[Africa Tech Review] Duncan Mochama: Twitter Opens First African Office in Ghana to Tap Fast-Growing Market
One of the biggest news this week was social media giant Twitter announcing that it's finally coming to Africa. The microblogging site announced on Monday that it was opening a new office in Ghana, which it said was in line with its growth strategy.
With Twitter entering Africa, it’s one of the few Silicon Valley companies to enter the often overlooked continent by big business. Of course, Twitter comes after Facebook, which opened its first African office in Johannesburg back in 2015. Last year, it also opened an office in Lagos, Nigeria in what it said is its continued commitment and ongoing investment in Africa.
Twitter says it primarily settled on Ghana for its policies. Ghana woe the company for being “a supporter of free speech, online freedom, and the Open Internet.”
There was also some other news from West Africa. Ericsson announced plans to create an Automation Hub in Nigeria to support operators for improved consumer experience. This came after the company signed a three-year frame agreement with Unitel S.A for the supply of Ericsson Radio System solutions as well as core solutions and related services in Angola. Oduwa Coin, the first indigenous Cryptocurrency designed to empower people of African descent, also announced the launch of its latest blockchain optimization called IVIE. West African countries also this week signed an agreement to develop modern telecom infrastructure
The Digital Cooperation Organization (DCO), based in Riyadh, also announced that Nigeria has joined the organization.
We also covered some news on African startups this week. Kigali based electric motorcycle startup Ampersand raised $3.5 million in funding from the Ecosystem Integrity Fund (EIF) to rapidly scale its electric motorcycle and swap station network in Rwanda. Solar home systems social enterprise startup Baobab+ also raised €4 million in financing for the expansion of its activities in Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal. Nigerian fintech startup Appzone raised $10m for expansion and proprietary technology. Telecel Group opened applications for the ASIP Accelerator Program, powered by Startupbootcamp AfriTech.
This week, African fintechs Securities, Commodities and Derivatives Exchange (SECDEX), and KOINON, the global Digital Coin and Token-based payment platform announced a collaboration to interlink mobile money and digital assets. Mauritius Telecom Network Operator Emtel announced that the Meltingpot Indianoceanic Submarine System fibre optic cable has finally landed in the country.
In Kenya, Telkom partnered with The National Youth Council of Kenya (NYCK) to develop a youth-focused digital wallet to boost financial inclusion among the youth, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Also this week, Absa Group launched an internal cloud incubator initiative in collaboration with Amazon Web Services Inc. (AWS), a leading cloud services provider, to enhance its cloud computing skills across its operations in Africa. In Egypt, the government signed an agreement of cooperation between the Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA) and Webhelp, a global outsourcing services company to grow IT sourcing services.