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Bamboo bikes, cancer warriors and fraud fighters. The Royal Academy of Engineering’s Africa prize has selected 16 finalists for the 6th edition of its award. They include 25-year old Ivory Coast tech entrepreneur, Charlette N’Guessan. Along with her friends from the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology, N’Guessan developed Bace API, a software solution that uses facial recognition and artificial intelligence to verify identities remotely, replacing existing methods such as two-step verification or password memorisation. The software will help financial institutions fight fraud.
There's also William Wasswa, a lecturer in Uganda who developed a digital microscope slide scanner for cervical cancer screening. And there's Bernice Dapaah, a cycling enthusiast who created a social enterprise focused on making bicycles out of bamboo. Since 2014, the Africa Prize has sought to recognize ambitious African innovators developing scalable engineering solutions to local challenges.
At 36.2%, China's Transsion currently dominates Africa's smartphone market. It sold 8.2 million smartphones in the third quarter of 2019 according to data from the International Data Corporation. However, other phone makers are now looking to compete with Transsion in its own turf; ultra low-end to mid-range smartphones. In Q3 2019, Samsung recorded 61.4% growth in the sales of its low-end devices and in Q2 2019, Nokia was the fast-growing brand in Nigeria. For TechCabal, Abubakar dives deeper into the battle for Africa's smartphone market.
South Africa's Communications Minister, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams has withdrawn the appointment of the newly announced administrator of Usaasa. Newyear Ntuli was recently appointed by the Communications Minister as the administrator of Usaasa following the dissolution of the agency's board. Ntuli's appointment which was supposed to begin in January 2020 was rescinded following accusations of sexual misconduct. Usaasa is the agency responsible for ensuring universal access to digital products and services in South Africa.
Issam Chleuh, Managing Director at Suguba has been appointed Director of Anglophone and Francophone West Africa at Mastercard Advisors. MasterCard Advisors is the professional services arm of MasterCard Worldwide which provides marketing, information and payment risk management services to financial institutions and merchants around the world. Chleuh will cover 14 West African countries, leading business development efforts for clients and stimulating thought leadership in the region. Chleuh is an investment and finance professional with over 10 years of experience across 3 continents.
At least 50 startups in Africa raised $1 million for the first time in 2019. According to analysis by Maxime Bayen (Senior Company Builder at GreenTech Capital), 91 startups closed a funding round of US$1 million or more this year totalling US$1.25 billion. A majority of these startups are in Nigeria and are less than 5 years old. However, only about 20% of the 91 startups have female founders.
The next TechCabal townhall holds on February 28, 2020.The February 2020 townhall will focus on...
Emerging technologies including 5G, Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality, Cryptocurrencies, Robotics and 3D Printing. TC Townhall: Emerging Tech will examine how these technologies are changing (and will change) how Africans live and do business.
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