Tech (379)

Water scarcity affects 40% of the world's population. To address the situation, the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs developed the World Hydrological Cycle Observing System (WHYCOS), which uses satellite technology to improve “basic observation activities,” strengthen international cooperation and promote free data exchange in the hydrogeology sector. 

Ghana will use space technology to monitor and protect its water resources. The plan was announced by Ghanaian vice-president Mahamudu Bawumia, last Thursday (July 14), while addressing the 5th International Conference on the use of space technology for water resources management (the conference ended on Sunday, July 17). 

“Water resources management is an integral part of national development and there is an avenue for space technologies to be used to monitor and evaluate water resources,” he said. 

According to the government official, water resource management is a pressing issue for Ghana, whose abundant water resources are threatened by human activities.  He indicated that the government would soon pass the Ghana Space Policy, which would expand the missions of the Ghana Space Science and Technology Institute (GSSTI). The new policy will transform the GSSTI into a full-fledged space agency that will leverage space technology to improve the efficiency of the national fight against uncontrolled exploitation, which affects the quality of its water resources. 

According to USAID and Sustainable Water Partnership, “Ghana has abundant water resources and is not considered water-stressed overall.”  However, the resources are increasingly threatened by activities like illegal gold mining that contaminate municipal water sources with heavy metals, particularly in the Pra Basin. Municipal, domestic and industrial wastes also contaminate 60% of surface waters and degrade ecosystems and biodiversity, especially downstream of Kumasi and Accra.

By protecting its water resources, the government wants to guarantee their quantity and quality but also avert water shortages. It will also reduce the financial resources needed to treat water for mass consumption. 

Samira Njoya

Posted On lundi, 18 juillet 2022 10:55 Written by

The tech sector is booming in most African countries. To improve its impact on the continent, two countries have decided to join forces and conquer other markets. 

Rwandan technology park kLab and Gabon Digital Incubation Company (SING S.A) plan to develop an exchange program. For that purpose, last Wednesday (July 13), kLab’s general manager Yeetah Kamikazi (photo, right) and Yannick Ebibie Nze (photo, left), CEO of SING S.A, signed a partnership agreement.  The exchange program aims to support the two countries’ startup ecosystem and financing sources to quickly achieve conclusive results. 

Under the terms of the agreement, SING S.A. (which has already incubated 53 startups, including eight with tremendous growth) will facilitate the exchange program development. 

We can build on the results achieved by kLab as a non-profit organization in Rwanda over the past few years. In Gabon, we have a different model [Ed. note: SING S.A is a for-profit organization] and I believe it will be great for kLab to also find ways to secure additional financing outside traditional sources like the government and international partners,” explained Yannick Ebibie Nze.

For Yeetah Kamikazi, the Gabonese market is a prospective market for Rwandan startups, given the small size of her local market. She also added that Gabon needs Rwanda’s expertise in the e-transport and e-governance sectors. 

In Rwanda, the government is committed to making the country an African IT hub. Also, for years now, Kigali has been the host of the tech hubs of major international firms. In December 2021, coworking space and investment fund Norrsken Foundation launched an entrepreneurship hub in Kigali, to welcome 1,000 entrepreneurs by the end of 2022.  To date, the country’s startups have raised US$23 million, including US$17 million in 2021. 

Adoni Conrad Quenum

Posted On vendredi, 15 juillet 2022 16:05 Written by

Africa has the lowest internet penetration rate with just 22% of its population currently connected. To remedy the situation, countries are implementing various projects. 

The African Development Bank (AfDB) and the common Eastern and Southern market COMESA signed an agreement letter last Wednesday (July 13). According to a release published by COMESA, the agreement letter concerns a US$550,000 grant to be provided by AfDB to fund the feasibility studies of COMESA’s Africa Cloud Ecosystem (ACE) project. 

According to the release, the AfDB grant will “support the first phase; Market Analysis (Pre-investment study) which will assess the market for the ACE project and examine the bankability of the project including testing of the concept in the COMESA region.” 

For AfDB Zambia country manager, Dr. Raubil Durowoju, “the Africa Cloud Ecosystem project will be a first of its kind, laying the foundation to facilitate the African continent to undertake this shift in the key sectors of the economy: education, government, agriculture, and health through the provision of a reliable ecosystem of datacentres.” 

