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Paving the Way for EVs: How Greener Cars Will Change Road Trips and Infrastructure

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Adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) is set to pick up in South Africa in years to come, driving changes to filling stations, road trips and how people pay to power their vehicles.

This is according to Payment24, specialists in fuel and fleet management systems, who say EVs have been slow to take off in South Africa, but that uptake is set to grow as the upfront cost of these vehicles drops and as more infrastructure becomes available to support them.

Payment24 CEOs Shadab Rahil and Nolan Daniel note that the logistics of running EVs will mean that people will plan their trips around where they can charge their vehicles, and there will be changes in the way filling stations will entertain customers while they wait to charge their cars, and how people will pay for their power.

Slow start

According to Green Cape’s Electric Vehicles Market Intelligence Report released this year, of the passenger car sales in 2019, petrol vehicle sales accounted for 299,048; diesel vehicle sales for 55,563; and there were only 72 plug-in hybrid EV sales, 154 battery EV and 181 hybrid EV sales.

Rahil and Daniel say that EV uptake in South Africa has been slow partly because the lowest-cost EVs available in South Africa are priced at around R600,000, and due to limited numbers of public charging points – particularly outside of the major metros. Daniel says: “Range anxiety has also been a factor, with concern about what should happen if a battery runs out of power during a trip. But battery technology has improved dramatically, so EVs can now be charged overnight at home, or at a high-capacity public charging station in around 20 minutes, which would power a vehicle for 100km or more. For most people, a 100km range is ample for the day.”

He says installing a public charging point can cost in the order of R1 million, making many fuel stations and other public facilities loath to make the investment when there are limited numbers of EVs on the road. With between 250 and 300 public charging stations across South Africa at the moment, there is currently around one charging station for every four EVs in the country, reports Green Cape which is one of the highest ratio of Chargers vs EV’s in the world.

EV uptake set to boom

However, EV prices are dropping and more vehicle manufacturers are entering the EV market, bringing more choice to South Africans. This charge could be lead by Chinese manufacturers who can provide affordable EVs to the African markets in near future. More EVs on the road will drive the installation of more charging stations outside of the major metros, making longer trips in EVs more feasible, and changing the face of the traditional South African road trip. “Charging EVs will definitely change the fuel station experience,” he says. “Where people could fill up with liquid fuel and be in and out in 5 minutes, with an EV they would be there for far longer – waiting their turn to charge, and actually charging their vehicles. This will drive a change in what fuel stations offer their customers in terms of refreshments and entertainment.”

EV uptake is already causing oil companies to move to broader energy provision, and is also likely to increase demand for high capacity power, creating new opportunities for small scale energy producers.

Strong business case for EVs

Rahil notes that once the initial costs of an EV have been overcome, there is a compelling case for EVs: “Not only is the technology eco-friendly, but the running costs are significantly lower for EVs than ICE vehicles. It’s almost a 1:5 ratio of EVs to ICE vehicles, with power costs as low as 25c per km for an average EV. From a maintenance perspective, EVs have significantly fewer moving parts, so maintenance is a lot cheaper. We expect to see strong adoption among consumers, fleet owners, public transport and logistics companies.” He notes that EV trucks will have significantly larger battery capacity than consumer vehicles, making electric power a compelling proposition for courier and logistics firms, who will likely embrace electric and hybrid power for everything from delivery scooters to large trucks.

Paving the way for seamless integrated payments

Says Rahil: “Payment24 is already working towards integrating EV charge point payments with fuel payments so that fleet owners and fuel stations will be able to manage all EV and ICE (internal combustion engine) payments on a single platform. This has become a must-have in North America and Europe, and will become increasingly important in South Africa in years to come.”

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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Facebook Launches 2021 Edition of “My Digital World” Across Sub-Saharan Africa to Meet Digital Literacy Needs

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Today, Facebook announced the launch of the 2021 edition of “My Digital World“. Originally launched in June 2020, ‘My Digital World is a digital literacy program which is accessible across Sub-Saharan Africa  and designed to provide young people and the general public with the skills needed to navigate digital spaces safely and responsibly. 

The 2021 edition of “My Digital World” is now accessible on the new website that hosts new updated content that is relevant to today’s realities.

The program provides educators and trainers with training and resources to reach young people across Sub-Saharan Africa, equipping them with information and skills to help them thrive in an increasingly complex and digitally connected world.

“Through My Digital World, Facebook is reaching learners across the region and shaping the Sub-Saharan digital community for the better,” Phil Oduor, Policy Programs Manager for Economic Impact and Digital Literacy at Facebook said, “Designed for young people aged 13 – 18 years in high-tech and low-tech communities, the content has adaptable step-by-step instructions to fit their needs and learning environment. The lessons help participants learn tangible skills such as protecting personal information, identifying reputable sources, understanding misinformation themes, and recognizing healthy online relationships.”

‘My Digital World’ lessons are divided across six content pillars:

●      Introduction to Digital Learning: Demonstrating to learners what the internet is, identifying information that can be shared over the internet, determining various methods for accessing information online, and identifying the benefits, roles, and responsibilities of digital citizenship.

●      Digital Foundations: Teaching learners how to leverage tools to protect their digital devices and their personal information online, as well as that of others.

●      Digital Wellness: Supporting learners’ ability to engage with others (both individuals and the larger collective) online in empathic and positive ways, protect their physical and mental health, and explore their identities.

●      Digital Engagement: Helping learners develop executive functioning, critical thinking, and the skills needed to evaluate and share media and information online, as well as engage with different cultures and contexts.

●      Digital Empowerment: Helping learners use technology and social media to create positive change and better opportunities for themselves, their communities, and the world.

