Investors Predict Africa’s Internet Economy is Set to Boom
Professional investors are forecasting strong growth in the value of Africa’s internet economy with mobile phones central to the expansion, new global research* for blockchain-based mobile network operator World Mobile shows.
The study with professional investors responsible for around $700 billion assets under management by independent research company PureProfile found one in four (25%) expect the value of Africa’s internet economy to more than double over the next three years from the current estimated $115 billion. ** More than half (51%) expect it to be worth more than $200 billion by 2025.
Increased use of mobile phones will be central to the growth which will be further enhanced by improved affordability, the study with investors in the US, Germany, the UK, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Nigeria, and Switzerland found.
Around 71% of investors expect affordability of mobile phones in Africa to improve over the next three years – currently it is estimated they account for around 6.8% of monthly incomes on average ***– while nearly all professional investors (97%) believe the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated demand for mobiles.
World Mobile is launching its unique hybrid mobile network supported by low altitude platform balloons in Zanzibar which it plans to roll-out throughout the continent. It is already in discussions with government officials in Tanzania and Kenya, as well as other territories underserviced by traditional mobile operators.
Micky Watkins, CEO of World Mobile said: “Professional investors see the opportunities for the African internet economy and are clearly expecting mobile phones to play a central role in driving it forward over the next three years.
“Affordability is central to the increasing adoption of mobile phones but none of it is achievable without connectivity. We want to help create a world where everyone can access affordable connectivity, a world where economic freedom is a truth and a world where people are able to jump on the opportunities that internet creates.”
Professional investors questioned believe healthcare is the sector which will see the most benefit from increased connectivity. Around 53% highlighted the opportunities for healthcare ahead of e-commerce on 42% and media and entertainment on 40%.
Education was chosen by 33% of professional investors questioned alongside finance which was selected by 34%.
World Mobile’s balloons will be the first to officially launch in Africa for commercial use, providing a more cost-effective way to provide digital connection to people and is the first step in its mission to help bring nearly four billion people online before 2030 in line with the UN and World Bank’s SDGs.
The World Mobile approach is more sustainable, in environmental, social and governance terms. Environmental impacts are mitigated using solar-powered nodes, second-life batteries, and energy-efficient technology. World Mobile creates a positive societal impact through the application its circular economy model – a “sharing economy” where locals share in the ownership and rewards of the network. Governance is maintained by the secure underlying blockchain technology, which means that user data privacy is guaranteed and not commercially applied as it is by other mobile operators.
Twitter to Permit Only Verified Accounts in For You Recommendations
Starting from April 15th, only verified Twitter accounts will be eligible to be in For You recommendations.
This was disclosed by Twitter’s CEO Elon Musk on his Twitter handle, which according to him is the only realistic way to address advanced AI bot swarms taking over the platform.
Musk wrote on Twitter;
“Starting April 15th, only verified accounts will be eligible to be in For You recommendations. This is the only realistic way to address advanced AI bot swarms taking over. It is otherwise a hopeless losing battle. Voting in polls will require verification for the same reason. That said, it’s okay to give verified bot accounts if they follow terms of service & don’t impersonate a human”.
Fake or spam accounts otherwise known as bot accounts are visible on Twitter which are usually automated and not run by human users. They often make use of the reply function or direct messages to send adverts or scams to users or represent attempts to influence public discourse by tweeting something controversial.
Other fake accounts exist purely to boost the metrics of individual users, who can buy followers, likes, and retweets from bot sellers who control thousands or millions of fake accounts. Because they also inflate Twitter’s daily user numbers, they pose a threat to the company’s advertising revenue.
It would be recalled that before Musk acquired Twitter, he wanted to opt out of the $ 44 billion deal after he queried Twitter’s claim in SEC filings that a small proportion of its users were fake or spam. Musk further suggested that he could seek to pay a lower price for Twitter because of the fake accounts issue. However, after a relatively short court drama, Musk agreed to purchase the platform for the initial offer and has so far devised different means to address the bot issue on the platform.
Before the recent strategy to reduce bots by permitting only verified accounts in For You Recommendations, Musk had earlier rolled out a paid verification feature that will charge $8 per month to verify users’ accounts, which he claimed that the plan would solve the platform’s issues with bots and trolls while creating a new revenue stream for the company.
Musk believes that paid verification increases the costs of making bots by 10,000 percent and makes it easier to identify them. Meanwhile, the paid verification policy raised concerns about misinformation on the platform, as virtually anyone willing to pay the price could attempt to impersonate a public figure under the guise of a verification mark. However, in a bid to prevent this, Twitter has taken a step further by reviewing Twitter Blue accounts before granting them verification.
Moving forward, Investors King understands that Musk has also recently disclosed that only Verified accounts will be able to take part in polls on the platform. This is coming after a Twitter user suggested that Blue subscribers should be the only ones that can vote in policy-related polls.
Experts in Nigeria Telco Industry Expresses Concerns Over Low Foreign Capital Inflow
The decline in Foreign capital inflow into the Nigerian telecommunications sector has heightened experts’ concern as the nation looks to deepen its broadband penetration.
