Hi Quartz Africa readers,
The death of Queen Elizabeth II reignited a debate about the British monarchy’s legacy in Africa. Nigerian professor Uju Anya did not mince her words in placing the sovereign in the historical context of imperial rule and colonialism, and wished that her dying pain “be excruciating.” Twitter, where many first heard of the Queen’s death, swiftly deleted Anya’s tweet post.
Twitter claimed the post violated its rules, but some condemned the move for negating free speech. The episode teases the tone of the postmortem of the second Elizabethan age, which oversaw the last 16 years of forced British rule in Africa. In the decades since, a lot of effort has gone into moving past the uncomfortable colonial history by disbursing aid and development finance, as well as promoting the Commonwealth of Nations as the basis of a cordial future ostensibly based on cooperation not control. Upholding that sentiment, African leaders such as the president of Ghana, the incoming president of Kenya, and the Nigerian boss of the World Trade Organization issued statements expressing deep condolences and admiration for the Queen.
The punchier reactions to her death instead addressed head on the so-called elephant in the room: the Queen’s role as representative, and direct beneficiary, of an institution that reaped rich returns from oppressed territories. No wonder that a video of an aged woman describing the anguish of a Kenyan revolution brutally crushed by British soldiers during the Queen’s first year on the throne has gone viral.
As the crown passes to her son King Charles III, the debate over the British monarchy’s legacy in Africa will continue, but could be summed up with just a question: What does Britain owe Africa and when will it pay in full?
—Alexander Onukwue, west Africa correspondent
What to watch for in the Quartz Africa Member Brief
BY THE DIGITS
144: The approximate number of mobile money providers in Africa
70%: Africa’s share of the world’s $1 trillion mobile money market
$701.4 billion: Value of Africa’s mobile money transactions
$1.37 billion: Annual revenue of M-Pesa, one of Africa’s biggest mobile money operators in 2021
65%: Africa’s unbanked adult population
621 million: Number of registered mobile money wallets in Africa in 2021
Learn more about mobile payment startup MFS Africa in this coming Wednesday’s edition of the Quartz Africa Member Brief. To get the Member Brief directly in your inbox (and save 40%), become a member today!
Stories this week
The term “brain drain” is outdated. The expansion of faster internet connectivity in Africa and the normalization of working remotely means you no longer need to physically relocate to foreign countries when hired by the Big Tech, several CEOs told Faustine Ngila.
Millions of African children are not in school. Sub-Saharan Africa remains the only region where the population of children not attending school from primary to secondary levels has increased in the past two decades, Alexander Onukwue reports, based on latest Unesco data.
South Africa is overwhelmed by cyber threats. Faustine Ngila explores why the country is a top target for cyber attacks and just how great the losses are on digital transactions.
Kenya’s Supreme Court ruling boosted the stock market. After William Ruto’s presidential win was upheld by the country’s top court, capital markets sprang back into action, but Faustine Ngila cautions that there will be no honeymoon period for the new president.
Nigeria pushed Africa’s pay TV leader to change its subscription model. Alexander Onukwue analyzes what’s at stake for Multichoice.
American hurricane hunters flocked to Cape Verde. Alexander Onukwue explains the role the west African nation can play to advance the scientific understanding of how storms form and travel.
Charting Africa’s smartphone sales
The pace of 5G network infrastructure development in Africa has slowed down, but the excitement about the next step of the digital revolution remains high.
As more countries in Africa keep testing 5G networks, their citizens are upgrading from 4G smartphones to 5G-enabled ones, so they can be part of what Big Tech foresee will be the ignition point of the global digital economy.
Chinese 5G smartphone suppliers are leading in the race. Faustine Ngila looks into what gives them a leg up.
Spotlight on a Quartz Africa 2021 Innovator
Cathye Moukoko is the founder and CEO of The Shapers Investors, an investment and advisory firm headquartered in Paris, and operating in the DRC, with plans to expand to Cameroon, Gabon, and Angola.
A third of businesses worldwide are owned by women, but female-led businesses struggle to raise capital and are underrepresented as investors. This fact prompted Moukoko to start The Sisters Invest, an international network of female business angels which she co-founded in 2017 with Marie-Alix de Putter—a French Cameroonian serial founder, entrepreneur, and storyteller. “Women experience greater successes than their male counterparts. Yet traditional venture capital does not reflect this,” Moukoko says.
Check out Quartz Africa’s Innovators 2021 list, which showcases the pioneering work being done by Moukoko and other female African innovators.
NowNow Digital Systems, a Nigerian financial services company, raised $13 million in a seed round from NeoVision Ventures, and DLF Family Office. NowNow has operated agency banking services in Nigeria competing against the likes of OPay and TeamApt.
Google offered $4 million to 60 Black African founders. The tech giant unveiled the second cohort of its Black Founders Fund in Africa dedicated to offering grants of up to $100,000 to early-stage African startups founded by Black people. Nigeria has the most representatives in this year’s cohort, which features an even number of startups founded by men and women.
Quartz’s best companies for remote workers
With an in-house life coach, a R15000 ($900) annual budget per staffer training, and an expansion plan that should leave plenty of room for professional growth opportunities, South Africa-based payments processor Yoco gets high marks from employees—high enough to land the company on Quartz’s 2022 global ranking of the best companies for remote workers. See how Yoco stacks up to the rest and explore our ranking.
THIS ONE TRICK TO GETTING PAST CHINESE CENSORS
Let’s say you want to post something in China that’s critical of the government. Sure, you could get past Beijing’s sprawling internet censorship apparatus by using Martian, emojis, and even braille. Or, you could simply switch to Cantonese, the language spoken by close to a hundred million people. Officially, Beijing designates Cantonese as a dialect, and while many have long argued it’s a language in its own right, its unofficial status is helping its speakers express discontent (relatively) freely.
Mary Hui looks into why posts cursing the mothers of some local officials—and other spicy examples—got past the censors.
Need to Know: UNGA 2022
As business leaders and heads of state convene at the United Nations in New York, we’ll keep you up to date on the discussions setting up next year’s political and humanitarian global agenda. Count on us for coverage of the policymaking, and for breakdowns of the head-spinning jargon at the 77th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA 77). Sign up to our newsletter.
Other things we liked
Bombed by accident, without consolation. For Al Jazeera, Abiodun Jamiu portrays the grief of Nigerian victims of air raids gone awry by the country’s army, an organization that continues to seem “incapable of introspection.”
France’s soccer prince enters the guarded life. For the New York Times, Tariq Panja showed how French superstar Kylian Mbappé, soccer’s highest-paid players, has ascended to an almost invincible status among his peers.
🎵 This brief was produced while listening to ‘African Queen’ by Thabsie ft JR (South Africa).
This week’s brief took you to 🇰🇪, 🇳🇬, 🇿🇦, 🇨🇲 and 🇨🇻
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