Meta sued in Kenya over labor exploitation and union busting, May 2022 — Quartz Africa Weekly — Quartz

Hi Quartz Africa readers,

In March 2017, I used to be pushed by curiosity to open a bitcoin pockets. My most important motivation was to know how all the bitcoin blockchain works. At the time, the value of bitcoin was $1,200, however by the tip of the 12 months, it rose to $20,000. The worth would hit an all time excessive of $69,000 final November earlier than dropping to $25,900 this week.

For many Africans in crypto, it has been a journey oscillating between each unbridled optimism and rampant skepticism. The inflow of scammers has seen widespread authorities directives in opposition to crypto commerce. Even previously few weeks, the Central African Republic (CAR) introduced that bitcoin would be its official foreign money at a time when Uganda is beginning a crackdown on crypto buying and selling platforms, pushed by the proliferation of crypto scams within the nation.

I’m a crypto fanatic, and I not solely see many missteps in CAR’s adoption of bitcoin as authorized tender but in addition in Uganda’s large-scale condemnation of crypto.

Following within the footsteps of El Savador in making bitcoin the official nationwide foreign money, the CAR authorities mentioned the transfer is meant to “open up our country for new opportunities” even because the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) warn central banks in opposition to the hazard of changing their nationwide currencies with a extremely unstable digital coin.

If CAR needed to exhibit the feasibility of bitcoin over its fiat foreign money, it ought to have began by decreasing the price of cell web whereas making smartphone imports responsibility free, so its 4.8 million residents can open e-wallets on inexpensive telephones. Ensuring deeper penetration of electrical energy within the nation and quick web connections would speed up cell cash adoption, which might then be an excellent launching pad for crypto.

If not, it is going to be no shock if it finally ends up like El Salvador, which achieved solely 14% of bitcoin transactions after onboarding 66% of its inhabitants to the nationwide bitcoin funds system after six months.

Crypto is neither a villain nor a savior, however a instrument that must be properly understood if Africans are to derive most worth from it, whereas outwitting scammers. —Faustine Ngila, East Africa correspondent

Sanitation startups to 👀

In 2016, Orion Lee Herman based Johannesburg-based LiquidGold Africa to assist clear up the dual challenges of sanitation and meals safety on the continent. Our newest Quartz Africa Member Brief is on LiquidGold, but in addition dives into a couple of different startups to regulate.

Loo Afrique. This South Africa-based firm makes bathroom expertise that saves water, improves hygiene, and incorporates greywater utilization into on a regular basis dwelling. In 2019, Loo Afrique received R300,000 ($20,500) from the Gauteng Accelerator Programme Innovation Competition. It additionally receives funding from South Africa’s Water Research Commission.

Water Will. A Cairo-based startup that creates filters to get rid of impurities, odors, micro organism, and heavy minerals usually discovered within the water in rural Egypt. Their pots are handled with silver nano particles, which they then promote to rural communities.

Sanergy. Last 12 months, the Japan International Cooperation Agency invested $2.5 million on this Nairobi-based startup that collects urine and different biowaste earlier than changing it into biofuel and different helpful merchandise.

HydroIQ. In March of this 12 months, the Kenyan digital community that helps houses, utilities, companies, and industries use, handle, and pay for water effectively was one among three startups chosen by Google as a part of its Startups Accelerator: Africa program. The tech big invested $5 million in these startups by way of a mix of equity-free funding and product credit for Google companies.

Water Access Rwanda. This startup funded by the Jack Ma Foundation has since 2014 offered clear water entry to greater than 312,000 people, companies, colleges, and farms in Rwanda, DRC, Burundi, and Uganda.

👆 This is a preview of our newest Quartz Africa Member Brief. To preserve receiving it, join a free trial of Quartz Africa membership.

Stories this week

Meta will defend itself in a Nairobi courtroom. Meta and a agency it subcontracted for on-line content material moderation have been sued in Kenya over poor working circumstances and union busting. Faustine Ngila takes you thru how it began.

Kenyans are irate concerning the taxman’s on-line snooping plans. Kenyans are expressing their anger over plans by the nation’s tax authority to deploy particular software program that snoops into their personal messages in a bid to clamp down on fraud, Faustine Ngila studies.

The subsequent Doctor Who is African. Rwandan born Ncuti Gatwa has turn into the primary Black African to play the long-lasting function within the BBC TV sequence. Priya Sippy explains the significance of this choice.

Africa has a protracted historical past of web censorship. In the previous 5 years, residents in near half of African nations have skilled an web blackout. Faustine Ngila studies on the worst offenders and the explanations for these web and social media shutdowns.

A map showing African countries that have had internet/social media shutdowns from 2017 to 2022

Nigerian airways might finally shut down. After a sequence of threats to close down operations citing excessive prices of doing enterprise, Alexander Onukwue explains why this time the airways may not again down.

No crypto enterprise in Uganda. The Ugandan authorities is clamping down on on-line platforms permitting the conversion of cryptocurrencies to cell cash. Faustine Ngila explores explores why.

Charting west Africa’s chocolate dominance

A chart showing the top exporters and producers of cocoa globally.

