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The innovation revolution in Africa is on a rise, from startups that not only bring major impact to the local countries but also cross these boundaries. They not only attract the attention of the users but also investors both regional and international. Tech hubs are set up to encourage more entrepreneurs to bring to life their world-changing ideas. In this week’s Clicked, we curate some of their stories and others that trended across the continent.

Mest Africa is celebrating 10 years if supporting tech entrepreneurs

MEST Cape Town Incubator Space
MEST Cape Town Incubator Space

In a blog post for GSMA Ecosystem Accelerator, Mest Africa’s director of marketing reflects on the lessons they’ve learned. From Monday this week, they’ll be having their 3rd annual MEST Africa Summit in Capetown that will serve as a meeting ground for pan-African entrepreneurs, investors and ecosystem partners to discuss the pan-African startup landscape and ignite discussions around the real challenges and opportunities businesses face when reaching scale, as the startup space in Africa continues to mature. [Mest Summit/GSMA]

“I think there needs to be a more collaborative model between hubs – there could be some that specialize in different sectors that we could direct our startups to collaborate with.” Aaron Fu, who runs MEST Africa, suggests.

Africa Early Stage Investor Summit

In November, Cape Town will host the fifth annual Africa Early Stage Investor Summit organized by VC4A and the African Business Angels Network(ABAN). The summit will bring together a diverse network of people with a common interest in starting and building sustainable companies that solve real problems on the continent. [Africa Early Stage Investor Summit]

Google’s Launchpad Accelerator Africa

A reminder for startups that haven’t applied to Google’s Launchpad Accelerator Africa. They’re still accepting applications for their second class and the deadline is 8th July. [Launchpad Accelerator]

AfriLabs has just hit the 100 tech hubs in Africa after it just added 40 new more.

The network now covers 30 African countries. Kenya’s Nairobi Garage and Eldo Hub Innovation Centre join other additions from Somalia, Central Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, Morocco, Algeria to South Africa. AfriLabs started with 5 tech hubs and their growth to 100 tech hubs shows their commitment to helping grow the tech industry on the African continent. [Afrilabs]

Africa has now has 100 AfriLab tech hubs

“When local corporates see Facebook and Google opening up they’ll follow and that’s good because we need more hubs, not fewer,” – said Rebecca Enonchong, who chairs Afrilabs during last month’s Vivatech event.

Traction Bootcamp

Kenya’s capital city will from next week host the mlab Traction Bootcamp that will convene 31 East African entrepreneurs. Most of the programme has taken place online, but the startups will now convene at the iHub in Nairobi on Monday, June 18 for the one-week residency. [iHub]

Traction Camp accelerator programme.

East Africa

  • Airtel pulled out of their merger talks with Telkom Kenya disappointing senior Ministry Of ICT, Treasury and Telkom Kenya shareholders. This deal that the two operators had begun discussing from as early as April this year was shelved as Airtel wasn’t in agreement with the structural changes Telkom was working on including the entity the telco was being set up by the Kenyan Government and Helios would manage Telkom’s real estate assets, leaving Telkom Kenya mobile operations with very minimal assets thus giving Airtel cold feet. [Read More]
  • Demo Africa announced the winners of their Kenyan Innovation tour, AdvancedIT, who developed a smart stick for use by the visually impaired.

The Ugandan leg of the tour was won by team TIFAT, an Agri-Business solution who beat other 15 startups. They’ll face off with AdvanceIT from Kenya and the Kigali winner.

  • Ugandan Brian Gitta just won the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Africa Prize for his innovative health product Matibabu. He received $33,000 as prize money. Matibabu allows users to detect malaria in their bodies, without any invasive method. The disease is investigated on several other parameters, which do not need the blood sample [Read More]
  • Another Kenyan e-health startup, Tambua Intelligent Diagnostics also won at a Merck Accelerator Nairobi Bootcamp hosted in partnership with Metta Nairobi. They received a $3,000 cash prize and a trip to Germany based Innovation centre. They beat other 10 startups in the four days coaching and mentoring Bootcamp. [Merck]
  • Non-profit start-up Jipee Ajira has developed a mobile application that will create a link bridging job-seekers, consumers, the government and private sector employers. [Read More]
  • Ride-hailing firm Uber has introduced a safety feature that automatically logs off drivers on the app forcing them to take a break from work. The new feature, set for implementation in Kenya starting Monday this week, will see drivers who have been working or logged on for 12 straight hours blocked from accessing the app for six hours. [Read More]
  • Juakaliproducts.co.ke launches to allow consumers buy hard to find items from local artisans
  • Kenyan startup Sip is simplifying the distribution of alcoholic beverages in the Nairobi. So far, clubs and hotels have been the startup’s target markets, allowing easy ordering in the event of sudden shortages.
  • Nairobi-based online payment service provider Direct Pay Online (DPO) has consolidated its system across 15 African countries under a new brand name, DPO Group.
  • Finally, it’s tax season in Kenya and people are rushing to fill in their taxes with KRA. Ushuru.co.ke, Kenya’s first premium online tax website, is easing this burden by facilitating taxpayers, including Kenyans living in the diaspora and expatriates working locally, to be tax compliant.
  • Truecaller acquires Chillr, a multi-bank payments app as it eyes Sub-Sahara Africa’s mobile payment space. Earlier this year, Truecaller opened up their first office in Nairobi to expand in Sub-Sahara Africa and recruited Zakaria Hersi as Director of Partnerships for Africa. In his position, Zakaria has been spearheading Truecaller’s expansion in the region and forging partnerships with various eco-system players. [Read More]
  • In case you missed it, Tanzanian prosecutors charged two telecoms chief executive and 4 others with fraud plus tax evasion. Halotel MD Le Van Dai and Zantel (Zanzibar Telecom) head Sherif El Barbary are among the six suspects charged for “fraudulent use of a network facility”. [Read More]
  • Kenya calls for tough action on SIM registration within EAC. Kenya ICT Cabinet Secretary Mr. Joe Mucheru has called for tough measures on enforcement of SIM card registration within the East African Community (EAC) as part of efforts to promote safe use of ICT infrastructure within the region. [Read More]
  • Futurists in Ethiopia are betting on artificial intelligence to drive development. Some think Ethiopia would do better to skip the manufacturing stage of development and invest instead in a high-tech workforce—including one at the cutting edge of AI. [Read More]
  • Despite all the odds stacked against them, a Nairobi-based start-up, Boxlight Electronics, has gone ahead to become the first adopter of bitcoin payment in Kenya for its products. The firm, which deals in the sale and distribution of television (TV) sets, home theatres and home appliances, says bitcoin as a form of payment is becoming a must-have for companies that trade online. [Read More]

