31 MAY, 2021

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Good morning ☀️ ️

A new Whatsapp feature lets you choose different speeds (1x, 1.5x, 2x) to play voice notes.

Telegram has had this for some time but better late than never right?

In today’s edition:

  • Siri and Alexa still don’t support African languages
  • Vodacom and Mdundo partner in Tanzania
  • South Africa has some new lockdown rules
  • TC Insights: Egypt’s Rise

Siri and Alexa still don’t support African languages

Africa is home to over 1000 languages.

With a lot of technology being built to be accessible via vocal commands, African languages, accents, and speech patterns aren’t exactly catered to by the current big-three voice assistants – Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant.

Well that sucks. Yes it does. But Common Voice could be a solution to this.

What’s Common Voice? It’s a crowdsourcing project started by the Mozilla Foundation in 2017. The project invites Africans to donate their voices to a free and publicly available dataset that can be used to train voice-enabled software.

The work being done by Common Voice could allow innovators build solutions tailored to rural communities. With these voice-enabled apps and services available, the possibilities are endless. From helping to provide verified COVID-19 information in the local dialect to having residents who are finally able to ask Google questions in their own languages.

Read more on Common Voice and how Siri and Alexa still don’t support African languages.

PARTNER CONTENT

Increase your online sales with a Paystack Storefront – a free, beautiful seller page that helps you bring creative ideas to life.

🏾 Learn more at paystack.com/storefront

Vodacom Tanzania and Mdundo launch a music bundle

In Tanzania, Vodacom’s 15.5m mobile subscribers now have a music bundle just for them.

The bundle gives them access to Mdundo’s premium service with over 17 million songs and curated mixes by top Tanzanian DJs.

“Mdundo has a very strong following in Tanzania and we’re therefore pleased to launch our first telco bundle in this market. Vodacom has a clear and ambitious product team with a strong focus on delivering new and innovative solutions to the market aligned with the Mdundo vision,” said Patrick Sambao, head of telco at Mdundo.

Read more here.

PARTNER CONTENT

Future Africa has invested $3 million in 13 African startups in 2021, doubling its fund deployments for 2020. It’s invested in companies like Termii, Ongair, Lami and Stitch and is on the way to invest $10 million this year.

Read its announcement here.

South Africa has some new lockdown rules

Following a spike in the number of Covid-19 daily cases in the last week, the South African president, Cyril Ramaphosa, announced that there will be new rules as the nation moves into adjusted level 2 lockdown starting today.

Ramaphosa’s address followed meetings of the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC), the President’s Coordinating Council (PCC), and cabinet.

The presidency said the government and social partners are continuously monitoring infection, treatment, and patient recovery rates

What will these rules affect? For one, the country’s curfew will now run from 11pm to 4am.

Non-essential establishments like restaurants and bars will be closed by 10pm.

Funerals are now limited to 100 people and cannot last more than 2 hours.

Read more on the new rules.

Event

On the 1st of June 2021, the Unicorn Group will launch the biggest incubation campus in Africa- The Unicorn Incubation Campus-a multi-story building located in Yaba, the pulse of the startup ecosystem in West Africa.

Event Details

  • Date: Tuesday, 1st June 2021
  • Time: 10:00 am- 3:00 pm
  • Venue: 362 Herbert Macauley Way Yaba (Old Abiola Bookshop House)

The Unicorn Incubation campus will spur innovation and empower entrepreneurs to identify and build sustainable and competitive companies that will contribute to Africa’s economic growth. Join us as we write history and lay the foundation for the emergence of the African Continent.

TC Insights: Egypt’s Rise

It’s the best time to be a tech entrepreneur in Egypt. That’s what the numbers say. A total of 10 Egyptian startups have raised about $55.3m since the beginning of 2021. The largest funding round closed by an Egyptian startup so far is $15m, a feat that has been repeated twice this year.

Egypt is where a lot of the big deals are happening.

Funding hasn’t been limited to a particular industry. Everyone is welcome – from fintech to e-commerce; there’s enough room for all. But what are the factors driving Egypt’s rise as a tech hub in Africa?

The North African country is home to a largely young population. According to a report by Population Council, approximately 61% of the population is under the age of 30, and 40% is between the ages of 10 and 29. A young population could either be a trigger for growth or ruin. The former is the case for Egypt; around 250,000 engineering and tech graduates enter the job market every year. This means there’s a ready talent pool for its tech industry.

Government policies have been critical to the growth of the sector as well. One of them is the low cost of establishing businesses. There are also a number of tech parks where the government has provided modern infrastructure and tax incentives.

It’s not all good news though. There is still a long way to go to ensure startups have access to the necessary capital. Significant gaps exist, especially in funding – from US$100,000 to US$500,000 USD for early-stage startups – and late-stage funding, above US$10 million. An increase in access to local funds and not just foreign capital will lead to the growth of the ecosystem.

It’s still early days but Egypt is becoming an African tech powerhouse. With a vibrant tech talent pool, government support and a variety of funding options, it could set the pace for innovation and tech on the continent.

Get all our reports here and watch videos from our events. Send your custom research requests to tcinsights@bigcabal.com.

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Written by – Edwin Madu

Edited by – Daniel Adeyemi

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Edwin Madu | Author