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
Five (5) young Senegalese entrepreneurs have been selected to receive six (6) months of business incubation and $2,000 seed-funding to kick-start their business.
The Senegal Start-Up Accelerator is designed to support innovators in the fishing and agricultural sectors by helping them to develop their commercial solutions and maximize their impact. Over the course of six months, the program will provide the five winners with intensive and expert individual and group training, organized visits to established businesses for market research and professional mentoring. The winners will also receive $2000 each in seed funding, with the chance to secure additional funding upon completion of the program.
The five entrepreneurs selected to join the accelerator have successfully completed an extensive screening process, including interviews and background checks, an assessment panel and an intensive two day bootcamp. This bootcamp culminated in a pitch before a jury panel with judges from Reach for Change, Kosmos Energy and prominent experts from the agricultural and fishing industries in Senegal.
The five winning entrepreneurs are:
Mouhamadou Lamine Kebe of Tool Bi: whose innovation works to facilitate irrigation with an electronic innovation and improves agricultural yields.
Mame Diarra Sarr of Fraisen/Waalu Ma Aagri who has developed an efficient way of producing organic strawberries locally in Senegal at an affordable cost.
Abdourahmane Diop of Jappandil who developed a platform that connects farmers to qualified agricultural experts, service providers and materials needed to improve farming practices and access the latest innovations.
Aliou Diallo of Sigle:Senphytomed Suarl who is working to improve access to herbal products and natural remedies while reinvesting in the conservation of medicinal plants.
Arfang Mafoudji Sonko of GIE Senbioagro Corporation whose innovation works to reduce food waste while creating employment and transforming excess yields into market-ready products.
Participants will learn everything from how to develop customer profiles and how to carry out competitor analysis, to how to make a product roadmap and develop a sustainable revenue model for their business. The Senegal Start-Up Accelerator is a part of Reach for Change and Kosmos Energy’s commitment to social investment in the countries where the two organizations work, and will contribute to Senegal’s future sustainable development.
Mary Olushoga, Founder of African Women Power (AWP) Network will serve as an Advisor for Gatefield Impact. Gatefield is a boutique public strategy and media group working to create change. The company provides strategic communications and public affairs services in Nigeria and Sub-Saharan Africa. The company stands out for its solid grasp of campaigning and stakeholder relations to include government, non-profit and private actors with whom they have established deep connections at the local, national and international level. Learn more about Gatefield here.
cMapIt uses open mobile mapping technology to capture citizen-related concerns about government and governance, infrastructure projects, and areas vulnerable to conflict in Nigeria. The company has received global recognition and awards from institutions like MongoDB and Open Data Institute. Learn more about cMapIt here.
Founder of AWP Network, Mary Olushoga states, “I visited the Gatefield Media Group located in Abuja and the cMapIt office located in Ogbomoso and I can proudly state that I am excited to be part of these teams as they work to new projects and products that will foster profitability, create jobs and help to sustain Nigeria’s tech and media ecosystems.”
Recognizing (40) African women with powerful, inspiring, and influential voices.
Introducing Africa’s leading women!
At the AWP Network, we aim to encourage more African women with powerful voices who will continue to create programs and policies that support the development and growth of African women and girls.
Sahle-Work Zewde (Ethiopia): is Ethiopia’s first female president and currently the only female head of state in Africa. Zewde will serve as president of the federal republic of Ethiopia for the next six years. She was the first woman appointed to head the United Nations Office to the African Union. She has also served in ambassadorial roles for Ethiopia to Senegal, Djibouti, France, the United Nations and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).
Arikana Chihombori-Quao(Zimbabwe): is a physician, speaker and the African Union Ambassador to the United States. Chihombori-Quao plays an active role in reinforcing African Union strategic partnerships with the United States, which is grounded on shared values and mutual interests.
Okwui Okpokwasili (Nigeria): is winner of the 2018 MacArthur Foundation Genius Award. An artist, performer, choreographer, and writer, Okpokwasili’s multidisciplinary performance pieces draw viewers into the interior lives of women of color, particularly those of African and African-American women, whose stories have long been overlooked and rendered invisible.
Louise Mushikiwabo (Rwanda): was elected secretary-general of the International Organization of La Francophonie (OIF). Mushikiwabo will oversee the activities of the global body that brings together 58 countries and regional governments, representing 274 million French speakers around the world. Prior to this role, she served as Rwanda’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation.
Winifred Byanyima (Uganda): is an aeronautical engineer, diplomat and the current executive director of Oxfam International. Byanyima founded the Forum for Women in Democracy (FOWODE), a leading NGO in Uganda.
