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Building effective Startups: The Role of Culture

The culture of an organization, the way that things are done, will develop whether there’s intention or not. By defining what it should be, you can influence the behavior. If you don’t define it, it’ll develop organically and you might not like the results. 

Josh Sephton, Via LinkedIn.

Culture is “the way we do things around here.” When you join a new team, you will quickly be humbled. Everybody knows everybody, everyone has a circle – or not. They know the bosses’ good and bad times -read, when to ask for favors and when not to. There’s clearly a formula on how business runs, and everybody knows it, except you. The newbie. Always saying hi to those that prefer quiet mornings, inviting to lunch the project manager that eats sandwiches at his desk, or running every step of your project by your supervisor who really prefers to just oversee and give feedback. Or, the opposite- when you meet the micromanager. Most times, teams have held on to their beliefs, rituals and behaviors for far too long, and will immediately sideline anyone who dares question “the way of doing things.”

All these things, added together, really define how teams work. And, ultimately, decide whether a team will build something great, or will jeopardize the productivity of an organization. In this article, we’ll explore the profound impact of startup culture on team dynamics and why getting it right can be the difference between success and failure.

So what then, is Culture, and Why is it so Important?

Culture isn’t just about Ping-Pong tables, free snacks and beer Fridays; it’s the underlying DNA that shapes how a team works together, innovates, and ultimately thrives. A strong culture provides a shared sense of purpose and identity, aligns team members around common goals, and fosters trust, collaboration, and resilience.

With the right culture within an organization, team members feel aligned, valued and empowered to put their best foot forward. This ultimately manifests into productivity, as there is a common and shared sense of purpose. No one is sidelined, there is no deadweight on the team, or walking on eggshells when it’s time to put a point across. And, it’s not just about productivity.

When you think of startups, the thought of challenges and tough days surely must cross your mind. The beauty of a strong and positive culture is that it carries a startup –and really any organization, through the dark days. When the product launch is a flop, or the expected funding didn’t pan out. Delayed salaries and the dreaded PR disasters that are a daily dose for most startups. A trusting, aligned, resilient and optimistic team- all *aspects* cultivated by a positive organizational culture will more often than not be willing and able to endure the tough times without backing out, cutting corners or sabotaging the organization.

Conversely, a toxic or dysfunctional culture can erode morale, hinder productivity, and drive talented team members away, ultimately spelling doom for the startup.

Cultivating a Positive Startup Culture:

Building a positive startup culture requires intentional effort and a commitment from leadership to prioritize values, behaviors, and norms that support the company’s mission and vision. Elements that define a positive culture are many. Today we discuss 3 key elements of a positive startup culture, and how Core values are the foundation on which a culture is built.

1. Aligning with the core values of your organization.

Core values are the foundation on which a culture is built. By definition, core values are “ideals you believe that determine your behavior and decisions.” They do not change with every turn or dynamics of the economy, society or organizational disruption. The point of values and mission in an organization is to define a pathway and create a guide for the team to follow in the process of executing the set goals.

When hiring, it is important to look out for people who align with your core values. If, for instance, your core value as a startup is boldness, it is crucial to be on the lookout for hires that share this core value. This means people who are not afraid of leaping on new ideas, even without full knowledge. People who don’t wait for conditions to align to act. People that are ready to try, fail and then try again.

When your core value is perseverance, team members that don’t back out when the going gets tough, that stay objective as opposed to emotional or panicked in less than favorable circumstances, are your best bet. As a startup, it is crucial to realize that a hire can have the right skills and be the best on the job, but when their core values are misaligned with yours, any attempt to “be on the same page” or “share a culture” will be futile.

Every organization explicitly outlines their mission, vision and values on their websites and walls, but it is just that- words. They do not integrate their values into their daily operations- hiring, crisis management, milestone conversations.

Deciding what values will help you achieve your goals, then integrating them in your day to day running will set a good foundation for a positive culture, even for people that join in later on, or through the dynamics that are bound to happen.

2. Empowerment and Ownership.

An empowered team isn’t just an asset; they’re the heart and soul of a productive workforce. When individuals feel empowered to take ownership of their work, supported to innovate, and encouraged to voice their ideas, they not only thrive personally, they also become catalysts for positive change and contribute to a vibrant and collaborative environment where creativity, productivity and success becomes a collective journey. And that is exactly what the goal of a positive culture should be – To be on a collective journey.

Autonomy is one of the guaranteed ways to empower a team. The degree to which a team or individual has freedom to make their own decisions and take actions independently, without excessive external control or micromanagement is consistent with the level of responsibility and ownership they have towards their work. Autonomy can manifest in various forms, such as setting their own schedules, choosing how to approach tasks, making decisions about resource allocation, and having input into strategic planning and goal-setting –as long as the goal is met.  When individuals have a sense of control over their work and are trusted to make decisions, they tend to feel more invested in their jobs and more motivated to perform at their best.

Empowering employees, however, goes beyond simply granting them autonomy; it is about unleashing their full potential to drive innovation, creativity, and productivity.

Implementing your team’s good ideas and giving them credit for it, ensuring employee satisfaction and engagement in brainstorming sessions, promoting and supporting their personal growth and development can create a culture where individuals thrive and contribute to the collective success of the company.

3. Diversity and Inclusion.

If you are a startup founder, I hate to break it to you, diversity and inclusion are not just buzzwords that corporates use to sound fancy. They are fundamental principles that drive innovation, creativity, and ultimately, the success of the company. When you talk of a positive organizational culture, diversity and inclusion must be among your to-do.

Diversity by definition is “the presence of a variety of different demographic and cultural characteristics within a group.” Most startup founders will be tempted to include their sister, a cousin, someone that looks like them, or with similar characters in the team. When it’s one or two, that might be okay. But at the very beginning stages of a startup, pulling all or most of your team members from your closest circle is as close to sabotage as you can get. Not only are boundaries shaky and blurred, but whenever a new team member from outside your circle or different from the team joins, they immediately are the outsider.

Diversity includes both visible differences, such as physical appearance, as well as invisible differences, such as cognitive styles, personality traits, and life experiences.

Embracing diversity means recognizing and valuing the unique perspectives, experiences, and contributions that individuals from diverse backgrounds bring to the table. It involves creating an environment where people feel respected, included, and empowered to be their authentic selves, regardless of their differences.

 Inclusion on the other hand, means appreciating and empowering all team members to achieve the set goals, regardless of their differences in identity and background. This means actively having inclusive practices like training and education, implementation of ideas from different team members and equity in terms of pay.

Basically, diversity and inclusion are about creating environments where individuals from all backgrounds feel welcomed, respected, and valued, and where their unique perspectives and contributions are recognized and celebrated.

5 African Women Founders: Trailblazers in a Woman’s World

In the pulsating heart of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, where innovation meets opportunity, Africa stands at the forefront of technological advancement. And in the midst of all the exciting changes happening, although not talked about as much, women have fast risen to the call of technology and become bold trailblazers who have broken through barriers, challenged norms, and transformed the tech scene in Africa.

From coding geniuses to visionary entrepreneurs, these pioneers have not only harnessed the power of technology to change lives but have also become beacons of inspiration and hope for generations of women and young girls to come.

In this article, we honor the stories of 5 remarkable African women whose indomitable spirit, ingenuity, and vision have not only transformed the tech industry but have also left an indelible mark on the very essence of African innovation.

Naadiya Moosajee

Founder of Women in Engineering (WomEng), an organization dedicated to nurturing the talents of girls and women in engineering and technology, Moosajee is best known for her commitment to gender parity, spearheading a transformative movement to bridge the gender gap.

 In 2014, Forbes recognized her as one of Africa’s Top 20 Young Power Women in Africa, while the Government of China honored her at the BRICS Summit for her outstanding contributions to STEM education for African girls. Passionate about fostering STEM education and gender equality, Moosajee is committed to shaping prosperous and equitable societies in emerging economies.

Alongside Hema Vallabh, she co-founded WomHub, further expanding their impact on the industry.

According to Moosajee, “Engineers design our world and our society, and if we don’t have women at the design table, we exclude 50% of the population.”  

Betelhem Dessie

“As a young woman, coding made me feel independent and free, and that’s something I want to give other people.”

At the age of 7, Dessie fell in love with computers. And by the tender age of 20, this visionary Ethiopian technologist had six software programs patented in her name, and was involved in the development of the world-famous Sophia the robot. Dessie founded iCog-Anyone Can Code at the age of 24, an Ethiopian-based social enterprise that offers kids and youth an opportunity at a future through coding.

Through iCog, the futures of over 30,000 youths have been positively impacted, making them more employable and skilled for entrepreneurship.

Maya Horgan Famodu

Maya believes that if you want to support women, you put them in positions to do it themselves. And she lives by her words, having founded Ingressive capital and Ingressive for Good, one a venture capital that supports early-stage African tech startups, and the other a nonprofit providing micro-scholarships, technical skills training and talent placement to African tech talents in need, respectively.

Being the youngest Black woman to launch a tech fund, Maya Horgan has been honored by Forbes before in their “Under 30 Technology” list, in 2018.

Mary Mwangi

Mary Mwangi knows too well that being a pioneer, and especially in the tech space, is no bed of roses.

Founder and CEO of Data Integrated, this Kenyan powerhouse is a pioneer in the fintech logistics space in Africa, with her company leveraging on tech to offer financial solutions to African SMEs, with a greater focus on Kenya’s public transport system.

Being a pioneer, the challenges are there, she admits, but insists that “You can do it. You have to get up.” 

Charity Wanjiku

Charity Wanjiku describes herself as a shining star and a work-in-progress all at the same time. And a shining star she is indeed, having made patented solar panels and powered the most rural parts of Kenya before solar tiles were a thing. Recognized by both Forbes and the World Economic Forum as a top woman in tech globally, Charity is the founder Strauss Energy Ltd, an off-grid solar energy startup based in Nairobi, Kenya. She lights up the lives of Kenyans in rural areas – Literally.

The uniqueness of Strauss’ solar systems lies in their special meters that can feed unused electricity back to the national grid, generating income for households. 

She is passionate about breaking STEM barriers for women and girls, as in her words, “It’s important that girls are at the forefront of this digital age, because nobody will hire you if you do not have tech skills.”  

Strategic Survival: Unveiling the Path for African Startups Amidst Funding Challenges in 2024

African startup funding has seen a significant fall from the highs of 2021 and 2022, with investments in the startup scene in Africa dropping by around 27% in 2023

Disrupt Africa’s African Tech Startups Funding Report.

Would you start a startup if there was no funding for it? African startup funding has seen a significant fall from the highs of 2021 and 2022, with investments in the startup scene in Africa in terms of funding dropping by around 27% in 2023, according to Disrupt Africa’s African Tech Startups Funding Report. The number of investors during this time, according to the same report fell by half.

Does this inform the direction that startups might take in the future, or is it an indicator that starting a startup might not be a worthy cause in 2024? In the recent live podcast hosted by Founders Factory Africa on the good and bad of funding, experts in the startup ecosystem in Nairobi came together to discuss the importance of choosing the right capital in 2024, and how to navigate the tight belt fastened by investors.

In the panel for the live podcast episode were Rology CFO Jason Musyoka; Bruce Nsereko-Lule, co-founder and general partner at Seedstars; and June Odongo, founder and CEO of Senga Technologies.

One thing from the conversation was clear; in the fight for a win, and with the current lack of sufficient funding, startup founders might feel the need to scramble for every funding opportunity that presents itself, in the process hurting their business and perhaps themselves. Therefore despite these funding challenges, the panelists unanimously agreed that it’s still critical for startups to be reasonable and careful in choosing the investors they approach for funding.

So, what are these critical play points to be addressed in the race for funding, and how to understand good and bad funding?

Shifting investor expectations

In the best way to approach investors in these tight times, the panelists highlighted that times have changed in the ecosystem, and investors are now prioritizing fundamentals and sustainability over pure potential, advising that founders should be aware of investors’ shifting priorities and adapt their fundraising strategies accordingly. This requires founders to have a clear roadmap with achievable milestones (pilot, funding rounds) and contingency plans.

“As investors, we’re looking for a plan but you also need to model in variation,” says Nsero- Luke. “Aim to go with the plan but let’s model it if we need to spend a little bit more, for example.”

Additionally, investors are emphasizing due diligence and seeking ventures with strong fundamentals and realistic growth plans, moving away from solely chasing high-growth potential. That makes it important that they do everything they can to impress in the due diligence process.

“From an investor perspective, it’s important that you do your due diligence very well whilst you’re investing in a company so that, when you’re putting in the money, you don’t get unexpected surprises,” he adds.

