Ghana to become first blockchain-powered government in Africa

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May 13, 2024
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9 min read
blockchain image

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Hello,

Victoria from Techpoint here,

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

  • Ghana to become first blockchain-powered government in Africa
  • Interesting things about the Cybercrime Act you didn’t know
  • CAC introduces a registration hub for PoS operators
  • Takealot launches a subscription model in South Africa
  • Mnzl raises $3.5 million in funding

Ghana to become first blockchain-powered government in Africa

blockchain image
Image by freepik

Ghana is gearing up to become the first blockchain-powered government in Africa! Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia dropped this bombshell during a conference in Accra, where he outlined the country's digitalization plans.

He spilled the beans about Ghana's impressive progress in digitizing government services. Almost all government agencies are now part of the Ghana.gov digital platform, making it easier for folks to access services online and pay electronically. 

And get this: Ghana has raked in a whopping GHC 201 billion in revenue through digital transactions on Ghana.gov. That's a whole lot of cash that used to disappear into the pockets of corrupt officials!

But here's the real game-changer: Ghana is diving headfirst into blockchain technology to make government data super secure and tamper-proof. This move will block corruption by keeping tabs on every single change made to digital data. Say goodbye to shady deals and backroom bribes!

VP Bawumia didn't stop there. He called out corruption's stranglehold on Africa, with experts estimating losses of a mind-boggling one trillion US dollars over the past five years. But he's not just talking the talk; Ghana is walking the walk by investing in digital tools to fight corruption like never before.

And it's not just about Ghana. Bawumia threw down the gauntlet to all African governments, urging them to step up their game in the fight against corruption. With the right tools and technology, he believes Africa can turn the tide against poverty and underdevelopment.

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Interesting things about the Cybercrime Act you didn’t know

cybercrime act

Did you know that your bank may not be liable if someone steals from your account? Yeah, it’s shocking, but according to the Cybercrime Act of 2015, banks are expected to do their best to keep your funds safe, but if there’s a breach, you — the customer — have to prove that they could have done more to protect your funds. 

The 2015 Act, which was passed to provide  "an effective, unified and comprehensive legal, regulatory and institutional framework for the prohibition, of cybercrimes in Nigeria," has some very interesting details. 

You’re probably wondering why we’re revisiting a nine-year-old Act, but the thing is we didn’t know/care much about its existence until the CBN referenced it in the circular that directed Nigerian businesses to pay a 0.5% cybersecurity levy on all electronic transactions. 

Don’t worry, you don’t have to go through the 43-page Act to find out the punishments and fines that come with Internet-related crimes. We curated all the interesting things thing to know about the Act here


CAC introduces a registration hub for PoS operators

PoS

Remember this? Over 1.8 million PoS agents must register with the CAC

The Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) has kicked off an enrolment exercise for Point of Sale (PoS) folks, and they even opened a 24-hour service centre to help them out.

Hussaini Magaji, the head honcho at CAC, spilled the beans at the launch event. He said the new service centre is geared up and ready to handle all the questions and issues PoS operators might have about registration. Plus, they've got a team ready to approve requests on the spot.

But here's the kicker: if PoS operators don't hop on board and register by July 7th, they better watch out. The security agencies will be coming after them. Magaji made it clear that they're not messing around—if you're not registered, you're fair game.

And get this: registering isn't just about following the rules. It's also about reaping the benefits. Sure, there's taxation, but there's also access to loans, legality, and compliance with regulations. 

Now, why all the fuss? Well, PoS terminals were involved in over a quarter of fraud incidents in 2023. So, the government wants to tighten the reins and make sure everyone's playing by the rules. Plus, it's all in line with legal requirements and directives from the Central Bank of Nigeria.

But not everyone's on board with the crackdown. Some fintech companies are feeling the heat too, with the CBN putting the squeeze on their Know-Your-Customer process. It's a mixed bag of opinions, but one thing's for sure – the government means business when it comes to regulating the financial sector.


