Appsafrica.com promotes and honors innovation across the mobile and tech ecosystem in Africa. This year they attracted over 200 entries from 25 countries, with the winners hailing from South Africa, Nigeria, Zambia, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.
“We had diverse entries from 25 countries and both the finalists and winners are a testament to how technology is being used to disrupt business models, empower people and drive positive social impact across the continent” shared Andrew Fassnidge founder of Appsafrica.com.
Best African App Award
Winner: Sliide Airtime (Nigeria)
Accessing the internet from a mobile device is expensive for most Africans. Sliide Airtime has developed a commercially funded model that provides free airtime to users and makes accessing the internet more affordable. Users earn free airtime simply by having the app on their phone. Additional airtime can be earned by completing≥Ò÷ in-app offers and recommending the service to friends. 50% of the Sliide revenue from showing adverts is then given as mobile data back to the users, allowing them to access the internet for free.
Disruptive Innovation Award
Winner: Domestly (South Africa)
By utilizing technology to connect cleaning professionals directly to homeowners, they make housekeeping more affordable and accessible to everyone, and at the same time create business and opportunities for cleaners.
The platform provides job creation for women, empowering South African women who are unemployed or underemployed. Domestly cleaners can set their own rates. Not only does this offer the customers a range of rates to choose from, but it also allows the cleaner to control her earning power.
Social and Messaging Award
Winner: Vula Mobile (South Africa)
Vula Mobile instant messaging has a unique ‘On Call’ system. A specialist goes ‘On Call’ and will receive all messages for his/her speciality at his/her hospital. When going ‘Off Duty’ he/she is required to nominate another specialist. This ensures that there is always a specialist ‘On Call’ to help health workers.
Enterprise Solution Award
Winner: Flutterwave (Nigeria)
Flutterwave’s technology accepts traditional card based payment processing but also caters to more popular payment processing methods like ACH and mobile money payments and all the above can be done with one API with ability to scale into any currency or any country. It has been launched in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, UK and US.
News & Entertainment Award
Winner: Battabox (Nigeria)
Mobile phones and the Internet have provided unprecedented opportunities for people in Nigeria to tell their own stories in a global media landscape previously dominated by a western narrative. However there is a lack of local, relevant video content for an Africa audiences and for advertisers to target various segments of those markets.
BattaBox addresses both problems with a simple idea: popular, high quality, informative and entertaining video content that is relevant to a Nigerian audience. They utilize mobile phone technology to communicate across Nigeria with over over 55 million online views and over 550,000 online subscribers!
Winner: Mwabu (Zambia)
Mwabu’s mission is to bring talent, teacher and technology together across Africa and their tablet contains 2,000 enquiry-based interactive lessons for all primary subjects in English and local languages. The content moves away from the classic rote learning or ‘chalk-and-talk’ approach, instead motivating learners to enquire, explore and problem-solve.
Detailed lesson plans guide teachers in the delivery of 5,000 interactive lessons, using a three stage rotational model; teacher-led sessions, group work and individual exercises.
Winner: BitPesa (Kenya)
BitPesa uses Bitcoin/Blockchain technology as a method of settlement with a global network of broker partners. This allows them to settle cross-border payments at a fraction of the time and cost of traditional financial institutions. Most payments settle same day (compared to 3-7 days for a bank transfer), and at an average 1.5% fee (compared to 5-10%). BitPesa also use API integrations with mobile network operators and bank networks to facilitate last-mile distribution to and first-mile collection of African currencies.
Social Impact Award
Winner: Ask without Shame (Uganda)
Whatever emergency the youth are facing or whatever questions they may have regarding sexuality, medical experts are on hand to offer a free and anonymous service. By answering questions without judgment or shame, they ensure that the youth have access to the right information.
Brand On Mobile Award
Winner: Mobi Hunter (South Africa)
Mobi Hunter has long term relationships, and exclusivity with premium social networks across Africa. These include 2go, BBM for Africa, Nimbuzz Africa, and FreeFi + Project Isizwe on the Wifi side. With these and many other platforms & partnerships, we give your brand over 35 million users to reach directly with us in Africa.
