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3 - 9 - 2018

Good Morning, Folks!

The Uganda Bureau of Statistics has stated that the consumer prices index 12-month rate (used to measure inflation) rose for the third straight month in August, mainly due to rising prices for services, especially communication and transport. The taxes on social media and mobile money contributed to an increase in annual inflation for communication which was 12% in August versus 5.4% in July. A report by Research ICT Solution says the taxes could cost the Ugandan economy $750 million this year alone.

South Africa's Telecommunications Minister, Siyabonga Cwele, has accused mobile network operators of blackmailing the government by stating that there will be job losses if they reduce data prices. The government has been criticized by major mobile operators over its plans to reduce termination rates and its intention to reserve the majority of high-demand spectrum for wireless open-access network providers. A TechCentral report however states that government may legalize spectrum trading and allow spectrum sharing per the latest draft of the Electronic Communications Amendment Bill. South Africa is known to have the highest data costs among Africa's major economies.

Nigeria's former ICT Minister, Omobola Johnson, has joined the Board of the Web Foundation effective November 1. Omobola is presently a Senior Partner at TLcom Capital LLP and Honorary Chair at Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI). She joined A4AI in 2015  and will be leaving in October.

The UK Aid is set to invest an additional £1.6 million in Energise Africa. The new investment will help Energise Africa connect at least 125,000 more people to clean, reliable energy. The investment is part of the UK's  Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund which aims to help up to 1.5 million underprivileged people in sub-Saharan Africa (especially women and children) access clean energy by 2022. Zambia's Kazang Solar recently received $1.6 million from the Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund.

Following a not-so-impressive two year pilot, Sodexo is relaunching its digital employee meal voucher platform in Kenya, M-Kula as Apptivate Africa according to a report by TechMoran. The platform which allows employers provide meal tickets to their employees to shop on Jumia Food and at partner restaurants was unable to on-board up to 100 companies during its pilot. The company is now doubling down on developing solutions targeted at end users such as allowing them send gifts to one another on the platform. 

Uganda's digital currency exchange, CoinPesa has launched its initial coin offering pre-sale with a bid to expand its user base and to enhance financial inclusion on the continent through blockchain-based digital assets. Although the pre-sale is currently available to only registered users, it will be open to the public this September while the public ICO sale is set for January 2019.

Facebook has announced the kick-off of the #FBStartAccelerator Bootcamp in partnership with CcHub Nigeria. 15 teams building solutions with advanced technologies have been selected to participate in the 6-month programme, they include Plant Doctor (AI), by RoadPreppers (AI), Quadron Studios (VR), Project Move (VR), Chiniki Guard (AI), DeepStack by AI Commons, Say Peace (AI), Insyt (AI), GRICD Agroservices (IoT), Smart Electricity (IoT), TrepLabs (IoT), UpNepa (IoT), Team Kanji (VR), Vetsark (Data Science) and Cycles (IoT). Start-up teams will receive $20,000 each while BSc., MSc. & PhD student teams will each receive $5,000, $10,000 and $15,000 respectively to conclude their research. 

In more news from UK Prime Minister, Theresa May's trip to Africathe UK government is contributing more than $72 million through the Clean Technology Fund to a $500 million investment in battery storage developed by the World Bank and the African Development Bank in partnership with the government of South Africa. The batteries which will be used in storing electricity from renewables are being developed to fast-track access to clean energy across South Africa. A £500,000 funding was also announced for the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation. 

Crop2Cash has won the FCMB-Wennovation Agritech Demo Day. The startup which connects crop farmers with buyers via a data-driven supply chain platform went home with an equity free grant of  ₦1.25 million beating nine other start-ups. The programme received 198 applications from agritech start-ups across Nigeria.

The African Development Bank, the Nordic Development Fund, the Global Environment Facility, Calvert Impact Capital and All On have launched the Off-Grid Energy Access Fund with $58 million. The Fund is part of the AfDB’s sponsored Facility for Energy Inclusion (FEI), a flagship initiative of its New Deal on Energy for Africa and part of its High5 priority to light up and power the continent, with the aim of reaching 75 million households with off-grid energy by 2025.

Nigeria's Wema Bank is shutting down WemaMobile. The mobile banking app will be replaced by ALAT, its digital banking platform. WemaMobile's users can login to ALAT with their sign-on credentials per an email the bank sent out last week. 

As a result of complaints from customers about their data being depleted too fast, Safaricom has promised to release a new data manager that will ensure a more user-friendly and transparent data experience. The new data manager will enable users disable automatic Google Play updates and also alert them about abnormal spikes in data usage. The network will also allow users select their preferred internet speeds.

Nigeria's postal agency, NIPOST has launched three new products. The products are the NIPOST Digital Addressing System, NIPOST Address Verification System and NIPOST E-commerce API. The products were announced at a forum last week where Nigeria's ICT Minister, Adebayo Shittu mentioned that the agency was being positioned to be the number one revenue generating agency in the country with the establishment of five new companies. 

biNu's CEO Gour Lentell penned a piece where he stated that despite offering great data-free apps in South Africa, install rates were still very low. His team identified possible reasons as low storage, data costs associated with maintaining apps (updates) among other reasons. Read the rest of the article here.  

Launchlab and Winetech are calling for applications from South African entrepreneurs in the Wine Industry Innovation Challenge. The challenge seeks ideas that bring technology into the entire wine industry value chain from planting to processing, marketing and distribution. Entrepreneurs have until September 28 to apply here for a chance to win $10,600.

Devcenter is looking for product designers, UI/UX designers and senior developers to join its pool of remote workers. Check out tips on what they would like to see in your application and apply here

From TechCabal

Solar Startups Dominate Africa’s Renewable Energy Industry, Here’s Why

How Is Technology Helping Cross-Border Logistics In Africa?


Thanks for reading.

Have a great week ahead! We'll see you tomorrow.
- Olanrewaju

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