Tech

Tech (424)

Africa, the world’s youngest and most vibrant continent, stands to leverage artificial intelligence (AI) for economic expansion. Yet, appropriate backing is required for the continent to harness this technology effectively.

China is eager to enhance its partnership with Africa in the realm of artificial intelligence (AI), the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) stated on Wednesday, April 3. The announcement followed the China-Africa Internet Development and Cooperation Forum, which took place in Xiamen, China, from April 2 to 3. 

The CAC statement outlined cooperation areas, including AI research, technological advancement, and its application in Chinese and African academic and research institutions. Key sectors such as agriculture, healthcare, education, and urban management will also be involved. The collaboration will extend to digital infrastructure development, talent exchange, capacity building, cybersecurity, and data protection. 

The declaration comes as African experts ponder the enormous opportunities that this technology could bring to the continent, provided the right policies and infrastructure are in place. According to a recent analysis by the US think tank Brookings Institution, only seven African countries have developed national AI strategies, and none have implemented formal AI regulation.

Collaborating with China, a country advanced in AI, could empower Africa to establish supportive policies and robust infrastructure, harnessing AI’s boundless opportunities and propelling its development. As per PwC’s Annual Global CEO Survey, AI could add $15.7 trillion to the global economy by 2030, with Africa potentially generating $1.2 trillion, signifying a 5.6% rise in the continent’s GDP by 2030.

Samira Njoya

 

Posted On vendredi, 05 avril 2024 09:37 Written by

In a bid to become a model of inclusive development via digital technology, the government of Madagascar is collaborating with both local and global partners. Several initiatives are currently in progress to achieve this goal.

Madagascar’s Digital Development, Posts and Telecommunications Minister, Tahina Razafindramalo, launched “Antananarivo 42”, a tuition-free institution aimed at equipping the youth with essential digital and programming skills, on Tuesday, April 2.

Backed by the Axian group, this initiative addresses Madagascar’s increasing demand for expertise in areas such as big data, artificial intelligence, web development, network and systems administration, and cybersecurity, as highlighted by the French embassy in Madagascar.

The inaugural batch of 196 students will undergo a three-year program, learning various programming languages and working on practical projects, often in partnership with associated companies. The objective is to effectively prepare them for the IT job market.

Official data indicates that the sector accounts for over 30,000 formal jobs in Madagascar, with the job market’s demands continually changing. Consequently, the Ministry of Digital Development, Posts and Telecommunications plans significant investment in digital profession training, including the imminent establishment of the National Digital Institute, projected to train over 3,000 individuals annually.

With the inauguration of Antananarivo 42, Madagascar joins Morocco as the second African country in the global 42 network. This network, initially established by French billionaire Xavier Niel, comprises 54 campuses across 31 countries, offering innovative, free programming and IT development training. The schools admit students without any diploma prerequisites or age restrictions.

Samira Njoya

Posted On jeudi, 04 avril 2024 13:02 Written by

Burkina Faso has been documenting internally displaced individuals for the past few months, with international allies like Japan providing support.

On April 2, the Japanese government donated digital equipment to the Burkina Faso Ministry of Solidarity, Humanitarian Action, National Reconciliation, Gender and Family. The donation aims to assist the government in the biometric registration of internally displaced persons (IDPs).

The Ministry of Humanitarian Action announced that the donation, valued at XOF93 million ($153,000), primarily includes 120 fingerprint sensors and 120 power banks. This contribution supports the implementation of the biometric registration system for IDPs, a project initiated in May 2019 to provide more reliable data and streamline aid efforts for displaced individuals.

With the backing of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the government has developed two applications for this initiative. The first application registers and fingerprints IDPs detects duplicate registrations, and offers accurate statistics on population movements and returns. The second application aids in the processing, analysis, and dissemination of registration data, thereby enhancing the management of IDPs.

