The coronavirus pandemic prompted the development of numerous distance-learning platforms in Africa. In Morocco, an edtech startup has decided to facilitate the process. 

KoolSkools is a digital edtech platform deployed by a Moroccan eponymous startup in 2020.  It enables schools to digitalize their course materials, create a content bank and deliver live classes online.  It aims to help improve the academic performance of primary and secondary school students. 

According to its founders, KoolSkools “helps unleash students’ creativity, lets them experience another type of education, facilitates interactions and knowledge transfer, connect schools, teachers, students, and parents while offering quality educational content.” 

The platform has a mobile app (available for Android and iOS devices) that allows parents, students, teachers, and academic institutions to register an account with KoolSkools. Using the app, students can attend classes and send practical assessments to teachers. As for parents, they can monitor their children’s performance and class attendance as well as access course transcripts. 

KoolSkools also aims to be a digital management tool for daily school operations such as student records, payment management, and communication with parents.

The edtech is present in several major Moroccan cities and claims to work with about 30 schools, 20,000 students, and nearly 700 teachers. Its ambition is to reach 100,000 students in the next two or three years and cover the whole of Morocco. Recently, it secured US$290,000 support from the institutional fund Maroc Numeric Fund. 

Adoni Conrad Quenum

Published in Solutions

The connected object industry has expanded quickly over the past ten years. Thanks to the new usages allowed by the 5G, it will grow further, becoming an important source of employment in Africa, where there is still a lack of skilled labor in advanced technology sectors.

Four partners will launch a 3-year online Internet of Things (IoT) training program next September. The four partners are notably the virtual universities of Mali, Senegal, and Tunisia and the Franch National Institute of Applied Science (INSA), through its virtual academy OpenINSA. 

According to a release, dated June 23, announcing the training program, it will include courses on the security and architecture of connected objects, the architectural maintainability and reliability of a connected object, the development of digital apps to interact with connected objects, and the basics of data science. 

"The resources developed in the framework of this partnership are placed under a Creative Commons license. They are accessible to project partners’ teacher-researchers in the research section,” indicated Jean-Yves Plantec, the director of OpenINSA. For the director, the main strength of the education project announced is its ability to federate a strong community for its implementation. 

The four partners started developing the project in 2019, in the framework of the Support for the development of French Higher Education in Africa (ADESFA). The project entered a new phase between 2020 and May 2022 when the partners focused on the development of an online program accessible primarily to second-year undergraduate students, but also to employees and those seeking professional retraining. At the end of the 3-year training, the learners will constitute a high-quality labor force for innovative sectors. 

The connected object industry has expanded quickly over the past ten years. Connected wristbands, watches, speakers, and similar tools have become part of our daily life. According to Banque des Territoires, between 2018 and 2019, 2.5 billion connected objects were sold worldwide.  

Samira Njoya

Published in Tech

His professional experience, coupled with his background, helped him create a learning network that guarantees employment. The project has already earned international recognition. 

Combine distance and face-to-face learning to allow access to quality and promising training for thousands of Africans. This is the feat achieved by Cameroonian Yanick Kemayou (photo), through Kabakoo Academies, the EdTech he co-founded in 2019 with Michèle Traoré.

Immediately after its creation, Kabakoo registered more than 12,000 learners. It is a network of learning institutions whose goal is to offset the shortcomings of conventional educational institutions that usually fail to equip students with the skills necessary to get decent jobs immediately after their courses. 

“I decided to create that network because I was once the victim of the shortcomings of conventional educational institutions and the lack of opportunities in Cameroon,” explains Yanick Kemayou, a business administration Ph.D. holder. 

Kabakoo’s pedagogical approach is designed to let learners develop digital fabrication and distributed manufacturing skills.  The goal is not to develop state-of-the-art tech products and solutions for challenges faced by the immediate surrounding. It equips learners to either employ themselves or easily get a job after their courses. 

Through its mobile app, Kabakoo allows access to several courses and mentoring from professionals working in prestigious companies like Google, Deloitte, Orange, and Oracle. The innovative learning model earned Kabakoo the "School of the Future" label, awarded by the World Economic Forum in Davos in December 2019.

Kabakoo is the result of its co-founder Yanick Kemayou’s professional and entrepreneurial experience. He started his professional career in 2008 as an assistant brand manager for L'Oréal in Düsseldorf, Germany.  He later co-founded and managed the fashion company Clothing and Lifestyle Start-up, in Shanghai, China.  Later on, he worked as a visiting scientist at HEC Paris, a research assistant, and a project manager at Paderborn University. 

Melchior Koba

Published in TECH STARS

During the coronavirus pandemic, e-education proved its worth. Apart from its practical aspect, it easily allows access to greatly diversified content. Several African countries have thus decided to adopt this teaching mechanism. 

In Cameroon, the Ministries of Secondary and Higher Education will mutualize their education system digitalization efforts. The will was formally expressed last Friday (June 24) during a meeting between Minister of Higher Education Jacques Fame Ndongo and Minister of Secondary Education Nalova Lyonga.  

