Posted on

African Development Bank, Mastercard Launch Alliance to Bridge Digital Divide in Africa

Key Developments

African Development Bank, Mastercard Launch Alliance to Bridge Digital Divide in Africa

| Article

A new alliance aims to bridge the digital divide for millions in Africa.

The Mastercard and African Development Bank Group (AfDB) launched the “Mobilizing Access to the Digital Economy (MADE) Alliance: Africa” today. Over the next decade, the alliance aims to provide digital access for 100 million individuals and businesses across the continent.

The alliance initially prioritizes the agricultural sector and women’s empowerment.

This year, a pilot program will support three million farmers in Kenya, Tanzania, and Nigeria.

Working with local banks, the program will provide digital identities and access to high-quality seeds and agricultural supplies. The alliance plans to expand to Uganda, Ethiopia, and Ghana in the future.

“Mastercard’s leadership in the MADE Alliance: Africa aims to bring critical digital services to more people,” said Michael Miebach, CEO of Mastercard. “We see Africa’s potential for growth, and this alliance is our way to contribute.”

The alliance leverages each partner’s strengths. The AfDB will invest $300 million in digital infrastructure and incentivize participation.

Mastercard will register 15 million users on its Community Pass platform within five years, creating an interoperable system for various participants.

Launched in 2020, Community Pass connects underserved communities to essential services.

“The AfDB believes Mastercard’s Community Pass can revolutionize agricultural technology adoption in Africa,” said Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina, President of the African Development Bank Group.

“This alliance expands our reach and impact in building sustainable food systems.”

The MADE Alliance: Africa aligns with the U.S. Digital Transformation with Africa Initiative and the African Union’s Digital Transformation Strategy. The alliance launch took place during the U.S.-Africa Business Forum.

More than six organizations, including Equity Bank, Microsoft, and Heifer International, have joined the MADE Alliance: Africa at launch.

The alliance is co-chaired by the African Development Bank Group and Mastercard.

Share :

You may also like...

Posted on

iHub Selects 12 EdTech Startups for Mastercard Fellowship Programme

Key Developments

iHub Selects 12 EdTech Startups for Mastercard Fellowship Programme

| Article

iHub, a leading Kenyan incubator, has announced the twelve startups chosen for the second edition of the Mastercard Foundation Ed-Tech Fellowship Programme in Kenya.
This program equips selected education technology ventures with funding and mentorship opportunities.

The initiative is part of a broader Mastercard Foundation Ed-Tech Fellowship Programme launched in 2023.
 
Co-Creation Hub (CcHub), which owns iHub, partnered with the Mastercard Foundation to establish a US$15 million accelerator program focused on ed-tech innovation in Kenya and Nigeria.
 
A similar program is being run by Injini in South Africa.

Following a successful first cohort in Kenya last year, iHub has selected twelve new ventures for the Mastercard Foundation Ed-Tech Fellowship Programme.

The 12 Startups include:

  • Dals Learning: Provides interactive and comprehensive digital educational content for learners.
  • Fundis: Empowers artisans by enabling them to showcase their work, get assessed, and access continuous learning and job-matching opportunities.
  • Soma Siri Afrika: Offers an innovative learning experience that combines psychology, artificial intelligence, and data analysis.
  • Uptyke: Provides a variety of accessible digital educational content for K-12 students.
  • eKitabu: Develops early-grade reading materials in Kenyan Sign Language.
  • Kuze.ai: Uses artificial intelligence to create personalized learning experiences.
  • Ultratude Tech: Offers a school management system.
  • SomaChat: Transforms the learning experience for Kenyan students through AI-powered educational tools.
  • NABU: Provides culturally relevant, mother-tongue learning resources aligned with the curriculum.
  • Esoma Solutions: Offers an online learning platform with adaptive learning paths to improve Foundational Literacy and Numeracy (FLN) for teachers and students.
  • Kurasa: Enhances teaching and learning in K-12 education through innovative tools.
  • Recess: Revolutionizes school management with personalized educational content, fostering student engagement and improving communication between educators and parents.

“We are excited about the potential of these startups to revolutionize education technology in the region,” said Nissi Madu, managing partner at iHub Kenya.
 
 “Following the success of the first cohort, we believe this new group has the potential to significantly improve learning outcomes for Kenyan students.”

Related Articles

Register Now

Empower Africa Times Newsletter

Share :

You may also like...

Posted on

Orange Ventures and Digital Africa Join Forces to Invest in African Startups

New Investments

Orange Ventures and Digital Africa Join Forces to Invest in African Startups

| Article

Orange Ventures, the investment arm of Orange Group, and Digital Africa, a pan-African organization fostering digital entrepreneurship, have announced a new co-investment initiative for startups emerging from the “Orange Digital Centres” network.
 
