Tech (300)

Since the launch of this program, Orange has rewarded 47 projects and helped 90 entrepreneurs access support from its experts and partners. 

The international winners of the Orange Social Venture Prize in Africa and the Middle East (POESAM) were announced on October 18, on the sidelines of the Mobile World Congress Africa Kigali, October 17-19. They are Cameroonian startups Adinkra Jeunesse and Services for the aged, the Egyptian Egrobots, the Jordanian Smart WTI, and the Tunisian Bionic Soul. 

According to Orange, the winners were chosen from among 1,300 entries from 17 countries. The winning projects at this 13th edition of Poesam International are mainly in the fields of education, health, e-commerce, agriculture, and the environment.

For the international grand prize, first place went to Adinkra Jeunesse (Cameroon), which specializes in publishing children’s digital books with characters that tell Africa’s story. It received €25,000 in funding.

Second place went to Egrobots (Egypt), whose digital solutions (robots + analyses generated by artificial intelligence) help farmers optimize their business.  The startup was awarded €15,000 in funding.

Finally, third place went to Smart WTI, a Jordanian startup offering advanced water management solutions using IoT/AI technology.  Its ambition is to help businesses and communities manage their consumption efficiently, reduce waste, and improve water quality.

The International Women's Prize –awarded to a startup whose women-led project helps improve living conditions by providing specific solutions to social or environmental problems– was won by Bionic Soul (Tunisia). The startup manufactures and markets smart, custom-made, affordable bionic prostheses for amputees. It was awarded €20,000 in funding.

Finally, a "Coup de Coeur" prize was also awarded. Services for Aged, a startup based in Cameroon, was the lucky recipient. Its health, hygiene, and assistance service for elderly people at home in rural areas won over the jury.

Like the five winners of the international prize, the national winners of POESAM, in the 17 Orange Middle East and Africa markets, will benefit from support within Orange Digital Centers, with the prospect of developing their business beyond the borders of their respective countries, through the network of Orange Digital Centers set up in Africa, the Middle East and Europe.

Posted On jeudi, 19 octobre 2023 17:23 Written by

As digital transformation gathers pace, Amazon continues to strengthen its presence across Africa. After Egypt, the multinational is offering its services in South Africa, through dedicated local websites.  

U.S. retail giant Amazon announced on Tuesday, October 17, the launch of, its platform dedicated to the South African market, for 2024.  

According to Amazon, the new service will offer South African sellers the opportunity to reach customers across the country, and rapidly grow and develop their businesses while leveraging the innovation capabilities provided by Amazon.

"We look forward to launching in South Africa, providing local sellers, brand owners, and entrepreneurs—small and large—the opportunity to grow their business with Amazon, and deliver great value and a convenient shopping experience for customers across South Africa," said Robert Koen, general manager of the Sub-Saharan Africa region for Amazon.

In recent years, the e-commerce market in South Africa has been dominated by local players such as Takealot, developed by Naspers, a South African conglomerate. The launch of is expected to intensify competition and encourage an increase in online shopping after the pandemic gave e-commerce the opportunity to gain a foothold.

The announcement of this new service comes a year after the company opened an office in South Africa. With, South Africa will become the 21st country to have a dedicated Amazon domain. It will also be the 2nd African country, after Egypt, where the American e-commerce giant is setting up a dedicated local website.

In South Africa, Amazon will offer a range of valuable tools, programs, and services “including hundreds of thousands of hours of free educational content to support sellers at every stage of their journey, including articles, videos, webinars, and case studies," we learn. 

Samira Njoya

Posted On jeudi, 19 octobre 2023 17:21 Written by

To achieve digital inclusion and transformation, Africa needs everyone's help. Companies are taking concerted action to overcome the national and regional challenges that are still hampering that digital ambition.

On Tuesday, October 17, Orange Middle East and Africa and Smart Africa Alliance, a political initiative for the promotion of the digital sector in Africa, signed a partnership aimed at supporting digitization on the African continent.

