Here are the highlights of tech around Africa for the week:
· Zeepay secured $2 million in equity
· Majorel let go of 200 employees
· Nigeria, Kenya, and Rwanda signed the "Bletchley Declaration
Zeepay secures $2 million in equity
Njaro Investment Advisors, a Ghanaian private capital fund manager, has invested $2 million in equity in Zeepay Ghana Limited, a Ghanaian-owned global mobile finance service provider. This marks Injaro's first investment from its Injaro Ghana Venture Capital Fund (IGVCF) and represents a significant step in Zeepay's Series A.5 fundraising round.
Zeepay is a leading player in the digital remittance and mobile money sector, with a presence in over 20 countries globally. It specializes in facilitating cross-border payments directly to mobile wallets, serving regions in Africa and the Caribbean, with a core mission to enhance financial inclusion and transform cross-border payments in underserved, low-income markets.
Injaro's investment aims to fuel Zeepay's expansion across multiple countries and enhance its presence in these new markets, aligning with IGVCF's strategy to collaborate with Ghanaian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with significant growth potential.
Jerry Parkes, the Managing Director of Injaro Investment Advisors, expresses enthusiasm about partnering with Zeepay, led by Andrew Takyi-Appiah, a dynamic Ghanaian entrepreneur. They share the goal of establishing a successful Ghanaian multinational and becoming leaders in the fintech industry. Parkes emphasizes the importance of financing Zeepay with Ghanaian capital, ensuring that investment profits benefit the local economy and contribute to economic development. He also sees this investment as a crucial initial step in connecting Ghana's pension funds with local businesses that drive the country's economic growth.
Injaro's investment in Zeepay is a significant development in Ghana's fintech sector, showcasing growing confidence among local investors in the country's entrepreneurial ecosystem.
This investment is expected to accelerate Zeepay's growth and expansion, reaching more underserved communities and promoting financial inclusion across Africa and beyond.
Majorel let go of 200 employees
Majorel Kenya is undergoing a redundancy process, leading to the termination of 200 out of its 1,200 employees. This decision follows the loss of a content moderation contract from Meta, the parent company of Facebook. The layoffs result from "restrictions" on a client contract, although the client's identity, which is Meta, wasn't initially disclosed.
The background to this situation involves a lawsuit by 43 Facebook content moderators in Kenya against Meta, Majorel, and Sama in March 2023. Sama, Meta's previous content moderation partner in Africa, had previously laid off 260 employees, resulting in legal action.
In response, a court order in March blocked Meta's new contract with Majorel and temporarily reinstated Sama's contract. Majorel also became embroiled in a legal battle, with former Meta moderators alleging discrimination based on their prior employment with Sama and claims that Meta pressured Majorel not to hire moderators who had previously been let go by Sama. The situation underscores broader challenges in outsourced content moderation, highlighting the need for improved strategies or potential in-house solutions for social media companies.
In addition to the layoffs, Majorel is transferring some employees to its Mombasa office, offering a relocation allowance of $134, which some employees find insufficient, possibly leading to more resignations.
Nigeria, Kenya, and Rwanda signed the "Bletchley Declaration”
Nigeria, Kenya, and Rwanda, among 25 other countries, including the US and the UK, have signed the "Bletchley Declaration," marking the world's first agreement on addressing the risks associated with artificial intelligence (AI). This milestone agreement was signed during the AI Safety Summit held at Bletchley Park in England and emphasizes the urgency of understanding AI's potential risks for the long-term welfare of future generations.
Nigeria's Minister for Digital Economy, Bosun Tijani, expressed the historical opportunity AI offers to provide global development through widespread access to insights and intelligence. However, he also emphasized the importance of ensuring the safe, ethical, and inclusive development of AI.
In recent months, Nigeria has been actively promoting AI adoption to enhance its international competitiveness. Plans for a comprehensive national AI strategy were initiated, and the AI Research Scheme was launched to support local startups and researchers with grants, aiming to build a sustainable AI ecosystem.
Rwanda has positioned itself as a leader in AI development in Africa by introducing a comprehensive national AI policy, allocating approximately $76.5 million for its implementation over the next five years. The policy addresses AI literacy, infrastructure, data strategy, integration in both public and private sectors, and ethical implementation. The country's commitment to AI development was further evident when InstaDeep, a London-based AI startup, designated Rwanda as its AI research hub in Africa.
Kenya, although lagging in official national AI strategy and regulatory framework establishment, is renewing its commitment to addressing existing AI-related risks. The Kenyan government recently halted the Worldcoin cryptocurrency project due to concerns regarding data privacy and security, signalling the need for more comprehensive and inclusive approaches to AI development.
The Bletchley Declaration is a significant step towards ensuring the safe and ethical development of AI on a global scale. It brings together countries from different continents to collaborate on international norms and standards to mitigate the potential risks of AI, and to benefit all of humanity.
Signatories to the declaration include countries from Africa, the Middle East, major Western economies, BRICS nations, and ASEAN members, highlighting the global nature of the AI challenge. The declaration acknowledges that while AI has the potential to transform and enhance human well-being and prosperity, it also poses significant risks, including threats to human rights, manipulative content generation, and cybersecurity concerns.
To address these challenges, the signatories commit to international cooperation, information sharing, and the development of evidence-based understandings of AI risks. They also recognize the importance of transparency, safety testing, and private sector capability development.
In a world where no single country can face the challenges of AI alone, the Bletchley Declaration marks the beginning of a long journey to ensure that every nation and citizen can harness the boundless benefits of AI while mitigating the associated risks.