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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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Lami, Kenya-based Insurtech secures $1.8 million to accelerate digital insurance in Africa

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Lami team and press release (Source: Eva Barasa/Lami Tech/medium)

Lami Technologies, a Kenyan insurance technology (insurtech) company that aims to democratize insurance products and services for low-income Kenyans, announced today it had raised $1.8 million in seed funding.

The round was led by Accion Venture Lab’s seed-stage investment initiative that provides capital and extensive support to innovative fintech startups that improve the reach, quality, and affordability of financial services for the underserved.

Founded by Jihan Abass in 2018, Lami is a digital insurance platform that enables partner businesses — including banks, tech companies, and other entities to easily and seamlessly offer digital insurance products to their users via its API. Lami can also be used by partner businesses to manage their own insurance needs. Lami connects partner organizations, such as the e-commerce platform Jumia, with underwriters and allows them to offer a superior customer journey. Through its API, users can get a quotation for motor, medical, or other tailored insurance products in seconds, then customize the benefits and adjust the premium to suit their needs, get their policy documents instantly, and claims are paid in record time.

Lami’s services are enabled by its flexible insurance rating engine and direct integration with several parties and insurance companies. Lami co-designs innovative products with its underwriting partners to enable businesses to offer unique insurance products to their underlying customer base, with flexible options that meet their needs and cash flows, such as monthly medical policies for startup employees.

Jihan Abass, CEO & Founder of Lami (Source: Eva Barasa/Lami Tech/medium)

Jihan Abass, CEO, Lami, said: “This funding will allow us to invest in hiring more people, improving our technology, and growing our presence across Africa as we can continue to address the persistent insurance gap. At Lami, our vision is to help improve the financial resilience of millions by making insurance products more accessible and affordable for underserved populations. By enabling our business partners to offer customized insurance solutions, we are helping them provide more value to their customers while enabling large volumes of users to access insurance, often for the first time.”

Africa’s insurance market currently stands at a 3 percent penetration rate, except for South Africa, and is facing modernization and innovation challenges. Most insurance providers on the continent fail to offer flexible, affordable and tailored insurance coverage to provide a safety net for the African consumer. Low insurance uptake is partly due to the traditional distribution and administration of policies, mainly relying on brick-and-mortar channels where policies are sold and processed manually. This results in a longer processing cycle, poor customer satisfaction, and higher distribution costs.

Lami’s digital insurance platform leverages cloud computing, automation, and third-party service providers such as emergency and valuation, or identity and asset verification databases, to offer a comprehensive ecosystem for the businesses they partner with to develop, distribute and manage highly streamlined and competitive insurance products that are designed to meet their customers’ needs.

Since its inception, the insurtech startup has sold more than 5,000 policies and has partnered with more than 25 active underwriters, including Britam, Pioneer, and Madison Insurance, distributing more than 30 products available including medical, motor, employee benefits, and device insurance. As an innovator in the digital insurance space, Lami aims to continue diversifying its business by looking for new partners and building on its core technology.

Michael Schlein, President and CEO, Accion Venture Lab, said: “Ninety-seven percent of Africans lack access to insurance — a financial safety net that can help them build resilience against economic shocks. Lami helps address this need for consumers across Africa through its innovative approach that leverages technology and partnerships to help any business develop and sell insurance.”

“At Accion Venture Lab, we’re excited by how Lami is using technology to create a pathway for customers to purchase insurance that is specific to their needs. By embedding customized insurance within businesses that customers know and trust, Lami is making insurance accessible for underserved populations in Africa and enabling them to build financial resilience. “said Ashley Lewis, Africa Director, Accion Venture Lab

This investment highlights the strong commitment of all organizations to ensuring that financial services are made accessible and affordable for the underserved.

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InnoPower Partners with Business Africa Online to Host Going Global Summit 2021

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – InnoPower LLC (InnoPower) and Business Africa Online (BAO) will host the Going Global Summit during the 2021 Minority Business Week presented by Eleven Fifty Academy and JPMorgan Chase, to be held June 14 – 18, 2021.

Africa is a fascinating continent. The old narrative of Africa disconnected from the global economy is fading. A wave of transformation driven by business and modernization is thrusting the continent from the world’s margins to the worldwide mainstream. There is tremendous promise in the dynamism and ingenuity of Africa’s entrepreneurs. The region’s abundant world-class innovation and talent are increasingly being harnessed to improve lives and generate wealth.

InnoPower is working to develop a stronger pipeline of awareness and access to Africa’s talent and solutions, especially in Nigeria and the West Africa region.