●      Digital Opportunities: Preparing learners to create the next wave of technology and succeed in their careers and pathways.

Over the years, Facebook has trained thousands of African youths through existing digital literacy programs across Sub saharan Africa such as ‘Safe Online with Facebook’ in Nigeria, ‘Ilizwe Lam’ in South Africa and ‘eZibo’ in Zambia.  With the program also successfully implemented in Ethiopia, Côte D’Ivoire, Kenya and Senegal,  “My Digital World” will, this year, be launched in Ghana, in partnership with Junior Achievement Ghana.

All content is available and can be accessed for free, the program will be available in English, French, Kiswahili, and Amharic.

‘My Digital World’ partnered with organizations across Sub-Saharan Africa to develop the learning modules and resources in the curriculum. 

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Fund Raising

Autochek Secures $13.1M Funding to Scale Across Africa

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Automotive and Fintech company, Autochek has raised $13.1 Million in seed funding to expand its operations across Africa. 

Participants in its latest funding round include existing investors such as Golden Palm Investments, Enza Capital, Lateral Capital, TLcom Capital, and 4DX Ventures. First-time investors such as Mobility 54 Investment SAS, the venture capital arm of Toyota Tshusho, and ASK Capital also participated in the round.

Recall that last year, Autochek raised $3.4 Million in pre-seed funding to grow its markets in Nigeria and Ghana. That round also saw TLcom Capital, 4DX Ventures, and Golden Palm Investments in participation. The funding came months after Autochek acquired marketplaces Cheki Ghana and Cheki Nigeria from one of Africa’s largest classifieds Group, ROAM Africa. The company continued its expansion by acquiring Cheki Kenya and Cheki Uganda to expand into East Africa. The company also partnered with CFAO Group to bring its marketplace into the Francophone region.

Cheki was launched in 2010 as an online car classified for dealers, importers, and private sellers in Nigeria. The startup, headquartered in Lagos, expanded operations to Kenya, Ghana, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. In 2017, Cheki got acquired by ROAM and joined a list of online marketplaces and classifieds in its network like Jobberman.

Autochek is currently present in five African countries, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Ivory Coast, and Uganda and according to reports, the company has set its sights northwards and southward on the continent towards the second-largest and third-largest economies in Africa, South Africa, and Egypt.

Autochek is an automotive/fintech company that was founded by the co-founder and chief executive of Jiji subsidiary Cars45, Etop Ikpe. Autochek’s platform operates a marketplace-driven model and has a focus on financing and after-sales. The company generates revenue through fees charged on customer transactions and commissions paid by dealers and service shops on the platform, the company also has financing partnerships with banks.

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Fund Raising

Nigerian Agri-tech Procurement Platform, Vendease Secures $3.2M Seed Round To Expand Operations

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Vendease, a Nigerian agri-tech startup that allows restaurants and hotels to order food supplies directly from farms and food manufacturers at the best price, has raised US$3.2 million in a seed round to expand operations.

The seed round was led by San Francisco-based venture capital firm Global Founders Capital. Others are local investors and early backers such as Paga CEO Tayo Oviosu, Remita CEO John Obaro, and Magic Fund.  Y Combinator participants like Hustle Fund, Liquid 2 Ventures, Hack VC and Soma Capital also invested in the startup.

Vendease was founded by Tunde Kara, Olumide Fayankin, Gatumi Aliyu and Wale Oyepeju in January 2020 to help solve food supply chain problems by digitising procurement processes, storage operations and logistics. A flexible payment system was integrated to facilitate transactions on the platform.

Earlier this year, Vendease was part of Y Combinator’s Winter 2021 cohort and has developed mobile and web apps that allow food businesses to place orders for food supplies, manage inventories, track expenses and gain access to their credit facilities with a buy now pay later service.

In achieving this, Vendease has built a network of farmers and food manufacturers to foster a solid food supply on its platform, speed up delivery and ascertain the quality of food production.

In September, Vendease reported to have delivered approximately 100,000 metric tonnes of food and plans to expand its capacities with the $3.2 million seed round.

Mr. Tunde Kara, Cofounder and chief executive officer (CEO) of Vendease said, “the rising food inflation coupled with effects of COVID-19 across Africa has positioned Vendease to scale up food systems by digitising end-to-end processes from farm to table. We currently operate out of Lagos, Ibadan and Abuja, but this funding will act as a buoy for us, as we scale our solution to other cities across the continent,”

Mr. Kara further explained that the company has created a predictive analysis and storage system that will help businesses predict future food prices, store food in advance and peg their prices for any duration depending on the food category.

This process, according to the CEO, has saved businesses on the platform a lot of money and human capital. He said, “when we compare market prices to what users buy on our platform, we’ve approximately saved them about $480,000 in the last nine months, cutting a lot of unnecessary expenses from their general costs — savings that can go into other things in terms of expansion and growth.”

Mr. Kara says the company hopes to 10x this number in the next 12 to 18 months. “Proactively, in our small way, we are helping to grow the GDP for the food businesses both on the farmers and vendor side of the marketplace.” He said.

The CEO said Vendease will use the newly raised $3.2 million to expand its operations to other cities and countries before the end of the first quarter of 2022. In addition, the funding would allow Vendease to continue to build out its technology stack, as well as secure partnerships with some payment platforms and banks to deepen its financial products, especially its buy now and pay later.

Don Stalter, the managing partner of Global Founders Capital, said it was the quality of the team that attracted his firm to Vendease. He said, “as a backer of one of Africa’s very first unicorns, Jumia, we’ve seen a great deal of talent in the market – and Tunde and the Vendease team are best in class both in EMEA and globally. Their laser focus and rapid growth are unprecedented, and there’s a massive opportunity ahead,” he said.

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