The African Tech News Tidbits Week of June 7th
How are we all doing? Here are your ATN Tidbits for this week. By the way, I hope to count you as one of our listeners in my new weekly radio show at Coders4Africa Radio starting June 24th 2012. We will be discussing of course your weekly ATN Tidbits, discoveringCoders4Africa and getting to know more of the African Developer and Geek community. It a serious but irreverent affair and audience participation is key. You can link us up on Skype at “Coders4AfricaRadio” to participate live. My prayers and thoughts are also with all the victims and their families of the plane crash in Nigeria. Now without further “Abou” here we go:
- In the potentially revolutionary section: Polyvalent Wireless Communication System, a new wireless communication systempatented by a Beninese researcher, Dr Victor Agbegnenou, a Togolese inventor living in France, that allows, from a satellite broadband connection, the simultaneous provisioning of telephony, internet and video (image) services without using any landline cable such as fiber optics. This invention has come through thanks to theKa-Technologies laboratory based in Paris and headed by the inventor himself who spent ten years of research to conceive this cutting edge technology. Dr. Victor Kossikouma Agbegnenou is a veterinarian by training and graduated from the Moscow Academy and the Ecole Supérieure de Maisons-Alfort in France. He already holds four patents in the medical field, in addition to his latest patent in the telecoms field. The inventor is looking for about 10 million dollars to spread the benefits of his invention to the African continent. A Cameroonian company IdreamGroup is in charge of the commercialization of the technology and estimates that PWCS would allow African consumers to be able to afford Triple Play (High Speed Internet, Phone and Cable Television) services for about $30 US per month. Even cheaper than my own bill I would say so sign me up.Watch a report here:
- Another worth invention, a piezo-electric sole to allow people to produce enough electricity while walking to be able to charge their cell phones or other electronics:
- Have you ever wondered what Africans are busy inventing,like what you just read above? They stay busy, trust! This wonderful website compiles and updates a list of African Inventors. Give thanks and we need more! I’ll keep an eye on this.
- Rwanda wants to get into the cloud.
- Mobile operator Orange and Ivorian media group Frat-Mat have signed a 3 year partnership agreementtargeting the completion of fourteen projects aiming to make Frat-Mat the biggest media conglomerate in the West African region by improving their use of ICTs.
- Forbes profiles Ory Okolloh, one of Africa’s most successful women in an informative interview. While you are at it, you can also check out this article about 5 outstanding female Kenyan entrepreneurs.
- Senegal: Budding entrepreneurs should attend the GIST Startup Bootcamp, a two affair held on July 10th and 11th 2012 in the capital Dakar. The event is put together by CTIC Dakar(Senegalese incubator),Lions@frica, and the African Development Bank. The GIST Startup Boot Camp is an intense two day interactive training and mentoring event designed to spark innovative thinking and trigger the creation of new startup ideas among promising entrepreneurs in the ICT, energy, healthcare and agriculture sectors.
- Check out DEMO Africa initiave in relation with the GIST Startup Bootcamp:Real startups are being created in Africa, developing real-world solutions, worthy of investment and global attention. In recognition of Africa’s economic emergence, the U.S. Department of State, in collaboration with Microsoft, DEMO, USAID, and Startup Weekend, is launching the Liberalizing Innovation Opportunity Nations (LIONS@FRICA) Partnership, a new public-private alliance to enhance and deepen the startup and innovation ecosystems of targeted fast- growing African economies.DEMO Africa is one of the flagship initiatives of LIONS@frica and aims to connect African startups to the global ecosystem. DEMO Africa will be the place where the most innovative companies from African countries come to launch their products and announce to Africa and the world what they have developed. The GIST Startup Boot Camp – Senegal (and potentially other African nations) will serve as an initial capacity-building effort to identify, vet, and train promising technology-based startups.
