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Facebook sponsors TechCrunchStartup

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Facebook is returning as the headline sponsor of TechCrunch Startup Battlefield Africa 2018.

The event, taking place in Lagos, Nigeria — will search for Sub-Saharan Africa’s best innovators, makers and technical entrepreneurs.

This is in line with its commitment to growing Africa’s technology start-up ecosystem and its passion for developing diverse, young talent,

TechCrunch Startup Battlefield Africa sees start-ups compete across three categories: social good; productivity and utility; and gaming and entertainment.

It profiles the founders and entrepreneurs leading Africa’s next wave of technology innovation and highlights new ideas, businesses and applications with disruptive potential.

On December 11, TechCrunch Startup Battlefield supported by Facebook, will bring together the strongest start-ups from across Sub-Saharan Africa, where they will pitch to a live audience of 500 people ranging from VCs, investors, government officials and developers.

Facebook representatives from Africa and beyond will be on the ground to celebrate, where they will be connecting, listening and learning from various communities as well as taking part in an exciting series of workshops, networking sessions and talks between 6th and 11th December.

“Following the great success of the inaugural TechnCrunch Startup Battlefield event in 2017, we are delighted to return as the headline sponsor for this year’s event,” says Emeka Afigbo, Facebook’s Head of Developer Programs.

“Given our passion for connecting people and helping developers and entrepreneurs to thrive, we can’t wait to see how this year’s entrants are using technology to engage and empower people across the continent.”

Events Facebook will host over the week include:

• Developer Circle Leads Summit (6-7 December): A two-day summit for more than 65 Developer Circles Leads across Sub-Saharan Africa, representing a growing community of over 42,800 members across 31 cities in 15 countries across Sub-Saharan Africa.
• Instagram Inspire Action Lagos – Women and Small Business Event (6 December): A workshop to inspire, educate and train 70-80 entrepreneurs and women working in tech with a panel featuring special guests.
• Startups and Developers Summit 2018 by Developer Circle Nigeria (8 December): Bringing together 600 attendees, and hosted by Facebook Developer Leads, the Summit will run trainings and workshop sessions on specialist deep-tech subjects, such as Messenger Bot
• Aspiring Entrepreneurs — Digital Pitch Competition (10 December): Winners from seven Nigerian states who participated in the Aspiring Entrepreneurs: Digital 2018 programme will pitch their businesses to a panel of judges for a chance to win support and prizes from Facebook and Fate Foundation.
• NG_Hub Start-up Mixer (10 December): A social gathering bringing together Start-ups from across the ecosystem, including NG_Hub start-ups (Start-ups using Facebook’s Community Hub) and those taking part in the TechCrunch Startup Battlefield event.
• Student Hack (11 December): In partnership with Re:Learn by CC_Hub, Facebook will bring together 50 local high school students from Lagos to take part in Hack-a-Day and other activities that highlight the difference developers can make in the world using computer science skills. (NAN)

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Africa TMT investment increases as Ethiopia telecom privatisation leads new wave of deals for 2019

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Ethio Telecom, which has around 66 million customers, took a major step forward in its much-anticipated privatisation last month by pre-selecting six consultancies in partnership with the World Bank

CAPE TOWN, South Africa, February 11, 2019/ — Telecom, media and tech investment and consolidation activity in Africa is predicted to reach a record high for 2019 as a number of significant deals including the opening up of Ethiopia’s telecom sector are scheduled, reports specialist news provider TMT Finance (www.TMTFinance.com).

Pan-African telecom operators MTN, Orange and Vodacom are among those vying to enter Ethiopia for the opportunity to serve its 105 million population following progress in the telecom privatisation process, reports TMT Finance. Ethio Telecom, which has around 66 million customers, took a major step forward in its much-anticipated privatisation last month by pre-selecting six consultancies in partnership with the World Bank. Ethio, will be split into two businesses, offering tremendous growth potential to new entrants.

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Privatisations of telecom assets are also planned for Togocom and Benin Telecom in West Africa, with consolidation investments expected in Kenya and Tunisia. Meanwhile, Airtel has hired banks for an IPO of its entire Africa portfolio while several telcos are bidding for Millicom’s assets. The acceleration of investment into mobile and broadband infrastructure across the region continues as operators and investors try to meet the need for data services.

