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Google Picks Awabah, LifeBank, Flex Finance, Others for $4m Funding Support

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Awabah

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

A total of 60 startups established by entrepreneurs of African origin have been selected by a tech giant, Google, for the second cohort of Google for Startups Black Founders Fund (BFF) for Africa.

The beneficiaries will have the opportunity to have a share of the $4 million in funding support to assist their companies to expand their operations to other regions.

A digital pensions platform from Nigeria, Awabah, is among the startups chosen by Google for the programme and will join others to undergo a 6-month training programme that includes access to a network of mentors to assist in tackling challenges that are unique to them.

The 60 startups from Botswana, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa and Uganda will also be part of tailored workshops, support networks and community-building sessions.

According to Google, the 60 grantees, made up of 50 per cent women-led businesses, will also receive non-dilutive awards of between $50,000 and $100,000 and up to $200,000 in Google Cloud credit.

The beneficiaries were taken from various sectors such as fintech, healthcare, e-commerce, logistics, agtech, education, hospitality and smart cities.

Business Post gathered 23 startups were picked from Nigeria, 12 from Kenya, six from Rwanda, five from South Africa, four from Uganda, three each from Cameroon and Ghana, two from Ethiopia and one each from Botswana and Senegal.

The Google for Startups scheme was launched in April 2012 and has created over 4,600 jobs and raised more than $290 million in funding.

The Google for Startups Black Founders Fund programme will introduce the grantees in Africa to Google’s products, connections, and best practices which will help the founders to level the playing field as they build better products and services that add value to the African economy.

The Head of Startup Ecosystem, SSA for Google, Folarin Aiyegbusi, while commenting on the initiative, stated that, “Africa is a diverse continent with massive opportunity but the continent is faced with the challenge of limited diversity in venture capital funding flow.

“We hope that the Black Founders Fund program will be able to bridge the gap of disproportionate funding between ex-pat startups over local and black-led companies.”

Funding for the Google for Startup Black Founders Fund will be distributed through Google’s implementation partner, CcHUB.

“The equity-free cash assistance to startups will enable them to take care of immediate needs such as paying staff, funding inventory, and maintaining software licences. This is to help the grantees buffer the cost of taking on debt in the early stages of their business as many of them do not have steady revenue streams yet,” Aiyegbusi disclosed.

“Programs like the Black Founders Fund enhance the African ecosystem – where we currently have gaps in funding and infrastructure. Google getting involved and throwing its might behind thriving entrepreneurs in Africa is a beautiful thing, and I am very happy that Google has continued the Black Founders Fund in Africa initiative in 2022,” the CEO of MyMedicines and alumni of the 2021 BFF program, Abimbola Adebakin said.

Below is the list of the 60 startups selected for the programme:

S/N

Name

Country

About

1.

Agrikool

South Africa

Agrikool is an agritech platform that connects farming producers and buyers to a fair and reliable market.

2.

Ajua

Kenya

Ajua is an end-to-end operating system for SMEs to build a credible online presence, get feedback on their businesses and manage the relationship with their customers

3.

Awabah

Nigeria

Awabah is a digital pensions platform for Africa’s workforce

4.

BAG Innovation 

Rwanda

BAG Innovation is a virtual and gamified platform that offers real-time access to experiential learning for university students and recent graduates

5.

Bailport

Rwanda

Baliport is a cross-border, multi-currency payment platform focused on enabling intra-Africa & Africa outbound money transfers through blockchain.

6.

Bee

Cameroon

Bee finances motorcycles to drivers while also providing training and access to jobs.

7.

Bookings Africa

Nigeria

Bookings Africa enables Africa’s gig workforce to digitise and monetize their skills by connecting clients efficiently and transparently to skilled talent across Africa.

8.

Brastorne

Botswana

Brastorne connects the unconnected in Africa, enabling rural villages to have access to the digital world without smartphones or data.

9.

Built

Ghana

Built enables access to business and financial tools for Sub-Saharan African small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).

10.

BuuPass

Kenya

BuuPass is a travel startup – building digital rails for Africa’s intercity transport industry and supporting bus, train & flight transportation

11.

Cauri Money

Senegal

Cauri Money is a cashless remittance platform helping African migrants move money from around the world into mobile wallets in Africa.

12.

Clafiya

Nigeria

Clafiya connects individuals, families, and businesses to health practitioners – enabling access to convenient, quality, and affordable, on-demand primary care from their mobile phones

13.

ClinicPesa

Uganda

ClinicPesa provides an easy-to-use platform where low-income users can set aside funds as low as $0.30 daily dedicated towards healthcare and get access to healthcare loans

14.

COVA

Cameroon

COVA is a digital insurance platform that enables partner businesses to easily and seamlessly deliver insurance products to their users

15.

