In case you missed it, there was a big gathering devoted to African technology and business held in Paris at the Afrobytes marketplace. The conference was a chance for African developers to pitch ideas for new technology, apps and startups to a global audience of investors and the International tech ecosystems as well. Kenya was represented by Grant Brooke, Twiga Foods’ CEO and Njoki Gichinga, Safaricom’s Senior Strategic Partnership and Business Development Specialist and Joshua Mwaniki, Country Director Andela Kenya among other tech leaders who spoke on various panels.
A lot of optimism was being shared around:
“There is an incredible opportunity to solve massive structural problems with technology. Africa may have missed the agricultural and industrial revolutions but it will not miss the digital revolution”, dixit Dotun Olowoporoku. Ok #Afrobytes!!! pic.twitter.com/SIr7afxgtP
— Lys Mehou-Loko (@lysmehouloko) June 7, 2018
We can’t wait for what Safaricom’s innovation hub (Alpha) is cooking…
Andela was present too:
Some of the featured startups that graced the event included – Zayride, an Ethiopian taxi app founded by Tadesse Hamtabu who left the US and moved back to Ethiopia. The app allows you to hail a cab, set up deliveries and you can even quickly organise an ambulance.
Sunubus app also got featured. The bus app helps passengers in Dakar navigate public transport lines by finding their bus and exactly when they’ll reach their destination.
Ethiopian Government set to privatise state-run telecom, Ethio Telcom and open it to foreign investors
The government has until now been strict about keeping the industries in-house, but there are signs it’s opening up to the world since Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s rise to power earlier this year. This is a huge deal since the country of 100 million people has remained the most populated country without a competitive telecom market. Majority stakes will still be held by the state.
There were no reasons given for Stork’s departure but the company did thank him for his service and wished him the best in his future endeavours. The telco is one of Zambia’s fastest growing ISPs and was recently granted authority by the Regulator ZICTA to start providing VoLTE services in the country.
Unlike many other blockchain technology platforms, SPENN uses a different model whereby it removes the need for cash by digitalising national currencies.
Africa and Social Media
Our neighbours in Uganda will start being taxed while for their use of social media. The law comes into effect as of July 1st, but it’s not clear how the government will monitor its citizens or collect the tax. It will consist of a daily fee of about 200 Ugandan shillings. This move had been highly criticized as ‘diversionary, deceptive, injurious to individual freedoms and burdensome’ by human rights defenders and opposition leaders. Although the government has said the tax is to raise revenue, the widely held opinion is that the new law is simply a medium to stifle free speech and expression of citizens.
Egypt’s authorities are also evaluating a proposed draft bill to regulate social media. The draft law cites “state security” as the main reason for a law to be adopted to govern the use of social media in Egypt. The draft law comes at a time when Egypt’s parliament has just passed the Anti-Cyber and Information Technology Crimes law on 5 June 2018. Similar to Kenya’s Computer and Cyber Crime Act.
Startup News Round-Up
- Taxify, a leading European ride-hailing company, has completed an investment round of $175 million bringing its valuation to $1 billion. It plans to use the investment to further develop its ride-hailing technology and continue working on best ways to move in cities, particularly in Europe and Africa.
- DEMO Africa has just announced Innovation Tour dates – The Startup launchpad competition DEMO Africa is to visit 11 cities across the continent over the next month to select startups for its main event in Morocco in October.
- A trio of Kenyan startups bagged investments from Norwegian accelerator Pangea. The culmination of the program, which was dubbed Pangea Demo Day, saw three Kenyan startups close investments with the accelerator beating their counterparts from Nigeria and Egypt.
- Opera News crossed the 5 million downloads mark and to celebrate this milestone, Opera has partnered with Safaricom to reward Opera News users in Kenya with free data.
- The payments space in Angola is getting a much-need shake-up, as the country gets its first comprehensive mobile wallet courtesy of local startup Kamba.
- Vizibiliti Insight named the overall winner at 2018 Viva Tech. The startup that uses AI to help the commercial property sector pre-screen tenants and predict the chances of them defaulting, was selected and invited to present at Viva Tech after being shortlisted from over 110 applications for Verizon’s alternative credit scoring challenge.
- Mobile operator Orange has announced a partnership with Google to join forces to co-invest in startups across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The partnership will see startups sourced through the operator’s investment fund, Orange Digital Ventures (ODV), to be jointly evaluated for co-investment by ODV and Google
- Applications for Google Launchpad Accelerator Africa Class 2 now open.
- The African Development Bank has announced the “Coding for Employment” program as part of their mission to prepare Afrika’s youth for careers in science, technology and innovation.
- 5 female entrepreneurs picked for Rise Scalarator – The Absa-owned Rise innovation hub has selected five female entrepreneurs to take part in the inaugural Rise Scalarator, which aims to drive diversity within the entrepreneurial ecosystem and support female-owned businesses.
- Africa Innovation Summit kicked off in Kigali showcasing ground-breaking African solutions
Other Interesting Reads
- Much as they represent an almost similar objective, Android One and Android Go are a bit different. Here’s why.
- USSD apps won’t replace apps. The technology can be layered on top of existing apps to reach a much wider audience. This piece by Wiza Jalakasi on the power of USSD in Africa