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The Launch of the Guinea-Bissau Accelerator Lab, a UNDP Initiative

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Accelerator Lab Guinea-Bissau Launch event: Panel debate about innovation

“We are pleased to open the launch of the Accelerator Lab, which is a UNDP initiative with the aims of improving the development sector in the country, working very closely with the community and its local inventors, thus creating local solutions for their needs.”

And so it began, the opening of the Accelerator Lab by the Bissau-Guinean band Tabanka Djaz, on December 9th, which took place at the Hotel CEIBA in Bissau with a limited number of participants due to COVID-19 restrictions. The event had a hybrid structure, physical and virtual, to reach the widest possible audience.  Tabanka Djaz, a very popular band, with a wide range of influence in the country and the diaspora, it was therefore imperative to have them open the event and attract their audience and increase the visibility of the Lab. The Lab’s initiative is supported by two main investors; the Federal Republic of Germany, through the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, and the State of Qatar, through the Qatar Development Fund.

Event opening and musical performance by the famous Guinean band Tabanka Djaz

The Accelerator Lab Event summary

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Suzy Carla Barbosa, gave a brief speech welcoming the Accelerator Lab and praising the UNDP initiative, followed by Tjark Egenhoff, UNDP Resident Representative in Guinea-Bissau, who delved into the global network’s background, stressed the urgent need to rethink development for the 21st century. The German Ambassador to Guinea-Bissau Stephan Röken sent a video message congratulating UNDP for being one of the most recent to join the global network of Accelerator Labs. The Ambassador also spoke about the strong cooperation between Germany and UNDP and the importance of the global community going beyond “business as usual”,  efforts, and supporting innovation in this sense, because based on current trends, we are still very far from achieving the goals of the SDG Agenda (Sustainable Development Goals).

After the opening, there was a brief presentation by the Accelerator Lab team, where the frontier challenge was discussed, which has been identified as “the lack of basic and quality services” in the case of the Lab in Guinea-Bissau, and its main focus. Take a look at the documentary video about Guinea-Bissau Accelerator Lab here

Speech by Suzy Carla Barbosa, Minister of Foreign Affairs, welcoming the initiative of the Accelerator Lab in Guinea-Bissau

The need for innovation in Guinea-Bissau

After the presentations, an innovation panel was moderated by the Resident Representative accompanied by Magda Robalo, High Commissioner for COVID-19 in Guinea-Bissau, José Carlos Varela Casimiro, Secretary of State for Budget and Nadine Perrault, UNICEF Representative. The panel introduced an interesting discussion around the need for innovation in Guinea-Bissau, asking the speakers “what are the ways that we can leverage innovation for development in the country?”.

Some responses included, new investment opportunities in innovation for development in the regions of Guinea-Bissau, as well as forging a connection with the government for more sustainable development. The panel’s questions were not limited to the speakers, the guests in the audience were also encouraged to contribute their ideas.

One of the participants, Ricardo Cá, winner of the African Salon of Invention and Technological Innovation award, spoke about his innovation, the cashew nut peeling machine, which works without electricity, only on pedals and with the ability to produce up to 15 kilograms of clean cashew nut per hour.

The second participant, Domingos da Silva, also known as “Kasacou”, spoke about his invention of the recycling area, which consists of recycling glass bottles and making them into building blocks. 

Ricardo Cá, local innovator and winner of the African Salon of Technological Invention and Innovation, intervened in the discussion about local innovation

Introducing the “Solutions Mapping” approach

During the event, a new approach from the Lab was also presented, focussing on the mapping of solutions, seeking innovative localized solutions to understand local needs. The people directly affected by the problem are the ones who create these basic innovations, it is not really a single solution, but the need that these solutions try to address,  Governments and NGOs do not always understand the complexities of local limitations. The event united this ecosystem, consisting of Ricardo Cá and Domingos da Silva ”Kasacou” among other innovators and grassroots organizations, and included them in the discussion, in order to highlight their solutions, but also their challenges faced on the ground. 

Brief presentation by the Guinea-Bissau Accelerator Lab team, explaining the goals, objectives and methodology of the Accelerator Lab network.

