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Econet Group Announces Launch of Cassava Technologies

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Privately held African telecommunications group, Econet, today announced the launch of Cassava Technologies, which brings together Econet’s digital services and digital infrastructure product segments, encompassing fiber broadband networks, data centers, and renewable energy; as well as cloud & cybersecurity, fintech, and digital platforms.

Cassava Technologies, headquartered in London, is Africa’s first integrated tech player of continental scale at the forefront of technology innovation, with operations and activities in most African countries. Its product segments provide digital solutions to over 1 million enterprises and enable access to the internet for over 500 million people. Its Sasai Super App is projected to provide access to fintech services for over 75 million customers across Africa by 2025.

Cassava Technologies aims to empower individuals and businesses in Africa through digital solutions which drive the vision of a digitally connected future that leaves no African behind. The company encompasses well established and leading technology brands, including Liquid Intelligent Technologies, Africa Data Centres, Liquid Cloud, Sasai Fintech, Vaya Technologies, and Distributed Power Technologies.  Cassava Technologies is backed by significant investment and extensive collaboration with some of the world’s largest technology businesses and institutional investors interested in Africa’s nascent but rapidly growing digital economy.

Cassava Technologies is the leading technology enterprise driving Africa’s digital transformation which represents a large and fast-growing addressable market of underserved consumers and businesses. With a total projected population of 1.5 billion1 and approximately 60%2 of the population expected to be urbanized by 2025, there is accelerating demand across the continent for Cassava Technologies’ range of digital services enabled by a digital infrastructure platform of unrivaled scale. The African continent is still marked by low internet penetration and hampered by high costs of internet access despite the projected exponential growth. This, coupled with a significant unbanked population further underlines the huge market opportunity for Cassava Technologies.

Econet Group’s mobile telecoms businesses which include Econet Wireless Zimbabwe, Econet LEO (Burundi), Econet Telecom Lesotho, Econet’s investment in Mascom Wireless Botswana, and Econet’s mobile money business, EcoCash Holdings Zimbabwe are unaffected and will continue to operate under the Econet Wireless brand.

London-based African telecoms and tech entrepreneur Strive Masiyiwa, Founder and Executive Chairman of Cassava Technologies, said: “Technology creates pathways to democratize access to opportunity. Only through accelerating digital innovation in Africa will we empower individuals, families, businesses, and economies to reach their full potential. As Africa’s economy transitions to digital, there is a tremendous opportunity for increasing connectivity to usher in a new wave of digital tools and solutions that will improve the lives of millions of Africans. This is why we have created Cassava Technologies, to make technology as accessible as cassava “fufu” in Africa.”

Hardy Pemhiwa, CEO of Cassava Technologies, said: “We are delighted to announce the launch of Cassava Technologies. Our unmatched fiber broadband, data centres and renewable energy infrastructure, paired with fintech, cloud, cybersecurity, and on-demand digital platforms, will accelerate Africa’s digital transformation. As Cassava Technologies, with a footprint covering more than 15 countries, we are well positioned to meet the growing needs of businesses operating in Africa and expand access to fintech and other digital services to enterprises, small & medium size businesses, and consumers across Africa.”

Cassava Technologies’ businesses and its founder-led management team have a 25-year track record of success and a rich history of innovation in Africa. Cassava Technologies operates the largest independent pan-African terrestrial fiber broadband network, which spans more than 62,000 miles, covering more than 300 towns and cities across Africa from Cape Town to Cairo. It also operates Africa’s largest footprint of interconnected carrier neutral data centers and the Sasai Super App supporting payments and remittances across the continent. This digital infrastructure is the bedrock of Africa’s digita

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Telecommunications

Orange CEO Convicted for Misuse of Funds, Puts Fate in Hands of Board

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The Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of France’s largest telecommunication company Orange, Stephane Richard has been handed a one-year suspended sentence after an appeal court in Paris convicted him of complicity of the misuse of funds.

In a statement, Richard said that he would appeal the verdict of the court, saying that the one-year suspended sentence given to him was very unfair.

Stephane Richard, who was acquitted in an initial trial said that he had placed his company authority in the hands of Orange’s board of directors.