InnoPower’s partnership with BAO aims to develop a more robust pipeline of awareness and access to Africa’s talent and solutions, focused in three areas:

  • ENTREPRENEURSHIP: providing African entrepreneurs with access to resources, training, and finance.
  • CONNECTIONS: by introducing US-based businesses and service providers to Africa innovators.
  • ADVOCACY: increasing the viability of Africa as a region for economic development partnership.

InnoPower is an Indianapolis-based company deliberately designed to highlight the innovations in and for Black communities, create opportunities for capacity building, and provide a platform for creative thought and innovative entrepreneurialism. BAO supports and aligns with the movement. The two organizations have come together to be the change they want to see globally, especially in the entrepreneurial ecosystem and the development and growth of Africa.

“It has only been about 60 years since Blacks across the United States and Africa were provided with true independence. The U.S. with the Civil Rights Movement and Africa with the end of rule by British, French, and other European colonizers. Across the globe, Africans are now competing in the global innovation economy while still embracing the uniqueness of our culture, environment, and resources. But there is still a lot of work to be done to close the gaps created by centuries of oppression. We are excited that we can be a part of sparking and nurturing this movement. Our partnership with BAO gives a bigger voice to the work that still must be done,” said Emil Ekiyor, Founder and CEO of InnoPower.

“Our team is thrilled to be working with InnoPower on the Going Global Summit 2021. BAO is at the forefront of powering the entrepreneurial mindset and enabling businesses in Africa. We are inspired and motivated every day by the incredible African innovators within our community and their desire to impact the world positively. By partnering with InnoPower, we are now focused on connecting Africa’s entrepreneurs and businesses with US-based investors and businesses,” added Alaba Ayinuola, Founder & CEO of Business Africa Online (BAO).

InnoPower’s 2021 Minority Business Week presented by Eleven Fifty Academy and JPMorgan Chase will be held Monday, June 14 through Friday, June 18, 2021. The Going Global Summit will be held on Friday, June 18, 2021. Both events will be held virtually, and registration is free. For more information, please visit bit.ly/InnoPowerGoingGlobal2021

 

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Mastercard and Kasha Reinforce Commitment to Empower Women and Support Micro-Entrepreneurs in Africa

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Mastercard today expanded its relationship with Kasha Global Incorporated through an investment in the purpose driven ecommerce platform. The companies will continue their shared efforts to ensure women across emerging markets have essential access to health and personal care products along with the information required to support everyday hygiene needs.

Combining online and offline capabilities, Kasha’s platform allows women across rural and urban locations to make confidential personal care orders. By utilizing the full product catalogue available online, or by placing orders using basic mobile handsets, women can search, order and pay for hygiene products that are discretely delivered to them by local micro-entrepreneurs, thus also helping local store owners grow their business.

Mastercard’s investment is the next step on a journey the organizations have been on since Kasha joined Mastercard StartPath in 2019. Since joining the award winning start-up engagement program, Mastercard has worked with Kasha to integrate digital payment acceptance across its ecommerce platform, and most recently the partners joined forces to deliver virus, hygiene and protection products to families across Kenya in efforts to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“Kasha’s goal is to ensure women in emerging markets get the products, information and services they need for their health, self-care and well-being” said, Joanna Bichsel, Kasha’s Founder and CEO “I am thrilled that we are continuing our collaboration with Mastercard and that we not only have a committed investor with shared values, but also an innovative partner as we continue to take Kasha’s development and growth to the next level.”

Mastercard’s activities with Kasha directly support the company’s pledge to bring 1 billion people and 50 million micro and small businesses into the digital economy by 2025, with a direct focus on providing 25 million women entrepreneurs with solutions to help them grow their business.

“Mastercard works with governments, businesses and entrepreneurs to help them achieve their ambitions and is committed to applying its resources to drive sustainable and inclusive growth.” said, Raghav Prasad, Division President, Sub Saharan Africa, Mastercard. “Through our activities with Kasha we are leveraging Mastercard’s innovations, expertise and partnerships to help drive the empowerment of women and small businesses. This partnership is a major step in our journey to support the fundamental needs of women and drive growth across African communities.”

Mastercard’s investment will help Kasha expand its current platform offering, reaching more women, communities and small businesses than before and build’s on Mastercard’s efforts to bolster support for micro-entrepreneur and women owned small business in Africa through the Mastercard Track Micro Credit Program, known in Kenya as “Jaza Duka” (fill up your store in Swahili).   By leveraging Mastercard and Kasha’s combined capabilities, in collaboration with global consumer goods and banking partners, the partners aim to positively impact historically underserved communities across Africa and beyond.

Mastercard

 

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