[Africa Tech Review] Duncan Mochama: Investment in African startups is now stronger than ever
Investors are falling for African startups, giving them an opportunity to scale and expand to other markets. Despite the global economic slowdown caused by COVID-19, the case for investing in African startups is stronger than ever with new opportunities being announced every day.
This week, Visa announced that it has opened applications for its 2021 Visa Everywhere Initiative - a global innovation program and competition for fintech startups. Visa launched this initiative back in 2018, targeting young developers in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) also launched a regional campaign to popularise a new online platform for women in business. In Cameroon, UNDP unveiled the Acceleration Laboratory for Cameroon which is aimed at stimulating the economic growth of local innovators and tackle global challenges.
Still, on startups, this week, Kenyan fundraising and equity management platform Raise raised $25,000 funding from Nigeria’s Microtraction to help African startups fundraise and grow their businesses with ease. Nigeria’s Kwik Delivery announced that it is expanding its app-based breakthrough delivery service to 4-wheels delivery vehicles while in South Africa, African focused venture capital (VC) investor HAVAÍC announced the launch of its newest fund.HAVAÍC has a track record for investing in diversified African tech startups and just last week predicted a bumper year for startups in the region.
There was also some good news coming from Spotify. The Audio streaming subscription service Spotify finally came to Kenya. The service expanded in Other African countries including, Uganda, Tanzania, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, and Zimbabwe.
This week, As part of its celebration around International Women’s Month, Facebook launched a book spotlighting female leaders across Africa. This came just a few weeks after it also unveiled a new platform to register and verify journalists in Kenya and other African countries. It also launched a Public Service Announcement video that educates children and parents on online safety in partnership with Ubongo Kids during this year’s Safer Internet Day celebrations.
Comviva this week also announced the launch of its new Data-Science-as-a-Service (DSaaS) and AI workbench (MobiLytixAIX) solutions that accelerate the use of AI by Communications Service Providers (CSPs). The company recently also entered into a strategic partnership with Ooredoo Kuwait to deliver Machine Learning driven CVM campaigns.
On matters telecoms, Telkom Kenya this week announced that it has reviewed its welcome offer for pre-paid customers joining the Network for the first time. In Egypt, Telecom Egypt, Egypt’s first integrated telecom operator and one of the largest subsea cable operators in the region announced its plans to launch Hybrid African Ring Path (HARP) by 2023. This is a new subsea system that will outline the African continent, forming the shape of a harp. Kenya’s leading telco Safaricom partnered with the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) to roll out a smart mobile payment solution for tertiary institutions students to access and utilise their loans and bursaries.
Vodacom DRC and Mondia, a private mobile technology company also rolled out the Mum & Baby maternal health service across the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).