The next steps for the Accelerator Lab 

One of the main objectives of the Lab is to map existing solutions, through interactions with communities where the Accelerator Lab team will be able to raise a dialogue with grassroots innovators and other innovators who generally fall outside UNDP’s radar. The next steps for the Accelerator Lab include producing a six-week workplan, through which the team will develop strategies and ways to engage with the frontier challenge. The importance of narrowing the frontier challenge lies in the understanding that, although challenges can be resolved in collaboration with the community, many limitations already have solutions in place. These existing solutions need to be mapped and it’s  understood, to see what works and what does not work, in order to introduce new solutions. 

The launch of the Accelerator Lab was very important to introduce the initiative to Guinea-Bissau. It was also an opportunity to have face-to-face interactions, to build synergies with future partners and involve local innovators and grassroots initiatives for the future functioning of the Lab. The event was recorded and broadcasted live to those interested, in the diaspora, as well as to those in the country who were unable to attend due to the COVID-19 restrictions. The event has had over 600 streams on Zoom and Facebook, broadcast the full event here; and give us your opinion or collaborate with us through a message to info.acclabgw@undp.org. In addition, if you know any Guinean innovators in the country or in the diaspora, please enter their details using this form.  

Source: UNDP Guinea-Bissau

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Press Release

AI Expo Africa 2021: Demand surges for 4IR tech as 4,600 register for Africa’s largest AI trade event

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AI Expo Africa – the continent’s largest annual gathering of buyers and suppliers of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) smart technologies – is set to have its biggest edition this year as 4 600 delegates and several international and local sponsors have already registered to attend the trade show and conference which takes place between 7 to 9 September.

AI Expo Africa 2021 ONLINE will mark the fourth edition of the annual trade event. Dr Nick Bradshaw, AI Media Group CEO and AI Expo Africa founder, pointed out that this year’s event will – like last year’s edition – also be held online to circumvent COVID-19 event restrictions. “Based on the early interest in AI Expo Africa 2021 ONLINE, we know our community likes the event’s online format and mix of content, vendors and innovators. AI Expo Africa 2020 ONLINE attracted more than 2 400 registered delegates and hosted 80 speakers and 80 exhibitors. This year we are on track to set a new benchmark as the audience grows.”

Head of Show Production Daniel Mpala stated that AI Expo Africa 2021 ONLINE is on track to host the largest mix of global vendors and cutting-edge startups for its curated audience of business practitioners. “Our event has now grown in the last three editions, starting this year, we will be dedicating Day 1 of the event to showcasing our vendors. AI Expo Africa 2021 ONLINE will again feature our specialist eZones, labs, poster wall and several country ePavilions from vendors outside the Africa region making for a truly global 4IR technology festival we think our community will really enjoy.”

Early sponsors that have signed up include US-based Future Tech, Czech-based IBA Group, UK-based Elzware, as well as South African firms AizatronCOGO People AnalyticsCompariSureecosystem.AiWizzPass, and Amathuba AI.

Premier diamond sponsor Future Tech, an Accubis company which specialises in Blockchain, AI, RPA and Digital Transformation, said it is excited to be part of this year’s edition of the expo.  “We already have a range of projects underway in the Africa region and are actively looking for startups to invest in with funding partners wanting to co-invest.  Africa is seeing a surge in uptake of these 4IR technologies and we see community engagement via this event a key part of our strategy for the the region in 2021,” explained Future Tech co-founder and Blockchain / AI Practice Manager Daniel Sloan.

COGO People Analytics managing partner Elmen Lamprecht commented that the COVID-19 pandemic has shown that it cannot be “business as usual”. “The world of work has changed irrevocably and People Analytics will play a huge role in the workplace going forward. We are excited to be part of the Africa’s leading AI event and to showcase how we can help organisations adapt to the new world of work by harnessing the capabilities of AI in their HR departments,” added Lamprecht.

ecosystem.AI commented that it had found new ways for businesses to understand and interact with their customers. “Through the use of of machine learning and behavioural predictions, we give businesses the tools to better engage with their customers in real-time. Exploring and understanding the behaviour behind the choices that their customers make,” the company added.

Ulrich Stark, the co-founder and executive director of WizzPass — which supplies highly configurable visitor & contractor management, employee desk booking, office capacity management, employee parcel management and Covid-19 screening services — commented, “As a returning supporter of AI Expo Africa 2021, this event is a great way to reach new business customers and we look forward to meeting the delegates and partners in September for a truly amazing experience.”

