It has been eventful in Ethiopia lately to a level it is really hard to keep up. The technology and related arena were not different. We picked out major news which we and other media reported here in our Shega Monthly brief for January 2019.
Ethiopia To Establish Telecoms Regulator Before it Liberalizes the Sector
Ethiopia’s council of ministers has approved a draft law to establish a telecoms regulatory authority. This follows the government’s decision to liberalize the telecoms sector, according to the Office of the Prime Minister. The new Ethiopian Communications Regulatory Authority will be in charge of regulating competition among different operators.
Ibex Frontier released the 2018 tech & startup funding Report for Ethiopia
The total disclosed funding in 2018 according to a report from by Ibex Frontier was $13M USD. Fintech took the biggest share of the funding with 76% while off-grid energy (12%) and Agri-tech (9%) followed 2nd and 3rd in attracting funding. Download the report here.
New additional startup incubator joining the ecosystem
Antler, a Singapore based talent incubator and startup generator, is coming to Addis and Nairobi as they expand to East Africa. More can be found here.
Belcash to Launch Two E-commerce Platforms
Belcash the company behind (Hello cash) is about to launch two e-commerce platforms, Hellomarket which will be a platform for locals, payment through electronic banking services, and delivery to be handled by DHL. For buyers from abroad, Helloshop will allow domestic products to be ordered through the platform and the payment to be processed through Mastercard Payment Gateway Services. Belcash also recently integrated Hellocash to Kikuu, making Kikuu the first online payment integrated e-commerce service in Ethiopia! For more read here.
ZayRide Secured Undisclosed Second round funding
Zaytech, the parent company of the on-demand taxi service provider ZayRide, has completed a funding round from local and international investors for the startup’s market projects and product development. The amount is undisclosed but it is noted in the press release as significant. Zayride previously raised $200K in 2017. Read the press release here.
Ethio Telecom and Ethiopian airlines begin phone call service and WiFi services on flights.
Ethio Telecom agreed with Ethiopian Airlines to start air connectivity for local and international flights. The service is going to avail traveler’s need for WiFi. “We have told the airline that we are ready to provide the service and now we are contacting global companies which are going to provide us access to the satellite,” added Said Aragaw Chief International Business Officer. More can found here.
Africa Innovation Week To Be Held In Ethiopia
The Ministry of Innovation and Technology of Ethiopia is to organize Africa innovation week in October 2019. The five-day event to be organized in partnership with Innovation Business Acceleration (IBA) mainly aims to promote technological products.
Ethio Telecom Plans to charge for Whatsapp, Facebook texts
The newly established division in the telecom, international business, started negotiations with App operators like Whatsapp and Facebook to pay for SMS they send for their users, which was not monetized before. Ethio Telecom repeatedly said in that past that messaging apps like Whatsapp and Viber reduced the revenue it used to get from messaging service. More can found here.
Ethio Telecom eyes communication satellite
Ethio Telecom is planning to acquire a communication satellite. A senior official of Ethio Telecom told The Reporter that the telecom company is contemplating using a communication satellite. We are anticipating to use satellite to cater telecom services for the health, education, and agriculture sectors where we do not have telecom infrastructure,” the official said. There is another initiative to launch an observatory satellite to space by the Ethiopian Space Science and Technology Institute at the Addis Ababa University. With the assistance of China, the Institute is set to launch its first earth observatory satellite in September 2019. More can found here.
American college of technology inaugurated
Offering degrees in Business Administration and Computer Science at the graduate level, the American College of Technology (ACT) has been inaugurated in the capital. The school is teaming up with the American based Maharishi University of Management (MUM) to offer an American quality level education within Ethiopia. A division of Maryland-based Sholla Technology, and to be its hub; started to educate Ethiopian IT professionals by a noted one-time Ethiopian academician, Asmamaw Atnafu Mengistie (PhD), an Ethiopian diaspora in the US.
Ethiopian Airlines and Hibret Bank Launch New Co-Branded Debit Card
Ethiopian Airlines and United Bank have launched the first Co-branded debit card tailored to provide Ethiopian Sheba Miles members with bonus miles for their spending using the debit card. The new debit Card entitles Sheba Miles members to 5 bonus miles for every 100-birr spending made with the Co-Branded Card. More can be found here.
China HEAD Aerospace Technology Won The Bid For Ethiopian Ground Station
China HEAD Aerospace Technology Co. and its subsidiary HEAD Technology France, has been awarded a multi-million Euro contract to build a ground receiving station in Entoto Observatory and Research Center. More can be found here.
Government Meets Fintech Players
The Ministry of Innovation and Technology brought together regulators and operators in the FinTech industry. The meeting clarified the opportunities, challenges, and policies that would help innovative technology-driven companies reach their full potential in Ethiopia.
Successful FinTech companies like Deliver Addis and Apposit talked about what they have been able to accomplish, using the existing legal framework and infrastructure. The participants asked the National Bank of Ethiopia to allow a virtual wallet. Also, the issue of Intellectual Property(IP) for the specific operation is asked for in addition to using an IP to access finance. Organized information, Absence of a National ID, and the lack of access to criminal, court, and other records were things they wished to see improve.
The dialogue addressed the concerns and frustrations of the financial technology enterprises as government representatives tried to explain shortcomings. Getahun Nana, former vice-governor of the National Bank said he would take responsibility for past mistakes as he was part of the policy made at the time. The dialogue is set to continue in order to develop a concrete policy. More can be found here.
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