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ZINOX GROUP ACQUIRES E-COMMERCE GIANT, KONGA

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After months of strategic negotiations with foreign investors Naspars and AB Kinnevik, the Zinox Group, Nigeria’s foremost integrated ICT solutions conglomerate and Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), is now the majority shareholder in e-commerce giant, Konga.
This is an unprecedented move that is widely expected to raise the profile of e-commerce in the country. Konga competes in the e-commerce space with the likes of Jumia, Yudala and Slot.ng.

Naspers is a South Africa-based multinational internet and media group, offering services in more than 130 countries while AB Kinnevik, founded in 1936, is a Swedish investment company investing primarily in digital consumer brands.
The development signifies a remarkable return to e-commerce for the Zinox Group after it pioneered e-commerce in Nigeria with the launch of BuyRight Africa.com which struggled to cope with the absence of credit card and e-payment infrastructure over 12 years ago.
The acquisition is also understood to have passed all regulatory approvals by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Details of the mega deal indicate that Zinox Group, arguably Africa’s biggest technology group will assume ownership of the e-commerce platform, Konga.com which remains one of the biggest players in the sector; KOS-Express, the world class logistics arm of the business and KongaPay, the company’s integrated mobile money payment channel with over 100,000 subscribers.
The landmark acquisition is seen by industry watchers as a major development that could see e-commerce in Nigeria finally unlock the massive revenue potential in the global multi-billion-dollar industry.
In 2017, retail e-commerce sales worldwide amounted to $2.829 trillion while e-retail revenues are projected to grow to $4.48 trillion US in 2021.
Coming at a time when global e-commerce spending is expected to top previously unheralded levels, the acquisition is widely expected to reposition Konga, Nigeria’s largest online mall, for a greater share of the e-commerce purse in Nigeria and beyond.
The acquisition is also expected to create employment opportunities for over 750 Nigerians, both at home and in the Diaspora, with findings indicating that many erstwhile employees of the company laid off during the recent restructuring process may be recalled.
Gideon Ayogu, Head of Corporate Communications at Zinox Group, who confirmed the development, disclosed that the organization is keen to take e-commerce in Nigeria to hitherto-unprecedented heights.
“We have always had an interest in Konga and another big one you know very well but our priority was Konga first because of her integrated nature of four quality companies in one,” he disclosed. “Konga is a world-class, professionally-run company whose landmark strides in the sector has gone a long way in ushering millions of Nigerians into the ease and convenience of online shopping and boosting the conduct of e-commerce in the country.
“Today, many Nigerians can attribute their first experience of e-commerce to Konga.com and we are excited to be a part of this remarkable story. Many shoppers can also attest to the speed and efficiency in delivery that characterizes Kos-Express, the company’s logistics arm, which is arguably the best in the sector at the moment.
“Our ambition is to up the tempo by revolutionizing e-commerce on the African continent, with Konga at the fore-front of this initiative. In addition to positioning the business on a path of profitability in the short term, our long term plans are focused around seeing Konga well established in other African capitals. Furthermore, we will be unveiling a lot of new initiatives soon and we advise shoppers and merchants alike to look out for these innovations which will radically reshape the average customer experience of e-commerce in Nigeria and on the continent,” he noted.
Konga had recently announced a shift to a prepay-only model, essentially putting a stop to Pay on Delivery (PoD) – a significant decision which formed part of an internal restructuring aimed at putting the business on a sound footing in the market. This move, coupled with the new investment, is expected to spark an up-turn in the company’s fortunes which will see Konga assume a more significant share of the e-commerce market.
Led by serial digital entrepreneur, Ekeh, the Zinox Group has grown from a position of strength to become one of the biggest names on the African technology scene. With its headquarters in Lagos, Nigeria and branches all over the country in addition to hubs in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East; the Zinox Group boasts a 360-degree spectrum orientation as an integrated ICT solutions group with advanced competencies in manufacturing, distribution, retail and after-sales support, among others.

