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Qwili Raises $1.2 Million Seed Round To Improve Its Operations

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South African startup, Qwili, has raised $1.2 million in seed funding to improve its operations.

The round was led by E4E Africa, a South African venture capital firm. Other participants include Strat-Tech, Next Chymia, Untapped Global, Codec Ventures, and angels like Ashwin Ravichandran and Kanyi Maqubela.

Qwili was launched by Luyolo Sijake (CEO), Thandwefika Radebe, and Tapfuma Masunzambwa in 2019. And it offers a hybrid sales product to South African micro and small merchants.

The startup’s hardware is a low-cost Near Field Communication (NFC)-enabled smartphone called the Qwili Pula, which allows merchants to send and receive payments.

Its software is available as an app for any smartphone or as an automatic installation on Qwili phones, which range in price from $60 to $70.

These smartphones are then converted into Point of Sale (PoS)devices, allowing merchants to sell value-added services like data and pay TV subscriptions, groceries, and clothing to their customers.

It takes a cut of every sale made through its app. Besides, its target audience consists of digitally excluded and unbanked customers. 

Qwili refers to the mobile app as a “digital sales portal,” enabling micro and small merchants (agents) to sell goods and value-added services. Further, the app is intended for customers who are digitally excluded and unbanked.

Its typical customer is a seller without a physical store who sells digital products to local communities and networks informally.

Previously, the startup used a business-to-customer model where Qwili sold these devices to individual users who purchased value-added services through the platform’s digital wallet.

However, that model was unsuccessful because the phone did not pay off quickly enough, and digital services were not adopted as expected.

But the company noticed people were selling the device and software to others rather than purchasing services for themselves. Consequently, Qwili switched from a B2C to a B2B model. 

According to the company, the platform is used by 500 micro and small merchants. It currently processes $75,000 in monthly Gross Merchandise Volume (GMV).

It also claims a 300% increase in turnover from Q1 to Q2 of 2022. After expanding into neighbouring Botswana, it plans to increase those numbers to $1 million from 3,000 merchants by the end of the year.

Qwili said it would use the investment to develop its app, hire new staff to improve its operations and develop capabilities, and produce its hardware.

Techpoint

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Why Emirates Airlines Suspended Its Operations In Nigeria

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Why Emirates Airlines Suspended Its Operations In Nigeria

Emirates Airlines, on Thursday, August 18, 2022, disclosed the suspension of all of its flights in Nigeria.

In a statement in which the airline made this announcement, Emirates said the flight suspension would take effect from Thursday, September 1.

It was gathered that at last count, Emirates had at least $85 million trapped in Nigeria in spite of its efforts to repatriate the funds.

The statement read: “Emirates has tried every avenue to address our ongoing challenges in repatriating funds from Nigeria, and we have made considerable efforts to initiate dialogue with the relevant authorities for their urgent intervention to help find a viable solution.

Regrettably, there has been no progress. Therefore, Emirates has taken the difficult decision to suspend all flights to and from Nigeria, effective September 1 2022, to limit further losses and impact on our operational costs that continue to accumulate in the market.

”We sincerely regret the inconvenience caused to our customers, however the circumstances are beyond our control at this stage.

We will be working to help impacted customers make alternative travel arrangements wherever possible.

Should there be any positive developments in the coming days regarding Emirates’ blocked funds in Nigeria, we will of course re-evaluate our decision.

We remain keen to serve Nigeria, and our operations provide much-needed connectivity for Nigerian travellers, providing access to trade and tourism opportunities to Dubai and to our broader network of over 130 destinations.”

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GTCO Autism Conference Holds on August 29th and 30th at MUSON Centre, Onikan, Lagos

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GTCO

The 12th edition of the annual GTCO Autism Conference themed “Creating a Community of Awe-Tism Advocates” will hold on Monday and Tuesday, August 29th and 30th, 2022, at MUSON Center, Onikan, Lagos. 

The annual Autism Conference is a pivotal component of GTCO’s Orange Ribbon initiative and serves as a key advocacy platform for people living with autism and other developmental disorders. In recent years, the GTCO Autism Conference has gained wider acclaim for bringing together some of the world’s leading experts in Autism, especially with the successful coordination of a fully virtual autism conference in 2020 at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. For this year, the GTCO Autism Conference will feature keynote addresses and panel discussions by experienced specialists from renowned institutions in Nigeria and abroad in a hybrid set-up to allow for both in-person and virtual participation. Some of the partnering organisations include Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Enugu, Autism Compassion Africa, Ghana, The Color of Autism Foundation, USA, Meharry Medical College, USA, and Behaviorprise Consulting Inc., Canada.  

One-on-one consultations and Q&A sessions during the conference will provide opportunities for parents and other stakeholders to further engage on best practices for proper diagnosis and treatment of persons on the autism spectrum with the experts. As a special feature and to ensure more persons with developmental disorders can benefit from professional help, provision has been made to offer specialist care to autistic children in the areas of speech and behaviour therapy, child psychology and psychiatry, as well as occupational development for adults living with autism via in-person consultations at the Chapel of Light, Alausa, Ikeja, starting from Tuesday, August 23rd to Saturday, August 27th between the hours of 10am and 5pm. 

Commenting on the 2022 Autism Conference, Segun Agbaje, the Group Chief Executive Officer of Guaranty Trust Holding Company Plc said, “While much has been done over the years to increase the social consciousness around Autism and to improve the available support systems for managing developmental disorders, we strongly believe that we can do more individually and collectively to create and uphold a culture of inclusion towards people with ASD to enable them reach their full potential.” 

Mr Agbaje further stated; “The Orange Ribbon initiative was created to support children and adults with developmental disabilities with a focus on those with autism spectrum disorders. Now in its 2nd decade, the annual Autism Conference has over the years created a community of people with a shared commitment to create better outcomes for those who find themselves in the margins of society simply because they are different from the rest.” 

Guaranty Trust Holding Company Plc (GTCO) is a leading financial services company providing banking and non-banking services across eleven countries spanning West Africa, East Africa, and the United Kingdom. The Group operates a diversified, proudly African franchise and is renowned for its innovative approach to customer service and stakeholder engagement which has endeared the brand to millions of people across Africa and beyond.  

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Dangote Major Driver of Real Estate Development – Builders

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Dangote

The Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB) and other stakeholders in the housing industry have described the Dangote Group as the main driver of real estate development in the country.

According to a statement from the Dangote Group, President of the Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB), Prof. Yohana Izam, disclosed this at a recent African International Housing Show in Abuja. Coordinator of the AIHS, Barr. Festus Adebayo told newsmen that the housing deficit in the country can be mitigated through Public Private Partnership (PPP). Adebayo said he was optimistic that the partnership with the Dangote Group would yield a fruitful result. The Group Head, Sales and Marketing, Dangote Cement Plc, Mr. Rabiu Umar said Dangote was not resting on its oars, as it has already been investing hugely in the development of infrastructure through the tax credit scheme and its numerous social programmes.

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