Orange Digital Centres act as hubs for innovation across 17 African and Middle Eastern countries, as well as eight European nations.
 
These centers offer a comprehensive ecosystem of free programs, encompassing digital training for youth, startup incubation and acceleration services, and crucial support for project leaders.
 
This holistic approach aims to empower entrepreneurs and fuel regional innovation.

Digital Africa already manages the Fuzé investment facility, specifically targeting early-stage startups in French-speaking African countries.
 
Fuzé offers equity funding opportunities of up to EUR 50,000 to promising ventures.

The partnership agreement, signed at Vivatech by Fayçal Adlouni, Managing Partner of Orange Ventures, and Grégoire de Padirac, CEO of Digital Africa, signifies a commitment to accelerate support for African startups nurtured within the Orange Digital Centre network.

“The Orange Group is fully dedicated to cultivating the next generation of tech leaders across Africa and the Middle East,” stated Adlouni.
 
“This collaboration between Orange Middle East and Africa, Orange Ventures, and Digital Africa allows us to strategically combine resources and create a thriving environment for startups to flourish in these regions.”

Aspiring startups interested in this new initiative are encouraged to explore the websites of Orange Ventures, Orange Digital Centre, and Digital Africa.

Related Articles

Register Now

Empower Africa Times Newsletter

Share :

“We are delighted to partner with ISA to support the development of solar energy in Africa,” said Alain Ebobissé, CEO of Africa50. “This partnership will help to accelerate the deployment of solar energy in Africa and improve the lives of millions of Africans,” he added.

You may also like...

Posted on

South African Fraud Startup Orca Secures Pre-Seed Funding

New Investments

South African Fraud Startup Orca Secures Pre-Seed Funding

| Article

Orca, a South African startup tackling fraud in emerging markets, has successfully secured $550,000 in a pre-seed funding round.
 

The round, exceeding its target investment, was led by Norrsken22 with participation from First Circle Capital, Musha Ventures, Kara Ventures, and strategic angel investors.

Founded in January 2024 by Thalia Pillay and Carla Wilby, Orca equips banks and fintech companies in emerging markets with easy-to-use yet powerful fraud prevention tools.

The startup aims to empower fraud analysts and compliance officers to combat various financial threats effectively.

Orca plans to leverage the funding to expand its team and focus on building, validating, and iterating its fraud and compliance solutions.

Initially focusing on the South African market, the company will gather customer feedback to refine its offerings.

This investment highlights the growing need for robust fraud protection solutions in emerging markets, where financial institutions and fintechs navigate unique challenges.

Orca’s commitment to providing simple and effective tools positions them to play a significant role in safeguarding the financial landscape in these regions.

Related Articles

Register Now

Empower Africa Times Newsletter

Share :

“We are delighted to partner with ISA to support the development of solar energy in Africa,” said Alain Ebobissé, CEO of Africa50. “This partnership will help to accelerate the deployment of solar energy in Africa and improve the lives of millions of Africans,” he added.

You may also like...

Posted on

Kenyan Startups M-KOPA, BasiGo, Mogo, Roam, and Pezesha Secure $250M From DFC to Enhance Digital Connectivity and E-Mobility

New Investments

Kenyan Startups M-KOPA, BasiGo, Mogo, Roam, and Pezesha Secure $250M From DFC

| Article

The US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) has unveiled a new $250 million financing package aimed at enhancing digital connectivity and e-mobility in Kenya.

The announcement was made during President William Ruto’s State Visit to Washington in May 2024.

The DFC’s new investments include substantial loans and grants to five Kenyan companies: M-KOPA, BasiGo, Mogo Auto, Roam Electric, and Pezesha Africa Limited.

These investments are part of DFC’s broader strategy to support technological advancement and sustainable development in Kenya.

M-KOPA, a Nairobi-based digital financing company that caters to underbanked Africans, received a $51 million loan.

This investment will help M-KOPA expand digital connectivity across Kenya and provide underserved communities with affordable smartphones.

The commitment was officially signed by DFC CEO Scott Nathan and M-KOPA Co-Founder and CEO Jesse Moore.

M-KOPA has already produced over 1 million smartphones locally. With the new funding and support from both DFC and the Kenyan government, the company plans to further expand its local production facility.

This initiative is expected to significantly enhance digital access for many Kenyans.

In support of President Ruto’s Africa Green Industrialisation Initiative, DFC provided a $10 million loan to both Mogo Auto Kenya and BasiGo.

