[Africa Tech Week] African governments and organisations improving service delivery through digitization of services
Technology is playing a very important role in the delivery of services by African governments and even organisations. It has improved citizens access to information, improved transport efficiency hence reducing frustrations.
Digitization of these services has enabled secure identification and access control. It has facilitated more efficient payments collection in major African cities, hospitals and even schools by streamlining processes. This week, at the 11th East Africa Regional Procurement Forum (EAPF) held in Nairobi, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for National Treasury Mr Henry Rotich called on East Africa Community member states to deploy IT-enabled procurement systems to curb corruption. After making good progress on financial inclusion, Senegal this week also turned its attention to digitizing payments in order to speed up its growth and inclusive development.
In June this year, GE Power’s Grid Solutions business also unveiled a whitepaper on the “Digitization of Energy Transmission & Distribution in Africa.” Kenya’s power sector presents promising opportunities for grid digitization and the whitepaper looked at the role of smart technology and how it can be used to transform grids as they continue to reflect the changes in the way energy is generated, distributed and stored.
This week, Guaranty Trust Bank announced the launch of Habari, Nigeria’s largest platform for music, shopping, lifestyle content and more. This came just a few months after the bank went live on ICS BANKS Universal Banking Solution in Tanzania. In 2017, the bank launched its GTBank Debit Mastercard Uganda.
Still on online platforms, Jumia Kenya this week announced a new patnership with Majid Al Futtaim, the exclusive franchisee operator of Carrefour in 15 countries across the Middle East, Africa and Asia, to provide a secure and convenient way for Carrefour customers to shop for groceries and household goods online starting end of December. This is not the only recent partnership announced by Jumia, in September, partnered with Amadeus, a leading travel technology company to launch the first flight marketplace in Africa. The e-commerce company also announced that it plans to grow its vendor base from the current 10,000 to 15,000 by 2019 in Kenya. Equity Bank also unveiled an innovative online forex trading platform in a move that seeks to harness the potential of the financial markets in Kenya. Dubbed “EazzyFX” the platform offers a seamless experience in buying and selling foreign currency digitally eliminating the need for face-to-face or over-the-phone transactions.
In South Africa, Email and data security company Mimecast Limited launched Mimecast for IBM QRadar, which integrates email security data into IBM’s security intelligence technology.With the year winding down, Cell C customers announced that it will be able to get twice the data for Cell C’s revolutionary mobile service that combines connectivity and entertainment in a unique and great value package, MediaPlay. The bonus here, though, is that customers will receive the extra data for no extra charge.
On matters telecom, Vodacom Group Limited appointed two new board members to replace Ms Thoko Mokgosi and Mr Ronald Schellekens, who resigned as directors.The company also added over 150 new sites to its network to facilitate additional traffic over the festive season. The sites according to Vodacom will support the migration of popular holiday destinations as well as returning home for festivities around the country. Recently, the company partnered with London based software technology company Fiskl to introduce a host of mobile and digital technology solutions to South Africa's small businesses. It also concluded a long-term, multi billion rand agreement whereby Telkom will obtain roaming and facilities leasing services from Vodacom with full effect from June 2019.
In Egypt, Telecom Egypt this week adopted Nokia's Photonic Service Engine (PSE) technology to double backbone capacity on its Delta Region DWDM backbone network. The company also recently signed a submarine cable agreement with Bharti Airtel to formalize its strategic partnership announced on 6 August 2018. In Kenya, the European Investment Bank signed a loan agreement worth $40 million with Telkom. In view of the growing demand for telecommunication services, Telkom will invest heavily in its 3G and 4G coverage throughout Kenya. Remember Telkom Kenya recently unveiled 200 new 4G sites within Nairobi and its environs. The company is also working with Loon, a subsidiary of Alphabet to pilot an innovative new 4G/LTE access network service in Kenya.
Still, in Kenya, DPO Group announced a partnership with Aero CRS (an airline customer reservation system) that will see DPO power all the payments at the back-end ensuring all parties receive their payments in real time.
We also covered news about African startups this week. First, Google also announced the 12 finalists of the first Google Impact Challenge in Kenya. Lewa Wildlife Marathon was named the winner of the Public Vote, while African Prisons Project, Startup Lions and Ujuzi Kilimo Solutions won the Judges’ Vote. Digital payment platform also raised $5m from Japanese insurance group Sompo Holdings in a move expected to revolutionize cross-border payments and insurance services globally. Mobile phone data-driven financial platform Port It Global Inc closed a Seed round of funding led by Energy Access Ventures (EAV) to drive market expansion in Africa and South America. E-health platform and online retail pharmacy; MYDAWA and Kenya Pharmaceutical Association (KPA) also announced a new partnership to advocate for access to quality health commodities for Kenyans.
Other highlights of the week included Kenya’s Family Bank Limited partnering with London-based financial technology firm SimbaPay to launch an instant money transfer service from Kenya to China through WeChat – a service that will help boost Kenya-China trade and Visa and Vivo Energy announcing a Pan African agreement to provide digital payment services to consumers across 15 African countries, where both companies operate.