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The sad truth about SA’s mobile speeds

The latest Akamai State of the Internet Report reveals an inconvenient truth about South Africa’s average mobile access speeds.Akamai released its Second Quarter 2013 State of the Internet Report, showing that one of South Africa’s mobile operators (only identified as ZA-1) has the worst connection speed of all global operators. The Akamai State of the Internet Report is based on data gathered from the Akamai Intelligent Platform, and provides insight into key global statistics including connection speeds, attack traffic, and network connectivity and availability, among many others.

SA and IT outsourcing – what to expect in the coming years

With the South African IT services market expected to reach R53.3 billion by 2015, according to BMI TechKnowledge’s (BMI-T) South African IT Services Market Sizing and Forecast it is safe to say there is still considerable opportunity for IT players in their respective specialist fields, be it vendor, service provider or integrator.However, it is the outsourcing market in particular that has enjoyed significant support over the last three years and will continue to provide a lucrative playing field in the coming two years. This statement is also echoed by a report released by KPMG: South African Sourcing Pulse Survey:Shared Services & Outsourcing Advisory Practice, Management Consulting in September 2012 which indicates that the outlook for domestic outsourcing is looking favourable in terms of adoption.

Modernisation of Africa ‘will largely belong to African players’

GIVEN the challenges facing them, foreign retailers would not enter the African market in a significant way within the next 10 years, giving room to local players to grow, modernise, take market share and become cost competitive, said the chief economist at London’s Planet Retail, Boris Planer, on Monday. "The modernisation of Africa will, therefore, largely belong to African players," Mr Planer said at the World Retail Congress Africa, held in Sandton. Consumer spending in Africa is projected by McKinsey Global Institute to reach $1.4-trillion in 2020, and for retailers and consumer goods companies looking to secure long-term growth and diversify their source of income, setting up an African strategy is key.

There’s still time: Innovation Prize for Africa extends 2014 deadline

The African Innovation Foundation has officially extended the deadline for entry into the Innovation Price for Africa (IPA) 2014 to 30 November of this year. The coveted initiative aims to award the African innovators and entrepreneurs who “show market-oriented solutions that increase efficiency or cost-saving in Africa” according to the IPA website. The extension comes in response to many requests received from potential applicants across the continent who indicated that they learnt about the competition a little too late to prepare and submit their entries to the level they needed it to be, to win the US$100 000 cash prize. IPA Program Director Pauline Mujawamariya stressed the need to invest in innovative ideas to accelerate economic growth on the continent.

The future of schooling in South Africa: practical ideas and technology

Technology’s role in education is not disputed — it is an effective means to enable both student and teacher in creating a more engaging learning environment. For many educational institutions though, the question remains how to efficiently use the technology resources available to them. In South Africa, where improving education is a nationwide concern, the role of technology is not just a luxury, but perhaps a much-needed solution. ICT distributor Mustek’s elearning and education head, Kobus van Wyk, answered some questions about technology resources in South African schools, and how they should be used optimally

SAP Africa’s Skills for Africa Programme gains momentum

On the heels of SAP Africa’s recent announcement of an agreement with the World Bank to consolidate skills development efforts in Africa, SAP Africa today announced that the first group of students, from Kenya, have successfully graduated from the Skills for Africa training certification. The training that has been conducted in partnership with the Kenyan Ministry of Information and Communications Technology, incorporating Kenyan ICT authorities and Nairobi’s Multi Media University, is aimed at enhancing employability for graduates from disadvantaged backgrounds. The six week certification training that was hosted at Multi Media University in Ongata Rongai, covered technology, business, finance, logistics as well as critical soft business skills.

Africa: Is Open Data Improving Governance?

The concept of open data is a simple and attractive one: the information that governments amass as they go about their business should be available for citizens to pour over, helping them solve problems - and hold politicians to account. But are the governments doing a good job of this and do citizens actually care? These are some of the issues discussed at this week's Open Government Partnership (OGP) summit in London, United Kingdom, where a new working group on open data was launched yesterday. The group is tasked with assisting the creation and implementation of more ambitious open government commitments as part of OGP national action plans.