In 2019, Nigeria’s telecommunications sector welcomed $942.8 million (N358.26 billion) in capital inflow. This amount declined by $525.4 million to $417. 5 million in 2020 while in 2021, the foreign direct investment into the sector was flat at $417.5 million, the same as in 2020.
In 2022, Nigeria’s economy recorded a boost in foreign direct investment to the tune of N23.982 billion ($57.79 million) in Q1 of 2022. Data obtained from the National Bureau of Statistics disclosed that the figure represents a 2.6 percent increase when compared to the same period last year.
Speaking on some of the reasons for low foreign capital inflow in Nigeria’s telecommunications industry, the President of the Association of Telecommunications Company of Nigeria (ATCON) and Chief Executive Officer of Medallion Communication Limited Engr. Ikechukwu Nnamani disclosed that Nigeria’s unfriendly foreign exchange is a limiting factor that has discouraged foreign investors.
He added that foreign investors have bemoaned the contradictory regulations coming from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), which they claim is discouraging them from making investments in Nigeria.
In his words, “It has been estimated that the country would require $100 billion in investments in the next 10 years to bridge the existing infrastructure gap in the telecom sector, but where is the money going to come from?
“The exchange rate situation in Nigeria is of serious concern for Foreign investors, they are not sure of what the situation would be by the time they want to repatriate their returns. Their returns on investments could be halved due to the fluctuations in the exchange rate. If we want to see investors, we have to first address the foreign exchange situation.”
Meanwhile the 5G network rollout in the country, was said to have reportedly increased foreign investments in the telecommunication sector. According to telecom experts, 5G is expected to headline network investment and drive foreign investment into the sector.
Investors King understands that MTN Nigeria and Airtel Africa which are considered the big players in the industry had their investments in the sector increase to N613.13 billion in 2022. While MTN spent a total of N504.33 billion on the network rollout, Airtel’s investment hit N108.79 billion ($236m) for the same purpose.
The 5G network is projected to contribute $2.2 trillion to the global economy by 2034, according to a 2020 GSMA Intelligence report, titled: ‘The Mobile Economy’.
Nigeria reportedly has one of the largest telecommunications markets in Africa, supported by the second largest economy on the continent after South Africa. In recent years, the telecom sector has benefitted from supportive regulatory measures aimed at improving competition and developing infrastructure. This has helped boost the country’s broadband sector, which remains strongly focussed on mobile connectivity.
Elon Musk Unveils Twitter Valuation at $20 Billion, Sees Clear Path to $250 Valuation
Recent reports reveal that Twitter CEO Elon Musk has put the company’s valuation at $20 billion, which is a significant drop from the price he purchased the company in October last year at $44 billion.
Despite the unimpressive company’s valuation, the billionaire owner told employees that he sees a clear but difficult path to a $250 billion valuation, a hypothetical outcome that would make the company’s current stock price worth 10 times as much in the future.
He further added that the company would allow employees to sell stock every six months, a practice that is also implemented at SpaceX, his space equipment manufacturing company. The sales of private stock would allow employees to have liquid stock but without the stock price chaos and lawsuit burdens of a public company.
Musk disclosed that radical changes including mass layoffs and cost-cutting would be carried out at the company where necessary, to avoid bankruptcy and streamline operations. The decline in the valuation of Twitter doesn’t come as a surprise owing to the fact that since Musk’s takeover of the micro-blogging platform, he has carried out a series of changes, especially in content operations which have scared off advertisers from the platform.
It would be recalled that at the start of 2023, the company’s daily revenue was reportedly down 40 percent from a year ago after more than 500 of its top advertising partners such as Audi, Pfizer, Ford, and the likes paused ads spending on the platform.
Also, concerns about an increase in hate speech on the platform after its acquisition by Musk who described himself as a “free speech absolutist” prompted advertisers to withdraw in droves. They have also been alarmed by a spate of impersonator accounts that flourished on the site after a botched relaunch of its blue tick scheme for verified users. Ever since, Twitter has remained in the grip of an advertising squeeze, after the social media platform hit a 40% drop in revenue.
Advertising is disclosed to be the main source of income for Twitter, which represents more than 85% of the company’s revenues. In 2021, advertising accounted for more than 90% of its $5.1bn in revenue. Musk perturbed by the company’s revenue decline in a bid to woo back advertisers on the platform, offered free advertisements to brands.
Musk rolled out a lucrative plan where companies who spend more than $500,000 on Twitter ads will receive a 100% match on their spending in equivalent marketing value up to $1 million. The platform also partnered with ad tech companies DoubleVerify and IAS on brand safety initiatives amid advertiser exits. These platforms will inform advertisers if their ad is placed around inappropriate content.
Investors King understands that Musk has been working tirelessly to increase Twitter’s revenue, the recently launched Twitter Blue program according to reports looks to have around 300,000 subscribers, which would mean that Twitter is currently bringing in an extra revenue of around $2.4 million per month via the program, or $7.2 million per quarter.
Known for his ambitious nature, Musk will continue to look for ways to generate more revenue for Twitter, after he recently told employees that “Twitter is being reshaped rapidly”.
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