Orange selects Ericsson to ramp-up its mobile money service and accelerate financial inclusion in Africa

Ericsson’s Mobile Financial Services solution – is a leading financial services platform built on the latest security technologies and open architecture framework principles

Orange Money has grown rapidly since it was launched in 2008. The service is now available to more than 60 million subscribers in seventeen countries across Africa and the Middle East, where it facilitated more than EUR 62 billion in transactions in 2020 alone.

The offering provides financial services through a flexible and simple mobile phone interface, without the need for a bank account. Orange Money customers can securely store, transfer and withdraw money and pay merchants and utility providers, among other essential financial services.

Orange Middle East and Africa will deploy Ericsson’s Mobile Financial Services solutions in phases across fourteen of the countries in its Orange Money footprint, starting with Senegal.

Ericsson’s solution will provide a more agile and compliant IT architecture to enhance performance in managing the flow of transactions.

By strengthening Orange’s core mobile money platform, Ericsson will help promote financial inclusion and economic development across these countries.

More than 300 million people worldwide currently use Ericsson’s Wallet Platform solutions, delivered by communications service providers.

Alioune Ndiaye, Chairman and CEO of Orange Middle East and Africa says: “Stable, secure, reliable and compliant mobile financial services are fundamental to building the foundations of economic growth for many people in Africa. As we continue to work to support our customers and enhance the services offered to them, we are very pleased to work with Ericsson as their financial services platform is built upon the latest security technologies and open architecture framework principles which can further expand our ecosystem and achieve our vision of financial inclusion in Africa.”

Fadi Pharaon, President Ericsson Middle East and Africa, says: “This is a new milestone in our long-standing partnership with Orange Middle East and Africa. With Ericsson’s industry leading and state-of-the-art Mobile Financial Services Platform, this partnership enables Orange Middle East and Africa to achieve its vision to accelerate financial inclusion in Africa. This anchors Ericsson’s technology leadership position in offering the most advanced and innovative Mobile Financial Services and further contributing to the economic development of Africa.”

www.ericsson.com

Nokia and ATU to speed up digital transformation and the knowledge economy in Africa

Nokia has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the African Telecommunications Union (ATU) to drive digital transformation and the knowledge economy for socio-economic development across the continent.

The two parties will leverage the power of telecommunications, including 5G networks, to connect the unconnected and identify innovative use cases, as well as business models.

In addition, the MoU will lay ground for both organizations to better help governments shape telecom policy, develop talent and promote inclusion and diversity. This includes women, as well as the underprivileged in both rural and urban areas.
 
The MoU was signed in Nairobi, Kenya, by John OMO, Secretary General at ATU and Rajiv Aggarwal, Nokia Representative and Head of Central, East and West Africa Market Unit at Nokia.
 
Announcing the partnership, Rajiv Aggarwal, Head of Central, East and West Africa Market Unit at Nokia, said: “We remain keen on supporting Africa’s digital transformation journey and by collaborating with the ATU, we strengthen this commitment. We will leverage our global technology expertise and insights on policy matters to positively impact the universal socio-economic development in the continent.”
 
Co-signing the MoU with Mr. Rajiv, John OMO, Secretary General of the African Telecommunications Union (ATU), said: “Our vision is to make Africa a full and active participant in the global information and knowledge society by enabling universal access to ICT systems and services across Africa. Collaboration with a global industry leader such as Nokia is therefore crucial in this regard and will help us accelerate towards a digital transformation and knowledge economy.”
The MoU framework is guided by six tenets designed to facilitate this acceleration. These are:
•    Sharing of best practices on telecom technology trends and developments
•    Identification of innovative industrial use cases toward the Fourth Industrial Revolution
•    Recommendation on implementation of emerging technologies and business models
•    Promotion of connecting the unconnected with broadband
•    Development of emerging talent for digital innovation
•    Promotion of inclusion and diversity

Nokia has a long history of collaboration with international organizations and bodies across the globe. Regionally in MEA, Nokia recently partnered with UN Women to promote inclusion and diversity in Middle East and Africa.

Nokia is also working with UNICEF as part of a shared-value partnership in Kenya to connect schools with broadband and empower children in rural as well as disadvantaged urban areas.

