iAfrikan Daily Brief: South African Reserve Bank, Microsoft, Smart Matatu App, And BrandChat.social

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Monday, 06 February 2017

South African Reserve Bank Will Consider A National Digital Currency

South African Reserve Bank Will Consider A National Digital Currency
Credit: iAfrikan

The South African Reserve Bank will consider introducing a "blockchain based, digital version" of the South African Rand. This comes a few months after Senegal became the second country in the world after Tunisia to introduce a national digital currency based on its fiat currency, but running on blockchain technology. “If we go the route of issuing a digital currency, the objective would be to take advantage of emerging technologies so that we reap the benefits.” Tim Masela, Head of the National Payments System at the South African Reserve Bank. When referring to “emerging technologies”, Masela explained he is talking about blockchain, and this won't be the first time that South Africa's central bank has used the distributed ledger system of the blockchain. In 2016 the South African Reserve Bank became the first central bank in Africa to successfully circulate a smart contract on an Ethereum blockchain-based private network.

Microsoft Is Partnering With Growth Africa To Expand The #Insiders4Good Entrepreneurs Fellowship To East Africa

Microsoft Is Partnering With Growth Africa To Expand The #Insiders4Good Entrepreneurs Fellowship To East Africa
Credit: Microsoft

Global technology giant Microsoft has partnered with acceleration hub Growth Africa to train 25 East African tech entrepreneurs to help them grow their businesses in the second phase of its #Insiders4Good programme. The announcement was made during the ongoing NexTech Africa event being held in Nairobi. #Insiders4Good is a global community of people using technology to make a lasting impact on the world through meaningful programmes and projects for social change through entrepreneurship. The #Insiders4Good East Africa Fellowship is open to entrepreneurs from Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda who have innovative social business ideas with the potential to improve their communities. The first round of #Insiders4Good was launched last September in Lagos with 25 Nigerian entrepreneurs. The fellows will receive a suite of Microsoft hardware and software plus six months of mentorship from local and international leaders.

Smart Matatu App Enables Commuters To Report Instances Of Bad Driving In Real Time

Smart Matatu App Enables Commuters To Report Instances Of Bad Driving In Real Time

Road accidents claim up to 3000 lives annually in Kenya according to statistics by the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA), and many of these road accidents can be prevented by simply adhering to traffic rules. Many of these accidents involve public service vehicles, which account for up to 80 percent of the lives lost through accidents. Echo Mobile, a Nairobi-based technology firm, is seeking to confront this problem through a mobile app dubbed 'Smart Matatu', which is designed to enhance the passengers' involvement in safety measures in order to curb misconduct by matatu drivers. The mobile app was developed at the University of California Berkeley in collaboration with the University of Nairobi, and is currently undergoing a pilot on the Rongai and Kibera matatu routes, which have seen quite a number of incidents, including one where four people lost their lives and six were injured in September of 2016.

Brandchat.social Announces Version 2.0 Live Chat For Businesses To Interact With Their Customers

Brandchat.social Announces Version 2.0 Live Chat For Businesses To Interact With Their Customers
Credit: Brandchat.social

Brandchat is one of the latest tools that is looking to transform how customers and businesses interact. The tool works across multiple messaging platforms including WeChat, Facebook, Telegram and Kik. The motivation for BrandChat, according to director, Peter Matthaei, is partly because nearly everybody is already on chat. "We want to make it as simple and natural to get in touch with a business as it is to get in touch with friends. Starting a chat is quicker than downloading an app, more immediate and cheaper than making a phone call, and simpler than figuring out a complex website."Peter Matthaei, BrandChat "Businesses are now more accessible to their customers. Imagine being able to open your favourite chat app like Facebook Messenger or WeChat, and start a customer support conversation with the business right there. No hold times. No transfers. And it uses little or no airtime," Matthaei explained.

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