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Tech Companies Making a Difference in Africa

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Africa has long been touted as the continent with the most growth potential when it comes to tech and innovation. Many African countries are building their own equivalents of Silicon Valley and tech companies from all across the world have been setting up offices and launching themselves into markets across the continent. And in addition to growing their customer bases, these companies are also committing to making affecting change in Africa.Here’s how.

They are Investing in communities and equipping people to become entrepreneurs

Last year Airbnb announced a three-year commitment to South Africa to address barriers to becoming a tourism entrepreneur, and to help rebuild a more inclusive and resilient domestic tourism economy. The commitment focuses on infrastructure, training and investment and builds on Airbnb’s 2017 USD $1 million commitment in Africa to boost community-led tourism projects, and the Africa Academy, which has trained more than 300 Hosts.

As part of this commitment, Airbnb announced its partnership with the University of Johannesburg School of Tourism and Hospitality to expand the Airbnb Academy programme to at least 1000 students over the next three years.

They are assisting in developing quality journalists and newsrooms

Over the years, Google, perhaps the biggest tech giant in the world, has been doing its fair share for small businesses, content creators and business owners across Africa. And just recently the company announced that five South African recipients have been selected as part of Google’s News Initiative (GNI) Innovation Challenge.

 The GNI Innovation Challenge is aimed at helping the journalism industry thrive in the digital era. Their projects are among 34 chosen from 17 countries, to receive a share of $3.2 million in funding.The recipients, among them 21 journalists and publishers from 10 countries in Africa, were selected for their work in promoting diversity, equality, and inclusion in the journalism industry. The GNI Innovation Challenge is part of Google’s $300 million commitment to helping journalism thrive in the digital era and has seen news innovators step forward with many exciting initiatives demonstrating new thinking.

Companies are nurturing talent from a young age

“At Huawei South Africa, we have long been committed to cultivating ICT talent and discovering new ways to harness technological innovation to advance sustainability,”says Vanashree Govender, Media and Communications Manager for Huawei South Africa. “Last year, we launched our Tech4Good Global Competition as part of our Seeds for the Future talent development programme, which exposes learners to courses on the latest technologies like 5G, Cloud, AI and IoT. The Tech4Good competition gets students to think about how to use technology to address social and environmental issues. Through this programme, participants boost their creativity, hone their entrepreneurship skills, and develop a sense of social responsibility. This is a fun team effort, with coaching by Huawei experts and world-renowned social impact leaders”.

Huawei also runs a Tech4All program globally in which Huawei works with partners to create real change through connecting the unconnected, empowering underserved communities and protecting the planet. In South Africa, Huawei’s DigiSchool project in partnership with operator rain and educational non-profit organisation Click Foundation, has connected over 100 urban and rural primary schools to the internet using 5G technology.

They are building the right skills through access to digital media education  

Today, there are local entrepreneurs in fields as diverse as fashion, healthcare, and decor who have proven that with more equal access to the digital marketing ecosystem, it’s possible to expand regionally and internationally.

In order for that to happen at scale, they also need the requisite skills to market themselves online in the markets they want to reach. At the very least, those entrepreneurs should have easy access to people with those skills. It’s important to note here, that these aren’t just fundamental digital marketing skills, but ones that relate to the specifics of marketing on the world’s leading digital advertising platforms such as Twitter, Snapchat, and Spotify where people across the globe spend most of their time online. With the right types of messages, these platforms are the most effective places to reach new customers across a broad range of markets.

“This is something that we’re passionate about, and recently, Ad Dynamo by Aleph launched a free Digital Ad Expert programme for young people in Nigeria and Ghana, which aims to educate, certify and connect thousands of Africans with the digital skills needed to succeed in a rapidly digitising economy. While it’s entirely possible that someone with the right degree of determination and curiosity could develop those skills on their own, it’s critical that more and more resources are accessible to build them up at scale,” says Elyse Estrada, Global Chief Marketing Office, Aleph Group.

This is crucial to ensuring that markets such as Ghana and Nigeria aren’t just growth targets for international companies, but incubators for a new generation of entrepreneurs capable of competing on a global level themselves.

They are creating access for everyone 

MFS Africa, the continent’s largest omnichannel payment gateway, believes in a “borderless world” in which everyone has access. Their comprehensive digital networks link 320 million mobile wallets, enabling cross-border payments remittance firms, financial service providers, and worldwide merchants.