Meaza Ashenafi (Ethiopia): is a lawyer and human rights activist who was recently appointed the first woman President of Ethiopia’s Federal Supreme Court. Ashenafi is founding Executive Director of the Ethiopian Women Lawyers Association and the founding chair of Enat Bank.
Bridgette Radebe (South Africa): is founder of Mmakau Mining, a mining firm that initiates explorations and helps to produce platinum, gold, and chrome. Radebe is also President of the South African Mining Development Association and a member of the New Africa Mining Fund.
Vera Songwa (Cameroon): is the first woman appointed Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission on Africa (ECA). The ECA is one of the United Nation’s five regional commissions, and its mandate is to promote the economic and social development of African states.
Uzoamaka Aduba (Nigeria): is an award-winning actor and one of only two actors to win an Emmy in both comedy and drama categories for the same role.
Genevieve Nnaji(Nigeria): is an award-winning actor, writer and director whose film, “Lionheart” was acquired by Netflix, making it the first original Nigerian movie to be acquired by Netflix. She is also recognized as the first actor to win the Africa Movie Academy Award for Best Actress in a leading role.
Ramla Ali (Somalia): will make history by becoming the first person to represent Somalia at a major boxing event. Ali is a national champion who inspires other African and Muslim women to take up boxing. Ali has won the Elite National Championships, the English Title Series and the Great British Elite Championships, three major amateur tournaments, making her the best amateur boxer in her weight division. She has won titles around the world, boxed for England at a European Championship and recently became a Nike athlete.
Simidele Adeagbo (Nigeria): is Africa’s first female skeleton athlete. She was the first African woman to compete in skeleton at the 2018 Winter Games. She is also a 2018 Obama Foundation Leader.
Bibi Bakare-Yusuf(Nigeria): is co-founder and publishing director of one of Africa’s most beloved indie presses, Cassava Republic. Bakare-Yusuf was selected the 2018 Brittle Paper African Literary Person of the Year, the award recognizes individuals who work behind the scenes to hold up the African literary establishment.
Stella Nyanzi(Uganda): is a queer feminist writer, human rights activist, academic and research fellow. Nyanzi is a leading voice in Ugandan politics and has been daring in her critique of Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni. Last month, she was arrested and charged with cyber harassment and offensive communication under the country’s Computer Misuse Act of 2011 after she published a provocative poem on her Facebook page, the day after the president’s 74th birthday. She also founded Pads4GirlsUG, a campaign to provide free sanitary pads to girls in her local community.
MiMi Mefo Takambou(Cameroon): is an activist and a journalist who was jailed for covering the violence in Cameroon. The violence was caused by English-speaking separatists fighting the largely French-speaking government. Takambou covered an American’s death but was jailed by the government of Cameroon for writing “fake news.” She had cited social media reports that claimed the Cameroonian military shot Charles Wesco.
Margaret Mary-Wilson (Nigeria): is Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice President at UnitedHealthcare Global. Mary-Wilson is a 2018 ‘Women Worth Watching’ award winner and she received the ‘Mark of Excellence’ award for her work in global health transformation at the 2018 Africa Diaspora Awards. She proudly supports African LGBTQ, a nonprofit organization established to empower and educate abused and endangered LGBTQ individuals of African descent across the globe.
Stella Williams(Nigeria): is founder of NiWard, an organization focused on transforming Nigeria’s rural agricultural sector. NiWard provides a collaborative platform for women farmers, women scientists and women researchers to fight hunger, malnutrition, and poverty. Williams is a retired Professor of Agricultural Economics at Obafemi Awolowo University in Osun State.
Fatima Kyari Mohammed (Nigeria): is Permanent Observer for the African Union. Prior to this role, she was a Senior Special Adviser to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission, where her work focused on peace and security, regional integration and organizational development.
Phuti Mahanyele (South Africa): is the Executive Chairperson of Sigma Capital and the former CEO of Shanduka Group. Mahanyele mentors young professionals and is focused on re-enforcing the values of dignity in young people.
Lola Shoneyin (Nigeria): is founder and convener of the Ake Arts and Book Festival – an annual literary, cultural and arts event, which takes place in Abeokuta. The festival provides new and established writers from across the world to promote, develop and celebrate their creativity on the African continent. Shoneyin is also a poet and author of “The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives.”
Habiba Ali (Nigeria): is a pioneer in the renewable energies field. She is the founder, managing director and CEO of Sosai Renewable Energies, an innovative company that brings reliable and affordable renewable energy products to those who need it most. Her sustainable energy solutions provide communities with unforeseen economic growth, increased capacity and the potential for greater business development.
