Tech (443)

Over the years, observation satellites have demonstrated their importance in data collection for effective decision-making. In Africa, which has possibly the lowest number of observation satellites, they can accelerate in several sectors, including agriculture.

Zimbabwe's Zimsat-1 and Uganda's PearlAfricaSat-1 nano-satellites are slated to be launched into space on November 6, 2022. They will be launched from the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Commercial Space Launch Facility in Virginia. Zimbabwe and Uganda have finalized preparations for the launch, we learn.

 The nano-satellites will fly aboard the Northrop Grumman (NG-18 Cygnus), which will deliver them to the International Space Station (ISS). Then, they will be deployed into orbit. 

According to Melissa Gaskil of the International Space Station Program Research Office at the Johnson Space Center,  "the statistical data collected could help distinguish bare ground from forest and farmland and possibly indicate the quality of agricultural growth."

They could therefore help improve the livelihoods of the citizens of Uganda and Zimbabwe, she added.

The launch of the first Zimbabwean and Ugandan satellites is part of the 5th phase of the joint global multi-nation Birds project (BIRDS-5 project). It is a constellation of two 1U CubeSats (Zimsat-1 and PearlAfricaSat-1) and the 2U CubeSat (TAKA) developed by Japan, which will also be launched into space with African equipment. Fourteen countries have already participated in the BIRDS program, launched in 2015 and led by the Kyushu Institute of Technology (Kyutech).

BIRDS also introduces students from developing countries to satellite development, laying the groundwork for similar space technology projects in their home countries for future sustainable space programs.

BIRDS-5 performs multispectral observations of the Earth using a commercial camera and demonstrates a high-energy electronic measuring instrument,” we learn. 

Muriel Edjo

Posted On mardi, 25 octobre 2022 12:28 Written by

Since its launch in 2016, the initiative supported by DS Avocats, Honoris United Universities, Inetum, Meridiam, Roland Berger, and Société Générale, has already supported 718 female entrepreneurs.

Women In Africa (WIA), an international platform supporting African women entrepreneurs, unveiled the 51 country laureates of the 6th edition of its annual pan-African entrepreneurial project competition (WIA54) on Tuesday, October 18. For this sixth edition, the platform received more than 7,500 applications and 503 finalists were selected. 

“[...]The best candidates from the mentoring and training phase will participate in a Pitch competition in June 2023 that will give them access to investors and seed capital. This will be a unique opportunity to demonstrate business knowledge, convince the jury of the viability of their business project and raise funds to deploy their structure,” the WIA announced previously.  

The 51 country laureates “will have the opportunity to join an MBA program of [the WIA] partner Honoris United Universities.” They will “also benefit from a communication highlight worth €5,000 on the WIA social networks” while the best female entrepreneur will also receive a €10,000 prize.

Through WIA54, Women In Africa aims to support 10,000 businesswomen from a range of sectors such as agriculture and agritech, food and foodtech, education and edutech, fintech, environment, and sustainable development, beauty, and creative industries by 2030. The goal is to help create 100,000 jobs and generate US$10 billion in revenue for the African economy.

According to WIA, this focus on women entrepreneurs over the past six years is an expression of its belief in women’s decisive contribution to the continent’s progress. 

Muriel Edjo

Posted On vendredi, 21 octobre 2022 14:10 Written by

The agreement is the second cooperation activity carried out by Microsoft in Nigeria this year. In March, it announced the opening of its Africa Development center and Microsoft Garage in Lagos. 

Global tech giant Microsoft will train five million Nigerians in digital skills. A memorandum of understanding was signed to that effect by Digital Minister Isa Pantami and the American multinational last Wednesday.

The agreement was signed on the sidelines of GITEX 2022, the Global Innovation Exhibition which opened on October 10 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. “[...] This new offer by Microsoft will go a long in achieving our dream of a digital Nigeria,” Minister Pantami commented.

"We value action once agreements are signed; we will ensure immediate commencement of the implementation. [...] We will continue to provide enabling environment and ensure that our regulatory instruments are developmental and flexible for Microsoft and other businesses to flourish," he added.

