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African Infrastructure gets a boost from Facebook and other news from around Africa

Facebook is in talks to develop an underwater data cable that would cover the African continent, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal. The project has been called Simba and it is estimated that it will cost over $1bn. The aim of the project is to drive down Facebook’s bandwidth costs and to make it easier for the social media company to sign up more users on the Continent.

Rwanda, which was selected by Alibaba as its hub in Africa for foodstuffs last year is now likely to become the central hub for all Alibaba’s ecommerce business in Africa – bring enormous benefits for the small, landlocked country.

GoDaddy launched on 13 March in Johannesburg. It offers tools and support to help small enterprises build an online presence and grow their business. It recently surveyed 250 South African small business owners who indicated that time, budget, and online knowledge represent significant barriers to them getting online. It said that its South African website already offers products and services targeted at South African customers, with 24-hour support available through local telephone numbers and online chat.

Shares in Jumia, Africa’s largest ecommerce retailer are set to start trading in New York on Friday 12 April. Hopefully this will be the start for other tech start-ups from the Continent to start trading on the NY Stock Exchange. Jumia is hoping that by listing up to 18% of its shares, it will achieve “unicorn” status (a technology start-up worth $1bn-plus). The so-called “Africa’s Amazon” has 4 million customers on the Continent. MTN which is a big shareholder in Jumia is said to be preparing to unload its shares in order to reduce its debt.

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