There’s a reason we’re not seeing as many lofty new year projections as we did last year. Mainly, it’s because 2022 was filled with uncertainty and showed that nobody really knows anything. But it is also because 2022 was a year of many firsts.

From commerce to technology and even sports, the world saw a lot happen for the first time. For example, Meta reported its first quarterly drop in revenue since his initial public offering, Rishi Sunak became the first person of color to head the British government, and a Middle Eastern country hosted the World Cup for the first time.

Africa had its moments in 2022 too. Here is a list of 10 things that first happened in the African entrepreneurial space in 2022.

Start-up Laws in Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo

New businesses have emerged from Africa faster than ever in the last decade. However, one of the persistent challenges has been the regulatory climate. People aren’t sure what to innovate and what new businesses to build because government agencies could restrict or shut them down tomorrow. That’s why some countries, including Kenya, Rwanda, Ghana, Ethiopia and six others, have a startup bill in the works. But only two countries, Tunisia (2018) and Senegal (2019), had enacted initiation laws before last year.

In 2022, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) signed their start-up laws. The Democratic Republic of the Congo became the first country in Central Africa to have a kick off event. Both countries seek Close the engagement gap between startups and regulators and make sure harmful regulations don’t see the light of day. The Nigerian Start-up Act has provisions for tax breaks for startups and also provides tax incentives for foreign service providers. Similarly, the DRC Startup Act includes tax benefits and days off for startup founders who are current employees.

Bitcoin became legal tender in the Central African Republic

2022 was an exciting year for cryptocurrencies by any measure. Although it was inundated with valuation reductions, layoffs and fraud scandals, it still had some pockets of progress. One of those bright spots was when the Central African Republic (CAR) made bitcoin legal tender.

CAR became the first African country to take this step and was second only to El Salvador. This move came as a surprise, since CAR is not among the main bitcoin adopters on the continent. Ironically, the African countries with the highest use of bitcoin do not have crypto-friendly laws. However, you can pay for anything with bitcoin in CAR today. People will accept it just as much as the Central African CFA franc.

MTN and others bought digital land in the metaverse

The metaverse has been one of the most controversial concepts in technology since 2021. The vague idea of ​​a digital world where cryptocurrencies and NFTs play a significant role still draws attention today. And it’s only in hindsight that most of the hype seems unnecessary.

In early 2022, the media air was filled with optimism about the metaverse. FOMO spread like the flu and caught many, including the giants. In February, MTN, Africa’s largest telecommunications company, bought 144 digital plots of land in Africarare’s Ubuntuland metaverse for an undisclosed sum. It was the first African company to do this. Then, in September, Nedbank, a South African bank, followed suit, becoming the first African bank to enter the metaverse. Soon after, Game jumped on the bandwagon to become the first African retail company in the metaverse.

A tech startup was listed via SPAC

Swvl, a public transportation and shared mobility provider, made history in March 2022 as the first company launched from Africa and the second company from the Middle East to list on the Nasdaq through a SPAC merger. The Egyptian-born, Dubai-based company listed its shares through a merger with Queen’s Gambit Growth Capital, a women-led blank check company.

But it’s also notable that Swvl didn’t have a soft landing after this move. SPAC’s listing valued the company at $1.5 billion, but it has since plummeted to less than $40 million. Swvl was also one of the companies in the front line of Wave of mass layoffs in Africa.

Africa had its first cannabis SPAC list

Africa’s cannabis industry has been quietly growing in recent years. A growing list of countries is becoming more receptive to the opportunities that the once-banned plant can bring. And in 2022, (silently again) it reached another milestone.

In September, Cilo Cybin Holdings Ltd. announced that it had received the go-ahead to list on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE). Through this announcement, the company made history as Africa’s fourth SPAC list and the first of the cannabis industry.

Kenya more than doubled its use of solar energy

2022 was significant for the global energy sector. The war between Russia and Ukraine led to high oil/energy prices. We also saw power crises in several countries, including South Africa, with more than 200 days of load disconnection. However, renewable energy achieved a historic breakthrough on the continent.

According to the World Bank, the use of solar energy for electricity in Kenya increased by 218% in the first eight months of 2022. That was a huge jump, as the use of solar energy increased by only 23% between 2020 and 2021. Furthermore, Kenya became the second most active market for commercial PV systems in the developing world, behind only India.

Nigeria raised its interest rate four times in one year

Interest rate increases were among the most intriguing global trends we witnessed last year. Central banks found themselves embroiled in a tedious battle against relentless inflation. And in most cases, they didn’t win.

Nigeria raised its benchmark rate for the first time in six years in May by 150 basis points to 13%. But that was not enough, since inflation continued to rise to new highs. Then the Nigerian Monetary Policy Committee raised interest rates three more times by a total of 400 basis points to 16.5%, making it the highest among the Big Five in Africa (Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya , Egypt and Morocco).

Africa got its first regional cybersecurity hub

2022 was a big year for the African tech space. And one of the many developments was that cybersecurity began to receive more attention. African cyberspace has been vulnerable to bad actors for long enough. So it was interesting to find out that the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) partnered with the Togolese government to build Africa’s first regional cybersecurity research center.

The African Center for Cybersecurity Research and Coordination, based in the capital city of Lomé, will monitor, detect and share cybersecurity intelligence with African governments, policymakers, law enforcement and security agencies.

Morocco backtracks on its cryptocurrency ban

In November 2017, the Kingdom of Morocco became the first country in North Africa to ban bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Since then, many other countries in the MENA region have followed suit.

But last year, Morocco took a new stance by becoming the first North African country to move towards a cryptocurrency regulatory framework bill. Morocco’s central bank, Bank Al-Maghrib (BAM), announced a partnership with the IMF and World Bank, which seeks to curb social risks such as terrorist financing and money laundering while fostering innovation and well-being. consumer among cryptocurrency users.

A Nigerian became the leader of the World Medical Association

A Nigerian now heads the World Medical Association. Dr. Osahon Enabulele, former president of the Nigerian Medical Association, became the first West African and Nigerian physician to be elected president of the World Medical Association since the world body’s inception in 1947.

Enabulele was sworn in as president in October at the association’s Annual General Meeting in Berlin, Germany.