16 NOVEMBER, 2021

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Good morning ☀ïļ ïļ

Twitter has acquired Threader

Threader is an app that compiles threads into one cohesive format. Fans of the app who want to access the service will now have to subscribe to Twitter Blue to get access. 

This is the latest in a string of acquisitions by Twitter which has included Revue, Breaker, and Sphere.

In today’s edition

  • Breaking into tech in Nigeria
  • Tryo acquires Nafham
  • Increasing connectivity with Jumia and UNICEF

BREAKING INTO TECH IN NIGERIA

Inrecent years, there has been an increase in the number of young people beating a path to the doors of Nigeria’s tech ecosystem. 

Many factors are responsible for this. With social media bringing diverse people together and creating a sort of boundary collapse, there has been a rapid rise in tech advocacy among young people including those with no technological background. 

Another factor to consider is the high unemployment rate in the country. The Nigerian Bureau of Statistics recorded the youth unemployment rate at 42.5 percent in the last quarter of 2020. These, in addition to individual interest, are two of many factors driving a lot of people into learning digital skills—programming especially—in order to explore its many possibilities. 

The pocked road to tech in Nigeria

But learning computer programming—even with the availability of accessible online resources, YouTube tutorials and mentorship from developer communities online—does not make coding an easy subject for most beginners whose computer knowledge is limited to MS Word and Mavis Beacon; many quit the course after only a few weeks of learning. 

For Nigerian tech newbies, the reasons for quitting are not far-fetched. With no bootcamps, healthy tools, power outage which is sure to last for days, enabling environments and little resources for internet connections, constraints soon become glaring to our aspiring developer.

Read more: Breaking into tech: The struggle of lower-class Nigerians.

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TYRO ACQUIRES NAFHAM

This is the quarter for M&As in Africa, and Egypt’s latest edutech acquisition is proof of that. 

In latest news, Nafham, an edutech startup outlining the school curricula in Egypt, has just been acquired by Tyro. Nafham is a free-to-use platform that provides simplified explanations of topics taught within MENA in five- to twenty-minute videos. 

Backstory: Founded in 2015, the platform is one of the largest online educational platforms in the Middle East, with 6 million annual users and over 150 million views on its video content.

Tyro, on the other hand, is an online tutoring platform where students can prepare for exams like IELTS or ACT, and learn a new language. Unlike Nafham, the platform provides paid services for students who would like to learn from expert instructors from all over the world. Since its founding in 2017, Tyro has completed 50,000 paid sessions on its platform, helping students in the region improve their knowledge of English, French and maths, amongst other subjects.

Becoming MENA’s largest edutech

Both Nafham and Tyro are doing great things in education with tech. While Nafham has a bigger customer base with its pre-recorded sessions, Tyro has a more advanced platform that hosts live sessions. 

The crux of the acquisition is to merge both strengths. 

According to Tyro CEO Mokhtar Osman, the acquisition seeks to capitalise on the technological capabilities and customer base of both platforms to take Nafham to the next level. “Both companies joining forces will technically make us the largest edutech platform in the MENA region providing both, live online tutoring as well as recorded educational video content,” he said. 

Zoom out: Tyro acquisition will see the company leading Nafham’s management into extending the platform’s offerings and capabilities. In fact, Tyro has already secured funds for the new entity from several investors including Flat6Labs and NXL Partners.

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INCREASING CONNECTIVITY WITH JUMIA AND UNICEF

COVID highlighted a lot of things. From spotlighting virtual working conditions to cat videos, many pertinent issues concerning tech were brought to light. 

One of these is how many children, in the wake of the lockdowns, could not go to school because they didn’t have access to the internet in their homes. UNICEF puts the number of unconnected children at 63 percent. In sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), 9 in 10 children are unconnected. 

As countries are gradually lifting lockdown measures, it’s becoming apparent that disconnection is not only a problem at home but in schools too, especially in developing countries in Africa. Internet penetration on the continent is low at 39 percent and that includes education centres as well. 

UNICEF and Jumia want to change that. 

Delivering internet to children

UNICEF has brought Jumia on as a partner for its Giga project

Giga is an initiative launched by UNICEF and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in 2019 to connect every school to the internet. Since launch, the project has successfully mapped over 1 million schools in need in Central Asia and Eastern Caribbean, successfully connecting 3,000 of them. 

Now, the organisation is turning to Jumia—a company with unique local expertise and already existing data maps—to help with mapping out key locations in Africa where schools may be in need of connectivity. Jumia will also work on developing two prototypes for digital payment mechanisms that would provide a more efficient procurement process for the project in Africa.

OPPORTUNITIES

  • The FutureLearn Scholarship is calling for applications to its very first cohort. Innovators in the field of tech, mental health, teaching, and climate studies are invited to apply to get £5,000 worth of world-class education and 8-hours worth of mentorship from leading experts. Learn more and apply here
  • The Obama Foundation Scholars Programme is open to applications from emerging leaders from around the world who have demonstrated a commitment to finding solutions to challenges in their communities. Successful candidates will get scholarships for an academic year at Columbia University, living stipends, and air travel costs. Apply or nominate someone here.
  • The Google Research Scholar Programme is now open to applications for its 2022 cohort. The programme provides early-career professors with up to $60,000 worth of funding who are pursuing research in fields relevant to Google including machine perception, quantum computing, and networking. Find out more about the programme here
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What else we’re reading

  • The Next Wave: Are African content creators about to get more support?
  • Another one for African founders supporting each other as Mono backs Aboki Africa in an undisclosed pre-seed funding round.
  • A new partnership is bringing fibre to thousands in Namibia’s first smart city.
  • Egyptian mobility assistance startup, BlinkApp, has raised a 6-figure pre-seed round.

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT #TCDAILY?

Written by – Timi Odueso

Edited by – Kelechi Njoku

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