Tech (300)

The labor market is undergoing a profound transformation as digital technologies keep growing. While many jobs are disappearing, more are being created and their requirements are changing. In that context, the government needs to urgently take appropriate measures to anticipate and find solutions to help fill the vacancies that are opening.  

South Africa will soon launch a nationwide training program to equip the unemployed youth with digital skills, President Cyril Ramaphosa (photo) recently announced. In his weekly newsletter published on Sunday, April 17, he explained that ZAR800 million ($43.6 million) will be invested to fund this new youth initiative led by the National Skills Fund.

According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), “South Africa is projected to see the highest jobless rate globally. As the most industrialized nation on the continent, unemployment is estimated to hit 35.6% in 2023.”

This is due to a number of causes. They include low economic growth that has led to fewer job opportunities, a mismatch between education and skills that makes it difficult for many people to find work, and structural problems like unequal access to opportunities. There are also concentrated ownership, a limited domestic market, and a rigid labor market with labor laws, regulations, and collective bargaining agreements that limit access to employment, particularly in the SME segment. 

As the digital economy creates new high-potential occupations, the government sees the retraining or reorientation of some South Africans as a way to respond to the new labor market realities brought about by the accelerating digital transformation. The project to equip the unemployed with digital skills is one of the many development initiatives taken by the government, since 2020, to prepare the country for the fourth industrial revolution. 

Over the past three years, many international and local companies specializing in digital services or broadband connectivity have increased their investments in South Africa. New companies have expressed interest in the market.  The various investments are expected to create thousands of specialized jobs, which the South African government wants to prepare the local workforce for. 

Muriel Edjo

Posted On mardi, 18 avril 2023 12:44 Written by

The coalition was founded in December 2022 to bridge the digital divide in Africa. To achieve this ambition, it focuses on universal acceptance. 

The Coalition for Digital Africa announced, Thursday (April 13),  the launch of a new initiative to strengthen Internet infrastructure across the continent. The initiative aims to prepare the websites, applications, and email systems of African higher education institutions to support all domain names and email addresses.

It is supported by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and conducted in collaboration with the Association of African Universities (AAU). In its framework, the Coalition for Digital Africa will educate African higher education institutions on Universal Acceptance (UA), one of the foundations of a multilingual Internet that allows users worldwide to access websites in local languages. 

It will provide training to help the targeted institutions configure their websites, applications, and email systems to make them AU-compliant and integrate AU concepts into their curricula. 

The project is part of a series of initiatives announced by the Coalition for Digital Africa when it was founded, in December 2022, to ensure the safe and stable growth of the Internet in Africa and close the gap between communities and economies. 

The initiative highlights an important step to building more useful and empowering websites and digital apps in Africa: expanding the choice of languages and scripts. 

This work truly lays the foundation for a more inclusive Internet. [...] By enabling the use of local languages and scripts, users here in Africa and around the world will be able to more readily access important content online – from within the continent and beyond – for academic purposes,” said Professor Olusola Bandele Oyewole, Secretary General of the AAU. 

Let’s note that in Africa, some 1,000 to 2,500 languages are spoken, according to the Education for All Global Monitoring 2005 report published by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Posted On vendredi, 14 avril 2023 11:51 Written by

In Africa, poor access to financing remains an obstacle to the development of startups operating on the continent. VC Funds are being launched to address that issue and help them grow in underserved markets.

Dutch investment firm Goodwell Investments and Dutch foundation Oxfam Novib announced, Friday, the launch of "Pepea", a joint €20 million ($21.7 million) fund focused on financing early-stage East African startups, specifically in Kenya, Uganda, and Ethiopia.

According to the statement released by Goodwell Investments, the fund will focus on companies in the sustainable agriculture, energy, mobility, logistics, and waste management sectors.

"We acknowledge the challenges faced by SMEs in the region (especially those that are women-owned) in accessing fine-tuned patient capital and we now want to play a role to address those needs," said Tamara Campero, investment manager at Oxfam Novib.

In an analysis published on June 14, 2022, Africa: The Big Deal informed that East Africa was one of the regions with a sufficiently developed venture capital ecosystem on the continent. It attracted nearly 23% of the funds raised by African startups since 2019. Kenya alone attracted most of the funding,  nearly $1.9 billion in two and a half years.

