The Ingenuity of the African Youth & Overdependence on Foreign Gifts

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Overdependence

Amidst global socio-economic competitiveness, can the present generation of African youth undo Africa’s overdependence on aid/gifts?

Africa is rising and her youthful population isn’t lacking behind. This is visible through the increasing ingenuity of a good number of African youths. Through independent multi-sectoral startups, these young hustlers are already making tangible contributions to national developments across the continent.

However, the search for funding for such ingenious initiatives, has resulted in their almost total dependence on foreign gifts, with its attendant consequences. It’s therefore important that this rising breed of African youths also rise against overdependence on foreign aid/gifts at this stage.

Africa’s Overdependence on Foreign Aid

Much of post-independent Africa largely depends on foreign aid, despite economic growth in parts of the continent significantly outpacing the global average. For instance, Ethiopia has a split personality as one of the fastest-growing economies in the world.

The economy, between 2004 and 2013, grew by about 10% a year. The country has also been the center of attraction for foreign investors. Nevertheless, a third of Ethiopia’s population earn below $1 a day, with the government receiving $504 million (£324 million) in aid from the UK in 2011/12, thereby making it the biggest recipient of bilateral aid for the country that year.

Overdependence

Of course, such aid/gifts have often come with serious strings or conditions attached. In most cases, they serve the interests of the donors. The late erudite Pan-Africanist, Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, posits that, “Independence cannot be real if a nation depends on gifts.”

According to Nyerere, real independence demands that African states negotiate with foreign donors on acceptable conditions for loans and gifts. This, however, is not the case as African leaders often reluctantly accept unilaterally set conditions by donors.

Overdependence of African youth startups on foreign gifts

Regrettably, most young African startups and youth-initiated small projects, are today also leaning towards overdependence on western donors. This is continuously being manifested through one-sided partnerships between initiators of these small projects and their western financiers.

Many Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and other development initiatives run mostly by the youth, are victims of such overdependence. Their projects are totally dependent on western benefactors for financing. These benefactors dictate the tune in the management of these resources, most of which serve largely, the interests of such patrons.

It’s therefore, not uncommon to soon find such organizations or small projects transferred and managed from abroad. In some scenarios, the aid to such foundations, organizations or small projects hardly leaves the donor country. The initiators find themselves in donor nations through a technical form of brain drain. Cases where founders of such small projects or startups appear not to be absolutely loyal to donors or infringe laid down rules between the two, have mostly ended in litigation.

The way forward for the African Youths

In a 21st century society driven by the knowledge economy, the present generation of African youth must start thinking beyond aid. It’s unproductive and unprofitable for any young startup to spend valuable time seeking for aid or gifts from agencies that would dictate the rules of their operations.

Ingenious African youth should take initiatives to create innovative and salable ideas and not begging for funding. As future leaders, it’s not yet time to seek to be successful but time to seek to be valuable. Creative African youth must develop their gifts to be so valuable that they will receive payment to perform them.

Like President Akufo-Addo of Ghana pointed out during his keynote speech at the 2018 Oxford Africa Conference, the aid/gifts dependence mentality is a product of the economic structure defined for Africa by the colonial masters. It was never meant to economically transform the continent and its population.

That is why the socio-economic and political transformation of Africa in the 21st century cannot be gotten through aid. It has consequently, become necessary for African youths and governments of this generation to begin looking at Africa beyond aid.

Apart from her huge mineral deposits, Africa is also rich in vibrant human capacity.  This is resource that can effectively attract investors on equitable rules of engagement. The youths, as leaders of tomorrow, must reset their minds to deliberate qualitative change. Change, that seeks to abandon the colonially inherited economic structure.

The African youth must concentrate on developing their own gifts and not depending on gifts. Only through this can Africa and the future generation of her youthful leaders gain the respect of the world.

Robotics Process Automation: A New Initiative For Banks In Africa

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Robotics Process Automation: A new Initiative for Banks in Africa

As each day unfolds, technology takes a new turn to improve the living standards of the human race. Presently, banking in Africa is becoming easier, faster and flexible as bankers are employing a new form of technology called Robotics Process Automation (RPA).     

Technology is here to stay, no doubt. If one is to compare the services that banks provided 15 to 20 years ago with the present day offerings, one will be amazed by the changing landscape in the financial services environment.

Robotics Process Automation

Robotics Process Automation is a technology application aimed at automating business processes. RPA tools can enable a company to configure software or robot and interpret applications for processing transactions. Also, it enables the manipulation of data, triggering response and communicating with other digital systems.

Juniper Research estimates that banking RPA software and services revenue will reach close to $900 million in 2022. Juniper, however, expects the market value, estimated at $214 million in 2018, to grow over four times in 2022.

Formally, Robotics Process Automation only replicates simple or repetitive tasks that require high accuracy such as data entry. But the market currently represents a perfect storm created by the convergence of chatbots, AI-driven RPA software and banks’ digital transformation strategies, according to Juniper.

How are Banks in Africa handling this new change?

From industrial robots to self-driving cars, robotic technology is becoming more cognitive-enabled that replicates humans’ skills and intelligence. In this era of growing technology, banks in Africa have, however, seen reasons to apply Robotics Process Automation into their systems.

As banks drift away from their traditional ways of operating and meeting customers’ demand, banks like Rand Merchant Bank and Standard Banks in South Africa have integrated the robotics process automation in their banking system. Union Bank of Nigeria has recently joined the trend and this might just act as an inspiration to other banks in Africa.

Not a tech for banks alone

Just as banks need technology to improve their servicing systems, every other business also needs same to facilitate its system.

In essence, robotics process automation software can automatically route transactions, work with data and collaborate with other systems when required.

Taking into consideration the robotics process automation functions, an alternative to performing high-volume IT support, workflow and the back-office process is high. Therefore, financial institutions, accounting supply chain management, customer service, and human resources related processes can also make use of RPA.

However, Robotics Process Automation has given banks and financial institutions the opportunities to meet their customers’ demands. It is now creating room for these businesses to achieve their goals in real-time.

Togo’s Government Dares To Develop Rural Areas Through ‘PayAsYouGo’ Model

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Digital revolution as a vital role to accelerate development in rural areas in Togo

The stakes of digital revolution is a vector for development in rural areas. Thus, Togo’s government believes that for the country to prosper, development has to start in the rural areas. The PayAsYouGo model is the solution.

According to Minister of Posts and Digital Economy of Togo, Madam Cina Lawson, to reduce poverty in sub-Saharan Africa, it is necessary to make growth inclusive. To achieve inclusive growth, development has to reach the rural areas. Financing solar kits in rural areas is top priority.

Togolese government to develop rural areas through the PasAsYouGo model

Minister of Post and Digital Economy of Togo, Cina Lawson

However, she believes that it is possible to massively equip rural areas through PayAsYouGo (PAYG). This will depend on the popularization of mobile, technological developments and the emergence of innovative business models.

PayAsYouGo funding is a model that relies on mobile payment and can provide individuals with payment over time.  The aim is to provide rural areas with water, electricity, television sets or insurance products, just to name a few.

By offering people the possibility of having a solar system through a step-by-step payment system via mobile money, PayAsYouGo has an edge over the traditional microfinance model. The need for collateral when necessary and the risk of non-payment are covered by the possibilities that stakeholders have to secure their financed assets in case of non-payment due to remote functionalities.

The PayAsYouGo business model is mostly used by solar kit companies in East Africa. It is one of the most used means to mobilize private funding for equipping and developing rural areas.

The reason is obvious.

Development aid and public capital alone cannot completely develop rural areas. Hence, the Togolese government will need to create a friendly environment and provide good infrastructure needed for this type of financing of equipment for its rural populations.

