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African Tech News Tidbits – Week of June 13th 2012

Austin Okere

Here are your African Tech News Tidbits for this week. You can follow them on Twitter using #atntidbits and you will soon find them in Audio version on the Coders4AfricaRadio show starting June 24th 2012.

  • Ghana’s MESTIncubator is a program to watch. In this TechCrunch article, we learn about how “MEST is the worlds earliest early stage startup. We invest in people even before they know how to programme or have even touched a computer.” MEST is currently home to some of Ghana’s most successful startups such as Dropifi, Retail Tower and Nandi Mobile.
  • Austin Okere was elected ICT  Personality of the Year at the Nigerian Titans of Tech Awards. The Titans of Tech annual Awards and gala was instituted in 2005. The event is designed to celebrate Hi-Tech most important movers and shakers; the Revolutionaries, Tech Superstars, Organizations and institutions that are behind the technological wind of change sweeping Nigeria towards the global information society
  • Samsung is targeting an African expansion: Its latest phone the Samsung Galaxy S3 will be released in South Africa to 50,000 pre-orders.
 
  • Ugandan techies walk away with awards at PivotEast.
  • The CardioPad, the Cameroon medical tab featured in earlier posts has seen its first 30 tablets come out of production thanks to a $40,000 investment from the Cameroonian government. To that effect, the inventor, Arthur Zang, will deliver 10 tables to the Ministry of Health. This will be followed by the training of local cardiologists and staff in the use of the table. The components were purchased from China but assembled in Yaounde.
  • Forbes profiles another successful African women Isis Nyong’o, Managing Director at InMobi Africa, the world’s largest independent mobile advertising network.
  • I featured DEMO Africa last week, but as they say, repetition is a good pedagogical tool: Take your chance to be on the DEMO Africa stage and launch your product in front of entrepreneurs, investors, global media and buyers. This is where most of the global technology companies first launch. More than 50 demonstrating companies were acquired in the last four years alone by tech giants including Cisco, Google, Microsoft, Motorola, Symantec, HP, SAP and Yahoo! They have all gone to the well more than once, acquiring multiple DEMO companies. If acquisition is a measure of success, the DEMO list is long and impressive. The event will be held in Nairobi, Kenya October 24-26, 2012.
  • About 100 of the brightest innovators, business and creative people and reformers in Lagos came together to share Nigerian ideas with a global audience on Thursday May, 24th 2012 at the maiden edition ofTEDxIkoyi.
  • MTN, the largest telecommunications operator in Nigeria is reportedly launching a mobile advertising platform that would enable small and large organizations push advertising to its estimated 50 million subscribers.
  • Mauritius and Ivory Coast via the Orange mobile network are the two first African countries to access the just launched Deezer music streaming service. Deezer reportedly offers a music catalogue with 13 million titles from 2,000 different labels, including the 4 majors.
  • Africa’s Biggest Card And ePayment Expo is currently being held in Lagos. Organised by Intermarc Consulting, the event would provide an opportunity to learn first-hand about world class card technologies designed and suitable for Africa.
  • Birth announcements can be recorded by phone now, in the region of Kolda, Senegal to help with the establishment of birth certificates. A number of students are forced to drop out of school because they lack birth certificates which are required to be able to sit for official government exams. The project is a collaboration between the SONATEL Foundation and the Action Et Solidarite NGO. Parents can call their local villages chiefs who will record the necessary information and transmit it over to the appropriate authorities.
  • When and where to launch a startup in Africa.
  • The 2012 Google Apps Developer Challenge is Here!
  • Why mobile telecom towers are big business in Africa:  “I would say that Africa has the potential to be one of the most exciting growth stories over the next 10 to 25 years, but as with all emerging markets, it is not without risk”.
  • In Cote d’Ivoire the Yamoussokro E- School held a two day conference #YES2012 on ITC and Social Media organized by the E-Voire agency. There were presentations on the various roles associated with social media and featured the most active members of the social media and ICT community in Cote d’Ivoire. You can read a report here (in French).
  • Still in Cote d’Ivoire, the government is moving ahead with the second phase of its plan to register public university students with the government in a more accurate way. The first phase was an online registration that is now being complemented with a physical biometric enrollment. Public universities in CIV have been in total disarray over the past few years and have served as recruiting grounds for militias in the conflict that shook in the country in 2011.
  • SITICO or the Burkinabe Meet on ICTs is holding its 2012 edition since June 11th. It has so far been an expo site for the main mobile operator ONATEL to display its latest offerings and create new business. SITICO is part of a week-long or  “Internet Week” focusing on the implementation of ITC solutions in rural settings and as a mean of development.
  • Bad news in Ethiopia, Ethio-Telecom, state-backed Internet access provider has implemented a Deep Packet Inspection based block on its network for users of the TOR anonymous browsing tools. TOR has replied by publishing a workaround on its blog.

That is all for this week. See you next Wednesday and don’t forget about the upcoming Coders4Africa Radio show coming June 24th 2012.