- There is almost no online payment option in Senegal, little ATM card use so developing an online e-commerce platform like Ebay in Senegal (or most West African countries for that matter) is not for now.Enter Waxale, which comes from the Wolof term for “negotiate”. This startup aims to give customers the ability to set a maximum price to pay for an item they want, which will be relayed to a network of sellers by SMS and those willing to sell at that price will have the opportunity to contact the buyer to arrange for payment and delivery of the item. Ingenious and totally adapted to the Senegalese realities. Sellers will be screened by the company and rated on each transaction performed to ensure the integrity of the market place. The app is currently in private beta but I can’t wait for it to go live and see how the market reacts to it.
- Another Senegalese startup, Africourant, aims to cut consumer’s power will by 80% by following three simple steps. They’ve participated in Startup Weekend Dakar and are currently looking for investors. If you lived in Senegal over the past few years where rolling blackouts are more of a frequent occurence than steady power supply, yet where power bills are high, this is a smart idea that has traction.
- It’s Startup Weekend time in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire my people. It’s scheduled for July 20th – July 22nd 2012 and will feature the brightest in Ivorian entrepreneurial spirit I expect. Speakers will include Chams Diagne ofViadeo, Zohoré Lassina of Gbich, of my favorites satirical publications. I wish I was there to attend though. Maybe the 2013 edition.
- Akendewa has released CIVBlogs, a directory of Ivorian related blogs, websites and web apps.
- Silicon Valley Veterans Launch $10 Million Seed Fund: Savannah Fund, an East African-focused accelerator fund, aims to find and invest in early stage, high growth web and mobile startups addressing the Sub-Saharan Africa market. The new fund will typically make investments in the region of $25,000 to $500,000. Kenyan-raised American technologist and Ushahidi and iHub co-founder, Erik Hersman has joined as a VC. This news is getting a lot of people interested.
- The African Diaspora sends US $40bn back home every year. Some want a piece of that money. I would too. Kenyan bank Kenya Commercial Bank (operating in Kenya, South Sudan, Tanzania, Rwanda and Uganda) has now launched a $475000 project called Diaspora Banking aiming to offer e-banking services to Africans in the Diaspora and East Africa.
- Tanzania should be the first African country to offer 4G LTE services in the 800 Mhz frequencies thanks to a Smile Telecom/Alcatel-Lucent partnership.
- Virgin Group and FRiENDi GROUP today announced the signing of a strategic partnership agreement for the Middle East and Africa.Subject to local authority clearances, the two groups will merge their regional telecom operations to create a combined entity to be called “Virgin Mobile Middle East & Africa” (VMMEA), which will develop and operate mobile telecommunications businesses across the region.
- An interesting perspective on the necessity for using Swahili to achieve commercial success in East Africa:Swahili is spoken by more than 60 million people across the entire eastern section of the African continent. It has official status in Kenya and Tanzania.“It is a very significant language for us in terms of the volumes of translation required by clients,” says Philip Zietsman, MD of the Folio Group translation consultancy. “Quite simply, if you want to tap into the thriving market of east Africa, your marketing material and packaging has to be translated into Swahili.”
- On June 13, Secretary Hilary Clinton will welcome more than 60 young African leaders to the Innovation Summit and Mentoring Partnership with Young African Leaders, a three-week professional development program sponsored by the U.S. Government in collaboration with implementing partner, Meridian International Center.
- The GSMA‘s latest study looks at Ghana, Morocco, Uganda and India, identifying young people’s aspirations and priorities, exploring the education and employment challenges they face, and scrutinizing their mobile phone use and concludes that the time is right for the mobile industry, the international development community, and governments to collaborate and create services that will have a profound impact on the lives of young people.
- An interesting question here in relation to the Nigerian’s Federal Government decision to make mandatory for public sector ministries, departments and agencies to procure Nigerian-made IT equipment or risks fines or imprisonment. What do you think? Read more on the background here.
- Last for this week Google honoured the Nigerian Airplane crash victims.
Hope to count you as a reader again for next week’s edition and as a listener on my upcoming show at Coders4Africa Radio.