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Africa Code Week begins

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Africa Code Week (ACW) is under way after officially kicking off in Tanzania on Wednesday, with Government officials and hundreds of pupils from surrounding areas in attendance at live coding workshops.

UNESCO YouthMobile, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Cape Town Science Centre, the Galway Education Centre, and Google to declare the 2017 edition of Africa Code Week open across 35 countries. 500 000 children and youth aged 8-24 are participating in the thousands of free coding workshops that are being organised throughout the week. In the run-up to these events, thousands of teachers have been trained by skilled volunteers from SAP CSR EMEA and ACW Ambassadors across most participating countries.

With half a million young Africans engaged over the past two years, 15 Governments and over 100 partners on board already, Africa Code Week speaks volumes on the importance and impact of public-private partnerships in the digital age.

“Tanzania is a perfect example of how governments can leverage the Africa Code Week shared-value model and dynamic ecosystem to accelerate schools’ digital transformation and fast-track youth empowerment through ICT across entire nations,” said Claire Gillissen-Duval, Director of EMEA Corporate Social Responsibility at SAP and Global Project Lead for Africa Code Week.

Tanzania has grown faster than the average rate of growth in sub-Saharan Africa (6.9% compared to 4.9% growth rate since 2005) and key drivers for its path to transformation are centered around technology based innovation and improving skills.

“The use of ICT has increased considerably in recent years; it is a key foundation which will lift Africa out of poverty in a sustainable manner,” said Professor Joyce Ndalichako, Tanzanian Minister of Education, Science, Technology and Vocational Training, speaking at the event. “We are thankful to SAP and Africa Code Week partners for their support in our efforts to boost STEM skills development for our youth, and we look forward to empowering a new generation of digital innovators across Tanzania and Africa at large.”

Attending the first series of coding workshops organised for Tanzanian pupils ahead of the ceremony, the Irish Minister of State for the Diaspora and International Development, Ciaran Cannon, commented: “For the young generation to take advantage of the immense opportunities presented by the digital revolution, coding must become part of their daily learning journey: coding is the 21st century language and as with any other language, the earlier children learn it, the faster they become fluent.”

Celebrating more than a continent-wide education revolution in the making, the launch also shed light on the African female leaders who dedicate their life to improving digital skills and employment perspectives for girls in the digital century.

As part of the Africa Code Week, the German Federal Ministry for Cooperation and Development (BMZ) provides micro grants to 20 female tech leaders who organize coding workshops in 17 African countries specifically for girls.

“250 million fewer women than men have access to the internet. We need to take action to close this gap and make sure women and girls can benefit from the potentials of the digital revolution”, said Roland Lindenthal, Head of Division Education and Digital World at BMZ.  The engagement of the BMZ is part of the #eSkills4Girls initiative launched under the German G20 presidency. At their meeting in July, the G20 leaders committed to support digital skills of women and girls worldwide. To underline the political message, the BMZ takes action and supports the coding workshops and other activities to promote the participation of women in the digital economy.

Africa News

Africa phones go flat

Africa’s mobile phone market declined 2.1% quarter on quarter in Q3 2018 according to the latest figures from IDC.

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The global technology research and consulting firm newly released Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker shows overall shipments for the quarter totalled 52.6 million units, with feature phone shipments falling 2.7% QoQ and smartphone shipments declining 1.3% over the same period.

Transsion brands (Tecno, Infinix, and Itel) led the feature phone space in Q3 2018, with a combined unit share of 58.2%. Nokia was next in line with 11.7% share. Transsion, Samsung, and Huawei dominated the smartphone space with respective unit shares of 34.9%, 21.7%, and 10.2%. However, in value terms, Samsung led the smartphone market with 37.2% share, followed by Transsion (21.0%) and Huawei (13.0%).

There were differing fortunes in the region’s three major markets, with Nigeria suffering a heavy 11.6% QoQ decline in mobile phone shipments, while South Africa and Kenya saw respective QoQ growth of 8.5% and 7.9% in Q3 2018.

“The decline in Nigeria stemmed from a slowdown in government spending, ongoing warfare in the country’s northern states, and market uncertainty in the lead up to elections,” says George Mbuthia, a research analyst at IDC. “In South Africa, the market’s growth was spurred by the penetration of low-end devices from brands such as Mobicel, Mint, and Nokia, while the launch of entry-level smartphones helped drive growth in Kenya despite increases in taxes and fuel prices placing a significant burden on disposable income in the country.”

