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.
The Summit, is one of Nigeria’s leading high-octane networking conference for women working across the globe on development and social change in NGOs, social enterprise, tech-startups, CSR Divisions, the public sector and corporate organizations. The event provides a rallying point for thinkers, visionaries and change-makers who envision a better future for Africa, and are working actively for social good.
This second edition themed “Women-Led Business as a Tool for Social Change and Nation Building ” will run impactful sessions from the Keynote Speeches, to Panel Sessions, Open Forum Conversations, Games, High-level of Networking and the Social Innovation Awards; which offers significant insights for leading women to use Business as a Vehicle for driving social prosperity, community change and development outcomes.
Kobo360, the technology logistics platform, today announced that it will expand operations into Accra, Ghana and Nairobi, Kenya. The announcement follows recent news that the company launched in Lome, Togo – home to West Africa’s largest shipping port, and sees a period of rapid expansion for the African start-up.
Backed by international and African investors, including International Finance Corporation [IFC], Y Combinator and TLcom, the move comes as Kobo360 seeks to build a global logistic operating system [G-LOS] that will power trade and commerce across Africa and emerging markets. Positioned as key trading and transport hubs on the African continent, the new territories have seen almost exclusively double-digit growth Togo [12%], Kenya [10%] and Ghana [7.9%], and Kobo is now strategically positioned to grow with them.
The company is currently rolling out a beta operation in Ghana, recording over 100 trips and collaborating with clients such Olam Ghana, and expects to test the Kenyan market further, in the coming weeks, where the team will meet with drivers and equip them with the tools they need to run trips effectively, while also imbing our culture and brand affinity with the supply chain. In Nigeria, Kobo360 has stood at the forefront of logistics, covering over 80% of the country and recording a 40% cost reduction in the supply chain. The company now plans to aggressively extend to other key markets and expects to be in nine African countries before the end of 2019.
Speaking from the Africa CEO Forum in Kigali, Co-founder and CTO of Kobo360, Ife Oyedele, said: “We estimate that Africa needs 10X the number of trucks to meet short-term commercial transport needs, since rail continue to underperform. Time, cost and quality are key drivers of success in logistics which is why we, at Kobo360, are building a global logistics operating system [G-LOS] that will ensure fast movement of goods at a lower cost for businesses across Africa.
“Kenya is the hub of East Africa, it is the most innovative market in Technology and if we win here, we have won across the region. From here we will expand to Uganda and Tanzania. By adding Ghana to our West African territories of Togo and Nigeria, we will link all the market to a Global Logistics System and this will help us to serve our customers across a seamlessly lined Pan-African market. By this we create value to our customers as we are in all the key countries in the continent”.
“Location is a critical factor in global logistics, and each African country we’ve chosen to expand into has its own value proposition. These markets are among the fastest growing economies and we want to grow with them by supporting the thousands of freight companies who require a safe, reliable and cost effective delivery of their goods to cargo recipients across the continent.”
To-date, the company has partnered with global logistics brands including Dangote Group, DHL, Unilever and Lafarge and has moved over 297M KG of goods, serviced over 1,450 businesses and aggregated a fleet of over 10,000 drivers and trucks. Launched in 2016, with a vision to revolutionize the logistics value chain in Africa, currently estimated at $150Bn, Kobo360 has also been nominated as ‘Disrupter of the Year’ finalists at the Africa CEO Forum Awards – a recognition given to the CEO of a young African company within the budding tech sector on the continent.
Kobo360 efficiently connects end-to-end haulage operations to help cargo owners, truck owners and drivers, and cargo recipients to achieve an efficient supply chain framework. Through an all-in-one robust logistics ecosystem -reducing logistics frictions in supply chain via a combination of Internet of things (IOT), mobile technology and data analytics. In less than six hours, Kobo360 matches a user’s request with a selection of quality trucks of all categories, anytime with service delivery guaranteed – no telephones, opaque pricing or expensive middlemen needed. Led by Kagure Wanmuyu, COO East Africa and Bilal Abdullah, COO West Africa, the team is also recruiting for top talent to join its new teams on the ground.
Kobo360’s officially launched in Togo in March, where the company announced its affiliation with the Ministry and Office of Postal Affairs and Digital Economy, as well as the Mediterranean Shipping Company. Kobo360 will officially launch in Ghana on 4 April, and in Kenya by May 2019.
MainOne has announced a metro fiber infrastructure project in two states of Nigeria, with support from Facebook. The infrastructure collaboration is part of Facebook’s efforts to connect more people to broadband internet. As part of this project, MainOne is building and operating approximately 750 km terrestrial fiber infrastructure in Edo and Ogun States, two of Nigeria’s fastest growing states.
These open-access transport networks will provide metro fiber connectivity to reach more than 1,000,000 people in Benin City, Abeokuta, Sagamu and 10 other towns by connecting mobile operators’ base stations, Internet Service providers, Points of presence (POPs), and public locations including schools and hospitals. This partnership will leverage MainOne’s strength as a wholesale Telecoms Infrastructure service provider with investment from Facebook and support from local regulatory and state authorities to further deepen broadband penetration in Nigeria.
