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Facebook Supports TechCrunch Startup Battlefield 2018 in Lagos

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In line with its commitment to growing Africa’s technology start-up ecosystem and its passion for developing diverse, young talent, Facebook is returning as the headline sponsor of TechCrunch Startup Battlefield Africa 2018. The event, taking place in Lagos, Nigeria — will search for Sub-Saharan Africa’s best innovators, makers and technical entrepreneurs.

TechCrunch Startup Battlefield Africa sees start-ups compete across three categories: social good; productivity and utility; and gaming and entertainment. It profiles the founders and entrepreneurs leading Africa’s next wave of technology innovation and highlights new ideas, businesses and applications with disruptive potential.

On December 11, TechCrunch Startup Battlefield supported by Facebook, will bring together the strongest start-ups from across Sub-Saharan Africa, where they will pitch to a live audience of 500 people ranging from VCs, investors, government officials and developers.

Facebook representatives from Africa and beyond will be on the ground to celebrate, where they will be connecting, listening and learning from various communities as well as taking part in an exciting series of workshops, networking sessions and talks between 6th and 11th December.

“Following the great success of the inaugural TechCrunch Startup Battlefield event in 2017, we are delighted to return as the headline sponsor for this year’s event,” says Emeka Afigbo, Facebook’s Head of Developer Programs. “Given our passion for connecting people and helping developers and entrepreneurs to thrive, we can’t wait to see how this year’s entrants are using technology to engage and empower people across the continent.”

Events Facebook will host over the week include:

Developer Circle Leads Summit (6-7 December):A two-day summit for more than 65 Developer Circles Leads across Sub-Saharan Africa, representing a growing community of over 42,800 members across 31 cities in 15 countries across Sub-Saharan Africa.

Instagram Inspire Action Lagos – Women and Small Business Event (6 December): A workshop to inspire, educate and train 70-80 entrepreneurs and women working in tech with a panel featuring special guests.

Startups and Developers Summit 2018 by Developer Circle Nigeria (8 December):Bringing together 600 attendees, and hosted by Facebook Developer Leads, the Summit will run trainings and workshop sessions on specialist deep-tech subjects, such as Messenger Bot

Aspiring Entrepreneurs — Digital Pitch Competition (10 December): Winners from seven Nigerian states who participated in the Aspiring Entrepreneurs: Digital 2018programme will pitch their businesses to a panel of judges for a chance to win support and prizes from Facebook and Fate Foundation.

NG_Hub Start-up Mixer (10 December): A social gathering bringing together Start-ups from across the ecosystem, including NG_Hub start-ups (Start-ups using Facebook’s Community Hub) and those taking part in the TechCrunch Startup Battlefield event

Student Hack (11 December):In partnership with Re:Learn by CC_Hub, Facebook will bring together 50 local high school students from Lagos to take part in Hack-a-Day and other activities that highlight the difference developers can make in the world using computer science skills.

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BitPesa Holds Forum on Future of Finance in African Markets

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BitPesa, Nigeria’s foremost cross-border payments platform and treasury solutions, is set to organize an executive forum on future of finance in African frontier markets.

The company, in a press statement, made available in Lagos, stated that key players in the financial market, investors and SMEs value-chain, including importers and exporters, are expected to attend the maiden future of finance executive forum in Lagos slated for 29th of this month, which is targeting solutions on growing businesses, de-risking business operations and navigating volatility in money market.

The statement explained that the forum would capture the state of Nigeria’s macroeconomic business ecosystem and also the African frontier markets, particularly, protecting investors’ investments from losses that stem from foreign exchange (FX) exposure.

It explained that definitely, the forthcoming general elections in Nigeria are posers for SMEs operators and other investors businesses because it will not only affect the country’s macroeconomic business ecosystem but also, brew more micro-economic concerns for the business environment during the period.

The firm pointed out that having been in Nigeria since 2015, and completed thousands of transactions within and outside Africa, it has helped key businesses access foreign currencies towards expansion of their operations with ease.

It explained that renowned financial experts are expected to discuss on the topic, titled: ‘Beating the volatility: Preparing for the election economy,’ where how SMEs, importers and exporters could navigate the uncertainty about the Naira.

The statement further stated that the forum will focus on deconstructing the election economy, and teach participants how to de-risk their business operations and navigate the ups and downs.

The release explained that BitPesa’s Head of Treasury, Michael Nderitu, who has built forex desks for multiple institutions, will be moderating the event, while Elizabeth Rossiello, CEO and Founder of BitPesa, World Economic Forum Tech Pioneer and Endeavor Entrepreneur, will be speaking on general trends and regulation in the forex market.

Before BitPesa, Elizabeth has been an advocate in Africa and Europe for monetary policy autonomy, giving training to regulators focused on risk management for independence. She has also advised the CBN on policies and white papers across topics, including blockchain.

The statement added that the second keynote will be about navigating roadblocks in the Nigerian Import-Export Market. While imports and exports are an integral part of the Nigerian economy, they are also influenced by external perceptions, and thus the post-election economy will also affect this industry.

 

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Edo, NASRDA Collaborate on Technology Solutions

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Gov. Godwin Obaseki of Edo has expressed his administration’s readiness to collaborate with the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) to accelerate the state’s technological innovations and processes.

