OneWattSolar, a startup using digital solutions built on a Blockchain platform to provide off-grid renewable energy has issued a ₦10 billion ($24.33 million) bond to deploy clean energy across sub-Saharan Africa.
Announced July 1, 2021, the Green Bond Issuance programme includes a seven-year Green Sukuk issue of ₦1 billion ($2.4 million).
The bond issuance was led by Comercio Partners, a Lagos-based investment bank and supported by Nigerian Shari’ah complaint fund manager, Marble Capital Limited.
We spoke with Jubril Adeojo, co-founder and COO of OWS and he says issuing bonds will help accelerate growth and “attract institutional investors interested in investing in the green economy”
According to him, the kind of projects the company is embarking on requires long-term funding, making the bond issuance a logical move.
Interestingly, this is the first Corporate Green Sukuk in Africa and the first Corporate Green Bond for an off-grid renewable energy project.
Adeojo says OWS is setting a standard for corporate organisations hoping to get to issue a Green Sukuk Bond.
When asked what qualified the company for the bond issuance, he attributed it to the bankable business model and track record in Nigeria’s renewable energy space.
He also stated the role of Financial Sector Deepening Africa (FSD), — a UK-funded development agency strengthening financial markets in sub-Saharan Africa — in providing technical assistance to OWS.
Why Sukuk? The co-founder says it is to “make history and appeal to Islamic investors to participate in the issuance.”
One company, several partners
In describing OWS’s business model, Adeojo says it’s like Uber, but for energy services.
“We partner with a lot of solar companies across the continent that carry out installation and maintenance. What we do is to provide the hardware like, solar panels, inverters, and software to enable the hardware to run seamlessly.”
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Blockchain are some of the software used by OWS to facilitate services like payments and monitoring.
Breaking down the process of how OWS operates, Adeojo says there are brokers that source for clients and solar companies that install hardware.
Through this model he claims, the company creates jobs for young engineers.
Supervised by the solar companies, these engineers can also be part of the installation process individually. In addition, they’ll also be in charge of maintenance, meaning they’ll keep earning as long as the installed hardware is in use.
The vision of the renewable energy company is to deploy 14,000 megawatts of off-grid renewable energy across sub-Saharan Africa to decarbonise the region’s energy sector.
According to the United Nations (UN) Fact Sheet on Climate Change, “Africa is the continent’s most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change,” with 0.8 metric tons of carbon emissions per capita in the year 2000.
However, Adeojo says OWS has partnered with solar companies and installers to deploy over 50 megawatts of renewable energy across Nigeria.
With this issuance, the company can accelerate its vision of installing 14,000 megawatts of clean energy in sub-Saharan Africa by 2030.
While this isn’t the first time an African startup has resorted to bonds for funding, it’s a relatively new phenomenon. Only time will tell if it’s one that’ll catch on.
South Korea leads the globe in 5G download speeds, 10x faster than the US
The report added that the speeds in the region can reach up to 449 Mbps (5G median download speeds).
South Korea is one of the few nations that have widely adopted 5G networking. But apart from just being one of the first, it is also the nation that is capable of offering the true capabilities of the newer and faster telecommunication generation.
According to a SpeedCheck report, the country is the number 1 in the world in terms of download speeds. The report added that the speeds in the region can reach up to 449 Mbps (5G median download speeds). This result was found as per tests conducted during the period of February and March 2021. On the other hand, the median 5G download speeds in the US only amounts to 43.4 Mbps, which is about ten times slower than their Korean carrier counterparts. Additionally, the US also has a much lower 5G penetration at only 10 per cent compared to South Korea’s 20 per cent.
The high speeds, in turn, implies that people in South Korea are likely to have a better 5G experience with download times of big files, a more immersive VR/AR experience, and even while playing online video games. Notably, the runner up in the list for the region with the fastest 5G download speeds was Taiwan, which only managed to achieve a median speed of 135.36 Mbps. This is still significantly behind the speeds offered by telecom carriers in South Korea.
The report also did a price comparison between networks of the US and South Korea. Data found that people in the US paid around 1.5 US Dollars per gigabyte, while South Koreans paid 2.3 US Dollars per gigabyte. While the number is higher, the networking speed difference between the two seems to make up for the price value overall. SpeedCheck also believes that price is not a constraint for US citizens if they can avail themselves of much faster networking speeds.
Tech giants Apple and Amazon faces anti-trust investigation in Spain
Amazon said in a statement that it was fully collaborating with the authority on this issue, while Apple in Spain didn’t make a comment on this issue
The competition watchdog of Spain, CNMC, is investigating possible anti-competitive practices in the country by Apple and Amazon related to the online sales of electronic devices, reports Reuters.
In a public statement, CNMC said that it had opened disciplinary proceedings over possible unlawful conduct by both companies that would also include possible restrictions on the Amazon website in Spain. It adds: “(Restrictions) would affect the retail sale of Apple products by third parties and the advertising of competing Apple products, leading to a reduced competition in the Internet retail market for electronic products.”
Amazon said in a statement that it was fully collaborating with the authority on this issue, while Apple in Spain didn’t make a comment on this issue. It’s not yet known how long the agency will take to probe this case by CNMC’s proceedings open a maximum period of 18 months for the investigation and resolution of the case.
The big tech firms have caught the attention of antitrust regulators in several regions in recent times. Recently, the German antitrust regulator confirmed that it is looking into Apple for competition law regulations, making it the fourth investigation into a large digital firm, after cases looking into Facebook, Amazon, and Google before.
The Competition and Markets Authority in the United Kingdom has also launched an investigation, looking into whether the Google and Apple duopoly had suppressed competition and innovation. There was also the six-bill package debated recently by the U.S. House which would help to stop the dominance of these big tech companies.
Apple and Intel to debut TSMC 3nm chip technology in 2022: Report
Intel is also expected to be one of the first to debut TSMC’s 3nm process technology. The report stated that the chipmaker has already begun testing their chip designs with a 3nm process
Apple and Intel will be the first to debut the 3nm chip technology from TSMC. A new report has claimed that the iPhone maker will launch its next-generation iPad Pro in 2022, with the latest technology, while Intel is also expected to launch its own chips using this advanced process.
According to a NikkeiAsia report, the Cupertino based giant would debut the world’s largest contract chipmaker’s latest advanced process tech in its 2022 iPad Pro model. The shift to 3nm from the current-gen 5nm is expected to offer a 10 to 15 per cent jump in performance along with a 25 per cent to 30 per cent reduction in power consumption. In other words, it brings improvements that could make the new iPad Pro more powerful and efficient.
Interestingly, this also means that Apple would also mark the second time the brand unveiled its latest chipset in its new iPad lineup rather than its flagship iPhone series. At the moment, it is unclear if the company would unveil its latest chipset with its iPad Air or iPad Pro models next year. Similarly, Intel is also expected to be one of the first to debut TSMC’s 3nm process technology. The report stated that the chipmaker has already begun testing their chip designs with a 3nm process
Furthermore, the company is expected will start commercial production of the chips during the second half of next year. This would enable the firm to make up for lost ground in the chip market in recent years. Notably, the report added that the “chip volume planned for Intel is more than that for Apple’s iPad using the 3nm process.”