Tech: Latest News
Tom Jackson, 4:41 am AFKI Original
Last year, the annual AfricaCom conference in Cape Town finally got serious about startups, launching the co-located AHUB event to bring together entrepreneurs, investors and other stakeholders from across the continent. The event took place for the second year last week, bigger and better, and allowing the ecosystem to join together to map the sector’s progress and discuss obstacles.
Dana Sanchez, 5:25 pm
In the last few years it seems like news reports about HIV/AIDS in Africa have been dominated by South Africa’s success making antiretrovirals available to the public. SA still has the worst HIV/AIDS epidemic in the world. Almost 20% of the population has it, with adolescent girls disproportionatley so. Trump’s election raised anxieties that U.S. humanitarian aid like PEPFAR will stop. Trump said that the U.S. should “stop sending foreign aid to countries that hate us.” On the other hand, there is one foreign aid program Trump likes: the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.
Dana Sanchez, 12:01 am
As reality TV shows go, “Shark Tank,” may be unusual for its focus on businesses seeking investment rather than on the drama or personal lives of cast members. There are now “Shark Tank” versions all over the world. An investor on the recently launched South African version is making waves by offering to invest in a company using bitcoin — possibly a “Shark Tank” world first. South African entrepreneur Vinny Lingham is a vocal bitcoin supporter. He’s known for a string of companies including Gyft, Yola and blockchain startup Civic.
Dana Sanchez, 3:53 pm
The RTS,S anti-malaria vaccine isn’t perfect. It showed an initial protection rate of around 31-to 56 percent, depending on the age of the patient, and seems to wear off after a year. Another vaccine developed in the U.S. showed better protection rates — as high as 80 percent — and longer-lasting protection. Used with bed nets and insecticides, RTS,S could provide a “very meaningful contribution to controlling the impact of malaria on children in those African communities that need it the most,” its maker said.
Dana Sanchez, 1:26 pm AFKI Original
Ugandan engineer Brian Turyabagye designed a biomedical smart jacket to quickly and accurately diagnose pneumonia, which kills 27,000 Ugandan children under the age of 5 every year. Most of these cases are due to pneumonia being misdiagnosed as malaria. He’s one of 16 African engineers who’ve come up with problem-solving innovations that got the attention of private and public stakeholders in the U.K. The 16 engineers are in the U.K. for 6 months of mentoring. They’re vying for a $30,000 prize.
Dana Sanchez, 10:35 am
Naspers owes its fortune to one great investment — a 34% stake in China’s top internet service, Tencent. The stake is worth more than Naspers itself. Investors aren’t impressed with Naspers’ operations in some markets. The mega firm is aggressively selling some assets, buying others and expanding online classifieds in new markets including the U.S., where it hopes to topple Craigslist.
Dana Sanchez, 12:16 pm
If you want to know what U.S. President elect Donald Trump thinks of African governance, read his tweets: “Every penny of the $7 billion going to Africa as per Obama will be stolen—corruption is rampant!” Africans criticize Switzerland for not doing more to return stolen money. Switzerland is trying to shake off the stereotype as a safe haven for ill-gotten loot. To some extent it’s succeeding. Tanzania has asked Switzerland to help recover money illegally stashed in Swiss banks. Other world centers are quickly filling the vacuum.
Dana Sanchez, 12:37 am
Blockchain and the ability to create transparent data transfer with distributed ledger technology is important to the United Nations Children’s Fund. The New York City-based program helps women and children in developing countries. UNICEF has a new innovation fund that uses the approach of Silicon Valley venture funds. The fund is supporting a South African startup that uses blockchain and advances in identity technology to create better management for early childhood development services.
Staff, 12:01 am
Facebook is not the only big social media beast vying for users in Africa. WeChat, owned by Chinese firm Tencent, is also making forays on the continent, and has seen significant uptake in South Africa, where it has over 5 million users. WeChat is betting big on additional services such as money transfers and airtime purchases on top of its social network to encourage further growth, and is closing in on Facebook’s WhatsApp, which has been around much longer.
Dana Sanchez, 12:01 am
Norway-based Opera claims its web browser reaches 100 million African users. How did they get there? There is a high degree of correlation between income and the browser used. But there’s also frst-mover status. Long before smartphones arrived in Africa, Opera was the de facto mobile phone browser. Other browsers came in with more features that most people didn’t need at the expense of bandwidth. That’s how Opera built its name as the go-to browser in communities with low internet connectivity, especially for mobile users.
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