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MicroEnsure is designing mobile Micro-Insurance products for Telcos

Wed, 11/22/2017 - 5:57pm
Richard Leftley founder of MicroEnsure in conversation with How We Made It:

Silvertree founder takes aim at Silicon Valley model of building African startups

Wed, 11/22/2017 - 5:46pm
Over at Ventureburn:
African angel investors and accelerators are doing a disservice to entrepreneurs by mimicking the Silicon Valley model of glorifying the pitching of ideas – rather than helping entrepreneurs to better execute on these ideas, charges Silvertree Internet Holdings MD Paul Cook.

“Far too often in our view, angels and even more so startup pitching events glorify pitching an idea rather than pitching some way that you are going to take a proven idea and execute in a market that is early stage,” Cook said, at a panel discussion held today at the African Angel Investor Summit 2017. The summit is being held at Workshop 17 in Cape Town and ends tomorrow.

He said incubators and hubs have been preparing startups for the “supposed” pool of hundreds of venture capital (VC) funds that don’t exist...[more]

African countries on the Bitcoin Market Potential Index (BMPI) - #Zimbabwe & #Nigeria

Wed, 11/22/2017 - 9:16am
Over at the LSE Blog:
Financial crises and hyperinflation influence bitcoin adoption, writes Garrick HilemanWhich markets have the greatest potential for bitcoin adoption?

With over $250m of venture capital invested in bitcoin startups to date, much is at stake in understanding which markets will prove most fertile for bitcoin. In addition, many governments and regulatory agencies are seeking to better understand the economic opportunities presented by bitcoin along with the perceived risks.

The new Bitcoin Market Potential Index (BMPI) is the first attempt at providing a rigorous answer to the above question, assembling a new data set to rank the potential utility of bitcoin across 177 countries.More here

Crypto continent — an African snapshot

Wed, 11/22/2017 - 9:03am
Alex Lielacher reports:
When the bitcoin ecosystem began to take shape, one of its first “killer apps” was supposed to be its potential for providing banking services and low-cost remittances to regions of Africa poorly served by the traditional banking sector...[more]

21st Century Economies Need Power and Connectivity - Erik Hersman

Tue, 11/21/2017 - 6:00am
Over at the Brck Blog:
Power and connectivity are the two foundational elements of a 21st century economy upon which all of the other pillars sit. Whether you’re talking about commerce or education, entertainment or logistics, you’re not going to play in the global economy unless you have access to reliable energy and internet.More here

How Decentralized AI Can Change the Lives of Millions - Africa Included

Mon, 11/20/2017 - 12:45pm
Hruy Tsegaye reporting for iCogLabs:
With the addition of decentralized companies like SingularityNET, the biased arena seems a little bit weaker. Now, a little software company in Central African Republic can access a top-notch AI tool at a price they can afford...[more]

AI-Powered Microscope Counts Malaria Parasites in Blood Samples

Sat, 11/18/2017 - 5:18pm
Jeremy Hsu writing in Spectrum:

Today, a Chinese manufacturer and a venture backed by Bill Gates will announce plans to commercialize a microscope that uses deep learning algorithms to automatically identify and count malaria parasites in a blood smear within 20 minutes. AI-powered microscopes could speed up diagnosis and standardize detection of malaria at a time when the mosquito-borne disease kills almost half a million people per year...[more]

Frontier Investing - The Chinese Developers Turning Liberia's Beach Into a Luxury Playground

Sat, 11/18/2017 - 9:27am
From Citylab:
Boosters say this mall complex will jumpstart the economy in an area decimated by Ebola and war. But longtime locals and entrepreneurs wonder what will be left for them...[more]

Making “Made in Nigeria” Work for All at Pax Herbals

Fri, 11/17/2017 - 10:08am
Jamie Hitchen writing in The Republic:
Pax Herbals (covered earlier), situated a two-hour drive outside of Benin City, in the Ewu-Esan local government area of Edo State is, perhaps, not the location you would expect to find one of the state’s largest private sector employers. But from a wooden hut, constructed adjacent to the neighbouring monastery in 1996, Pax Herbals has evolved to employ more than 120 full-time staff across the supply chain—from growers and factory workers, to biologists and engineers. Factor in more than 1,000 distributors who help sell the products in over two-thirds of Nigeria’s 36 states and the scale of the enterprise becomes clear. It’s a made in Nigeria success story and one that has prospered along with the local community rather than at its expense...[more]

Belfrics to Launch #Bitcoin Exchanges Across Africa

Fri, 11/17/2017 - 7:46am
Cointelegraph reports:
Praveen Kumar, Chairman and CEO of Belfrics Global SDH, has announced that his outfit will be launching Bitcoin exchanges across Africa in the coming months.

