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Rwanda Gets GSMA Nod for MWC Africa 2021

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Rwanda Gets GSMA Nod for MWC Africa 2021m GSMA, SiliconNigeria

GSMA has announced it will host MWC Africa in Kigali, Rwanda in 2021, bringing the leading global event series to the continent for the first time.

GSMA Director General, Mats Granryd, announced the news during his opening keynote address at Thrive Africa, the GSMA’s virtual event platform, which held from the 29 September to 1 October 2020.

MWC21 Africa will bring together the leading names from business and technology to become the continent’s most connected and influential event. This premier event is part of the GSMA’s flagship series of MWC events, which includes editions in Barcelona, Shanghai and Los Angeles.

“I am proud of what we have built with Thrive and the previous Mobile 360 events, which have helped shape the continent’s connected digital future,” said Granryd. “From 2021 we will celebrate MWC Africa, joining our world-leading platform for thought-leadership and technology, recognising the important role Africa will play in our connected future.”

“Around the world, access to mobile internet is helping close the digital divide. Its transformative power is nowhere more obvious than in Africa. That is why I’m excited about welcoming the world to Kigali next year to shine a light on African mobile and tech innovation.”

This year, Thrive Africa will examine the role of connectivity in powering a better future, and how this can accelerate to achieve the best outcomes in terms of health provision, economic benefits and inclusion. Conceived by the GSMA, Orange, MTN, ZTE and Mastercard, Thrive Africa will bring Africa’s leaders together for a virtual event to create the continent’s most connected and influential technology experience. The event is also sponsored by Huawei, Intelsat, MFS Africa and, Safaricom.

During the event, speakers will also discuss Africa’s readiness for the 4th Industrial Revolution: in the next five years, the continent will host 1.3 billion devices and IoT connections, but increased connectivity will be essential to maximise the available benefits.

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Africa Region

MTN’s Ayoba Reassures Users On Privacy, Security of Messaging App

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MTN’s Ayoba Reassures Users On Privacy Security of Messaging App, SiliconNigeria

African messaging app Ayoba has assured of privacy and security protection and content suitable for younger users as people everywhere ramp up their usage of instant messaging.

MTN Group is proud to partner with this unique instant messaging platform localised for the needs of consumers across Africa.

Launched in 2019 to improve access to affordable communications, ayoba is active in 17 MTN markets, and is also available to download onto Android smartphones in numerous other markets from Google Play and via the ayoba website www.ayoba.me as an over-the-top (OTT) offering. 

Ayoba is focused on protecting users’ privacy and security:  it is not possible for messages in the app to be read by anyone else or to be shared with any third parties, including MTN.

The app features peer-to-peer private messaging which is end-to-end encrypted; ayoba treats data with the utmost care and respect in line with its privacy policy. 

All the content available on ayoba channels is curated and reviewed to ensure that its 100% family friendly and safe for younger users. A team of editors checks every post on ayoba content channels before it goes live across over 100 content channels and 120 games.  

Ayoba has also recently launched an in-app assistant, Aya, to guide new users on how to use the instant messaging app. Aya appears automatically in the app and can run a variety of interactive tutorials for key features within ayoba. 

Ayoba users can send and receive encrypted messages, share photos, videos, files, voice notes and even their location, and can also subscribe to live channels. Localised content is available through these channels that aim to entertain, educate and empower communities.

Since 2020, as COVID-19 spread across the world, ayoba’s daily lifeline data allocations on MTN’s networks in most markets allowed users free connections with family and provided them with zero-rated access to credible information through special COVID-19 channels.

10 REASONS TO USE AYOBA:

1.     FREE TO USE: ayoba is free to use. You need data to send messages and files to your contacts, but if you are on the MTN network, you will get free data every day to use the app.

2.     CHAT NOW: Instantly send and receive text and voice messages with any of your contacts.

3.     SECURE: End-to-end encryption means that messages in a conversation cannot be read by anyone else.

4.     QUICK CONNECT: Use your existing address book to quickly and easily connect you with your contacts.

5.     CHAT WITH EVERYONE: Send SMS text messages with anyone in your contact list, regardless of whether they’ve installed ayoba or not.  If the contact to whom you send a message does not have the app, the message will be delivered by SMS.  That contact can then respond by SMS and the response will come back into your app.  This is a unique technology.

6.     GROUP CHAT: The more the merrier. Set up group chats to easily communicate with friends and family in a single chat. 

7.     SHARING IS CARING: Share videos, images, audio, and other files with your contacts.

8.     LET’S MEET: Share your real-time location with your ayoba contacts.

9.     CHANNELS: Consume all content across various categories ranging from news, sports, music to entertainment and much more, all within the ayoba app.  We have over 30 content channels live in Nigeria including Pulse for entertainment, and the MTN YelloStar competition. 

10. LISTEN AND PLAY: We have a free music service in the app so you can listen to trending songs on our fantastic playlists.  We also have games that you can play, such as BattleShip, Pinball, Solitaire and more.  New content is added every day.

The app supports over 20 local languages spoken across MTN’s markets, including isiZulu, isiXhosa, Pidgin, Yoruba, Swahili, Hausa, French, Arabic, Portuguese, and English. At the end of June 2020, ayoba had two million active users. In November 2020, ayoba was named the ‘Best Mobile App of the Year’ at the Africa Digital Awards 2020, acknowledging Africa’s first super-app, which offers users free instant messaging, mobile commerce and interactive entertainment

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Africa Region

Kinyungu Ventures Calls for Changes to VC Strategy in Africa

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Kinyungu Ventures Calls for Changes to VC Strategy in Africa, SiliconNigeria

East African venture advisory firm, Kinyungu Ventures has published a white paper Chasing Outliers: Why Context Matters for Early Stage Investing in Africa that has foundthat there continues to be a wide misalignment between traditional venture capital models and the African market.

