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  • Out of Africa: retracing human evolution and migration with DNA

    The fossil record is compelling evidence that points to the dawn of man in eastern Africa. Now that we have advanced DNA sequencing capabilities, what else can technology tell us about evolution and human migration? In July of 1959, a remarkable discovery was made in the Olduvai Gorge of northern Tanzania, along the fertile Great Rift Valley of East Africa. Drs. Louis and Mary Leakey (the husband and wife paleoanthropology team) were excavating this area because earlier work by geologist Hans Reck indicated possible hominid fossils. The Olduvai Gorge is the site of an ancient lake that once teemed...

  • Will Netflix be able to impact the African continent?

    US-based Video on Demand (VoD) service Netflix will supposedly be coming to South Africa in January 2016. Its expansion into South Africa was announced in January 2015, but with no confirmed date. According to "industry sources familiar with the situation" speaking to MyBroadband, the VoD company will be launching here soon. Smart TV manufacturers in the South Africa has previously hinted about the offering and its launch date, but declined to comment further. Even with such a heavy-weight hitting our shores, how much impact will it have on the country and continent? Over the past few years, South Africa has seen the launch...

  • Elon Musk’s Tesla Motors to set up office in South Africa

    Major US automotive and energy storage company Tesla Motors plans to set up shop in South Africa, the birthplace of its CEO Elon Musk. According to a report by Htxt, Tesla will open an office early next year to bring industrial-scale energy storage solutions to the country. This would be a welcome addition to South Africa's unreliable energy grid, which is prone to load shedding. Read more: Is Elon Musk’s Tesla Energy just what Africa’s energy grid needs? The office will be run by Evan Rice, who's the CEO of not-for-profit GreenCape. "Tesla will have one employee here from mid-January. But if we...

  • The rise of African startups is a business opportunity, not a threat

    We are in the middle of a tech startup frenzy, with research suggesting that South Africa alone is home to more than 5 000 tech startups. Rather than just seeing this rise of new potential competitors as a threat, enterprises should take the opportunity to transform themselves, work and learn together — and bottle some of that entrepreneurial spirit.

  • Can the Afrinolly Marketplace curb Nollywood piracy?

    Piracy is a massive problem for entertainment distributors around the world, and Nigeria is no exception. In fact, some sources suggest that Nollywood loses around US$38-million a year to piracy. In a bid to curb the worst of its effects, Afrinolly has launched Afrinolly MarketPlace; a pay per view, secured mobile platform for the distribution of Nollywood/African movies, Short films, Series and more to GSM users in Nigeria and the rest of the world. The marketplace is the latest addition to the Afrinolly app and is designed to allow producers and creators in Africa to offer their content via...

  • Entrepreneurship training for African startups? Stakeholders disagree

    While entrepreneurship is an essential aspect of the economy of most African countries with entrepreneurs acquiring knowledge from different sources, tech entrepreneurs in West Africa that desire to get empowered and supported to build their products and launch into the market desire to do that at either of the region’s two leading tech entrepreneurship incubators — the Co-Creation Hub (CcHub) located in Yaba area of Lagos, or Accra-based Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST).

  • Innovating Africa means practical solutions to unique challenges

    Innovation is one of the most important contributors to economic growth in any market. Innovators create wealth, attract investment and provide job opportunities. They also create new supply chains and boost exports. This is a universal reality. However, the reasons why individuals become innovators (and the subsequent output), depends upon the context. A desire to become rich by becoming the next Apple might motivate the majority, but here in sub-Saharan Africa, there are often other, more nuanced reasons for inventing new products and services.

  • How Flickswitch is enabling Africa to become a continent of connected things

    The Internet of Things (IoT) — or the concept of connected devices — is becoming more prominent by the day. It’s estimated that there will be around 38 billion connected devices by 2020. While still in its infancy in South Africa, it’s growing fast. In fact, Kees Snijders along with his partners Hein Koen, Gerrie Swart and Kristien Wolmarans from South Africa’s Flickswitch are banking on it. And so far, it’s boded them well.

