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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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Ethiopia’s Awash Bank partners Mastercard to launch international prepaid cards

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Ethiopia’s leading private financial institution, Awash Bank S.C, has partnered with global payments company, Mastercard, to launch the Awash international prepaid cards.

Yohannes Merga, Senior Chief, Marketing Officer for Awash Bank, who announced the partnership on Thursday, said the launching of the Mastercard-branded international prepaid plastic card “marks a significant milestone in Ethiopia’s card business, as the cards enable customers and merchants to make and receive payments online from anywhere in the world.”

He added that the plastic card would offer added flexibility and convenience to customers as it was enabled to make contact or contactless transactions on ATMs and POS machines.

“This innovative offering is a testament to Awash Bank’s commitment to delivering convenient and secure financial solutions to our customers,” said Merga.

“Awash Mastercard empowers travelers with the freedom to manage their finances seamlessly while exploring the world.

“Along with the card, the bank will also introduce Mastercard’s Payment Gateway Services (MPGS) which will diversify and expand Awash Bank’s service offering.

“Mastercard’s Payment Gateway allows local merchants that have mobile applications or websites to integrate with it and accept international payments online. Customers from all over the world can place online orders and reservations and pay merchants that are integrated with MPGS using their cards.

Also speaking in the partnership, Shehryar Ali, Senior Vice President and Country Manager for East Africa and Indian Ocean Islands at Mastercard, said:

“This collaboration with Awash Bank is driving our commitment as Mastercard to enable financial inclusion across Africa.

“Our technological advancements in the payments landscape, enable consumers to be connected to endless possibilities, when transacting, in a safe, secure, and simple manner, which places power and convenience in their hands.”

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M-PESA partners IFC to increase financial inclusion for farmers in Mozambique

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Mobile money transfer and payment service provider, M-Pesa, has entered into a partnership with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) aimed at boosting financial inclusion for small-holder farmers in Mozambique.

The agreement will see IFC cooperating with Vodafone M-PESA Mozambique to support M-PESA in several key areas, including revamping and strengthening its existing agent network and conducting comprehensive countrywide training for M-PESA’s sales team and agents.

IFC will also assist M-PESA to review and expand its merchant acquisition and management strategy in Mozambique, and support M-PESA’s activities across different regions.

Sergio Gomes, Director of Vodafone M-PESA Mozambique, who announced the partnership, said the IFC and M-PESA Mozambique will “work together to explore and pilot new ways to expand mobile money services in rural areas, with the aim of increasing financial inclusion for smallholder farmers.”

“We have seen very positive results since M-PESA was launched in Mozambique in 2013 having paid about 9 billion Meticais ($142 million) in commissions to agents just in the last 5 years,” said Gomes.

“The new phase of M-PESA will focus on expanding our value proposition and use cases to limit the use of cash in the economy. One important vertical where we want to intervene is in agriculture where payments are dominated by cash.

“We believe that through this partnership with IFC, we can have an impact on farmers by digitizing their value chains beginning with payments received for their produce and moving out to developing more sophisticated products like insurance,” he added.

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