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25 tech leaders announced to speak at Africa Tech Summit Kigali 2018



The first 25 speakers from leading tech companies across Africa have been announced for the upcoming Africa Tech Summit Kigali.

The speakers confirmed include industry leaders from Facebook, Andela, BRCK, Taxify, AHL Venture Partners, Draper Dark Flow, Safaricom, Atlas Mara, BitPesa, babyl Rwanda, aKoma, kLab, iHub, Boomplay Music, what3words with many more speakers to be announced in the coming weeks.

The two day pan-African tech event supported by the Rwandan Minister of ICT and RwandAir, will take place on 14-15 February 2018 at the Kigali Marriott Hotel and is set to connect industry leaders from across Africa.

 Topics to be covered include Connectivity; Blockchain; African Mobility; Cloud and IoT; Investing; Solar; Mobile and Data; Tech & Talent; Future Trends; mCommerce; Payments and Credit ; Fintech; mHealth; EdTech; AgriTech; Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Robotics; Virtual Reality (VR); Digital Media and Creative Tracks.

The mission of Africa Tech Summit Kigali is to drive business and investment within the African tech ecosystem.  The event will showcase some of the most exciting ventures and connect key stakeholders from across the continent while providing excellent insight and networking over two days, ending with a party in the hills of Kigali.

“We are delighted to welcome the pan-African tech ecosystem for Africa Tech Summit Kigali 2018,” said Hon Jean Philbert Nsengimana , Ministry of Youth and ICT. “We look forward to connecting with industry leaders and innovators, sharing our vision while gaining future insights from some of the brightest minds on the continent.”

Kenya’s Majik Water to harvest drinking water from air for off-grid communities


Founded by Anastasia Kaschenko, Beth Koigi and Clare Sewell, Kenya’s Majik Water has launched a prototype and started its water harvesting process in pilot to help people in off-grid communities in Kenya harvest water from air using simple techniques and equipment.

The three-girl team, comprising of Clare, who previously worked as a strategic consultant for 9 years in London and  has for the past two years been living in Malawi where she started her own startup, Anastasia who worked for a company that is leading in dew harvesting as well as product research and development in Canada and Beth, a water entrepreneur in Kenya met in Silicon Valley where they realized they shared the same vision to help solve the water shortage issues around the world.

Majik Water works simply. The device uses sponge like materials that have high affinity for water molecules and attract water from humidity. When heated they release water vapor which is then condensed. This allows them to get water even in low humidity and in arid areas. Since these materials can be reused over and over again once heated it makes this device a one time cost. Majik Water mostly use solar energy for heating, making the device appropriate for off-grid communities.

“We were connected by the same need to see a world where water is in abundance and everyone has access to adequate and clean drinking water,” said Beth emphasizing just how big the problem they were solving is.

“Over 700m people do not have access to clean and safe water worldwide. 319m of these are in Sub-Saharan Africa. In Kenya, 12 million people do not have access to adequate clean drinking water. Most worryingly water shortages are predicted to get much worse over the next decade,” she added.

Through a combination of climate change and overuse of groundwater, by 2025 the UN estimates that 1.8 billion people will face absolute water shortage around the world and two thirds of the world population will be living in water scarce areas.

In Kenya, the firm says most people depend on underground sources of water such as boreholes even though there are limitations to using them. One of the biggest limitations apart from cost is that Groundwater takes millions of years to replenish and the water tables are becoming lower and lower every year due to over use of fresh underground water and due to increase in population.

At some point the ground water will not be available as these sources are unsustainable. Beth adds that due to decreasing water tables there is higher concentration of minerals in water such as lead, Fluoride and arsenic, overtime the effects will be devastating as the chemicals lead to kidney failure and fluorosis in some parts.

As underground water dries up alternative water sources though desalination -it becomes so costly to his is way more expensive than our cost per liter and unaffordable for many people.

Not wanting to blame the government, Beth says the firm has done its best to solve the problem even though corruption and money laundering among others.

“Water issues are sometimes affected by the policies in place but at some point it is supposed to be everyone’s responsibility.  Also there are said to be various loopholes that water mafias use to control the water business in the country,” she said.

According to the firm, there is 6 times more water in the atmosphere than in all rivers around the world. Atmosphere is a source of clean drinking water that has not been utilised and we are introducing the new source of water. But this concept of harvesting water from due is not entirely new as ancient communities have used it, even here locally.

