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Africa’s digital transformation comes with threats of escalating cyber attacks. It is therefore crucial for the continent to take appropriate measures to protect itself from such attacks.  

Togo is currently hosting an international cybersecurity summit. Started on March 23, the summit -the first of its kind in Africa- was organized by the Togolese government and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA). 

According to the organizers, the event aims “to initiate high-level dialogue on avenues of cooperation and coordination to address the pressing challenges and issues of cybersecurity.” Above all, it will serve as a medium to “boost cooperation and agree on a cybersecurity strategy for Africa.” 

Nearly 600 participants are attending the summit, including officials from a dozen countries, experts, private sector leaders, and civil society actors. 

"The issue that brings us together today is one of the major challenges of our time. Africa must be ready for it and even play an active part [in the fight against cyberattacks],” said Faure Gnassingbé (photo), President of Togo, in his opening speech. 

After this speech, the Head of State received the symbolic award of UNECA Champion for Cybersecurity in Africa for his commitment to cybersecurity. 

“Africa offers economic opportunities in virtually every sector. The digital economy is a key asset to unlocking these opportunities. (...) Also, cybersecurity is an important pillar for any digital transformation,” said UNECA Executive Secretary, Vera Songwe.

Alarming figures 

For the UNECA, the cybersecurity summit -whose organization was postponed in 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic- is necessary given the numerous challenges the continent will have to face. As the Addis Ababa-based institution explains, even if Africa has been quick to jump onto the 4th industrial revolution’s bandwagon, it is increasingly faced with cyber governance and cyber security issues.

Over the past two years, cybercrime incidents have escalated in Africa. In June 2020, South Africa became the third country in the world with the highest number of cybercrime victims. The same month,  the Ethiopian Information Network Security Agency (INSA) announced that it thwarted a major attack. Also, in the first half of 2021, South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria recorded about 80 million cyber-attacks.

Meanwhile, “more than 90% of African firms operate without adequate cybersecurity procedures,” the UNECA reminds. 

Octave A. Bruce

Posted On jeudi, 24 mars 2022 14:32 Written by

World-leading tech firms’ interest in Nigeria has been growing since 2020. One of those firms is Microsoft. The group has made several commitments to the government. The Africa Development Center is the fulfillment of one of those commitments. 

Microsoft's first Africa Development Center (ADC) was officially launched last Monday, March 21, in Lagos. Located at the Kings Tower in Ikoyi, it is Microsoft's 7th ADC worldwide. The about US$100 million infrastructure is dedicated to the development of technology and engineering solutions that will have “local and global impact.” In that regard, it will help build a continental “talent pipeline” and boost innovation in various strategic areas. Also, it will provide employment opportunities to millions of young people.

The ADC is a place for world-class engineers to create products and services that would power the future global economy,” commented Joy Chik, Corporate Vice President, Identity at Microsoft. She also revealed that the ADC had already surpassed the target of 500 engineers it was planning to hire, by 2023, in the identity, Mixed Reality, Microsoft 365 services as well as data services divisions. 

The Africa Development Center is one of many digital investments Microsoft has made in Nigeria since 2020.  It "is in line with the federal government's digital economy project," said Ali Isa Pantami, Nigeria's Minister of Communications and Digital Economy,  commending the fulfillment of that promise. 

In May 2021, Microsoft ha promised to support the rise of the digital economy in Nigeria through the development of connectivity, youth training, and transformation of the public administration. 

 Today, March 24, Microsoft will inaugurate ADC Nairobi, Kenya. Like Nigeria, the country is one of the major digital hubs that Microsoft wants to capitalize on to boost its influence on the continent. 


Adoni Conrad Quenum

Posted On jeudi, 24 mars 2022 13:28 Written by

The startup, which took advantage of the slowdown of cultural and sports activities during the Covid-19 crisis, has improved its services. Now, it seeks more users.

The first fully-Moroccan smart ticketing platform Guichet.com, with more than 1,000 events and shows organized in collaboration with various partners, also plans to conquer other high-potential markets on the continent.

Guichet Maroc SARL, the startup behind Guichet.com, secured last Friday, March 11, a $309,000 (3 million dirhams) financing from CDG Invest, the investment arm of the CDG group. The startup, which was founded in 2009 by Ahmed Tawfik Moulnakhla (pictured), said it will use the money to consolidate Guichet.com’s operations in Morocco, extend to the sports industry, and conquer new high-potential markets in Africa.