In November 2020, Nokia supported the Forge Academy in South-Africa with the launch of a fully inclusive artificial intelligence (AI) laboratory to help students to become entrepreneurs in the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the global digital economy.

www.nokia.com

www.atuuat.africa

University of Rwanda and Mastercard Foundation launch $55 million partnership for African leaders

The Mastercard Foundation and University of Rwanda announced a 10-year, $55 million partnership to enable higher education access for 1,200 young Africans with a focus on women pursuing STEM, young people with disabilities, and refugee and displaced youth as part of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program. Launched in 2012, the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program is committed to developing Africa’s next generation of transformative leaders by providing economically disadvantaged students with skills training, leadership development, counselling, mentoring, internships, and career services. The Scholars Program has committed nearly 40,000 scholarships to date.

Established in 2013, the University of Rwanda is the largest and most comprehensive higher education institution in Rwanda with a mission to produce transformative and highly enterprising leaders who contribute to building a more just and sustainable world.

“We are thrilled that the University of Rwanda has become a partner in the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program,” said Reeta Roy, President and CEO of the Mastercard Foundation. “The mission and programs of the University are inextricably linked to the country’s national goals. That’s why this partnership is especially compelling as it will be preparing young people for careers across multiple disciplines and for real-life problem-solving,” she added.

The new partnership will build the University of Rwanda’s capacity to deliver inclusive, blended learning and contribute to a robust knowledge ecosystem that supports new and meaningful pathways to work for young people. It is aligned with the Mastercard Foundation’s Young Africa Works strategy to enable 30 million young Africans, particularly young African women, to access dignified and fulfilling work by 2030.

“The University of Rwanda believes strongly in the vision of the Mastercard Foundation,” said University of Rwanda Vice Chancellor Professor Alexandre Lyambabaje. “That is why we made the decision to partner with the Foundation to scale up our efforts in training transformative leaders and highly enterprising graduates and prepare them to make meaningful change on the African continent. This program aligns with the Rwanda National Transformation Strategy and its impact will resonate at the University of Rwanda, among our stakeholders, and through the larger East African Community.”

The University of Rwanda joins a global network of 29 Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program Partners committed to ensuring that all young people, no matter their starting point in life, have an equal chance to obtain quality education and pursue their aspirations. 

www.mastercardfdn.org

University of Rwanda

BK’s IKOFI re-launched with delivery of phones to coffee farmers

Bank of Kigali Plc has re-launched its IKOFI digital product alongside a partnership with RWACOF, a Rwandan-based coffee exporter working with more than 86,000 farmers to raise their farming methods. 

The partnership will see 11,000 telephones distributed to small holder coffee farmers,  facilitating them to use IKOFI wallet and boost their financial access through technology. 

The financial digitalization access move is in line with the bank’s strategy and overall commitment to digitize agriculture while providing convenient services to farmers in their day to day operations. 

“Through our partnership with RWACOF, Bank of Kigali will enable coffee farmers to embrace cashless means of payment because we believe in digital transformation for everybody including farmers. We are confident that the 11,000 telephones given to coffee farmers today will significantly improve their daily activities hence allowing them to adopt a more digital lifestyle,” noted Dr. Diane Karusisi Bank of Kigali’s Chief Executive Officer during her remarks. 

Unlike other wallets, IKOFI opens up a pathway to the banking ecosystem, as the farmers get access to financial services digitally and in the near future, their credit application requirements will be processed. 

Max Veglio, the Managing Director of RWACOF, appreciated BK’s efforts for opening up the doors for small holder coffee farmers to access financial services.

“We have realized, lack of access to technology as a key barrier to our growth as farmers, but BK’s initiative marks an important step in the journey, having accepted to scrap off the transfer charges during payments and ease the loan application requirements,” he observed.

In a bid to support farmers, the Bank has an already existing partnership with Smart Nkunganire System (SNS), through which farmers are enabled to easily pay for agro-inputs through IKOFI.

In the journey to digitise the coffee value chain, Bank of Kigali through Smart Kungahara System (SKS), a digital platform developed by BK Techouse in partnership with NAEB equips its stakeholders with the most indispensable tool to link all stakeholders involved in the value chain in Rwanda, thus enabling proper standardized data reporting.

On his part, Angelo Munezero, a representative from the Ministry of ICT and innovation commended BK’s initiative which is in line with the government’s ambitious plan to provide full financial access through technology to Rwandan citizens. 

