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Internet Availability Crucial in Rural Africa

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.

Internet spending to increase in Africa

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.

Africa – preparing for the next wave in telecoms growth

Africa can no longer be considered the Dark Continent. Given the rate at which mobile connectivity is growing, it seems only natural that the way business is done will change. But how will Telco’s embrace this change and are they even ready for it? Deloitte has recently completed an in-depth analysis of the market, its trends, and the drivers of it. “We are convinced that there will be consolidation in the telecommunications sector and inevitably more inbound investment as the market opens up and the economic returns improve,” they said. Indigenous companies, foreign investors, and global players have all made significant investment into the continent or certainly parts of it.

PayFast to expand in Africa

South African payment platform PayFast is exploring its options for launching in other African countries.HumanIPO reported earlier this month on Jonathan Smit, managing director at PayFast, speaking on credit card fraud in South Africa at the eCommerce Conference held in Sandton.Whereas in South Africa 80 to 85 per cent of the adult population is banked, translating to around 30 million people, a drastically reduced banked population appears on the rest of the continent.

The state of broadband in South Africa

The Broadband Commission, an international body set up by the ITU and UNESCO, released its “The State of Broadband 2013” report, showing that South Africa’s broadband performance is poor. The report showed that South Africa’s fixed broadband penetration rate and Internet penetration rate were poor when compared to other nations.

Highest peak broadband speeds in South Africa

MyBroadband revamped its speed test server in August, offering more speed test server locations and moving the platform to Teraco’s vendor neutral data centres (MyBroadband Speed Test here).

MyBroadband’s speed test server is a popular way for people to test their broadband performance, with tens of thousands of monthly speed tests.Since MyBroadband moved its platform to Teraco, more than 100,000 broadband speed tests were performed using these servers.These speed tests provide a good overview of the performance of different broadband services in South Africa.

Rwanda to host Transform Africa ICT conference

Rwanda will host local and international participants for the Transform Africa conference, discussing how Africans can use broadband to transform communities, governments and the private sector Additionally, stakeholders will tackle the progress of the resolution set at the Connect Africa conference held in the same country in 2007. “Transform Africa is open to participants from around the world and is expected to attract over 1000 local, regional and international governments, innovators, companies, thought leaders and academia,” read Transform Africa’s invitation on the International Telecommunication Union website.

Nine More new gTLDs,including .KIWI,get contracts

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has recently signed nine more new gTLD contracts . Eight of the nine contracts were Donuts' applications : .futbol, .kitchen, .directory, .diamonds, .tips, .today, .enterprises, and .photography. .Kiwi will be run by Dot Kiwi Ltd . ICANN has now signed contracts covering 45 new gTLD applications .

ICANN : Fellowship Application Round Opens for ICANN 49 in Singapore

The Fellowship Program has demonstrated success in its mission to build capacity in the ICANN multistakeholder environment through focused interactive engagement between newcomers to ICANN and community members The program seeks to identify members of the Internet community who either have not previously been able to participate in ICANN processes or constituent organizations, or those who require further exposure to the Internet community and its work but cannot travel and attend a meeting without financial support. This outreach program seeks participants from developing regions and countries of the world, in order to help create a broader base of knowledgeable constituents who will become the new voice of experience in their regions and beyond. Applications to become an ICANN Fellow are assessed for each meeting by an independent selection committee. Priority is given to applicants who: meet minimum program requirements; are current residents of developing and least developed nations; and are interested in participating in the ICANN multistakeholder process and its supporting organizations, advisory committees or stakeholder groups. An effort will be made to include participants from the region in which the ICANN meeting is being held.

Data Gap Threatens Global Fight to End Extreme Poverty By 2030

A new report argues that extreme poverty can be ended by 2030. However, counting the poor and tracking resources available to get to zero poverty need to significantly improve for this to happen. Investments to End Poverty reaffirms the critical role of international aid in tackling extreme poverty, but warns that it must be better targeted and better coordinated with other financial flows for it to be most effective. The report by Development Initiatives, a leading independent organisation that provides research and analysis on poverty, maps the complex landscape of resource flows between more than 50 countries, including foreign direct investment (FDI), private giving and south-south cooperation. Judith Randel, Executive Director of Development Initiatives, says: "This report comes at a crucial time, as world leaders are meeting to discuss the post-2015 development goals. /Investments to End Poverty/ arms them with the independent and reliable data they need to make informed decisions about where to target resources to end poverty".

Buenos Aires/Nairobi — Argentina has agreed to extend its collaboration on agricultural technology transfer with nine Sub-Saharan African countries in areas of special interest for each.

NameJet.com, the leading aftermarket domain auction company, has partnered with Daniel Negari and the .xyz Registry to bring the new gTLD (generic Top Level Domain) .xyz to the public. Consisting of the last three letters of the Latin alphabet, the .xyz TLD is as easy to remember and as generic as any new gTLD out there. Owner and operator Daniel Negari believes that this new gTLD has the potential to one day surpass .COM as the most recognizable top level domain. Daniel also owns XYZ.COM which gives him a distinct marketing advantage when selling the new .xyz domains. ".xyz is a low-cost, high-volume domain extension that is neutral, memorable and truly for everyone. .xyz gives users the most amount of flexibility out of any domain extension because it has no built-in meaning or connotation like every other option out there,” said Daniel Negari, in a recent interview with DNJournal. “This gives people the freedom to build a platform to express themselves, share their knowledge, and innovate without being limited by a label. Just as important, it carries with it instant familiarity.”

