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.
A famous quote by, author and New York Times columnist, Thomas L. Friedman goes “every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning a lion wakes up. It knows it must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death. It doesn’t matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle. When the sun comes up, you better start running.” By this he means that entrepreneurs should be adaptable to whatever environment. We have seen startups adapt successfully in tough circumstances in Africa– yes, but governments could also help shape the way entrepreneurs can thrive and not merely survive. In this article we highlight five crucial areas on which African governments should focus in order to improve their startup ecosystems.
Samsung Africa reiterated its commitment to battling the education challenges the continent faces by showcasing several solutions at the eLearning Africa 2013 conference. The tech giant also pressed organisations across Africa to reassess the ways in which they can contribute to providing education and skills development to the youth of the continent.
It’s not just a gimmick you often see on Kickstarter. 3D printing technologies have the ability to provide local communities with the access to facilities they need to produce and market their own products. It could enable the much-needed manufacturing industry to be personalised as well as democratised. What entrepreneurial opportunities could this “over-hyped gimmick” create for developing countries? Imagine a doctor from the DRC who can make a prosthesis with materials found in his backyard. What if an engineer could design the newest African tablet or smartphone with metals found at a neighbouring mine? From shoes to toilets , from guns to houses, or even vuvuzelas — they could all be designed, printed and sold by Africans to Africans and markets beyond.
The City of Johannesburg is edging closer to be the first in the country to have its own Top Level Domain name. The city's application was submitted by the ZA Domain Name Authority (Zadna) which took over control of second level domains such as ac.za, co.za, gov.za and org.za in 2002. Cape Town and Durban were also submitted, but Johannesburg drew 566 in order of priority for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann) which governs the global domain market.
Today MTN SA announced that it has received the prestigious Global Telecoms Business (GTB) award for wireless network infrastructure innovation. The award was presented at a ceremony in London on 04 June 2013 for the successful implementation of cVidya’s MoneyMap Revenue Assurance solution, which has yielded a substantial return on investment since it was deployed in 2010. cVidya is a leading provider of revenue analytics solutions for communications and digital service providers.
Executive leadership of Ariba, a SAP company, today urged decision makers in business to take action and join the ‘business network’ in order to leverage off inter-enterprise collaborative solutions and take their operations to the next level of engagement. Ariba combines cloud-based applications with an established web-based trading community to facilitate business-to-business between all stakeholders with a vested interest in the commercial procurement process.
Coinciding with Co-CEO Jim Hagemann Snabe’s visit to Johannesburg, SAP AG today announced the launch of a formal skills development program in SAP Africa. The “Skills for Africa” program is aimed at developing information and communications technology (ICT) skills in Africa as part of SAP’s global mission to help the world run better and improve people’s lives. SAP’s social investment strategy is focused on promoting education and entrepreneurship. With growth and the scarcity of skills on the African continent top of mind, this program — a first of its kind in the industry in Africa — will offer selected students across the continent the opportunity to develop world-class IT and business skills, effectively giving them an opportunity to play a role in contributing toward Africa’s future economic growth and infrastructure development.
BlackBerry yesterday announced the opening of its third BlackBerry apps lab in South Africa, to be based at the JoziHub mobile and ICT co-creation hub in Milpark, Johannesburg. As a platform for innovation and entrepreneurship for aspiring students and developers, JoziHub is an ideal site for the new BlackBerry apps lab. The opening of the new lab follows the opening of the BlackBerry apps labs in Cape Town at the Bandwidth Barn in November 2012 and at the University of Pretoria (UP) in May 2012, which are now well established and successful institutions.
Based on information being supplied to media, Africa’s ICT industry is growing – boosted by the advent of mobile product and services, but sustaining this momentum is dependent on the identification and implementation of the right investment in ICT, skills and innovation, as well as connectivity. According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Information Technology Report 2013, South Africa ranks 70th out of 144 economies surveyed.
Google has announced its first ever renewable energies investment in Africa, putting $12m (103 million Rand) in the Jasper Power Project, a 96 megawatt solar photovoltaic plant in South Africa. Once it’s complete, the Jasper Power Project will be among the largest solar installations in Africa, and it could generate enough electricity to power 30,000 South African homes. South Africa’s strong resources and supportive policies for renewable energy make it an attractive place to invest — which is why it had the highest growth in clean energy investment in the world last year.
Samsung Africa has urged organisations across Africa to consider the unique ways in which they can help provide quality education and skills development to the youth. At the eLearning Africa 2013 conference, the company also reaffirmed its commitment to continue to develop new solutions to meet the education challenges the continent faces, and showcased several of the solutions it has developed to date, including the Samsung Smart School solution, Samsung Solar Powered Internet School, and Samsung Solar Power Generator.
