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GAME CHANGER: Uber-Like Startup Is Revolutionizing The Motorcycle Taxi Industry In Rwanda

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Peter Kariuki, a founder of SafeMotos, interacting with his drivers in downtown Kigali. PHOTOGRAPH BY CIRIL JAZBEC, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

Touch down in Kigali, Rwanda, and you’ll quickly notice a few things about the city. Hills rise from the earth, tufted with verdant trees like bubbles in a champagne glass. A hopeful energy bounces around the clean, sidewalk-lined streets from morning until night. On almost every corner, near roundabouts, outside of restaurants or bars, groups of motorcycle taxis sit waiting and ready to take riders around Kigali. Every bike looks the same: a red body accented by streaks of silver. The drivers all wear green helmets, and they carry an extra that they give to their customers.

Motorbikes are a speedy, convenient, and affordable transport option that is embedded in Rwanda’s DNA. But they’re also dangerous, which experts say is due to driver error, both from the motorcycle taxi drivers and other drivers on the roads. Motorcycle accidents account for 80 percent of Rwanda’s road accidents, a statistic that only becomes scarier in deeper context: In Sub-Saharan Africa, traffic accidents are among the leading causes of death in the region, trailing close behind AIDS and malaria.

But as Kigali and other African cities undergo a population boom, so, too, does the demand for getting around cities in a way that’s safe and efficient—and makes sense for Africa.

Guy Moise Karekezi PHOTOGRAPH BY CIRIL JAZBEC, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

Guy Moise Karekezi, 24 years old, is a final year student at the University of Rwanda pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business information technology. “I have been using SafeMotos and its been a good experience using it. First it is safe, it is easy and it is smart.”

“Motorcycle taxis are cheap to operate and can zip between cracks in the congested traffic,” says Barrett Nash, co-founder of SafeMotos, a Kigali-based startup that is revolutionizing the motorcycle taxi industry in Rwanda.

Recognizing the need to make motorcycle taxis a safer option, Nash and his business partner Peter Kariuki founded SafeMotos in 2015. Like Uber, SafeMotos is an app that riders can download to their smartphones and use to order motorcycle taxis on demand as opposed to hailing them down on the streets.

Marcelin and his family and home in the Kigali slum, Gasabo PHOTOGRAPH BY CIRIL JAZBEC, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

“I started working with SafeMotos in 2015. Working with SafeMotos has been life changing for me, I was able to marry my wife, and paid off my debt which was to a tune of 1.5 million francs. I now lead a team of drivers at safe motos which is an honorable thing for me” said Marcelin, a SafeMotos driver.

More than just a ride-sharing service, SafeMotos is aptly named for the promise it aims to deliver—safe transportation by monitoring its fleet of drivers in real-time. Drivers are required to have at least three years of experience before joining SafeMotos. After being screened, they are given a smartphone and the SafeMotos app, which records their speed, acceleration, running location, and gyroscope information. The data is analyzed and used to give drivers a score out of a hundred. They must score at least 90 to keep working with the company.

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African Ingenuity

Video Games Are Emerging in Africa With Strong African themes

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Video games are becoming a booming industry in Africa thanks to a mushroom of innovators and developers on the continent. Startups are spiraling across the continent coming up with unprecedented games and content with African themes. The gaming industry in Africa is now worth millions of dollars due to relentless efforts of these developers, programmers, scientists, entrepreneurs and other tech gurus.

Madiba Guillaume Olivier had dreams like any other teenager when he was growing up in Cameroon. His most pressing dream was to move to America or even to Europe in order to pursue not “greener pastures” but his zeal for video games. He lived a life of video games because his father owned a video store. Olivier did not sit and wait; rather he went online in order to understand more about game design. However, it was not until when he was doing computer science at the University of Yaoundé that his dream (and that of the continent) started to bear fruit. He partnered with a group of friends to work on a project they dubbed Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan.

Video Games Project and the Prince of Planet Auriona

The project was a 2D flight of the imagination game that featured Enzo and Erine, a Prince and his fiancée. The two were embroiled in a quest to reclaim the lost power after a family member betrayed them in the planet Auriona. The team later improved the game design and used it to dive deeper into the industry. Olivier did not move to US or even Europe. The project led to a natural death of his dreams of moving but gave birth to even better dreams with continent-wide and later worldwide ramifications. Olivier and his team released the official version of the game in 2011 winning the hearts of fans, investors and everything else in between. That is how Africa got Kiro’o Games, the first video game studio to come up with an African-themed mythological video game.

“We started to think about the fact that we can make our own studio here [Africa] and sell games abroad,” Olivier remembers.

