Tech Top 5 News
The Blockchain ecosystem in Africa has continued to be on the rise as the adoption of cryptocurrency continues to soar in Africa. Blockchain companies in Africa have raked in $304 million in funding in the first half of the year.
According to reports by the African Blockchain 2021, funding grew by 1,668 per cent, rising from $5.1 million to $91 million between Q1 2021 and 2022.
The report also explained that the lack of common legacy financial systems and an enormous population, primarily unbanked citizens contributed to the popularity and growth of cryptocurrencies on the continent.
Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa have received the largest venture capital inflow of cryptocurrency.
Crypto-centric payments too have been growing, surging by 1,200 per cent between July 2020 and June 2021.
Commenting on the trends, Ian Putter, Standard Bank’s Head Blockchain COE and Blockchain Research Institute Africa Regional Director, Ian Putter said, “Countries like South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, and Ghana have seen a rapid uptake of crypto assets to access more efficient payment trails provided by blockchain networks and yield returns on income with assets like Bitcoin or stablecoins pegged to the value of the US dollar.”
10, 722,886 Phishing Attacks Reported in Africa in Q2
Cyber-attacks rose significantly in Africa in the year’s second quarter, with 10,722,886 phishing attacks detected.
This is according to a recent analysis conducted by Kaspersky, a multinational cybersecurity solutions and digital privacy company.
Phishing is a type of social engineering where an attacker sends a fraudulent or fake message designed to trick a person into revealing sensitive information to the attacker.
Phishing and scam attacks related to data loss threats hit Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa the hardest. Kaspersky data revealed attacks related to data loss threats have grown by 234 per cent in Africa in the second quarter of 2022.
Kaspersky security solutions detected 5,098,534 phishing attacks in Kenya, a 438 per cent increase compared to the previous quarter.
This was followed by South Africa with a total of 4,578,216 attacks, 144 per cent higher than the previous quarter.
A total of 1,046,136 detections were recorded for Nigeria at a growth of 174 per cent above the level recorded in the first quarter of 2022.
Kaspersky researchers further observed that phishers deploy a variety of tricks to bypass email blocking and lure as many users as possible to their fraudulent sites.
Amazon Prime Video Launches in Nigeria
Global video streaming subscription service, Amazon Prime Video has launched its streaming services in the country.
Customers in Nigeria can now sign up for Prime Video in naira, and the Prime Video membership will cost N2,300 ($4) per month after a seven-day trial.
According to the tech giant, launching the localised version of its service is aimed at boosting its subscriber push in new markets like Africa by increasing its investment in local production, unveiling slates of localised originals, and introducing discounted Amazon Prime membership offerings to customers.
Amazon Prime Video launched in Africa in 2016 as part of its global push across more than 200 countries worldwide, bringing some serious competition to Netflix’s global plan launched that same year. However, versions of the service available in the region have never featured the local-language interfaces, subtitling, and original content offerings typical in more developed markets.
In a tweet, the company said that customers in Nigeria could stream more than 20,000 original TV shows and movies within its ecosystem, such as ‘The Boys’, ‘Al.l or Nothing’, ‘Reacher’ and ‘All the Old Knives’.
First-time users in Nigeria will be able to subscribe to Prime Video using their local currency, and unlike how most have accessed the platform for region-specific content in the past, they would not require a VPN to stream content on the service.
Prime Video has also been collaborating with filmmakers and content creators in Nigeria regarding producing original and licensed content.
“From local payment and a full-scale local marketing campaign to more local content specifically for Nigerian customers, our investment in Nigeria is a significant step towards our broader expansion plans in Africa and our ambition to be the most local of global streaming services,” said the Director of International Expansion, Prime Video, Josh McIvor.
They also have plans to launch in other markets like South Africa.
Energy-tech Company, Beacon Power, Closes $2.7 Million Round
Energy-tech start-up Beacon Services (BPS) recently closed a $2.7 million seed round funding.
The company, which provides energy management software and analytics for utilities and mini-grid operators, said the new funding would enable it to improve its current products and expand into new markets beyond Nigeria and Ghana.
The company’s seed round was led by Seedstars Africa Ventures with participation from Persistent Energy, Kepple Africa Ventures, Factor[e] and Oridun Capital Management.
In a statement, the founder and CEO, Bimbola Adisa, explained that to improve the quality and duration of electricity supplied to Africa’s cities, BPS creates smart grids across the continent and uses data to reduce the considerable inefficiencies in the electricity distribution systems.
Speaking on how the company’s solutions will help Africa, Adisa said, “Africa is home to the fastest growing cities in the world, but when most people think of energy access in Africa, they think of the rural areas with little or no access to electricity at all. However, it is impossible for Africa to develop without significantly improving electricity access and reliability across its major cities.”
MEST Africa Opens Application for $50,000 Africa Challenge
MEST Africa has officially announced the opening of applications for the 2022 MEST Africa Challenge.
Early-stage technology start-ups in Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, Kenya, and South Africa can apply to receive $50,000 in funding when they participate in the competitions slated to hold in October 2022.
Two finalists will be selected from each country to participate in the final Demo Day Pitch event to be held in Accra, Ghana, for the ultimate prize of $50,000 in equity.
Entries will be accepted till August 30, 2022 through the competition’s online application portal.
MEST Africa’s Director of Portfolio, Melissa Nsiah, said, “We are excited to bring back this competition to give more African Start-ups a platform to display and build on their unique value in an era where African start-ups and innovations are taking centre stage and gaining global recognition and investments. We look forward to an invigorating season that will increase the drive towards building better businesses in Africa.”
Run by a pan-African training programme, seed fund, incubator and hub, MEST Africa, the MEST Africa Challenge (MAC) is Africa’s go-to pitch competition for technology start-ups looking to get to the next level of their growth journey. The challenge provides a stage for technology start-ups to raise funding, build industry networks and gain international visibility that would serve them well in growing and expanding their businesses.
The competition has received thousands of applications from around the continent since its inception. It has spotlighted and impacted the growth of winning start-ups such as Nigeria’s Accounteer, Ghana’s OZE, and South Africa’s Snode Technologies.
Tech Personality of The Week:
This week’s tech personality is Honey Ogundeyi. She is the founder and CEO of Edukoya.
Edukoya is a free learning application that helps students learn key subjects and prepare for school and university entrance exams.
The app builds online education content and offers online tutoring for students and their parents.
Edukoya has raised a total of $3.5 million in funding over one round. This was a pre-seed round raised on December 15, 2021. The startup is funded by nine investors, with Target Global and Shola Akinlade being the most recent investors.
Ogundeyi is enthusiastic about using technology to uplift Africa. She is also the founder of fashpa.com, an e-commerce platform for African Fashion. The platform connects global buyers to small and medium-sized fashion brands and artisans across Africa.
According to the techpreneur, the vision is to redefine learning for a new generation by connecting every African to high-quality education.
In 2018, Ogundeyi was appointed to Facebook SME Council for Nigeria. In 2016, she was listed by the World Economic Forum as one of the top 10 innovators in Africa, 10 most influential young Nigerians under 40 in technology. She was recognised as a One Young World Ambassador representing Nigeria.