Bank of Kigali through IKOFI integration with Smart Kungahara System (SKS) is expected to serve more than 300 coffee washing stations, with a target market size of more than 400,000 coffee farmers, hence driving the use of cashless payment in the coffee sector, ultimately speeding up the financial inclusion journey in coffee value chain. 

Currently, 1,767 agro dealers and 263,691 farmers are active IKOFI wallet users benefiting from the service by digitally paying for their agro-inputs through mobile phones, conveniently paying for other services such as Irembo, RRA, WASAC, all done through *334*2#. 

www.bk.rw

ESOA and Smart Africa partner to advance digital transformation in Africa

ESOA, the EMEA Satellite Operators Association and the Smart Africa Alliance (Smart Africa) are pleased to announce their partnership with a view to advance Africa’s digital transformation.

ESOA and Smart Africa will collaborate on digital transformation and innovation initiatives across the continent. The aim of the partnership is to achieve the goals on coverage and connectivity with satellite solutions across Africa in education, healthcare, research and development and other essential fields within Smart Africa Member States. The organisations will collaborate on common activities supporting the development of the space and satellite industry in Africa through sharing best practices in satellite regulation and implementation, showcasing successful use cases within Africa and leveraging the knowledge base on satellite services deployment in Africa.

Smart Africa is an alliance of 32 African countries, international organisations and global private sector players tasked with Africa’s digital agenda. With a vision to create a single digital market in Africa by 2030, the Smart Africa Alliance brings together Heads of State who seek to accelerate the digitalization of the continent and create a common market. Launched in 2013 by 7 African Heads of State, the Alliance now has 32 member countries, representing over 815 million people and over 40 Private Sector members committed to the vision and the advancement of Africa.

ESOA represents 22 global and regional satellite operators and is recognised as the representative body for satellite operators by international, regional, and national bodies including regulators, policymakers, standards-setting organisations such as 3GPP, the International Telecommunication Union and the World Economic Forum. ESOA works to foster a better understanding of the benefits of satellite communications for economies the world over and how favourable political, regulatory, and industrial frameworks can help policymakers leverage their strengths. ESOA leads the sector’s response to global challenges and opportunities. It offers a unified voice for the world’s largest operators, important regional operators and other companies that engage in satellite-related activities.

Mr Lacina Koné, Director General and CEO of Smart Africa commented: “The partnership will be a key milestone in driving thought-leadership for the satellite industry. We look forward to seeing mutually beneficial results for Smart Africa Member States in satellite communication arising from this partnership.”

Ms Holla-Maini, ESOA Secretary General noted: “Smart Africa is recognised for its leadership in Africa. We are looking forward to working in this partnership to make a tangible difference to the lives of African citizens and in turn to African economies.”

www.smartafrica.org

MTN Group announces new mobile money partnership with Flutterwave across Africa

MTN is pleased to announce a mobile money partnership with Africa’s leading payments technology company, Flutterwave. This partnership will allow businesses integrating Flutterwave in Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Rwanda, Uganda and Zambia to receive payments via MTN Mobile Money (MoMo). 

MTN MoMo is a fintech platform providing consumers and businesses with an electronic wallet, enabling electronic transfers and payments as well as access to digital and financial services. At the end of June 2021, MTN MoMo had 48.9 million active users and 581,514 merchants. MoMo enables businesses to accept and make payments within the mobile money ecosystem. This new partnership will enable Flutterwave to offer MTN Mobile Money as a payment method to its business customers.

In recent years, Africa has witnessed an explosion in mobile penetration as smartphone adoption has risen rapidly. According to the GSMA, this year Africa will hit the half a billion mark of unique mobile subscribers and the continent will reach 50% subscriber penetration by 2025. Sub-Saharan Africa alone is responsible for more than 45% of the world’s mobile money accounts with the number of account holders exceeding half a billion by 2020, as shared on Statista.

Through this partnership, MTN and Flutterwave will positively contribute to this trend by increasing mobile money usage and penetration in Africa to improve local economies and livelihoods as well as create opportunities for individuals and businesses across the continent.

Commenting on the partnership, Serigne Dioum, MTN Group Chief Digital and Fintech Officer said: “As we progress on our journey to becoming the largest fintech platform in Africa, we will empower millions of businesses to embrace e-commerce in our markets to accept digital payments from MoMo consumers. We believe this is an enabler to accelerating digitized payments in Africa. Building strong ecosystems through partnerships is central to our platform strategy and we will continue to invest in expanding the reach of our platform to consumers and businesses in Africa.”   