Leaders vow to make Africa competitive

Africa’s quest for deeper integration has to be backed by active support of national governments and strengthening of national administrative capacity to achieve structural transformation. During the closing ceremony of the eighth African Economic Conference (AEC) in Johannesburg this week, participants underscored that politicians and technocrats have to combine efforts to accelerate the regional integration agenda. “Now is time for action,” said Prof. Mthuli Ncube, Vice-President and Chief Economist at the African Development Bank (AfDB), one of the conference partners, alongside the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Luxury brands turn attention to Africa

Africa’s quest for deeper integration has to be backed by active support of national governments and strengthening of national administrative capacity to achieve structural transformation. During the closing ceremony of the eighth African Economic Conference (AEC) in Johannesburg this week, participants underscored that politicians and technocrats have to combine efforts to accelerate the regional integration agenda. “Now is time for action,” said Prof. Mthuli Ncube, Vice-President and Chief Economist at the African Development Bank (AfDB), one of the conference partners, alongside the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Major digital hub deal to boost education in Africa

Over half a million teachers and learners in nine countries in Sub-Africa are set to experience a step change in access to digital educational resources in their schools. British council and Bharti Airtel have joined forces to maximize the learning benefits of Bharti Airtel’s wider broadband connective of 5 GB per month in a three-year deal for 127 digital hubs located in schools across nine countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. According to Peter Brown, country director, British council Uganda; “This latest partnership initiative with Bharti Airtel demonstrates our commitment to improving access to high-quality teaching and learning Africa. The British council connects teachers and learners around the world, so they can learn from each other, accessing knowledge and ultimately become global citizens.

Young ICT entrepreneurs honoured at Transform Africa summit

The Transform Africa Summit 2013, held in Kigali, Rwanda, has honoured five young ICT entrepreneurs for developing socially transforming IT solutions who were picked from more than 500 young African ICT enthusiasts. Athgo International, a firm dedicated to empowering youth in ICT around the world, was behind the awards ceremony which picked one startup from Rwanda, two from Kenya, one from Ghana and one from South Africa, reports the New Times. Hehe Ltd, a Rwandan startup developed by Clarisse Iribagiza and builds mobile apps and software solutions to aid access to information, emerged in first place and received US$7,500 for a cash price. The summit, which finished today, hosted seven heads of state and more than 1,500 delegates who came together with the agenda of pushing for a major ICT revolution across the continent.

Tech innovators delve into IP commercial exploits

The Intellectual Property Rights Act has introduced important conditions in South Africa for the commercialisation of Intellectual Property and will impact operations across a number of industries and sectors. A carefully thought-out intellectual property strategy, incorporating full protection of this resource, has a profound impact on raising capital for business. Additionally, from patented and protected IP to trade secrets that form part of the intellectual capital of a Company, there is opportunity in successfully commercialising IP. These were among the key takeaways from an Innov8 session, hosted by The Innovation Hub in Pretoria this week, focused on what constitutes a successful IP strategy and how best to commercialise this resource.

Nigerian minister to inaugurate ICT initiatives for women and girls

Omobola Johnson, Nigeria’s minister for communication technology, will inaugurate three initiatives aimed at empowering Nigerian women in ICT on Monday. Johnson was speaking at a press conference in Abuja yesterday (Wednesday) when she unveiled the SmartWoman Nigeria Initiative, 1,000 Girls in ICT Training Programme and the ICT Girls Clubs geared at educating, empowering, developing and making women and girls in Nigeria ICT savvy and self-reliant. A statement issued by Efem Akanga, special media assistant to Johnson, said: “The Smart Women Nigeria and the 1000 Girls ICT training programme will be launched on the 4th of November in Lagos, while the ICT Girls Clubs will be launched in January 2014. The Ministry is collaborating with some partners to launch the initiative.”

