Akon to launch Akoin and is building his own Wakanda

The American-based Senegalese artist says the cryptocurrency will be the currency of choice in Akon Crypto City, a 2,000-hectare development which is under construction in an area just outside Dakar, Senegal’s capital city. The rapper describes the development as the real-life Wakanda. He also believes the technology has benefits for those on African soil, disadvantaged by political and social circumstances. Unfortunately, Akon didn’t reveal any technical details of the cryptocurrency. [Read More]

“I think that blockchain and crypto could be the saviour for Africa in many ways because it brings the power back to the people and brings the security back into the currency system,” he said at Cannes Lions panel discussion.

Asked technical questions about the blockchain, Akon quipped, “I come with the concepts and let the geeks figure it out.”

Tech Hubs in Africa

More than 130 new hubs have opened in Africa over the last two years, and there are still not enough.  If you can get into these programs, your startup would likely get some crucial world-class technical support. There’s immense value, for aspiring entrepreneurs to be around like-minded innovators and technology dreamers. So perhaps the most pressing need is more and different types of hubs to bring about cross-pollination of ideas and skills across these African tech hubs. [Read More]

Netflix set to build a library of African movies and shows

Netflix is hiring a director to acquire shows from Africa and the Middle East. For filmmakers and producers, Netflix’s focus on Africa will be a boon – even if that attention is divided. As the streaming service has expanded in Africa, it’s picked up films like the Nigerian box-office hit The Wedding Party and Catching Feelings, a South African romcom. Don’t get overly excited though – the role is based in Amsterdam so it might just be one of those “EMEA” things. [Read More]

The startling numbers behind Africa’s Wikipedia knowledge gaps

Wikipedia is one of the most trafficked websites in the world (19 billion visits per month and even that is a conservative estimate) but unfortunately, Africa is missing out on a lot of the fun. Of all the English biographies on Wikipedia, only 16% are on women and African women make up just 0.318% of that cut. Also, only a quarter of all edits on sub-Saharan Africa are actually from editors in sub-Saharan Africa. This is about to change as Capetown won the rights to host the 14th edition of the Wikimania 2018 conference on July 18th. The event is set to “catalyse a conversation around bridging knowledge gaps” on Wikipedia, especially on the African continent. [Read More]

Wells Fargo Startup Accelerator

If you have/know a fintech startup with an enterprise-facing solution or product, then check out the Wells Fargo Startup Accelerator. There’s an opportunity to land up to $1 million in equity investment. [Apply Here]

Here are other tech stories from the continent

East Africa

M-Pesa and other similar mobile money services are protesting a 2% increase on mobile money tax proposed by the Kenyan government. While the taxes are levied on the service providers, the additional costs will likely be passed on to customers, many of whom are unbanked and rely on the service for essential daily payments.

A new boda-boda (commercial motorcycle) startup, Dial Jack, launched in Uganda. With the country’s central government querying the security of the motorcycle business and the industry at large, boda-hailing companies are the only option for riders to have a firm identity and stand secure in case of a rout. [Read More]

It’s not Thursday yet, but check out this brief history of digital music in Kenya. Did you know that back in the 70s and 80s, global music labels like PolyGram (now part of Universal Music Group) and CBS Records (now owned by Sony Music Entertainment) were active in Nairobi? These music powerhouses built studios and record pressing plants that allowed Kenya’s music scene to flourish. Africa as a whole does not have a lot of localised digital music offerings. However, the ecosystem is still young so that’s not exactly a bad thing. Evidently, Kenya’s digital music scene today is starting to gain momentum with these types of platforms. [Read More]

Last week on 21st June, Andela marked four years and one month since the company was founded. It has been a long and exciting journey for them and its Co-Founder decided to write about his Andela journey. You can read it here.

Kenya’s M-Akiba was and still is the first mobile-only government bond in the world. It was supposed to give the average Kenyan access to this kind of investing and open up the government to a new pool of investors. Unfortunately, it didn’t do as well as it should have. It was popular but missed its target. The government only raised 8% of its target as less than 5% of the over 300,000 people who registered for the bond actually made a purchase. [Read More]

Kenyan digital foreign exchange and cryptocurrency startup, BitPesa, has been awarded “Technology Pioneer” status by the World Economic Forum. They have been recognized for their work in facilitating faster and cost-effective cross-border transactions in, out and within Africa using blockchain settlement. BitPesa became the first company to make a market between African and digital currencies. [Read More]