MFS Africa CEO and Founder, Dare Okoudjo believes that interoperability is crucial in allowing customers of different mobile financial services providers to interact with each other. This can be done by making direct payments from the mobile money account of one provider to the mobile money account of another provider.

To do this, MFS Africa acquired Global Technology Partners (GTP) recently, broadening its bank and fintech base and supplying tokenisation in the mobile money space by connecting with established card ecosystems like Visa and Mastercard. The ultimate objective is to give millions of mobile money users on the continent access to the global digital economy and new possibilities. For its partners, these new capabilities enable scalability, security, and new markets and consumers as technology innovation continues to penetrate and reshape societies.


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Ugo Onwuaso is an ICT enthusiast. He believes technology should be used for general good. He holds a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from the Lagos state University. Dear Reader, Your support matters. But we believe that technology makes life more exciting and helps improve the lives of people around Nigeria and indeed the world. That is why, we have devoted our energy to independent reportage of technology and finance and how they affect lives. Our incisive and analytical view of how technology news affects the daily life help individuals and organizations make up their minds. Quality journalism costs money. Today, we're asking that you support us to do more. Kindly support our effort to deliver technology and finance journalism to everyone in the world. Donate as little as N1,000. Bank transfers can be made to: UBA Plc 1017156876 Communication Week Media Ltd

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9mobile Refutes Claims of N55Bn Debt to Keystone Bank

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Board of Directors of Emerging Markets Telecommunication Services Limited, trading as 9mobile, has refuted reports suggesting that a court ordered the company to pay a N55bn debt to Keystone Bank.

9mobile Refutes Claims of N55Bn Debt to Keystone Bank

In a statement at the weekend, the telecommunications company clarified that it was not a party to any legal suit or court order related to the debt.

The legal dispute involves only its minority shareholder, Teleology Nigeria Limited.

“Our attention has been drawn to a wave of syndicated media publications dated Friday, July 19, 2024, with the same misleading headline: ‘Court orders 9mobile to pay N55bn debt to Keystone Bank,’” 9mobile stated.

“The Management of 9mobile wishes to inform the concerned public and critical stakeholders that, contrary to this misleading headline, Emerging Markets Telecommunication Services Limited, trading as 9mobile, was neither a party to any suit nor affected by the order said to have been made against it as an entity.”

On Friday, a section of the media reported that a Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos, ordered Teleology Nigeria Ltd. to pay the sum owed to Keystone Bank.

Bode Olanipekun, SAN, Keystone’s counsel, claimed Teleology failed to service the loan used to finance its acquisition of assets in 9mobile.

Despite Keystone Bank’s offer to restructure the loan, Teleology did not meet the conditions set forth. Instead of repayment, the plaintiff received a proposal from PAC Ltd. suggesting a debt conversion to equity with no immediate repayment.

9mobile emphasised that the reports were false and defamatory, impacting its corporate reputation.

“If the correspondents who filed the obviously syndicated news stories were anywhere near the courtroom during the proceedings leading to the issuance of the said order, they would have known that at no point was 9mobile a party to the suit in question. Rather, the action was appropriately classified and filed as ‘Keystone Bank v. Teleology Nigeria Limited.’”

The company reiterated that no judgment was made against it and described the attempt to link 9mobile with the transaction of its minority shareholder, Teleology Nigeria Limited, as “false and maliciously misleading.”

9mobile highlighted that it is under new ownership, with a 95.5 per cent controlling stake in the business, and has not been found liable for the actions of its minority shareholder in the ongoing legal tussle.

“Our business transformation program has commenced, and we are poised to reclaim our place in the market,” 9mobile assured.

Teleology Holdings acquired 9mobile, previously known as Etisalat Nigeria, in November 2018 after a lengthy bidding process. However, just two months later, Teleology announced its withdrawal from the project due to dissatisfaction with its local partnership and operational challenges.

This decision jeopardised the initial $50m deposit made for the acquisition and highlighted ongoing financial difficulties faced by 9mobile, which has seen a significant decline in subscribers since its financial troubles began in 2017.

 


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TD Africa, BOSCH Strengthen Ties on Nigerian Consumer Electronic Market

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To further showcase its acknowledgment and endorsement of the Nigerian-born, Africa-wide technology distribution company, TD Africa, a delegation of Robert Bosch GmbH, popularly known as BOSCH, has paid a courtesy visit to the tech distribution giant at its Victoria Island, Lagos, head office.

