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Google Launchpad Accelerator Africa selects 12 startups for its 4th class

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Google Launchpad Accelerator Africa has kicked off in Lagos, Nigeria with 12 startups selected from six countries across Africa to help solve access to financial services, education, and agriculture.

According to Google Launchpad Accelerator Africa head of startup success and services, Fola Olatunji-David. “We continue to be impressed by the quality of startups that apply to the Launchpad Accelerator Africa programme. Class 4 is no exception and we expect them to build on the successes of the previous three classes.”

This is the 4th cohort since Launchpad Accelerator Africa was first announced in late 2017. The programme has helped 35 startups with working space, access to mentors from Silicon Valley, plus global travel and PR support throught the 3-month programme.

The 12 selected startups include the following:

Afara Partners (Nigeria): Afara Partners offers platforms that provide services to the financially underserved/excluded.

BrandBook (South Africa): BrandBook is a mobile app that incentives users to take a picture of their receipts, allowing it to harvest consumer purchase behaviour across all channels.

Elewa (Kenya): Elewa is a toolkit for establishing scalable high-quality training programs within existing education- or professional institutions.

Eversend (Uganda): Eversend is a multi-currency e-wallet that allows you to exchange, spend and send money at the best possible rates. It also includes insurance, virtual debit cards, and bill payments.

OZE (Ghana): OZÉ brings African small businesses into the digital era, equipping their owners to make data-driven decisions to improve their performance and access capital.

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Phenomenal Technologies (Zimbabwe): Phenomenal Technologies offers low-cost field excursions for learners through virtual reality.

REACH (Nigeria): REACH recognises, categorises and interprets transaction data from SMS and other sources, making this data available as individual financial and market insights.

Sortd (South Africa): Sortd aims to re-invent email with the world’s first All-in-One productivity suite for Gmail and GSuite.

TradeBuza (Nigeria): The TradeBuza is a cloud-based web and mobile application which digitises contract farming and trade.

Tulaa (Kenya): Tulaa is an online-to-offline marketplace for smallholder farmers in Africa.

XEND (Nigeria) : XEND Allows users to make and receive payments, offline or online.

WorkPay (Kenya): WorkPay is a cloud-based employee management and payment solution using the power of mobile and biometrics.


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Google removes millions of negative TikTok reviews from the Play Store

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Google has removed millions of negative reviews oN TikTok made by disgruntled fans. The removal comes after  TikTok has received criticism in India after disturbing videos were found on the app. Millions of Indian fans with millions of Indians leaving negative reviews under the #Hashtags BanTikTok, DeleteTikTok, and BlockTikTok.

The videos according to notable sources, they condone domestic violence, animal cruelty, racism, child abuse, and the objectification of women.

The disgruntled fans left one-star ratings on Google play which is ordinarily the most average score. which  Google has now stepped in to remove all of the negative spam reviews.

According to TechCrunch, Google may have removed in excess of 8 million reviews from the original TikTok listing on the Play Store. That is an astronomical figure but given TikTok has been downloaded over 1 billion times, it’s still only a minor portion of the potential userbase.  TikTok review score rally slightly. It is now sat at 1.6 stars.

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“Keeping people on TikTok safe is a top priority and we make it clear in our Term of Service and Community Guidelines that clearly outlines what is not acceptable on our platform. As per the policy, we do not allow content that risks the safety of others, promotes physical harm, or glorifies violence against women. The behaviour in question violates our guidelines and we have taken down content, suspended the account, and are working with law enforcement agencies as appropriate.” Said, a TikTok spokesperson.


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Oppo A92 launches in Kenya alongside company’s first wireless earbuds

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Oppo has unveiled its latest smartphone, the A92, in Kenya today.

The device was announced at the start of the month and is going for Kshs 30,000 locally.

At that price, it provides prospective buyers with another option to join Oppo’s lineup of feature-rich mid-range smartphones, currently headlined by the Oppo Reno3 that went on sale in the country last month.

The Oppo A92 packs a 6.5-inch Full HD+ “Neo” display, 8 GB RAM, 128GB onboard storage, a Snapdragon 665 chipset and a 5,000mAh battery. The mammoth battery can be juiced up real quick using the included 18W Fast Charge accessories.