Farida Nabourema (Togo): is an activist, an award-winning writer and human rights defender who co-founded the “Faure Must Go” movement to give a voice to Togo’s political opposition.
Panashe Chigumadzi (Zimbabwe): is winner of the Brittle Paper Award for Essay and Thinkpiece. Her work, “History Through the Body or Rights of Desire, Rights of Conquest,” was published in Johannesburg Review of Books, in it she integrates stories of race, gender, sex, land and power in South African literature. Chigumadzi is also author of “These Bones Will Rise Again.”
Lauren Atkins (South Africa): is founder of New York’s first web series festival. Currently in its fifth year, the event brings together a diverse group of people from around the world to showcase the best of the web.
Pamela Adie(Nigeria): is executive director of Equality Hub, an organization working to advance the rights and elevate the voices of lesbian, bisexual, and queer women in Nigeria through visual storytelling. She is also a 2018 Obama Foundation Leader.
Emma Nyra (Nigeria): is an award-winning recording artist and founder of Nyra Nation. Nyra is focused on increasing the pipeline of female artists in Nigeria’s male dominated music industry. To date, she has collaborated with other female artists to include Cynthia Morgan and Victoria Kimani.
Tomi Otudeko(Nigeria): is founder of Itanna, an intensive training program for tech-enabled Nigerian startups. Itanna focuses on developing and supporting Nigeria’s tech ecosystem. Otudeko is also Head of Innovation and Sustainability at the Honeywell Group.
Odunayo Eweniyi (Nigeria): is co-founder of Piggybank.ng, a company that securely makes saving money possible by combining discipline plus flexibility to enable customers grow and reach their savings target. Eweniyi also founded PushCV.ng.
Melissa Bime (Cameroon): is winner of the 2018 Anzisha Prize and the founder of INFIUSS, an online blood bank and digital supply chain platform that ensures patients in 23 hospitals in Cameroon have life-saving blood when and where they need it.
Best Ayiorworth (Uganda): is a social entrepreneur and the founder of Girls Power Micro-Lending Organization (GIPOMO), an initiative aimed at giving business loans to women in order to empower them to support their daughters’ education.
Lotanna Igwe Odunze (Nigeria) is an entrepreneur, talented artist and a rape survivor. Odunze was sued by her rapist in Superior Court of the District of Columbia for defamation of character. The case was dismissed with prejudice. Odunze represents a growing number of young women in Nigeria who advocate for civil rights, justice and equality.
Horore Bell Bebga (Cameroon): is an entrepreneur and founder of Likalo2, a media company and a digital training center. She is also convener of African Women Entrepreneurs and Digital Training for Women & Girls. Bebga is 2018 winner of the Pan African CEO Magazine award, an award that recognizes leaders in the ICT sector.
Juliet Kego Ume-Onyido (Nigeria): is an engineer, advocate, poet and founder of Whole Woman Network. Kego supports and advocates for the rights of women and girls in Nigeria.
Nyari Mashayamombe (Zimbabwe): is an advocate and women rights activist. Mashayamombe is also the host of IDentities, a show discussing Zimbabwe’s political landscape. In addition to this, she is founder of Tag A Life International, an organization focused on fighting gender inequalities and promoting girls leadership.
Honey Ogundeyi(Nigeria): is a tech entrepreneur and founder of Fashpa Online, a global marketplace to discover Fashion, Jewellery and Art from Africa and the diaspora.
Mercy Makinde (Nigeria): is founder of the Amazing Amazon Women Empowerment Initiative, an organization fighting for the rights of marginalized groups and working to end domestic violence and sexual abuse in these communities.
Oluwatoyin Alake (Nigeria): is an IFC-Milken Institute Fellow and equities product manager at the Nigerian Stock Exchange. In her role, she is responsible for products traded on the exchange with a focus to improve the depth of the Nigerian Capital Markets through the creation of investment vehicles as well as the facilitation of efficient pricing, transparency and liquidity.
Weird MC(Nigeria): is a social entrepreneur and an artist known for her English and Yoruba Lyrics. Weird MC has continuously spoken of how she was discriminated against by her male counterparts in Nigeria’s hip-hop industry. She continues to be a voice for women in Nigeria’s music space.
Latifat Balogun (Nigeria): is founder of Hatlab Ice Cream, a company specializing in the production and retail of traditional Italian ice cream in Nigeria. HatLab was awarded the International Gold Star for leadership and commitment to quality and the business is expanding beyond its current position in three states with an eye on the international market.
Francesca Onomarie Uriri(Nigeria): is a social entrepreneur and the founder of Leading Ladies Africa, an organization that supports the career growth and development of African women. She currently serves as the Head of Communications in West Africa for Uber.