Aizatron said it looks forward to demonstrating its latest smart IoT and edge solutions. “We will be showcasing our latest computer vision technology, smart agri-tech, and intelligent safety and security systems. We will also demonstrate how we have coupled AI with RPA technology to create smart self-healing operations, that react quickly to alerts and deal with them quickly and effectively improving SLAs and reducing business outage due to system failures. Large companies attending the expo will also be shown how they can easily access our technology through our secure APIs”.

Amathuba AI Chief Commercial Official Nomsa Nteleko said the firm’s vision is to advance African culture and humanity through the assimilation of Artificial Intelligence technology. ” We hope to achieve this by changing the African narrative through our progressive technology.  We believe AI can be a collaborative partner to humans. Our solutions include; Medical, Healthcare, Manufacturing, Auditing, Data Enhancement & Cyber Risk. There has never been a better time to embrace the 4IR technology opportunity and as a returning supporter of AI Expo Africa we look forward to meeting new clients and partners at the show,” she added.

Matt Kloos, CFO at South Africa based CompariSure, stated, “At CompariSure, we aim to connect consumers with premium product providers, while using our proprietary chatbot technology to build the “automated insurance agent” of tomorrow.  We see AI Expo Africa as a great way to reach new business customers and showcase our conversational technology to new users who are perhaps considering this kind of technology for the first time.   We are really happy to be joining over 4 000+ delegates who are keen to see what Africa has to offer in this rapidly growing segment of the market”.

IBA South Africa managing director Dimitri Denissiouk said the company is excited to be involved in the high-profile event, and about what it can bring to African businesses in terms of automation and digital transformation. ” Intelligent automation has been the company’s focus since 2013. The IBA Group’s Center of Excellence has implemented 500+ RPA solutions and our developers have been working for years with a variety of RPA platforms, including WorkFusion, UIPath, Automation Anywhere, and Blue Prism. Based on this expertise, we built our EasyRPA platform. We look forward to seeing you at AI Expo Africa and invite you to attend our presentation on EasyRPA,” said Denissiouk.

Elzware founder and managing director Phil D Hall said he was excited to have engaged with AI Expo 2021 ONLINE. “We are looking forward to the event where we will be bringing our long experience in conversational AI into the sight of the leading hearts and minds in the African AI ecosystem,” he added.

AI Expo Africa 2021 ONLINE delegates can expect to hear from 80 thought leaders in AI, Data Science and Robotic Process Automation on the 8th and 9th of September. In addition, delegates will this year be treated to unique online experiences that will form part of the social programme on Day 2 and Day 3 of the expo. Like last year, the 2021 edition will also include a 30-day OnDemand Show archive which will be accessible from the 10th of September.

Bradshaw concluded, “We are going to market with a tried and tested format that will negate all the problems the world is experiencing because of the pandemic, while at the same time broadens the buyer audience and makes the event more accessible and diverse as our reach is essentially global and the tickets are free. We again hope to deliver on our promise of curating the best business trade event go its kind on the continent and look forward to showcasing the best of Africa 4IR innovation.”

Those interested in attending AI Expo Africa 2021 can register to claim free tickets here.

 

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Press Release

Swvl ex-founder launches Telda, Egypt’s First of its kind Money App

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Telda ATM Card (Source: Ahmed Sabbah)

Swvl co-founder and former CTO; Ahmed Sabbah and Youssef Sholqamy; former Uber engineer alongside a Silicon Valley team from Facebook, Uber, Amazon and Noon are building this next generation payment app “Telda” known as “The Money App”.

Telda is the easiest and fastest way to send, spend and save money. It’s the first digital banking experience app in Egypt moving it one giant step closer to achieving the vision of digital transformation in the economy offering various features to ease the daily payment pains.

The Fintech company is officially launching in Egypt providing locals with a digital banking experience platform enabling customers to create a free account by only using their phone numbers and national IDs. By signing-up; they receive a free Mastercard to their door steps with zero hassle. They can use it everywhere for online payments, in-store purchases and cash withdrawals from any ATM worldwide.

Through Telda, sending money to family and friends is as easy as sending a whatsapp message. By syncing their contact list; users will be able to send & request money instantly. They will also be able to control their spending with the most iconic money management features helping them to stay on top of their finances with simplicity and ease.

