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Startups

StarTimes Solar lights up rural communities

StarTimes Solar lights up rural communities

While previously life for most Ugandans, especially those living in rural areas, would come to near standstill after sunset due to lack of electricity, the emergence of innovative lighting solutions is helping rewrite the story.

Hundreds of people now have access to solar power, thanks to products like StarTimes Solar, which is lighting up communities around the country.

Provided by digital television service provider StarTimes, the product which speaks to the day-to-day needs of ordinary Ugandan at the grass root, offers a two edged solution of lighting and a television signal to enable customers have access to information.

With an initial payment of UGX 239,000, one gets a complete package that includes a 24-inch digital television, solar panel, digital battery, four LED bulbs, phone charging cable and a satellite dish and accessories, and only pay Ush3, 000 daily installments thereafter for two years, according to Eric Obote, the StarTimes Solar sales manager. Daily payment is done through mobile money.

Additionally, customers get free access to StarTimes channels for two years.

Obote said that the product that was conceived in January 2019 but officially launched in May the same year, starting with the central region has since expanded to almost all parts of the country.

It currently has 26 branches across the country.

Our focus is reaching people at the grass root level. The companies that were providing solar solutions previously were unable to give the right products to people in villages but we do,” he said.

The StarTimes Uganda public relations manager, Cleopatra Koheirwe said the solar product is most beneficial to women, given that they are in most cases the ones who are always helping children with homework yet most people in rural areas do not have electricity.

Obote and Koheirwe were speaking during an interaction with HiPipo, during the ongoing 40-days-40-FinTechs initiative.

The initiative is organised by HiPipo, in partnership with Crosslake Tech, ModusBox and Mojaloop Foundation.

It seeks to enable FinTechs to innovate solutions that facilitate cross-network financial transactions at minimal risks to enhance access to financial services.

Running for 40 days, the project will see the participating 40 FinTechs acquire interoperable development skills to improve access to financial services, using the Mojaloop open source software.

The HiPipo CEO Innocent Kawooya said StarTimes Solar is in line with the HiPipo agenda of using financial technology to transform lives.

The reason we think of technology and innovate each single day is because we want to ensure that we create technology that solves problems which humans would not be able to solve easily,” Kawooya said.

He added: “StarTimes came from a digital inclusion point of view and is now offering value-added services. Understanding your customers’ problems and work towards addressing them changes people’s lives.”

He noted that allowing their customers to affordably make payment for solar at minimal instalments of UShs3,000 per day, using mobile money relates to HiPipo’s tagline of prime stories in financial technology that are transforming millions of lives.

Kawooya, however, said there is need to synchronize more to enhance interoperability.

Today we want to ensure that as the product grows, it seamlessly allows anyone to have StarTimes solar. And if someone is banking with Finance Trust, they do not have to be asked to have mobile money; they should be able to pull with whichever payment provider, using an interoperable system like Mojaloop, which allows every user and customer to pay you conveniently.  

He pledged that as they shine a light on this story, they would help StarTimes to ensure that its solar product is fully adapted to increase access to solar energy across the country.

Read About: GES Online School

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Author: EditorStarTimes Solar lights up rural communities

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Startups

GES Online School: Education amid Covid-19 pandemic

GES Online School: Education amid Covid-19 pandemic

While the Covid-19 pandemic caught nations unware, paralyzing businesses and service provision in many countries, it also sparked off a wave of invention as people thought of innovative ways to remain relevant even during the lockdown. Among the innovations that emerged during the lockdown in Uganda was the Gombe Education Service (GES) Online School, an online learning programme offering education to all learners aged four to twenty years.

According to the Yeeko Nkono, the GES Online School Coordinator, the programme was birthed on June 9, 2020 as a mitigation measure to bridge the education gap created by the Covid-19 outbreak that compelled the government to close all education institutions.

Cognizant of the fact that learning never stops, GES directors adopted the online learning alternative for pre-primary, primary and high school, which Nkono said is the new normal and user friendly.

The online learning platform is intended to enable learners, irrespective of where they are, to continue interacting with the facilitators and learn,” Nkono said during an interaction with HiPipo during the ongoing 40-days-40-FinTechs initiative.

He added: “We seek to empower a community that fosters global change through digital learning and provide quality digital education through a flexible learning environment to produce competent global citizens.

The non-contact platform ensures continuous learning and encourages effective facilitator – learner interaction.

