KW 26: Africa could be hit particularly hard by the pandemic, Nigeria wants to save startups, SMEs and create one million tech jobs, African startups can apply for 2nd edition of Inclusive Fintech 50

– NEWS –

Covid-19: Experts warn that Africa could be hit particularly hard by the pandemic: Many African countries were able to stop the coronavirus from spreading through early containment measures such as border closures and lockdowns. In the beginning, it took 98 days to reach the first 100,000 cases. Meanwhile, the number of infections is steadily increasing and the WHO announced last week that the number of cases had doubled from 100,000 to 200,000 in just 18 days. The main reason for this is the difficulty of maintaining lockdowns in poorer countries. The first peak is expected in Cape Town in July. There were 38,545 cases in the port city on Saturday, and 87,715 nationwide.

Nigeria wants to save startups, SMEs and create one million tech jobs: Nigeria wants to implement a number of measures that could affect its tech ecosystem as part of its economic sustainability plan for the post-pandemic period. These include plans to create over one million tech jobs, support for startups critically affected by the pandemic, and the activation of provisions of Nigeria’s Finance Act. So far, several startups and small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) have been adversely affected by the pandemic, leaving several of them in urgent need of investments in order to prevent a total shutdown. Many individuals have been forced to endure unpaid leave, the loss of a job or a total crippling of their businesses. The government wants to also create one million jobs in outsourcing by training youth to leverage on digital initiatives in sectors such as entertainment, financial services, e-commerce, and education among others.

Nigerian medical startup launches online medical market: First Medtrade aims to empower hospitals with a reliable and continent way of purchasing medical consumables that are critical in saving the lives of patients across Nigerian health facilities. The startup uses its platform to provide medical consumables ranging from cardiac, orthotics, radiology, orthopedic, and prosthetic implants, several other tools, and devices. Currently, most healthcare facilities are stretched due to Covid-19 prompting a need for specialized medical consumables. First Medtrade has formed strategic partnerships with manufacturers of medical consumables around the world. Hospitals and other health facilities across Nigeria only have to visit the First Medtrade website, submit a request, receive a quote, then finalize payment. The consumables are then delivered to their preferred location.

African startups can apply for 2nd edition of Inclusive Fintech 50: The global initiative Inclusive Fintech 50 is now accepting applications for Fintechs driving innovation and providing financial services for the underbanked or non-banked population. In its second year of operation, IF50 seeks to identify a cohort of 50 high-potential, early-stage, and innovative fintech startups driving financial inclusion and resilience for the 3 billion financially underserved people worldwide. The initiative brings selected Fintechs together with investors while developing industry insights from aggregated and anonymized applicant data. Selected Fintechs have the opportunity to connect with peers and position themselves for investment through connections to investors. Two of the selected Fintechs will also receive cash prizes of $25,000 based on the judging panel’s assessment of their contributions to the underserved.

Ice Age between China and African countries? China has recently shown itself to be a good friend and supplier of aid as part of a diplomatic offensive during the coronavirus crisis in Africa. China’s anti-colonial struggle has included sending doctors to Africa since the 1960s. Chinese diplomats and embassies have also significantly increased their presence on Twitter in the past two years. China is now trying to position itself as a strong leader in the crisis, explains China-Africa expert Cobus van Staden from the South African Institute of International Affairs. In his opinion, the two countries’ relationship has changed steadily in the past decades. And he believes that it will mature.

DRC president’s chief of staff found guilty of corruption: A court in the Democratic Republic of Congo has found President Felix Tshisekedi’s chief of staff guilty of corruption. Vital Kamerhe was sentenced to 20 years’ hard labor on Saturday, after facing charges of embezzling almost $50m of public funds. Much of the missing funds were intended to be used in a housing project announced by the president following his inauguration. Kamerhe will also be banned for running for the presidency for 10 years after completing his sentence. Kamerhe’s supporters say the trial is a political move designed to prevent him from standing for president. The judge presiding over the case was murdered in May.

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Many young people are reorienting themselves in the pandemic: The pandemic has undermined progress especially for young people: schools and universities are closed, jobs are breaking down. But that doesn’t stop many from getting involved with local, innovative solutions to solve the problems caused by the coronavirus. David Avido Ochieng, for example, wants to curb the spread of the virus in his community. The 24-year-old designer from Nairobi has started a project financed by donations and aid, with which he has already distributed thousands of masks in his neighborhood. He has trained 17 women and teenagers so far. A mask against the virus is a luxury for many people, since they have to make do with less than a dollar a day. A family has to decide between a mask or food, explains Ochieng. For this reason, he distributes them for free. The Kenyan is one example of many who have found a way through the current situation. Lethukuthula Khoza from Johannesburg, who normally sells souvenirs to tourists, is now doing sales on the internet. Yoga teacher Tidimalo Sehlako gives free digital yoga classes. During the practice sessions, she wears clothes made by her own fashion label – which is now being seen by more potential buyers.

Rwanda – a great green growth investment: Two webinars, organized by the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) in partnership with Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA) as part of an agreement between the Italian and Rwandan environment ministries, were held this month. The online discussions were aimed at facilitating green technology transfer and creating partnerships between companies from Italy and Rwanda. The director of operations at the Private Sector Federation of Rwanda, Yosam Kiiza, said the organization was keen on investments that will deliver green growth solutions primarily in public health, air quality, and environmental restoration as well as creating sustainable jobs in tourism, transport, agriculture and manufacturing.

Nile dam: Ethiopia turns off the tap: Egypt wants the UN Security Council to intervene in its longstanding dispute with Ethiopia about a Nile dam. Cairo fears that Ethiopia’s move to fill the dam’s reservoir will reduce Egypt’s supply of water. The construction of the giant $4.8 billion hydroelectric power plant in Ethiopia, which began in 2010, is expected to be completed in 2022. The initial filling of the dam is planned for July, according to authorities in Addis Ababa. Talks about the use of the precious Nile water have been at a dead end for years. Shortly after the end of the latest round of negotiations in the ongoing conflict over the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), the main counterparts — Egypt and Ethiopia — started blaming each other.

Extensive grass steppes in Madagascar: Grasslands in Madagascar are diverse and therefore worthy of protection. They were created not just by ruthless deforestation, but would have existed regardless in the central highlands, according to scientists from the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew in London and the Université d’Antananarivo. In their investigation, they came to the conclusion that there are two biotope types, each with their own species inventory. It turns out that, like on the African mainland, the grass steppes were mainly the results of fire or grazing. The researchers plead that the extensive grass steppes, which would have been characteristic of Madagascar’s central highlands for millions of years, be regarded as biotopes worth protecting.


There are currently 87,715 coronavirus cases in South Africa.


“We hope that we will not need mass graves.”

Dr. Zahid Badroodien, Cape Town City Council, talks about the increase in new coronavirus infections.


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