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Microsoft opens first Africa Development Centre in Kenya and Nigeria

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Cynthia-Wasonga, Software Engineer at Microsoft.

It was almost three decades ago that Microsoft opened its first offices in Africa. In this time, we’ve witnessed incredible growth on the continent – more internet connectivity, more digital capability and more innovation. Africans have expanded the applications of technology, changing the way communities bank, farm and even access healthcare.

At Microsoft, we’re very fortunate to have played a part in realising this potential, building strong partnerships to accelerate digital transformation and create sustained societal impact. A big milestone for this investment came earlier this year, as we opened Africa’s first hyper-scale datacentres in South Africa, promoting business innovation in the cloud.

As the next step on our journey in Africa, and to better understand a continent rapidly adopting technology in the cloud, and at the edge, Microsoft today launched its first Africa Development Centre (ADC). With two initial sites in Nairobi, Kenya and Lagos, Nigeria, the ADC will serve as a premier centre of engineering for Microsoft, where world-class African talent can create solutions for local and global impact.

The ADC will be unlike any other existing investment on the continent. It will help us better listen to our customers, develop locally and scale for global impact. Beyond that, it’s an opportunity to engage further with partners, academia, governments and developers – driving impact in sectors important to the continent, such as FinTech, AgriTech and OffGrid energy.

Phil Spencer, executive sponsor of the ADC and executive vice president at Microsoft

Local innovation, global impact

Africa is poised for innovation at the intelligent edge. To staff the ADC, we are seeking engineering talent from across the continent to fuel AI, machine learning and mixed reality innovation. Engineers have already started working, and we intend to recruit 100 full-time engineers by the end of the year – expanding to 500 across the two sites by 2023. Those interested can visit the ADC website

Female engineer sitting cross legged Cynthia Wasonga, software engineer, Microsoft

To build our talent pipeline, we’re also partnering with local universities to create a modern intelligent edge and cloud curriculum, totally unique to Africa. Graduates will have access to the ADC to build a relevant and meaningful career in data science, AI, mixed reality, application development and many more.

Our desire is to recruit exceptional engineering talent across the continent that will build innovative solutions for global impact. This also creates opportunities for engineers to do meaningful work from their home countries and be plugged into a global engineering and development organisation

Michael Fortin, corporate vice president at Microsoft and the lead in establishing the first ADC engineering team in Nairobi

Innovation at the edge
Microsoft is already empowering many innovations at the edge with partners like InterswitchSunCulture and M-KOPA. Through the ADC, we intend to invest in more cutting-edge solutions suitable for Kenya, Nigeria and the rest of the world.

Our Microsoft Cognition team and Windows team will be kick-starting our ADC efforts, focusing on AI-enabled cloud services, mixed reality experiences and rich applications that power the intelligent edge without disruption.

A long-term investment

The ADC supports Microsoft’s mission to empower every person and organisation on the planet to achieve more. The ADC is the first Global Development Centre in Africa with a combined expected investment of US $100 million over the first five years of operation.

-Microsoft News Center

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Sahara Group Canvasses More Investment In Africa’s E&P Business

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Paris France: June 25, 2019 – Oil and Gas businesses in Africa need to intensify exploration efforts to guarantee reserve replacement and enhanced capacity to meet growing demand and global competition, Olajumoke Ajayi, Managing Director, Asharami Energy (A Sahara Group Upstream Company), has told participants at the Oil and Gas Council’s Africa Assembly in Paris.

Ajayi noted that Africa’s large volumes of undiscovered oil and gas makes the continent a veritable frontier for investment, adding that operators need to adopt new technology, explore alternative cost saving measures, ensure sustainable community relations, and build diverse multidisciplinary teams to ensure successful exploration projects.

In her presentation, “Renewing Players Commitment to Exploration and the Importance of Community Engagement in Capital Intensive Projects”, Ajayi cited the downturn in global oil prices and the corresponding negative effect on investor funds and returns as factors that have made a good number of Exploration and Production (E&P) companies in Africa cut down on investments, delay Final Investment Decision (FID) or totally stop embarking on new capital projects.

“Consequently, producing companies continue to pump oil from operated mature fields thereby depleting existing reserves with non-corresponding efforts for reserve replacement via new exploration discoveries. The big question remains whether or not E&P players should commit to exploration and how players can justify this commitment in the face of lower oil prices,” she stated.