Olivier and his team are not the only innovators doing Africa proud in this emerging video game industry. In fact, over the last ten years, many video game developers and startups have sprung up across the continent. There are startups in South Africa, Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, Tunisia and even in Egypt. Because of growth in funding opportunities and supporting accelerator tech hubs on the continent, Africa is moving beyond the confines that resulted from inadequate infrastructure in some countries. Traditional fintechs in Arica are now normal and nothing to write home about anymore. The continent is expanding beyond what has now become normal tech disruptions in education, health, insurance, agriculture into other areas. Now is the time for the gaming industry.

Other African Themed Video Games

The African narratives, myths, legends, traditions, stories, creativities, mysteries and other mystical societal characteristics are more frightening than Halloween. Or at least to those who understand why it is commemorated in the first place. Tapping into this social heritage and cultural material is a sure success path for the gaming industry. That is why a Moroccan Telcom has invested in a mobile game.

There are other notable gaming innovators doing exciting video games. This boom can be observed with The International Game Developers Association having seven chapters in Africa.

Some innovators in this space include:

  • Ananse: The Origin by Leti Arts in Kenya, is a game based on impressive folklore from Ghana.
  • Celestial Games and Thoopid are also doing Africa proud with magnificent games from the South of the continent.
  • Ebola Strike Force that touches on the story of researchers and scientists yearning to save humankind from the lethal virus is breathtaking.
  • Mzito by Weza Interactive Entertainment in Kenya is a game that takes users on a journey to save the continent. Here, you play as a lion and use ancient spirits to save Africa from ancient corruption. “We wanted to focus on the African theme on because we think it’s time for Africa,” George Ohere, the Weza Interactive CEO said recently.
  • Sambisa Assault is another one that gives game enthusiasts the chance to join the fight against terror movements.
  • The Okada Rider by ChopUp studio in Nigeria that simulates the notorious traffic congestion in the streets of Lagos.
  • Digitalmania has more than 87 magnificent games on Google Play, Facebook, and Apple Store. Sadly, these tech giants do not allow merchant payments in Tunisia. Because of this, the innovator cannot get revenue from their innovations.

The African Video Game Industry by Revenue

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Beauty

Miss Algeria 2019 Is Black, Racist Trolls Are Attacking Her But She Won’t Back Down

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The newly crowned winner of Miss Algeria beauty pageant has hit back at critics who have hurled racial abuse at her because of her skin color.

“I will not back down because of the people who criticised me,” Khadija Ben Hamou told Algerian news site TSA.

Slurs about her dark skin colour, nose and lips have been made on Facebook and Twitter.

ALSO READ: Tunisia Becomes Second African Country And First Arab Nation To Outlaw Racism. Here Is What Will Happen If You Break The Law

Darker-skinned Algerians face discrimination in the North African state.

Ms Ben Hamou, who comes from the southern Adrar region, said that she was proud of her identity and winning the competition.

“I am honoured that I have achieved my dream, and I am honoured by the state of Adrar where I come from,” she said.

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Events

The Best Photos From Global Citizen’s 2018 Festivals and Events

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Global Citizens came together across the globe in 2018 to take action and envision a world without extreme poverty.The year started off strong with Global Citizen Live events in London and Vancouver in the spring, showcasing performances by talented singers like Emeli Sandé and The Elwins.

Take Action: This Inequality Cannot Go On. Ask the World’s Richest People to Help End Extreme Poverty

In September, the Global Citizen Festival in New York brought together activists and fans of Shawn Mendes, Cardi B, Janelle Monáe, The Weeknd, and Janet Jackson in Central Park. Tens of thousands of attendees sprawled across the Great Lawn as major gender equality and education commitments were made.

To top off the year, thousands attended the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 in Johannesburg, South Africa, and celebrated Nelson Mandela’s legacy at the end of his centenary year. A plane flyover kicked off the festivities at FNB stadium, and Trevor Noah hosted the action-packed day, which included moving words from world leaders and influential figures like Prime Minister of Norway Erna Solberg and Oprah Winfrey. The crowd’s energy was contagious as they cheered and danced to Beyoncé, JAY-Z, Ed Sheeran, Tiwa Savage, Cassper Nyovest, and other artists between impactful speeches delivered by world leaders, the Mandela family, and more.

See the best photos that captured these highlights below.


Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100

Mandela100_MainEntrance_MpumeleloMacuForGlobalCitizen-4.jpgA general view of the FNB Stadium before the start of the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 at FNB Stadium on December 2, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Mpumelelo Macu for Global Citizen

Mandela100_Crowd_GulshanKhanForGlobalCitizen_0201 (1).jpgGuests in the audience during the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 at FNB Stadium on December 2, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Gulshan Khan for Global Citizen

Mandela100Crowd_BarryChristiansonForGlobalCitizen-41.jpgAttendees dance in the audience during the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 at FNB Stadium on December 2, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Barry Christianson for Global Citizen

1067584908.jpgSoweto Gospel Choir perform during the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 at FNB Stadium on December 2, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Global Citizen

Mandela100_ShoMadjozi_GulshanKhanForGlobalCitizen_007.jpgSho Madjozi performs during the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 at FNB Stadium on December 2, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Gulshan Khan for Global Citizen

1067593228.jpgUsher performs during the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 at FNB Stadium on December 2, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Global Citizen

Mandela100_Pharrell_JodiWindvogelForGlobalCitizen_010.jpgPharrell Williams performs during the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 at FNB Stadium on December 2, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Jodi Windvogel for Global Citizen

1067469018.jpgThe Global Citizen plane does a flyover over FNB Stadium during the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 at FNB Stadium on December 2, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Global Citizen

Mandela100_TrevorNoah_GulshanKhanForGlobalCitizen_002.jpgTrevor Noah speaks onstage during the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 at FNB Stadium on December 2, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Gulshan Khan for Global Citizen

Mandela100Crowd_BarryChristiansonForGlobalCitizen-26.jpgAttendees cheer in the audience during the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 at FNB Stadium on December 2, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Barry Christianson for Global Citizen

Mandela100_Crowd_GulshanKhanForGlobalCitizen_008.jpgAttendees at the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 at FNB Stadium on December 2, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Gulshan Khan for Global Citizen

1067714478.jpgDanai Gurira speaks on stage during the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 at FNB Stadium on December 2, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Global Citizen

Mandela100_TiwaSavage_JodiWindvogelForGlobalCitizen_002.jpgJay Breeze and Tiwa Savage perform during the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 at FNB Stadium on December 2, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Jodi Windvogel for Global Citizen

1068518650.jpgTumi Sisulu (C) speaks onstage during the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 at FNB Stadium on December 2, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Global Citizen

1067601830.jpgD’banj performs during the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 at FNB Stadium on December 2, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Global Citizen

1067619684.jpgZama Mandela (C) and other members of the Mandela family speak on stage during the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 at FNB Stadium on December 2, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Global Citizen

Activation Images-193.jpgGuests in the audience during the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 at FNB Stadium on December 2, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Kgomotso Neto for Global Citizen

1067734970.jpgPrime Minister of Norway Erna Solberg (R) presents Graca Machel (L) with the inaugural Global Citizen Prize for World Leader, on stage during the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 at FNB Stadium on December 2, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: emal Countess/Getty Images for Global Citizen

Mandela100_WizKid_GulshanKhanForGlobalCitizen_005.jpgWizKid performs during the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 at FNB Stadium on December 2, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Gulshan Khan for Global Citizen

1067697330.jpgEd Sheeran performs during the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 at FNB Stadium on December 2, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Global Citizen

Mandela100_CassperNyovest_MpumeleloMacuForGlobalCitizen-65.jpgCassper Nyovest performs during the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 at FNB Stadium on December 2, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Mpumelelo Macu for Global Citizen

1067726258.jpgOprah Winfrey speaks on stage during the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 at FNB Stadium on December 2, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Global Citizen

1067724620.jpgA general view of the FNB Stadium during the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 at FNB Stadium on December 2, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Michelly Rall/Getty Images for Global Citizen

Global Citizen Festival 2018 in NYC

180929_GlobalCitizen_MengwenCao_286.jpgThe Weeknd performs onstage during the 2018 Global Citizen Festival in Central Park on September 29, 2018 in New York City.
Image: Mengwen Cao for Global Citizen

GCF18_JanelleMonae_KholoodEidForGlobalCitizen_013.jpgJanelle Monáe performs onstage during the 2018 Global Citizen Festival in Central Park on September 29, 2018 in New York City.
Image: Kholood Eid for Global Citizen

GCF18_Crowd_KholoodEidForGlobalCitizen_052.jpgAttendees cheer in the audience during the Global Citizen Festival in Central Park on September 28, 2018 in New York City.
Image: Kholood Eid for Global Citizen

GCF18_Crowd_KholoodEidForGlobalCitizen089.jpgAttendees at the Global Citizen Festival 2018 in Central Park on September 29, 2018 in New York City.
Image: Kholood Eid for Global Citizen

180929_GlobalCitizen_MengwenCao_126.jpgShawn Mendes performs onstage during the 2018 Global Citizen Festival in Central Park on September 29, 2018 in New York City.
Image: Mengwen Cao for Global Citizen