With support from Togo’s technical and financial partners, Togo has set up a national PAYG financing platform, ‘ToGoPay’. Thus making the platform the digital backbone of the model  ‘PayAsYouGo’  in Togo. It will encourage different private actors to offer equipment and services for the rural populations. Through this platform, it will be possible for Togo to provide sustainable access to drinking water and electricity. This can be, thanks to good infrastructure management. Also, the rural populations will be provided with smartphones or even computers and also financial products such as insurance.

Making use of the electrification scheme in rural areas

The ToGoPay platform is open and accessible to private actors who wish to offer products and services to the rural areas. The platform will enable remote monitoring of home systems and also have access to just one single point to the credit history of rural populations. It will also secure users’ payments via ’Mobile Money’.

The first area of ​​application for the ToGoPay platform is that of rural electrification. President  Faure Gnassingbé of Togo initiated the electrification scheme launched in December 2017 under.

Nicknamed ‘CIZO’ (“lighting up” in the Guin language), the scheme was to significantly increase the electrification rate in rural areas by 2022 through the use of solar home systems. Thus, about 2 million Togolese in the next 5 years will have quality electricity available and at a lower cost. The rate of rural electrification will increase from 6% to more than 40%.

rural areas benefit from electrification scheme in Togo

Togo, rural electrification scheme

 

Increased  productivity with the ‘PayAsYouGo’ model

This system is the main engine for the entire development strategy for rural areas. The solar kits (machine-to-machine technology) will collect valuable data. Moreover, it will also promote the development of other products and services in the rural areas. 

According to the Minister, a solar kit in a rural home gives access to modern farming equipment (solar irrigation kits and even small farm tractors). This will help increase productivity, thus generating income.

Meanwhile, Togo plans to put in place equipment and services that can be delivered at a single point. This will ease funding by public and private capital. Thus, making it possible to sustainably improve living conditions. Thanks to the ToGoPay platform.

The Hustler’s Digest – Uber Eats South Africa’s orderTalk

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Uber Eats South Africa’s orderTalk -- The Hustler’s Digest

Today’s Quote

“The fact is that the amount of money startups raise in their seed and Series A rounds is inversely correlated with success.”

Fred Wilson, Union Square Ventures

Africa

Lidya raises $6.9 million to improve access to credit for Africa’s MSMEs

Globally, micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) are one of the strongest drivers of economic development, innovation, and employment. Yet, access to finance is a critical barrier to growth for these businesses. However, Nigeria’s leading fintech startup, Lidya emerged in 2016 to improve access to credit for MSMEs in Africa. Now, the firm has raised $6.9 million, one of the largest in Nigeria’s tech history.

Uber Eats South Africa’s orderTalk -- The Hustler’s Digest

Lidya will use its new fund to improve access to credit for Africa’s MSMs

Since inception in 2016, Lidya has made over 1,500 business loans to help MSMEs in farming, hospitality, logistics, retail, real estate, technology, and health to get the capital they need to grow their operations.

Last year, Lidya closed a US$1.25 million seed funding round to further its mission of easing access to finance for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) across Africa. This new fund injection will allow Lidya to expand its loan book, scale in Nigeria, enter new markets in Africa, and bring in more skilled professionals, particularly data scientists and engineers.

Cameroon to acquire 25 railway cars

Cameroon in association with Camrail is about to acquire 25 railway cars constructed by Franco-Korean company CIM-SSRT. This was revealed at the interministerial committee on railway infrastructures held in Yaounde on May 20, 2018.

According to the meeting, negotiations for the financing agreement are in progress and a mission delegated by the Prime Minister has just sojourned outside the country.

However, these new railway cars will help re-launch the high-speed train voyages between Douala and Yaoundé. It will also help reduce transport time.

Why’s Washington charging missiles towards Yaounde?

Last week, the political atmosphere in Cameroon’s political capital Yaoundé, grew a little tenser. For the first time in his 36 years as president, Biya received a verbal missile from US ambassador.

Uber Eats South Africa’s orderTalk -- The Hustler’s Digest

Washington and Yaounde are at a verbal war

Southern Cameroon’s interim government (Ambazonia), claims that Biya’s Francophone government is carrying out a genocide in West Cameroon, with its troops burning and destroying Southern Cameroons towns and villages. The U.S. ambassador to Cameroon, Peter Barlerin, backed the claim during a fiery meeting with the 85-year-old president.

While this tension may not result in any kind of war between Yaounde and Washington, it may undoubtedly, result in the collapse of the Biya regime. The US fears that Cameroon is heading towards disintegration and that may have a spillover effect on neighboring countries. It’s true that Washington and Yaoundé have never been on opposite sides of international politics. But the rift developing now is an indication that Biya’s time might be overdue.

Twitter recognizes Swahili as a language

US-based microblogging platform Twitter recently added the capability to detect Swahili words in tweets and translate them. Kiswahili, which is widely used in East Africa, is Kenya’s national language and it unites the people of Kenya.

Twitter’s official recognition of Swahili as a language has just created history because it became the first African language to achieve that accomplishment. Swahili is however yet to be added in the language settings of Twitter.

The network now recognizes Swahili words and offers a translation of the widely spoken and written East and Southern African language.

Uber Eats acquires South Africa’s online ordering firm

Uber Eats is an American online food ordering and delivery platform launched by Uber in 2014 and based in San Francisco, California. Recently, Uber Eats acquired South Africa’s leading provider of online ordering software, orderTalk as part of its strategy to improve efficiency.

According to OrderTalk’s chairman Maurice Abboudi,  Uber Eats would benefit from technology that reduces the prospect of mistakes being made in the kitchen when orders are processed.

Uber Eats South Africa’s orderTalk -- The Hustler’s Digest

Hopefully, this deal should help solve Uber Eats’s problems which presently works with more than 100 000 restaurants in 200 cities and 35 countries.

Janngo raises $1.18 million in its funding round

Ivory Coast’s social startup, Janngo has closed its first funding round after raising $1.18 million. This will be used to enable it to launch and grow new digital platforms targeting African SMEs while creating tech-enabled jobs at scale for women and youth.

According to the startup’s Chief Executive Officer, Fatoumata Bâ, they want to empower African SMEs leveraging technology to improve access to market and business performance.   As such, they aim at building turnkey solutions to support the growth of these SMEs. They will also help them access new market opportunities, build capacity, improve their productivity and boost their competitiveness.

Investors in the round include family office (Mulliez Family), an investment bank (Clipperton), and international trading platform (Soeximex).

Egypt experience increase in revenue due to tourism visit

Traveling is a way of life for most people as it gives them an opportunity to learn new things. However, it also serves as a source of income, especially to Egypt’s economy.

According to Rania al-Mashat, Egypt’s Tourism Minister, this year’s tourism revenues were projected to reach $8 billion, up from $7.6 billion last year, when 8.3 million people visited Egypt. Also, the opening of the country’s Grand Museum in 2019 would contribute to the positive development.

Just as the United Nations World Tourism Organization recently revealed Egypt as one of the world’s fast-growing tourist destination, the country waits to welcome more tourists and in the same way, boost its economy.  

World

President Trump may or may not have a deal to save ZTE

ZTE is one of China’s largest tech companies – and one of the US’s top smartphone suppliers. Last year, ZTE pleaded guilty to violating sanctions by shipping US equipment to Iran and North Korea and never followed through on its settlement deal. In retaliation, the US banned American companies from dealing with ZTE until 2025. This month, ZTE shut down its main operations, putting thousands of Chinese jobs at risk.

But Trump promised to help ZTE get back on its feet as part of ongoing talks to avoid a US-China trade war which has been looming since early this year when Trump put new tariffs on Chinese products.

