[Africa Tech Review] Duncan Mochama: More African countries are now rolling out 5G
5G is here with us with a number of African telcos already starting to roll out this fifth-generation technology standard for broadband cellular networks in the different countries they operate in.
This week, Africell, a mobile operator serving over 12 million subscribers throughout Africa, signed a multi-million-dollar agreement with Aviat to provide a 5G-ready end-to-end disaggregated transmission network across multiple African countries. This came after Kenya’s leading telco Safaricom also announced the launch of its first public 5G network trials in select parts across the country last month. As we have mentioned in our previous Africa tech review article, 5G promises more than just a faster network. It will help redefine the network, establishing a new global wireless standard for speed, throughput and bandwidth.
We also covered a number of African startups this week. OKO, a Malian Insurtech startup that provides inclusive agricultural insurance to secure farmers’ income across Africa, closed a Seed investment of $1.2 million. FIS announced that it is expanding its payment processing capabilities into the rapidly growing markets of Nigeria, South Africa and Malaysia. In Nigeria, fintech platform and Open Finance (API Economy) pioneers, Okra, also secured a $3.5m Seed raise while Kwik Delivery released its plugin for Prestashop. This came after the delivery startup also released its plugins for Shopify and Magento. Last month, it also announced that it has closed its pre-Series A financing round.
UNICEF announced the twenty-two startups that will be taking part in this year's cohort of the UNICEF Startup Lab, a co-creation space and accelerator. Andela, the global talent network that helps companies build remote engineering teams also this week announced the global expansion of their engineering talent while Logistics platform Amitruck and e-commerce platform Sky.Garden announced a partnership aiming to form an end-to-end digital chain for goods pick-up and deliveries to the last mile. Grindstone an equity-free structured entrepreneurship development programme that assists high-growth innovation-driven SMEs in South Africa to become sustainable and fundable opened applications for this year’s Grindstone’s accelerator programme.
On matters fintech, Zeepay and Mangwee this week agreed to a sale of 51 per cent of Mangwee shares to Zeepay. The deal makes Zeepay Ghana the majority shareholder of the entity.PayTabs partnered with Visa to launch Tap to Phone payment solution in MENA. Bitzlato (BZ), the latest P2P Crypto Exchange to enter the African market, also added Lemonade Finance, a borderless payment platform for Africa as a payment method to its platform. A first in South Africa, Nedbank, in collaboration with Mastercard and Ukheshe, launched Money Message, a new payment platform that lets small and micro businesses conveniently receive secure in-chat payments from their customers via WhatsApp.
About two weeks after officially launching its food delivery service, Bolt Food, in Nairobi, Kenya, Ride-hailing firm Bolt this week announced that it has appointed Edgar Kipngetich Kitur as the Country Manager for Bolt Food in Kenya. Edgar joins Bolt Food from SUPPER London, a food delivery startup where he served as VP of strategy.
Pan-African cloud-based digital service provider inq. announced that they are now a strategic managed security services partner for Elastic, the company behind Elasticsearch and the Elastic Stack. In Kenya, icolo.io, a leading provider of carrier-neutral colocation services in Africa announced the installation of Solar Energy systems at its Nairobi (NBO1) and Mombasa (MBA1) Data Centres.