CreditAIs

South Africa

CreditAIs provides credit scoring tools for micro-businesses and individuals that do not fit the existing traditional credit scoring models

16.

DohYangu

Kenya

DohYangu enables end consumers in Africa to shop FMCG products & get cashback rewards at various retail stores, saving up to 25%

17.

Easy Matatu

Uganda

Easy Matatu provides a mobile platform that allows commuters to book and pay for scheduled rides on vetted and inspected minibuses

18.

Eden Life

Nigeria

Eden Life provides an operating system for receiving and rendering essential services in Africa – focused on offering food, cleaning, laundry, and beauty services to their customers.

19.

Estate Intel 

Nigeria

Estate Intel  provides reliable data to businesses that are investing or operating in the African real estate space.

20.

Eversend

Uganda

Eversend is a neobank, providing critical financial products in Sub-Saharan Africa – including cross-border financial services.

21.

Exuus

Rwanda

Exuus empowers informal saving groups with a digital ledger, digital wallet, decentralised social credit score, and instant micro-loans to both groups and individuals.

22.

Flex Finance

Nigeria

Flex Finance helps businesses in Africa to manage approval workflow, access credit, issue corporate cards to employees and make disbursements all from one platform.

23.

FlexPay

Kenya

FlexPay is a merchant-embedded digital savings platform that rewards customers for saving up for purchases – a save now buy later (SNBL) solution at checkout.

24.

Gamr

Nigeria

Gamr is an eSports tournament aggregation platform, helping African gamers discover tournaments they can play in and get rewarded for.

25.

Garri Logistics 

Ethiopia

Garri Logistics matches shippers looking to move cargo with vehicle owners and drivers, while finding optimal route pairings to reduce empty miles.

26.

Haul 247

Nigeria

Haul247 is a logistics platform that connects manufacturing companies and farmers with trucks and warehouses.

27.

Healthlane

Cameroon

Healthlane provides advanced comprehensive health screening and personalised plans, biometric monitoring, genetic analysis as well as in-person and virtual visits with top-rated doctors .

28.

Healthtracka

Nigeria

Healthtracka is a platform that allows users access on-demand healthcare services in the comfort of their homes.

29..

HerVest

Nigeria

HerVest offers a highly secured, women-focused financial platform that enables women to participate in key financial services, with a focus on female farmers.

30.

Kapsule

Rwanda

Kapsule is a data as a service company that helps healthcare providers, insurers, and pharmaceutical companies to make better decisions

31.

Keep IT Cool 

Kenya

Keep IT Cool is an early-stage, fast-growing social enterprise that leverages technology to strengthen the African aquaculture and poultry value chain through cold chain and storage

32.

KUDIGO

Ghana

KUDIGO offers an omni-channel digital commerce platform to empower micro and small businesses in Africa

33.

Kyshi

Nigeria

Kyshi provides multi-currency accounts and remittance services to and from Africa

34.

Leja

Kenya

Leja is an Android/USSD application enabling African micro-entrepreneurs to digitise all their business transactions and manage all their finance in one place

35.

LifeBank

Nigeria

LifeBank leverages technology to provide value in multiple segments (production, marketplace and distribution) of the healthcare supply chain such as blood, oxygen and medical supplies

36.

Mapha

South Africa

Mapha provides delivery as a service to businesses in peri-urban & township areas

37.

Norebase

Nigeria

Norebase provides a single digital platform and technology tools for entrepreneurs and businesses to start, scale, and operate in any African country and the United States.

38.

OneHealth

Nigeria

OneHealth is an online pharmacy & healthcare platform that provides access to medicines, healthcare information, and solutions (Laboratory services & Doctors)  to the last mile patient.

39.

PesaChoice

Rwanda

PesaChoice bridges the gap in liquidity for low-middle income earners across the continent and drives access to financial services.

40.

Pindo

Rwanda

Pindo is a cloud communication platform for businesses, optimised for developers.

41.

Pivo

Nigeria

Pivo is a credit focused digital bank for trade, supporting businesses across Africa

42.

QShop

Nigeria

QShop is an easy to use DIY e-commerce platform designed to help small and medium-sized businesses scale and sell better online.

43.

Rekisa

South Africa

Rekisa helps businesses create their e-commerce websites and assists them with various digital marketing activities

44.

Scrapays Inc

Nigeria

Scrapays is creating operating system infrastructure for the recycling value chain in developing nations.

45.

Shiip

Nigeria

Shiip leverages web, mobile and API technology to connect individuals & businesses to delivery services in and out of Africa

46.

Solutech (Kenya):

Kenya

Solutech helps field-sales teams to sell more  efficiently by leveraging powerful insights while providing FMCG companies with real-time data for day-to-day and strategic decision-making.