Obaseki said this when he received a proposal from Prof. Babatunde Rabiu, NASRDA’s Chief Executive of Centre for Atmospheric Research (CAR) at Government House, Benin.

The governor said that the state government had invested in technology solutions and relevant institutions which were implementing the solutions in state civil service.

He expressed the hope that the partnership would allow and improve synergy among institutions implementing technological solutions in the state.

He said it would be necessary to have a technical partner that would conduct activities so as to have common platform.

He added that “if we are to accelerate our development and achieve the goals we set for ourselves as a government, technology is a ‘sine qua non.’

“The Edo Ministry of Science and Technology will, in this partnership, serve as the anchor.

“The state’s Ministry of Education and other institutions of government implementing one form of technology solutions or the other could also be brought together to be on the same page.”

The NASRDA boss said that the proposal was to offer complementary, scientific and technology-based solutions that could enhance the state’s sustainable development.

According to him, the objective of the intervention is to identify and evaluate potential science and technological manpower already available in the state.

He said it would also “harness the unique contributions of the different science and technology bodies for the benefit of the state.

“The centre is ready to work with the Edo Government with a view to bringing stakeholders within the state, communicate contemporary science and technological knowledge and skills to target groups, such as schools and the organised public sector.”

He said it would also engage platforms to train specialised people and groups with the aim of transferring technological skills that could enhance their competitiveness.

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How Konga is Bridging E-Commerce Gap for Millions of Unreached, Under-Served Nigerians

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For a population of over 190 million, it is perhaps shocking to countenance the fact that about 70% of Nigerians – a whopping 130 million – are still skeptical of shopping online and yet to be captured in the e-Commerce net – an anomaly that Konga’s futuristic business model is gradually catering to.

 

According to latest estimates from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the global e-commerce market is worth around $22.1 trillion.

 

Data from research firm Statista also indicates that e-Commerce in Africa accounted for $16.5 billion in revenue in 2017, with forecasts estimating revenue in the sector to gross the $29 billion mark by 2022.

 

Interestingly, Africa’s share of the global e-commerce market is expected to grow even more significantly in the years ahead, backed by factors such as increasing levels of literacy, fall in average smartphone prices, mobile adoption, growing internet penetration and innovative payment solutions.

 

The foregoing has seen projections of Africa as the next emerging market to make significant strides in online shopping.

 

Perhaps justifying its status as the continent’s biggest market and most populous country, Nigeria is further estimated to play home to about 40% of the continent’s e-Commerce ventures within its shores – a positive development that has, nevertheless, failed in ensuring that the bulk of the country’s under-served or unreached millions partake in the e-Commerce revolution.

A number of factors are responsible for the current state of affairs.

 

Despite the sweeping changes caused by the e-Commerce bug which has bitten a lot of savvy Nigerians, shopping in Nigeria is still largely traditional and the issue of trust has further hindered the pace of growth.

 

Further adding to the dire situation is the sheer proportion of Nigerians who are left out of the equation.

 

Indeed, to millions of Nigerians who reside outside the cosmopolitan cities such as Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt, for instance, online shopping is a hard sell.

 

Through a realistic and well-thought out business model, Konga is gradually changing the narrative in the following ways:

 

Growing chain of nationwide physical retail stores: With over 30 brick-and-mortar stores spread nationwide and many more springing up all over Nigeria’s vast landscape, Konga has given millions of unreached Nigerians a reason to smile. A bold, ambitious plan to spread its tentacles across the length and breadth of the nation, with the establishment of at least one store in each of Nigeria’s 774 local government areas, will unleash the power of the country’s booming population and see e-Commerce finally achieving its huge potential in Nigeria and beyond.

 

Improved Logistics means swift delivery: Through Kxpress, its in-house logistics company, Konga boasts a considerable and growing fleet of line-haul trucks, vans, buses and motorbikes through which it has bridged the distance between the average shopper in the hinterlands and a taste of the e-commerce experience. Kxpress not only handles last-mile deliveries but has also received huge investment which has expanded its network. Also available are pick-up points and distribution centres in every part of Nigeria, further ensuring that more Nigerians can join the e-Commerce train.

Suite ofCutting-edge Payment Solutions: Riding on KongaPay, an internally-owned Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) licensed payment system — Konga offers all classes of Nigerians a secure and reliable e-wallet that works with all banks in Nigeria. The app ensures that the customer’s money is held in escrow until a sales transaction is completed successfully. Through strategic partnerships with world-class payment solutions providers such as Visa, Konga has also ensured that this recurring pain-point is becoming a thing of the past. It is, however, through the other options it offers shoppers that Konga has distinguished itself. These include payment on delivery which it re-introduced in August 2018, payment on pick-up of items and cash payment in all of its stores nationwide.

 

Opportunity to self-fulfil: Nigerians love the physical touch that an offline or brick-and-mortar store offers. Through its nationwide network of retail stores, Konga has given millions of skeptical or under-served Nigerians a platform on which to play an active participatory role in e-Commerce. Shoppers in all nooks and crannies of Nigeria can visit a Konga store of their choice to pay and collect any item of their choice, while for many others, the store represents a useful pick-up location for self-fulfilling their online orders. What’s more, a visitor to any of the stores can choose to place an order for a physically unavailable item(s) for delivery to their homes/locations or personally pick-up at a later date.

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