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Africa

  • Smart Villages launches energy challenge to address off-grid settlements

    Smart Villages is inviting East African entrepreneurs to form teams and come up with imaginative ways of distributing and implementing new or existing energy technologies for off-grid villages. It has also said that each team should at least consist of one science and engineering student or recent graduate from an East African University. The winning applicants will earn a place in the Cambridge Development Initiative (CDI) summer 2015 entrepreneurship training course based at the University of Dar es Salaam and an opportunity to pitch its ideas for US$3 000 prize capital to help implement their idea. The competition is a...

  • M-Pesa users can now send money between Kenya and Tanzania

    Mobile money service M-Pesa is usually one of the first names mentioned when it comes to revolutionary African mobile products. It has however been largely restricted to use within the individual countries it operates in. Until now, that is. M-Pesa customers in Kenya and Tanzania can now send and receive money from each other at the same cost as sending it locally. Speaking in Dar es Salaam, Vodacom Tanzania Managing Director Rene Meza said that the large amounts of money flowing between the two countries was evidence of a market for the cross-border service. “Statistics from the World Bank,...

  • 6 things we learned from this year’s Social Media Week Lagos

    For many corporate organizations and other corporate entities, Social Media Week Lagos is the best place to reach out to social media users in Lagos. It is the convention for Nigerian social media celebrities; their own version of Comic-Con. Here's what we learned from the third edition of the event. 1. Social Media knows no boundaries Even though Social Media Week Lagos is meant to focus on social media conversations and personalities in Lagos, the event was attended by individuals from across the country, some participants actually came from outside Nigeria including very close West African countries including Ghana, and...

  • Nigeria’s mobile lifestyle should absolutely matter to your brand: here’s why

    Nigeria, with 125 million mobile subscribers, is not just Africa’s largest mobile market. It is also home to one of the most connected and engaged mobile populations on the continent. And as smartphones become cheaper and mobile broadband infrastructure continues to improve, the mobile phone will become even more deeply embedded in the daily lives of Nigerians. That means people in the marketing space should start thinking about the opportunities mobile will pose for them as more Nigerians spend more time on their mobile phones and join the world of mobile money and mobile broadband. MasterCard’s Digital Evolution Index research, for...

  • Vodafone’s digital school in a box will benefit 15 000 child refugees

    The Vodafone Foundation has announced an initiative called Instant Classroom, a digital school in a box. The concept, which can be set up in 20 minutes, was unveiled at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The purpose of the initiative, Vodafone says, is to help give children and young adults in poorly resourced refugee camps the opportunity to continue their education. The company says this year alone Instant Classroom will provide up to 15 000 children and young adults aged from seven to 20 with advanced teaching aids that are currently only available in a minority of schools in developed nations. Instant...

  • Yay! Apple selects South Africa as the only African flag to join emoji family

      In an effort to broaden its "emoji diversity", Apple is introducing some 300 new emoji. Developer preview builds include a range of new country flags for iOS and OS X that only includes one out of a possible 53 from Africa: South Africa. Uhm, what was that about diversity? How people of the world would exactly use our national flag and what its emoji equivalent would become shorthand for we can't quite predict. If the famous nail-painting emoji have become shorthand for "I'm not bothered" and "Haters gonna hate", our Rainbow Nation colours come to stand for something completely different. Read more: New phone...

  • Citibank to hold $100k Mobile Challenge in Africa, Europe, Middle East

    Citi, an American multinational banking and financial services corporation, has as part of its Digital Acceleration program announced that its Mobile Challenge is coming to Europe, Middle East and Africa in search of ideas which can change the way we bank. That a bank is sponsoring an initiative to disrupt the way banking is being done is further proof that banks are being left with no choice but to adapt or lose...

