Category Archives: Africa

Africa Ride will compete with Uber in South Africa

Uber may be prevailing in almost each country in the world, but it currently faces some big problems occurring worldwide with drivers feeling consistently short changed by the company.

Africa Ride is available on iOS and Android platforms and enables users to order private drivers, while proceeding the process of that driver in-app. In terms of operation it is very similar to Uber and its online finding drivers via an app. The crucial difference lies in real driver involvement in the business. Africa Ride empowers each and every driver by giving them ownership of a percentage stake in the business unlike the transportation giant.

Africa Ride app offers corporate accounts with weekly and monthly payment terms with the option to pay by wallet, and passengers can choose drivers according to the area they are in. It also offers personal customer care services disrupting the standard of speaking to an app that promotes trust between the firm and its clients.

Africa Ride operates in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Rustenburg. It is going to spread in the next few months to markets which have never used this type of service before.

Local firms fighting back and succeeding is not something we see often. International powerhouse brands permanently spread into African territories, conquering the market and truly putting solid stress on local companies. Africa Ride is looking for funding to hit new markets, but already has over 500 drivers in its system.

Google Launchpad Accelerator expands to Europe and Africa

If you are trying to develop innovative business in the field of IT and telecommunications, your corporate sponsor can now be Google itself. Launched in 2015 Launchpad Accelerator, initially addressed to the countries of Asia and Latin America, is opening up to new territories to include startups from Certain European and African countries. Now, entrepreneurs from these regions can join the 47 graduates and 31 currently participating startups.

There are very few companies that could match the reach and resources of Google, and now these resources can be made available for free to all those who want, through science, to solve real problems of their city, region or country. The program is organized by a global team of Google Developers for startups with a proven history of success in the marketplace, who want to reach the next million users.

The program begins with a two-week training in San Francisco, whose main feature are mentoring sessions with engineers and product managers from 20 Google teams and an international team of external mentors. Participants will receive financial support of $ 50.000, free access to paid Google services and help of local Google teams for six months.

For the new training cycle now there can sign up startups from Central and Eastern Europe – Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, and Africa – Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa. Of course, Google does not guarantee that it will accept all. On the contrary, the competition may be intense. In the program there also participate startups from India, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Mexico. Applications will be accepted until April 24. Training will begin on 17 July. More information can be found on the Launchpad Accelerator website.

IBM plans to train 25 million Africans at its IT academy

IBM is going to train 25 million Africans in digital skills development during the next 5 years. The aim is help improve the level of digital literacy and expand capabilities of the workforce. IBM will spend $70m on the program which will cultivate skills for jobs in cybersecurity, artificial intelligence and the cloud computing.

The initiative is called “IBM Digital – Nation Africa” and it will offer a range of programs from basic IT literacy to highly sought-after advanced IT skills: social engagement, digital privacy, and cyber protection. Advanced students will study career-oriented IT subjects like programming, cybersecurity, data science and agile methodologies, and also business skills like critical thinking, innovation, and entrepreneurship.

The initiative will be organized via platform that is based on IBM’s artificially intelligent system Watson. It will analyze several interactions that the initiative will have with it users to guide them to proper courses and help IBM enrich the courses to better adjust the topics to students’ needs. It will also gather anonymous info from students to further rationalize the service, and establish tips to help users better find adequate courses for them.

In South Africa 31% of people between 15 and 24 are unemployed. Other countries which are supposed to benefit from the IBM’s initiative are: Nigeria, Kenya, Morocco and Egypt. This will let to expand the initiative across the African continent. Africa will have the biggest workforce by 2040, so IBM is already setting the base to create a digital workforce. The company has been present in Africa since the 1920’s, and has a long history of partnership with educational institutions and assuring transformational solutions concentrated on ensuring value to higher education and its input to community.

The IBM’s initiative will be merited by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), which aims to promote market-driven ICT skills in Africa and the Middle East. IBM will work together with UNDP on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) skills delivery, certification, and accreditation. UNDP will cooperate with their network of existing government collaborations to develop the initiative across Africa.

USAID offers $4m to off-grid solar startups in sub-Saharan Africa

USAID revealed it will finance a $4 million funding initiative focused on helping 8 innovative solar firms across sub-Saharan Africa. It will donate $500,000 to each household solar start-up in the region which can prove a 2:1 private investor match, for example to demonstrate they have collected $1 million from private sector investors.

This is a unit of the USAID’s Scaling Off-Grid Energy: A Grand Challenge for Development, which is a global cooperation between the U.S. Agency for International Development, Power Africa, the U.K. Department for International Development, and the Shell Foundation. The fund is meant to help innovators who are extending their inventions. These firms are transforming household solar power across Africa. The Enterprise Awards are supposed to bring up to 120,000 new connections in off-grid communities.

Renewable energy sources are waiting for investors – during the last few years, they have become more reasonably prices, effective and realizable for industry to conduct. Investments and help from USAID and other like-minded public/private collaborations have enabled development and fast emergence of off-grid and mobile pay-go household solar energy service providers and fast growth of an aiding commercial environment.

To be more detailed, USAID wants to intone collaborations and help fund: solar home system producers and distributors; service providers and technical integration providers supporting the household solar market to develop; financial intermediaries and other service providers which raise access to financing for the household solar market; peculiar investment structures; advanced end-user payment solutions. What is more, favoritism will be granted to locally owned and handled companies, and also to those owned and handled by females. Firms, which deliver pico-solar solutions (solar lanterns, and mini- or microgrids) are not entitled. Concept documents will be admitted between February and April 2017.

Bitcoin Payments Startup BitPesa closes $2.5 Million funding round

Bitcoi10325555_1493401967556864_8586931335542230519_nn payments startup BitPesa has collected $2.5m in a new Series A funding round with perspectives to broaden its services further across West and Southern Africa, and also in the UK and Europe.

The Series A round was carried by prominent US-based industry investor Draper VC, with participation from existing investors: the Digital Currency Group, Blockchain Capital, Pantera Capital Management, BnkToTheFuture, Zephyr Acorn and FuturePerfectVC. US venture capital firm Greycroft LLC enters as a new shareholder and investor. The latest funding round results from a strategic investment by BitFury in the company in early 2016. In February 2015, BitPesa gained $1 million in new funding, having closed its first operation in 2014 with over $.17 million in ownership. Totally, BitPesa has gained more than $5 million in funding since 2013.

BitPesa lets African users to buy and sell local African money via bitcoin, with arrangements directly handled to and from bank and mobile money accounts in Africa. BitPesa recognizes bitcoin payments and exchanges the bitcoin for local money. Then it settles local currencies into bank accounts or mobile money wallets. There is a possibility of transactions in over 30 currencies.