Uber Eats South Africa’s orderTalk -- The Hustler’s Digest

Not too fast, ZTE. No deal yet.

At first, it seemed like Trump and China agreed on a deal to save ZTE. Then Trump said ‘not yet’ because he’s not happy with how trade talks are going with the country. But even if they had come up with a deal, a Senate committee wants it to pass through Congress first.

Trump’s pulling the plug ahead of nuclear summit meeting

Donald Trump has canceled his planned summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, blaming increasingly hostile rhetoric from Pyongyang.

After years of weapons tests and threats, North Korea recently seemed ready to put down its nuclear weapons and talk things out with the US. The date was set for a June 12 between Trump and Kim. Then, the North threatened to back out and said something about a “nuclear showdown.”

On Thursday, Trump wrote a strongly-worded letter saying he’s canceling the summit because of all the “open hostility.” But he left the door slightly open. So did North Korea.

Amazon, can I get some privacy?

For the past several months, Amazon has given police in Florida and Oregon facial recognition tools for less than $12/month. Amazon says the software, Rekognition could help them find missing people. But the previously undisclosed surveillance programs now face the wrath of civil rights advocates who fear the program will target vulnerable populations.

Introduced in 2016, Rekognition was billed as a tool for marketers to spot celebrities and weed out R-rated content. But, with the video surveillance market on its way to $62 billion in 5 years, Amazon couldn’t help but pitch the tech to law enforcement.

The 2 pilot programs have already nabbed bad guys in real-time using body-camera image databases. But critics believe the system endangers people “labeled suspicious by governments such as undocumented immigrants or black activists.”

Amazon reps have, however, defended the e-commerce Goliath saying, “quality of life would be much worse” without controversial technology like Rekognition. But Amazon’s not the only company that’s watching you. Earlier this month, Chinese police deployed facial-profiling technology to arrest a man in a crowd of 60k people at a concert.

Sony buys rival for $2.3 billion, but it still doesn’t own ‘Thriller’

Sony has announced a deal to acquire 90% of its publishing competitor EMI Music Publishing for $2.3 billion. The agreement, still pending regulatory approvals, values EMI at $4.7 billion. And if this goes through, it will add more than 2 million songs to Sony’s already iconic catalog. We’re talking the rights to songs by The Beatles and Kanye West (don’t worry, they already had Beyonce).

Sony was already the biggest music publisher in the world. Now, if everything goes as planned, they’ll own the publishing rights to some 4.4 million songs. Sony signed the deal with EMI to buy all 60% of its holdings, giving the entertainment company close to a 90% stake (it owned 30% prior to the deal). In 2016, Sony bought 50% of ATV for $750m — but that still didn’t include the 10% of EMI owned by the Jackson estate; specifically MJ’s songs.

The transaction is the first major move by Sony’s new CEO Kenichiro Yoshida, who on Monday said he plans to double down on the firm’s already massive entertainment division. And part of that means focusing on the publishing rights of the entertainment industry.

Satellite startup ICEYE raises $34 million to see through the clouds

In January, ICEYE proved it could operate a synthetic aperture radar on a microsatellite. Now, the company is preparing to launch a constellation. ICEYE, which makes satellites capable of seeing through clouds to provide clear pictures of the surface just raised $34 million. The startup manufactures microsatellites that are lighter than 100kg but capable of imaging the Earth using synthetic aperture radar (SAR) rather than cameras or spectroscopes.

Uber Eats South Africa’s orderTalk -- The Hustler’s Digest

ICEYE wants to get a better view of Earth from space with its latest funding

Founded in 2012, the company has raised about $53 million to date, including support from Finland and the EU. In January 2018, the company launched its first satellite, which is now successfully transmitting SAR images to Earth.

Now that the first satellite has successfully demonstrated that the company’s tech works, it will use the new capital to further develop its technology and launch additional satellites. ICEYE is now looking for rides into orbit for those spacecraft.

After Spotify, Adyen becomes Europe’s next major tech IPO

The floodgates are definitely open for IPOs in the tech world right now, and the latest is coming out of Europe. In what could become one of the largest IPOs for a European tech company this year, payments startup Adyen plans to go public next month. This will give the company a valuation of between €6 billion and €9 billion.

While Stripe has carved out a niche serving small-scale retailers, Adyen has pursued bigger companies with global businesses. Its clients include Spotify, EasyJet, Uber, Mango, Netflix, and Vueling.

When eBay announced its plans to ditch PayPal in January, sending PayPal shares down 8.5%, the online marketplace revealed that it would be transitioning to Adyen as its new processor.

Ireland’s voting on whether or not to repeal one of the world’s strictest abortion laws

Ireland is a historically conservative Catholic country. Just in the last couple decades, contraception and divorce both became legal. The Constitution’s Eighth Amendment recognizes the “right to life of the unborn.” It made abortion almost entirely illegal, even in cases of rape, incest, and deadly fetal abnormalities. A decade after Roe v Wade gave women the right to an abortion in the US, Ireland added the amendment to its constitution in the 80s.

Supporters of this law say this is about human rights — and that includes fetuses. But critics of the amendment are saying this is about freedom for women — and this amendment is archaic.

Uber Eats South Africa’s orderTalk -- The Hustler’s Digest

A protester displays a banner against Ireland’s abortion laws

It’s however unclear what’s going to happen as polls show that almost one in five voters are still undecided. So it could still go in any direction. The vote is a huge moment in Ireland’s history. Thousands of Irish citizens living around the world are even going #HomeToVote to make sure their voices are heard.

Silicon Times

Events

  • Attend the Douala Legal Tech Forum  At Hotel Sawa 488 Rue de Verdun Douala, Littoral; from May 30-31, 2018, 9 am- 8 pm.
  • Want to learn how to lead a healthy life? Attend Healthy Lifestyle Foundation’s Healthy Alternative Sources of Protein event on May 26, 2018, from 7 am to 8:30 am at First Trust Building, Buea-Cameroon.
  • Don’t miss the East Africa Digital Construction  November 14-15, 2018, Nairobi, Kenya.
  • Attend the Real Estate Development Summit-2018.
  • Attend the Live Smart City Travel, Live, Work & Startup at Abuja-The World’s First. From November 23, 2018, 9:30 am to November 24, 2018, 6 pm at Sheraton Abuja Hotel, Ladi Kwali Street Abuja, Federal Capital.
  • Don’t miss out on the Digital Africa Conference & Exhibition 2018 from June 5, 2018, starting at 9 am to June 7, 2018, 1 pm, in Abuja, Nigeria.
  • Grab an amazing opportunity to meet Human Resource Professionals in the Workshop on Writing HR Policies and Procedures, from November 12-16, 2018, 9am-5pm in Lagos, Nigeria.
  • Attend the Africa Trade and Investment Global Summit: Conference & Exhibition on June 24, 2018, 7:30 am to June 26,  2018, 9 pm. At the World Trade Center-Ronald Reagan Building 1300 Pennsylvania Ave NW Washington, DC 20004 United States.
  • Take part in the Safina, MENA, Turkey & Pakistan Symposium on May 29, 2018, from 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm EDT at Tower Club – Tysons Corner 8000 Towers Crescent Drive #Suite 1700 Vienna, VA 22182 United States.
  • Take part in the Global Conference on Applied Sciences, environment & Industrial Engineering from June 16, 2018, 9:00 AM to June 17, 2018, 12:00 PM KST at Seoul,  Korea.
  • Don’t miss the event on Blockchain in Real Estate: Unlocking the Power of Smart Contracts Qwikwire, on May 30, 2018, from 5:30 PM to 8:30 PM (KST) in Seoul, South Korea.

