👨🏿🚀TechCabal Daily – The rush for AI | TechCabal
9 FEBRUARY, 2023
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WhatsApp has some new interesting updates.
First, users will be able to post voice notes of up to 30 seconds on their status.
Next, say goodbye to awkward responses to your status as users can now respond to statuses with eight emojis—😍, 😂, 😮, 😢, 🎉, 👏, 🙏, 💯 —instead of “Lols” and “Trues” that no one really needs.
Link previews, which show the featured image of every link, have also been added so users have an inkling of what they’re getting themselves into.
The updates also include status rings and private audience selector, but these aren’t exactly new. These updates, according to WABetaInfo, are already rolling out and they should get to everyone in the coming weeks.
NIGERIA MAY PAUSE BAN ON OLD CURRENCIES
The Nigerian government is at war with itself, and that’s a statement that’s not exactly surprising to anyone.
Yesterday, the Supreme Court of Nigeria passed a judgement to temporarily halt the country’s pending ban on its old ₦200, ₦500 and ₦1,000 notes.
ICYMI: Last year, Nigeria’s apex bank, the Central Bank of Nigeria, announced redesigned currency notes for its old ₦200, ₦500 and ₦1,000 notes. Citizens originally had till January 31, 2023, to submit all old notes to commercial banks. After numerous requests, the deadline was extended to February 10 due to a scarcity of new and old notes.
The redesign programme has thrown the country in disarray.
Presently, Nigerians—many of whom are angry with the abrupt policy—are reporting scarcity of cash as most old notes have been deposited at banks while new notes are being rolled out at a slothful pace.
But it’s not only the Nigerian people who are against the policy’s short timeline. Earlier this week, three Nigerian state governments filed for a temporary injunction to block the deadline at the Supreme Court. A seven-man panel reviewed the injunction and granted it, pausing the February 10 extension.
There is, however, speculation on whether the CBN will adhere to the injunction as legal critics dispute the Supreme Court’s jurisdiction to decide on currency issues.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) also urged the CBN to extend the cutoff date with rep Ari Aisen stating, “In light of hardships caused by disruptions to trade and payments due to the shortage of new banknotes available to the public, in spite of measures introduced by the CBN to mitigate the challenges in the banknote swap process, the IMF encourages the CBN to consider extending the deadline, should problems persist in the next few days leading up to the February 10, 2023 deadline.”
On February 15, the Supreme Court will hear the lawsuit brought forward by the Nigerian states who are against the deadline.
Zoom out: While the Supreme Court’s action may have extended the deadline, Nigerians are still likely to remain in the same predicament. Neither old nor new notes are plentiful in circulation and many have to choose between long ATM queues—where banks have placed limits on cash withdrawals—or buying new notes at exorbitant rates from POS operators.
FLUTTERWAVE FLUTTERS INTO EGYPT
Flutterwave, the Nigerian fintech unicorn, is making waves in the North African region with its recent acquisition of Payment Services Provider and Payment Facilitator licences in Egypt!
This makes Flutterwave an official payment service provider in the country; it can collect and settle payments on behalf of its customers, both locally and globally.
With the new licences also comes the deployment of Flutterwave’s suite of products, including stores, payment links, invoices, and checkout, making it a one-stop shop for businesses in Egypt.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg! Flutterwave has also made it possible for users to send money to Ethiopia via cash pickup, giving Ethiopians in the diaspora a home port for sending money back to their loved ones. The recipients can pick up the cash in Dashen Bank branches, Amole Agents and Ethiopian postal service offices.”
This expansion is happening at a time when the unicorn, which had a valuation of $3 billion after its last Series D funding round in January 2022, is pondering its next big move—a leap into the public arena with an IPO listing.
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MICROSOFT IS INTO AI TOO
Are AIs the new NFTs? Everybody seems to be into it.
Two days ago, we reported Google’s release of Bard, a conversational AI service that will rival ChatGPT.