The agreement, which covers collaboration between the two parties,  was initialed by Lacina Koné (photo, left), Managing Director of Smart Africa Alliance, and Jérôme Hénique (photo, left), CEO of Orange Middle East and Africa. It was signed on the sidelines of the second edition of Mobile World Congress Africa 2023 being held in Kigali, Rwanda.

As part of the cooperation, the two companies will work together to encourage the creation of innovative digital solutions, respond to local challenges, and contribute to sustainable development in Africa.

According to Jérôme Hénique, the partnership will contribute to "Smart Africa and Orange's shared objective of developing the digital skills of Africa's youth, particularly women, while supporting innovative entrepreneurship."

For three years, the two organizations will collaborate on activities such as training young people and women to support their employability in new digital professions through their digital skills development programs, notably the Smart Africa Digital Academy (SADA) and the Orange Digital Center (ODC) network, which is present in 17 countries in Africa and the Middle East, and 8 European countries.

They will also work together to strengthen innovative entrepreneurship by reinforcing incubation, acceleration, and financing capacities for entrepreneurs in priority sectors such as the environment, e-agriculture, e-health, e-commerce, etc.

For Lacina Koné, the new partnership will enable African citizens, especially young people, to be equipped for the jobs of the future. The aim is to actively contribute to the continent's digital transformation. "Joining forces with Orange will accelerate our collective efforts in this regard," he said.

Samira Njoya

Posted On mercredi, 18 octobre 2023 16:09 Written by

Last September, President William Ruto visited the U.S., inviting investments from Silicon Valley giants. This time, he is in the Middle Kingdom to attract more partnerships for his country. 

On Monday, October 16, Kenyan President William Ruto signed a memorandum of understanding with Chinese technology giant Huawei in Beijing, China. The aim is to develop Kenya's information and communication technology infrastructure and contribute to the digitization of sectors such as transport, e-administration, education, and digital energy.

“We regard Huawei as a reliable partner in improving our digital infrastructure, with its pioneering strength in ICT technologies. We look forward to a stronger partnership for positive outcomes in our ICT infrastructure and industrial digitalization,” President Ruto said.  

Since taking office in September 2022, the Kenyan president has stepped up his partnerships with strategic players in the technology ecosystem to boost the sector and accelerate digital transformation in his country. Last March, Kenyan authorities signed an agreement with Huawei to provide ICT training for 20,000 Kenyans, including 12,500 civil servants, to increase the number of digital services available to the population.

“We are ready to work closely with the Kenyan government, facilitating progress in connectivity infrastructure, data centers, and solar power generation. [...] We value collaboration, openness, and win-win results, and we're committed to investing in cutting-edge technologies for the digital economy in Kenya,” commented Liang Hua, Chairman of Huawei's Board of Directors.

In recent weeks, Huawei has signed partnerships with a number of African countries, in addition to Kenya. They include Cameroon, Chad, South Africa, and Sierra Leone, among others.  At Huawei Connect last September, the company announced a $200 million investment to create Africa's first public cloud center.

Adoni Conrad Quenum

Posted On mercredi, 18 octobre 2023 14:24 Written by

Electricity is a key asset for socio-economic development in Africa. However, it is still inaccessible to millions of people due to the weakness of public distribution systems. In that context, private initiatives are multiplying around off-grid products.

Earlier today (October 17), French telecoms group Orange, through Orange Energie –its division dedicated to the promotion of energy solutions across Africa– launched solar freezers in the Democratic Republic of Congo. 

The product was developed by Koolboks, a company specializing in innovative solar cooling solutions. It is equipped with solar panels and batteries providing up to three days of autonomy. The solar equipment also includes LED bulbs and USB ports for recharging equipment such as phones and tablets. Accessible via Orange Energie's pay-as-you-go platform, the solar freezers can be purchased using an adjustable fractional payment system via the Orange Money service.

The partnership with Koolboks “marks a new phase in our ambition after providing access to essential services. The new phase entails enabling families to contribute to the development of their communities,” said Nat-Sy Missamou, Senior Vice President Africa and Middle East at Orange Energie.

