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French telecoms giant, Orange, launches 5G network in Botswana, first in Africa

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Foremost French telecoms group Orange, on Friday, launched Africa’s first 5G network in Botswana in a bid step towards rolling out the high-speed data offering to other markets in Africa and the Middle East, the company’s executives said in a statement.

“Following the initial Botswana launch, Orange’s 5G coverage will extend to 30% of the southern African nation’s population, including those living in Gaborone and Francistown, the two largest cities,” Nene Maiga, CEO of Orange Botswana, told journalists after the launch.

The CEO added that the coverage will be extended to other cities in the country early next year.

“Orange is mainly focusing on 5G as a way of providing fast internet in Africa, where low population density makes rolling out fibre-optic infrastructure uneconomical.

“For us the main use case is fixed wireless access, meaning internet at home,” Maiga said.

The company’s statement stated that Africa and the Middle East, where Orange operates in 18 countries, account for over 60% of the company’s total mobile customers and 6.4 billion euros ($6.6 billion) in revenue, which it says is the reason for the concentration in the regions.

Orange’s Middle East and Africa CEO, Jerome Henrique, said the company was targeting 5G rollouts in around half a dozen countries in 2023, most likely starting with Jordan.

“There’s already an agreement with the government on the conditions for launching 5G in Jordan. And most probably Ivory Coast and Senegal shall follow, but we’re still discussing about regulatory conditions,” Henrique said.

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Ghana’s agrotech startup, FLUID, launches platform to help small scale farmers access to credit

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Ghana’s agrotech startup, FLUID, has successfully launched a new platform that will help small scale farmers access to loans, according to founder and CEO, Moustapha Seck.

Founded in January, 2020, to give fillip to local farmers who had no access to loan and credit facilities, Seck said the company has already signed a 12-month contract with a local bank to provide financing to 25,000 farmers in Northern Ghana.

“We penetrated the Ghanaian financial industry through research first. In October 2020, we partnered with 29 financial institutions to study the challenges in the rural banking space,” Seck said while announcing the launch of the platform.

“Through this engagement, we developed FLUID SafeSusu, a mobile application to create bank accounts and track savings deposits in rural areas without connectivity,” Seck, who left his job at the Canadian investment fund, Clearco, to pursue his goal of helping the poorest Africans access financial services, said.

He added that the FLUID SafeSusu platform has piloted with four banks and connected 26,000 bank accounts to its platform, with an investment fund base of $200,000 in savings deposits.

“Our research led us to discover that half of Ghanaians work in agriculture, but only 4.6 per cent of loans go to farming. This disparity leaves close to 12.5 million smallholders farmers in Ghana financially excluded.”

“While banks use many different technology providers to be closer to the field, only FLUID and AgroCenta, to our knowledge, focus on the huge market of smallholder financing. FLUID stands alone in its focus on mitigating risks for the bank and the farmer,” he added.

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South African tech startup, Peachz, launches foremost online store for mobile accessories

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South Africa’s tech startup, Peachz, has launched an online mobile accessories market place, six months after its formation.

According to its founder and CEO, Tali Flax, the startup is aiming to become the country’s foremost online tech and mobile accessories retailer with its current stocks of sophisticated and a variety of phone mounts and holders for the desk, car or motorcycle, including Aux cables, Type C and A cables, and Mifi-certified iPhone cables.

“Peachz aims to make shopping for well-priced, durable products online “peachy”, with that early uptake has been beyond expectation,” Flax said.

The Johannesburg-based startup, according to the CEO, is “committed to providing the best quality and prices within its sector”, with the understanding that customers should only have to purchase an accessory once.

“It’s frustrating replacing a charging cable every six months – regardless of whether it was expensive or not. We are so confident about the reliability and durability of our products that we offer a 12-month money-back guarantee,” said Flax.

Peachz is off to a promising start, which I believe indicates the strong demand for high-quality accessories that perform as well as the electronic devices for which they are designed. We will continue to listen and cater to market needs,” he added.

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