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African Tech News Tidbits – Week of August 12th 2012

Google Africa

As usual don’t forget to check out the podcast of theAfrican Tech Weekly over at Coders4Africa Radio. We are now available on iTunes and soon in the Zune store. If you are doing something interesting in technology in Africa and you want the world to know about it, reach out!

 
  • What is Google’s game plan in Africa?  Google has ramped up its operations significantly in sub-Saharan Africa over the past few years and currently has offices in six countries across the region. Some of the services Google has rolled out in the region include: the Google Apps Supporting Programs (GASP), which facilitate online learning through Google; Wazi WiFi in Kenya that provides high-speed wireless internet at a low-cost; and a TV White Spaces pilot in South Africa, which covers large areas with broadband. In addition, YouTube is available in a number of African languages such as East Africa’s Swahili, Ethiopia’s Amharic and South Africa’s IsiZulu and Afrikaans. Google has even launched a virtual Amharic keyboard which allows Ethiopians to search for and upload videos containing Ethiopic text, eliminating a real barrier to broadcasting themselves.
  • A global start-up competition, Startup World that aims to find the next Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg and entrepreneurs building the next Facebook or Google is coming to Africa this year.This year, Startup World would be holding pitching competitions in 36 cities world-wide, including Cape Town in South Africa, Nairobi in Kenya, Dar Es Salam in Tanzania and Kigali in Rwanda.
  • Mobile Entertainment Africa 2012 is coming back to Cape Town August 29th/30th. Building on the success of the critically acclaimed and sold out inaugural event, MEA2012 will once again feature a superb format, top notch 5* venue and a best-in-class speaker faculty.
  • Techloy interviews Hugo Obi, CEO of Maliyo Games. In the mean time, Maliyo, a gaming company recently launched in Nigeria, has unveiled a new mobile game to support the Nigerian basketball team at the London 2012 Olympic Games. Naija Hoops is a game that is created to support the Tigers, Nigeria’s basketball team, at the Olympics.Good thinking but looks like it didn’t help. It’s all in jest…hehehe!

     

  • Nigeria: Are you a Blackberry app developer? Would you love to be one of the first to develop for the new Blackberry 10 platform?Research In Motion is holding the BlackBerry 10 Mini Jam, a full-day event dedicated to providing the developer community with insights on the BlackBerry 10 platform; its strengths, the vision, and how developers can make apps that stand out to app-hungry BlackBerry users. The event holding on August 14 2012 at the CcHub in Lagos would help participants gain insight into building applications for the launch of the new BlackBerry 10 platform.
  • Afritickets aims to become the Ticketmaster of Africa.
  • Ugandan Billionaire, Ashish Thakkar has launched the beta version of Mara.com, Africa’s first online mentorship ‘social network’. The goal of the network is to help connect young, budding African entrepreneurs to reputable and successful enterprises and businessmen across Africa for mentorship and guidance. According to Thakkar, Mara.com will be a transformational project and will nurture an ecosystem for African entrepreneurs and youth while improving skills and emerging talent.
  • French mobile provider Orange is rattling feathers in Senegal. A new movement was created to protest its business practices in the region. This movement was born spontaneously on Facebook due to the many complains lodged agains the company whose phone and data contracts seem to be set up to fleece users by remaining vagues on contract details and providing minutes and data allowances with timed expiration dates. The Facebook group is called “Si toi aussi tu te sens arnaque par Orange” roughly translated to “If you too feel cheated out by Orange”. It currently has 12000 members and plan to reach 30000 in less than six weeks. Irate consumers include students, unemployed adults and workers. They are asking Orange to stop its “unjustified” billing practices, deceitful advertising, and billed customer service calls.
  • Kenya to introduce software development certification program: IT graduates from Kenyan institutions have a reason to expect better things ahead after the Carnegie Mellon University and Kenya ICT Board partnered to offer training in Software Development Certification (SDC) to boost practical skills.
  • Yookos launches job portal for youth, targets 20 million users by year-end.The newly launched job portal is in line with the developer firm’s efforts to reach the whole population.
    The jobs site, “Yookos Jobs” will connect the youth in Africa and across the world. Yookos Jobs is hosted on Yookos.com platform and features job opportunities and real time career guides focused on the youths in Africa and in the diaspora.
  • According to a February Opera State of the mobile web report, Egypt, South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya and Ghana make up the top five countries with the largest mobile penetration per capita in Africa.
  • Zimbabweans can now make passport and other personal document applications at the comfort of their computer screens following their government’s efforts to digitize the processes online.
  • Goal.com has launched in Kenya nearly a month after going live in Ghana, and in Nigeria in March. The world’s top football news portal says the Kenyan launch comes at a time when it is spreading its wings worldwide.
  • iLab Liberia was opened in May 2011 in Liberia’s capital Monrovia. It has partnered with Ushahidi Liberia, with additional support from colleagues at iHub in Nairobi and the AfriLabs Assocation, to provide 15 computer work stations, a dedicated VSAT with a C-band connection and speed of 512/1536 kbps.
  • IT News Africa, an online news site focused on technology in Africa, has launched a quarterly ICT magazine brand named the African Innovator.The African Innovator magazine will focus on innovations in Africa and their contributions, the brains behind them and challenges facing the ICT sector and related businesses across the continent. Women influencing the sector will be listed in addition to ways of accelerating progress on achieving millennium development goals, MDG’s.
  • Kenya’s much anticipated technology innovation plan branded as Konza Technology City has received a major boost after HR & A Advisor clinched the deal for running it in an ongoing forum at Kenyatta International Conference Centre in the country’s capital Nairobi. The US-based company got the better of five other bidder’s comprising AECOM International Development of Finland, New-York’s SHoP Architects, Swedish Sweco and Korean International Dohwa Consulting Engineers. The World Bank and the International Finance Cooperation facilitated the project’s tendering process.
  •  Here are the upcoming technology events in Kenya and South Africa for the next two weeks.