Africa’s technology landscape is vast and growing. It is ripe for expansion and is increasingly becoming an attractive environment for companies (local and international) to set up shop and invest. The people on this list have taken advantage of this growth and have established themselves as pioneers in the industry. Some of them are investors, others are entrepreneurs and bloggers, but a common thread is that they are all African and are behind some of the most inspiring and innovative companies in tech.
The first group of Internet Registries and Registrars has signed new agreements with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), bringing new generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs) into the home stretch of going live online. “This is a huge accomplishment,” said Fadi Chehadé, ICANN President and CEO. “We can see the last mile before the first new TLD is activated in the Internet’s root.” Chehadé made the comments during a ceremonial signing at the opening session of ICANN’s 47th Public Meeting in Durban, South Africa. Three companies signed the Registry Agreement (RA) while five others signed the Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA), including Registrars from Senegal, Australia, France and the US. Registries operate Top-Level Domains. Registrars are the entities through which domain names are registered.
Africa is firmly on its way to having its own .africa ("dotAfrica") generic Top Level Domain (gTLD) after Internet governing body ICANN (The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names & Numbers) ruled that the ZA Central Registry (ZACR) bid for dotAfrica has passed "Initial Evaluation". The decision was communicated yesterday evening (12 July).
“Crowdfunding is the democratization of [funding] for startups,” says founder of Thundafund Patrick Schofield. People get the opportunity to directly vote with their wallets for the services or products they want. Though massively popular and hyped-up by the media in the US and Western Europe, where does it leave Africa? How has the continent adopted its philosophy to its own advantage, and is it successful?
The definition for mobile commerce (m-commerce) has expanded as technology and mobile methods have evolved, from the initial Premium Rate SMS payments for 8-bit ringtone purchases to Near Field Communications-enable smart phones where a simple swipe at the POS is all that is required to purchase your new skinny jeans. A well accepted definition describes m-commerce as the payment for goods/services with a mobile device such as phone, PDA, or other such device. This is the general definition for both digital goods (such as in-game upgrades) and physical goods (such as shopping for shoes on Amazon’s mobile app) are bought.
BlackBerry is aiding the fight to protect Southern Africa’s endangered rhino population through its support of a new Stop Rhino Poaching internship programme. BlackBerry is supporting the internship programme in the following way:
Microsoft last night announced the winners of the 11th annual Microsoft Imagine Cup, the world’s premier competition for student technologists, developers and aspiring entrepreneurs to create innovative projects and ultimately bring those ideas to market.
ICT industry experts agree that big data is a reality and that big data analytics could be used strategically to reinforce business operations across Africa, particularly in terms of customer services and marketing. Being able to analyse data and use this insight proactively could result in a competitive advantage. However, industry analysts also acknowledge the role that cloud can play in making it easier for companies to bring big data analytics on board and utilise this resource effectively – depending on the use case. ITNewsAfrica spoke with Business Intelligence Service Line Lead at Avanade South Africa, Willem van Aswegen, about Big Data and what it means for the African enterprise.
The Chronicle reports that collaboration between International Computer System (ICS), IBM and Sunnet Systems has paved the way for the introduction of iris recognition banking in Ghana. Iris recognition banking is a system that identifies a customer based on identification of the eye, which negates the need for the customer to produce other means of identification. It is reported that the technology could be deployed at ATMs, effectively allowing customers to use the service without the need for cards.
E-commerce in Africa has grown dramatically over the past year, says Robin Philip of payment services provider PayGate, and is now in a position to support the massive consumer boom that is happening across the continent. “A year ago we said e-commerce in Africa wasn’t ready for take-off yet, largely because there weren’t enough acquiring banks to make the ecosystem work,” says Philip. “The lack of business infrastructure was a real brake on development. But things have changed very fast.” Philip says established banks in many African countries now have a much better understanding of e-commerce, and an appetite for it. “There are now many more acquiring banks in key African countries than there were a year ago, especially in Nigeria, Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania, Rwanda and Namibia.”
