Tech (443)

The COVID-19 pandemic has irrevocably changed the education landscape. With classrooms shut down and social distancing becoming the norm, the transition to digital education became a matter of survival for schools around the world. However, this shift is not merely a temporary response to a crisis; it presents a vital opportunity to reshape education for the future.

The Liaison Office of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Addis Ababa, in partnership with Huawei, has provided Ethiopian schools with a vital technology boost. On Thursday, December 14, representatives from both organizations handed over IT equipment to the Ethiopian Ministry of Education and regional education offices.

The delivery includes 480 tablets, 48 laptops, 48 access points, and 24 smartboards. This equipment is part of the TeOSS Project (Schools Open to All through Technology), a joint initiative aimed at bridging the gap between school and home learning and ensuring quality education for all.

"Beyond the classroom, the TeOSS project is a catalyst for innovation and economic growth," said Rita Bissoonauth, Director of UNESCO's Liaison Office in Addis Ababa. "By equipping schools with ICT facilities, we are empowering students to shape Ethiopia's future. Congratulations to UNESCO and Huawei for leading the charge," she added.

The $300,000 investment will equip 24 secondary schools across Ethiopia, providing students and teachers with essential tools to enhance their learning experiences. The TeOSS project, supported by the Huawei Trust Fund, aims to build technology-based, crisis-resilient school systems. This includes facilitating continuity and quality of learning in both normal and crisis situations, a crucial factor in Ethiopia's educational landscape.

Aligned with UNESCO's Priority Africa strategy, the TeOSS project extends its reach beyond Ethiopia. Sub-Saharan African countries like Ghana and Egypt are also participating in the initiative, with the shared goal of utilizing technology as a driving force for quality education and digital development opportunities.

In Ethiopia, the TeOSS project is focusing on building robust ICT infrastructure in pilot schools. This includes connecting schools, setting up a learning management system, and integrating a dedicated teacher training platform. 

Samira Njoya

Posted On vendredi, 15 décembre 2023 11:44 Written by

In addition to its core e-commerce business, Jumia also launched a food delivery service. This service did not live up to the expectations of the startup's management.

E-commerce giant Jumia will shutdown Jumia Food by the end of this month. The decision, communicated through a press release on Wednesday, December 13th, cites the current challenging economic conditions and macroeconomic environment in its African markets as the primary factor.

Jumia Food, operating in seven markets across Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, and Côte d'Ivoire, struggled to find profitability in the competitive food delivery landscape. "Food delivery remains a business with very challenging economics, in Africa and across the world, and we want to focus our efforts on our physical goods e-commerce business, in the eleven markets where we operate. This is a matter of prioritization of opportunities, and expected return on investment," explained Antoine Maillet-Mezeray, Jumia’s executive vice-president (EVP) of finance and operations.

Prioritizing profitability, Jumia is streamlining its operations, focusing its capital and resources on its core e-commerce business across its eleven African markets. The company, founded in 2012 and Africa's first unicorn by 2016, has raised $1.2 billion to fuel its growth and remains publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange.

"The more we focus on our physical goods business, the more we realize that there is huge potential for Jumia to grow, with a path to profitability. We must take the right decision and fully focus our management, our teams, and our capital resources to go after this opportunity. In the current context, it means leaving a business line, which we believe does not offer the same upside potential - food delivery," says CEO Francis Dufay

Adoni Conrad Quenum

Posted On vendredi, 15 décembre 2023 03:13 Written by

Corruption has long been a cancer on Uganda's socio-economic development, stifling progress in various sectors. To combat this issue, the government has turned to technological solutions.

On December 13, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni officially inaugurated the Electronic Investor Protection Portal (EIPP) at his residence in Entebbe. This new portal is designed to safeguard the interests of investors and combat fraudulent activities by establishing a direct channel of communication with the President's office.

