Happy International Women’s Day guys!
It’s yet another Friday and we bring to you as usual the African Tech News Roundup where we bring you the highlights of African Tech over the week.
We start with the big news, Visa has launched the first Visa Everywhere Initiative: Women’s Global Edition to celebrate women from around the world in celebration of International Women’s Day. This aims to tackle Fintech and Social Impact challenges for a chance to win $100,000 in each of the two challenges. To participate, companies with at least one female founder are to submit solutions that tackle challenges facing the FinTech and Social Impact landscape through innovation.Interested? Click here.
We follow up with the news that Alibaba Business School and the UN Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad) has called on Digital Innovators based in Botswana, Cameroon, Chad, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda to apply for Class 5 of the eFounders Fellowship. eFounders Fellowship provides first-hand exposure to ecommerce and digital innovations, access to business leaders across Alibaba and China, and an opportunity to network. Applicants who intend to apply for the Class 5 eFounder Fellowship must be co-founders or founders of digital ventures that have been in operation for at least two years. Applications will close on 17 March. Interested? Apply here
Moving on Ride-hailing Company Taxify has announced a change of name. The ride-hailing company changed its name from taxify to Bolt– a name that it has been using for its new electric scooter service. The change of name is in line to highlight the fact that it offers transportation services beyond private cars. They also want to remove the word “taxi” from their name in order to change the impression that the company only offers car-based rides.
Speaking about coding, The African Development Bank aims to create 25 million jobs within Africa through its ‘Coding for Employment’ initiative, by developing and launching the digitally enabled workforce. The coding for Employment program in partnership with Facebook, Microsoft and the Rockefeller Foundation was launched in February 2018. AFDB launched 130 Centers of Excellence within Africa as part of its initiative. The program aims to link 75% of the trainees with employment, while 25% will become entrepreneurs. Learn more here.
On investments, South Africa-based crypto trading platform, VALR is set to launch its digital asset trading platform after securing a US$1.5 million fund led by the US-based Bittrex. It plans to leverage the technology of BIttrex: a digital asset trading platform to offer a wide selection of digital assets. On it, customers can buy, sell, store and transfer crypto currencies seamlessly and securely.
On innovation, Zoë Life and Keep A Child Alive, in collaboration with the Qualcomm Wireless Reach Initiative has launched the KidzAlive Talk Tool App. It is an innovative mobile health solution that provides healthcare workers with age-appropriate HIV education for children, adolescents and primary caregivers. They use the app to engage children in the animated journey of a frog named Sibusiso as he goes for HIV testing, learns his positive status and understands the importance of adhering to his treatment.
Still on innovations, Africa based agri-tech startup, Hello Tractor has collaborated with Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU (CTA) to expand and connect over 5000 smallholder farmers to its mechanization services across Nigeria and Kenya. This partnership will increase the farmer’s access to mechanization services and youth employment opportunities. It also aims to create jobs for youths as tractor operators and booking agents.
Earlier in the week, Nigerian Firm, Pan African Towers (PAT) signed a $20 million infrastructure investment with Watt Renewable Corporation a Canadian Firm. The Canadian firm will leverage on this to bring alternative energy solutions (SOLAR) to PAT owned towers in Nigeria. The partnership will also impact greatly by ensuring quality voice and data service in the country, considering unstable power supply is a challenge to telecoms operators in Nigeria. PAT manages about 1,000 towers in Nigeria, and it will be doubled by the end of the year. According to PAT CEO the firm also has footprints in Ghana
Moving on to challenges, MEST Africa has announced the names of the top five finalist that will pitch at the 2019 MEST Africa Challenge, finals in June for $50,000 in equity investment. The five startups are from Ghana, Ivory Coast, Nigeria and South Africa respectively. The pitch will take place at the fourth MEST Africa Summit in Nairobi, Kenya on the 10th to 12th of June 2019. The startups are; AMPZ.TV (Nigeria), OZÉ (Ghana), Seekewa (Ivory Coast), Snode Technologies (South Africa) and WayaWaya (Kenya).
And finally, More than 20 innovators from Kenya joined 20 contemporaries from Basque, a region that spans the border between France and Spain, to take part in the Africa Basque Challenge (ABC). The challenge was to find social and technical solutions to bridge the urban-rural divide in today’s rapidly developed world. The winning team, comprising of Kenyans and Basque County came up with an idea called HOCO which seeks to boost sustainable development in rural areas by producing construction materials out of coconut waste. They won a €6,000 fund and six months mentoring to help shape their idea.
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