Tech

Tech (469)

To boost agricultural trade in Africa, in the current digital transformation age, changes are needed. In that context, the partnership aims to introduce the use of digital technologies to improve production.

 Microsoft Africa Transformation Office (ATO) and OCP Africa recently announced a new collaboration to boost farmers’ skills and productivity.  The partnership was announced during the 5th United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC5) held in Qatar.  

The partnership aims to improve smallholder farmers’ skills and boost their access to information through agri-digital services by building on OCP Africa programs such as the agri-hub concept, which aims to support millions of farmers.

Technology is the key factor to enabling and increasing access to finance, equipment, and sustainability for rural farmers, empowering local farmers in Africa. Our partnership with OCP Africa will help to directly impact smallholder farmers and improve production,” said Wael Elkabbany, Microsoft Africa Regional Cluster General Manager. 

Despite rapid urbanization, agriculture-related activities still provide a livelihood for about 60 percent of the continent's working population and account for 15% of GDP.  According to UN agencies' forecasts, farmland is expected to expand and productivity to increase through better use of technology and the implementation of smart and precision farming techniques.

Thus, by partnering together, Microsoft and OCP also aim to develop a digital agriculture platform to improve farmers’ productivity and operation management. The partnership also includes the adoption and integration of technologies such as cloud, artificial intelligence, agricultural data platforms, and Azure application modernization in the agricultural sector, leading to precision agriculture.  

According to Mohamed Anouar Jamali, CEO of OCP Africa, the collaboration will, among other things, expand OCP's reach and have an even greater impact on food security across Africa.

Posted On jeudi, 09 mars 2023 18:00 Written by

Nigerian universities train thousands of talented young people every year. However, most of them lack the valuable experience and knowledge to engage in technology entrepreneurship after college.

Last Wednesday, The Nest Innovation Technology Park, a Nigeria-based community that fosters tech startup innovation, launched the “Netlings Playbook,” a program designed to give university students access to the resources they need to explore digital entrepreneurship.

By giving access to the resources, the pioneer program, launched in partnership with Campus Innovation Circles (CIC), wants to allow beneficiaries to gain valuable experience and knowledge without significant risks. 

We believe that student entrepreneurs have the potential to create groundbreaking solutions to everyday problems. With The Nestlings Playbook’s innovative program, we’re empowering them to unleash their full potential and make a real impact in the African entrepreneurship ecosystem,” said Joba Oloba (photo, right), one of the co-founders of The Nest Innovation Technology Park.

For Nest, the Nigerian student ecosystem has numerous talented individuals but, there is a need to provide those individuals with the tools and resources to transition into the digital economy as entrepreneurs and not as primarily working-class talent. The goal is to “contribute to Africa’s transition to a digital economy through youth engagement.”

According to Toyin Bamidele, the lead, and coordinator of the Nestlings Playbook, the program is “one of the biggest collaborations to support founders across university communities exploring digital entrepreneurship to create prosperity.”  The flagship program will launch with university communities and a call for applications will open in March 2023.  

Samira Njoya

Posted On jeudi, 02 mars 2023 17:42 Written by

In Africa, the development of mobile telephony has greatly impacted critical sectors, including healthcare. By leveraging its technologies, the GSMA and Africa CDC want to improve the lives of millions of people and improve disease control.

Last Wednesday, the GSM Association (GSMA) and the African Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) signed an agreement to harness the power of mobile to fight disease in Africa.

Under that agreement, the GSMA will work closely with Africa CDC on HealthConnekt Africa, a bold new initiative to connect all health facilities and personnel in Africa to the Internet by 2030.

Bringing together expertise and resources will help establish a powerful new infrastructure, providing African healthcare workers access to the information they need in a timely fashion and the intelligence necessary to help prevent the spread of disease across international borders,” said Angela Wamola (photo, left), GSMA Head of Sub-Saharan Africa.

HealthConnekt Africa will begin with a small group of pioneering African Union member countries and communities. In the pioneering countries,  health facilities will be connected to the Internet, and health workers equipped with smart devices that will allow them access to critical online resources to improve the quality of care provided to patients.

Over the past two decades, Africa has recorded phenomenal growth in mobile adoption. According to the World Bank and the African Development Bank, Africa had 650 million cell phone users in 2013, more than the users in the United States or Europe. At the same time, Swedish telecommunications group Ericsson indicates that Africa’s smartphone penetration will reach 70% by 2024.

