13 APRIL, 2022

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Twitter has acquired yet another company

This time, it’s a push notifications company called OpenBack.

P.S Push Notifications are those messages you get from apps even when you don’t have the app opened. It’s the persistent Facebook notification that tells you to wish someone a happy birthday, or even the humorous reminders from savings apps that tell you not to spend your salary. 

Twitter already has push notifications for its mobile and web versions but it’s bringing on OpenBack to help cut down the irrelevant notifications, and “deliver the right notifications at the right time, in a way that puts people’s privacy first”.

This mark’s Twitter’s first 2022 acquisition and brings the total number of acquisitions by Twitter to 67.

In today’s edition

  • Amazon is launching AWS local zone in Kenya
  • Kenya’s 10-year digital master plan
  • How Yabx is building helping Africans using mobile money data
  • Event: Ecobank Fintech Breakfast Series
  • Opportunities

CRYPTO MARKET

AMAZON IS LAUNCHING AN AWS LOCAL ZONE IN KENYA

E-commerce behemoth, Amazon, is launching a Local Zone in Kenya for its cloud computing arm, Amazon Web Services (AWS).

According to Amazon, the new AWS Local Zone will allow users seamlessly to connect to AWS while ensuring ultra-low latency for these types of hybrid deployments—all while using familiar AWS APIs and tools.

Side-bar: Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the largest cloud computing service that provides infrastructure-as-a-service (IAAS) to companies across the world. Whether it’s streaming platforms like Netflix, publications like Financial Times, or state parastatals like the US Department of State, AWS is the service 150+ companies use to develop, deploy and host their applications/websites, to streamline video services, or to huge databases of video content. AWS also dominates the cloud computing service space, controlling 32% of the market, and it is presently the largest website host provider.

AWS Local Zones allow customers on AWS platforms to use the services faster and seamlessly. Worldwide, there are presently 17 Local Zones spread across the US but Amazon announced earlier this year that it would be launching AWS Local Zones in 32 cities in 26 countries including Nairobi, Kenya, and Johannesburg, South Africa.

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KENYA’S 10-YEAR DIGITAL PLAN MASTER PLAN

Speaking of tech developments in Kenya, the Kenyan government has just released its 10-year digital plan. 

Last month, the Kenyan Ministry of ICT, Youth Affairs, and Innovation announced plans to create a national digital master plan to revolutionise its ICT sector. 

Yesterday, at the Connected Summit in Diale, Kwale County, the Ministry launched the master plan which is set to guide the country’s ICT deployments and investment from 2022 to 2032. 

While digital copies of the master plan are not yet available at this time, the Ministry highlighted the content of its master plan. 

What’s Kenya planning?

The master plan encompasses a guide for the delivery of ICT infrastructure, skills, awareness, and services to Kenya over the next 10 years. 

Kenya’s ICT sector is worth over Ksh538 billion ($4.6 billion) and it contributes a little over 8% to the country’s GDP. In 2018, the government launched the National Broadband Strategy (NBS) 2023 which it has been following to increase access to broadband coverage of 3G to 94% of the population, increase digital literacy in schools to 85%, expand broadband to the 47 counties, and obtain 50% digital literacy within the workforce.

The digital master plan will supplement this plan by deploying 100,000 kms of fibre optic infrastructure to 40,000 learning institutions, 20,000 government institutions, 13,000 health facilities, and 25,000 hotspots.

Also listed in the highlights are plans for digital capacity building for citizens, improvement of the country’s tech laws, and establishment of 2 software and 2 hardware facilities.

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HOW YABX IS HELPING AFRICANS USING MOBILE MONEY

Financial institutions in Africa have historically relied on credit bureau scores, or the financial footprints of customers, to make lending decisions. In the absence of these, social demographics—such as gender, employment status, income level, etc—are considered before granting loans. 

A major shortcoming of these conventional lending methods is that it puts millions of people who are unbanked or informally employed at a disadvantage, which is why Africans have some of the lowest levels of access to credit in the world, especially those living in remote areas.

Over the past decade, new models based on artificial intelligence and machine learning tools have emerged as an alternative way to assess credit risk.

“Assessing creditworthiness without a formal history is a major problem in financial services in Africa while social demographic data isn’t sufficient to make good credit decisions,” notes Eunice Gatama, Director for Africa Business at Yabx, one of the fintechs driving alternative credit scoring trends in emerging markets.

The startup, which is incubated by Comviva and part of India’s Mahindra Group, uses machine learning to analyse mobile money wallet records and combine these with other sources such as credit bureaus and utility bills. 

Michael Ajifowoke has more in This Indian startup is building credit profiles for Africans using mobile money data.

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EVENT: ECOBANK FINTECH BREAKFAST SERIES

What comes to mind when you read about partnerships between fintechs and banks?

At first, you may be surprised considering that both parties are competitors. There should be a winner and a loser. But it doesn’t always work that way – sometimes both parties can be winners. So the question is, how can fintech and banks strike and sustain strategic partnerships?

Join us on Friday, 22nd of April at 8:30 AM (WAT), as Ecobank hosts the inaugural edition of its Fintech Breakfast series in partnership with TechCabal.

This edition is focused on addressing how fintechs can find and nurture partnerships with banks, and how they can leverage these partnerships to grow and expand across the continent.

Guest who will speak at the event include:

Register here to join the conversation.

OPPORTUNITIES

  • The JAMII Femmes Programme is now open to applications from female entrepreneurs in Nigeria, Kenya, and Côte d’Ivoire who are focused on building sustainable solutions in the agriculture sector. One woman from each country will be awarded $10,000 prizes, and participate in a 2-week accelerator programme. Check it out.
  • The Mo Ibrahim Foundation Academy Fellowship is now offering candidates at the early-to-mid stage of their careers [centred in international affairs] the opportunity to spend 10 months at Chatham House, London, working on an individual research project of their choosing. Apply here.
  • Applications are open for the 2022 edition of the African Business Heroes Competition for African Entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs from all 54 African countries who are contributing to the development of sustainable economies are invited to apply. Ten winning entrepreneurs will share $1.5 million, get access to mentorship opportunities, and gain global recognition. Shoot your shot.

What else we’re reading

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Written by – Timi Odueso

Edited by – Kelechi Njoku

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