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African Leaders and Policy Makers Call for Urgent Action on Foundational Learning

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African Leaders and Policy Makers Call for Urgent Action on Foundational Learning, SiliconNigeria

African leaders and education policy makers have called for the urgent prioritisation of foundational literacy and numeracy to address a learning emergency that has left 9 out of 10 African children unable to understand a simple text by the age of 10.

Speaking on the sidelines of the UNESCO Pre-Summit for September’s flagship UN Transforming Education Summit, Human Capital Africa Advisory Board Chair and former President of Malawi Joyce Banda said: “Of the 100,000 children who are born everyday in Africa, 90% will be unable to read well enough to understand a simple text by the time they celebrate their 10th birthday.

“That means we are failing nearly 33 million children every year. How can Africa prosper as a continent if this is the case? How will our children compete in a modern economy if they cannot read and write? We have no choice but to tackle this learning crisis head on.

“We are delighted that the global community has begun to recognise the severity of the problem. We need all African governments to do the same, and we have to work tirelessly to ensure that these translates into action.”

Emphasising the potentially devastating impact of the learning crisis on Africa’s future, Dame Graca Michel, the former First Lady of Mozambique and South Africa, who has been an education advocate for decades said: “The results of our apathy and lack of action to improve our education systems and invest in better academic outcomes will be felt for decades to come. Quite clearly, we are condemning the African continent to be even worse off in 20 years’ time than it is now.

Africa’s children are being handicapping and we are setting up the next generations for catastrophe. There will never be escape from the entrapment of intergenerational cycles of poverty Africa finds itself in now, nor the ability to contribute our full talents to advance our societies or compete on a global stage should we continue on this path of self-destruction.

This is a failure of monumental proportions. The millions of children who are intellectually stunted by a lack of adequate learning opportunities today are the very same people who we are entrusting to lead our communities and our nations tomorrow.”

Human Capital Africa convened a panel of distinguished guests including Serigne Mbaye Thiam, the Minister of Education of Senegal, Honourable Agnes Nyalonje the Minister of Education from Malawi, Adama Momoh, the Director of policy and planning from Sierra Leone, as well as Professor Charles Soludo, the Governor of Anambra State in Nigeria, who shared their experiences having prioritised foundation learning in recognition of the scale of the crisis.

Demonstrating the practical steps that are already being taken to address the challenge, Honourable Agnes Nyalonje said: “We have started to focus on evidence informed policy making, and one of the things we want to do is to put our best teachers into grades 1-4. These children want to obtain an education but the system is failing them.” 

Emphasising the importance of data, the Director of Policy at the Ministry of Education in Sierra Leone said: “We have established a national assessment unit to gauge learning outcomes and we have digitised our annual school census, to ensure we have the evidence we need to design informed policy.”

Concluding the event, Human Capital Africa founder and former Minister of Education in Nigeria Dr Oby Ezekwesili said: “We believe that the responsibility to get out of this crisis is our own. By working together, we can rapidly change the future of this generation, and those to follow. That is why I am so encouraged by the collaboration and knowledge sharing we have seen today, which is essential if we are to implement the solutions to this crisis quickly. It is critical that we understand this is not just about allocating resources, it is about prioritisation and focus. There are simple things that the progressive leaders we have seen today are implementing which can begin to move us forwards.”

To track the progress that African governments are making to resolve the crisis, and to drive transparency and accountability, Human Capital Africa is developing and will launch a scorecard, which will measure countries’ performance on indicators within six categories that represent the ability of the education sector to provide quality education to children at a young age and prepare them for a future of learning. 

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Africa Region

MTN Unveils Plans for 2025 African Domination

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MTN Unveils Plans for 2025 African Domination, SiliconNigeria

The Chief Strategy and Transformation of Officer, MTN Group, Mr. Chika Ekeji said MTN plans to become the leading player in the fintech solutions (Momo), digital finance (Ayoba), enterprise services, network as a service (NaaS) and API marketplace (Chenosis) spaces over the next three years.

Ekeji stated this in a presentation made to MTN Media Innovation Programme Fellows who visited the company’s headquarters in Fairlands, Johannesburg, South Africa as part of their study trip to University of Witswatersrand and MTN Group, said MTN intends to connect 100 million mobile money (MoMo) users, 100 million Ayoba users, $0.5 billion enterprise service revenue, become number one Africa’s NaaS platform and API gateway respectively.

