Wednesday, October 20

Africans in Tech

What Happened to MXit? SA’s Own Super-Popular Chat App
Africans in Tech, Apps

What Happened to MXit? SA’s Own Super-Popular Chat App

South Africa’s communications minister said today that this week’s massive social media outage of Facebook Inc. apps including WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook itself, serves as a reminder that governments around the world can do more to support the development of local social media platforms. Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni said that the creation and popularity of MXit, a Naspers-backed chat service established in South Africa, was evidence that local companies could indeed produce successful technology with the right backing. “South Africa needs to support young people and citizens to develop social media platforms that we use,” said the minister, who was transferred in August from the department of small business development, quoted by Bloomberg. “We cannot be dependent on the W...
Google sets up $50M fund to invest in African startups
Africans in Tech, Start-ups

Google sets up $50M fund to invest in African startups

Google plans to invest up to $50 million in African early and growth-stage startups via its Africa Investment Fund, ramping up efforts to support more businesses on the continent. Google made known its plans today in a virtual event where CEO Sundar Pichai announced the tech giant’s intentions to commit $1 billion over the next five years in tech-led initiatives in Africa. These initiatives range from improved connectivity via Google’s subsea cable Equiano to investments in small businesses and startups. Until now, Google had fulfilled its obligations in the latter through its Google for Startups Accelerator Africa program and the recently launched Black Founders Fund. Continue reading Image: Getty Images
Nigerian Businessman Appointed CEO of Airtel Africa
Africans in Tech, Nigeria

Nigerian Businessman Appointed CEO of Airtel Africa

The Airtel Africa Group has announced the new appointment of Olusegun “Segun” Ogunsanya, as its Managing Director (MD) and CEO. Ogunsanya took the helm of the group as of 1 October 2021. This comes as former CEO, Raghu Mandava, who led Airtel Africa since 2016, was announced to be stepping down from the company’s board of directors in October 2021. “We are delighted to appoint Segun Ogunsanya as the Group’s next Chief Executive Officer. He has displayed significant drive and energy in turning around the Nigeria business by focusing on network modernisation, distribution, and operational efficiency,” said Airtel Chairman, Sunil Bharti Mittal, when Ogunsanya was first announced to replace Mandava. A Businessman of Some Repute Previous to his appointment as CEO of Airtel Africa, ...
Ventures Park launches new campus in Abuja for tech enthusiasts
Africans in Tech, Education

Ventures Park launches new campus in Abuja for tech enthusiasts

In June 2016, Ventures Platform launched as an innovation hub where tech enthusiasts, freelancers, startup founders, and professionals in Nigeria could meet, network, and co-create. The 1,200-square-meter hub in Abuja also served as a residential base for technology entrepreneurs on the continent selected to go through the VP accelerator programme.  Over the past five years, Ventures Platform has changed its investment strategy from the accelerator model to become one of the leading early-stage funds in Africa while it spun off the innovation hub business, now managed by its subsidiary Ventures Park. With the recent surge in fundraising, tech activity, and uptake of remote freelance jobs in Nigeria, Ventures Park has seen its community of active users nearly double from just over 10...
Glovo is officially in Nigeria, redefining tech-driven on-demand delivery!
Africans in Tech, Nigeria

Glovo is officially in Nigeria, redefining tech-driven on-demand delivery!

Customers nowadays would rather order food and other items from an app and have them delivered, than walk into a neighboring restaurant or store. The concept of on-demand delivery service has redefined comfort, efficiency, and convenience for users across every consumer service, product category or just anything.  A global technology company Glovo has recently launched its multi-category on-demand delivery platform in Nigeria! This app connects users and couriers, allowing them to order any product or food item with a simple tap on their smartphone and have it delivered to them fast by a specialist Glovo rider, called a Glover. The app works in 6 unique categories where users can order items from supermarkets, pharmacies, restaurants, drinks, specific package deliveries, and an inte...
Egyptian fintech MNT-Halan lands $120M from Apis Partners, DisrupTech and others
Africans in Tech, Fintech, Start-ups