The team behind the report is now calling for a broadening of approaches to institutional investment on the continent.

Speaking with 100 Pan-African founders, investors, and LPs across 15 African countries, the research suggests investors should prioritize investing structures and practices that reflect the realities of operating in Africa. This includes adopting more flexible investing structures with longer time horizons. 

According to the paper, there are multiple mismatches between key characteristics of Silicon Valley VC and African markets, which influence how startups and funds maneuver as well as what results they expect and produce. Findings show that African markets are large, but also fragmented, and its consumers have limited purchasing power.

Furthermore, consumers on the continent are difficult to acquire and retain, yet the sheer size of the African market also presents a real opportunity for profit once the environment is clearly understood. The paper’s key recommendations for funds include:

  • Adopting more focused investment strategies, such as investing in b2b companies or cross-subsidizing a portfolio with less risky, steady return assets 
  • Considering non-unicorn investing models geared at more resilient companies, with returns distributed more widely across the portfolio
  • Using flexible structures such as debt or PCVs to accommodate market-level changes, where feasible
  • Allowing a longer time horizon for returns, understanding that growth could be slow and difficult to achieve for many companies 

Kinyungu Ventures catalyzes resilient businesses for local intergenerational prosperity. The East African-centric investor focuses on entrepreneurship in East Africa, startups, seed funding, debt financing, impact investing and angel investing.

Speaking on the launch of the white paper, Tony Chen, Managing Director ofKinyungu Ventures and  co-publisher of the report says, “Capital in Africa is scarce and pursuing a “growth at all costs” strategy where capital pools are shallow presents huge risks for companies. We’ve also found that many great businesses don’t fit the typical VC profile, but have tremendous unfulfilled potential.”

Tayo Akinyemi, lead researcher and writer of the report added: “In our conversations with numerous investors and founders, it is clear that nuances in variables such as consumer behavior, cultural norms, and business practices impact startups significantly and being on the ground is crucial for success.  While African markets aren’t always able to provide the outsized returns that Silicon Valley typically looks for in high-growth companies, a more focused strategy here could unlock real gems, as has been proven by some of the startup successes the continent has seen over the years.” 

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West Africa

ROAM Africa Reveal Impact of COVID-19 on Jobs Markets in Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya

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ROAM Africa Reveal Impact of COVID-19 on Jobs Markets in Nigeria Ghana and Kenya, SiliconNigeria

ROAM Africa (Ringier One Africa Media), the leading digital classifieds group in Sub-Saharan Africa, has today released three new labour market reports that shed more light on the effects of the COVID-19 on the African jobs market.

The reports also reveal transactional sales roles as the most in-demand jobs across Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya, and provides other insights and analysis that will help employers and jobseekers across the continent to navigate the new employment landscape. 

With job cuts, furlough extensions and new working habits developing across the continent, many employers and jobseekers are looking for guidelines to help them understand where opportunities are available and how to prepare for the future of work. The Impact of COVID-19 Job Reports, which were compiled by Jobberman (Ghana and Nigeria) and BrighterMonday (Kenya), explore factors such as trending industries/sectors, trending roles, trending skills, trending salaries/benefits, major trends caused by COVID-19 and job market trends and forecasts for Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya. 

The reports are based on information from the databases of the jobs platforms – with more than 24 million combined job applications and more than 100,000 registered employers – external research and insight from external business leaders.

According to the reports, Sales roles in Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya are the most sought-after, with 15%, 4% and 13% of job postings in each market respectively between January and August 2020. IT & Telecoms was the top industry with the most job postings in Ghana and Nigeria, 12% and 16% respectively, while the Government had the most job postings in Kenya with 15%.

Customer Service & Support was the most declining job function in Ghana and Nigeria, with 2% and 5% respectively and Management & Business Development was the most declining job function in Kenya with 4%. Companies in all three countries are hiring more professionals with Mid-level experience to fill their hiring activities than any other experience level, although not as much as they did last year.

Despite a decline in hiring in some industries, the reports predict a rise in demand for certain skills post-COVID as companies prepare to address the challenges brought about by the pandemic. The reports predict that hard skills such as digital and coding skills, data analytics and literacy and problem solving skills, as well as soft skills such as adaptability and agility, emotional intelligence and critical thinking are the skills companies are hiring for right now.

There is also a change in how employers view compensation with mental health and wellness benefits, flex pay and childcare support more prominent in compensation packages. Virtual recruitment, remote working and the acceleration of technology adoption are some of the other major trends caused by COVID-19.

Commenting on the findings of the report, Hilda Kragha, Managing Director of ROAM Africa Jobs, said, “these reports not only highlights the impact of the pandemic, but also serves as a guide for all employers to assess how they deal with change. The pandemic has undoubtedly caused a number of challenges, but some of the changes it has brought are quite exciting, because they offer the potential for dynamic transformations.

“As we assess and plan for the future, business leaders, HR practitioners and policymakers will have to work together to develop effective solutions that will make them better equipped for the future and create a better workplace for both employers and employees”.

The new reports, The BrighterMonday Kenya Impact of COVID-19 Jobs Report, The Jobberman Ghana Impact of COVID-19 Jobs Report  and The Jobberman Nigeria Impact of COVID-19 Jobs Report will all soon be available to download on the ROAM Africa website.

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