It is early morning in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital. The traffic jam along Ngong Road, one of the city’s main feeder roads, stretches for kilometres as matatus (taxis), buses and cars try to make their way into the central business district. At the top floor of Bishop Magua Centre complex, sitting just off Ngong Road, Antony Njoroge is already at work, typing away at his computer, a mug of freshly brewed coffee beside him. He is the founder of RevWeb, a local software development company. Njoroge works out of iHub, a working space that hosts developers, designers and others working with technology software. It is one of the most well-known tech hubs in Africa. In just four years since its founding, the iHub has over 13,000 members in its online and off-line community, held close to 500 events and had over 50 companies calling it home.
Africa has some of the slowest and most expensive fixed broadband operators in the world, with only four countries on the continent offering broadband at a cost lower than that of the global average, according to a study. Algeria, Morocco, Libya and Tunisia offer broadband at less than the average cost globally, while rates in South Africa, Sudan, Egypt, Mauritania, Kenya and Senegal are significantly higher. The study, published by broadband statistics and analysis firm Point Topic, documents the global average is US$75 a month, with France and Romania offering the cheapest broadband and Bolivia being the most expensive. In Africa, South Africans pay an average of US$116 a month, while the most expensive broadband on the continent, offered by Egypt, costs close to US$200.
NetMundial, the Global Multistakeholder Meeting on the Future of Internet Governance concluded recently in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The meeting’s goal was to develop internet governance principles and proposing a roadmap for the further evolution of the Internet governance ecosystem. In total, 1,480 participants from all stakeholder groups were physically present at NetMundial while, there were more than 30 hubs around the world (from 97 countries) with at least 200 daily views thus facilitating remote participation. AFRICAN CONTRIBUTIONS Our previous analysis of African stakeholders’ contributions to the initial NetMundial open submission process found that stakeholders from Africa emphasized human rights and role of governments in matters of internet governance. COMPARISON WITH THE NETMUNDIAL MULTISTAKEHOLDER STATEMENT NetMundial concluded with the approval by acclamation of a final statement on internet governance principles. The final text built on the contributions made at the initial NetMundial open submission process and inputs from the Public Consultation at the NETmundial’s website
Releasing new statistics today, the United Nations International Telecommunications Union (ITU) announced that by end 2014, there will be nearly three billion Internet users - two-thirds of them from the developing world - with mobile-broadband penetration approaching 32 per cent. "The newly released ICT [information and communications technology] figures confirm once again that information and communication technologies continue to be the key drivers of the information society," said Hamadoun I. Touré, ITU Secretary-General. Brahima Sanou, the Director of ITU's Telecommunication Development Bureau, touted this newest record as a watershed moment in the world's growing affinity for ICT.
Roll-out of content delivery networks (CDNs) by telecom operators has accelerated access to the internet for African users even though the vast majority of services are hosted outside Africa. This is according to Mark Tinka, head of engineering at Pan-African telecom enabler SEACOM, has noted in a press statement that CDNs have enabled internet users on the continent access to web resources much faster. He explained that the next phase in the development of Africa’s internet infrastructure is expected to see more content and services brought closer to end-users, which could spur on further growth. “Over the past six years, we have seen a great deal of activity in Africa’s telecom market as providers have invested in infrastructure such as carrier-neutral data centres, open peering internet exchange points, national and regional fibre links and submarine cables,” said Tinka. - See more at: http://www.itwebafrica.com/network/333-africa/232865-90-of-african-internet-content-hosted-outside-continent#sthash.zmQo8DHu.dpuf
African telecoms providers have stepped up the rollout of content delivery networks (CDNs), allowing faster access to key web resources as well as lower latencies, according to infrastructure firm SEACOM. The company said this will mark the next phase in the development of Africa’s internet infrastructure that will see more content and services brought closer to end-users. “Over the past six years, we have seen a great deal of activity in Africa’s telecom market as providers have invested in infrastructure such as carrier-neutral data centres, open peering internet exchange points, national and regional fibre links and submarine cables,” said Mark Tinka, head of engineering at SEACOM.