On connectivity, “We intend to have 300 million total mobile users, 200 million mobile data users, 10 million home broadband users and $0.5 billion fiber investment. On the financial side, intend to achieve 15 per cent revenue growth par annum, 25 per cent of revenue from platform, Rand 6 billion cost savings and 40 per cent EBITDA margin. Rand 25 billion ARP proceeds, 1.0x holdco leverage, $2 billion capital expenditure per annum maintained and 20 per cent return on equity (ROE),” he said.

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Africa Region

Why Turaco Is Investing $10m In Nigeria, Others

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Why Insurtech Firm Turaco Is Investing $10m In Nigeria Others, SiliconNigeria

Turaco, the leading insurtech driving mass market insurance adoption, which closed a $10 million Series A equity round, plans to free people from the fear of financial shocks caused by unexpected health risks.

Turaco is able to achieve this through a B2B and B2B2C business model, forming partnerships with top tech-enabled companies with a large pool of customers or staff in emerging markets, including some of the continent’s most trusted brands such as Sun King, One Acre Fund, Tugende, M-KOPA and VisionFund.

Founded in 2019, Turaco is a distributor, broker, and key customer interface between the underwriter and the end consumer. Through its active partnerships, the insurtech has designed and delivered a suite of bespoke medical, life, asset, and vehicle insurance packages that have already covered over half a million lives across Nigeria, Kenya, and Uganda. Targeted at underserved customers and low-income earners, Turaco embeds its service as a white-labeled offering that is bundled with a partner’s core product or service while integrating with their existing payment processes to collect premiums.

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Africa Region

Google Invests in Lori Systems to Help Bring Digital Transport Management to Africa   

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Google Invests in Lori Systems to Help Bring Digital Transport Management to Africa, SiliconNigeria

Lori Systems (www.lorisystems.com), the e-logistics company digitizing haulage and providing shippers with solutions to efficiently manage their cargo and transporters, has announced an investment from Google.

Named by the Financial Times earlier this year as Africa’s seventh fastest-growing company, Lori Systems has helped thousands of shippers and carriers move over $10 billion of cargo across the continent since its founding in 2017.

According to Knight Frank’s Logistics Africa report, 75% of the price of a product in Africa is attributed to logistics (compared to just 6% in the U.S.). On the continent, logistics operators face a host of problems; from fragmented supply and demand markets to inconsistent pricing, paper documentation and little or no access to financing.

A pioneer in e-logistics in Africa, Lori Systems lowers the cost of goods by eliminating pain points along the cargo journey: seamlessly connecting shippers to transportation, providing shippers with solutions to efficiently manage their cargo and transporters, and digitizing their entire transport operations from sourcing transportation to documentation and payments. 

This new investment is the third from Google’s $50 Million Africa Investment Fund, which CEO Sundar Pichai announced in October 2021. It comes off the back of the launch of Google’s first product development center on the continent, in Nairobi, Kenya, the city where Lori Systems first launched.

“At Google, we understand the transformative power digitisation can bring to the African continent. There is so much potential in the region, but it’s only through innovation that this can be fully unlocked. Lori Systems is a great example of how technology can be scalable across Africa, and how, in turn, this can drive meaningful economic development. We’re excited to see where the future takes a business like this.” comments Nitin Gajria, Google’s Managing Director for Sub-Saharan Africa. 

Jean-Claude Homawoo, Lori Systems Co-founder & CPO, comments, “In recent years the global logistics industry has seen much innovation. However global supply chains are in dire need of modernization, with technologies yet to reach critical scale.

On the continent, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is expected to lead to an 81% increase in intra-African trade, providing a $21.9 Billion opportunity in untapped trade potential that the 54 ratifying countries are hoping to capitalize on over the next 5 years. Logistics is key to unlocking this opportunity.”

“We’re excited to have Google as a partner as we continue to build the operating system for emerging market logistics. Our vision of the future of logistics in Africa is one that is digital, scalable and more efficient.” said Lori Systems CEO Uche Ogboi.

“We have been successful, achieving up to 20% price reduction for cargo owners and nearly 2x increase in truck utilization for transporters on our platform. We are excited about this funding as it will allow us to continue driving superior efficiencies across logistics on the continent,” Ogboi added.

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