Now, Microsoft has announced that it’s powering its search engine Bing and its browser Edge with AI.
According to the company, the new versions of Bing and Edge, which they described as “AI copilot for the web”, will deliver better search, more complete answers, a new chat experience and the ability to generate content.
The new Edge, for example, will allow users to ask for a summary of a lengthy financial report to get the key takeaways, and then use the chat function to ask for a comparison to a competing company’s financials and automatically put it in a table.
Users can also ask Edge to help compose content, such as a LinkedIn post, by giving it a few prompts. After that, they can ask it to help in updating the tone, format and length of the post.
“AI will fundamentally change every software category, starting with the largest category of all: search,” said Satya Nadella, chairman and CEO of Microsoft. “Today, we’re launching Bing and Edge, powered by AI copilot and chat, to help people get more from search and the web.”
The new versions of Bing and Edge are currently available for preview testing and will be rolled out in due time.
MOROCCAN AGRITECH SAND TO GREEN RAISES $1 MILLION SEED ROUND
Green thumbs Up!
Sand to Green has raised $1 million in seed funding from the Catalyst Fund, Katapult and some angel investors. Catalyst Fund believes that the solution Sand to Green provides has the potential to bring about a major shift towards large-scale, sustainable, and eco-friendly agriculture in Morocco and across Africa.
Can agriculture get any greener?
The startup provides customised desalination modules that run on solar energy, agroforestry software to create and manage plantations in arid environments, and adapted tree plantations that not only dish up a tasty helping of food but also soak up carbon like a sponge.
The startup plans to use the funding to launch a 20-hectare agroforestry plantation and prepare to deploy hundreds more in the Moroccan desert. The company will also use it to fund its research to improve its replicability, scalability and impact. Sand to Green also plans to use the funding to further the deployment of its solutions throughout the African continent. This funding will help the company bloom and grow its operations, in preparation for the large-scale deployment of its projects in Morocco and Africa.
REPORT: THE STATE OF TECH IN AFRICA
The numbers are in for 2022:
- Africa raised $4.8 billion in Q2 2022 alone, up by 5% from 2021’s total VC funding raised.
- The fintech sector raised about 37% of funding in that period.
- Acquisitions increased by 35% from 32 in 2021 to an all-time high of 48 in 2022.
- Over 1,000 tech workers were laid off in Africa.
Technology in Africa is growing at an unprecedented rate and we want you to have a bird’s eye view of it. The State of Tech in Africa report has launched.
IN OTHER NEWS FROM TECHCABAL
PR lessons for startups experiencing an economic downturn.
- The 100x Impact Accelerator is open to applications from impact-driven social enterprises that work across eight sectors including health, climate and education. Selected enterprises will receive £150,000 grants and access to LSE’s world-class expertise, plus a 12-week programme of bespoke support from experts and social unicorn founders. Register by March 10.
- Do you have what it takes to become the next supplier to leading South African enterprises in the furniture sector? Apply for the 2023 eThekwini Furniture Cluster Acceleration Programme. Apply by February 28, 2023.
- The Jasiri Talent Investor Programme is looking for highly driven individuals with a history of achievement and/or entrepreneurial action who aspire to launch a high-growth venture. Apply by April 23, 2023.
- The GSMA AgriTech Accelerator is accepting applications from innovative, revenue-generating digital agriculture solutions that support the shared vision of improving smallholder farmers. Cohort members will benefit from targeted consulting from the GSMA team, user experience and product design/management support, farmer feedback surveys, access to GSMA events and insights and capacity building for investor readiness. Apply by February 10, 2023.
- Are you an ambitious and innovative leader who wants to learn how to bridge the gap between desire and action on sustainability? Then apply to join the Swedish Institute Management Programme 2023. Apply by February 13, 2023.
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Written by – Timi Odueso & Ngozi Chukwu
Edited by – Kelechi Njoku
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