  • Africa should accelerate IPv6 migration now to avoid a scramble later

    The Internet community across Africa needs to prepare for the inevitable day when AFRINIC, the Regional Internet Registry (RIR), will run out of IPv4 addresses to allocate to its members. This follows the news that ARIN (American Registry for Internet Numbers) officially ran out of IPv4 addresses on 24 September this year. Africa is the only region that has not yet depleted its pool of IPv4 addresses. The RIRs in Latin America, Asia-Pacific, Europe and North America all no longer have IPv4 addresses to allocate to their respective members. Though AFRINIC still has IPv4 addresses to spare, it is time for...

  • YouTube finally launches offline video feature in South Africa

    The world's largest online video platform boasts over a billion users watching hundreds of millions of hours everyday. Countries with limited data connectivity however are still largely untapped markets. To help remedy this, YouTube launched its offline feature in South Africa today at AfricaCom 2015. Using the YouTube app, this would enable people to save clips of cats getting vacuumed or epic documentaries onto their mobile devices. Saved videos can then be played back without an internet connection for up to 48 hours. The feature has been available in India, Indonesia and the Philippines since last year and was introduced in...

  • 10 of Africa’s most innovative apps of 2015 you should know about

    Pan-African competition AppsAfrica has concluded earlier this week, announcing the continent's ten most innovative mobile applications of 2015. With entries stretching from Nigeria to Togo and South Africa, the awards recognised a variety of platforms, that include live video and radio streaming to e-readers and many more. "Our mission is always to promote and honour the fantastic innovation across the mobile and tech ecosystem in Africa," AppsAfrica wrote in a blogpost. "We had diverse entries from 21 countries and both the finalists and winners are a testament to how technology is being used to disrupt business models, empower people and drive...

  • How Africa’s 1bn+ population will transform telecoms sector

    Africa has earned itself many titles over the years and one of which is that it is the untapped market, with much potential. During 18th annual AfricaCom 2015, which is currently on its second day of the three-day conference in Cape Town, the continent has been branded with another title -- that of being the untapped telecommunications market. Against a slowing subscriber growth around the world, Africa is showing a 47% market penetration and offers 500 million potential mobile subscribers. “Africa’s telecoms sectors will continue to undergo huge transformation. While over the last decade this has largely been fuelled by a series of...

  • How will new technology transform Africa? [AfricaCom]

    Technology has already had a massive effect on Africa. So much has been said, and so many words have been written, about how the continent has leapfrogged more developed markets (especially when it comes to mobile) that it's become cliche. While there's still truth in those cliches, the vast majority of those developed markets have caught up with, and in many cases overtaken Africa in areas where it once led. That doesn't mean that the rate of technological change in Africa has slowed down -- the top 10 connected African countries already represent half a billion internet users for...

  • The Ericsson Mobility Report sheds light on Sub-Saharan Africa connectivity

    The Ericsson Mobility Report is out, painting a rosy, albeit distant, future of 5G networks in the Sub-Saharan Africa region and other markets. The report reveals that in 2021, there will be about 150 million mobile subscriptions. This growth will be driven by the 5G network, based on standards that meet ITU IMT-2020 requirements, expected to be deployed from 2020. The numbers are impressive in all the markets, proving once again that we now live in a connected world. Predicted to lead with the first and fastest 5G subscription uptake are South Korea, Japan, China and the US. According to the...

  • Africa gets its first ever home-grown superhero TV series

    Superheroes are everywhere. The world can't get enough of them. In fact, Africa now has its own superhero TV series. Called Jongo, the series tells the story of Eli King, a young man who acquires supernatural abilities through an alien crystal at the Cradle of Humankind. The crystal is left to him by his father, an enslaved miner who is murdered shortly after escaping. As Eli tries to deal with the death of his father and find the men responsible, he must also grapple with the powers of the crystal and how it will change his life. However, the...