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Google shuns Nigeria, takes first Africa Development Centre to Kenya

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Foremost American technology company, Google, has snubbed Nigeria which is reputed to be Africa’s largest economy with a large tech presence, and have opted to establish its first Africa product development centre in Nairobi, Kenya.

Announcing the decision on Tuesday at a Virtual Media Round Table, Google’s Vice President of the product, Susan Frey, said the multinational technology company would also be hiring massively for the centre.

Those to be recruited, according to Frey, would be ”visionary engineers, product managers, UX designers and researchers to lay the foundation for significant growth in the coming years.”

“The talents to be hired would help to solve various challenges. The centre is looking for talented, creative people who would help solve difficult and important technical challenges, such as improving the smartphone experience for people in Africa,” she said, adding that such “talented people would also be building a more reliable internet infrastructure.

“This is fulfilment of a promise made by Chief Executive Officer, Sundar Pichai, in October 2021, at a ‘Google for Africa’ event of plans to invest $1 billion over the next five years to support Africa’s digital transformation.

“The investment is expected to focus on enabling fast, affordable internet access for more Africans, building helpful products, supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses and helping non-profits to improve lives across Africa.

“The new product development centre is a continuation of that commitment and will be working on building for Africa and the world.

“Google’s mission in Africa is to make the Internet helpful to Africans and partner with African governments, policy makers, educators, entrepreneurs and businesses to shape the next wave of innovation in Africa.

‘’Today I am excited to welcome all Africans passionate about improving the digital experience of African users by building better products to apply for the open roles at our first product development centre in Africa.’’

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Ex-Jumia executives set to launch new e-commerce platform, Kapu

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A couple of former executives of e-commerce giant, Jumia, have teamed up to float a new company to be known as Kapu which will be launched next week in Kenya.

In a statement on Friday, leader of the team, Sam Chappatte, who was Jumia’s CEO before leaving the firm in November last year, the new e-commerce platform which will be launched in the east African country before expanding to other countries on the continent.

Other top former Jumia executives who have teamed up with Chappatte who is the founder and CEO of Kapu include Cyrus Onyiego who served as Jumia Travel MD and Jumia Food COO, who is now Kapu’s COO, as well as Stanislas Barth, ex-Jumia Head of Offline Sales who will serve as Head of Supply and Marketing at Kapu.

The new platform, according to Chappatte, is coming at a time Kenya continues to record steady growth in e-commerce.

“According to statistics, e-commerce user penetration is above the regional average, with revenues expected to have a positive annual average growth of 16.4% by 2025.

“With revenue of US$1.1 billion and a share of 76.1%, e-commerce generated the highest digital revenues in 2020. Kenya is also ranked among the top drivers of e-commerce volumes in Sub-Saharan Africa,” he said.

“Just last year, a report by digital payments firm, Visa, revealed that the country’s e-commerce transactions are mainly driven by cross-border merchants.

“This means two things, firstly there is potential for the local e-commerce market to develop, and a need to examine if sufficient acquiring infrastructure exists domestically to enable these players.

‘The growth is driven by both digital payments and cash-on-delivery showing the potential to convert more customers to digital payments through CNP, such as card-on-file and CP SoftPOS or mPOS activities,” he added.

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Kenyan smartphone reseller startup, Badili Africa, secures $2.1m funding to scale up operations

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Kenyan smartphone reseller startup, Badili Africa, has secured $2 1 million in pre-seed funding to enable it scale up its operations beyond its country of origin.

Founded in March 2022 by the duo of Rishabh Lawania and Keshu Dubey, Badili enables customers to trade in their old phones for new ones at friendly prices, according to Lawania who is the CEO of the company.

The seed finding was led by Venture Catalysts, V&R Africa, Grenfell holdings and SOSV with participation from family offices and angel investors from Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and India, Lawania said in a statement on Friday.

“We are launching in Uganda and Tanzania and have established strong partnerships with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).

“Within the next six months, we will be expanding to a few West African markets to get our foot in the door of some of the major markets in Africa,” he said.

“We are a young startup but since our launch in March this year, we have expanded to over 37 towns in Kenya with about $2M in annual revenue.

“The seed funds are meant for the expansion of our operations across the continent which is one of the fastest growing in the world,” he added.

According to its website, Badili Africa has a platform where sellers express interest to sell their phones and then get an evaluation and a quote before determining the final price.

The company then refurbishes and repackages the phones before selling them with a one-year warranty.

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