The solar-powered freezers will enable families to light up, communicate, and generate additional income by opening local businesses, among other things. Ayoola Dominic, founder and CEO of Koolboks, explains that "this product was designed to meet a need, and enable small traders and families living in off-grid areas to store food and have light."

In Africa, where almost 600 million people still have no access to electricity due to the poor coverage of public distribution systems, the Orange and Koolboks offer is a strategic move to make essential services accessible to as many people as possible.  For Orange, in particular, this collaboration reinforces its ambition to be a multiservice operator.

After the DR Congo, Orange Energie and Koolboks plan to market solar freezers in eleven other countries. These are Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea, Jordan, Liberia, Madagascar, Mali, Senegal and Sierra Leone.

Posted On mardi, 17 octobre 2023 18:04 Written by

Since 2016, Sony has upped its investments to develop the tech sector in various parts of the world. In Africa, the company has decided to bank on an industry it knows quite well.

Last week, Japanese tech firm Sony Group Corporation announced the launch of the Sony Innovation Fund: Africa, a seed fund to support African startups. The new fund, launched in collaboration with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), is endowed with $10 million capital. It will target startups in the entertainment industry, notably in the gaming, music, cinema, and content distribution subsectors. 

"Through the activities of Sony Innovation Fund: Africa, we hope to accelerate the growth of the African entertainment industry and contribute to the progress and development of the region by providing opportunities for collaboration with the entertainment businesses within [Sony Group Corporation]," commented Executive Deputy President and CSO, Sony Group Corporation.

The entertainment industry is booming on the continent. Giants such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Canal+ are investing in African cinema and local content creation. Last April, Netflix said it has invested over €160 million in film production in Africa since 2016. Yet startups in the sector are struggling to attract capital, capturing just $42 million in 2022, or 0.9% of total venture capital investment attracted by the continent over the said period, according to data from Partech Africa.

"The entertainment field has been a key area of focus for Sony Innovation Fund since the beginning and will continue to be. Africa, in particular, has a vibrant community of creators and entrepreneurs looking to invent new ways to enhance entertainment experiences for audiences and that propelled Sony to establish SIF: AF," explains Gen Tsuchikawa, CEO of Sony Ventures, the corporation in charge of the management of all of Sony’s venture investment activities.

Adoni Conrad Quenum

Posted On mardi, 17 octobre 2023 15:35 Written by

In Africa, the use of VPNs has grown significantly with the frequent Internet blackout strategy used by governments to prevent access at times. Some may soon be unable to access that solution.

On Friday, October 13, the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) issued a public notice calling on individuals and companies whose activities depend on virtual private networks (VPNs) to “declare their VPN and all relevant information including IP address.” The deadline for compliance is set to October 30.  

Paragraph 2 of Article 16 of the Electronic and Postal Communications Act 2020 stipulates that "it is prohibited to make, possess or distribute any technology, program, application or any other related element that enables or helps users to access prohibited content." The law provides for a fine of at least 5 million Tanzanian shillings (approx. $1,996) or imprisonment for at least twelve months, or both.

VPNs enable users to protect themselves online by creating a private connection between their devices and the Internet. They drastically reduce the risk of hacking, encrypt IP addresses, and grant users a new online identity. However, it is also used by cybercriminals who favor it for the anonymity it offers. In some countries, such as China, India, and Russia, the use of VPNs is highly restricted.

Tanzania is no pioneer in this field. By identifying VPN users, the authorities want to keep an eye on everyone –honest people and potential criminals alike– to be able to take effective action if necessary. Tanzania is one of 22 African countries with National Computer Incident Response Teams (CIRTs), and one of 18 on the continent with national cybersecurity strategies.

Adoni Conrad Quenum

Posted On lundi, 16 octobre 2023 19:47 Written by

For several years now, the Tanzanian government has been implementing initiatives to transform the country digitally. To accelerate the process, authorities are working with specialized partners with proven expertise.  

The Estonian Centre for International Development (ESTDEV) and its partners - namely the Finnish Institute of Public Management (HAUS), the German Agency for International Cooperation, and the German Ministry of Digital Transport - recently launched the Digital4Tanzania (D4T) project in Tanzania.

