1. African artists have made thousands of dollars selling NFTs
The growing popularity of NFTs has puzzled many, but it has opened the door to African artists and creatives to sell their content to a global audience. With global NFT sales exceeding $ 2.5 billion in the first half of 2021, we saw African artists like Niyi Okeowo and Nyahan Tachie-Menson sell thousands of dollars worth of NFT; Osinachi Sells $ 75,000 Worth of Crypto Art In 10 Days; and Nyasha Warambwa’s work was featured on a billboard in Times Square, New York.
2. In Malawi. the world’s first 3D printed school opened
The world’s first 3D-printed school opened its doors in Malawi in July. The school was built by 14Trees, a joint venture between a British development company and a Swiss company specializing in building materials. The school’s walls were printed in just 18 hours, while construction using conventional building materials took several days. The process generally minimizes the time, costs and materials required to build houses and schools considerably. Hopefully this technology can help alleviate the serious shortage of schools in the country.
3. The African startup ecosystem has raised a record more than $ 4 billion in venture capital funding
The year 2021 was a landmark year for the African technology ecosystem that is about $ 4 billion over 754 venture capital financing deals. The Big Four – Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya and Egypt – accounted for 80% of the total and 76% of transactions.
4. An autonomous drone was used to attack people in Libya, says the UN
ONE report The panel of experts on Libya, published by the United Nations Panel of Experts in March 2021, said a drone had been used to “hunt down and remotely attack” soldiers believed to be facing Libyan General Khalifa Haftar were loyal. In this case, the discussion about the ethics of the use of drones in military attacks will be taken up again. How reliable is the technology behind drones and what could be the consequences of a malfunction or failure?
5. Apple named its first country leader for Nigeria
Apple has sold over a billion smartphones (iPhones), but they make up less than 10% of the smartphone market in Nigeria. In March, the announcement of the Appointment of Teju Ajani as Apple’s first managing director for Nigeria is an indication of the tech giant’s interest in Nigeria.
6. African regulators began to respond to the unethical practices of digital lenders
After many years of complaints about the predatory tactics used by digital lenders, regulators in Nigeria and Kenya began to take steps to contain them. A Nigerian regulator fined the Soko Lending Company and the Kenyan government 10 million naira (US $ 18,000) recently enacted a law in place to contain the excesses of digital lenders.
7. Apple Pay launched in Africa
Eight years after Apple launched Apple Pay, its payment and digital wallet system, the tech giant finally brought it to Africa this year with its launch in South Africa. This launch came three years after Samsung launched Samsung Pay in South Africa. This move speaks to Apple’s intention to increase its penetration into sub-Saharan Africa, where the adoption of digital payments has increased since the pandemic began.
8. Ghana started its first fully digital census in West Africa
In June, Ghana launched its first fully digital census – the first in West Africa. The country’s last census took place in 2010 and put the population at 24.6 million. The country has been running the Population and Housing Census (PHC) every 10 years since 1981 but has been forced to postpone the 2020 census due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
9. Nigeria was the first African country to introduce a digital currency
On October 25, Nigeria became the first country in Africa and one of the first in the world to introduce a digital currency. eNaira was developed by the Barbados-based fintech company Bitt Inc. and, like naira, is legal tender. According to the country’s central bank, it must be accepted as a form of payment in Nigeria by all merchants and branches. The digital currency is intended to promote cross-border trade and financial inclusion, make transactions more efficient and improve monetary policy.
10. Senegalese TikTok megastar Khaby Lame hit a milestone of 100 million followers without saying a word
In August, the Senegalese-born Khaby Lame became the second person at all Crack and exceed the 100 million follower mark on TikTok. Lame, a 21-year-old former factory worker who lives in Italy on a Senegalese passport, has created a comedic brand that resonates around the world by showing so-called life hacks or complicated maneuvers through the lens of intuitive everyday options.
11. Google announced its plan to invest $ 1 billion in Africa
At Google’s first virtual event for Africa, Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced the company’s plan to invest $ 1 billion over five years to support digital transformation in Africa.