By launching "Pepea," Goodwell Investments and Oxfam Novib want to further develop the region and support startups that are generating revenue but have not yet raised funds. Pepea will ensure that the companies it selects have the right structures and systems to attract more financing. 

Samira Njoya

Posted On lundi, 03 avril 2023 16:04 Written by

With African countries progressively moving towards the fourth industrial revolution, businesses need to adopt digital solutions in their development strategies since such tools are crucial to making them sustainable. 

IT solutions provider ZTE Corporation and South African systems integrator BCX recently signed a strategic cooperation agreement to promote the deployment of digital solutions in South Africa. 

The agreement, signed on the sidelines of the Mobile World Congress 2023 (MWC 2023), was disclosed in a release published by ZTE last Thursday. 

BCX takes a deep dive into Africa and the Middle East, and has made great achievements in regional digitalization. The strategic cooperation between ZTE and BCX can achieve complementary advantages. ZTE and BCX will bring about more changes and market opportunities in the industry’s expansion and help accelerate the regional digitalization process,” said Zhang Wanchun, SVP and General Manager of the Wireless Product Operation Division at ZTE. 

In recent years, digital solutions have become essential to pinpoint consumers’ interests and developing businesses. According to a McKinsey & Company report on the future of work, “digitization and automation could result in a net gain of up to 1.2 million jobs in South Africa by 2030.”

Through their strategic agreement, BCX and ZTE aim to cooperate to further develop the digital infrastructure in South Africa, including servers, storage, private 5G, data center infrastructure, and private clouds. With this agreement, BCX becomes an official channel partner of ZTE in the South African enterprise network market.

Samira Njoya

Posted On vendredi, 31 mars 2023 13:54 Written by

In 2020, the coronavirus pandemic highlighted problems in the African food supply chain. It then sparked strong investor interest in technology as a potential solution to satisfy consumers in an increasingly digitalized world. 

In 2022, African agrifoodtech startups attracted $640 million in investment, up 22% from 2021 when the volume of funds attracted was $536 million. The figures are disclosed in a report released by venture capital fund AgFunder, in collaboration with Singaporean sovereign wealth fund Temasek.

During the period, the mechanization segment attracted the lowest amount in that category. Indeed, startups in agricultural robotics, mechanization, and equipment that integrates connected tractors, drones, and automatic agricultural machines attracted only $10 million. That is 1.56% of all investments mobilized by African agrifoodtech startups. 

Investment by start-up category in 2022 ($)

97f86a6703df00c398b L

Source: AgFunder

Yet, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), agricultural mechanization is essential in Africa because it alleviates tedious tasks, increases agricultural productivity, improves income, and contributes to food security. In 2019, the organization lamented that 65% of smallholders were still using human muscle power to prepare soils while 25% of them were using animals against only 10% using mechanized means for the task. 

In comparison, in South Asia, human muscle power use has already fallen to 30 percent for land preparation work, compared with 40 percent for motorized machinery, while in Latin America and the Caribbean motorized machinery was used by 50 percent of farmers. 

Investment in mechanization by region in 2022 ($)

87f86a6703df00c398b L

Source: AgFunder

According to AgFunder, four agrifoodtech segments captured the bulk of the sector's funding in 2022. In-Store Retail & Restaurant Tech startups attracted $197 million. Midstream Tech startups, which operate in the food safety, traceability, logistics, transportation, and processing segments, among others, have raised $170 million.  

Meanwhile, start-ups offering marketplaces and financing solutions attracted $131 million, while start-ups specializing in cloud computing technologies that produce, among other things, ghost kitchens and autonomous delivery robots raised $44 million. These are much larger sums than those raised by startups that offer production improvement tools.

Muriel Edjo

Posted On mercredi, 29 mars 2023 03:26 Written by

Africa is attracting a rising volume of venture capital but, most of the funds go to startups in a handful of countries. 

Factor[e] Ventures, a team of company builders that invests in early-stage startups in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia, has launched Delta40, a startup studio specifically focused on Africa.

Per its website, Delta40’s “mission is to increase incomes and tackle climate change in Africa by building high-impact, technology-enabled energy, agriculture, and mobility ventures led by diverse, experienced founders.”