Commending the initiative, President Museveni indicated the EIPP would play a key role in combatting corruption and misinformation. “I [...] congratulate Col. Edith Nakalema and her team for successfully leveraging technology and launching the Electronic Investor Protection portal, which serves as a crucial tool in safeguarding the interests of investors. I wish them good luck,” he wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

Managed by the State House Investor Protection Unit (SHIPU), the platform provides a range of services. These include offering advice to investors through direct access to verified government sources, a comprehensive reporting mechanism for investor inquiries and complaints, rigorous enforcement and follow-up procedures for reported issues, a conduit linking investors to pertinent ministries, departments, and agencies, and language features catering to the diverse linguistic needs of investors.

The introduction of this portal aligns with President Museveni's commitment to fostering a conducive environment for investors, shielding them from unwarranted corruption and bureaucratic hurdles. It comes at a time when corruption is on the rise in the country. According to Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index 2022, Uganda ranks 142nd out of 180 countries in terms of corruption control.

Samira Njoya

Posted On jeudi, 14 décembre 2023 15:59 Written by

VTC drivers face a growing threat of violence, including attempted kidnappings, sexual and gender-based violence, assaults, and even murders. This escalating situation has forced mobility startup leaders to take decisive action in an attempt to curb these increasingly recurrent acts.

Estonian mobility startup Bolt has introduced a new feature in South Africa designed to enhance driver safety and trust on its platform. Effective immediately, Bolt customers will be required to upload a clear image of themselves or a selfie clearly showing their face, along with a copy of their ID for verification.

"At Bolt, we know from our 150M+ customers and network of 3.5 million fleet, driver, and courier partners that feeling safe is a critical part of a high-quality ride-hailing experience. That’s why safety is our top priority, and rider verification is the newest feature we’re testing dedicated to upgrading driver safety," explains Takura Malaba, Bolt Regional Director in East and Southern Africa.

Bolt's new passenger verification feature reflects its ongoing investment in safety and its commitment to address driver concerns. This initiative follows numerous nationwide protests by drivers, urging government intervention in the face of increasing criminal incidents, including the tragic October murder of a driver in Westernburg.

The driver verification feature joins a suite of existing safety features on the Bolt app. This includes the emergency service, which allows drivers to share their details and location with the Automobile Association's contact center. Upon receiving a report, the app immediately deploys private security and emergency services.

Samira Njoya

Posted On mercredi, 13 décembre 2023 10:16 Written by

Following the closure of its Ugandan subsidiary in April 2023, Copia Global is now doubling down on its presence in Kenya. This strategic shift is marked by the announcement of a partnership with an American financial services giant.

Kenyan e-commerce platform Copia Global announced, on Tuesday, December 12, a 5-year partnership with American financial services giant Visa. This collaboration aims to facilitate commercial transactions on the platform and provide customers with access to a wider range of financial services.

This partnership empowers Copia's Kenyan customers to seamlessly buy and pay directly on the platform, save money through their e-wallet, access convenient borrowing options, and utilize deferred payment services. Additionally, members of the Kenyan diaspora can easily top up their loved ones' Copia e-wallets in just a few clicks via Visa.

"Copia’s network of customers, agents, and delivery sub-contractors will benefit from Visa’s capabilities on contactless payments, remittances, and loyalty solutions," said Eva Ngigi-Sarwari (photo, left), Visa Kenya Country Manager.

Founded in 2013 by Crispin Murira, Tracey Turner, and Jonathan Lewis, Copia Global has already secured over $100 million in funding to fuel its expansion. As of March 2023, the Kenyan e-commerce platform boasted a network of over 40,000 digital agents and nearly 2 million customers. Despite closing its Ugandan operations in April 2023, Copia Global continues to demonstrate consistent growth and solidify its position within the Kenyan market. This strategic partnership with Visa marks a significant step in this ongoing process, potentially paving the way for future investments in the world of financial technologies.

"The partnership and rapid digitization of customers creates a huge opportunity for Copia and Visa to bank the unbanked with previously inaccessible financial services, solving financial inclusion for the mass market in Africa," said Evelyn Wangari, Director of Financial Services at Copia Global. 

