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PEG Africa is raising $4 million in debt facility for Senegal growth

Izunna Okpala

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Pay-as-you-go (PAYG) solar company based in West Africa “PEG Africa” has continued an impressive fundraising year to allow it to expand its operations in Senegal.

PEG Africa is a pioneer in households and small and medium-sized enterprises solar installation and financing in West Africa. This allows consumers to replace their constant spending on polluting fuels of poor quality such as kerosene and diesel with solar energy through its PAYG financing system. PEG is currently serving over 400,000 daily users in Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire and Senegal, and has recently expanded into solar water irrigation and bigger solar power systems.

The company has finished its first 12 months in Senegal profitable, and has now allocated US$4 million from a debt facility led by UK’s CDC Group to expand operations in Senegal.

Over the past year, the company raised approximately US$ 30 million in funding, including a US$ 25 million Series C round revealed in January, backed by a US$ 15 million multi-currency facility led by CDC Group, the UK’s development finance agency, as well as SunFunder and ResponsAbility. The same facility led by CDC Group has now provided $4M debt capital to PEG to finance its growth in Senegal.

PEG already has thousands of customers in Senegal, and the latest round of investment will be used to double down on the growth it has seen in the country.

“Senegal has been growing far quicker than expected, and has reached profitably within its first year,” said PEG Africa chief executive officer (CEO) Hugh Whalan.

“With the continued backing of CDC Group, we expect our growth in Senegal to continue. Importantly, we believe that we will be able to apply our learnings and expansion playbook to yield superior results as we grow into future markets.”

“CDC is pleased to back PEG Africa to help fuel their expansion in Senegal. We’re proud of our partnership with PEG, which is bringing the phenomenal impact of pay-as-you-go solar to new and underserved markets in West Africa with a focus on financial sustainability and innovation,” said Geoffrey Manley, Director, Head of Energy Access & Efficiency at CDC Group.

This funding announcement comes on the heels of the US$5 million debt funding from ElectriFI last month. Whalan said the fact the company was increasingly raising debt as opposed to equity investment, and its ability to secure multiple facilities from well regarded lenders like CDC Group, was a testament to the increasing strength and financial sustainability of its business.

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Facebook is experimenting with prompts that ask users whether they are concerned that a friend is ‘becoming an extremist.’

Izunna Okpala

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Facebook app

In the United States, some Facebook (FB) users are receiving a prompt asking if they are concerned that someone they know is becoming radical. Others are being alerted about the possibility of being exposed to extremist information.
It’s all part of a test that Facebook is conducting as part of its Redirect Initiative, which tries to tackle violent extremism.

This experiment is part of a wider project to see how we can provide tools and help to people on Facebook who have interacted with or been exposed to extremist content, or who know someone who is.

“Are you concerned that someone you know is becoming an extremist?” one of the notifications reads, a screen grab of which went viral on social media Thursday.

According to a screenshot shared on social media, the alert stated, “We care about avoiding extremism on Facebook.” “Others in your situation have gotten discreet help,” she says.
The user is then directed to a support page by the alert.

Another alert reads, “Violent groups try to use your anger and disillusionment.” “You have the ability to protect yourself and others right now.”
The user is also redirected to a help page as a result of the notice.

Facebook is sending users to a range of resources, including Life After Hate, an advocacy group that helps people quit violent far-right movements.

Over the last few years, Facebook has been blasted by detractors for failing to take sufficient steps to combat extremist content on its platform. For example, in 2020, the firm was chastised for failing to take down a militia group’s Facebook page, which encouraged armed residents to go to the streets of Kenosha, Wisconsin.

The company has also committed to do a better job of preventing the spread of false information and conspiracy theories. In May, Facebook’s independent oversight board encouraged the corporation to look into the role of its platform in the January 6 uprising.

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YouTube Is Redesigning Its Descriptions for the Web, With a Greater Focus on Comments

Izunna Okpala

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YouTube is reportedly putting a new description section on the Web to the test. The revamp aims to make the comments, video view count, publish date, and video description more prominent. The video description, which presently appears beneath the YouTube channel name, will now appear directly beneath the video title. Other improvements are being tested as well, with the goal of putting a greater emphasis on user comments. When these modifications will be available to all Web users is unknown.

The view counts and published date are much bolder than previously, appearing just below the video title. The video description appears right after the publication date and requires more concise content than before. If the video description is too long, the new design makes it appear tight, and if it spills over to the second line, a “Show More” option emerges. With this makeover, the ability to create connections may be more challenging. Depending on the size of the window, buttons for like, unlike, share, and save show next to the video description. In a barely drawn area below the view count is the channel name. The number of comments and the top comment are both noted in different boxes next to it.

The option to add a new comment will be located just below the channel name, followed by other less popular comments located beneath the video. This redesigned description for YouTube Web users is still in beta and is only visible to a select users at a time. There is no guarantee that it will be commercially available, and Google may decide to scrap it during the development phase. The design is also a little confusing and cluttered, and Google may make some changes before deciding to give it out to everyone.

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Binance Faces Criminal Complaint From Thailand’s Securities and Exchange Commission for Operating Without Licence

Izunna Okpala

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The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of Thailand has filed a criminal complaint against cryptocurrency exchange Binance for operating a digital asset business without a license, the latest in a series of crackdowns on the platform around the world.

The SEC said on Friday that “it was discovered that Binance has provided platform services for trading or exchanging digital assets via its website…” Only licensed organizations are authorized to provide services linked to digital asset trading in Thailand, according to the country’s regulator.

A request for comment from Binance was not immediately returned. Last Monday, the UK’s financial watchdog restricted Binance from engaging in regulated activities in the country.

The company has previously stated that it takes its regulatory commitments seriously and is dedicated to following them everywhere it operates.

© Thomson Reuters 2021

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