Tech

Tech (424)

Like several other African countries, Burkina Faso embarked on the digitization of its public services a few years ago.  However, the country grapples with resource constraints that hinder its ability to fully realize its digital transformation ambitions.

The Supreme Council of the Arab-African Economy (CSEAA) has pledged to support Burkina Faso in developing various sectors, including digital transition and the digital economy. A delegation from the CSEAA, led by its President Hani Hassani Abuzaid, met with the Minister of Digital Transition, Posts and Electronic Communications, Aminata Zerbo/Sabane, on Monday, March 4 to discuss this collaboration.

The meeting focused on the digital transformation of society and the economy, and we discussed several topics related to the digital transition in Burkina Faso. The Supreme Council of the Arab-African Economy has committed to providing its expertise and ecosystem to support the digital transition in Burkina Faso, and we have already made a commitment to start next week,” said Hani Hassani Abuzaid.

As part of this cooperation, the organization will support the Burkinabè authorities in developing digital infrastructure, the national backbone, and the overall strategy for covering the communications access network. It will also encourage the construction of data centers and the promotion of digital payment platforms.

This collaboration is part of the Burkinabè government's desire to make digital technology a driver of social and economic transformation to accelerate the country's development. The Supreme Council of the Arab-African Economy (CSEAA), with its expertise, will support Burkina Faso in this process. With more than 1,800 member companies, the CSEAA is a pan-Arab organization made up of experienced private companies that partner for economic development and are interested in promoting investment projects.

Samira Njoya

Posted On mardi, 05 mars 2024 14:09 Written by

In February 2023, Bolt announced it would invest $500 million over the following two years to accelerate its growth in Africa. Since the beginning of 2024, the startup has entered several additional markets on the continent. 

Estonian e-mobility start-up Bolt has launched in Cairo, Egypt, co-founder Martin Villig announced on X (formerly Twitter), on Monday. This makes Egypt the fifteenth country the ride-hailing startup is entering and the second in North Africa (After Tunisia in 2019).  

The startup intends to establish itself in the Egyptian market by eliminating the 15% commission charged to drivers for the first six months and offering a 50% discount to customers.

Eduard Suchanek, Bolt's Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, says: "Bolt’s entry into one of the largest economies in North Africa underscores our commitment to revolutionizing mobility in the region. By offering ride-hailing services tailored to both individual and corporate needs, Bolt aims to provide Egyptians with convenient, reliable, and affordable transportation options."

Bolt is expanding in Africa in a context marked by a global tech investment slowdown. Tech investments on the continent fell 54% to $2.3 billion in 2023, according to Partech Africa. E-mobility was particularly hard hit, with funding down 75% from 2022.  

It is worth noting that the entry into Egypt is in line with the ride-hailing startup’s plan, announced in February 2023, to invest $500 million in its African expansion plan in two years. 

With its new expansion in Egypt, Bolt aims to conquer North Africa and the Middle East (MENA), a region where it has little presence and which is dominated by the American Uber and the Emirati Careem.

Adoni Conrad Quenum

Posted On mardi, 05 mars 2024 13:40 Written by

This new session increases the number of skilled labor available in Africa’s booming entertainment industry. 

The second cohort of the “Afro VFX” training program, a joint initiative by EM&MB, the Orange Digital Center (ODC), and the Canadian Embassy, was launched on Thursday, February 29, 2024, at the ODC in Abidjan’s Plateau district.

The program, which focuses on training young talent, producing high-quality cinematic works, and fostering the growth of the African industry, will provide thirty individuals with intensive four-month training in special effects (VFX). The goal is to stimulate the creative industries within the audiovisual sector in the region. Upon completion, participants will gain practical experience through internships with local companies and Afro VFX’s partner studios.

West Africa, primarily driven by the Nigerian film industry, releases nearly 3,400 films annually from production studios, making it the continent’s most productive region in audiovisual production, according to Statista. For Eric M'Boua and Dedy Bilamba, co-founders of EM&MB, Afro VFX positions itself as "a key partner in the VFX ecosystem in French-speaking Africa."

Three students from the first cohort won the “Sony Talent League by THU 2022” competition with a 3D animation series called “Djossi Heroes”, which celebrates self-employed informal workers with superpowers.

The Orange Digital Center has long been dedicated to aiding young Ivorians, offering technical support to enhance their skills and realize their projects. Reminding of that commitment, Habib Bamba, Director of Digital and Media Transformation, stated: “The Afro VFX program is the perfect illustration of Orange Digital Center's commitment to the creative and cultural industries, to make digital an opportunity for all, and thus contribute to the development of the film industry.”

Posted On mardi, 05 mars 2024 13:33 Written by

In his address to the youth on February 11, the Head of State once again urged Cameroonians towards self-employment.  It is then essential to provide the technical framework necessary to support the youth in that direction.

On Wednesday, February 28, Jacques Fame Ndongo, Cameroon’s Minister of Higher Education, laid the foundation stone of the digital innovation and business incubation center at the International School of Digital Engineering in Sangmélima, southern Cameroon. The center is a part of the Congo-Cameroon Inter-State University (UIECC) and is being constructed by military engineers. The project, funded to the tune of XAF450 million (US$743,000) by the  Development Bank of the Central African States (BDEAC), is one of the eleven priority integration projects in the CEMAC region. 