With this boundless, secure and safe learning environment, we think we are bridging the gap between the physical school and learners’ needs and also help learners embrace digital literacy as a core skill of globalization while providing quality, flexible, accessible and equitable digital learning,” he said.

Nkono noted that the programme initially started as a system where children would learn using videos, PDFs and word documents but later realised that parents were looking for something that is more engaging and interactive, thus the adoption of an online platform.

Learners are taught using live videos via zoom, enabling them to have an interaction similar to a physical one. Learners are also given assignments via the Edmodo platform to assess their understanding of the subjects taught.

Advantages

The platform allows parents to choose a programme that is healthy and convenient, offers all subjects unlike when one gets a single teacher, whose skill might be in one or two subjects, to coach their child.

Additionally, the programme allows parents to choose a financially friendly programme that enables their child share learning experiences with others. Facilitators, who are drawn from different schools, are also able to choose a flexible working environment.

This EduTech platform has introduced mobile money as their collection channel for students’ fees while its teachers are equally paid weekly via mobile money.

The HiPipo CEO, Innocent Kawooya commended GES Online School for the innovation, saying that it is an innovation that will remain relevant event post Covid-19 because education never stops.

We celebrate you because during this Covid-19 period; though we have seen 32 different stories already, no one has come with a specific case that solves the immediate problem of what our children are facing; where 15 million Ugandans are not at school today,” Kawooya said.

He, however, urged them to sacrifice a bit more by investing more in technology, saying that the opportunity they have doesn’t fix only the problem of Covid-19 but has a potential to continue even post Covid-19.

We all know that some children, even under normal circumstances need extra education which parents always look for by getting a teacher to coach their children but that teacher doesn’t cover all subjects.

Thus, GES online services is not only a solution for children studying because there is Covid-19 now, it is a solution that is supposed to have lived around our education system for a long time because when you go to Europe or America, this solution is existing; people have access to information and education anytime,” Kawooya said.

He noted that bringing tutors in one basket and utilizing their expertise to deliver education through one portal to learners in different parts of the country is some kind of interoperability, a concept that HiPipo is advancing, together with Crosslake Tech, ModusBox and Mojaloop Foundation, under the 40-days-40-FinTechs initiative.

The initiative seeks to enable FinTechs to innovate solutions that facilitate cross-network financial transactions at minimal risks to enhance access to financial services.

Running for 40 days, the project will see the participating 40 FinTechs acquire interoperable development skills to improve access to financial services, using the Mojaloop open source software.

Read About: JUMO: Social impact financial products to the unbanked

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Author: EditorGES Online School: Education amid Covid-19 pandemic

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Featured Tech

Tecno Camon 15 Full Review

Tecno Camon 15 Full Review

Tecno has once again raised the bar for what consumers should expect from a mid-range premium smartphone with its new Camon 15 series devices. With prices starting at just UGX 688,000, you can expect a really powerful 4G device with a fast and fluid display.

Today we’re reviewing the standard Camon 15, whose highlight feature is an impressive-looking 48-megapixel camera that’s capable of 8x optical zoom. This style of camera sensors have so far been used in more expensive Android phones, but with the Camon 15, Tecno is bringing this tech to the mid-range customer base that wishes for perfection at an appealing price tag.

Simply looking at the specifications and price, the Tecno Camon 15 would definitely pass for a great all-rounder. Is it a better option than other similarly priced smartphones on the market? Let’s find out.

Tecno Camon 15 cameras: Great any day, any time

The one thing you can always count on a Camon smartphone is its camera. The Camon 15 features a four-sensor array at the back; highlighted by the 48-megapixel sensor, which allows it to achieve an 8x optical zoom. The other three cameras are not really specified in terms of their abilities but we believe they are two 2MP sensors and one QVGA to support the primary.

Without discrediting the maximum of 8x magnification, the true optical zoom level seems to be about 2.5x. This is where you can take perfect distant photography without fainting the image. Of course you get to enjoy some of the impressive settings such as Exposure compensation and ISO control, but might need to perfect them for satisfying results.

The Camon 15 camera, surprisingly, didn’t manage very good quality low-light images without the Super Night mode that Tecno added to the camera app. The Super Night mode works for those that love capturing videography in dark environments, and it helps capture better details. I wasn’t able to capture any night photos as such due to inconveniences, but I believe it does work, with proper setup.  

The camera really shines when shooting during the day. It manages to keep up and capture all the details and colours. If you are a fan of close-up shots, this one got you firmly! Take a look at one of those we captured quite well.

