Recent Posts

  • Chinese megacity, PRD, already has a population bigger than Canada, Australia, and Argentina

    Posted November 11, 2015 By in General With | Comments Off on Chinese megacity, PRD, already has a population bigger than Canada, Australia, and Argentina

     china ' megacity 
    Insider writes:

    China’s Pearl River Delta is swallowing up nearby cities. As the largest urban area in the world, the region features a population of roughly 42 million housed inside a 2,700-square-mile perimeter. The Pearl River Delta is made up of nine cities, each boasting populations above 1 million. And China is combining them all into one giant megacity. It’s bigger than Canada (pop: 35 million), Australia (pop: 23 million), and Argentina (pop: 41 million). The PRD began as a rural region with an agriculture-based economy. Urbanization didn’t take off until the early 1990s, when factories and big business flocked to the region and brought with them millions of new residents.

    Read more: Chinese megacity has more people than Canada, Argentina, Australia

  • Is Africa “impoverished” or “rising”? The competing media perspectives

    Posted November 10, 2015 By in Business, General With | Comments Off on Is Africa “impoverished” or “rising”? The competing media perspectives

    Journalism Professor Suzanne Franks writes:

    In more recent years it looks as if the single story has shifted gear. Instead of the relentless negative image of suffering and impoverished victims there is a new narrative, ‘Africa Rising’. Suddenly the continent is brimming with mobile phones and energetic businesses. In May 2000 there was a famous Economist front cover portraying Africa as the hopeless continent. This was replaced in 2011 with a cover full of bright skies and with the ‘Africa Rising’ headline. Time magazine followed suit with a cover using the same slogan…The trouble is that all reductionist stereotypes are incomplete and inaccurate. And in particular this latest characterisation of Africa as a place teeming with entrepreneurs, complete with its own ‘silicon Savannah’ has other problems. In a part of the world still facing staggering levels of inequality it brings the danger of tying Africa too close to a neo-liberal agenda and objectives.

    Read more: Stereotyping Africa: from impoverishment to ‘Africa Rising’

  • 3 ways tech can help the UN achieve the Sustainable Development Goals

    Posted September 24, 2015 By in Charity, Events, General, Politics, Technology With | Comments Off on 3 ways tech can help the UN achieve the Sustainable Development Goals
    UN VR

    Virtual reality Storytelling at the UN’s 2015 NGO Conference

    Travel in New York City is a mess this week. At least for regular folks anyway. But it’s for a good reason. The United Nations head of states, delegates, and Pope Francis will be in town for the UN General Assembly and security is pretty high.

    Along with the regular United Nations-related activity, there is a sense of change and transformation in the air. This weekend the UN will adopt the Sustainable Development Goals. The SDGs will replace the Millenium Development Goals as the UN moves to more inclusive operations to meet the needs of the world we live in today.

    A few weeks ago I attended and presented my ideas on innovation and technology-enabled social impact at the United Nations during the annual NGO Conference. While I generally leave UN issues to those like Kofi Annan (no relation) who are better suited for diplomatic dealings, this time I was interested to hear what successes if any the MDGs have had, and why the SDGs approach would be different.

    During the 3-day long conference, I was pleasantly surprised to hear how the approaches of UN partner organizations were changing and of the overall inclusive attitude that the SDGs creation process had spawned. While there is a willingness to transform how they operate, a large portion of the NGOs I spoke to are still struggling with how to plan and implement that change. For them, it seems like a daunting task.

    While the roadmap to success can seem daunting, there are a few areas that an understanding of the technologies and the behaviors they enable can help the UN and its partners have a greater impact where it’s needed the most.

    1. Storytelling
    The simplest way for the UN and NGOs to make use of technology to further impact is by using digital tools to tell better and more human stories.

    During the NGO Conference, I was happy to see that a group was experimenting with hi-tech storytelling by using virtual reality. Immersive storytelling is a great way to allow stakeholders to experience the situation an organization is trying to change. It’s also a good way to help envision the future that the organization is focused on creating.

    But it’s not just high-tech solutions like VR that are relevant. Organizations can use mobile text to also engage communities over time and weave narratives that communicate and inform. Radio, a format that is dominant in many emerging markets, can also be leveraged. Working with radio stations to record and re-distribute content online and through SMS could help drive engagement among aid organizations and the communities they serve.

    To tell better stories, NGOs will need an updated understanding of how media is created, distributed, consumed, and socialized in our highly connected society.

    2. Participation & co-creation
    To tell good, authentic stories NGOs will need to also ensure that community stakeholders are included in the creation and telling of stories.

    During my conversations at the UN NGO conference, it became apparent to me that one of the great faults of the MDGs was that they lacked a critical element: inclusion. Surprisingly the creation and implementation of MDG initiatives over the years largely excluded those who would have to implement on-the-ground initiatives and the local community for whom the initiatives was supposed to serve.

