Ecobank, an independent pan-African banking group, has announced the finalists in the ‘Ecobank Fintech Challenge,’ a competition for African technology start-ups.
The competition which was launched in January 2017 has 20 innovators from across the continent as its finalists.
An Innovation Fair & Awards ceremony will honour the start-ups on June 21, 2017 at the global headquarters of Ecobank in Lomé, Togo.
The awards ceremony also marks the official induction of all 20 start-ups into the Ecobank Fintech Fellowship.
At the ceremony, the start-ups will exhibit and pitch their products to a jury for the ‘Ecobank Africa Fintech Prize’, which will be awarded the top innovator and two runners-up.
In addition to fellowship program, the top three innovators will win cash prizes worth US$10,000, US$7,000, and US$5,000 respectively.
The 20 Ecobank Fintech Fellows will benefit from an opportunity to partner with the Ecobank Group that includes; major start-up funding: worth up to US$500,000 for products that meet Ecobank’s investment criteria; Multinational product roll-out support: for the most commercially viable start-ups to launch their products across Ecobank’s 33 markets in Africa.
Startups will also benefit from Service provider & ecosystem partner deals: for start-ups with deep capabilities to become service partners within Ecobank’s ecosystem, technical & mentoring support: during the one year fellowship period, fellows will benefit from technical support from Ecobank’s global network of technology leaders, fintech experts, investors and management coaches.
Eddy Ogbogu, Ecobank Group Executive for Operations and Technology said, “The Ecobank Fintech Challenge has been a huge success; over 850 start-ups and developers submitted products from all over Africa, as well as the US and Europe. The sheer breath of innovative products and ideas we’ve seen shows that African fintech has a bright future.”
Group CEO Ade Ayeyemi, highlighted: “As a pan-African bank, we want to help grow pan-African fintech companies. The Ecobank Group and its partners are looking forward to working with the 20 start-ups to help them mature into major African and global commercial success stories.”
The 20 start-ups in the finals include; Piggybank.ng (Nigeria), Digi Teller (Ghana), MobiTill (Kenya), TEAM SAFEPAY (Kenya), Wallettec (South Africa), Greenshoe (Kenya), Invest Mobile (Ghana), KUDI(Nigeria), Wayagear Innovations Lagos (Nigeria), Paylater OneFi (Nigeria), PAYVITE (Algeria), PurseNG (Nigeria), Shield Finance (Kenya), IroFit(Nigeria), Circle Group Savings and Investment (Kenya), Inclusive Financial Technologies (Ghana), Electronic Settlement Limited(Nigeria), Social Lender(Nigeria), General Marchant (United States), Mi Nafa (Burkina Faso).
Ecobank Fintech Challenge is designed in partnership with the advisory firm Konfidants and supported by partners across Africa and the world.
Drones have been in existence since the 1900’s and till today, businesses are increasingly using drones for things like; product delivers, video and photo captures, inspecting rooftops or power lines, military and so forth – raising the risk of in- flight mechanical and software problems that could put people below in danger.
Well! according to online reports, Washington D.C based aeronautics and aerospace research firm; National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has its scientists that have developed a new software that will help drones automatically spot the best places to crash-land in case of an emergency, without hurting anyone on the ground.
With the increasing numbers of drones in the sky has raised the risk to people and property below being hit when these unmanned aerial vehicles develop mechanical problems. This will come to an end as Patricia Glaab, Aerospace Technologist at NASA Langley Research Center, and her colleagues develop a crash-landing software for these unmanned aerial vehicles.
According to the reports, eight different test flights were carried out to see if the software worked as expected, and the results that turned out, showed that the technology successfully spotted safer landing sites such as swamps or drainage ditches to crash instead of cars or people on the ground.
The Fortune website reported that the software links on-board drone components like batteries and motors to monitor their health. The technology identifies when something on the drone goes wrong, and puts the drown in a crash-landing mode.
Patricia in a statement said, when triggered, the software checks a pre-installed database of nearby safe zones that it can then pilot itself towards, and also incorporates technology that lets drones recognize and avoid objects on the ground using on- board cameras.
The hackers working under the name of WannaCry malware, the name that shook 150 countries by hacking their major websites earlier this month, are likely to originate from the southern mainland, Hong Kong, Taiwan or Singapore.