With former South African President Nelson Mandela still in hospital for a recurring lung infection, users of Twitter’s video sharing site Vine have created clips honouring the former statesman. Some users have bypassed traditional channels of posting messages, like tweets and Facebook, to honour Mandela. Vine allows for 6-second videos to be uploaded and this has resulted in a number of imaginative and creative postings. Twitter initially launched its Vine offering for iOS devices, but a few weeks ago the company unleashed the Android version, which attracted a flurry of new users. The quicker the technology grows and more users access the service, the more creative the videos have become.
Epsilon Telecommunications, a global telecoms network exchange, has signed an agreement with Angola Cables, an Angolan telecommunications provider dedicated to international wholesale and the submarine fibre market, to deliver international connectivity across Europe. The largest shareholder in the West Africa Cable System (WACS) cable system Angola Cables will access backhaul services from WACS to London as well as long-haul services in Western Europe connecting its IP traffic to internet exchanges in the UK, the Netherlands and France.
One of the core missions of the Microsoft 4Afrika Initiative is to actively engage in Africa’s economic development to improve its global competitiveness. Over the weekend, Microsoft took new steps to deliver on that commitment. While visiting Africa, US President Barack Obama announced the Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, a new flagship program of the President’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI).
Pointing to Africa's crippling lack of electrical power, US President Barack Obama is due to announce on Sunday a $7bn initiative over five years to double access to power in sub-Saharan Africa. "We see this as the next phase in our development strategy and a real focal point in the president's agenda going forward," deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes told reporters travelling with the president. Obama is midway through a three-country tour of Africa and is due to give what aides bill as his fullest description of his vision for the US relationship with the continent on Sunday.
Future networks will cost about half of what traditional networks cost today. They will require a smaller capital investment to roll out, and will be cheaper to operate because they’ll be easier to manage, provide unified access, and require less power and cooling.
Today, most campus networks comprise around 80% wired ports serving individual users, and 20% WLAN ports supporting multiple users. However, there’s a growing swell of users across the globe pushing organisations to create ‘bring your own device’ ready environments, and usher in the enterprise mobility era that will inevitably change the structure of networks.
That’s according to the 2013 Network Barometer Report, which was released today by Dimension Data. First published in 2009, the report draws on data from Dimension Data’s proprietary Technology Lifecycle Management Assessment completed for over 1,200 organisations of all sizes from all industry sectors, and across all geographies over the past five years.
The South-West African nation of Angola has expressed a desire to become a technological and internet hub in Africa. The commercial and marketing director of Angola Cable, Artur Mendes stressed the importance of developing the country. “Making Angola a Hub is putting the country on the map of internet and telecommunications,” he said. Angola is currently connected to the world through sub-marine optical fibre which run between Europe and South Africa, but the nation wants to enjoy independence from South Africa in terms of internet and future ICT.
Whois’ days are numbered.
An “Expert Working Group” assembled by ICANN CEO Fadi Chehade has proposed that the old Whois service we all love to hate be scrapped entirely and replaced with something (possibly) better.
After several months of deliberations the EWG today issued an audacious set of preliminary recommendations that would completely overhaul the current system.
South Africa has won an international student supercomputing competition, beating world leaders China and the United States. Team South Africa “made jaws drop” at the international Student Cluster Challenge in Germany when the first-time entrant trumped all the other teams, including two from the United States and two from China.
The dotAfrica (.Africa) team has been at the AIS '13, and could not be missed because of their passion for various issues, top among them their interest not only in domain names but also the social media.
Koffi Fabrice Djossou, the dotAfrica Africa Liaison, has been keen to showcase why the organisation has been at the forefront of advancing technological use in Africa. Whether it is addressing the AFRINIC Government Working Group, or talking to delegates on social media, Mr Djossou passion is demonstrated by his interest in various issues related to domain names and their place in technological development, uptake and impact. While Mr Djossou had a team handing over various merchandise, he was busy in the sessions dealing with numerous issues that dotAfrica handles.
Nairobi-based Ushahidi, better known for its crowd-sourcing software that helps map violence, has just entered the hardware business. Sticking to their populist roots, it crowd-funded the start-up capital to produce a new type of Internet modem that’s designed by Africans, for Africans.
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