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One parody to rule them all

Nigerian Twitter exploded yesterday, as the Minister of Finance via Schrodinger's Twitter account (more on that in a bit) sent out tweets attempting to downplay the fact that Nigeria is now in a recession. I'm not particularly surprised (because Nigeria has forced me to lower my standards), and it would have been fine if the account kept things...sane.

What it did however, was to resort to platitudes (like Nigerians are wont to do), and motivational speaking. Saying things like “The strongest of all warriors are these two, time and patience. I know people are concerned about the recession. Recession is a word.” Wut?

At that point, Nigerian Twitter ERUPTED. I saw insult upon insult hurled at the Honourable Minister, and she did, too. Because, her PR pesin issued a statement declaring the account a parody, saying that the Minister didn't have a Twitter account.

Like clockwork, Schrodinger's Twitter account changed its bio to say "Parody". Ah. A few more hours, and the account deleted its bio. Ah. Ah. Before long, a video surfaced, of the real (I hope this one is not a parody) Kemi Adeosun saying the words, "Recession is a word". Ah. Ah. Ah.

Now, I'm just confused.

Three Gbosa for the Northern Kings under the sky,
Seven for the Southern Lords in their halls of stone,
Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,
One for the Dark Lord in his rock of Aso
In the Land of 'Buja where the Shadows lie.
One Parody to rule them all, One Parody to find them,
One Parody to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
In the Land of the Niger where the Shadows lie.

Today's news

After Mark Zuckerberg's 3-day visit to Lagos, Nigeria (during which he sucked the wind out of everyone else's PR sails), he made his way to Nairobi, Kenya, presumably to check out Andela (which he invested $24 million in), mobile money startups, and the rest of the tech ecosystem there. Here's are 6 things Mark "The Zuck" Zuckerberg did while he was in Nigeria. Link. 🇳🇬 🇰🇪 

Damn. Yesterday, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket exploded on a launchpad at Cape Canaveral, Florida, USA. Even worse: it was carrying an Amos-6 communication satellite, which was intended to be used to beam broadband to Africa (part of Facebook's Internet.org initiative). Thankfully, no lives were lost, but there goes $200 million. 🚀

Web4Africa has launched West Africa's first mirror project to make open source software easier to access in this neck of the woods. 💻 

Tom Jackson, writing for Disrupt Africa, tells us why African Solar is a hotbed for investment. I've noticed it, too. Looking at "how" Africa is developing, it's unlikely that any governments will succeed in building any massive hydro-electric solutions (please, let's not mention nuclear power). Market-driven, disintermediated solar solutions look like the paradigm that will turn on the lights in the future (pun intended), and that's why it's wise to invest now. Aside: I'm wondering what opportunities there are for consolidation, since there are a ton of underfunded efforts scattered across the continent. Hmm. I should write about that. Until then...☀️

Right on cue. BBOXX, an off-grid solar company has raised $20 million from Engie (the French energy behemoth) and other investors to step up operations in Kenya and Rwanda. 🇰🇪 🇷🇼 

TechCentral reports that MTN Nigeria is looking to raise $1 billion in their 2017 IPO. Remember that was one of the conditions in their agreement with the NCC re: fine. 💸 

While Uber is dropping prices, and Safaricom’s Little is dropping balls, a bunch of other players have been plotting both their demises. One of them is called Taxi Chap Chap. I think their site looks interesting, and I think their USP is a rider loyalty program called CabMiles. Basically, the more you take rides using Taxi Chap Chap, the more points you rack up. And as you probably already guessed, you can redeem those points as rides or cash later on. 🚖 

This week, ICYMI

Nigeria's CBN licensed 11 new IMTOs (International Money Transfer Operators) including WorldRemit. Remember they blocked all but three of them earlier this month. All I want to know is what they didn't know then, that they know now. Kmt.

Safaricom has invested $1 million in mSurvey through its Spark Venture Fund. Link

Kenya's Govt has (finally) thrown out that pesky ICT Practitioners bill (the one that said anyone working in tech must be registered with a professional body and have a degree in a technology-related field or 3 years experience).

"Startup Visas" will allow international entrepreneurs into the USA for at least two years. Criteria? Own at least 15% of a startup registered in the US, funded by American investors and demonstrates "significant public benefit to the United States." Link.

Fibre cable operator, Seacom, is now directly offering its data and cloud services to businesses in Kenya. This is coming a year after doing the same thing in S. Africa. Link

South Africa's Communication Workers Union (CWU) has asked MTN's chief human resources officer, Nhlanhla Qwabe to step down from his position. This is part of all the drama that's been happening between MTN and the CWU, and it all began when MTN announced they'd be outsourcing most of their call centre services to third-party vendors. Link.

SA transport startup, WhereIsMyTransport, has raised $1.5 million in funding from Goodwell, Omidyar Network and Horizon Ventures. They'll be using this investment to fund a new transit API they launched recently. Link

Paylater.ng has hit 100,000 users. Link.

Facebook is bringing Express Wifi (its vehicle for providing fast, cheap wireless internet access to underserved communities in developed countries) to Lagos and they’ve partnered with Coollink to set up hotspots in this neck of the woods. Read the story, and discuss it on Radar. Aside: Express Wifi is currently live in India, and reports say it's faring better than Free Basics did. 

Interesting things

Techpoint: Here are the brilliant Nigerians working with Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook. Link.

MAJOR KEY: Why Experts Make Bad Teachers. Link.

Check out Nairabot. It's a Facebook Messenger bot with which users can check exchange rates. Pretty dope. Link.

Also: Zuck and the rise of the bots, by Jason Njoku (it's about Nairabot). Link.

On Radar: Jihdeh's Nairabot. Link. (In which I geeked out about messenger bots, and whether or not they are the "future")

Well, this is weird. Apple is now on Twitter. The @apple username has been registered for years, but they activated the account (and got it verified) this morning. Before now, all they did was maintain multiple accounts for Support, Apple Music, etc. My guess is...they want to live tweet next week's event. 🐦 

A few weeks ago, I had a conversation with JR Kanu (ex-Konga), about his latest venture, Reach. It's a social financial management service. Here's the feature that came out of that conversation. Link.

Events

This year's CcHub Code Camp is currently going on. Link.

Building things for NG 2.0 is a meetup for people who are interested in (or are already) building incredible things for Nigeria. It's happening in London today. Link.

Seedstars Dakar holds on Wednesday, September 7. Link.

Pathways To Funding Do-Ference 2016 is holding in Durban next week Wednesday and Thursday. Deets.

PIVOT East 2016 application deadline is Thursday, September 8. Apply Now.

Imisi 3D's VR Hackathon application deadline is September 9. Apply now.

Add your event

Jobs

✮CcHub is looking for a smart, technically skilled Data Analyst (intern). Job description: Be interested in technology. Enjoy working with numbers to solve real-life problems. Be able to convey data-driven findings in layman's terms. Be familiar with SPSS, R, SQL, and Excel. Email mxlab@cchubnigeria.com with your CV and cover letter or click here to learn more.

✮Radar (our companion forum) is looking for a community manager to, er, manage the community. Learn more here, and send an email to editor@techcabal.com if you think you're up for it.

✮TechCabal is STILL looking for a young analyst that is excited about the internet, innovation, startups, venture capital and the business of technology in Nigeria and across Africa. Learn more.

Thanks for reading

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'Saruman the wise.
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