Tech (443)

Information and communications technologies have become vital tools in every sector nowadays. From democratized internet to digitized networks, they all have their importance and are strong allies in the transformation of economies. Burundi wants to capitalize on those technologies to efficiently implement its 2018-2027 national development plan.

Burundi will soon kick off the digitization of its public services. For that purpose, last Thursday, August 29, it signed a US$50 million financing agreement with the World Bank. The agreement was signed by the Minister of Finance, Domitien Ndihokubwayo (photo, left), and the World Bank's Resident Representative in Burundi, Hawa Cissé Wagué (photo, right). 

According to Minister Domitien Ndihokubwayo, the agreement is an opportunity for the government to raise additional resources to dedicate to its e-government ambitions, allowing the achievement of planned development projects.

This funding will allow the country to install high-speed Internet connections, digitize its education sector, provide an internet connection to rural populations and improve public services. It will also enable the government to provide basic computer training to women and the less privileged. 

According to the World Bank, Burundi has an excellent national ICT development policy but the institutions tasked with the implementation of that policy lack the capacity to do so. To date, only a few of the set targets have been achieved. The 5-year program funded by the World Bank financing aims to address the situation.  The first project the government wants to implement for that purpose is the elaboration of a legal personal data protection framework. 

According to the World Bank representative in Burundi, this project will support the government in the implementation of its digital vision defined in the 2018-2027 National Development Plan, which aims to transform Burundi’s economy. 

Samira Njoya

Posted On lundi, 05 septembre 2022 15:57 Written by

Digital transformation is accelerating in Africa, forcing public administrations and private companies to adapt. However, there is a shortage of local skilled experts to support that transformation. Hence an urgent need to train a qualified workforce.  

From September 1 to 30, 2022, applications are open for Power Learn Project’s one million software developers program in South Africa. 

According to Mumbi Ndung'u, Power Learn Project’s chief growth and operations officer, through its “one million software developers” program, Power Learn Project’s goal is “to drive transformative change for the youth of Africa through technology skilling.

The program will offer online junior software development training [... as well as soft skills component in employability, entrepreneurship, and their mental well-being [...]to enable the learners to not only acquire entry-level smart technology jobs but to also be wholesome members of the community,” he added. 

At the end of the 4-month learning program, participants will receive certificates proving they have completed the courses. This is the second cohort of the “one million software developers for Africa”. The first cohort was launched in Kenya, in June 2022. In the coming months,  more cohorts will be launched in Zambia, Nigeria, Ghana, Rwanda, and Uganda. 

In its "Africa Developer Ecosystem Report 2021" published on February 21, Google reveals that the demand for developers is growing worldwide, especially in Africa. Indeed, the ongoing digital transformation has boosted the need for developers and the continent may experience a shortage of professional developers if it fails to take adequate measures. That is why Power Learn Project wants to help train the next generation of developers who will support Africa in its digital transformation efforts. 

Muriel Edjo

Posted On lundi, 05 septembre 2022 15:28 Written by

In 2016, Senegal launched DS2025, its strategy to develop its digital economy by 2025. The strategy is focused on several sectors to allow the modernization of the economy and improve competitiveness. 

In Senegal, 105,000 jobs will be created in the digital sector by 2025. The figure was disclosed by Minister of Digital Economy Yankhoba Diattara, Tuesday, August 30, while opening the third edition of the National Digital Forum and the second edition of the Head of State’s Grand Prize for Digital Innovation. 

According to the official, it will be the result of key reforms of the “Digital Senegal 2025” strategy, which will “undoubtedly allow the structural transformation” of the country’s economy,  “position it as a digital hub in West Africa, and boost the digital sector’s contribution to GDP by 10% by 2025.” 

Indeed, to successfully implement the strategy, the government will undertake a certain number of actions, which will create those jobs. For instance, the country intends to increase internet access for an expanded digital economy. Its plan in that regard is to increase 4G coverage to 90% and halve fixed and mobile internet costs. 

Also, to facilitate digital adoption, the government recently adopted a startup law that will ease the development of innovative companies. It also plans to provide financial and technical support to guarantee the seamless development of innovative industries. 

During his August 30 address, Yankhoba Diattara acknowledged that much remains to be done to reach the 2025 goal. However, he also expressed confidence in the country reaching those goals by the set deadline because the government is much committed to developing the “digital economy by injecting significant resources to strengthen the ecosystem.” 

Samira Njoya

Posted On vendredi, 02 septembre 2022 10:10 Written by

Fifty African startups have benefited from the program’s technical and financial support over the past five years. Its beneficiaries have already raised more than US$150 million in funding.

Incubator Startupbootcamp AfriTech issued, Monday (August 29) calls for applications for the third cohort of its ASIP Accelerator Program. Applications are open till November 11 for the program, which will run from February 20 to May 25, 2023.

To be considered, start-ups must be formally established and have at least two people working on the project and devoting at least 50 percent of their time to it. They must also generate revenues from the product and services they offer.  