Tecno Camon 15 Camera samples

The Tecno Camon 15 captures selfies at the full 16-megapixel resolution that it is meant to. You can be perfect-sure to get the results on a day-time shot. 

camon 15 selfie camera

Overall, the camera upgrade in the Camon 15 is very good, provided you shoot mainly in daylight and at up to reasonable magnification levels. We believe the expanded Super Night mode too does wonders, and can be of help if you rely on this phone for your photography needs.  

Tecno Camon 15 performance

Tecno has always ensured that the performance of its smartphones is impressive. We’re happy to report that the Camon 15 feels speedy in use. This particular device in review is the 4GB RAM and 64GB of storage.

Tecno chose to go with an LCD display instead of an AMOLED one, probably because the former has proven to be efficient when it comes to device speed. The close-to 6.6-inch full-HD+ LCD panel is quite good, with strong colours. However, if you are one that is not into speed, a slower AMOLED display would be a better offering for more vibrant colours and better contrast at lower brightness levels.

tecno camon 15

The brightness levels of this particular Camon need to be high to enjoy your view to the maximum. When using this phone indoors at medium to low brightness, the screen feels a little dull.  

The Camon 15 has a fingerprint sensor on the back side, which works well with just a light tap. There’s also a face unlock feature which is equally quick. The phone comes with a nice and loud speaker that ensures your audio needs are taken care of.

HiOS version 6, based Android 10, runs very well on the Camon 15. I noticed the same shortcuts that we’ve seen in other past Tecno phones. Gaming performance is excellent. The phone can easily handle demanding games from the Google Play store. Of course, after prolonged gameplay, the device gets warmer but never did we experience any unbearable heat.

You can use two Nano-SIM cards in the Camon 15 at the same time, plus there’s a microSD card slot for expanding the internal storage. You also get the usual Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, sensors and navigation systems. Battery life was solid, and even with heavy usage, I was able to comfortably use the Camon 15 for an entire day before needing to charge it. The 5000mAh battery is impressive, considering the fast chip in the phone and fluid display.  

Tecno Camon 15 design

I’ve kept this section for the very end because there’s not a lot that’s new here. The overall design of the Camon 15 is what the Spark 5 gave us, just that this is a bigger and somehow much better device. We can’t deny the fact that it is indeed a unique and quality finish done on the back of the phone. The back feels great to the touch, coming with a smooth matte finish.  

tecno camon 15 cameras

Verdict: Should you buy the Camon 15?

If you’ve made it this far, you probably know by now that the Camon 15 is indeed a good all-rounder. The standard variant is priced at UGX 688,000 for 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, while the Premier variant costs UGX 1,025,000 for 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. Both variants of the phone offer value considering all the features they pack in.

Some of this phone’s strong points include the fluid display, excellent battery life, strong performance, and the impressive camera. The screen lighting is still a bit weak, and we do think the design should have been much more original than what we get but never the less, it’s a wonderful device.

 

The Camon 15 overlaps with the Camon 12 a bit, but rather than replace it, I think there’s enough reason for both to coexist. Ultimately, it all depends on what you want from your smartphone. As long as your interest is in having a camera smartphone, the Camon 15 is the best choice to have on the market today!

Tecno Camon 15 Specifications

Screen: 6.6 inches
Camera: 48MP+2MP+2MP+QVGA on the rear, 16MP on the front
Memory: 64GB+4GB in terms of ROM + RAM respectively
OS: Android 10, alongside HiOS v.6.0.1
Battery: 5000mAh
Chip: Mediatek MT6762 Helio P22

Tecno Camon 15 Price and availability

The Camon 15 costs UGX 688,000 and it is available countrywide in TECNO branded shops and MTN Service Centres near you. All customers that purchase Camon 15 get Free 3GB internet data every month for three months and 100% data bonus on every data bundle purchased.

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Author: EditorTecno Camon 15 Full Review

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Featured Tech

How to set Dark Theme for Google Docs on Android

How to set Dark Theme for Google Docs on Android

Google is enhancing its Docs, Sheets, and Slides on Android with Dark theme support. The company says the dark theme will ‘intelligently adjust the product interface and user-generated content in ways that can make it more usable in low-light environments and save battery life’.

Basically, the company wants you to change your theme setting to make it easier for you to view documents, presentations, and spreadsheets on your mobile device. You can use the dark theme setting to help save battery life. Interestingly, any other collaborators can’t see the theme you choose. 