The French Minister of Finance, Bruno Le Maire has frequently said that the position of the government concerning matters like this is that the bosses of companies owned by the state must quit their positions if ever convicted of a crime. A statement made by the finance ministry acknowledged the verdict, saying that the ministry was paying close attention to the appropriate operation of the company.

Orange is due to hold a board meeting where the matter will undoubtedly be discussed, according to a company spokesman. Two different sources who are particularly close to the situation said that Richard – who has denied any offences – will find it difficult to keep his job as the Chairman and CEO of Orange.

Richard also had a 50,000 euro fine slapped on him, but was cleared of the charge of complicity of fraud. He however refused to make any comment when reporters asked whether he would resign as CEO after the verdict was given. He hurriedly left the court, followed by the head of communications at Orange, Béatrice Mandine.

Richard, who is a former civil servant, had previously told French media that he would not be looking to stay as CEO at the end of his third term (each one lasting four years) in May 2022. He however said that he would love to remain as the Chairman.

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Telecommunications

Oppo to Launch Foldable Phone Next Month

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Following the success of Samsung’s foldable mobile phones (Samsung Galaxy Fold & Samsung Galaxy Flip), Chinese mobile communications company Guangdong Oppo Mobile Telecommunications Corp. Ltd. – popularly known as Oppo – will launch its own foldable phone next month.

According to a post on the Chinese Forum site Weibo, the foldable device which has been codenamed ‘Peacock’ is widely expected to launch in December. The Oppo ‘Peacock’ is rumoured to be powered by the Snapdragon 888 processor, the same processor used by phones like the Samsung Galaxy S21 series, the Samsung Galaxy Flip 3, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3, and the Asus ROG 5 series.

Gizmo China reports that the Peacock will sport an inward folding design, similar to the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 and the Huawei Mate X2.  Gizmo China reports that the smartphone will be accompanied by an 8-inch, 2K OLED display with a 120 hertz refresh rate. There is not a lot of information regarding the phone’s rear camera, but there is the expectation that the phone will possess a Sony IMX766 primary camera with 50 megapixels.

The report from Gizmo China goes ahead to state that the phone will come with a 4,500 mAh battery, 500 less than the Oppo A56 which is expected to hit markets this month. It will also come with 65W fast charging technology. Apart from the 50-megapixel rear camera, the Peacock will also be followed by a front camera of 32 megapixels. However, it is not yet sure how many rear cameras the Peacock will hold.

The announcement comes alongside the company’s announcement to launch a new flagship phone in 2022. The new flagship will be referred to as ‘Butterfly,’ set to release early next year. While the Peacock will be powered by the Snapdragon 888 processor, the Butterfly will be powered by the Snapdragon 898.

The official release date for the Peacock has not been released, but it is expected to launch sometime in December.

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Telecommunications

Airtel Africa Sells Minority Stake in Airtel Money for US$500 Million

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Airtel Africa, a leading telecommunications and mobile money service provider in Africa, announced that it has received a combined $500 million as proceeds from the minority stake sales in Airtel Money from TPG’s The Rise Fund, Mastercard and Qatar Investment Authority (QIA).

The telecoms giant disclosed in a statement seen by Investors King.

The latest investment was in addition to the first closing announced by the Group on 18 March 2021, 1 April 2021 and 30 July 2021, respectively.

TPG and QIA, after meeting the conditions for second closing, invested an additional $50 million each while Mastercard added $25 million in the secondary purchase of shares in AMC BV from a subsidiary of Airtel Africa.

Airtel plans to use the proceeds from the secondary stake sale to reduce debt and expand its network and sales infrastructure in operating countries.

“With the conditions for second closing having now been met, TPG and QIA have each invested a further $50m, and Mastercard a further $25m, in the secondary purchase of shares in AMC BV from a subsidiary of Airtel Africa.

“Both QIA and TPG each appointed a director to the board of AMC BV upon the first closings. With these second closings, Airtel Africa will have received a total of $500m cumulative proceeds from the minority stake sales in Airtel Money from the three investors.

“As previously reported, the proceeds from these secondary stake sale transactions will be used to reduce Group debt and invest in network and sales infrastructure in the respective operating countries.”

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