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Kenya launches sex education app to curtail teenage pregnancy

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The Kenyan health ministry has launched a sex education app which will help reduce the country’s teenage pregnancy problem, the ministry said on Friday.

Teenage pregnancy in the eastern African country has grown to an endemic proportion with an average of 5,000 girls getting pregnant in their teens, the ministry said.

The digital app known as “Nena Na Binti,” which means “Speak with a Sister” in Swahili, will give accurate information and counseling on reproductive health using a mobile application and a toll-free number to Kenyan teenagers, who have the world’s third highest rate of pregnancy.

“11% of girls and 20% of boys aged 15-19 start engaging in sex by age 15. One in five (23%) girls age 15-19 has an unmet need for contraceptives. Consequently, 1 in 5 girls aged 15-19 has begun childbearing and about half (47%) of these births are unwanted.

“Every day in Kenya, seven women die from unsafe abortions which can be prevented. Unsafe abortion in Kenya is among the highest in Africa while maternal mortality is high at about 6,000 deaths per year, 17% of them from complications of unsafe abortion

“The STI prevalence among girls aged 15-19 is three times the rate in boys of the same age group. Knowledge of comprehensive HIV prevention, HIV testing, and condom use are also low among adolescents relative to other age groups.

“The hotline seeks to create a safe space where adolescent girls and young women can have uninterrupted access to comprehensive information and services in a confidential and non-judgmental including access to safe abortion services,” the ministry said.

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South African commerce startup, Clickatell, launches platform for WhatsApp mobile payments

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Foremost South African commerce and mobile messaging startup, Clickatell, has launched a Whatsapp Chat 2 Pay feature in conjunction with South Africa’s first low-cost airline, FlySafair.

During the launch of the platform on Saturday, Clickatell’s Chief Product and Technology Officer, Jeppe Dorff, said the feature will make FlySafair the first airline in the world to deploy Chat 2 Pay with a pay-by-link capability that allows its customers the convenience of effortless mobile payments via FlySafair’s WhatsApp channel.

“No one has time to stand in queues anymore, and almost every adult on the planet has a mobile phone,” Dorff said.

“There is a major opportunity for airlines across the globe to enhance their customers’ travel experience by making it possible to browse, book and pay for, as well as manage their travel bookings on their mobile phones.

“We are thrilled to work with FlySafair to transform its customers’ experience by making it possible to make payments using their mobile phones,” he added.

Kirby Gordon, Chief Marketing Officer at FlySafair, said the airline is delighted to have pioneered with Clickatell for the first of its kind innovation.

“We are always looking for ways to improve our customer experience and are therefore very excited that our customers can now pay for their luggage with a payment link shared to their mobile phones via WhatsApp.

“There is no need any more for our customers to go stand in a queue at the airport to pay for luggage.

“By adding Chat 2 Pay, FlySafair helps its customers to save time and safely make payments further by clicking on the Chat 2 Pay link delivered in a message in WhatsApp without requiring them to expose their personal payment information,” she explained.

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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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