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Kenyan Nelly Cheboi, founder of TechLit Africa, bags CNN’s Hero of the Year award

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A Kenyan tech entrepreneur and founder of a non-profit educational startup, TechLit Africa, Nelly Cheboi, has been named the CNN 2022 Hero of the Year, in honour of her efforts in providing computer training for rural Kenya schoolchildren.

The startup which currently serves 10 schools in local counties in the eastern African country, teach students a variety of computer skills, including coding, programming, graphic design, marketing, and also give them the opportunity to engage in remote learning.

Cheboi who described herself as a favoured child while receiving the award on Monday, said she grew up in grinding poverty in rural Kenya.

“I never forgot what it was like with my stomach churning because of hunger at night.

“Even though my mother worked really hard to educate us, it was still not enough to see us through,” she said, adding that it was her deprived childhood that set her on the path to looking out for others.

Cheboi who is currently on a full scholarship at Augustana College in Illinois, USA, “fell in love” with computer science and knew she had found her career path.

She said it wasn’t until she began working in the software industry that she realized that companies just throw away computers when it’s time for an update.

She said she knew there were children in Kenya who had no idea what a computer was and so TechLit Africa was born.

“They can go from doing a remote class with NASA on education to music production.

“My hope is that when the first TechLit kids graduate high school, they’re able to get a job online because they will know how to code, they will know how to do graphic design, they will know how to do marketing. The world is your oyster when you are educated,” she said.

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Kenyan techpreneur wins Microsoft’s 2022 MVP award

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A Kenyan techpreneur, Shadrack Kiprotich, has been awarded the coveted 2022 Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) Award for “actively sharing high-quality expertise with other technology professionals.”

Kiprotich made the list of over 3,000 awardees worldwide for the Microsoft MVPs, which is an “elite group of experts who share a passion for technology, a willingness to help others, and a commitment to community, making them exceptional leaders who contribute to the industry’s success through knowledge-sharing to solve problems,” according to Microsoft’s website.

After the announcement on Monday, Kiprotich, who was also nominated in the Business Applications category, said he will continue to “deliver amazing work in his local community and will hope to open up more opportunities for others to do the same.”

“The MVP award program will play a huge role in my journey since this is something I love; advocating for tech for all and making contributions to the community,” he told journalists in Nairobi.

“As the only Kenyan MVP at the moment, I am looking forward to more people joining the program and we will be able to grow the MVP community in Kenya and get to empower more people,” Kiprotich said.

Ruth Ferland, the Microsoft Africa Development Center Senior Program Manager for Ecosystem Engagements, noted that Shadrack’s journey to the award indicated the importance of introducing technical skills early, and maintaining a strong talent development pipeline for the technology industry.

“As we congratulate Shadrack Kiprotich for his unwavering efforts to becoming one of the elite global technology professionals, we must consider the value of providing technical skills early on in people’s lives,” said Ferland.

Kiprotich who holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree, picked up his programming skills by learning from a friend and honed them in the Microsoft Learn Student Ambassadors program, before going on to be a team lead in Season 2 of the Microsoft Game of Learners hackathon in 2021.

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Equitorial Guinea accuses French telecoms operator, Orange SA, of giving away its domain name

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Equatorial Guinea has accused French telecoms giant, Orange SA, of “fraudulently” giving out its “.gq” domain name to the Netherlands, thus forcing the African country’s institutions to pay to use the domain.

The country’s Vice President, Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, who made the accusations on Saturday, said officials in Equatorial Guinea had “discovered that the French from the Orange company engaged in fraudulent manipulation by ceding our domain .gq to the Dutch”.

The .gq domain name, according to local media, was launched in 1997 by Equatorial Guinean mobile operator, Getesa, but was reported to be prone to spam, phishing and other malicious use.

While speaking at a press conference, Nguema said:

“Now, we have to pay them to use our own domain, which makes it challenging to set up an institutional website with .gq for the country,” he said at a press conference.

“What have we done to France for it to plunder African countries in this manner? We are once again hindered by their trickery. The West should stop taking advantage of Africa,” he added.

This is not the first time the son of long-serving President Teodoro Obiang Nguema, has accused European countries of various infractions in his country.

He has previously accused the United States, Spain and France of interfering in his country’s internal affairs.

In one of such instances, a French court in 2020, fined him €30 million for embezzling public funds, giving him a suspended jail term and ordering the confiscation of his assets.

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