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TikTok is working hard to increase its earnings, and eat into Google’s too!
In latest news, the short-form video-sharing platform is reportedly testing out a “Nearby Feed” option that will let users view TikToks from local creators close to them.
Think of it as Grindr Tinder but for cat videos, cringe dances, and cooking clips.
Image source: Brendan Gahan (Twitter)
Why’s this important? Well, Google recently reported that young people are increasingly using TikTok and Instagram to search for stuff. Instead of googling where they shop for clothes or eat out, GenZs are TikToking their way into discovering new things and places.
If TikTok does roll out the Nearby Feed, it could mean two things: local businesses may see an increase in patronage—and hasty reviews💀—while Google might find TikTok eating more and more into its Search product.
Twitter is already optimizing for this with the release of its Location Spotlight feature. Instagram also recently launched a new Maps feature that lets users search for businesses within their cities.
CRYPTO MARKET: BINANCE PLANS TO LAUNCH CRYPTO HUB IN CAMEROON
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* Data as of 06:15 AM WAT, August 25, 2022.
Binance, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency platforms, is on a roll in Africa.
It recently announced its new South African head—Hannes Wessels—and added the rand to its currency library.
Now, it’s partnering with Inoni Tech, a non-profit francophone Africa tech hub, to power crypto education in Cameroon with a new crypto hub.
The hub will be located in the Bastos region of Yaoundé, and it will provide internet connectivity to improve crypto literacy and adoption while providing global job opportunities and skill acquisition programs.
With 66.5% of Cameroon’s population without internet connectivity, Binance’s new hub is sure to bring innovation and knowledge to Cameroonians who need it.
MTN LAUNCHES 5G IN NIGERIA
5G is finally in Nigeria, but it’s not everywhere you go.
Yesterday, MTN Nigeria became the first telco in Nigeria to roll out the 5G mobile network.
ICYMI: Two telcos, MTN and Mafab Communications, won the auction for the 3.5GHz 5G spectrum in December 2021. By February 2022, both had completed payment of the $273.6 million license fee required by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC). At the time, both were given the deadline of August 24 to begin roll-outs, but only MTN was able to meet the deadline. Mafab, on the other hand, has been granted a 5-month extension by the NCC.
MTN commenced the roll-out by switching on the network in 190 sites across the country. The network is available in different sites across Nigeria’s major cities including Lagos, Abuja, Enugu, Port Harcourt, and Kano.
By October, it is expected that the 5G service will be operating in 500-600 sites across the country.
For now, mobile phone users will only be able to access the network if their phone makers deliver the update required to allow them access. For example, it is estimated that Samsung users will be able to access the service in a month while iPhone users might have to wait until October before the update is delivered to their phones.
With this, Nigeria joins Kenya, Zimbabwe, and South Africa as the fourth African country to have fully rolled out 5G. At least 14 more countries including Uganda, Madagascar and Gabon are running trials.
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AFRICA’S FIRST 4G/5G NETWORK SLICING
Image source: Techweez
Safaricom, Nokia, and some other partners have jointly executed Africa’s first ever 4G/5G fixed wireless access network slicing. It was done in Kenya on Safaricom’s live 4G and 5G networks.
What is network slicing?
Network slicing is like cutting your coat according to your size. But in this case, the network provider does it for you. The process of network slicing entails splitting one network into parts according to the needs or requirements of the end user of the network.
Big companies and services use computers and software that require higher network speeds than everyday consumers who use data for browsing and IMing. The needs of everyday consumers are different from big tech companies, so network slicing allows network operators and ISPs to divide a network into multiple virtual slices, which can be optimized to service the needs, priorities, and capabilities of a target application or service.
What’s in it for us?
We can’t speak for everyone, but Safaricom customers—both individuals and industries—can look forward to tailored services that meet their needs for high-speed connectivity precisely without “unnecessary” cost. Nokia is partnering with the telco to make it happen.
What about the rest of us?
Well, technology travels. The slicing technology will come cutting on your door soon just like the 5G technology has in Nigeria. Eight months after winning the 5G license in the country, telecommunications provider MTN activated its highly anticipated 5G service at 190 sites across the country. It hopes to cover about three times that by October. Now that Nigeria has joined South Africa and Kenya in the 5G race, how long till it starts slicing network?