Majik Water’s greatest challenge is the solar system. The firm is exploring different systems to work with to make it easier and affordable for all.

Other challenges include need for a lot of energy to condense water directly from the air. To solve this Majic is using materials with high affinity for water molecules in air and after they capture these molecules they just heat them and collect the water vapour released. This makes it energy efficient.

Most of the technology that exists harvest dew, fog or mist or water in high humidity of 60% and above. But Majic Water’s device can work in low humidity of 35% and above in most arid and semiarid areas in Kenya.

The firm’s initial pilot will help it determine whether to produce a household device or a community device then after two years launch an assembly line of similar water harvesting devices in Kenya. Beth tells TechMoran that the firm has held off raising funds till after its pilot at the end of this month.



IROKOtv Opens New Offices in Accra & Rolls Out 25 Kiosks For Data-Free Downloads Across the City


IROKOtv has finally launched its operations in Accra, Ghana, weeks after TechMoran announced the firm’s move to double down on Kenya and Ghana.

IROKOtv has rolled out over 25 bright pink kiosks across Accra, that will enable users to download Ghanaian and Nigerian movies and TV series directly onto their mobile devices, without using any of their data allowance.

Apart from Jollof rice, Nigeria and Ghana have a number of similarities and are each others trading partners. The country was also a natural first choice for the company due to its proximity and their near-similar culture. Ghanaian movies and Nollywood are also the very best of African storytelling.

According to Jason Njoku, CEO of IROKO says: “We know that our Ghanaian neighbours cannot get enough great content, but that data costs have all too often been prohibitive to them watching content online. We hope that with the launch of the IROKOtv kiosks across Ghana that provide data-free downloads, and a one year subscription to IROKOtv at just GHC 25, we will be able to build an even bigger community of online Nollywood fans here in Ghana”.

IROKOtv says it has put together a team of nearly 30 and expect the number of staff to increase to 140 by the end of November, to bring the GHC 25 for a one year subscription TV series to subscribers everywhere they are.

IROKOtv kiosks will be staffed six days a week – from Monday to Saturday – and movie fans can purchase subscriptions, download the app on their smart phones,  and download movies directly onto their phone, data free.

Kiosks can be found in areas including Accra Mall, A & C Mall, Oxford Street Osu, VVIP Circle, KFC Haatso, Pure Fire Ministry Achimota, Adenta SSNIT Fats, Accra Polytechnic, National Lottery, Accra Central and Lagos Avenue.

Some of the most recent movies and TV series include Stalemate, Ghana Must Go and Black and White.

Tanjalo.com, a Lagos-based bitcoin trading platform launches to power borderless payments


Nigeria’s Tanjalo, is a new bitcoin exchange promising to allow anyone in Nigeria to buy or sell bitcoin in Nigeria.

The trading platform also promises to power cross-border money transfer across West Africa and increase access to cryptocurrencies in the region according to its founder Tim Akinbo.

Like its predecessor BitKoin Africa, the trading platform will see users buy bitcoin and other digital currencies online in exchange with Naira. The Lagos-based firm wants to simplify money transfer between countries in Africa and from the US to Africa through use of his bitcoin trading platform.

Bitkoin Africa is a person-to-Person bitcoin trading platform allowing users to sell and buy bitcoin from other users and is also based in Lagos, Nigeria. Bitkoin Africa founder Timi Ajiboye, said Bitkoin Africa aims to be the continent’s most secure payments and settlement platform with a secure Bitcoin Wallet. Through its escrow services Bitkoin Africa aims to make sure there is no fraud during transactions.

Subscription video hosting platform Uscreen wants to allow you to sell your videos online


Launched in 2012, subscription video platform Uscreen aims to allow users to easily sell videos online as if they are setting up their own Netflix or Showmax platforms.

Terming itself as the first online video platform combining powerful billing systems alongside branded native apps, Uscreen allows individuals and businesses to launch and monetize their own branded video services globally

According to founder and president PJ Taei, Uscreen powers over 1,000 customers worldwide allowing them to sell branded videos online with monthly subscription or premium membership.

Based out of their headquarters in Washington DC, Uscreen allows users to upload their videos or native apps, set up billing over the subscription engine, get access to marketing and community tools and easy to use in-depth analytics.

