Browse > Home /

| Subcribe via RSS

Kenya’s Billion-Dollar Dash to Become the Tech Hub of Africa

April 22nd, 2013 | No Comments | Posted in Business, Technology

Bloomberg reports:

Nairobi, Kenya has become the tech hub of Africa, a niche that could be worth more than one billion dollars to the country in the next three years despite its 40% unemployment rate. Kenya is throwing all their eggs in the tech basket as they build a multi-billion dollar infrastructure in the form of a “Techno City” that will support 200,000

Tags: , , , ,

Western Union partners with M-Pesa for international mobile money transfers

March 31st, 2011 | No Comments | Posted in Business, General, Technology, Travel


Western Union has announced a partnership with M-PESA, the popular Kenyan mobile cash-transfer service. This deal opens up Western Union’s huge money transfer network to the Safaricon-owned “mobile wallet” service. The parnership will allow customers in US, UK and other countries to transfer money to a Safaricom/M-Pesa user’s account and the receiver will receive an SMS message from M-PESA notifying them that the money is available in their account.

Kenyans living abroad can now send money to their relatives back home through Safaricom’s mobile money transfer service, M-Pesa.
This is after Safaricom and Western Union signed an agreement, which enables Kenyans living in 45 countries in the US, Asia, Europe and Africa to access the now world famous M-Pesa service.
Although they can send up to Sh35,000 per transaction, limits per day, per month or per year will depend on the country the money is sent from, following the link-up that is likely to give the NSE listed firm a head start in the increasingly competitive mobile telephony market.
“Through this partnership, our customers and their friends and families will benefit from affordable, faster and more convenient international remittances,” said Safaricom chief executive officer, Bob Collymore.
Mr David Yates, of Western Union, applauded the service as an impressive adoption of the mobile channel.
“Cash payout through M-Pesa is projected to go up from 23 per cent to 40 per cent, as the traditional cash payout will take the rest,” Mr Yates said.
The transaction is similar to a traditional cash-to-cash money transfer, except that the sender specifies the recipient’s mobile phone number at the time the funds are sent.
Tags: ,

Africa’s digital revolution (video)

April 26th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted in Business, Film/Television, General, Technology

Radio Netherlands Worldwide features a short video on Africa’s digital revolution. The video, highlights the use of digital tools, online and mobile, by young Kenyans to bridge the learning and economic gap. A key observation when watching the video is the underlying shift from formal organized education to informal individual education as a result of Kenyan youth’s access to technological tools. Watch the feature below featuring Mark Kamau of Nairobits and John Karanja of Whive.

Nairobi is buzzing! There is an energetic and innovative vibe in the city. A young generation has risen to take matters into their own hands.

ALSO WATCH
CNBC Africa: East Africa Business Report on Social Media from Moses Kemibaro on Vimeo

If you can’t see the videos above go here to view

Tags: , , ,

Kenya’s first Sci-Fi film hits Sundance

February 3rd, 2010 | 2 Comments | Posted in Events, Film/Television, General, Technology

Pumzi FilmMade by writer/director Wanuri Kahiu, Kenya’s first science fiction film to hit Sundance, Pumzi, takes place “thirty-five years after World War III, the “Water War,” and tells the story of a woman from East Africa who flees an enclosed community in hopes of once again restoring life outside its walls. The film which screened last month at the Sundance Film Festival was made with grant money from Focus Features’ Africa First short film program, the Goethe Institut, and the Changamoto arts fund, and was part of the festival’s New African Cinema program.

Like recent standouts District 9 and Sleep Dealer, the short film taps into Third World realities and spins them forward for dramatic effect. But to produce Pumzi, Kahiu looked to the past, as well as the future. She researched classic 1950s films to create her movie’s futuristic sets, comparing the processes of matte painting and rear-screen projection with indigenous African artwork. “We already have a tradition of tapestries and functional art and things like that, that loan a backdrop for films,” Kahiu said.

via Underwire

Pumzi_director

With Focus Features’ Ditrict 9 now considered a global box office success and it’s recent Academy Award nomination, look out for more funding to be injected into Africa-inspired films. As Ms. Kahiu proves, the whole continent – not just South Africa – has endless stories to tell and Africans are dreaming up creative ways to tell them.