Choosing the right investor

Even within this shifting environment, the panelists agree that it’s still important for startup founders to be discerning in the investors they approach for funding. More particularly, they say, founders must consider whether choosing local investors makes more sense than international ones. While international investors might have deeper pockets, local investors often have a greater contextual understanding of local environments and may therefore be better positioned to guide founders to success.

“The beauty about local investors is that we understand context,” says Musyoka. “And not just context but we also have networks. There are doors that the senior-level executives and CEOs that they introduce you to can open for you or businesses that they can enable for you that they can enable for that you wouldn’t be able to open for yourself.”

Another strategic considerations when choosing which investors to approach is your business goals. Founders should define their business goals (lifestyle vs. scaling) and align their investment strategy accordingly, potentially utilizing local angel investors and then seeking international capital for further growth.

Even with these considerations in mind, it’s still important that founders pay attention to the investment offers in front of them. “If you’ve got two competing term sheets in front of you, always go for the one that offers the least dilution,” says Musyoka, who has a unique perspective as an investor turned operator. “It gives you flexibility and allows you to operate in your known business framework.”  That may mean accepting a smaller investment but, Musyoka believes that this isn’t always a bad thing.

“A small amount is not necessarily bad for you,” he says. “You just have to recalibrate and work with what you have.”

According to Odongo, getting to the right investor also means knowing when to pause, when to move and when to stop, as Senga has had to do a couple of times over the past few years.

“At one point, we were going to raise money when we had validated our idea and it was growing well. Then we got a lot of competition that was emulating some of what we were doing and they were raising tones of money, so I decided not to raise because it was clear to me that things were not going to turn out well. So we retreated and pivoted to a new niche.”

Planning for an exit (or not)

In the long run, more and more startups taking this approach may also change how we think about exits on the continent.

“Exit opportunities exist in Africa,” says Nsereko-Lule. “We have local exchanges, we have big corporations, etc. The effective exit opportunities exist here, but the types of companies that local players want to buy are very different to the ones internationals want to buy.”

“As we contextualize venture capital to the local market, it will help,” he adds. “Then we can build businesses where founders have the necessary skill sets and build businesses capable of achieving exits on the continent.”

In conclusion, depending on how a founder goes about it, funding can be one of two; a blessing or a bad thing for a startup.  Even with the funding drought that the African startup system is facing, it is important for a startup to be wisely selective with choosing the right investor, lest they risk losing their soul and business in the fight.

What must Africa do to harness the power of AI for economic growth?

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Artificial Intelligence (AI) is transforming industries across the globe, driving innovation, and economic growth. With its rich cultural diversity and dynamic economies, Africa stands on the tip of a technological revolution. By strategically developing its AI industry, Africa can address some of its most pressing challenges, from healthcare and education to agriculture and infrastructure, fostering sustainable economic growth.

Last month the African ICT and Communications Ministers unanimously endorsed the landmark Continental Artificial Intelligence (AI) Strategy and African Digital Compact to accelerate Africa’s digital transformation by unlocking the potential of the new digital technologies.

In a virtual meeting that was attended by over  130 African ministers and experts during the 2nd Extraordinary session of the Specialized Technical Committee on Communication and ICT to ignite digital transformation across the continent amidst rapid evolutions in the sector fuelled by artificial intelligence (AI) technology and applications.

The Continental AI Strategy guides African countries to harness artificial intelligence to meet Africa’s development aspirations and the well-being of its people while promoting ethical use, minimizing potential risks, and leveraging opportunities. 

Identifying key priorities and actions to ensure that Africa fully benefits from the huge opportunities AI offers, the strategy calls for an Africa-owned, people-centred, development-oriented, and inclusive approach to accelerate African countries’ AI capabilities in infrastructure, talent, datasets, innovation, and partnerships while also ensuring adequate safeguards and protection from threats.

Dr. Amani Abou-Zeid, African Union Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, pointed out during the opening of the ministerial session, that the continent should resolve to harness the new technologies for the well-being of its citizens.

 “For us Africans, Artificial Intelligence presents tremendous opportunities. It is a driving force for positive transformational positive change as well as economic growth and social progress. Adapting AI to African realities is critical. AI systems should be able to reflect our diversity, languages, culture, history, and geographical contexts. As we aim to create an inclusive AI ecosystem and a competitive African AI market that is adapted to our realities and meets our ambitions, we believe examining and approving this strategy will provide a common vision and path to accelerate responsible AI innovation and adoption in Africa”, said Dr Abou-Zeid.

The Africa Union’s new Strategy sets the roadmap for African states to tap the potential of AI to achieve developmental aspirations for education and skills, health, agriculture, infrastructure, peace and security and good governance by developing human capital, strengthening research and innovation ecosystems, and building an AI-ready institutional and regulatory environment to ensure AI works for African people.

By investing in African youth, innovators, computer scientists, data experts, and AI researchers, the framework paves the way for the continent to showcase its AI skills in the global arena.

  Ms. Nthati Moorsi , Minister of Information, Communications, Science Technology, and Innovation of the Kingdom of Lesotho, and Chair of the Bureau of the Technical Committee said that AI presents huge opportunities that stem from the adoption of AI-enabled systems to promote homegrown solutions to stimulate economic growth and sustainable development towards achieving the priorities outlined in the AU Agenda 2063 and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The ministerial committee also endorsed the African Digital Compact, which is Africa’s common vision and one voice that charts Africa’s digital future and harnesses the transformative potential of digital technologies to foster sustainable development, economic growth, and societal well-being throughout Africa.

Commissioner Abou-Zeid further stated that the Compact is Africa’s strategic commitment to utilizing digital transformation as a catalyst for inclusive progress and sustainable development in the African continent.

She added that creating a strong pool of talents and enhancing public-private partnerships are deemed critical to promoting homegrown digital solutions.

The ministers also highlighted the importance of propelling Africa’s role in shaping global digital governance and insisted on the importance of capacity building and knowledge transfer to empower Africa’s youth, private sector and institutions to ensure their participation in the digital economy through initiatives focused on enabling ecosystems, digital education, skills development, and job reassignment.

Minister Moorosi further accentuated. “Our position must advocate for our capability to develop our own electronic technologies and equitable access to these critical resources. Additionally, we must ensure that when the global community addresses the artificial intelligence alignment problem, the unique needs and contexts of Africa are considered.”

The ministers also urged the African Union to organize a level Continental African Artificial Intelligence Summit to foster collaboration, knowledge exchange, and strategic planning among stakeholders across the continent.

Both initiatives were developed through consultations with a wide array of stakeholders and constitute Africa’s contribution to the Global Digital Compact and the United Nations Summit of the Future in September 2024. They are expected to be submitted to the African Union Executive Council in July 2024, for consideration and adoption.

The  Continental AI Strategy and the African Digital Compact are anchored in the African Union’s Digital Transformation Strategy (2020-2030) and Agenda 2063 and build on other continental digital policies, strategies, and frameworks such as the data policy, personal data protection cybersecurity, child protection frameworks targeted at fostering digital technologies in all sectors and realizing Africa’s long-term development aspirations.

Role of AI in Africa’s economic prosperity

Globally, most countries have recognized the potential of AI to drive economic growth.

In the African continent, several states have launched national AI strategies and policies to create a conducive environment for AI development.

For instance, South Africa’s “Artificial Intelligence and Data Science Grand Challenge” aims to position the country as a leader in AI research and application. Similarly, Rwanda’s Vision 2050 strategy emphasizes the role of AI in achieving sustainable development goals.

African governments are also investing in infrastructure and education to build a skilled workforce capable of leveraging AI.

Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary of the Ministry of Information, Communication and the Digital Economy, Eliud  Owalo in a recent interview with a local media station stated that the country is seeking to grow its AI sector by embracing collaboration with the private sector.

“As an African continent, we need substantial investments in internet connectivity, data centres, and cloud computing capabilities. Currently, many African countries suffer from inconsistent internet access, which hampers the deployment and utilization of AI technologies.

We are seeking Public-private partnerships that can help bridge the infrastructure gap. For example, initiatives like Google’s Project Loon and Facebook’s Express Wi-Fi aim to provide affordable internet access to underserved areas. Additionally, governments should prioritize the development of local data centres to ensure data sovereignty and reduce latency issues,” comments Owalo.

Kenya just like the majority of the African countries relies heavily on Agriculture as a key economic driver.

Dr Paul Rono, State Department of Agriculture Principal Secretary noted that the AI technology will revolutionize the agricultural sector by enabling precision farming, which enhances productivity and sustainability.

“ As a country for years, we have relied heavily on rainfed agricultural and traditional farming methods but right now we are working on improving that. One of the key technologies we are eyeing as a game changer is AI-powered tools. We believe that AI can analyze soil conditions, monitor crop health, and predict weather patterns, allowing farmers to make data-driven decisions,” Dr Rono says.

In the healthcare sector AI  technology can help in addressing critical healthcare challenges in Africa, including disease diagnosis, treatment, and management. With limited access to healthcare professionals, AI-driven diagnostic tools can bridge the gap by providing accurate and timely medical assessments.

Tech experts argue that every sector of the continent’s economy will need to embrace AI technologies from, finance, education, security and the environment.This will spur the needed growth that will steer the continent’s Gross Domestic Product.

Challenges facing the adoption of AI in Africa

 Artificial Intelligence (AI) holds immense potential to tackle Africa’s development challenges, from healthcare to agriculture. However, unlocking this potential requires strategic partnerships and careful consideration of ethical concerns. China has so far been a key strategic partner to most African states mostly in science, technology, infrastructure and diplomacy. The role is almost indispensable as we see a growth of trade and importation between Africa and the sub-continent of China.

Mr Sani Suleiman Sani, Programmes Officer, Paradigm Initiative, noted that “While importing technology offers a quick fix, long-term success lies in building sovereign AI capabilities. This means investing in infrastructure, fostering local expertise, and ensuring data ownership. China can support this journey through collaborative research, capacity building, and infrastructure development.”

However, concerns linger about potential abuses of China’s technologies, given that there are no restrictions to how they should be used to promote and protect civic freedom. The use of facial recognition technology raises human rights issues, with centralized databases enabling discrimination and political targeting. The Zimbabwean case and CloudWalk’s AI program exemplify these concerns, highlighting the need for transparent and ethical partnerships.

He added that African states need to embrace, private investors, and international donors must collaborate to provide financial support for startups, research projects, and infrastructure development.

The other factor that the African continent needs to address is the issue of brain drain which is a significant issue, with many skilled professionals seeking opportunities abroad. Creating a conducive environment with competitive salaries, research opportunities, and career growth prospects can retain talent within Africa.

He pointed out that although some African countries, including Kenya, are taking steps towards establishing regulations for AI, the current landscape presents both opportunities and challenges for the industry’s growth for example;

(i)Limited and outdated legal frameworks: Most African countries, including Kenya, rely on data protection laws and other “soft laws” to regulate AI. These laws often predate significant AI advancements and may not adequately address the unique risks and opportunities presented by the technology.

(ii)Fragmented landscape: With over 30 countries applying their regulations, navigating the legal landscape can be complex and cumbersome, potentially hindering cross-border collaboration and innovation.

(iii)Lack of specific AI regulations: The absence of dedicated AI regulations creates uncertainty for developers and investors, potentially slowing down growth in the industry. 

In Africa, when it comes to AI regulation, you will find either of these three instruments, or a combination of all, which are National AI policy/Roadmap/Strategy, Dedicated institution or Data protection law.

Vodacom Tanzania Unveils Winners of its Digital Accelerator Program Season 3

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Vodacom Tanzania has concluded the third season of its Digital Accelerator Program, a three-month acceleration program in partnership with MassChallenge and Huawei.

The accelerator started with 20 startups, and from these, seven finalists emerged: MITz Kits, Afya ya Mnyama, Mkanda Salama, Go Go App, SAB Biomanufacturers, Altitude X, and Makonda Renewable Tech.

In a statement, Vodacom Tanzania’s Managing Director, Philip Besiimire, said, “These seven startups have shown that solutions to local challenges lie within our youth, and we are proud to have been a part of their growth. I commend all the finalists and wish them well. The market is ready for your solutions; let’s go make a difference.”

Vodacom Tanzania is committed to supporting startups by providing access to local and international industry experts, training, mentorship, partner networks, and M-PESA services. Coupled with international experience from China and pitch rehearsals with US based Mass Challenge, the 7 startups faced the judges and audience in what was a rigorous and exciting pitching session to present their solutions, following which 3 startups Rose Funja founder of AltituteX, Frank Mussa, Afya Lead Co-Founder and Lusekelo Nkuwi from GO GO App.