Samira Njoya

Posted On jeudi, 02 mars 2023 16:19 Written by

Last December, the Biden administration announced $55 billion of new investments in Africa, including plans to expand digital access on the continent. About two months after that announcement, some projects are underway.

Last Friday, U.S. tech company Cisco announced a memorandum of understanding with the Thabo Mbeki Foundation for the realization of several projects, including the construction of a technology and education center in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Prioritizing digital skills in young people is the first step to realizing South Africa’s potential as a forward-facing, technological powerhouse. We must step up our efforts to give learners the resources and support they need to become digitally savvy and inspire them to explore the potential of the technology they’re using,”  said Smangele Nkosi, General Manager of Cisco South Africa.

Under the memorandum,  Cisco will digitize the center’s end-user experience, sustaining and automating the infrastructure, cloud operations, data center, and implementing a holistic technology strategy that will position the center as a world-leading information and training repository.

In December 2022, at the U.S-Africa Summit, Cisco Systems announced a $200 million in-kind contribution to Africa for resources such as programs, tools, schools, and instructors. The U.S. company said the contribution would, among other things, extend digital skills and cybersecurity training to 3 million Africans.

So, in addition to the technology center, Cisco will build a digital skills platform that will complement the Thabo Mbeki Foundation's education programs and offer international certifications in cybersecurity, an in-demand skill that is essential for South Africa's digital transformation.

Samira Njoya

Posted On mercredi, 01 mars 2023 16:03 Written by

The fund aims to support women in their bid to advance tech innovation in Africa where they still face significant access to finance challenges.

Last Monday, the Women in Innovation Fund (WiNFUND), a nonprofit accelerator supporting women-led and women-focused businesses, announced the public launch of the WiNFUND NFT Africa Collection, a collection of unique digital artworks designed by Rwandan artist Christella Bijou.

The fund, launched in 2022, also disclosed its aims. “WiNFUND is an innovative model that will help entrepreneurs grow by building an engaged, global community that will provide business support and financing through the sale of unique NFTs,” said Patricia O'Hayer, co-founder of WiNFUND.

Co-founded by consumer goods company Reckitt, the Health Innovation and Investment Exchange (HIEx), Kofi Annan Foundation, and the Ecobank Foundation, it aims to address two major inequalities, namely women’s uneven access to essential health care and finance.

It will be partly financed by the sale of WiNFUND NFT while WiNFUND NFT holders will have access to invitation-only events on the Sustainable Development Goals and will be invited to join a mentoring program to directly support successful women entrepreneurs.

In the second half of 2022, it opened applications for women entrepreneurs seeking its support. Up to now, it has received 300 applications from seven African countries. The applicants shortlisted will receive business support to help them grow, while the best will receive direct funding from WiNFUND.

Samira Njoya

Posted On mercredi, 01 mars 2023 13:06 Written by

Several African countries have adopted biometric identification in strategic sectors like public administration, security, transport, and finance. This much-appreciated development stems from their will to improve efficiency but, this adoption raises concerns, about various cases of abuse, it could facilitate.

Over the past decade, biometric adoption was accelerated in Africa with governments instituting fingerprint, facial, and iris recognition as the authentication norms in the issuance of various identity documents. and national identity cards. In its 2020-2030 Digital Transformation Strategy for Africa, the African Union even emphasized the use of such biometric identification technologies.

The Pan-African Development Institution believes that digital identity is essential for the digital economy because it promotes trust in all interactions, both online and offline.

However, this growing adoption of biometric technologies raises concerns given the legal weaknesses in African countries' data protection laws. In its report "State of play on Internet freedom in Africa 2022: the rise of biometric surveillance", the Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA)  fears abuses such as profiling or targeting, that are dangerous for individual freedoms.

"The use of CCTV with embedded facial recognition technologies is increasingly becoming more accessible and prevalent on the continent, yet these systems tend to be intrusive. These systems can track the movement of people, recognize motor-vehicle number plates, and match live footage of people in the public with images of those on a ‘watch list’ based on their ability to recognize specific and unique facial features, akin to fingerprinting," the research center explains.

According to Africa Data Protection, by January 2023, only 35 out of 54 African countries had a data protection law while only 22 countries had a data protection authority.