Watch the Pumzi trailer below:

If you can’t see the video above click here

Tags: , , ,

Growing middle class and Africa’s demographic opportunity

August 27th, 2009 | 4 Comments | Posted in Business, General, Politics, Travel

The Economist writes an insightful article about the direct relationship between Africa’s lowering birth-rate, it’s growing middle class, and the continent’s economic growth.

Africa is still something of a demographic outlier compared with the rest of the developing world. …Its population has grown from 110m in 1850 to 1 billion today. …To get a sense of this kind of increase, consider that in 1950 there were two Europeans for every African; by 2050, on present trends, there will be two Africans for every European.

…Yet Africa is also starting out, a little late, on a demographic transition that others have already traced: as people get richer, they have fewer children. …It is surely no coincidence that the past 15 years have seen Africa’s fastest-ever period of economic growth. Africa, exceptional in so many ways, does not seem to be an exception to the rule that, as countries get richer, they experience a demographic transition.

…The result is a “demographic dividend”, which can be cashed in to produce a virtuous cycle of growth. A fast-growing, economically active population provides the initial impetus to industrial production; then a supply of new workers coming from villages can, if handled properly, enable a country to become more productive. China and East Asia are the models. On some calculations, demography accounted for about a third of East Asia’s phenomenal growth over the past 30 years.

africa_europe_population_forecast

The article presents an interesting view. Africa is going through a renaissance of sorts as the demographics of influencers have shifted tremendously in the past 10-15 years. It’ll be interesting to see the shape the continent and it’s cultures takes in the next few years.

More about the growing African middle class in the videos below:

The Nigerian middle class profiled

Ghana on the rise

Middle class life in Nairobi, Kenya

Tags: , , , , , ,

Obama and Hillary Clinton visits a boom or bust for African business

August 17th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted in Business, Charity, Events, General, Politics, Technology

hillary_clinton_congo_africa

As President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton both prepared to make visits to Africa recently there was a sense of excitement and anticipation. While the excitement was primarily within the African diaspora, other communities around the globe also began to share in the excitement. But as Obama and Clinton have come and left the continent, many have questioned if the “historic event” had a big enough effect on investment and perception the African continent. It may be too soon to tell but if the statistics are any indication, heightened global interest in Africa may already be starting to wane. So might African countries have missed an opportunity to move the continent’s re-brand efforts to another level and capture global attention in a BIG way?
africa_tv_mentions

According to Snapstream.com’s TV trends tracking service, between October 2008 and the months up to Obama’s visit to Ghana, the average mention of the word Africa on the primary American television networks was about 20 to 30 mentions per day with mentions reaching the highest of 169 in any one day. In the first two days of Obama’s arrival in Ghana, mentions of Africa on US television jumped to about 719 mentions on July 11th, the day Obama gave his speech in Ghana. Also Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s recently concluded tour of Africa and the momentary controversy in Congo, has kept Africa in the news for the second month straight in 2009.

By all standards, and considering the context, these are enormous global opportunities where African countries could heighten awareness and promote any partnership opportunities they have. While some might say that the attention was only regulated to political forums, an analysis of the overall mentions of Africa across social media media platforms shows the contrary.

An analysis of Google search trends shows that global search for terms associated with Africa have begun to climb as the continent stays in the news. As both President Obama and Sec. of State Clinton went on tour in Africa, the countries they visited have seen an increase of search activity, another great opportunity to the tourism industries.

obama clinton africa trends

But with all the possibilities of global business, I still wonder how much sustained business opportunities are really being made available for African entrepreneurs and non-governmental businesses.