If your Android phone system is set to use a dark theme, the settings for Docs, Sheets, and Slides will adjust automatically. You can also turn dark mode on or off for Docs, Sheets, or Slides independently. If you do this, each app will always be in the selected theme regardless of the Android system settings.

How to set Dark Theme for Google Docs on Android

To enable the dark theme independently in the Docs, Sheets, or Slides apps, go to Menu, then to Settings. Select Theme, and then choose Dark in each app. When using Dark theme, you can preview your current document or sheet in the Light theme by going to More, then select View in light theme.

Read About: How to enable dark mode on WhatsApp

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Tech

itel unveiling the P36 in Uganda. Here’s what we expect

itel unveiling the P36 in Uganda. Here’s what we expect

When was the last time you heard of an itel P-series phone in release? It should have been the P33, released last year that took over the throne of itel’s power smartphone line. Well, the latest we know is that the phone manufacturer is all set to unveil its latest smartphone in Uganda – the itel P36.

The P-series under the brand have a rank on the market for the well-built battery feature they come with, that keeps your phone moving to the next day with maximum activity. The P36 is likely to offer even more, because it possesses a beautiful design just like any upgrade to the predecessor would be.

From the markets in which it is already launched, the phone is nicknamed “the real king of battery” and is likely to come with a massive 5000mAh battery and an AI-Power Master software to assist you in optimising the battery for longer operation.

With it, one is basically able to watch as much video as one can afford, let alone having the phone up for more than 2 days of usage – Insane!

And guess what? itel this time added a fast charge feature to the phone line up to ensure that you don’t just get enough battery, but also get it faster than usual.

What to expect from the itel P36

Smartphones today seem to call for large screens, and the P36 is not an exception. It is expected to come with a huge 6.5-inch and above display with a notched screen. We expect this to support Face unlock, with of course the traditional fingerprint sensor at the back for all the security needs.

Expect a dual camera on the rear –  coming in a rather unique format we’ve never seen on an itel phone, the undisputed big battery known of the P-series, a sharp selfie camera, and an entirely new software build. This is the image we have of the forthcoming itel P36.

We’d wish to see if a super-fast processor is on the inside and how interesting it is to get to hold the new device.

We shall keep you posted.

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Author: Editoritel unveiling the P36 in Uganda. Here’s what we expect

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Startups

JUMO: Social impact financial products to the unbanked

JUMO: Social impact financial products to the unbanked

Reimagining finance in emerging markets by extending financial services to the underserved and the excluded has been JUMO’s goal since inception. This explains why it chose to specialize in social impact financial products where small businesses that are financially excluded can access loans and savings products.

Launched in 2014, the company so far reached 16 million people, with 60% of them working under small and medium size enterprises (SMEs).

During the same period, they have disbursed over $1 billion and record over 51 million interactions with customers monthly.  Over 120 million people have been connected to financial choices while the cost of transaction has been reduced significantly.

JUMO has operations in over 10 countries including South Africa, Uganda, Ghana, Kenya, Pakistan, Tanzania and Zambia with plans to open shop in Benin, Ivory Coast and Nigeria by 2021.

They use advanced data science and machine learning to create the fastest and leanest financial services infrastructure, according to Joel Muhumuza, the country manager JUMO Uganda.

The stack, according to Muhumuza, has three main components including the Advanced Data Engine, the End-to-end banking technology and the Flexible-operating platform.

Under the Advanced Data Engine, the company uses rich individuals’ data obtained through mobile phones to create information that creates insights while the End-to-end banking technology is used to analyse and understand one’s behaviours to assess one’s creditworthiness.

Products

Using the stack, the Financial Technology Company (FinTech) partnered with stakeholders including mobile money service providers, to offer various financial inclusion products including credit, savings, insurance and Points.

Under credit, the FinTech offers entrepreneurs quick access to funds or asset finance while under the savings product, it builds and operates short-term, structured and long-term savings products that bear interest for savers.

Under its insurance product, it works with underwriters and insurance firms to create standalone or wrapped insurance products to safeguard people’s incomes, families, assets and businesses while under Points, it innovated a white label points programme that is used as a tool to drive and incentivise mobile transactions and empower people to build a personal digital financial profile.

It should be noted that JUMO, which is among those participating in the 40-days-40-FinTech initiative, also partnered with Airtel Uganda and launched Wewole, a micro-credit solution that provides a convenient way for Airtel Money customers and agents to access loan facilities via the Airtel Money platform.