Commenting on the collaboration, Olugbenga “GB” Agboola, Founder and CEO of Flutterwave, said: “Africa has one of the highest growth rates for mobile money adoption and e-commerce in the world. It makes sense that we help provide a seamless payment method to support and ensure African businesses reap the full benefits of the e-commerce boom in the region. Our goal has always been to grow a new wave of prosperity in Africa by creating more avenues for businesses in Africa to accept payments. With this partnership, we can achieve this while creating endless possibilities for our customers.” 

The new partnership will further expand on Flutterwave’s previous collaboration with MTN, beyond Uganda and Rwanda – with the potential of deepening adoption of digital payments and e-commerce in Africa, a sector expected to reach $29 billion by 2022, according to Statista. 

www.mtn.com

Introducing Incentro Africa Google Bootcamp: Now available online for free

Incentro and Digicloud have organized a Google bootcamp for both professionals and students. The bootcamp will be run by Google certified engineers and architects from both Kenya and South Africa.

Successful students at the end of the program will sit for an exam and get Google Cloud Certified – attaining one of the most coveted industry recognition, allowing them to validate their expertise and take their careers to the next level. Incentro will also provide the successful candidates with an opportunity to join the team for at the Nairobi office, that will deliver great Google Cloud solutions to the African market.

See program details in the attachments below:

Google Cloud Architect/Security Engineer
Google Collaboration Engineer

This bootcamp is perfect for both undergraduates pursuing an I.T. related degree or diploma or an I.T. professional looking to advance their careers.

Interested?

Sign up by completing these exams and forward the results to googlebootcamp@incentro.com.

Registration closes on 15th September.

See you online! 

For any questions reach out to Matthew Munyiri – matthew.munyiri@incentro.com.

Global cloud computing services industry to reach $937.5 billion by 2027, report

Amid the COVID-19 crisis, the global market for Cloud Computing Services estimated at $313.1 Billion in the 2020, is projected to reach a revised size of $937.5 Billion by 2027, growing at a Compound annual growth rate, CAGR, of 17% over the analysis period 2020-2027.

Infrastructure as a Service, one of the segments analyzed in the report, is projected to record a 18.4% CAGR and reach US$449.3 Billion by the end of the analysis period. 

After an early analysis of the business implications of the pandemic and its induced economic crisis, growth in the Platform as a Service segment is readjusted to a revised 16.2% CAGR for the next 7-year period.

The Cloud Computing Services market in the U.S. is estimated at US$84.2 Billion in the year 2020. China, the world’s second largest economy, is forecast to reach a projected market size of US$222.5 Billion by the year 2027 trailing a CAGR of 22.1% over the analysis period 2020 to 2027. 

Among the other noteworthy geographic markets are Japan and Canada, each forecast to grow at 12% and 15.1% respectively over the 2020-2027 period. Within Europe, Germany is forecast to grow at approximately 13.4% CAGR.

In the global Software as a Service segment, USA, Canada, Japan, China and Europe will drive the 14.2% CAGR estimated for this segment. These regional markets accounting for a combined market size of US$57.7 Billion in the year 2020 will reach a projected size of US$145.7 Billion by the close of the analysis period.

China will remain among the fastest growing in this cluster of regional markets. Led by countries such as Australia, India, and South Korea, the market in Asia-Pacific is forecast to reach US$145.6 Billion by the year 2027, while Latin America will expand at a 16.8% CAGR through the analysis period.

www.researchandmarkets.com

Ayoba launches a continent wide campaign ‘Life inside ayoba’

MTN in partnership with ayoba has launched a dynamic media campaign entitled: ‘Life inside ayoba’ that will bring the African super app to life. The campaign brings together all the features of the ‘super app’ including chat, voice and video calling, channels, music via playlists, gaming, micro apps and payment facilities (only in certain territories).

The campaign is set to launch in early September and is designed to highlight the simplicity of the app, and the advantages a user gains in using all the exciting features.

“Ayoba is a strategic platform for MTN as it harnesses Africa’s unique digital ecosystem and context. We believe it to be a triple play opportunity to advance free messaging, content distribution and e-commerce powered by an open platform. Made in Africa for the World, ayoba is highly localised and tailored for African and Middle East consumer needs. This campaign is perfect for our markets, its vibrant and relevant and is sure to appeal to all who use it, ” says Serigne Dioum, Group Chief Digital and Fintech Officer.

