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MTN Group is in talks to take over the South African telephony group Telkom.
It informed its shareholders that the discussions were aimed at acquiring all of the issued share capital of Telkom in exchange for shares or a combination of cash and shares.
In a statement on Friday, MTN said talks were still in their early stages and there was no certainty the deal would go through.
“The transaction, if completed, could have a significant effect on the price of the Company’s securities. Accordingly, shareholders are urged to exercise caution when trading in the company’s securities until further announcement is made,” MTN said.
Telkom confirmed the discussions in a separate statement to shareholders.
The deal will come under scrutiny from the Competition Commission and other regulators, given the size of the two companies and their dominance in the industry.
MTN currently has 34.5 million subscribers, making it the second largest mobile operator behind Vodacom. Telkom has 16.9 million mobile subscribers.
Bloc Acquires Orchestrate to Offer Fintech Infrastructure Services
Bloc announced the acquisition of Getwallets, the wallet-as-a-service provider that recently became a payment orchestration company, Orchestrate.
Orchestrate is configured to power Block’s payment infrastructure.
The strategic acquisition will allow Bloc to focus its core product strategy on providing seamless BaaS and banking services, while Orchestra drives its fintech infrastructure with its proprietary payments orchestration API.
Its rise to a broader payment infrastructure company means, as Orchestrate, it can provide businesses with instant access to multiple payment methods and providers around the world through a single integration (currently available in Nigeria , Ghana, Egypt, South Africa and the United States, with plans to expand support for more foreign payment providers and currencies shortly).
Bloc’s acquisition of Orchestrate strengthens the group’s ability to offer FinTech infrastructure such as online payments, subscription management, BNPL payment infrastructure, virtual wallets, bill payments, invoicing, in its suite of fintech APIs as a service.
Commenting on the acquisition, Bloc Founder Edmund Olotu said, “We are proud of our contribution to shaping the African fintech space and delighted to welcome the Orchestrate team to the Bloc family. Part of our vision has always been to enable businesses of all sizes to offer seamless payment solutions to their customers, which is essential not only to the end-user experience but also to the growth of the industry. This is an exciting development for both companies as we seek to grow and create even more solutions that will ultimately support the growth of African technology companies in the years to come.”
Orchestrate Founder and CEO Jerry Enebeli added, “We are excited to bring our technology and expertise to the already incredible team at Bloc. It was clear that our business growth goals were aligned and that we could mutually benefit from the combination of our talents, resources and expertise to create a unique infrastructure capable of propelling African fintech. payment platform and allowing many other companies to develop their markets, whether in Africa or around the world.
Flutterwave suspends virtual dollar cards
Flutterwave said its virtual dollar cards will not be available for any transactions and purchases beginning Sunday, July 17, 2022.
The cards have been a convenient way for Nigerian merchants to convert their Naira balance into US dollars on a virtual Mastercard to make online payments.
However, announcing the suspension of service on Virtual Dollar Card, Flutterwave said, “We are writing to inform you that effective Sunday, July 17, 2022, all of our Virtual Dollar Cards will be unavailable for transactions and purchases. This is due to an update from our map partner, which will cause the map service to be unavailable for an extended period. You will not be able to make online and in-store payments and purchases using your virtual dollar card(s), you will not be able to fund the virtual card(s) existing card(s), your existing virtual card(s) will be terminated, and the corresponding balance will be credited to your payment balance.
As it works with its card partner to restore service as soon as possible, Flutterwave has advised its customers to unlink their dollar card(s) from recurring payments and replace them with another payment method.
The Troc card is used on most merchant sites where the MasterCard logo is displayed. The Barter USD card can be used on most global payment sites like Uber, Google Play, Apple Music, Facebook, PayPal, etc. for payments and purchases.
Meta builds an AI capable of translating 55 African languages
Meta, the parent company of Facebook, claims to have built the first unique open-source artificial intelligence (AI) machine capable of translating into 200 languages, including 55 African languages, with state-of-the-art results.
The company said it uses modeling techniques and learnings from the NLLB-200 “No Language Left Behind” project to improve and expand translations on Facebook, Instagram and Wikipedia.
The company is said to be developing high-quality machine translation capabilities for most low-resource languages in the world. This unique AI model was designed with a focus on African languages. They are difficult from a machine translation point of view.
In a Facebook post, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he worked with professional translators for each of these languages to develop a reliable benchmark that could automatically assess translation quality for many low-resource languages.
“To give an idea of the scale, the 200-language model has over 50 billion parameters, and we trained it using our new Research SuperCluster, which is one of the world’s largest AI supercomputers. fastest in the world. Advances here will enable more than 25 billion translations every day across our apps,” he said.
Zuckerberg added, “Communication across languages is a superpower provided by AI, but as we progress in our AI work, it improves everything we do, from displaying content most interesting on Facebook and Instagram, to recommending more relevant ads, to making our services safe for everyone.”
According to him, AI models require a lot of data to help them learn, and there isn’t a lot of human-translated training data for these languages.
“There are more than 20 million people who speak and write in Luganda, but examples of this written language are extremely difficult to find on the Internet,” he concluded.
Sendsprint launches and provides money transfers to Africans in the Diaspora
SendSprint, a payments and money transfer startup, launched in the UK yesterday with a service targeting Africans in the diaspora.
SendSprint’s product offering is made possible through a strategic partnership with Flutterwave to facilitate cross-border remittances for transactions entering Africa.
SendSprint has established the UK as its international headquarters with a presence in the US and Nigeria. It also applied for the necessary licenses through a regulated entity.
The fintech is launching two products to connect the African diaspora to their loved ones back home. One is Send money, which enables seamless transfers to African countries, and the other is Sprint Connect, a gifting solution that connects the African diaspora with retailers across the continent.
They also offer three destination countries for shippers, including Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa, and in the first 18 months they are targeting 300,000 UK customers.
SendSprint’s money transfer product will offer a flat $5 fee for international transfers to Africa and great exchange rates with real-time transaction monitoring and 24/7 customer service.
Tech personality of the week
This week’s tech personality is Tayo Oviosu. He is the founder and CEO of Paga Group Ltd.
Paga is a financial company that focuses on solving widespread problems in the Nigerian financial industry, including making money more accessible and portable through mobile payment systems.
They also offer their platform as a service to third-party partners.
Recognized globally in 2014, CNBC selected Tayo as “Entrepreneur of the Year in West Africa”, and in 2015, the African Leadership Network selected Paga as the Outstanding Growth Company of the Year in Africa.
In 2021, the total value of paga payments was N1.2 trillion.
Oviosu is also the co-founder of Kairos Angels, an angel investment firm.
Kairos Angels is on a mission to transform the world by partnering with visionary entrepreneurs to build scalable and sustainable businesses.