It aims to contribute to the installation of a state-of-the-art facility that will provide essential and sustainable ICT infrastructure services to the 21 COMESA member states and the African continent as a whole. 

It is also expected to facilitate regional integration by taking full advantage of technology and laying the foundation for a duty-free and quota-free zone “which goes beyond the data-only aspects.” Its development should also “increase the sustainability and viability of information and provide a pivotal way of transitioning Africa’s community into a digital economic community.”

Besides significantly lowering the cost for hosting services, identified as the main reason  African businesses host their services overseas, the project will also remove barriers faced by African enterprises by promoting intra-regional trade and boosting innovation,” COMESA explains. 

Once launched, ACE will improve Africa’s positioning in the global ICT landscape. 

For COMESA secretary-general Chileshe Kapwepwe, once completed, the project will “enhance competitiveness by fostering regional connectivity and deepening continental integration.” 

Samira Njoya

Posted On vendredi, 15 juillet 2022 13:04 Written by

The e-visa platform aims to facilitate visa application processes, rendering the country attractive. 

Togo announced, Monday (July 11), that it has updated and re-launched “Togo Voyage,” its digital visa issuance platform.  Unlike its previous version launched in August 2020, the new platform now integrates an online visa application and Covid-19 processes, greatly facilitating the application process.    

“I am pleased with the Voyage Togo platform because it is revolutionizing our work methods. We now have access to a unique and virtual database of travelers coming in and moving out of the country, making it a hundred times faster to process and allowing our national security services to deliver more efficiently,” commented Minister of Security and Civil Protection Yark Damehame.

The platform, available in French and English, also offers travelers the possibility to store their data in user accounts to avoid entering them again for every application. 

Payments have also been fully digitized (either via bank cards or mobile money) while cash payment is simply prohibited. 

The e-visa project is one of the many reforms on the Togolese government’s 2025 agenda.  A few months ago, the government announced the digitization of every public service to become more conducive to business operations and provide efficient public services to the population.

The new version of Togo Voyage was developed by Togo Digital Agency (ATD), and created by the government to steer the country’s digital transformation process. By the end of this year, the platform will be extended to include land and sea borders.

Samira Njoya

Posted On mardi, 12 juillet 2022 18:39 Written by

The connected object industry has expanded quickly over the past ten years. Thanks to the new usages allowed by the 5G, it will grow further, becoming an important source of employment in Africa, where there is still a lack of skilled labor in advanced technology sectors.

Four partners will launch a 3-year online Internet of Things (IoT) training program next September. The four partners are notably the virtual universities of Mali, Senegal, and Tunisia and the Franch National Institute of Applied Science (INSA), through its virtual academy OpenINSA. 

According to a release, dated June 23, announcing the training program, it will include courses on the security and architecture of connected objects, the architectural maintainability and reliability of a connected object, the development of digital apps to interact with connected objects, and the basics of data science. 

"The resources developed in the framework of this partnership are placed under a Creative Commons license. They are accessible to project partners’ teacher-researchers in the research section,” indicated Jean-Yves Plantec, the director of OpenINSA. For the director, the main strength of the education project announced is its ability to federate a strong community for its implementation. 

The four partners started developing the project in 2019, in the framework of the Support for the development of French Higher Education in Africa (ADESFA). The project entered a new phase between 2020 and May 2022 when the partners focused on the development of an online program accessible primarily to second-year undergraduate students, but also to employees and those seeking professional retraining. At the end of the 3-year training, the learners will constitute a high-quality labor force for innovative sectors. 

The connected object industry has expanded quickly over the past ten years. Connected wristbands, watches, speakers, and similar tools have become part of our daily life. According to Banque des Territoires, between 2018 and 2019, 2.5 billion connected objects were sold worldwide.  

Samira Njoya

Posted On jeudi, 07 juillet 2022 14:56 Written by

The digital payment switch was developed by the government, thanks to the technical expertise of the Nigerian firm eTranzact. It demonstrates authorities’ ambition to boost financial inclusion. 

