Tech: Latest News
Dana Sanchez, 12:01 am
Netherlands based off-grid solar provider Nova Lumos has raised $90 million in financing from private equity investment and development banks to roll out pay-as-you-go solar power systems in Nigeria. It’s the biggest fundraising round to date for the off-grid solar market, and hopes to provide cheaper and cleaner alternatives to kerosene for millions of people living in Africa. Nova Lumos was founded in Israel in 2012. Its “home power station in a box” includes a solar panel activated by text messaging that can supply enough electricity to charge a cell phone, operate a radio and illuminate a home.
Dana Sanchez, 5:18 pm
Chinese company Xinwei agreed to buy Israeli satellite company Spacecom for $190 million despite a Sept. 1 rocket explosion on the launchpad in Florida that took Spacecom’s share prices down more than 50 percent. The explosion destroyed a rocket owned by tech and space entrepreneur Elon Musk and his company, SpaceX. It was carrying a satellite that Facebook had planned to use to expand internet access in Africa. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said he wouldn’t give up on internet for Africa.
Dana Sanchez, 10:46 am AFKI Original
Currency depreciation and rising inflation have made investing a challenge in some African countries. A global private-sector development group identifies four African countries that have potential for climate-smart investment. These investments will make energy more accessible and infrastructure more resilient as climate change threatens to undermine developmental gains. South Africa is ahead of the game. With 90% of its electricity from coal, SA has approved 79 renewable energy projects by independent power producers. The cost of wind and solar has decreased more than 70%, and is now competitive with new-build coal, IFC reported.
Ann Brown, 8:12 am AFKI Original
A survivor of the Rwandan genocide, entrepreneur Marcel Mutsindashyaka chose to use the media, not for revenge, but for peace building. His Rwandan media and IT company has helped restore unity in the country by engaging youth. It is now the second most popular news website in Rwanda. Mutsindashyaka was chosen to be in Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative. The experience “opened my mind from local to global perspective,” he told AFKInsider. “From this I realized that there is potential for the U.S. and Africa to collaborate for mutual benefit.”
Dana Sanchez, 7:13 pm AFKI Original
Angolan attorney Zandre Campos quit his job with Sonangol, Angola’s giant state-run oil company, to start a private international investment firm. He wants to bring the best of the world to Africa. “We want to participate in the future of this continent. We’re talking about international standards,” he told AFKInsider. His latest investment is his company’s first in the U.S. He’s investing in U.S. technology. “Most of our investors are local Angolans — young guys like us,” Campos said.
Kevin Mwanza, 9:29 am
Little Cab, a taxi-hailing app owned by Nairobi-based technology firms, Craft Silicon, and East Africa’s biggest telecommunication provider, Safaricom, plans to expand its operations to Uganda and Nigeria as it intensifies its market battle against the dominant U.S.-based taxi-haling firm, Uber. The decision is likely to change the app’s fortunes, whose increase in customers in Kenya has not led to a rise in its earnings
Tom Jackson, 6:56 am AFKI Original
A recent McKinsey report on “digital globalisation” found flows of data and information now generate more economic value than the global trade in goods. Essentially, this means that an industry that did not exist 15 years ago is now bringing in more value to a country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) than the centuries-old trade in goods. That is quite something.
Staff, 7:22 am
Senegal has recently become only the second country in the world which will introduce a new national digital currency. Named eCFA, the digital currecy will be blockchain based and will be legal tender just as their current currency, CFA Franc, is. Senegal’s eCFA comes from a partnership by Banque Régionale de Marchés (BRM) and eCurrency Mint Limited. BRM will issue the digital tender currency, the eCFA, in compliance with e-money regulations
Dana Sanchez, 2:06 pm
McDonald’s opened its first burger and fast-food restaurant in South Africa in 1995, and now has more than 200 stores. Chinese mobile messaging app WeChat is trying to compete with Facebook-owned WhatsApp, which dominates in SA, by collaborating with large merchants like McDonald’s. Customers can now pay at McDonald’s using mobile payments at some locations. WeChat is dominant in China, where 200M-plus use its mobile payment platform. Mobile payments have not caught on in SA like they have in China or Kenya.
Kevin Mwanza, 8:29 am
Kiara Nirghin, a 16-year old South African schoolgirl, won the Google Science Fair’s Community Impact Award innovation prize, for her discovery that is set to help increase the soil’s ability to retain water. Nirghin, who won $50,000 in scholarship for the innovation undertook three experiments in 45 days to discover an orange peel and avocado skin mixture that is likely to replace the expensive and non-biodegradable super-absorbent polymers (SAPs).
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