Furthermore, the three winners will have the opportunity to travel to the US in September this year. There, they will meet with mentors and potential investors to advance their startups, gaining valuable insights and support for their ventures.

“It has been an honor to partner with Vodacom Tanzania for the Digital Accelerator Program. The dedication and talent of these startups are truly inspiring, and it was a great honor connecting them with both local and international mentors to help guide their journeys. We are excited to see how these entrepreneurs will continue to innovate and drive positive change in their communities,” said Eric Rodriguez from MassChallenge.

MassChallenge connects startups, experts, corporations, and communities to grow and transform businesses and economies. We do this work because entrepreneurship is a uniquely vigorous force in driving progress against humanity’s greatest challenges, creating opportunity for individuals, and generating jobs for our economy. We work across sectors to drive a stronger future through collaborative innovation and support all founders whether they fit or break the traditional venture mold.

Kenya’s Esther Kimani wins the 2024 Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation

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Kenya’s Esther Kimani won the 2024 Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation from the Royal Academy of Engineering .

Established in 2014 by the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation supports scalable and sustainable engineering solutions to African challenges. After a decade, the Prize alumni now comprise nearly 150 entrepreneurs from 23 countries. These innovators have created over 28,000 jobs and impacted more than 10 million people across the continent.

While commenting on the award, Esther Kimani stated that growing up, her parents would lose up to 40% of their crops each season, deeply affecting their living standards. This innovation aims to empower smallholder farmers, particularly women, to increase their income.

Her innovation, a Solar-powered device is aimed to detect crop pests and diseases swiftly, which can reduce crop losses by up to 30% and increase yields by as much as 40%.The transformative solution targets smallholder farmers in Kenya, who typically lose about 33% of their crops to pests and diseases.

The device employs cutting-edge computer vision algorithms and machine learning to identify crop pests and diseases. It provides real-time alerts within seconds of detection and offers customized intervention advice using SMS.

It also notifies government agricultural officers to engage in broader pest and disease management strategies.

The device costs only $3 per month to lease, an affordable alternative to more traditional, expensive methods like drone surveillance or manual inspections. The product is expected to reach one million farmers in the next five years.

Kimani was awarded £50,000 to develop her innovation further, marking the largest prize amount in the history of the Africa Prize in honour of its 10th anniversary.

In 2022, Esther won YouthADAPT, an initiative sponsored by the African Development Bank and the Global Center on Adaptation under the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program (AAAP) 

During the event, finalists presented their business pitches to an audience of around 700 people.

As part of the competition, three runners-up received £15,000 each: They include,

Eco Tiles by Kevin Maina ,also form Kenya, with his roofing material made from recycled plastic, addressing both plastic pollution and high construction costs.

La Ruche Health by Rory Assandey (Côte d’Ivoire): An AI chatbot, “Kiko,” which provides essential health information and services alongside a digital backend solution for healthcare providers.

Yo-Waste by Martin Tumusiime from Uganda, a mobile app that connects households and businesses to independent waste collection agents for efficient waste management.

Dr Abubakari Zarouk Imoro received the ‘One to Watch’ award, which was voted on by live and online audiences. This award recognises the profound impact of his innovation on waste and biomass valorisation in local communities. Established in 2024 to honour the late Martin Bruce, a Ghanaian alumnus of the Africa Prize, the award comes with a £5,000 prize.

Ethiopia’s Orbit Innovation Hub and  ITC train farmers on improving access to markets and finance

Orbit Innovation Hub in Addis Ababa in partnership with the ITC Netherlands Trust Fund V Ethiopia Tech project organized a symposium aimed to train farmers on exploring the potential of agritech in improving access to markets and finance.

Some 140 representative from the tech sector, local and international NGOs, government, banks, farmers and exporters attended the symposium to learn the importance of adopting traceability systems, understanding the regulation’s requirements, and the need for collaboration among stakeholders to ensure smooth implementation.

According to Gregory Sampson, Solutions Architect at the UN International Trade Centre (ITC),events like the symposium in Ethiopia are critical as they provide a platform for knowledge sharing, networking, and exchanging best practices related to EUDR compliance,” Sampson said.

ITC provides technical assistance, capacity building, and training to help countries meet EUDR regulations, supporting both farmers and producers, and government and industry bodies.

The European Union is Ethiopia’s biggest single market. With 70% of Ethiopia’s population living in rural areas and 85% of agricultural production coming from smallholder farmers, reliable access to markets like the EU can boost productivity, increase incomes, and strengthen food security in the country.

But although smallholder farmers play a critical role in Ethiopia, they often face significant challenges in developing sustainable practices and accessing markets due to limited infrastructure, knowledge, information, and resources.

Saminas Seyfu, Orbit’s director of communication and community development believes agri-tech can offer these producers a way to overcome these barriers and use technology to level up to international standards.

Tech companies at the symposium suggested creating a matchmaking platform for agricultural ventures to find tech companies to collaborate with, and at least one tech start-up has already opened discussions with a coffee exporter on a new solution on traceability standards.

“There are so many complicated issues, some of them are cultural, others are digital literacy and collaboration between stakeholder companies. Everyone, from financial institutions, customs authorities, exporter certification providers, port inspectors, all need to understand what EUDR means. The EU is our biggest market; this is not something we can ignore,” said Seyfu.

Early compliance on the EUDR will enhance the trust of EU buyers. Many of them may start diverting their orders and looking to source coffee from other countries that are prepared for EUDR, noted Sampson.

There has been an increasing demand for ITC’s support in providing more assistance and training to ensure comprehensive compliance, and ITC is currently developing the Deforestation Free Trade Gateway, an online platform which will support small producers across the world comply with EUDR requirements, and connect them to international buyers.

“Commitment from the government, the private sector and business associations will prove  critical, and leveraging tech in agriculture is the best way forward,” Seyfu said. “We need to invest in this as agriculture is a way of life for most Ethiopian families. From the household to the nation, agriculture is everything.”

“This is not just about Ethiopia,” he added. “We need to also engage the African Union and make this a continent-wide agenda. Ethiopia can lead the way.”

Kenya’s Digital Protests Bear Fruit as President William Ruto Reshuffles Cabinet

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Following weeks of widespread youth-led protests across Kenya, President William Ruto has taken decisive action by dismissing nearly every member of his cabinet yesterday, signaling a significant political shift in the administration.

Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi has been retained in his position, becoming the highest-ranking government official aside from the presidency and the parliament’s speaker. Mudavadi will also continue to serve as the country’s foreign affairs cabinet secretary.

President Ruto attributed these sweeping dismissals directly to the impact of the protests, which prompted the withdrawal of his government’s contentious finance bill 2024, marking what he described as a critical turning point for the nation.

The mass cabinet firings were a primary demand of the protesters, reflecting widespread public dissatisfaction with government policies. President Ruto emphasized that the decisions were made after careful reflection and evaluation of his ministers’ performance.

It’s worth noting that many of these ministers had been close political allies who supported Ruto during his successful presidential campaign in 2022. However, allegations of corruption have eroded public trust in several cabinet members.

“In light of the progress we have achieved, I acknowledge the high expectations of the Kenyan people. They believe that this administration can achieve profound transformations in our nation’s history,” President Ruto stated during the announcement at State House, Nairobi, where he disbanded the cabinet effective immediately.

Prior to this announcement, President Ruto had already responded to protesters’ demands by eliminating the first lady’s official budget, announcing plans to dissolve 47 state agencies, and suspending the acquisition of new government vehicles and non-essential travel for government officials.

The reshuffling of the cabinet underscores President Ruto’s commitment to addressing public concerns and steering the nation towards comprehensive reforms.The President assured Kenyans that, as the government moves forward, it remains dedicated to fostering transparency, accountability, and responsive governance.

Kenyans online have lauded the move calling it a step forward to achievement of their grievances during the past protests that once took the country to dark moments.

Here are responses of Kenyans on X (KOX), formerly referred to Kenyans on Twitter (KOT):

Donald Kipkorir: Today morning, I advised President William Ruto to dissolve the Cabinet. Of the Cabinet only Prof. Kithure Kindiki should return. Some of them who were my friends became too arrogant & couldn’t even pick my calls. Now that they have been fired, I won’t pick their calls.

Khalif Kairo: Nani anajua kwenye saa za 1 Million zinauzwa? mkinipea io transport hapo kwa line ya supermetro archives naweka shade.

Osama Otero: After CSs next is PSs..

Edwin Sifuna: Sacking all the Cabinet Secretaries is a solid start.

Choosing the Right Chiller Partner: Key Considerations for Enhancing Lab Performance

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In the context of laboratory management, the role of temperature control is one of the most crucial factors to consider. Chillers are important parts of many lab configurations, as they allow for accurate temperature control across numerous applications. Choosing the right chiller partner, for instance Temperature Control Systems Inc, can greatly improve your lab’s efficiency and dependability. This paper aims at discussing the factors that should be taken into consideration when choosing a chiller provider and how the right provider can improve the performance of the laboratory.

Temperature Control Needs

However, to get started with the selection process, it is imperative to consider the requirements of your laboratory in terms of temperature control. Think about the range of temperatures that will be required, the amount of substances that will need to be cooled and any process parameters that may influence the temperature. Understanding these requirements will assist you in communicating with Temperature Control Systems Inc or any other potential suppliers about what you require in your chillers equipment.

Evaluating Chiller Technology

In selecting a chiller for use in a laboratory, it is important to assess the technology and the options that are on offer. Temperature Control Systems Inc provides several types of chillers, air-cooled and water-cooled chillers, which are designed for various lab conditions and uses. Understanding the differences in energy consumption, cooling capacity, and space needed for these technologies will assist you in making the best decision for your lab’s operation.

Reliability and Quality

The reliability of your chillers equipment is a critical factor in the overall efficiency of your laboratory processes. When selecting a chiller, it is important to look for a model that is reliable and has a long life expectancy. Examining the manufacturing specifications and quality assurance of Temperature Control Systems Inc can give confidence that the equipment will meet the expectations and maintain the critical equilibrium of the lab.

Cost of Ownership

Although the first cost of a chiller is a major factor to consider, the life cycle cost, which encompasses maintenance, repair, and operating cost, is equally significant. Temperature Control Systems Inc manufactures chillers equipment that is not only cheaper to acquire but also cheap to use and maintain. The long-term costs of various models and configurations can be compared and this can result in significant savings and increased ROI.

Customization 

Finally, the possibility of customization and future expansion should also be taken into consideration. It is important to note that as your lab expands and develops, the cooling requirements may also change. Temperature Control Systems Inc provides chillers equipment that can be modified to suit new or growing needs. This flexibility helps to safeguard your investment in the long run and adapt to new threats as they emerge.

In conclusion, it can be said that the decision on the choice of chiller partner is not only a technical one but also affects many aspects of laboratory activity. By identifying the specific requirements of your lab, assessing the performance and durability of the equipment, determining the cost of ownership, and guaranteeing adequate support and maintenance, you can collaborate with a company like Temperature Control Systems Inc and obtain the best conditions for your lab. 

How to Choose the Right SEO Company for Your Business Needs

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As an SEO specialist and a journalist, I have encountered myriad organizations vying for attention in the ever-competitive digital marketplace. One recurring topic piques my interest is how businesses select an SEO company tailored to their unique needs. With the landscape of digital marketing morphing at a dizzying pace, making the right choice can make or break your online presence.

A standout SEO company is UpSEO, which has consistently demonstrated its proficiency in adapting to these rapid shifts and delivering exceptional results for clients across various industries. By leveraging cutting-edge techniques and staying ahead of SEO trends, UpSEO helps businesses achieve and maintain high search rankings. As we navigate through 2024, the role of an adept SEO company cannot be overstated. Partnering with a firm like UpSEO ensures that your digital marketing efforts are in capable hands, ultimately driving growth and success. Here’s a detailed guide on how to choose the right SEO company for your business needs. Understanding core elements such as the company’s expertise, approach to customization, and ethical practices is essential in making an informed decision.

Understanding Your SEO Needs

Before diving headfirst into the bustling market of SEO providers, it’s crucial to understand your specific SEO needs. Each business is unique, and so are its SEO requirements. Start by assessing your online presence, identifying gaps, and setting clear goals. Are you looking to improve your local search presence or aim for national or global visibility? Do you need help with on-page SEO, off-page SEO, or technical SEO? These questions need answering to shape your search parameters effectively.

Research and Reputation

In an industry teeming with providers, separating the wheat from the chaff becomes a formidable task. Reputation speaks volumes. Delve into reviews, case studies, testimonials, and the general online sentiment about the company. Google reviews and platforms like Yelp can be excellent resources. Additionally, being an investigator might help – I often browse through discussion forums, engage in community groups on platforms like LinkedIn, and check out who my colleagues and competitors endorse.