Cameroon’s Minister of Telecommunications, Minette Libom Li Likeng, officially launched the National Digital Payment Switch Infrastructure (NPSI) in Yaoundé, yesterday (July 5). The payment switch, accessible via the USSD Code #237#, is a government initiative to ensure the traceability of electronic payment flows, therefore facilitating the fight against money laundering and terrorism financing and promoting the digital economy. It is hosted at the Cameroon Postal Services (Campost) thanks to the technical expertise of the Nigerian firm eTranzact. 

According to Campost MD Pierre Kaldadak, the NPSI will promote equal access to interconnection, reduce the cost of value-added services and help trace all the bank and non-bank transactions. He also informed that the telecom operators that are active in the country and about forty firms have already joined the payment switch. Meanwhile, a significant number of firms are still awaiting connections. 

The NPSI, whose development was launched in 2018, was inaugurated on June 30, 2020. For Minette Libom Li Likeng, it will help reduce cash dependence, boost financial inclusion, and stimulate innovation with the development of public and private-sector applications and startup promotion. The digital infrastructure is "a key [...] tool for digital systems and payments in Cameroon,” she added. 

Samira Njoya

Posted On mercredi, 06 juillet 2022 16:04 Written by

The center will help boost access to quality digital education and offer employment opportunities and innovative solutions in Senegal. 

IT company Atos and 01Talent Africa launched Monday (July 4) a collective intelligence center in Dakar, Senegal. The center will offer digital training, starting from September 2022. 

During the launching ceremony, Alpha Barry, Head of Atos Africa, elaborated on why Africa is the perfect continent to develop the collective intelligence center project. “With an average age of 19, Africa is the youngest continent in the world and will represent 40% of the world's population by the end of the century. By working with 01Talent in Africa, we are giving these young people the opportunity to unleash their creative potential to contribute to the innovation and digital transformation of the continent," he indicated. 

“This initiative is part of a strategic partnership that aims to accelerate the digital transformation in Africa, by enabling the massification of world-class digital skills through an innovative and inclusive training of excellence on the continent,” the two partners inform. 

For 01Talent Africa’s strategic director, Karim Sy, “this strategic initiative confirms the commitment of 01Talent and Atos to the creation of an African technology ecosystem strengthened by the training of world-class talent, essential to the accomplishment of the continent's digital transition.” 

“This is a huge opportunity to create jobs for young people and value for local businesses. Everyone becomes an actor of change,” he stresses.  

The collective intelligence center baptized Zone01 will be inaugurated in September 2022, welcoming the first cohort of 120 young talents selected during a competitive stage. After Dakar, the two partners intend to launch a new Zone01 in Egypt, Morocco, and Mauritania. 

Samira Njoya

Posted On mercredi, 06 juillet 2022 15:34 Written by

The lab hosted by Orange Digital Center is an opportunity for project developers and companies to test the quality of their tech products and services. It will let them carry out small-scale tests before the launch. 

Orange inaugurated, Thursday (June 30), its first African 5G Lab in Dakar, Senegal.  The 5G Lab is dedicated to the experimentation and development of 5G-compliant products and services. The lab was ianuguared by Sékou Dramé, CEO of Sonatel Group,  and Michaël Trabbia, Orange Chief Technology and Innovation Officer.   

According to Michaël Trabbia, 5G is a tool that can be leveraged to boost companies' and nations’ growth. This is why Orange is committed to a co-innovation approach to help create futuristic products. "Territorial anchoring is key in the Orange 5G Lab program to support the digital transformation of economic players, and help everyone take advantage of the potential of the 5G," he said.  

Orange 5G Lab Dakar is housed at the Orange Digital Center in Dakar in a 108 m² room with several sections that can be used as demonstration space for virtual reality and augmented reality services, a gaming space, or a co-working space. The space has case studies carried out in several areas (e-Health, smart port, smart édu, smart Agri) in partnership with technology providers Huawei and Nokia. It also has innovation demonstrations carried out by Caytu in partnership with the Dakar American University of Science and Technology (DAUST) and Senvital in partnership with Sonatel corporate medicine.

Orange 5G Lab Dakar is the 14th technology space of its kind to be inaugurated by the French telecom group in all its markets. Apart from Senegal, Orange has 5G Labs in France (10), Romania (1), Belgium (1), and Poland (1). More than 1,200 companies and local authorities have already benefited from the technology space, 114 of which have been able to experiment with their products and services.

