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Posted on Tuesday, 17 November 2015 00:00

Innovation in technology changing development in Africa

By Crystal Orderson in Cape Town

Photo©ReutersAfrica's technology experts, decision makers and innovators are gathering in Cape Town this week to look at the growth areas of technology on the continent.

With close to 10,000 people from across the globe attending Africom 2015, new innovations are being discussed and the growth potential on the continent.

One of the issues under the spotlight in Cape Town this week is the issue of online money transfers – one of the biggest growth areas for mobile companies.

this project will show how a forward thinking government is using the cloud technology to provide its citizens with access to government's services

WorldRemit launched its instant transfers to Tigo Mobile Money accounts in Rwanda – the first international remittance service to send to mobile wallet users in Rwanda. The new service allows WorldRemit customers from over 50 countries from across the globe to send money to Tigo Cash customers in Rwanda like they would an instant message.

"Tigo Cash has already seen tremendous success and adoption within Rwanda and we welcome WorldRemit as an innovative partner allowing Rwandans abroad to send money home in the most convenient and secure way," Tigo Rwanda chief executive officer, Tongai Maramba said.

Tigo Cash offers digital financial services to more than 2.6 million people in Rwanda – with the main services including sending and receiving money, merchant payment, electricity bills and pay TV, as well as mobile phone credit.

Hundreds of innovators are also in attendance and a group of local application developers are showcasing their work.

Sipho Kobue and Lawrence Matjeni from Afta Robot South Africa have developed an innovative taxi app for taxi drivers in South Africa.

"There is no technology intervention in the taxi market and they wanted to help the mini-bus taxi industry and change perceptions of the industry that is often fraught with violence and lack of organisation," Matjeni told The Africa Report on the side-lines of Africom.

The app will certainly help taxi operators and associations make better decisions on their daily operations, adds Kobue. Taxi transport remains the main source of transport for millions of South Africans.

The app is currently being used by one taxi association in Eldorado Park, south of Johannesburg. The association currently has close to 500 taxi operators and the duo says they intend to roll it out across the country.

The two believe attending Africom will open doors and connect them with the rest of the continent.

"We are looking for potential investor to move our product nationally and across the continent and also connecting us to potential investors," Matjeni told The Africa Report.

Meanwhile, in West Africa, Alcatel-Lucent is to provide the government of Burkina Faso with cloud networking technology that will enable it to develop new digital public services, such as e-government, e-learning and e-health.

Alcatel-Lucent will supply the West African nation with its NFV (Network Functions Virtualisation), Cloudband and IP platforms, which will be integrated into the "G-Cloud" infrastructure to being built around virtualised network resources from cloud nodes in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso's capital, and five provinces.

"This is the first Government Cloud in the region and this project will show how a forward thinking government is using the cloud technology to provide its citizens with access to government's services," Alpin Verlet, head of Alcatel-Lucent activities in West and Central Africa said.



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