Tuesday, October 19

AI

SoftBank sinks $200M into Andela, propels company into unicorn territory
AI

SoftBank sinks $200M into Andela, propels company into unicorn territory

Andela, a fully remote company that helps tech companies build remote engineering teams (initially from Africa but now a global market), is currently valued at $1.5 billion following a $200 million Series E round led by SoftBank’s Softbank Vision Fund 2, the $30 billion venture fund of SoftBank Group. Joining SoftBank in the investment was new investor Whale Rock and existing investors including Generation Investment Management, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and Spark Capital. After closing this Series E round, Andela has raised a total of $381 million since being founded in Lagos, Nigeria in 2014, according to Crunchbase data. Its last valuation of $700 million came when the company raised a $100 million Series D in 2019. Continue reading Image: Unsplash
Data Science Nigeria launches the Artificial Intelligence Startup Incubation Program with 12 Startups
AI, Nigeria

Data Science Nigeria launches the Artificial Intelligence Startup Incubation Program with 12 Startups

Data Science Nigeria, an organization with a vision to build a world-class Artificial Intelligence, knowledge research, and innovation ecosystem that delivers high-impact transformational research has launched Nigeria’s 1st AI Startup Incubation and Research Hub. The event also included a bespoke AI Startup Summit with the theme, “Building Nigeria’s Artificial Intelligence Unicorns: How to build scalable startups leveraging AI and Exponential technologies”.  It had Anitha Vadavatha, CEO and co-Founder, AB Plus Ventures, and Samuel Odeloye, Co-founder Lara.ng by RoadPreppers as speakers. Please visit bit.ly/DSNAISSVideo  to watch the recorded video of the AI Startup Summit.  Speaking at the launch event, the founder and lead mentor, Data Science Nigeria, Dr. Olubayo Adeka...
6 Major African Banks Turn to IBM for Hybrid Cloud & AI
AI

6 Major African Banks Turn to IBM for Hybrid Cloud & AI

IBM today announced that 6 major financial institutions across Africa have selected the technology corporation for hybrid cloud and AI capabilities to promote digital innovation and continue developing digital-first solutions. COVID-19 continues to accelerate the already rapid changes that were happening across the financial services sector in Africa, fast-tracking the adoption of digital technologies to boost financial inclusion. With over 475 million Africans expected to be mobile internet users by 2025, digital and mobile play a critical role in facilitating the delivery of digital financial services to consumers who transact on their mobile phones. Continue reading Image: Nedbank
How AI Can Improve Your Driving Under SA’s New Demerit Laws
Africa, AI

How AI Can Improve Your Driving Under SA’s New Demerit Laws

South Africa’s Department of Transport announced the implementation of the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (AARTO) Act, which will introduce a new licence points demerit system geared towards imposing stricter penalties for road rule infringements. It’s estimated that between 15 and 20 million fines a year will be issued countrywide once the new system is fully implemented, with the first phase coming into effect on 1 July 2021. Unfortunately, the AARTO Act could prove detrimental to South African drivers, fleet operators, and businesses alike, even if similar systems have been successful in other countries. Continue reading
Nedbank Launches “Enbi” – A New Intelligent Chatbot Assistant
AI, Apps, Southern Africa

Nedbank Launches “Enbi” – A New Intelligent Chatbot Assistant

Nedbank South Africa has announced the launch of a series of enhancements to its digital services, including the introduction of a conversational AI-powered chatbot. “In line with its commitment to offer cutting-edge digital banking that adds real value to clients, Nedbank works tirelessly to add new features and services across its range of digital banking platforms,” the firm says in a statement. These recent value-adding enhancements include the introduction of cardless withdrawals, simplified cellphone banking registration to access extensive mobile transaction options, and Enbi, an innovative digital conversational chatbot assistant. Continue reading
Somalia launches Child Protection Information Management System to protect vulnerable children amid COVID-19
Africans in Tech, AI, Education, Health Tech

Somalia launches Child Protection Information Management System to protect vulnerable children amid COVID-19

In Somalia, 1.8 million children are at risk of violence, abuse and neglect due to the ongoing conflict MOGADISHU, Somalia, August 31, 2021/APO Group/ -- The Federal Ministry of Women and Human Rights Development, in partnership with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), launched today an online Child Protection Information Management System (CPIMS+) to enhance the protection of the most vulnerable children in Somalia. “Today, we’re taking a crucial step towards keeping the extremely vulnerable children – including children living in the streets, child survivors of sexual violence, children in conflict with the law, abandoned babies, and children without primary caregivers – in our country safe. The CPIMS+ will strengthen our collective ability to identify these children, ...
MTN launches Africa’s first AI service for Mobile Money
AI, Mobile Transfers

MTN launches Africa’s first AI service for Mobile Money

MTN Group is proud to announce the launch of Africa’s first Mobile Money (MoMo) artificial intelligence service or “chatbot”. The chatbot went live in Ivory Coast in May and will be rolled out across MTN’s MoMo footprint in the next few months. The artificial intelligence mobile money “assistant” enables customers to engage with MTN’s MoMo services, including payments, on various social media platforms such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, and via SMS. The service will also be included over time, in MTN’s own newly released advanced instant messaging service “Ayoba”. The chatbot is an artificial intelligence guide that assists users to navigate MTN’s MoMo services and provide other useful information. This innovation leverages messaging and artificial intelligence to drive customer ...
Facebook is using AI to map exactly where Africa’s fast-growing population lives
AI, Social Networks

Facebook is using AI to map exactly where Africa’s fast-growing population lives

The population of Africa is growing rapidly. Today, one out of every six people on Earth live in Africa. In 2050, the United Nations “medium scenario” projections predicts one in four humans will live in Africa and in 2100, more than one in three. But in conversations about Africa especially about development, there are a few consistent talking points – an absence of data. This absence of data hurts African nations in their ability to make good policy and solve problems especially about a lack of infrastructure. To that end Facebook is using artificial intelligence to map population density around the world with a new type of world map as part of its Connectivity Lab project. Facebook first analyzed about 20 countries and covered 21.6 million square kilometers in 2016 to help d...
Microsoft to open office in Lagos dedicated to developing mixed reality and artificial intelligence
AI, West Africa

Microsoft to open office in Lagos dedicated to developing mixed reality and artificial intelligence

Alex Kipman, a Microsoft Technical Fellow and the co-creator of HoloLens, announced on Twitter Microsoft is opening an engineering office in Lagos, Nigeria. The Cognition Africa engineering team is looking for a software engineer to assist with the building of Mixed Reality Cloud Services that bring those technologies to a wider range of devices. For more information, click here. https://twitter.com/akipman/status/1104062105844559878
AI, East Africa, North Africa, Southern Africa, West Africa

Drones driven by AI will track illegal fishing in African waters

Across the African continent, drones are finding innovative uses -- from monitoring displaced populations to delivering critical medical supplies. Moroccan technology startup ATLAN Space is developing artificial intelligence (AI) to guide autonomous drones so they can scan large areas for "environmental crimes" like illegal fishing, poaching or deforestation. In June, ATLAN Space won the National Geographic Society's $150,000 Marine Protection Prize to implement a pilot project to combat illegal fishing in Seychelles. Drones will be armed with information about illegal fishing hotspots, explains Badr Idrissi, CEO and co-founder of ATLAN Space. Once a drone detects a boat, AI will enable it to verify whether it is a cruising boat, tanker or fishing vessel. The drone will then est...