Visa to invest $1bn in Africa over 5 years as Microsoft targets internet expansion

Godfrey Elimian
Visa will invest $1B in Africa to capitalize on the economy’s rapid growth, while Microsoft aims to secure internet access for 100 million people
Visa to invest $1bn in Africa for the next 5 years
Visa to invest $1bn in Africa for the next 5 years

Compliments of the season! It’s another weekend. We know you’re excited to get time off work, and it is another opportunity to get updated on all that has happened this week in the tech world.

This week, Africa was at the receiving end of several major investment propositions from top tech companies. Visa, the world’s foremost payments processor, has said it will invest $1B over the next five years in the continent to capitalize on the emerging economy’s rapid growth in digital payments.

In the same vein, Microsoft aims to secure internet access for 100 million more people in Africa by 2025, teaming up with a satellite provider and setting the stage for longer-term cloud adoption,

In other news, Binance temporarily paused stablecoin USDC withdrawals due to market conditions that have rendered other exchanges bankrupt.

If you have missed out on these stories and more, don’t worry; this instalment of the global roundup has got you covered. Here is a summary of the bulletin.

  • Visa to invest $1B in Africa in the next five years
  • Binance temporarily paused stablecoin USDC withdrawals
  • Meta sued over $2 billion for fueling ethnic violence in Ethiopia
  • Microsoft targets internet expansion in Africa
  • MTN SA lands 2Africa subsea cable

Read also: Chipper Cash lays off significant number of staff

Visa to invest $1bn in Africa over 5 years

Visa Inc, the world’s largest payments company, plans to invest $1 billion over the next five years in Africa to capitalize on the emerging economy’s rapid growth in digital payments, the company said at the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit on Wednesday.

Visa pledges $1 billion to expand its services across Africa for the next five years

As part of the summit’s activities, U.S. President Joe Biden hosted dozens of African leaders for the three-day event, which started on Tuesday in Washington, D.C. Alfred Kelly Jr., the CEO of Visa, explained this commitment to the African continent.

He says:

“Visa has been investing in Africa for several decades to grow a truly local business”

The global payment company intends to expand its operations in Africa. To strengthen its partnerships with other strategic partners, like governments, financial institutions, mobile network providers, fintech companies, and retailers, it plans to invest $1 billion in the continent over the next five years.

Related story: Visa pledges $1 billion to expand its services across Africa for the next five years

Binance temporarily suspends stablecoin USDC withdrawals

Binance, the largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume, announced on Tuesday that it was embarking on a momentary suspension of withdrawals of stablecoin USDC to carry out a “token swap”.

Binance, CEO, Chinpeng Zao
Binance, CEO, Chinpeng Zao

According to blockchain analytics firm Nansen, this is coming on the backheel of the crypto exchange experiencing its highest daily amount of withdrawals since June.

Net outflows hit $3 billion in 24 hours. Nansen analyst Andrew Thurman tweeted that Jump Trading, one of the largest crypto market makers, was among the biggest redeemers.

Changpeng Zhao, Binance’s chief executive, added in a Twitter post: “On USDC, we have seen an increase in withdrawals. However, the channel to swap from PAX/BUSD to USDC requires going through a bank in New York in USD. The banks are not open for another few hours. We expect the situation will be restored when the banks open.”

Withdrawals in other tokens tied to the value of the dollar–specifically tether and BUSD, a stablecoin developed by Binance and blockchain-focused firm Paxos–are unaffected. Binance conducted a token swap to ensure users could trade tokens without using traditional currency.

Meta sued over $2 billion for fueling ethnic violence

It’s new trouble for Meta, the parent company of Facebook, as the company is facing a lawsuit in Ethiopia for supposedly inciting ethnic violence.

Meta plans massive lay-off that could affect thousands
Meta plans massive lay-off that could affect thousands

The company was sued on Wednesday in Kenya’s High Court for allegedly encouraging hate speech, inciting ethnic conflict, and failing to moderate content in Eastern and Southern Africa.

Petitioners in the suit include Kenyan rights group Katiba Institute, Ethiopian researchers Fisseha Tekle and Abrham Meareg, whose father, Professor Meareg Amare, was killed during the Tigray War, weeks after some posts on Facebook incited violence against him. Facebook only removed them eight days after he was killed.

According to the lawsuit, Meta neglected to take adequate precautions on Facebook, which encouraged hateful content and exacerbated tensions around Ethiopia’s deadly Tigray conflict.

The case is also supported by a raft of NGOs across Africa, including Global witness, Article 19, the Law Society of Kenya, and Amnesty International, among others.

Microsoft targets internet expansion in Africa

By partnering with a satellite provider and securing internet access for 100 million additional Africans by 2025, Microsoft hopes to pave the way for longer-term cloud usage, according to company President Brad Smith.

Microsoft
Microsoft cuts forecast

The software maker has long worked to increase online usage, acting as a liaison between telecommunications and electricity companies, governments, and nonprofit organizations. Through its Airband project, it has assisted in enhancing connectivity for 50 million individuals, including nearly 10 million in the continent since 2017.

Smith said the effort was “building a new market for access to the internet, for the use of the cloud, for the power of AI, the ability to harness data. All of these things connect with our business.”

With this venture, Microsoft is utilizing satellite technology for the first time to connect remote locations that previously lacked connection.

Microsoft announced it would collaborate with Viasat to increase access in Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and other nations on Wednesday.

MTN SA lands 2Africa subsea cable

MTN South Africa has announced that it has landed the 45,000 km 2Africa subsea cable in partnership with MTNGlobalConnect, MTN Group’s digital wholesale and infrastructure services company, and the 2Africa Consortium.

MTN lands 2Africa Subsea cables

The landing, which took place in Yzerfontein and Duynefontein, Western Cape, is the first in a series of six across five countries: South Africa (two landing sites), Sudan, Cote D’Ivoire, Nigeria and Ghana.  The 2Africa cable connection will go live in 2023.

“We are proud of the progress made on our journey and of the key role we are playing in providing South Africans and the rest of Africa with the benefits of a modern connected life,” stated MTN GlobalConnect CEO, Frédéric Schepens.

In addition, the mobile network provider stated that the cable is consistent with its goal of deploying 135,000 km of private fibre by 2025, producing up to US$1 billion in revenue, and overtaking other major fibre players in the continent.



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