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

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

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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.

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

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

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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.

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

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

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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.

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Kenya Receives $1 Billion Digital Transformation Boost from Microsoft and G42

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Kenya Receives $1 Billion Digital Transformation Boost from Microsoft and G42

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A landmark digital transformation initiative for Kenya has been announced, with Microsoft and UAE-based artificial intelligence (AI) leader G42 pledging an initial investment of $1 billion.

The project, spearheaded by Kenya’s Ministry of Information, Communications, and the Digital Economy, aims to significantly enhance the country’s digital infrastructure and empower its citizens.

The agreement signifies a major step forward in Kenya’s digital journey.

G42 will take the lead in securing the initial investment and collaborating with local partners to establish a state-of-the-art data center complex.

This eco-friendly facility will utilize geothermal energy and water conservation technologies, ensuring sustainable operations.

A key highlight of the initiative is the establishment of a new East Africa Cloud Region for Microsoft Azure.

This cloud platform, operational within 24 months of the final agreements, will be hosted within the new data center and provide enhanced access to Microsoft’s cloud services across the region.

Beyond infrastructure, the partnership focuses on fostering innovation and digital skills development. Initiatives include:

  • Swahili/English AI Development: G42 has already begun training open-source language AI models in both Swahili and English, leveraging their US data infrastructure.
  • East African Innovation Lab: A collaborative effort to be established in Nairobi, offering businesses and organizations support in developing and implementing cloud and AI solutions.
  • Digital and AI Skills Training: The program encompasses various digital and AI skills training opportunities, including a cybersecurity training program targeting over 2,000 individuals annually.

The project further emphasizes expanding internet connectivity within Kenya and collaborating with the government to ensure secure and reliable cloud services across East Africa.

This comprehensive digital transformation initiative positions Kenya at the forefront of technological advancement in Africa, fostering innovation, economic growth, and improved access to technology for its citizens.

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TowerCo Tanzania Secures $30 Million to Expand Rural Connectivity

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TowerCo Tanzania Secures $30 Million to Expand Rural Connectivity

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TowerCo of Africa Tanzania (TOA Tanzania), a telecommunications infrastructure provider, has signed a $30 million financing agreement with British International Investment (BII) to bolster its network across the country.

This investment will enable TOA Tanzania to construct roughly 200 new cell towers, with a particular focus on expanding coverage in underserved rural areas of mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar.

These new sites are expected to improve mobile connectivity for up to 600,000 residents.

Founded in February 2023, TOA Tanzania is a subsidiary of Axian Telecom, specializing in owning and leasing passive telecom infrastructure, such as cell towers, to mobile network operators.

The company is actively involved in developing telecom infrastructure across several African nations, including Madagascar, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, and Tanzania.

“This financing agreement strengthens our commitment to bridging the digital divide in Tanzania,” said Innocent Mushi, CEO of TOA Tanzania.

“With BII’s support, we can accelerate our growth and deliver essential mobile services to communities currently lacking adequate connectivity.”

Mushi emphasized the company’s dedication to environmental and social responsibility. The new towers will reportedly utilize renewable energy sources and adhere to responsible waste management practices.

This expansion aligns with Tanzania’s thriving telecommunications sector. The industry generated an estimated $2.2 billion in revenue in 2023 and is projected to maintain a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) exceeding 4% until 2028.

Additionally, the number of mobile subscriptions in the country has grown significantly, reaching 67.72 million in 2024, compared to 50.8 million in the previous year.

TOA Tanzania’s initiative complements the UK-Tanzania Mutual Prosperity Partnership, a collaboration signed in April 2024 with BII’s involvement.

This partnership aims to unlock £1 billion ($1.27 billion) in government-backed investments for Tanzania over the next five years.

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Egyptian VC Firm Glint Closes First Round of New $3 Million Fund for Early-Stage Startups

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Egyptian VC Firm Glint Closes First Round of New $3 Million Fund for Early-Stage Startups

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Glint, a prominent Egyptian venture capital firm, has secured an initial $3 million for its second fund, targeting early-stage startups.

Founded six years ago, Glint boasts a successful track record of supporting businesses like Darwinz.ai, Iqraaly, Wasla, Kashier, and Filkhedma.

The firm, led by Tarek Aboualam and Youssef Helmy Habib, announced the first close of Glint Fund II, backed by Wadi Degla Group.

This new fund aims to empower Egyptian entrepreneurs by providing investment opportunities ranging from $250,000 to $S500,000 during the seed and Series A stages.

Glint will leverage its unique venture studio model to offer comprehensive support beyond just capital.

“Glint’s second fund is a crucial step in strengthening our ecosystem for Egyptian tech startups with aspirations to reach regional and international markets,” said Aboualam.

“Our venture studio model goes beyond just funding. We provide an integrated platform with business, operational, and technical support, along with access to the regional market. We’re excited to collaborate with both new and returning investors.”

