[Africa Tech Review] Nixon Kanali: Google joins tech giants setting up innovations hub in Kenya
21-04-2022 14:14:00 | by: Nixon Kanali | hits: 2061 | Tags:

This has been quite an interesting week in tech in Africa. Google joined a number of other tech giants in setting up innovation hubs in Nairobi. The tech giant announced plans to open its first African product development centre in Nairobi, Kenya.  The centre is also Google’s second major research and development investment in Africa after the company set up an AI and research centre in Ghana back in 2019.

In 2019 Microsoft also launched its 7th global US $100 million Development Centre in Africa in Nairobi. Two weeks ago, Digital payments leader Visa also opened its first African Innovation Studio in Kenya.  

This week, The 2Africa consortium announced the first landing of the 2Africa cable - in Genoa, Italy. The landing sets the tone for more landings in the coming months as the cable is extended to a total of 46 locations by the completion of the project in 2024. 

In Nigeria, African Financial Technology Company Kudi announced that it was changing its name to Nomba as it transitions into an omni-channel payment platform providing tools to enable businesses to grow. In Kenya, electric vehicle (EV) startup Opibus also changed its name to ROAM.  Still, on startups, Nigerian insurtech startup Etap raised $1.5m in pre-seed funding while IFC announced an investment in the second fund from venture capital firm Algebra Ventures to support startups in Egypt. 

Nesta Challenges this week announced the semi-finalists of Promoting Change, the final strand of the Afri-Plastics Challenge. The Challenge aims to reduce marine plastics in Sub-Saharan African countries by developing and scaling innovative solutions to plastic mismanagement. Kenya’s leadidng telco Safaricom partnered with Zeraki Learning to enable secondary school learners to access affordable education services from well-trained teachers and informative video lessons. 

Research by International Data Corporation (IDC) released this week also revealed that 49% of CIOs across the Middle East, Turkey and Africa (MEA) believe that the cloud has the potential to play a significant role in driving innovation

Jumia this week partnered with Chinese global logistics company 4PX Express to help it expand its reach in Africa. The announcement comes just two weeks after the e-commerce leader entered into a similar partnership with Global logistics and package delivery company UPS.

The African Media Agency (AMA) also announced a partnership with Europe's startup and tech event, VivaTech, to promote business innovation and drive opportunities in Africa tech industry

Other top tech news stories we covered this week include Bluegrass Digital completing the qualifying examinations and successfully renewing its Silver Partner status with App Development and Cloud Platform competencies and highlights from the 11th Finnovex East Africa Summit, which focused on, among other things, the intersection of the financial services industry and technology.

Nixon Kanali is the Tech Editor for Africa Business Communities.