These are tech trending news across Sub-Saharan Africa you need to know this week, March 16 - 20, 2020:

MEST HQ tells staff in Africa to work from home

MEST has asked all its staff from the MEST Hubs in Lagos, Nairobi, and Cape Town to work from home as part of a measure to lessen the spread of COVID-19 cases.

MEST applicants
MEST applicants

Field Intelligence raises $3.6 million in funding to scale up tech-enabled retail pharmacy revolution in Africa

Field Intelligence has announced the close of $3.6 million in Series A funding round led by Blue Haven Initiative, with investors including Newtown Partners via the Imperial Venture Fund and Accion Venture Lab.

Peter Bruno, Growth lead at Field Intelligence Inc., in a statement issued on Wednesday, March 11th, 2020, said the $3.6 million equity raise will fund the scale-up of Shelf Life, the technology-enabled supply chain finance platform for pharmacies in Africa.

Edo grants 2,250 startups N200 million to scale

Edo State government said it has commenced the disbursement of over N202 million to 2,250 start-ups spread across five local government areas of the state.

The government said the grant will help 450 agric entrepreneurs to improve their farming businesses in the local government.

Digital currency experiencing the worst time

Coronavirus is pointing all markets on the red side, including digital currencies.

On Monday, Bitcoin fell below $5,000 and other altcoins in the red. Last week, Luno's CEO, Marcus Swanepoel, told Business Insider SSA that cryptocurrencies will find buyers coming back in for them.

Price of crytocurrencies (Screenshot from Coindesk)
Price of crytocurrencies (Screenshot from Coindesk)
coindesk

READ the report HERE

Twitter launches dedicated search prompt on COVID-19 for Nigerians

Twitter has launched a new tool to help Nigerians find credible information about the coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19.

The tool is a dedicated search prompt localised for many regions globally including this West African country.

Twiga Foods, PiggyVest, Kobo360, 54gene among 10 most innovative companies in Africa

Ten countries from Africa made the list of most innovative companies for this year by Fast Company. They were all chosen for finding solutions to local problems.

Somto Ifezue, Odunayo Eweniyi and Joshua Chibueze [l-r] Piggyvest Co-founders
Somto Ifezue, Odunayo Eweniyi and Joshua Chibueze [l-r] Piggyvest Co-founders

The annual list of the World’s Most Innovative Companies of 2020 features 434 organizations from 39 countries including Nigeria and other parts of Africa.

Gray Matters Capital invests $200,000 in Tanzanian-based low cost reusable sanitary towel maker

A US-based impact investor Gray Matters Capital invested $200,000 in funding in Tanzania based WomenChoice Industries.

WomenChoice Industries is a manufacturer and distributor of low-cost, affordable menstrual hygiene management (MHM) reusable sanitary towels.

Gray Matters Capital funding is under its sector-agnostic gender portfolio coLAB.

Combinator Summer 2020 may take place remotely

Due to the global impact of COVID-19, Y Combinator its Summer 2020 accelerator program may take place remotely via video.

In a statement, YC said Summer 2020 batch will take place, and an online application portal is open, with some modifications on how interviews will run.

Wimbart launches virtual mentorship programme to equip African startups with PR tools

Wimbart has launched its first edition of Wimbart Office Hours, a webinar and mentorship programme designed to equip African startups with the PR tools required to achieve their business goals.

Wimbart team
Wimbart team

In a statement made available to Business Insider SSA on Monday, March 16thh, 2020, the PR firm said the programme will target early-stage startups, and with a focus on companies building tech solutions for Africans on the continent or the Diaspora.

About 20 start-ups will be selected by the Wimbart team to participate in the free programme. Applications to be part of the first cohort are now open.

Blockchain.com launches Borrow, a new product offering users to borrow USD-denominated stablecoins

Blockchain.com has launched Borrow, a new product offering users, including users from Nigeria, to borrow USD-denominated stablecoins against crypto held in their wallet.

This is arguably the first major cryptocurrency platform to offer lending directly to everyday consumers.

Bitcoin, the most widely known cryptocurrency, has seen wild swings in value that have made people cautious about blockchain-based digital money
Bitcoin, the most widely known cryptocurrency, has seen wild swings in value that have made people cautious about blockchain-based digital money
AFP

The launch follows Blockchain.com’s successful launch of an institutional lending desk last August, which has rapidly increased originations from $10 million in the first month to $120 million in November.

By offering the retail market access to the same liquidity pool as institutional investors, the firm said it will address the shortage of USD on both sides of the crypto market.