“Uscreen exists to enable anyone to sell videos online,” said PJ Taei, founder and president Uscreen. “It is a third-party video hosting service that securely hosts videos, allowing all the flexibility and none of the hassle of building a video website.”

“Uscreen provides the ultimate personalized video-distribution platform, offering anyone the opportunity to build a professional website and start making money,” Taei added.

Unlike platforms such as YouTube which only allow creators to earn from advertisements, Uscreen guarantees an easy, passive income source from their video content. As an online video distribution business model, users need only to define the purpose of their video content, who they want to target and what makes them unique from the free videos online. So you have to be an expert in your field or just an entrepreneur or trainer ready to monetize your content.

From comedians, fitness gurus, entertainers to educators, Uscreen says it has over 1000 customers selling their videos online.

According to the firm, one big customer is Magic Stream, an online training center for aspiring magicians currently generating about $50,000 a month from its 4,000 plus subscribers paying just $13/mo. While Totalimmersionacademy.com generates $35,000/month in sales using Uscreen to teach anyone how to swim. Tmilly.tv has over 3,000 subscribers in less than 6 months after leaving Youtube to Uscreen to monetize content. Tawzerdog.com generates over 100K selling dog training videos online.

Taei says Uscreen is 100% royalty and commissions free, which users get to keep 100% of your profits as long as you pay a set monthly fee. Uscreen packages start at just $99/month with 24/7 support and users can add documents and pictures to their videos or programs.





“Whether you want to distribute and sell videos, podcasts, offer quizzes & certifications, Uscreen protects your content and gives you the tools you need to build a powerful members base of paying customers with integrated billing and payment systems,” Taei says adding that Uscreen also offers powerful integrations with Sales Force, Shopify and other major platforms.




This South African Game Reserve is deploying IoT technology to predict & combat poaching of endangered rhinos


 South Africa is home to more than 70 percent of the world’s remaining rhino population. However, conservationists are battling to protect the dwindling number of these iconic animals that are being killed for their highly-prized horns as over the past decade, more than 7,000 rhinos were killed across the African continent and in 2016, 1,054 were reported killed in South Africa alone.

Welgevonden Game Reserve in South Africa, is working with IBM, MTN, Wageningen University (WU) in the Netherlands and Prodapt, to help predict threats and combat poaching. Using IBM Internet of Things (IoT) technology as part of the MTN Connected Wildlife Solution, the solution will help predict threats and combat the poaching of endangered rhinos at the reserve then expand it to other reserves in future.

According to Bradley Schroder, Chief Executive Officer of Welgevonden Game Reserve,“This project will be a profound breakthrough in the creation of connected wildlife solutions, a wildlife management concept that aims to harness IoT technology to better manage and protect wildlife and other assets.”

This new predictive capability stems from research performed by Wageningen University conducted on Welgevonden Game Reserve, which shows that prey-animals in the wild react in different ways, depending on the type of threat they encounter and the perceived danger from predators such as lion and leopard or the presence of people in the vicinity.

Using MTN’s Connected Wildlife Solution which leverages IBM’s IoT technology and the university’s predictive analytics, the solution gives game reserves a powerful new tool in the fight to save endangered species. Protecting the rhinos begins with fitting collars containing custom sensors onto prey-animals including zebra, wildebeest, eland and impala, which will transmit data about their behavior to the IoT platform.

The sensors collect animal location information, movement, direction and average speed of travel, along with other data and relay it over an MTN network then researchers create approximately 20 rule-based patterns based on the animals’ response to threats. As a result, animals such as zebra will act as sentinels with their response patterns becoming an early warning system to protect the rhinos.

The predictive nature of this solution takes away the reliance on game reserve teams to be in the right place at the right time, or to respond to events, such as the distant sound of gunfire; and the teams can take proactive action that keeps rhinos safe.

“Over the years, we have seen that animal tracking technology has been used reactively in game reserves. Welgevonden needed a more proactive solution to take the fight to protect the rhinos further. With the solution designed for Welgevonden, MTN, along with our partners, can better predict and anticipate potential poaching activity. This allows the ranger to take pre-emptive action before any threat happens,” says Mariana Kruger, General Manager at MTN Business.


MTN has over 3 million active M2M connections and together these connected devices, sensors and systems provide insight whilst solving real business challenges around the continent.  IBM has more than 6,000 client engagements in 170 countries, a growing ecosystem of over 1,400 partners and more 750 IoT patents.

