The Commercial Bank of Ethiopia loses $40 million to “systems glitch”

March 20, 2024
7 min read
Commercial Bank of Ethiopia

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Victoria from Techpoint here,

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

  • A bank in Ethiopia loses $40 million to “systems glitch”
  • 8 steps to resolving conflict at the workplace
  • Moove gets a $100m Series B
  • Vodacom to reduce workforce to cut costs 
  • Uganda pauses its digital plate project launch

A bank in Ethiopia loses $40 million to “systems glitch”

Commercial Bank of Ethiopia

Ethiopia's largest commercial bank is in a bit of a pickle trying to get back a tonne of cash after a “systems glitch."

The Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE) had a meltdown when customers realised they could withdraw more cash than they had in their accounts due to the glitch.

Before the bank could halt transactions, more than $40 million had been transferred or withdrawn. The bank's president, Abie Sano, admitted that students were mostly responsible for the cash frenzy.

This is how it went down: Last Saturday, word spread like wildfire across Ethiopian campuses via messaging apps and calls. Students lined up at ATMs, with one guy at Jimma University telling BBC they kept at it until cops showed up to shut it down.

But the CBE has been tested and trusted. With over 38 million account holders, the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia has been around for over 80 years. The central bank described the incident as a "glitch" during maintenance work but said nothing about the money disappearing.

What’s the CBE saying? The bank's president insisted that it was not a cyberattack and that all accounts were secure. Still, a few universities are urging students to cough up any cash they shouldn't have taken.

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So, Sano says giving back the cash won't get you in trouble, but convincing people to return it is another story. Some universities have bank staff rounding up the money, but who knows if that's working out smoothly.

So, what would you do if this happened in your country? I can see the average Nigerian wanting to stick it to the government by going over their daily limits online or at ATMs. But honestly, what's your move in a situation like this?

8 steps to resolving conflict at the workplace


Gartner predicts that employee conflicts will skyrocket by 2024. And, let us face it, conflicts do occur, but they can be a real pain if not handled properly. They cost businesses money and talent, disrupt productivity, and even lead to lawsuits.

A survey conducted in 2008 revealed that managers spent a full day per month dealing with conflicts. Fast forward to today, with all of the political, DEI, remote work, generational, and AI issues at play, you can bet that conflicts are becoming more common.

Stats from 2023 show that globally, employees are spending over 2 hours a week dealing with disagreements. So, what's causing all this drama?

Well, Elizabeth Okonji, founder of TGL Labs, says most conflicts stem from employees trying to work together towards the company's goals. There are three main types — task conflict, process conflict, and interpersonal conflict.

So, Oluwanifemi's most recent insights digs deep into why work can sometimes feel like a war zone, and let me tell you, there's a whole bunch of triggers setting things off!

But here's the bummer: She’s not just pointing out the problems. Nope, she's got your back with an 8-step guide on how to squash those workplace conflicts. It's like having a secret map to navigate through all the drama.

Sure, navigating the workplace can sometimes feel like stumbling through the jungle blindfolded, but with Oluwanifemi's insights, you'll be armed with everything you need to come out on top! So, if you're itching to dive in and uncover all the secrets, check out her insights here.

Moove gets a $100m Series B


Remember when Bolu told you that Uber was planning to back Moove in a $100 million funding round? 

Well, the Nigerian vehicle financing platform has got that $100 million in a Series B funding round! Uber led the charge, along with other investors like Mubadala, The Latest Ventures, and AfricInvest.

This funding is a game-changer for Moove as it gears up to expand into new markets. It even moved its headquarters to the UAE due to its partnership with Mubadala. 

And you know what's cool? This is Uber's first investment in an African-founded startup, showing how serious it is about keeping its ride-hailing platform stocked with drivers.

With this fresh cash injection, Moove's now valued at a whopping $750 million! And it's not stopping there. It’s eyeing up markets in India and planning to hit 16 markets by 2025.

Moove's all about making it easy for folks to get into the transportation business. It’s got this neat system where it buys fleets of cars and sells them to drivers through its platform, offering financing along the way. It’s got everything from regular cars to EVs like Teslas.

Speaking of EVs, Moove's been getting into those, especially in the UAE and the UK. It’s planning to add over 20,000 EVs to Uber in India!

But Africa is a little trickier, with bad roads and power outages. Instead of focusing solely on EVs, the company is looking into natural gas vehicles. Smart move, right? It is preparing Nigeria for the transition, hoping that it will alleviate the impact of rising fuel prices on its customers.

Oh, and Moove is not stopping there. It’s planning to beef up its investments in the UAE and other key markets worldwide. Plus, it’s got its eyes set on Southeast Asia and Latin America.

Vodacom to reduce workforce to cut costs


Vodacom plans to cut costs by eliminating 80 jobs from its 5,400 employees in South Africa. 

The mobile operator said it’s cutting jobs across the board as it transitions from being a telecom company to a big shot in the tech world.

Vodacom Group Limited, now pitching itself as a big deal in African connectivity, digital stuff, and finances, started in South Africa but has spread its wings to places like Tanzania, Congo, Mozambique, Kenya, and even Ethiopia and Egypt recently.

In the African markets where it operates, the telco serves over half a billion customers. However, things are not all rosy, especially given South Africa's economic downturn. 

About Vodacom's plan to give some employees the boot, Matthew Parks, representing the Congress of South African Trade Unions, says the company will explore other options before resorting to layoffs. 

He's not buying Vodacom's story about needing to trim the fat, especially when the telco is raking in profits. In the six months up to September 30, 2023, Vodacom's net income shot up by 9% to R8.5 billion ($447 million). 

However, its costs surged by a whopping 37% to R28 billion ($1.5 billion). 

Uganda pauses its digital plate project launch

digital number plates

The Ministry of Works and Transport in Uganda has extended the deadline for its digital number plate project by four months. It intends to take extra time to ensure that all motorheads are on the same page. 

Initially, the Ugandan government planned to begin operations on February 1, 2024, following a November 2023 launch. But the project hit some snags along the way.

In 2021, President Yoweri Museveni proposed using vehicles and motorcycles to track down crooks. However, the government is pausing the project until July 2024 due to logistical issues and a delay in spreading the word. 

Uganda roped in a Russian company to handle the digital plates, but with all the sanctions against Russia, it's thrown a wrench in the works.

New car and motorcycle owners will have to pay Shs714,000 for the plates. Swapping existing plates will cost Shs150,000 for cars and Shs50,000 for bikes.

However, concerns have been raised in Parliament about the project, with the Kampala City Traders Association (Kacita) requesting an investigation into issues such as a lack of installation centres, the absence of a local factory to manufacture the plates, and the need for a nationwide awareness campaign.

Meanwhile, in November 2023, the government started installing digital plates on its vehicles in Kampala and Kawempe, a Kampala City suburb where the contractors have set up shop.
Sidebar: In August 2022, the Kenyan government rolled out new digital plates for all vehicles. 

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Have a wonderful Wednesday!

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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