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Egypt’s e-commerce startup, Shahbandr, creates platform to help merchants build online businesses

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Egyptian e-commerce startup, Shahbandr, has stood out in helping merchants build and grow online businesses via its SaaS-based e-commerce platform, according to co-founder and CEO, Shady Abdelshaheed.

The startup which was founded in May 2021, is a one-stop solution that helps merchants in the country to “start, build, sell, manage and grow an online business in the e-commerce industry.”

“We have hands-on experience in both web-building and e-commerce business, and with the rise of the SaaS model, the pandemic, and growing market need, we decided to start the platform,” Abdelshaheed, said of the new offering on Wednesday.

In September last 2021, Shahbandr launched its MVP with Taager.com, before officially launching to the public last January, which has become one of the most popular e-commerce platforms in the North African country.

The platform currently has an active user base of over 150 paying customers, and has fulfilled more than 150,000 orders, and according to Abdelshaheed, its goal is to become the number one e-commerce platform in the region and beyond.

“More than 78 per cent of Egyptians are now online and want to buy, but 78 per cent of local merchants still need to embrace online tools to bring them into this competitive marketplace.

“Only 22 per cent of Egyptian merchants have online stores, and there are fewer across the MENA region. Present providers lack full integration and do not offer a complete one-stop-shop.

“So we offer a business in a box solution that is ready to go, yet some merchants prefer us to enable some or all ingredients,” he 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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