Flutterwave Enables New Europe-Africa Payment Corridors via Stellar

Stellar ecosystem expands with more efficient cross-border payment and remittance flows from Europe to Africa

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 25, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Today, the Stellar Development Foundation (SDF) announced that Flutterwave, a global payments technology company, has launched two new remittance corridors between Europe and Africa on the Stellar network. Working with TEMPO, Flutterwave is leveraging the Stellar network and Stellar USDC to simplify remittances in Africa.

Flutterwave x Stellar

Opening these new corridors will greatly benefit businesses focused on building more efficient, cost-effective remittance services, contributing to a stronger, more inclusive Pan-African digital payments infrastructure. Flutterwave plans to extend Stellar-based capabilities to additional African countries as it continues to grow the number of currencies it supports.

“It is more expensive to send money to sub-Saharan Africa than to any other region in the world,” said Olugbenga Agboola, CEO at Flutterwave. “Our new payment corridors on Stellar will allow us to continue expanding the Flutterwave network to bring all-important, cost-effective money transfer services to African business owners.”

Connecting Stellar-based businesses like Flutterwave and TEMPO — which also has a significant, complementary user base in Africa — creates an efficient and affordable Pan-African payments infrastructure, supporting the Stellar Development Foundation’s mission to create equitable access to the global financial system. With these payment rails in place, Stellar continues to establish itself as a mature, viable digital alternative to traditionally lengthy and expensive methods for sending remittances.

Stellar Development Foundation Logo

According to TEMPO CEO, Suren Ayriyan, “We’re excited to partner with Flutterwave to extend our service ecosystem into Africa using Stellar rails. Customers across Europe will be able to send funds faster and at a lower cost to support their families and conduct business in Africa, landing funds right into their local bank account. We hope to continue working with Stellar anchors to exponentially increase our currency corridors and offerings, providing cheap, secure and fast global money transfers to all TEMPO customers, both existing and new.”

“This partnership marks a further step in our efforts to harness the power of technology to make financial services more inclusive and affordable for underbanked individuals worldwide,” said Denelle Dixon, CEO and Executive Director of the Stellar Development Foundation. “Flutterwave is doing important work in a region that has been historically underserved, and SDF is committed to helping them create a tangible impact on financial access and inclusion across the African continent and beyond.”

About Flutterwave
Flutterwave is a global payments technology company that helps businesses all over the world expand their operations in Africa and other emerging markets through a platform that enables cross-border transactions via one API. Flutterwave has processed over 140M transactions worth over USD $9B to date and serves more than 290,000 businesses including customers like Uber, Flywire, Booking.com, and Facebook. The Company’s key advantage is international payment processing in 150 currencies and multiple payment modes, including local and international cards, mobile wallets, bank transfers, and Barter by Flutterwave. Flutterwave has an infrastructure reach in over 33 African countries, including Nigeria, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, and South Africa. For more information on Flutterwave’s journey, please visit www.flutterwave.com.

About Stellar
Stellar is a decentralized, fast, scalable, and uniquely sustainable network for financial products and services. It is both a cross-currency transaction system and a platform for digital asset issuance, designed to connect the world’s financial infrastructure. Financial institutions worldwide issue assets and settle payments on the Stellar network, which has grown to over 5 million accounts.

About the Stellar Development Foundation
The Stellar Development Foundation (SDF) is a non-profit organization that supports the development and growth of Stellar, an open-source network that connects the world’s financial infrastructure. Founded in 2014, the Foundation helps maintain Stellar’s codebase, supports the technical and business communities building on the network, and serves as a voice to regulators and institutions. The Foundation seeks to create equitable access to the global financial system, using the Stellar network to unlock the world’s economic potential through blockchain technology.

About TEMPO Payments
TEMPO Payments is a payment institution and the principal EU anchor for Stellar blockchain payments. As a cross-border transactions and settlements operator, TEMPO provides payment services for businesses worldwide and stands for the complete transparency of all operations, the immutability of records, high transaction speeds and highly competitive commission rates. The company’s mission is to build a unique payment ecosystem, allowing entrepreneurs to take their business to the next level of growth, by adopting disruptive fintech solutions and helping individuals to fully benefit from the next-gen financial services. For more information, visit https://payments.tempo.eu.com/whitelabel.