Jobs

  • Action Against Hunger France is in need of a staff in the Department of Food Security and Means of Existence in Yaoundé Cameroon. Closing date: June 10, 2018.
  • Apply as a Project Manager at Dykundi – Afghanistan. Closing date: June 09, 2018.
  • UN Children’s Fund needs the service of Consultant to update the mapping in Interventions in Social Protection. Yaoundé – Cameroon. Closing date: June 04, 2018.
  • Work as a Communication Officer at Handicap International – Humanity & Inclusion. Lyon – France. Closing date: June 07, 2018.
  • INTERSOS is in need of a Project Administrator in Nigeria.  Deadline: June 06, 2018.  
  • Apply as a Communication Coordinator at Living Goods. Kampala – Uganda. Deadline: June 08, 2018.

Opportunities

  • Applications are open for the 2018 Google Impact Challenge Nigeria for nonprofits and social enterprises( $250,000 grant and training from Google). Application Deadline: July 4, 2018.
  • Apply for Investec Bursary Programmes 2019 for Young South Africans. Application Deadline August 31, 2018.
  • Western Union Moving Money for Better Scholarships 2018. Fully Funded to attend the 2018 One Young World Summit in The Hague, The Netherlands. Application Deadline: June 4, 2018.
  • Participate in the Crick African Network’s African Career Accelerator ( CAN ACA) awards 2018 for African Post-Doctoral researchers. Application Deadline: August 1, 2018.
  • Grab the amazing opportunity and apply for L’Oreal South Africa  Digital Marketing Internship Program 2018.
  • Apply for the Young Money Business Pitch Competition taking place in Ghana from July 26-28, 2018. Application Deadline:  May 31, 2018.
  • Don’t miss Southern Africa startup Awards 2018 for young Entrepreneurs, bringing together amazing ideas and entrepreneurs from all over the globe.
  • Apply for AGA/ African Union Commission 2018 Regional Youth Consultations for African Youths (fully funded). Application Deadline: May 30, 2018.

Featured Articles

 

How Samuel Alemayehu Is Turning Ethiopia’s Mountain of Trash Into an Energy Vault

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How Ethiopia’s Reppie Plant Is Turning A Mountain of Trash Into an Energy Vault

Ethiopia is currently building Africa’s first waste-to-energy plant, Reppie, that will convert trash into electricity.

Waste management in Africa is a huge problem. At best, waste ends up in vast landfill sites. At worst, it is simply dumped around Africa’s towns and cities. The result is that not only does the local environment suffer, the planet does too. Plastics and chemicals find their way into the ecosystem, where they lie trapped for thousands of years.

Africa is the world’s fastest-urbanizing continent. But while its city life has helped lift millions out of poverty, the rapid transformation has, however, created a new problem  – mountains of urban waste. Now, an Ethiopian entrepreneur is tackling the crisis with Africa’s first waste-to-energy plant Reppie, which reduces noxious and dangerous landfills while powering urban homes.

How Ethiopia’s Reppie Plant Is Turning A Mountain of Trash Into an Energy Vault

The waste-to-energy plant is being built right next to a rubbish mountain (Image Source: BBC)                                       

In many ways, Africa’s developing countries are the most vulnerable to the harmful effects of global warming, with drought being the most obvious example. In 2016, Ethiopia experienced one of its worst-ever droughts, and over 10 million people had to rely on food aid to survive.

Africa needs to act now. And fast.

But where does it start from?

One step in the right direction would, however, be to address Africa’s massive waste problem. And taking the lead, is Ethiopia, home to the first waste-to-energy facility in Sub-Saharan Africa. The facility, called Reppie, is currently under construction in the country’s capital, Addis Ababa.

How Ethiopia’s Reppie Plant Is Turning A Mountain of Trash Into an Energy Vault

Reppie will treat waste by combusting it and, in the process, generate clean, renewable electricity. And it won’t just produce power – the combustion process will also sort metals for recycling.

Before Reppie

For the last fifty years, the Koshe dump site has been the only landfill in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital. As the city expanded, so did Koshe until it was the size of 36 football pitches, becoming part of the urban landscape. It eventually attracted thousands of waste pickers who make their living from salvaged trash.

How Ethiopia’s Reppie Plant Is Turning A Mountain of Trash Into an Energy Vault

This rubbish mountain is 50 years old (Image Source: BBC)

Landslide prompts government to take action

The Koshe landfill is a very unstable one. In 2017, a landslide occurred on the dump site, killing 114 people. It became a national tragedy, thus, forcing the government to take action.

How Ethiopia’s Reppie Plant Is Turning A Mountain of Trash Into an Energy Vault

Samuel Alemayehu went into political exile in the U.S. with his family when he was a child. But he was exceptionally brilliant and ended up with a scholarship to study engineering at the prestigious Stanford University. He made his fortune in Silicon Valley while still a student.

It was time for Samuel to return home and use his resources and knowledge to do something for his country.

Back home, Samuel Alemayehu looks out over the vast, stinking rubbish mountain in the heart of Addis Ababa.

Birds shriek as they swoop down to collect items from the heaps of waste. Human scavengers, faces grey with dust, pick through the filth as well.

Today, he is one of a group of dynamic entrepreneurs who are helping to usher in a new era of rapid economic growth in what was once one of the world’s poorest countries and where the political system is tightly controlled.

Samuel Alemayehu is a Stanford engineer, former Silicon Valley entrepreneur and World Economic Forum Young Global Leader. He oversees the $120 million project as a co-founder of Cambridge Industries, which together with its Chinese JV partner CNEEC, has joined the Ethiopian government and a consortium of international companies to transform the city’s approach to waste.

How Ethiopia’s Reppie Plant Is Turning A Mountain of Trash Into an Energy Vault

Samuel Alemayehu made his fortune in Silicon Valley (Image Source: BBC)

“We turn one of Africa’s most challenging social problems, the management of waste, into a source of new wealth,” Cambridge Industries says.

Lighting Ethiopian households

The plant will incinerate 1,400 tons of waste per day. That’s more than 400.000 tons a year.

Once operational, Reppie will meet 30% of Addis Ababa’s annual demand for household electricity, providing electricity to over 3 million people, according to Samuel Alemayehu.

It will also clean 220 cubic meters of waste leachate every day, a toxic liquid that would otherwise pollute the surrounding environment.

And instead of releasing harmful gases into the atmosphere, advanced flue gas treatment will ensure those gases are caught, scrubbed and cleaned to stringent European Union Emission standards.

So, how do you get from waste to electricity?

The process is actually quite simple.

How Ethiopia’s Reppie Plant Is Turning A Mountain of Trash Into an Energy Vault

Combusting the waste produces steam. The resulting steam drives two 25 MW steam turbine generators that produce electricity. Together, these turbines can generate 185 GW/hour of renewable electricity every year.

There is an urgent need to increase the power supply, which is currently failing to keep up with Ethiopia’s rapid economic growth of more than 10% a year for the past decade.

The Reppie plant, which meets EU emissions standards, is part of Ethiopia’s broader plan to boost living standards while limiting its emissions, a strategy it refers to as building a “climate-resilient green economy.”

This plan also includes a goal to invest $2 billion annually in expanding the country’s renewable energy generation through 2030, double the current annual spending of $1 billion. The planned financing will include private investment, climate funds and clean energy sales to neighboring countries.

How Ethiopia’s Reppie Plant Is Turning A Mountain of Trash Into an Energy Vault

 Image Source: Quartz

Europe’s already championing a war against waste

Waste incineration is already common in Europe, where nearly a quarter of all municipal solid waste is burnt. France has 126 waste-to-energy plants, while Germany has 121 and Italy 40.

But in Africa, so far the only ways to dispose of rubbish have been to pile it up, bury it or dump it in rivers and lagoons. (Click to Tweet!)