The project, funded to the tune of €2 million by the European Union, aims to support Tanzania's digital transformation by cooperating on e-government reform and connectivity.

"Interest in Estonia’s digitization experience is also great in those African countries that are not Estonia’s priority countries. Of course, we are ready to share our experience of building a digital state and e-governance with all countries. Estonia has a large network of experts, and both we and Tanzania have a lot to learn from this twinning," said Andres Ääremaa, ESTDEV’s Programme Manager for Digital Transformation.

As part of the project, the D4T consortium partners and the Tanzanian Ministry of Information, Communication, and Technology will implement activities in line with D4T objectives.

The activities include capacity building and skills development in government cybersecurity, developing privacy and data protection frameworks, and strengthening data management and governance skills. It also includes the improvement of “skills and capacity in the private sector, particularly within the cybersecurity and privacy and data protection research communities, while addressing the digital gender divide.”

According to the ESTDEV press release, the project contract was signed, last summer, by the Finnish Institute of Public Management and the European Commission delegation in Tanzania. The project is scheduled to run until spring 2026.

Samira Njoya

Posted On jeudi, 12 octobre 2023 16:10 Written by

Bolt's current operating license is due to expire in 17 days. Nevertheless, Kenyan authorities are calling on the Estonian company to address lingering issues or cease operations. 

Kenya's National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) has rejected the renewal of VTC company Bolt's operating license in the country, local media report. The decision follows alleged violations by Bolt, including illegal commissions and booking fees higher than those set by the Ministry of Transport.

"Please note that the Authority is not able to proceed with the renewal of your operator license until the issues raised by drivers and their representatives are satisfactorily addressed and rectified," said Cosmas Ngeso, Deputy Director and Licensing Officer, in the letter sent to Bolt on behalf of NTSA Director General George Njao.

Indeed, the Estonia-based company, which entered Kenya as Taxify in 2016, obtained a license from Transport Network Company on October 28, 2022. At the time, it committed to complying with the regulations in force in the country, in particular the law which stipulates that the commission collected from drivers using the app is set at 18%. Nevertheless, in recent months Bolt has been accused of introducing "illegal" booking fees.

According to the VTC company officials, the booking fee is an additional charge added to each trip. "The booking fee assists with covering support and enhanced technological features that ensure an even more efficient service on our platform," explained Linda Ndungu, Bolt's country manager.

It is worth noting that the company has promised to address the issues before its current license expires, in about 17 days. Currently, it offers its services in 16 cities across Kenya. In Africa, it is present in Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda, Tanzania and Tunisia.

Samira Njoya

Posted On mercredi, 11 octobre 2023 19:43 Written by

The services materialize the partnership agreement signed by the two companies in October 2022. After South Africa, they plan on entering countries like Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique, and Zambia.

Last week, BCX, a subsidiary of telecoms operator Telkom, launched its cloud service, dubbed Africa Local Public (ALP), in partnership with Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba. Data will be stored in two centers in South Africa's largest city, Johannesburg.

"This strategic initiative addresses the rising demand for secure, scalable, and high-performance cloud solutions that cater to the distinct requirements of South African businesses.[...] The launch of ALP cloud serves multiple purposes, one of which accentuates our dedication to maintaining a local presence. As a result, when our customers opt for BCX local cloud services, they will be directly connecting with and supported by a South African company,” explains Jonas Bogoshi, CEO of BCX.

Data centers, whose role is to process, secure, and store digital data, are of vital importance in the digital transformation process underway on the continent. They will enable African countries to acquire digital sovereignty, i.e. the ability to act in cyberspace and to ensure that their rules are respected by the various players in the virtual world. Africa accounts for barely 1% of the data centers installed worldwide and South Africa hosts more than half of them. 

The new partnership is part of South Africa's national data and cloud computing policy. Among other things, this policy aims to create an environment conducive to the development of the data ecosystem and to promote access to data and cloud services. BCX and Alibaba are also planning to build new centers in Cape Town (South Africa), Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, and Zambia.

Adoni Conrad Quenum

Posted On mercredi, 11 octobre 2023 14:45 Written by
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