Women In Tech Award
Winner: Shule Direct (Tanzania)
An online platform that provides educational learning content for students and teachers in secondary schools.
Pan African eCommerce Giant Jumia Makes History with NYSE listing
Jumia Technologies made history on 10th April 2019 following the approval of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) allowing the pan-African e-commerce giant to sell its shares on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). Consequently, Jumia started trading its shares at $14.50 using the ticker symbol JMIA. This makes Jumia Technologies the first African startup to secure major global exchange listing.
Jumia is currently active in fourteen African countries including Nigeria, Ivory Coast, and Tanzania. The e-commerce platform has 81,000 active sellers with over 5,000 direct employees. According to a statement contained in its recent SEC filing, Jumia Technologies added three hundred thousand new active customers in the first quarter of 2019.
Through the sale of its American Depositary Shares, the company can raise up to $316. According to the Corporate Communications officer, Lisette Kwong, Jumia initially set its IPO at $14.50 but it opened and closed at higher prices.
Jumia’s Brief History and Growth
Jumia was co-founded in 2012 by Sacha Poignonnec, Jeremy Hodara, Tunde Kehinde and Raphael Kofi Afaedor. The company was an outgrowth of the Rocket Internet Company. However, its rapid growth allowed it to secure funding from investors like Millicom group, MTN, Orange, Goldman Sachs, and CDC. According to The Guardian, MTN is the largest shareholder with 29.7%. Rocket Internet is second on the log with 20.6%. Other investors and their stake include AXA Africa holdings (5.8%), AEH New Africa eCommerce (8.4%), and Millicom (9.6%).
The two Nigerian co-founders, Raphael Afaedor and Tunde Kehinde are credited with the creation of some of the company’s components including JumiaPay. However, they left the company in 2015 to build other startups.
What Next For Jumia?
Jumia’s share price was up by 61% in early trade. Inasmuch as NASDAQ is traditionally for technology companies, Jumia decided to list on NYSE. The Head of International Capital Markets at the NYSE, Mr. Alex Ibrahim said the company did so because they saw the benefits. According to Ibrahim, the volatility of NYSE is higher than its competitors. Speaking on the listing of the company on NYSE, the co-founders said,
“This achievement has been made possible thanks to the hard work of our teams, the trust of our consumers, as well as the commitment of our sellers and partners. All stakeholders deserve credit for this milestone, and we are just at the beginning of a long and great journey. We are going to continue to focus on our mission and to work even harder to help consumers, sellers, partners, and all stakeholders benefit from this technological revolution.”
Jumia is attracting lots of attention but the pan-African eCommerce giant is not a stranger to accolades. Some of the awards on Jumia’s archive include;
- Best New Retail (World Retail Awards 2013)
- Online Retail Brand of the year (Brand Journalists Association of Nigeria (2013)
- The innovative business of the year (Success Digest 2013)
- Leadership ICT company of the year (2013)
- Best use of Mobile App (Rima Awards)
E-commerce website of the year (Beacon of ICT Award)
Ephraim Banadda is First African to Win Pius XI Medal
Makerere Professor Ephraim Banadda has become the first African to win the Pius XI medal, scooping the 2018 award. The Pontifical Academy of Sciences gives the award to recognize outstanding scientific research.
Professor Banadda is a Ugandan scientist born in 1975. He was the first African to get a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium. The institution is one of the oldest universities in the world—established in 1425. Professor Banadda also holds MSc in Processing Engineering from the same institution.
The professor took his undergraduate studies at the Sokoine University of Agriculture in Tanzania and holds BSc Food Science and Technology from the Tanzanian institution. At the age of 37, Noble Banadda was appointed a full professor at the University of Makerere.
The professor is the current Chair of the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. In 2013, the Professor became the youngest fellow to join the Uganda National Academy of Sciences. In 2015, Professor Banadda was among the seven Africans who qualified for the Next Einstein Fellowship.