Our goal is to be a financial, digital bank that utilizes digital information to provide financial services,” Muhumuza said.

He alluded to the billions of people who still lack access to financial services, due to, among others, lack of the needed infrastructure.

We thought there was need to connect entrepreneurs to the finance they need to grow and prosper,” he said, noting that the potential lies in people having mobile phones and mobile wallet that can transact and develop a financial identity.

40-days-40-FinTechs

The 40-days-40-FinTechs initiative organised by HiPipo, in partnership with Crosslake Tech, ModusBox and Mojaloop Foundation seeks to enable FinTechs to innovate solutions that facilitate cross-network financial transactions at minimal risks to enhance access to financial services.

Running for 40 days, the project will see the participating companies acquire interoperable development skills to improve access to financial services, using the Mojaloop open source software

The HiPipo chief executive officer Innocent Kawooya expressed his excitement about JUMO’s financial inclusion efforts, saying that its products are taking a lead in democratising lending and borrowing.

We are excited to interact with JUMO, a company that is enhancing financial inclusion in over 10 countries and serving more than 16 million customers.”

While many have not heard about the word JUMO, I am sure they have interacted with Wewole by Airtel Uganda because thousands of Ugandans are using Wewole to get micro credit anywhere, anytime,” Kawooya said.

He noted that JUMO is implementing the core Financial Inclusion principles of Equality to Access, Affordability, Reliability and Availability.

JUMO’s background

JUMO was founded in 2014 in London by Andrew Watkins-Ball. The founding team started working to prove that data can be used to predict the financial behaviour of millions of people without access to finance.

Credit risk, engineering and other capabilities were then developed with industry-leading talent.

The first ecosystem partnerships were established with Tigo, Airtel and MTN to bring short-term loan products to people and small businesses in Kenya, Zambia and Uganda.

In 2016, the company had its first funding partner – Letshego Bank, Ghana – introduced to the operating platform, enabling payment and capital providers to work together to build products.

The following year, it won the Mastercard Foundation Clients at the Centre Prize, recognizing its outstanding value for customers. Additionally, Google selected it, alongside five other African startups, for its Launchpad Accelerator programme, winning The AppsAfrica Changing Africa Award, in recognition of the game changing initiatives across Africa.

Read About: Swipe2Pay: Helping SMEs transit to e-payments, access loans

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Author: EditorJUMO: Social impact financial products to the unbanked

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Startups

Swipe2Pay: Helping SMEs transit to e-payments, access loans

Swipe2Pay: Helping SMEs transit to e-payments, access loans

The evolution of Financial Technology companies (FinTechs) is increasingly playing a critical role in salvaging informally operated Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), which for long were unable to access credit from banks and Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs).

One such FinTech that has come in handy to serve businesses operating in this grey area is Swipe2Pay, a Ugandan payments solution that empowers SMEs to accept mobile money as well as card payment options.

According to Solomon Kitumba, the founder and head of products at Swipe2Pay, the FinTech offers a mobile point of sale that helps SMEs to sell smarter cashlessly and manage their businesses better.

The firm built a payment layer that allows SMEs accept payment from any mobile money service provider in Uganda, M-Pesa from Kenya and is also said to be in final stages of integrating with Interswitch to enable SMEs accept card payments.

To simplify the process, Kitumba said they built a one-step checkout process, where a client enters their phone mobile money registered number on the business owner’s phone and then enters a PIN code to approve the transaction, instead of the old cumbersome one process of using a USSD code.

It’s important for us to be in the market; there is more than 16 million underserved SMEs in East Africa, with a USD 1b daily mobile money market. Many of these have never received even a single electronic payment ever; so we have helped people sale electronically for the first time through our platform,” he said.

Credit score

Shifting SMEs to take on payments from both mobile money and cards, will also help SMEs to be easily credit scored so as to enable them access credit against their sales.

According to Kitumba, one of the biggest challenges SMEs are grappling with is limited access to credit from banks and Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs), mainly due to lack of proper records and their informality. Swipe2Pay helps them streamline business processes, where SMEs are helped to manage sales and expenses, inventory and stock, employees as well as managing multiple locations.

We work with SMEs because chances are high that they are not being looked at by the banks and MFIs because of their informality, with no books of accounts yet those are some of the things banks look at to make lending decisions.