Adoni Conrad Quenum

Posted On mardi, 12 décembre 2023 15:02 Written by

In a strategic move to accelerate its digital transformation, the Zambian government has embarked on an ambitious project to provide nationwide access to broadband internet. This initiative aims to empower citizens and unlock significant job creation opportunities through increased participation in the digital economy.

The Zambian government will phase out 2G technology entirely and shift focus towards 4th and 5th generation (4G and 5G) networks, Minister of Technology and Science, Felix Mutati, announced during the inaugural ICT, Post and Courier Awards on December 9th.

We are eliminating 2G because we want all towers to be internet enabled. Every tower from now on will only be 4G and upwards internet enabled. We must use ICT as an enabler to deliver change to the people of Zambia,” he said. 

Indeed, over the past two years, Zambia has stepped up initiatives aimed at creating a favorable environment for improving connectivity in the country. In June, an operating license was granted to Starlink, a subsidiary of the US company SpaceX, to provide satellite Internet services throughout the country, including areas previously considered inaccessible.

Telecom operators such as Airtel and MTN have also launched the commercialization of 5G in the country. Initially, the service was concentrated in specific areas, such as densely populated residential areas, shopping malls, hospitals, city centers, and central business districts.

All these initiatives have improved Internet access in the country. According to the Minister, Internet penetration has risen to 58% this year, compared with around 53% last year. The Post Office's business grew by 70% this year.

By focusing on 4G and 5G, Zambia aims to ensure greater digital access for the population, create jobs, and attract and retain investment in the ICT sector over the next few years.

Samira Njoya

Posted On mardi, 12 décembre 2023 14:41 Written by

Tourism is one of the key economic sectors for African countries. To this end, ECOWAS member countries have decided to digitize the sector.

On December 6, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) announced the development of a digital platform for classifying tourist accommodation establishments. This decision follows a meeting held in Dakar from November 21-24, 2023, attended by delegations from member countries.

The platform aims to simplify the process for tourists seeking accommodation throughout the West African region. According to Dr. Anthony Luka Elumelu, ECOWAS Director in charge of the private sector, this innovative measure enhances the value of ECOWAS tourism facilities by serving as an information hub for international and regional tourists.  

It forms a key part of the Ecotour 19-29 ten-year action plan, designed to accelerate the development of the tourism sector across the sub-region. The adoption of Regulation C.REG.2/07/23 by the ECOWAS Council of Ministers in July 2023 and the subsequent creation of the Tourist Accommodation Standards Authority established standardized criteria for classifying accommodation establishments within the community, paving the way for the platform's implementation.

ECOWAS expects the platform to deliver significant benefits for public tourism administrations responsible for hotel classification. These include reduced costs and time associated with the classification process, eliminating the need for extensive travel to fulfill obligations, and providing real-time access to statistical data on both hotel supply across all member countries and tourist arrivals.

Adoni Conrad Quenum

Posted On lundi, 11 décembre 2023 14:17 Written by

Despite the urgency of the situation, the adoption of a strong global response to slowing climate change and minimizing its impact on human life across the planet is still hampered by political differences. However, amidst this global gridlock, some manufacturers are taking matters into their own hands and approaching the climate issue from other angles.

Morocco’s Marrakech hosted, from December 7 to 8, the Huawei Northern Africa Digital Power Ecosystem Partner Summit 2023, held under the theme "Lightening up a green Africa and closing the energy gap."

Over two days, some 180 strategic partners, industry leaders, experts from government agencies, and renewable energy associations discussed current energy challenges and renewable energy trends in Africa.

In his opening address, Philippe Wang (photo), President Digital Power and Executive Vice President of Huawei Northern Africa (North, West and Central Africa), said: "A new era is dawning in the energy industry: that of digital energy, closely linked to the digital world."

 “This age is no longer determined by resource dependence, but by technology. Today, we are seizing the opportunities by integrating WatT, HeaT, BatTery and BitT (4T technologies) to shape a greener and more promising future for Africa," he added. 