The Pius XI medal recognizes Professor Banadda’s contributions in scientific research. The professor’s research interests are in biological systems, mathematical modeling, and renewable energy. In addition, the professor has authored over 80 peer-reviewed scientific papers and has over 1,1395 citations on Google Scholar.
Some of Professor’s Banadda’s known works and innovations include making diesel from plastic materials. The Professor also developed a solar irrigation system. In 2015, Professor Banadda launched the first Makerere University MV Mulimi, a cost-effective farmers’ tractor. A year later in 2016, the professor unveiled organic pesticide made from agricultural waste. These achievements demonstrate that the Professor has been at the forefront of agricultural innovation in Uganda.
The Pius XI Medal
The Pius XI medal was launched in 1961, and the academy has awarded 28 winners since the inception. The academy itself, however, was found in 1936 by the Holy Father Pius XI. In 1961, Pope John XXIII established the Gold medal to recognize young scientists under the age of 45. The award recognizes scientists who work free of economic, ideological, or political interests. Professor Banadda received his medal on 12 November 2018 at the Papal Wing at the Vatican.
The selection process for the Pius XI medal is a well-kept secret. The Vatican is the venue for the award ceremony, and the Pope himself awards the medal to the winner. Professor Banadda received his medal on 12 November 2018 at the Papal Wing at the Vatican. The 2018 Pius XI Medal recognizes Professor Banadda’s outstanding scientific research and publication.
The professor aspires to one day join the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, whose alumni include Galileo Galileo and several Nobel Prize winners in the fields of Physics, Medicine, Space engineering, Stem Biology, and Mathematics.
Microsoft Wants To Promote Digital Transformation in Africa And Here Is How
South Africa is the home for Microsoft’s first data centers in Africa. The two data centers are located in Cape Town and Johannesburg. The new data centers are serving Azure, with Dynamics 365 and Office 365 scheduled to be added by end of 2019.
The company had, in 2017, announced that it plans to have data centers in South Africa. Overall, the multinational technology company has 54 cloud regions announced around the world.
Data Centers and Digital Transformation
The new data centers in South Africa make Microsoft the first global provider to offer cloud services from data centers in Africa. The company aims to help in promoting digital transformation in Africa.
The location of the data centers in Africa means regional users are guaranteed of resilient cloud services, enhanced security, compliance needs, and data residency. Furthermore, the new data centers will help promote global investment, improve access to the Internet and cloud services in Africa, and increase business opportunities in the region.
Projections from IDC–International Data Corporation–indicate that adoption of the cloud services will generate around 112,000 jobs in South Africa—by end of 2022. The data centers will facilitate improved environment for building digital businesses. Nedbank for instance, plans to utilize Microsoft Azure to increase its agility, customer focus, and competitiveness.
Furthermore, Azure provides companies with data privacy and security. This makes it a suitable service for banks like Nedbank. The Peace Parks Foundation and eThekwini Water have also signed up with Microsoft for computing services.
Microsoft Azure is a cloud computing service. It can be used for building, testing, managing, and deploying services and applications through Microsoft data centers. The service supports different tools, frameworks, and programming languages.
Users of Azure can enjoy instant computing resources on demand. In addition, businesses or individuals using the service do not have to build on-site data centers or have server cooling environments. Also Azure users do not endure maintenance costs, electricity costs, and use of floor space. As such, Azure brings down the costs of computing.
Microsoft’s Investment in Africa
Microsoft has a 30-year history of operations in Africa. With over 10,000 local partners on the continent, the new data centers in South Africa add to the company’s long list of investments in Africa. The expansive investments in Africa took a new direction with Microsoft’s launch of 4Africa Initiative in 2013.
The initiative seeks to facilitate the company’s engagement with startups, partners, and governments. The aim of these engagements is to help the youth develop locally relevant technology, 21st-century skills, and affordable access to the Internet.
Other global tech giants with plans to open data centers in Africa include Huawei and Amazon. Facebook announced it will set up a content review center in Nairobi, Kenya.
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