The Japanese government’s donation is expected to facilitate Burkina Faso’s implementation of the IDP registration system and expedite its development through the use of digital technology. Official estimates suggest that the system and its deployment will exceed two billion CFA francs in costs.

Samira Njoya

Posted On jeudi, 04 avril 2024 12:56 Written by

Despite the launch of several investment vehicles at the start of the year, investment in African startups continued its downward trend in 2024, following a decline in funding in 2023 compared to 2022.

African startups raised a total of $466 million in the first quarter of 2024, marking a 47% decrease compared to the same period in 2023, according to data released on April 3 by Africa: The Big Deal, a database that tracks funding exceeding $100,000 raised by African startups.

The logistics sector, led by a significant deal involving Nigerian startup Moove, which received a $100 million investment from Uber, surpassed the fintech sector, raising a total of $151 million. Fintech followed closely with $105 million, while the agrifoodtech sector completed the top three with $50 million.

Notably, 87% of these funds were raised by startups from Nigeria ($160 million), Kenya ($108 million), South Africa ($72 million), and Egypt ($53 million). This group, known as the Big Four, continues to dominate the African investment market, while the consistent decline in funding since 2023 has not benefited other technology ecosystems on the continent.

Outside of the Big Four, only four other African countries - Uganda ($16 million), Ghana ($10 million), Tanzania ($9 million), and Morocco ($7 million) - managed to attract more than $5 million in the first quarter of the year.

Adoni Conrad Quenum

Posted On mercredi, 03 avril 2024 14:28 Written by

Guinea's government is pursuing initiatives to expand high-speed internet access across the country. These efforts may be bolstered by support from partners like the World Bank.

Guinea is set to be connected to a second subsea cable, as announced by Rose Pola Pricemou, the country’s Minister of Posts, Telecommunications and the Digital Economy, on March 26. The move is part of the Western Africa Regional Digital Integration Program (WARDIP), aimed at strengthening Guinea’s digital sovereignty.

Currently, only one subsea cable connects Guinea to the rest of the world. Through the WARDIP project, we will gain a second subsea cable. It is unacceptable that in 2024, people in the most remote villages cannot access basic social services digitally. Literacy should not be a prerequisite to benefit from public services,” Pricemou said.

The government first revealed its intention to connect to a second undersea cable in February 2022 to bolster the country’s high-speed telecoms infrastructure. Since 2014, Guinea has relied mainly on the ACE (Africa Coast to Europe) cable for broadband services. However, recurrent failures on this infrastructure have disrupted internet service in the country, necessitating a second cable.

The World Bank will finance the future infrastructure under the WARDIP program. In December, the government secured $60 million to enhance internet access. According to the 2022 annual report of the local telecom regulator, ARPT, Guinea has 6.98 million mobile internet subscribers, with a penetration rate of 52%.

The deployment of this second cable is expected to not only boost infrastructure capacity through additional connectivity but also extend these services to millions more people and reduce costs. The project aligns with the government’s digital transformation ambitions.

Samira Njoya

Posted On mardi, 02 avril 2024 16:19 Written by

Ghana has recently initiated a comprehensive digitization of its education system, an ambitious project aimed at equipping teachers, revamping infrastructure, and updating curricula to fully leverage the ongoing technological revolution.

Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo officially inaugurated the “Smart Schools” project on Monday, March 25, a move aimed at enhancing e-learning and digitization in the country. The initiative includes the distribution of 1.3 million tablets to secondary school students across Ghana and the provision of teaching and learning management systems, digital learning content, and electronic devices to all upper secondary, technical, and vocational schools.

The government has also pledged to build 100 smart schools across the country’s 16 regions, providing a modern learning environment and digital-centric training. The first 30 schools are slated for completion by year-end, with the remaining 70 set to be finished within the next two years.

The project aligns with the National Digitisation Strategy and the Ministry of Education’s digitization program. In 2018, the Ministry of Education partnered with private entities to bolster this initiative. Additional measures to advance digital education in Ghana have been announced, including the training of 100,000 teachers in digital skills in 2022.

