20 Francophone African StartUps Accepted into the World Bank Tech Acceleration Program

Twenty of the most promising Francophone African tech start-ups will participate in the L’Afrique Excelle residency in Mali, a full-week bootcamp set to kick off the Francophone edition of the World Bank Group’s XL Africa, tech start-up accelerator. From March 24 to 30, entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to network and learn from leading industry experts, increase their regional visibility and network with potential corporate partners and investors.

L’Afrique Excelle’s start-ups specialize in tech solutions for the African market designed to expand reach and access to services. These include fintech, transportation, healthcare, cleantech, data analytics and enterprise software. Companies in the program have their products or services currently available in one or more Francophone African markets, have strong revenues, and are well-positioned for growth and cross-border expansion.

During the Mali Residency, this cohort will benefit from training, individual consultations and peer-to-peer learning, The Residency will conclude with a venture showcase at the Francophone Africa Investor Summit. A select ten (10) companies will advance to the France Residency in May 2019, where they will receive intensive training and mentoring at thecamp with Sophia Business Angels, coaching by experts at Deloitte’s and Google’s offices, and get exposure to investors at the upcoming AfroBytes and VivaTech conferences to be held in Paris on May 15-18, 2019.

With participation from Africa’s leading investment groups, L’Afrique Excelle will help these start-ups attract early stage capital between US$250,000 and US$5 million.

The selection process for L’Afrique Excelle is led by an external investor committee. Over 30 VC funds and investment groups have come on board as official program partners, with the fund managers vetting the companies, reviewing their applications and conducting interviews. The selection was completed by a panel of industry experts from prominent Africa-focused funds including Proparco, Orange Digital Ventures, GSMA, Brightmore Capital, BlackPearl,Partech, AHL Venture Partners, GreenTec Capital, Outlierz Ventures, Accion, First Growth Fund, Compass VC and Oikocredit.

  • StarNews Mobile  (Media / Cameroon, Congo, Ivory Coast)
  • Lifi Led (Cleantech / Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, CAR, Liberia, Madagascar)
  • GiftedMom (Healthtech / Cameroon, Ivory Coast)
  • AmA (Fintech / Senegal)
  • Paps (Logistics/ Senegal, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast)
  • LONO  (Cleantech / Ivory Coast)
  • Tripafrique  (Transport / Ivory Coast)
  • Sudpay (Fintech / Senegal, Ivory Coast, Benin, Togo, Guinea)
  • Firefly Media  (Adtech, Transport / Senegal)
  • Exportunity GBC2  (Fintech, Import/Export / Mauritius, Benin, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Togo)
  • Solaris Offgrid (Fintech, SaaS, Solar / Benin, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Cameroon, Rwanda)
  • SmartOne  (Big Data / Madagascar, Mauritius)
  • Optimetriks(Retail Technology / Mali, Senegal, Niger, Ghana, Kenya)
  • CityTaps  (Water & Sanitation / Niger, Senegal)
  • MaTontine  (Fintech / Senegal, Ivory Coast)
  • Diool  (Fintech / Cameroon)
  • LAfricaMobile (Connectivity, SaaS, API / Senegal, Niger, Mali, Ivory Coast, Guinea, Burkina Faso)
  • OniriQ (Cleantech, Offgrid Energy / Senegal)
  • Ouicarry  (Logistics/ Senegal, Benin, Mali, Togo)
  • Eyone  (Healthtech / Senegal, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger)


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Nigeria’s OneFi secures $5mn debt facility from Nairobi-based Lendable

One Finance Limited [OneFi] today announces that it has secured a $5M debt facility for its consumer facing platform, Paylater. The facility comes from New York and Nairobi-based Lendable, a technology-enabled funding provider to African consumer and SME lenders. The debt facility will be used to deploy more loans to Paylater customers, specifically through a suite of innovative new products.

Since its launch in 2016, Paylater has deployed over $60M across 750,000 loans, approving over 1,500 loans a day with an average of $80 per loan. With this new debt facility, the company will now look to double in size within Nigeria before entering new markets in 2019. The news comes just two months after the company secured Africa’s first credit rating for a fintech platform, achieving a “BB” Rating with a “Stable Outlook’ from Global Credit Rating Co.