The Swipe2pay platform, however, allows SMEs to keep track of their cash flow, and manage stock and inventory, in addition to generating comprehensive business performance data that is used to determine their creditworthiness, building alternative credit scoring models and easing access to finance,” Kitumba said during an interaction with HiPipo, during the 40-days-40-FinTechs initiative session.

He added: “The Uganda annual microfinance market is over USD 4billion; still SMEs are not having a piece of this cake. Therefore, we believe that with the right tools and incentives, they should be able to accept cashless payments and also tap into receiving credit from banks and MFIs.

In numbers

In one and a half years, the FinTech has signed up over 1,300 SMEs with more than 10,000 transactions, estimated in the excess of USD 281,000, done on its platform.

Additionally, the platform has over 2 million items in stock on the platform, with over 2000 individual item categories.

The HiPipo CEO Innocent Kawooya said collaboration and synergy is important if the world is to achieve full financial inclusion.

We understand that we cannot be alone in the ecosystem. With over 371 tribes in Africa, you cannot connect everyone alone. That is why we thought it wise to have an initiative like 40-days-40-FinTechs because we believe that by allowing everyone to play their role, we will collectively achieve full financial inclusion,” Kawooya said.

He pledged that HiPipo will over the next four years support FinTechs like Swipe2Pay to ensure every one of those 16 million SMEs that have never received a digital payment, does so.

Additionally, he said that HiPipo would advocate to ensure that the ground is leveled for every player, irrespective of size to compete favorably.

But as long as you are able to create innovative solutions that speak to the needs of our communities or businesses, then we should be able to have everyone have a platform and be able to provide their service as much as they can.

About 40-days-40-FinTechs

The 40-days-40-FinTechs initiative is organised by HiPipo, in partnership with Crosslake Tech, ModusBox and Mojaloop Foundation.

It seeks to enable Financial Technology Companies innovate solutions that facilitate cross-network financial transactions at minimal risks to enhance access to financial services.

Running for 40 days, the project will see the participating 40 FinTechs; acquire interoperable development skills to improve access to financial services, using the Mojaloop open source software.

Read About: Frontier Alliance making diaspora remittances easy and affordable

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Author: EditorSwipe2Pay: Helping SMEs transit to e-payments, access loans

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Featured Tech

Tecno Camon 15 First Impressions

Tecno Camon 15 First Impressions

The new Tecno Camon 15 series offer an ultimate flagship smartphone experience, with a key focus on the cameras, while keeping the pricing as precise as possible. The company announced the Camon 15, Camon 15 Air, as well as the Camon 15 Premier smartphones. Today, we’ll take a quick first look at the standard Camon 15.

The phone comes wrapped in a blue box definitive of the brand. When you unwrap it, you’ll find the phone, charger head, a transparent phone case, earphones, micro USB charger, glass screen protector, and a few documentation guiding you on how to use the phone.

tecno camon 15

The Tecno Camon 15 boasts of a unique four-array rear camera line up, highlighted by a 48-megapixel sensor, which we’ve usually seen in phones that cost a lot more. There are also plenty of other flagship-level features such as a large and decent display, fast RAM and storage, a powerful processor, and fast charging.

We start with the design. Just like with the Spark 5, the Camon 15 follows similar design principles when it comes to the display – coming with a punch-hole camera in the 6.6-inch screen that both phones possess, with a full-HD+ 720*1600 resolution. Of course, each of these models has a slightly different finish or design. Tecno sent me the Fascinating Purple colour of the Camon 15, which I have found really good looking. The back is really designed beautifully and I must say it is worth the wait.

The build quality does not disappoint, with the phone’s rounded corners and edges making it comfortable to hold. The buttons are right in place, with the fingerprint sensor on the back performing as expected.

In the little time I spent using the Camon 15, I saw that the display can get really bright with interesting colouring. However, the brightness level needs to be pushed quite high to enjoy your view to the maximum. When using this phone indoors at medium to low brightness, the screen feels a little dull. You can choose to unset the brightness auto-feature.

The company’s HiOS feels really fluid thanks to the support from Android 10, and we are experimenting its efficiency with games as well, so watch out for the full review, coming soon. Of course, you have to give credit to the processor.

The Camon 15 is powered by a 2.0GHz octa-core Mediatek MT6762 Helio P22 processor that features the Cortex-A53 CPU. So far, the chipset has been performing well and there are no complaints of any heating problems, but we’ll have the final report about this in the full review.