The two government officials noted the initiatives taken by the government to digitize education through notably the Ministry of Higher Education’s Inter-university network’s supervisory center and the Ministry of Secondary Education’s distance learning center. They then decided to mutualize the said efforts to achieve economies of scale and attain the desired efficiency,” indicates a  release published after the meeting. 

The two ministries will mutualize their infrastructures and digital resources, notably the Ministry of Higher Education’s digital university centers and the Ministry of Secondary Education’s decentralized institutions. They will also build secondary education teachers’ digital pedagogy skills thanks to the IT department of  Cameroon’s teacher training schools. They also decided to regularly assess the collaboration initiated. 

The digitalization of Cameroon’s secondary and higher education systems is part of the education system modernization program contained in the 2030 National Development Strategy. It aims to create learning environments that allow teachers to easily share their knowledge and learners to swiftly pick up knowledge. 

Ruben Tchounyabé

Published in Public Management

Tech solutions have become handy tools in most sectors. In the education sector, platforms are also proliferating to help learners in their curriculum. 

Ennajah QCM is a digital platform developed by Bibliothèque Ennajah, which allows students in clinical clerkship and residency training access to specialized books and courses. It helps students check their knowledge with multiple-choice questions. 

Ennajah QCM "is a virtual platform that allows quick access to all the MCQs needed to pass the various Setif clinical clerkship and residency evaluation exams. It, therefore, facilitates the simple and accurate review of the skills developed by students,” Bibliothèque Ennajah explains. 

The platform is accessible through a mobile app currently available on Playstore only (the iOS version will be available soon, according to Ennajah). Users have just to register by providing the information required. Once completed, he/she can start answering the multiple-choice questions or even personalize the questions to answer by filtering the sources, courses, modules, exam years, and pass rate. 

Currently, Bibliothèque Ennajah claims 86,616 MCQs on Ennajah QCM and over 10,000 app downloads.  

Adoni Conrad Quenum

Published in Solutions

Digital jobs are now popular because of the technological revolution, which was accelerated by the coronavirus pandemic. In Africa however, there is still a digital skill gap. Some edtech startups want to close that gap.  

GOMYCODE is a teaching concept developed by Tunisian edtech GoMyCode to teach advanced programming and digital courses. It includes a mix of projects and exercises to allow learners to master the skills taught. Half of the courses are taught online and the other half at the 20 offline centers the startup has in its markets, namely Bahrain, Morocco, Egypt, Algeria, Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal, and Nigeria.  

For Amine Bouhlel, co-founder of GoMyCode, the teaching concept has notable impacts. “There are a lot of impact and mass-market players. We are targeting a wide range of students. So our courses are not just for graduates, professionals, or people from a specific social class. [...] GOMYCODE programs target mass markets, and our blended model makes us accessible and affordable, which you don’t see a lot,” he explains. 

The concept is taught by over 500 teachers who teach in 12 languages. The startup has launched more than 25 training paths with professionals. Its fees vary between US$250 (for 3-month courses) and US$750 (for 5-month courses). For every student trained it guarantees placement with one of its over 100 partner institutions. Currently, it claims it has already secured placement for 80% of its over 10,000 learners. 

Currently, the startup plans to attract more than 100,000 learners and open an additional 50 offline centers in Africa and the Middle East in the next two years. For that purpose, early this month (June 2022), it raised US$8 million to expand its presence. Its target markets are South Africa, Kenya, Ghana, and Saudi Arabia. 

Adoni Conrad Quenum

Published in Solutions

During the coronavirus pandemic, the number of e-learning platforms exploded. Two Beninise techpreneurs have decided to ride on that trend and revolutionize foreign language learning.  

Nors is a mobile app developed by Benenese startup Phoenix Group, allowing users to learn foreign languages.  The mobile app is available only for Android phones. It has four notable menus. The first is aimed at making the user learn specific words and phrases related to topics like family, emotions, relationships, the human body, and sickness. The second menu is for those who want to learn how to converse. This menu presents a set of conversation scenarios and how to respond. The third menu shows practice videos in which actors practice the real-world conversation scenarios users learned. The fourth menu is for networking, enabling users with common learning goals to practice and converse together. 

To easily attract users, Phoenix Group set a sponsorship program rewarding users with points for every user they invite. The aim is to make Nors the go-to platform for language learning in Africa in the next three years. The app is free for every user, both registered and unregistered. Unregistered users can learn the languages they want through Nors but they cannot access technical resources or interact with the learning community.  

Let’s note that Phoenix Group was founded in 2020, by  Serge Atchoua and Essou Fulgence. Before developing the e-learning platform Nors, it developed Gala Space, a mobile platform on which users can promote their products and events. 

Adoni Conrad Quenum

Published in Solutions

With a passion for technology and its disruptive power, he surrounded himself with tech talents to implement innovative and impactful projects.  

Cameroonian entrepreneur Vincent Onana Binyegui (photo) is the designer and developer of the solar-powered educational tablet Teachmepad. He distributes the tablets through his startup Teachmepad Mobile Limited, founded in 2016. 