The sites have, therefore, become ideal breeding grounds for mosquitos, contributing to the spread of diseases from malaria to yellow fever.

“We hope that Reppie will serve as a model for other countries in the region, and around the world”, says Zerubabel Getachew, Ethiopia’s deputy permanent representative to the United Nations in Nairobi.

Alemayehu is already working on expanding the reach of renewables on the continent. He has plans to construct similar waste-to-energy plants in Uganda, Kenya, Cameroon, Senegal, and Djibouti.

“African cities have seen explosive growth in the past three decades and have outgrown the infrastructures planned for them,” says Alemayehu.

“We believe these plants will create for African megacities a modern, multipurpose infrastructure, using new technology, which will enable them simultaneously to dispose of waste, generate sustainable energy, clean and reuse water, recycle valuable resources, generate industrial grade steam for use by other businesses and, most importantly, do all this in one facility located safely within city limits.”

How other Africans are tackling waste management

655 miles from Ethiopia, Kenya’s waste management is getting out of hand. In 2016, the country’s capital, Nairobi alone produced about 24.000 tons of waste daily. Illegal dumpsites eventually accommodated 62% of that waste. Mr. Green Africa a Kenyan startup, is, however, trying to solve this problem.

How Ethiopia’s Reppie Plant Is Turning A Mountain of Trash Into an Energy Vault

Mr. Green Africa, tackling Kenya’s waste problem

The startup aims to trade recyclables while achieving both social and environmental impacts. Mr. Green does this by tapping into the informal group of waste collectors and integrating them into their tech-enabled business.

Elsewhere in Ghana, its cities have poor sanitation, that costs the country $290 million annually. A good proportion of the waste material is made up of plastic. Despite clogging drains and polluting beaches, only 10% of the plastic waste ever gets recycled.

In 2015, the fear of an eminent plastics ban pushed Nelson Boateng’s company, Nelplast, which makes plastic shopping bags, to think of a way to keep the business alive. Using knowledge learned informally from engineers he had worked with, he came up with a production process that mixes sand with shredded plastic and red oxide to make one-square-foot pavement blocks.

How Ethiopia’s Reppie Plant Is Turning A Mountain of Trash Into an Energy Vault

Nelplast is using Ghana’s pile of plastics to make foot pavement blocks

The work for a sustainable Africa, powered by clean energy, has just begun. And it’s starting right in Ethiopia. This plant is Africa’s first. Will other African countries follow Ethiopia’s lead?

Let us know your views in the comments below!!!

 

 

African Female Entrepreneur to Attend Blackbox for Silicon Valley

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Africa’s Female Entrepreneur selected by Blackbox for Silicon Valley

Gone are the days of traditional subjugation of the African woman. Presently, African women are increasingly rising with the spirit of entrepreneurship. In order to strengthen the horns of female entrepreneurship, Blackbox provides an annual opportunity to connect and mentor over 15 female entrepreneurs around the world.

Africa’s Female Entrepreneur selected by Blackbox for Silicon Valley

Among the privileged female entrepreneurs for this year, Iman Cooper is the only candidate from Africa. It’s therefore, proof that African women are seizing every opportunity to learn and economically empower themselves.

Blackbox Network Service  

Blackbox is a global nonprofit communication system integrator and technology. It’s basically out to promote equality of entrepreneurial opportunities through access to resources, mentor-ship and immersive programs in the heart of the Silicon Valley.

From San Francisco, Blackbox program partners across the globe to connect founders to their own greatness.

How is BlackBox Connect 22 supporting Female Entrepreneurs?

The Blackbox connect 22, is a two-week immersion program in Silicon Valley. It’s meant for visiting female startup founders who are based outside the United States. This year’s marks the 22nd program cycle of Blackbox Connect since its inception in 2011 and the fourth annual female founder edition. The session will run from May 21 – June 1, 2018.

“For many of the founders who take part in the program, this may not be their first or last startup. Blackbox equips them with the best entrepreneurship skills they need to create change in their current and future organizations. They help build leaders and trailblazers who take the skills they’ve learned back to their home countries,” says Ciara Clancy, founder, and CEO of Dublin-based Beats Medical.

Beats Medical is an app which gives people with Parkinson’s disease greater independence and control of their condition.

Who is Iman Cooper?

In the heart of Nairobi lies Kenya’s first digital (bus & train) transporting company called BuuPass. Iman Cooper is the co-founder and chief marketing officer. Iman believes that the Blackbox opportunity has come at the right time for BuuPass, as it focuses on growth strategies.

“I am thrilled to participate in Blackbox Connect with 14 other top founding women from around the world. I am looking forward to learning alongside phenomenal women about how to intentionally elevate your impact and sharpen my skills as both an entrepreneur and leader,” Iman said.

Other startups that promote female entrepreneurs in Africa

Apart from Blackbox, there are equally other startups in Africa trying to breach the gender gap in the African startup Ecosystem. Consequently, female entrepreneurs are given the opportunities to adequately establish themselves. These companies include: GrowthAfrica, Digitalundivided, 500, Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator, and Alphalab, among others.

Indeed, African women have a whole lot to give back to the society. However, many still need the help of others to serve better.

Agripreneurs on a Drive to Promote Food Security in Africa

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Agripreneurs on a Drive to Promote Food Security in Africa

Just as Africa’s population is growing massively by the day, the demand for food supply becomes the talk of the day. Like a wild fire, this demand has spread like a disease across Africa; and everyone is griped with fear. Faced with this challenge,  agripreneurs are devising possible solutions to this without waiting for the governments.

Agriculture appears to be the most important sector of the Africa economy, but what becomes of Africa if this sector sinks? Indeed, it’s high time Africans rose to see what can be done to save humanity.

Africa without food in time to come

According to the US Senior Adviser for the Bureau of Food and Security Agency, food issues could become as politically destabilizing by 2050 as energy issues are today. In most parts of Africa, millions of people are already suffering and dying because of hunger.

Agripreneurs on a Drive to Promote Food Security in Africa

From statistics, a majority of victims are likely to be children, through health and physical development challenges. This is, especially, in East Africa where frequent droughts are also a challenge. Thus, more than 15 million children in countries like Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan and Somalia are reportedly facing starvation. Statisticians equally estimate that about 6.9 million of them suffer from malnutrition and related health complications.

With this, one can obviously imagine the fate of Africa in the nearest future without provisions in place to prevent the continuous rise of food scarcity.

Agripreneurs & food security efforts in Africa

Africa’s agripreneurs are increasingly using the agricultural transformation programs of the past and present governments to drive food security. Examples of these agripreneurs include; Easyshop Easycook and Gloo.ng.

Easyshop Easycook

With the aim of serving humanity, Saudat Salami runs this company since 2012. Easyshop Easycook provides food shopping service to the working middle class. According to Salami, the company aims to drive food safety solutions which should also support Africa’s food export initiatives.

Agripreneurs on a Drive to Promote Food Security in Africa

“Our vision is to optimize the fresh food supply chain by empowering the various participants and delivering repeatable value.

Despite significant demand on the customer end, it has been realized that friction is causing massive amounts of waste and fraud in our food supply. It, therefore, becomes incredibly important that we offer a streamlined pipeline to local farming communities. This should be done, while also providing them the opportunity to generate greater income through optimization and increase the supply of quality food ingredients to business and retail customers,” Saudat Salami said.

Gloo.ng

The objectives of Easyshop Easycook above, show a direct relationship with another Nigerian agribusiness- Gloo.ng.

 

Similarly, Gloo.ng preserves and supplies fresh food to city dwellers in Lagos. Olumide Olusanya is founder and manager of the company since 2012.  Interestingly, Gloo.ng is also Nigeria’s biggest online food market.

