iAfrikan Daily Brief: BitPesa, Bharti Airtel, Bastian Gotter, And World Bank & Tanzania
Friday, 03 February 2017
Bitcoin Payments Startup BitPesa Has Raised $2.5 Million In A Funding Round Led By Draper VC
Kenya-based payments startup BitPesa has closed a US$2.5 million series A funding round led by Draper VC, with plans to expand its services to more countries in West and Southern Africa, as well as in Europe. BitPesa currently operates in Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, the DRC, the UK and Senegal, where it provides business customers who want to send payments internationally using bitcoin, having pivoted from enabling customers to make small mobile payments. “We are well on our way to achieving our goal of becoming the largest licensed payment company in the UK, Europe and Africa that offers real-time settlement at wholesale FX rates to frontier and emerging markets, with best in class compliance and customer service.” said Elizabeth Rossiello, BItPesa Founder and CEO
Bharti Airtel Reportedly Considering Exits And Stake Sales At Some Of Its Africa Operations
Credit: Bharti Airtel
Telecommunications giant Bharti Airtel has announced that it is considering mergers or outright sales of some of its Africa operations as it looks to cut its overall debt and turn a profit. With a net debt of about US$12 billion, the operator has indicated a willingness stay on the continent, though it is unclear what will happen to its holdings in Chad, Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Seychelles, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia following this announcement. Bharti is also considering selling a stake in Bharti Infratel, its subsidiary which is responsible for tower management and other infrastructure. Collectively, Bharti Airtel's Africa unit lost US$93 million in the quarter ended September 2016, compared with a $170 million loss in the previous year. The operator began talks to sell off its Burkina Faso, Chad, Congo Brazzaville and Sierra Leone units to Orange.
Iroko Co-Founder Bastian Gotter Has Left The Company After Four Years To Work With Startups Across Afrika
Credit: Bastian Gotter
Bastian Gotter, co-founder and seed nvestor at Iroko, is moving from his role as COO and CFO after four years, the company has announced today. The changes will take effect as of immediately, with Gotter’s replacement, Lauren Miller, taking up the role of CFO from the company’s London office. In 2010, Gotter invested $150,000 for a 50% stake in Iroko, and later, when the company closed on Series A investment from Tiger Global in early 2012, he left his role as a London-based Oil trader at BP to relocate to Lagos and take up the reins as Iroko’s COO and CFO. Iroko has since raised over $40Mn in venture capital funding from a number of investors. During his tenure, the entertainment and tech company, Gotter has been pivotal in the company’s meteoric growth, having raised an additional $33Mn from new and existing investors, and having overseen key organisational infrastructure.
Tanzania’s Bus Rapid Transit Project Has Received A $290 Million Boost From The World Bank
Tanzania’s head of state, John Magufuli, commissioned a $290 million public transport system in Dar es Salaam to ease traffic congestion in the city. Dar es Salaam is the largest city in the East African region with a population of approximately five million inhabitants, and the large population has made it impossible for convenience of running business in the city due to traffic congestion. Until the launch of the $290 million public transport by the president, Tanzania was depending on a haphazard transport system which is largely private based with matatus and mini-buses dominating the public transport sector. The Rapid-transport system is meant to make it convenient for millions of commuters using public means of transport while easing congestions on roads.
![Annual Tech Round-Up 2017](/content/images/2017/02/ATRU2017-Square-Cover.jpg)Highlights from a panel discussion at the Annual Tech Round-Up 2017 about "ICT Policy and Governance". The panel was hosted by Brenda Wambui and featured Dr. Katherine Getao (ICT Secretary, Kenya's Ministry of Information Communication and Technology), Ezekiel Mutua (CEO, Kenya Film Classification Board), Envir Fraser (Chief Strategy Officer & Principal, Convergence Partners) and Nanjira Sambuli (Digital Equality Advocacy Manager, The Web Foundation). WATCH