One standout SEO company is UpSEO. With its commendable track record and rave reviews from various industries, UpSEO embodies the qualities of a reliable SEO partner. Testimonials from a varied clientele reflect the company’s effectiveness in boosting organic traffic, enhancing search engine rankings, and improving overall online visibility.

The SEO Company’s SEO

Walk the talk – that’s an adage I firmly believe in. A competent SEO company must have a robust online presence. Their website should be ranked high for competitive keywords. If an SEO company can’t achieve high rankings, how can it do that for you? Investigate their search engine standings and the quality of their website content. Using tools like Moz or SEMrush to gauge their domain authority and organic search traffic is often enlightening.

Transparency and Reporting

As an SEO specialist, I know from experience that transparency is a cornerstone of effective SEO services. A legitimate SEO company will be open about its strategies and provide detailed reports on its progress. Frequent updates, comprehensive analytics, and clear communication channels are non-negotiable. Steer clear of companies that promise overnight success or aren’t transparent about their methods—they could be employing black-hat techniques that may harm your site in the long run.

Customization Over One-Size-Fits-All

No two businesses are the same, and neither should their SEO strategies. Your chosen SEO company must customize its services to suit your business needs. Firms like UpSEO tailor their services, which include keyword research, on-page optimization, link building, and content creation, specifically to your industry and goals. This personalized approach ensures that the strategies employed are effective and aligned with your business objectives.

Knowledge of the Latest Trends

SEO is a field governed by constant updates. What works today might not work tomorrow due to algorithm changes by search engines like Google. Hence, your chosen SEO partner must stay ahead by keeping up with the latest trends and algorithm changes. Being part of industry groups, attending relevant conferences, and continuous learning are signs that an SEO company is committed to maintaining its edge in the industry.

Assessing the Value and ROI

Cost is a significant factor, but the cheapest option isn’t always the best. Evaluate what the seo company offers relative to its costs – it’s the value and ROI that matter. Scrutinize the pricing models, understand the deliverables, and consider the potential return on investment. Successful SEO is a long-term game, and while upfront costs might seem high, future gains in traffic and conversions usually justify the investment.

Ethics and Best Practices

Ethics in SEO are paramount. A reputable company will adhere strictly to white-hat SEO practices that align with search engine guidelines. Avoid companies that resort to dubious tactics such as keyword stuffing, cloaking, or generating spammy backlinks. These practices can lead to severe penalties from search engines, negating any short-term gains. Engage with companies like UpSEO, which pride themselves on ethical SEO practices and have a proven track record of sustained success.

Trial Periods and Initial Assessments

Top-tier SEO companies offer trial periods or initial assessments to showcase their capabilities. You can leverage this avenue to gauge their effectiveness without a long-term commitment. Use this period to evaluate their communication, reporting accuracy, and the initial uptick in SEO metrics.

Conclusion

Choosing the right SEO company https://www.upseo.com/ is a pivotal decision that requires meticulous research and thorough vetting. It’s a blend of understanding your needs, verifying the company’s track record, ensuring transparency, seeking customization, staying updated with trends, assessing value, and prioritizing ethics.

As you embark on your search, remember the merits of trailblazers like UpSEO, known for their industry-leading practices and noteworthy success stories. An informed choice in selecting an SEO partner can elevate your business’s online presence, ensuring sustained growth and a competitive edge in an unyielding digital marketplace.

Remember, a good SEO company doesn’t just promise results – they deliver them consistently and ethically. Success in SEO is a marathon, not a sprint, and the right partner will guide you through the race with expertise and integrity. Good luck in your search!

Tiny Home Heating Solutions: Ultra-Compact Heat Pump Water Heaters Unveiled

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The tiny home movement has changed the idea of living small, and people are now looking for appliances that can fit into small spaces while being efficient. Such companies as JNOD are at the forefront of establishing these small-scale but efficient heating systems. This article focuses on the newest developments in the smallest heat pump water heaters and how they are ideal for tiny houses.

Definition

Ultra-compact heat pump water heaters are specifically developed to offer heating solutions where conventional models are too large and energy-intensive. These devices use heat from the air or the ground to warm water, which is a far more efficient way of heating water than using electricity or gas. They are perfect for tiny homes because they do not take up much space.

Benefits

The first advantage of using a small heat pump water heater in a tiny house is that it saves space. These units can be easily stored under a counter or in a closet and this will help to save space in the living area. Also, their efficiency in power usage means that the residents save a lot of money on electricity bills, which is a plus for tiny home owners who are conscious of the environment and their pocket.

Innovations

JNOD has been very instrumental in the development of heat pump technology that is suitable for tiny home owners. Their smallest heat pump water heater models are not only small in size but also have high energy efficiency ratings that are satisfactory to the environmentally conscious market. JNOD’s dedication to quality and creativity means that even the tiniest of areas do not have to sacrifice comfort or functionality.

Selecting the Right Heater

The factors to consider when selecting the heat pump water heater include size, efficiency, and installation considerations. For tiny homes, the smallest heat pump water heater that will suffice for your daily use is the most appropriate one. To decide how many gallons of hot water you need daily, you need to evaluate the amount of hot water you use daily to decide the capacity of the living situation. 

Future Trends

The desire for environmentally friendly living and the tiny house movement are the main factors influencing the development of heat pump water heaters. Companies such as JNOD are constantly striving to enhance the efficiency, dimension, and price of their units for this expanding market. Future developments are expected to be directed towards the incorporation of smart technology, whereby the homeowner can regulate and monitor the heating system through a smartphone for additional efficiency.

Therefore, ultra-compact heat pump water heaters are a major innovation in heating systems for tiny houses. Thanks to companies like JNOD, these small but mighty units are poised to become a staple of the minimalist lifestyle, providing a compact, space-saving solution that is in tune with the modern ethos of less is more. With the advancement in technology, tiny home owners can expect more advanced solutions that will make living in small homes comfortable and sustainable.

M-Pesa and Dahabshiil Partner to Streamline Remittances for Ethiopians Abroad

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Ethiopian expatriates can now send money home more conveniently and directly thanks to a new partnership between M-Pesa and Dahabshiil, a leading international money transfer company.

The agreement, signed in Addis Ababa, allows Ethiopians abroad to send funds directly to M-Pesa mobile wallets in Ethiopia.

Dahabshiil, with its extensive global network spanning over 100 countries and nearly 50 years of experience, will leverage M-Pesa’s robust mobile money platform to further solidify its position as a top remittance provider in Ethiopia.

“This partnership with Safaricom’s M-Pesa Ethiopia offers our diaspora customers a faster and easier way to support their families back home,” said Musse Mohamed, Dahabshiil’s country representative for Ethiopia.

M-Pesa has garnered significant traction in Ethiopia, boasting over 3 million users since its launch. This collaboration with Dahabshiil is expected to accelerate financial inclusion within the country.

“We are thrilled to partner with Dahabshiil, a respected player in the international money transfer industry,” said Anthony Kang’ethe, M-Pesa’s acting Chief Digital Finance Officer. “Together, we are committed to expanding financial access and driving economic growth in Ethiopia.”

With remittances to Africa exceeding US$50 billion last year and projected to grow further, Ethiopia’s substantial diaspora community represents a significant market opportunity. This partnership positions both M-Pesa and Dahabshiil to gain a competitive edge in the remittance industry.

Ethiopia’s recent economic reforms, particularly in the telecommunications sector, coupled with its large unbanked population, create a fertile ground for mobile wallet services and fintech companies to expand their reach.

Africa’s E-Waste Share Grows as Consumption Rises, UN Report Finds

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Africa’s contribution to the global electronic waste (e-waste) problem has increased over the past decade, according to a new report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

The report reveals that Africa’s share of e-waste generation grew from 5.3% in 2010 to 5.9% in 2022.

This trend reflects a broader pattern in developing economies, where rising consumption of electronic devices like screens, monitors, and telecom equipment coincides with increased e-waste generation.

UNCTAD attributes this growth to factors like population increase, economic expansion, rising disposable incomes, and greater internet connectivity.

However, the report highlights a significant disparity in per capita e-waste production. Consumers in developed countries, such as the US, UK, and Japan, generate three and a half times more digitalization-related waste per person compared to those in developing nations.

UNCTAD identifies “consumerism and aggressive marketing that promotes marginal upgrades” as key drivers of this gap.

This tendency towards overconsumption fuels a cycle of rapid device replacement and contributes disproportionately to the global e-waste burden.

The UNCTAD report underscores the need for addressing e-waste responsibly.

UN Trade and Development Secretary-General Rebeca Grynspan underlined the need for a balanced approach: “We must harness the power of digitalization to advance inclusive and sustainable development, while mitigating its negative environmental impacts. This requires a shift towards a circular digital economy, characterized by responsible consumption and production, renewable energy use and comprehensive e-waste management. The digital economy’s growing environmental impact can be reversed”.

As Africa’s consumption of electronic devices continues to rise, implementing sustainable e-waste management practices will be crucial to protecting the environment and public health.

In Kenya, startups like Weee Center have made a call to Kenyans to be part of the global movement that protects the environment by being champions and ambassadors of electronic waste management.

With two sites in Westlands and Utawala, the organization ensures the environment is free of electronic wastes.

During the iconic Connected Africa Summit 2024, Business Development Associate at Weee Center, Purity Muthuita said,”Electronic waste end up piling in our garbages, streams and rivers because collection of other wastes such as plastics and organic wastes have been amplified, while the latter is ignored. Don’t worry, our center is here to focus on electronic waste.”

She added,”Kenyans are tech savvy and consume a lot of electronics. We urge them to visit our centers and also be our ambassadors out there.”

Key figures to understand the environmental impact of the digital economy:


The ICT sector is estimated to have emitted between 69 to 1.6 gigatons of CO2 in 2020, representing 1.5-3.2% of global greenhouse gas emissions.


Producing a 2 kg computer requires approximately 800 kg of raw materials.


Demand for critical minerals like graphite, lithium, and cobalt could surge by 500% by 2050.


Data centers consumed 460 TWh of electricity in 2022, with consumption expected to double by 2026.


Digital-related waste increased by 30% between 2010 and 2022, reaching 10.5 million tons globally.


Developed countries generate 25 kg of digital waste per person, compared to less than 1 kg in developing countries and just 0.21 kg in least developed countries (LDCs).


Only 24% of digital waste was formally collected globally in 2022, with a mere 7.5% collection rate in developing countries.


The number of semiconductor units quadrupled from 2001 to 2022, with 5G coverage expected to rise from 25% in 2021 to 85% by 2028.


Internet of Things (IoT) devices are projected to grow from 16 billion in 2023 to 39 billion by 2029.


Business e-commerce sales surged from $17 trillion in 2016 to $27 trillion in 2022 across 43 countries.

Lecturers call for infrastructure improvement to ease AI adoption in Kenya

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Kenyan university educators are calling for an urgent review of existing infrastructure within higher education institutions to allow for the seamless integration of artificial intelligence (AI) in classrooms and research. This was a key takeaway from a workshop organised by the Microsoft Africa Development Centre (ADC) in collaboration with the Kenya Education Network (KENET) to explore the potential of artificial intelligence (AI) to improve teaching, learning, and research in higher education.

Speaking at the event, Microsoft ADC Managing Director Catherine Muraga emphasised the importance of AI in the evolving classroom landscape and presented private-private and public-private partnerships as a key way to bridge existing infrastructure gaps. “It was a fruitful workshop with academics, policymakers, researchers, and partners such as KENET. One of the most important considerations for universities is the availability of infrastructure for collecting and storing local data, which can then be used to train AI models for use in education and research. The government, which can provide significant assistance in areas such as technology-related skilling, is one of the larger players that must also be engaged,” said Ms Muraga.

The workshop’s discussions focused on four major themes: the need for AI skill development, improving pedagogy through research, the role of AI and research, and the infrastructure requirements to accelerate AI adoption. On his part, KENET executive director, Prof. Meoli Kashorda, lauded the developments made by universities in improving AI-related infrastructure and called for additional funding and
innovation to improve capacity for AI adoption in academia.

“AI tools are already being used by some students and lecturers. At this point, we must consider how AI can be made available to everyone in higher education. The challenge is that it demands more AI infrastructure, which requires significant resources. We need huge investments in AI infrastructure so we can start to apply it in research at scale,” said Prof Kashorda.
While acknowledging AI’s potential in education, educators emphasised the importance of ongoing professional development opportunities to ensure they have the skills needed to incorporate new technologies into their teaching methods. Additionally, discussions focused on the importance of responsible AI development that promotes inclusivity.