Made with Rural

Knowing how much agriculture means to humanity, Leeko Mokoena founded Made with Rural in South Africa. Made with Rural is a company that helps small-scale farmers create economies of scale through group buying and selling.

Agripreneurs on a Drive to Promote Food Security in Africa

The company’s mobile app, Go Rural, enables producers to access industry information and track scales.

Chabana Farms

Driven by the love for agriculture and community, Mavis Mduchwa founded Chabana Farm in 2011. Situated in Botswana, the farm creates a marketing platform that enables farmers to enter the global market. Chabana Farms is basically a farming and organic food products company.

Agripreneurs on a Drive to Promote Food Security in Africa

The above mentioned ventures are innovative services that give hope to food processing ventures in Africa. It is, therefore, necessary that food security stakeholders give due consideration and support to such innovations across the continent.

 

 

Digital Renter Makes Major Upgrade To Its Interface: “Design for Humans”

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Screenshot of digital renter platform

In an effort to ease navigation and provide easy access to property listings, landlord and caretaker information on its platform, Digital Renter has launched a new user interface termed, “Design for Humans.” The startup launched this new interface on May 15, 2018.

Digital Renter is Silicon Mountain’s first online real estate marketplace was launched in 2017. It aimed at reducing the stress involved in the search for vacant houses and land by connecting property owners/managers with potential tenants/buyers. 

With the new UI/UX modification, the startup aims to enhance the look and feel of the Digital Renter platform.

Digital Renter UI/UX design

New UI design offers users more flexibility in navigation and property access

Besides providing more flexibility in navigation and easy access to a property, this new interface now enables users to obtain landlord and caretaker information directly from the platform. What’s more, it offers map navigations to property locations, making it easy for users to locate property themselves.

Crossing the threshold

According to Fongoh Martin, founder of Digital Renter, achieving such a feat has not been without plagues.

Fongoh Martin Tayong: Founder and CEO of Digital Renter

Fongoh Martin Tayong: Founder and CEO of Digital Renter

“In a community where a house numbering system still seems far-fetched, we were bound to encounter an enormous challenge in this direction.

‘The absence of such a system coupled with the lukewarm attitude of the population to accept technological innovations, as well as the difficulty in using the already existing real estate web platforms, was a real barrier for the team.”

Nevertheless, thanks to the reviews and observations the platform made in the last months, the Digital Renter team with help from its incubator ActivSpaces, went back to the drawing board. Their aim was to provide a working solution to these problems.

The team has been working for the past seven months to solve these problems. It has, so far, been able to scan through the town of Buea and provide information on over 120 vacancies. The platform has also helped over 100 persons in finding their dream homes.

Modifications on the user interface for Digital Renter

Major upgrades to the platform’s interface include a better structuring of the entire website to provide:

  • Faster, lighter and more dynamic loading of images to enable customers with low Internet connectivity to have a lightning speed experience.
  • A deeper search feature to enable users to search by location, house type, bedrooms, sale/rent, price range, purpose, etc.
  • More enhancements on search engines to provide better hits.

Meanwhile, with the help of a complete profile (pictures, description of properties), it is now possible to get an owner’s or manager’s phone number directly from the platform. Plus, the ability to get map directions to the location of a property, as well as, get a tour guide to the property for those who are not familiar with an area’s terrain.

With this new interface, no one is left behind. Property managers or owners can upload and advertise their property on the platform. They simply have to provide basic property information such as the property type, location, price, pictures and contact information.

Digital Renter Makes Major Upgrade To Its Interface: “Design for Humans”

Enhanced search feature facilitates user navigation

Averagely, this process takes less than 5 minutes to complete. To upload and advertise a property (house/land) for rent or sale, visit the link, https://www.digitalrenter.com/en/upload.

How it all started

In 2017, Silicon Mountain software developer, Fongoh Martin noticed a couple of problems many workers and students around Buea faced. 

First, he noticed that thousands of workers are transferred yearly to new locations. These workers usually had to search for houses to rent.  

Then, he realized that newly admitted students into universities and professional higher institutions in Buea needed to search for hostels that will suit their needs. 

However, the search in most cases is usually a tough one. Besides, house seekers are either usually not satisfied with the houses and/or hostels they found or their locations. House seekers didn’t face these problems alone, individuals in search of lands to rent or buy had the same worries. This is due to the presence of inadequate information on the existence of vacant property and real estate. 

Martin had shoved off to take a shot at finding the perfect solution to this problem. For the first months, Martin solo sailed for this solution–which, at the time, really meant alone. Then, came a team of engineers and marketers who joined him on his once lonely journey.

His search for a solution eventually paid off in the late fall of August 2017. He had successfully built an online platform to connect property owners/managers with potential tenants/buyers. He called it, Digital Renter.

Martin had created a platform where house seekers and real estate agents could search for, and easily get affordable properties.

As the country’s first online marketplace for house seekers and Silicon Mountain’s first real estate management platform, Digital Renter has a bright future as it plans to get more vacancies on their platform to help provide better information on accommodation.

The Hustler’s Digest – HTC’s Joining A Blockchain Smartphone Revolution

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The Hustler's Digest - HTC's Pioneering A Blockchain Smartphone Revolution

Today’s Quote

“The blockchain cannot be described just as a revolution. It is a tsunami-like phenomenon, slowly advancing and gradually enveloping everything along its way by the force of its progression.”
William Mougayar

Africa

NIPC launches iGuide Nigeria

The Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) has formally launched the iGuide Nigeria, an online guide to doing business in Nigeria.

According to a statement from the Commission, the iGuide is an easy-to-use online platform providing investors with up-to-date and pertinent information on the processes, procedures and basic costs of doing business in Nigeria.

iGuide Nigeria is a marketing tool, as information on Nigeria’s investment processes and procedures are on one platform for easy access.

Cameroon launches support program to fight against Armyworm

The fall of Armyworm this year has disrupted the production of food and Agriculture in Cameroon. The fear of this ragging the country’s economy backward is inevitable. In order to stop the worm attack and further damage, the government has implemented an 18 months program.

According to Louisette Clemence Bamzok, in charge of agriculture development at the ministry of agriculture and rural development, Armyworm has destroyed about 75% of the country’s cereal production.

The programme is to help fight against the worm and of course, provide jobs for farmers. Also, it will give them knowledge of how to tackle the problem if eventually, it occurs again.      

Video of Cameroon military brutality causes online outrage

There was an online rage among English-speaking Cameroonians within the week, after viral social media video showed how security officials severely abused a suspected separatist leader. The suspect’s hands were tied behind and he was made to lie on his belly in muddy conditions. He was then kicked and his head, stamped upon by some of the gendarmes.

In a reaction to the video after multiple condemnations, the Minister of Defense, Beti Asomo, condemned the act by the gendarmes, stating that they acted “clearly out of the norms and legal techniques in such circumstances…An investigation has been opened to identify (and) where appropriate sanction the perpetrators of these acts contrary to respect for human rights,” said the minister.

This is the second time the population has launched an investigation into a case of military brutality in the course of the Anglophone crisis. The results of the first investigation into the police killing of a school child in Kifem are still not known. Other brutal killings have taken place since then without investigation. What makes this case special is the question many have been asking.

Fintech firm, Cellulant raises $47.5 million to expand operations

The Rise Fund, a private equity firm, just led a $47.5 million investment a few days ago in Cellulant, a leading Pan-African digital payments provider with operations in Kenya and Nigeria.

The Hustler's Digest - HTC's Pioneering A Blockchain Smartphone Revolution

The last time an African startup made a deal of this magnitude, Flutterwave stole the headlines with its $10 million Series A funding round. Cellulant’s, however, not only surpasses that but has now become the largest involving a fintech company operating in Africa.