Egyptian fintech MNT-Halan lands $120M from Apis Partners, DisrupTech and others

More than 70% of Egypt’s young and fast-growing population of over 100 million is financially underserved, despite mobile penetration exceeding 90%. Traditional banks often overlook this segment because of their spending power or financial status, and fintechs have seized the opportunity to cater to their needs. One such fintech is MNT-Halan, and today, the company, which describes itself as “Egypt’s leading fintech ecosystem,” is announcing that it has closed a $120 million investment. The investors backing MNT-Halan include private equity firms Apis Growth Fund II, Development Partners International (DPI) and Lorax Capital Partners, as well as VCs like Middle East Venture Partners, Endeavor Catalyst and DisruptTech. Continue reading
Wave Closes Largest Series A Round for an African FinTech at $200-Million
Africans in Tech, Fintech, Start-ups

Wave Closes Largest Series A Round for an African FinTech at $200-Million

Wave, a Senegal-based mobile money provider have raised $200-million in a Series A round of funding, reports Tech Crunch. The investment marks the largest-ever Series A funding round for a fintech startup in Africa, and it values Wave at around $1.7-billion. No other startup company in Africa has managed to raise such an amount in a Series A round. OPay, likewise a fintech solution provider, managed to raise $400-million in the continent’s largest-ever venture capital investment during a Series C round. Interswitch follow OPay with its $200-million investment from Visa also during Series C funding. The latest round by Wave was jointly led by four big-name backers, starting with Sequoia Heritage – an endowment-style fund and a separate entity that operates independently under the ...
Meet Ruth Iselema, the Bitmama of the African blockchain space
Africans in Tech, Telecommunications

Meet Ruth Iselema, the Bitmama of the African blockchain space

In 2016, after Ruth Iselema got scammed of ₦250,000 (~ $1200 at the time) trying to sell bitcoin, she saw an opportunity to solve a problem. At the time, there were hardly any structured crypto-trading platforms in Africa, just WhatsApp and Telegram communities, many of which she was a member of. “Even though I did my due diligence, I still got scammed, she recalls, “so I decided this has to stop”. Enlisting a couple of trader friends, she set out to build a crypto exchange platform but things didn’t work out. “Everyone just had different views on how things should work, so we eventually went our separate ways.” Undeterred, Ruth set out on her own. The first major step? Leaving her hometown and comfort zone — Port Harcourt — for Lagos with barely any validation for what she wa...
Largest-Ever Data Centre Expansion in Africa to Cost $500M Across 10 Countries
Africans in Tech, North Africa, Telecommunications

Largest-Ever Data Centre Expansion in Africa to Cost $500M Across 10 Countries

Africa Data Centres, one of the continent’s leading carrier-neutral co-location data centre providers, has announced plans to build large hyperscale data centres throughout Africa, including the North African countries of Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt. According to a statement today released from Africa Data Centres, the project will involve building 10 hyperscale data centres, in 10 countries, over the next two years – at a cost of more than $500-million. It is being funded through new equity and facilities from leading development finance institutions and multilateral organisations. Africa Data Centres CEO, Stephane Duproz, explains that the finance for the roll-out has been provided by equity and loans to Africa Data Centres’ parent company, Liquid Intelligent Technologies, to fully...
Rwanda’s new SIM registration, Somalia’s Trade Information Portal, Cellulant’s partnership with GAINDE 2000
Africans in Tech, Mobile, Telecommunications

Rwanda’s new SIM registration, Somalia’s Trade Information Portal, Cellulant’s partnership with GAINDE 2000

What’s the news? Telecom operators will implement new SIM card registration procedures. The Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA), Rwanda’s telecom regulator, claims it will help reduce fraud. According to RURA, anyone who wants to get or swap a SIM card must do so at their telco’s service centres, authorised agent shops, or kiosks. Charles Gahungu, General Manager, ICT Regulation Department, RURA, said the new procedure would improve SIM card security because it will include ID verification and photographing peopl