World Mobile, Altaeros Partner to Launch Aerostat Balloons to Connect the Unconnected in Africa
World Mobile, the first mobile network built on blockchain and run by the people, partners with Altaeros, developers of the world’s first autonomous aerostats, to connect the unconnected. Through this partnership, Altaeros and World Mobile will provide low-altitude aerostats (tethered balloon platforms) with a coverage area of approximately 8,000 km^2 each, forming part of World Mobile’s Dynamic Network.
World Mobile plans to launch these balloons across Africa to connect hundreds of millions of people. Several aerostats will launch in Zanzibar anchoring the network and delivering connectivity near to 100% of the island. Each aerostat will connect hundreds of thousands of subscribers and each subscriber on the network will create a blockchain wallet. World Mobile will be deploying thousands of aerostats across the continent.
The aerostat system consists of a helium-filled envelope and stabilising fins. The unique 3-tethered architecture limits the aerostat’s movement in the air (pitch, roll and yaw), which is essential in stabilizing telco coverage so connectivity doesn’t drop in and out. The aerostat is attached to a movable mooring platform with built-in software that adjusts the balloon’s position depending on wind conditions. The onboard communication system, using beamforming technology (a technique that focuses a wireless signal towards a specific receiving device) will allow 3G, 4G and 5G handsets to connect directly and will also connect WM AirNodes in the vicinity via traditional and alternative spectrums.
“We’re on a journey to bring modern infrastructure to billions of un-served and under-served people around the world. We’re driven by a belief that business and technical innovation are the keys to creating a positive, scalable impact. World Mobile is the perfect partner to work with to deliver our vision as they strive to connect the unconnected, everywhere,” says Altaeros CEO/CTO Ben Glass.
“World Mobile is on a mission to connect the unconnected and build the first mobile network powered and run by the people. Working with leading tech partners who share our values will make us stronger,” says World Mobile Founder and CEO Micky Watkins.
World Mobile is the first mobile network powered and run by the people. Their fearless commitment to community, the environment, and technology will help them go where no telecom has gone before. By joining forces with their users, they’ll connect billions of unconnected people worldwide—allowing everyone the freedom to explore the world.
Altaeros is on a mission is to help bring connectivity to those who need it most. Founded at MIT in 2010, Altaeros is focused on developing and deploying innovative real-world infrastructure solutions to bring affordable services anywhere needed, helping businesses and communities access the basic building blocks to allow for prosperity. Altaeros is headquartered in Somerville, MA.
Opay Expresses Appreciation to Millions of Users Over Increased Usage of Its Platform
Nigerian fintech platform Opay has recently expressed appreciation to its millions of users over the increased usage of its platform in the last 3 months.
The payment and financial service company disclosed that its customer base crossed over 30 million registered app users, as well as 500,000 agents and 100,000 merchants.
Expressing appreciation to users and merchants, the company said, “We express our appreciation to over 30 million registered app users 500,000 agents, and 100,000 merchants who use Opay daily to make transactions and ultimately spread OPay’s mission of shared prosperity to all”.
Opay is reported to have gained widespread adoption in the past three months by individuals and merchants, following the failure of several traditional bank apps that prompted a lot of Nigerians to resort to various fintech startups to carry out transactions.
The naira redesign and subsequent cash shortage made digital banking more challenging for Nigerians. Increased reliance on banking apps and USSD platforms negatively impacted bank performance, putting strain on the already unsteady infrastructure of digital banking. This saw bank transfers often take longer than usual and failed transactions take up to five days or more to be resolved.
According to findings by Investors King, it was discovered that among several fintechs used by Nigerians for transactions, Opay is said to be the most widely used due to how seamless it is in receiving and sending funds. On social media, the app has seen a lot of positive PR among Nigerian users.
A large percentage of users disclosed that with Opay, they do not have to worry about network issues as the app is always available 24/7. The app has been lauded for offering relief to Nigerians, especially at a time of unprecedented transaction failure.
Aside from its swift transaction process, Opay also offers users various flexible savings tools to users, in which they get to enjoy up to 18% annual interest and get expert financial management to help them reach their goals faster when they bank with the platform.
It is interesting to note that the fintech startup is licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria CBN, insured by the NDIC, and trusted by over 18 million users. OPay is a leading mobile money (MMO) and financial technology platform in Nigeria. The mobile payment operation focuses on reaching the massive unbanked population of Nigeria.