Guichet.com is an intermediation platform between the public and event promoters (plays, soccer matches, music concerts, festivals, training courses, etc.). It provides them with tickets and digital tickets which can be paid for online. It's quite a useful app, especially for people who are not fond of waiting in line when going to see movies. The platform also provides partners with an autonomous management and steering environment with real-time ticketing monitoring.

The platform has tens of thousands of users, has covered over 1,000 events and shows, in partnership with several exclusive partners like the Mawazine Festival, the Marrakech Laughing Festival, the Fez Festival of World Sacred Music, and the Oasis Festival.

In 2021, new features were added to Guichet.com. These include an option to purchase packages including accommodation, catering, and ancillary products for an event; there is also a store where partners can sell their products. The app is available on PlayStore and AppleStore.

Ruben Tchounyabe

Posted On mercredi, 16 mars 2022 12:07 Written by

Since 2019, the telco has been deploying measures to strengthen its footprint on its markets in the MENA region. Last March 10, Madagascar officially became the ninth country in Africa and the Middle East to join the Orange telecom group's digital training and innovation support network. The company inaugurated its "Orange Digital Center" in Antananarivo, in the Redland Tower in Ankorondrano.

This is an ecosystem entirely implemented with the German cooperation and dedicated to the development of digital skills and support for innovative project leaders. It has been operational since October 19, 2021.

According to Alioune Ndiaye, President, and CEO of Orange Africa and the Middle East, Orange Digital Center Madagascar "is part of the network of 32 Orange Digital Centers of the Orange Group, which will be deployed in all our markets in Africa and the Middle East, but also in Europe. The aim is to democratize access to digital technology for young people, both graduates, and non-graduates, to give them access to the latest technological skills to enhance their employability, and to prepare them for the jobs of tomorrow.”

The site covers 800 m2 and includes a Coding School, a digital manufacturing workshop, FabLab Solidaire, run by the Orange Foundation and located at the University of Antananarivo, and an Orange Fab startup accelerator, supported by Orange Ventures, the Orange Group's investment fund. All training and coaching programs are free and open to all. The collaboration between Orange and the German Cooperation in Madagascar is part of the development partnership of the "develoPPP program" developed on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The objective is to achieve a common vision, which is to promote youth employability and access to ICT jobs for women and girls while supporting sustainable growth and digital transformation.

To contribute to the access of an even greater number of young people to digital-related knowledge, two Orange Digital Center Clubs, extensions of the Coding school, are also planned to be set up at the University of Fianarantsoa and the University of Antsiranana.

Muriel Edjo

Posted On vendredi, 11 mars 2022 15:59 Written by

They were chosen among the eight candidates from the continent who were shortlisted in February. Their projects were judged to be in line with the major challenges facing society.

A Gabonese, an Ivorian, a Ugandan, and a South African won the 10th edition of Les Margaret Awards. Ariane Akeret Soufiano, Cleo Ngokoudi, Malebina Tsotsotso and Shamim Nabuuma Kaliisa, were declared winners last March 8.

Ariane Akeret won with her project CaPay in the category Entrepreneur Africa. CaPay is an application designed to facilitate the payment of salaries and other financial transactions via mobile money in Gabon. It is a digital platform offered to employees, retirees and other unbanked populations of companies, social benefit funds, organizations, associations and public administrations.

Cleo Ngokoudi won the Intrapreneur Africa category with Anka, a platform that provides Ivorian merchants with integrated digital management solutions, facilitating international financial transactions. She is the CFO of the company.

Malebina Tsotsotso is 15 years old. She won in the Junior Africa category with MTutor, an e-learning platform designed to provide an adaptable, scalable, safe and secure edtech tool in South Africa.

Shamim Nabuuma Kaliisa received the Jury's Hope Award. She is the founder of Chil AI Lab, a startup that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to extend essential health services to poor and marginalized women in Uganda.

According to Delphine Remy-Boutang, president and CEO of The Bureau and JFD, which organizes the award, each winner's project was the best of hundreds. "We received more than 300 applications," she said in February. The winners will benefit from JFD's Growth Acceleration Program for one year. This includes media exposure worth €1 million, mentoring and coaching in collaboration with JFD partners.

