Microsoft has today announced strategic cooperation agreements with three incubator hubs across Africa in a bid to enable startups, innovator and developer communities acquire skills to build their enterprises.The agreements with CcHUB in Nigeria, DTBi in Tanzania and AfriLabs have been signed under the Microsoft 4Afrika initiative.According to Microsoft the cooperation will help the hubs increase access to software, skills development opportunities and access to capital investment.Speaking at DEMO Africa 2013 vice chair of the 4Afrika Advisory Council and managing director of Microsoft South Africa Mteto Nyati said the programme will continue to support African youth exploit boundless potential in the continent.
The 2013 Times Sowetan Retail Awards Survey results were released this week, revealing that MTN and Hi-Fi Corp are the top ‘Telecoms and Electronic, Computer and Gadget’ retailers in South Africa.The survey was conducted by independent research agency TNS, and shows which retail outlets are succeeding as front-runners in securing spend from South African consumers
Rwanda will host the Transform Africa 2013 Summit from the 28 to 31 October 2013. This pan African ICT and ICT for development event bring together more than one thousand participants from Africa and beyond representing various sectors including governments, business and the youth to discuss the future of broadband in Africa.The Minister of Youth and ICT, Jean Philbert Nsengimana said that the summit is a prime opportunity for leaders in both public and private sectors to explore ways that next generation technology can drive social and economic transformation across the African continent.
Entrepreneurs behind technology startups may be champing at the bit to get going, but before they bolt into Africa’s wide open technology market, they ought to consider whether they have what it takes to even compete.At Intel Capital’s annual CEO Summit, being held this week in San Diego, California, there has beenintensive discussion around startups and exposure to funding opportunities, catching the attention of venture capitals and the like.Intel’s leadership confirmed that when considering candidate companies for investment, they look for companies that disrupt something in the market or create something truly unique.
Today StartupBus Africa announced that it will be home to 15 international and 15 African entrepreneurs who have been chosen out of a total of 200 applicants (from 23 countries), and will be accompanied by 10 mentors while on the trip. After visiting tech hubs across Southern Africa, the entrepreneurs will present their final pitch in front of Richard Branson via a Google Hangout.The trip will take the startups from Harare to Cape Town stopping off at various popular hubs from 17 to 21 November. StartupBus was founded in 2005 and this is its first time in Africa.StartupBus Africa’s overall focus will be on the healthcare, mobile and energy sectors which are all regarded as showing large growth potential.
DEMO Africa is one of the continent’s biggest startup events, so it tends to attract the odd news announcement from big players and investors. The latest will see Microsoft announcing a series of partnerships with a number of African incubators.According to the tech giant, it has inked strategic cooperation agreements with three incubator organisations across the continent, namely:CcHub in Nigeria, DTBi in Tanzania and AfriLabs — the pan-African hub network.It adds that these agreements, which have been signed under the 4Afrika Initiative, are designed to further its commitment to accelerating SME growth and local innovation
The State Information Technology Agency (SITA) will be hosting the 8th annual GovTech technology conference at the International Convention Centre in Cape Town from 20 to 23 October. GovTech is South Africa’s premier forum for showcasing, evaluating and exploring ICT innovations for application in the public sector, and is a platform for collaboration, capacity building and information sharing between government and the ICT sector.
October 24, 2013 the group of applicants for geographic top level domains (GeoTLDs) will convene in Moscow for a meeting. The event will be attended by representatives of organizations implementing totally more than 30 TLDs for the cities and regions of the world as part of New gTLD program.
The Burkina Faso-hosted African Forum on Best Practices in ICT has issued a declaration in support of the dotAfrica initiative, stating its benefit to the African community.Global attendees at the conference held last week released the Ougadougou Declaration under the patronage of Blasie Compaore, president of Burkina Faso.The document expresses support towards the establishment of a generic top-level domain (gTLD) for Africa – dotAfrica – under the supervision of the African Union Commission’s choice of the ZA Central Registry (ZACR).HumanIPO reported in August on the release of a reserved names list, with africa.com one of the most popular domains.
The African Union (AU) and the Independent Communication Authority of South Africa (ICASA) have called for harmonised telecoms regulations across the continent to further strengthen the growth and development of the continent and the ICT sector. AU Programme Coordinator Alice Koech and ICASA’s General Manager, Consumer Affairs, Phosa Mashangoane, posited that member countries of the AU should stop seeing one another as competitors but rather cooperate, collaborate and ensure that solutions are found to the common problems besetting the sector on the continent.
ITNewsAfrica spoke to Marcin Hejka, Intel’s EMEA Managing Director, about upcoming trends in technology, investing in Africa and how Africa compares to the rest of the world in terms of risk. Investment often involves a series of risks that any company needs to take in order to drive a business forward and in global terms, Hejka acknowledged that, even today, it is as risky as ever. “Investing in any technology is risky and that is why I have the most boring and exciting job. We don’t invest in countries, but we invest in where the talent and innovations are,” he said.