The standard variant, with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, is powered by a 5000mAh non-removable battery, and the inbuilt storage can be expanded via microSD card with a dedicated slot.  You also get dual-SIM support.

Let’s get to the main party of the Camon 15 — the camera. Like we’ve said earlier, the overall camera setup is similar to what you get on the Tecno Spark 5, with the main change being the primary camera sensor. The Camon 15 has a 48-megapixel sensor with a significantly wider lens. It is capable of an impressive 8x optical zoom, and can go all the way to give you superb photography to keep you shooting.

The other rear cameras are a couple of two 2-megapixel primary cameras, and a QVGA macro camera. For selfies, there is a 16-megapixel camera that shines out with a flash just at the bridge of the upper bezels.

Tecno has also added new features in the camera app. There is an interesting Super Night mode that lets you capture all the moments regardless of the time.

tecno camon 15

Tecno Camon 15 Specifications

Screen: 6.6 inches
Camera: 48MP+2MP+2MP+QVGA on the rear, 16MP on the front
Memory: 64GB+4GB in terms of ROM + RAM respectively
OS: Android 10, alongside HiOS v.6.0.1
Battery: 5000mAh
Chip: Mediatek MT6762 Helio P22

Looking forward

The Tecno Camon 15 starts from UGX 688,000, which is a very fair price when you consider the entire package on offer. We will be testing its cameras, battery life, and overall performance further over the next few days, so stay tuned for the full review.

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Author: EditorTecno Camon 15 First Impressions

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Startups

Lend in a Box: Boosting financial inclusion

Lend in a Box: Boosting financial inclusion

With financial exclusion still a big challenge globally, players in the financial technology space are increasingly working towards breaking the barriers by using technology to ensure that more people have access to affordable financial services.

It is estimated that over a billion people globally are still financially excluded. Uganda has, however, gained progress in the financial inclusion space, with the number of financially included estimated at 78%, representing 14.4 million adults, according to the 2018 FinScope survey.

While Mobile Money Service providers have played a major role in this, Financial Technology (FinTech) players such as Lend in a Box, are also playing a major role.

According to the company’s Head of Business Oscar Ofumbi, Lend in a Box seeks to drive financial inclusion for Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) by aggregating payments, insurance, working capital, trade finance, cash and forex solutions, using its various wallets including SME, Agric, Med, Insure, Capital, Trade, and Risk solutions.

This is done in partnership with banks, insurance companies and alternative financial institutions.

Ofumbi said that one of the challenges facing SMEs today is competing in the same market place with multinationals, which often have access to different products and services across payments and forex solutions, which most SMEs do not have.

This, he said, puts them in a disadvantaged position as they are always outcompeted at almost all fronts.

Ofumbi said: “Our solutions cut across given that we are able to provide payments and other solutions for SMEs.

For instance, one of the use cases that we have most times is the one in the agricultural space where we have built a solution that enables women in rural areas to access financing using invoices or the supplies that they do. This has helped them access capital for their businesses and they are now in a better position than ever before to support their families.”

Commenting about the Insurance products, Ofumbi said that they discovered through research that a sizable percentage of expenditure of people in rural areas is spent on things that can be provided by insurance such as healthcare, burials and related expenses.

These are expenses that can be covered by insurance but because the product has not reached them, they are unable to provide it for themselves and for their families. But by us extending this solution to them, we have supported them in that arena,” Ofumbi said.

Lend in a Box is among the firms participating in the 40-days-40-FinTechs project that is currently ongoing. Lend in a Box is the 29th FinTech to interface with HiPipo on this project.

The HiPipo CEO Innocent Kawooya noted that the HiPipo team is blessed to lead a sector that has played a major role in transforming lives.

As HiPipo, it does not only excite us but also gives us much confidence that the future of Africa is bright because of the contribution of financial technology and we are glad to lead the contribution,” Kawooya said.

He explained that they believe that when they help grow different sectors through financial inclusion advocacy and through promoting the use of financial technology, which is one of the pillars that can help scale financial inclusion growth, they will help in solving some of the challenges facing the world today.

Kawooya commended Lend in a Box for their deliberate focus on SMEs and women in its effort to drive financial inclusion.

He noted that research has proved that when you uplift women, they will help their families and their families will in turn help nations to advance.

The world needs to achieve full financial inclusion; the United Nations under the Sustainable Development Goals is interested in lowering poverty levels and believes that when people get financially included, may be poverty challenges will be addressed.”