In their reflection of Obama’s visit to Ghana the Daily Kos writes

In Cape Coast where the Obamas visited the slave fort – Cape Coast Castle, and the palace of the Oguaa Chief (of Cape Coast), the crowds were similarly excited yet disappointed that they had no opportunity to see President Obama’s remarks given while there. Nevertheless, the mood remained upbeat with local residents stating that they understood the need for all the souped up security arrangements for this particular US President. At the airport later in the early evening, prior to departure, the crowd that gathered there did finally get the chance to see and hear Pres. Obama. Everybody else simply stayed glued to their teevee sets all day. My other beef was that not a single local Ghanaian journalist was granted an interview with President Obama, yet Anderson Cooper of CNN gets one. Yes, Obama had an interview with AllAfrica.com prior to his arrival in Ghana, but a local interview would have helped cut through the physical security cordon and enabled the US president to directly hear from the local media that he praised so much in his speech for their critical work in advancing democracy in Ghana.

Certainly tourism to Ghana and possibly Africa in general is going to rise as many in the west will associate the country with a presidential visit, stability, and democracy, but will that be the end result? Could the Ghanaian government have done more to secure long term more widespread attention to Ghana? Could Secretary Clinton’s visit have been more impactful to everyday Liberians or Kenyan’s beyond the prestige factor? Neither Obama’s or Clinton’s trips were merely for entertainment and there are policies in the works, but if Africa is to truly benefit from them the attention and information exchange must be sustained by Africans over a longer period of time. Only through synchronized planning between African entrepreneurs and governments, could such high profile events truly be maximized for the rapid growth of African countries.

What do you think? Were the President Obama and Secretary Clinton visits a boom or bust for African business?

According to Snapstream.com’s TV trends tracking service between October 2008 and the months up to Obama’s visit to Ghana, the average mention of the word Africa on the primary American television networks was about 20 to 30 mentions per day with mentions reaching the highest of 169 in any one day. In the first two days of Obama’s arrival in Ghana, mentions of Africa on US television jumped to about 719 mentions on July 11th, the day Obama touched down in Ghana. Also Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s recently concluded tour of Africa and the momentary controversy in Congo, has kept Africa in the news for the second month straight in 2009.
By all standards, and considering the context, these are enormous global attention opportunities where African countries could heighten awareness and promote any partnership opportunities they have. While some might say that the attention was only regulated to political forums, an analysis of the overall mentions of Africa across social media media platforms shows the contrary.
An analysis of Google search trends shows that global search for terms associated with Africa have begun to climb as the continent stays in the news. As both President Obama and Sec. of State Clinton went on tour in Africa, the countries they visited have seen an increase of search activity, another great opportunity to the tourism industries.
Tags: , , , , , ,

Kenyan engineering students build bicycle-powered cellphone charger

July 31st, 2009 | No Comments | Posted in General, Technology

Kenya Gets More Mobile With Bicycle-Powered Cellphone Charger

…two university students, Jeremiah Murimi, 24, and Pascal Katana, 22, wanted to make a difference in the lives of rural villagers. The result, a pocket-sized, bicycle-powered charger that was developed using homegrown innovation along with parts salvaged from the junkyard. Though similar inventions already exist in other African nations, none have been sold in Kenya until now.

Another example of African ingenuity at work.

Tags: , ,

Annansi Notes: Fall Out Boy, Mandela, Clint Eastwood, African babies, Facebook in Kenya

  • Fall Out Boy head to Africa….Uganda really (What’s a rock band’s image without an African charity connection. Shout out to director extraordinaire Alan Ferguson) )
  • Clint Eastwood will direct Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon in a new Nelson Mandela movie “The Human Factor” (The Hollywood/Africa trend grows. They should expect a call from some concerned Africans real soon.)
  • Facebook is the new office fashion in Kenya (Rupert Murdoch needs to get the Myspace/Wall Street Journal thing sorted out fast)
  • Actress Mary-Louise Parker adopts a child from Africa (Can all these African childrens’ biological families get visitation visas now?)
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Africa Enterprising articles part 3