For this new edition of ASIP Accelerator Program, the targeted sectors are AgriTech and Supply Chain, FinTech, IoT and Connectivity; Machine Learning (Data Analytics), Cybersecurity, CleanTech and RegTech.

The ten early-stage startups selected at the end of the selection process will benefit from intensive coaching, pilot, and proof-of-concept opportunities that will open doors to longer-term business deals.

Each of them will receive €15,000 in cash as well as over €500,000 in credits and will benefit from exclusive partnership agreements with leading technology providers such as AWS, Google, Miro, Hubspot, and many others.

Five of them will be fully funded and supported by the EiA project and receive more support including access to the Euroquity community, networking events, monitoring, etc.

For this new edition, the incubator has the Netherlands Development Finance Company (FMO), the Senegalese General Delegation for Rapid Entrepreneurship of Women and Youth (DER/FJ), telecom operator Telecel Group, and Enrich in Africa (EiA) -funded by the European Commission's Horizon 2020 program- as its partners.

Muriel Edjo

Posted On vendredi, 02 septembre 2022 03:08 Written by

In Africa, access to affordable loans is mainly the daily challenge faced by small businesses. In recent years, fundraising has emerged as one of the main sources for them to access the required capital and expand their businesses.

Scalable digital lending platform Pezesha announced on Tuesday, August 30, that it has secured US$11 million in pre-series A investment.

“We are excited about attracting institutional investors led by the Women’s World Banking Capital Partners II to harness our growth plans and push our mission to the next level. We are equally excited that WWBCP II intentionally invests in women, which allows us to cement inclusivity in our growth plans as a sustainable path towards our vision of building Africa’s MSME lending infrastructure,”  said Pezesha founder, Hilda Moraa.

Pezesha was founded in 2017, in Kenya. It connects SMEs and financial institutions, helping the former raise working capital. Doing so “encourages meaningful financial inclusion and reduces inequality in access to formal financial services.”  Pezesha also provides financial education and debt counseling to MSMEs to help them improve their credit score and have responsible borrowing habits as they move up the Pezesha financial ladder. 

The additional capital, consisting of $6 million in equity and $5 million in loans, will enable it to expand its operations in its core East African markets and explore opportunities in new Sub-Saharan African markets.

The fintech claims to have more than 200,000 partners to date and over 100,000 loans made to MSMEs in Kenya, Uganda, and Ghana.

Samira Njoya

Posted On jeudi, 01 septembre 2022 17:01 Written by

Zanzibar is known as one of the best tourist destinations in the world. The country wants to take advantage of this reputation to develop partnerships and become a technological innovation hub par excellence in Africa.

E-commerce platform Wasoko and the government of Zanzibar launched, Tuesday (August 30), the Wasoko Innovation Hub in Fumba. According to Wasoko, the hub aims to attract tech companies to the country and even woo them into relocating. 

“As a Pan-African tech company, Wasoko has been looking for a location where we can bring together the best talents from across the continent and beyond to innovate and develop new products and services for our customers. While we considered more traditional centres such as Dubai and London, we were ultimately committed to the belief that technology for Africa should be built in Africa,”  said Wasoko CEO Daniel Yu.

A few years ago, Zanzibar initiated efforts to accelerate its digital transformation. One of the initiatives taken was Silicon Zanzibar, which has Wasoko as a founding partner.  Through the partnership with Wasoko, the government wants to create an attractive environment for technology companies, researchers, and industry professionals.

The Wasoko Innovation Hub will specialize in developing tools to personalize the customer experience, improve delivery metrics, expand financial service options, and collect key data and information across the value chain.

The new center will contribute to the development of Fumba, help create numerous employment and career opportunities, and establish the island as a leading center for pan-African technology companies. It will also enable the country to secure more than US$15 million in investment over the next decade.

The Wasoko Innovation Hub will focus on developing world-class technology solutions that will boost the African e-commerce sector. According to Zanzibar's Minister of Investment and Economic Development, Mudrick Soraga, the hub is to be an ideal and suitable setting "for all technology companies and their team members to be based in Zanzibar."

Samira Njoya

Posted On mercredi, 31 août 2022 16:04 Written by

The somewhat tense relations between Algeria and France over the past few months is gradually being normalized. The two countries now want to capitalize on their historical bond as well as development issues to boost those relations. 

During his friendly and working visit to Algeria, on August 25-26 2022, French President Emmanuel Macron (photo, center) announced several cooperation projects between the two countries. In the digital segment, in particular, he unveiled a project aimed at creating a Franco-Algerian incubator. According to the French President, the aim of the incubator is to let the two countries share their knowledge and innovations.  

Algeria has so many talents, and so do French and Franco-Algerians. That is the reason I want us to join forces to develop a bridging system [...], develop training and facilitate exchanges and joint innovations by our two countries, why not in the whole region,” he said. 

Besides a training and project maturation framework for tech entrepreneurs,  Emmanuel Macron also mentioned the creation of a €100 million fund to fund startups since financing is a key factor in their growth and success. Public Investment Bank BPIFrance will set up the fund, allowing tech entrepreneurs to promote projects, he added. 