Leaders from the largest African telecom, media and technology companies, investment banks and investors are meeting to assess the latest investment opportunities at the annual TMT Finance Africa in Cape Town 2019 (www.TMTFinance.com/capetown) conference on March 28.

Over 60 key speakers have been announced for the event, which features CxOs and senior executives from Vodacom, MTN, Helios Towers Africa, CSquared, Dark Fibre Africa, Convergence Partners, Seacom, Angola Cables, Standard Bank, IFC World Bank, DLA Piper, Rand Merchant Bank, WIOCC, Paix Data Centres, BCX, European Investment Bank, Investec Asset Management, GreenWish Partners and others.

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Key sessions at the senior executive only event include: Telecom Leadership Africa; Broadband Infrastructure; Digital Infrastructure Africa; Media; Powering Mobile Tower; Data Centre and Cloud, Mergers and Acquisitions; Investors; Broadband; Financing TMT; Fintech and Mobile Money; and Smart City.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of TMT Finance.

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Avanti partners MainOne to improve broadband penetration with converged solution

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L-R Toby Shapshak, Keynote Speaker; Funke Opeke, CEO, MainOne; and Libby Barr, Chief Operating Officer, Avanti Communications at Nerds Unite 2019, MainOne’s annual IT event at Oriental… recently”. Source: MainOne

The companies made this announcement on Friday at Nerds Unite, an annual IT conference hosted by MainOne

LAGOS, Nigeria, February 11, 2019/ — Avanti Communications Group plc (Avanti) (www.AvantiPlc.com) a leading provider of satellite data communications services in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and MainOne (http://www.MainOne.net), a premier connectivity and data centre solutions company in West Africa, have signed an agreement to jointly improve broadband penetration across Nigeria by providing the latest KA-band based satellite communication services to enterprises located in remote areas of the country. The companies made this announcement on Friday at Nerds Unite, an annual IT conference hosted by MainOne.

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Under this arrangement, MainOne will leverage Avanti’s newest satellite, HYLAS 4, launched in April 2018 to enable highly flexible capacity services with 100% country coverage of Nigeria.  Such coverage is most critical and will accelerate the time to deploy internet broadband services into remote areas that are difficult to reach by fibre infrastructure. The partnership will also include the deployment of Avanti’s ECO initiative, which bundles broadband access, solar power and embedded Wi-Fi services for schools and small communities, ideal for deployment in remote parts of the country where power availability and connectivity services remain a challenge. The partnership is also backed with the commissioning and launch of Avanti’s new Gateway Earth Station (GES) in Nigeria, hosted at MainOne’s Tier III Data Centre ‘MDXi’.

Libby Barr, Chief Operating Officer at Avanti, said “We are delighted to be partnering with MainOne and look forward to building a strong relationship to enable rollout of satellite broadband services across West Africa. Avanti’s products will greatly complement MainOne’s existing fibre-based networks by providing reliable connectivity services to its enterprise customers beyond its immediate fibre reach. We look forward to expanding our collaboration in serving the people of Nigeria and Africa with life-changing services.”

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Funke Opeke, Chief Executive Officer of MainOne, added: “Our partnership with Avanti provides Nigeria the opportunity to accelerate expansion of broadband internet via satellite, to bridge the digital gap and improve digital transformation for more Nigerians. Such services are most critical for the Oil and Gas sector, and for the delivery of social and educational services into rural areas of the country. Beyond connecting institutions, Avanti’s ECO solution also addresses the needs of their immediate communities and will accelerate getting more of our rural communities online.”

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of MainOne.

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South Korea ready to partner with Africa on technology

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“A win-win proposition” – Akinwumi A. Adesina, President of the African Development Bank

SEOUL, Republic of Korea, February 7, 2019/ — In partnership with the African Development Bank (AfDB.org), Korea is ready to step up technology transfers to Africa, officials said in Seoul today.