A decade of investing in energy, agriculture, mobility, and water innovations in emerging markets has affirmed that there is a great opportunity at the formation stage to support local and diverse founders as they connect their technologies and markets,” said Factor[e] Ventures co-founder, Morgan DeFoort. 

The startup studio will invest between $100,000 and $600,000 to create and support African startups specializing in energy, agriculture, and mobility –the sectors that captured 8% of the overall VC funding attracted by Africa in 2022, according to Partech Africa.

With the launch of Delta40, Factor[e] Ventures aims to boost the volume of VC financing attracted by African startups and encourage investors to fund even more startups in the targeted sectors. In addition to providing capital, Delta40 will also act as a co-founder, offering product testing, technology brokering, early-stage commercialization, and accelerating company creation.

Delta40 has secured funding and support from several private and public institutions, including the Autodesk Foundation, the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet, and the climate technology law firm Wilson Sonisi. The startup studio will be based in Kenya, with operations in Nigeria.               

Samira Njoya        

Posted On vendredi, 24 mars 2023 13:11 Written by

With the improvement in internet access, the rise in smartphone adoption, the drop in the costs of sensors, the development of the cloud, etc… Africa has the opportunity to become a real player in the development of the internet of things.  In that context, Nigeria is upping its investments in the sector. 

E-Space, a global satellite communications company, announced, Monday, it has secured landing rights in Nigeria for its upcoming constellation of low-orbit satellites. 

The approval issued by the Nigerian Communications Commission gives E-Space the right to deploy its satellite system, which will "provide communications services and connect Internet of Things (IoT) devices throughout Nigeria in many of the hardest-to-reach parts of the country, particularly those areas currently unserved by terrestrial providers." 

Nigeria is among the many nations that are leveraging the Internet of Things to address a wide variety of national challenges while implementing solutions to grow their economy. In 2018, U.S. giant IBM and agritech company Hello Tractor, which has a presence in Nigeria and Kenya, partnered to develop an AI and blockchain platform for African farmers. The partnership has enabled the installation of connected objects equipped with sensors in farms to collect and transmit data on rainfall, plant predators, input use, etc.

The landing right opens a new era in the field and paves the way for future collaboration between E-Space and the country's government, businesses, and communities. The collaboration can lead to the development of the ecosystem and applications needed to develop the local economy and create new jobs in a range of fields, including engineering, and data analysis.

Posted On mercredi, 22 mars 2023 16:42 Written by

The youth needs digital skills and opportunities to make a productive contribution to the digital future envisioned by leaders. To that end, authorities in various countries are implementing actions to develop talents and open new horizons. 

Last Monday, Malagasy First Lady Mialy Rajoelina (photo, left) inaugurated a digital incubation center funded by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Antananarivo to support young people with innovative ideas and projects.

According to Ms. Rajoelina, the "center will go a long way in ensuring access to digital education, especially for [...] young girls.” 

Education is not only a fundamental human right. It is also the guarantor of the sustainable development of our society and our country," she said

In Madagascar, young people still face significant hurdles in their bid to access digital education. Apart from internet access challenges, they also face inconsistent electricity supply and a lack of ICT tools to learn, develop, and share digital solutions.

According to data from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), in 2018, for every 100 people in Madagascar, only 0.12 had a fixed internet subscription, which is about 33,600 people in a country with a population estimated to be 28 million.

The new incubation center will therefore address some of the country's ICT infrastructure challenges. Located in UNFPA's Antananarivo office, it offers free access to a range of ICT tools and other support. It also has an annex in Tulear, in the Atsimo-Andrefana region. 

According to the region’s governor Edally Tovondrainy, the annex will help young people build their talents and launch innovative projects to develop the region, which is the largest in Madagascar.  

Samira Njoya

Posted On mercredi, 22 mars 2023 16:04 Written by

Djibouti Poste wants to position itself as a major digital services provider. For that purpose, it has joined forces with a tech partner, which is experienced in the field. 

 National postal corporation Djibouti Poste will undergo profound digital transformation in the coming months. The corporation recently partnered with IT company Software Group, which will support it in its IT reforms and digitization projects.  

To discuss the partnership, Djibouti Poste’s director general  Bahnan Maidal Ali met with Kalin Radev, CEO of Software Group, in Sofia, Bulgaria, on March 11, 2023. 

Under the agreement, Software Group will develop, among other things, email management platforms, parcel tracking systems, and online payment tools for Djibouti Post. 

