Today’s Quote

“Education is a sector in transition. There are some common challenges… We’re shifting into this mould of digital pragmatism where institutions are looking at how they are changing their practices.”

Ian Fordham, Microsoft

Africa

$20m investment by MainOne in Cote d’Ivoire for provision of wholesale connectivity services

The Nigerian open-access connectivity services provider group, MainOne is to invest $20m in Cote d’Ivoire for provision of wholesale connectivity services. This is after it obtained the  C1B license from Minister Bruno Koné, the country’s Minister for Communication, Digital Economy and Postal Services. The license was to enable MainOne land its transAtlantic submarine cable and build transmission infrastructure in Cote d’Ivoire to strengthen connectivity.

According to the Chief Executive Officer of MainOne, Funke Opeke, “Cote d’Ivoire is the largest economy in the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) and a very important hub for business and transport in West Africa…”

Consequently, its cable landing will provide open-access infrastructure within Cote d’Ivoire and other WAEMU countries to expand internet access for all users in the region and support rapid development as well as facilitate increased non-resources trade and improve public services to aid the evolution of regional businesses.

Former Nigerian President, Chief Obasanjo blasts President Buhari

Former Nigerian president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, on Wednesday, made another cutting remark at the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration. According to Chief Obasanjo, President Buhari, bungled his trip to the US for talks with President Donald Trump, thereby losing another opportunity to “self-redeem.” President Obasanjo had earlier within 2018, described the Buhari administration as a total failure and that he cannot be seen trying to reinforced failure.

President Buhari had on Monday April 30th, met with the US president at the Whitehouse. President Trump during the meeting expressed concern over “…the religious violence in Nigeria, including the burning of churches and killing of Christians”. He encouraged the Nigerian State to do the needful to immediately secure communities and protect innocent civilians, including Muslims and Christians.

Political drama has continued to unfold among the different political divides in Nigeria as the 2019 general elections approach. There has consequently been increasing political bickering, accusations and counter accusations among political stakeholders relating to the performance of the Buhari administration and whether he deserves a second mandate or not.

Orange Cameroon contributes to Digital Education

Indeed, education is the key to success as Solomon Ortiz once said. In order to make education more flexible for students, Orange has decided to commit to the digitalization of Cameroon’s public Universities. This decision was signed on April 27, 2018, by the company’s managing director, Frederic Debord, and the Minister of Higher Education, Prof. Jacques Fame Ndongo.

According the minister of higher education, this commitment will help in meeting the objectives set by Cameroon’s president of distributing laptops to students. These objectives include, distance learning and a better appreciation of ICTs.

Notwithstanding, the new support by Orange will help to prove the digital standard of the public universities and this will give students more knowledge of ICT. It will also improve the love for education and will reduce the workload on these institutes.

President Paul Biya decries dissemination of fake news

As the world celebrated World Press Freedom Day on May 2, Cameroon’s President Paul Biya took to his twitter account to decry the spread of fake news. According to the President, “Disinformation, slander and lies for selfish gains, have eclipsed the dissemination of real news,”

President Biya’s statement came at a time when international rights agencies are reporting an atmosphere of fear and restrictions employed by the government to force journalists to self-censor their work for fear of detention and high fines. Many Journalists in the troubled Anglophone regions were recently arrested and locked up in line with their duty.

The President’s act of decrying the dissemination of fake news on twitter on Press Freedom Day, appears more to be a justification of his government’s anti press freedom activities.

Kenya’s Safaricom, goes into social networking

Kenya’s mobile network operator, Safaricom, is going into social networking. The mobile network operator is launching a platform that will allow its customers to send and receive money while they chat. The move is to make the messaging service, also known as Bonga (which means “to chat” in colloquial Swahili), more social.

The  Bonga chat service positions Safaricom as a social networking site, allowing its near-30 million subscribers to not only send direct messages on a singular free platform but it will also help them conduct business meetings and enhance their commercial experience. Users will have access to a special M-Pesa button that will allow them to send and request money.

Is the Kenyan President really serious about this?

Kenya’s president, Uhuru Kenyatta, is seeking for forgiveness from the Kenyan people. In his first State of the nation address since winning a second term in office, President Kenyatta said the people should forgive him, if in anyway during the heated elections, he contributed in damaging the unity of the country.

Kenyatta in his speech also praised the resistant opposition leader, Raila Odinga, for accepting to collaborate with his administration towards the restoration of national unity and reconciliations. “Hon. Raila and I stood together not because we agreed on every item of politics or policy, but because we agreed that Kenya belongs to all of us.” He said.

May be the President should begin by seeking forgiveness from the families of those who died from police excesses during the post-election protests and the judges of the supreme court whom he described as “thugs” for annulling the elections. Notwithstanding, Kenyatta may just be speaking from his heart.

South Africa’s Wezart art subscription service globalizes African artists

South Africa’s Wezart has launched an artwork subscription service that will help African artists sell to the world.  It should be noted that Wezart is the South African art and fashion marketplace which helps African artists and designers sell to the rest of the world via its e-commerce platform. It focuses solely on new-age African identity in fashion and art, allowing Africans to sell their modern contemporary creations as efficiently as possible.