The African Forum on Best Practices in ICT, a pan-African conference hosted by the Government of Burkina Faso and supported by the International Telecommunications Union, has issued a declaration in support of the dotAfrica initiative.The Ouagadougou Declaration expresses its support for the creation of a generic top-level (gTLD) domain for Africa (dotAfrica or .Africa) and the African Union Commission's choice of the ZA Central Registry (ZACR) to oversee its launch and management.The Declaration makes it clear that the dotAfrica domain has the potential to benefit the African Internet community and calls on all members of the African Union to support it.
The State Information Technology Agency (SITA) will be hosting the 8th annual GovTech technology conference at the International Convention Centre in Cape Town from 20 to 23 October. GovTech is South Africa’s premier forum for showcasing, evaluating and exploring ICT innovations for application in the public sector, and is a platform for collaboration, capacity building and information sharing between government and the ICT sector.The theme of this year’s conference, Innovation: Technology for 21st Century Government, presents SITA with the opportunity to showcase some of its own innovations and to learn from the innovations of others. Various sessions will explore the many ways in which emerging technologies like cloud computing, mobile devices and the social media can be used to improve service delivery across all spheres of government.
Nigeria’s NCC this week assembled telecoms regulators from across Africa, tasking them with the need put subscribers at the heart of regulations.Following the success it recorded in hosting the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO) Forum in Abuja, last week, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) this week assembled telecoms regulators from across the African continent, tasking them with the need put subscribers at the heart of regulations.The Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of the NCC, Dr Eugene Juwah, said though the potential for growth in telecoms sector on the continent is huge, the growth and the shift of emphasis from licensing to other obligations like consumer protection have increased both the scope and complexity of regulating telecommunications.
South Africa’s Internet Service Providers’ Association (ISPA) has raised ZAR150,000 (US$15,209) for IT training, planning on equipping an additional 50 educators. Started in 2001, the programme facilitates computer and internet literacy sessions for school teachers in rural schools to benefit their teaching and enrich the community. Funds were raised at a recent gala dinner, following the iWeek 2013. HumanIPO reported last month on ISPA’s Teacher of the Year Award recipient.
Lack of access to capital is stifling techpreneurs across Africa, with startups hindered by funding problems and bureaucracy, according to Nigerian finance planning platform Save & Buy. Speaking to HumanIPO, Hugo Obi, co-founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of Save & Buy, said innovation is rife in Africa and that people across the continent are actively searching for tech solutions. However, he said this entrepreneurial activity is being held back by lack of investors and onerous bureaucratic requirements.
Africans should focus on developing rather than importing solutions for local challenges, according to the African Innovation Foundation (AIF).Working through networks and organisations across the continent, the African Innovation Foundation supports and promotes African innovatios through its annual African Innovation Prize competition.The contest has received 1,350 applications from 49 countries, including Madagascar and the Reunion Islands.Speaking to HumanIPO, Pauline Mujawamariya, programme director at African Innovation Prize, said: “Africans, for Africa, that is our motto.”
The 2013 Enterprise Mobility Africa (EMA) Summit will be taking place on the 25th and 26th of November in Johannesburg. The summit’s agenda will explore the impact of mobility solutions across a range of industries, as well as the opportunities, and downfalls, they may create. The two-day event will see thought leaders from the IT and mobility sectors coming together to address industry challenges such as big data and the mobile platform, and mobility as an enabler for enterprises to become more networked.
South Africa is one of the top five countries in the world in terms of volumes of phishing attacks and resultant financial losses, with Trojan attacks becoming more sophisticated and advanced. Moran Adrian, cyber solutions project manager at RSA, the security division of cloud computing firm EMC, said cybercriminals are increasingly moving malware to mobile platforms.South Africa is fifth in terms of attack volumes and financial losses, behind the United Kingdom (UK), United States (US), Canada and India. Adrian said the number of Trojan attacks is increasing, in spite of the decreasing number of commercial malware offerings in underground forums.“Account takeover attacks are also on the rise; financial losses from these attacks are increasing at about 10 per cent to 20 per cent per year” said Adrian.
Business leaders and industry analysts from Africa’s ICT sector agree that while there is progress being made to address disproportion (for example the amount of women in the technology market, sufficent representation at leadership level and in terms of remuneration), stakeholders must do a great deal more to achieve equal representation in the market. Awareness and the lack of role models within the sector remain challenges. At the 3rd Annual Wired Women Conference, entitled Leadership & Innovation in the Digital Economy, hosted by Qualitylife in Johannesburg on 15 October, speakers raised several issues related to innovation and leadership, such as African women and the youth taking on the role as ‘agents of change’ through technology and innovation, creating a culture of innovation, technology being used to improve customer experience and the relevance of social media to leadership.
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