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Letter 30, BD Insider: The newsletter arm of benjamindada.com

Hey, <<First Name>>

Emojis, stickers or GIFs? Or is it pronounced JIFs? I don't mind how you pronounce it, I'm just curious to know the one you use most often. Please, let me know on Twitter.

In the meantime, Unicode Consortium⁠ (the organisation that decides which emoji we get to see on our smartphones⁠) has published a report ranking emojis by frequency of use. Apparently, people 😂 laugh a lot.

Trivia: Cowrywise, Kuda Bank, Lidya, Piggyvest, and Wallets Africa have raised a total of $11.82 million (
4.28 billion) in pre-seed and seed rounds since they launched, per figures made public. And Y Combinator and Microtraction are investors in Cowrywise and Wallets Africa.

Let's dive into the news, events and opportunities, shall we?

Mara Group, a Pan-African company, has opened a manufacturing plant in Rwanda. The plant will be producing two models of Maraphones, the Mara X and Mara Z. These smartphones will be the first made-in-Rwanda smartphones, thereby joining the many smartphones branded "made in Africa".

There are at least six companies using the 'made in Africa by Africans for Africans' narrative. In Nigeria, we have Afrione, Imose Mobile and Solo Technology; in Egypt, there is Sico Technology; and Onyx Connect and Mint in South Africa.

But are these smartphones really made in Africa? And assuming they are truly made in Africa, how come it is a Chinese company that sells the most smartphones in Africa? I tried to answer these questions in this article.

Google has clamped down on 'predatory' loan apps on Playstore. The Google Developer policy updated in August, which bars high-interest consumer loan apps from the Playstore, is already affecting some apps in the United States. According to the Wall Street Journal, the lenders affected include CURO Financial Technology, Enova International and MoneyLion.

In Nigeria, there are more than 10 microlending platforms that allow people to borrow money in a record time of 10-15 minutes without any collateral. Notably, Carbon, Fint, Renmoney, Fairmoney, Palmcredit, Kwikmoney, Page Financials, Zedvance, Branch, and Aella Credit.

As we await the global implementation of the new Playstore policy, the CEO of Carbon, Chijioke Dozie, has devised a leeway. He said, "Carbon is much more than loans. So, we would emphasize other services".

Two Ugandan companies, PesaMoni and Bold Casher, have launched Cash Chat--a social media and digital payment app. The app, according to the Founder, Asher Namanya (who is also the CEO of PesaMoni and Bold Casher), allows users to chat one-on-one or in a group of up to 1,000 members, and they can also send and receive money. He said, "The idea is that we can't keep chatting only, we need to do more than that on social media. Cash Chat gives users the privilege to access different services and while chatting". Sounds like a super app innit?

The app would garner all the traction it can before WhatsApp Pay is launched later this year.

Libra is losing its limbs. The Libra Association created by Facebook to manage its cryptocurrency, Libra, has lost six members. Mastercard, Visa, Paypal, eBay, Mercade Pago and Bookings Holdings have pulled out of the independent not-for-profit association.

Facebook and the remaining 21 members of the association are undaunted by these exits. According to the Association's Head of Policy and Communications, Dante Disparte, it is a correction, not a setback. Libra is set to launch in June 2020.

Nigerian small and medium enterprises lender, Lidya, has launched in Poland and the Czech Republic. This brings the number of countries where Lidya is available to five, including Nigeria, Portugal and USA. Lidya plans to disburse 1 billion loans to small businesses in Poland and the Czech Republic over the next five years. Tomasz Sekalski will head Lidya in Poland and Libor Vanicek will lead the Czech Republic operations as CEO.

Since its launch in 2016, Lidya has raised $8.1 million from two funding rounds. It was founded by two ex-Jumia, Tunde Kehinde and Ercin Eksin. Lidya uses up to 100 data points to evaluate businesses, build a credit score for each business and disburse loans in 24 hours or less.

📅 Don't Miss These!

Attend StartupSouth5 2019, "Unlocking the next 60 million people".

Attend Terragon's localhost meetup, "Building to scale: Cloud wars (Azure vs AWS vs GCP)"

Attend the first edition of Passion Incubator's Tech Your Passion series.

FirstBank Fintech 3.0 Summit

Check out the Women Techmakers scholarship

Check out these engineering and design remote openings at Dev Community Inc.

Microsoft internship opportunities for software engineering roles.

 

🙂Thank you for reading

If you're a developer, you already know Codesandbox. There is this new tool, called, TryCode.


⁠—Dan

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