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Where Africa and Technology Collide!

Tag: ghana (page 3 of 3)

Maker Faire: Africa

Maker Faire Africa (MFA) is a new event celebrating the innovation, ingenuity and invention within Africa – happening August 13-15 of this year in Accra, Ghana.

Maker Faire Africa in Ghana

We came at this event from a specific angle – we mixed the types of individuals who show up on AfriGadget and Timbuktu Chronicles, and the ethos of the greater MAKE community, all with the blessings of the good folks at Maker Faire. The dates were chosen to coincide with Amy Smith’s and MIT’s International Development and Design Summit (IDDS), which will run for 3 weeks before MFA, also in Ghana.

As Emeka puts it:

The aim of a Maker Faire-like event is to create a space on the continent where Afrigadget-type innovations, inventions and initiatives can be sought, identified, brought to life, supported, amplified, propagated, etc. Maker Faire Africa asks the question, “What happens when you put the drivers of ingenious concepts from Mali with those from Ghana and Kenya, and add resources to the mix?”

How You can Support MFA

get a Maker Faire Africa badge!First off, help spread the word! Let people know where and when it will be. Share the link to the site, grab a badge, blog it.

Second, help us find sponsors. If you know an organization or individual who would like to support this amazing event, put us in touch with them. It could be monetary, or it could be donating some cool gadgets, gear, tools or devices for people to hack on while there. (example idea: we’d love to get some LEGO Mindstorm kits for the local high schools).

Third, come. If you have the time and ability, we’d love to have you, your ideas and your gadgets at MFA.

The Team

In my role as founder of AfriGadget, I’m part of the organizing team to put together Maker Faire Africa, joined by my an excellent group of people including:

Want to get involved yourself? Get in touch!

iPhone and Computer Game Development in Africa

I’ve got a new theory: one of the best tests of a tech community’s creativity is how many people are coming up with non-business related applications and games. It makes sense that the two games below come from Kenya and Ghana, two of the biggest “tech hubs” in Africa.

Another 3d Shooter from Nairobi

I think it’s a good sign that I just heard about a new 3D FPS shooter game called Mzalendo (not to be confused with the “eye on Kenyan Parliament website also called Mzalendo that Ory and M put together…). It is being created by Morgan of TriLethal Labs in Nairobi, and they have just released the Beta version of the tech demo outlining the capabilities of the New Siege3D graphics core.

Mzalendo - FPS 3d shooter game

Mzalendo Game - using the New Siege3D graphics core

Africa’s 1st iPhone Game?

I’ve profiled Wesley before, and he’s now partnered up with another game developer in Ghana named Eyram. Their newest claim is that they’re about to release (early April) the first iPhone game from Africa, called “BugzVilla” (I’m not sure if it is the first game, let me know if it is/isn’t).

It’s a game in which you crush bugs by tapping the screen and earn points as you level. Shake the screen to release more bugs, and watch out for the red ants! Here’s a short video on their new game:

I’ll try both of these new games out as soon as I can get my hands on them. Eyram assures me that their new game will be on the iTunes App Store in April, so you can bet I’ll buy it and play it.

Google’s SMS Search in Ghana and Nigeria

Yesterday Google announced that they had enabled searching for information by mobile phones in Nigeria and Ghana. You simply text in your query in to Google’s shortcode, which is 4664, and wait for a response by SMS.

Google SMS Search in Nigeria

After a quick check with someone at Google Kenya, I verified that these are the only two African countries that Google has released SMS search in at this point. It seems that this would be quite simple for Google to turn on in almost every country in Africa, so I wonder if one of the bottlenecks is actually getting the specific shortcode that they want (4664 or “GOOG”).

Though it’s hit or miss on some of the queries right now, at least it was as I tested it through the web interface, it’s still a valuable service that I hope the make available in more countries soon. They’re following the basic rules for technology in Africa, which is to design for the lowest common denominator: SMS-only mobile phones.

Ghana – Barcamp Ghana

Nokia and the Developing World

There is a reason that Africans, by and large, love Nokia and there’s a reason that the brand has made such an impact in that part of the world. While most companies around the world are ignoring Africa, Nokia actively develops solutions for the continent.

I’m continually impressed with Nokia. They seem to really care about making money by doing things right. That’s easy enough for any large multinational to say, but much harder to practice. However, a couple new stories popped up recently that prove this out.

First off, you should go read what Jan Chipchase is writing about Nokia’s Open Studios. They’re working in shanty towns from Ghana to India actively listening to their target audience in the developing world. One of the initiatives that they just ran was a competition to design your ideal future phone”. Below is just one of the designs, see the rest in at BusinessWeek.

Nokia Civilian Police design

Nokia Civilian Police: Designed by a 17-year-old living in a Liberian refugee settlement, this phone is designed to help the user record daily life in the camp. This way he can share his experiences with others. It also helps fight crime by including two separate cameras. This also ensures that both he and his brother have access to a camera.

Beyond the ethnographic and discovery stages of what Nokia does are the actual phones. Juliana writes about Nokia’s new mobile phones for emerging markets. This is where all the work by people like Jan and Younghee come to fruition.

Nokia Phones for Emerging Markets

Lastly, everyone should be aware of Nokia’s Beta Labs, which is full of news and information on what they’re doing in markets around the world. It’s their skunkworks and R&D center (the stuff that they share anyway), and it’s just one more touch point to see how Nokia is innovating around the world.

Online Shopping Services for the African Diaspora

There are more and more services popping up created for Africans living abroad to shop and deliver commodities to their relatives in their home country. As covered in a previous story, the sub-Saharan African remittance market is about $20 billion annually, so it only makes sense for more tech-smart businessmen to tap into this.

The lack of any cost-effective traditional money transfer service has also played a part in the creation of this financial back-channel. Africans in the diaspora can buy (or send) a wide variety of goods and services including; airtime minutes, flowers, cakes, school fees, shopping vouchers, etc… the list goes on.

Below are a couple of these websites and their respective country:

iCare – Uganda
iCare - Uganda online shopping

Happysend – Cameroon
Happysend - Cameroon online shopping

Akyedie – Ghana
Akyedie - Ghanaian online shopping

MamaMikes – Kenya
MamaMikes - Kenyan online shopping

Zimbuyer – Zimbabwe

I’m sure there will be more innovation and interesting sites building out in this place throughout the continent. In fact, I’m sure I’ve missed a great deal of the sites that are already out there. If there is a site that you think I have missed, add it to the comment area below.

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