According to the experts, this will necessitate investment in collecting, sorting, storing, and processing datasets derived from African settings. They also advocated for the development of policies and guidelines governing the use of AI in educational institutions.
“As KENET, we have provided funding to develop case studies on the use of AI in teaching computer science. This will be expanded to demonstrate the power of AI in other disciplines. We believe that these case studies will help convert the opinions of higher education leaders into policies promoting AI adoption in universities,” Prof. Kashorda added.

The workshop will culminate with the publication of a whitepaper on AI and its applications in various aspects of higher education, addressing challenges and developing recommendations for widespread adoption in universities and colleges. It is part of a series of initiatives launched by the Microsoft ADC to improve technical skills within and outside the technology ecosystem.

Kenyan Startups shut down due to poor strategies, high taxation and lack of funding

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A new 2023 report by the African Venture Capital Association (AVCA) has revealed that the African continent has seen over 20 startups close shop, seven of these were Kenyan-based startups.

The Kenyan startups included Sendy, SWVL, Kune Food, SkyGarden, Notify Logistics, WeFarm and iProcure. Copia has been the latest victim, just entering administration a few days ago.

Kenya often lauded as the “Silicon Savannah,” has gained a reputation as a vibrant hub for technological innovation and entrepreneurship in Africa.

With a young and tech-savvy population, improving infrastructure, and a growing middle class, the country seems like a promising landscape for startups. However, despite these promising factors, many startups find the Kenyan market challenging to navigate.

Prof Fred Ogolla a Nairobi-based Economist and Governance Expert, says that funding is the main killer of start-ups in Kenya.

“While we have witnessed an increase in venture capital inflow into the African continent, the amount available for early-stage startups is still limited. Many startups rely on bootstrapping or small amounts of seed funding, which often prove inadequate for scaling operations or even sustaining day-to-day activities,” says Prof Ogolla.

AVCA report also stated that Africa attracted a combined $4.5 billion in venture capital and venture debt investment in 2023, across 603 deals. 

 West Africa maintained the top spot for the third consecutive year, with Nigeria as the most active country both in the region and on the continent by deal volume.  

While Southern Africa was the only region to register positive year-on-year growth in 2023 at 20%. 

The continent also attracted over 781 investors who were active in the venture ecosystem in 2023, in a mass exodus of close to 400 unique investors compared to 2022.

Prof Ogolla, “ Our economy has been subject to fluctuations, with periods of high inflation and economic uncertainty. Such instability affects consumer spending power and investor confidence. When the economy is unstable, potential customers are less likely to spend on new or non-essential services, directly impacting startup revenues.”

Despite Kenya emerging third as the most promising investment hub for venture capital investors, a new report by The Big Deal reveals that African start-ups have raised $780 million by mid this year.

In Kenya navigating the complex web of regulations and bureaucratic procedures is a major hassle for start-ups.

The law in Kenya is so complex that most start-ups find it difficult to maneuver.  Churchill Ogutu , an independent Economist based in Nairobi ,“We should borrow a leaf from Rwanda where it is easier to register a business and have it running in less than 48 hours, while in Kenya it can take months for the relevant authorities to issue operational licenses.”

He describes Kenya’s start-up landscape as saturated market which has continued to affect the profit margins of most of the start-ups.

Ogutu “When we have start-ups operating in a saturated market, they tend to struggle to differentiate themselves and attract customers, leading to their eventual shutdown. This limitation restricts the customer base that startups can tap into hence leading into trouble when they cannot achieve the scale needed to become profitable.”

Economists argue that another vital aspect that hinders the growth of start-ups in Kenya and Africa at large, is the lack of ability to build consumer trust.

“Kenyans are unique people and once you fail to gain their trust, you cannot survive in this market because they don’t fear to critic you at all. They will always demand better services and when you fail to deliver on it, they move to that company that can offer value for their money. Most start-ups in Kenya struggle to gain the trust needed to build a loyal customer base hence they end up shutting down because they do not trust the service they are offering,” comments Dr Ogolla.

A 2023 World Bank Group survey states that Kenya has a young population but the country still has a gap in the specialized skills required for certain industries.

Mr Sani Suleiman Sani, Programmes Officer, Paradigm Initiative pointed out that most start-ups in Africa often need expertise in areas like software development, data science, and digital marketing.

“The shortage of skilled professional’s forces startups to either pay a premium for talent or settle for less experienced individuals, both of which can hinder growth and innovation,” Sani adds.

Sani further hinted at the high employee turnover within the start-up ecosystem affects their growth trajectory.

“What we have realized is that most skilled workers often move to more established companies that offer better pay and job security. This turnover disrupts operations and can lead to a loss of institutional knowledge. For a startup, losing key employees can be a significant setback, sometimes leading to the collapse of the business.”

Dr Ogolla also stated that Kenya’s taxation policies are unfavourable for startups.

Joe Harvey a tax expert noted that the high tax rates and complex tax regulations in Kenya have created a significant financial burden for young companies.  “As a country, we lack tax incentives for startups and small businesses means that these entities do not receive the support they need to grow and contribute to the economy. Instead, they are often saddled with tax obligations that can stifle their growth and, in some cases, lead to their closure.”

Most of the start-ups in Kenya lack proper governance and management skills hence this hinders their sustainability growth.

 Harvey, “It’s one thing to start an idea but it’s another thing to sustain it for long without a proper strategic plan on what should be done at what stage and who should do it. Today in Kenya most founders of start-ups- lack the necessary experience and skills to navigate the complexities of running a business. This inexperience can lead to poor decision-making, inefficient operations, and ultimately, business failure.”

He further acknowledged that the majority of the start-ups in Kenya lack mentorship and support networks.

Hence this leaves many startups without the advice and connections they need to succeed.

While Kenya has made strides in improving its infrastructure, challenges remain. Inconsistent power supply, limited access to high-speed internet in rural areas, and poor transportation networks can hinder startup operations. Startups that rely heavily on technology or need to distribute products across the country face significant obstacles due to these infrastructure deficiencies.

The rate of technological adoption among consumers and businesses can also impact startups. While urban areas like Nairobi have seen rapid tech adoption, rural areas lag. Startups offering digital services may find it difficult to gain traction outside urban centres, limiting their market reach and growth potential.

Bolt Kicks Off ‘Drive for a Prize’ Campaign for the Second Year to Celebrate Top Drivers

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Bolt, Africa’s leading on-demand mobility company, has launched its second annual driver reward campaign, ‘Drive for a Prize,’ to honor its top-performing drivers.

This campaign is part of an innovative driver reward scheme aimed at enhancing driver engagement and empowering the driver community by recognizing and celebrating their exceptional contributions.

Building on the success of last year’s campaign, Bolt has committed to making this year’s event even more memorable by partnering with renowned brands such as Oraimo, Total Energies, Naivas Supermarket, and Samsung Kenya to offer substantial benefits and rewards.

Oraimo will provide premium phone accessories, Total Energies will offer fuel vouchers, Samsung will supply phones, and Naivas will give shopping vouchers to all the campaign winners.

Linda Ndungu, Country Manager of Bolt, stated, “We are thrilled to launch the second edition of the ‘Drive for a Prize’ campaign. Drivers are the core of our operations, and it’s essential to recognize and reward their dedication and hard work. This year, we are enhancing our campaign through exciting partnerships with Oraimo, Total Energies, Naivas Supermarket, and Samsung Kenya. These collaborations allow us to offer even more significant rewards and show our appreciation for the drivers’ hard work and commitment on our platform. We believe that initiatives like this will motivate our drivers to work harder, thereby improving the quality of service for riders. This creates a win-win situation for both the drivers and the business.”

The campaign, which began at the end of June, will run for eight weeks until the 23rd of August. During this period, drivers will have the chance to earn points based on their performance. The top performers will be honored at an award ceremony, where they will receive their well-deserved prizes and recognition.

This initiative underscores Bolt’s commitment to driver welfare and service excellence. By providing cutting-edge technology and essential resources, the campaign aims to boost productivity, help drivers reduce their operational costs, and encourage them to maintain high service standards.

Bolt states it remains dedicated to creating a supportive and rewarding environment for all drivers on its platform, reinforcing its status as an industry leader and highlighting its appreciation for their invaluable contributions.

Epson Unveils Enhanced Heat-Free Printers for A4 Printing

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Epson Corporation has continued its drive to bring Heat-Free Line Inkjet technology through its office print range, launching the AM-C400 and AM-C550 MFPs to deliver improved solutions to the A4 market. These new products offer all the energy saving and productivity advantages afforded by Epson’s existing Line Inkjet printers but in a smaller, A4 format.

This launch expands Epson’s existing A4 inkjet line-up and provides an ideal solution for users with higher print volumes. For the channel they represent an easily maintained, profitable solution that supports sustainability agendas.

“Epson’s new AM-C400 and AM-C550 MFPs are designed to meet the needs of users requiring high print volumes, offering fast print and scan speeds, high paper capacities, and user-friendly operation in a compact size. These models not only enhance productivity but also align with our sustainability goals by reducing energy consumption and waste,” said Mukesh Bector, Epson’s Regional Head for East and West Africa.

Boasting high print and scan speeds (up to 55ppm for print and 100ipm for scan), high paper capacities and high yield ink cartridges of up to 31,500 pages, both printers deliver enhanced productivity benefits; and with an improved colour touch-screen user interface, operation is quick and easy.

The �?C’ shaped paper path used in their design means their footprint has been reduced, placing these printers among the smallest in class and making them ideal for environments that demand a highly reliable, productive device but where space is limited.

“Launching this range means we close a gap in our product line-up and can offer the advantages of Line Inkjet throughout our office print range.” noted Jose Sanandres, Epson Europe.

These A4 models expand our AM-C family and deliver comparable levels of impressive productivity to those seen on the AM-C A3 models, with a seamless user experience due to the shared user interface, but with a smaller footprint.”

Fast print speeds, reliability and a small product footprint are coupled with the reduced energy consumption and waste reductions expected from Epson Heat-Free inkjet, further supporting the sustainability agenda and offering a compelling alternative to traditional laser printers.

Developed using Epson’s Open Platform, these MFPs are easily integrated into existing technology infrastructures and are compatible with all 3rd party software solutions.

Innovate Africa Launches with $2.5M Angel Fund for Early-Stage Africa-Focused Startups

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Innovate Africa, an early-stage angel investment fund, has launched with an initial $2.5 million rollout to support up to 20 startups in its first year to solve complex, recognised problems such as insecurity, unemployment, and poverty with purpose-driven technology.

Co-founded by Kristin Wilson and Christian Idiodi, the sector-agnostic fund will invest an average investment of $50,000 into each startup plus a comprehensive support package in finance, governance, public relations, and strategy, ensuring a solid foundation for growth.

Kristin Wilson, Managing Partner of Innovate Africa Fund who witnessed the struggles that early-stage African founders face as a founder herself, the launch of the fund is not just about funding but about deep expertise and strong connections.

“As a founder-first catalyst fund, we provide insight-driven capital to help founders accelerate their journey from MVP to PMF. By providing this support and funding, innovators can focus their efforts on building sustainable, transformative businesses that solve wicked problems and return value to investors” 

Since 2019, the African funding landscape has witnessed positive growth, with disclosed exits surpassing $2.3 billion – representing a significant 13.4% of the total $17.2 billion raised by African startups. Despite this growth, early-stage founders face challenges navigating the path from ideation to market fit. Innovate Africa Fun aims to help curb the persistent lack of early-stage funding and the needed insights to help founders accelerate the journey from Minimum Viable Product (MVP) to Product-Market Fit (PMF).

Innovate Africa Fund is anchored by a network of experienced operators and product specialists across Africa, providing a vigorous foundation of knowledge and experience to guide early-stage founders towards success. Managing Partner, Kristin is also the Chief Strategy Officer at Spurt!, a Venture Partner at Oui Capital, an Investment Lead for the Rising Tide Africa Angel Network and a General Partner at the Bold Angel Fund. She has a portfolio of 34 African startups including 26 tech startups such as Hoaq, Clafiya, Shuttlers and OmniRetail.

Kristin’s portfolio companies have generated over $100m in revenue and collectively serve over 100,000 users. Her partner, Christian, is the founder of Firtsi and Work Nigeria and also a partner at the Silicon Valley Product Group (SVPG), and helps companies transform the way they work to create products customers love and brings immense value to the business. He is co-author of INSPIRED, EMPOWERED, LOVED and TRANSFORMED–New York Times Best-Selling books and has shaped companies like Amazon and Merrill Corporation, and tackled complex product challenges for industry giants like Microsoft, Interswitch, and Squarespace.