The two-story center, spanning approximately 1,675 square meters, is designed to identify, support, and assist students and young graduates of the International School of Digital Engineering with digital business startup projects. It will provide entrepreneurship training, networking, mentoring, and administrative services, facilitating the implementation and monitoring of innovation and digital entrepreneurship projects.

According to Marcel Fouda Ndjodo, the coordinator of the Congo-Cameroon Inter-State University and director of the digital engineering school, the school itself is an incubation center where students are already engaged in profitable economic activities. The school, which opened less than five years ago, has reportedly supported around thirty startups by engineering students. The director expressed the school’s ambition to transform Sangmélima into a hub for digital activities.

Cameroon’s new higher education law, enacted on June 25, 2023, redefines the role of university institutions, transforming them into “university companies” and elevating students to “student entrepreneurs” to combat youth unemployment through self-employment. “In a liberal economy like ours, in which the private sector should be the primary provider of jobs, one of the fundamental roles of the university is to support economic diversification through the detection, training, and incubation at the university of potential and future captains and leaders of the primary, secondary, tertiary and quaternary sectors,” said Minister Jacques Fame Ndongo.

The Congo-Cameroon Inter-State University, established on December 21, 2012, by the heads of state of Cameroon and Congo, Paul Biya and Denis Sassou Nguesso, began its training activities in the 2020-2021 academic year with the opening of the Sangmélima Engineering School. The school currently enrolls 450 engineering students, including 250 Cameroonians and 200 Congolese nationals.

Posted On vendredi, 01 mars 2024 13:12 Written by

In Africa, most women entrepreneurs struggle to obtain financing. Women-owned businesses often lack the capital needed for startup or expansion due to various obstacles.

The World Trade Organization (WTO) and the International Trade Centre (ITC) jointly initiated a $50 million fund, named the Women Exporters in the Digital Economy Fund (WEIDE), on February 25, Sunday. The fund is designed to promote digital technology adoption among women entrepreneurs, not only in Africa but also in other developing and least-developed nations. Its ultimate aim is to enable women to leverage the opportunities presented by international trade and the digital economy.

For Pamela Coke-Hamilton, ITC's Executive Director, the fund will help women to raise the capital they need for their businesses. "Time and time again, women in developing countries tell us that access to finance is a key barrier to trade. With this new Fund, women entrepreneurs will have the resources they need to do business across borders and online," she stated.

In Africa, women entrepreneurs often struggle to access bank loans and capital due to social norms, discriminatory policies, and a lack of collateral. This fund, initially backed by a $5 million contribution from the United Arab Emirates, aims to overcome these challenges.

The fund’s launch is a step towards empowering women in commerce and assisting them in developing and promoting their online businesses. According to WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, digital trade, particularly trade in digitally delivered services, has been the fastest-growing segment of international trade since 2005, with an average growth rate of 8%.

"Digitalization presents us with unprecedented opportunities to empower women entrepreneurs, level the playing field, and foster inclusive growth," said Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

Samira Njoya

Posted On vendredi, 01 mars 2024 12:33 Written by

The Mobile World Congress opened in Barcelona, Spain, on Monday, February 26, offering an opportunity for technology companies to sign strategic partnerships to support their growth in various regions of the world.

Orange Middle East and Africa and Microsoft signed a Memorandum of Understanding to support digital transformation initiatives in 17 African and Middle Eastern countries. The memorandum was announced, Wednesday, at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.

"This collaboration with Microsoft is a significant step in our commitment to support the digital transformation of African businesses. By combining our network and Microsoft’s solutions, we can provide SMEs with the tools and guidance they need to thrive in the digital economy," said Jérôme Hénique (pictured, left), CEO of Orange Middle East and Africa.

Under that agreement, Microsoft will leverage the Orange network to offer Microsoft solutions such as Microsoft 365, Copilot, Azure, and Dynamics 365 to approximately 15,000 SMEs in 2024 and ultimately to 1 million. The two companies will collaborate on training, marketing, and sales support programs, and establish a steering committee to track progress using performance indicators.

Microsoft, like Orange, continues to invest in the continent. Besides announcing the construction of a new data center in South Africa earlier this month, Microsoft has partnered with several African countries to drive digital transformation. This includes Kenya, where the company will integrate its cloud solutions into public administration e-services, and Nigeria, where it aims to enhance the digital skills of civil servants across various ministries in collaboration with a local partner.

Adoni Conrad Quenum

Posted On jeudi, 29 février 2024 12:51 Written by

Africa needs a skilled workforce to effectively achieve its digital transformation. It can count on the World Bank and its partners, committed to supporting its endeavors. 

The Smart Africa Digital Academy (SADA) has received a $20 million grant from the World Bank to expand its activities across Africa, as part of the West Africa Regional Digital Integration Program (WARDIP).