Over the past few years, Djibouti Poste has implemented several projects to digitize its services. The corporation has launched several new services, including the E-Suuq service, which allows customers to buy from major platforms including Amazon. It now aims to promote financial inclusion by introducing fintech solutions, starting with savings solutions in the short term.  

The corporation is a model in the African postal sector, all thanks to its innovations.  Between 2018 and 2019, the postal company gained 59 places in the PricewaterhouseCoopers global ranking of postal companies providing quality services to the population. In the 1st quarter of 2021, it once again jumped in the global ranking, going from the 174th spot to the 73rd.

Samira Njoya

Posted On vendredi, 17 mars 2023 13:09 Written by

Huawei Technologies, a regular participant in major global tech events, once again took part in the Mobile World Congress (MWC) held in Barcelona last February 27-March 2. During this international meeting, its Vice President in charge of Public Relations for Huawei Northern Africa talked to We Are Tech about some of the major themes defended by the Chinese group. 

Why is Huawei increasingly interested in the African Cloud?

When we talk about digital infrastructure, what everybody first thinks about is the connectivity part. But, in this current era, connectivity generates a lot of data. And you need to have the right platforms to store and manage all that data. That's why we talk about cloud and data centers.  

We believe that the cloud and data centers are an integral part of a country's digital infrastructure. They are crucial to managing the digital transformation that is currently taking place at all levels in many countries. There are already several public cloud offerings- Huawei is obviously making some of those offers- but, in some cases, we have to think about digital sovereignty and sovereign cloud is becoming a strategic topic at the national level to manage issues related to eGovernance, fintech, and other services. Given the importance of that topic, Huawei is trying to raise awareness on it and train competent people at the local level because [having competent local talents ] is also part of the sovereignty we are talking about. We are trying to help start-ups develop their activities in the cloud to gain greater openness and international exposure. For Huawei, cloud computing is very important in all of its aspects and we are initiating actions to support the rapid development of local players in the field. 

Earlier, you mentioned support for start-ups. How can the cloud have an impact on their growth?

The cloud allows us to centralize all IT systems and allows everyone to access them in a controlled way, at any time and from anywhere.  As a result, it makes exchanges between people easier and more fluid. It also improves companies’ efficiency while fostering the optimization of IT systems. In the old model, each employee uses his or her computer and this is not necessarily efficient, neither in terms of cost nor in terms of maintenance, or performance. The use of cloud technologies improves these aspects and allows a better exchange between the actors since the cloud and the computer systems are accessible from anywhere and at any time, and there are no security problems, loss of data, loss of physical hardware, etc. Clouds are generally subject to extremely rigorous standards.

 Cloud computing also offers companies international exposure. For example, an Ivorian startup can sell its services in Singapore without having to deal with geographical constraints. It can access its systems anywhere in the world with the cloud and just present its offers. 

In practical terms, how does Huawei support African startups’ cloud adoption? 

We have launched a support program essentially forced on cloud technologies. The program called Spark selects start-ups that are offered several incentives depending on their categories.  They will receive cloud, artificial intelligence, software, and other tech training since with artificial intelligence, one can improve cloud capabilities. We will also train the startups on how to better use cloud technologies for business operations. We will also subsidize them, give them free access to Huawei's public cloud, and finally provide them with visibility in major events that Huawei takes part in to connect them with our partners, customers, investors, etc. so that they can grow.

What are the countries that have welcomed the program and what are its ambitions for 2023?  

The program was launched at the end of last year. In its first stage, it was launched in Egypt, Morocco, and Tunisia. This year, new countries are targeted, including Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon, and Senegal.

What is the relationship between cloud technologies and connectivity? 

To make good use of the cloud, you need good connectivity. If you have a lot of computing power in the cloud and a lot of storage capacity that you access with low bandwidth, it won't work. Connectivity will be a bottleneck in that case. You need a good connection to use the full power of cloud technologies.  

5G is now gaining momentum around the world. What is Huawei doing to demonstrate the strategic importance of this technology to public and private actors who still have a wait-and-see attitude on the continent?  