Speaking on the partnership, Ibrahima Ba, Network Investments Lead for Emerging Markets at Facebook, said: “We are working closely with MainOne and other partners to accelerate broadband deployment. In Nigeria, we are bringing together Facebook’s learnings from scaling our global infrastructure with MainOne’s knowledge of the local environment to develop and test new working models for multiple operators to access common infrastructure.”
Funke Opeke, MainOne’s Chief Executive Officer, lauded the collaboration and the commitment of Facebook and authorities in Nigeria to improving broadband penetration across the country. Commenting on the partnership, she added “MainOne has always been committed to broadband innovation, job creation, as well as growing the digital economy of West Africa. We believe that this partnership and the open-access network we have developed will be beneficial to improving the quality of access and accelerating the digital transformation in Ogun and Edo States.”
The National Basketball Association (NBA) and YouTube has announced the launch of the NBA’s first YouTube channel dedicated to fans in sub-Saharan Africa. In addition to featuring two live games per week in primetime for the rest of the 2018-19 season, including the Playoffs, Conference Finals and The Finals, the NBA Africa YouTube channel will celebrate the impact of African players in the NBA. The channel will also showcase the league’s long history of growing basketball at all levels across the continent and using the game as a platform to inspire and empower African youth.
The first two live game broadcasts on the new NBA Africa YouTube channel will take place on Sunday, March 24 and will feature the Charlotte Hornets hosting the Boston Celtics at 12:00am (CAT) followed by the L.A. Clippers visiting the New York Knicks at 6:00pm (CAT).
The channel will feature original and archived programming, including a collaboration with Africa-based YouTube creators on original content, a customized weekly magazine show and NBA documentaries featuring current and former African players and legends.
“The NBA Africa YouTube channel is yet another important milestone for the NBA in Africa and will allow more fans to access our games, live and on demand, across the continent,” said NBA Vice President and Managing Director for Africa, Amadou Gallo Fall. “As we enter the home stretch of the NBA season and teams fight for playoff positioning, we look forward to bringing the excitement of the NBA to more fans in sub-Saharan Africa while celebrating the NBA’s rich history and bright future in Africa.”
“From inception, YouTube has been a hub for fans to catch up on moments and coverage from their favorite sports,” said Manager of YouTube Partnerships in Africa, Dayo Olopade. “We are delighted to be partnering with the NBA to bring the action and inspiration of basketball to our audience in Africa. We hope NBA fans on the continent enjoy watching the live games and commentaries on YouTube.”
The NBA’s partnership with YouTube goes back more than a decade when it became the first professional sports league to partner with YouTube and launch its own channel in 2005, and the first to join YouTube’s “Claim Your Content” program in 2007. Last year, YouTube TV became the first presenting partner of NBA Finals and WNBA Finals. To date, the NBA YouTube channel has generated more than 5.4 billion views.
The NBA has a long history in Africa and opened its African headquarters in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2010. Opening-night rosters for the 2018-19 NBA season featured 13 African-born players, and there are more than 80 current and former NBA players from Africa or with direct family ties to the continent, including Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famers Hakeem Olajuwon (Nigeria) and Dikembe Mutombo (Democratic Republic of Congo).
Last month, the NBA and FIBA announced their plan to launch the Basketball Africa League (BAL), a new professional league featuring 12 club teams from across Africa. The BAL will build on the NBA’s existing grassroots and elite basketball development initiatives on the continent, including the Jr. NBA, Basketball Without Borders (BWB) Africa and The NBA Academy Africa.
Since The NBA Academy Africa opened in May 2017, 25 elite male prospects ages 14-20 have received scholarships and training after scouting programs conducted with local federations across the continent. Three NBA Academy Africa graduates have gone on to commit to NCAA Division 1 schools.
The NBA has held three sold-out Africa Games, in Johannesburg in 2015 and 2017 and in Pretoria in 2018, in support of charities including UNICEF, the Nelson Mandela Foundation and SOS Children’s Villages South Africa (SOSCVSA). Through NBA Cares, the NBA has created 87 places for children and families to live, learn and play in seven African countries.
Amplified Payments Ltd, a fintech company that builds and facilitates payment solutions and digital financial transactions in Nigeria, has today announced its acquisition by One Finance Limited. The deal, completed for an undisclosed fee, took effect as of March 1st, 2019, and sees OneFi boost its financial services offering, as the company adds Amplify’s assets, tradements and flagship products,AmplifyPay and mTransfers, to its growing portfolio.
Conceived in 2015 by co-founders Segun Adeyemi and Maxwell Obi, who first met as Entrepreneurs-in-Training at MEST Africa’s Entrepreneurial Training Program in Accra, Ghana, Amplify has scaled quickly to become one of Nigeria’s leading online recurring payment processors, supporting over 1,000 merchants and facilitating digital transactions for four of the country’s largest banks.