It however comes as no surprise that Cellulant will flush a huge part of this investment into expanding its most popular mobile platform, Agrikore, a blockchain-based mobile platform that serves more than 7 million farmers across the African continent, connecting them to the market and helping them easily sell their products to a broader spectrum of buyers.

Ghanaian shoe seller to challenge a President in a court of law

A Ghanaian shoe seller, Mr. Martin Kyere has promised himself not to rest until Mr. Yahya Jammeh, the former President of the Gambia is brought to justice. According to Kyere, the Gambia’s former leader, Yahya Jammeh, a murderer of 55 Ghanaian migrants, who were mistaken for coup plotters.

Mr. Kyere, who is the only survivor, out of the 56 migrants mainly from Ghana and Nigeria, is a key witness in an international effort to bring the former president to justice. The 55 migrants killed in July 2005, appear to be the single largest mass killing during Jammeh’s 22-year reign as president.

Yahya Jammeh is presently on exile in Equatorial Guinea since January 2017. He went into exile under a regionally-brokered deal after losing the December 2016 presidential election to Adama Barrow. Is it a case of a hunter suddenly becoming the hunted?

MEST Africa Challenge announces Regional winners

The pan-African startup, MEST has announced its Regional winners for the inaugural MEST Africa Challenge. The pitch competition was open to companies outside the MEST program and has now chosen winners from Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa.

The Ghanaian winner was Cowtribe, a USSD-based technology that connects livestock farmers with veterinarians who can provide vaccinations, while the Nigerian winner was Accounteer, a SaaS company offering accounting and payroll management software tailored to the needs of African SMEs. Data Integrated, a payment processing company for the public transport industry, was the Kenyan winner, while the South African winner was Swift Vee, a livestock and agricultural trading platform.

These winners will pitch their companies in front of leading global investors, entrepreneurs and executives at the finals in Cape Town on June 20, during the MEST Africa Summit, for a chance to receive up to $50k USD in equity investment.

Young Senegalese designs SimulaMath to simplify the mathematics

Michel Seck, a 25-year-old mathematics teacher at the Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar has designed SimulaMath software. He specializes in coding, cryptology, algebra, and applications.

The Hustler's Digest - HTC's Pioneering A Blockchain Smartphone Revolution

SimulaMath software is a simulation and computation software that de-complexes mathematics, which is often treated as a tough task. It analyzes linear algebra, number theory, 2D and 3D graphs, probability, statistics, arithmetic networks, error correction codes. Its advanced calculator covers almost all domains.

This is an invention that deserves to be congratulated and encouraged.

Tunisia government opted digital technology for greater transparency  

Currently in Tunisia, the procedure in which the cases of corruption are regularly reported has caused a hindrance to transparency. In the search for greater transparency, the government has set up an electronic bidding system called Tuneps.

According to the government, the main objective of the platform is to make internal administrative procedures fluent. The platform will also help to determine responsibilities in case of fraud or corruption in the public procurement process.

Hopefully, this new tool will enable the Tunisian government to improve the efficiency of public procurement and also boost its competitiveness.  

Uganda wants to waste the resources of the poor on the already rich

The Ugandan parliament has recommended that former legislators receive a one-off payment of 100 million Uganda Shillings ($26,000; £20,000). The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga told the press that the payment was to “recognize the lawmakers’ contribution to the development of the nation”.The MPs had already been given $8,000, an amount President Yoweri Museveni described as ” too little”.

Former lawmakers had complained that it was difficult for them to get jobs. Another former MP, Angelo Drani is quoted as saying to his fellow politicians that  ” we are in the wee hours of our lives and requesting you to give us assistance”.

President Museveni is expected to grant the request and the Lawmakers who served between 1962 – 2001 are expected to benefit from the package. It is an embarrassment that former Lawmakers who are expected to have made huge investments during their careers, still depend on the state treasury, in the name of recognition. Any Lawmaker who cannot employ or get employment in one way or the other after his political mandate lacks capacity and puts the credibility of his political mandate to question.

World

Is Net Neutrality finally back?

The US Senate on Wednesday voted to keep net neutrality, weeks before the FCC finally takes it away. Net neutrality refers to the Obama-era rules that prevent Internet service providers (like Verizon or Comcast) from giving some websites a faster connection than others. The FCC had voted last year to repeal it.

The FCC’s changes after the repeal were supposed to take effect next month but supporters of net neutrality argue that getting rid of it will give providers new opportunities to invest in upgrades to their networks. They contend that the new rules will give too much power to providers by allowing them to create “fast lanes” for websites that can afford to pay more for faster service, and could mean extra fees for users.

The Hustler's Digest - HTC's Pioneering A Blockchain Smartphone Revolution

The Senate, therefore, passed a measure to keep the old net neutrality rules. Congress is now going to also vote on it, where it’s expected to concur with the Senate. This could be a talking point in midterm elections campaigns where many voters have different opinions about their Internet.

Is iZettle PayPal’s jackpot?

In a seeming bid to up its game against payment processors–Stripe and Square, PayPal have concluded plans to acquire iZettle a Swedish payments provider. TechCrunch reports acquisition of the Stockholm-based startup will be in a $2.2 billion all-cash deal.

The timing of the deal is notable. It comes on the heels of iZettle filing for an IPO earlier this month in a bid to expand. iZettle had, however, planned to raise $227 million on the Stockholm Nasdaq exchange, which would have valued the company at around $1.1 billion.

PayPal itself, however, has a market cap of around $94 billion. In its last earnings, the company had $7.8 billion in cash and investments, giving it ample funds for this deal. This is PayPal’s biggest acquisition ever. For some context, in 2015 PayPal acquired money-transfer startup Xoom for $890 million. And when it was still a part of eBay, in 2013, it acquired Braintree and its Venmo business for $800 million.

Did Trump blink on China to help ZTE or his business?

The bizarre recent tale of ZTE is getting another wrinkle. Donald Trump is already handing out concessions to China on trade rules, and the big question is why. Chinese electronics manufacturer ZTE is at the center of a burgeoning trade conflict. ZTE is near bankruptcy because the U.S. has forbidden U.S. companies to sell it vital components after it was caught red-handed violating international sanctions in Iran.

Then, Trump changed course, announcing “too many jobs in China lost.” He promised to fix the problem as part of a larger trade deal. And of course, for the sake of his personal relationship with Chinese strongman Xi Jinping. But the question is, did Trump get anything out of this negotiation for the American people?

The Hustler's Digest - HTC's Pioneering A Blockchain Smartphone Revolution

Agence France-Presse reports that Chinese state enterprises will provide $500 million in loans to a development project in Indonesia that will include Trump-branded hotels. The project stands to funnel millions of dollars into the Trump Organization, the president’s private business. With all the ambiguity, it’s, however, difficult to understand who the president is actually negotiating for.

Will you Exodus to HTC’s new blockchain-powered smartphone?

Smartphone innovation may have stuttered to a halt in recent years. But HTC has a plan to reinvent the ubiquitous device. The Taiwanese firm explained how it will utilize blockchain technology to support cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ethereum. The phone, named Exodus, will feature a universal wallet and a built-in secure hardware enclave to support cryptocurrencies and decentralized applications.

According to HTC, users will also be able to purchase the phone itself using cryptocurrency. The firm, however, is yet to reveal the price and its release date. While HTC isn’t the first to think of a blockchain-powered phone, there’s not really much information beyond that.

But the real question is this: what will the HTC Exodus–or any blockchain-powered phone–offer that regular smartphones can’t already? You can trade cryptos with regular smartphones. You can also run DApps and privacy-oriented browsers. While you can trade specific cryptos for free on something like the HTC Exodus, you’re still going to have to pay mining fees for cryptos like Bitcoin, regardless of the type of phone you use.