    The SDGs, though more inclusive in its creation, will require UN agencies to widen its partnership pool to ensure that co-creation is part of the roadmap and program implementations are contextually relevant. Organizations will need to accurately evaluate and hook into the growing channels and tools that are being used within local communities. Groups and individuals with expertise in these areas can help outline the benefits and use of technology-enabled approaches as well as help update legacy processes to support community participation.

    3. Feedback
    I`m always surprised to speak to non-profits and government agencies who have no real metrics or method of gathering feedback. In talks with many organizations it’s become apparent to me that there is a huge disconnect between what many organization leaders see their role and value is to the local communities, and the reality of what the community really needs and values. Unfortunately, because many UN partner agencies are tenured, hierarchical organizations, there is infrequent internal re-assessment of the problem the founders were focused on and the current needs of the complex communities they serve.

    In today’s complex world, feedback is critical to transformation and impact. No organization can maintain relevance without having constant feedback from those of the ground. NGOs will have to spend the time to build in strong, more real-time feedback loops throughout the organization levels to help them quickly measure the needs and impact on stakeholders.

    For example, instead of conducting a program evaluation once a year, an organization might be able to tap into a stream of available 3rd party data and metrics to determine program progress.

    If this all sounds like a lot of work, it can be, particularly if an organization doesn’t engage the right partners at the right levels. Today no organization can transform and innovate in a top-down, exclusive manner anymore.

    Over the years I’ve heard time and time again from NGOs that they don’t have the time or money to rethink how they approach impact. My response has always been that, if the organization is truly focused on serving the community, they can’t afford not to rethink their approach. Whereas in the past, storytelling, co-creation, and feedback were a costly endeavor, technologies have made them more feasible at all levels.

    As the UN community attempts to transform its methods from 2016 and onward, they will have to re-evaluate their approach to impact and use all the tools and methods available to them. Hopefully, the SDGs will force many of these organizations to begin leveraging the numerous available tools and approaches that will truly enable success.

  • Nigeria & Kenya consumers fueling African music sector

    Posted September 6, 2015 By in Business, Music With | Comments Off on Nigeria & Kenya consumers fueling African music sector
    Billboard magazine writes:

    PricewaterhouseCoopers has forecast consumer spending on recorded music revenues to hit $43 million and $19 million for Nigeria and Kenya respectively this year. Both markets are undergoing shifts also seen elsewhere in the world, meaning digital gains will roughly offset physical losses. PwC expects Nigeria’s physical market to decline $3 million to $14 million by 2017, while its digital market is predicted to grow $2 million, to $28 million. In Kenya, a $2-million decline in the physical market in 2017 is expected to overshadow a $1-million increase in the digital market.

  • Connecting Africa through satellite technology

    Posted January 13, 2015 By in Technology With | Comments Off on Connecting Africa through satellite technology
    IDG Connect reports:

    These companies seem to be walking away from the traditional provision of information, where a live internet connection is needed. This is an area that Facebook’s and Google’s Google Loon are still currently pursuing.

    Facebook has reportedly been talking to Avanti, a satellite company which owns two broadband satellites across Africa. Google, on the other hand, is looking to launch balloons that will stream the internet to the unreached, with trial plans in New Zealand.

    “There is an important distinction between using satellites for providing the internet versus using them to provide information,” Richard, of Outernet, explained. “Projects like Google Loon or (Facebook) are aiming to provide the two-way connection that we think of as the internet: you click on something or type in a URL (make a request for information) and you get something sent back. Two way.”


  • Nigerian internet usage skyrockets. Government begins smart cities initiative

    Posted December 28, 2014 By in Business, Politics, Technology With | Comments Off on Nigerian internet usage skyrockets. Government begins smart cities initiative

    Ventures Africa reports

    Nigeria’s Ministry of Communications Technology has initiated a Smart States initiative aimed at reducing Right of Way (RoW) fees and standardizing state levies and taxes on information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure. By eliminating arbitrary charges and eradicating multiple taxations across the country, the initiative is expected to spur infrastructural development across the country.
    “The initiative is based on the premise that engaging those in authority at the state and federal level to address the issue of multiple taxations impeding the rollout of critical infrastructures will enable speedy deployment of critical infrastructure,” read a statement from the ministry.

    As Africas most populous country, Nigerias economy is growing rapidly and its citizens` internet usage is reflecting the growth. Ventures Africa also mentions

    Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, is ranked 10th on the list of world’s top internet users, according to eMarketer; with 57.7 million users at the end of 2014, which is predicted to rise to 84.3 million by 2018. The second African country on the list is Egypt at 17th, whose year is predicted to end with 36 million internet users. South Africa had 20.1 million internet users at the end of 2013, which is predicted to grow to 22.7 million at the end of 2014 and 30.9 million by 2018. This impressive growth has been driven by increasing mobile penetration which has afforded more people access to the internet.