Speaking on the announcement, Chijioke Dozie, OneFi CEO says, “Securing this investment from Lendable represents the first internationally-backed commercial debt transaction for us, marking an important stage of our company’s development as we look to serve the “next billion”.

“As we transition into a full service digital bank, this financing will allow us to execute on a number of new products. This includes our partnership with Visa, whereby we’ll be providing credit via QR codes at supermarkets, clinics and on public transport in H1 2019.”  

There are currently only 120k active POS merchants in Nigeria, with over 50% of transactions occurring in Lagos alone. Leveraging the power of the mobile phone, of which there are 150M active connections in Nigeria, Paylater is aiming to help millions of customers transact at their point of need, and drive offline payments via lower cost QR installations.

Lendable, backed by Omidyar Network, KawiSafi Ventures, FMO, and other leading institutions provides credit facilities to consumers and SME credit providers operating in digital lending, microfinance, and a range of Pay-as-you-go (PayGo) services. This investment into OneFi marks the first Nigerian deal Lendable has signed, and one of a handful of new Nigerian clients for the company. Daniel Goldfarb, Lendable CEO says: “We are incredibly excited to launch this partnership with OneFi, a market leader, as we build our presence in Nigeria. At Lendable, we build financial products to enable lending companies to scale, and we are proud to support OneFi’s mission of providing credit to the underbanked consumer and SME segments in Nigeria. They are an incredible example of a company that has found product market fit in a massive market, and are working tirelessly to provide a best-in-class service to those customers.”

Paylater, launched in 2016 by Nigerian finance entrepreneurs Chijioke and Ngozi Dozie, provides hassle-free loans without need for human intervention or bias in decision making. The company has transitioned to a one-stop-shop offering additional products such as savings, bill payments and credit reporting.To-date, the Paylater app has been downloaded over 1 million times with over 1,575 loans approved daily with all applicants getting a free credit report.

Jessica Hope, Founder of Wimbart PR tops UK PR Power List

Managing Director and founder of Wimbart PR, Jessica Hope, has been named one of the UK’s leading communications professionals recognized for her work in the African market. 

Hope has over 13 years’ experience in public relations and has carved a niche in the pan-African technology PR market, after heading up global communication for IROKO for 3.5 years. She went on to launch Wimbart in 2014, to meet the growing demand of tech startups and entrepreneurs looking to build their presence both  locally and internationally.

In recent months, Wimbart has recorded significant growth, adding three new members to its now six-person team and expanding into larger Central London offices. The agency has also recorded a strong start to 2019, securing a number of new client wins.

On the news of being listed in the PRWeek Powerbook, Jessica Hope says, “Joining the PR industry heavyweights on this list is a tremendous honor. As a growing agency focusing on the pan-African market, it is really something special to be recognized for the strong work we are doing to support African businesses. At Wimbart, we are a super-niche agency in the UK, but we consistently punch above our weight in terms of securing impactful coverage for our clients.“

“We work with some of Africa’s most dynamic and innovative start-up CEOs; we take our lead, our inspiration and a sprinkling of hustle from them, and we hope to continue to be a meaningful part of the African tech narrative”.

Hope is also an active mentor, supporting UK-based rising public relations stars as part of the BME PR Pros initiative, as well as providing mentorship to the 2018 Google Launchpad Africa cohort in Lagos, Nigeria.

John Harrington, deputy editor of PRWeek UK, added, “When we select entrants, we’re really looking to understand their thoughts on some of the top issues in the sector and how they’ve navigated specific challenges over the last 12 months. Jessica’s profile was a real testament to this and her achievements with the rest of the Wimbart team really shone through – we wish them all the best in the future.”  

The African Women in Technology Conference Comes to Lagos, Nigeria – Don’t Miss It!

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African Women in Technology (AWIT) is a network of women who are creatively redefining the technology space in Africa and are key players in the world’s creative and innovative industries.

The African Women in Technology Conference is scheduled to hold at Zone Tech Park in Lagos, Nigeria, from March 29 to March 30, 2019.

The yearly conference brings together stakeholders and trendsetters around the world, with a spotlight on African women in technology both at home and in Diaspora. The AWIT platform serves as a vehicle to push forward innovative ideas and aims to encourage African women to step forward and get involved in the technological development of the continent, while providing support to propel their careers. It is a space to learn, unlearn and relearn relevant practices and acceptable business tools to ensure success in one’s chosen professions.