It’s a painfully First World problem: Splitting dinner with friends, we do the dance of the seven credit cards. No one, it seems, carries cash anymore, so we blunder through the inconvenience that comes with our dependence on plastic. Just as often, I encounter a street vendor or taxi driver who can’t handle my proffered card and am left shaking out my pockets and purse. When I returned to the United States after living in Nairobi on and off for two years, these antiquated payment ordeals were especially frustrating. As I never tire of explaining to friends, in Kenya I could pay for nearly everything with a few taps on my cellphone.
Africa is a rising global competitor in the technology industry. It was already a leader in mobile to mobile payment systems with its m-Pesa system, but now startups are being launched all over the continent, even in rural areas with little to no electricity, as more people gain access to wireless internet and smartphones. There are now more than 90 tech hubs across Africa, according to the World Bank. South Africa still has the most, but Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Senegal aren't far behind. People in the Western world are finally starting to take note, too. Data from CrunchBase showed that 2013 was the most active year for tech investments on the continent and in 2014, investments are already surging. Big whig companies like Microsoft, Google, and IBM are putting money into local startup accelerators and their own initiatives
IT News Africa, the continent’s premier source for comprehensive news coverage of ICT in Africa, has announced the line-up of high-caliber speakers who will be attending its 3rd edition of Tech Demo Africa (TDA). David Visser, Chief Information Officer of Coca-Cola Southern Africa; Chose Choeu, Managing Director of Corporate Affairs for Eskom; and Frank Rizzo, Technology Sector Lead for KPMG in Africa are just some of the speakers who will all be captivating delegates with informative presentations. Among those who will be attending, Professor Ray Kekwaletswe from Wits University; Pieter Du Toit Oosthuizen, Vice President for IT Strategy and Portfolio at AngloGold Ashanti; and Howard Fox, Executive Director for Marketing at GIBS will be speaking. TDA is the leading Enterprise Technology Demo show in Africa, and offers technology companies an opportunity to demo their solutions to a captive audience and engage with the market.
Sao Paulo — I spent last week at the NETmundial meeting - a two-day event (23-24 April) in Brazil where representatives from many nations came together to discuss the future of internet governance. On the second day of the meeting, I was keen to see the outcome document being presented by the meeting's executive committee. Inevitably this document, the NETmundial multistakeholder statement, was a compromise. The whole of the meeting had been characterised by dissent from many of the delegations, and representatives from Cuba, India and Russia strongly criticised it. Yet despite all the haranguing, it's important to remember this is the beginning of the story, not the end. The key achievement of the meeting was to set out what aspects of internet governance need to be further discussed. It seemed to me that the key ones were as follows.
Effective Measure released new statistics related to the South African online market, which showed massive growth in local website traffic. Effective Measure is the official traffic measurement partner of the IAB South Africa (formerly DMMA), and provides accurate traffic statistics for South Africa’s top websites. According to the company’s new “South African Digital – By The Numbers” research unique browsers increased 76% over the last two years.
One day, everything will be data. Voice will not exist as a separate service needing different technology. The transition in developed countries has been relatively slow. However, at the international level, large amounts of calls now move through Internet protocol and multiprotocol label switching-based networks. Every year, consumer software such as Skype and Viber are used by more of people. Growing numbers use Facebook and WhatsApp to convey the kinds of messages they used to send over SMS. The transition has been slow. The industry is still protecting its old business model, while being sucked in by new forces they can’t resist.
Akamai released its Q4 2013 State of the Internet report, which showed that South Africa’s broadband speeds and adoption are far below global standards. In fact, it is so poor that it should set the alarm bells ringing. Akamai’s State of the Internet report is based on data gathered from the company’s “Intelligent Platform”. The Akamai report provides insights into global connectivity and Internet metrics, including connection speeds, attack traffic, and broadband adoption and Internet availability. South African broadband speeds The Akamai report showed that the global average connection speed grew 5.5% to 3.8 Mbps. South Korea continued to have the highest average connection speed at 21.9 Mbps. South Africa, in comparison, had an average connection speed of 2.3Mbps. This represents a year-on-year increase of 14%.
Since its acquisition of iWayAfrica and Africa Online, pan African telecoms operator, Gondwana International Networks has focused on the development of its terrestrial and satellite network products and solutions. According to CEO, Mathew Welthagen, Africa is in desperate need of high-end, quality communication solutions that are easily accessible: "There are still too many people unable to connect and it is up to companies such as ours to develop first-world solutions that meet these needs." Welthagen says the company is still set to invest heavily in the connectivity business and has recently made the first of many solution announcements, which will have a positive impact on the communications issues faced by the African continent: "We have selected Avanti Communications to power multiple broadband and VOIP services throughout Kenya, Tanzania, parts of Uganda, Zimbabwe and South Africa."
