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Court adjourns Binance tax evasion case till April 19

The scuffle between the Nigerian government and Binance is becoming hard to keep up with. 

Two days ago, Binance asked the Nigerian government to let its people go. Tigran Gambaryan, who has been detained for about five weeks since flying into the country to resolve Binance’s restricted website access made his first appearance in court yesterday after being charged with a tax evasion charge. 

ICYMI: Gambaryan was charged alongside Binance’s Kenya-based regional manager for Africa, Nadeem Anjarwalla, who fled Nigeria on March 22, by Nigeria’s tax agency, the Federal Inland Revenue Service. Gambaryan, the former US agent will reappear in court on April 19 after a Nigerian High Court adjourned the case till then.

The FIRS also charged Binance for failing to register with it, alongside four other charges: nonpayment of corporate income tax and value-added tax, failure to file tax returns, and cooperation in helping users of its website avoid paying taxes. A Nigerian high court, yesterday adjourned the company’s tax evasion court case till April 8.

An impending suit: Gambaryan, who is yet to get the final ruling on his tax evasion case, is the subject of a potential money laundering charge by Nigeira’s anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC).

It appears there is no love lost between Gambaryan, leader of Binance’s Financial Crime Compliance unit and the EFCC who claimed to have buddied up to fight fraud and money laundering activities in the country. Premium Times, yesterday reported that the EFCC planned a money laundering charge against Gambrayan, but the anti-graft agency faced a stern battle with Gambrayan’s lawyer who argued that Binance, the company, should be the target of the money laundering lawsuit, not Gambaryan himself.

Gambrayan’s lawyer based his argument on the fact that only the representative of a company in Nigeria could be charged individually for a suit. He argued first that Binance had no physical presence in Nigeria and that Gambaryan did not qualify as an agent of Binance in Nigeria.

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Kenya launches new EV policy

Startups across the continent are justling for a top spot in Africa’s nascent electric vehicle (EV) industry. Last year, Possible EVs set up shop in Nigeria to produce up to 10,000 EVs annually. Spiro, an e-mobility company, also signed a $63 million debt financing to fund two electric motorcycle assembly and battery manufacturing plants in Benin and Togo in 2024. Roam, an EV company recently introduced Kenya’s first locally manufactured electric bus.

And now, Kenya is setting the stage to attract more EV manufacturers into the country.

The news: Yesterday, Kenya launched a national e-mobility draft policy to promote the local manufacturing and assembly of electric vehicles (EVs).

The policy, done in collaboration with the state’s trade and investment ministry, will help facilitate the production of EV components and support local battery manufacturing, recycling, and repurposing efforts. 

The big picture: While the new policy will help reduce Kenya’s reliance on petroleum for its mobility needs and save on petroleum import bills, the e-mobility draft policy is also coming at a time when electric buses are becoming a part of the daily lives of Kenyans. Roam’s electric buses now serve as commute vehicles for Kenyans. The company is also planning to introduce electric buses for Nairobi’s bus rapid transit (BRT) system.

Ride-hailing companies are also in the mix. Uber partnered with Greenwheels Africa to make electric motorbike rentals available in the country. Similarly, Bolt recently invested KES100 million ($770,000) to integrate e-mobility solutions into its services in Kenya. 

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Nigeria to develop National AI Strategy Framework

Yesterday, Nigeria’s minister of communications, innovation and digital economy, Bosun Tijani, faced a bit of fire on social media.

Why? The minister had announced, on Wednesday, that the country will collaborate with 120 researchers, startups and stakeholders to create a plan for implementing AI across the country. These experts would come up with this framework at the National Artificial Intelligence Strategy Workshop scheduled to be held from April 15 to 18, 2024 in Abuja. 

So why is Tijani facing fire? According to social media, AI is the least of Nigeria’s problems. One poster said, “We don’t even have the basic infrastructure to build AI frameworks on.” Another tweeted, “How do you start researching AI when you don’t have electricity? How will you power the AI?”

Nigeria’s tech minister, however, had some answers: Per Tijani, the aim is to co-create a multi-year strategy and action plan for research and AI adoption in the country and a framework for AI adoption in the country. 

“The need to coordinate and harness the power of AI for national development is a critical element in our journey towards the use of technology to accelerate productivity in our country,” he stated. Tijani emphasised that this was an opportunity to leverage AI, noting its transformative impact on agriculture, education, healthcare, and productivity.

The minister highlights that one of the earliest initiatives from the start of his term in office was to properly define and outline a comprehensive Artificial Intelligence Strategy for Nigeria.