Sh163 billion – The estimated accumulated holdings of bitcoins Kenyans have according to a recent report by Citibank analysts

West Africa

  • Google documented a report on the startup scene in both Nigeria and South Afric highlighting the positives and negatives of the startup scenes and made recommendations that the search giant hopes will speed their development. Some of the takeaways also apply generally to the African startup scene too. Get the full report here.
  • BBM and Eskimi announce exclusive mobile advertising partnership in Nigeria. They aim to reach and engage with mobile audiences on both Android and iOS across Nigeria. [Read More]
  • Microsoft and First Bank partner to empower small businesses in a bid to further technology adoption, skills and capacity development amongst small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria. [Read More]
  • The South/South-East (SSE) Angel Network has launched in Nigeria, set to boost investment and mentoring opportunities for startups in the South-South and South-East regions of the country.[Read More]
  • Nigerian recruitment startup Dropque has been accepted into the Washington D.C-based PeaceTech Accelerator programme, gaining access to eight weeks of mentorship and training. The PeaceTech Accelerator is an eight-week program providing intensive mentorship and training, with particular emphasis on cloud technology, to startups developing and using innovative technologies to help to bring about the end of the violent conflict and promote sustainable peace. [Read More]
  • Google has announced that they have a Google AI research center which will open later this year in Accra, Ghana. Particularly as AI expands to parts of society beyond tech, much is being said about the need to democratize AI, to include a diverse range of viewpoints, and to consider how AI will shape the future and change humanity forever. If AI is the future, then perhaps no region has more of a right to have a voice in that future than Africa. [Read More]

It is estimated that there’s a $1.2 trillion opportunity with AI technology in Africa

  • Ghanaian scientists have designed beads to educate mothers to accurately monitor children’s respiratory rates and diagnose signs of pneumonia. Most of the mothers were able to accurately count their child’s respiratory rate using the beads and recognize other signs of pneumonia.[Read More]

South Africa

  • Orange Botswana, EcoCash, and TransferTo have teamed up to deliver real-time mobile digital payments between Botswana and Zimbabwe. Powered by TransferTo’s global mobile payments network, this service now allows Zimbabwean diaspora, living in Botswana, to use their Orange Money digital wallet to send money back home to family and friends, in real-time, directly into an EcoCash mobile wallet.[Read More]
  • Applications are now open to the Zimbabwe leg of the Seedstars World early-stage pitching contest, with regional winners to represent their country at the Seedstars Summit in Switzerland next year, and battle for up to US$1 million in equity investment. [Seedstars]
  • If forced to choose between Netflix and DStv, tech-savvy South Africans would opt for the US streaming service. This is according to the results of MyBroadband’s 2018 DStv and Netflix Survey.The survey was taken by 9,857 MyBroadband readers and forum members – an excellent representation of South Africans with knowledge of the TV and streaming space. [Read More]
Netflix vs DStv Graphic
  • African Technology startups showcase Innovative Healthcare Solutions at VivaTech in France. The pharmaceutical company, Sanofi’s Afric@Tech initiative – which was created as a part of the recent Viva Technology event in Paris, France, took place this May 2018 with its overall winner emanating from South Africa. [Read More]
  • South African Reserve Bank successfully tests Blockchain-Based payment system. The South African central bank says the blockchain managed to process 70,000 transactions handled by the country’s automated settlement system within two hours in an average of two seconds while maintaining complete confidentiality. [Read More]
  • The same bank launched Nelson Mandela notes. These notes will cover all denominations – R10, R20, R50, R100 and R200. As part of the celebrations, the South African Mint, a subsidiary of the SARB, will also be issuing a new commemorative circulation R5 coin. It is envisaged that these notes will be issued into circulation by 18 July 2018. [Read More]
  • Johannesburg and Cape Town’s internet access costs more than in New York and Zurich. The living costs in South Africa’s major cities are already beyond affordable and now it turns out that internet usage in cities like Johannesburg and Cape Town is pretty expensive. [Read More]
  • Malawian Minister of Information and Communications Technology Nicholas Dausi kicked up a social media storm after failing to explain what 4G is. Dausi on Thursday was asked to about the meaning of 4G but he told the House that he needed to consult first. Speaker of Parliament Richard Msowoya came to Dausi’s rescue by providing the meaning of the term. [Read More]

Nicholas Dausi

Dausi (R) samples the new innovations during the launch of 4.5G asTNM Board Chair George Partridge and PS for Information Justin Saidi look on.

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