In Senegal, the introduction of 5G combined with new technologies such as Big data, AI, and augmented reality aims to stimulate the transformation of the Senegalese society and economy in key areas such as agriculture, public health, education, entrepreneurship, and youth employability.

Ruben Tchounyabe

Posted On lundi, 04 juillet 2022 14:17 Written by

Since 2016, Cameroonian tech entrepreneur Vincent Onana Binyegui has multiplied actions to improve education access, in rural zones notably. The flagship product he developed, Teachmepad, allows access to educational content offline. The assembly plant is the next step in his project.  

Teachmepad Mobile Limited, the developer of the solar-powered educational tablet Teachmepad, seeks €5 million to set up an assembly plant in Cameroon. For that purpose, it launched a pre-series A round last Friday, June 1. The capital sought will be divided as follows:  €420,000 in equity crowdfunding and €4.573 million in loan crowdfunding. The pre-series A round will be closed on June 1, 2023, we learn. 

The project has been reviewed by the national investment corporation SNI’s technical teams, revealed Teachmepad Mobile Limited founder Vincent Onana Binyegui at the end of a work session called by the Ministry of Economy. 

The plant, dubbed Teachmepad Mobile Industry, will create 200 direct jobs, the founder stresses. In the framework of the project, Teachmepad Mobile Limited will acquire a unit, whose daily production capacity is 5,000, from China. In its first year of operation, the plant will operate at 20% of its capacity with 10 employees and progressively go at full throttle with a team of 205 people. 

During the work session, SNI suggested the government should provide support to scale the project and make it bankable for additional technical and financial support. SNI also suggested a partnership with a technical partner, a mobile components manufacturer preferably, to guarantee the supply of needed components. 

In 2021, Teachmepad Mobile Limited concluded a funding round launched in 2020 by raising about €1.219 million from Cameroonian and French investors. With the funds secured, it acquired a 5-hectare plot that will host the assembly plant, carried out 3D printing of the commercial prototypes, and performed some administrative tasks and the studies required for the plant installation project. 

Teachmepad is an educative tablet that allows access to educational content, like Wikipedia, offline. It was developed to boost education in rural areas with poor internet and electricity access and a low number of teachers. The tablet has received the African Intellectual Property Organization (OAPI)’s patent. 

Currently, Vincent Onana’s goal is to make TeachmePad the choice tablet in African countries for easy data collection, general census, and related works since the tablets can function in “remote areas with electricity and internet access problems.”  

Ruben Tchounyabe

Posted On lundi, 04 juillet 2022 14:05 Written by

To help prepare Africa for the ongoing technological revolution, Orange initiated a set of actions in the markets where it operates. The Women’s Digital Center is part of those actions. 

Orange Solidarity Madagascar inaugurated, Wednesday (June 22), Madagascar's  41st Women’s Digital center. The infrastructure, located in Fort Dauphin in the Southeast region, was built in partnership with the regional directorate of the Ministry of Social Protection, the Manarina association, the 8th March Committee, UNESCO, the Association of Women Journalists, and the Anosy regional tax department. The inauguration ceremony was attended by Frédéric Debord, CEO of Orange Madagascar, and Benja Arson, President of Orange Solidarity Madagascar. 

Women’s Digital centers are installed in every region of Madagascar. They give long-term training to unemployed and unqualified women, teaching them digital skills, like how to use the internet and some professional software. In the framework of the Women’s Digital center program, more than 9,000 Malagasy women have been trained since 2013.

In addition to the Women’s Digital Center, the same day, the country’s 173rd digital school was inaugurated. The infrastructure is also based in Fort Dauphin and, it is the fourth being inaugurated in that region. It is hosted at EPP Bazar Centre and will accommodate up to 400 learners every year. For its operations, it received digital kits from Orange Madagascar, and teachers were trained by the telecom operator’s paid volunteers.  

Through these actions, Orange is committed to helping Africa play its part in the ongoing global tech revolution. The Covid-19 pandemic prompted most African countries to accelerate digital transformation. Notable actions were taken to namely support digital inclusion, improve the digital divide and promote equality in digital education.  To accelerate digital literacy, startup accelerators and tech innovation awards were also created.  

Adoni Conrad Quenum

Posted On mardi, 28 juin 2022 13:07 Written by
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