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Taxes, duties affecting mobile phone usage in Nigeria— Report 

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The Global System for Mobile Telecommunication Association (GSMA) has drawn attention to the detrimental effects of taxes and duties on smartphone adoption in Nigeria, Africa’s biggest tech base, and the continent at large.

The GSMA study claims that taxes and duties raise smartphone prices by 10 to 30%, depending on the African nation, making the device less accessible for a large number of people.

According to GSMA’s “The Mobile Economy in Sub-Saharan Africa (2023)” report, manufacturers in SSA face difficulties in producing affordable devices due to high manufacturing costs, particularly in the 5G and 4G markets.

According to the report, 60% of Africans lack mobile internet access despite coverage, and smartphone affordability is still a major barrier to mobile internet usage in the region.

At the beginning of 2023, 122.5 million Nigerians were online, with a 55.4% internet penetration rate. In the same year, 193.9 million cellular mobile connections were active, which is equal to 87.7% of the country’s total population.

During the week, the Network Service Providers Association of Zambia (NSPAZ) announced that from January 1, 2024, the cost of fixed internet services would increase by 17.5%, also posing a threat to internet and mobile phone use in the country.

The GSMA research complimented cooperative efforts between operators and manufacturers to address these issues which have resulted in a recent drop in the average selling price of smartphones.

The proliferation of smartphones under $100, especially from Chinese brands such as Tecno, Itel, and Infinix, has been instrumental in democratising smartphone access.

Moreover, operators are working in tandem with manufacturers to control expenses and provide consumers with financing options, which is supporting continuous initiatives to improve the region’s digital penetration, the report notes.

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New documentary showcasing stories of African women leaders released

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A new documentary aimed at showcasing the stories of women entrepreneurs, industry leaders and investors working to solve real problems in African markets has been released by Women Who Build Africa (WWBA).

The documentary video which is in conjunction with skincare brand Uncover, and also has Madica as partners, showcases stories and perspectives of women entrepreneurs and investors building in African markets.

Thea Sokolowski, co-founder of and head of marketing at Stitch, who announced the release of the documentary, said it one of the first to offer a wide-ranging view of women business leaders on the continent.

The video has been released ahead of the upcoming Women Who Build Africa Assembly which will take place in September in Nairobi.

“There’s nothing more powerful than hearing the stories of women that are walking the talk and actively working to build – and support – businesses solving real problems in African markets,” she said.

“I’m excited to share just a few of these stories, and showcase the women behind them, both for the rest of the world to hear and for any women considering taking the leap to walk in their footsteps. We hope to tell even more stories like these in the future.”

Also speaking on the release, Sneha Mehta, co-founder and CEO at Uncover, said:

“We are so excited to partner with WWBA on this powerful film showcasing such incredible women builders on the continent

“At Uncover, our aim is to empower women to ‘uncover’ whoever they want to be, confidently. That is so much more than products. It is a movement to inspire women to show up unapologetically.

“By showcasing more authentic stories, our hope is to show courage, confidence, vulnerability, journeys and the power that really is revolutionary.”

The video features perspectives from women leaders across organisations, from Melanin Kapital, to Partech Africa, BuuPass, Delta40, Mosmos, Kola Market, Uncover, Greenspoon, Gobeba, EarthEnable, Earthbond, Founders Factory Africa, Madica, VunaPay, Bloom Money and many more.

The full video which was produced by Strange Creature in South Africa, is available on YouTube and will be screened ahead of the WWBA Assembly.

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World Food Programme seals deal with Equity Group for easy financing to Kenyan farmers

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The World Food Programme (WFP) has signed an agreement with the Equity Group that will allow farmers in Kenya have easy access to financing.

According to the terms of the agreement, WFP country offices in the country will also link value chain actors in food and agriculture to financial literacy training and concessional financing access through Equity Bank subsidiaries.

The agreement which was signed by Dr. James Mwangi, the MD and CEO of Equity Group Holdings and WFP Executive Director, Cindy McCain, on the sidelines of the WFP Executive Board Session in Rome, is a first example of linking WFP’s deep field presence and engagement with value chain actors and financial service providers, and represents a new model of private sector engagement for development impact.

“The approach aims to support marginalized communities where traditional financing is scarce,” Mwangi said while announcing the agreement.

“Together, WFP and Equity, through the Equity Group Foundation, will provide training of value chain actors to help them to access financing, as well as providing technical assistance to ready agri-processors and agri-preneurs for impact investments offered through Equity Bank.

“The agreement is a scaling of a development collaboration between WFP and Equity BCDC in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) for the project Promotion of Sustainable Food Security.

“This ambitious project, which has been operational in the DRC since 2022, aims to stimulate the development of a sustainable agro-industrial sector that contributes to economic diversification, food and nutritional security, employment, and livelihood improvements,” he stated.

Also speaking, McCain said the Equity Group developed the “Africa Recovery and Resilience Plan which is committed to growing our support of access to finance for farmers, who are also dealing with the scourge of climate change, to 30% of our loan book regionally by 2030.”

“Smallholder farmers are crucial to food production in most developing countries, providing over 70% of food calories in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

“Developing local food value chains – and supporting the ecosystem of agriculture from production to purchase – is essential for enhancing farmers’ income and livelihoods and ultimately contributing to food security not just in Africa, but globally.

“This is a powerful example of how innovative partnerships can address the root causes of hunger. By empowering farmers with the tools and resources they need to thrive, we can create a ripple effect of prosperity that strengthens long-term food security for the whole community.”

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