“The Internet of Things is changing the way we live and work, and we are finding new applications for IBM’s IoT technologies in businesses across the spectrum. Now we’re helping curb rhino poaching and preserve endangered species on the African continent.” concluded Hamilton Ratshefola, Country General Manager for IBM South Africa.

In the future, the aim is for the technology to be made available for deployment at game reserves across Africa and abroad. 

UBA Group deploys AI-powered callback technology for instant customer response


United Bank of Africa Group, (UBA) is going above and beyond the legacy banking systems to omni channel marketing and social media lead generation, meeting its customers where they are – on websites, email, social networks, and cross-device platforms.

UBA Group is taking advantage of AI-powered systems that even the western banks haven’t implemented yet. For instance, customers calling the bank for various reasons now have the option of requesting a call back to get on demand information. This has been implemented by using web to phone callback technology developed by Lucep.

You can see the website widget deployed on the UBA website at ubagroup.com for several financial services and products. The bank’s customers enter in their name and number, and select the reason for which they want a call back. The Lucep AI takes the callback request, and distributes it to the right team, ensuring it goes to an authorized member of the team who has the Lucep app on their smartphone. This member can then connect back to the customer through the app itself.

The benefits of such an instant response system are huge, especially when it’s about following up on new customers who are inquiring about banking services. Let’s say someone who wants a mortgage calls UBA and a few other banks to compare the procedure,  costs and paperwork needed.

UBA being the only one who has implemented an instant lead response system, is able to give the customer a call back within one or two minutes.

Since UBA is the first to call back, it gives them an edge over others. The bank is able to engage customers and get them to sign up before the competitors have a chance to make a call and talk to the customer. Customers also appreciate the bank calling back instantly, while other banks may take hours or even days to respond. It is this kind of attention to detail, personalized service, and deft use of the latest technologies that has helped UBA stay ahead of its competitors in Africa, and ahead of the trends in the global banking industry.

Gebeya Launches in London to Connect Developers to the Larger European Tech Market


Pan-African software services and edtech platform Gebeya, has launched its developers marketplace in London, UK in a move expected to increase the accessibility of  software developers in Europe at competitive market rates, being the first African-based platform to do so ahead of its US-based Nigerian founded competitor Andela.

The Addis Ababa-based firm launched a year ago, to train , hire, and incubate the best of African tech talent. Today, Gebeya has more than tripled in size and tripled in presence by expanding to Nairobi (Kenya), Silicon Valley (U.S.) and launching in London (UK).

‘We are excited with our success so far but our growth reflects the increased demand for digital talent in the global market. On this regard, we have created a-self-sustainable ecosystem that trains, hires, and incubates the best of African talent so as to produce world class software developers and mitigate the global demand of digital talent,’’ says Amadou Daffe, Co-Founder and CEO at Gebeya.

The developers marketplace will match customers with highly skilled, certified and multilingual software developers to develop innovative technological solutions, improve development efficiency, scalability and mobile success. In-order to maintain quality, software developers will have to undergo an intensive 6 months hands-on practical training that focuses on cutting edge technologies that are running the global digital industry today. Only upon graduation will they be placed on the platform which currently has a pool of software developers who have worked on widely successful projects across Africa, Europe and USA.

According to Accenture, the UK needs 745,000 more workers with digital skills this year alone costing the economy around $63bn. IT staff job postings are on the rise, a 10% year-on-year growth, says a separate study by IT body COMPTIA. The digital skills gap has become one of the more pressing problems facing UK businesses and entrepreneurs. The developers marketplace aims to satiate this ever growing demand for qualified digital talent across Europe by enabling organizations, SME’s and entrepreneurs hire top software developers on demand.


Alibaba Group’s Alipay Unveils ‘Smile to Pay’ for Commercial Use


Alibaba Group’s Alipay has launched its “Smile to Pay,” facial-recognition payments technology for commercial use in China allowing Alipay users to authenticate their payments through a facial scan and their mobile phone number in seconds.