Speaking at a meeting on potential technology partnerships between Korea and Africa, representatives of Busan Metropolitan City, Busan Techno Park, and Korea’s Green Technology Center said there was huge potential for cooperation and immense opportunities for job-creating bankable projects.

The range of business options include agriculture, green growth, smart urban transportation management, and numerous business opportunities.

President of the African Development Bank, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina says, “the Future is going to be an exponentially different future,” and that the Bank intends to “explore the creation of a strategic partnership with Korea that could lead to the creation of a Korea-Africa research and training Drone Center, that could help pave the way for Africa’s 4th Industrial Revolution.”

According to Hyung-Ju Kim, Director, Global Strategy Division, Green Technology Center, “Korean expertise can provide a practical and pragmatic solution to a wide range of Africa’s most pressing technology needs: The African Development Bank could play a major role here: if we bring technology to the table, the Bank can identify and facilitate bankable projects that can boost technology cooperation between Africa and Korea.”

With funding from the Korea-Africa Cooperation (KOAFEC) fund, the African Development Bank, in cooperation with Busan Metropolitan City, and the Busan Techno Park, has launched, a pilot project in Tunisia using drone technology to develop agriculture, including data collection and analysis, monitoring irrigated perimeters, aquifers, the effects of climate change, land degradation, biodiversity, filling and siltation of dams, and overall agricultural production.

Korea and the African Development Bank intend to extend the program to other countries and regions in Tunisia and Africa, and explore the massive market potential of industrial zones in other sectors.

Adesina says, “We are determined to expand the use of drones in agriculture in Africa. What we do in Africa today, will determine global food security tomorrow.”

For the President of the African Development Bank, it is important that the technological partnership with Korea translates into capacity building on the ground, through training, so that Africa can industrialize, build or assemble drones.

Busan City’s dominance as a Smart City on the cutting of artificial intelligence is thanks in part to political vision, one of the largest research and development expenditures in the world, and a team of 12,000 researchers and scientists.

Speaking afterwards to the African diplomatic corps in Seoul, Adesina identified three main obstacles to private sector development —access to finance, energy and stability. The Bank has invested $1 billion in AfreximBank, including $ 650 million in trade finance lines of credit and $ 350 million in trade insurance. The Bank has also invested $ 630 million in First Rand Bank and AbSA in South Africa to support expanded access to trade finance for 20 countries.

This financing effort includes small and medium-sized enterprises, which represent more than 80% of businesses in Africa. In this respect, he cited the Asian example, where large companies relied on value chains dominated by SMEs including suppliers and subcontractors. The Bank’s strategy is to develop large companies while connecting them to SMEs for increased value creation.

“Without electricity it is impossible to industrialize Africa,” Adesina said. The Bank has made access to electricity a top priority. Its ‘Desert to Power’ initiative will develop an estimated 10,000 MW in the Sahel region, making it the largest solar project in the world.

Adesina, the head of Africa’s leading development finance institution, says, the Bank’s 2018 Africa Investment Forum in South Africa, “secured investment commitments worth $ 38.7 billion in less than 72 hours, which provides a strong indication of global interest in Africa’s emerging markets.”

Experts say in order for the African Development Bank to continue supporting the continent’s development, a general capital increase is necessary. According to Adesina, an $11 billion increase in paid-in capital for example would significantly change the lives of millions of people, including 105 million who would have access to electricity; 137 million who would benefit from access to improved agricultural technologies; 22 million who would benefit from investments in private sector projects; 151 million with access to improved transportation services; and 110 million who would be provided with access to improved water and sanitation services.

The dean of the Board of Directors of the African Development Bank, Abdelmajid Mellouki, estimates that a general capital increase would enable the Bank to provide African countries with funding at significantly lower costs.

Adesina is on a three-day visit to Korea which includes several official visits, and to receive the SunHaK Peace Prize awards for which he and co-laureate, Waris Dirie a well-known activist against female genital mutilation, are the 2019 nominees. This is the first time the SunHak Peace Prize has been awarded to the African continent.

Adesina is expected to deliver a keynote address at the World Peace Summit of Global Leaders on February 9.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of African Development Bank Group (AfDB).

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