Cape Town aims to be African tech hub

The Sunday Independent - - METRO - LUKE FOLB The Con­ver­sa­tion

CAPE Town is fast po­si­tion­ing it­self as the tech hub of Africa with in­no­va­tive start-up com­pa­nies spring­ing up al­most monthly.

Last week 10 start-up tech com­pany fi­nal­ists pitched to in­vestors and tech gu­rus at the Star­tup­boot­camp AfriTech demo day, where th­ese com­pa­nies show­cased their busi­ness ideas based on fi­nance, in­sur­ance and trans­port.

Hedg­ing their bets on the suc­cess of e-hail­ing ser­vices Uber and Tax­ify, Cape Town-based com­pany Lüla has an app that con­nects com­pa­nies with pri­vate shut­tles that pro­vide trans­port for their work­ers.

Founder and chief ex­ec­u­tive Ve­lani Mboweni said the com­pany was work­ing on pi­lot pro­grammes with com­pa­nies to pro­vide “safe, af­ford­able and con­ve­nient trans­port”.

“Pas­sen­gers are able to be more pro­duc­tive and re­laxed know­ing that their shut­tle will pick them up on time and de­liver them to their door, re­liev­ing them from hav­ing to walk long dis­tances af­ter hours in un­safe ar­eas,” said Mboweni.

He added that the sys­tem was the first cash­less, mo­bile pay­ment tick­et­ing Founder and chief ex­ec­u­tive of Lüla Ve­lani Mboweni.

sys­tem for shared trans­port.

Since the launch of the ap­pli­ca­tion, Lüla has at­tracted seven com­pa­nies’ at­ten­tion with a com­bined pool of around 20 000 work­ers.

Ak­iba Dig­i­tal is a fi­nan­cial sav­ings plat­form and per­sonal sav­ings coach that uses ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence ma­chine learn­ing and gam­i­fi­ca­tion.

The app is aimed at tech savvy mil­len­ni­als who struggle to save money.

Co-founder Kamo­gelo Kekana said the app was a fi­nan­cial ed­u­ca­tion dis­tri­bu­tion plat­form pow­ered by a dig­i­tal coach, Gugu.

“Tools in­clude in­cen­tivis­ing pos­i­tive spend­ing and sav­ings be­hav­iours, fi­nan­cial lit­er­acy, and be­havioural coach­ing and ac­count­abil­ity via Gugu, de­liv­ered in a fun and quirky gam­i­fied ex­pe­ri­ence,” said Kekana. SOUTH Africa is one of four south­ern African coun­tries aim­ing to elim­i­nate malaria trans­mis­sion by 2023. In­door spray­ing us­ing DDT and pyrethroid in­sec­ti­cides con­sti­tutes the back­bone of their malaria con­trol pro­grammes.

Ef­fec­tive vec­tor con­trol by in­door resid­ual spray­ing has been key in the re­duc­tion of cases. This was in­stru­men­tal in creat­ing malaria-free zones in most parts of South Africa. Malaria trans­mis­sion is lim­ited to the north-eastern parts of Lim­popo, the lowveld ar­eas of Mpumalanga and the far north­ern parts of KwaZulu-Natal.

Fail­ure to elim­i­nate trans­mis­sion is at­trib­uted, in part, to re­sis­tance to the in­sec­ti­cides be­ing used. In­door spray­ing isn’t com­pletely ef­fec­tive against this mos­quito be­cause it mainly tar­gets in­door bit­ing and rest­ing mos­qui­toes.

One pos­si­ble ap­proach is a tech­nique that in­volves ster­il­is­ing the in­sects. The tech­nol­ogy is be­ing as­sessed in South Africa. It in­volves a ge­netic birth con­trol method in which lab­o­ra­tory mass-pro­duced ster­ile male in­sects are re­leased into the wild at a ra­tio that in­un­dates a tar­get pop­u­la­tion. This forces fe­males to mate with ster­ile males, re­duc­ing fe­cun­dity and re­sult­ing in pop­u­la­tion sup­pres­sion.

Prepa­ra­tions for the South African project are at an ad­vanced stage. A pi­lot mass-rear­ing fa­cil­ity has been built and the size of the nat­u­ral mos­quito pop­u­la­tion has been es­ti­mated. In ad­di­tion, a lo­cal com­mu­nity has been drawn into prepa­ra­tions and is now ready for a trial run. Th­ese steps pave the way for a pi­lot demon­stra­tion. |

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