Like most Oppo smartphones, there is a focus on the camera with a quad-camera arrangement at the back headlined by a 48-megapixel sensor standing out.

The Oppo A92 also comes running Android 10 with the latest version of Oppo’s custom overlay, ColorOS, layered on top.

The device’s fingerprint is also mounted on the side, a first for the Oppo’s A-series, incorporated in the power button.

The statement announcing the device’s launch from Oppo includes a few tidbits we didn’t know about: “…the AI Backlight Adjustment will intelligently learn the reading habit of user, to come up with a personalized automatic backlight adjustment.”

Accompanying the Oppo A92 to the local market is Oppo’s first attempt at a wireless headset: the Oppo Enco W31.

For the Kshs 8,000 that they are going for, Oppo is promising users low-latency, better noise cancellation when making calls, a bass mode and auto-detection for when the earbuds are worn (so as to resume playback) or not (to pause playback). Those who use them with compatible Oppo smartphones will be able to connect them with their devices using an AirPod-like quick-connect pairing function.

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The Oppo A92, which comes in Aurora Purple, Twilight Black and Shining White colours, is available on pre-order online through Jumia Kenya from today all the way to Monday, June 1st.

Those who pre-order the device will get a gift of either a travel backpack or laptop bag from Oppo Kenya.

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KEPSA calls on government to partially re-open the economy

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Members of the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) have called on the government to gradually and partially re-open the economy to preserve the economy and support health response.

Speaking during a virtual meeting with the government through the office of the National Development Implementation and Communication Cabinet Committee (NDICCC), chaired by Dr Fred Matiang’i, KEPSA Chief Executive Ms Carole Karuga reiterated that COVID-19 is the new normal and every effort must be made to ensure there is continued economic activity in the country while upholding measures to safeguard the health of its people.

“Coronavirus is the new global reality. We are working hard to protect our people and curb the spread whilst, getting the economy on a recovery path through ensuring both formal and informal sectors resume to normalcy,” Ms Carole Karuga said. “The Government and the private sector can develop a practical recovery strategy that balances health, economic, and societal needs respectively.

“That the public and private sectors should explore ways to deal with the reality of COVID-19. “This is a shared responsibility and a comprehensive recovery plan will be rolled out, which includes the eight-plan stimulus package recently announced by President Uhuru Kenyatta, as well as the Private Sector’s interventions that are geared towards keeping our economy going,” Dr Matiang’i said.

“All the proposals presented by KEPSA will be consolidated into a white paper of private sector protocols. As the government considers easing containment measures,” Dr Matiang’ i said. Adding that: “Where there are gaps, it is imperative to address them now. As the government is working on the 2020/2021 budget that will incorporate the CRP.”

Dr Matiang’i also confirmed that the National Treasury has handed over KES. 10 billion to the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) for the VAT Refund.

The CS, however, warned about a rush opening saying that other economies that have recently re-opened have witnessed a spike in infection rates.

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KEPSA recommended a phased opening of the economy. Starting with the reduction of the curfew hours for non-essential services and sectors including retail sectors. This measure will allow for more economic activity and workforce productivity – particularly our micro, small and medium enterprises.

“The unprecedented scale of the pandemic means that the return to work will need to be gradual and phased. And heightened caution is necessary to prevent further waves of infection. The burden of COVID-19 prevention is not placed disproportionately on SMEs. Who are already struggling to stay in business,” KEPSA Chairman Nik Nesbitt said.

“Getting ahead of the coronavirus is not solely the responsibility of the government. The private sector has demonstrated that understanding. They have been agile to expand manufacturing capacity and shift supply chains to meet the increasing needs for the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE),” Ms Karuga said.

The Trade and Industrialization Cabinet Secretary Ms Betty Maina presented a raft of proposed guidelines that businesses will have to adopt and enforce when they re-open their businesses.

“These standard operating procedures will be unique to every work environment. And will help us to balance safe operations of businesses and minimization of infections,” CS Maina said

KEPSA has outlined a set of working principles for recovery. These three principles include guidance on government’s plans to scenario plan; adopt a unique Kenyan strategy while leveraging global benchmarks and best practices; and a practical restart strategy that balances health, economic, and societal needs.


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