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NFT of Mandela's arrest warrant nets $130,000 on Momint, April 2022

Mandela is the icon that keeps giving, this time as an NFT.

A Nigerian fan looks disappointed during the World Cup qualifier between Nigeria and Ghana
This story was published on our Quartz Africa Weekly newsletter, News and culture from around the continent.
  • Ciku Kimeria
By Ciku Kimeria

I tell African stories

Published

Hi Quartz Africa readers,

Last weekend, I attended and moderated a session at Harvard Business School’s Africa Business Conference. The event brought together close to 1,000 academics, journalists, business leaders, investors, and innovators who believe in the promise of the continent.

One session in particular really stuck in my mind. It was a discussion between two very brilliant women—Elsie Kanza, Tanzania’s ambassador to the US, and Jumoke Oduwole, special adviser to the president of Nigeria—on the ease of doing business. Both left cushy jobs and private-sector careers to work in government because “they were tired of complaining about what was wrong with the government and not doing anything directly about it.”

As a Kenyan in an election year, I completely relate to the frustration and occasional despair on behalf of an ambitious, resilient, young population that finds itself at the mercy of governments and politicians that rarely represent the best our countries have to offer.

And this is not the moment when I announce my political aspirations (for the record, I have none.) For me, their discussion underscored the importance of every single arm of society pulling together towards a common purpose.

In the startup world, countries such as Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa have shown how important it is to not only have innovators creating solutions against all odds, but policies that create an environment in which they can thrive, funders who invest in these ideas at various stages, and local investors who write checks that eventually allow these ideas to prove their worth.

Not everyone will go into governance, but our collective frustration with what plagues our various economies should push us in different ways to work towards the Africa we want to see. —Ciku Kimeria, Africa editor

Ingressive capital artwork

Cheat sheet

💡  The opportunity: New startups spring up daily in Africa. Backing them early is a chance to get in on the ground floor; one big success could make up for other investments that turn sour.

🤔  The challenge: Socioeconomic factors mean there are not enough local investors in Africa, and local bigwigs often prefer to put their money in traditional industries like energy and real estate before backing startups they see as risky.

🌍  The road map: The enormous success of companies like Paystack and Flutterwave is indicative of what African startups are capable of if they receive backing. Investors should make bolder bets in companies solving key problems in Africa.

💰  The stakeholders: Prominent African investors include Microtraction, Ingressive Capital, EchoVC, Grindstone Ventures, and Ventures Platforms.

By the digits

A chart showing startup funding in Africa from 2013 to 2021 and how only 3% of funding went to female-led startups.

53%: Share of African companies funded in 2021 that were started in the past three years.

38%: Share of startups funded in 2021 that took part in an accelerator or incubator program.

121: Startups funded in 2021 with women in their founding teams, out of a total of 568 announced deals.

👆 This is a preview of our latest Quartz Africa Member Brief. To receive the whole thing every week in your inbox, sign up for a free trial of Quartz Africa membership.

Stories this week

African countries are easing covid measures. Carlos Mureithi reports on Ghana becoming the latest African nation to reduce restrictions, even as the World Health Organization urges caution.

What can the East Africa Community do about violence in the DRC? Security in the eastern part of the country has been deteriorating over the past three months. Carlos Mureithi looks at how the regional bloc could help its newest member tackle recurrent insecurity.

The mobile money industry hit a new milestone. Service providers around the world processed transactions worth $1 trillion for the first time. Alexander Onukwue reports.

Soccer hooliganism has repercussions. Nigeria failed to make it to the World Cup, and its fans vandalized the stadium. Besides losing out on millions of dollars in prize money from the world soccer governing body FIFA, there may be other financial consequences, explains Alexander Onukwue.

A Mandela NFT sold for $130,000. A token of an arrest warrant of the South African icon fetched big money at auction. Alexander Onukwue shows how this sale differs from previous attempts at monetizing the former president’s artifacts.

Dealmaker

CredPal, a Nigerian startup offering buy-now-pay-later solutions, raised $15 million in equity and debt. Equity investors include Greenhouse Capital, Uncovered Fund, and LongCommerce, while the debt finance was from Credit Direct, a subsidiary of Nigerian bank First City Monument Bank (FCMB), and other financial institutions.

Khazna, an Egyptian provider of financial services, raised $48 million in a round led by Quona Capital, with the participation of other investors including Nclude, Speedinvest, Khawarizmi Ventures, and Algebra Ventures. Part of the funding is debt financing, which came from Lendable, a UK-based company.

Tushop, a Kenyan ecommerce startup, raised $3 million in a round led by 4DX Ventures, with the participation of JAM Fund, Breyer Capital,and more, including Wasoko, the Kenyan startup formerly called Sokowatch. Tushop launched in 2021, offering a model where individuals can make group orders on behalf of neighbors or members of a community.

Quartz Gems

A map showing the estimate nuclear arms by country as of 2021. The US has 5,550 and Russia has 6,257.

The future of nukes. Not since the 1980s has the specter of nuclear war been so real in popular consciousness, but the world today is not the same as it was during the Cold War. Learn more about the future of the weapon that exists to not be used.

Other things we liked

Lessons from exiting Africa CDC head. For the Guardian, Emmanuel Akinwotu interviews John Nkengasong, the outgoing director of the body charged with responding to health emergencies in Africa, who—having worked on Ebola, AIDS, and now covid—warns against complacency.

The state of accessibility. Viktorija Mickute and Sarah Kim, writing for Al Jazeera, look at what it means to live with disability in Lagos.

Banks’ distrust hurts Ghanaian farmers. For African Business, Kelechukwu Iruoma reports on the lack of financing for smallholder farmers in Ghana, as banks deem them too risky.

Kenyatta thwarted in Kenya. Abdi Latif Dahir reports in the New York Times about the Kenyan supreme court’s ruling that president Uhuru Kenyatta cannot amend the constitution.

ICYMI

The impact of financial technology. Invest Africa and Verto will hold a discussion on how fintech can disrupt Africa’s foreign exchange market. (April 5)

Sell your idea. This year’s Engen Pitch & Polish, a competition for entrepreneurs to compete for prize money, is open for entry. (April 11)

🎵 This brief was produced while listening to “Big Flexa” by Costa Titch ft. C’buda M, Alfa Kat, Banaba Des, Sdida, and Man T (South Africa)

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

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