Africa Roundup: Zuckerberg’s visit, IBM’s new investigate center

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s warn August/September outing to Nigeria and Kenya put a tellurian spotlight on Africa’s rising IT ecosystem. Unsurprisingly, when one of a world’s many famous tech entrepreneurs pops adult during startups and tech hubs few have listened of it draws attention.

News of Zuckerberg’s unannounced revisit pennyless with amicable media photos of him visiting Nigeria’s Co-Creation Hub (Cchub) creation core in Lagos’s Yaba District.

Zuckerberg met with coders in a co-working space and visited a incubation unit, where he talked with startup reps from andLifeBank App, Cchub CEO Bosun Tijani told TechCrunch. Zuckerberg forsaken in during Andela — a module developer accelerator he and his wife’s substructure invested $24 million in progressing this year — and held some artistic attention tech, furloughed digital media startup Afrinolly’s offices.

Zuck also hosted a Facebook city gymnasium and QA event and substituted his grey t-shirt for a fit to accommodate with Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari.

The Facebook CEO’s Africa outing extended to Kenya, where he visited a iHub creation space, checked out solar creation during a Gearbox prototyping startup, reviewed a BRCK mobile Wi-Fi device, had lunch with Kenyan ICT Cabinet Secretary Joseph Mucheru, and met with internal tech leaders including Juliana Rotich, Erik Hersman, and Kamau Gachigi.

So what brought Zuckerberg to Nigeria and Kenya? “I’ll be assembly with developers and entrepreneurs, and training about a startup ecosystem…” he pronounced in a Facebook post. On association commitments, nothing had been planned, Facebook orator Sally Aldous told TechCrunch. “This is a outing about listening and training and bargain a challenges,” she said.

From a tech perspective, there are constrained reasons to do both in any country. Nigeria has a share of good publicized challenges, though a continent’s many populous republic has also turn a hotbed for tech activity and investment.

Lagos’s Yaba district, where Zuckerberg initial visited, is a magnet for IT entrepreneurs, incubators, and startups. Three of a continent’s best funded/well famous e-commerce ventures, including newly minted unicorn Jumia Group, are all headquarted in Lagos. In Jun eBay named Nigeria as a opening republic for a Africa expansion.


In East Africa, Kenya has turn a informal tech capital, dubbed “Silicon Savannah”, for a advances in digital finance, tech incubators, and internal IT innovations such as BRCK and a Ushahidi crowdsourcing platform. The success of internal telco Safaricom’s M-Pesa mobile income product is alsoglobally recognized.

Facebook has 84 million users in Sub-Saharan Africa, 17 million in Nigeria, 14 million in South Africa, and 5.7 million in Kenya. In 2016 Facebook launched a Free Basics program, that allows users singular internet services giveaway on mobile in 17 African countries.

Since it is doubtful Mark Zuckerberg blocks large tools of his grave news for anything that’s not strategic, design to hear about new Facebook Africa initiatives post-trip. A sold play could embody updated partnerships to boost internet connectivity opposite a continent. Though improving, invasion still lingers low during around 30 percent.

Better connectivity and some-more users set Facebook adult to  tap Africa’s online promotion market, that is  growing with a continent’s change to digital commerce—expected to strech $75 billion by 2025. Unfortunately for Facebook, a tellurian connectivity expostulate suffered a reversal during Zuckerberg’s Africa revisit when a SpaceX rocket carrying a company’s Amos-6 satellite crashed pre-launch.

McKinsey’s Global Institute, operative closely with a Gates Foundation, expelled a new rising markets fintech report. Among other wow statistics, it projects digital financial adoption could supplement $103 billion to a economies of Ethiopia and Nigeria, while formulating $66 billion in new business and personal loans.

Kenyan mobile information collection startup mSurvey lifted new seed collateral from Safaricom’s VC fund, Cross Culture Ventures, and Virgin Group’s Alpha Angels. The 4 year aged association will enhance a mobile phone formed consult business that captures and sells value-add African consumer data.

Nigerian digital party startup Iroko launched IrokoX, a multi-platform Pan-African network for filmmakers, musicians, and other artistic aspirants to produce, distribute, and monetize short-form content. The new middle will yield name artists prolongation assistance and a event to uncover their work on tellurian partner networks such as Youtube, iTunes, and Google Play.

Some updates on past TC Africa coverage. Kenya’s Safaricom rebranded a recently launched float accost app (and Uber competitor) Little Cab to Little, reliable Sales and Marketing Head Maureen Chege. Safaricom has bigger skeleton for a use than “just cabs” and forsaken a word to be reduction restrictive, she explained.

We reported in May on IBM Research Africa’s plan to emanate a cognitive computing Africa homogeneous to Watson, dubbed Lucy, from a Nairobi lab. The U.S. blue chip hulk stretched that bid in August, opening a second investigate lab in Johannesburg, South Africa.



San Francisco formed robotics association Zipline, lonesome here on a UPS partnered module for worker smoothness of medical reserve in Rwanda, skeleton to publicly launch a use in October, reliable co-founder Keller Rinaudo.  The company’s drones and moody pack arrived in republic by UPS and Zipline is completing evidence testing.

And finally, former CNN anchor Zaine Verjee launched a new Africa focused digital media platform, Akoma. Writers can land a paid brotherhood by a site’s Amplify initiative, in partnership with a MasterCard Foundation.

More Africa Related Stories @TechCrunch

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  • Shine Signs Africa’s Econet to a Network Level Mobile Ad-Blocking

African Tech Around a Net     

  • Uber to Launch Chopper Services in Nairobi and Mombasa—@AllAfrica
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  • Iyinoluwa Aboyeji Has Left Andela To Start A Payments Company—@Techloy
  • Jumia unveils online remuneration platform, Jumia Pay—@BizTechAfrica
  • Here Are The DEMO Africa 2016 Winners—@TechCabal