Mogo Kenya, known for its specialization in used vehicle loans, logbook loans, and motorcycle loans, will use the funds to promote e-mobility. BasiGo, a manufacturer of electric buses, recently inaugurated its production line in Kenya and will use the loan to boost its operations.

Roam Electric, another key player in Kenya’s e-mobility sector, received a $10 million loan to assist in the design and development of electric motorcycles, buses, and charging stations.

This investment is expected to propel Kenya’s transition to electric vehicles, reducing carbon emissions and fostering sustainable transport solutions.

Pezesha, a digital financial enabler for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), was awarded a $500,000 Technical Assistance grant. This grant will enable Pezesha to enhance its credit scoring algorithms using advanced computing technologies, thereby improving financial inclusion for Kenyan SMEs.

These investments were announced during President Ruto’s State Visit to the United States, where he was welcomed by President Biden.

The visit, which marked 60 years of official US-Kenya partnership, underscored the deepening ties between the two nations.

According to a US government report, ‘FACT SHEET: Kenya State Visit to the United States,’ the visit celebrated key investments in Kenya’s digital and renewable energy sectors.

Share :

“We are delighted to partner with ISA to support the development of solar energy in Africa,” said Alain Ebobissé, CEO of Africa50. “This partnership will help to accelerate the deployment of solar energy in Africa and improve the lives of millions of Africans,” he added.

You may also like...

Posted on

MPost Launches Electronic P.O. Boxes in Rwanda to Transform Postal Experience

Key Developments

MPost Launches Electronic P.O. Boxes in Rwanda to Transform Postal Experience

| Article

Kenyan tech startup MPost has announced the launch of their innovative electronic P.O. Box system in Rwanda.
 
 

This service aims to revolutionize the postal experience for Rwandans by leveraging mobile technology.

MPost’s platform allows individuals and businesses to convert their mobile phone numbers into official virtual addresses.

This eliminates the need for traditional physical P.O. boxes, offering a more convenient and accessible solution.

The launch comes after MPost relocated its headquarters from Nairobi, Kenya, to Kigali, Rwanda, in November 2023.

“Our goal is to be at the forefront of digital addressing and postal services in Africa,” said a spokesperson for MPost. “Rwanda’s commitment to technological innovation makes it the perfect launchpad for our e-P.O. Box system.”

Rwanda’s postal landscape faces challenges, with less than 1% of the population having access to a physical post office.

MPost’s e-P.O. Boxes address this by providing instant SMS alerts whenever mail or parcels arrive. This eliminates the need for frequent trips to physical locations, improving overall convenience.

The launch also coincides with the Rwandan government’s push for technology-driven public services. MPost’s e-P.O. Boxes complement this initiative by offering a modern and accessible solution for mail management.

While Iposita, the national postal service, introduced its own electronic P.O. Box system earlier in May, MPost’s mobile-centric approach provides a unique alternative for Rwandans seeking a convenient and efficient postal experience.

Related Articles

Register Now

Empower Africa Times Newsletter

Share :

You may also like...

Posted on

Google Unveils Umoja, First-Ever Fiber Optic Cable Directly Linking Africa and Australia

Key Developments

Google Unveils Umoja, First-Ever Fiber Optic Cable Directly Linking Africa and Australia

| Article

Google has announced a landmark infrastructure project: Umoja, the first-ever fiber optic cable directly connecting Africa and Australia.
 

Umoja, which means “unity” in Swahili, signifies a new era of digital connectivity for the continent.

The cable stretches from Kenya, traversing Uganda, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zambia, and Zimbabwe before reaching South Africa.

It will then connect to the Google Cloud region and continue its journey to Australia via the Indian Ocean.

Notably, the terrestrial portion of Umoja was built collaboratively with Liquid Technologies and is designed to provide access points for other countries to join the network.

This innovative project is part of Google’s broader Africa Connect initiative, which also includes Equiano, the company’s subsea cable launched in 2019 to connect Africa and Europe.

Google’s focus on creating a separate route highlights the importance of network resilience.

The African continent has faced challenges due to past disruptions to subsea cables, and Umoja aims to provide a more robust connection.

“Umoja represents a significant investment in Kenya, Africa, and Australia,” said Kenyan President William Ruto.

“This project will significantly improve global and regional digital infrastructure, ensuring redundancy and resilience in our connectivity to the world.”

The announcement comes after recent internet outages in Africa caused by subsea cable damage. In March and May of 2024, disruptions plagued East African countries due to failures in critical subsea connections.

Umoja represents a significant step towards a more connected Africa.

This continent-spanning cable, coupled with Google’s commitment to collaboration, has the potential to unlock new possibilities for economic growth, innovation, and digital inclusion across the region.

