25 FEBRUARY, 2022
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Good morning 🌄
Yesterday marked a milestone in the race for Nigeria’s 5G network.
The 2 winners of the bid, MTN and Mafab, successfully paid the $273.6m license fee required by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
What comes next is the deployment phase which spans across a 10-year period.
Speaking of milestones, we’ve got a run-down about the Russian-Ukraine crisis in today’s edition. 👇🏿
In today’s edition
- Quick Fire 🔥
- What’s happening in Ukraine?
- TC Insights: Funding Tracker
- Event: Building from Ground Up
- Job opportunities
QUICK FIRE 🔥 WITH FATIMA ALFA ABU
Fatima Alfa Abu is the Software Account Manager at Field Intelligence and has been with the company for over 3 years. Her role consists of ensuring the success and growth of Field’s engagement with software users, as well as supporting and building healthcare products.
Explain your job to a five-year-old
I help hospitals and pharmacies get their medicines on time and also make sure they do not run out of these supplies.
What’s something you wish you knew earlier in your career/life?
I wish I learned earlier that there is no need to put a clock or timer on what I want in life. There was no need to put pressure on myself or say “I must achieve this by the time I am this age or by this year”. Every achievement is valid, regardless of when it comes.
What’s the most promising thing about tech in Africa?
The endless potentials, opportunities, and growth in the continent. There are so many growth opportunities for tech in Africa and it is great to see lots of new ideas springing up from all over the continent.
Other than fintech, what’s the most critical thing African startups have to figure out next to move the continent forward?
Healthtech. There are so many gaps to be filled. For example, we still have many countries where there’s little or no access to data-gathering tools that can help people access medicine easier. The opportunities are endless for technology to help advance healthcare.
If you could pivot to any other tech job, which would it be and why?
I’d definitely be a UX Designer. I am fascinated by the concept of designing and creating products based on understanding how users interact with them and creating solutions that cater to the pain points of those users.
What (singular) achievement are you most proud of?
Professionally: seeing the product I manage being launched and used by 5 national health programs in Nigeria to collect data. In terms of logistics and supply chains, that is an achievement all Nigerians should also be proud of as this is rare, not just in Africa, but in many other parts of the world.
Personally: I don’t know if this is an achievement per se, but I am really proud of how much of a confident person I have become. I used to lack confidence in myself and my abilities but though it is still a work in progress, I have grown to learn to believe in myself and that is a big deal for me.
What’s something you love doing that you’re terrible at? And what’s something you really do not like doing that you’re great at?
Dancing. I am not the world’s greatest dancer but I do love it.
Washing dishes. I am great at making them sparkling clean but I really do not enjoy the process.
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WHAT’S HAPPENING IN UKRAINE?
Yesterday morning, we woke up to news about Russia”s invasion of Ukraine.
Russian president, Vladimir Putin, launched a “special military operation” in the bordering nation of Ukraine, and inhabitants of Kyiv—Ukraine’s capital—woke up to sounds of explosions and gunfire.
Russian troops have also breached Ukrainian borders invading from Belarus which lies Northeast of Ukraine, and the Black Sea which lies to the South. There have been fighting in these regions and so far, about 40 Ukrainian soldiers have lost their lives. Not much is known about civilian casualties yet but a young boy was killed by shelling when his apartment building was attacked.
The invasion is the climax of a month-long effort to broker peace amongst the Eastern European countries that have been at loggerheads for decades.
Here’s a quick rundown in 8 bullet points on why these two nations are at war:
- Ukraine used to be a part of the Soviet Union or the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) which played the leading role in defeating the Nazi forces during World War II. The USSR lost 24 million soldiers in fighting WWII.
- After WWII, the largest military alliance ever—the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO)—was formed in 1949 to secure peace in Europe and protect member-states from external threats which, at the time, was the USSR. Now you may be saying, the USSR just helped the world defeat Nazi Germany, why then were states banding against it? Well, the Soviet Union was rapidly expanding its borders, threatening democratic governments across Europe. It had a large army and its influence helped start the Korean war in 1950.
