August 7th, 2017  |  Edition # 07

Our photo of the week is Ebrie Akan by @joana_choumali, a fine art photographer based in Abidjan. Last year Côte d’Ivoire was Africa's fastest growing economy, with a phenomenal growth rate of 8.5%. This West African power house also happens to be the world's biggest producer and exporter of cocoa and cashews. Here's what Joana Choumali had to say about her city :

“To me, Abidjan is a 50-year-old woman. She looks juvenile, even though she is not. She attracts young people, but she is an old city. She absorbs every international trend without taking the time to think about it. She is also changing her appearance. She is taking back control of her life. New construction, a new bridge — the city landscape is evolving every day. Abidjan is a beautiful woman. You can’t put her into a box. Either you adore her, or you hate her. Sometimes I get mad at her. She has so many flaws. But the more I travel all over the world, the more I feel she is my home. She is perfect.”

(Orginal interview conducted in French)



The 26 year old founder who wants to radically change the way we process payments in Africa

This is an A-B conversation... C your way out. Although the rest of the world has advanced to more sophisticated payment systems, Africa is left behind and still disconnected from the global economy. If you're in Kinshasa and you walk into a trendy restaurant, there's a good chance you'll be paying for your meal with cash. If you're in Nairobi, you may have the option of paying with M-Pesa aka mobile money. And if you're in Chicago, you'll definitely let your credit card do the talking. Across Africa, Mastercard and Visa have less than 1% of total process volume. 

Cash is king on these streets... But things are about to change, thanks to a Nigerian owned, San Francisco based start-up called Flutterwave. Iyinoluwa Aboyeji is co-founder of Flutterwave, a payments API (applications program interface) that aims to unify Africa's fragmented payment systems and empower small businesses. After graduating from Y Combinator, a Silicon Valley elite accelerator program, U.S. investors recently poured $10 million of fresh funding into Flutterwave. To date, the company is processing more than $1.2 billion in payments across 10 million transactions. It accepts 350 currencies across 30 African countries, charging merchants a small service fee, which it shares with banks.

Bottom Line... Building a new payment infrastructure across a continent is no piece of cake. But Iyinoluwa is up to the task. The 26 year old entrepreneur who is also the co-founder of Andela – an online platform connecting companies with the best African software developers – attributes the idea to start Flutterwave to the desire to improve lives through technology. In his own words, “At Flutterwave, we believe that as software eats the world, the digital economy will increasingly become the new global economy. We're trying to connect Africa to this digital economy... so you can make and accept payments for whatever you want, in whatever currency or payment method you want, across the globe.” Wow is all we can say.


This week, African stock markets were poppin like Ed Sheeran's new music video in Ghana. And just when we thought it couldn't get any better, the Nigerian stock exchange won the ‘CSR Company of the Year’ award. Nice!
Winners: Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Ghana, South Africa, Morocco, Malawi, Mauritius, BRVM, Egypt

Losers: Rwanda, Botswana, Kenya


  • Cardiff, U.K: Diaspora Business & Enterprise Club, August 9th
  • Kampala, Uganda: Grassroot² Changemakers & Innovators Summit, August 9th
  • Abidjan, Ivory Coast: Africa Dotnet Developers Group Day, August 12th
  • Accra, Ghana: The Business Startup Clinic, August 19th
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Africa is fertile ground for fintech, thanks to it's massive unbanked population. According to a recent Disrupt Africa report, payment and remittance start-ups dominate the market with 41.5% of all start-ups focused on this space. 
Speaking of payments...uhm, South African Airlines has officially run out of cash and is on the verge of bankruptcy. Turns out the company has been running at a loss for the past seven years. In the first quarter of this year, South Africa's economy also entered a recession for the first time since 2009. Times are hard oh.
Remember the 90's when Biggie and Tupac were friends for 59 seconds? Now imagine them chillin in a village, somewhere in Africa, as they freestyle over a warm bowl of pap.

Okay back to reality and big-ups to @denny_ow for sharing his work of art on instagram. And yes, we are totally loving that Bamenda gown from Cameroon. Represent!
Nigerians can now watch YouTube videos offline. Google boss Sundar Pichai visited Lagos, as the company announced the new no-internet service. Nigeria is the 2nd country after India to have YouTube Go.
Today, over 1.2 billion Africans are connected to the internet. Nigeria alone has over 100 million internet users, making it the highest in Africa. In case you didn't know, Google has owned YouTube since 2006. 
Didi invested an undisclosed amount in Taxify, a mobile ride hailing app. Didi, the Chinese ride sharing company partly owned by billionaire Jack Ma (who visited Kenya last month), has plans to expand to Europe and Africa. Taxify currently operates in Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa & Egypt. Uber watch out now.
Young African Millennials (YAMs)
Have a wonderful week ahead. Send your Abidjan selfies, comments, photos and upcoming events to  Till next time...


PS: Thank you for reading Baobab Biz. If a friend or colleague forwarded this newsletter to you and you'd like to receive it in your inbox, simply join the email list by signing up at And Shout-out to Lupita Ngyong'o & Danai Gurira for kicking @$$ in the new Black Panther film.

A bi-weekly newsletter for the ones who dare to believe that Africa is the future

Baobab Biz is a a culturally engaging newsletter for young African millennials. Whether you’re in London, Lagos, Limpopo or Los Angeles, we’ve got you covered on the latest business, entrepreneurship and tech news from The Rising Continent. Think of us like your weekly news fix, with a healthy dose of humor.

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