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Kenyan Micro-Insurtech Startup Raises $2 Million in Seed Funding

According to Turaco, the fund will be used to fund the drive growth in its current locations of Kenya and Uganda and facilitate expansion into a third market by next year.

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Kenyan micro-insurtech startup, Turaco, has raised $2 million in seed funding as it seeks to expand further into Sub-Saharan Africa.

This is coming just days after Kuda, a FinTech startup in Nigeria that operates a popular mobile-first challenger bank for consumers and small businesses, has announced that it has raised $10 million, the biggest seed round ever to be raised in Africa.

Recently also, a new report released recently by Google and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), have estimated that Africa’s Internet Economy has the potential to reach 5.2% of the continent’s gross domestic product (GDP) by 2025, contributing nearly $180 billion to its economy.

Investors who took part in the funding include Novastar Ventures, Mercy Corps Ventures, Musha Ventures, GAN Ventures, and Zephyr Acorn.

Related: Nigeria’s Fintech Kuda Secures $10M in Seed Funding

According to Turaco, the fund will be used to fund the drive growth in its current locations of Kenya and Uganda and facilitate expansion into a third market by next year. The financial support will also facilitate developing the next stage of Turaco’s proprietary technology and recruitment of key hires to position the business for continued growth in 2021.  

Founded in 2018, Turaco is an insurtech business that partners with local companies and mobile lending organizations to provide medical cover to unserved and underserved communities. 

The startup offers life and health insurance products distributed through partnerships. Its offering is based on a subscription model through which consumers can opt for automated medical policy renewals bundled with their existing payments, similar to bank loans or ride-hailing services. 

In December last year, the startup raised $1.2 million to expand into new markets and cement position in existing markets, and pursue partnerships with businesses, mobile lending organizations, and fintech companies.

 

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Air Djibouti Boeing 737 Suffers Gear Collapse During Landing

A total of 44 people including 5 crew members were onboard the aircraft.

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An Air Djibouti Boeing 737-500 narrowly avoided a fatal crash, after it suffered the collapse of its main landing gear at Garowe Airport in Somalia.

The 28-year-old aircraft with registration EY-560 was operating from Hargeisa, Somalia to Garowe.

The flight which originated in Djibouti was destined for Mogadishu, the Somali capital with stops in Hargeisa and Garowe.

During the landing at Garowe Airport, it suffered the collapse of the right-hand main gear at low speed and veered off the runway to the right.

A total of 44 people including 5 crew members were onboard the aircraft.

Reports say that the airport has not had an operating fire truck for about 2 months now. Consequently, it could not respond to the incident, although smoke coming out of the landing gear was eventually contained. 

No injuries were reported in the incident. However, the aircraft has sustained serious damage. The runway has been closed after the incident.

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Turkish Airlines Opens New Cargo Route to Namibia

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Namibia’s Airports Company (NAC) on Wednesday said Turkish Airlines has commenced scheduled cargo operation once a week on Istanbul-Johannesburg-Windhoek route.

The newly commenced cargo route is operational under the Bilateral Air Service Agreements (BASA) between Namibia and Turkey to promote international commercial air transport services and businesses between the two countries.

NAC’s CEO, Bisey Uirab, also welcomed the Turkish Airline at the country’s flagship airport, Airport Hosea Kutako International Airport (HKIA), amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are excited to have Turkish Airlines onboard during these tough times and the establishment of this new route will add value to the enhancement of promoting Namibia as the logistic hub,” Serkan Sonmez, Turkish Airlines cargo sales director for Africa said.

“The Turkish Airlines is looking forward to strengthening the export trade between Turkey and Namibia and believed that we can support the export market with service and expectation they deserve.’’

Airlines now operating at HKIA since September include Air Namibia, Airlink, FlyWestair, Ethiopian Airways, Euro wings and now Turkish Airlines.

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Eskom Faces R5-Million Fine Over Kendal Power Station Pollution

On Friday, South Africa’s Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, Barbara Creecy notified Eskom of the decision by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to pursue criminal prosecution.

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Eskom could face fines of up to R5-million under South Africa’s air quality legislation for supplying blatantly false and misleading information about its toxic pollution at the Kendal coal-fired power station to authorities.

On 28th January 2021, the state-owned energy utility will appear in the Emalahleni regional court on four counts of environmental transgressions.

On Friday 27th November, South Africa’s Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, Barbara Creecy notified Eskom of the decision by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to pursue criminal prosecution.

The four counts, according to the department, are related to the emission of air pollutants at concentrations exceeding emission limits set in Kendal’s atmospheric emission licence (AEL); failure to comply with the conditions and/or the requirements of the AEL; committing an act likely to cause significant pollution of the environment, and supplying false and/or misleading information to an air quality officer.

Albi Modise, the Chief Director of Communications at the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, says the “criminal investigation as well as the compliance notice, read with the minister’s objection decision, is based on the findings of previous site inspections” undertaken at Kendal, which is one of the country’s biggest power stations.

Read also: Electricity blackout to linger till Thursday in SA – Eskom

This is the first criminal investigation where the National Prosecuting Authority has decided to pursue a prosecution for a breach of air quality legislation by Eskom.

Business management consultancy EE Business Intelligence reported this week on the findings of an internal investigation compiled by Eskom’s audit and forensic team into Kendal’s air quality compliance and reporting.

This was instituted by the power utility’s chief executive officer, Andre de Ruyter in May.

The internal investigation found that exceedances of particulate matter atmospheric emissions of up to 10 times the allowable limit of 100mg/Nm3 occurred consistently for extended periods over the past two years at Kendal and that this was having a significant impact on people and the environment.

Between April last year and 31 March this year, EE Business Intelligence reported that the investigation found continuous and almost daily particulate matter emission exceedances by all six generation units at Kendal power station of up to 13 times the statutory particulate matter emission limit.

Related: Eskom’s bid for bigger tariffs rejected by South African court

Modise says that Eskom’s internal report notwithstanding, the department had already instituted both criminal and administrative enforcement action based on evidence that the company was in noncompliance with environmental law.

“Furthermore, and on the face of it, the contents of this report seemingly support the charges, which Eskom is currently facing,” says Modise.

Energy analyst Chris Yelland, the managing director of EE Business Intelligence, believes Eskom itself will have to face the music.

“It’s interesting as to whether people will face these consequences in their personal capacity or in their capacity as employees of Eskom. I will imagine that Eskom may be subject to sanctions. Obviously, that’s a matter for the court to decide. Frankly, there are people who bear responsibility both at the power station and at Eskom Megawatt Park,” Yelland said.

“Eskom uses load-shedding as a threat: ‘If you shut us down because we’re in non-compliance, we could have load-shedding’. But [Minister] Creecy has avoided this through phased-in shutdowns of units at Kendal,” Yelland said.

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