The 3rd edition of the The Carnival of African Enterprising has launched at the White African blog. As with the previous installments, this edition highlights some of the best posts from the African business/entrepreneurship blogosphere. Head over to White African to check out top posts from 5 of Africa’s top blogging/business talent, with a bonus addition from Annansi Chronicles (Big Thanks to Hash).To find out more about the ongoing carnival go here. Special thanks to Benin Mwangi for organizing everything.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

“How to write about Africa” by Binyavanga Wainaina

June 18th, 2007 | 2 Comments | Posted in Books/Magazines, Business, Charity, General, Politics, Travel

The classic 2005 article by Binyavanga Wainaina. It’s even more relevant now. (via Xeni)

How to write about Africa
by Binyavanga Wainaina
some tips: sunsets and starvation are good (from Granta 92: The View from Africa)

Always use the word ‘Africa’ or ‘Darkness or ‘Safari’ in your title. Subtitles ma include the words ‘Zanzibar’, ‘Masai’ ‘Zulu’, ‘Zambezi’, ‘Congo’, ‘Nile’, ‘Big’ ‘Sky’, ‘Shadow’, ‘Drum’, ‘Sun’ or ‘Bygone’. Als useful are words such as ‘Guerrillas’, ‘Timeless’ ‘Primordial’ and ‘Tribal’. Note that ‘People’ means Africans who are no black, while ‘The People’ means black Africans

Never have a picture of a well-adjusted African on the cover of your book, or in it, unless that African has won the Nobel Prize. An AK-47, prominent ribs, naked breasts: use these. If you must include an African, make sure you get one in Masai or Zulu or Dogon dress.

In your text, treat Africa as if it were one country. It is hot and dusty with rolling grasslands and huge herds of animals and tall, thin people who are starving. Or it is hot and steamy with very short people who eat primates. Don’t get bogged down with precise descriptions. Africa is big: fifty-four countries, 900 million people who are too busy starving and dying and warring and emigrating to read your book. The continent is full of deserts, jungles, highlands, savannahs and many other things, but your reader doesn’t care about all that, so keep your descriptions romantic and evocative and unparticular.

Make sure you show how Africans have music and rhythm deep in their souls, and eat things no other humans eat. Do not mention rice and beef and wheat; monkey-brain is an African’s cuisine of choice, along with goat, snake, worms and grubs and all manner of game meat. Make sure you show that you are able to eat such food without flinching, and describe how you learn to enjoy it—because you care.

Taboo subjects: ordinary domestic scenes, love between Africans (unless a death is involved), references to African writers or intellectuals, mention of school-going children who are not suffering from yaws or Ebola fever or female genital mutilation.

Throughout the book, adopt a sotto voice, in conspiracy with the reader, and a sad I-expected-so-much tone. Establish early on that your liberalism is impeccable, and mention near the beginning how much you love Africa, how you fell in love with the place and can’t live without her. Africa is the only continent you can love—take advantage of this. If you are a man, thrust yourself into her warm virgin forests. If you are a woman, treat Africa as a man who wears a bush jacket and disappears off into the sunset. Africa is to be pitied, worshipped or dominated. Whichever angle you take, be sure to leave the strong impression that without your intervention and your important book, Africa is doomed.

Your African characters may include naked warriors, loyal servants, diviners and seers, ancient wise men living in hermitic splendour. Or corrupt politicians, inept polygamous travel-guides, and prostitutes you have slept with. The Loyal Servant always behaves like a seven-year-old and needs a firm hand; he is scared of snakes, good with children, and always involving you in his complex domestic dramas. The Ancient Wise Man always comes from a noble tribe (not the money-grubbing tribes like the Gikuyu, the Igbo or the Shona). He has rheumy eyes and is close to the Earth. The Modern African is a fat man who steals and works in the visa office, refusing to give work permits to qualified Westerners who really care about Africa. He is an enemy of development, always using his government job to make it difficult for pragmatic and good-hearted expats to set up NGOs or Legal Conservation Areas. Or he is an Oxford-educated intellectual turned serial-killing politician in a Savile Row suit. He is a cannibal who likes Cristal champagne, and his mother is a rich witch-doctor who really runs the country.