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West Africa

ROAM Africa Reveal Impact of COVID-19 on Jobs Markets in Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya

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ROAM Africa Reveal Impact of COVID-19 on Jobs Markets in Nigeria Ghana and Kenya, SiliconNigeria

ROAM Africa (Ringier One Africa Media), the leading digital classifieds group in Sub-Saharan Africa, has today released three new labour market reports that shed more light on the effects of the COVID-19 on the African jobs market.

The reports also reveal transactional sales roles as the most in-demand jobs across Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya, and provides other insights and analysis that will help employers and jobseekers across the continent to navigate the new employment landscape. 

With job cuts, furlough extensions and new working habits developing across the continent, many employers and jobseekers are looking for guidelines to help them understand where opportunities are available and how to prepare for the future of work. The Impact of COVID-19 Job Reports, which were compiled by Jobberman (Ghana and Nigeria) and BrighterMonday (Kenya), explore factors such as trending industries/sectors, trending roles, trending skills, trending salaries/benefits, major trends caused by COVID-19 and job market trends and forecasts for Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya. 

The reports are based on information from the databases of the jobs platforms – with more than 24 million combined job applications and more than 100,000 registered employers – external research and insight from external business leaders.

According to the reports, Sales roles in Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya are the most sought-after, with 15%, 4% and 13% of job postings in each market respectively between January and August 2020. IT & Telecoms was the top industry with the most job postings in Ghana and Nigeria, 12% and 16% respectively, while the Government had the most job postings in Kenya with 15%.

Customer Service & Support was the most declining job function in Ghana and Nigeria, with 2% and 5% respectively and Management & Business Development was the most declining job function in Kenya with 4%. Companies in all three countries are hiring more professionals with Mid-level experience to fill their hiring activities than any other experience level, although not as much as they did last year.

Despite a decline in hiring in some industries, the reports predict a rise in demand for certain skills post-COVID as companies prepare to address the challenges brought about by the pandemic. The reports predict that hard skills such as digital and coding skills, data analytics and literacy and problem solving skills, as well as soft skills such as adaptability and agility, emotional intelligence and critical thinking are the skills companies are hiring for right now.

There is also a change in how employers view compensation with mental health and wellness benefits, flex pay and childcare support more prominent in compensation packages. Virtual recruitment, remote working and the acceleration of technology adoption are some of the other major trends caused by COVID-19.

Commenting on the findings of the report, Hilda Kragha, Managing Director of ROAM Africa Jobs, said, “these reports not only highlights the impact of the pandemic, but also serves as a guide for all employers to assess how they deal with change. The pandemic has undoubtedly caused a number of challenges, but some of the changes it has brought are quite exciting, because they offer the potential for dynamic transformations.

“As we assess and plan for the future, business leaders, HR practitioners and policymakers will have to work together to develop effective solutions that will make them better equipped for the future and create a better workplace for both employers and employees”.

The new reports, The BrighterMonday Kenya Impact of COVID-19 Jobs Report, The Jobberman Ghana Impact of COVID-19 Jobs Report  and The Jobberman Nigeria Impact of COVID-19 Jobs Report will all soon be available to download on the ROAM Africa website.

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East Africa

Nokia and Airtel Kenya Lay 5G Foundations In Nairobi

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Nokia and Airtel Kenya Lay 5G Foundations In Nairobi, SiliconNigeria

Nokia announced that it has been selected by African mobile operator, Airtel Kenya in a three-year deal to modernize Nairobi with high speed 4G and 5G-ready hardware from its comprehensive AirScale portfolio.

Deployment, which began in June, will cover hundreds of sites and include upgrading existing 2G, 3G and 4G radio access network (RAN) coverage in urban, semi urban, highways, tourist spots and central business districts in Nairobi and the rest of Kenya.

Nokia’s future-proofed network infrastructure will also offer Airtel Kenya the option to smoothly transition to 5G when necessary. The upgraded network will deliver enhanced connectivity to customers of Airtel Kenya and access to new, high-speed data services.

 Nokia is supplying Airtel Kenya with its AirScale Single RAN (S-RAN) portfolio for both indoor and outdoor coverage, including base stations and radio access products. These solutions will enable Airtel Kenya to deliver improved connectivity and capacity benefits including enhanced voice and data services to its subscribers while reducing complexity and driving cost efficiencies. The improved network will provide higher data speeds using additional 4G spectrum bands and provide access to secure, high-speed and reliable data services.