During the working visit, business mogul Xavier Niel, who was also part of the French delegation, announced the forthcoming launch of Ecole 42, a free coding school.  The school was announced in 2017 but its launch has been delayed up to now. 

Muriel Edjo

Posted On mardi, 30 août 2022 15:45 Written by

The African Digital Hub aims to take advantage of Tunisia’s geographical and geo-digital positioning to create a global digital hub.

During the TICAD 8, held in Tunisia last August 27-28, volunteer organization Tunisian Smart Cities (TSC) presented African Digital Hub, a pan-African project aimed at connecting Africa to the world. 

According to the TICAD 8 whitebook published by the Tunisian-Japanese chamber of commerce and industry, the digital infrastructure offers an opportunity to establish a set of digital cardinals on the African continent, ensuring “the inter-connection of Africa with the rest of the world through a sovereign mesh of submarine cables.” 

For Akil Sadkaoui, manager of the African Digital Hub project, the infrastructure will help boost connectivity in Africa, “therefore allowing residents to capitalize on new value chains in a context marked by growing e-commerce and mobile payment activities at a time when artificial intelligence, cryptocurrencies and soon quantum networks are constant discussion topics.”  

The African Digital Hub will be implemented following a public-private partnership model. During its first phase (US$307 million), Green's Data Cities will be built, forming the building block of a large backbone network that will benefit allied cities.  

The project is expected to create some 500 direct jobs. It aims to create a green digital sector that leverages green energy sources and an academic research program. For connectivity expert Damien Bertrand, thanks to the African Digital Hub, Tunisia could become the northern gateway of a sovereign and autonomous Africa while Bizerte will be the building block of that gateway. 

Let’s note that the Bizerte governorate (in Tunisia) and the African Development Bank (AfDB) have already launched the feasibility study of the first phase of the African Digital Hub. 

Samira Njoya

Posted On lundi, 29 août 2022 15:46 Written by

Uganda has a high internet penetration rate. However, internet costs are still high, making the resource less affordable for many. The current plan to half the costs aims to make it more affordable. 

The Ugandan government plans to reduce internet costs to promote the use of digital financial services and increase financial inclusion for vulnerable groups.

According to ICT Minister Chris Baryomunsi, the country will reduce the price of the data it provides through the national backbone by more than 50%, from US$70 per Mbps to US$30. 

“We are talking about purely government internet. Once we cut down the cost at which government is selling to service providers, then they will automatically also reduce the cost that the end user will be paying and we think this will help in our efforts to digitize our economy,” he said last Wednesday.   

By reducing internet costs, the country will support ICT innovation, and the development of digital financial services, communication, and e-government, among others. Several projects are underway to complement that measure. The most important of those projects is the National Data Backbone and e-Government Infrastructure project, with an estimated cost of US$75 million.  It will connect the country’s major cities to a fiber optic network and connect ministries and administrations to the e-government platform.

The projects initiated are part of Uganda's Digital Acceleration Program, which aims to fill the current infrastructure gap and accelerate Internet penetration in the country.

Samira Njoya

Posted On lundi, 29 août 2022 13:46 Written by

In Africa, most schools teach lessons in official languages. Practically no courses are taught in local languages. Yet, researches show that teaching courses in local languages can greatly improve academic performance. This partnership may be an interesting experience. 

Last Wednesday, Premium content streaming platform Ckrowd and Nigeria's Center synergies in areas of education, technology, and the dissemination and advocacy of knowledge for the Advancement of Education "School on Air (SOA)" signed a memorandum of understanding to offer digital STEM courses in local Nigerian languages, including Yoruba, Igbo, Hausa, but also in French.

For Kayode Adebayo (photo, right), CEO of Ckrowd, the MoU is a starting point to "generate synergies in education, technology, dissemination, and advocacy.”

The initiative comes after research results showed that many Yoruba youth increased their knowledge retention in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics subjects by 65% when studying in their native language. The same is true for Hausa students whose knowledge retention increased by 250% after learning STEM in their native language.

The goal of this agreement is therefore to close the education gap on the African continent and provide opportunities that will help students gain the technical skills, professional knowledge, and attitude needed to excel and function globally with a comprehensive curriculum that will benefit the next generation.

According to stakeholders, the initiative will reach more than 40 million young Africans, particularly in West Africa. It will enable students from different backgrounds to access education, and learning opportunities to improve their livelihoods. Doing so will contribute to sustainable development goal number four which aims to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.” 

Kayode Adebayo explains that the MoU is just the beginning of numerous projects to improve the living conditions of “the next generations of young Africans.” 

To fulfill that goal, Ckrowd  intends to partner with various parties “to deliver true value to young Diasporans and Africans on the Continent” as well as create “unique and ad-hoc local solutions and innovation to advance African nations and harness the new dynamic of the digital age, content creation, technology, and education.” 

Samira Njoya

Posted On jeudi, 25 août 2022 17:25 Written by
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