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Where Africa and Technology Collide!

Tag: quick hits

Quick Hits Around African Tech

Africa’s mobile industry needs to re-invent itself to meet tomorrow’s challenges
Another great zinger from Russell Southwood’s Balancing Act on the state of the mobile industry across Africa and what needs to change.

“Furthermore, although the shift to data puts a spring in the step of most mobile executives, the shift to an interest in services and apps has the potential to marginalise them as “dumb pipe” operators. The new generation of OS operators (Blackberry, iPhone, Android and others) are offering services and apps in a way that the mobile operators failed to do.”

Desert discs: How mobile phones are at the root of Saharan music.
Christopher Kirkley went to Mali to make field recordings, but returned with a mixtape of music taken from Saharan Sim cards.

African Facebook stats, by Country:

“Only 1.7% of Africans are on Facebook, but since there is only 10.9% Internet penetration, we see that 15.9% of African Internet users are on Facebook.”

Kenyan Internet users woo businesses to Twitter and Facebook

“According to the research, Kenya is ahead of its peers in East Africa in social networking with an average consumer spending atleast 6.5 hours per week, followed by Tanzania — 1.6 hours per week — and Uganda 1.5 hours per week.”

Reflections with Michael Joseph in his last week as CEO of Safaricom:
(Video 1, Video 2)

Reflections with Michael Joseph from Al Kags on Vimeo.

Wrong model. Wrong place.
Ken Banks discusses the challenges of normal business models in the ICT4D and M4D space.

The Future of Mobile in Africa:
A great deck by Rudy de Waele, from his talk at Mobile Web Africa 2010.

Quick Hits Around African Tech

South African, Matthew Buckland, has launched Memeburn a site that tracks emerging technology trends and has opinion pieces by key influencers.

Amheric/Ethiopic translations have been launched within Google’s applications.

Freedom Fone, a free and open source IVR (interactive voice response) system, which started out of Zimbabwe, has now launched. You can download v1.5 now.

Afrinnovator has launched a news aggregator for African tech news.

I was interviewed by CNBC about the iHub and Ushahidi.

Panacea, a South African mobile phone company has the first (legit) bridge between Africa and Paypal live on the continent. Finally, at least one country is able to send/receive payments via PayPal.

Kahenya, from Virn, is launching a new ad platform, called Metro, that distributes ads to all of their sites and affiliate sites. They anticipate to start Web Marketing Campaigns from as little as 500 Kenya shillings (

Quick hits around African tech

Google’s Code Jam Africa is underway, and top African programming talent are working to solve some tough algorithmic challenges.

Idd Salim gives us, “10 Kenyans Under 32 will be USD Millionaires before October 2010” or, his thoughts on how to make big money in the web and mobile space.
(related, how to make money with Safaricom)

Foreign Policy writes a scare piece on how a high-speed wired Africa dooms the world to powerful botnets
(related blog post)

AllAfrica covers Sophia Bekele’s .Africa project, trying to get a TLD set up for Africa (a la www.whiteafrican.africa).

Inside Facebook points out the slow and steady growth of Facebook users across Africa.

Finally, in the not-tech-but-interesting category we see the blurring of the US military and development/aid programs and how this new “smart power” is going to mean more US military industrial complex members invading Africa.

Quick Hits Around African Tech

South African Startup Index
The Business Report is running a South African Startup Index using YouNoodle‘s API. Quite cool, I’d love to see someone do this for startups across Africa.

The Malawian Who Harnessed the Airwaves
Really, it’s an AfriGadget-type story on Gabriel Kondesi who constructed a radio station three years ago, using, among other things, three small transistor radios, car batteries, TV aerials, wires, and a radio cassette player.

A Rwandan software developer finds success
“Yves Kamanzi does not just study computer sciences, it is a passion which does not leave him when he gets out of the classroom. As a result, he has developed several administrative computer applications and despite fierce competition in the sector, he has been able to win over several companies. One program, which calculates employees’ net salaries, has proven especially popular.”

Musoni: mobile microfinance
Musoni is a new microfinance company in Kenya that is using mobile services for all their work. “Musoni will enable clients to repay their loans and deposit their savings using existing mobile money transfer products, such as M-PESA, Zap and Orange Mobile Money.”

Quick Hits around African Tech

Understanding what drives Mpesa agents
Growing the agent network is one of the most challenging parts of a mobile payment system.

“The number one cost for most agents was liquidity management – moving cash. Agents report a host of expenses, including bank charges, transport costs, and fees to aggregators who advance commissions and provide easy float/cash swaps for agents. On average, liquidity management consumed 30% of total expenses.”

Asynchronous Info, Disjointed Data and Crisis Reporting
Jon Gosier talks about Uganda’s riots and what he’s learned in the process.

Africa’s diaspora and the cloud
Teddy Ruge writes a great essay on the web and Africa’s diaspora.

“There’s a cloud gathering over Africa; a storm of connected thoughts and ideas that are pushing African countries violently forward. The Diaspora is using emerging web technologies in increasing numbers, frequency, and variety to stay connect with Africa, simultaneously charting a new digital course for it’s economic independence on the world stage.”

New Africa broadband ‘ready’
The BBC Digital Planet team is in Kenya and doing a knock-up job of interviewing people about what’s going on around the tech space there.

Emmanuel Kala in Nairobi
(Note: all the people in the BBC “in pictures” for this day are part of the Ushahidi extended dev team in Kenya)

Mobiles offer lifelines in Africa
Ken Banks writes about mobile phone growth and development in Africa, stating “Africans are not the passive recipients of technology many people seem to think they are.”

Quick Hits Around African Tech

I’m thoroughly enjoying Dambisa Moyo’s “Dead Aid” book. Buy it, has great food for thought, and numbers to back it up.

The New York Times article on big web content companies lack of profitability in places like Africa.

We’re seeing a new trend of microblogging platforms emerge across Africa. Most recently in the Congo with Akouaba, but also in Nigeria with Naijapulse and South Africa’s Gatorpeeps.

Matt Berg writes about the “Off-grid solar calculator” in North Africa.

Mobility Nigeria points out that Nigeria displaces Germany in the Opera Mini top 10 list.

Bankelele breaks down some of mobile payment tool M-Pesa’s strengths and weaknesses in Kenya.

We’ve announced Ushahidi’s Beta stage, and another round of funding.

APC talks about the broadband rollout issues and a movement to change policy in South Africa.

Quick Hits Around Africa – Focus on Nigeria

Jeremy at the NaijaBlog talks about two eCommerce websites in Nigeria: Reloadng and Wishstop. He has another interesting one on a simple power solution for Nigeria.

Ethan Zuckerman is using Google Insight to look at what is most important in some African countries. Including the fact that one of the most searched for term in Nigeria is for email spam software. It’s not just Nigeria, but a strong focus in West Africa.

Oluniyi David Ajao talks about Automated Thieving Machines (ATMs) in Lagos, Nigeria.

The Washington Post writes about Reverse Brain Drain in Nigeria, where opportunity and money are drawing back the young businessmen and entrepreneurs from the West.

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