For years now, we have been trying to raise stakeholders’ awareness about the true power of 5G. Above all, we are trying to prepare usage scenarios. We are making progress. 5G will arrive this year in some countries and next year in others. In any case, it is coming. But to benefit from the true power of this technology, we need to prepare the use cases that will make the most of it.  We will find scenarios that are essentially Business-to-Business (B2B) that will have a greater impact on the digital economy and the economy in general. We are already preparing these use cases with governments, telecom regulators, telecom operators, start-ups, etc. 

We are trying to show the way, the opportunities, and what is feasible in the country and also share the experience and the best practices in other countries or regions.

Considering the impact of the digital on the social sector, is Africa ready for 5G usage scenarios that are not essentially B2B?

There are many 5G scenarios whose success varies from one country to another.  They may work in some but not in others. In any case, we see obvious scenarios in several African countries. In South Africa, for example, in the mines, 5G has been adopted to improve worker safety. It is no longer necessary for operators of excavators, trucks, and other machinery to be present on site. They are located in rooms and control these vehicles remotely using 5G. This is a real scenario that can be replicated elsewhere. Another scenario that has worked well in other countries and we are seeing the effectiveness is the digitization of ports. Several ports have adopted the 5G around the globe. It has helped improve work and this has had an impact on the economy. For many African ports, increasing efficiency with 5G will have an immediate beneficial impact on the country's economy.

Will 5G be relevant for individual consumers in Africa right now? 

Yes, it is relevant. Some scenarios require more bandwidth. During Covid-19 we experimented with distance education. Today it has evolved and distance education allows us remotely attend classes. 5G can also be very interesting in entertainment scenarios. For example, in Barcelona, we showed that the customer experience when watching a match can completely change because you will no longer be limited to the camera angle that the director will choose but you will be able to choose the viewing angle that suits you all by yourself.  You will be able to focus on a specific individual, a specific part of the field thanks to ultra-high-definition cameras that will stream the event in 360 degrees.  

Even in gaming, an industry whose value is increasing, 5G will impact the customer experience. It will give the opportunity to be immersed in the game. The retail industry will also benefit from virtual malls that can be visited from home. There is a multitude of scenarios. Then each country will develop the scenarios that fit their needs, that fit the local culture, and the local requirements.

Mobile devices play a big role in the development of connectivity in Africa. Why do 5G smartphones cost several times more than 4G-enabled ones?

The first point is that the performance of components used for 5G phones is more complex.  There's a lot more complexity, but not just that. You'll also see that the same 5G components will lose value over the years. We're not going to compare 4G and 5G components but only 5G to each other over time and we'll see that there will be a depreciation effect. Those who do research and development invest a lot of money to reach standards and patents. And these costs must be amortized, so a certain volume of components must be produced for these costs to be amortized. This is why, with the increase in the number of 5G subscribers to 1 billion worldwide, the cost of 5G phones is going down. Currently, a 5G phone costs less than 200 dollars, which was not the case last year.  The amortization effect on a larger scale really helps amortize the research costs invested in the previous years. This will also be the case for all the organizations that contributed to the development of these components.  It is important to remember that the component manufacturers are different from the phone manufacturers.

Keeping in mind that connectivity and the cloud store a vast amount of personal, business, financial, etc. data, what is Huawei doing to ensure that the infrastructure it deploys is secure? 

Cybersecurity is the foundation of our work. All the digitization, connectivity, etc. services we offer are meaningless if we can't secure them. When the trust between a user and the system he/she uses is broken,  there is no development. Huawei has a strong interest in this issue and this goes back more than 20 years. Huawei has had cybersecurity management mechanisms in place for many years. People are already talking about it a little bit because there has been an increase in Internet usage, but we have been in this segment long before. We have provided equipment in more than 176 countries and there are more than three billion people on our networks. We can't afford to have any failures or concerns about the quality of our products. Concretely, we operate through various aspects.

First, our products are "security by design". This means that the issue of protecting the user of the product or service is integrated right from the design stage. At Huawei, we currently comply with all international cybersecurity standards. We have extremely rigorous procedures for network deployment and maintenance, coupled with monthly reviews. These processes allow us to avoid all types of human error. We have also deployed several transparency centers around the world -- seven -- where all our products and solutions are open to all our partners to test their integrity and robustness. 

Interview by Muriel Edjo

Posted On vendredi, 17 mars 2023 13:05 Written by
Page 9 sur 22

Please publish modules in offcanvas position.