The Senate on Thursday passed the 2021 budget for second reading after a three-day debate on its general principles. Senate President Ahmad Lawan asked the Committee on Appropriation to work on the fiscal document and report back in four weeks. President Muhammadu Buhari had presented ₦13.08 trillion budget estimates to the joint session of the National Assembly last Thursday for the consideration of the federal lawmakers.

Stripe is acquiring Lagos based payment startup Paystack. Like Stripe, Paystack provides a quick way to integrate payments services into an online or offline transaction by way of an API.  Sources close to the deal confirm that it’s over $200 million. That makes this the biggest startup acquisition to date to come out of Nigeria, as well as Stripe’s biggest acquisition to date anywhere. “There is enormous opportunity,” said Patrick Collison, Stripe’s co-founder and CEO. “In absolute numbers, Africa may be smaller right now than other regions, but online commerce will grow about 30% every year. And even with wider global declines, online shoppers are growing twice as fast. Stripe thinks on a longer time horizon than others because we are an infrastructure company. We are thinking of what the world will look like in 2040-2050.” For Paystack, the deal will give the company a lot more fuel (that is, investment) to build out further in Nigeria and expand to other markets, CEO Shola Akinlade said. “Paystack was not for sale when Stripe approached us. For us, it’s about the mission. I’m driven by the mission to accelerate payments on the continent, and I am convinced that Stripe will help us get there faster. It is a very natural move.” “We’re still very early in the Paystack payments ecosystem, which is super broken,” said Akinlade. Most of what we will be building in Africa has not been built yet.” Paystack currently has around 60,000 customers, including small businesses, larger corporates, fintechs, educational institutions, and online betting companies, and the plan will be for it to continue operating independently, the companies said.

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation says it has recorded a 99.7 percent reduction in its loss profile from ₦803 billion in 2018 to ₦1.7 billion in 2019. NNPC disclosed this in its 2019 Audited Financial Statement (AFS), released on Thursday. The corporation in May published its 2018 Audited Financial Statement and assured of the quick release of the 2019 report. This, according to NNPC Group Managing Director Malam Mele Kyari, this was in line with the effort to ensure transparency and accountability in its operations. A breakdown of the report disclosed that general administrative expenses also witnessed a 22 percent dip from ₦894 billion in 2018 to ₦696 billion in 2019. He further explained that the improved performance in the 2019 financial year was driven mainly by cost optimisation, contracts renegotiation and operational efficiency.

The two main challengers to Cote D’Ivoire’s President, Alassana Ouattara, in this month’s election have announced they are boycotting the poll. At a joint news conference, the former head of state, Henri Konan Bédié, and the former prime minister, Pascal Affi N’Guessan, called on their supporters to block what they described as an electoral coup. Mr Ouattara is standing for a third term on 31 October, which his opponents say is illegal. Their declaration – on the first official day of campaigning – has raised fears of major political unrest. Electoral violence when President Ouattara first took office in 2010 led to 3,000 deaths and half a million displaced. The only other opposition candidate – after several others were disqualified – is the former MP Kouadio Konan Bertin.