The Margaret Junior will benefit from JFD's growth acceleration program - to develop her entrepreneurial project, a scholarship and digital participation in the ARTEMIS I mission, the first preparatory flight for the return of humans to the Moon. The Jury's Hope Prize was offered an original work by artist Caroline Corbasson, specially designed for the JFD.

Muriel Edjo

Posted On jeudi, 10 mars 2022 18:19 Written by

South African cryptocurrency exchange platform valr.com announced yesterday it has raised more than R750 million (about $50 million) in a Series B round to finance its expansion strategy. This deal represents the largest cryptocurrency fundraising ever in Africa, according to the company, which is currently worth $240 million,

Under its plans, VARL wants to expand into India, while strengthening its presence in Africa. “We believe that Africa’s future is bright for the adoption of cryptocurrencies for both asset diversification and payments. VALR brings an amazing product and service to onboard both retail customers and institutions,” said Paul Veradittakit, partner at Pantera Capital, the company that led the transaction.

Two years ago, in July 2020, VARL benefited from a $3.4 million Series A funding. The resources were used to develop new products and expand into new African markets. The cryptocurrency exchange platform claims to have processed more than $7.5 billion in transaction volume since its launch in 2019. It also claims more than 250,000 retail clients and 500 institutional clients on the continent.

According to an August 2021 study published by research platform Chainalysis, the African cryptocurrency market grew by 1,200% in value between July 2020 and June 2021. Despite this growth, the continent represents the smallest cryptocurrency economy of all regions studied by Chainalysis.

Chamberline Moko

Posted On mercredi, 02 mars 2022 16:17 Written by

Agritech investment remains low in Africa despite great successes by some startups. Egyptian agritech startup FreshSource Global announced last February 28 it has secured seed funding to finance its expansion. The B2B platform, which connects farms to businesses in Egypt and provides last-mile solutions, said it has raised an undisclosed “seven-figure” round in dollars from Wamda Capital, 4DX Ventures, and some angel investors.

“We are planning to use the funds to expand our team and invest more in our technology. Also, we are going to be covering all of Egypt’s governorates by the end of 2023. By 2024, we will start considering a global expansion plan,” said co-Founder Farah Emara. She believes the new resources will help "accelerate our mission to create more sustainable fresh food systems through data and technology to transform the lives of producers, businesses and consumers and improve the planet."

FreshSource acts as an intermediary between agricultural producers and businesses such as supermarkets. The company founded in 2018 and launched in 2019 relies on a digital platform through which it centralizes supply from farmers and demand from retailers. It ensures that customers' needs are met by reducing the number of intermediaries through which agricultural products pass. It also ensures the safety of agricultural products, particularly in terms of preservation and transportation to the buyer.

By 2020, FreshSource was already claiming 300 local farmers as users of its service, creating 1,500 jobs and also having prevented 200 tons of food loss. According to Farah Emara, "By reducing food waste, you reduce the cost of fresh food and enable a segment of the population that couldn't afford it before to live a healthier lifestyle. Also, this method increases producers’ income and thus improves their quality of life.”

Adoni Conrad Quenum

Posted On mercredi, 02 mars 2022 13:18 Written by

Africa had 716,000 professional developers in 2021, 3.8% more than in 2020. While this number continues to grow, demand has also reached a record level due to the growth in the hiring capacity of SMEs, which are more inclined to use technology.

Despite the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, Africa’s developer ecosystem is making progress. Google revealed, in its Developer Ecosystem Report 2021, that by 2021 the demand for web developers on the continent had reached a record high.

The report, published last February 21, attributes this increase in part to the rise in the use of Internet services by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs); an increase of 22%. This has forced them to hire more developers to help them grow their online businesses. In Africa, SMEs hire more than half of the local developers. In 2021, SMEs raised more than $4 billion, 2.5 times more than in 2020.

Outside the continent, the demand for African developers has also increased due to the development of the teleworking system fostered by Covid-19; 38% of African developers work for at least one company based outside the continent.

The number of professional developers grew by 3.8% in 2021. This is 0.4% of the continent's nonagricultural workforce. Nigeria alone produced 5,000 new professionals in 2021. Overall, the continent reached 716,000 professional developers in 2021, compared to 690,000 in 2020. Wages and salaries have also increased, and more developers have secured full-time jobs.

