A Region on the Rise

Get up to date with the July 2020 Africa Business Group newsletter. Explore some of the most interesting business news and articles from around the continent.

Visit our dedicated Africa site for more information about doing business in Africa and how Addleshaw Goddard can support you.


We are pleased to bring you the latest edition of our Africa newsletter.

This month's newsletter focuses on technology and innovation across the African continent. Technology and connectivity are transforming and developing at incredible pace, a trend which presents great opportunities for economic growth, commercialisation and upwards social mobility. This includes the roll-out of 5G in parts of South Africa and of 4G in sub-Saharan Africa (with the help of hot air balloons no less!), such as Eldoret and Nakuru in Kenya, where the editor's parents were born. With thanks, as always, to our contributors  - if you would like to contribute content to our next newsletter, please get in touch.

Guest Editorials

3 Reasons Why Ghana is Winning in Tech

Martin Best, Managing Director at Full Reach

Those new to Ghana may not appreciate the speed of change in the country nor the degree to which tech-focused services are fueling growth. There’s significant room for expansion in the economy – a young population that ‘skipped’ a tech generation straight to smartphones.

To read more, click here

Orange and NSIA launch Orange Bank Africa to provide greater access to financial services and improve the financial inclusion of people living in West Africa

Stéphane Richard, Chairman and CEO, Orange SA

Orange, a major telecoms provider in Africa and the Middle East, and NSIA, a leader of bancassurance, are pleased to announce the launch of Orange Bank Africa in Abidjan and Côte d’Ivoire. Orange Bank Africa, headed by Jean-Louis Menann-Kouamé, will offer clients a range of simple savings and credit services available at all times via mobile phone.

To read this article, please click here

Redefining Consumer Retail in Africa

Akosua Annobil, Founder, AB2020

As all incredible start-up tales go, KudiGo started from the background of rage, to absolute balderdash, to a sigh, and finally to ‘what can we do about this situation’? Thus, if you’ve heard the Chief Enabler’s story of how he got furious with a micro-finance institution for charging his grandma exorbitant rates on a $100 loan, you would understand why this is not just a business to make profit, but a passion project to change the way the business of the retail market is handled, not just in Ghana, but Africa as a whole.

To read this article, please click here

Africa Tech Festical aims to virtually unite tech and talent

The newly announced Virtual Africa Tech Festival is on a mission to unite tech and talent in Africa and drive digital transformation by bringing the continent's tech industry together in a fully virtual event.

This week Informa Tech announced that Africa-focused technology and digital connectivity events – AfricaCom and AfricaTech – will be fully virtual events in 2020, under the umbrella of what is now being called the Virtual Africa Tech Festival.

AfricaCom is a staple on the African telecoms calendar and is now in its 24th year. AfricaTech was added as a separate but simultaneous event in 2019 and the 2020 editions were due to take place in November in Cape Town, South Africa. However, this year the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the events to go virtual.

To read this article in full, please click here

5 African startups receive grant funding from UNICEF Innovation Fund

Five African startups are among 11 companies using frontier technology solutions to address complex challenges and create fairer opportunities for children and young people selected to receive equity-free seed funding from UNICEF’s Innovation Fund.

The latest cohort of the grant-based UNICEF Innovation Fund focused on solutions that bridge learning or connectivity gaps towards employability, tackling the fact that nearly four billion people remain unconnected to the internet and by extension digital products that could improve their lives.

After launching a call for applications issued around skills and connectivity for youth, the fund received over 350 submissions from more than 60 countries, and has now selected 11 startups from nine countries to address four “Global Breakthrough” areas: job-matching, remedial learning, remote learning and work, and digital connectivity. 

To read this article in full, please click here

COVID-19 boosts Africa's e-Learning Market

When Tade Samson went to primary school in Lagos, he would pray for strikes so he wouldn’t have to go to school. “Learning can be very stressful and laborious in this part of the world, but learning should not be an affliction,” he says.

A decade later at university, Samson found his progress hampered by limited resources and uninspiring teaching. He decided to research new learning strategies, and found success with spaced repetition – a technique to boost memory across increasing intervals – and gamification, which teaches students by using video gaming elements via online apps.

Armed with a degree in computer science, Samson and three friends built Quizac, an e-learning app which provides course materials in physics, maths and chemistry and other subjects on the Nigerian curriculum, enabling students to study and test themselves against up to 100 of their peers at the same time.