- There were 12 founding member-states of NATO and Article 5 of its treatise states that an attack on a member-state, is an attack on NATO and all member-states, a useful deterrent against other world powers like the USSR. The founding members included the US, Canada, France and the UK.
- In 1991, the USSR collapsed—without Article 5 ever getting invoked. The 15 countries that formed the USSR gained their independence and took sovereign decisions. By then NATO’s membership had grown to 16 states and after the USSR’s fall, former USSR nations like Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia joined NATO.
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- Russia, which was the most powerful country in the USSR, felt betrayed that more and more countries with which it was previously allied betrayed it and joined NATO. It was more concerned that these countries, with which it shared borders, would have such powerful troops at the ready, most of which were American troops.
- In 2007, the US and other states in NATO pushed for Ukraine—which shares a large land border with Russia—and Georgia to join NATO. That move failed because there was no unanimous agreement between member-states, a requirement for new members.
- Acting on the push to include Ukraine in NATO, Russia reclaimed Crimea, a Ukrainian territory where it has a major naval base in 2014. Since its annexation, Ukraine has received more military aid from the US which makes up about 90% of its military force.
- Now, from Russia’s point of view, Ukraine is an American-ally with on-ground troops, and it’s still agitating to join NATO, which still means American troops near Russia’s borders. Since January, Russia has been slowly increasing its military presence near Ukraine, with its president stating that Russia “had no intention to attack Ukraine.”
This statement was contradicted on Thursday morning with attacks on Kyiv and Kharkiv. Air travel is presently restricted and civilians in the affected regions, over 3 million of them, are stuck.
Over 10,000 Africans live in Ukraine and are affected by the crisis.
What’s more worrisome is that Russian airstrikes near Chernobyl, the location of the world’s worst nuclear disaster, could stir up nuclear waste that would affect everyone in and around Ukraine. Countries are calling on President Putin to call off the attacks and US President Biden has levied some economic sanctions against Russia but so far, it hasn’t deterred President Putin’s push for war.
With Africans, as well as other immigrants stuck in Ukraine, external forces are trying all they can to resolve the crisis amicably and bring their citizens home.
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TC INSIGHTS: FUNDING TRACKER
This week, Clickatell, a South African chat commerce company, secured a $91 million Series C round to accelerate product development and expand its footprint in the United States (US). The round was led by Arrowroot Capital, with participation from Kennedy Lewis Investment Management, Endeavor Global, and Harvest.
Here are the other deals for the week:
- MarketForce, a Kenyan B2B startup closed a $40m Series A round led by V8 Capital Partners, with participation from Ten13 VC, SOSV Select Fund, Vu Ventures, and Vastly Valuable Ventures.
- South African fintech startup Lipa Payments, received $660,000 from Empowerment Capital’s Imvelo Ventures to help it scale across the continent.
- South African startup Zindi, a professional network of data scientists, raised $1m in a seed round led by the San Francisco-based Shakti VC, along with Launch Africa Ventures, Founders Factory Africa, and five35.
- Nigeria-based data science startup Voyance raised a $500,000 pre-seed round from Beta Venture. Other participants in the round include Zedcrest, HoaQ, Assembly Investors, Fola Olatunji-David, Chidinma Iwueke, Seni Sulyman, and the co-founder & CEO of Ejara Nelly Chatue-Diop and other investors.
That’s it for this week!
How do you motivate your team in today’s world of remote work? How do you ensure that your team stays inspired and productive even if they’re not all working in the same space and time zone?
If this is something you’re curious to learn, join us this morning at 11 AM (WAT) on #BuildingFromGroundUp.
We’ll be speaking with Elizabeth Tweedale, founder and CEO of the UK’s leading coding school, Cypher Coders. Elizabeth is also a highly experienced AI creator, author, and entrepreneur.
She’ll not only be talking about how founders and team leads can help their teams stay motivated, but she’ll also be sharing many other useful business lessons from her journey as an entrepreneur.
Register now to attend.
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