Recent Posts

  • Connecting Africa through satellite technology

    Posted January 13, 2015 By in Technology With | Comments Off
    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

    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
    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

    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

    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

    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.

  • Steal this idea: A network of couriers to ease Ghana/Nigeria traffic

    Posted April 9, 2014 By in General With | 1 Comment

    On a recent trip to Ghana, I spent a good amount of time traversing Accra, and consequently getting stuck in traffic. Ghana is not unlike many other African and foreign cities. It boasts a growing urban population, engaged middle class, and business growth. Add to that poor urban planning and you get horrendous daily traffic. At this point Ghanaians have accepted that traffic delays are a way of life and have adjusted accordingly. Commuters try to alleviate travel headaches by getting multiple cars per household – one for each member of the family to travel independently. Having a driver also allows you to multi-task and rest while stuck in traffic. Enterprising Ghanaians are taking advantage of the congestion and the captive audience. Hawkers are a treat for any Accra tourist. You can buy everything from solar light bulbs, to children’s toys, and puppies – Yes, live puppies – in Accra traffic. Ghanaian businessman Albert Osei, founder of Koko King, launched his popular mobile breakfast business throughout Accra, mostly supported by his street carts serving Ghanaian commuters sitting in traffic.

  • Flying drones or more roads? What will connect more Africans?

    Posted March 17, 2014 By in General With | Comments Off

    There’s an ongoing debate going on right now spawned by recent news that Facebook’s bid to buy a drone manufacturer has implications for the company’s goal of “connecting Africa”. Whether Facebook actually intends to pursue that goal or it’s just a ploy to keep the company’s investors happy, the idea that Africa’s future could be filled with the buzzing of drones has sparked a heated debate.

    2 sides to the debate
    On one side are those who champion the idea. On the other hand detractors criticize the initiative as a dumb, libertarian fantasy I agree that the Facebook’s drones, Google’s balloons, or Microsoft’s tv white spaces won’t be the magic bullet that solves Africa’s problem. I’m not as skeptical as Bill Gates though, that any of these ideas are off base. Facebook, Google etc. might have their own motivations for pursuing these initiatives, but that does’t necessarily make it a pie in the sky idea. I’m not sure about Facebook, but Google has made a business of executing on pie in the sky ideas. Remember what we said about self-driving cars? The company has shown us that it has the chops to prototype, test, release a solution and then work with government to make their solution a widespread option.

  • IBM Chief Research Scientist on Tech as enabler for Africanized solutions

    Posted March 5, 2014 By in General With | Comments Off

    Last year I met IBM research scientist Uyi Stewart at a Africa business and innovation conference at the NYU. After hearing him talk on a panel and a few short conversations I could tell that he was a man on a mission. At the time we connected Uyi was finalizing plans to leave his position in the USA for a role in Kenya as the Chief Scientist at IBM Research Lab – Africa. Since launching in November of 2013, the research lab has hit the ground running with a few powerful projects, most notably a project to reduce Kenyan traffic congestion using mobile phone data.

    CNN’s African Voices program recently sat with Mr. Stewart to talk about his return to Africa, technology as an enabler, and the part he and IBM are playing in African innovation. Watch below.

  • Business success in Africa is all about relationships

    Posted July 10, 2013 By in Business With | Comments Off

    Carlo Regueiras, Africa Sales Manager at Altech ISIS explains:

    Despite the fact that doing business in Africa has changed significantly over the past few years with the continent’s business environment maturing, there are still many continent- and country-specific adaptations that are required for a company to be successful. The only way to achieve an effective business presence in an African country is through local knowledge.”While many companies profess to have this local knowledge, few have an established network of local partners that allows them to overcome the challenges that even home-grown businesses have to overcome in these emerging markets, and even fewer have presence in multiple African countries.

    Read more in Africa is all about relationships)

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