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Our Senior Reporter, Daniel Adeyemi, leaves Paris today after a week of covering VivaTech, one of the biggest tech conferences in the world. Clearly, France, didn’t adopt him.
VivaTech 2022 was a remarkable event. The conference ended on Saturday evening, recording about 91,000 in-person visitors and 300,000 online visits from 146 countries. There were 2,000 exhibitors, which included 1,800 startups and 700 investment funds.
India was recognised as the Country of the Year at VivaTech, a special recognition given due to the contribution of Indian startups to the world. India has 100 unicorns—boasting of giving birth to 1 out of every 10 unicorns globally.
Friday opened up with a pitch session at the Africa Tech section, which saw pitches from 10 winning startups from the earlier-held Viva AfricArena event at Station F on Tuesday.
This was followed by a number of panel conversations on fintech, as well as a presentation from Darlington Tarafa, Mandivenga, CEO Sasai Fintech on the trends and challenges in FinTech.
I got to chat with Lin Dejean Yun of Transcendence VC on why she’s bullish on francophone Africa. Later in the day, I also got to eat some Nigerian fried rice, thanks to a Nigerian friend who was also at the conference. My taste buds came alive!
Saturday was the hottest day of the year in France and I felt it. At its peak, It was about 32° C. I couldn’t help but wonder how the heat from Lagos followed me to Paris or my village people.
Saturday was mostly dedicated to sessions in French, presenting me with the perfect opportunity to visit more booths and meet more people. Generally, it felt odd that there was no Nigerian booth at the conference, considering that countries like Egypt and South Africa had stands.
Later in the evening, after 4 days of learning about tech and showcasing tech products and services, VivaTech 2022 came to an end in the Africa Tech section with some melodic music from ace Congolese guitarist, Olivier Tshimanga. The Congolese delegates sure do know how to end a conference in style.
Thanks to the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie, the International Trade Centre, AfricArena, and different organisations and country governments for sponsoring over 100 African startups to the event and contributing to the progress of the African tech ecosystem.
Au revoir, mes amis!
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KENYA ARRESTS STUDENT HACKERS LAUNDERING THROUGH BITCOIN
A gang of Kenyan students have been hacking foreigners’ email credit cards through email phishing, according to the country’s Directorate of criminal investigations (DCI).
The students create fake emails to steal the passwords and credit card information of unsuspecting victims before using the money in these credit cards to purchase bitcoin, which they then convert to Kenyan currency.
The directorate said it arrested the criminal gang who were operating out of Milimani, an affluent estate in Nakuru City, the country’s fourth-largest city. Five laptops, 4 mobile phones, 2 WiFi gadgets, 3 hard drives, and assorted SIM cards were among the items recovered from the DCI’s arrest.
The fraudsters spent the proceeds from their hacking to fund a lavish lifestyle and purchase properties. Among the documents recovered from the apartment was a land sale agreement entered on May 25 for a property valued at Ksh 850,000 ($8,000) in Juja, just close to the Kenyatta University where the students were enrolled.
Cybercrime is on the rise in Kenya with some Kenyans losing Ksh 1.18 billion($10 million) to BitStream Circle, a Ponzi scheme that surfaced in December 2021. There’s also a rise in activities of cybercrime gangs like the Forkbombo gang who scammed Kenyans of Ksh 400 million ($4 million) between 2013 and 2017.
With the launch of its $34 million forensics lab though, cybercrime in the country is expected to shrink. Kenya’s National Police Force is also working hard to enforce the country’s Computer Misuse and Cyber Crimes Act which prescribes a 2-year jail term and $2,000 fine for anyone found guilty of manipulating a payments system to steal money.
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TC INSIGHTS: BIG TECH COMPANIES ARE BETTING BIG IN AFRICA
About a decade ago, Africans only interacted with global tech companies through their products. But that has changed in the last 6 years as global tech firms have turned their sights on Africa. Netflix, Facebook, Microsoft, and Amazon have set up physical offices across the continent within this period.
Africa’s tech scene which is at its early stage is experiencing rapid growth. As a result, global tech companies are increasingly positioning themselves to take advantage of these opportunities before the sector becomes saturated.
According to Daniel Adeyemi, a Senior Reporter at TechCabal, “There are opportunities in the continent. Africa has low internet penetration and talent isn’t as expensive compared to other regions. These companies are here to have the first-mover advantage.”
Still, the presence of these global tech giants in the continent has led to a talent war between themselves and homegrown tech companies and startups. Due to their deep pockets, startups based in the continent are unable to compete with them for talents. Some analysts believe these fears are misplaced considering that local startups could benefit from the potential technology and knowledge transfer that will arise from their presence on the continent. “Big tech companies setting up here means an increase in tax revenue. The standard of living of their employees will improve and some of them will end up as angel investors in the future,” Adeyemi further shared.
There are currently less than a million software developers in Africa, a paltry figure compared to other regions of the world. Big tech companies are likely to change this narrative by investing in training opportunities for future tech talents. Besides, the move by global tech companies to set up bases in Africa will open the floodgates to similar companies in the future. “Global tech companies will be a catalyst to future growth, as having such valuable companies across the continent will lead to a robust economy across different African countries”, Adeyemi concluded.
While it’s important to create an enabling environment for them to thrive, policies aimed at protecting local tech companies and startups should equally be enacted to create a level playing field and spread the gains of technology irrespective of size or national affiliation.
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