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South Africa Secures $234M For the World’s First Solar-Powered EV Charging Network

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South Africa Secures $234M For the World's First Solar-Powered EV Charging Network

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South Africa’s Free State province is taking a major leap towards electric mobility with a $234 million investment in the world’s first network of solar-powered electric vehicle charging stations.

Zero Carbon Charge (ZCC), a clean energy infrastructure company, has partnered with the Free State government to build the network.

The project will install 120 charging stations across the province, 75 dedicated to passenger cars and 45 for electric trucks. Completion is expected by September 2025.

“This initiative promotes not only off-grid EV charging but also socio-economic benefits,” said Free State Minister Thabo Meeko. The project is expected to create jobs and contribute to skills development in the clean energy sector.

ZCC’s charging stations will be powered entirely by solar energy, making them independent of the national grid and immune to power cuts. This also aligns with South Africa’s goal of reducing reliance on its coal-fired power plants.

“Solar charging offers a clean, zero-emission alternative to Eskom’s grid,” ZCC stated. Eskom is the state-owned power utility in South Africa.

The project will cover 13 municipalities across the Free State province, making EV charging accessible to a wider range of residents.

This initiative is part of ZCC’s broader plan to establish a national network of 240 renewable energy-powered charging stations for both passenger and commercial electric vehicles.

Research suggests electric vehicles could account for a significant portion of new car sales in the country by 2030, making this infrastructure crucial for the future.

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GOGO Electric Secures $1.6 Million Investment to Electrify East African Transport

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GOGO Electric Secures $1.6 Million Investment to Electrify East African Transport

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The Electrification Financing Initiative (ElectriFI), funded by the European Union, has made its first investment in the African ecological mobility sector, committing $1.6 million to Ugandan startup Gogo Electric (formerly Bodawerk).

Gogo Electric, headquartered in Kampala, assembles electric motorcycles and manufactures lithium-ion batteries in its local factory, boasting a production capacity of 60,000 units annually.

To facilitate a seamless transition from gas-powered motorcycles, the company has established a network of battery-swapping stations across Uganda.

“This investment is a tremendous validation of our vision to revolutionize Uganda’s transport sector through sustainable e-mobility solutions,” said Jakob Hornbach, Gogo Electric’s founder and CEO.

“With ElectriFI’s crucial support, we are positioned to accelerate our mission and make electric motorcycles a mainstream reality for Ugandans.”

Gogo Electric’s focus aligns with the pressing need to decarbonize “boda bodas,” the ubiquitous motorcycle taxis in Uganda and East Africa.

Estimates by Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) suggest over 150,000 motorcycle taxis operate in the Ugandan capital alone, highlighting the significant potential impact.

Since its inception in 2017, Gogo Electric has deployed over 1,300 electric motorcycles and established 65 battery-swapping stations in Uganda.

The company estimates these eco-friendly vehicles can offset emissions by 3,200 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2) annually, attracting further investment.

ElectriFI joins Kenyan investment firm Watu Credit, which previously invested to support the deployment of 1,000 electric motorcycles from Gogo Electric in Uganda.

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EV Company Spiro Revs Up Africa Expansion with $50 Million Afreximbank Loan

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EV Company Spiro Revs Up Africa Expansion with $50 Million Afreximbank Loan

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African electric vehicle (EV) leader Spiro announced a significant boost to its expansion plans with a $50 million debt financing agreement signed with Afreximbank, the pan-African multilateral financial institution.

The funds will fuel Spiro’s growth in Cameroon and Morocco this year, according to Afreximbank.

They will be used to expand the company’s network of automated battery-swapping stations and introduce new electric bike models, making eco-friendly transportation more accessible across the continent.

“This debt facility is a game-changer for Spiro,” said Kaushik Burman, CEO of Spiro. “It strengthens our operational capabilities and allows us to reach new African markets.”

Kanayo Awani, Executive Vice President at Afreximbank, expressed enthusiasm for the partnership. “We’re proud to support Spiro’s growth. This collaboration accelerates EV adoption and enhances transportation across Africa,” Awani said, highlighting Afreximbank’s commitment to innovation and sustainable development.

This agreement follows Afreximbank’s partnership with Max, a startup that facilitates car ownership, further solidifying their commitment to Africa’s sustainable mobility future.

Spiro currently boasts a fleet exceeding 14,000 electric bikes and operates in six African nations: Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, Togo, and Benin.

Their vision is to create a comprehensive EV ecosystem for Africa, promoting environmental responsibility and improved urban mobility.

This vision includes collaboration with various stakeholders and the development of a robust charging infrastructure offering both battery swapping and direct charging options.

Notably, in February 2024, Spiro partnered with Nigeria’s Ogun State government to establish electric motorcycle battery-swapping stations.

Additionally, last year, the company secured a $63 million loan to expand its operations in Benin and Togo.

With this latest investment, Spiro appears poised to accelerate its mission of making electric transportation a reality across Africa.

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