[Africa Tech Review] Nixon Kanali: Africa continues to attract investments from big tech
19-05-2022 15:22:00 | by: Nixon Kanali | hits: 2122 | Tags:

The last couple of years and months have been quite interesting for tech in Africa with tech giants like Google, Visa and Microsoft announcing some investments in Kenya. Google announced plans to open its first product development centre in the continent in Nairobi, Kenya.   Visa opened its first African Innovation Studio in Kenya to service Sub-Saharan Africa while Microsoft officially opened its  African Development Center in the country.  

Oracle has joined this bandwagon and this week it made an interesting announcement. The tech company revealed plans to establish a new branch of Oracle Labs, Oracle's advanced research arm, at Casanearshore Park in Casablanca Morocco. The lab will house up to 100 researchers. Researchers at the new facility will use Oracle’s cloud, AI, and machine learning technologies to tackle the most pressing challenges facing business, science and the public sector. This announcement came just weeks after the company opened the doors to its new 30,000-square-foot Oracle Industry Lab just outside of Chicago, Illinois. 

This week, African startups were also all the news. Fintech startup MooveBeta merged with blockchain company ImpalaPay to provide a connected economy for Africa. Naspers, through its early-stage tech investment vehicle Naspers Foundry, announced a R40 million ($2.5 million) investment in Nile, a South African agritech company that connects farmers to buyers of fresh produce. Kenyan healthtech startup Zuri Health raised $1.3-million in funding to expand across Africa. Another Kenyan fintech Bamba secured $3.2m in seed funding to scale its fintech app and build out its team. Hisa App, a Kenyan mobile investment platform that allows anyone in Kenya to invest in  U.S. stocks and ETFs using mobile money was also selected to join the NVIDIA Inception programme. Still in Kenya, global nonprofit organization Habitat for Humanity opened applications for the ShelterTech sub-Saharan Africa accelerator program. B2B E-Commerce startup Twiga Foods  launched a new subsidiary that is focused on modern and commercial farming.  In Nigeria, Pan-African VC firm, Ventures Platform appointed Dr. Dotun Olowoporoku as its new Venture Partner. The World Economic Forum welcomed 100 innovative tech firms to its Technology Pioneers community. Innovate Now, Africa first Assistive Technology (AT) Accelerator has announced its fifth cohort of innovators, ventures providing digital AT or using digital to increase access to AT products or services. 

Mastercard and fintech giant OPay this week also announced a strategic partnership, which marks a significant boost for wider financial inclusion and economic prosperity by opening up digital commerce to millions of people across Middle East and Africa. InterSAT and SES renewed their partnership to accelerate digital inclusion across Africa. Incentro announced the signing of a strategic partnership with Monday.com, giving Incentro the ability to provide training, consulting and services on monday.com's work operating system in the African market

Safaricom this week announced that it is set to launch commercial operations in Ethiopia within the year. Safaricom CEO Peter Ndegwa confirmed this while releasing the telco’s Full Year 2021/2022 results released last week.

Other top highlights of the week include Cybersecurity specialist Obscure Technologies forming a strategic alliance with DNSSense that will enable the delivery of DNS Layer Security, DNS Analysis and Advanced DNS Visibility products to Africa’s enterprise networks, Relativity partnering with ENSafrica to expand cloud capabilities across African markets, and Eye care nonprofit Orbis announcing the launch of a virtual Flying Eye Hospital program in Ethiopia. 

Nixon Kanali is the Tech Editor for Africa Business Communities.