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Africa

  • Accra embraces Microsoft CityNext applications

    On 22 May, Microsoft Ghana, the Accra Metropolitan Assembly and the Global Alliance of Mayors and Leaders from Africa and African Descent signed an agreement to make the city of Accra in Ghana Africa’s first "Centre of Excellence". This will be done through the use of Microsoft’s CityNext applications, making the city healthier, safer and more modern The deal came days before the Fourth World Summit of Mayors and Leaders from Africa and of African Descent which will take place from 1 to 3 June 2015 in Accra. “Our collaboration is an excellent example of how private partnerships can help shape...

  • #Fuelpocalypse: 10 tweets that sum up Nigeria’s crazy fuel crisis

    Nigerians are not having fun right now. The current fuel crisis has left many in the country stranded as most domestic flights have been cancelled. The situation is rather ironic, when you consider that Nigeria is one of the largest oil producers in Africa. The heightened fuel scarcity comes days before the current government exits office, which has caused some speculation as to its response to the issue. Nigeria is a country riddled with major power issues leaving the bulk of the population to rely on generators to not only power their businesses, but their lives as well. Now, the...

  • Orange WiFi survey offers insight into township connectivity but underestimates fundamental obstacles

    A large number of people are still without internet. There are a couple of reasons for this: first, internet access is expensive. Secondly, it is simply not available in certain communities. In parts of Khayelitsha for instance, the signal is incredibly weak for mobile internet and never connects on PC. Often when one leaves it from a visit, text messages, inboxes, emails and missed calls flood one’s phone as if they had been stuck in a cave with zero reception. All that is worth bearing in mind when looking at a new survey done by Orange Horizon, which offers...

  • Opera VP Richard Monday tells Memeburn why its mobile browser is still so important for Africa

    Before the advent of smartphones, and long before iOS got popular in Africa, Africans were using their mobile devices to browse the web. In the early days of mobile internet, surfing the web on mobile devices wasn’t something everyone could afford hence the deployment of various tools and mobile internet tricks and tweaks aimed at lowering costs and browsing faster. The most popular one is the Opera Mini browser. Even though many Nigerians don’t know the science behind how the Opera browser works, they know using it makes browsing the internet more affordable which is why they gladly share...

  • Facebook launches Internet.org in Malawi

    The Internet.org project by Facebook is now available in Malawi through the TNM and Airtel Malawi. The project is an initiative by Facebook to bring together technology leaders, non-profits and local communities  with the goal of connecting the two thirds of the world that don't have internet access. Only one out of every three people can access the web, Internet.org says, and this is its plan change this. “Giving people free access is the right thing to do. We will keep connecting more people and more countries, and we won’t stop until every person in the world can connect to the Internet,”...

  • Banking Africa’s unbanked — time for a reality check

    Plenty of progress has been made on increasing the size of Africa's banked population. The trouble is, from the amount of noise that is made about the topic, you would be forgiven for thinking we had fixed the problem when we really haven’t. According to the World Bank, today, 62% of the world’s population has a bank account. In 2011 that figure was 51%. In three years, 700 million people became “banked” in some way, and the number of “unbanked” individuals dropped 20% to two billion adults. Much of this progress was attributed to mobile money. Mobile money is clearly a...

  • Gates Foundation injects $75 million more into African and south Asian disease control

    If you had as much money as you wanted, literally US$79.3-billion and a whole bunch of time what would you do? I would build a rocket, strap that floating trash island in the Atlantic to it and blast that bad boy all the way to the sun. No more trash. Simple and stupid expensive. I just need billions of dollars...If Bill Gates reads this, I hope he would chuckle to himself and jot the idea down on his to-do list. Money aside, the Gates Foundation is so far outside the box it needs a passport for the ideas and...

  • Is Elon Musk’s Tesla Energy just what Africa’s energy grid needs?

    It's a week-day evening in South Africa and I'm tapping away at my keyboard for an article due the next day. Suddenly, I get a notification on my phone warning me that load shedding level one is about to start, again. I'm going to have to cut my research short and settle for the next, not-so-tempting early morning instead. A few days later, serial entrepreneur and futurist Elon Musk announces Tesla's Powerwall -- a battery that might just be the key thing the world's been looking for to cut down on carbon emissions and making sustainable energy, well, more sustainable. "Hooray!...