HP kicked off the South African leg of its worldwide Discover Performance Tour 2013 yesterday in Midrand, Gauteng, and used the opportunity to engage with local customers, partners and clients about international best practices and how these can be applied in the domestic market. The global software company has announced its intention to delve deeper into SaaS and managed services across the continent, as well as address growing requirements for cloud services and enterprise software within developing markets. HP views Africa as a high growth market.
ICANN’s decision to press ahead with the “Trademark+50″ trademark protection mechanism over the objections of much of the community may not be the end of the controversy. Some in the Generic Names Supporting Organization are even complaining that ICANN’s rejection of a recent challenge to the proposal may “fundamentally alter the multi-stakeholder model”. Trademark+50 is the recently devised adjunct to the suite of rights protection mechanisms created specially for the new gTLD program.
A new concept that seeks to give cybercafés a new look while providing users with a novel experience is being experimented thanks to Google’s support in Senegal. Google has today sponsored a cybercafé to replace desktops with tablets. This experiment, the first of its kind, is with the Equinox cybercafé, a typical cybercafé located in Dakar’s vibrant Medina neighbourhood.
Durban is on the radar of the California-based global cyberspace authority, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers |(I-CANN). It is set to become the first South African city to get its own top-level internet domain from I-CANN. Durban is also set to host the authority’s first forum in the country. Dubbed the 47th I-CANN Public Meeting, the event takes place at Durban’s International Convention Centre between 14-18 July, following the Africa Domain Name System (DNS) Forum on July 12-13.
The events bring together experts and policy makers in the global internet domain industry.
I-CANN is a co-host of the Africa forum with tech foundation Internet Society and AfTLD.
The ZA Domain Name Authority (Zadna), custodians of “dot-co-dot-za”, announced last week that their application for a top-level domain (TLD) for Durban had passed the initial evaluation phase.
“I-CANN could approve the ‘dot-durban’ domain by September this year. This means that Durban websites could have the suffix ‘dot-durban’ instead of ‘dot-co-dot-za’… This makes it likely that we will see URLs ending with ‘dot-durban’ (.durban) such as ‘tourism.durban’ and ‘police.durban’ by year end,” said the authority’s chairman, Hasmukh Gajjar.
If the future of computing lies in mobile and the fastest growth in mobile uptake will come from poor countries, Africa is where much of the action will be. Kenya, a stable country with an impressive history of investment in communications technology, has emerged as a leader in the region. This month, Nairobi became the third African city after Johannesburg and Casablanca, and the 41st globally, to become home to an IBM “innovation center,” a co-working space with high-end equipment and visiting experts. Last week, GSMA, a mobile operators’ association and standards-setting body, picked Nairobi for its first African office. They add to the growing list of large tech companies establishing a base in the city. Google’s east African headquarters can be found in Nairobi, as can Microsoft’s. IBM has operated a research center in the city since August.
The Trans-Atlantic Free Trade Agreement, is up for a vote in the European Parliament this Wednesday, May 22. TAFTA is a free trade area proposal between the European Union and the United States. It aims to open up trade between the US's NAFTA bloc and the EU bloc (EFTA), boosting overall trade by up to 50 percent. US and EU leaders claim that the trade agreement is vital to lift their respective economic zones out of recession. However, like ACTA, SOPA and PIPA before it, the negotiations, which were held in secret, resulted in more copyright and patent trade regulation—without public stakeholder input. In other words, US and EU citizens can neither see the text of nor vote on TAFTA. Many of the trade agreement's provisions apparently derive from ACTA, Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, which was voted down last year in the EUP. Read more: http://motherboard.vice.com/blog/how-a-free-trade-agreement-aims-to-regulate-the-internet#ixzz2U72Lu1N0 Follow us: @motherboard on Twitter | motherboardtv on Facebook
International Data Gateway Licenses were Tuesday issued to Africell, Comium, Gamcel, Gamtel, Qcell, Unique Solutions, and Netpage by the minister of Information and Communication Infrastructure in accordance with Section 7(2) of the Information and Communication Act, CAP 74.03 Laws of The Gambia, 2009. The ceremony, which was held at the Ministry of Information and Communication Infrastructure conference hall in Kanifing, also witnessed the award of licenses to Internet Services Providers (ISP), Unique Solutions and Netpage.
New venture Librii is seeking to set up self-sustaining libraries with internet access in poor and isolated communities. A decade ago, Brewster Kahle, philanthropist and founder of the Internet Archive, created the first digital bookmobile: a complete printing press in the back of a car. With a power source, satellite internet connection, printer and binder, the vehicle and its descendants subsequently printed thousands of public-domain books where they were needed most, such as in rural areas without internet connection, including schools and refugee camps across Africa.
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