The man behind the counter at my hotel in the Ghanaian capital, Accra, was talking to me about my job, and why I was visiting.He looked genuinely pained. He told me he is a big fan of the BBC - in west Africa the World Service and language services have a big following - but it seemed to him that the media outside the continent often only noticed when bad things happened.It's arguably a fair point. That's not to say the positive stories don't get reported, but he can be forgiven for seeing the headlines and thinking all the world sees is war, famine and pestilence. In fact, Africa is booming, with growth of 5.6% predicted for 2013, according to the World Bank - although research suggests this has yet to trickle down to the very poorest on the continent.
There is a growing recognition of the potential of Information Communications Technology (ICT) to promote gender equality and empower women, but there is still a yawning “gender divide” in the numbers of women using technology, and pursuing technology careers, in South Africa.That’s all about to change, if Girls Invent Tomorrow has its way. A local organisation that aims to actively encourage young girls to consider technology as a career option, Girls Invent Tomorrow hosted a Girls in ICT event at the ICC in Durban to coincide with the International Day of the Girl Child.
MTN SA CEO Zunaid Bulbulia says that the Internet and digital economy are fundamentally changing the world of communications and commerce. The Internet and digital economy, which continue to grow at a rapid rate, are fundamentally changing the world of communications and commerce – but questions are being raised on whether this will translate into benefits for all.This was the challenge that South Africa’s executives and ICT industry thought-leaders grappled with at the MyBroadband 2013 Conference, gathering to deliberate on the best ways to deal with broadband challenges.
Internet will play a critical role in bridging the digital divide in Zimbabwe, according to the government, which has called for more affordable ICT solutions.Webster Shamu, the new Zimbabwe government’s minister of ICT, postal and courier services, addressed stakeholders at the Southern Africa Telecommunications Association three-day workshop at Victoria Falls yesterday (Wednesday).Attendees included executives from TelOne Zimbabwe, Zamtel Zambia, BTC Botswana, Swazi Telecom, Econet Lesotho, Tanzania Telecommunications Company, Telkom South Africa, Telecom Mauritius, Angola Telecom, Malawi Telecommunications Limited and representatives from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
Swazi Telecom has launched its internet to schools programme, providing all schools, colleges and communities in Swaziland with access to affordable ICT services, in line with the government’s vision of complete access to technology.The Swazi Times reports Swazi Telecom introduced the programme in response to the demand created by the introduction of ICT in the schools’ curriculum, meaning many high schools in the country had computer labs but no internet connectivity.
Telkom demonstrated the highest fixed-line and mobile broadband speeds in South Africa at a conference in Johannesburg yesterday.The part state-owned operator was displaying its latest technology at the MyBroadband Conference, where a 100Mbps GPON fixed line speed was demonstrated as well as 200Mbps over a LTE Advanced Carrier Aggregation air interface.As part of the trial, different types of content including streaming, pay-per-view and trickle-feed are being tested with providers such as iTunes, YouTube, AppleTV and DStv Catchup.
Millions of people around the world are being left behind, unable to get the information they need to better their lives because they cannot afford internet access.Now that is about to change. The newly launched Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) aims to drive down the cost of broadband Internet access in developing countrie
In a world that is connecting every day at a faster pace than ever, Philip Pieterse head of the ethical hacking division in South Africa for Spiderlabs says that South Africa has a lack of skills in the computer security sector – which could have dire consequences for businesses locally. “There is definitely a shortage around penetrating skill. I can think of a handful of companies that actually do it,” Pieterse told News24. He added that cyber-criminals have become savvier towards security protocols, and that has lead them to focusing their attacks on corporate entities, instead of individuals – who have less information to lose.It has become easier for professional hackers and cyber-criminals to launch malware programs with the specific purpose of infiltration a company’s network, and Pieterse said companies can prevent this by following best practice rules.
The announcement today of the formation of the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) is the latest confirmation that the world has finally realised the crucial importance of connectivity in developing nations. The initiative, launched by public and private sector players, calls for open, competitive and innovative broadband markets, with the need to bring down costs stressed as vital. This follows the launch of internet.org, championed primarily by Facebook, which aims to provide internet access to five billion people. Facebook says that an increase in internet adoption of less than 9 per cent per year is concerning, and thus is looking to tackle the problem, mainly by focusing on bringing down data costs.
Patented research conducted in South Africa could significantly improve the battery life of future mobile devices based on OFDM technology. Research conducted at the University of Pretoria (UP) could double the battery life of future devices that use the technology underpinning Long Term Evolution (LTE) and the broadcast standard adopted by South Africa. This is according to Sunil Maharaj, a professor at UP and head of its department of electrical, electronic & computer engineering, and the Sentech Chair in Broadband Wireless Multimedia Communications.