There’s a new wave of growth on the horizon for African Internet companies and it’s being driven by an innovative worldwide phenomenon called remote peering. NAPAfrica – Africa’s fastest growing neutral internet exchange point (IXP) – is the first African exchange to offer remote peering and has access to the largest global exchanges such as AMS-IX, LINX and DE-CIX. The service has already been snapped up by the likes of SEACOM, Liquid Telecoms and New Telco. This is according to NAPAfrica’s business development manager Michele McCann. McCann describes remote peering as being the same as traditional peering (connecting two entities to share routing and cost benefits), except that it’s virtual and remote, saving even more on physical infrastructure and equipment.
If Internet use proliferates in Africa at the rate mobile phones did in the early 2000s, the continent stands to add as much as $300 billion to its economic growth by 2025, a new study by the McKinsey Global Institute has found. While most internet connections occur at home or at the workplace, a number of companies and cities have started initiatives to provide cities, towns and suburbs with free Wi-Fi access. IT News Africa has compiled a list of 10 places across Africa that have either already implemented free Wi-Fi or have free access initiaitives in the pipeline. 1. Tshwane, South Africa With Alan Knott-Craig Jnr as the CEO and founder of Project Isizwe, the project is a non-profit which aims to bring the internet to people across South Africa,
Islands Mauritius and Seychelles are edging out bigger African countries when it comes their state of information and communications technology (ICT) sectors. This is according to the World Economic Forum (WEF) Networked Readiness Index (NRI) 2014, which ranks 148 countries based on their capacity to exploit opportunities offered by the digital age. Up to 54 indicators assessed on the index range from factors such as political, regulatory, and business and innovation environments to infrastructure, affordability and skills. And according to the index, Mauritius has jumped seven places from position 55 in 2013 to 48 this year.
Akamai Technologies has released its Fourth Quarter, 2013 State of the Internet Report. Based on data gathered from the Akamai Intelligent Platform™, the report provides insight into key global statistics such as network connectivity and connection speeds, attack traffic, broadband trends and availability, and IPv6 adoption. It also includes measurements of page load times using Akamai's real user monitoring (RUM) capabilities, and provides insights on Akamai traffic activity related to Internet disruptions in Syria, Suriname, Guyana, Libya and Cuba. Data and graphics from the Fourth Quarter, 2013 State of the Internet Report can also be found on the Akamai blog and through the Akamai State of the Internet app for iPads and iPhones. Global Average and Average Peak Connection Speeds The global average connection speed continued to improve, with a quarterly increase of 5.5%, reaching 3.8 Mbps.
The Department of Communications (DoC) has published its “Second Digital Dividend Final Report and Implementation Plan” by Deloitte, which recommends that network operators should get access to 800MHz spectrum band as soon as it becomes available. The DoC commissioned the Deloitte study on the use of the 2nd Digital Dividend – the spectrum in the 700 MHz Band that will become available for alternative uses – following the analogue-to-digital television switch-over. The purpose of the study was to determine the optimum use of the 2nd Digital Dividend by estimating the social and economic benefits of using this radio spectrum either for mobile broadband or broadcasting services taking into consideration future spectrum requirements
Most technical and engineering graduates do not fit standards required by the job market, says Samsung Electronics East Africa, which has opened academies across Africa to fill the gap. In its endeavour to develop critical technical and engineering skills across Kenya, the company on Wednesday churned out 98 graduates from the Nairobi-based Samsung Electronics Engineering Academy. The class of 2013 is the second cohort to graduate from the Academy that was opened in 2012, being part of the Samsung Electronics broader goal to develop skilled electronics engineers across the continent. Speaking at the graduation ceremony held at the Kenya School of Monetary Studies in Nairobi, Samsung Electronics East and Central Africa Vice President, Mr. Robert Ngeru, said that the company had invested close to Ksh21.7 million (US$250,000) in the setting up of the academy at Nairobi Westlands area, and spends more than Ksh16 million (US$185,000) annually in taking the students through the program.
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