47.

Spleet

Nigeria

Spleet leverages a ‘Rent Now, Pay Later’ model to drive its mission to ensure that every African can afford a space to live in.

48.

Stears

Nigeria

Stears is a financial intelligence company providing subscription-based content & data to global professionals. Its mission is to build the world’s most trusted provider of African data.

49.

Synnefa

Kenya

Synnefa is building Africa’s first mini-farm ERP connected to IoT sensors that provide soil data which is combined with farmer activity data to create a farmer experience score that is passed on to financial partners to use on their credit score.

50.

Technovera

South Africa

Technovera is an innovative tech startup focused on technology inclusion through the development of simple technologies aimed at improving last mile access in Africa.

51.

TERAWORK

Nigeria

TERAWORK is an online freelance marketplace focused on matching freelancers to service buyers.

52.

TIBU Health

Kenya

TIBU Health is an omnichannel healthtech company connecting patients to healthcare services and professionals at a time and location of their choosing.

53.

Topset Education

Nigeria

Topset Education is an edtech platform that makes quality education accessible to Africans everywhere.

54.

TopUp Mama

Kenya

TopUp Mama enables restaurants in Africa to purchase food supplies, access financial services and manage their business.

55.

Wellahealth

Nigeria

Wellahealth provides technology and financial tools to healthcare providers and patients to enable affordability and accessibility of healthcare in emerging markets.

56.

Xente

Uganda

Xente is a digital financial platform with in-built spend management to support businesses across Africa

57.

Zanifu

Kenya

Zanifu enable SMEs to purchase inventory and pay later

58.

ZayRide

Ethiopia

ZayRide is a customer centric on-demand taxi service offering fast, convenient service throughout local areas in Ethiopia

59.

Zuberi

Ghana

Zuberi is a fintech platform based out of Accra, built to provide financial products and services to salaried workers in a way they have never experienced before

60.

Zuri Health

Kenya

Zuri Health provides affordable and accessible healthcare services to patients across Sub-Saharan Africa via mobile app, website, Whatsapp chatbot and SMS service.

Economy

I Fully Agree Oil Has Been a Curse to Nigeria—Moghalu

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kingsley moghalu

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

A former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Kingsley Moghalu, has said oil has been a curse to Nigeria.

He said this in reaction to the discovery of oil in the northern part of the country.

On Tuesday, President Muhammadu Buhari flagged off the Kolmani Integrated Development Project in Bauchi, and he said the country attracted $3 billion investment in fossil energy from the project at a time when the oil and gas sector was becoming less attractive.

“It is, therefore, to the credit of this administration that at a time when there is near zero appetites for investment in fossil energy, coupled with the location challenges, we are able to attract investment of over $3 billion to this project,” Mr Buhari said.

The Kolmani Integrated Development Project is a fully integrated in-situ development project comprising upstream production, oil refining, power generation and fertilizer.

The Kolmani River field has huge commercial deposits of hydrocarbons, which the President said is “over one billion barrels of oil reserves and 500 billion cubic feet of gas.”

But Mr Moghalu, who contested to be the President of Nigeria in 2019 under the Young Progressives Party (YPP), believes that the country has not gained anything meaningful from being an oil-producing nation.

Nigeria is one of the leading producers of crude oil in Africa. Most of the foreign exchange (FX) earnings come from the sale of the commodity. However, oil theft and corruption have subjected its citizens to abject poverty, with the government resorting to borrowing to fund its budgets.

“I fully agree with those who say oil has been a curse to Nigeria. Many of them question the ultimate value of the reported Kolmani oil find in Northern Nigeria.

“But I am also practical enough to know three things. First, some countries like Saudi Arabia, Gulf States, and Norway were smart enough to use oil to build their economies but diversified into other means of wealth creation and also built-up savings (reserves/Sovereign Wealth Funds) for the rainy day that have served them well.

“Secondly, the real secret of the wealth of nations does NOT lie in natural resources. It lies in economic complexity – the ability to prioritize technological innovation and use it to manufacture complex products that are value-added and competitively produced and then exported to dominate the world trading system. Singapore, South Korea, Japan, Switzerland and many other of the world’s wealthiest countries have NOTHING of value under their soil but have used this principle to create wealth for their citizens. That’s why they are rich, but we in Nigeria and most other African countries, with our so-called blessing of natural resources, are in a poverty trap.

“We in fact have the resource curse. 70% of the world’s strategic minerals are in Africa, but the continent’s share of world trade is just 3% in 2022.

“The third thing I am practical enough to know is that, as Nigeria is currently led and configured, the dominant mentality of its political leadership is still fixated on natural resources and resource rents. They simply do not share in, & do not care, about the secret of the wealth of nations.

