[Africa Tech Week] Young innovators driving Africa’s growth
Today, more than ever, African countries are seeking out new opportunities for growth and move beyond business as usual. Young people are playing a key role in this and are coming up with innovative ideas and solutions to drive this growth.
At the Zayed Sustainability Prize annual awards ceremony, which is the UAE’s pioneering global award in sustainability African innovators excelled winning in three out of five categories including Energy, Food and Global High Schools. This comes as different organizations and institutions also work hard to boost innovation in the continent. They include AfDB, CDC, JKUAT and Zalego institute in Kenya, Konza Technopolis Development Authority and Huawei among others. Pharmaceutical company Sanofi, and a major player in innovation in Africa, also launched three challenges for African startups to find innovative solutions to improve access to healthcare and transform the health ecosystem throughout the continent.
CSquared, has spelt out its operational priorities that are destined to shape Africa’s digital future. Top among CSquared’s priorities is ‘Fiberising’ Africa through synergizing all the technologies that can enhance the ingenuity of Africans and jolt the restless youth to be gainful in their thinking and change the dynamics of Africans from illiteracy to digital literacy. Different institutions like Nexan, AfDB, have previously been engaged in this providing support for fibre optic project across the African continent.
Safaricom’s M-PESA Global was shortlisted for the Global Mobile Awards 2019 (GLOMO Awards). The service which was launched in November last year in partnership with Western Union has been nominated under the Best Mobile Innovation for Commerce. Safaricom also entered the cybersecurity market by introducing new IT security solutions for its enterprise customers.
Creditinfo launched a new Integrated anti-fraud solution to combat identity fraud for the Kenyan mobile lending market. According to the credit information and risk management solutions provider, the solution uses advanced analytics to combat the fraud. This came as cases of SIM Swap fraud were also being reported in Kenya. A recent survey by Myriad Connect in Kenya revealed that over 90% of Kenyan banking leaders see it as an issue for their organisations. Kenya’s Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti has however been on record assuring the public that the fight against Sim Swap fraud is on course.
Andela announced the completion of a $100M Series D funding led by Generation Investment Management with participation from existing investors including Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, GV, Spark Capital, and CRE Venture Capital. The most recent financing brings Andela’s total venture funding to $180M. This came just a few months after Andela opened a new hub in Rwanda and named Clément Uwajeneza as its Country Director for Rwanda.
On matters cloud, South Africa based Airlink completed its implementation of the TRAX eMRO cloud software solution. eMRO caters to every aspect of aircraft maintenance management. The IDC report, Economic Impact of IT & Microsoft in South Africa revealed that the increased utilisation of public cloud services and the additional investments into private and hybrid cloud solutions will enable organisations in South Africa to focus on innovation and accelerate the pace of digital business transformation. At the same time, South African Air Force received radar processing technology from Cambridge Pixel, a developer of radar display, tracking and recording sub-systems
Pesapal also announced has started processing payments for low-cost carriers in Kenya. Last year, the company opened a new office in Arusha, Tanzania to cater to the growing demand for payment services by businesses in the region.
Digital money transfer service WorldRemit joined forces with NIC Bank for digital money transfers to Kenya. Coming just a few days after the company also launched its low-cost digital money transfer service from South Africa to over 145 destinations worldwide. It also partnered with Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE) to launch its first ever international mobile money transfer service to Ethiopia.
A number of appointments were also announced this week. Susan M’kandawire Mulikita was named CEO of Liquid Telecom Zambia, while Elisabeth Moreno was also named the new Managing Director for HP Inc. Africa effective immediately.