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Good news Africa! Bloodless malaria test now possible!!

Who would have thought decades ago that bloodless test for malaria was possible? African youths are taking the innovation industry by storm. Here’s why

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Who would have thought decades ago that bloodless test for malaria was possible? African youths are taking the innovation industry by storm. Here’s why.

A 24-year-old Ugandan software engineer has won the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation. Brian Gitta is the first Ugandan to win the prestigious Africa Prize, and the youngest winner to date.

Gitta and his team developed Matibabu, a device which tests for malaria without drawing blood.

Matibabu, which means ‘medical centre’ in Swahili, is a low-cost, reusable device that clips onto a patient’s finger, requiring no specialist expertise to operate. The results are available within one minute on a mobile phone that is linked to the device.

Gitta wins the first prize of UK £25,000. At an awards ceremony in Nairobi, Kenya on 13 June 2018, four finalists from across sub-Saharan Africa delivered presentations, before Africa Prize judges and a live audience voted for the most promising engineering innovation.

The Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation, founded by the Royal Academy of Engineering in the UK, is Africa’s biggest prize dedicated to engineering innovation. It encourages talented sub-Saharan African engineers, from all disciplines, to develop innovations that address crucial problems in their communities in a new, appropriate way.

Gitta and his team decided to develop the device after missing lectures, having had malaria several times. Matibabu is currently undergoing testing in partnership with a national hospital in Uganda, and is sourcing suppliers for the sensitive magnetic and laser components required to scale up production.

Matibabu is aimed at individuals, health centres and diagnostic suppliers. The team also aims to set up the device on the streets to allow people to do a single test at a time.

Through their participation in the Africa Prize, the Matibabu team have been approached by international researchers offering support and are currently writing up their ground-breaking findings into an academic paper, to be published within the next few months.

“We are very proud of this year’s winner. It’s a perfect example of how engineering can unlock development – in this case by improving healthcare,” said Rebecca Enonchong, Africa Prize judge. “Matibabu is simply a gamechanger.”

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MTN launches 5G network in Zambia

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Pan-African mobile operator, MTN, has officially launched its 5G network in Zambia, after beginning a test run in January, making the country the third in Africa after previous launches South Africa in June 2020 and in Nigeria in September 2022.

The 5G services which will run commercially in six Zambian cities, according to MTN Group’s President and CEO, Ralph Mupita, will help transform businesses and livelihoods in the southern African nation.

“5G can transform business and livelihoods beyond simple connectivity, with the potential to unlock many new use cases. In Zambia, we see great opportunities across many sectors, and in the mining industry in particular,” Mupita said at the launch on Friday.

MTN Zambia CEO, Bart Hofker, said the 5G services had been activated to cover about 65% of the population in the cities of Lusaka, Kitwe and Ndola, and parts of Chingola, Solwezi and Kalumbila, which translates into about 15% of the overall population of the country.

“We plan to reach 100% 5G coverage in Lusaka, Kitwe and Ndola by the middle of 2023, while gradually expanding the 5G network to other locations,” Hofker said.

MTN’s 5G is a fifth-generation mobile network technology which offers faster speeds, lower latency, better security and stability and the ability to handle high-volume connections and mobile data. It can connect virtually everything, including machines, vehicles and robots,” he added.

The launching of the network in Lusaka, the country’s capital, was witnessed by Zambian President, Hakainde Hichilema, along with top government ministers and representatives of the telecoms regulator and the Central Bank governor

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Nigerian fintech startup, Pivo, secures $2m seed funding to expand offerings

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Nigerian fintech startup, Pivo, has successfully secured a $2 million seed funding to expand its existing offerings for its customers as well as build new ones to improve transaction management and payment reconciliation for supply chains.

The company started in 2021 by Ijeoma Akwiwu and Nkiru Amadi-Emina is targeted at businesses that deal with import, export, manufacture, distribution and retail of FMCG, logistics and haulage, and clearing and forwarding.

Pivo which began with three main products, Pivo Capital, Pivo Finance, and Pivo Plus, offers access to insurance, corporate compliance and tax regulation support.

The company, in a statement on Friday by Amadi-Emina, said the $2 million seed funding round which comes from Precursor Ventures, Vested World, Y Combinator, FoundersX and Mercy Corp Ventures, will be used to upgrade existing products and build new ones as the company plans to establish its presence outside Nigerian to East Africa, and grow its team.

“After our pre-seed raise of US$550,000 early in Q1 of this year, we launched a new product, Pivo Business, with features that supply chain SMEs can use to achieve better cash flow,” Amadi-Emina said.

“The transaction volume of Pivo Business accounts grew by over 400 per cent between April and September. With this funding, we intend to build on existing products and develop solutions for supply chain anchors,” she added.

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