According to Ajayi, the compelling case for the relevance of hydrocarbons in the future, in addition to huge investments on new technology, responsible and intentional community engagement will play a significant role in creating a stable and conducive environment for exploration and production. “Sahara Group’s exploration success story is being driven by a combination of technology, innovation and community management expertise. At Sahara, we are intentionally committed to creating a sustainable balance between our projects and host communities to ensure the creation of shared value for all stakeholders.”

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Going by the PwC Oil and Gas Review 2018, proven oil reserves in Africa have stayed at the same level of 7.5% of global reserves. The report also notes that exploration activity continued to decline in 2017. “The consequences of modest recovery in exploration spending and a continued decline in new discoveries are unavoidable and imminent. The International Energy Agency and various players in the oil industry have warned of demand exceeding supply as oil demand continues to grow and investment in projects is deferred,” the report stated. The report adds that Africa’s oil and gas consumption is predicted to increase by 45%, increasing its global share 5.1% by 2050.

Ajayi said strategic community engagements eliminate community interference in operations of capital projects that may lead to significant downtime; ensure that the host community understands its role as a project stakeholder and treats projects as commonwealth source for the people; reduce security breach as community representatives serves as infrastructure surveillance outfit; and promoting easy negotiations for Freedom To Operate (FTO) and Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMOU).

– Sahara Group

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Moustafa Madbouli witnesses signing of agreement with Mercedes-Benz on car assembly

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Mercedes-Benz A-class cars are displayed in a dealership of German car manufacturer Daimler in Paris, July 30, 2013. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

STUTTGART, Germany – 24 June 2019: Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouli on Monday witnessed the signing of a cooperation agreement between the Egyptian government and German automaker Mercedes-Benz to boost bilateral cooperation in auto industry.

The deal is meant to establish an engineering hub for Mercedes-Benz in the Suez Canal area for assembling and manufacturing of automobiles, the premier said.

This comes as part of the state’s strategy to support the intelligent transportation system and electricity-powered means of public transport, the premier added.

He noted that the agreement represents a quantum leap in Egypt’s auto industry, asserting that Mercedes-Benz hub will not just serve Egypt, bu also the whole region.

Madbouli is currently on a visit to Germany to take part in the 22nd session of the Arab-German economic forum. He is accompanied by a high-level delegation grouping the ministers of international cooperation, electricity, petroleum, communications, trade and industry in addition to a number of businessmen.

– Egypt Today

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Taxify, now Bolt, launches Bolt for Business in SA

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Bolt Image: Techcentral

DURBAN –  Bolt has launched Bolt for Business, allowing companies of all sizes to manage and pay for corporate trips via a single, easy-to-use portal.

This addition to the Bolt range of services broadens the positive impact of on-demand transport for businesses, as companies can now democratise access to jobs by removing the ‘own transport required’ condition for employment, and have access to a simple service offering for employees and clients alike.

They can do this by allocating a monthly budget through the Bolt platform to individual employees, ensuring that all employees who travel for business enjoy the benefits of affordable and reliable personal transport without the often prohibitive costs associated with vehicle ownership.

“We have launched Bolt for Business after noticing that a growing number of Bolt trips are taken for business purposes during working hours, whether it’s commuting to work, rushing to client meetings or getting to the airport,” said Gareth Taylor, country manager for Bolt South Africa.

He added, “In a country with unreliable public transport and high costs of car ownership, Bolt for Business offers a convenient and cost-efficient solution to business travel. It also provides an alternative transport option for the many young people entering the workplace who cannot yet afford their own vehicle, or who actively choose to not buy a car”.

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In addition, Bolt for Business is the perfect solution for entrepreneurs and SMEs, where time is money and hours spent in traffic can be put to better use if someone else – like a driver on the Bolt platform – is driving.

Bolt for Business gives companies the ability to offer employee groups, clients and recruits the option to utilise the Bolt service at the company’s expense, and gives account managers the ability to set and customise spending allowances and the number of trips employees can take.

The digitised travel management solution, available on desktop and mobile, saves businesses time and money by storing all the information about their employees’ corporate Bolt trips on a single dashboard. Paying for trips is quick and easy: instead of reimbursing each individual employee, companies can pay Bolt once a month via a bank transfer.

“Bolt for Business is so much more than an efficient expenses management tool – it removes workplace discrimination based on access to vehicle ownership and offers a strategic use of time spent on the road, demonstrating again the positive impact that on-demand transportation  services can have on the South African economy,” added Taylor.

Additional functionalities such as adding restrictions to specific times and locations for taking trips, as well as a prepaid payment method, will be added to Bolt for Business later this year.

Bolt for Business is available in more than 30 markets across Europe and Africa.

BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE

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