Tag Archives: Africa

Should we reconsider online ads in Africa?

September 22nd, 2014

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Mobile phones have enabled so many people to connect over the past few years. They have become so ubiquitous that a greater number of people can be reached with such a limited number of resources and a new medium to communicate, which is why it is essential to have a new way of thinking when [...]

In rejoicing for Zero rated content, Facebook & WhatsApp bundles, let’s worry about net neutrality

August 1st, 2014

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Locally, perceiving zero rated content packages, Facebook specific and WhatsApp specific bundled internet as anything less than positive feels like looking a gift horse in the mouth. It’s like pouring cold water over something that should be celebrated. But let’s have the net neutrality conversation for a minute. These zero rated websites and app specific bundles create an internet that is uneven. Right now, in [...]

Is Zimbabwe missing out on Africa’s growth wave?

July 22nd, 2014

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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 [...]

The Internet Hall of Fame: Are these the top internet companies in Africa?

June 14th, 2014

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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 [...]

Liquid Telecom to spend US $200m in fibre rollout in the next 18 months

May 13th, 2014

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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. [...]

Random thoughts on the state of technology in Africa

December 7th, 2013

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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 [...]

Cape to Cairo: Econet founder Masiyiwa shares dreams of fibre expansion

September 20th, 2013

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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 [...]

Nigeria’s Spark incubator raises 2 million to invest in local startups

August 19th, 2013

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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.

Maybe it will take new generations to embrace the internet

July 24th, 2013

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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?

Zambia to host African Internet Summit

June 6th, 2013

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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 [...]

Why more people should use scooters in Harare

June 6th, 2013

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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.

Microsoft wakes up to new Africa, reacts with youth empowerment initiative

February 14th, 2013

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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.

CABS & mobile money; An interview with managing director, Kevin Terry

January 17th, 2013

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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.

Why not use Free and Open Source Software

January 14th, 2013

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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.

Fellow Africans, if you want to be called developers, start writing code

January 14th, 2013

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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.

US offers African tech women Silicon Valley mentorship

December 29th, 2012

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Are you a woman with a university degree and some 2 years professional experience in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM)? This may be your chance to participate in a 5 week mentorship and professional exchange program at leading companies in the world’s leading hub of technology, Silicon Valley.

Is starting a tech startup just too costly for us?

December 13th, 2012

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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.

An ICANN initiative to improve internet naming in Africa

October 18th, 2012

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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 [...]

Predictably, developing countries register highest mobile growth globally

October 15th, 2012

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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 [...]

The problem with grant and challenge funded entrepreneurship

October 11th, 2012

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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, [...]

Mobile services startup AppleVine introduces new DStv payment method

October 2nd, 2012

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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 [...]

Kenya to Switch Off Counterfeit Phones

September 30th, 2012

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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 [...]

A technological call to arms – let’s imitate to progress

September 24th, 2012

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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. [...]