To read this article in full, please click here

NITDA opens entry for technology innovation, entrepreneurship support scheme

The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), has called on eligible Nigerians to apply for its technology innovation and entrepreneurship scheme programme.

NITDA’s Head, Corporate Affairs and External Relations, Hadiza Umar, made the call on Thursday in a statement issued in Abuja saying that the programme would ensure digital job creation and nation’s economic growth.

Mrs Umar explained that the scheme was a capacity building programme for ICT hub managers, young Nigerians and innovative start-ups.

To read this article in full, please click here

MTN Group and Ericsson launch 5G in South Africa

MTN Group has launched its 5G network in South Africa, in partnership with Swedish tech vendor, Ericsson.

The network is now live in the cities of Cape Town, Johannesburg, Bloemfontein and Port Elizabeth, with plans to scale out the network throughout the course of the year.

MTN Group announced that it would use Ericsson as its key supplier for 5G in November 2019. The company has supplied its Ericsson Radio System to be used in the RAN and has also supplied the transport core for MTN’s network. MTN Group will also make use of Ericsson’s Dynamic Spectrum Sharing technology, which will allow the operator to deploy both 4G and 5G services using the same spectrum.

To read the article in full, please click here

Balloon-powered 4G takes flight in Kenya

Balloon-powered 4G is now available in Kenya's rural areas through a project between Loon and Telkom Kenya.

It has been two years since the partnership was announced and now Loon's CEO Alastair Westgarth confirmed in a blog post that the Alphabet subsidiary – which came from Google's X moonshot factory – is now providing commercial service in Kenya to subscribers of Telkom Kenya.

"This is a first in many ways: the first non-emergency use of Loon to provide connectivity on a large-scale basis, the first application of balloon-powered Internet in Africa, and the first of what will be many commercial deployments around the world," he said.

To read the article in full, click here

Africa is experiencing a health-tech startup boom

Health tech is booming on the African continent and investment in e-health startups continues to grow, according to a new report from Disrupt Africa.

The report, High Tech Health: Exploring the African E-health Startup Ecosystem Report 2020, says the number of startups active in the health-tech space on the continent has grown by 56.5% over the last three years and has hit an all-time high at 180 active companies.

The report found that investment in this space reached record levels in the first half of 2020 despite the COVID-19 pandemic. So far this year, Africa's e-health startups have raised over $90 million. More than half of all funding to have gone into the space in the past five years was transacted in the first half of 2020.

To read the article in full, please click here

Graduates of Africa’s first drone accelerator programme announced

An accelerator programme has equipped 13 startups with the tools and skills needed to adopt the use of drone technology in South Africa along with the skills required to help this sector boost national employment.

The accelerator programme was developed and created by Mzansi Aerospace Technologies with funding from Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA).

Beginning in February 2020, the programme led to a Demo Day hosted on 26 June 2020 where participating startup founders virtually presented their pitch decks to a panel of judges, investors, and guest attendees.

To read the article in full, please click here

African Telecommunications Union and Ericsson sign MoU to accelerate growth of ICT in Africa

The African Telecommunications Union (ATU) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Ericsson to help fast track roll out of technology across the continent.

According to ATU, a specialized agency of the African Union which is fostering the growth of ICT in Africa, the MoU will support the growth of ICT as a critical infrastructure for the 21st century and help set the foundation for social and economic progress in the continent.

In the understanding, the two organisations look towards promoting global and regional coordination and harmonization of spectrum usage to encourage economies of scale and maximize the affordability for all users in Africa.

To read the article in full, please click here

Sudan commits to cashless future

The Republic of Sudan has committed to accelerate its transition from cash to digital payments by joining the United Nations-based Better Than Cash Alliance.

"Digital payments will improve financial inclusion and transparency throughout Sudan's vast territory, especially in conflict-affected regions, help stem corruption, and build a more direct link between citizens and the state," Dr. Ibrahim Elbadawi, Sudan's minister of finance and economic Planning, said in a statement.

Moving from cash to responsible digital payments is central to the Sudanese government's economic recovery and reform strategy and will hopefully help pave the way for domestic and international investment due to the modernization of the country's financial sector.

To read the article in full, please click here

Key Contacts

Chris Taylor

Chris Taylor

Head of Region - Africa, Mergers and Acquisitions
London, UK

View profile
Nick Ashcroft

Nick Ashcroft

Partner, Dispute Resolution
United Kingdom

View profile
Anouj Patel

Anouj Patel

Associate, Commercial Disputes
Leeds, UK

View profile