  • Nigeria, Egypt top list for intenet penetration in Africa

    Posted October 15, 2014 By in Reports & Data -- Africa, Technology With | Comments Off on Nigeria, Egypt top list for intenet penetration in Africa
    Africa Internet users 2012 - African Development Bank

    Click image for larger view

    Top 10 African countries with highest intenet penetration (2012)

    1. Nigeria
    2. Egypt
    3. South Africa
    4. Morocco
    5. Kenya
    6. Sudan
    7. Tanzania
    8. Algeria
    9. Uganda
    10. Tunisia

    Source: African Development Bank


  • Africa is 2nd largest mobile phone market in world

    Posted October 10, 2014 By in Featured With | Comments Off on Africa is 2nd largest mobile phone market in world

    Afica mobile stats 2013 - African Development Bank

    • Africa is now the fastest growing and second largest mobile phone market in the world.
    • More than 8 in 10 Africans have a mobile phone.
    • Average penetration rate has also risen from 37% in 2010 to 80% in 2013 and is still growing at 4.2% annually
    • There are now 760 million mobile subscribers in Africa. This number is projected to cross the 1 billion mark by 2016.
    • Africa’s mobile data usage amounts to 15% of the total internet traffic.

    Source: Tracking Africa’s Progress in Figures (African Development Bank)

  • Facebook has 100 million monthly active users in Africa. 80% use mobile

    Posted September 11, 2014 By in Statistics With | Comments Off on Facebook has 100 million monthly active users in Africa. 80% use mobile

    Facebook Africa statistics

    via Facebook

  • Africa Trends Roundup: Internet-Anywhere, Smart cities, & Jobs creation

    Posted September 8, 2014 By in Business, Editor's Note, Technology With | Comments Off on Africa Trends Roundup: Internet-Anywhere, Smart cities, & Jobs creation

    Getting insights from the noisy coverage of Africa can be very hard. We’ve sifted through all the news and views and identified these recent stories which more accurately indicate what Africa’s cultural, and business ecosystems might look like in the near future. Read on and continue to stay one step ahead.

    • Made In Kenya, Assembled In America: This Internet-Anywhere Company Innovates From Silicon Savannah – Fast Company: (BRCK) is essentially a mobile Internet router. It connects to the web in three ways: by plugging in a standard ethernet cable, by bridging with other Wi-Fi networks, or by accessing 3G or 4G data via a basic SIM card…While designed in Kenya, BRCK is manufactured and assembled deep in the heart of Texas, by a company called Silicon Hills. Located outside of Austin, the company has the key ability to iterate and do small runs. According to its CEO, BRCK couldn’t also be manufactured in Kenya because of the considerable import taxes and time delays when bringing components into the country.

    • Infrastructure & connectivity key to Africa’s smart cities – IT News Africa: For a continent driven by mobility, Wi-Fi presents a significant opportunity to aid in the socio-economic development of people – particularly as it provides a cost-effective access solution to high-density areas such as those found in cities.
      Fletcher cites the example of Kenya and Ghana that are heavily investing in building pre-planned technology hubs that have the capacity to be involved in the smart cities of the future.

    • The Previously Untold Story Of Africa’s Mobile Revolution – Forbes: Africa’s mobile revolution has been called a phenomenon that “changed African nations more significantly than any development since their independence from colonial powers.” Today, Africa is even more reliant on mobile technology than the West. But one important story has remained untold. It’s the saga of how one person, imbued with entrepreneurial passion and surrounded by a supportive ecosystem of colleagues, helped launch an SMS text messaging service for real-time market pricing that eventually transformed the continent.

    • Africa at work: Job creation and inclusive growth – McKinsey: Despite the creation of 37 million new and stable wage-paying jobs over the past decade, only 28 percent of Africa’s labor force holds such positions. If the trends of the past decade continue, Africa will create 54 million new, stable wage-paying jobs over the next ten years—but this will not be enough to absorb the 122 million new entrants into the labor force expected over the same period. However, by implementing a five-part strategy to accelerate the pace of job creation, we estimate that Africa could add as many as 72 million new wage-paying jobs over the next decade, raising the wage-earning share of the labor force to 36 percent…If Africa accelerates job creation, it could add 72 million additional wage-paying jobs by 2020.

    • Africa’s testing ground – The Economist: Nigeria’s promise has made it a test-bed for the Africa strategies of consumer-goods firms. This is not only because of its size. It is also because of the spread of Nigerian culture—its music and movies—around Africa, says Yaw Nsarkoh of Unilever. The Anglo-Dutch company has been trading in Nigeria for nearly a century and is expanding its operations.Procter & Gamble, another global consumer giant, has just completed a factory near Lagos, its second in Nigeria..Just as Nigeria is used as shorthand for the business opportunity in Africa it is also a summary of the continent’s shortcomings.

    • Report reveals sub-Saharan Africa’s 10 most competitive economies – How We Made it in Africa: More than half of the 20 lowest-ranked countries in the report are sub-Saharan, and many markets have insufficient infrastructure and poor levels of health and basic education…The region’s challenge is to turn high growth into inclusive growth and make the transition from agriculture-based economies to higher value-added activities.

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