ITU to launch African Digital Woman Award

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) will launch a new award for African women in the digital industry to take place during African ICT Days in Cameroon. Aiming to recognise women who take the lead in the digital industry in Africa, the new award will seek to encourage more females to take on careers in ICT. Nominations are open until November 5, building up to the event on November 16 in Yaoundé. Hamadoun Touré, ITU secretary general, said: “I am delighted to serve as a patron of the new African Digital Woman of the Year award and congratulate the organisers for raising awareness among the African governments and girls themselves of the tremendous opportunities an ICT career can offer.

Web4Africa partner XYZ.COM to bring .xyz domain to Africa

eb4Africa, one of the leading web and e-commerce service providers in Africa, has collaborated with XYZ.COM LLC to be the first registrar in Africa to carry the .xyz domain extension, set to launch in 2014. The domain extension will be offered to customers of Web4Africa as a new low cost global platform alongside other popular domain extensions, as well as specialised extensions. The e-commerce service provider has worked with XYZ.COM LLC to implement designs and information about the domain extension on their website in efforts to educate customers on .xyz. Some of the new features will include Web4Africa’s first ever domain extension landing page for .xyz, a domain name watchlist and links directly from the home and domain pages.

Africa: A Solution for Mass Internet Surveillance?

9 October marks International Internet Day, the anniversary of the first time, back in 1969, that the internet was used to transmit an electronic message. On the occasion, we pose a question relevant for all RNW's readers: is there a technical solution to the problem of mass online surveillance? According to the Internet Engineering Task Force, there is. Greatly disturbed by the recent revelations of mass internet surveillance, the Internet Engineering Task Force has announced plans to ramp up online security. You may never have heard of them, but the IETF is a group composed of the creators and engineers of the internet's architecture. For the IETF, Edward Snowden's revelations were "a wake-up call," said Jari Arkko, the task force's chair. Arkko spoke at last week's UN-initiated Internet Governance Forum in Bali, Indonesia.

Africa: For GE, Africa's Infrastructural Needs Represent Business Opportunity

General Electric, a well-known American brand with longstanding engagement in Africa, is "expanding its footprint" across the African continent (see GE in Africa brochure). The company had a high-profile role in the PowerAfrica initiative launched during President Barack Obama's Africa trip in June and has announced projects in several countries beyond the three where GE has been involved for a number of years - South Africa, Angola and Nigeria.

IT salaries in South Africa: how much people really earn

MyBroadband’s IT salary survey revealed that the average IT salary (basic salary only) in South Africa is R31,738 per month. The average annual pay package of an employee in the IT sector is R425,934. The IT salary survey was completed by 3,480 IT professionals across South Africa, which included employees from small, medium, and large businesses. The survey gathered salary information related to age, experience, qualification, company size, seniority, and job area. The survey also distinguished between employees’ basic monthly salary (excluding benefits and bonuses), and the person’s full annual salary package.

ICANN: Dawn of a New Internet

Today marks an historic moment, not only for the New gTLD Program, but for the Internet as a whole. Today, the first new generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs) from ICANN's New gTLD Program were delegated Today marks an historic moment, not only for the New gTLD Program, but for the Internet as a whole. Today, the first new generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs) from ICANN’s New gTLD Program were delegated, or introduced into the Internet’s Root Zone. What does this mean? Well, it means a few things. From a big picture perspective, it signals the beginning of the largest-ever expansion of the Domain Name System (DNS); a change that promises to promote global innovation, competition and consumer choice. It means you will soon see the Internet grow from the 22 gTLDs that we have now (e.g., .COM, .BIZ, .ORG) to more than 1400 new possibilities.

Awareness of African opportunities needed

A United Kingdom (UK)-based startup accelerator believes there could be more potential in Africa, but there is currently a lack of awareness about the opportunities. Working with investors directly, the ten angel investors invest directly in the startups participating in the programme, rather than offering them collective funds. The programme covers multiple areas where support is needed, including legal, accounting, press relations (PR) and investment. Speaking to HumanIPO, Oxygen programme manager Kath Preston said: “We really empathise and we help…[in] a lot of different areas and the mentoring comes from experienced entrepreneurs.” Sorting multiple applications from 51 countries, Preston said not many were received from Africa, although they did include a few South African entrepreneurs.