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Empowering DRC Through Improved Connectivity

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Dikembe Mutombo

Did you know more than 49 million people live in remote or rural regions of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)?

In those regions, more than 32 million live in an area without a minimum of 3G. Broadband access is widely recognized as a catalyst for social and economic development and gaps in connectivity impact everyday life from education to health and job skills.

Intelsat is working to change that and always believed that  a fresh approach, fully integrated hybrid networks, new business models and creative partnerships will be essential to accelerate the buildout of a robust network infrastructure that would provide a great foundation for endless opportunities in Africa.

In June 2022, Intelsat hosted, together with its partner Ragasat, the DRC Connectivity Forum in Kinshasa.

The forum brought together key stakeholders involved in the promotion of the telecommunications sector in DRC (public and private), fostering high quality discussions around solutions for reliable connectivity to all the people in the DRC.

Speaking at the event, the Minister in charge of Posts, Telecommunications and New Information and Communication Technologies (PTNTIC), His Excellency Mr. Augustin Kibassa Maliba, emphasized the importance of providing connectivity to more people in the DRC.

Congolese-American Dikembe Mutombo, former professional basketball player and humanitarian, referred to as the “son of the Congo,” was on hand to explain how connectivity can expand opportunities for residents improving healthcare, education and quality of life of the people in the DRC.

“We cannot have a strong, independent, and successful Africa without an educated and connected population. This is how we change our future – we need African solutions to address African problems,” Mutombo said.

During the event, Intelsat cut ribbon on a teleport inauguration in Kinshasa to celebrate a state-of-the-art ground infrastructure, which is crucial to the services Intelsat provides there offering greater connectivity solutions in the DRC.

“This is a great day for Intelsat, Ragasat and DRC. Together with Ragasat, we partnered to achieve our objective by bringing new capabilities and solutions in DRC.  Through this state-of-the-art platform, we are enabling Service Providers and Mobile Operators in DRC to expand their network coverage anywhere in the country, connecting more subscribers, land areas, roadways, and IoT devices – all with minimal investment and an extremely fast time to market,” Intelsat Senior Vice President Global Sales Media & Networks, Jean-Philippe Gillet said.

“At Intelsat, we believe in a connected Africa where rural communities will gain access to healthcare, education, and financial services for an improved quality of life.”

In partnership with Ragasat, Intelsat is deploying its CellBackhaul service from Kinshasa, providing easy connectivity to hard-to-reach places. Intelsat CellBackhaul, an end-to-end managed service, is the ideal solution for Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) in DRC to expand their coverage to rural areas. It overcomes the technical and economic challenges often associated with traditional, terrestrial backhaul deployments for rural coverage.

In addition to expanding coverage, MNOs in DRC can use Intelsat CellBackhaul to ensure their subscribers stay connected anywhere they go by providing backup to existing coverage.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Fintech

Leatherback Set for International Growth as EFCC Drops all Fraud and Misconduct Allegations

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Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has dropped all allegations of fraud and misconduct against Leatherback, a leading financial services technology company, and the company’s CEO, Toyeeb Ibrahim Ibitade.

In November 2023, EFCC announced that it had been made aware of the possibility of fraudulent activities on the Leatherback platform, leading to an investigation into the company’s operations to establish the facts. Cooperating fully with EFCC and working transparently with the organisation’s officials to provide a forensic view of its operations, Leatherback was able to unequivocally prove its innocence, leading the EFCC to drop all allegations and take down all previous communications on its website and social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) around the matter.

Leatherback supported the EFCC investigation by making over 5,000 printed documents available to officials to enable as much clarity as possible. Leatherback also filed Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) in the UK and Nigeria.

According to Toyeeb Ibrahim Ibitade, CEO of Leatherback, “I am relieved to see the end of this arduous episode, but I am even more delighted to see that myself and Leatherback, as an organisation, have been completely cleared of all wrongdoing. With this episode firmly behind us, we are poised to accelerate our mission to provide a single access point that empowers individuals and businesses to be truly global, delivering best-in-class financial, payment, and commerce solutions that remove barriers to global growth and mobility for all citizens of the world.”

Headquartered in London, Leatherback is regulated in the United Kingdom, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Canada, India, Pakistan, Nepal, and Sri Lanka, enabling the platform to serve customers across a wide range of markets effectively. Tens of thousands of individuals and businesses already use the platform to support business and lifestyle opportunities every day. Leatherback is also FCA Authorised, PCI DSS Compliant, and ISO Certified.

About Leatherback

Leatherback offers financial services to businesses and individuals in multiple countries with no restrictions. Users can access up to 15 currencies from 21 countries, including NGN, GBP, INR, EUR, USD, and many other currencies. Users can also send and collect money locally and internationally, with invoicing, analytics, and permissions features available for businesses.

For more information, please visit: http://www.leatherback.co

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Fintech

Carbon Acquires Vella Finance to Enhance SME Offerings

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Carbon - Investors King

Digital financial services provider Carbon has completed the acquisition of Vella Finance, a Nigerian fintech company specializing in serving small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

The acquisition, announced through an official statement on Wednesday, signifies Carbon’s strategic move to bolster its SME offerings.

Although the financial details of the transaction were not disclosed, Carbon’s acquisition of Vella Finance, founded two years ago under its parent company, One Credit Limited, underscores its commitment to expanding its footprint in the fintech space.

Vella Finance’s expertise in AI-powered SME banking solutions particularly caught the attention of Carbon.

Through this acquisition, Carbon aims to leverage Vella Finance’s innovative technology to provide actionable insights from financial transactions to its SME customers.

Tolu Adedayo, co-founder and COO of Vella Finance, expressed enthusiasm about the integration, noting that several team members from Vella Finance have joined Carbon following the acquisition.

Adedayo further revealed that Vella Finance’s 8,000 SME customers would be transitioned to Carbon Business in the near future.

Chijioke Dozie, co-founder of Carbon, emphasized the alignment of values and vision between Carbon and Vella Finance, highlighting the potential for synergies and growth in the SME banking segment.

The acquisition marks a significant milestone for both companies as they aim to revolutionize financial services for SMEs in Nigeria.

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E-commerce

Alibaba Eyes Gulf Expansion, Seeks Partnerships in Saudi and UAE Markets

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Alibaba CEO Jack Ma gestures as he is introduced to participate in a panel discussion at the APEC CEO Summit in Manila

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., the prominent Chinese e-commerce giant, is actively pursuing expansion into the Gulf region, notably in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Alibaba’s president, Michael Evans, revealed the company’s strategy during a panel discussion at Dubai’s World Government Summit, highlighting a commitment to local partnerships as a key aspect of their approach.

Evans underscored Alibaba’s recent endeavors in Saudi Arabia, indicating a concerted effort to deepen its presence in the region’s burgeoning e-commerce landscape.

The move signifies Alibaba’s strategic pivot towards collaborative ventures following a period of strategic realignment prompted by government scrutiny and leadership changes.

The Gulf’s growing ties with China, driven by mutual economic interests and investment diversification initiatives, present an opportune moment for Alibaba’s expansion efforts.

However, geopolitical complexities, including heightened US scrutiny of China-linked entities, add a layer of challenge to Alibaba’s Gulf aspirations.

As Alibaba seeks to reclaim its leadership position in the global tech industry, the pursuit of partnerships in Saudi Arabia and the UAE underscores the company’s adaptive approach to international expansion.

The success of these ventures could potentially reshape the Gulf’s e-commerce landscape and deepen economic ties between the region and China.

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