L-R: Ifeoma Chigbo-Ndukwe (HR & Admin, TD Africa); Anastasia Etumeahu (Bosch Business Manager, TD Africa); Piet Ebersohn (Bosch Brand Manager, Sub-Saharan Africa); Chioma Chimere (Coordinating Managing Director, TD Africa); Chiamaka Okonkwo (Business Analyst, TD Africa); Omotola Basiru (Procurement Officer, TD Africa).

This pivotal visit marks a renewed commitment of the German multinational engineering and technology company to TD Africa as the strategic ally for Bosch business in Nigeria.

Mrs. Chioma Chimere, the Coordinating Managing Director of TD Africa, who warmly received the Bosch delegation, said the visit was to further strengthen the existing ties between the two companies and stamp the multinational’s presence in Nigeria.

Her words, “This visit signifies a renewed focus on making Bosch the most sought-after consumer electronics brand for the discerning Nigerian customer.

“We believe the collaborative strategies discussed will pave the way for big prospects and breakthroughs for Bosch in Nigeria, and TD Africa stands ready as a key partner in this journey.”

Topmost on the discussion were strategies for projecting TD Africa as the key distributor for Bosch products in the country. As both parties outlined plans towards achieving exponential growth through marketing initiatives, among others, to expand Bosch’s market share.

Mr. Piet Ebersohn, the Brand Manager for Bosch, Sub-Saharan Africa, who led the delegation, said: “TD’s commitment to the growth of the customer’s value chain is immeasurable and invaluable. This is one of the many reasons we value our partnership with TD Africa.”

For the continued efficacy of the alliance, the German company promised to ensure top-notch supply-chain management practices with TD Africa to ensure a steady flow of desired Bosch products to ease and meet the Nigerian consumer demands without delay.

While this collaboration further reinforces TD Africa’s commitment to making technologies accessible across the continent, the visit has again confirmed TD Africa’s position as the premier distributor of choice for leading global brands.


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FG Calls on Nigerians to Apply for ECOWAS Cybersecurity Hackathon

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Federal Government of Nigeria is calling on all Nigerian youths and IT enthusiasts to join the Capture the Flag (CTF) competition by registering to participate in the Economic Community of West Africa’s (ECOWAS) Cybersecurity Hackathon.

The event aims to empower citizens across the region with vital cybersecurity skills.

The event is being organised by ECOWAS and hosted by Nigeria in partnership with the Federal Ministry of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, and NITDA.

The Cybersecurity Hackathon presents an excellent opportunity for both beginners and seasoned professionals to dive into the world of cybersecurity, acquire new skills, and network with fellow enthusiasts.

All talented individuals and teams are invited to join this exhilarating competition. Demonstrate your expertise, collaborate with peers, and push the boundaries of cybersecurity. Be part of the talent pool driving cyberspace security for your country and West Africa as a whole.

The hackathon fosters a platform for young technology enthusiasts, enhancing the cyber workforce in the region. Nigerian youths are particularly encouraged to participate and showcase their brightest minds in this competition. Whether a cybersecurity novice or a seasoned expert, this event offers a unique opportunity to learn new skills and connect with fellow cyber enthusiasts.

ECOWAS Hackathon is an annual ethical hacking competition that brings together top cybersecurity talents from across ECOWAS, providing a unique opportunity to showcase skills, encourage knowledge sharing, and promote excellence in the field of cybersecurity.

The first edition took place in Porto Novo, Benin Republic in 2022 and Lome, Togo in 2023.

Eligibility and Registration Details:

Registration Period: Open from July 19, 2024, to August 5, 2024.

Eligibility Criteria:

All participants must be citizens of ECOWAS

member countries.

Travel tickets will be provided for participants residing within the region.

Teams must consist of 3-4 members, with at least one female participant.

Participants must be between 17 and 35 years of age.

This initiative came at the time of a recent report by the International Information System Security Certification Consortium (ISC2), which highlighted a global gap of four million unfilled cybersecurity jobs.

The Federal Government of Nigeria is addressing this talent shortage through its 3 Million Technical Talent (3MTT) programme, organised by the Federal Ministry of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy.

The programme aims to train three million Nigerians in technical skills, including cybersecurity.

Register Now:

Don’t miss this thrilling opportunity to be part of West Africa’s cybersecurity community. Registration for the ECOWAS Cybersecurity Hackathon is now open. Join this exciting Capture the Flag (CTF) competition by clicking the link below: https://ecowasctf.ng](https://ecowasctf.ng)


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