Jumia and Techpoint to host NBA Superstar Investor, Andre Iguodala, in Nigeria

Jumia in conjunction with Techpoint would be bringing Andre Iguodala to Nigeria for an interactive session with some techpreneurs on September 11th 2019.

Andre Iguodala is an American Basketball Player and Silicon Valley Investor, with investments in Facebook, Twitter and Tesla.

Even more, he is a member of the Jumia board; he joined the Jumia Board of Directors earlier this year as an ambassador, charged with promoting business development and technology in Africa.

Themed “Moving from Zero to Growth”, the aim of the interactive session is to address issues around funding and investment for local startups.

Andre is to lead the session, sharing his experience on how he has built his portfolio as an investor, and also offer insights on how local founders can successfully position their business for growth.

If you are a founder, local investor, hub owner or accelerator, then this interactive session is particularly for you. However, though the attendance for the event is free, Jumia and Techpoint  would be largely  involved in selecting those eligible to attend.

The session begins by 12:00 pm, on September 11, and the event venue will be communicated to shortlisted applicants.

If you are interested in attending this session, follow this link to register.

 

CcHub’s Pitchdrive Tech Tour Second Edition: Ten African Startups Participating in the Pitchdrive Asia

The Co-Creation Hub’s Pitchdrive tech tour second edition kicked off today. Ten selected African startups, who utilise hardware and deep technology tools in their businesses, are participating in this tech tour.

CcHUB, the leading technology innovation centre in Nigeria and Google for Startups announced the launch of the PitchDrive II in April this year. This edition is a three-week, five-city Asian tech tour across Singapore, Shenzhen, Hong Kong, Seoul, and Tokyo.

The PitchDrive kicked off today with a target is to bring 10 elite African hardware and advanced technology startups together to discover and engage Asian suppliers and manufacturing partners.

The startups will be interacting with deep tech and hardware communities in Singapore, Japan, China, Hong Kong and South Korea. They are to engage in pitching events, seek out collaborations, partnerships and potential investment opportunities to help them grow further and scale their businesses.

Speaking on this, the Director of Incubation at CcHUB said, “We find that there’s a lot of interest from Asia in Africa and we believe there are opportunities for collaboration that could help strengthen the hardware and deep tech ecosystem in Africa.

Selected from a highly competitive pool of over 200 applicants from across Africa, the participating startups are: Moroccan safety IoT device company Casky; Rwandan smart transport solution company, AC Group;  Nigeria’s Gricd Frij, a cold chain technology for transportation of healthcare and agricultural produce; Access Afya, a Kenyan primary healthcare social enterprise using technology to deliver affordable and effective health access;  Ugandan CHIL AI Lab which leverages AI to improve cancer diagnostic services; and Taeillo, a Nigerian furniture and design company that leverages mixed reality to improve customer experience.

Others include Enova Robotics from Tunisia which specialises in mobile robot development for security purposes; Flare, a Kenyan uber-like company which aggregates ambulance/emergency options for easy access; LIFI-LED, an Ivorian energy startup providing electricity and internet connectivity to difficult-to-access communities, and Nigeria’s Reliance HMO, which employs a consortium of tools to make health insurance accessible and affordable.

This CcHUB tech tour edition is supported by Google For Startups; Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO); ICT and Innovation ministry (Rwanda); German Society for International Cooperation [GIZ]; TechCabal, the media company in charge of curating the tour in images, film and text which will culminate in a documentary production to be aired at the end of the tour; Keppel Capital, MainOne, Future Hub, Found8, and CoCoon.

 

Bosun Tijani AFCFTA Ecosystem Meetup in Kigali: Ezekwesili Addresses African Youths on Making AFCFTA a Success

Yesterday, August 15 2019, over 80 people from 30 African countries gathered in Kigali, the Rwandan capital to discuss the creation of a solid framework to guarantee the success of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AFCFTA)

The AFCFTA is a trade agreement signed by all 54 African countries in Kigali, Rwanda on 21 March 2018. It entered its operational phase on 7 July, 2019 at a summit in Niger. The goal is to unite 1.3 billion people, create a $3.4 trillion economic bloc, remove 90% of tariff on goods across the continent, and heat up commerce within the continent itself.

According to the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, “The success of the AFCFTA will be the real test to achieve the economic growth that will turn our people’s dream of welfare and quality of life into a reality

On day one of the two-day summit held at the Co-creation Hub’s Design Lab, industry leaders in the technology and creative ecosystems were in attendance. The choice of Kigali as the location is significant, as it was there in March 2018 that almost 50 countries signed the AFCFTA agreement.

In an interview with TechCabal last week, Bosun Tijani, the founder of CcHub, said, “the aim of the meet-up is to come together as dual industries to iron out details and make a concerted effort to ensure readiness ahead of the July 2020 flag-off.”

The opening address was given by Tijani where he urged participants to seize what could be a momentous moment in African history, before going on to introduce the panellists for the first session. The panellists were Vuyisa Qabaka of South Africa, Simeon Umukori, Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, and Ojoma Ochai of Nigeria, and Norbert Haguma from Rwanda.

The topics discussed by the panel ranged from what it means to be African, the various issues that need to be tackled for the success of AFCFTA, to the role of governments across Africa.

The outstanding moment of the panel occurred when Aboyeji, of Andela and Flutterwave, said young people need to take matters into their own hands and not wait for government intervention. According to him, “This is a grassroots movement. If we wait for the government, the agreement won’t work. We’ll wait forever.”

After the panel, Oby Ezekwesili, a one-time education minister in Nigeria and former World Bank Vice President gave a keynote speech.

