TALA: Of Data, Money and Mobile Technology

TALA CEO

Identity means everything to humankind. We are who we are because we hold onto an image of ourselves. This is power. It is control. Nothing gives people control over their lives more than financial identity. It’s with this knowledge that the Android app called TALA (formerly InVenture) came into play, riding on that concept. TALA is a FinTech (Financial Technology) company and app that allows customers in East Africa to access loans and other forms of credit directly through their mobile phones.  The app collects data from around 10,000 data points and assesses borrowing potential to create a financial profile of the user.

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Pastoralists and researchers meet under the University of Bush 

University of the Bush

It is one of a kind university, whose setting under acacia trees in Kenya’s North Eastern area and neighboring Ethiopia makes it ideal for its students. There are no exams or assignments and the students together with their lecturers meet after every three months. Yet this university has been credited with gathering landmark findings that are shaping academic discourses and guiding governments in policy making. Dubbed ‘The University of the Bush,’

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Solar powered irrigation for food security in arid areas

Kenya Arid and Semi Arid lands comprise of 70 percent of total country land although they host only about 20 percent of population. These arid and semi arid areas are affected with massive food shortage, water shortage and drought, with up to 5 million people affected every year. Only 5 percent have access to electricity through the national grid. While irrigation could help, diesel and petrol powered pumps are not economically feasible. Solar power pumps, which have been proved to be cost effective in such areas due to low maintenance and operation cost can help.

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8 out of 10 youths in Africa see climate change as dangerous

Youths participate in the COP 22 in Morocco in November this year. Image courtesy: African Youth Initiative on Climate Change

Youths are likely to act more about climate change in future as revealed in a recent survey by GC Consulting. Commissioned after the Marrakech COP 22, the survey revealed that many of them are willing to take action especially in the areas of recycling. Youths also recognize the important role governments, private sector, and international communities have to play in averting climate change effects.

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Kenya Leading Africa on Cloud Technology Support for SMEs

In Nairobi telecommunications firm MTN have opened a new data office with 70 racks aimed at supporting small to medium sized businesses. Liquid Telecom’s East Africa Data Centre has 600 racks and IBM have recently opened a cognitive cloud computing service in conjunction with Sidian Bank. Kenya is now a growing hub for online supported services and cloud technology not just in East Africa, but across the continent as a whole.

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Africa needs to strengthen energy mix

Africa needs to invest in more mini grid and off grid solutions to provide more people with power and support economic growth and social transformation, so says Africa Progress Panel - led by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. Traditional methods of supplying power are unreliable and experience many challenges, with mini grids and off grids as modern methods can help bridge that gap. Their demand is increasing and costs decreasing. 

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The Legacy Of Nitrogen

In late 2004, Kisumu bay, Lake Victoria, was covered in a blue-green hue.  The algal bloom  - a proliferation of cyanobacteria – demarcated an area of low oxygen and eventually decomposing algae, causing fish to suffocate or flee and contaminating the drinking water- a dead zone. Adapt-N, a software programme developed by researchers at Cornell University seeks to solve this problem.

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