Digital revenue increased by 23.8%* at half year, supported by the greater uptake of our services. In the period, our instant messaging platform ayoba, recorded 8.0 million monthly active users, an addition of 2.5 million since December 2020. It has now been integrated into 18 MTN markets.

Our goal is to reach 19 million monthly active users (MAUs) by 2021 and 100m by 2025. Our plan is to leverage MTN existing base to scale up quickly and then grow as OTT player in new markets

The ayoba TV campaign is supported by radio, localised to each broadcast territory as well as outdoor, print and on-ground activations through our unique trade tool. The message is simple – ayoba has everything you need “all-in-one app”. 

“There is a need to go above the line to raise the awareness of ayoba. We strongly believe that our app will appeal to many in Africa and the Middle East and provides digital solutions to the day-to-day life of the consumer.  In building the campaign we looked at what unites our African users, rather than what divides them.  We had to show users that they can find everything they need in our all-in-one app.  This approach has brought us a textured and innovative campaign, and we are very proud of it. We excited to launch the campaign with the full support of MTN’” says Burak Akinci, Chief Executive Officer of Simfy (ayoba).

2021 has been a fast-paced year so far for the messaging app, Ayoba celebrated its second year in operation in May 2021 and recorded 8 million monthly active users as of July 2021 across MTN’s 18 markets.

Ayoba is accelerating not only digital inclusion but also financial inclusion, MTN MoMo has been integrated into ayoba in select markets including Ghana, Uganda, Cameroon, and Congo Brazzaville. 

Ayoba has recently receive the award for Best OTT Brand of the Year at the Marketing World Awards 2021.  This adds to the 2020 win for ayoba at the Africa Digital Award for Best Mobile Application in November 2020.

www.mtn.com

Rwanda Coding Academy received Frw 7.1 billion support from Koica

The Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) signed the Record of Discussion (R/D) with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning and the Ministry of Education for the implementation of the Rwanda Coding Academy (RCA) Capacity Development Project worth US$ 7.1 million (approximately Frw 7.1 billion). The Government of Rwanda will provide the counterpart funding of US$ 800,000 for the project, making the total value of project US$ 7.9 million or approximately Frw 7.9 billion.

The signing ceremony was virtually held in observance of the current health measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and the R/D was signed by Dr. Uzziel NDAGIJIMANA, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Dr. Valentine UWAMARIYA, Minister of Education and Mr. CHON Gyong Shik, Country Director of KOICA Rwanda Office. 

“We thank the Government of the Republic of Korea for partnering with us in this important project to enhance software skills development in Rwanda. This support comes to support our National Strategy for Transformation Pillar, with a focus on making Rwanda a Globally Competitive Knowledge –based Economy”, Minister NDAGIJIMANA said

Minister Uwamariya noted that: “This project will make Rwanda Coding Academy a center of excellence in Software Development which will be providing our students with high quality practical skills as required by the software industry at both national and international level, and this will hugely contribute to the national aspiration of making our country a regional ICT hub”.

“KOICA has three priority sectors in Rwanda, agriculture, education, and ICT, and this project cuts across the two important sectors, education and ICT,” said Mr. CHON Gyong Shik, Country Director of KOICA Rwanda Office. “As the main development agency of the Korean government, through this project, we will contribute to the GoR’s education and economic development plans as well as the achievement of SDG 4.” 

RCA opened in 2019, benchmarking the model of Korea’s Software Meister High School, with the goal of developing competent software developers who can promote industrial and economic development of Rwanda. Since its birth, the school has accepted two intakes of students totaling to 118. The third intake is slated for September this year. 

With KOICA’s intervention, RCA will be equipped with high quality infrastructure and equipment as well as capacity to provide specialized education programs to students. It will ultimately benefit the students who are at the heart of RCA’s mission and contribute to the Sustainable Development Goal 4; Education for All. 

Since 1991, KOICA has been implementing its grant aid programs in Rwanda, disbursing about USD 150 million through various projects and capacity building programs. KOICA Rwanda Office was officially opened in 2011. KOICA currently has over 10 on-going projects in Rwanda in education, agriculture and ICT sectors. With the outbreak of COVID-19, KOICA also supported Government in response to the pandemic by providing a mobile testing vehicle, walk-through testing booths and personal protective equipment (PPE) worth about USD 1 million.

www.minecofin.gov.rw