As part of the deal, Nokia will also deploy its cloud-agnostic NetAct software solution to securely manage Airtel Kenya’s networks. Nokia will also provide digital deployment, network planning and technical support services helping Airtel to launch its services faster to the market and ensure customer requirements for quality are met.

 P. D. Sarma, CEO, Airtel Kenya, said: “We are in the midst of rolling out our network to enhance coverage along with modernization of our data network that will help us to deliver improved, high-speed data services to our customers. This will allow our customers seamless coverage enhancing their browsing experience further. We are excited to partner with Nokia on this project. Its technology portfolio improves our network quality considerably and also allows us to move to 5G services in the future.” 

Rajiv Aggarwal, Head of CEWA Market Unit at Nokia, said: “This is an exciting deal in an exciting market. We are proud to supply Airtel Kenya with our comprehensive AirScale portfolio and support the operator with its efforts to deliver the best possible connectivity experiences to end users in Kenya. In a maturing market, we look forward to helping Airtel execute its strategy in the short-term as well as set it on the path to 5G services.”

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Africa Region

Interswitch, Finastra Consolidate Partnership For Improved Services Across Africa

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Interswitch Finastra Consolidate Partnership For Improved Services Across Africa, SiliconNigeria

Interswitch, Africa’s leading technology-driven company focused on the digitization of payments in Africa, has announced its partnership with Finastra, one of the world’s largest fintechs, to deliver innovative, world-class technology-based solutions for digital payments, corporate banking, treasury and trade finance, to financial institutions in Africa.

Interswitch Finastra Consolidate Partnership For Improved Services Across Africa, SiliconNigeria

Consistent with Interswitch’s market expansion strategy, the partnership will enable the company to deliver on its vision to transform Africa’s wholesale and transaction banking business by building world class products and solutions, thereby, delivering innovative and trusted technology to banks and the communities they serve.

With this strategic partnership, Interswitch becomes Finastra’s lead technology partner in the Nigerian market. This enables Finastra to bring the broadest set of financial software solutions to financial institutions in Nigeria and across Africa, in conjunction with Interswitch’s strong understanding of the local banking and payments landscape, as well as the ability to deploy solutions across these markets.

Mitchell Elegbe, Founder and Group Chief Executive Officer at Interswitch stated that the company is committed to continually explore opportunities, including partnerships, with leading brands such as Finastra, to deliver world-class technology, innovative products and digital solutions to African financial institutions.

He said: “Our partnership with Finastra is consistent with our strategic growth plan and we both share the vision of deepening access to financial services by providing world-class technology and innovative solutions. The partnership enables Finastra to seamlessly deploy its technology in this market. For Interswitch, we will be leveraging our proven success and expertise in delivering transaction banking solutions to support Finastra in localizing and implementing their technology in this region.

The partnership positions Interswitch as the go-to business for financial solutions, including treasury and trade solutions, to banks and other financial institutions in Africa. Two of the Finastra solutions now available via Interswitch include Fusion Kondor and Fusion Trade Innovation.

Fusion Kondor, Finastra’s treasury solution provides a low-risk system for bank treasury operations to grow and expand their businesses at the pace and complexity level required. In addition, it enables increased automation, improved efficiencies and reduced costs through the removal of fragmented data sets and tighter integration.

Finastra’s Fusion Trade Innovation provides market-leading functionality for digital trade and supply chain finance. It provides banks with the electronic submission and processing of information required by customs, uses risk-based inspections and promotes efficiency in product-specific inspections.

Hamid Nirouzad, Head of Partner Ecosystem MEA & CIS at Finastra said, “Interswitch has a proven track-record of delivering solutions to commercial banks, as well as a strong understanding of the local banking landscape across Nigeria and sub-Saharan Africa. Finastra is committed to providing its solutions to financial institutions across the world, and partnerships such as this result in successful projects, with rapid delivery at reasonable cost.”

Finastra delivers technology to financial institutions of all sizes across the globe, including 90 of the world’s top 100 banks.

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