In a tweet yesterday, she said, “Rewarding time in Kigali today! I spoke @bosuntijani -led Ecosystem meetup that ‘kick-starts opportunities to demonstrate immediate value of the free trade agreement in a short space of time, while building significant businesses that can create unprecedented value’.”

In her speech, she was full of praise for the spirit of can-do possessed by African youth who organised the meet-up, saying that the success of the AFCTCA depends largely on the younger generation.

Following this, the head of TRwanda Development Board, Clare Akamanzi spoke of Rwanda’s commitment to being a haven for ideas, strategically placing itself as a proof of concept nation”

After her speech, the participants were allowed to split into two groups to work on effective communication strategies to be deployed, and how to interact with African government to formulate policies as regards the AFCFTA.

The meet-up continues today.

Gokada Shuts Down, Really? Here are the Reasons for the Shutdown – the Gokada 2.0 Initiative

Yes, the news is true. From Wednesday, August 14th 2019, the motorbike hailing service, Gokada, has partially shut down its operations after the CEO faced “operational” hurdles during a ride. All Gokada pilots are currently off the road and the Gokada app has been shut down.

A check on the Gokada app shows that it is currently undergoing maintenance work. A message on the app reads that, “Gokada is currently undergoing a scheduled relaunch of our service. We will be back online better than ever, August 26th! Sorry for the inconvenience.”

That’s right, Gokada is not shutting down permanently. Also, Gokada is not shutting down according to the perceived reasons of too much competition, insufficient funds, and what have you. According to the CEO and Co-Founder, Fahim Saleh, it all started when he took a trip which was supposed to last 5 mins from the Mainland Bridge to Victoria Island, but turned out to be 15 mins.

While narrating this disappointing experience, he asked some pertinent rhetorical questions, “How could I be the CEO of Gokada, the company that pioneered motorcycle ride-haili9ng in Nigeria and be experiencing this?”

Speaking further, he said, “I was disappointed in Gokada but most of all, I was disappointed in myself. I told the pilot to pull over to the side of the road, I would hop over the median and wait for an Uber. ‘This is what it has come to,’ I thought

The problem Saleh faced is not uncommon among users of the various ride-hailing platforms in Nigeria. Even with the Google Maps for navigation, this problem is still prevalent. What’s more, some drivers are known for the uncouth act of taking longer routes to the destination in a bid to maximise profit.

As a way forward, Saleh, after his criticisms, have said that there will be a change in the perception of bike taxi in terms of convenience, safety and transparency, starting from Gokada. He further announced the Gokada 2.0 initiative which involve;

  • brand new bikes of much better quality
  • Drivers retrained on hygiene, customer service, navigation use and driving
  • New Bluetooth helmets, adhering to maximum speeds and all traffic laws
  • Happier Drivers

Apologising to users on the temporary shutdown, Saleh said, “Big problems require big solutions. We’re sorry for the inconvenience this may cause you in the short term. But in the long run, we firmly believe that when you want to get somewhere fast, safe, and hassle-free – there won’t be any other app you’d want to open than Gokada. Stay safe. Stay green

Read Full Story of Saleh Experience

In a medium post, Fahim Saleh narrated his full experience,

“Well, a little over a week ago I had taken a Gokada hoping to avoid traffic to get to the mainland bridge from VI. From there I planned to take a car. I opened the Gokada app, requested, got a pilot, and waited patiently for him to arrive. I called to confirm my location which the pilot said he knew. 5 minutes pass by.. and the pilot had not moved. Another 5 minutes pass and the pilot was going in the wrong direction. After 15 minutes and three phone calls, the pilot finally arrived at which point I’m thinking it might have been faster to take a car all the way through. Upon questioning the pilot, I learned that he didn’t use GPS on his phone because the earplugs he had were broken. Irritated, I motioned him to get started with the ride as I was in a hurry. It should be pretty obvious how to get to the mainland bridge from VI, so I didn’t concern myself with providing him directions but I knew from Google Maps using the best route, it should only take 10–15 minutes. After about 15 minutes, we were still on the road. I hastily took out my phone and did a quick input of the directions to the bridge and realized we were still 15 minutes away. This pilot had taken a long route to get to the bridge, one that would have been completely avoided had he used the map. I motioned that I would direct him based on the Google Maps navigation. Unfortunately, just as we were about to reach the bridge I directed the pilot to a wrong turn which would have required us to turn all the way around. At this point, it was obvious that a car would have been much faster even with all the traffic.”

 

Uber Launches in the City of Benin – its Third Nigerian Location

The car ride-hailing company, Uber launched in Nigeria five years ago, and it has since then been operating in its administrative and commercial capitals. Recently, Uber launched UberX in the capital of Edo state, Benin, in Southern Nigeria.

Uber General Manager in West Africa, Lola Kassim, said, “We are happy to be launching the UberX product in Benin City, Edo State. We collaborated closely with the Government of Edo State on the launch because of a shared vision to promote innovation and create business and economic opportunities in the cities where we operate”

According to the company, users in Benin can now request rides to airport road, University of Benin, Kada plaza, and its surrounding axis. Uber says the UberX service is still in its testing mode, so there might be the occasional limited availability. However, the service is expected to run smoothly in a few weeks.

With the presence of Uber in Benin City, the company can now join its competitor, Bolt, for market share in the lower middle income city. Just like its outlet in Maryland Mall in Lagos, Uber unveiled its Greenlight Hub within the Edo Innovation Hub complex, which will be open Monday through Thursday, from 9am-4pm, and on Friday, from 9am-3pm, excluding public holidays.

The Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki, witnessed the launch, and came on the back of Uber to officially launch operations in the capital city. Represented by his wife Betsy Obaseki, Obaseki opined that the launch in Benin is one more proof that that State is taking giant steps to the next level of its economic transformation.