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Cassava gets R855m to open security centres in Africa

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Strive Masiyiwa, founder and executive chairman of Cassava Technologies.
Strive Masiyiwa, founder and executive chairman of Cassava Technologies.

Cassava Technologies is set to establish a network of cyber security operations centres (CSOCs) across Africa, in pursuit of growing its cyber security business.

The company yesterday announced fresh funding of $50 million (R885 million), secured from C5 Capital as part of funding to accelerate growth, including chasing cyber security opportunities.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, most organisations on the continent have accelerated their digital transformation, heightening the need for cyber security solutions.

Yesterday, Cassava gave a glimpse of its expansion plans, revealing South Africa will host its first cyber security operations centre set for launch later this year.

The funding from C5 will contribute to the acceleration of digital connectivity and inclusion on the continent, as well as deliver “best-in-class cyber security, satellite and space technology and clean energy”, it says.

Cassava, which was recently created by Pan-African telecoms group Econet, also houses the group’s fibre broadband networks, data centres, cyber security, fintech and digital units.

Turning to Cassava’s relationship with C5, the company says it already has a joint venture with the specialist venture capital firm, which invests in cyber security, space and energy security through C5 portfolio company Haven Cyber.

Cassava says the firm will assist it to scale Microsoft’s suite of cyber security products across Africa to help combat the threat of cyber crime.

Through the partnership between Haven Cyber and Liquid Cloud & Cybersecurity (a business of Cassava), the parties aim to bring expertise in cyber security to Africa by “launching a network of state-of-the-art CSOCs across Africa”.

The CSOC network, Cassava says, will enable the rapid delivery of cyber security services and operations on the continent.

“Recent industry reports highlight that cyber security threats cost Africa close to $4.1 billion in lost GDP in 2021,” says Hardy Pemhiwa, president and CEO of Cassava.

“This is primarily due to the massive increase in the adoption of technology in businesses and governments across Africa and increased vulnerabilities as cyber attack technologies evolve.

“Today’s investment from C5 and our pan-continental partnership will enhance our ability to enable our customers to build secure and stable cloud-based digital services critical to transforming lives on the continent.”

André Pienaar, chief executive and founder of C5 Capital, comments: “Following the launch of Cassava Technologies’ cutting-edge CSOC planned for Johannesburg later this year, we see tremendous growth potential for Cassava Technologies’ cyber security business to help protect African enterprises and communities.”

Cassava has operations in more than 20 African countries and provides digital solutions to over one million enterprises and access to the internet for over 500 million people in Africa.

"This investment from C5 is part of our plan to raise additional growth capital, whilst diversifying our investor base. We are delighted that C5 has joined us to help realise our vision of a digitally connected future that leaves no African behind,” says Strive Masiyiwa, founder and executive chairman of Cassava.

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