This has been quite an interesting week for tech. We covered so many interesting stories from across Africa and the world. The biggest story of course was social media giant Facebook announcing its re-branding. At the company’s annual Connect conference held on Thursday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that the company will now be known as Meta.
The new name reflects the company’s focus on building the metaverse, something CEO Mark Zuckerberg spoke extensively about during the event.
We also covered some quite interesting stories about African startups. Four startups from Ghana joined The Catalyst Fund Inclusive Digital Commerce Accelerator, a programme that supports innovators building digital commerce solutions. Standard Bank partnered with African fintech startup Flutterwave to build digital payments solutions for the different markets the bank operates in. 5 Kenyan startups were also selected to be part of the 2nd cohort of NINJA Accelerator programme. NINJA Accelerator is a Japanese-led acceleration program powered by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in partnership with Double Feather Partners, Deloitte Tohmatsu and Kenyan implementation partner GrowthAfrica. Autochek, the Nigerian automotive startup which recently expanded to Kenya secured $13.1mn in seed funding.
In South Africa, fintech firm Ukheshe technologies, Telkom, and Engen collaborated to create a QR solution that allows motorists to tip attendants and cashiers. Marcy Venture Partners (MVP), the Venture Capital Firm owned by American rapper, and businessman Jay-Z also announced that it’s investing in 24-year-old technologist Iddris Sandu’s impact-driven tech incubator spatial LABS (sLABS).
The Africa Tech Festival Awards (formerly known as AfricaCom Awards) turns 14 in 2021. We highlighted the list of companies and individuals shortlisted for this award.
This week, Twiva social commerce platform officially launched in Kenya. Fifteen girls have been recognized by the Ministry of ICT for their exemplary performance in the just concluded Blogging Challenge. The challenge was held by the Ministry in partnership with the Konza Technopolis Development Authority (KoTDA) and Huawei Women in Technology. Jumia also released its Africa e-Commerce Index 2021 released yesterday highlighting how consumer online shopping behaviors are shifting towards everyday product categories. We will be breaking this report down for you in the coming week. At the same time, Mastercard, who are the Official Payment Technology Partner of Expo 2020 Dubai, and Female Fusion Network released a new report revealing how 95% of women SMEs in the region identify social media channels as the top tool to drive their business ventures.
Some new appointments were also announced this week. Mastercard appointed Gabriel Swanepoel as the new Country Manager for Mastercard in South Africa. Gabriel previously served as the Vice President of Business Integration for Mastercard, Southern Africa. Safaricom’s Chief Corporate Affairs Officer Stephen Chege also joined Vodacom Group. According to a statement by Safaricom, Steve will be joining Vodacom as a Chief External Affairs Officer, reporting to Vodacom Group CEO Shameel Joosub effective 15th November 2021.
One other big story we also covered this week was Pan-African telecommunications services provider SEACOM announcing that it has completed the 100% acquisition of Kenya’s Hirani Telecom’s metro fibre network. Digital Realty announced plans to acquire Medallion Data Centres, Nigeria’s leading colocation and interconnection provider.
We also had some news on gadgets. Chinese smartphone maker Tecno Mobile officially launched the Camon 18 series of devices in the Kenyan market. We also did an unboxing video for one of the devices in this series, the Camon 18 which you can watch here. Realme announced that it’s making the realme GT Explorer Master Edition series available in Kenya.
Lastly, we had a podcast on IoT. Listen in as me Nixon Kanali, Emmanuel Chenze, Dickson Otieno discuss what IoT is, how we are using it now, and how we’ll use it in the future.
In this episode, we also highlight some of the IoT projects that Kenya’s leading telco Safaricom is implementing in the country. The episode is available here.