The new social money app gives its users all the insights about their spending habits to better manage their expenses. The app displays all users’ transactions and divides them into smart sub-categories making saving easier than ever. Telda tackles all the daily payment pains; from splitting cheques, trips, birthday gift shares to paying bills, topping up phone credits and using the telda card for all online and in-store payments.

As Egypt is approaching a digital transformation in the economy focusing on the adoption of technology and the need for tech-savvy solutions, Telda is aiming to make life easier and quicker for consumers to open an account, make instant payments and real-time transfers from the comfort of their homes.

Download App from App Store and Google Play or click to visit their website Telda app

 

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Binance Smart Chain (BSC) to be launched on Vertex P2P Market

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Binance Smart Chain (BSC) will be launched on Vertex, the first and only p2p platform to implement the fastest growing blockchain.

“The most important thing for users to note is that BTCB and USDT issued on Binance Smart Chain will be available for exchange on the Vertex peer-to-peer market. An added advantage for traders on our platform is that they can boost profits due to the lower fees.” – Alessandro Pecorelli, CTO of Vertex.

BTCB, a BEP2 token pegged to Bitcoin. Pegged tokens such as BTCB, are 100% backed by the native coin in reserve, which is Bitcoin (BTC) in BTCB’s case. Tether (USDT) is a stablecoin intended to make digital currencies a viable form of payment as it is pegged in values equivalent to traditional currencies like the US dollar.

What is Binance Smart Chain?

Binance Smart Chain, also called BSC is a blockchain issued by Binance. It is not to be confused with Binance Chain, which is a different blockchain! Even though it is issued by Binance, BSC runs independently from Binance. BSC has been launched late 2020 and has since then at times conducted more transactions than Ethereum and was the reason for the price jump of the BNB coin as BNB is required to pay for gas and demand soared. BSC is 100% compatible with Ethereum, meaning the same smart contracts work on both blockchains and most wallets start to support both blockchains.

What are the benefits for users?

Some of the benefits of Binance Smart Chain include:

  • Participating in a growing digital asset ecosystem powered by Binance DEX, the leading decentralized exchange
  • Cheap transaction fees that reach as low as 1 cent
  • High performance with a network capable of producing a block every 3 seconds
  • Cross-chain DeFi mechanisms that increase DeFi interoperability
  • A supportive Binance ecosystem that funds and bootstraps many DeFi projects
  • A growing ecosystem of millions of users across Binance.com and Binance DEX
  • A network of major crypto projects already collaborating with BSC

Why is Vertex launching Binance Smart Chain on Vertex?

To put it simply, BSC is fast and cheap. Much faster and cheaper than Ethereum at time of writing. This is not limited to BNB (Binance Coin) transactions only as almost every major coin is issued by Binance on the BSC as a wrapped coin as well. This means, you can easily transfer Bitcoin, Ethereum, USDT or any other major crypto from and to Vertex almost instantly for less than $1.

What is a Wrapped coin (token)?

Wrapped coins are tokens issued on a certain Blockchain, that represent a token on another Blockchain. Binance for example has issued over 21,000 Bitcoins (BTC) on the Binance Smart Chain called BTCB. To not create money out of thin air, those 21,000 Bitcoins are owned on the “real” bitcoin blockchain by Binance and held in custody. Meaning, every BTCB is backed 100% by a real BTC. It is the same concept as for stable coins such as USDT and USDC but in case of Binance they transparently show the Bitcoins they hold in custody on their website for everyone to see. Wrapped coins also exist on Ethereum (wrapped Bitcoin) but those are rather useless by now, as Ethereum is more expensive than Bitcoin to send around (Thank you, Uniswap).

Difference BTC and BTCB Explained

There is none, at least not for Vertex and Binance. If you buy or sell Bitcoin on Vertex, it is Bitcoin! You can deposit 1 BTC and withdraw 1 BTCB without any conversion. You will not see BTCB as a new coin on Vertex but when withdrawing, you can chose between a Bitcoin blockchain transaction or a Binance smart chain transaction, giving you the option to decide.

How can you profit as a crypto trader?

With the high network fees out of the way, Vertex Market has solved a big problem and removes a huge burden from you, the traders, by offering a cheap alternative that improves the profitability of your business operations and trading activities. If you want to know more about how BSC will make things a lot easier and cheaper for you, join the official Vertex Telegram group.

 

You can trade a range of cryptos on Vertex including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, USDT, Bitcoin Cash, and USDC.

 

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