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M-PESA launches in Ethiopia
Image Source: Safaricom
M-PESA, the fintech arm of telecom Safaricom, is now live in Ethiopia.
The telecom got its mobile money license in May, and it launched yesterday to serve the 2 million users that Safaricom has attracted since it expanded to Ethiopia last year.
Side bar: Safaricom became the first private telecom provider in Ethiopia after the government opened up its state-controlled telecom sector to private companies. Ethiopia, which has around 120 million people, presents an enormous opportunity for Safaricom’s telecom and fintech business.
A bigger and older competitor: M-PESA will face stiff competition from the state-controlled Ethio Telecom’s mobile money service Telebirr which reportedly has more than 34 million subscribers. The parent company Ethio Telecom is currently doing way better than Safaricom which saw a dip of around 20% in its core earnings in the year ending on March 31. This was due to the cost of its expansion to Ethiopia. Safaricom has made a really big bet, and time will tell if it was worth it.
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Kenya’s Startup Bill 2022 reaches Second Reading
Kenya’s Startup Bill 2022 has moved forward.
The bill has now reached the Second Reading stage in the Senate, after its first reading on February 15, 2023.
Per Techmoran, the bill aims to provide a comprehensive legal framework to encourage the growth of innovative startups in the country.
How so? The Startup Bill promises to usher in a slew of game-changing provisions. These provisions will expedite business registration, simplify tax, reduce bureaucracy and regulatory hurdles, and increase collaboration. It also provides mechanisms for easier access to funding, from dedicated funds for fledgling startups to tax perks for angel investors. It also promotes the protection of intellectual property locally and internationally.
Zoom out: Kenya’s Startup Bill is toeing the same line as the Nigeria Startup Act which the country passed into law last year. Like Nigeria, Kenya hopes that the bill will make the country a cozy nest for startups to hatch and flourish.
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AWS launches first Africa Skill Centre in Cape Town
Image Source: Amazon
South Africans are getting upskilled.
Amazon Web Services (AWS) has launched its first African Skills Centre in Cape Town, South Africa, to remove barriers to cloud skill training. The AWS Skills Centres are specialised, on-site cloud learning facilities designed by Amazon for people interested in cloud computing who want to discover potential career paths within the industry, and learn how to develop the skills required. Earlier this year, the big tech company announced that it would invest $1.8 billion in South Africa by 2029, and this appears to be part of that investment.
This is the third AWS Skills Centre—first in Africa—the company has opened globally. Its other two centres are in Arlington, Virginia, and Seattle, Washington, both in the United States. The new cloud computing training facility is part of Amazon’s commitment to helping 29 million people worldwide improve their tech skills for free by 2025.
Zoom Out: According to the World Economic Forum’sThe Future of Jobs Report 2023, most organisations identify skills gaps and an inability to attract talent as the primary barriers to industry transformation. By 2027, 60% of workers will need training, but only half can currently access sufficient training opportunities.
Consequently, AWS said the new facility in Cape Town will increase community transformation efforts and workforce-development initiatives. One of the main goals is to level the playing field by offering free education programmes to nontechnical workers, which will assist in meeting the increasing demand for qualified cloud talent.
Google to train 20,000 Nigerians in digital skills
Image source: YungNollywood
In more training news, Google also wants to upskill Nigerian youths.
The big tech company will reportedly train 20,000 Nigerian women and youths in digital skills. Alongside training, Google will also invest ₦1.2-billion ($1.5 million) in helping the government create one million digital jobs in the country. Per its Africa executives, the programme is in conjunction with Data Science Nigeria and the Creative Industry Initiative for Africa.
Google director for West Africa Olumide Balogun said the company would commit funds and provide digital skills to women and young people in Nigeria and also enable start-ups to grow, which will create jobs.
Zoom Out: Nigeria has a growing young population, About half of the population—a staggering 110 million—is 17 or younger. However, figures from the National Bureau of Statistics put the country‘s unemployment rate at 33.3%. Google’s plan to equip 20,000 youths with digital skills represents a good step in enabling Nigeria unleash its human capital potential—which seems like its greatest asset.
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* Data as of 06:00 AM WAT, August 17, 2023.
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- Visa is open to applications for its Africa Fintech Accelerator Program. Startups up to the Series A stage are encouraged to apply for a chance to gain unparalleled expertise, valuable industry connections, cutting-edge technology, and potential investment funding. Apply by August 25.
- If you are an aspiring economist entering your first year of undergraduate studies in the 2024 academic year, the South African Reserve Bank’s (SARB) Economic Research Department in collaboration with the SARB Academy, invites you to apply for competitive SARB bursaries in the field of economics, economics and econometrics, economics and mathematical statistics and economic science. Apply by September 30.
- Applications are open for the Cambridge Africa ALBORADA Research Fund 2023 for sub-Saharan African Researchers ($20,000 in Grants). The Cambridge Africa ALBORADA Research Fund competitively awards grants between £1,000 and £20,000 for research costs, research-related travel between Cambridge and Africa, and conducting research training activities in Africa. Apply by September 4.
- The SaaS Accelerator Programme: Africa 2023 has opened applications for its accelerator programme to enable early startups in Africa to receive funding. Selected startups will receive up to $70,000 in funding. Apply by September 7.
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