Innovate Africa Fuund will also connect its portfolio companies with seasoned operators and advisors, both in Africa and globally, to ensure they get the expertise they need. Innovate Founders will have access to the Product Leadership Accelerator, Pan-African Product Tours, InspireAfrica Gatherings, and Silicon Valley Product Group Coaching Programs

“The African diaspora has sent over $150 billion back to the continent in the past three years, but financial support alone isn’t enough. Many are eager to contribute their talent and expertise to impactful ventures, and that’s where we come in. It takes an ecosystem to build a startup. By reaching founders at a very early stage, we can connect them to key partners and help foster their success. Ultimately, our decisions today will shape who builds, owns, and benefits from the next wave of disruptive technology in emerging markets,” said Christian Idiodi, Founder of Innovate Africa Foundation.

Applications are open for founders across Africa via https://innovateafricafund.com/ 

What have been the biggest new mobile games of 2024 so far?

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There have been many games to have been released on mobile that have been all-time classics and favorites with fans for years. Names like Subway Surfers, Pokemon GO, Candy Crush Sage, and Monopoly Go have all been at the top of the charts and remained consistently there, despite many of these having been out for several years.

However, with the continued invention and development of gaming and mobile technologies, each passing year continues to provide us with new titles that are exceptional in their own right. Indeed, if you look at the gaming charts across the various app stores where you can download them, you’ll notice that there have been some new releases that have stormed the rankings and immediately shot to the top.

“Call of Duty: Warzone Mobile”

Call of Duty is one of the biggest gaming franchises to have ever been created. If you were to ask 100 people if they had heard of it, you’d expect almost all of them to return with a positive answer.

Mobile gamers have had previous iterations to play in the past on their portable devices but Call of Duty: Warzone Mobile has given them something new to experience in 2024. Players can explore two large-scale maps and compete in various game modes, as they look to be the best player they possibly can.

“Sweet Kingdom”

We mentioned how popular Candy Crush Saga remains (even though it was released over a decade ago), and it seems the confectionary theme is still very popular for other gaming formats. The iGaming industry has always looked to make sure they offer the best possible experiences to their players, with the sweet theme being one used widely.

Sweet Kingdom is a title released by Pragmatic Play that can be found at the best online casino in NZ and others, with it having only just been released. The game features fun visuals that create a relaxing environment, especially for those with a sweet tooth. Using a cluster pays mechanic, there are many sweet treats on offer in this kingdom!

“Tamagotchi Adventure Kingdom”

If you’re a player of a certain generation, you’ll know that there have been many games that have been created that can transport you back in time and provide you with a wave of nostalgia in a way that is indescribable.

Tamagotchi Adventure Kingdom is just one of those games that will provide a throwback vibe, as you’ll be able to embark on a new adventure with many of your favorite 90s characters. You’ll need to build your camp and explore their world, but at least it’s not one where if you leave them for a little period, you’re hoping they are still alive when you come back!

“Slice & Dice”

If you’re looking for a game that can be challenging but provide good fun, then “Slice & Dice” might be one that can provide both aspects in abundance, hence why it has continued to remain near the top of the charts since its release earlier this year.

The game focuses on combat and strategy, as players will need to defeat their opponents using the special abilities their team has, with each individual equipped differently. A dice will be rolled beforehand to find each ability, but the battle will soon come. It’s a game that will truly test you, as it will continue to get progressively harder, which it will.

ITU Launches €15 Million Broadband Mapping Project to Boost Digital Transformation in Africa

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The International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a UN agency for information and communication technologies (ICTs), has announced a major project to accelerate digital transformation across Africa.

Nigeria, along with 10 other African countries, will benefit from a €15 million initiative funded by the European Union (EU) to map existing broadband infrastructure and identify coverage gaps.

This project aims to bridge the digital divide in Africa by providing crucial data for informed investments in infrastructure and policy decisions.

Nigeria’s large and young population positions it as a key player in Africa’s digital future. The ITU’s initiative targets Nigeria’s current limitations in expanding broadband access, especially in rural areas.

Other African countries participating in the project include Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Lesotho, Malawi, Senegal, and Uganda.

This diverse selection reflects the ITU’s commitment to inclusive digital development across the continent.

The broadband mapping project offers several benefits:

  • Improved Infrastructure Planning: Data will pinpoint areas lacking connectivity, allowing targeted investments.
  • Enhanced Policy Making: Evidence-based policy decisions will promote competition, affordability, and universal broadband access.
  • Increased Transparency: Comprehensive broadband maps will enhance transparency and accountability in the telecommunications sector.
  • Economic Growth and Social Development: Expanded broadband access fosters economic growth and social development by enabling access to education, healthcare, e-commerce, and other essential services.

The ITU’s broadband mapping initiative is a significant step towards a more connected and prosperous Africa. By empowering stakeholders with accurate information, the project paves the way for a brighter digital future for the continent.

Samsung Unveils Galaxy Z Fold 6 and Z Flip 6 in Kenya

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Samsung has launched its Galaxy Z Fold6 and Galaxy Z Flip6, along with Galaxy Buds3 and Galaxy Buds3 Pro in the Kenyan market with a heavy emphasis on Galaxy AI.

Whether using Galaxy Z Fold’s large screen, Galaxy Z Flip’s FlexWindow or making the most of the iconic FlexMode, Galaxy Z Fold6 and Flip6 will provide more opportunities to maximize AI capabilities. Built on the foundation of Samsung’s history of form factor innovation, Galaxy AI uses powerful, intelligent, and durable foldable experience to accelerate a new era of communication, productivity, and creativity. 

Anthony Hutia, Head of Mobile Experience, Samsung Electronics East Africa said, “We are proud to bring this cutting-edge technology to our region, empowering users to explore new possibilities and elevate their mobile experience like never before.”

In Kenya the Recommended Retail price for the Galaxy Z Fold 6 256GB  is Ksh 264,000 while the Galaxy Z Flip 6 will go for Kshs. 148,000. Customers who pre-order the Galaxy Z Fold 6 will receive a slim S-pen case while those who pre-order the Galaxy Z Flip 6 will receive a flip suite case set. 

In Kenya the Recommended Retail price for the Galaxy Z Fold 6 256GB  is Ksh 264,000 while the Galaxy Z Flip 6 will go for Kshs. 148,000. The two will be available for pre-order at authorised Samsung stores and e-commerce partners from 11th July to 31st July. Customers who pre-order the Galaxy Z Fold 6 will receive a slim S-pen case while those who pre-order the Galaxy Z Flip 6 will receive a flip suite case set.

Egypt’s Raya FutureTECH graduates 13 startups from its first accelerator programme

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Raya FutureTECH, the innovation arm of Raya Holding has announced the conclusion of its first accelerator program with an inspiring Demo Day at the Edge Innovation Center.

 The event showcased the incredible progress of thirteen tech startups, highlighting their innovative solutions across various sectors including agriculture, transportation, real estate, and financial services.

Nanis Elessaily, Director of Strategy and Partnerships at Raya Holding, expressed her enthusiasm, saying, “Banking on Raya’s 25 years of experience in various sectors, we are eager to support them grow as we believe startups have become an integral part of the economy”

According to Clara Samman, Senior Program Officer at Raya FutureTECH, “Through one-on-one consultations with experts from Raya, workshops and connections to our network we’ve equipped them with the tools for success. At Raya FutureTECH we highly value the importance of partnership creation and networking opportunities and I was happy to witness throughout this journey that not only did the startups get to discuss potential partnerships with different business lines from Raya but together.”

The Demo Day that was held in Cairo witnessed the graduation of the first cohort of 13 startups which will receive additional support and funding to further develop their solutions.

The startups include:

Arzaq Masr: A company that is specialized in the agricultural technology, our goal is to digitalize the poultry section in Egypt through a smart mobile application to full – fill the needs of the breeders’ tech & financial needs and provide trusted, stable and traceable sources for production inputs .

Cultivaet: Cultivaet is the smallholder farmers development platform that digitises knowledge and information accessibility to enable our food growers simple and intuitive tools that push them towards achieving sustainable and profitable agricultural practices.

Accounting Club: A B2B marketplace specialized in accounting and finance services and any logistics services for the finance departments in companies like archiving services, ERP systems and training and workshops.

 Meta Egypt:A company that offers immersive 3D property experiences, eliminating physical limitations and making property viewing accessible to all.

BUS14: A transportation app designed to provide safe, affordable, and convenient transportation for school students in Egypt.

Credify: An AI-powered consumer insights and embedded finance platform that helps digital lenders sell more loans and financial products with less credit risk using alternative data and digital footprint.

Jadeed:A startup company that provides alternative green energy solutions that reduce fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions. Through its innovative design, the Green Turbo (hydrogen cell) converts water into hydrogen gas.

 Wfrley: A dynamic super app and SaaS solution crafted to transform the retail landscape in underserved regions outside of Cairo, streamlining the delivery process from a wide network of local supermarkets, pharmacies, and shops.

PlanQ:A company dedicated to the research, development, production, and sales of cutting-edge digital and electronic communication products. Their innovative solutions are transforming the way people connect and communicate, offering high-quality, reliable technology for both personal and professional use.

Tatbeek:An Egyptian ICT company using latest technologies to maximize manufacturers’ efficiency and minimize their production waste in Egypt and worldwide.

The Holiday Homes Service Co.: A company that delivers top-notch property management services specifically designed for the holiday home sector.

H.E Rental:An online multi-vendor one stop shop that connects heavy equipment owners with companies that want to rent this equipment.

WhereApp: A cutting-edge transportation app that connects you with reliable and professional drivers, ensuring your journey is seamless, convenient, and stress-free.

YouTube Releases Updated Eraser Tool to Empower Creators

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YouTube recently announced the launch of its improved Eraser Song tool, designed to give creators more control over their content.

This innovative feature allows creators to easily remove copyrighted music from their videos, without sacrificing the integrity of other audio elements like dialogue or sound effects.

“We’re thrilled to provide creators with this powerful tool,” said YouTube CEO Neal Mohan. “The updated Erase Song tool empowers creators to address copyright claims while preserving the creative vision of their videos.”

Previously in beta testing, the Eraser Song tool has undergone significant advancements. YouTube has implemented a powerful AI-powered algorithm to precisely identify and remove copyrighted music, ensuring minimal disruption to the audio quality of the remaining content.

While the Eraser Song tool boasts exceptional accuracy, YouTube acknowledges there may be instances where complete removal proves difficult. The platform offers creators additional options, such as muting specific sections of the video containing copyrighted material.

Upon successful editing using the Eraser Song tool, creators can expect the removal of the content ID claim associated with their video. This claim, employed by YouTube to identify copyrighted material, can restrict viewership and monetization.

With the launch of the Eraser Song tool, YouTube says it continues its dedication to empowering creators and fostering a thriving creative community.

Nigeria’s Bamboo Expands to South Africa to revolutionize it’s investment landscape

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Bamboo, a  Nigerian investment platform that gives Africans the tools to build wealth from the ground up through real-time access to the global markets has expanded its operations to South Africa.

The move will enable South African customers to invest in fractional shares of over 3,000 US stocks and exchange-traded funds (ETFs), featuring major companies such as Apple, Amazon, and Tesla.

Richmond Bassey, CEO and co-founder of Bamboo said, “We are thrilled to bring Bamboo to South Africa and provide individuals with access to the US stock market. Our goal is to empower Africans to build wealth and achieve their financial goals through diversified investment opportunities.”

The expansion comes after Bamboo was granted  a financial services provider licence by the South African Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA).

The company aims to use its technology and expertise to provide South African investors a seamless and secure investment experience.

This expansion is expected to accelerate the growth of the African fintech sector and contribute to the continent’s economic development.

As more Africans seek to diversify their investments and engage with global markets, Bamboo’s entry into South Africa represents a crucial step towards making international investing more accessible and affordable.

This development adds South Africa to Bamboo’s operational portfolio in Ghana and Nigeria

JICA expands  its NINJA Accelerator to South Africa

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The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has expanded  its NINJA Accelerator to South Africa in partnership with, pan-African tech Accelerator Startupbootcamp AfriTech, and NEC Corporation’s majority-owned African entity NEC XON.

The NINJA Accelerator is a collaborative effort powered by JICA and led by Double Feather Partners, Deloitte Tohmatsu, and supported by local partners and global experts to foster innovation and economic growth in the region.

”The hope is to increase startups’ chances to find new strategic partners, investors, or enterprise client in NEC, and also to help reveal potential exit paths in case of perfect strategic fit. All these outcomes could also be of great value to venture capitalists (VCs) if the selected startup turns out to be a portfolio company” says Kohei Muto, CEO of Double Feather Partners, the Japan-based Africa-focused VC and consulting firm leading the project on behalf of JICA.