Early this week, the startup rolled out an artwork subscription service, which allows companies and individuals to rent artwork from artists through subscription, rent-to-buy artwork they want to own, and commission portraits. The service is the first of its kind in South Africa, and empowers artists by allowing them to make a living from their work before it is sold.

Egyptian online rental platform secures a $1 million funding

An Egyptian Startup, La Reina just raised a US$1 Million from its country’s leading tech firm, Algebra Venture.

La Reina is Egypt’s first online rental platform that was founded in 2016 by Ghada El-Tanawy and Amr Diab. The platform caters for women standing on either side of a demand and supply equation, enables women to rent their used gown to each other online.

Also, the company plans to use the acquired investment to expand its team. “We are certainly focusing on the team,” says Amr Diab, La Reina’s co-founder. In addition, La Reina has caught the attention of US-based global venture capital fund, 500 startups. “We have been watching the La Reina team since the beginning and were impressed with their innovative approach to solving a huge regional pain point,” says 500 startup partner Sharif El-Badawi.

M & A Capital  launches Reverse Factoring  as an alternative financing platform for SMEs in Senegal

On April 26, 2018 in Dakar, the Pan-African investment company M & A Capital and the Agency for Development and Supervision of Small and Medium Enterprises announced the start of the project “Reverse Factoring ” as an alternative financing platform for SMEs through a joint venture called M & A Fintech.

This initiative responds to the desire to provide an alternative to the traditional mode of financing of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), Small and medium industries (PMI), very small businesses (TPE) and very small industry (TPI).

Financial Afrik  reveals that this project has strengthened the financing capacity of these structures for the Senegalese economy by improving capitalization, working capital requirements (BFR) and short-term cash management. This is due to the establishment of a secure tripartite platform between banks, suppliers (SMEs, PMI …) and prime contractors (large enterprises).

 

World

Why is WhatsApp founder quitting Facebook?

On April 30, WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum announced plans to leave the company, owned by parent company, Facebook. Koum has worked with Facebook and served on the company’s board since Facebook acquired WhatsApp for over $19 billion in 2014. In a Facebook post, Koum said it was “time for him to move on.” And that he’ll be taking some time off to pursue non-tech related interests.

Nevertheless, Koum, did not detail his reasons for leaving Facebook. But The Washington Post said he was departing because he has clashed with Facebook execs over the messaging app’s strategy and Facebook’s attempts to use WhatsApp personal data, monetize the service, and weaken its encryption. And this is one thing he had fought so strongly against.

The social giant had originally promised not to share WhatsApp data with Facebook. However, that changed less than two years after the acquisition, leading to ongoing disagreements over data sharing.

€3.25 million to station all your web apps in one place

Paris-based SaaS startup, Station, is setting out to build a web browser that unifies work applications in a single interface. It has now raised €3.25 million in a seed round of funding led by Accel Partners.

Founded out of Paris in 2017, Station wants to create a browser for businesses that gathers all your cloud-based web apps into a single portal. However, this will not help if you are still using traditional applications such as Office on your desktop. But there has been a snail shift to subscription-based software that’s accessed in the browser. And Station believes it has a solution to boost productivity by sidestepping browser tabs like Chrome and Firefox.

With $3.25 million in its bank, Station said it plans to accelerate its product development and grow its user base. But what this really means is, Station just solved a personal issue we all experience–the over-accumulation of tabs in our browsers.

China’s 21st richest man to purchase 70% of marriage and dating site, Baihe

Fosun International chairman and business magnate, Guo Guangchang, plans to purchase a majority stake in marriage and dating website Baihe.com for just under RMB 4 billion ($630 million).

Baihe’s shareholders entered into an agreement with Yuanhong Investment to sell 869 million shares at a price of RMB 4.6 ($0.72) per share. Guo controls 100% of Yuanhong, which will make him a controlling shareholder of Baihe when and if this deal goes through. However, there has been no indication as to when the purchase will be concluded.

The Chinese online dating market has expanded dramatically, and the sector is experiencing a period of increased growth. According to Statista, the number of users of online dating platforms will increase by 45% by 2020. In 2019, total revenue in the sector is predicted to reach RMB 4.4 billion, up 600% from 2010. Guo’s interest in Baihe, therefore, comes as no surprise.

What’s the relationship between the Nobel Prize and a sex scandal?

The Nobel Prize in Literature for this year has been postponed. The postponement came in the wake of a sexual and financial scandal rocking the Swedish Academy, the cultural institution in charge of awarding the prestigious prize.

“We find it necessary to commit time to recovering public confidence in the academy before the next laureate can be announced,” the academy’s permanent secretary, Anders Olsson noted.

Some people may have questioned the relationship between the sex and financial scandal within the academy and the Nobel award. But authorities of the Swedish academy say their action is out of respect for previous and future literature laureates, the Nobel Foundation and the general public. It’s therefore an issue of credibility.

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