC Act of 2004 and the Money Laundering Act of 2022

In other words, the EFCC is throwing around accusations of money laundering and terrorism financing, saying Binance is causing chaos in the market and making the Naira lose value against other currencies. 

The EFCC claims that Nigerians are trading billions of dollars on the platform and intends to investigate.

So, the judge gave the EFCC the green light to dig deep into Binance's data. Like, they want all the information on Nigerian traders using the platform.

Last week, Nigeria asked Binance to spill the beans on its top 100 users in the country. 

This demand popped up after reports that two Binance big shots got nabbed over their supposed involvement in the naira's nosedive. The big boss at the CBN, Olayemi Cardoso, also mentioned that around $26 billion worth of transactions went through Binance, all done by mystery folks.

So yeah, Binance is in hot water right now. And the whole thing happened without Binance having a chance to defend itself. I’ll keep you updated as more events unfold.

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 lovely Tuesday!

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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