This accelerator is a departure from traditional growth accelerators. In addition to its usual hands-on support to tackle startups’ most pressing issues, offering networking opportunities, and a one-week roadshow in Japan, this edition will mainly focus on helping startups achieve growth by validating strategic fit and commercial partnership potential with Japanese corporations. NEC XON was selected among several corporate proposals following a public call for applications issued by JICA through it’s South Africa Office and partner networks.

With Project NINJA, JICA reaffirms its belief that startups are key to addressing Africa’s most pressing socio-economic and environmental issues, and successful collaboration with sustainability-motivated Japanese companies such as NEC would be a win-win.

”Through this program, we aim to foster meaningful partnerships that drive both innovation and sustainable growth across Africa, creating lasting impacts for all involved”, says Yosuke Koide, General Manager : Global Synergy Development at NEC XON.

The JICA NINJA Accelerator in South Africa – Open Innovation Edition invites promising startups to test commercial partnership potential with NEC XON.JICA’s overall aim is to study collaboration models between local startups and Japanese companies, and contribute to local startup ecosystem development through private sector innovation.

Startups selected for the NINJA Accelerator will benefit from a comprehensive and tailored support program, including: an opportunity to co-design and run a three-month PoC with NEC XON to validate commercial partnership potential.

Interested startups are invited to apply through the official NINJA Accelerator website: www.jica.ninja.

Deadline: July 28th, 2024.

Tanzania’s remittance startup Nala raises $40M Series A to fuel its global growth

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Nala, a Tanzanian remittance service serving the African diaspora, has raised $40 million Series A equity round to serve the Asian and Latin America markets by expanding NALA’s consumer business beyond Africa and build Rafiki, its B2B payments platform designed to lay the payment rails for the next billion users.

The round, which follows a $10 million seed round in 2022, was led by San Francisco-based VC firm Acrew Capital, with participation from DST Global, Norrsken22, HOF Capital, and existing investors including Amplo and NYCA Partners with angel investors Ryan King of Chime and Vlad Tenev of Robinhood.

According to Nala founder and CEO Benjamin Fernandes , “This funding is a testament to the hard work of our team and the trust our investors have in our vision. It marks a new chapter in our journey to revolutionize payments for the next billion. While raising $40 million is a remarkable achievement, it is just one milestone in our long-term vision. We’ve made great progress, but the work is far from done. Our ambitions are bold — we aim to 100x this business, and the path to achieving that is paved with hard work, innovation, and relentless dedication.”

Launched by Benjamin Fernandes in 2017, NALA powers quick remittances from the UK, US and the EU to send money to their loved ones across 249 banks and 26 mobile money services in 11 African markets through its consumer fintech app .For markets like Kenya, they have integrated with mobile money service M-Pesa enabling users living in the diaspora to pay local bills directly. However, building the service on the payment rails of other providers meant that the fintech could not guarantee dependability.

In 2023, NALA injected $6m into the African ecosystem and hosted its first Demo Day live event in its Kenyan office. It also acquired Payment Service Provider licenses in several countries, including Tanzania and Rwanda. It also directly integrated with banks and telcos to enhance NALA by building more elements of the value chain internally.

After Nala started getting requests from businesses who wanted to ‘use NALA’s rails’ for payments, Nala began working on Rafiki to help them build on top of its infrastructure to bridge the gap and enable seamless payments for companies around the world directly into African mobile money and bank accounts.

The company has now developed its own platform that directly integrates with banks and mobile money providers. Dubbed  Rafiki, the B2B payment platform is intended to stem payout incidences, minimize user charges and ensure reliability.

“We built the Rafiki infrastructure, not by choice, but by the nature of the market. When we started, we were experiencing 15% failure rates from partners as we started to scale, and this affected our cost of operations massively. The only way to solve this problem was at the source, to get licenses and build payment and treasury infrastructure reliably,” said Fernandes.

Nala and Rafiki operate independently and have signed a few large contracts with global payments and remittance companies. The platform which is currently accessible to a select few, powers Nala’s consumer fintech app, the cross-border payments platform also targets global businesses making payments into and out of Africa. The global remittance and payroll companies integrating with Rafiki will allow direct deposits into their recipients’ mobile money wallets or bank accounts.

“Africa is currently home to 1.3 billion individuals, and according to the New York Times, by 2050, this number is expected to double to over 2.5 billion, making it the world’s largest population and workforce. This immense potential inspired us to take on the challenge of building a reliable and efficient payment system for this rapidly growing continent,” he said. “The next billion doesn’t just include Africa but a majority of the worlds emerging markets NALA is looking to serve.”

With over 500,000 customers, Nala’s mission is to build payments for the next billion. Nala also plans to venture into payments processing for businesses as part of its quest to solve a reliability “problem at scale for global businesses that want to trade with Africa.”

TiE Women MENA Programme launches application for its 5th edition

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TiE Dubai is launching the 5th edition of the TiE Women MENA Programme which aims to embrace, engage and empower women entrepreneurs across the MENA region– irrespective of the size of the enterprises, origin, standing or background.

The competition offers a platform to gain visibility, network with industry leaders & investors, and access 1:1 mentorship.

As part of the programme,selected entrepreneurs will get to pitch in front of investors and experts and showcase their solutions during NorthStar, GITEX in the UAE, and the MENA winner will have the opportunity to pitch at the TiE Global Summit in Bangalore, India for a cash prize of up to $50,000.

Eligibility Criteria

Female-founded or co-founded startups only. The opportunity to pitch will only be provided to the female founder/co-founder.

Female co-founder(s) with a minimum 33% equity in the company.

Companies in business for less than seven years only at the time of application (Company registration after Jan 1, 2017)

Preference to startups raising funds

Idea Stage Startups do not qualify for screening

Application Deadline: June 30, 2024

Fabricio Bloisi starts work as CEO, Prosus and Naspers to bolster its ecommerce business

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Fabricio Bloisi assumed work as Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Prosus and Naspers Group on 1 July 2024 after a unanimous approval by the Boards of Prosus and Naspers, in a move expected to bolster its ecommerce trading.

Before his appointment he was he CEO of iFood which he acquired in 2013 when it was a 20-person start-up and grown it rapidly and profitably to become Brazil’s leading food delivery company.

According to Koos Bekker, Prosus and Naspers chair, “Backing exceptional entrepreneurs who improve people’s everyday lives through technology has brought us some success over the years. Fabricio is an entrepreneur with a proven track record. His appointment as CEO places innovation and entrepreneurship at the heart of the Group.

Fabrício Bloisi is the founder of Movile and the CEO of iFood, the leading food delivery company in Latin America. iFood has over 5,000 employees, 350,000 partner restaurants, works with over 300,000 delivery partner couriers, and serves over 96 million orders per month. iFood directly and indirectly moved U$20 billion in gross production value, impacting 0.53% of Brazil’s GDP in 2022.

Fabricio holds a degree in Computer Science from the State University of Campinas (UNICAMP) and a MBA from Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV/EAESP). He took over from Ervin Tu who was the interim CEO for last eight months. Ervin will continue to play a critical role in shaping the Group’s future in a new position, President and Chief Investment Officer (CIO).

The Group is moving to consolidate its ecommerce trading profits. This year Naspers saw ecommerce profitability, an 18% revenue growth and US$836m free cash flow improvement. The Group saw an accelerated peer-leading topline growth of 18%, with ecommerce consolidated revenue of US$6.3bn with ecommerce profitability ahead of target, with a US$460m improvement in trading profit to US$24m. The Group’s free cash flow increased US$836m to US$477m, a 2x improvement year-on-year. The Group also had US$32bn of value created by the ongoing buyback programme, delivering 9% Net Asset Value per share accretion.

Equity Bank Enables Free Money Transfer For Equity Customers

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Saving money in whichever way possible has become more important. Every penny counts, and finding ways to reduce unnecessary expenses and costs can significantly impact your financial health. Whether it’s cutting down on daily costs, finding better
deals, or taking advantage of financial services that offer more value. Every effort towards saving or stretching your income can help you navigate these challenging economic times more effectively.

An average Kenyan youth makes about Kes. 50,000 there about every month. They spend an average of Kes. 18,000 in rent for their one-bedroom apartment in Ruaka. Their monthly shopping and utilities costs Kes. 5,000 and Kes. 2,000 respectively. They also have set aside
Kes. 10,000 for transport and have a black tax budget of about Kes. 5,000 monthly. Additionally, they use Kes. 5,000 for sherehe and save the remaining Kes. 5,000 for a rainy day. Not a decent amount that can get you out of a jam if you ask me.

With all that in mind, how can someone save more? There are a few tips and tricks to ensure that you stretch every coin, most people have hacked this by looking out for offers. For instance, many brands or stores have mid-year sales and black Friday sales that aim to save their
customers a few shillings, look out for these when doing your shopping.

Another hack would be using money in the same ecosystem to save money on transaction charges. For instance, if you bank with Equity, you can benefit a lot from their zero transaction costs for Equity-to-Equity transfers and payments. It may look negligeable, but we do spend a lot of money on transaction costs whenever we move money from our bank accounts to mobile wallets to make payments or send money to our loved ones.

Whether transferring money from your Equity bank account to another Equity Bank account, through Equitel line, Equity Mobile App or USSD (*247#) to a friend, family member or your local mama mboga, its absolutely FREE!. So next time you want to send your parent or siblings cash, how about you ask them if they have an Equity bank account? You will save on transaction costs there. When paying for your
groceries, ask the mama mboga if they have an Equity account.

Just doing some quick math on my financial transaction costs, I realized I spend about Kes 800 every month. In a year, that would be Kes. 9,600. What does this translate to in the current economic status? This would be enough for a return ticket via SGR to Mombasa for your
December holiday. Could be a whole goat for your Christmas sherehe with the family or almost two months’ worth of your grocery shopping – imagine cruising through Njaanuary courtesy of your savings on transaction costs! Money doesn’t come easy, so whenever you find a way to save an extra coin, run with it!

Norfund injects $20 million into Apis Growth Markets Fund III for fintech startups across Africa

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Norfund has injected $20 million into a new Apis fund dubbed the Apis Growth Markets Fund III to invest in high-growth, tech-enabled financial services companies globally.

Apis Growth Markets Fund III will focus on pivotal trends such as Cashless Payments, Embedded Finance, and Financial Inclusion, all of which enhance livelihoods in Africa and South/Southeast Asia just like Apis’ previous two Growth Markets Funds, which collectively raised commitments of around $850 million.

“We are impressed by Apis’ professionalism and expertise in guiding the growth of promising mature FinTechs through its active and invaluable mentorship. Apis and Norfund share a strong commitment to improving financial inclusion in emerging markets. This partnership enables Norfund to develop our internal fintech expertise and offers opportunities for direct investments through co-investing with the fund.”Espen Froyn , Senior Vice President for FI Africa in Norfund

Recognizing the crucial role of Financial Technology (“FinTech”) in improving financial inclusion and reaching economically disadvantaged individuals and small businesses, Norfund broadened its investment focus in 2022 to include FinTech companies alongside banks, microfinance and other financial institutions. Norfund now actively supports financial inclusion-oriented FinTechs engaging in digital lending, neobanking, embedded finance, insurtech, and payment solutions across sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia.

Norfund typically provides direct investments in high-quality FinTech companies, offering between $5-20 million in loans and equity to firms in their early growth stages, generally from Series A onwards. Since establishing the FinTech Investment Strategy, Norfund has invested in Wave Money, Lula Lend, Amartha, Funding Societies, and AwanTunai. Besides direct investment, Norfund also works with FinTech funds such as Quona Capital and Integra Partners, to extend its reach to promising early-phase FinTech companies.

Collaborating with Apis to augment Norfund’s FinTech investment strategy

Norfund’s investment in Apis Growth Markets Fund III represents a strategic decision to further diversify its portfolio into a broader set of mature and high-growth FinTechs that support individuals, entrepreneurs and established businesses with affordable and accessible financial services in emerging markets. Norfund’s commitment will help Apis reach its target fund size, especially at a time when fundraising has been challenging globally and particularly for emerging markets managers. The partnership will also provide Norfund with valuable insights from a leading industry investor.

“Apis’ expertise in payment solutions and embedded finance is profound. Seamless and cashless digital payments can significantly boost productivity and enhance digital inclusion, an area where Apis truly excels. In addition, we recognize the vital role of embedded finance in helping entrepreneurs and small businesses access the productive assets they need to thrive. We look forward to seeing Apis bring essential capital to these crucial segments,”says Investment Manager Kathy Chang (middle).

