👨🏿‍🚀TechCabal Daily – Uber fights to protect its South African drivers

16 JUNE, 2022

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Happy pre-Friday 🌄

After 27 years, Microsoft is shutting down Internet Explorer.

Much like its connection speed, this move may be coming way too late. The last version of Internet Explorer was released in 2013, almost 10 years ago, and the browser hasn’t seen an update since 2016. Now, the vector of the very first browser wars is going to explore the other side.

While Microsoft released a new browser in 2015, this still hasn’t given it the edge it needs to dominate the browser market share. Google Chrome holds the market share with 64.06% of users while Edge holds a minor 4.09%. Apple’s Safari is the second largest with 19% while Mozilla Firefox has 3.91%

Internet Explorer joins other defunct explorers like Indiana Jones, leaving only Dora to usher in the new age.

Meanwhile, we’re doing some exploring of our own. Our Senior Reporter, Daniel Adeyemi, is exploring VivaTech in Paris while Damilare Dosunmu explores the Africa CEO Forum in Côte d’Ivoire. From now till the end of their trips—or until France and the Ivory Coast adopt them—they’ll share their experiences at some of the biggest tech conferences in the world.

In today’s edition

  • Paris Chronicles: Day 1
  • Uber partners with South Africa
  • Gozem raises $10 million
  • Google is celebrating small businesses in Africa
  • Opportunities

PARIS CHRONICLES: DAY 1


Je parle anglais has got to be the sentence I’ve said the most in Paris since I got here. A disclaimer I give to almost everyone who starts speaking to me in French, is that I only speak English.

To those who’ve admonished me to learn French, I tell them I did that at every level of education, but I was never in the right environment to practice it long enough.

Now I’m in the right environment to practice but embarrassingly, I go on to catch myself scrolling through TV looking for an English-speaking channel. I’m clearly not ready.

VivaTech took off yesterday on a high note with a teeming crowd and positive energy. It was fascinating to see many (more than 50) African startups present—most of them serving Francophone African countries.

Talking to many of these startups made me more aware of Francophone African startups and the different people and organizations working to make it thrive.

Over the course of the day:

  • Julien Herbin of Kayfo games (Senegal), shared a few thoughts on what it’s like making games from Dakar for Africa and how revenue streams he can explore are restricted.
  • I listened to a pitch by Lew Kam of Easy Matatu (Uganda) — one of the 3 finalists at the Climate tech awards — on how they’re reducing carbon emissions by streamlining mobility.
  • Dr. Rasha Rady of Chefaa (Egypt) gave a passionate speech at the panel session about women in tech.
  • I had a chat with Lamine Ba of Parcsmart (Senegal) on why solving the problem of parking is important and a significant revenue stream that’s often overlooked.
  • Closed the day with Yanick Kemayou of Kabakoo Academies (Mali), whose edtech solution is helping youths to acquire critical competencies for success in a fast-moving world.

That’s all for now, till tomorrow. Follow us on Twitter and check our Instagram stories for updates.

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UBER PARTNERS WITH SAPS TO KEEP ITS DRIVERS SAFE

Uber has been running a Safety Sessions Program in partnership with the South African Police Service (SAPS) to help address the safety concerns raised by drivers and delivery people on the Uber platform.

The sessions were held in Pretoria, Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town, South Africa, over the past months. SAPS officials met with Uber drivers to assess the current state of safety and decide on ways to work together and improve the safety of everyone involved.

Why was it necessary?

Although the Uber platform has safety features—an emergency in-app button and GPS tracking—the company has realised a need for the drivers who use the app to have practical demonstrations of the features.

According to Uber, the drivers need to know how to use the app to report cases, who to contact and how to respond in an emergency situation.

This training comes right after Uber reiterated its commitment to the safety of users of e-hailing applications like itself. It held a discussion with Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and safety experts to tackle issues its users face.

Uber says the goal of this partnership with SAP is to enable stress-free working conditions for its drivers as it wants to meet the safety need of its drivers also and not just its users.

What are the safety issues Uber drivers face?

In South Africa, Uber drivers face several security challenges including drivers being attacked, and Uber users being abducted and harmed.