Ugandan micro-insurance platform, aYo (a joint venture between MTN Uganda and MMI Holdings), has hit 1 million subscribers in just 19 months of operation. The mobile-based microinsurance product with Hospital and Life cover opened its doors to the Ugandan market in January 2017 with 2 products namely aYo Recharge with care and aYo Send with care, and the company plans to make insurance relevant, accessible, easy to use and thereby adding value to & improve the lives of all Ugandans. [Read More]

West Africa

Micro-lending startup, Branch, has disbursed over N1 billion and over 100,000 loans.  The company’s growth continues to accelerate; in the first quarter of 2018, Branch grew 50 per cent month on month in Nigeria. This year, Branch plans to disburse more than N4 billion and generate over half a million loans. They are also investing in their Lagos office and plan to double the number of employees.[Read More]

TechCrunch’s Startup Battlefield (in partnership with Facebook) is coming to Beirut (October), São Paulo (November) and LAGOS (December). In Lagos, Nigeria, TechCrunch will once again find the top startup in Sub-Saharan Africa and you can start by visiting apply.techcrunch.com

Accounteer, a Nigerian payroll and accounting management software startup, has won the first MEST Africa Challenge. The company will take home $50K after beating Ghana’s Cowtribe, Kenya’s Data Integrated and South Africa’s Swift Vee, to the prize. [Read More]

South Africa

Naspers announced its financial results for the year that ended on 31 March 2018. The company noted that overall, the video-entertainment business recorded modest subscriber growth over the period with the total subscriber base closing at 13.5 million. South Africa accounts for the bulk of DStv subscribers, having grown its base 9% year on year. It added that the average revenue per user (ARPU) remained relatively stable at R344(compared to R353 in 2017), despite an ongoing change in subscriber mix and that’s how much money Multichoice makes from each DSTV subscriber. [Read More]

MultiChoice is rapidly losing DStv Premium subscribers. Over the last year, MultiChoice’s DStv subscribers grew from 11.942 million to 13.476 million – an increase of 13%. Most of this growth came from lower-end subscribers, which shows that MultiChoice’s mass-market growth is continuing. MultiChoice’s high-end subscribers – DStv Premium – have declined from 1.962 million to 1.921 million over the last year. This equates to a loss of 41,000 DStv Premium subscribers in one year. Naspers said its “mass market growth trend continues, premium tier growth is declining and compact tier growth is starting to stabilize”. [Read More]

Germany-based Merck Accelerator has launched its satellite program in Cape Town, South Africa following a successful pilot in Nairobi, Kenya in partnership with Mettā Nairobi. Applications are open (there is $3K in prize money and six-to-12 months of sponsored membership at the MEST Cape Town Incubator to be won) and the deadline is July 20. [Read More]

MTN and partner Ericsson did a pretty interesting 5G demo just outside Pretoria in South Africa. They were able to achieve data throughput speed of 1.6GB/s using 100MHz of spectrum in the 28GHz band. The demo was held at the Gerotek test track where it had a driver wear a virtual reality headset to control a large vehicle drifting around on a skidpan at high speed. The companies demonstrated a live, 4K-quality video feed streamed from inside a moving car at the facility. [Read More]

Cash is so scarce in Zimbabwe that cashless transactions are a huge thing. Still, both volume and value of POS transaction declined by 16 and 10% respectively, in the first quarter of the year. The acute shortage of physical cash has triggered a cash crisis forcing Zimbabweans to resort to electronic transactions. Despite, the widespread and increased adoption of cashless transactions in Zimbabwe, it’s curious to witness this marked decline in the use of POS. What’s more curious is that POS devices have incresed in circulation. The decline in POS transaction volumes and values can be ascribed to just a general decrease in commercial activity in the country. [Read More]

Techzim compiled a list of interesting numbers from the DEMO Africa Innovation Tour event in Harare, Zimbabwe such as

  • $120000, The amount of money Microsoft is sponsoring the Moroccan winner
  • $54 000 000, raised in investing billing by the startups helped by DEMO Africa
  • 200, The number of StartUps DEMO Africa has launched since they started.

North Africa

Egypt had their first health tech hackathon ever but a few startups have been doing it before and Tech Cabal compiled some of the more interesting startups doing great health tech stuff from our neighbors up north. Here’s what they found out.

You’re all caught up. Catch our previous editions here.

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George Kamau
I brunch on consumer tech | first.last at techweez dot com


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