, Ant Financial Services Group said Friday.
Ant Financial, the firm that runs Alipa, said the service debuted at a KFC in Hangzhou ending the decade long use of cash, card and ewallets in the payments sector. Alipay said the Smile to Pay option will only be at the KFC KPRO restaurant for pilot and a later expansion to other merchants with time.
According to the firm, Smile to Pay is a multistep process that takes one to two seconds to do a facial scan via a 3D camera over a “live-ness detection algorithm” to identify a user. The firm added that the algorithm can detect shadows and other features thereby blocking hijackers who might use live photos or video. The phone-number check increases user security and the firm also offers loss in the event of theft of a customer’s Smile to Pay account.
In June, South Africa’s Peach Payments partnered with Alipay and ACI Worldwide to bring Alipay acceptance to Africa for the first time. There are possibilities of Alipay expanding across Africa. With its launch in Africa, Alipay’s Smile to Pay will easily triumph over Safaricom’s M-Pesa which is requires PIN and is takes several steps for user to pay hence ruining the entire user experience at merchant stores.

Cape Town’s Feastfox raises $175,000 from Silicon Valley’s Co-Creation Capital, Dorm Room Fund & Larry Kubal


Cape Town’s Feastfox, an eating out app has raised $175,000 (R2.3 million) angel fundraising round from Silicon Valley’s Co-Creation Capital; Dorm Room Fund and prominent angel investors such as Larry Kubal to focus on its spontaneous eating out with its “book now, eat now” concept.

According to co-founder, Cape Town local, Stuart Murless, “By raising angel funding from exceptional, California-based venture capital firms and angel investors, we proved that it is possible to get early-stage, Silicon Valley financing for a mobile startup in South Africa”.

“We are excited about this successful fundraising as this will further facilitate our growth in Cape Town. These funds will be used for business development and marketing, adding more high-quality merchants while attracting thousands of foodies to the platform.” added Stuart.

Feastfox is following a philosophy that they call “South Africa first”. By proving a new mobile concept in Cape Town first, the venture aims to showcase that South Africa is a perfect first market for new mobile companies that want to validate their idea before starting a global expansion.

Stuart says that Cape Town is very similar to some of the most developed cities globally and by entering South Africa first, we aim to prove to other international startups that Cape Town is an ideal first market for mobile companies with global aspirations.”


Resquebnb is a new ‘Airbnb’ connecting stranded Kenyans to food & shelter in election-related violence hotspots

Image credits:Dailymail.co.uk
Image credits: dailymail.co.uk

Ushahidi.com was launched by a group of volunteers to map post election violence after Kenya’s disputed general election in December 2007. Ten years later, Resquebnb has launched to connect stranded Kenyans to food and shelter after election-related violence claimed over 20 lives leaving several injured and stranded in the capital Nairobi and Kisumu town in western Kenya.

Resquebnb, coined from rescue and bed and breakfast or bnb as made popular by Airbnb, the global short accommodation marketplace is a collaborative initiative by social media enthusiasts and humanitarian volunteers led by Kenyan developer Tevin Otieno. and Twitter user @MissNyawira. The site, now in its raw form, is being used to raise cash and food donations as well as connect stranded Kenyans to temporary accommodation from willing but vetted volunteers for both sexes.

“We are a community seeking to map, match and connect those in need of help with willing volunteer hosts following the just concluded #ElectionsKE2017,” the team posted on its website allowing users to either host or ask for shelter.

The site has partnered with Kenya’s on-demand B2B courier firm Sendy to help get donations to those in need for free. Food donations can be dropped off at any Uchumi outlet while cash donations can be channeled through mobile crowdfunding platform M-Changa though its Lipa Na Mpesa PayBill number 891300  and account number 13923 or via Airtel Money though Paybill Business Name: MCHANGA and reference 13923.

By the end of Sunday, the M-Changa donations had surpassed the volunteers target of Ksh. 150,000.

The platform might not help everyone affected in the violence as most of the victims are low income slum dwellers who might not afford the data to be online now but it’s a positive contribution to save lives as Police and pro-government militia slam violence to opposition demonstrators who feel their victory was stolen.  The opposition led by Raila Odinga claimed the post-election protests have claimed over 100 lives while the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights said just 24 people have been killed. However, Police spokesman George Kinoti said the the force had only recorded six deaths. Kenyans have been infuriated by news of a ten-year old girl who was shot and killed by a stray bullet at her parents house in Mathare slums.

There have been reports of police and the goons breaking into peoples homes to quell the opposition demonstrators.



Belfrics Global Launches a Bitcoin Exchange in Kenya, set to expand to Nigeria and Ghana


Headquartered in Singapore, Malaysia, with operational offices in India, Indonesia, Hong Kong, China and Dubai, Belfrics Global has launched its Bitcoin Exchange in Kenya to allow traders and Bitcoin users to trade more efficiently and at a much lower cost. The cost of transactions while using Belfrics will be only 5 percent.