The World Bank funding will support a project that expands upon the existing foundations of SADA and the AReg4DT program. It will train a new generation of African policymakers and regulators, equipping them to utilize the potential of green and inclusive digital transformation through innovative approaches to policy and regulation.

"With this aim, the scale-up will reach 30,000 unique policymakers and decision-makers from all African countries, with a targeted participation level of females at 40%. Given the World Bank’s commitment to digital transformation in Africa, the grant will significantly contribute to regional integration and rapid adoption of the Single Digital Market for Africa," says the Smart Africa press release.

This grant builds upon previous World Bank and SADA collaborations aimed at building digital capabilities in Africa. In November 2023, for instance, the World Bank announced $266.5 million in funding for similar purposes and also for internet access expansion and a single West African digital market.

Initially launched by the Smart Africa Alliance with funding of around $30,000, SADA has already made remarkable progress. Since August 2020, it has offered online training for decision-makers and policy-makers, helping to improve digital skills and promote a dynamic learning ecosystem across Africa.

Samira Njoya

Posted On jeudi, 29 février 2024 12:25 Written by

To help African women seize opportunities in the technology industry, She Code Africa will be implementing a training program in product development and management. The FedEx-funded program aims to reach 100,000 women by 2030.

She Code Africa, a program dedicated to empowering African women in technology, has announced a partnership with FedEx to launch a tech training initiative. The program is open to women from all African countries who are passionate about technology and are between the ages of 18 and 45.

The program offers two training paths. The first is a 2-3 month engineering pathway that covers a range of essential technical courses, including software engineering (web and mobile), cloud engineering, data science and analytics, and hardware engineering such as robotics. The second track offers comprehensive 2-3 month bootcamps designed to equip African women with the knowledge and skills needed to design and manage products.

Funded by FedEx, the program also provides career mentoring, a one-month paid internship for practical experience, and job opportunities with leading tech companies. The initiative aims to enable African women to leverage the opportunities offered by the tech industry. By 2030, the program aims to train and integrate 100,000 women and girls into the tech industry. Applications are open until March 8.

Vanessa Ngono Atangana

Posted On mercredi, 28 février 2024 10:48 Written by

For three days, global telecommunications and technology sector stakeholders will meet to discuss an ever-smart and connected world and exchange insights and innovations. 

The Mobile World Congress, in Barcelona, Spain, has drawn nearly 96,000 registrants for this year’s event, which opened on February 26, according to Mats Granryd, Managing Director of the Global System Operators Association (GSMA). This marks an increase from last year’s attendance of approximately 90,000.

The Mobile World Congress 2024 (MWC 2024), officially inaugurated by King Felipe VI, is focusing not only on connectivity but also on all related sectors. "As connectivity brings us together, technology opens possibilities – with connectivity driving a fusion of technology and purpose across all sectors, enabling new possibilities. This week is all about exploring the future's potential for businesses and society," said Mats Granryd.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the most prominent segment at this year’s event, with public adoption of generative AI, such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT, gaining traction since its introduction in November 2022. The tech community and governments are currently considering the practical applications, economic implications, ethical use regulations, and safety concerns of generative AI.

Other key topics to be discussed at the event include connected and electric cars, cloud computing, 5G and 6G technology, and the transformation of telecom operators.

MWC 2024 also presents an opportunity to explore the latest tech gadgets, including wrist smartphones, connected watches, laptops, and tablets. Major broadband industry players such as Orange, Vodafone, Telefonica, and China Mobile will be in attendance, along with leading tech companies like Huawei, Samsung, Microsoft, Intel, Amazon, Infobip, and Nokia.

The startup ecosystem is well represented, with a dedicated space for tech entrepreneurs and an African delegation featuring companies like Ghana’s Farmerline, Benin’s FedaPay, and Senegal’s Lafricainemobile.

The event, which concludes on February 29, is expected to foster numerous partnerships for the advancement of global connectivity and digital transformation among private, public, and public-private entities.

Muriel Edjo

Posted On mardi, 27 février 2024 13:10 Written by

Moove Africa, a mobility company operating in six sub-Saharan African markets, is currently in talks with Uber regarding a potential investment. The funding would support Moove Africa's continued expansion across the continent.

Uber Technologies, the American ride-hailing giant, is poised to invest $100 million in African vehicle financing startup Moove, according to a Bloomberg report. The investment is part of a new funding round that could increase Moove’s enterprise value from $650 million to around $750 million.

This funding round follows a recent $76 million financing round that included participation from U.S. asset management firm BlackRock and Emirati investment firm Mubadala Investment Company. Moove aims to use these funds to build the world’s largest technology-enabled financial services platform for mobile entrepreneurs.

Moove, which is already a funding partner of Uber in Africa and India, could see its partnership with Uber strengthened if the $100 million investment is confirmed. This could potentially enable broader vehicle financing on a global scale.

Currently headquartered in Amsterdam, Moove operates in several African cities, including Lagos, Accra, Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Nairobi, as well as in London, Dubai, and three major Indian cities: Mumbai, Hyderabad, and Bangalore.

Samira Njoya

Posted On mardi, 27 février 2024 03:57 Written by
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