The government believes that this project will equip Ghana’s youth to fully engage in the fourth industrial revolution. For Education Minister Yaw Osei Adutwum, “the application of technology in education should improve student engagement, motivation, and teacher-student interactions.

We are committed to ensuring that by 2030, we build and upgrade education facilities that are child, disability, and gender sensitive and provide a safe, inclusive, and effective environment for all,” he added.

Samira Njoya

Posted On mardi, 02 avril 2024 12:53 Written by

In Kenya, Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) have emerged as a significant driver for economic development and job creation. In response, the government is intensifying its efforts to forge partnerships and launch initiatives that aim to bolster the nation's digital capabilities.

On Thursday, March 28, Eliud Owalo, Kenya’s Minister of ICT and the Digital Economy, and Mohamed Hassan Alsuwaidi, the United Arab Emirates’ Minister of Investment, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to foster investment cooperation in digitization and technology between their respective countries.

As part of this partnership, the United Arab Emirates has pledged significant investments in Kenya’s ICT sector, with a particular focus on data center infrastructure capable of serving millions of users, as well as artificial intelligence and large language models.

This initiative is a component of Kenya’s Bottom-Up Economic Transformation (BETA) program, which seeks to guide Kenya towards a brighter, more interconnected, and digitally empowered future. This comes shortly after a similar agreement was signed between Kenyan company EcoCloud and UAE-based G42 to establish Kenya’s first geothermal-powered data center.

These data center investments bolster Kenya’s ambition to become a preferred destination for data center providers, in light of the increasing global demand for cloud services. A report by Research and Markets predicts that the local data center market will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 11.22% between 2023 and 2028.

This new collaboration is anticipated to narrow the digital divide in the country, spur technological innovation, and cultivate the emergence of a digital economy. It is also expected to create new job opportunities and provide Kenyan citizens access to the latest digital tools.

Samira Njoya

Posted On vendredi, 29 mars 2024 17:48 Written by

Disruptive technologies may cause widespread job losses, specialist reports say. The same reports indicate that workforce adaptation is key to mitigating the negative impacts of those technologies.

As Africa’s population surges, creating more and better jobs for its youth is crucial for poverty reduction and wealth distribution, the World Bank stated in its report “Digital Africa: Technological Transformation for Jobs 2023”. The report urges policymakers and the business sector to prioritize digital technology and promote its accessibility urgently to tackle unemployment challenges.

Africa’s jobs and technology challenges are immense and urgent. Its share of the global workforce is projected to become the largest in the world by the twenty-second century, rising from 16 percent in 2025 to over 41 percent by 2100. More than 22 million Africans between the ages of 15 and 64 join the workforce annually—almost 2 million people per month. This flow of workers is expected to increase to over 33 million per year by 2050,(UN DESA 2022). The imperative is to create good jobs for these millions of young entrants to the workforce and better jobs for today’s workers. Greater adoption of improved and adequate technologies is a critical and underemphasized requirement to meet this goal,” the report states.

The report proposes various strategies and initiatives to better prepare Africa for the future. It emphasizes the importance of promoting the development of digital skills and recommends that African governments invest in digital skills training programs to equip the workforce with the skills needed for the digital economy.

It also highlights the importance of supporting entrepreneurship and encouraging the growth of startups and small technology companies by providing them with access to funding, mentoring, and resources. This can stimulate job creation and innovation in the technology sector.

Improve the ecosystem

The World Bank stresses the need to improve access to technology by promoting access to affordable and reliable internet services, smartphones, and computers. It also calls for implementing policies that support a business environment conducive to technology adoption and innovation, which may involve reducing regulatory barriers, promoting competition, and protecting intellectual property rights.

The report recommends investing in the development and upgrading of digital infrastructures, such as broadband networks, digital payment systems, and data storage and processing systems. It also advocates for collaboration with the private sector, suggesting that public decision-makers establish partnerships with private-sector companies to encourage the adoption of technologies, innovation, and job creation.

