Microsoft awards grants to five African startups
Microsoft Corp. has announced the five African startups it will award innovation grants designed to provide the financial support needed to cross borders and empower the next generation of developers and entrepreneurs in Africa.
The grant is part of the company’s 4Afrika Initiative, which was launched in February 2013 to facilitate the company’s active engagement in Africa’s economic development to improve its global competitiveness.
Last year, Microsoft 4Afrika extended the Microsoft Ventures partnership program to Africa, with startup accelerator 88mph as its first partner.
Through the 4Afrika Initiative, Microsoft is now extending its support to include grants to startups, selecting five startups as the first set of recipients.
The startups were selected based on the uniqueness and scalability of their solutions, their business models and the relevance of the key problems they are addressing.
The solutions and apps developed by the startups are relevant to consumers and the African market, ranging from agriculture, education and consumer (gaming).
These startups will receive funding:
• access.mobile LLC (Uganda) A solution with a key focus in the agriculture and healthcare industries, giving enterprises the ability to collect, analyse and share clear, real-time information about their operations and supply chain activity.
• Africa 118 (Kenya) A mobile directory services solution that helps bridge the information gap both for enterprises and consumers.
• Gamsole (Nigeria) A mobile game production company creating Windows games, with downloads topping more than 4 million.
• Kytabu (Kenya) A textbook leasing application for low-cost tablets. Students can save more than 60 percent of their education cost by renting their textbooks on an hourly, weekly, monthly, school term or annual plan.
• Save & Buy (Nigeria) A Web and mobile platform that enables Nigerians to save toward the purchase of items conveniently and securely through e-commerce channels.
In addition to grants, Microsoft will provide technical support and mentorship to help these startups develop their businesses through the company’s Center of Expertise.
This group of Microsoft technology enthusiasts focuses on using Microsoft tools and technologies to solve business problems. The 4Afrika Initiative aims to help startups break through barriers and reach new heights with the help of Microsoft’s data platform solutions, unified communications, optimized desktops and enterprise project management.
Amrote Abdella, director of startup engagement and Partnerships for 4Afrika, said: “As part of the 4Afrika initiative, we are excited to be supporting startups that have developed innovative solutions that address key issues in Africa.
“Our support is aimed to showcase the importance of local innovation, but, more important, it highlights the great potential that African innovators have in competing with world-class developers and entrepreneurs.”
The Microsoft 4Afrika Initiative is designed to help Africa improve its global competitiveness and, in just under a year, has successfully launched various programs across the continent, including these recent innovation grants, to reach is 2016 goal.
G7 Summit guide: What it is and what leaders hope to achieve
Unless you’ve had your head buried in the sand, you’ll have seen the term ‘G7’ plastered all over the Internet this week. We’re going to give you the skinny on exactly what the G7 is and what its purpose on this planet is ─ and whether it’s a good or a bad collaboration.
Who are the G7?
The Group of Seven, or ‘G7’, may sound like a collective of pirate lords from a certain Disney smash-hit, but in reality, it’s a group of the world’s seven largest “advanced” economies ─ the powerhouses of the world, if you like.
The merry band comprises:
- The United Kingdom
- The United States
Historically, Russia was a member of the then-called ‘G8’ but found itself excluded after their ever-so-slightly illegal takeover of Crimea back in 2014.
Since 1977, the European Union has also been involved in some capacity with the G7 Summit. The Union is not recognised as an official member, but gradually, as with all Europe-linked affairs, the Union has integrated itself into the conversation and is now included in all political discussions on the annual summit agenda.
When was the ‘G’ formed?
Back in 1975, when the world was reeling from its very first oil shock and the subsequent financial fallout that came with it, the heads of state and government from six of the leading industrial countries had a face-to-face meeting at the Chateau de Rambouillet to discuss the global economy, its trajectory, and what they could do to address the economic turmoil that reared its ugly head throughout the 70s.
Why does the G7 exist?
At this very first summit ─ the ‘G6’ summit ─, the leaders adopted a 15-point communiqué, the Declaration of Rambouillet, and agreed to continuously meet once a year moving forward to address the problems of the day, with a rotating Presidency. One year later, Canada was welcomed into the fold, and the ‘G6’ became seven and has remained so ever since ─ Russia’s inclusion and exclusion not counted.
The group, as previously mentioned, was born in the looming shadow of a financial crisis, but its purpose is more significant than just economics. When leaders from the group meet, they discuss and exchange ideas on a broad range of issues, including injustice around the world, geopolitical matters, security, and sustainability.
It’s worth noting that, while the G7 may be made up of mighty nations, the bloc is an informal one. So, although it is considered an important annual event, declarations made during the summit are not legally binding. That said, they are still very influential and worth taking note of because it indicates the ambitions and outlines the initiatives of these particularly prominent leading nations.
Where is the 2021 G7 summit?
This year, the summit will be held in the United Kingdom deep in the southwest of England, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson hosting his contemporaries in the quaint Cornish resort of Carbis Bay near St Ives in Cornwall.
What will be discussed this year?
After almost two years of remote communication, this will be the first in-person G7 summit since the novel Coronavirus first took hold of the globe, and Britain wants “leaders to seize the opportunity to build back better from coronavirus, uniting to make the future fairer, greener, and more prosperous.”
The three-day summit, running from Friday to Sunday, will see the seven leaders discussing a whole host of shared challenges, ranging from the pandemic and vaccine development and distribution to the ongoing global fight against climate change through the implementation of sustainable norms and values.
According to the UK government, the attendees will also be taking a look at “ensuring that people everywhere can benefit from open trade, technological change, and scientific discovery.”