Photo – https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/1668284/Flutterwave_X_Stellar.jpg
Logo – https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/1096150/Stellar_Development_Foundation.jpg

Unique Network Raises $11.3 Million For Next-Generation NFT Infrastructure

The first NFT chain for Polkadot and Kusama offers greater flexibility for anyone who wants to build their own gallery or video game

LONDON, Oct. 25, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Unique Network, a next generation NFT chain for Polkadot and Kusama, announced today that it has raised $11.3 million in the second round of its pre-sale, bringing its total raised to $16M. The investment round was led by Web3 investment pioneers Outlier Ventures, who were joined by some of the most well-known NFT investors, including The LAO, Flamingo, Nalu Capital and over 200 other investors, including a number of follow-on investments from the previous round his funding round, especially with the quality and quantity of investors involved, has positioned Unique Network well for the upcoming launch of Quartz, its NFT chain for Kusama.

“Unique Network are trailblazing a new path for NFTs within Polkadot and Kusama’s ecosystem and we are incredibly excited to back them in their pursuit to increase the design space of NFTs.” – Chris Cable, FlamingoDAO

“Despite all the current buzz around NFTs, there is still a massive barrier to entry,” said Unique Network co-founder and CEO Alexander Mitrovich. “Gas fees, the need to purchase cryptocurrencies, storage, and even the fact that NFTs have limited features for artists to express their vision, all hold the industry back. Unique Network and our Kusama chain, Quartz, are built to solve the economic and storage problems with Ethereum-based NFTs and create new levels of interaction and malleability that will take NFTs to the next level.”

Unique Network will participate in the upcoming parachain auctions for Kusama, during which they aim to secure a parachain slot for Quartz, their new canary network for Kusama. Beginning on Wednesday October 27th, interested parties can participate in the crowdloan to help Quartz win the auction.

Quartz will be the first NFT infrastructure on Kusama, and is designed to enable the most powerful and advanced NFT functionality on the Kusama network. Quartz parachain on Kusama will allow anyone to build NFT marketplaces and experiences with interoperability between different blockchains, like Ethereum and EVM Based Chains and other notable NFT blockchains.

In the five months since its first investment round, Unique Network has announced various partnerships including with the UN-led DigitalArt4Climate Campaign with GloCha, RMRK, Art Curators Grid, Forever Has Fallen, and more. With the impending launch of Quartz, Unique Network will be able to help even more projects and artists develop their NFT marketplaces and experiences.

For more information, please visit Unique Network, and join us on Twitter and Telegram.

About Unique Network

Unique Network is a framework for the next generation of NFTs. The first NFT chain for Kusama and Polkadot, it offers developers independence from network-wide transaction fees and upgrades. The Unique Network team built Substrapunks, the first NFTs on Polkadot, won Hackusama in 2020, and created Substrate’s pallet for NFTs. Unique Network launched in July 2021.

For media inquiry, please contact: jo@serotonin.co

The people of Africa give the thumbs up to PowerChina

What did the Chinese engineering and construction firm do to earn such praise?

BEIJING, Oct. 25, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — A news report from CRI Online:

The ceremony for the completion of Masindi barracks hospital, constructed and donated to Uganda by PowerChina, was held on April 16, 2021. In addition, two other projects, DiiCunyii Hospital and Amaji Elementary School, are under construction and expected to be completed and delivered this year.

This is just a snapshot of PowerChina fulfilling its corporate social responsibilities in Africa.

In March 2020, with the onset of the rainy season, many rivers in western Kenya overflowed. PowerChina’s Nzoia Flood Control and Irrigation Project Department moved quickly to evacuate people, raise and reinforce the dam, and troubleshoot dangerous situations by using droneswhich protected the lives and property of the local people.

In August of the same year, a Japanese freighter ran aground in Mauritius and then began to leak oil, severely contaminating the surrounding area and pushing the African island country into an environmental emergency. A team of volunteers from Sinohydro’s local subsidiary urgently set off to the heavily polluted area and undertook a 3-day clean-up. Local residents gave a thumbs-up and said “Chinese people are very good.”

On July 23, 2021, the Kafue Gorge Lower Hydropower Station in Zambia, constructed by PowerChina, was connected to the grid and put into use. During the four years of implementation, the project had created more than 10,000 local jobs. By building power stations, the people of China and Zambia have made progress together and improved cultural exchanges, pulling the employees from both countries closer and establishing a deep friendship with each other.

PowerChina’s East and South Africa regional department covers Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Angola, as well as several other countries. With its endeavors in Africa, PowerChina has joined hands with local people to practice the value of common development.

Government-Backed Cooperation | GAC MOTOR as Public Transport Vehicles in Nigeria

GUANGZHOU, China, Oct. 25, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — After a successful recent meeting between Guangdong Governor and Lagos state Governer Mr. Babajid Sanwo-Olu, multiple forms of cooperation have been agreed. On October 11, 750 GAC MOTOR GS3s and 250 GA4s were shipped from Qingdao, China to Lagos, Nigeria, to be used by the Lagos State Government as vehicles for the public travel project “LAGOS RIDE”.