With an estimated population of 219 million, Nigeria is now the largest Internet market in Africa. Its very young population, renowned for innovation and creativity, has taken it to the forefront of innovation in Africa. As of January 2022, Africa had a total of seven unicorns, including five from Nigeria. For those reasons, the country attracts partnerships like this new MoU.

According to the minister, under the MoU,  one million job seekers will be trained in the most relevant digital skills, while 1,700 master trainers will be upskilled and 200,000 learners certified. More than 5,500 developers will also learn how to leverage Microsoft Power Apps to build tech solutions under the Global Power Platform Bootcamp.

In addition, through the MoU's African Transformational Skills Portal, two million Nigerians will benefit from free digital skills that will improve the way they work, create employment opportunities and increase productivity. According to Microsoft representative Deen Yusuf, the initiative will create at least 7,000 jobs in Nigeria.

Samira Njoya

Posted On vendredi, 14 octobre 2022 14:23 Written by

In its bid to develop the Cabo Verdean country’s digital economy, the government has financed several projects in the framework of the "Cape Verde Digital Transformation Agenda".

The Red Cross of Cape Verde (CVCV) will digitize its social games, including lottery, lotto, and joker to raise more funds for its humanitarian projects. It presented the project to the Cabo Verdean government last Tuesday, October 11. 

According to the CVCV president, Arlindo Carvalho (photo, left), the said project is the result of a strategic plan that places a special emphasis on new technologies to address humanitarian issues. Many novelties will be introduced, he added. They include the creation of a digital platform.

The digital transformation plan will end logistics hurdles by allowing players to place bets on the social games online, via their mobile accounts. Therefore, the CVCV will no longer have to transport physical bulletins before players can play and place bets. 

The initiative will allow the institution to raise more resources for its social and humanitarian projects in Cabo Verde. The CVCV also plans to launch a continental platform and later partner with global gaming platforms. 

The project, which is expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2023, is in line with the government’s ambition to transform the country into a digital hub. According to Pedro Lopes (photo, right), Secretary of State for the Digital Economy, the country’s investment in digital projects like the social gaming platform is aimed at stimulating economic growth, expanding opportunities, diversifying the economy, and improving the delivery of quality services in the national digital economy.

Samira Njoya

Posted On jeudi, 13 octobre 2022 18:31 Written by

The second cohort is launched after the first of 30 startups from 10 African countries.  

Pan-African healthtech accelerator HealthTech Hub Africa recently announced the launch of the second edition of the Africa HealthTech Challenge, a competition that awards and mentors Africa's most promising startups tackling local health challenges. 

For this second edition, applications are open till October 22. The incubator will select 40 start-ups: 30 growth start-ups and 10 scale-ups. To be eligible for the challenge, applicants must focus on one or more of the following four thematic areas: cardiovascular health, breast cancer, virtual health and care, and optimizing data-driven decision-making.

They must also have teams of two or more full-time employees and be registered in an African country. “Teams consisting of both genders will be prioritized,” we learn. Growth startups must also ensure that they are not part of another accelerator program in the same year.

The 30 growth start-ups selected will benefit from a 10-month acceleration program that includes mentorship from two volunteer mentors for every start-up, coaching, and access to an interactive coaching platform, and invitations to networking events and hybrid events across Africa and beyond.

Apart from the acceleration program, scale-ups will also receive free access to world-class legal services, accounting, marketing, talent acquisition, accelerated fundraising, training, and media exposure.

The top three HealthTech start-ups will respectively receive US$50,000, 30,000, and 20,000 in grants from the Novartis Foundation.

Samira Njoya

Posted On mercredi, 12 octobre 2022 15:41 Written by

The project aims to, eventually, interconnect all of Benin's universities and research centers with regional and international networks.

In Benin, ten universities and academic centers can now communicate, exchange, and share educational resources through the Beninese Education and Research Network (RBER). The network was officially launched at the University of Parakou last Thursday, October 6. 

According to the country’s Minister of Digital Transformation, Aurelie Adam Soule Zoumarou (photo, center), the RBER is now the largest fixed network in Benin. "The RBER is not just about the Internet. It is first of all a network that interconnects universities, allows the exchange of digital and educational resources, and enables users to move from one university [or academic center] to the other and enjoy the same services,” she said.