  • 6 trends that will help accelerate Nigeria’s tech revolution #MWA2015

    On Day One of Mobile West Africa in Lagos, Nigeria, a panel of five experts predicted what they believe are the next things that would happen to accelerate the evolution of the tech industry in Nigeria. Members of the panel were James McNab who's Africa's MD of Basebone, Toyosi Akerele, founder and CEO of RISE Group, Omatsola Osawaru Barrow sales executive at MTN Nigeria, Valentine Obi who's CEO of eTranzact International, and Emmanuel Revmatas -- a director at Samsung Electronics West Africa. 1. Relevant and engaging apps Barrow believes in the next few years we will witness the release of more applications...

  • BBC World Service, Connected studio look to SA for new ways of distributing audio content

    The BBC's World Service, together with the BBC’s digital innovations team -- BBC Connected Studio, today kicked off its Development Studio event in Cape Town, South Africa. The event, held in conjunction with community-based tech incubator RLabs, aims to identify news ways of distributing the broadcaster's audio content online. As part of the BBC’s Cape Town Development Studio brief, teams will consider existing technologies on offer -- such as Internet Protocol (IP) Raspberry Pi, audio streaming, software defined radio, podcasts -- to develop tools that deliver BBC content to communities across sub-Saharan Africa. Cost-efficiency will also be explored...

  • Facebook’s Internet.org is coming to Nigeria #MWA2015

    Facebook on Wednesday announced plans to launch Internet.org app next month in Nigeria. The Internet.org app encourages telecoms to provide free and affordable access to certain web services like Facebook and Wikipedia. Announcing the plan for Nigeria, head of public policy for Facebook Africa Ebele Okobi, told participants at the Mobile West Africa 2015 conference, that the imminent launch in Nigeria follows similar ones in other African countries including Ghana, Zambia, Tanzania and Kenya. Speaking to Memeburn on the sidelines of the conference, she added that the app could be launched on more than one telecoms network in Nigeria, making the...

  • Why Africa’s mobile games should become powerful marketing tools #MWA2015

    Even though the opportunities for them are quite vast and numerous, mobile game companies in most parts of Africa are still trying to crack the market with varying degrees of success. In a fireside chat at Mobile West Africa 2015 with Zubair Abubakar, the Nigerian game developer and co-founder of ChopUp admitted that no game company in Africa is at the same level of monetisation as their counterparts such as King's Candy Crush which makes more than US$1-million weekly from in-app sales alone. This is while the local industry continues to grow in terms of number of companies, games and...

  • Report Xenophobia maps real-time insights through SMS, social media

    Kenyan non-profit Ushahidi and online publication iAfrikan have developed Report Xenophobia to help better understand the landscape of the violent attacks taking place against foreign nationals across the rainbow nation. Ushahidi was first popularised as a tool when it crowdsourced and mapped violent attacks during the Kenya's 2007 elections. The open-source software was soon rolled out to be used during the Haiti earthquake in 2010 as well as Chile and many other humanitarian disasters. Similar to Ushahidi's other platforms, the system provides a real-time reporting and alerting tool for incidents of xenophobia across the country. Information is collected from the...

  • iROKOtv gets pay TV distribution deal

    Nigerian video streaming service iROKOtv has inked a deal with StarTimes to have two new linear TV channels, IROKO Play and IROKO Plus included on the digital TV operator's platform. The deal has the potential to substantially increase iROKOtv's reach, given that StarTimes has 4.6-million subscribers across 14 countries. Subscribers will have the choice of two Nollywood channels. IROKO Play, available in the StarTimes Basic Bouquet, will showcase classic Nollywood movies from 2007 onwards, with a brand new exclusive movie added to the schedule each month. IROKO Plus, in the StarTimes Unique Bouquet, will reportedly show premium Nollywood movies...

  • Here’s how Africa’s mobile money players fit into the global landscape

    Think Africa and technology and chances are one of the first things that come to mind is mobile money. In conference talk after conference talk, you'll hear Africa referred to as "the mobile continent". There's a good reason for that too. This year for instance, the use of mobile financial services in sub-Saharan Africa to perform tasks like pay utility bills and send money to relatives could produce an estimated US$1.5-billion in fees for mobile-money providers by 2019. Even Bill Gates reckons that “digital banking will give the poor more control over their assets and help them transform their lives...