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OLX Closes Nigerian, Kenyan Operations

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Naspers owned OLX, one of Africa’s leading e-commerce  platforms has winded up operations in Nigeria and Kenya.

 

Business Insider Sub Saharan Africa (BI SSA) confirmed from several internal sources within both territories, the closure of its operations in two of Africa’s strongest e-commerce markets.

 

OLX, founded  as an alternative to Craigslist and fully acquired by South Africa media giant Naspers in 2010 has been struggling to make its businesses in Kenya and Nigeria viable since it entered those markets in 2012.

 

Business Insider SSA understands that staff of the company in Nigeria and Kenya were formally informed of the decision on Tuesday with a notice of termination to staff beginning in March, followed by management team in April.

 

The shutdown and an almost non-existent on ground operation in Ghana means that the country will now fully focus on its strongest market on the African continent  in South Africa.

 

It will be interesting to see what next steps OLX takes in Africa. Will the business in the market run remotely?

 

It is not clear the number of staff that has been affected by the decision but in Kenya a lot of livestock and agro based clients of the platform will be disappointed with the platform being one of the main mediums of selling farm products as well as a large car selling base.

 

OLX joins a long list of e-commerce businesses who have wrapped up business in west and east Africa over the past two years after failing to break even.In 2015,Nigeria based Efritin.com closed down with then CEO   Nils Hammer, citing high cost of data, poor internet penetration and adoption as well as economic woes of the country as the prevalent factors responsible for their exit from the Nigerian e-commerce market.

 

Jumia has also had to consolidate all its assets into single units to reduce overhead costs. In Ghana, the initial success of Tonaton has given way to a difficult few years.

 

Business Insider SSA has reached out to management of OLX for comment on the development.

Nigeria CommunicationsWeek believes that technology makes life more exciting and helps improve the lives of people around Nigeria and indeed the world. So since 2007, we have devoted our energy to independent reportage of technology and how they affect lives.

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Rack Centre Wins Data Cloud Award Excellence for a Second Year Running

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Rack Centre, Africa’s premium Tier III certified colocation data centre services provider has been announced as the winner for a second year running at the 2019 Datacloud Awards in Monaco.  It won the Excellence in Regional Data Centre Middle East and Africa.

In selecting Rack Centre for the award, the august panel of judges took into account the company’s outstanding ecosystem of robust and direct connectivity with over 35 carriers and five undersea cables, its ability to scale its operations through its modular nature and its low proven Power Utilisation Effectiveness despite a challenging climatic and infrastructural environment.

The judges also considered Rack Centre’s service delivery, its outstanding customer satisfaction, achievement of 100% uptime since inception, and its CloudonGroundTM that offers a locally hosted and world class cloud ecosystem to Nigeria and Sub Saharan Africa. Held in Monaco recently, the Datacloud Global Award, organised by BroadGroup, Publisher of the UK based Data Economy recognises teams, products, innovations, initiatives and projects in the global IT industry.

Phillip Low, Chairman of Broadgroup, said the awards helps to define a new era in the IT infrastructure market and acknowledges the inspirational people, innovation and excellence in the data centre, cloud and edge eco-system, and reflect the tremendous success and achievements in diversity, innovation and excellence.

The winners were selected by judges comprised of independent panels of leading professionals from the industry who looked particularly for companies and individuals with evidences of success in performance, innovation in delivering services and high levels of industry’s excellence.

Dr Ayotunde Coker, Managing Director of Rack Centre reacting to the company’s winning the coveted award for the second year’s running commented ” we are truly honoured, delighted and humbled at the award, and thank the judges for recognising Rack Centre for excellence in Middle East and Africa.  A great recognition indeed from highly respected global leaders in the industry, and the leading global industry event in Monaco”.

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Nigeria @ Outskirts of Mobile IoT, AI Services

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Chris Uwaje, Africa chair for IEEE World Internet of Things (WIoT)
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The deployment of mobile Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence services in Nigeria has been described as sluggish compared to giant strides by some African countries.

 

According to the AI Maturity Report in South Africa, commissioned by Microsoft and conducted by Ernst & Young, ‘AI pilots and experimentation are now prolific across South African companies, with businesses showing a willingness to embrace AI and experiment using new technology.

 

In fact, 46% of South African companies say they are already actively piloting AI within their organisations.

 

The study is based on surveys, interviews and case studies from 112 companies across the Middle East and Africa (MEA).

 

Reacting to why AI and mobile IoT services are not visible in Nigeria as well not focus of operators, Oladipo Raji, president/CEO, InfraFocus Technologies, told Nigeria CommunicationsWeek that the biggest problems operators face in the launch of services on the new applications is connectivity and power issues.

 

“Imagine what happens in a house that is driven by IoT application when network fails or there is power outage how would people inside the house come out in the case of emergence. Why don’t we have electric trains in Nigeria? It is not rocket science only that there is no solid IT infrastructure on where the solution will ride as well power challenge.

 

“Most companies don’t have the financial capacity to build their own connectivity infrastructure for these services that is why you see them cluster around urban areas where such infrastructure is available,” he said.

 

Raji cited example of his company’s subsidiary, SmartFocus which spent three years to build infrastructure for its mobile IoT service ‘SmartHome’.

 

He explained that SmartHome solution allows subscribers to control their devices at home with a smartphone from anywhere in the world.

 

“The connectivity infrastructure we have built for this solution can’t take care of the whole of Lagos if they are to subscribe to it. Ideally, government should provide this type of infrastructure or enabling environment for operators to build capacity, but the case is different in Nigeria,” he noted.

 

He also decried none regulation of data service provision in the country which according to him has resulted to the death of many internet service providers.

 

“Data is free for all. This should not be so, NCC tried to correct it with data floor policy which didn’t work. The idea of four GSM operators selling mobile data to their subscriber and as well sale to corporate offices will not move the sector forward,” he said.

 

Engr. Samuel Adeleke, managing director, Steineng Ltd berated mobile operators for not doing enough to develop data segment of their services.

 

“What will drive the next economy is data, but operators are frustrating the impending data revolution through capping of data service to subscribers. They don’t allow subscribers unlimited data service, it is a case of a very wide good road and they are given tricycle to ride on it.

 

“They need to increase capacity reduce access rate and increase access, this will make subscribers addicted to the service and use more. Profitability is economy of scale,” he explained.

 

 

 

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Huawei Hosts 150 Partners @ Launch of Wi-Fi 6

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Huawei Technologies Company Nigeria Limited recently hosted over 150 of partners at the global launch of its Wi-Fi 6 in Nigeria to discuss network solutions for business development.

 

The global annual IP club event brought together Information Communications Technology (ICT) industry experts across public and private sectors to discuss network solutions for business development.

 

Mr Matamela Mashau, IP chief technology officer, Huawei Southern Africa, at the event with the theme `Rethink IP 2019’ in Abuja, said the company’s investment in research and development (R&D) was core strength to its continuous innovation and competitive advantage.

 

“Huawei Technologies invests over 10 per cent of sales revenue in R&D over the last 10 years. “ Also the Huawei’s global resources are channeled to local operations to better serve its customers,” he said.

 

The Wi-Fi 6, which is the latest and fastest in terms of speed and digital transformation, was launched.

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