After the disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic during the academic year, the Beninese government decided to create a system that will facilitate access to information for more than 100,000 Beninese students with a broadband Internet connection, documentation, and online courses.

The first phase of the project was launched on June 30, 2022. Among other things, it enabled the construction of a campus network of 420 access points in lecture halls, laboratories, and offices. It also enabled the construction of two videoconferencing and IP telephony systems, the installation of a 1000 Mbps Internet network, and the deployment of 7,000 meters of optical fiber. The second phase of the project will integrate new services and add 12 universities to the interconnected network. 

This first phase, which has just been completed, was implemented by the national information technology development agency (ASIN), under the supervision of the Ministry of Digitization. Active participants included the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research stakeholders and universities. 

The establishment of the Beninese Education and Research Network is in line with the government’s strategy to make the country an ICT leader in West Africa by digitizing every socio-economic sector. 

Samira Njoya

Posted On mardi, 11 octobre 2022 13:33 Written by

In sub-Saharan Africa, the fight against infectious diseases is a major public health challenge. Vaccination remains one of the most effective weapons to fight these diseases and protect public health. 

Japan recently contributed US$1.5 million to UNICEF to improve care for unimmunized and under-immunized children “at community level” in Uganda. 

According to a UNICEF release dated October 5, 2022, the funds will be used to “roll out a digital health information system that will help reach unimmunized and under-immunized children with required vaccines, and those targeted for COVID-19 vaccination; assist health workers to plan for vaccination supplies, and track COVID-19 vaccination.”

In Uganda, the Ministry of Health faces several challenges including the lack of an accurate or near-accurate source of the actual number of children who have not received their doses of vaccine, the complexity of data collection forms, and the lack of a simplified way to view the status of supplies.

For the UNICEF Representative to Uganda, Munir Safieldin (Phd.), thanks to the planned platform, “the Ugandan government [...] will be able to better manage routine and supplementary immunization, COVID-19 vaccination, vitamin A supplementation, deworming and community nutrition screening data.” 

The two-year project will directly benefit 350 health workers and 60 staff from the Ministry of Health and regional hospitals. It will also indirectly benefit 1.3 million children under five in the pilot districts of Kamuli, Kampala, Kamwenge, Lamwo, Mukono, Ntungamo, and Wakiso. “The intervention will also benefit 10 million under-five children at the national level and 21 million vaccinated children aged 12-18 years that will be vaccinated against COVID-19,” the UNICEF release informs. 

The funding comes just weeks after the eighth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD8) held in August 2022. During the conference, Japan renewed its commitment to working on Covid-19 countermeasures, promoting universal health coverage, strengthening health and medical systems, and building better health security.   

Samira Njoya

Posted On vendredi, 07 octobre 2022 13:14 Written by

South Africa is the largest cloud market in Africa.  The rainbow nation is home to the facilities of some of the biggest companies in the industry, including Microsoft, Amazon, Oracle, Huawei, Acronis, and now Google.

U.S. tech giant Google announced on Wednesday, Oct. 5, the launch of its first African cloud region in South Africa to provide cloud computing services to businesses. In South Africa, Google will compete with Amazon and Microsoft, which are already well-established in the cloud market.

The tech giant also plans to build cloud interconnection sites in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Lagos, and Nairobi and feed them with its Equiano subsea cable. According to Niral Patel (photo), director of Google Cloud Africa, the new region and interconnection sites will bring cloud services closer to customers, allowing them to choose where to “consume cloud services.”

The initiative is part of Google's plan to invest US$1 billion in the continent. It chose South Africa due to the high demand for cloud services and the market potential, we learn. According to Research and Markets’ "Africa Data Center Market - Industry Outlook & Forecast 2022-2027" report, in South Africa, cloud adoption is expected to grow by 25 percent annually and generate up to US$1.5 billion by 2024.

A Google Cloud-commissioned study by AlphaBeta Economics indicates that the South African cloud region will contribute more than US$2.1 billion to South Africa's GDP and support the creation of more than 40,000 jobs by 2030.

