[Africa Tech Review] Duncan Mochama: A huge number of the world’s population is now using mobile internet
30-09-2021 12:31:00 | by: Nixon Kanali | hits: 2257 | Tags:

There are now more than 3.8 billion mobile internet subscribers globally, representing 49% of the world’s population. However, adoption has not been equitable, with mobile internet adoption standing at 26% in Sub-Saharan Africa at the end of 2019. The region accounts for almost half of the global population not covered by a mobile broadband network. This is according to the GSMA State of Mobile Internet Connectivity Report released last year. 

GSMA has now released the 2021 report on the same showing that, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, more than half of the world’s population is now using the mobile internet.  The report released this week, mobile internet usage translates to just over 4 billion connected people,  225 million more compared to 2019, and up from a third of people globally just six years ago. 

This week, Andela, the global network for remote engineering talent,announced $200 million in Series E financing. The financing round was led by Softbank Vision Fund 2. In August, it also announced that its developer learning community. Andela Learning Community (ALC) has now surpassed 100,000 learners. Still on funding, Nomad Homes, a property technology startup that offers an end-to-end buyer experience for real estate across Europe, the Middle East and Africa, this week closed a $20 million Series A funding round. Pan-African cryptocurrency exchange, Yellow Card, announced a $15 million Series A, the largest ever by an African cryptocurrency exchange, to ramp up hiring and continue its expansion across the continent.

In Nigeria, financial and energy access startup InfiBranches Technologies Limited raised a $2m investment pre-seed raise round to help bridge the energy distribution gap in Nigeria’s underserved rural and peri-urban areas and foster financial inclusion

EMURGO, the official commercial arm of the Cardano blockchain, announced the launch of a new Cardano ecosystem investment vehicle to invest into early startup and growth-stage companies focused on building socially impactful solutions powered by Cardano. 

On matters fintech, South African fintech firm Ukheshe Technologies partnered with Chipper Cash to enhance and accelerate the rollout out of Chipper’s digital payment offerings. While cash is still the preferred payment method for the majority of South Africans, digital payments are booming, according to Andrew Springate, CEO of tech and financial gateway service provider PAYM8.  Network International also announced the successful completion of its acquisition of DPO Group, the high-growth online payments platform across Africa, for a total consideration of $291.3 million.

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Telecom Infra Project (TIP) this week also announced a new partnership that aims to accelerate the deployment of new and more cost-effective cellular networks. In Botswana, Intracom Telecom, a global telecommunication systems, and solutions vendor announced the supply, through Nextlan Pty Ltd, the company's trusted reseller in the country, of its advanced OmniBAS™ microwave product family for the upgrade of the private network for the Botswana government. 

For the second year in a row, MTN Group was this week named the most valuable African brand in the Brand Finance Africa 150 rankings, which assigned the group a brand value of US$2.7 billion – US$1.0 billion above the next most valuable brand. Liquid Intelligent Technologies was announced as a launch partner for Microsoft’s new Operator Connect for Microsoft Teams. CDC Group, the UK’s development finance institution (DFI) and impact investor, also announced commitments totaling US$50.9 million to expand digital infrastructure, boost rural connectivity and accelerate digital technology access for rural and underserved communities across sub-Saharan Africa.

Other top highlights of the week include The 2Africa cable extending to the Arabian Gulf, India, and Pakistan, Netflix introducing a free mobile-only plan in Kenya as the company looks to tap into the growing VoD streaming market in the country and the Internet Society Foundation has launched a new grant program to advance Internet access and connectivity around the world.

Duncan Mochama is the solutions consultant at  Incentro Africa.