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A Unicorn Party, No Talk Pass Yourself and A Tale of Two Jacks

Welcome to this week’s episode of The Brief where we bring you news from across Nigeria and Africa! Q
A Unicorn Party, No Talk Pass Yourself and A Tale of Two Jacks
By TheBrief • Issue #31 • View online
Welcome to this week’s episode of The Brief where we bring you news from across Nigeria and Africa!
Quote of the Week:
If I am worth anything later, I am worth something now. For wheat is wheat, even if people think it is grass in the beginning.
- Vincent van Gogh
All I had done was to improve on their strategy […] anytime you find someone more successful than you are, especially when you’re both engaged in the same business, you know they’re doing something that you aren’t.
- Malcom X (in his autobiography)

What's the Palava (What's going on in Nigeria?)
Unicorn Party!
Interswitch, Nigeria’s biggest fintech / electronic payments company, has just become the sector’s first unicorn. The company announced that global payment giant Visa will purchase 20% of the company for $200 million, thus valuing the 17 year old company at $1 billion.
What a time to be alive!
No Talk Pass Yourself
The Nigerian Senate in their eminence and wisdom have recommended a bill which would see any culprit of any form of hate speech be punished via death by hanging if convicted. (Wild we know.)
The bill passed its first reading on Tuesday which will establish another infamous agency, the National Commission for the Prohibition of Hate Speech. Nigeria has an agency for literally everything. (Talk about over-bloated government and debt spirals don’t seem to matter).
Who is the spearhead of this brilliance and innovation?  Senator Abdullahi Sabi Aliyu of Niger North.
A Tale of Two Jacks
Two tech billionaires named Jack (Jack Dorsey of Twitter/Square Space and Jack Ma of Alibaba) visited Nigeria during the same week which was pretty cool.
While we do not think external validation is all that, it is warming to see that the Nigerian technology scene is getting the recognition it deserves on an international scale.
Show Me The Moneyyyy
Africa-focused payment startup PalmPay has launched in Nigeria after raising a $40 million seed round led by China based Transsion Holdings, Africa’s largest phone-makers.
Read more here.
Nigeria Loves A Ban
Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city, has announced a ban on Kekes (tricycles more commonly known as Tuk-Tuks across most of Asia). Does this mean that the city has been able to figure out mass transit? Will citizens have an easier and safer commute to work rendering the kekes obsolete?
No on both counts (yay!)
What's going on across Africa?
Brow-beaten Neighbours
Over the last few months Nigeria has closed its land borders to its neighbours, and promises to keep them closed till at least 31 Jan 2020. According to the Nigerian government this will allow the country control the follow of goods into the country and better combat smuggling, especially of the dreaded imported rice which Nigerians love. This is part of the the government’s drive for Nigeria to be fully self-sufficient food producers.
But Nigeria’s neighbouring countries i.e. Niger and Benin are financially dependent on being the ports of first arrival for many goods which make their way to Nigeria, and the Nigerian government knows this.
This led to the newest development where the three countries (Nigeria, Benin and Niger) have agreed to set up a joint border patrol force to tackle smuggling between the West African countries.
Kenya Tech On The Rise
Twiga Foods, the Kenya-based food logistics startup, has raised $23.7 million in a Series B round led by US investment bank Goldman Sachs.
What in the World???
(our segment where we highlight the most outrageous story we have come across while scraping the web for news articles for you):
We have taken to using what we call the Ehn scale. The longer the Ehn the more incredulous. For example, President Buhari is not Nigeria’s most prolific travel blogger: Ehnnnnn? Got it?
Scamming The Scammers
Siblings use EFCC name to extort money from fraudsters – Punch Newspapers
Rating: Leemaooooooooo (the fraudsters are obvs still learning work)
Who Watches The Watchers?
Delta policemen collect N150,000 school fees from student at gunpoint – Punch Newspapers
Rating: EHHHHNNNNNN? (How much is a one-way flight from Lagos to Toronto again?)
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