The new region will allow for the localization of applications and services. It will make it really easier for our customers and partners to quickly deploy solutions for their businesses, whereby they’re able to leverage our computer artificial intelligence or machine learning capabilities, and data analytics to make smarter business decisions as they go forward,” Patel said.

Isaac K. Kassouwi

Posted On jeudi, 06 octobre 2022 12:52 Written by

Digital technologies are key components in Senegal’s development program. Therefore, to achieve its 2025 development goals, the country has agreed to collaborate with Ukraine, which aims to become the “most digital country” in the world" after the Russian invasion. 

On October 3, 2022, the Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dmytro Kuleba (photo, left) was in Senegal, the first step in his African tour.  The Ukrainian official was welcomed by his Senegalese counterpart Aissata Tall Sall (photo, right).

"As part of its African strategy, Ukraine is deepening its relations with African countries. Making the first stop of my tour in Senegal is a symbolic move as the Senegalese president is currently the chairperson of the African Union. My peer Aissata and I have agreed to open a new chapter of mutually beneficial cooperation between Ukraine and Senegal," said Dmytro Kuleba.

The two ministers discussed steps to intensify cooperation in information technology, digitalization, cybersecurity, trade, agriculture, and education. "I came to Senegal with business leaders, notably those active in the digital sector where our country is really advanced. We can be of great help to Senegal in that sector and we are ready to offer more opportunities,” Dmytro added. 

In recent years, before the Russian invasion, the Ukrainian digital economy and ICT industry recorded strong growth. In 2021, Ukraine's IT exports grew 36 percent year-on-year to US$6.8 billion, representing 10 percent of the country's exports.

Like Senegal, the country also has an extensive e-government platform where users can quickly get administrative documents. The goal of its platform, dubbed diaa, is to make all public services available online. Thanks to this platform, Ukraine has become the first country to recognize e-passports and ID cards as official documents. 

Senegal, which also has the same objectives as the "Digital Senegal" platform, can therefore count on this new cooperation opportunity to achieve its "Digital Senegal 2025" ambitions. 

Samira Njoya

Posted On jeudi, 06 octobre 2022 12:46 Written by

Niger has the highest fertility rate in the world. Meeting the food needs of this rapidly growing population is a challenge for the government, organizations, and actors in the agricultural sector.

Last Tuesday, the Digital Development Agency (ADN) and the Swiss Foundation for Technical Cooperation, Swisscontact, launched an integrated digital platform in Niamey. The platform, baptized AgriShop/Rayuwa, aims to improve the skills of the various actors in the agricultural ecosystem in Niger, but also to facilitate their access to agriculture data and information.

According to ADN CEO, Wahidi Rabiou, the AgriShop/Rayuwa platform has three components. They are namely an e-commerce feature to connect farmers with potential clients and fellow farmers, an assistance feature to advise farmers, and an information feature to inform and train them.  

Agriculture plays a very important role in Niger's economy. According to the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), it accounts for nearly 40% of the country’s GDP and provides livelihoods to more than 80% of the rural population.  However, farmers sometimes lack the right information on seed techniques. They sometimes don’t even have loyal customers to quickly sell their products.

The e-commerce feature, Agrishop, will correct these shortcomings by offering farmers the possibility to list their products for sale.  It targets "cooperatives, input or seed suppliers, individual or professional buyers, agribusinesses, agritech and also farmers, transporters, and marketers,” Wahidi Rabiou explains.

The platform can be used even without an internet connection. Thanks to a dedicated USSD code, farmers can receive information and advice via SMS messages.  They can also receive remote assistance. 

The project also includes an interactive voice server accessible through a short code allowing users to listen to pre-recorded messages on useful information, and agricultural advice in French, Hausa, Zarma, and many other languages. 

The development of this “groundbreaking” platform is part of two programs implemented by Swisscontact. The first program is the Promel (Local entrepreneurship promotion program) financed by the Swiss Cooperation and the PEMIJ (Promotion of youth employment and labor market integration) financed by the Dutch Embassy.

Samira Njoya

Posted On jeudi, 29 septembre 2022 13:07 Written by
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