Serving as a platform of inclusivity for all women in the African Technology Space, this 2-day conference will provide an opportunity for extensive networking among women at diverse stages of their careers. Participants will learn, exchange ideas, interact with industry experts, and have the opportunity to speak with representatives of various tech companies, get insight on problems in African technology, and propose applicable solutions to these problems. This conference will serve as a landmark event for recognizing the available opportunities and mapping out strategies on how to grow as African women in technology.

Aptly themed “The Techazon Within You”, the conference organizers have expressed excitement about how much the African Women in Technology network has positively impacted the lives of African women who are getting involved in the advancement of the African technology sector and promoting significant growth in their communities, while advancing their career growth in the process. This is why to further aid this developmental process, the conference boosts of insightful sessions like Tech Trends, Upgrade Your Skills, Cyber Security, Internet of Things, and other creative sessions that will serve to awaken the techazon within conference participants and spur them unto greater professional breakthroughs. 

As part of the networking session at the conference, participants will stand the chance to receive group mentoring that will be sustained even after the conference; to find internships and employment opportunities, meet people in their local communities who share the same interests and take advantage of the fast, affordable and reliable financing available at the conference.

The conference is free, however you must register to attend.

Since 2016, the African Women in Technology Conference has held in Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Mozambique and the United States, and has impacted the lives of over 1000 participating women. Since its inception, the African Women in Technology conference has received notable partnerships and sponsorship from Google, Flutterwave, Renmoney, Ibom LLC, Innov8tiv, ABAN Angels and other private bodies.

Visit www.africanwomenintechnology.com for more details. For partnerships, sponsorships, enquiries and more information on the conference, send an email to info (at) africanwomenintech.com

Founder of AWP Network, Mary Olushoga to Speak at Baruch College

 

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Mary Olushoga, Founder of AWP Network will speak at Baruch College on Work Ethic within the African Diaspora. The event is set to take place on Tuesday, February 19 during Black Heritage Month and will include a panel discussion about cultural identities within the African diaspora and work ethic.

Learn more about the event here: AWP Network @ Baruch

 

 

 

Founder of AWP Network, Mary Olushoga at the UN

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Mary Olushoga, Founder of AWP Network spoke at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women Meeting in New York. The event titled ‘Equal Access to Education for all: Gender, Disabilities, Indigenous Peoples‘ took place at the United Nations Plaza, Church Center and was attended by members of the NGO committee on the status of women. The event focused on the United Nations Social Development Goals 4 and 5.

To learn more about the NGO Committee, see link. NGO Committee

CcHUB Expands into East Africa to Launch First of its Kind Creative & Tech Space

CcHUB has launched the ‘CcHUB Design Lab’. The design lab is an unprecedented next step in Africa’s growing tech sector, and is set to become a leading creative space where its multidisciplinary team of product designers and engineers will collaborate with scientists and stakeholders globally, to explore the application of emerging technologies that will solve Africa’s systemic problems in Public Health, Education, Governance and the Private Sector.

The new state-of-the-art lab, located in Kigali, Rwanda is dedicated to accelerating the application of social capital and technology for economic prosperity, expand its physical presence to another African country, for the first time in its eight year history. CcHUB is now looking to partner with both public and private industry bodies from across the continent.

Commenting on the official launch, H.E. Paula Ingabire says “CcHUB’s expansion into Kigali, marked with the launch of the Design Lab today, is an exciting landmark for Rwanda’s burgeoning tech community. Rwanda is keen on collaborating with world-class partners to establish ourselves as a leading destination that nurtures innovation-driven enterprises. We see technology as an integral gateway and means of developing society – an ethos and mission shared by CcHUB. As we strive to become a knowledge-based economy, we will continue to build long-lasting, strategic partnerships that celebrate excellence, forge ahead with progress and that are, essentially, a force for good that will impact thousands of people across the continent.”

To coincide with the launch, CcHUB will announce the Rwanda Biomedical Centre as its first local company to partner, joining the likes of Go-Ga Lab, Nimcure and Safe Online.