Belfrics will join BitPesa and BitSoko, the two Nairobi-based bitcoin exchanges.

According to the company CEO and Chairman, Praveenkumar Vijayakumar, the company has received very positive support in the last couple months it has been testing its services in Kenya. This has necessitated its official launch to further expand its growth in the country and the region.

Praveenkumar, Belfrics intends to reach and offer its services to between 100, 000 to 1, 000, 000 people in the next one to one and half years.

Belfrics Global is also offering its initial coin offering (ICO) as an investment vehicle.  The launch will be on September 8th, 2017 when it launches the Belfrics Blockchain.  Unlike other cryptocurrency coins, which are difficult to identify users, Belfrics Blockchain will allow users to be identified, thereby enabling the tracking of transactions on the platform.

Blockchain offers a big opportunity for money transfer services by bringing the costs down to only a fraction of the current costs. Belfrics Global intends to leverage this huge gap in the coming months. The company also intends to expand its operations to Nigeria and Ghana.

With a GDP of $69.97 billion, Kenya is the 72nd largest economy in the world and Eastern and Central Africa’s hub for financial services with an increased interest in the cryptocurrency. This is seen from the volume of trading which has seen a substantial increase in 2016, compared to the slow growth in trading volumes seen from 2013 to 2015.

There are currently only three bitcoin exchanges in Kenya. To cater to the growing demand for bitcoin trading, Belfrics has launched its services in Kenya.

With the increasing awareness and acceptance of bitcoins, its value has been reaching new heights. Belfrics aims to be at the forefront of this growing industry. A unified currency for the world that brings transparency and efficiency to the financial system is what Belfrics is working towards.

Belfrics provides a bitcoin wallet that meets the highest standards of security. Equipped with automatic deep freeze technology and two factor authentication process, you can be assured that your funds are safe at all times. Apart from a secure wallet, Befrics also provides a POS system and payment gateway for merchants to accept bitcoins as payment, enhancing their scope of business.

As a part of the inaugural offer, Belfrics is giving free bitcoins (10,000 Satoshis) for signing up. Make a profitable choice and trade with Belfrics.


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Kenya Tourism Board, UBA launch Magical Kenya Prepaid Travel Card Targeting West Africans


The Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) and United Bank for Africa (UBA), Go Places and E-Gift Africa today launched the first Magical Kenya Prepaid Travel Card to promote travel to Kenya by travelers across the African continent.

The debit cum loyalty card is targeted at West African nationals who travel for corporate, education, medical as well as leisure purposes within Africa and will be distributed across the UBA Bank’s footprint in Nigeria, Ghana and Senegal.

“The Magical Kenya Prepaid Travel Card will be available to International and domestic travelers in Kenya. This will enable all users, whether customers of UBA or not – to have unparalleled access to its built-in benefits available across all platforms. This will further enhance the Magical Kenya’s footprint in the continent” Kenya Tourism Board Chair, Jimi Kariuki.

Through selective criteria of age, deposit balance, number of types of accounts held by customer or corporate accounts the target list of customers will be engaged and enticed through registration campaigns as well as convenience for everyday use both in home market and when travelling to Kenya. This will create an appeal for the card as well as the realization, eventually that this may be the only card needed in the wallet.

“The West African market is potential to us and this is the beginning of our efforts to tap into the market that has high spenders with willingness to spend. The Magical Kenya Prepaid Travel Card is therefore a great incentive as it avails to current and potential travellers exciting a value adds in terms of bonus points, discounts or gift,” KTB Chair, Jimi Kariuki added.








Technology is proving to be a real game-changer for growth in Africa


By Amrote Abdella, Regional Director Microsoft 4Afrika,  

Four years ago, the Africa Rising narrative was a hot topic among journalists, economists and investors discussing Africa. Some celebrated the refreshed outlook on the continent. Others, including some Africans, were more sceptical on the trickledown effect of the projected growth. Some felt there was too much focus on GDP projections and the urban middle class, and not enough on inclusive growth that reached every underserved village, where challenges around healthcare and education remained unsolved.

It was within this context, in 2013, that Microsoft launched its 4Afrika Initiative. As a technology company, we wanted to contribute not only to Africa’s economic growth, but to its economic development through the adoption of innovation – fast-tracked by affordable access and enabled by a skilled workforce.

