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Central banks get tough on Flutterwave

Regulators in Kenya and Ghana are keeping a close eye on the startup.

An exploratory well in Somalia
Abdiqani Hassan
This story was published on our Quartz Africa Weekly newsletter, News and culture from around the continent.
  • Jordan Weinstock
By Jordan Weinstock

Executive Assistant based in New York

Published

Hi Quartz Africa readers,

“Like pandemics, climate change ignores borders,” says Nathalie Delapalme, the executive director of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, which recently released a report on the climate crisis in Africa (pdf).

The foundation best known for its African governance rankings and awards released a “Road to COP27” report in the lead-up to the UN Climate Change Conference in November in Egypt, aiming to provide a blueprint for African leaders in advocating for Africa’s issues at the event.

Sub-Saharan Africa contributes less than 2.5% of the global carbon emission, but the continent bears a disproportionate burden for the effects of climate change. According to Delapalme, global debate on climate change has mostly focused on mitigation and carbon zero goals, but left out adaptation.

At last year’s COP26 in the UK, 39 countries and developing agencies pledged to stop direct international public financing of fossil fuel projects—including natural gas—by the end of 2022. Even with the huge potential for renewable energy in Africa and 22 African countries already using renewables as their main energy source, providing access to the 600 million Africans who still have no access to energy remains a challenge.

If Africa’s challenges are not taken into consideration in global climate discussions, Delapalme says, “we risk just kicking away the development ladder under hundreds of millions of people.”

—Ciku Kimeria, Africa editor


Stories this week

Central banks in Ghana and Kenya toughened up on Flatterwave. As regulators increase scrutiny of the fintech company’s operations, Alexander Onukwue explains why this may set the tone for other startups.

Kenya’s elections might have boosted alcohol sales. Data released by east African brewer EABL show a 30% growth in revenue at time when election spending caps were lifted, Faustine Ngila writes.

The US embassy in Kenya issued a warning over the risk of political violence. Staff were told not to travel to Kisumu, home to presidential candidate Raila Odinga. Faustine Ngila reports on the social media frenzy sparked by the announcement.

A former Al-Shabaab leader has been nominated to Somalia’s cabinet. Faustine Ngila delves into Mukhtar Robow’s history as a founding member of Al-Shabaab and his subsequent defection.

Instagram is working with African startups to boost sales via DMs. Alexander Onukwue highlights Bumpa, a Shopify-like platform that allows users to create and manage online stores, as one of the first to join the collaboration.

Lagos is set to host the first Techstar location in Africa. Alexander Onukwue talked to the CEO of the global startup accelerator program about their plans.

Climate activists criticized African leaders’ push for fossil fuel investments. Faustine Ngila reports on the uproar caused by an African Union paper espousing natural gas and other non-renewable energy sources.


Spotlight on a Quartz Africa 2021 Innovator

Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim is a member of Chad’s nomadic Mbororo people, and an environmental activist who believes that indigenous people’s knowledge is crucial for the conservation of our planet. The crux of her message is that climate change resilience can be achieved by combining science, technology, and tradition.

In her widely-viewed December 2019 TED talk, she described how climate change is changing the social fabric of her community, with dwindling natural resources forcing men to migrate to cities, or flee to Europe, in a bid to try to make money. Women are left behind to feed, support, and secure their families’ futures.

Ibrahim believes that combining ecological knowledge with traditional knowledge and innovation will help make communities resilient to climate change. “We can give the best of us to protect our people, to protect our planet.”

Check out Quartz Africa’s Innovators 2021 list, which showcases the pioneering work being done by Ibrahim and other female African innovators.


Dealmaker

Oui Capital, a Nigerian venture capital firm, reached the first close of a $30 million fund it plans to raise to invest in African startups. The fund will be the firm’s second; its first $5 million fund invested in startups like TeamApt, MVX, and Duplo.

Kenyan insurtech startup Lami raised $3.7 million in a round led by Harlem Capital, with the participation of other investors. Lami raised $1.8 million last year to build out its service which serves businesses that want to create insurance solutions.


Quartz Gems

BeReal is the app for people who hate social media

If someone were to take a photo of you right now, would you want it posted on social media? Chances are absolutely not, but that’s the premise behind BeReal, a French app that has taken American college campuses by storm and is currently the most popular app in Apple’s US App Store.

The basic premise of BeReal, which launched in 2020, is that at a different time each day, users receive a notification nudging them to post a photo of whatever they’re up to at that particular moment. There are no ads, no filters, no likes, no followers, just your friends sending pictures of themselves looking into a freezer or sitting on the couch with pets.

The experience of documenting the mundane on BeReal may be a small way to resist the idea that our lives have to be remarkable to have value. Its 20 million downloads suggest this approach is resonating with users, especially at a time when giants like Meta are struggling to stay relevant and profitable.

What does it mean to you to support a publication? At Quartz, we’re on a mission to deliver journalism that helps make business better—and we want to hear from you. If you’re a fan of Quartz, please take a few minutes to complete our survey to help make Quartz better.


Other things we liked

Uganda needs no one’s help. Ahead of US ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield’s visit to Kampala, the country’s president Yoweri Museveni told BBC’s Alan Kasujja that “nobody can give us instructions,” adding that the nation can thrive without foreign aid.

The Burkinabe army admitted responsibility for civilians’ deaths. Burkina Faso’s army claimed the killing of at least 37 people were collateral deaths in a counter-terrorist operation, Thiam Ndiaga of Reuters reports.

The DRC wants a UN spokesperson to leave the country. The AP’s Jean-Yves Kamale writes that foreign affairs minister Christophe Lutundula complained about inappropriate statements following demonstrations against the UN’s presence.

Africa’s fastest man won the Commonwealth 100-meter race. Daily Nation’s Ayumba Ayodi details why it had to be Ferdinand Omanyala to hand Kenya its first gold medal at the commonwealth games in Birmingham, UK.


ICYMI

Become a master of machine intelligence. Have you studied mathematics, computer science, computer engineering, or electrical engineering? Apply now to the AIMS African Master’s of Machine Intelligence (AMMI) and help develop solutions for the future needs of Africa. (Aug. 31)

Join Meta’s PhD fellowship and visit Silicon Valley. Meta Research PhD Fellowship for 2023 is calling on doctoral students to apply for an opportunity to travel to Meta’s California headquarters with a funding of two years’ tuition fees and an annual stipend of $42,000. (Sept. 20)


🎵 This brief was produced while listening to “Mama Africa” by Bracket (Nigeria)


This week’s brief took you to 🇰🇪, 🇳🇬, 🇪🇬, 🇸🇴, 🇺🇬, 🇧🇫 and 🇨🇩


Our best wishes for a productive and ideas-filled week ahead. Please send any news, comments, suggestions, ideas, BeReal videos, and election cocktails to africa@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter at @qzafrica for updates throughout the day.

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