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Daily Digest Wednesday, 29 April 2020

Funding in North Africa Egypt raises $1.13bln to acquire 1,300 railcars The Board Chairman of Egyptian National Railways (ENR) has received an official loan authorization from the Hungarian ambassador to Egypt, Railway News reports. This is the final step in the approval process for the $1.13 billion financing for the purchase of 1,300 new railcars. Read more Egypt Tops North Africa And The Middle East In Number Of Startup Funding Deals For Second Consecutive Year More startups in Egypt have raised funds from investors than in any other country in the whole of North Africa and the Middle East (MENA) in the first quarter of 2020 (January-March) Read more...

Egypt raises $1.13bln to acquire 1,300 railcars

The Board Chairman of Egyptian National Railways (ENR) has received an official loan authorization from the Hungarian ambassador to Egypt, Railway News reports. This is the final step in the approval process for the $1.13 billion financing for the purchase of 1,300 new railcars. Under the agreement signed in December 2019, the financing is backed by a joint loan from the Export-Import Banks (Eximbank) of Hungary and Russia, while the national import-export agencies of the two countries (MEHIB and EXIAR) will provide insurance coverage. See other related articles: Egyptian last-mile delivery startup Bosta raises seven-figure Series A Transmashholding (TMH), Russia's leading manufacturer of railway equipment, is responsible for manufacturing and export....

African Startups Secure $350 Million In Funding In Q1, 2020

While African tech startups may have escaped the crippling effects of the raging coronavirus pandemic in the first quarter of 2020 (January-March), there is consensus among founders and investors that the pandemic will have a cooling effect on the ease with which startups raise funds in the months to come. In the meantime, venture funding in the first quarter of 2020 for African startups reached $350 million according to data from Briter Bridges, a tech ecosystem data consultancy. The break down South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya and Egypt topped the funding charts. These 4 countries also received the largest share of funding in the whole of 2019. Notable receipts in the period between...

The rise of “femtech” in Africa

The vaginal speculum, a duck bill-shaped like metal device for pelvic examinations, has a history of controversy as long standing as its innovator, an American gynecologist named James Marion Sims.  Sims designed that tool back in 1845 and the current iteration in use resulted from updates made by Thomas Graves in 1870.  The controversies around this medical diagnostic tool from the 19th century were many, but prominent amongst them was the idea that women lacked autonomy or the opportunity to contribute towards the design of a device used in one of the most invasive medical examinations a female might undergo at least once in her lifetime. With no...

Deprived Ghanaian communities to finally receive mobile signals

The Ghanaian government wants to provide mobile telephony to over 1,000 communities that have no mobile signals. The Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications (GIFEC) has selected Parallel Wireless, a US-based company, to lead the effort. Parallel Wireless will use an interesting approach called OpenRAN to connect communities to 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G networks. OpenRAN standardises the design of hardware and software used in masts, antennae and other telecom infrastructure. It allows telcos to source components from many companies rather than a small number of vendors (Huawei, Ericsson) and their closed systems. In turn, network development becomes cheaper. OpenRAN is relatively new, but it is gradually getting support. Vodafone is...

Daily Digest Tuesday, 28 April 2020

Working from home safely and securely: Cyber security The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has changed nearly every aspect of our daily lives, including how we shop, socialize, exercise and work. With more people working from home now than at any other time in recent history, cybersecurity threats are increasing. The GFA team will play their part in keeping you safe. Read more Funding in North Africa Alex Angels launches ~$6 million early-stage fund to back Egyptian startups Alexandria Angels (more commonly known as Alex Angels), the angel network from Egypt, has launched Alex Angels Fund, a $6.3 million (EGP 100 million) fund to invest in Egyptian startups, it...

GSMA Innovation Fund: For mobile internet adoption and digital inclusion

The GSMA Innovation Fund for Mobile Internet Adoption and Digital Inclusion is now open. Are you a start-up or SME in Sub-Saharan Africa or Asia? Are you helping people get online for the first time using mobile internet? You could be eligible to apply for an equity-free grant of between £100,000 and £250,000 to scale your innovation over a 15- to 18-month period. Find out more below. About the GSMA Innovation Fund for Driving Mobile Internet Adoption and Digital Inclusion The mobile industry connects over 3.5 billion citizens to the internet across the globe and continues to lead efforts on digital inclusion by connecting more people every day. Despite this, there is...

Alex Angels launches ~$6 million early-stage fund to back Egyptian startups

Alexandria Angels (more commonly known as Alex Angels), the angel network from Egypt, has launched Alex Angels Fund, a $6.3 million (EGP 100 million) fund to invest in Egyptian startups, it announced today in a statement. The statement did not have any details about the fundraising status of Alex Angels Fund but it said that the newly formed fund will start investing by the end of third quarter this year. Tarek El Kady and Loay Shawarby, who have been leading Alex Angels, are the general partners of Alex Angels Funds. Walid Bakr, a private equity veteran, is also joining Tarek and Loay as the third GP of the fund. See...

Working from home safely and securely: Cyber security

With more people working from home now than at any other time in recent history, cybersecurity threats are increasing. Cybersecurity is a human problem: the person at the screen or keyboard is always the weakest point in any technical system. Attackers will use a set of techniques — broadly described as social engineering — to trick us into divulging sensitive information. Microsoft’s cloud services reported a 775 per cent increase in demand across their platforms when strict social isolation measures were put in place. This situation also presents opportunities for cybercriminals. Attackers have real opportunities to take advantage of the changes in our habits as we transition to working remotely,...

Nigerian fintech Okra nets $1m investment from TLcom

Nigerian fintech platform Okra has secured a $1-million pre-seed investment from Nairobi and London based venture capital (VC) firm TLcom Capital. Okra, which launched in January, creates a secure portal and process to exchange real-time financial information between customers, applications and banks. It claims to have developed the first API in Africa to retrieve real-time financial data from a bank account to any web or mobile app. In a press release today, Okra said the new investment will be used to scale their team and operations as they cater to their growing client base. The startup said it has the capacity to onboard new clients in under 24 hours, and has seen...