HTC is clearly gunning to make a splash as its numbers have shrunk in overall proportion to a declining smartphone market. Even with rapidly increasing awareness and interest in the crypto space, however, it’s hard to imagine Exodus making much of a splash. Maybe it has something in mind that we haven’t thought of yet.

In Australia, Google’s harvesting what Facebook has been harvesting for years

Facebook isn’t the only company whose user data policies have captured global attention. Google is now under investigation in Australia for large-scale data harvesting from millions of Android smartphones without users’ permission. This data includes location information regardless of whether a user has turned off their location or does not have a SIM card.

Oracle’s report claims that the transfer of information uses up part of a user’s data quota each month. With over 10 million Android users in Australia, it raises serious privacy concerns so soon after the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Nevertheless, this is not Oracle’s first entanglement with Google. In 2010, Oracle sued Google for purportedly injecting portions of Oracle’s Java platform into Android without a licensing agreement; Oracle lost the case. More recently, Oracle funded various non-profit groups to smear Google’s name. Google and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) have battled each other in the past as well. Google, however, insists that it only collects such data after a user grants permission.

A drawback to peace in the Korean Peninsula; whose fault is it?

There has been a setback in the roadmap to peace on the Korean Peninsula. The North Korean government has threatened to abandon that planned historic summit between its leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump, which is set for next month in Singapore.

The Hustler's Digest - HTC's Pioneering A Blockchain Smartphone Revolution

A pothole has developed on the road to peace on the Korean Peninsula

According to Pyongyang, the U.S. wasn’t going to teleguide it into nuclear disarmament. The development is coming after the regime suddenly suspended high-level diplomatic talks with South Korea on grounds that the South is currently conducting military drills with the US.

Kim recently had a historical and well-publicised meeting with the South Korean President Moon Jae-in last month, in which the two leaders agreed to officially end the Korean War. North Korea is noted for often engaging in a charm offensive and then backtracking. However, analysts have expressed doubts if the North will abandon an opportunity to engage directly with a US president, a chance they have been seeking for a very long time.

WHO summons urgent anti-Ebola meeting

The World Health Organisation has summoned an emergency anti-Ebola meeting. The meeting aims to discuss measures to be taken in order to counter the spread of the Ebola virus across the borders of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Congo’s government has recently identified a new Ebola case in Mbandaka, a more than one million inhabited city. This has raised fears of the disease spreading downstream to Kinshasa, the capital city, and other countries.

The WHO is preparing to distribute an experimental vaccine which is expected to be stored at extremely low temperatures. This is going to be a major challenge particularly in areas with unreliable electricity supply.

Silicon Times

 

Events

 

  • Don’t miss out on the  Sustainable Building Design and Construction  Seminar in Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Travaux Publics – ENSTP Rue Elig Efa Yaounde, Cameroon. From   May 23, 2018, 8:30 am to May 24, 2018, 8:30 pm. WAT. 
  • Attend the Douala Legal Tech Forum  At Hotel Sawa 488 Rue de Verdun Douala, Littoral; from May 30-31, 2018, 9 am- 8 pm.
  • Attend the Live Smart City Travel, Live, Work & Startup at Abuja-The World’s First. From November 23, 2018, 9:30 am to November 24, 2018, 6 pm at Sheraton Abuja Hotel, Ladi Kwali Street Abuja, Federal Capital.
  • Don’t miss out on the Digital Africa Conference & Exhibition 2018-From June 5, 2018, from 9 am to June 7, 2018, 1 pm WAT. At Shehu Musa Yar’ Adua Centre, Abuja, Federal Capital Territory Nigeria.
  • Grab an amazing opportunity to meet Human Resources Professionals in the Workshop on Writing HR Policies and Procedures, on November 12-16, 2018, 9am-5pm. At HCA Learning Centre. Acme Road, Ogba, Ikeja, Lagos or MAAS Central Hotel, Eastern Bye Pass, Old GRA, Port Harcourt.Nig.
  • Attend the Africa Trade and Investment Global Summit: Conference & Exhibition on June 24, 2018, 7:30 am to June 26,  2018, 9 pm. At the World Trade Center-Ronald Reagan Building 1300 Pennsylvania Ave NW Washington, DC 20004 United States.                                        
  • Take part in the Safina, MENA, Turkey & Pakistan Symposium on May 29, 2018, from 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm EDT at Tower Club – Tysons Corner 8000 Towers Crescent Drive #Suite 1700 Vienna, VA 22182 United States.

Jobs

Opportunities

  • Apply for Investec Bursary Programmes 2019 for Young South Africans. Application Deadline August 31, 2018.
  • Western Union Moving Money for Better Scholarships 2018. Fully Funded to attend the 2018 One Young World Summit in The Hague, The Netherlands. Application Deadline: June 4, 2018.
  • Participate in the Crick African Network’s African Career Accelerator ( CAN ACA) awards 2018 for African Post-Doctoral researchers. Application Deadline: August 1, 2018.
  • Apply for the She Leads Africa  Accelerator Program 2018 for women-led businesses in Nigeria.Application Deadline: May 20, 2018.
  • Apply for the Nigerian Stock Exchange  Graduate Trainee Programme (GTP) 2018 for young Nigerians.Application Deadline:  May 21, 2018.
  • Grab the amazing opportunity and apply for L’Oreal South Africa  Digital Marketing Internship Program 2018.
  • Apply for the Young Money Business Pitch Competition taking place in Ghana from 26-28 July 2018. Application Deadline:  May 31, 2018.
  • Don’t miss Southern Africa startup Awards 2018 for young Entrepreneurs, bringing together amazing ideas and entrepreneurs from all over the globe.
  • Apply for AGA/ African Union Commission 2018 Regional Youth Consultations for African Youths ( Fully Funded ). Application Deadline: May 30, 2018.
  • Western Union Moving Money for Better Scholarships 2018( Fully Funded to attend the 2018 One Young World Summit in The Hague, The Netherlands. Application Deadline:  June 4, 2018.

Featured Articles

Silicon Mountain Software Developers Win Google Udacity Scholarship

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Silicon Mountain Web Developers Win Google Udacity Scholarship

Our Fears are our only Limitation Some Silicon Mountain Web-Developers who decided to face their fears by applying for the Google Udacity Scholarship have won the 2nd phase of the competition.  

Overcoming our fears is never an easy task or decision to take because it comes with a price. When we take a grasp of the price from afar, we see reasons to go for it. But when we take a look at the challenges we decide to give up.

However, a lot await these brave developers.

The Google Udacity Scholarship

The Google Udacity Scholarship is a web and Android program that is sponsored and Administered by a U.S. Delaware corporation known as Udacity Inc. This year’s scholarship program was for residents in Africa from the age of 18 and above.

 

The scholarship curtain opened on March 19, 2018, and closed on April 24, 2018. The registration was 100% online, in order to enable participants to work at their convenience.

Every next Level will demand a new you

Winning this scholarship is a sign of victory to the participants, and also a big plus to the Silicon Mountain community and the country Cameroon. It will serve as a tool to broaden their knowledge in their areas of concentration; it will help them to acquire skill sets for their specialties. Finally, it will prepare them for greater opportunities ahead.

However, just as the saying goes, “every next level of your life will demand a new you,” participants are warming up in order to give their best during the next level.

Some of the participants include; Eugen Bleck, Courage Angeh, Fomengnia Felix, Derick N. Alangi and Miriam Mot, just to name a few. Also, for participants who are not sure if they were shortlisted,visit this link to know more.

Congratulations to the winners and we wish them well as they prep for the next level.