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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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Airtel Africa signs a $125 million credit deal with American bank, Citi

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Telecommunication giant, Airtel Africa has signed a $125 million credit deal with American multinational investment bank, Citi through its branch offices/subsidiaries in sub-Saharan Africa. 

According to a statement signed by Simon O’Hara, Group Company Secretary the credit “…facility is in line with our strategy to raise debt in our local operating companies and will include both local currency and US dollar denominated debt.”

The facility has a tenor up to September 2024 and will be used to support Airtel Africa’s operations and investments in four of its subsidiaries.

“The facility provides potential interest rate savings in exchange for achieving social impact milestones relating to digital inclusion and gender diversity, with a focus on rural areas and women, and aligning with the Group’s sustainability strategy launched in October 2021…”

A report by Nairametrics says Airtel’s net profit grew by 25.26% in the fiscal quarter of 2023, and 27% of the company’s FY 2022 earnings, broadly due to higher finance costs and regulatory/government policy changes in the Nigerian segment of the company’s business.

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Female Nigerian robotics engineer invents smart bra that can detect breast cancer

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A female robotics engineer in Nigeria, Bolarinwa Kemisola, has invented a smart bra that has the capability of detecting breast cancer in its early stages.

Kemisola who announced the feat on Friday, said the new device can help in the “fight against breast cancer in Nigeria where an estimated 17,000 women die of the disease every year.”

The smart bra, according to the scientist, contains a total of 14 sensors connected to a USB outlet through cables, with the system, including a phone application where the procedure can be followed and monitored.

She stated that she was inspired to devote herself to finding a solution to breast cancer on the day her aunt died died of the disease.

The cancer detecting bra (Photo Credit: Tech Trend Africa)

The cancer detecting bra (Photo Credit: Tech Trend Africa)

Following the advice of several healthcare professionals and scientists, she said she began work on the first prototype in February 2021.

The new device, according to Kemisola, will also help in raising awareness about breast cancer in Africa where a data by the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that more than 74,000 women died of breast cancer in Africa in 2020 alone.

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