Microsoft ADC completes second cohort of upskilling for university lecturers

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Several faculty members from Kenyan universities graduated from the second cohort of the Microsoft Africa Development Centre’s (ADC) intensive upskilling programme, which launched in partnership with Microsoft Leap. With a 100% completion rate, the program exposed the lecturers to rigorous training that included cutting-edge technological advancements to improve their understanding of technical issues and bridge the gap between the classroom and the industry.

Speaking at the graduation ceremony about the growing importance of artificial intelligence in modern academia, Irene Githinji, Education Engagements Lead at Microsoft ADC said: “We are delighted that all 24 lecturers who began the programme have graduated because it
aims to improve faculty skills in teaching and research, as the world seeks to do more with the power of artificial intelligence. The programme’s impact can be felt in lecturers’ classrooms, universities, and beyond by fostering collaboration and innovation. Our overall educational goal is to create a strong pipeline of capable individuals who will help to advance Africa’s technology
landscape.

BCS

There is no better way to accomplish this than to improve lecturers’ understanding of how the industry operates and what skills are required,” Ms. Githinji stated. The 12-week programme included a curriculum developed and taught in collaboration with Microsoft Leap instructors, and brought together faculty from institutions across the country, including Zetech University, Kabarak, Multimedia University, Jomo Kenyatta, St Pauls University, Jomo Kenyatta University, Strathmore University, USIU, Dedan Kimathi University of
Technology, and Meru University.

Speaking about the initiative, Yolanda Natal-Santos, Director of Microsoft Leap, said, “Through our continued collaboration with the ADC, we’ve successfully delivered in-depth learning experiences for local faculty to help them thrive in our increasingly digital world. This program’s impact is two-fold: advancing individual careers while also strengthening educational institutions, ensuring they remain at the forefront of innovation.” This second cohort introduced a new skillset for this group , teaching with AI, which reflects the growing role of generative technology in everyday life, including the classroom.

The program also focused on software engineering fundamentals and 21st-century learning design through a project-based learning
approach that allowed participating faculty to earn Microsoft certifications. Throughout the program, participating faculty members were assigned projects that combined AI, software engineering principles, and modern learning designs, allowing them to understand
better how a developer team operates in practice.

This culminated in a project competition where the faculty was required to develop a solution that required an understanding of software development principles, artificial intelligence, and the considerations made by software engineers. “We are also celebrating the projects the lecturers have come up with to show their grasp of the concepts. The competition, which was judged by Microsoft engineers, was won by a team comprising instructors from Dedan Kimathi University of Technology, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, and Zetech University,” said Ms. Githinji.

On his part, Peter Muturi, a programming lecturer at Multimedia University and graduate of the faculty upskilling programme, called for adopting technology in teaching and learning regardless of the study area.

“Through the programme, we have learned what the industry is looking for. It has allowed us to see that we might not have been preparing students adequately for the current market needs. It has shown us that we need to work with AI to enhance our productivity as lecturers and that of our students, rather than look at it as competition. Through the training, we’ve seen 21st-century learning design that can incorporate technology to teach within the technology industry and beyond,” said Mr Muturi.

The faculty skilling programme is part of Microsoft ADC’s larger mission to improve the tech talent pipeline, which includes initiatives such as campus tours, the Game of Learners competition for university students, and curriculum reviews for technology-related courses in universities. ADC recently launched a cybersecurity skills enhancement initiative in collaboration with Cyber Shujaa to train students on cybersecurity fundamentals.

India’s CoinDCX acquires BitOasis in MENA expansion bid

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India-based crypto exchange company CoinDCX has acquired the UAE-based virtual assets trading platform BitOasis, for an undisclosed value. The acquisition comes after CoinDCX made a strategic investment in BitOasis in August 2023.

Founded in 2016 by Ola Doudin, Tarek Kaylani and Daniel Robenek, BitOasis is the go-to platform for retail, institutional and high-net-worth individuals across the GCC and the broader MENA region to buy, sell and hold over 60 tokens with fiat currencies such as AED, SAR, and USD. Since its inception, the company has processed over $6 billion in trading volume and raised more than $40 million dollars in funding from leading regional and global investors.

Ola Doudin, Co-Founder & CEO of BitOasis, said, “CoinDCX’s acquisition marks an exciting new chapter for BitOasis, one that propels us forward on a much stronger ground. Since the start of BitOasis, trust and regulatory compliance have been a key pillar in our mission to drive crypto adoption across MENA. This is a common pillar we share with CoinDCX along with our unwavering commitment to customer-centricity that has been equally vital for sustainable success. We take pride in our recent regulatory milestones, being amongst the first companies to register and become a reporting entity to FIU, the reinstatement of our MVP Operational license under VARA, and securing a license from the Central Bank of Bahrain, reinforcing our regional presence.”

The two market leaders joining forces marks a first-of-its-kind, transformative deal in the MENA region. Combined with the company’s newly acquired licence in the Kingdom of Bahrain and the recent reopening of its platform in Dubai, the acquisition will further empower BitOasis to strengthen and expand its presence across the MENA region as a leading player in the virtual assets ecosystem, licensed and regulated in multiple markets.

Established in 2018, CoinDCX  is a crypto exchange in India that provides 15 million users easy access to Web3 experiences and democratizes investments in virtual digital assets.It provides access to over 500+ crypto assets and facilitating average quarterly trading volumes exceeding $840 million in spot in 2024.

CoinDCX has been instrumental in driving crypto adoption across India. Through its intuitive and user-friendly interface, CoinDCX has simplified the investing experience, making it accessible to users of all levels of expertise. It is the first virtual assets exchange in India to register with the FIU IND, upholding transparency through stringent KYC norms.

Sumit Gupta, Co-Founder of CoinDCX, said, “Building on six years of success and supporting more than 15 million Indians in their crypto journey, CoinDCX aims to become the go-to trading platform for crypto worldwide. For us, investor protection has been paramount, and we have distinguished ourselves in India with unwavering compliance. We are committed to upholding the same standards wherever we operate. This principle will continue to guide our actions as we navigate new markets and opportunities. Our expansion strategy begins with the MENA region, capitalizing on its mature market and the population’s keen interest in crypto investment.”

Explaining why BitOasis’ acquisition aligns perfectly with CoinDCX’s principle, Sumit further adds “BitOasis was the first platform to register with the UAE Financial Intelligence Unit in 2021 and the company has maintained strong, constructive, and proactive relationships with regulators across the region since its launch.BitOasis’ licences in Bahrain and the UAE reflect its longstanding and uncompromising commitment to operating within established regulatory frameworks. Joining forces with BitOasis, a platform available in 15 countries across the region, aligns perfectly with our vision. Last year, we strategically invested in BitOasis to bolster its regional presence.

With this acquisition, CoinDCX is poised to establish an even more formidable foothold across the MENA region, catering to a diverse range of retail and institutional clients.

As part of the deal, BitOasis’ brand and leadership team will remain unchanged following the acquisition, fostering seamless synergy and collaboration between both organizations.

Samsung unveils Neo QLED 8K, 4K and OLED TVs in Kenya

Samsung has unveiled the Neo QLED 8K and 4K, OLED TVs, and sound devices to the Kenyan market.

The 2024lineup  which is currently  available on pre-order at participating retailers ,elevates the home entertainment experience with a range of powerful, AI-driven solutions.

Rahul Kochhar, Business Head of the Consumer Electronics Division at Samsung Electronics East Africa, said, “We are pushing the boundaries of home entertainment by integrating AI to enhance traditional viewing experiences. This year’s TV lineup demonstrates our commitment to innovation, offering products that provide premium viewing quality while significantly enhancing our consumers’ lifestyles.”

 Neo QLED 8K features

Neo QLED 8K is equipped with the advanced NQ8 AI Gen2 processor, marking a significant leap in AI TV technology. This processor features a Neural Processing Unit (NPU) and an eightfold increase in neural networks from 64 to 256, ensuring an exceptional viewing experience with crisp details, regardless of the input source.

Its AI-driven picture technology brings out the finest details with outstanding clarity and naturalness, from facial expressions to subtle nuances. With 8K AI Upscaling Pro, users’ favourite shows and movies are transformed to match the 8K display closely, allowing them to enjoy the level of detail and picture clarity surpassing conventional 4K TVs.

Additionally, AI Motion Enhancer Pro makes fast action smoother and clearer while Real Depth Enhancer Pro adds a lifelike depth to the picture and pulls viewers into the scene every time. All these features come together to redefine the big-screen experience.

The Neo QLED 8K also delivers audio powered by AI sound technology. It’s Active Voice Amplifier Pro  excels at extracting dialogue from background noise, ensuring every word is heard clearly. Object Tracking Sound Pro also enriches the audio experience by syncing the sound with on-screen action, creating a more dynamic and engaging viewing experience. Adaptive Sound Pro refines the audio experience by intelligently adjusting the audio to the content and room acoustics for a genuinely rich and lifelike sound.

The Neo QLED 8K also boasts AI features that understand and adapt to user needs. The AI Auto Game Mode kicks in during gaming, optimising the visuals and audio for an even more immersive and engaging gaming experience. The AI Customization Mode adjusts the picture for each scene based on user preference, while the AI Energy Mode saves power without compromising picture quality. These features ensure that Neo QLED 8K is easy, personalised, and energy efficient for all entertainment needs.

 Neo QLED 4K, OLED and Sound Devices

The 2024 Neo QLED 4K lineup brings cutting-edge innovations from the latest Neo QLED 8K flagship TVs, elevating the viewing experience with ground-breaking features powered by the NQ4 AI Gen2 Processor.

With the world’s first Pantone Validated display for colour accuracy and Dolby Atmos for an immersive audio experience, Neo QLED 4K sets the bar for the ultimate 4K UHD experience.

Samsung is also introducing the world’s first Glare-Free OLED, eliminating unnecessary reflection while preserving deep blacks and clear images under lighting conditions. Powered by the same formidable NQ4 AI Gen2 Processor as the Neo QLED 4K lineup, Samsung’s OLED TVs boast features like the Real Depth Enhancer and OLED HDR Pro, bringing picture quality to new heights.

Additionally, with features such as Motion Xcelerator 144Hz ensuring smooth motion and quick response rates, Samsung OLED is the ultimate choice for gaming. Complemented by sleek designs, these OLED TVs elevate the viewing space. Available in Kenya in two models —S90D — ranging from 55 to 83 inches, there’s a perfect fit for every home.

The 2024 line-up also includes the latest Q-Series Soundbar, Q800D, which boasts an 11.1.4-channel setup with Wireless Dolby Atmos. This model comes with a host of features that stand as a testament to Samsung’s continued leadership as the world’s best-selling soundbar brand for the past 10 years, featuring innovations such as Sound Grouping for pulsating, room-filling sound and an option for personal listening that allows users to enjoy their content through rear speakers without disturbing others.

Samsung’s latest TVs are designed with SmartThings AI capabilities to save energy. The new AI Energy Saving mode can reduce energy use by 23% compared to the standard mode.

With SmartThings integration, various Samsung TVs can automatically adjust colour validation based on the viewing environment to enhance energy efficiency.

Samsung has also unveiled an upgraded Frame TV with dynamic screen refresh rates and better colour validations for improved energy efficiency.

In 2024, Samsung’s AI screens are set to redefine the user experience with advanced connectivity and a suite of smart features, apps and platforms. Leveraging the powerful Tizen OS, these innovations have created an ecosystem that is connected, personalised, and secure through Knox Security. This allows devices to integrate effortlessly into users’ digital worlds, transforming screens into a central hub for all their needs.

Samsung’s latest TVs are designed to connect with a smart ecosystem immediately upon setup. The moment users turn on their new Samsung TV, the TV recognises and connects to existing networks and devices, all orchestrated through a simple notification on users’ smartphones.

The 2024 screen line-up also brings integration with users’ smartphones to new heights. Users can bring their smartphone near the TV to activate Smart Mobile Connect, which turns the device into a universal remote for the TV and connected home appliances.Additionally, smartphones  can be used as game controllers with a customisable user interface (UI) and haptic feedback, offering convenient and enhanced gameplay at their fingertips.

Samsung’s 2024 Smart TVs provide a highly personalised experience with its apps and platforms. With the latest addition of widgets, TV screens are now personalised dashboards that allow users to easily monitor home status, camera feeds, energy usage, weather updates and more.

  Availability

The Neo QLED 8K QN800D is available in sizes of 65, 75, and 85 inches. The Neo QLED 4K is available in one model, QN85 D, and in sizes of, 55, 65, 75, 85,. The Neo QLED 8K and 4K line-up promises an unparalleled viewing experience in the premium large-screen category.

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