While feature phones remain steadfastly popular across Africa, particularly in more rural areas, consumers are increasingly being attracted by smartphone offerings from Chinese brands such as Xiaomi, Oppo, and Huawei, which are actively targeting feature-oriented customers at more economical price points.

“There is a new wave of Chinese brands aggressively pursuing growth opportunities in the region, while the more-established Huawei is also accelerating its marketing efforts and expanding its distribution budget,” says Ramazan Yavuz, a research manager at IDC. “These brands have quickly progressed along the learning curve and evolved their offerings to perfectly reflect the realities of the region by addressing the diverse pricing and feature needs of the consumer base.”

Looking ahead, IDC expects Africa’s overall mobile phone market to reach 58 million units in Q4 2018, spurred by the festive season and online consumer events such as Black Friday. The introduction of more affordable smartphones in the African market will help drive progress in this space over the coming quarters, while the share of feature phones will decline steadily as the transition to smartphones gathers momentum.

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Africa News

Mobile money to cross borders

Orange and MTN launch pan-African mobile money interoperability to scale up mobile financial services across Africa.

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Two of Africa’s largest mobile operators and mobile money providers, Orange Group and MTN Group, today announced a joint venture, Mowali (mobile wallet interoperability), to enable interoperable payments across the continent. Mowali makes it possible to send money between mobile money accounts issued by any mobile money provider, in real time and at low cost.

Mowali will immediately benefit from the reach of MTN Mobile Money and Orange Money, bringing together over 100 million mobile money accounts and mobile money operations in 22 of sub-Saharan Africa’s 46 markets. Mowali is ready to enable interoperability between digital financial service providers beyond MTN and Orange operations and markets, to support the existing 338 million mobile money accounts in Africa.

Mowali is a digital payment infrastructure that connects financial service providers and customers in one inclusive network. It functions as an industry utility, open to any mobile money provider in Africa, including banks, money transfer operators and other financial service providers.

The objective of Mowali is to increase the usage of mobile money by consumers and merchants.  Mowali enables money to circulate freely between mobile money accounts from any operators in all countries.  From the customer’s point of view, this means “I can pay or receive money anywhere from my mobile account regardless of my operator”. The system will unlock further innovation in the digital financial space within the continent. 

For Stéphane Richard, Chairman & CEO of Orange, “by providing full interoperability between platforms, Mowali will provide an important step forward that will allow mobile money to become a universal means of payment in Africa. Increasing financial inclusion through the use of digital technology is an essential element in furthering the economic development of Africa, particularly for more isolated communities. This solution embodies Orange’s ambition to be a leading player in the digital transformation of the continent. By joining forces with another of Africa’s market leaders, MTN, we aim to accelerate the pace of this transformation in a way that will change the lives of our customers by providing them with simpler, safer and more advantageous services. “

“One of MTN’s goals is to accelerate the penetration of mobile financial services in Africa, Mowali is one such vehicle that will help us achieve that objective. Furthermore, co-operation and partnerships that help us accelerate the pace of development and overcome some of the scale, scope and complexity of challenges that society faces are key. This partnership with Orange is therefore an important step in helping us play a meaningful role in supporting the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals related to eliminating extreme poverty and enhancing socio-economic development in the markets we operate in and beyond. Thus giving our customers access to a bright, digital future.” said Rob Shuter, Group President and CEO of MTN.

The GSMA supports the Mowali initiative as interoperability at this scale is a key accelerator for both financial inclusion and Mobile Money usability across Africa.  “Today, there are over 690 million mobile money accounts around the world. Mobile money services have become an essential, life-changing tool across Africa, providing access to safe and secure financial services but also to energy, health, education and employment opportunities. The creation of Mowali will help to further transform mobile financial services throughout the African region. It demonstrates the mobile industry’s continued leadership and commitment to driving financial inclusion and economic empowerment through industry collaboration. The GSMA is proud to support its development,” said Mats Granryd, Director General, GSMA.

“Interoperability of digital payments has been the toughest hurdle for the financial services industry to overcome, in support of financial inclusion. With Mowali, Orange and MTN deliver a solution that will enable them, and other companies, to scale digital financial services across Africa, faster, to everyone—including the poor,” said Kosta Peric, deputy director of Financial Services for the Poor, at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation “This is a signal that a new wave of innovation, which can help alleviate poverty and drive economic opportunity, is coming. We’re pleased to see an implementation of Mojaloop—an open source payment platform available to operators across the sector—help achieve that.”

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