Takealot launches a subscription model in South Africa

Takealot

Last Thursday, two days after Amazon launched its eCommerce operations in South Africa, Takealot, owned by Naspers, is hitting back with its own subscription model called TakealotMore.

It's basically like Amazon Prime but with a South African twist. TakealotMore offers perks such as free deliveries to subscribers, which is a big selling point for Amazon Prime.

The interesting thing is that Amazon didn't launch Amazon Prime with its South African site, despite saying it would. But Takealot isn't wasting any time – TakealotMore will be up and running this week.

You can choose between two flavours of TakealotMore: Standard for R39/month and Premium for R99/month. These prices match up with Checkers Sixty60, another service that offers free deliveries along with some other cool benefits.

Takealot says it's all about giving customers options. Whether you're on a tight budget or looking for something more premium, there's a plan for you. Plus, you can even try it out for free for 7 days and cancel anytime. 

If anything, this move signals that Takealot isn't backing down from the competition. 
Zoom out: Before Amazon jumped into the South African market, Naspers, in January 2024, announced plans to pump more money into its online retail platform, Takealot to tackle whatever Amazon throws their way.


Mnzl raises $3.5 million in funding

Mnzl team
Mnzl team; Source: Menabytes

Egyptian lending platform Mnzl just scored a cool $3.5 million in funding, and guess who led the pack? P1 Ventures, Ingressive Capital, and Localglobe, along with a bunch of other investors like 500 Global, Flat6labs, First Circle Capital, Enza Capital, and some angel investors.

Founded in 2023 by Sameh Saleh, the brain behind the Harmonica matchmaking platform (which got snatched up by Match Group in 2019 and later became Hawaya), Mnzl is all about using your assets—think homes or cars—as collateral for loans. Sameh's teamed up with Ahmed Dessouky, who knows his way around European startups, and Bassem Elshaer, who's got a solid background in product from European financial institutions.

Mnzl, available on both Android and iOS, lets folks in Egypt get loans using their assets as backing, all through a nifty digital wallet. The site doesn't spell out all the loan deets, but there's a handy calculator showing that if you've got a car worth around $10,500 and a monthly income of about $525, you could snag up to $6,830 from Mnzl.

Why the fuss? Well, in Egypt, barely 10% of adults snag loans from banks, mostly unsecured ones with sky-high interest rates. Mnzl wants to shake things up by giving asset owners an easy, secure way to unlock some cash when they need it.

And it's not just about regular loans—Mnzl's got both conventional and Islamic lending products on offer. Plus, they're all set with the necessary permits from the Financial Regulatory Authority of Egypt.

Sameh Saleh, Mnzl's CEO, is stoked about the funding, seeing it as a chance to revolutionize credit access in Egypt. Hisham Halbouny from P1 Ventures is hyped too, calling Mnzl's asset-backed approach a total game-changer. Yvonne Bajela from LocalGlobe agrees, saying it's just what Egypt's financial scene needs to spark some serious change.

So, what's next? Mnzl's gearing up to pump the funds into tech development and getting the word out about their game-changing product. And who knows? They might just be using that cash to fund those loans themselves, at least for now.


Last week on Techpoint Africa

What I'm reading and watching  

Opportunities   

  • If you have a small business in Nigeria, Kenya, or South Africa, apply for the Google Hustle Academy here.
  • If you're a Product Designer and are looking for a remote role, check out this link for several roles.
  • Several companies are looking for software engineers. Check out this link to work remotely with them.
  • Check out this link for several remote Product Manager roles.
  • If you have an early-stage startup, apply for Pitch2Win to pitch your ideas to a panel of esteemed judges and investors. The selected startups will vie for a grand prize of $10,000 equity-free funding and an all-expense-paid trip to IVS2024 Kyoto, Japan. Apply by May 5, 2024, here.
  • Apply for Visa Everywhere Initiative (VEI) by May 6, 2024, 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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