As per forensic linguistic analysis on the malware, it has come out that it was written by native Chinese speaking people, according to the South China Morning Post.
However, earlier reports had suggested hackers being from North Korea.
The WannaCry malware hacked crucial data and in return asked a ransom for its restoration.
As per reports, the hackers drafted the note in Chinese and then based on it, produced an English version. Later, it was converted into other languages with the help of Google’s Translate feature.
The report further says that the typo in the note, bang zhu (which means ‘help) signifies that the note was originally written using a Chinese-language input system instead of being translated from some other language.
The WannaCry ransomware attack hit more than 200,000 computers in 150 countries, crippling hospitals, governments and businesses.
Cliché topic right? Yet the gender disparity in this field is still too evident to be ignored so yes, I’ll go on right ahead and talk about it. This article won’t really speak for countries where women are not even allowed to go beyond becoming a wife because evidently my approach here becomes highly irrelevant, […]
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Women participation in tech. Should we worry??
Earlier this year in April, the Government of Uganda through the Ministry of ICT and National Guidance partnered with Tech-firm, Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd to launch the 2nd annual Huawei Seed For Future Program; which aims at boosting and supporting Technology innovators in the country.
The Hon. Minister Frank K Tumwebaze who was the Chief Guest at the launch highlighted the importance of mentoring to especially young ICT innovators before revealing that the best 10 qualifying ICT students selected out of a competition will be taken to China for mentorship opportunities alongside cash prizes, and other goodies.
The programme which is jointly by the Ministry of ICT and National guidance and the Ministry of Education and Sports on behalf of government together with Huawei as a partner challenged different innovators in the field of ICT from different public university countrywide including; Gulu University, Lira University, Busitema University, Makerere University, Muni University, and Mbarara University of Science and Technology.
According to reports we attained from Huawei, they received 35 submissions from these university, of which 20 were shorted listed. Interviewed by a panel of five judges from Ministry of Education & Sports, NITA and Huawei the 20 that were shortlisted presented how their proposed ICT solutions would solve various economic challenges and how usable, how feasible, how sustainable are these to Uganda’s development in thematic areas of commerce, education, agriculture, transport and health among others – where only 10 emerged winners.
As of today, during an event that was held at Makerere University, 10 students were flagged off to China for the two (2) weeks training in Beijing and at the Huawei headquarters in Shenzhen by the Minister of State at High Education; Hon. John Muyingo.
Kyobe Allan Kaggwa; Public Relation Office at Huawei Uganda told PC Tech Magazine, that the finalists will be trained in the Chinese culture such as language, calligraphy, painting learning, historical tour in Beijing and cutting-edge ICTs lessons, and also visit the Huawei exhibition hall in Shenzhen, where Huawei’s headquarter is located.
The 2017 winners are set to depart from Uganda on Friday 2nd, June 2017 and will be expected to be back on Sunday 18th, June 2017. Notably, last year winners were flagged off by the President of Uganda; H.E Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.
This program started globally in 2008 in Thailand and was launched to nurture professionals who are urgently needed to drive development of the ICT industry in countries where Huawei operates.
The Minister for Information, Communication Technology (ICT) and National Guidance Frank Tumwebaze has challenged innovators in the country to focus more on how they can use their innovations to generate income and eradicate the economic issues that the country is faced with.
He said there are exciting innovations in Uganda but “the challenge today is how to link science, technology and innovation to poverty reduction, job creation, e-governance, sustainable livelihoods, general service delivery and improving the well-being of citizens.”
Tumwebaze was Friday speaking at the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) annual innovation awards gala dubbed ACIA Awards.
He noted that; as a developing Country, Uganda should engage in knowledge intensive activities in order to promote innovation, at the same ensuring that this innovation is of gainful value to its holders.
“New ICTs have the capability to transform the country’s agriculture, generate its much-needed improvement to food and nutritional security, as well as boost its green and blue revolutions just as it can do across many other spectrums of e-governance,” he said.
Minister of ICT and National Guidance; Hon. Frank k Tuwembaze addressing the guests at the 2017 ACIA, at the Kampala Serena Hotel on Friday 26th May, 2017. (Photo by: @nathyjrernest)
He revealed that parliament and cabinet had approved his idea of the innovation support programme which he said will be rolled out soon.