One Uber driver was reportedly beaten by fellow taxi drivers. Another e-hailing driver was brutally murdered.

The company has introduced various interventions to improve safety: it partnered with the National Hijack Prevention Academy. It hired private security response teams in certain areas such as Gautrain stations to dispatch security and medical services in emergency situations.

There is no news of whether a similar partnership is being organized in other countries but hopefully, this new partnership will sap most of the security threats that Uber drivers have endured in South Africa till now.

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GOZEM RAISES $10 MILLION

About 12 million drivers operate in informal markets across West and Central Africa. At least that’s what Gozem, a francophone e-mobility startup says.

According to the startup, most of these drivers don’t have access to traditional banks or micro-finance institutions to pay for their vehicles. Instead, they rely on money lenders that charge ridiculous interest rates—some are as high as 70% annually.

It’s why Gozem keeps raising money: to provide a suite of mobility, e-commerce, and financial services to drivers. Simply put, Gozem helps users book taxi rides, while also helping drivers access loans to pay for and maintain their vehicles, both cars and motorcycles.

Its latest raise is a $10 million fund secured with a partnership with the International Financial Commission (IFC) to solve these headaches for drivers. This investment will enable Gozem to provide access to affordable vehicle financing in Togo and Benin, its operating markets.

Zoom out: With its previous $5 million raise, announced in December 2021, Gozem has reportedly helped more than 2,000 drivers acquire vehicles with affordable financing. This new partnership will help 6,000 more drivers to buy new cars and complete payments for old ones.

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GOOGLE IS CELEBRATING SMALL BUSINESS MONTH IN AFRICA

Have you heard of the small and medium business (SMB) month? It is in June.

As much as companies love to celebrate Pride month in Jun, they also celebrate the role that SMBs and SMEs play in the ecosystem. Google is one of such companies, and it has announced initiatives to support retail businesses in Africa during this year’s SMB month.

What are the initiatives?

So far, 3 initiatives have been announced: Shopping Small Business Summit, Local Opportunity Finder, and Hustle Academy.

Shopping Small Business Summit includes a one-hour virtual training event which seeks to help SMB owners learn how to use digital tools to compete fairly online. Subjects like e-commerce trends and digital marketing will also be taught during the summit. If you have a small or medium business, you can register for the event here.

The Local Opportunity Finder is a new tool developed by Google. It evaluates the Google Business Profile of a small business and makes personalized recommendations that can help the owner improve the presentation of their business profile to customers in Google Search.

The third, Hustle Academy, is a virtual training which is facilitated for MSMEs in Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa. It teaches MSMEs how to design digital marketing strategies, create growth plans, identify the different forms of investment available and create a pitch deck for investors.

What other companies are doing

News of what other companies are doing to celebrate small businesses in SBM this year has not reached us but some companies have free products and services that directly support small businesses. For example, last year Meta launched Facebook Business Coach—a free curriculum platform and WhatsApp bot which teaches business owners skills they need to succeed online. There are more such resources for learning, promotions and networking available online.

To all SMBs striving for growth, your small nyash dey shake and we pray it grows bigger.

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ATTEND THE LAGOS HEALTH SUMMIT

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Date: 29th & 30th of June.

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OPPORTUNITIES

  • Substack’s Sound of Summer Workshop is now open to applications from podcasters, audio creators, musicians, and sound-obsessed Substack writers. Selected writers will attend a month-long workshop, learning storytelling, production and editorial strategies from the Substack team. They’ll also receive a $1,000 stipend, production-enhancing audio services, essential gear, and tailored guidance. Apply.
  • The Last Mile Money Startup Accelerator is now open to ventures working at the intersection of last-mile users and financial security. Selected startups will receive design support, access to Last Mile Money’s network, and up to $50,000 in equity-free grants. See what’s up.
  • The Nigeria Youth Futures Fund (NYFF) Young Leaders Development Fund 2022 is open to applications from young changemakers with experience in media, health, environment, civic participation, education, security, and ICT. Apply for the chance to get up to $40,000 in grants. Check it out.

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