The Data Centre Dynamics (DCD) Awards has announced MainOne CEO, Funke Opeke, the 2018 Data Centre Dynamics Business Leader of the Year during the 2018 edition at the Royal Lancaster, London.
The Business Leader of the Year Award recognizes a company or individual who has done the most over the past 12 months to build the profile of the data centre industry to key stakeholder groups including investors, shareholders, financiers, owners, operators, the media and/or government.
Selected by an independent panel of data center experts from hundreds of entries from across the world, Opeke was recognized for her role in leading her company, MainOne to success in West Africa, taking on the task of building a Tier III certified data centre from the ground up with cables connecting it to the rest of the world, as well as her ability to assert herself, deliver results and actively take on challenges within a male-dominated field while encouraging other women in her team to do the same.
This has been uncovered by research conducted by ROAM (Ringier One Africa Media), who is encompassing the market-leading job portals in West Africa (Jobberman) and East Africa (Brighter monday), as well as Executive Recruitment and HR Solutions firm, The African Talent Company. The company has analyzed data sets from more than 12 million users, as well as from more than 100,000 employers, across Nigeria and Kenya active in the last two years.
Close to 90% of applicants that apply to a job position are objectively not a match for the role advertised. This is caused less by a shortage of jobs, but a fundamental misunderstanding of job requirements, both from employers and candidates.
The company’s research further brought to light that an average job listing receives about 140 – 160 applications. This showcases that there are huge hiring efforts involved in the application and recruitment process, even before the interview. This is both on the candidate side, to launch this large number of wrong applications, as well as from the employer, to identify the 10% of right candidates, amidst a large number of unqualified requests.
Roxsanne Dyssell, Managing Partner at Afamba LLC, a telecom market access consultancy and a network supplier based in New York City will host Tech Bae Event in NYC.
TECH BAE is a new series (created by Fikile M Kani) that follows Ayanda (Aya); a passionate entrepreneur who stumbles her way into tech, when she attempts to create a better dating app experience for black women. It’s a comical take on the rapidly changing social behaviors around dating, impetuous internet culture – and what it takes to navigate the startup world as a Black woman.
WHERE: Okay Space Gallery, 281 North 7th Street, New York.
Lagos-based accelerator and investment vehicle Itanna, backed by leading Nigerian corporate the Honeywell Group, today held its inaugural Demo Day, marking the end of its four-month innovation program for tech-enabled, for-profit African startups. Held at Itanna’s Enterprise Factory, Demo Day saw the pilot Cohort pitch to Honeywell Group’s extensive network of high net-worth investors, as they, the cohorts, vied to secure investment, corporate backing and strategic partnerships, for their companies.
A step in the journey of Honeywell Group’s reinvention through its new innovation strategy, Itanna’s Demo Day also hosted a panel of leading players in the Nigerian tech and business ecosystems, who discussed the role of corporate Nigeria in achieving win-win collaborations with tech startups. Panellists included Deji Oguntonade, Head Fintech & Innovation, Guaranty Trust Bank, Lola Ekugo, Head Digital Innovation Lab, First Bank, Obi Emetatom, Managing Director, Appzone and Seun Faluyi, Managing Director, Uraga Power Solutions.
Launched in August 2018, Itanna’s four founding Cohort companies were chosen from over 200 applications from across Africa. They included:
Accounteer – providers of online accounting services for SMEs across Africa
KoloPay – a cashless target savings mobile and web application
Tradebuza– an online platform for managing and brokering commodities sourcing and outgrower scheme
PowerCube – providers of affordable power supply using renewable energy.
Along with up to USD $25,000 each in investment from Honeywell Group, startups received training and mentorship from leading industry experts in the form of UI/UX Sessions, legal and HR workshops, classes on technology, business and marketing, reviews of revenue/pricing model and operational metrics, mentorship sessions and guest lectures from some of Nigeria’s most renowned entrepreneurs and business icons.
With plans underway for a second cohort intake in 2019, Itanna will also invest in more developed tech startups looking for growth capital with its direct investment arm, which will support investee companies in scaling, by leveraging Honeywell Group’s extensive network and industry expertise.
Operating from the brand new Enterprise Factory located in Iganmu, Itanna is at the heart of industrial Lagos where businesses are built. The state of the art 627 square metre collaborative space boasts work spaces, offices, meeting rooms and a conference space. Trusted partners in this year’s accelerator included MEST, First Registrars, Udo Udoma & Belo-Osagie and Hans and Rene.