“My sector will not only be stopping at Recognition programs like ACIA but will now be giving real support following a criterion that the experts will set. From ACIA, we are moving to bigger and sustainable interventions,” said Tumwebaze.
In his remarks, UCC Executive Director, Godfrey Mutabaazi lauded the participants for the “wonderful innovations” they managed to develop and the energy they showed during the whole process.
UCC Executive Director, Godfrey Mutabaazi lauded the ACIA participants for the wonderful innovations they managed to develop at the 2017 ACIA during the award ceremonial at the Kampala Serena Hotel on Friday 26th, May 2017. (Photo by: @nathyjrernest)
“Seeing this house full of people doing such wonderful work gives us an impression that the country has a future since ICT is the engine of growth in any economy currently,” he said.
Mutabaazi further lauded the previous ACIA award winners whose innovations have gone ahead to earn international recognition for how outstanding they are.
He called for increased participation in the campaign, urging innovators to pitch ideas that can readily get market from local audience and those that can relate to the development of the country.
IT graduates and related computing discipline graduates at Ethiopia’s Wollo University will be able to access a six-month internship, where they will work on real-world software development projects with senior software engineers.
In a press release to Ventureburn, Microsoft 4Afrika said on completion of the internship graduates will be able to design, implement and deploy cloud-enabled, mobile and IT solutions in various sectors. They will also be equipped with critical business skills helping them to secure jobs or create their own businesses.
This is the ninth Microsoft AppFactory to be launched in Africa, with eight others in South Africa, Egypt, Nigeria, Rwanda and, recently, Ghana. To date, over 300 software system developers have graduated from the AppFactories, with 90% of these graduates having since been placed in jobs.
“Across Africa, public and private sector organisations are finding it difficult to recruit capable software engineers,” said Lutz Ziob from Microsoft 4Afrika. “Many end up resorting to hiring expensive expatriates, or spending lots of money on in-house training.
“Yet there are hundreds of local IT graduates who are either unemployed or underemployed, because they are deemed unqualified for these high paying opportunities. The AppFactory is bridging the competency gap for these graduates, so that they are able to take on these kinds of opportunities the day they leave the AppFactory Academy,” he said.
‘Initiative will help local graduates to take advantage of local opportunities’
Wollo University will host the new AppFactory at its institution of technology campus, the Kombolcha Institute of Technology (KIoT). Each year, it will set projects based on different sectors, from healthcare to education, agriculture, air transportation and others.
KIoT scientific director Ahmedin Mohammed said the academy will focus on certain sectors each year, to ensure there are large enough number of quality graduates in various disciplines, who can innovate and solve problems that advance the social good and improved livelihoods.
In its first year, the AppFactory will focus on healthcare, through the partnership with Tulane University – CGHE.
Tulane University – CGHE director Wuleta Lemma said the university and Lalibela Networks presently offer extensive expertise to render proven IT solutions and services adding that the university’s healthcare ICT solutions have been deployed in hundreds of clinics and hospitals in Ethiopia.
“We want to ensure that our IT solutions are locally maintained and continue to evolve, however it’s a challenge to find enough qualified information technologists as we expand and scale up in the market. The AppFactory Academy will play a significant role in enhancing local capacity for IT innovation that can transform Ethiopia and the continent,” said Lemma.
Featured image: Robert Scoble via Flickr (CC 2.0, resize)
The lack of appeal that litters a lot of the marketing campaigns in Zimbabwe is all thanks to a shocking trend that seems to have become the norm. This trend is the use of stock images which is now so rampant in marketing campaigns it is just embarrassing, to say the least. Stock images are […]
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Zimbabwe’s stock image problem… or what ZOL, OneFusion, EcoCash & Telecel have in common…
In a CNN interview this week, Econet Global Limited CEO, Hardy Pemhiwa, said that Kwese TV is now the biggest FTA TV network in Africa. Asked how many subscribers the relatively new media company now has, Pemhiwa avoided speaking about ‘subscribers’ but spoke about ‘eyeballs’ Kwese has access to instead: We now have access to 50 million eyeballs […]
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With 50 million potential viewers, Kwese now biggest FTA TV player in Africa, says Econet