  • BBC World Service announce selected teams from its hackathon in Kenya

    Two teams have been selected to help the BBC expand its reach through Africa following its hackathon held earlier in Kenya. The BBC World Service, Connected Studio and its digital innovations team joined forces to hold a hackathon at the iHub and Nairobi Garage in Nairobi. At the time of announcing the hackathon, Dmitry Shishkin, BBC World Service Group Digital Development Editor, said that the reasons for holding the hackathon in Kenya is that “the BBC wants to tap into the unique expertise of, and partner with, the Kenyan tech community to develop new innovative ways to grow the BBC's audience...

  • Google Science Fair 2015 is officially open for submissions

    The difference between you and Ada Lovelace, according to Google, is that she tried things and you did not. Starting today, Google is accepting applications to its fifth Google Science Fair. Together with LEGO Education, National Geographic, Scientific American and Virgin Galactic, Google is looking for young researchers, explorers, builders, technologist, and inventors. The ethos of this year’s fair is that science is about observing and experimenting. Google is encouraging all interested parties to explore unanswered questions, which people have always been curious about, and in the process learning and always trying again. Google is looking for “something imaginative, or...

  • WorldRemit raises $100-million in funding to drive its global growth

    WorldRemit, an online money transfer service, is making a vigorous entry into the African mobile money service market. The service has completed a funding round and has raised US$100-million to drive its global growth. With the fund WorldRemit plans to extend to 50 send countries and 117 receive countries, and expand partnerships with Mobile Money wallets operated by telecoms companies in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. A few weeks ago, WorldRemit partnered with MTN to enter the African market, first in Uganda, Rwanda and Zambia, with plans to expand to all the 16 countries that MTN operates in. The company has...

  • Liquid Telecom secures $150m funding for Africa-wide fiber network expansion

    Independent data, voice and IP provider Liquid Telecom Group has announced it has secured additional funding totalling US$150-million to finance the expansion of its fiber network to more locations in Africa. The fund was facilitated by Standard Chartered and provided by large global investment banks. Over a period of about five years, the company says it built what it calls the largest independent cross-border fiber network in Africa -- which spans more than 18 000km and connects a total of 15 countries in East and Central Africa. The additional fund, Liquid Telecom says, will be spent on the extension of...

  • Bill Gates is 100% right about mobile banking in Africa: here’s why

    In the latest “Gates Notes” annual letter, Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates wrote about the impact smart phones and mobile banking will have in the next 15 years. He observed that “digital banking will give the poor more control over their assets and help them transform their lives and by 2030, 2-billion people who don't have a bank account today will be storing money and making payment with their phones”. I have to say he’s spot on, and in all my years as a mobile technology professional I can say without doubt that the future of mobile money is...

  • African mobile money could produce $1.5-billion in fees alone by 2019

    According to a report released by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), 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. With mobile based financial services, be it remittance, paying utility bills or purchase, offering convenience and spreading like a disease in Africa as a whole, it is no secret that traditional banks are shaking on their feet. The banks that have seen the trend and are moving in the same direction are poised to be...

  • These 5 South Africans have been shortlisted to go colonise Mars in 2024

    South Africans Divashen Govender, Kobus Vermeulen, Adriana Marais, Edwin le Grange and Alexandra Doyle have been shortlisted as part of a group of 100 participants from across the globe looking for a one-way ticket to Mars. In 2013, the Mars One private space programme tried to raise US$400 000 on the crowdfunding platform, Indiegogo, but only managed to raise US$313 000. Still, awareness seemed to have paid off well and the team behind this ambitious project isn't slowing down one bit. Just over 2 000 people from across the globe initially applied to go to the red planet in nine years'...

  • Facebook looking for Sub-Saharan Africa Head

    In the latest sign that Facebook is about to step up its African presence, the social networking giant has put up a job posting looking for someone to head up its Sub-Sharan African operations. The posting, which is visible on LinkedIn, confirms that it'll be opening its first office on the continent in 2015, something Memeburn first reported on in mid January. It also confirms that the offices will be based in Johannesburg. The posting calls for a "highest caliber executive leader to manage Facebook’s growth throughout Sub Saharan Africa, spearheading the company’s strategic relationships with global brands,...