Kenya's courts go digital

March 21, 2024
7 min read
tech law

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Victoria from Techpoint here,

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

  • Kenya’s courts go paperless
  • How the Zone blockchain works
  • Access Bank to acquire the National Bank of Kenya 
  • P1 Ventures closes second fund at $35m
  • TikTok’s online safety campaign in Africa

Kenya’s courts go paperless

law tech

Chief Justice Martha Koome announced that Kenya's courts will go paperless on July 1, 2024! 

This means no more printing of legal documents. Instead, they are transitioning to electronic filing (e-filing) to make the legal system more accessible and efficient.

But wait, there is more! Kenya is also launching the Causelist Portal, which will make it simple for lawyers and other parties involved in a case to view the docket for each day.

Chief Justice Koome is about using technology to shake up the justice system. She's on a mission to boost productivity, automate processes, and make justice more accessible to everyone in Kenya.

And get this: they have even launched a Data Tracking Dashboard. This bad boy allows court officials to keep track of how long cases take to move through the system. 

But it is not just about tracking progress; it can also identify bottlenecks and determine why cases are being held up.

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The cool part is that the dashboard can assist the judiciary in determining the locations of specialised courts, such as those for cases involving sexual and gender-based violence. It all comes down to making data-driven decisions and supporting victims.

Oh, and did I mention the country launched a Digital Sex Offenders Registry in 2023? Yeah, Kenya's stepping up its game to use tech for justice.

How the Zone blockchain works

Zone leadership picture

Remember this? Zone raises $8.5 million seed round

Well, the Zone blockchain network is making waves in Nigeria, and some folks are saying it's the most groundbreaking financial tech since the Nigerian Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) came on the scene.

Now, what's all the fuss about? Well, imagine being able to do crypto-style transactions with regular old fiat currency. Zone is offering the first blockchain platform designed specifically for regular fiat transactions. Impressive, right?

The startup has been in the game for 16 years, initially focusing on banking infrastructure. But now, it has shifted gears and rebranded to Zone, with its sights set on blockchain payments.

But do not think the company has completely ditched its roots. Qore, a subsidiary of the AppZone group, continues to operate under the original business model. And let me tell you, it's been a hit, processing over $2 billion annually for banks, fintechs, and microfinance institutions across seven African countries.

But here's the kicker: Zone's blockchain plans could blow Qore's success out of the water. It intends to transform how we conduct transactions, making them faster, cheaper, and more secure.

So, how does the blockchain magic work? It is all about peer-to-peer transactions, like sending files via Bluetooth. However, the blockchain maintains a digital record of every transaction to prevent any sneaky double-spending.

And here's where it gets cool: instead of one central authority keeping tabs on everything, the blockchain spreads the workload across a network of nodes, making it nearly impossible to hack.

Zone's taken some of these blockchain concepts and put its twist on them to get the naira running on the blockchain. It's a bit tricky, but it’s pulling it off.

Now, you're probably wondering, how does it all work? And why should you care? Well, that's what Bolu's latest insights is about. Trust me, you don't want to miss out on the hottest new thing! See for yourself here.

Access Bank to acquire the National Bank of Kenya

Access Bank

Access Bank is swooping in to acquire the National Bank of Kenya (NBK) from KCB Group. 

KCB Group’s CEO Paul Russo spilled the beans at an investor briefing, saying they struck a deal with Access Group at 1.25 times book value. He didn't dish out the exact figure, though.

However, it will not be official for another six to nine months, so hold off on popping the champagne just yet. Still, Russo is optimistic about the situation, particularly for the future of NBK's employees.

KCB stepped in to save NBK from bankruptcy in 2019. Despite its efforts, legacy issues have dragged NBK down, as KCB's chairman, Joseph Kinyua, admitted during the investor briefing.

So, Access Bank is stepping up to give NBK a new lease on life. Let's see where this deal takes them!

On the flip side, this is not Access Bank's first dance in Kenya. In 2020, Access Bank snapped up Transnational Bank to beef up its presence in East Africa. And now? It intends to use NBK to strengthen its presence in the country and capitalise on the region's growing trade scene.

P1 Ventures closes second fund at $35 million

P1 Ventures

P1 Ventures, a pan-African Seed Venture Capital firm, just sealed the deal on the second close of its second fund at $35 million. The VC firm plans to use the cash to beef up its team and expand operations to Dakar, Senegal, and Nairobi, Kenya.

With the cash infusion, it’s planning to turbocharge its efforts in sectors like AI-powered Software as a Service (SaaS), where it reckons Africa's got a real edge. Plus, it’s on a mission to hit $50 million by the fund’s final close.

Interestingly, P1 Ventures got the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC) on board as its first public institutional investor. Together, they're all about backing Africa's top entrepreneurial talent.

However, this is not its maiden voyage. In September 2023, it completed the first close of its second fund at $25 million, pulling in cash from industrial giants, private firms, and heavy hitters from Europe and the US.

The firm asserts that its Fund II companies are crushing it, with revenue tripling year after year. 

Founded in 2020 by General Partners Mikael Hajjar and Hisham Halbouny, the firm bridges the capital gap holding back African startups. 

P1 Ventures, however, is not just slinging money at any startup. It backs founders shaking things up with emerging tech like generative AI. It intends to revolutionise mainstream industries, ranging from healthcare to banking. 

It has a diverse portfolio of African companies from across the continent. Consider Algeria's Yassir, Egypt's Money Fellows, Nigeria's Reliance Health, and Chari, a fintech app targeting Francophone markets.

TikTok’s online safety campaign in Africa


TikTok has teamed up with the African Union Commission's Women, Gender, and Youth Directorate (WGYD) to spread the word about staying safe online among African youth and parents.

This partnership comes as TikTok has been facing some backlash around the world, with bans imposed in Senegal and Somalia in August 2023. They cited worries about terrorist content and destabilising messages. 

Even Egypt and Uganda were mulling over kicking TikTok to the curb.

But TikTok's not backing down. Its new campaign is about educating folks on online safety, with content tailored to local languages and cultures to ensure it hits home.

And hey, TikTok's no small fry in Africa. Just last June, Kenya topped the charts for the most TikTok users worldwide, with South Africa coming in a close third.

But it hasn't all been smooth sailing. There's been talk of banning TikTok in Kenya over concerns about explicit content and hate speech. While the company avoided a nationwide ban, TikTok had to get serious about cleaning up its act and removing offensive content.

But amidst all this drama, TikTok's setting up shop in Kenya and teaming up with the government to keep a closer eye on what's going on on its platform.

Now, with this new partnership with the African Union, TikTok is doubling down on its commitment to a safer online world for Africans.

Prudence Nonkululeko Ngwenya, the bigwig over at the African Union's Women, Gender, and Youth Directorate, says this move fits right in with their mission to make sure young people in Africa have a safe online experience through their 1 Million Next Level Initiative.

Meanwhile, across the pond, the US House of Representatives is giving TikTok's owner, ByteDance, an ultimatum: sell up or face a ban. 

In case you missed it

What I'm reading and watching  


  • Signal is looking for a product designer. Apply here.
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  • 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.
  • 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 an amazing 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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