With an unrivalled track record of supporting tech-enabled companies connected with civic society, CcHUB boasts a pre-incubation portfolio of over 60 companies, including digital blood bank, Lifebank, recycling venture, WeCyclers and Budgit, a web platform that simplifies the Nigerian budget and public data. The Design Lab, which further reinforces CcHUB’s commitment to solving Africa’s biggest development and social challenges, will be powered by a multidisciplinary design team of designers and engineers. Using design and innovation, the three key sectors of focus are:

  • Public Health: Focused on digital epidemiology by collaborating with a cross-sector of stakeholders including scientists, researchers, health professionals and developers to use technology in accelerating the adoption of locally-created solutions for better detection and surveillance of diseases, and improving adherence to treatment.
  • Education: Focused on improving students’ interests, participation and learning outcomes in STEM education, with attention paid to teaching methods and use of creative content.
  • Governance: Focused on the role of technology in helping the government promote participatory governance, transparency and more effective public services for social and economic prosperity.

Call for Participation in the Africa Protected Areas Congress

This landmark forum aims to position Africa’s protected areas within the broader goals of sustainable development and community well-being. The event will provide a platform for holding honest discussions on the future we want for our protected areas and seek solutions to the persistent and emerging problems that stand on the way. The continent has lost over 50 percent of its ecosystems in the last 50 years, far higher than any other period in history. Both direct and indirect drivers of biodiversity loss are leading to an unsustainable future for our people and for life on the continent and the planet as a whole, putting our common future is in jeopardy.

The inaugural APAC Journalists’ Award was also launched to provide incentives for African journalists and media houses to be champions of conservation and drive more effort toward reporting on biodiversity in Africa, winners of the inaugural award will be announced, awarded during the November conference, applications are already open for Journalists.

Participants from Northern, Southern, Eastern, Western and Central Africa will share best practices that harmonize conservation and human development needs, and strategies for ensuring that Africa’s biodiversity is valued, conserved, restored and wisely used. We will come up with common agenda and a shared vision for Africa’s protected areas and ensure they contribute significantly to the “African Union’s Agenda 2063 on the Strategic Framework for the Socio-economic Transformation of the Continent. In addition, we will develop a strong consolidated input into the development of the Post-2020 Global Framework for Biodiversity. It’s time for Africa to have a strong united voice on matters of global importance pursuant to the vision of AU Agenda 63 of “an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in international arena”.

You are hereby invited to participate by sharing your experiences and lessons, building new partnerships, connecting with experts, inspiring new opportunities, discovering new solutions, providing leadership, influencing new policies and elevating ambitions for shaping the Africa we want.

The discussions and outcomes will be centred on how Africa’s protected areas can be more effective in:

  • Conserving nature,
  • Safeguarding Africa’s wildlife,
  • Delivering vital life-supporting ecosystem services that underpin human welfare and livelihoods,
  • Supporting sustainable development and,
  • Conserving Africa’s cultural heritage and traditions.

WHEN: November 18 – 23, 2019

PROPOSAL DEADLINE: April 14, 2019

Learn more here: Africa Protected Areas Congress

Facebook Hiring Reviewers for its Content Review Center in Nairobi, Kenya

Facebook will open a content review center in Nairobi, Kenya. In partnership with Samasource – one of the largest digital employers in East Africa and a leading social enterprise — the site in Nairobi will be Facebook’s first content review center in Sub-Saharan Africa. Facebook will also employ approximately 100 reviewers by the end of the year, who will support a number of languages, including Somali, Oromo, Swahili and Hausa.

Learn more: Facebook

Celestine Ezeokoye, Founder of WeMove.co to receive ‘Builders of Africa’s Future Award’ in Silicon Valley

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Founder and CEO of WeMove Technologies, Celestine Ezeokoye will receive the 2019 Builders of Africa’s Future Award at the African Diaspora Investment Symposium set to take place in Silicon Valley on January 24, 2019. Ezeokoye’s company is focused on building innovative technology solutions for the transportation ecosystem in Nigeria. Having previously tried out a transportation technology startup Tiketmobile, from 2012 to 2013, Celestine was abreast of the problems within urban transportation in Nigeria and how technology can help make them go away.

After Tiketmobile failed (mainly due to lack of funding), Celestine joined Interswitch, Nigeria’s premier fintech company, as a software engineer. While at Interswitch he worked with the Quickteller team and was responsible for a number of projects, including Quickteller/Western Union direct to account money transfer, Verve USSD, among others.

Congratulations to Celestine Ezeokoye and his team. You may learn more about his company here: WeMove

 

 

 

 

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