Related Articles

Register Now

Empower Africa Times Newsletter

Share :

You may also like...

Posted on

Egyptian Logistics Startup OneOrder Secures $16 Million in Series A Funding For Expansion

New Investments

Egyptian Logistics Startup OneOrder Secures $16 Million in Series A Funding For Expansion

| Article

OneOrder, a leading Egyptian logistics company, has secured $16 million in a Series A funding round.

The investment, a mix of equity and debt, will propel the company’s expansion into the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region later this year.

The funding round was led by Delivery Hero Ventures, with participation from Norrsken22, existing investors Nclude and A15.

This comes on the heels of OneOrder’s successful $3 million Seed round in December 2022.

OneOrder addresses inefficiencies in the hospitality industry’s supply chain across Africa and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

The company tackles challenges arising from fragmented supplier networks and manual processes that plague the hotel, restaurant, and catering (HoReCa) sector.

These issues lead to limited price transparency, difficulties in obtaining high-quality ingredients, excessive waste and storage costs, and restricted access to financing for business growth.

“Traditionally, restaurants and hotels juggle interactions with countless suppliers, receiving multiple deliveries daily, causing disruptions and inventory shortages,” explained Tamer Amer, CEO of OneOrder.

He further emphasized that existing solutions merely digitize the problem.

“Unlike basic Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, OneOrder acts as a comprehensive solution, streamlining the entire supply chain. We house a vast selection of ingredients in strategically located warehouses, catering to all restaurant needs,” Amer elaborated.

The Egyptian food service market is projected to reach $18.14 billion by 2029, reflecting a significant growth trajectory.

Founded in 2022 by Tamer Amer and Karim Maurice, OneOrder leverages technology to connect restaurants directly with local suppliers for their daily procurement needs.

The platform tackles issues including product availability, price fluctuations, consistency, delivery efficiency, and access to working capital.

Brendon Blacker, Managing Partner at Delivery Hero Ventures, expressed optimism about the investment’s impact. “This funding will empower OneOrder to expand its services geographically, replicating the success it has achieved in Egypt across the GCC region,” Blacker stated.

Related Articles

Register Now

Empower Africa Times Newsletter

Share :

“We are delighted to partner with ISA to support the development of solar energy in Africa,” said Alain Ebobissé, CEO of Africa50. “This partnership will help to accelerate the deployment of solar energy in Africa and improve the lives of millions of Africans,” he added.

You may also like...

Posted on

Microsoft Invests $70 Million in South African Tech Growth and AI Transformation

New Investments

Microsoft Invests $70 Million in South African Tech Growth and AI Transformation

| Article

Tech giant Microsoft has announced a $70 million investment in the South African economy over the next decade.

This partnership with the Department of Trade, Industry, and Competition (DTIC) aims to fuel innovation, create jobs, and prepare the country for the future of artificial intelligence (AI).

A significant portion of the investment, $34.6 million, will be directed towards an enterprise development program. This initiative prioritizes Black-owned tech startups and fosters disruptive technologies.

“The Fund will assist Black South Africans in harnessing the power of technology to be more competitive and expand their businesses,” said Ebrahim Patel, Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition.

The investment also includes a $18.9 million skills development program. This initiative will provide young Black South Africans with intensive training and leadership development opportunities to prepare them for the AI-driven workforce.

“We believe there’s a tremendous opportunity for those who acquire AI skills,” said Kalane Rampai, Microsoft SA MD. “Organizations that empower their employees with AI tools will attract top talent.”

An additional R160 million (US$8.7 million) will be allocated to research and development programs to further propel South Africa’s AI advancements.

This investment aligns with South Africa’s recent efforts to embrace AI. The country unveiled a draft national AI plan in April 2024, following the establishment of the AI Institute of South Africa (AIISA) and the Centre for Artificial Intelligence Research (CAIR).

“The digital revolution demands a skilled workforce,” said Rampai. “Microsoft’s investment aims to empower South Africans and propel the country’s SMMEs, the backbone of the economy, through technology and digital transformation.”

SMMEs contribute nearly 40% of South Africa’s GDP and employ roughly half of the workforce. However, many struggle to secure funding, often relying on personal savings or loans.

Microsoft’s investment offers a much-needed boost to South Africa’s burgeoning tech sector and its ambitions to become a leader in AI development.

Related Articles

Register Now

Empower Africa Times Newsletter

Share :

“We are delighted to partner with ISA to support the development of solar energy in Africa,” said Alain Ebobissé, CEO of Africa50. “This partnership will help to accelerate the deployment of solar energy in Africa and improve the lives of millions of Africans,” he added.

You may also like...