Almost two years ago, I got the opportunity to contribute my quota to the adoption of Open Banking in the Nigerian financial industry; I did this from my corner at GTBank by helping to re-position the Bank’s corporate payment solutions as democratized APIs for consumption by FinTechs and MSMEs.
It was a challenging experience — from convincing senior management to embrace long-term, win-win partnerships with FinTechs as enablers and not solely as competition; to getting the right support from the Bank’s technology team for go-to-market (timeliness & readiness).
Integrating the bank’s payment APIs with these FinTechs also threw up a myriad of technical issues; and in analyzing these issues, one of the biggest contributing factor was found to be in the way NUBAN was implemented in Nigeria. There were cases of the same NUBANs existing in different banks; with increasing occurrences as more NUBANs are generated. This defeats the purpose of NUBAN asa unique bank account identifier in Nigeria. As it stands, NUBAN’s uniqueness depends on the customer or user’s conscious usage of bank codes / bank names with the NUBAN, even at API level (requiring the inclusion of an interface to identify bank code or bank name mapped to the bank code).
When uniqueness of an identifier depends on user input,
it loses the potency for uniqueness.
There was also the implicit problem of the character length and how quickly the unique combination of the (10 digits) of NUBAN will be used up, given the rise in MFBs and OFIs. Given these challenges, a practical solution was recommended here (also published on LinkedIn) to include the 3-digit unique bank code to the current implementation dynamics to arrive at a 13 digit NUBAN that will truly be unique, and vastly expandable to accommodate an exponentially larger instances of NUBAN.
Below is a snapshot of the proposal:
Eight months later, the CBN has not only considered this proposition, it has issued a draft of how it plans to revise the implementationarchitecture of NUBAN in alignment with this recommendation. Theapex bank has gone further to introduce 3 extra digits taking the tally to 16digits (i.e. from Step 5 above, the CBN is introducing three preceding zeros asa buffer for when more Banks, MFBs and OFIs are incorporated for business).
This implementation will further ease integrations between banks, OFIs, FinTechs and the many MSMEs that will embrace open banking for innovative developments and implementations to deliver quality financial services toNigerians. Also, CBN is doing this to rubber-stamp its strategy to open upNUBAN issuance to more non-DMBs, implying that you may not need to hold a bank account before you have a NUBAN number. However, funds (value) transactions will happen across issuers and providers within the ecosystem. This is good news for wallet-based FinTechs.
One of the expected criticism to this new approach is the shift from remembering your 10 digits NUBAN to 16 digits; this is anticipated and highlighted in the initial article, with the comfort being that in the days before NUBAN,Nigerians were provided with 12–15 digits account numbers by their banks based on differing account numbering nomenclatures unique to each bank. (In those days, Banks’ account number system depended hugely on the architecture of their core banking applications).
I believe the CBN considered critical feedback and recommendations on how to reposition NUBAN to achieve its intended aim of unifying account number nomenclature in Nigeria; and this highlights the importance of independent contribution to the general body of knowledge for the advancement of underlying infrastructure (standards, policies and procedures) that power financial service delivery in Nigeria. If implemented right, I believe this will position NUBAN as the truly unique, unified account numbering system that will be the bedrock for the CBN National Financial Inclusion strategy outlined in its CBN-funded Shared Agent Network Expansion Facility (SANEF) initiative.
About the Author:
Dewale Otolorin specializes in providing Technology Advisory Services to financial service clients. ‘Dewale has worked as a bridge between Technology and Business Groups over the past 9 years in the consulting, financial, technology and professional services industries. His strengths are in his ability to continuously fuse the core capabilities of people, technology, and industry expertise to address complex business and people challenges in organizations.
L’Afrique Excelle is a six-month business acceleration program designed to support 20 most promising growth stage technology start-ups operating in Francophone Africa.
Entrepreneurs will receive mentoring from global and local experts, learn through a tailor-made curriculum, increase their brand visibility, and get access to potential corporate partners and investors. Through collaboration with prominent Francophone Africa-focused investment groups, L’Afrique Excelle will help the selected start-ups attract early stage capital between $250,000 and $5 million.
L’Afrique Excelle is the Francophone edition of XL Africa, a pan-African accelerator launched by the World Bank Group in 2017. Since the completion of the first edition, half of the XL Africa portfolio has secured almost $18 M in funding.
The program highlights include two one-week residencies – one in Bamako, Mali and another in Paris, France – giving entrepreneurs the opportunity to grow their business network and learn from mentors, peers, and local partners. The France residency will culminate in the Venture Showcase at the 2019 VivaTech conference in Paris, where the founders will present their business models to a large audience of corporations, investors, technology experts and media.