The African tech scene is changing. Some of that change is positive, whilst some of it is negative. However, this is all part of how an ecosystem matures, so it’s good when you look at the bigger picture. Here are some of the biggest trends I’ve noticed over the past year or so.
The Digital Media and Marketing Association (DMMA) published its August 2013 Internet Statistics for South Africa, which showed a 60% increase in unique monthly browsers in the country. According to the statistics, which are provided by the DMMA’s traffic measurement partner Effective Measure, South Africa’s top websites attracted 23 million unique browsers last month. The DMMA/Effective Measure statistics further revealed that South African’s rising usage of internet in the home depicts an emerging digital elite, who are educated, professional, and ready to spend online.
The internet is full of advice on how startups should cut costs. Much of them start with ‘start from home’ and lead to ‘cut down on the fancy furniture’ and ‘go green’. Some go as far as suggesting ‘keep manpower thin’. In an era of global warming, ‘go green’ is a solution not only for startups but for all small enterprises and large conglomerates too, an activity that cuts across industries – very important to earn carbon credits. Start from home, may sound like an ideal situation, yet it requires a lot of disciplining and deprives employees and often clients of a formal work and discussion environment. A garage instead could be a better solution. Yes, cutting down on fancy furniture, and browsing through deals sites for furniture or travel tickets may not be such a bad idea.
Bharti Airtel, India’s telecommunications operator is contributing significantly towards accelerating the growth of Internet and mobile data services across the continent with the launch of its Africa Connect Network. The project is aimed at enhancing Africa’s connectivity with the rest of the world and add to the data carriage capacity in the Continent. Africa Connect is expected to contribute to growth of internet and data services in the Continent, which is home to some of fastest growing telecom markets in the world. Africa Connect has an integrated fiber and satellite network with 42 Points of Presence (PoP) spread across 17 African countries.
South Africa’s Golden Lions Rugby Union in partnership with internet provider WirelessG (G-Connect) announced today that in preparation for this weekend’s rugby test between the South African Springboks and New Zealand, Ellis Park Stadium has become the first public Wi-Fi enabled stadium hotspot in South Africa.As part of its launch, G-Connect will sponsor free Wi-Fi connectivity to all main-stand spectators for this coming Saturday’s rugby Test.
Today ICANN published the final Rights Protection Mechanism (RPM) Requirements for new gTLD registries, putting in place a key part of the New gTLD Program that enables trademark holders to protect their rights during the Domain Name System expansion. A set of trademark protections were developed by the ICANN community for incorporation into the New gTLD Program and include both trademark claims and sunrise services, which are required for all new gTLDs. These final RPM Requirements are part of all Registry Agreements and include practical details of implementing sunrise services and claims services processes.
The South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI) will discuss the future of South Africa’s ICT policy for the promotion of African business at its annual convention. Believing ICT policy to be key in the future of the industry, skills development is a viewed a primary point of discussion. “The ICT sector is at the cutting edge of policy issues since the inherent innovation of the sector constantly predates policy responses,” SACCI said in a statement. Creative business models and incentives to reward good ideas are needed to improve the South African ICT landscape in creating the right work environment for industry members to excel.
Zamir Telecom today announced the expansion of its wholesale VoIP network into Africa in response to increasing demand from its customers. Zamir has signed its first partner, Exchange Telecom Ltd, one of Nigeria’s six interconnect exchange carriers, and opened its first permanent office in Africa in Nairobi.For nine years, Zamir has been providing wholesale VoIP services to Asia for a variety of UK and international service providers including BTCL, MTN, Tata and Deutsche Telekom. Zamir also provides white-label VoIP managed services that enable smaller telecom providers to minimise their start-up costs. This includes enabling resellers and channel partners to offer multiple voice services using Zamir’s infrastructure.
The internet is a hub where industry, technology, education, business, art and entertainment converge. It’s used as everything from a digital library to a means of communicating with friends and loved ones. It is the dominant media of our time, and integrates elements of traditional broadcast media, like television and radio, with millions of daily users downloading podcasts and streaming videos on sites like Youtube. Most traditional print media outlets, looking to cut production costs and potentially reach a larger global audience, have also embraced digital, web-based extensions of their publications. The keyword is connectivity, and the people of the world who lack access to the internet are, in many ways, being left out of the loop.
Consumer spending on the internet will increase in African countries due to the building of network capacity, according to a PwC report. South Africa’s internet-based consumer spending is estimated to reach ZAR59.6 billion (US$5.87 billion) by 2017, indicating a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 24.7 per cent from the ZAR19.8 billion (US$1.95 billion) banked in 2012. Investments in cellular coverage causes the South African internet market to be dominated by the mobile segment. The same is true for Nigeria, where wider cellular coverage and more competitive prices leads the mobile internet market.
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