We believed that by empowering Africans to create and consume locally relevant technology, we could foster the kind of inclusive transformation that Africa wanted to see. Four years later, we still believe in this vision. Our commitment to fast-tracking relevant technology adoption remains unchanged.

Technology is transforming people’s lives for the better 

Start-ups and SMEs are celebrated and looked to for driving economic growth and job creation. But we have also seen them play a key role in driving social development. Armed with mobile and cloud technologies, these young innovators are helping communities access previously unavailable services – advancing healthcare, education and general living standards.

In Ethiopia, for example, Microsoft 4Afrika has supported the Tulane Health project, which has helped 3,000 healthcare clinics in 10 regions to digitally transform. With Windows devices, Tulane collects relevant health data and now stores over 150 million digital records. Using Power BI, Tulane then analyses this data and produces real-time insights, empowering the federal ministry to make data-driven decisions. For the average patient, this means more informed consultations, a more accountable government and overall better quality healthcare. In addition, 2,500 new Ethiopians have also been trained and upskilled as health information technologists, to run and maintain the system locally.

Similarly, in Botswana, through our work with Vista Life Sciences and the Botswana Innovation Hub, we’re using TV white spaces technology to deliver telemedicine services to over 3,000 patients in remote clinics in Lobatse, Francistown and Maun. A patient no longer needs to walk miles to get specialised care. Screenings and diagnoses can be done remotely, helping to quickly and accurately detect diseases and improve maternal care.

Since 2013, 4Afrika has helped 82 start-ups – and brought over 500,000 SMEs online – to drive this kind of economic development using mobile and cloud technology.

Towards an environment for success 

However – the democratising of mobile and cloud technology in itself is not sufficient. The innovation ecosystem still needs more enabling policies if more of these start-ups and technologies are to succeed and benefit every person in Africa. We have spent four years working with hubs, accelerators and government entities to develop regulations that allow new business models to flourish, encourage trade between borders and develop climates that promote investment into local businesses.

Lessons from investing in Africa

 The good news is that the continent is on the right path. Investments into local tech start-ups increased by 17% in 2016. And governments in Africa have been very adaptive to and serious about embracing the cloud to positively influence their investment climates, cut costs and efficiently serve their citizens. Together, we have incubated 11 cloud-based solutions, including BioSIM in Kenya, which collects school data in local counties to help governments benchmark quality and take informed actions around education. Where there are security concerns around gathering such data, we’re working with the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA) to accelerate trusted cloud infrastructure through enabling policies in the areas of cyber-security, data privacy and data protection.

Equally important to creating new technologies is developing the skills for the meaningful consumption of them. Across our 15 TV white spaces connectivity pilots we have running in last-mile communities in Africa, for example, we’re not only introducing people to the internet for the first time, but also helping them use it as a tool to seek employment and register with government.

We believe technology has been – and will increasingly be – a game-changer for Africa. With the right foundations in place, it is the tool that will help Africa rise in the inclusive and sustainable way Africans want to see it rise. The tool that gives every African the power to actively shape transformation that works for all its citizens, by creating infrastructure and services where there are none, trading and consuming local products, and holding their governments to account.

Microsoft’s 4Afrika Initiative remains a partner in this journey. In the last four years, we have experienced successes, setbacks and shouldered new risks. But our focus, belief in and commitment to invest in affordable access, skills and innovation for economic development in Africa remains unchanged. We have seen the transformation that has already taken place – and this gives us hope in the work still to be done. We will continue to empower local partners, start-ups, SMEs and government entities through technology to enable growth and development in Africa – creating shared value that truly benefits us all.



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#WhatItTakes With OLX Country Manager, Peter Ndiang’ui Part 1 #EP 1


What it takes show had a one on one interview with OLX Kenya Country and Sub-Saharan Expansion Manager, Peter Ndiang’ui about his career journey from a humble beginning in  a farm in Nyeri to the top of one of the fastest growing companies in Africa.

This is a ‘Must Watch’ for everyone, Enjoy!

#WhatItTakes With OLX Country Manager, Peter Ndiang’ui Part 2


What it takes show had a one on one interview with OLX country and Sub-Saharan Expansion Manager, Peter Ndiang’ui about his career journey from a humble beginning in a farm in Nyeri to the top of one of the fastest growing companies in Africa.