The signing ceremony between the Lagos state government and GAC MOTOR

Nigeria-Guangdong | A Strong Partnership
In recent years, the Nigerian government has increased its support for the automobile industry and is full of confidence in the development of Chinese brands in Nigeria. GAC MOTOR seized this opportunity and joined forces with CIG Motors, a local auto dealer, to introduce bestselling models including the GS3, GS4, GS8, GN8 and GA4 into Nigeria, attracting extensive attention in the local market. The implementation of this project is another major achievement for GAC MOTOR as the company works with overseas dealers to promote the steady development of the African market.

In order to improve local traffic and raise the living standards of residents, the Lagos state government officially launched “LAGOS RIDE”. The public transport project will provide ride-hailing services for locals. GAC MOTOR’s GS3 SUV and GA4 sedan, won the appreciation of the government with their excellent quality, comfort, appearance and performance. These two models were selected as the final models to be used in the project.

Babajid Sanwo-Olu, governor of Lagos State, and his party paid a special visit to Guangdong in November 2019, proposing to strengthen economic and trade cooperation between Nigerian and Guangdong enterprises. Before this project, GAC MOTOR had successfully promoted several major projects locally in Nigeria, including the construction of a GAC MOTOR car assembly plant, and the selection of GAC MOTOR vehicles as the official cars of Chinese diplomats in the region. With the strength of its brand and products, GAC MOTOR has won the recognition and trust of the government, and has become a form of “business card” for intelligent Chinese manufacturing in Nigeria. The brand embodies the spirit of Chinese craftsmanship; Nigeria is just one place this concept is shown to the world.

As the world moves into a new era of global automobile manufacturing, GAC MOTOR Nigeria looks forward to deeply cultivating this valuable region and working together to provide prosperity to the local economy and a better mobile life to Nigerian people.

Photo – https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/1668360/GAC_MOTOR_LAGOS_RIDE.jpg

Biden in Final Push to Secure Passage of Social Safety Net Spending Plan


U.S. President Joe Biden held a crucial private meeting with two key senators Sunday as he races to complete the details of a pared-down social safety net and climate control spending plan set for introduction in Congress as soon as Monday.

The president hosted Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer at his home in (the northeastern city of) Wilmington, Delaware, along with Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, one of two pivotal lawmakers in Biden’s own Democratic party who has called for sharp cutbacks in the president’s original $3.5 trillion plan proposing the biggest expansion of government benefits to American families in five decades.

A statement by the White House press office says the three men held a “productive discussion of the Build Back Better Agenda,” the formal name of Biden’s so-called “human infrastructure” plan, “including equipping Americans to get back to work and making our economy deliver for the middle class — not just those at the top.”

The statement said the trio “continued to make progress” and agreed to remain “in close touch with each other and the wide range of members who have worked hard on these negotiations.”

With the 100-member Senate equally split between Republicans and Democrats, the policy agreement and votes of Manchin and Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, the two most moderate members of the Democratic caucus, are key to passage of the legislation, along with the tie-breaking vote of Vice President Kamala Harris. Currently, no Republicans support the legislation.

Biden has expressed hope that he can reach agreement this week on what he has acknowledged will be a more limited spending plan of about $2 trillion or less, with some provisions, such as two tuition-free years of community college, jettisoned from the final package and others, such as paid worker leave and dental insurance for older Americans, trimmed or delayed.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the leader of the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives, told CNN’s “State of the Union” show, that 90% of the measure “is agreed to” and that it is being written Sunday, with final details yet to be worked out. She said it will be introduced on Monday.

“We’re pretty much there now,” she said.

Pelosi said that despite the likelihood that the original Biden spending proposal will be roughly cut in half, it will be “bigger than anything we’ve ever done in terms of helping families,” with extended tax credits for all but the wealthiest parents and universal pre-kindergarten schooling for three- and four-year-old children.

As details of the social safety net plan are finalized, the House leader said her plan is for the chamber to vote later this week on a bipartisan trillion-dollar infrastructure measure already approved by the Senate to fix the country’s deteriorating roads and bridges and expand broadband internet service throughout the United States.

“I’m optimistic we can do that,” she said.

The infrastructure spending plan drew the support of 19 Republicans in the Senate, along with that of all 50 Democrats, but progressive Democrats in the House blocked its passage there until agreement could be reached on the social safety net legislation.

