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  • Free WiFi is connecting minds, hearts and souls in South Africa: the Project Isizwe example

    According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the internet can be defined as: “A global computer network providing a variety of information and communication facilities, consisting of interconnected networks using standardized communication protocols.” That’s true, partly. As we advance into the 21st century, the internet as we know it, has transitioned into something else entirely. The internet is now malleable and can be sculpted into anything you imagine it to be. Over the years, the internet evolved from a tool for knowledge and communication to an enormity we are struggling to comprehend. According to Business Insider, the internet contributes to three percent...

  • The state of connectivity in Southern Africa

    Every year Facebook releases a report called The State of Connectivity. The report takes a granular look at connectivity world wide based on data gained from Facebook, Google / Communications Chambers (Global Broadband Pricing Study), ITU (internet users, 2G coverage), GSMA Intelligence (3G coverage, unique mobile subscribers, unique mobile internet subscribers), Gallup World Poll (median household income), and Ethnologue (primary and secondary languages speakers). It aims to give you insights on how data can help determine barriers to connectivity, while finding a way to connect everyone in the world through collaboration. The report looks at four main global barriers...

  • On Nigeria’s digital integration: Q&A with Anakle COO

    Nigeria's digital industry is getting very interesting. More social media campaigns are popping up and during the last elections digital ideas took centre stage. In September 2015 the number of mobile internet users on Nigeria’s telecoms networks clocked in at 97.21 million, according to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC). This is huge, according to the GSMA this is the largest mobile market on the continent. Nigerian digital agencies see this, they see the potential of an internet connected society and the are playing to that. In 2014, a cheeky little game pop up on the web call The Brideprice app....

  • Think Africa’s economic boom is over? The tech space is about to prove you wrong

    A recent piece by Rick Rowden suggests that Africa's economic boom is over . He couldn't be more wrong. In his article, Rowden argues that due to the collapsing commodity prices and the lack of industrialization, the boom is over. Everyone assumes that what Africa has to offer the world is oil, gold, minerals and that industrialization is the only path to a boom. Building an industry is good and Rick makes some important points about how to do that but he misses the real point. Africa's boom is just starting and it's a tech boom. The World Economic...

  • What should we make of Uber’s bid to go cashless in Nigeria?

    Even though 2016 is just two weeks old, the world’s sexiest startup Uber seems to be sweating already in Nigeria. A few days after Christmas, Uber increased its price in Lagos and now the company is reportedly testing its cash payment option that may make Nigeria the seventh country in the world where Uber is accepting cash. Uber prides itself as a service that does not require users to pull out their wallet and this has been largely (and profitably) accepted in many countries of the world. Elsewhere though, there is still a high reluctance among targeted Uber users to...

  • Programme fosters pool of tech talent to address SA unemployment

    Nomusa Sithole has a diploma, but struggled to secure a job in the field she studied for. She ended up working at a restaurant for several months which she didn't like. She was overqualified and underpaid. This all changed after Sithole heard about CapaCiTi, which is a tech skills development and placement initiative in Cape Town. She ended up joining an Advanced Java Programming Certification Programme and managed to find a permanent job in the field she enjoys. Sithole is one of over 500 previously unemployed youth who CapaCiTi has trained since the programme was first launched as a pilot...

  • MTN acquires Nigerian network operator Visafone Communications for undisclosed amount

    With a US$3.9 billion fine -- imposed on it by the Nigerian Communications Commission -- looming in the background, MTN Nigeria has reportedly acquired Nigerian network operator Visafone Communications. News coming out of Nigeria, reported by the Nigeria based publication, Leadership, is that the deal has been completed with the two parties due to make statements to this fact before the end of this week. This move is a firm statement by MTN that even with the US$3.9-billion fine circling above its head it has no intentions of exiting the Nigerian market. Founded in 2007, Visafone Communications is owned...

  • 6 moments that defined Nigerian tech in 2015

    The past year's been an eventful one in Nigeria’s tech space as the various sub-sectors recorded landmark developments that got the attention of various stakeholders within and outside the country. Coming up with the top five tech moments in Nigeria in 2015 was not in any way an easy task simply because of the enormous size of the growing system but the job became much easier when attention was given to the developments that were impactful - revolutionary and felt by a sizable number of Nigerians. Cybercrime bill passed into law In the month of May, the Nigerian government finally signed...

  • 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.