ITU Head of Strategic Engagement, Fred Werner (Image by: AI Expo Africa)
In 2015, in a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030, world leaders adopted the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the landmark United Nations Sustainable Development Summit in New York.
With 10 years left to reach the SDGs, Fred Werner, Head of Strategic Engagement at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) believes it’s time to move the needle and use artificial intelligence (AI) to meet these goals by 2030.
Werner will give a keynote speech at AI Expo Africa – Africa’s largest business-focused AI, Data Science and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) trade event and conference – on how the AI for Good platform is identifying and generating practical AI applications which advance the SDGs and scale those solutions for global impact.
The ITU strongly believes AI can help solve humanity’s greatest challenges. Its AI for Good Global Summit — the leading action-oriented, global and inclusive United Nations platform on AI has since 2017, together with its community of innovators and problem solvers, identified, strategised and created new projects, roadmaps and initiatives around the use of AI to accelerate progress towards the SDGs.
In June the ITU as part of its AI for Good Webinar Series — and in partnership with AI Media Group and Alliance4ai — held a webinar that explored Africa’s varying AI strategies and how they are impacting on the continent’s economic growth. Panelists who included South Africa’s Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies Stella Tembisa Ndabeni-Abrahams, UNESCO-IBE director Mmantsetsa Marope and Machine Intelligence Institute of Africa director John Kamara provided regional success stories that explained the opportunities and challenges in deploying these strategies.
“We have 10 years left to achieve the 17 SDGs and we need to act now to make this happen. AI solutions that we identify today need a few years to develop, a few more years to achieve scale and then a few years after that to achieve the desired impact. At a minimum, we are looking at a 10-year timeline, bringing us right up to 2030. We have to act now if we want a chance of moving the needle,” says Werner.
AI Expo Africa 2020 will be held online on 3 and 4 September with a speaker line up led by Kay Firth-Butterfield, Head of AI and Machine Learning at the World Economic Forum; Neil Sahota, IBM Master Inventor, UN AI expert and lecturer at University of California, and Bayo Adekanmbi, CTO MTN Nigeria and founder of Data Science Nigeria.
South Africa’s Minister of Communications, Telecommunications and Postal Services Stella Tembisa Ndabeni-Abrahams; Prof Tshilidzi Marwala, and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Johannesburg and Deputy Head of the 4IR Commission of South Africa are also set to speak at the show.
Lami, Kenya-based Insurtech secures $1.8 million to accelerate digital insurance in Africa
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.
AI Expo Africa 2021: Demand surges for 4IR tech as 4,600 register for Africa’s largest AI trade event
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 Aizatron, COGO People Analytics, CompariSure, ecosystem.Ai, WizzPass, 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.
Swvl ex-founder launches Telda, Egypt’s First of its kind Money App
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