Representative Ro Khanna of California, a key member of the House Progressive Caucus, told “Fox News Sunday” that the president recently told a group of lawmakers that he needs passage of both the social safety net bill and a separate $1.2 trillion measure that funds key upgrades to the nation’s physical infrastructure before he travels to Glascow, Scotland next week for the United Nations-sponsored COP26 climate conference.

Biden had proposed raising taxes on corporations and wealthy individuals earning more than $400,000 a year to pay for his social safety net measure, but Sinema has balked at both. That has left the White House and Democrats supporting the Biden spending plan to scramble to find other ways to pay for it.

Pelosi said, “We have an array” of other ways to pay for the measure, including a so-called “wealth tax” targeting the estimated 700 U.S. billionaires. “We’re going to fully pay for the bill.”

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told CNN the legislation would take aim at “exceptionally wealthy individuals” and likely tax their unrealized capital gains that now are only taxed when they sell assets. She said tax payment enforcement would also be ramped up to collect more revenue.

Source: Voice of America

China Steps Up Assimilation of Ethnic Minorities by Banning Languages in Schools


After experiments aimed at assimilating ethnic minorities in Tibet, Inner Mongolia and Xinjiang, the Chinese government now is moving to apply its cultural assimilation policy for managing all minority populations by eliminating classroom instruction in native languages.

Late last month, Beijing released an updated blueprint for childhood development that removed a guarantee of the rights of minority children to be educated in their native language.

The new China National Program for Child Development (2021-2030), released on September 27, omitted previous directives such as “respect and protect the rights of children of ethnic minorities to be educated in their own language.”

Authorities changed the wording to “promoting the common national language.” The result is that children who belong to ethnic minorities likely will be taught to read and write Mandarin Chinese, instead of their native language in the classroom.

Eliminating or reducing the use of a language is one of the widely used tactics of forced assimilation. Imperial and Soviet Russia attempted to quash the use of Ukrainian, Polish, Lithuanian and Belarusian. England asserted control over Wales, Scotland and Ireland by banning schooling in those languages. Authorities banned the use of Hawaiian in public schools after American interests forced Queen Liliuokalani to abdicate in 1893.

China’s latest revision goes against UNESCO policy, which has encouraged mother tongue instruction in primary education since 1953. Numerous academic studies back that position, according to the Global Partnership for Education, which distilled the research in a 2014 blog post, saying in part, “Children are more likely to enroll and succeed in school if they use their mother tongues.”

VOA Mandarin contacted the Chinese Embassy in Washington for comment on the new policy but did not receive a response.

Pan Mei-Lin, a professor at the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at the National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University in Taiwan, told VOA Mandarin that China’s latest policies will gradually phase out the unique cultures of the targeted minority groups.

“From the perspective of the Han Chinese, it is to increase national unity, but it’s real consequence is a kind of cultural extinction,” she told VOA Mandarin in a phone interview. There are dozens of ethnic minority groups in China but more than 90% of the total population belongs to the Han ethnic group. What is regarded as Chinese culture is Han culture.

Yang Haiying, a cultural anthropologist and professor at Shizuoka University in Japan, said the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been quietly expanding the new assimilation policies.

The current expansion marks a departure from the recent official policy toward ethnic minorities. In the 1980s, Beijing began promoting their cultural autonomy and worked to reduce socioeconomic inequality between minorities and Han Chinese. That position was a form of redress for the persecution and pressure to assimilate that minorities underwent during the upheaval of the Cultural Revolution from 1966 to 1977.

And although the drive to promote cultural autonomy appeared to benefit many minorities, efforts to Sinicize minority groups have been ramped up under President Xi Jinping.

The coronavirus has helped Sinicize minority enclaves. Unable to travel outside China due to pandemic restrictions, Han Chinese tourists are visiting minority areas. “The CCP has a strategy of commodifying the culture of ethnic minorities in an attempt to neutralize their unique and distinct identities,” said Joyce Ho of the Human Rights Foundation in an October 1 op-ed in The Hill.

Yang told VOA Mandarin in a phone interview that as of early September, Chinese authorities already had changed a few regulations for kindergartens and elementary schools in central Hubei Province, home to several ethnic minorities.

According to Yang, the local regulations were revised to eliminate the right of minorities to use their own language in schools in favor of Mandarin Chinese, the nation’s official language.

“The reason being they’re Tujia and She ethnic minority groups in Hubei, and the population is very small. The calculation is that there would be less reaction to these assimilation policies, and it can serve as a pilot program for extending these policies to other ethnic minorities later,” he told VOA Mandarin.