Among your characters you must always include The Starving African, who wanders the refugee camp nearly naked, and waits for the benevolence of the West. Her children have flies on their eyelids and pot bellies, and her breasts are flat and empty. She must look utterly helpless. She can have no past, no history; such diversions ruin the dramatic moment. Moans are good. She must never say anything about herself in the dialogue except to speak of her (unspeakable) suffering. Also be sure to include a warm and motherly woman who has a rolling laugh and who is concerned for your well-being. Just call her Mama. Her children are all delinquent. These characters should buzz around your main hero, making him look good. Your hero can teach them, bathe them, feed them; he carries lots of babies and has seen Death. Your hero is you (if reportage), or a beautiful, tragic international celebrity/aristocrat who now cares for animals (if fiction).

Bad Western characters may include children of Tory cabinet ministers, Afrikaners, employees of the World Bank. When talking about exploitation by foreigners mention the Chinese and Indian traders. Blame the West for Africa’s situation. But do not be too specific.

Broad brushstrokes throughout are good. Avoid having the African characters laugh, or struggle to educate their kids, or just make do in mundane circumstances. Have them illuminate something about Europe or America in Africa. African characters should be colourful, exotic, larger than life—but empty inside, with no dialogue, no conflicts or resolutions in their stories, no depth or quirks to confuse the cause.

Describe, in detail, naked breasts (young, old, conservative, recently raped, big, small) or mutilated genitals, or enhanced genitals. Or any kind of genitals. And dead bodies. Or, better, naked dead bodies. And especially rotting naked dead bodies. Remember, any work you submit in which people look filthy and miserable will be referred to as the ‘real Africa’, and you want that on your dust jacket. Do not feel queasy about this: you are trying to help them to get aid from the West. The biggest taboo in writing about Africa is to describe or show dead or suffering white people.

Animals, on the other hand, must be treated as well rounded, complex characters. They speak (or grunt while tossing their manes proudly) and have names, ambitions and desires. They also have family values: see how lions teach their children? Elephants are caring, and are good feminists or dignified patriarchs. So are gorillas. Never, ever say anything negative about an elephant or a gorilla. Elephants may attack people’s property, destroy their crops, and even kill them. Always take the side of the elephant. Big cats have public-school accents. Hyenas are fair game and have vaguely Middle Eastern accents. Any short Africans who live in the jungle or desert may be portrayed with good humour (unless they are in conflict with an elephant or chimpanzee or gorilla, in which case they are pure evil).

After celebrity activists and aid workers, conservationists are Africa’s most important people. Do not offend them. You need them to invite you to their 30,000-acre game ranch or ‘conservation area’, and this is the only way you will get to interview the celebrity activist. Often a book cover with a heroic-looking conservationist on it works magic for sales. Anybody white, tanned and wearing khaki who once had a pet antelope or a farm is a conservationist, one who is preserving Africa’s rich heritage. When interviewing him or her, do not ask how much funding they have; do not ask how much money they make off their game. Never ask how much they pay their employees.

Readers will be put off if you don’t mention the light in Africa. And sunsets, the African sunset is a must. It is always big and red. There is always a big sky. Wide empty spaces and game are critical—Africa is the Land of Wide Empty Spaces. When writing about the plight of flora and fauna, make sure you mention that Africa is overpopulated. When your main character is in a desert or jungle living with indigenous peoples (anybody short) it is okay to mention that Africa has been severely depopulated by Aids and War (use caps).

You’ll also need a nightclub called Tropicana, where mercenaries, evil nouveau riche Africans and prostitutes and guerrillas and expats hang out.

Always end your book with Nelson Mandela saying something about rainbows or renaissances. Because you care.

Tags: , , , , , , ,
  • Afrimonitor - Market Research for Emerging Markets



  • SUBSCRIBE TO POSTS

  • Get blog updates by email
    Enter your email address:



  • NEWSLETTER

    Subscribe to our FREE email newsletter for in-depth reportage on African market trends and consumer research


  • CONNECT

  • RELATED NEWS