Argentina Extends Its Tech Transfer Ties With Africa

Buenos Aires/Nairobi — Argentina has agreed to extend its collaboration on agricultural technology transfer with nine Sub-Saharan African countries in areas of special interest for each. Nine separate deals were signed during the second meeting of Sub-Saharan and Argentinean Agriculture Ministers in Argentina last month (20-23 August). Representatives of Cameroon, Cape Verde, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Senegal, Sudan and Zambia signed the agreements. Argentina's government "had been working with these countries on cooperation and technological transfer as part of its policy to seek new markets for Argentine products", the ministry spokesperson tells SciDev.Net.

Social media is more important in South Africa – Interactive Intelligence

Gartner’s annual symposium is currently underway in Cape Town, South Africa, and while the focus has been on trends shaping the future for online businesses and the changing role of the CEO, Interactive Intelligence’s Africa head of Sales and Business Development Deon Scheepers spoke to IT News Africa about the changing world on contact centres and taking operations online.“There is a gap between consumers and the corporate environment,” said Scheepers, referring to the fact that having the right systems in place will better the customer experience when contacting a company. “What are their biggest pains? It’s being transferred to other systems and many people before they get the right answer. It’s companies that have no knowledge of backend systems to get the information across, and it’s not understanding the agency. Those are the big three problems facing businesses today – and technology isn’t the issue here,” Scheepers said.

Nominate Forbes Africa Person of the Year

Forbes Africa, an international business publication localised for the African executive, has invited its readers and social media audience to help narrow down a shortlist for the 2013 Person of the Year, due to take place in Nairobi, Kenya at the end of November this year. Forbes Africa says the Person of the Year Awards has, since its inception two years ago, attracted the highest calibre of nominees from across the continent. The awards celebrate ‘the individual who, for better or worse, has had the most influence on events of the year gone by’ and Forbes Africa has welcomed the participation of the public in what is fast becoming one of the most momentous and anticipated annual events in Africa.

Nigeria is IBM’s hub for Africa, says CEO

Virginia Ginny Rometty, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of IBM, has described Nigeria as IBM’s hub for Africa, the reason the company is launching two software incubation centres in the country. Rometty was speaking in Abuja while on a courtesy visit to Omobola Johnson, Nigeria’s communication technology minister. According to Rometty, the software incubation centres would be set up in Lagos and Calabar as a means of developing Nigeria’s human capital. She described the centres as a demonstration of IBM’s commitment to Africa, especially Nigeria. “I have actually selected Africa and Nigeria especially to make our focal point for growth in the next decade and we have invested both in people, skills and some of our most precious resources such as innovation and research centres to be on this continent,” Rometty said

14 Ecowas ICT Ministers to Meet in Banjul

Fourteen ministers in charge of Information and Communication and Technology (ICT) from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) are expected to meet in Banjul from the 23-27 September, 2013, a press release from the Ministry of The Gambia's Information and Communication Infrastructure has disclosed. The meeting that is in line with the vision of ECOWAS to be at the forefront of supporting member state's ICT goals and aspirations, according to the release, will be also attended by over 80 international experts. The Banjul meeting, it added, will be preceded by experts' forum. But according to the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Information and Communication Infrastructure, this meeting showcases that the dream to effectively bridge the ICT divide in our sub-region, especially within the ECOWAS member states, is manifesting itself.

Top tech companies to work for in South Africa

Universum published its first South African ‘Companies of the Future’ report, revealing that Google, Microsoft, and Telkom are the most sought after tech companies to work for among local students. The report, which is based on the responses from 16,900 students and 9,100 professionals who were surveyed, showed that Eskom, Sasol, and Transnet are the top ranked companies to work for among engineering students. When looking at the rankings from MBA students and professionals, Sasol, Eskom, and BHP Billiton were the most sought after employers.

African governments fear ICT policy creation – dotAfrica

Development in the digital landscape is a fearsome experience to most African governments, posing the opportunity for business involvement and registrar incubation, stakeholders at the Internet Service Providers’ Association (ISPA) iWeek conference said yesterday. Alice Munyua, in charge of government relations and policy at dotAfrica, spoke yesterday as part of a panel discussion on building a registrar business in Africa, saying there is some fear amongst African government officials on the topic. “There is a little bit of fear about the policy frameworks and regulatory frameworks, but also at the same time protecting [the] public,” Munyua said. She pointed to the need to develop a conducive environment to enable businesses for the selling of domains.

Unleashing ICT potential in SA requires removal of constraints

South African opposition party the Democratic Alliance (DA) has spoken out on the need for ICT improvements for economic progress in South Africa, with the removal of barriers crucial. Marius Redelinghuys, director of communications and research for the DA’s Gauteng Provincial Legislature, told the Internet Service Providers’ Association (ISPA) iWeek conference in Johannesburg developing ICT was “crucial in addressing societal development challenges”. The potential of ICT to connect people with jobs and the government’s role are crucial points of development in reaching potential, with barriers such as infrastructure, quality and speed of ICT needing to be addressed.

Cybercrime to hit economies in Africa if unchecked

Increasing cases of cyber fraud, especially against financial institutions, have the ability to hurt African economies if unchecked, according to Kenya’s ICT minister Fred Matiangi. Matiangi told the ongoing Africa Telecommunications Union conference in Nairobi cyber security was a global issue emerging as a threat in some parts of Africa. “And the effects can be felt and are going to be felt as soon as our economies are going to be affected by this,” Matiangi said.