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In brief: Police arrest Gen. Elwelu, Minister Azuba cyber impersonators; Rwandan-made smartphones; Little Boda and more

Gen Peter Elwelu

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Welcome to this edition of Your Briefing where you’ll find the latest updates in the startup and tech space in Africa.

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Mara factory in Rwanda kicks off in 2 months

Mara Corporation CEO, Ashish Thakkar and Managing Director of Kinunu Wonders Ltd. Sonia Kubwimana during the Made in Africa Leadership Conference in Kigali on June 6, 2019. / Craish Bahizi/New Times

Mara Corporation will start making smartphones in Rwanda in the coming two months, Ashish Thakkar, the company’s chief executive said this past week during the inaugural Made-in-Africa Leadership Conference in Kigali, The New Times, a government-owned news publisher reports.

In 2018, Thakkar announced that his company was going to set up two factories, one in South Africa and another in Rwanda. He said the one in South Africa would cost US$104m in five years. He didn’t provide a figure for the Rwandan investment.

While the factory in Rwanda is still under construction, the one in South Africa rolled out its first smartphones to the market: Mara X and Mara Z on this year’s Valentine’s day. The devices are currently being sold online on the company website. You can read about them here.

Read The New Times report here

Little joins Boda business

Kenyan-based ride-hailing firm Little, which is currently operating in Uganda, Kenya, Zambia, and Tanzania, has added motorcycle taxis (boda bodas) to its offerings, to face off with UberBoda, Taxify/BoltBoda, SafeBoda, Sendy, ORide, Max, GetBoda, Gokada.

Little Boda, which offers everything from couriers, deliveries and passenger services, is currently available only in Kenya, according to TechMoran, a tech and startup news publisher.

Read the full report here

New accelerator program

The 2019 Spring Fellowship, a 4-month acceleration program in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, has committed to supporting African startups with a seed investment of $15,000 after joining its program which you can apply for here. And more $45,000 will be provided in perks and discounts.

Supported by global corporate leaders, and created by Kinaya Ventures, the program is open to 8 African startups in AgTech, FoodTech, MarTech/AdTech, RetailTech.

Rwanda to host Learnlife’s first African innovation hub

Barcelona-based edtech firm Learnlife will open its first African innovation hub in Rwanda after raising a €3.1m seed funding round led by BPO Capital.

TechMoran reports that this will be the firm’s second hub after its first one that was unveiled in Barcelona in April.

The one of Kigali will be launched in 2020 and it will be managed by Jean Habumugisha Jean, an MBA student at the University of Rwanda.

Read the full report here

Cybercriminals nabbed

Police have in a holding a cell five people connected to impersonations of senior government officials, Lt. Gen. Peter Elwelu, the commander of the Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) unit called Land Forces and Minister of Transport Ntege Azuba, ChimpReports announced Monday.

Others that were arrested impersonated Minister of Public Service David Karubanga, Catherine Lamwack, a member of Parliament and the other impersonated an unnamed personal assistant to the Deputy Inspector General of Police Maj. Gen. Sabiti Muzeyi.

We had earlier reported about parody social media accounts had been created in the name of Gen. Elwelu.

Read the full report here

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