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Kenya looks up to Google’s Project Loon for better internet coverage

Technology giant Google is looking to strike deals with Kenyan telecommunications operators to deliver mobile internet coverage to remote locations through a network of cost-efficient floating balloons

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Technology giant Google is looking to strike deals with Kenyan telecommunications operators to deliver mobile internet coverage to remote locations through a network of cost-efficient floating balloons. Google’s Project Loon, has set out on a global campaign to increase internet connectivity for millions of people living in rural poorly connected areas.

Kenya’s ICT Ministry has welcomed the move on the premise that an aerial network would cut costs and enhance internet usage across all segments of Kenya’s population. Principal secretary in the ICT Ministry Sammy Itemere says, “It is companies such as X [formerly Google X] that innovate and provide solutions that benefit our city. We welcome the use of high-altitude balloons to create an aerial wireless network that offers real benefits to consumers.”

Speaking at the opening of a workshop to sensitize stakeholders on the balloon technology, the PS said the balloon network can easily achieve 4G-LTE speeds and would help Kenya multiply ICT’s impact on the economy.

A 2017 report revealed that 67% of Kenyans have access to the internet, mainly using mobile devices, this is impressive compared to the continent’s 18% average.

The balloons enable the nearest telecommunications partner’s ground station to receive the wireless internet signals that are then transmitted across the network of balloons and then back down to users’ mobile phones on the ground. Each balloon covers up to 5000 square kilometers and runs on renewable energy.

Google has already have deployed 10 balloons for testing in Nakuru, Nanyuki, Nyeri, and Marsabit.

Project Loon has received unanimous applause worldwide for its role in providing internet to disaster-stricken areas. Google had previouly partnered with AT&T to provide internet coverage to Puerto Rico following the devastating Hurricane Maria. However, on the flipside, balloon crashes have occurred in nearly 10 countries, including Panama and the USA.

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MTN, Vodacom remain South Africa’s most valuable brands— Report

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A report released on Tuesday by global brand valuation consultancy, Brand Finance, has rated telecom giants, MTN and Vodacom, as the most valuable brands in South Africa.

According to the report, MTN is still the standout company, maintaining its position as the most valuable South African brand, despite experiencing an 8% decrease in brand value to ZAR68.2 billion.

Part of the report noted that the telecommunications company has significantly “expanded outside of its home market and has a stronghold in Nigeria, which is now MTN’s largest market in terms of both user base and revenue.”

“On the other hand, Vodacom’s brand value increased 10% to ZAR43.9 billion in 2024,” it said.

“This secures its second place in the ranking, while also narrowing the gap with leading competitor MTN.”

The Brand Finance research indicates that the influence of majority shareholder Vodafone has bolstered Vodacom’s brand and market standing.

Although Vodacom operates autonomously and is listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, Brand Finance data reveals that Vodacom’s association with Vodafone enhances brand equity, cultivating recognition and trust.

“Amid the myriad of challenges that South African businesses are facing, our research highlights that now, more than ever, brand consistency is crucial in driving growth,” the report endorsed by Jeremy Sampson, Chairman, Brand Finance Africa, stated.

“For the past fifteen years, MTN and Vodacom have consistently maintained their positions as the top two most valuable brands and six of the top ten brands have stayed in the top ten.

“Leading brands like MTN, Vodacom, Standard Bank, and Absa have also nearly doubled their brand values since 2016.

“Time and time again, our findings underscore the critical need to prioritise brand investment as a strategic imperative, safeguarding companies’ brand as a valuable asset for the future,” it added.

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Nigerian healthtech startup Remedial Health launches app with digital POS, barcode scanner

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Nigerian healthcare startup, Remedial Health, has announced the launching of a new app with digital point of sales (POS) and barcode for neighbourhood pharmacies and Proprietary Patent Medicine Vendors (PPMVs) across Africa.

Co-founder and CEO of Remedial Health, Samuel Okwuada, who disclosed this in a statement, said the new “app comes with a digital POS terminal to support payment collection, virtual business accounts to receive payments.”

“It also has an in-built barcode scanner feature for recording product sales and store-switch functionality to enable the seamless management of multiple stores, as well as inventory management solutions for restocking and easily identifying short-dated products.”

Okwuada added that the app also offers comprehensive financial reporting to manage profit and loss, and data analytics to inform decision making.

“Neighbourhood pharmacies and PPMVs represent the frontline of healthcare delivery in Africa but they have historically been left to their own devices to figure out how to be efficient and profitable,” he said.

“Our mission is to empower these essential service providers with the tools they need to manage day-to-day operations and seamlessly run their practices effectively.

“We spent a lot of time interacting with our customers in the process of delivering this product and the feedback has been great.

“We are excited by the opportunity to get the app into the hands of pharmacies and PPMVs across the country to support their ongoing success, as well as the health and wellbeing of the nation.

“Our customers can also access same-day delivery and leverage inventory financing to minimise cash-flow friction for routine orders and maximise sales opportunities.”

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