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AfriLabs partners African Union to train 1m African entrepreneurs by 2021

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AfriLabs, a pan-African network of 158 technology and innovation centers in 45 African countries has partnered with the African Union Commission to host the 2019 AfriLabs Annual Gathering.

The Annual Gathering brings together tech and innovation hubs within its network to connect and share knowledge with startup entrepreneurs, corporates, investors, academia and developmental agencies to convene, network and share knowledge.

Themed ‘Connect: Towards an Integrated Innovation Ecosystem’ this year’s conference will hold on the 28th – 30th of October 2019 to launch a deeper engagement between the African Innovation and Entrepreneurship Ecosystem, AU member states, Economic Communities and other organisations working with the African Union.

“We are calling on other partners and ecosystem stakeholders interested in contributing to the social and economic development of our continent to work with us and our community of innovation hubs across the continent to achieve a successful Annual Gathering 2019 and ultimately our vision for Africa,” said Anna Ekeledo Executive Director, AfriLabs.

The 1 Million by 2021 Initiative, launched by the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat, aims to remodel Education, Employment, Entrepreneurship and Engagement in Africa and aims to reach at least 1 million youth by 2021 through these key areas.

The two will co-host the AfriLabs Annual Gathering 2019 and other relevant events. Collaborate on deploying digital skills training to African youth by curating training content, deploying through virtual and physical spaces including AfriLabs members hubs and labs.

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The 1 Million by 2021 Initiative aims to galvanize political action and commitment from development partners. The initiative targets 1 million young people through direct investments and essential game-changing interventions while also responding to fundamental questions on new approaches to solving existing problems targeted towards African realities. Through coordinated and focused implementation, the overarching goal is that the direct and accumulated impact on the lives of young people should reverberate across the continent.

“We remain grateful to these partners who are as invested as us in ensuring that the potential of youth on the continent is realised by tapping into these areas which recognise the importance of digital skills as an avenue to achieve sustainable economic development,” said H.E Prof. Sarah Anyang Agbor, Commissioner of Human Resources, Science and Technology.


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Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite launched in Kenya, starts selling on February 10th

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Samsung’s latest smartphone in the Kenyan market is one that has received quite the acclaim abroad.

Unveiled at the start of the year alongside the Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite after weeks of rumours, the Galaxy Note 10 Lite is a follow up to last year’s Galaxy Note 10 but for those on a budget.

The feature set is also different.

Whereas the Galaxy Note 10 packs all the latest and “greatest” features, the Note 10 Lite makes do with yesteryear components like the dated Exynos 9810. Of course, that also means that the base model packs 128GB internal storage space which is quite a lot but pales in comparison to the Note 10’s 256GB starting point.

It also skips on the IP rating of the Note 10.

However, it shows its muscle in the amount of memory (6GB, the 8GB variant isn’t available locally), a bigger (6.7-inch vs 6.3-inch) Super AMOLED display panel and a bigger battery (4,500mAh vs 3,500mAh).

It also packs a 3.5mm headphone jack and a microSD card slot, both of which are missing on the Note 10.

What makes “a Note a Note”, the S Pen, is available on the Note 10 Lite, marking the first time since the Galaxy Note 7 fiasco (which saw the release of a “watered-down” Note device) that Samsung has made the Note lineup available at a “less-than-premium” price.

Starting on Monday, February 10th, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite can be had in the country for Kshs 58,000. So much for a “less-than-premium” price, eh? It’s at least a tidy fraction of the Note 10’s high price.

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Daystar Power raises $4m from SunFunder for rapid buildout in Nigeria

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Daystar Power, a commercial and industrial (C&I) solar developer,  has raised $4 million from SundFunder to provide solar power and energy efficiency solutions for businesses in the commercial, industrial, and agricultural sectors in Nigeria.

Daystar Power says the funding will result in significant reduction of power costs, diesel consumption and pollution in Nigeria.

SunFunder, a solar finance company providing debt capital to solar enterprises in emerging markets, invests up to 3MWp of C&I projects for clients including top tier financial institutions and other small and medium-sized enterprises will mitigate 102,410 tons of CO2 emissions annually.

According to Rim Azirar, Investment Officer at SunFunder, “We are delighted to support Daystar’s growth with a project finance-like structure that can support the company’s strategy for rapid buildout in Nigeria, through their highly scalable business model.” 

Daystar’s mission is to provide an African sustainable energy solution that results in a minimum 20 % reduction in energy costs and 50% reduction in diesel consumption for end users.

According to a recent study by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, Nigeria has the largest potential for C&I solar in Africa because of the scale of the opportunity for diesel replacement. Daystar is a pioneer in the market, offering end-users increased reliability as well as lower energy costs through solar and storage systems.

Christian Wessels, co-founder and executive of Daystar Power, comments: “We are happy to partner with SunFunder in our mission to bring clean, continuous and affordable power to West African businesses in support of their growth and environmental goals. The support of SunFunder enables the beginning of a new phase of accelerated growth for our company.”

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In October, Daystar Power announced it had installed its 100th solar energy system in Nigeria since it was founded in 2017. In May the same year, it raised EUR 500,000 via Trine for captive power installations in Togo & Senegal. The amount was a debt round raised via crowdfunding site Trine, a Swedish investment platform to finance solar power systems.

In April, Daystar Power entered Ghana after raising $10m for West Africa expansion. The Ghana office was its second branch in West Africa with an office in the Ghanaian capital of Accra.

In March, Daystar Power received 10 million US Dollars for expansion of solar power operations in West Africa. The $10 million USD investment was led by Verod Capital Management and Persistent Energy Capital LLC.


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Twitter Makes $1bn Quarterly Revenue For The First Time

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Twitter has pulled in one billion dollars in quarterly revenue for the first time. The revenue grew by 11 per cent from a year earlier to $1.01bn, also beating the expectation of $996.7m from the previous projections.

The high revenue is attributed to the tremendous efforts the company has made In the most recent days. Among them, it has made make its platform more user-friendly sending its shares up 14 per cent in early trading.

Prior, the company forecast it’s first-quarter revenue between $825m and $885m. The Wall Street had an estimate of $872.6m in revenues.

The companies CEO Jack Dorsey during an earnings call with analysts said,” Rolling out new features at a faster pace is one of Twitter’s top priorities for the year. The time it takes to go from an idea to shipping something remarkable to customers simply takes too long”

“2019 was a great year for Twitter. Our work to increase relevance and ease of use delivered 21% mDAU [(monetizable Daily Active Usage)] growth in Q4, with more than half of the 26 million mDAU added in 2019 directly driven by product improvements. Entering 2020, we are building on our momentum – learning faster, prioritizing better, shipping more and hiring remarkable talent. All of which put us in a stronger position as we address the challenges and opportunities ahead.” he added.

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Twitter has also focused on relevant content and notifications which has boosted average monetizable daily active users.

The metrics rose to 152 million in the fourth quarter through December from 126 million the previous year. From the records, it has beaten the average analyst’s expectation of 147.5 million according to Aljazeera.

Twitter revealed that the firm’s revenue for the whole year was $3.46 billion which represents a 14 per cent increase. The yearly costs and expenses added up to $ 3.09 billion. This pulled down to an 11 per cent operation margin and operating income of $336 million.

The United States, which is its major market generated $591 million of revenue. This is an increase of 17 per cent from the previous year.

Further, this year’s goals are to increase its workforce up to 20 per cent or more in engineering, product design and research. Among other investments, Twitter foresees a new data centre this year.


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