To meet the growing demand for developers, the report calls on global technology companies, local educators, and governments to strengthen the industry. This can be done by investing in both Internet access and education.

“Junior and emerging talent, as well as under-supported groups including women, need vocational training and affordable internet access to benefit from broader progress. Tech companies are making headway through local partnerships,” the document revealed.

The Africa Developer Ecosystem Report 2021 was produced through a study of 16 countries in sub-Saharan Africa: Algeria, Cameroon, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Morocco, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia, and Uganda. This report is the second in a series of studies on the state of the continent's Internet economy. The first, published in collaboration with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), found that Africa's Internet economy has the potential to reach 5.2% of GDP by 2025, contributing nearly $180 billion to the African economy. The projected potential contribution could reach $712 billion by 2050. “To reach this potential, we have to provide better access to high-quality, world-class skilling on mobile technologies platforms coupled with increasing connectivity in Africa. Our effort to increase connectivity is focused on infrastructure, devices, tools, and product localization,” said Nitin Gajria, Google MD for Africa.

Vanessa Ngono Atangana

Posted On jeudi, 24 février 2022 04:04 Written by

African digital game production companies are now striving to develop a real industry on the continent. Ten of them, specializing in the production and marketing of video games, have announced the creation of an alliance - Pan African Gaming Group (PAGG) - for this purpose.

“We are creating a portfolio of mobile-first casual games that are fun, non-violent, and gender-inclusive. Our games are Made-In-Africa, For Africa, featuring African heroes wrapped in local culture, music, and environments. This allows our players to see themselves reflected in our games, which makes all the difference,” said Jake Manion, the project director.

The joint venture aims to strengthen the industry, creating more economic opportunities and jobs, sharing resources, skills, and access to markets to enable each member studio to create better games and reach more players. The goal is to position Africa on the map of the global games industry. The project targets the "400 million people connected in Africa with a smartphone," according to World Bank indicators. This opportunity is greater than that offered by Canada, the United States, and Mexico together. The promoters hope to reach a potential market of 680 million people by 2025. The global smartphone and computer gaming industry is attracting a lot of capital. According to Drake Star Partners, an investment bank specializing in financing the sector, $150 billion in new investments is expected in 2022. However, the share attracted by Africa in this capital remains low.

Among the founders of the PAGG is Olivier Madiba, a pioneer in Cameroon in the financing, production, and distribution of video games on computers and mobile phones. There are also leaders in the sector in countries like Kenya and Ghana.

Posted On mercredi, 23 février 2022 17:16 Written by

Access to health care has relatively improved in Africa over the past decade. However much remains to be done. Initiatives are multiplying on the continent to bridge this gap.

Smart Africa, an alliance of 32 African countries and international organizations committed to the digital transformation of Africa, and The Commons Project Foundation (TCP) announced last February 16 a partnership to accelerate the delivery of digital health in Africa.

Through this collaboration, the members of both partners have committed to supporting and working on the design, development, deployment, and operation of digital public health infrastructure for Africans. They are also engaging in various digital health pilot projects aimed at strengthening African health systems.

One of the main focuses of the partnership is the SMART Health Card, which allows populations to securely share a verifiable version of their immunization record via a QR code. The innovation being implemented in Rwanda and Kenya is endorsed by the World Health Organization (WHO).

“We believe that the future of healthcare in Africa is digital-first, powered by mobility. This partnership will go a long way in delivering world-class health services to Africa’s citizens such as SMART Health Cards,” said Lacina Koné (pictured), CEO of Smart Africa.

Access to health care remains low in many African countries. The ratio of professionals per 10,000 inhabitants is still far below the WHO standards, which recommend a minimum of 23 health workers to ensure a basic quality of service. Digital technology comes as the solution for Africans to improve health care coverage. For Joe Mucheru, the Cabinet Secretary of Kenya's Ministry of ICT, Innovation, and Youth, the widespread adoption of digital health has the potential to revolutionize healthcare in the same way that the M-Pesa payment system has revolutionized financial inclusion.

Adoni Conrad Quenum

Posted On mardi, 22 février 2022 12:22 Written by
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