AFYAREKOD TO DECENTRALIZE MEDICAL DATA FOR KENYANS
Management of medical data in Africa has been described by many as messy and disconnected.
Why? Because most African medicare facilities are hardly in sync with themselves, causing patients to register their medical data in numerous non-digitised systems. AfyaRekod is ready to change this narrative, and they have partnered with Medi-Science to do just that.
Wait, who controls the data?
Although doctors and hospitals will work together to host patients’ medical data on a digital app, the system is designed to make every patient the sovereign owner of their own medical records. This means that a patient working with, say, a new clinician would have their records available to the clinician only if they grant them access to it.
What if a patient’s data is stolen?!
Relax, your data is safe with us, is how AfyaRekod might want to answer this.
The patients’ data are not stored in some rusty office or a hackable hard drive. They are stored in the safest “vault” of the 21st century: the blockchain. Also, AfyaRekod claims that patients’ data are designed to be confidential on its systems.
Zoom out: A great plus to this disruption is the amount of money it saves users by canceling the repetition of medical tests. In a continent with citizens that have a generally low budget for healthcare, this is a much welcome innovation.
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ARABYADS RAISES $30 MILLION
Adtech startup ArabyAds has raised $30 million from AfricInvest’s Maghreb Private Equity Fund IV in a pre-Series B round. Arabyads, which was established in Egypt nine years ago, has tech hubs in Egypt, Tunisia and Jordan, in addition to its headquarters in the United Arab Emirates. The money will be used to expand into new MENA and African regions as well as other continents.
What ArabyAds does
The company has digital marketing and advertising technologies that help businesses acquire, retain, or monetize customers. Its customer acquisition products include social commerce platform Boostiny, app promotion platform Device Boost, programmatic media buying platform AdFalcon, and influencer marketing platform iConnect.
For customer targeting and engagement, ArabyAds offers ReEngage and Personas. It also has a product called Ritelo—which businesses can use to build custom retail platforms—and a creative hub called Dmenta, which specializes in influencer marketing.
Arabyads previously raised $6.5 million from Equitrust in a Series A round in 2019. In addition to this new round, the adtech company has received a total of $36.5 million in disclosed funding. With this investment, August looks to end better than June, when no disclosed funding was raised in the MENA region’s adtech sector.
- Applications are now open for Meta’s AR/VR Africa Metathon. XR developers, programmers, UI/UX designers, artists, animators, storytellers, and professionals resident in Africa can sign up to get curated learning resources from XR experts who will provide mentorship, and facilitate masterclasses and workshops. Apply here.
- the UN’s Youth Climate Innovation Lab is calling all young innovators in MENA that are creating climate technology solutions to join a 3-day launchpad. Winners from the launchpad will participate in the 6–8 week Climate Innovation Academy Programme, and the top 3 teams will receive a cash prize as well as the chance to attend the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) happening in Egypt this November 2022. Apply by September 4th
- Fintechs focusing on financial inclusion in Africa can now apply for the CATAPULT: Inclusion Africa Program 2022. Ten selected fintechs will participate in a one-week all-expenses-paid bootcamp, and participate in the Arch Summit event. Apply by Sep 15.
- the GrowUp Incubator Programs is now open to applications from social business entrepreneurs who are providing sustainable solutions to tourism and mobility issues. Entrepreneurs in Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and Burundi can apply for the chance to get 6-month training, networking opportunities, and support. Apply by Aug 28.
- Netflix has extended its Netflix Creative Equity Scholarship Fund (CESF) to film and television students in the West and Central Africa region. Applications are now open for students to apply to study at institutions in Nigeria, Ghana, Benin and Gabon. Apply by September 4th
What else is happening in tech?
- HumAngle asked artificial intelligence to write about violence in a Nigerian state. Here’s the result.
- Mozilla is awarding five Kenyan projects developing Kiswahili voice-enabled applications $50,0000 grant each.
Written by – Timi Odueso, Caleb Nnamani & Ngozi Chukwu
Edited by – Kelechi Njoku
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