The investment is focused on providing more Africans with fast and affordable internet access; Building helpful products; Support for entrepreneurship and small business; and helping nonprofits improve lives across Africa.
12. The e-commerce giant Amazon is increasing its presence in Africa
For a long time there have been questions about when Amazon will start operations in Africa. Well, Amazon answered that question this year. First, it reiterated its commitment to Egypt by replacing Souq.com as Amazon’s sales platform in the country with Amazon.eg. That announcement also came with the inauguration of an Amazon fulfillment center in Egypt. There was also the announcement of Amazons controversial African headquarters in South Africa.
13. There was an acquisition frenzy across Africa
A number of companies were acquired that year, most of them for undisclosed amounts. MainOne, a West African provider of data center and connectivity solutions, was acquired by Equinix for $ 320 million.
MFS Africa has taken over Baxi. MaxAB, an Egyptian B2B marketplace, has acquired WaystoCap. The Ghanaian fintech startup Zeepay acquired 51% of its Zambian counterpart Mangwee. Plentywaka acquired Stabus Ghana after $ 1.2 million in start-up capital. Other notable acquisitions are JIji acquire Autochek and Ourpass take over Storemia.
14. The Ethiopian government has started its own mobile money service
In May 2021, Ethio Telecom launched its own mobile money service TeleBirr to serve the 115 million people in Africa’s third largest country. Two months after its launch, TeleBirr reported that it had won six million users. The new service is set to make a difference in Ethiopia, where the banking system is considered inefficient, with only 19 commercial banks serving the entire population.
15. Francophone Africa has its first unicorn in Wave
Wave, a spin-off from Asia-Africa-focused money transfer company Sendwave, raised $ 200 million in a Series A round to become the first unicorn from the French-speaking region of Africa. Why wave? The startup’s low-cost transaction service has helped take over established companies, increase their market share, and turn the entire mobile money industry upside down.
16. Six months and more: Twitter ban in Nigeria
The Nigerian government shut down Twitter in June 2021 after the social media platform decided to delete a tweet from Buhari that allegedly violated the site’s rules. The state’s decision to ban Twitter has since sparked widespread criticism as online-based businesses posted huge losses; Complain; and National Assembly hearings to investigate the circumstances that led to the ban.
17. Sudanese technology received its first foreign funding in 30 years
Alsoug, the largest digital marketplace in Sudan, has raised a $ 5 million investment round jointly led by the Egyptian fintech unicorn Fawry and a âlarger consortium of Western venture capital firmsâ. This investment marked the first foreign venture capital investment into Sudan’s technology ecosystem since the country’s international sanctions were lifted in 2020 after a 30-year period of isolation.
18. Somalia received its first Visa card payment service
Visa has partnered with the International Bank of Somalia (IBS Bank) to launch Somalia’s first Visa card payment service. It did so six years after Mastercard entered the Somalia market as the first international payment network. This partnership is a key indicator that Somalia, a country that has not had a formal banking or financial system since the collapse of its government in 1991, has made serious strides in reinvigorating the pulse of its financial institutions.
19. Ethiopia received its first telecommunications license
In May, Ethiopia granted its first telecommunications license to a consortium consisting of Vodafone, Safaricom Ltd. based in Nairobi, CDC Group Plc and Sumitomo Corp. Participation in the state-owned Ethio Telecom to private investors. These measures are all part of the government’s broader plan to open up the economy.
20. Twitter has opened its first Africa office in Ghana
In April 2021, social media giant Twitter announced Ghana as its choice for an African headquarters. The move came as a surprise to some who expected it to be Nigeria, a country with more Twitter users and an overall larger population. Twitter cleared up on the grounds that it chose Ghana because the country is a “supporter of freedom of expression, online freedom and the open internet”.
21. The continent produced a record number of new unicorns in one year
There are currently eight tech unicorns in total in Africa, five of which – Flutterwave, Andela, Chipper Cash, Wave and Opay – will achieve this status in 2021. Fintech in particular has its time as the majority of the unicorns are fintechs. The other companies that got unicorn status before this year are Interswitch, Jumia, and Fawry.
That’s all for 2021! We look forward to all of the first-time surprises that the African tech world can expect in 2022.
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