Speaking at the Launch of Belfrics' Bitcoin Exchange in Kenya on Saturday at the Villa Rosa Kempinski, in Nairobi, Praveen outlined plans to open exchanges in Nigeria, Ghana and Botswana soon, and follow it up with other countries...[more]

Marie Césaire Champagne by Marie-Inès Romelle

Fri, 11/17/2017 - 6:00am
Afropunk reports:
After working for 12 years as a manager at 5 delicatessen shops at Orly airport in Paris and four more as a wealth manager, Marie-Inès Romelle went back to business school so that she could pursue her passion of creating a brand with her brother, Jaïro, which came to fruition in 2015 in the form of Marie Césaire Champagne. From Guadeloupe, the Romelle’s shared a passion for wine that would later evolve into a love for champagne, which their parents always appreciated...[more]

"Why African start-ups keep repeating the same mistakes" Africa's Zero-based ventures - Victor Asemota

Thu, 11/16/2017 - 7:40am
Victor Asemota writing in the Guardian:
...Someone asked me recently if we are doomed in this part of the world always to be consumers of technology rather than pioneers? It seems that all of the innovation happens elsewhere and all we do is to adapt it locally. My answer was that building technology ventures are similar to academic research exercises. Theoretical knowledge is typically always built on previous experience and data is the bedrock of this knowledge. We cannot begin to start talking about innovating without building up datasets about our markets and environments. Even when such datasets exist, they get rarely used, founders rely on instinct by default. We are always building “Zero-Based Ventures.” More here

Building Makerspaces for the 4th Industrial Revolution in Africa

Thu, 11/16/2017 - 7:28am
From Gearbox:
image viaDemand for the kind of low-skilled, labor intensive manufacturing that reshaped much of Asia is not set to grow at the same pace as the world’s workforce. New manufacturing technologies created an explosion in global productivity per worker over the last fifty years, with the result that fewer people are needed to make things than ever before.

The promise of the Fourth Industrial Revolution is not going to be more manufacturing jobs like the factory lines of decades past. The rapidly decreasing cost, ever increasing ease of use, and widespread availability of fabrication technologies like CNC machines and 3D printers are transforming the way the world designs and makes things. In the most optimistic point of view, using these tools just about anyone, just about anywhere, can learn enough (thanks to the internet) to make just about anything. More here

African Economic Growth Rides on Wireless Rails

Thu, 11/16/2017 - 7:22am
Matthew A. Winkler writing in Bloomberg:
A telecommunications boom is lifting an industry and a continent...[more]

Silas Adekunle’s AR-powered fighting MekaMon robot goes on sale at Apple Stores #Nigeria

Thu, 11/16/2017 - 6:10am
Techcrunch reports on Reach Robotics covered earlier:

After selling out of its initial run of 500, U.K.-based Reach Robotics scored a $7.5 million funding round to help it produce a more consumer-ready version of its battling robotics platform. Turns out VCs weren’t the only ones paying close attention to the company’s product: Apple has also been watching the company’s growth with keen interest.More here

via Bella Naija

How Africa's Tech Generation Is Changing the Continent

Thu, 11/16/2017 - 6:00am
From National Geographic:
image viaDESIGNING FOR AFRICA is the objective of many new technology ventures. The continent is still a largely untapped market, particularly in remote, off-the-grid places. Mark Kamau, director of user-experience design for BRCK in Nairobi, Kenya’s capital, holds a prototype for a mobile weather station...[more]

Artisanship – The Role Technology Can Play in Enhancing its Cultural & Socioeconomic Impact

Mon, 11/13/2017 - 4:30pm
Ijeoma Balogun & Aderonke Adeola writing in Bella Naija Style:
image viaArtisanship can be characterized as the foundation of African fashion, whether in weaving cloth by hand, intricate needlework, the use of organic dyes or embroidery, these have all become strong signifiers of African fashion, even in contemporary contexts. The interplay between contemporary fashion in Africa and historic cultural reference points expressed through native textiles have contributed significantly to shaping the African fashion narrative to date. Key to the preservation of these historical cultural reference points are the artisans. They are the unsung heroes working behind the scenes, weaving into relevance ancient cultures, conserving traditional knowledge. Each culture, region, or sometimes, even families have traditional craft knowledge passed down throughout the ages. More here

West Africa's Off-Grid Solar Market Boom Drives Lumos Expansion

Mon, 11/13/2017 - 11:57am
From Bloomberg:
West Africa’s booming off-grid solar industry is drawing international investors eyeing expansion.

Lumos Global, a Dutch off-grid developer that raised $90 million last year to start business in Nigeria, said its expanding in Ivory Coast this month. In both countries, Amsterdam-based Lumos is using a partnership with MTN Group Ltd. that allows customers pay for solar power with their mobile phones...[more]

Egypt Turns to Urban Agriculture to Revive Historically Powerful Sector - The Emergence of Agricultural Cities

Sun, 11/12/2017 - 12:33pm
In Cityfarmer:
Egypt is turning to urban agriculture by establishing its first agriculture city in the southeast part of the Qattara Depression, northwest of the country, as part of efforts aimed at reviving a sector that goes back to the time of the pharaohs.More here

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