It was reported to be the fastest African startup to cross a $1 billion valuation mark and has continued to create the perfect recipe for a thriving fintech sector. OPay went from a popular startup with commercial motorcycles in Lagos, Nigeria, to a financial services company worth $2 billion. The startup’s mission is to make financial services more inclusive with technology.
Tony Elumelu Funded Entrepreneurs Generated $2.3 Billion Revenue in 8 Years
Entrepreneurs trained and funded by the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) have generated a combined $2.3 billion in revenue in the last 8 years, according to the Foundation.
In a brochure made available at the 60th birthday celebration of Tony Elumelu, the founder of TEF and Chairman of the United Bank for Africa (UBA), TEF has trained about 1.5 million African entrepreneurs since launched 13 years ago.
The Foundation has also disbursed $100 million in seed capital to over 18,000 entrepreneurs across the African continent, with 25% of the beneficiaries getting additional investments to expand their businesses.
Since its establishment, over 400,000 direct and indirect jobs have been created by TEF entrepreneurs with female-owned businesses creating 58% of the total jobs.
The Foundation explained that it increased women’s employment to 52% from 24% in 2015 and has empowered more than 7,000 women with 85% of those women leading their businesses.
Speaking on its ability to reach entrepreneurs across the African continent, the Foundation said, “The robust ability of the foundation to reach entrepreneurs across geographies and sectors has enabled it to conduct innovative partnerships with the European Union, United Nations Development Programme, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the United States Government via the United States African Development Fund and others with bespoke programmes including targeting female empowerment and growth in fragile states.”
On his part, Tony Elumelu said “I engage public and private sector players across my world. My message is always simple; let us partner on poverty alleviation, job creation and women’s economic empowerment in Africa.”
Investors King understands that Elumelu holds about 7% or 2.3 billion shares in United Bank for Africa and another 2.1% stake in Transnational Corporation of Nigeria.
In a Facebook post in January 2023, the CEO of the defunct Standard Bank had attributed his early success to hard work and luck, adding that the two variables are imperative in success.
He said “I owed my accelerated career and successes to two things: hard work and luck, and I know firsthand how these factors are inextricable in success.”
“My successes – and yes failures – have always driven me to create opportunities for young people. I believe that our young have the talent and the zeal to transform our world.”
Jumia Signs Deal With Leroy Merlin as It Focuses on High-Growth Rural Areas
Leading e-commerce platform in Africa Jumia has signed a partnership deal with French retailer Leroy Merlin as it focuses to sell its products in rural areas in a few West African countries to expand its reach.
The partnership deal between the two firms will see Leroy Merlin enter Francophone countries such as Cote d’Ivoire and Senegal via Jumia’s e-commerce portal.
According to Jumia CEO Francis Dufay, more than half of Africa’s 1.4 billion strong population lives outside big cities or in rural areas where the economies are driven by agriculture. This means there is strong demand for the kinds of products Leroy Merlin offers in areas that are not well served by retailers.
In his words,
“Jumia is pushing into these areas, we have the right suppliers and assortment of products, and a light logistics model to address those smaller pools of consumers. This would be much harder to do for bigger supermarkets and shops for instance.
“While we are facing big headwinds, we are building these new markets in smaller cities, and plan to drive margins with that. Jumai is considering taking the model to Kenya, Ghana, and Nigeria next.”
Investors King understands that Jumia is hoping to cut its losses by 50 percent by the end of the year. The e-commerce giant is reported to have hedged its bets on rural markets across the continent, of which the deal with French retailer Leroy Merlin plays a big part.
The e-commerce giant platform was built to help consumers access millions of goods and services conveniently and at the best prices while opening up a new way for sellers to reach consumers and grow their businesses.
Listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in 2019, is currently operating in 11 African countries. The Jumia platform consists of a marketplace, which connects sellers with consumers, a logistics service, which enables the shipment and delivery of packages from sellers to consumers, and a payment service, JumiaPay, which offers a safe and easy solution to facilitate online payment transactions.
As of 2023, Jumia’s home market, Nigeria, accounted for the majority of the visits, around 31 percent of the total, followed by Morocco and Egypt with shares of 17 percent and 14 percent respectively.
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