The past few weeks provided me a rare chance to listen to a different view about investment and innovation on the African continent. I wish to share that through this short article. Clearly, the continent is an emerging market, which has a golden opportunity to tap into the strong global sentiment of goodwill about its [...]
An organisation called World Startup Report (WSR) has released research data they call the “Internet Hall of Fame” which is essentially a report on data from the top 3 biggest Internet companies from some 50 countries around the world. There’s a lot of interesting information about internet companies in general so do go through it, but a few things about emerging and [...]
Nick Rudnick, the CEO of Liquid Telecom Group, announced last week that his company intends to spend about US $200 million in fibre cable roll out in sub-Saharan Africa in the next 18 months. According to a report by BDlive, the cable network roll-out will involve extending the fibre network to 3 more countries outside the Southern African region. [...]
The internet is such an amazing tool. It allows us to create stuff. And to have that stuff become useful to other people. And if we’re lucky we can stumble into entrepreneurship success. Of course with such company building success too, but not often does it go according to plan. Ideas are a dime a [...]
Roaming tariffs are quite frankly ridiculous! The world over. For example, a story is told of a teenager who came back from an overseas trip to a phone bill of about $6000. Her one crime; doing normal teenage stuff like post to Facebook and share photos. Roaming charges are such a big issue that the [...]
So I just watched a Chewa voice-over translation of Fast Five. A Malawian pirate translation that is. It was as real as any perfectly done voice over can be. Starts off a bit off ofcourse coz there’s no way in the world Vin Diesel, Paul Walker and the others could really be conversing in Chichewa, but [...]
It’s been nearly four weeks since I last wrote an article for this blog. The period between then and now has been characterised mostly by a lot of reading. Yes, the good old fashioned physical books that smell nice and feel soft to the touch. I have also been thinking a lot about my country [...]
First the US, then Europe and now for the first time a StartupBus tours in Africa Interested entrepreneurs can apply until October 15th Crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to boost financing Berlin, September 19th 2013 – From 17th to 21st November the first StartupBus tours in Africa, departing in Zimbabwe and setting off to Cape Town, [...]
In an update to his followers on Facebook this week, Econet Wireless founder Strive Masiyiwa shared plans to expand the Liquid Telecom fibre network to cover the stretch of the African continent from Cape Town in South Africa to Cairo in Egypt. Yes, Cape to Cairo and the update was titled just that “Cape to Cairo by [...]
One of the few locally owned and NGO-free incubators on the African continent, Spark, announced last Friday that they have raised $2 million to invest in Nigerian startups. The incubator, which the co-founder – iROKOtv founder Jason Njoku – actually says is more a conglomerate of companies than a traditional companies invests amounts $50,000 and $250,000 in startups which are then “incubated” as part of the Spark companies.
Sometimes I wonder if we get the internet. We, the people that have been lucky enough to see the internet. Do we get how big a shift the internet is? Or are we too early into this new era we have to take it in a bit at a time, lest it throws the balance we’ve built around ourselves off?
One clear measure of the progress that the country is making in connecting its population to the rich resource that is the internet, is the physical infrastructure installed at any particular time. Especially the fibre. So we were too glad to know last week that Liquid Telecom is laying 2.7 km of fibre a day in Zimbabwe.
When two weeks ago we posted that Microsoft had released Office 365 in 9 more African countries including Zimbabwe, we noted that the Software as a Service suite applications was actually not available in these countries
WhatsApp is the king app of smartphone messaging. There’s no disputing that right now. Globally. But this is something Chinese rival, WeChat wants to change or, at the very least, get a huge piece of that pie, and Africa is strategic to that vision.
Zambia will this year host the African Internet Summit, an annual conference organized by the African Network Information Center (AFRINIC), which is basically Africa’s internet registry. The event will see regulators, operators and other internet connectivity stakeholders on the continent come together for two weeks to discuss promoting access, policy and regulation of the industry. The [...]
