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Drew Durbin’s Wave becomes Africa’s latest tech unicorn after $200-million Series-A funding round

The investment is the largest-ever Series-A funding round raised by an Africa-based startup.

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Wave Co-Founder Drew Durbin.

U.S. and Senegalese mobile money platform Wave has raised a $200-million Series-A funding round valued at $1.7 billion, ushering it among Africa’s tech unicorns.

TechCrunch reported the investment as the largest-ever Series-A funding round raised by an Africa-based startup.

The investment was led by top Sequoia Heritage, a subsidiary of the Sequoia brand, Founders Fund, Stripe and Ribbit Capital. 

Other existing investors that partook in the round include Partech Africa and Sam Altman (the former CEO of Y Combinator and the current CEO of OpenAI).

Wave was co-founded in 2018 by Drew Durbin and Lincoln Quirk, who also co-founded Sendwave, an Africa-focused digital remittance provider.

Wave aims to bridge the financial inclusion gap on the continent, as it moves “to build a better, much more affordable mobile money service than the telecoms are building throughout much of Sub-Saharan Africa,” Durbin was quoted as saying.  

The latest fund will drive the company’s expansion plan across the region, which holds an over 50-percent unbanked adult population.

In a statement, Altman said he was super-impressed with the founders’ ability to figure out what users want and how to grow. “I think the company is solving the most important problem around money transfer in Africa and fixing the inefficient agent networks,” he said.

Sendwave

Ismail Ahmed, Somaliland billionaire and founder of Africa’s largest remittance channel, WorldRemit, bought Sendwave for $500 million in cash and stock. 

The app is a secured platform that guarantees money transfers from North America and Europe to numerous countries in Africa and Asia.

Following the acquisition, the duo channeled their resources into developing Wave, a spinoff from Sendwave.

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Egyptian billionaire Yasseen Mansour gains $1.86 million in 74 days from Palm Hills stake

Mansou owns a sizable 5.6-percent stake in the Cairo-based real estate firm.

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Egyptian billionaire Yasseen Mansour. ©Billionaires.Africa

Egyptian billionaire Yasseen Mansour has recorded a EGP35.6-million ($1.86 million) boost in his net worth in the past 74 days, as shares in Palm Hills Development increased by nearly 19 percent in reaction to the company’s recently released first-quarter results.

Palm Hills Development, an operating subsidiary of Egypt’s largest conglomerate, Mansour Group, is a well-known real estate developer with active investments in Egypt. The company develops integrated residential, commercial, and resort communities.

Mansour, the chairman of Palm Hills Development and one of Egypt’s and Africa’s wealthiest individuals, owns a sizable 5.6-percent stake in the Cairo-based real estate firm.

The Egyptian real estate developer revealed that its profit increased by more than 40 percent in the first quarter of 2022, from EGP217.4 million ($11.36 million) in the first quarter of 2021 to EGP305.8 million ($16 million), owing to sustained growth in demand for properties in Egypt.

As a result of the firm’s strong financial performance, investors on the Egyptian Stock Exchange increased their buying interest in Palm Hills shares, resulting in an 18.6-percent increase in the firm’s stock price from EGP1.13 ($0.059) on June 1 to EGP1.34 ($0.07) on Aug. 14.

Mansour’s 5.6-percent stake in Palm Hills Development has increased in value over the past 74 days, from EGP191.94 million ($10 million) to EGP227.6 million ($11.89 million) at the time of writing.

This equates to a total gain of EGP35.6 million ($1.86 million) for the Egyptian billionaire, who ranks as one of the wealthiest men on the African continent, alongside his brothers Mohamed Mansour and Youssef Mansour, both of whom own Mansour Group and Palm Hills Development.

His net worth is estimated at $1.1 billion, making him one of Africa’s wealthiest businessmen.

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Nigerian billionaire Abdul Samad Rabiu unveils $23.8-million security support fund

It is the single largest donation to a philanthropic cause made by a Nigerian businessman.

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Abdul Samad Rabiu. ©Billionaires.Africa

Nigerian billionaire businessman Abdul Samad Rabiu has announced the creation of the N10-billion ($23.8 million) Nigeria Security Support Fund through his philanthropic organization, the Abdul Samad Rabiu Africa Initiative (ASR Africa). He unveiled the project during a meeting with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari at the Aso Rock presidential residence in Abuja.

Rabiu launched the initiative to provide security equipment and medical and other supplies to the families of soldiers fighting terrorists in Nigeria’s northeast, and to strengthen local infrastructure.

The contribution marks the single largest donation to a philanthropic cause made by a Nigerian businessman, and follows the $3-million development initiative that Rabiu launched in Niger three weeks ago through ASR Africa. Last week, Rabiu received the Commander of the Order of Merit of Niger Award in recognition of his contributions to the country of Niger and its people.

Rabiu also praised Buhari for creating an enabling environment for businesses to thrive. He cited policies implemented by his administration, which, he said, aided the growth of his manufacturing conglomerate, BUA Group, which is one of the continent’s fastest-growing commercial groups.

He also promised to support the administration’s efforts in industrial development and security.

Rabiu established ASR Africa in April 2021 to promote long-term, impact-driven solutions to developmental issues affecting health, educational, and social development across Africa.

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Led by South African mogul Neal Froneman, Sibanye-Stillwater slashes output target for U.S. mines

The news comes nearly two months after it suspended operations in Montana for seven weeks.

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Neal Froneman.

Sibanye-Stillwater has reduced its output forecast this year for its palladium and platinum mines in Montana by more than 20 percent due to operational challenges caused by regional floods.

Sibanye-Stillwater is a multinational precious metal mining company based in South Africa. Under the leadership of CEO Neal Froneman, the company is involved in gold and base metals mining in South Africa and the Americas.

The South African mining company has reduced its output forecast for its palladium and platinum mines in Montana to 445,000 to 460,000 ounces in 2022 from 550,000 to 580,000 ounces earlier this year.

The decision to reduce its output forecast comes nearly two months after it suspended operations in Montana for seven weeks due to regional floods that disrupted operations on June 13.

Stillwater’s Montana mine accounts for ab08t 60 percent of the mined production from its U.S. PGM operations.

Aside from operational challenges, the decision to reduce its output forecast can be linked to expectations that the palladium market will swing into surplus by the middle of this decade, necessitating operational repositioning in the event of future price weakness.

“Hence, with our view of the palladium market plus the macroeconomic environment we are going to be dealing with going forward, we really need to reconsider what’s the best way of extracting value out of the assets,” Froneman said.

The company’s cautious approach may also result in the postponement of spending on its Blitz project in Montana, as Froneman stated: “It just doesn’t seem to make good or smart commercial sense to spend millions or billions on a capital project that will deliver into price weakness in the future.”

Shares in the mining firm closed trading on Friday at R40.68 ($2.52), 6.14-percent lower than their opening price on the local bourse, in response to the decision to cut its output forecast in the United States, while maintaining the output profile for its operations in South Africa.

Sibanye-Stillwater’s market cap is R115 billion ($7.1 billion) at current prices, while Froneman’s minority 0.074-percent stake in the company is valued at R85.1 million ($5.26 million).

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