At a time when many African countries are still among the "unfree" states (in the Global Freedom Score 2022), CIPESA stresses that "the right to privacy is essential in a democratic society as it plays a critical role in the realization and enjoyment of the rights to freedom of expression, association, assembly and access to information." The center believes that there should be strict oversight on the use of biometric data.

Muriel Edjo

Posted On vendredi, 24 février 2023 13:53 Written by

Since its launch in 2015, the App Challenge has supported the development of digital applications that address African issues. The challenges allow projects to access personalized support and even financing (for some projects).

Last Friday, the jury of the Africa App Challenge unveiled the 10 finalists of the seventh edition of the challenge.  

The challenge, organized by France Médias Monde, aims to encourage the development of innovative solutions (mobile and web) that promote sustainable agriculture in Africa. The ten finalists are from Cameroon, Rwanda, Benin, DRC, Tunisia, and Morocco.

The selected projects are:

  • Crop's Talk is a mobile application developed by Tunisian Rabeb Fersi to help small farmers improve their productivity and resilience to climate change.
  • Bazafarm is a real-time soil quality monitoring system developed by Rwandan national Samantha Ruzibiza.
  • Ki@foret, a platform created by Beninese-born Finagnon Robert Agbovoedo, connects non-timber forest product collectors and traders with the products going to the highest bidders.
  • MukulimaSoko is a digital and physical trading and renovation center offering several services to agricultural actors. The project was designed by Mbumba Lapaque from the Democratic Republic of Congo.
  • OGPM (Outil de Gestion de Projet Agricole), developed by Cameroonian Adamou Nchange Kouotou, is a digital platform made up of two applications. The first is a mobile app that collects information to analyze technical agricultural risks while the second is a web app that recommends the best agricultural credits and facilitates technical and commercial support for farmers.
  • E-Pinea is a mobile application that connects pineapple producers to potential buyers through a dynamic map that allows buyers to locate pineapple plantations and the plants' maturity state in real time. It also offers an online trading space that allows processors and suppliers to display and sell pineapple products and related services. It was designed by Lucien Medjiko from Benin.
  • Kivugreen, developed by DRC native Chris Ayale, is a digital platform that provides small-scale farmers with technical information such as weather, market price, and agricultural advice. It also gives them access to a broader market.
  • Daki Farm, launched by Moroccan-born Mounir Jamaï, is an app ecosystem made of two main apps. The first app is Daki Farm e-learning which gives agricultural training in local languages. The second app is Daki Farm Smart Irrigation which helps properly irrigate crops according to plants' needs and weather conditions.
  • Pallitracks is a sustainable forest management platform developed by Cameroonian-born Jean Gilbert Soh Ndeh. It was initially developed, in 2012, to ensure the traceability and management of forest products.
  • Clinicagro provides an in-depth diagnosis of soil and plant diseases, as well as various soil-related technical indicators. It was developed by Cameroonian-born Pyrrus Oreste Kouoplong Koudjou.

As usual, the ten finalists will receive personalized support from an incubator in their respective origin countries. The winner will also receive €15,000 to develop his/her project.

Samira Njoya

Posted On mercredi, 22 février 2023 16:54 Written by

In its seven African markets, Bolt claims more than 47 million customers, 900,000 drivers, and more than one billion trips. Its new investments are expected to generate more than 300,000 new jobs.

Last Thursday, Estonian mobility start-up Bolt announced plans to invest €500 million to expand its activities in Africa over the next two years.

According to the company's statement, the investments will create new opportunities allowing more than 300,000 new drivers and couriers to join the platform by 2023. "Over the past seven years, we have built a strong team of 500 people in Africa and we remain committed to investing in local communities for the long term," said Markus Villig, Bolt's founder and CEO.

On Monday, February 20, Linda Ndungu, Bolt Kenya's country manager, announced that of the planned investment amount, €100 million will be injected into the Kenyan subsidiary to expand its services beyond the 16 cities where it currently operates.

As such, this investment is expected to intensify the growing competition in the Kenya mobility sector that recently welcomed new entrants such as Farasi Cabs and Yego Global. Nevertheless, Bolt remains the largest ride-sharing services provider by the number of cities covered in Kenya.

The multinational company plans to add more employees to its team of 200 in South Africa while establishing additional offices across the continent in the next 12 to 18 months. To date, Bolt has more than 100 million customers worldwide, nearly half of whom are based in Africa.