Finally, the World Bank believes that by implementing these strategies and working collaboratively, African policymakers can harness the power of technology to improve the lives of their citizens and unlock the continent’s potential for inclusive development.

Muriel Edjo

Posted On vendredi, 29 mars 2024 17:46 Written by

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has seen significant growth in its digital inclusion in recent years. This growth is driven by the execution of high-impact projects. 

On Saturday 23 March, DRC’s Digital Development Agency (ADN) announced a partnership agreement with local startup Motema, which specializes in the manufacture of made-in-Congo touch-screen tablets, and the French firm KaiOS Technologies, which created the mobile operating system KaiOS.

The initiative aims to set up a mobile phone assembly unit with a production capacity of over one million units, to be sold at a flat rate of 20 dollars per piece.

"Thanks to these low-cost phones, users will be able to explore the digital world, opening the way to new educational, commercial, and social opportunities. It's a revolution in technological accessibility, promising to connect Congolese people to the digital age and broaden their horizons," says an ADN press release.

This new partnership aligns with the National Digital Plan Horizon 2025 (PNN), specifically project 21, which advocates for the development of e-commerce in the DRC. The government reports that 14 projects under the PNN have been finalized, and 25% are nearing operational status, bringing the completion rate to 57%. It also aligns with Motema’s goal of providing every citizen with a cost-effective digital device.

Thanks to this collaboration, Congolese people will have the opportunity to purchase 4G mobile phones for 20 dollars. These internationally standardized phones will provide access to the Google search engine and social networks.

Once operational, the project is expected to create jobs in the DRC and enhance the skills of the Congolese workforce through technology transfer between the two organizations. It also aims to combat the digital divide, foster e-commerce, transform the local economy, and significantly improve the daily lives of the Congolese people.

Samira Njoya

Posted On jeudi, 28 mars 2024 09:58 Written by

During the tenure of Macky Sall, which commenced in 2012, the digital sector emerged as a crucial catalyst for the acceleration and socio-economic development of the country. His successor aims to exceed these accomplishments in the next five years.

Senegal’s newly elected President, Bassirou Diomaye Faye (photo), has outlined plans to accelerate the country’s digital transformation, a process initiated by his predecessor, Macky Sall. Faye, who was elected on Sunday, March 24, sees digital technology as a catalyst for Senegal’s development.

He announced plans to establish a National Fund for the Development of Research and Innovation (FNDRI) within five years. This fund, which will replace the existing Fund to Promote Scientific and Technical Research (FIRST), will finance startups and research and innovation (R&I) initiatives.

The new administration aims to create an incentivized and secure framework for digital entrepreneurship. The goal is to foster a high-performance national ecosystem that can meet the demand for digital products and services across various sectors of the national economy.

Faye also expressed concern about the impact of digitizing public services on the population. He announced plans for a digitized, high-performance public administration capable of meeting the challenges of the new economy. This includes building sovereign data centers, both public and private, with high-speed internet connectivity and lower hosting charges to consolidate state and local business data.

In the education sector, a national priority, the new President plans to reform the licensing system and establish a monitoring system for private higher education institutions. He also plans to support the development of the Cheikh Amidou Kane digital university, strengthen online course platforms in other public universities, and construct technological universities.

Recognizing that these projects depend on good internet connectivity, the new government plans to ensure internet access throughout Senegal. According to a second-quarter report by the Autorité de Régulation des Télécommunications et des Postes (ARTP), the current penetration rate of broadband internet (3G/4G) is 89.56%.

The primary goal of the investment package announced by the Head of State is to make Senegal a benchmark for digital transformation on the continent by 2029. The digital sector, thriving on constant technological innovation, is one of Senegal’s main drivers of development, contributing over 10% to GDP growth.

Samira Njoya

Posted On mercredi, 27 mars 2024 14:29 Written by
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