According to Huawei, despite possessing 7,900 GW of solar potential and receiving eight hours of sunshine daily, Africa still faces stark energy disparities. "While almost 100% of the population in North Africa had access to electricity in 2023, this proportion was only 56% in West Africa," says the Chinese technology group, which also showcased its technological innovations designed to accelerate the continent's energy transition and efficiency during the summit. 

To respond to the urgency of the African transition, exacerbated by global warming, electricity shortages, energy instability and rising fossil fuel prices, Africa plans to increase its renewable energy capacity by more than 5 times. During COP 28 in Dubai, more than 20 African countries supported the global call to triple renewable energy capacity and double energy efficiency by 2030.

Posted On lundi, 11 décembre 2023 14:16 Written by

Recognizing the growing influence of social networks in fostering entrepreneurship, TikTok has launched a program specifically designed to empower entrepreneurs in sub-Saharan Africa.

Chinese tech giant TikTok, partnering with the non-profit Yunus Social Business (YSB), announced on Wednesday, December 6th, a $1.5 million investment in East African micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs). This initiative, focused primarily on Kenya, aims to equip MSMEs with the resources, particularly digital skills, necessary for growth and success.

Through the TikTokEmpower program, TikTok will establish training and mentorship programs covering crucial topics such as brand building, sales and e-commerce strategies, and leveraging digital platforms for business success.

"This #TikTokEmpower partnership with YSB represents a transformative opportunity to empower entrepreneurs, address social challenges and stimulate sustainable economic growth in Kenya and East Africa. We've seen the profound impact and real opportunity that TikTok brings to small businesses around the world, and we're proud to encourage this entrepreneurial spirit and digital innovation in Africa," said Fortune Mgwili-Sibanda, Director of Government Relations and Public Policy for Sub-Saharan Africa for TikTok.

Before opening its Kenyan office, the Chinese giant invested in William Ruto's country with its TikTokEmpower program. In August, the social network had come close to being banned in the country before its CEO Shou Zi Chew announced the opening of physical offices to oversee its activities in East Africa after a virtual meeting with the authorities. With this investment, TikTok is increasing its involvement on the African continent where it is, according to a September report by GeoPoll, the second most-used social network after Facebook.

Adoni Conrad Quenum

Posted On vendredi, 08 décembre 2023 15:08 Written by

Digital transformation is a key pillar of President William Ruto's government, with efforts underway to digitize various sectors across the country. However, one crucial area remains untouched: the identification system. This has once again sparked resistance from the Kenyan population.

Maisha Namba, the digital identification system planned by the Kenyan government, will not see its anticipated launch this year due to a recent decision by the High Court of Kenya. The court has ordered a halt to the system's rollout, citing the absence of a data protection impact assessment.

The court's decision imposes a stay on the implementation or further progression of the government's November 1, 2023, resolution to deploy or pilot Maisha Namba, encompassing the digital card, unique personal identifier, and a national population register. This pause is mandated until a comprehensive data protection impact assessment is conducted, as stipulated in section 31 of the Data Protection Act, according to the High Court.

This legal development follows a petition filed by civil society groups, including the Katiba Institute, the Nubian Rights Forum, the Kenya Human Rights Commission, and the Coalition of Human Rights Defenders. The petitioners argue that the biometric and biographical data collected during registration were obtained unlawfully, and the government lacks a legal foundation for the digital identity system. Additionally, concerns are raised about data protection, the exclusion of many Kenyans from the system, and the expeditious rollout scheduled for this December.

This marks the second instance where the High Court has intervened to suspend the deployment of a digital identification system in the country. The previous system, Huduma Namba, initiated by former president Uhuru Kenyatta, faced similar criticisms and suspension on the same grounds.

The court emphasizes that any implementation of the system must await the completion of a data protection impact assessment, as outlined in Article 31. This article governs the collection, storage, use, and sharing of personal information, with a particular emphasis on safeguarding privacy and personal security.

Samira Njoya

Posted On jeudi, 07 décembre 2023 11:13 Written by
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