This isn’t the first time Tijani’s AI ambitions have rubbed Nigerians the wrong way: Earlier in February, after Tijani spoke about Nigeria’s future with AI, Printivo founder Oluyomi Ojo noted, in a tweet, “If as a nation you can’t feed your 200m people and keep lights on. You have no business discussing AI. You can’t AI your way out of multi-dimension properly. We can have pockets of talents or small wins here and there but ain’t no way AI will drive your economy.”

Other experts, however, think Nigeria is ripe for AI: “AI development is happening around the world in real-time. If Nigeria does not take its place, it will be left with the crumbs,” said Kehinde Olateru, CEO and Co-Founder of Zero Complex AI, in an interview with TechCabal last month. 

One report by Diplomacy states that the AI industry is growing across Africa with over 2,400 companies specialising in AI, 41% of which are startups and estimates indicate that the technology could contribute $1.5 billion to the continent’s GDP by 2030. Globally, an increasing number of governments are releasing national AI strategies, setting objectives to capitalise on the technology’s opportunities while addressing its challenges. Already, Egypt, Mauritius and Rwanda have published national AI strategies

Despite the proliferation of artificial intelligence (AI) in Africa being on the rise, the readiness of countries on the continent is below the global average with “21 out of the 25 lowest scores belonging to Sub-Saharan African countries” according to the Government AI Readiness Index 2022 by Oxford Insights.

As per the Index findings, Mauritius emerges as the leading African government prepared for AI, securing a score of 53.38 out of 100 and claiming the 57th spot globally. Following closely, Egypt ranks second in Africa and 65th worldwide, surpassing South Africa, Tunisia, Morocco, Kenya, Rwanda, Seychelles, and Nigeria. Botswana rounds out the list of the top 10 African countries poised for AI readiness.

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TC Insights

Funding tracker

BURN Manufacturing (BURN), a renewable energy company based in Kenya, raised over $12 million in carbon financing via private equity. The funding round was led by Key Carbon Ltd. and backed by Cartesian. 

Here are other deals for the week:

  • Zeepay, a Ghana-based fintech, closed a $3 million equity investment from Verdant Capital Hybrid Fund. 
  • Kenyan electric bus startup BasiGo secured $3 million worth of equity funding from CFAO Group. 

Before you go, our State Of Tech In Africa Report for Q4 2023 is out. Click this link to download it.

Follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn for more funding announcements. You can also visit DealFlow, our real-time funding tracker.

Crypto Tracker

The World Wide Web3


Coinmarketcap logo

Coin Name

Current Value



Bitcoin $67,932

+ 3.46%

– 0.19%

Ether $3,282

– 0.03%

– 11.59%



– 13.20%

– 27.81%

Solana $177.26

– 2.32%

+ 43.94%

* Data as of 05:45 AM WAT, April 5, 2024.


  • Come and get an exclusive scoop into the State of Tech in Africa in Q1 2024. On April 12 by 11 AM (WAT), TechCabal will launch its SOTIA report which spotlights important trends in Q1 2024 while also delving deeper into the nitty gritty of various happenings in Africa’s Tech Space. As a stakeholder in Africa’s Tech Ecosystem, these insights will help you position strategically and uniquely to harness the innovative progress within this sector. You don’t want to miss this. Register here now to make sure!
  • The second edition of TechCabal’sMoonshot Conference is set for October 9–11, 2024, at the Eko Convention Centre, Lagos, Nigeria. Moonshot will assemble Africa’s biggest thinkers, players and problem solvers on a global launchpad for change. If you want to join the stakeholders in Africa’s tech ecosystem for three days of insightful conversations, then get an early-bird ticket at 20% off
  • Nigeria’s biggest women-only festival, Hertitude, is back for a third time. For those new to the scene, Zikoko brings all the girls to the yard every year to let their hair down, form bonds and celebrate what it means to be a hot babe. It’s happening on April 20, 2024, in Lagos and will feature everything from talent shows and karaoke sessions to spa services, live music performances and an afterparty. Click here to get tickets.
  • Attention all music lovers! On Saturday, May 11, 2024, Zikoko wants you outside for a day of link-ups, games, drinks and live performances at Muri Okunola Park, Lagos. Strings Attached is an opportunity for friends to reconnect, lovers to bond and individuals to make friends and build community. To get a free ticket, download the Onebank by Sterling App and sign up using ZIKOKO as the referral code. You’ll get your ticket in your email once tickets are available. Click here to get the app.

Written by: Towobola Bamgbose & Faith Omoniyi

Edited by: Timi Odueso

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