Shiploads of cocoa transfer from Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana to Europe yearly, giving life to a world $130 billion chocolate business. But the west African farmers on the coronary heart of this worth chain have remained extraordinarily poor over time.

In what’s a doubtlessly candy deal for these farmers, the EU is pushing for increased costs for cocoa beans imported from the area. If carried out, the brand new transfer might carry households out of poverty, as reported by Alexander Onukwue.

Spotlight on a Quartz Africa 2021 Innovator

Stylized picture of Neema Iyer

Neema Iyer began Pollicy to create evidence-based engagement between residents and governments on points like environment friendly public service supply. To do that, Pollicy brings knowledge scientists, creatives, teachers, and personal corporations collectively to advance conversations on knowledge governance and digital safety.

Iyer mentioned Pollicy has skilled over 5,000 individuals on important knowledge expertise, working with communities to know wants and challenges concerned in utilizing knowledge for determination making. “Ultimately we want to push the conversation and action on Africa’s digital and data future,” she says.

Check out Quartz Africa’s Innovators 2021 checklist, which showcases the pioneering work being finished by Iyer and different feminine African innovators


Interswitch acquired $110 million in funding from LeapFrog and Tana Africa Capital. The increase comes two and half years after the corporate acquired funding from Visa that valued it at $1 billion. Interswitch gives funds options in Nigeria and is a pioneer driver of the nation’s digital funds revolution.

Paymob, an Egyptian on-line funds startup, raised $50 million in a spherical led by PayPal Ventures, Kora Capital, and Clay Point. Helios Digital Ventures, British International Investment, and Nclude additionally participated. Before this, Paymob’s final increase was an $18.5 million spherical a 12 months in the past.

Egypt-based ecommerce firm Mylerz raised $9.6 million from personal fairness agency Lorax Capital Partners, and Fawry, Egypt’s most identified on-line fee firm. Founded in 2019, Mylerz says it needs to develop throughout Egypt and different nations within the MENA area.

Quartz Gems

Google is so nervous about what its latest bot will say

Google I/O developer conference in Mountain View, California

Image copyright: Google/Handout by way of Reuters

Scaling new conversational AI heights.

Google’s newest experimental language chatbot is getting a closely guarded launch. The hesitance to open the product as much as public is comprehensible. After all, large tech’s experiments with AI instruments have drawn flak on a number of events. In 2015, Google’s picture tagging algorithm was found to be categorizing Black individuals as “gorillas.” In 2016, Twitter taught Microsoft’s chatbot Tay to be a sex-crazed, neo-Nazi. A second chatbot from Microsoft launched months after Tay’s disastrous debut, Zo, leaned too far into censorship. In 2018, Amazon scrapped an inside AI recruitment instrument as a result of it was biased in opposition to girls. Read the complete article right here.

What’s the UN’s finest guess for when the worldwide inhabitants stops rising?

a child's face repeated 2.1 times

Image copyright: Eric Helgas, styling by Alex Citrin-Safadi

  1. 2050
  2. 2100
  3. 3000
  4. It’s already stopped rising

Answer: 2100, although a complete lot of issues might occur between every now and then to have an effect on the well being and actions of our species.

Elon Musk ruffled feathers final weekend by tweeting about Japan’s falling delivery fee, saying the nation will quickly “cease to exist.” That’s not precisely true. The substitute fee—the theoretical variety of births a inhabitants would want to keep up its numbers—is extra sophisticated than only one youngster per one grownup.

🎧 In the newest episode of the Quartz Obsession podcast, Hong Kong bureau chief Tripti Lahiri explains the maths and implications of a inhabitants that’s not being perpetuated.

🚼  Listen on: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Google | Stitcher

Other issues we favored

The US is entangled with a shady billionaire. For Bloomberg, Neil Munshi and William Clowes look below the hood to reveal the corrupt previous of the Lebanese billionaire behind Eko Atlantic, the Nigerian actual property venture the place the US is constructing its largest consulate.

Somalia has elections, however residents don’t vote. Today (May 15) is presidential election day in Somalia. Thirty-nine presidential candidates have declared curiosity within the high seat, however residents should not allowed to vote. Aggrey Mutambo of The East African explains why that is the case.

Lost in Guinea, present in London. Guinea’s effort to recuperate three tons of Gold led to the arrest of a former central financial institution boss, however the treasure turned up in London. Bloomberg’s Eddie Spence, Jonathan Browning, and Katarina Hoije dive deeper.


Learn about web governance in Kenya. KICTANet welcomes purposes for fellows for the seventh Edition of the Kenya School of Internet Governance. KeSIG takes place previous to the #KeIGF2022, with the purpose of introducing learners in web governance to primary ideas in web policymaking. (May 23)

Celebrating Africa’s girls enterprise leaders. Nominations are actually open for the 2022 version of the distinguished AWIEF Awards, which honors girls entrepreneurs and enterprise homeowners in Africa and throughout numerous business sectors for his or her achievements. (June 3)

🎵 This transient was produced whereas listening to “Open your heart” by Onesimus (Malawi)

Our finest needs for a productive and ideas-filled week forward. Please ship any information, feedback, ideas, concepts, Nigerian flights, and bitcoin to You can observe us on Twitter at @qzafrica for updates all through the day.

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