On 22 February this year, I bought a scooter. I have been using it ever since. Well, not every day initially, but now it’s become my primary means of transport. It’s changed how I move around drastically and not a day passes without me thinking to myself; why the hell did I take so long to do this.
To Microsoft Africa has traditionally been a place to sell its enterprise software products. Through local partners yes, but the continent was primarily a place to push products to. I imagine they were not making much owing chiefly to the piracy of its products on the market and so far it looks their concern about this was just as low. Whatever volume of products they were pushing sufficed. In that era Microsoft ruled computing both in the enterprise and at home and could take its sweet time postponing understanding and helping its market grow.
As alluded to earlier today, we had the opportunity recently to talk to CABS Managing Director Kevin Terry, about their mobile banking service, Textacash. We discussed how they introduced the new mobile phone (and card) based banking product in a radically changed financial sector. We also how they are reaching the unbanked and briefly touched on the role of mobile operators and the regulators. Below is an edited transcript of the interview.
I am inclined to think that VLC media player is the most popular software in Zimbabwe. Few people outside the tech circles know, however, that it is Free and Open Source Software (FOSS). Even fewer people know what FOSS is let alone its advantages especially to SMEs and Startups with their tight budgets. I am still to meet anyone who does not love the player; it is robust, has a simple interface, extensive functionality, a trivial learning curve and modest memory footprint – beauty in code.
There was a time back in the late 90s when knowing some HTML and CSS secured a techie a place in his country’s web development talent pool. The web in general placed emphasis on the display of nice stuff with content hard coded into html pages so web design – as opposed to development – mattered more than any other skill on the web. But soon enough the game started to change.
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I usually argue on the side of “lack of funding is just an excuse”. If you work hard enough, if you’re solving a real problem, if you’re passionate enough, if you think outside the box etc… But sometimes I wonder if the problem is lack of funding, or if it’s more an issue of young people having so much more to lose if they decide to take the startup route and its high risks. More to lose compared to their counterparts in, say, Europe, the US or Cape Town.
Even though Africa’s population accounts for 14% of the world population, its internet users are only 6% of the world’s. Africa’s country code top level domains (the country specific domains in the fashion of a .co.zw, or .co.za etc…) are even much less; only 1% of the world’s. These are not rare stats to come [...]
Last week, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) released the Measuring Information Society report, a report that details the state of the telecommunications industry globally. The report shows that developing countries have registered the most dynamic growth in mobile in the year 2011. According to the ITU, the trend is evidence that many developing countries are [...]
Today I read an article that noted something we discuss often with colleagues here. It’s also an issue that I find a lot of people strongly disagree with; the issue around donors awarding money to young entrepreneurs for the impact prospects of the startups’ businesses. Even with limited knowledge of the Kenya tech company ecosystem, [...]
MultiChoice’s DStv is probably the most popular pay TV service in sub-Saharan Africa but subscription payment is not as convenient as most people would like. In Zimbabwe, it used to be that to make payment you had to do it at one specific bank; one called Interfin. Then, later, MultiChoice added more banks to their DStv [...]
Kenyan mobile operators will start switching off “fake” cell phones from their networks in accordance with a government directive. They are scheduled to begin the exercise at midnight, 30 September. The switch-off process will involve blocking a handset that bears a fake International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number from accessing a mobile operator’s network. The [...]
What has been will be again, What has been done will be done again; There is nothing new under the sun – Ecclesiastes 1:9 I doubt that King Solomon could have imagined the technological strides that mankind would go on to make when he wrote those words, but part of his wisdom still applies today. [...]
Yesterday, we posted an article about a report that Opera released recently which basically says Facebook.com is the most visited website in Africa via the Opera Mini web browser. But what most people looking at the information immediately ask is ‘just how much of the total mobile internet traffic in Africa does the Opera browser [...]
We just got the latest mobile network and fixed line operator subscriber stats from the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) for March. The stats cover the year’s first quarter. There are two notable changes since the last time POTRAZ released the country’s telecoms subscriber stats: the tele-density has risen to 78.8% and [...]