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Africa Technology

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A snapshot of African start-ups at France's VivaTech

Rwanda's President Paul Kagame and France's President Emmanuel Macron pose with Rwanda tech entrepreneurs at VivaTech on 24 May 2018. Photo: Michel Euler/Pool/AFP

Dozens of tech start-ups from across the African continent gathered in Paris this week for the three-day VivaTech event which this year had a special Africa theme. Rwandan President Paul Kagame visited the event on Thursday and said it was an important opportunity to see how young people from African countries were already engaged and involved in the tech industry. The French Development Agency also announced a new 65 million euro fund to “strengthen its support to African start-ups”. RFI spoke to a number of African tech entrepreneurs demonstrating their products and innovation…

Jonga – reimagining home security systems, South Africa

A prototype device using Doppler microwave motion detection rather that passive infrared sensors which is intended to be more pet-friendly. The intrusion detection system triggers alerts to members of the local community.

Ntsako Mgiba, co-founder

“Jonga is a security technology company, we’re very passionate about protecting people and their homes, specifically people who have been excluded from security because of affordability. We’re looking at the low to middle income communities. Essentially what we do is provide an affordable home monitoring system that looks for motion within your household.”

Pivot Access – bridging the gap between mobile money and banking, Rwanda

Provides a gateway between mobile money wallets and traditional bank accounts. Enables the creation of ‘virtual branches’ in rural and hard to reach areas to provide financial services.

Pivot Access

Rene Kabagamba, software engineer

“We all know mobile money – you have a wallet with your telecoms company which holds money. There’s some stuff going on in the background, but what’s visible is that you keep money with you operator, the telco. You can withdraw, you can do certain things with it. Your bank account is remote and we stand between those two - you can move money from your bank account to your mobile money.”

Yellow Relay – fixing African delivery services, Cote d’Ivoire

Provides last mile delivery services in 17 African countries. Currently ships items between Europe and the African continent in partnership with logistics companies such as DHL. Uses GPS technology and relay points to deal with issues surrounding addresses.

Maxime Boadji, co-founder

“The biggest challenge we have is the lack of addresses in major African cities. To address this challenge we built a network of drop-off points – a drop-off point is a shop. This shop then becomes the point where people can come and pick up or deliver their package.”

African Geospatial Intelligence Agency – harnessing the power of satellite data, Togo

Uses satellite data and analysis to gain insights on the weather and environment. Has contributed towards disaster risk management, precision agriculture and digital cartography.

Richard Folly, chief executive officer

“Last year we developed an early warning system for the Red Cross and Red Crescent Climate Centre and World Bank to predict flooding in Togo. This system basically used mobile technology to send messages to a platform that uses machine learning to make outputs that can help Red Cross decision making.”