“Their minds still haven’t evolved to that knowledge or, more accurately, the political will to de-emphasize natural resource thinking and shift to real wealth creation,” the respected economist said in a series of tweets via his verified Twitter handle, @MoghaluKingsley.

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Economy

Index Rises 2.04% on Interest Airtel Africa, MTN Nigeria Shares

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NSE lists Airtel Africa Shares

By Dipo Olowookere

It was another positive outing for the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited on Friday as it closed higher by 2.04 per cent on the back of buying interest in Airtel Africa, MTN Nigeria and 16 others.

The sustained upward movement was buoyed yesterday by the 1.10 per cent growth posted by the insurance sector, the 0.26 per cent improvement in the industrial goods space, and the 0.25 per cent rise in the banking counter.

The trio offset the 2.37 per cent loss printed by the consumer goods counter, as the energy index closed flat when trading activities were brought to an end at 2:30 pm.

Consequently, the All-Share Index (ASI) closed higher by 949.40 points to 47,554.34 points from 46,604.94 points, as the market capitalisation grew by N517 billion to settle at N25.902 trillion compared with Thursday’s closing value of N25.385 trillion.

The stock market was quiet on Friday as the most active stock, FCMB, only traded 16.8 million units, while MTN Nigeria sold 16.4 million units. Fidelity Bank traded 7.5 million shares, Zenith Bank exchanged 6.4 million equities, and Access Holdings transacted 5.8 million equities.

From an analysis of the activity chart, a total of 99.0 million stocks worth N5.5 billion were traded by investors yesterday in 2,780 deals compared with the 138.6 million stocks worth N2.2 billion traded in 3,434 deals, indicating an increase in the trading value of 154.41 per cent, a decline in the number of deals by 19.04 deals and a drop in the trading volume by 28.58 per cent.

Red Star Express ended the day on top of the gainers’ chart after its value rose by 9.66 per cent to N2.27, Regency Assurance appreciated by 8.70 per cent to 25 Kobo, Livestock Feeds grew by 8.16 per cent to N1.06, Prestige Assurance expanded by 7.50 per cent to 43 Kobo, and Airtel Africa improved by 7.41 per cent to N1,450.00.

Conversely, Capital Hotel topped the losers’ log yesterday after it went down by 10.00 per cent to N3.06, Nestle Nigeria fell by 10.00 per cent to N963.90, International Breweries drained by 2.27 per cent to N4.30, GTCO lost 1.48 per cent to N20.00, and Wema Bank depreciated by 0.97 per cent to N3.07.

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Economy

Naira Gains at P2P, Weakens at I&E

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By Adedapo Adesanya

The Naira closed stronger against the United States Dollar at the Peer-to-Peer (P2P) window of the foreign exchange (FX) market on the last trading session of the week by N1 to sell at N786/$1 compared with the previous day’s exchange rate of N787/$1.

Similarly, in the black market, the Naira appreciated against the American Dollar by N2 to trade at N775/$1 yesterday, in contrast to the N777/$1 it closed on Thursday.

However, in the Investors and Exporters (I&E) segment of the forex market, the domestic currency depreciated against its US counterpart by 0.3 per cent or N1.33 to settle at N446.33/$1 compared with the preceding session’s N445/$1.

Data from FMDQ Securities Exchange indicated that the FX turnover at the I&E window on Friday was $117.26 million, lower than the $145.89 million reported a day earlier by $28.63 million or 19.6 per cent.

In the interbank segment, the Nigerian Naira closed flat against the Pound Sterling and the Euro yesterday at N526.97/£1 or N455.56/€1, respectively.

Meanwhile, in the cryptocurrency market, there were recoveries as a majority of the 10 cryptos tracked by Business Post pointed north, with Dogecoin (DOGE) surging by 14.6 per cent to trade at $0.093.

This happened as the crypto market is still reeling after a brutal month, with investor confidence shattered following news that FTX, once one of the biggest and most popular crypto exchanges, went bust.

Binance Coin (BNB) recorded a 5.5 per cent appreciation to trade at $311.11, Ethereum (ETH) saw its value go up by 3.8 per cent to sell at $1,220.31, Cardano (ADA) recorded a 2.9 per cent rise to quote at $0.319, and Solana (SOL) appreciated by 2.8 per cent to trade at $14.41.

Further, Ripple (XRP) recorded a 2.4 per cent gain to settle at $0.4079, Bitcoin (BTC) made a 1.4 per cent improvement to sell at $16,626.37, Litecoin (LTC) jumped by 1.3 per cent to trade at $77.20.

But the US Dollar Tether (USDT) and Binance USD (BUSD) remained unchanged at $0.9995 and $1.00 apiece.

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