With Teachmepad, he guarantees quality education to every child, notably in rural areas where access to the internet and electricity remains a real challenge. Thanks to Teachmepad tablets, children can access educational content, like Wikipedia, offline.

The tablets were launched to address some of the problems Vincent identified in 2014, during his field research works in the Central African Region when he was still studying at the International Relations Institute of Cameroon (IRIC). The notable problem he identified was a shortage of teachers in remote areas, where thousands of children are thus deprived of basic education. He then vowed to address the problems using technology. “Teachmepad is a tablet we built to address several challenges facing education in remote areas; notably poor access to the internet, educational contents and electricity, and a shortage of schools,” he explains.

Vincent has a technician certificate in Banking and Finance, a Bachelor of Management Studies, and a Master's in international relations. He started his professional career in 2008 with two consecutive internships at Company Press and Publishing Cameroon (SOPECAM) and LeSage Cameroon (from 2010 to 2011). 

He then dived into the entrepreneurship world in 2012 by co-founding Chartered Finance & Co., a business development and investment firm. In 2014, he launched VOB Research, a startup whose mission is to find tangible solutions to problems encountered by Africans in their daily lives- through technology.  

His positive impact on the strategic education sector -thanks to Teachmepad Mobile Limited- earned him multiple awards and recognitions.  In 2016 he won the Grand Prize of Project Contest organized by DRIMP Youth Forum Foundation and the Bantu Prize of Innovation awarded by the Bantu Development Initiative. The following year, he was featured in Bonjour Idée's list of the Top 5 African Startups of the Year. He also won the Hackathon Award for the best start-up organized during the international forum on digital economy in Cameroon before winning the 2018 Prix Jeunesse de la Francophonie 35.35.

Melchior Koba

Published in TECH STARS

During the coronavirus pandemic, several socio-economic activities were halted in Africa. It forced governments to accelerate digital transformation to ensure continuity of public services. Although it was mostly forced on them, the digital transformation seems now to be a key to solving several problems for African countries. For the Malagasy government, the virtual university planned will facilitate access to University courses for thousands of young people. 

Madagascar will soon transform its National Center for Distance Education (CNTEMAD) into a virtual university. In that regard, last Thursday, a tripartite framework agreement was signed by Prof Slim Khalbous (photo, center), rector of the AUF, Elia Béatrice Assoumacou (photo, left), Madagascar’s Minister of Higher Education, and her peer of the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications Tahina Michel Razafindramalo (photo, right).

The virtual university will be established by creating a virtual network of the CNTEMAD regional centers/agencies, dematerializing administrative tasks, and rolling out an e-learning platform to allow access to the regional centers’ digital resources. 

Under the framework agreement mentioned above, the Francophone University Agency (AUF) will support the project in five key areas. First, it will carry out studies to determine the best options for the projects. Secondly, it will mobilize international experts for the implementation of the project. Then, it will ensure the application of best practices in the management of digital spaces and the development of online courses. It will also train the teaching, technical and administrative staff involved in the project. The last key area is helping the government find international partners and backers for the virtual university project. 

The support provided by the AUF aligns with one of the key focuses of the latters’ 2021-2025 strategy, namely “digital transformation and university governance.”

The virtual university is in line with Madagascar’s digital transformation strategy aimed at leveraging information technology for socio-economic development.  Indeed, with the virtual university, the government wants to facilitate access to university courses for thousands of young people who lack the necessary financial resources to settle in Antananarivo to pursue university studies.  Thanks to the virtual university, they can take university courses anywhere they are in the country. All they need is a connected laptop or smartphone. 

Ruben Tchounyabe

Published in Tech

With the acceleration of digital transformation in Africa, the continent will need more human resources with adequate digital skills. With Academia Raqmya, Morocco intends to develop those skills. 

Morocco’s Digital Development Agency (ADD) launched, Tuesday (May 10), the country’s e-learning platform, Academia Raqmya. By launching the platform, Morocco wants to boost digital skills and e-learning.  

For Minister of Digital Transition Ghita Mezzour (photo), who presided over the launching ceremony, Academia Raqmya is a key step in the operationalization of the country’s digital transition. It is “in line with instructions given by Mohammed VI for human capital development,” she added

Academia Raqmya is launched in a context marked by accelerating digital transformation in most African countries. As a strategic sector for socio-economic development, training is one of the areas prioritized.  Through the platform, Morocco will offer a range of digital courses allowing learners to acquire new skills and actively participate in the development of the digital economy. With the platform, Morocco also wants to boost digital inclusion. 

To introduce learners to the digital world, the platform offers two programs, namely “digital enhancement,” and “digital literacy.” 

The platform aims to teach 12,500 learners in its first year with 173 courses that make up a total of 1,200 training hours. In its first three months (the pilot phase), it will train 1,350 learners and in the active phase (fourth to twelve months), it will train 11,150 learners to reach its target. 

Ruben Tchounyabe










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