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  • Matt Spencer

5 biggest African tech moments 2017

2017 has been a record year for the tech sector, seen by some of the biggest African tech moments throughout the year. Various advances in technology are pushing society to new heights, and challenging everything we ever thought possible. The African tech sector has seen many great moments in 2017, promising great potential and growth in 2018 and beyond.

Here are 5 of the best African tech moments in 2017:

GetSmarter and education:

GetSmarter is an online education platform that offers short-term online certification courses to distance-learning students. In 2017, the company was acquired by global ed-tech company 2U for $103 million. This makes it one of the major acquisitions to take place in the African tech space. Christopher Paucek, CEO and co-founder of 2U says “The acquisition of GetSmarter is expected to accelerate our growth, extend our global footprint and provide a broader suite of services by matching more students to the right digital education opportunities – whether graduate programs or short course certificates. With this acquisition, we expect to expand our total addressable market while strengthening our position as a global leader in delivering high-quality, high-touch, digital education focused on student outcomes. 

Andela and coding:

Coding school Andela brought one of the biggest funding rounds ever seen by an African tech startup. The Lagos and Nairobi-based startup that recruits Africa’s best software developers has successfully raised $40 million in the most recent round of funding, according to a press release from Andela. The substantial investment was led by Pan-African venture firm CRE Venture Capital, while other investors include DBL Partners, Amplo, Salesforce Ventures, and Africa-focused TLcom Capital. Andela was formed to train and outsource software coders in Africa with the intention of working remotely for international companies.

Seni Sulyman, country director of Andela Nigeria explained the importance of the investment in nurturing the African tech leaders of tomorrow. “Andela is investing in our continent’s future technology leaders, who are already playing a much-needed role in solving both African and global problems,” said Sulyman.

Taxify:

Taxify has quickly become a powerful rival to Uber throughout Africa. The car-service app provides affordable transport for citizens throughout the continent. It has expanded to various African countries in 2017, and has even incorporated an M-Pesa payment option in Kenya. This grants it a competitive edge over Uber. “We are always on the lookout on how to intensely localise the experience of our application across the cities we operate in,” said Nairobi City manager Alex Mwaura in a statement.

M-Kopa and Solar Power:

M-Kopa, the East African pay-as-you-go solar firm, has been experiencing much success in 2017. The company has secured $80 million in expansion funding as it looks to expand to new markets and offer new products. This success falls in line with the global movement toward solar power, and is expected to increase in the following years.

Zipline and drone technology:

U.S Company Zipline will be upscaling their operations in Africa. Zipline uses drones to transport medical supplies and blood to rural areas in need. Tanzania announced that it is launching the world’s largest drone delivery service to provide emergency on-demand access to critical and life-saving medicines. Beginning in the first quarter of 2018, the Tanzanian government will begin using drones to make up to 2,000 life-saving deliveries per day to over one thousand health facilities, serving 10 million people across the country.

“We strive to ensure that all 5,640 public health facilities have all the essential medicines, medical supplies and laboratory reagents they need, wherever they are—even in the most the hard to reach areas” said Laurean Bwanakunu, Director General of Tanzania’s Medical Stores Department. “But that mission can be a challenge during emergencies, times of unexpected demand, bad weather, or for small but critical orders. Using drones for just-in-time deliveries will allow us to provide health facilities with complete access to vital medical products no matter the circumstance.”

What do you think of these amazing African tech moments? Let us know in the comments below!

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