He urged all the FinTechs participating in the 40-days-40-FinTechs initiative to play their part so that they together contribute to the growth of the economy and development of the world.

About the project

The 40-days-40-FinTechs project is organised by HiPipo under its Include EveryOne program, in partnership with Crosslake Tech, ModusBox and Mojaloop Foundation.

It seeks to enable financial technology companies to innovate solutions that facilitate cross-network financial transactions at minimal risks to enhance access to financial services.

To increase access to financial services, however, there is need to lower transaction costs, which have been said to be a big barrier. Financial technology experts indicate that one of the ways to lower transactional costs is through adopting the use of interoperable solutions.

Ensuring that Ugandans FinTechs offer interoperable solutions is one of the reasons for the 40-days-40-FinTechs projects.

Running for 40 days, the project will see the participating 40 FinTechs acquire interoperable development skills to improve access to financial services, using the Mojaloop open source software.

Kawooya pledged to offer free consultancy for the participating Fintechs that could be having technological challenges.

Read About: MyLib: Bringing primary school revision and learning alive

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Startups

MyLib: Bringing primary school revision and learning alive

MyLib: Bringing primary school revision and learning alive

While education experts in Uganda put the ideal teacher-pupils ratio at one teacher to 53 pupils, most schools have three times the number, a condition that is straining Uganda’s education system. This brings about a problem for both teachers and learners, as slow learners are always left behind because teachers have a huge workload that hinders them from giving attention to the slow learners.

However, having gone through the system and not wanting his children and future grandchildren to go through a similar challenge, Andy Mugerwa set out to innovate a product that would allow primary school pupils to revise on their own in an interesting and live way.

Dubbed MyLib, the platform offers an interactive digital curriculum for primary school pupils, using animations and illustrations.

According to Mugerwa, it uses a blended learning approach that combines face-to-face instruction with computer-mediated instruction, which offers visual avenues to learning irrespective of rural and urban school locations.

From our background, we all know the challenges we went through in our primary schools. So MyLib came to address education challenges for primary pupils,” Mugerwa said.

The platform offers several features including Content, multimedia and assessments, among others.

According to Mugerwa, MyLib content is tailored to suit Uganda’s local primary curriculum following guidelines and recommendations from National Curriculum Development Center while the multimedia presentation offers captivating animations and illustrations, which make learning fun and memorable.

We know the needs of a Ugandan pupil because we are Ugandans. We are making primary revision and education interesting, more practical and accessible by as many people as possible,” he said.

Work offline

MyLib also allows users to work offline as they can download your lessons and access your content anywhere at anytime without extra data costs. It also offers assessments which help keep the learners engaged with over 240 practice exercises and over 4200 questions. Additionally, one can track the progress of their children with instant reports.

Among its key advantages are saving on time and money as learners can access content anywhere and anytime.

Additionally, Mugerwa said it leads to better retention because the whole learning process is entertaining and engaging, it is scalable and allows learners to choose their learning path and navigate at their own pace.

The MyLib platform is integrated to digital payment platforms such as mobile money to enable easy payment and access to the content.

Established in 2007, the company has to date served over 3,000 customers.

MyLib is one of the firms participating in the 40-days-40-FinTechs initiative, a project that seeks to enable Financial Technology companies innovate solutions to facilitate cross-network financial transactions at minimal risks to enhance access to financial services.

We are happy to be part of the 40-days-40-FinTechs. We are not a FinTech but our commercialisation is helped by financial technology. As such, discussions around interoperability and latest technologies such as Mojaloop are exciting to us,” Mugerwa said during an interaction with the HiPipo 40 days 40 fintechs team.

Running for 40 days, the project will see the participating companies acquire interoperable development skills to improve access to financial services, using latest technology such as the Mojaloop open source software.

The initiative is being organised by HiPipo, in partnership with Crosslake Tech, ModusBox and Mojaloop Foundation.

The HiPipo CEO Innocent Kawooya said: “I am happy to interact with MyLib. Just like HiPipo, MyLib has been here for over a decade. I was privileged to be part of the team that advised on how to make MyLib better.

As a developer, I offered Andy and his team some contribution on an idea they were already working on. We have kept in touch and always interact and discuss how to improve these platforms.

He said that HiPipo thrives to enhance digitalization, financial inclusion and overall betterment of the communities.

Read About: Jumia: Africa’s celebrated e-commerce

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