[Africa Tech Week] Duncan Mochama: Facebook has partnered with African telcos to extend subsea cable to four countries
This has been a very interesting tech week in Africa. The 2Africa consortium, comprising China Mobile International, Facebook, MTN GlobalConnect, Orange, stc, Telecom Egypt, Vodafone and WIOCC, announced the addition of four new branches to the 2Africa cable. The branches will extend 2Africa’s connectivity to Seychelles, the Comoros Islands, and Angola, and bring a new landing to south-east Nigeria. The new branches join the recently announced extension to the Canary Islands.
At the same time Teraco Data Environments Proprietary Limited, Africa’s largest vendor-neutral data centre and interconnection services provider, announced the completion of the JB3 data centre facility, located within the Isando Campus in Ekurhuleni, east of Johannesburg, South Africa. This comes just a few weeks after the company announced that the ACE submarine cable is now live and available for interconnection at three of its data centres across South Africa, expanding access to broadband connectivity and digital services in Africa.
Once again, African fintech startups were also in the news this week. Pngme raised $15 million in Series A funding as the company sets out to grow its financial data infrastructure and machine learning-as-a-service platform for financial institutions and fintechs across sub-Saharan Africa. Kenyan fintech startup Kwara was also named among the 11 startups from around the world that have been selected to join the Mastercard Start Path program. Since its inception in January 2020, the Binance through its Binance Masterclass program also announced that it has provided free crypto education to over 400,000 Africans.
Still, on startups, Ghanaian startup Plendify launched a B2B e-commerce marketplace to connect customers with small and large African wholesalers, manufacturers, exporters, and importers.
Cybersecurity leader Kasperky also this week released a new report highlighting that malware is rife across Africa with various countries exhibiting strong growth in all malware types in the first half of 2021 when compared to the same period last year. Another report by Sophos also revealed a raccoon stealer disguised as pirated software that grabs cryptocurrencies and information while dropping malicious content, such as crypto miners, on targeted systems.
This week, Vodacom introduced the pan-industry Eco Rating for mobile phones across multiple brands with distinct labeling at the point of sale where these devices are available. In Kenya, Safaricom Nokia has come together with multiple stakeholders, including UNICEF and the Kenyan Ministries of Education and ICT, to connect close to 90 schools to the Internet in Kenya. In Cameroon, MTN launched the MoMo Pay promotion, which rewards all payments made from the MTN MoMo account., which runs until 31 October.
4G CAPITAL GROUP also this week announced the appointments of Alex Siboe as Chief Operations Officer and Ross Breadmore as Chief Product Officer. Both officers will join the market leader in technology-driven financial inclusion for micro and SME businesses across Kenya and Uganda at the end of August 2021.
PureSoftware, a software company focused on fintech, 5G, and digital transformation, this week announced the opening of its first office in Kenya.
Other top highlights of the week include Incentro Africa helping MTN Uganda discover a simple solution to a frequent Cloud Billing issue, Lleida.net signing contracts with the postal operators of five African countries to provide them with digital postal services, and registered electronic communications technology to serve their citizens and the World Bank announcing the launch of a new Cybersecurity Multi-Donor Trust Fund under the broader Digital Development Partnership (DDP) umbrella program.