Yang said that in the past, it usually would take a year or two for authorities in Beijing to extend pilot programs to all provinces. “But now you see they are really speeding up these efforts, they don’t even bother to say that ‘we respect the rights of the minority groups’,” Yang added.

Tibet, Inner Mongolia and Xinjiang

Among the 56 ethnic minorities in China, Tibetans, Mongolians and Uyghurs have been the most outspoken against Beijing’s repressive policies.

The Diplomat reported in April 2020 that Beijing was using the social monitoring developed to contain the pandemic to increase surveillance in Tibet. Just over a year later, the Wall Street Journal reported in July that Beijing was increasing surveillance and restrictions for the 6.3 million Tibetans in China. The traditional artworks in school were all replaced by portraits of Xi Jinping.

German anthropologist Adrian Zenz is the author of “Tibetanness” Under Threat?, a study of the modern Tibetan education system. According to his research, as of 2015, all Tibetan schools had stopped recruiting teachers who teach in the Tibetan language. After collecting job advertisements by the local government for more than 10 years, Zenz concluded that Mandarin Chinese, not Tibetan, is the primary instructional language in Tibet. Official Chinese media has disputed his work and called Zenz “a swindler in academic disguise.”

The United Nations defines “any deliberate act committed with intent to destroy the language” as linguistic genocide, which in the 1948 International Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, is one aspect of cultural genocide, and a crime against humanity.

Kelsang Gyaltsen Bawa, the Tibetan government-in-exile’s representative to Taiwan, told VOA Mandarin he’s worried about the future of the Tibetan language.

“Before, 70% to 80% of those who live in Tibet can speak the Tibetan language fluently,” he said. “Now, among young Tibetans, 9 out of 10 don’t know how to write our own language.”

A similar linguistic erasure is occurring in Xinjiang, home to the Muslim Uyghurs.

Ilshat Hassan Kokbore, director of Chinese Affairs at World Uyghur Congress, a Germany-based advocacy organization, told VOA Mandarin that in big cities, few young people are able to speak the Uyghur language.

He added that after years of China’s assimilation policy in Xinjiang, it has become difficult for locals to preserve their language, culture and identity. “We are working hard to preserve our language and culture overseas, and we need other countries and allies to help us stop the CCP from destroying our cultural heritage,” he told VOA Mandarin.

In Inner Mongolia, ethnic Mongolian parents and students staged a large boycott in 2020, protesting a new bilingual education policy that requires schools to use national textbooks in Mandarin starting in the first grade of primary schools and in middle schools, replacing the current Mongolian textbooks.

Temtsultu Shotsood is the chairman of Southern Mongolia Congress, an NGO headquartered in Tokyo aimed at promoting the rights of Mongolians. He told VOA Mandarin the protests have led to the arrest of over 5,000 people.

The CCP “thinks that after the arrest[s], the situation is stable now. But the truth is that Mongolians are angry. They might have no channels to express their dissatisfaction for now, but on the international stage, we are reasoning with them [the CCP], we are telling them this is cultural genocide,” he told VOA Mandarin in a phone interview.

The Chinese Constitution states that “all ethnic groups in China have the freedom and right to use and develop their own spoken and written languages.”

Anthropologist Yang of Shizuoka University predicts Beijing’s next step will be to change the constitution. “The CCP is now amending local regulations, and the next step is to change the constitution, getting rid of the language that all ethnic groups have the right to use their own languages,” he said. “I suspect then very likely, all the autonomous regions will be changed to provinces as well.”

Source: Voice of America

Uganda Police Investigate Bus Explosion That Killed 1 Person

Ugandan police are investigating an explosion on a long-distance bus that killed one person Monday, the second fatal blast in less than 48 hours in the East African country.

The bus was traveling from the capital, Kampala, to the western part of Uganda.

The cause of the blast was not immediately known. Police said in a statement they dispatched bomb experts to the scene in central Uganda.

Initially, police had said two people on the bus were killed but later said there had been one death, without explaining the revision. They made no mention of injuries, but the Red Cross, which sent ambulances, said at least one person was injured in the leg.

On Saturday, a bomb explosion at an eatery in a busy Kampala suburb killed one person. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for that attack.

The extremist group said in a statement late Sunday that it detonated an explosive device at the eatery allegedly “frequented by elements and spies” with Uganda’s government.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni described Saturday’s explosion as an apparent terrorist act.

Museveni said three people entered the eatery where pork is grilled and left a plastic bag with contents that later exploded. Police have not announced any arrests.

The British government updated its travel guidance for Uganda this month to say extremists “are very likely to try to carry out attacks.”

Source: Voice of America