Welcome to this week’s edition of Shega Weekly Newsletter ( Issue # 35).
Zmall, the delivery platform from ETTA, a local tech company, made headlines this week, for its expansion to East Africa meanwhile, RIDE has integrated with telebirr marking its full end-to-end digital transformation after five years of operation. Interesting details are also leaking from the upcoming Ethiopian Stock Exchange.
We have collected the major stories that have happened in the week so that you can catch up with what you might have missed. Subscribe here so that you don’t miss anything.
Ethiopian Ecommerce, Delivery Startup Zmall to Expand to South Sudan, Somaliland
One of Ethiopia’s fastest-growing ecommerce and delivery platforms, Zmall is expanding its services to Juba, South Sudan, and Hargeisa, Somaliland. The East African push expected to cost the startup $350,000 will see a full-fledged launch of Zmall offering similar services with localized features.
Zmall, who joined hands with partners from the two countries to make the expansion possible, will first open shop in Juba in two months. Starting the service with nine employees and 22 motors, the startup says it has already acquired a license and has opened an office in South Sudan’s capital.
With a population of 11 million inhabitants and an internet penetration of 10pc, South Sudan has very few business ventures offering products and services through a digital platform. Meanwhile, the autonomous region in northern Somalia, Somaliland, has a more vibrant e-commerce landscape. Zmall’s Hargeisa office will open in four months, with a budget of 200,000 dollars. Read More of Shega’s coverage of the development.
Ride Integrates Telebirr, Goes Fully Digital
Hybrid Designs, the company behind RIDE, has partnered with Ethio Telecom allowing passengers to pay for their fairs through Ethio Telecom’s mobile money service platform, telebirr.
RIDE’s digital payment integration that marks its full end-to-end digital transformation comes after five years since the company began operation with a call center and is part of new features from the forerunners in the ride-hailing sector.
Sponsoring the Ethiopian Coffee Sport Club (Buna), launching a package delivery service, unveiling a digital monthly corporate billing service called RIDE Plus, and delivering Ethio telecom SIM cards, are developments that all happened in the past three months. Read More.
US-based Plastic Recycling Firm Sets Foot in Ethiopia
A US-based plastic manufacturer has leased a shed in Adama Industrial Park, planning to recycle 10,000tn of plastic waste annually into construction materials.
Incorporated last year with Kidus Fesseha and Penba Marre, a Senegalese businesswoman, as co-founders, the company has raised five million dollars in equity from nearly two dozen international investors.
As reported by Addis Fortune, the project requires 4.5tn of plastic waste each day to manufacture interlocking bricks and plastic door and window frames. According to project documents, its annual output can be sufficient to supply construction materials for 5,000 villas.
The Co-founder says the recycling plant will employ 300 people when it begins operation at full capacity and plans to work with as many as 10,000 garbage collectors to source the raw materials. Read More.
Ethio Telecom, Safaricom near Closing a Deal
Frehiwot Tamiru, CEO of the state-owned Ethio telecom and Anwar Soussa, CEO of Safaricom Ethiopia Plc have made progress with the terms of the agreement and are expected to ink a deal soon, people close to the process, Fortune Newspaper Reported earlier this week.
The deal also includes an interconnection agreement, which involves the setting of interconnection fees subscribers pay when calls or texts are made over the two operators’ networks.
The duo are set to strike a deal after months of back and forth over the financial aspects of sharing Ethio telecom’s towers. The Ethiopian Communications Authority (ECA), has arranged a meeting between the two executives to settle disagreements over whether lease payments were to be made in foreign currency.
Though Safaricom initially planned to launch commercial operations in April, “people close to the matter expect the operator to launch services in September.
Fortune reported that officials at the Authority say Safaricom Ethiopia will not face penalties due to the delays as long as the company manages to meet targets set for its first year of operation. Safaricom Ethiopia’s network is expected to reach a quarter of the population by next April and cover all special economic zones. Other commitments include reaching half of all airports and covering a third of major roads and highways.
Ethiopian Stock Exchange to Feature Blockchain, Pension Fund Investment
The Reporter Newspaper has come up with two articles this week that shed light on Ethiopia’s upcoming Stock Exchange.
The first one states that the National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE) plans to deploy a hybrid model of traditional digital exchange technology and blockchain technology for the Ethiopian Securities Exchange.
“If a share is very expensive for the middle-class person to buy, it can be fractionalized or divided into smaller tokens. This is the technology that is used to operate cryptocurrencies. We are discussing with technology providers to bring that technology, to serve small scale investors,” Melese Minale, senior macroeconomic advisor to the governor of NBE and head of the Capital Market Project Implementation Team (CMPIT), told The Reporter.
The blockchain system also enables small businesses, including SMEs, to issue securities at any scale. SMEs that do not have the capacity to float shares or securities in the traditional exchange platform can float shares at any scale using the technology, wrote The Reporter.
Meanwhile, another article in The Reporter states that pension fund investment will be allowed in the stock market.
The first time pension funds would be invested in other than Treasury Bills, the Public Servants Social Security Fund Administration and Private Organization Employees Social Security fund Administration will be able to invest their respective funds in the exchange.
The Reporter wrote the fund would be one of the main security providers in the stock exchange, and it is expected to be a key institution that will provide long-term finances.
“Especially, pension agencies collect funds but are only liable after decades. So they have to invest in long-term investments with better returns. The exchange will be an ideal platform for long-term depositors and long-term investors,” Melese Minale, senior macroeconomic advisor and head of the Capital Market Project Implementation Team (CMPIT), told Reporter.