Samira Njoya

Posted On mardi, 21 février 2023 12:54 Written by

Last November, Twitter launched a similar service, allowing its subscribers to authenticate their accounts by paying an eight-dollar monthly fee and receiving benefits such as "direct access to customer service."

This week, Facebook's parent company Meta will launch its paid verification system for Instagram and Facebook users, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced last Sunday.

Meta Verified is "a subscription service that lets you verify your account with a government ID, get a blue badge, get extra impersonation protection against accounts claiming to be you, and get direct access to customer support," the CEO wrote, adding that the service will launch in New Zealand and Australia as early as this week and will cost $11.99/month on the web and $14.99/month on Apple's iOS. Other countries will get the service later.

This decision comes at a time when the social media giant is going through a difficult financial time. At the end of 2022, the company announced a major layoff plan involving 11,000 people worldwide, or 13% of its workforce. Recently, the Financial Times reported that the company is preparing a new restructuring plan that would start in March 2023.

The new feature aims to increase the authenticity and security of the group's services, according to Mark Zuckerberg. Thus, in addition to the blue tick as a guarantee of security, Meta Verified users will benefit from, among other things, increased visibility and reach on Instagram and Facebook, as well as exclusive stickers.

"As part of this vision, we are evolving the meaning of the verified badge so we can expand access to verification and more people can trust that the accounts they interact with are authentic," Meta explained in a blog post.

Samira Njoya

Posted On lundi, 20 février 2023 14:08 Written by

They are 18 in number. They were selected from hundreds of applicants who sent applications to the JFD Club, a women's network that promotes women's entrepreneurship, intrapreneurship, and innovation.   

On Thursday, February 9, the Women's network JFD Club unveiled the 2023 finalists of the three categories of its "Les Magaret Awards", which rewards women entrepreneurs whose innovations are addressing key global issues. From the hundreds of applications received, eighteen women were selected, including nine Africans. They are notably Cameroonians (2), Gabonese (1), Kenyan (1), Senegalese (1), Beninese (1), Egyptian (1), Ghanaian (1), and Ivorian (1) in the three categories (Entrepreneur, Intrapreneur, and junior).

Entrepreneurs

  • Nelly Chatué-Diop is a Cameroonian and the co-founder-CEO of Ejara, a digital platform that allows access to investments and savings products from as little as EUR1.5 for Africans.
  • Kenyan-born Maryanne Gichanga is the co-founder and CEO of Agritech Analytics, an AI-powered crop and soil management tool that uses satellite data to help farmers improve yield.
  • Gabonese Alvine Yeno made it to the list with Ntchina, a community platform that facilitates blood collection. 

Intrapreneurs

  • Rhoda Oduro is from Ghana. She is the Business Development & Operations Manager for Developers in Vogue, a program designed to address the underrepresentation of women in the technology industry.
  • Senegalese-born Ndiate Séne is the regional director of software engineering at PAPS, a non-profit organization that advocates for a better representation of African women in tech.
  • Beninese-born Livia Sossou is the Director of Certification & Financing for Kumulus Water, a water services start-up that aims to provide clean water in an economical and sustainable way.

Junior

  • Hend Adel, a 17-year-old Egyptian national, is among the finalists thanks to his project to modify the structure of aluminum smokestacks to reduce CO2 emissions and metal residues in the air. 
  • Frederic Melissa Djouka Fongang, a 17-year-old Cameroonian, created a platform that allows both residents and the diaspora to securely acquire real estate properties in Cameroon.  
  • 18-year-old Laurianne Yao, from Côte d'Ivoire, is among the finalists thanks to her project E-COL'LECTE, a platform for collecting textbooks and school clothes to be donated to the poorest households. 

According to Delphine Remy-Boutang, president of the jury of Les Margaret Awards, a greater number of applications were received for the 2023 edition. “We have seen massive participation of young girls with applications tripling in 2023 for the Junior category. This is an excellent trend which shows the growing desire of this new generation to influence, through digital technology, a future they hope will be better," she said.

The Margaret Awards was launched in 2013. It annually celebrates women entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs in Europe and Africa whose projects and innovations address major societal challenges. The award honors Margaret Hamilton, former director of the software engineering department at the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory who developed the embedded software for NASA's Apollo space program. This year, the award ceremony will take place in Paris next April 17.  

Samira Njoya

Posted On vendredi, 17 février 2023 17:55 Written by
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