180929_GlobalCitizen_MengwenCao_173.jpgCardi B performs onstage during the 2018 Global Citizen Festival in Central Park on September 29, 2018 in New York City.
Image: Mengwen Cao for Global Citizen

GCF18_Crowd_MohamedSadekForGlobalCitizen_038 copy.jpgA little girl reacts to a performance at the Global Citizen Festival 2018 in Central Park on September 29, 2018 in New York City.
Image: Mohamed Sadek for Global Citizen

GCF18_JanelleMonae_KholoodEidForGlobalCitizen_011.jpgJanelle Monáe performs onstage during the 2018 Global Citizen Festival in Central Park on September 29, 2018 in New York City.
Image: Kholood Eid for Global Citizen

180929_GlobalCitizen_MengwenCao_267.jpgThe Weeknd performs onstage during the 2018 Global Citizen Festival in Central Park on September 29, 2018 in New York City.
Image: Mengwen Cao for Global Citizen

DSC_0093.jpgAn attendee poses for a photograph at the Global Citizen Festival 2018 in Central Park on September 29, 2018 in New York City.
Image: Kholood Eid for Global Citizen

GCF18_ShawnMendes_MengwenCaoForGlobalCitizen_015.jpgShawn Mendes performs onstage during the 2018 Global Citizen Festival in Central Park on September 29, 2018 in New York City.
Image: Kholood Eid for Global Citizen

1043271620.jpgJanet Jackson performs onstage during the 2018 Global Citizen Festival in Central Park on September 29, 2018 in New York City.
Image: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Global Citizen

GC Week, New York City

GCWeek_YourVoiceYourVoteMaegan Gindi for Global Citizen_014.jpgImage: Maegan Gindi for Global Citizen

180922_1151_GlobalCitizen_Vote_0181.jpgRobert De Niro and Rachel Brosnahan speak to the crowd gathered at the Maine Monument in Central Park.
Image: Maegan Gindi for Global Citizen

180922_1151_GlobalCitizen_Vote_0394.jpgAttendees listen to the speakers at the ‘Your Vote is Your Voice!’ rally in Central Park.
Image: Maegan Gindi for Global Citizen

GC_Week_Riverside_Jeenah Moon for Global Citizen_067.jpgKimbra performs onstage with The Howard Gospel Choir during Global Citizen Week: The Spirit Of A Movement at Riverside Church.
Image: Jeenah Moon for Global Citizen

GC_Week_Riverside_Jeenah Moon for Global Citizen_014.jpgKeyon Harrold performs onstage during Global Citizen Week: The Spirit Of A Movement at Riverside Church.
Image: Jeenah Moon for Global Citizen

1038083954.jpgNaomi Wadler accepts the Legend Award onstage during Global Citizen Week: The Spirit Of A Movement at Riverside Church on Sept. 22, 2018 in New York City.
Image: Noam Galai/Getty Images for Global Citizen

GCWeek_Apollo_Jeenah Moon for Global Citizen_005.jpgSpeakers onstage during Global Citizen Week: At What Cost? at The Apollo Theater on September 23, 2018 in New York City.
Image: Jeenah Moon for Global Citizen

GCWeek_Apollo_Jeenah Moon for Global Citizen_037.jpgMaimouna Youssef performs onstage during Global Citizen Week: At What Cost? at The Apollo Theater on Sept. 23, 2018 in New York City.
Image: Jeenah Moon for Global Citizen

GCWeek_Apollo_Jeenah Moon for Global Citizen_052.jpgAttendees listen to the speakers onstage during Global Citizen Week: At What Cost? at The Apollo Theater on September 23, 2018 in New York City.
Image: Jeenah Moon for Global Citizen

Global Citizen Live in London

GCLiveLondon_LittleSimz_Emma Viola Lilja for Global Citizen_001.jpgLittle Simz performs on stage for Global Citizen Live London, at the O2 Academy Brixton on April 17, 2018 in London, England.
Image: Emma Viola Lilja for Global Citizen

GCLiveLondon_EmeliSande_Emma Viola Lilja for Global Citizen_013.jpgEmeli Sandé performs on stage for Global Citizen Live London, at the O2 Academy Brixton on April 17, 2018 in London, England.
Image: Emma Viola Lilja for Global Citizen

Global Citizen Live in Vancouver

GlobalCitizenVanelwins2-2613.jpgThe Elwins at Global Citizen Live Vancouver.
Image: Rebecca Blissett for Global Citizen

GlobalCitizenVan-crowd_HERO-2945.jpgA scene at Global Citizen Live Vancouver on April 12 at the Commodore Ballroom.
Image: Rebecca Blissett for Global Citizen

Source: The Best Photos From Global Citizen’s 2018 Festivals and Events

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