The company’s core products, AmplifyPay – a payment gateway specialising in recurring transactions – and mTransfers – a keyboard banking solution that enables consumers to conduct bill and P2P payments in any chat app – have propelled the three-year-old start-up to a market-leader in Nigeria’s financial processing space.
As a result of the acquisition, Amplify co-founder and CTO, Maxwell Obi, will join the OneFi team to oversee the payments direction of the company, whilst co-founder and CEO, Segun Adeyemi, will depart as he pursues new ventures. Commenting on the acquisition and his new role, Maxwell says, “The key factor which stood out in our decision to work with OneFi was that we saw them as an extension of our vision. We stepped into this industry to use our payment solutions to facilitate a growing economy, and OneFi’s focus on financial inclusion feeds well into this. It’s a real example of a collaborative effort, and I’m excited to see the next chapter of our development.”
Paylater, OneFi’s consumer-facing lending platform, was launched in 2016 by Nigerian finance entrepreneurs Chijioke and Ngozi Dozie, and provides hassle-free loans without the need for human intervention or bias in decision making. Through its app, which has been downloaded over one million times, Paylater has deployed over $50M across 750,000 loans, approving over 1,500 loans a day at an average of $80 per loan. In late 2018, the company became the first African fintech platform to secure a credit rating. The acquisition of Amplify is the next step in the company’s journey, seeing the platform pivot to a one-stop-shop offering additional products such as savings, bill payments and credit reporting.
Chijioke Dozie, OneFi Founder and CEO, adds, “Today’s announcement signals OneFi’s first acquisition; a strategic decision that kicks off our transformation from a digital lender to a diverse digital financial services platform focused on transactions, payments and loans and will ensure we meet our ambitious goal of doubling our size in Nigeria this year. We have long respected the Amplify team for their ability to provide innovative solutions under adverse conditions, and we look forward to blending our expertise to power the future of fintech infrastructure and digital payments in Africa.”
Amplify also secured their first investment from MEST Africa, the Pan-African incubator, training program and seed fund, in 2016, when Adeyemi and Obi graduated from the program and the company officially launched. Amplify is the 5th MEST Africa company to be acquired and the first in the fintech space.
MEST Managing Director, Aaron Fu, concludes, “Seeing Amplify exit to such an established and well-known player in Nigeria’s fintech sector is a really significant moment in MEST Africa’s 11-year history. Watching Segun and Maxwell develop Amplify into a market leader in just three years has been thrilling to see, and we expect to see many more African tech start-ups take this route to market. Our hope is that the Amplify journey will be an inspiration to thousands of entrepreneurs in the making.”
Marriott Hotels in partnership with TED, hosted its first TED Fellows Salon in Cape Town, South Africa, sparking conversations around Africa’s beauty, rich heritage and innovative spirit. Held at the Cape Town Marriott Hotel Crystal Towers, renowned TED Fellows, Kenyan musician Bill Sellanga and South African conservation biologist Steve Boyes, led the innovative and thought-provoking discussion providing guests the opportunity to engage and be inspired.
The speakers at this Marriott Hotels TED Salon represent some of the brightest thinkers of their generation who are working towards making positive, meaningful and lasting change in their communities. Steve Boyes explores, protects and restores some of the most remote wildernesses in Africa, including the threatened Okavango Delta, one of our last remaining fresh watersheds. Working with the Angolan government, Boyes recently established two of the largest protected areas in Sub-Saharan Africa amounting to twice the size of England. A trained ornithologist, he is the Executive Director of the Wild Bird Trust and a Fellow at the National Geographic Society.
The ongoing global partnership between Marriott Hotels and TED is now in its third year, following its launch in 2016, and has been expanded to include more exciting and innovative programming at Marriott Hotels in key destinations worldwide. Marriott Hotels is a brand that’s geared towards a new generation of travelers, who continuously seek fresh inspirations and creative ideas during their own life-changing journeys around the world.
The Cape Town edition is the third TED Fellows Salon to be held within Middle East and Africa with two previous ones being held at Cairo and Abu Dhabi. TED Salons have been hosted in several Marriott Hotels globally, including Bengaluru, Bangkok, London, and Athens.
Crowd Machine and the Vital Voices Global Partnership launched its Women in Application Development initiative. The initiative brings together women from nine developing countries to learn how to develop applications using Crowd Machine’s free, online learning platform, Crowd Academy.
Crowd Machine enables anyone to create applications even if they do not know how to code. The joint initiative speeds up the democratization of developing ‘apps,’ which can then be deployed for a number of uses, from starting up new businesses to improving efficiencies in existing companies or interfacing with IoT (internet of things) devices, AI robotics and blockchain.
The Women in App Development initiative takes participants through the seven-level training that leads to certification as a Crowd Machine Developer. The Vital Voices Global Partnership identifies and invests in high potential women business leaders of SMEs in order to take their business vision to scale and to elevate women’s leadership and entrepreneurship globally.
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.
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.