Tech in Africa

Posted on Thursday, March 28, 2013, under

Q&A:’s Jason Classon
Think of social networking and the first thing that comes to mind is Facebook. Well, almost a year before Facebook launched in February 2004 as a social networking service that would go on to serve over one billion active users, another service that reunited friends from school was already doing the round.

Kenya’s Internet users invited to participate in online opinion polls
Kenyan ICT company Ajibu Consulting Limited has launched a Web-based opinion poll, coming hard on the heels of a partnership between Google Africa and the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to offer electoral data through the IEBC API.

Major African Startup Events to Watch for in 2013
Last year, HumanIPO set out to bring you a series of upcoming African startup events as they happened. To commit to the same spirit this year, we begin with a look at major tech events that are set to be held in Africa in 2013.

African Tech Deal of the Year 2012
Technology business deals or partnerships give clues and insight into how a particular company or set of companies have been performing, and changes in ownership can have big effects on the market and the consumer. The HumanIPO team pick their top deals.

African Tech Quote of the Year 2012
In an industry usually dominated by technicalities and ‘tech jargon’, finding meaningful and inspirational comments from innovators and politicians can prove a rare occurrence. The HumanIPO team has trawled through the archives to compile the stand-out sound-bites of 2012.

African Tech Story of the Year 2012
Technology is increasingly touching people’s lives and the workplace in different ways, meaning even the most subtle changes or developments can have big impacts on millions of people. The HumanIPO team pick their stand-out stories of 2012.

African Tech Flop of the Year 2012
In an ever growing and innovative industry such as technology, there is little room for errors, and the sector is unforgiving. The HumanIPO team pick their biggest red face moments.

African Startup of the Year 2012
Africa has seen a surge in technology startups in the past year and HumanIPO has tried to bring news on as many as possible. From those in their infancy to others making an impact across the continent and beyond, here is the HumanIPO team’s pick of the startups of the year.

African Tech Company of the Year 2012
Technology in Africa is constantly evolving and companies face unique challenges on the continent as they try to keep up with international competitors while providing suitable services to the African consumer. The HumanIPO team pick out which companies they believe have performed best.

African Tech Personality of the Year 2012
In an industry which often depends on the motivation and energy of decisions-makers, one person has the ability to make a significant impact. HumanIPO picks out some of the most important players of 2012.

Kenya's top bookseller goes online
Leading and diversified Kenyan bookseller Text Book Center (TCB) has unveiled an online portal to boost its sales ahead of the reopening of schools countrywide.

Q&A: Teejana Beenessreesingh, founder of BeeJooS, fashion meets travel online
Offering customers the chance to buy clothing from local artisans online, BeeJooS serves as an online destination where “fashion meets travel allowing users to shop eclectic world bazaars and emerging designer accessories right from their homes”.

GrowthAfrica, Village Capital launch accelerator pitch fest in Nairobi
GrowthAfrica, under its chief brands The GrowthHub and Village Capital, will today debut Pitch Fest Day in Kenya’s capital Nairobi, an event showcasing the startups on The GrowthHub accelerator program, which is devoted to investing in social enterprises bent on changing businesses and lives.

Q&A: Ngugi Gikonyo on contacts backup, a momentous trend on the mobile space
Kenya’s phone backup solutions developer Binary Science has been exploiting cloud computing by enabling individuals to save and manage important phone contacts.

Interview: Boniface Githinji, CEO and Founder Tusqee Systems, Silicon Valley bound
With their bulk SMS products now being speedily adopted by a number of schools and corporate firms in Kenya, Tusqee Systems is one of the few disruptive African startups to have come out of a hackathon, determined to change the face of communications.

Mobile Web Africa all set for Johannesburg
Following three successful mobile focused events, All Amber, the organiser of premier events in Africa, has announced the agenda and speaker faculty of its fourth annual Mobile Web Africa conference.

Mobile revolution yet to reach 67% of Africans
Two-thirds of Africans are yet to be connected to a mobile service, according to Wireless Intelligence.

Galaxy S III now most popular smartphone worldwide
Samsung's Galaxy S3 overtook Apple's iPhone 4S to become the world's best-selling smartphone model for the first time ever in the third quarter of 2012, a research by global, independent research and consulting firm Strategy Analytics reveals.

Third CIO 100 awards to honor East Africa’s ICT feat
Kenya's premier ICT magazine CIO East Africa will this year on November 28 to 30 hold the third CIO 100 Annual Awards Ceremony at Safari Park Hotel in Kenya’s capital Nairobi, to honor ICT innovations by businesses in the region.

Legal and regulatory challenges stagnating m-commerce growth
M-commerce, also mobile commerce, is hailed for fast-tracking next-generation mobile financial services as well as defining new ways to transact business. Despite the positives, experts in the legal field of M- and E-commerce observe that legal and regulatory challenges might be causing a jurisdictional headache to organizations and innovators.

Chris Rock’s video on Obama a sensation in Africa
Stand up comedian Chris Rock’s video message recorded for the Jimmy Kimmel Live show is currently trending in Kenya, South Africa and Nigeria on Youtube.

Smartphones gaining traction with Egypt’s Consumers
Egypt witnessed 26 percent smartphone adoption in the first quarter of 2012, a survey by search engine giant Google reveals.

Swedish game maker Mojang to launch urbanization tool in Nairobi
Swedish Indie game maker Mojang in partnership with the UN-Habitat will today at the iHub, a coworking space and business incubator, in Kenya's capital Nairobi unveil a new gaming tool dubbed Block by Block, targeted at mobilizing the youth to participate in urbanization.

Nonprofit uses phone exchange to rid Jo'burg of rats
South Africa’s LifeLine, a humanitarian organisation focused on counselling, is offering a free phone for every 60 rats caught, an initiative targeted at ending the “rat menace” in the nation’s township Alexandra.

Instagram unveils user Web profiles
Instagram, a mobile-focused free photo sharing service, has announced user profiles for the Web, to be rolled out across the globe over the next few days.

Silicon Valley’s reality show ‘Start-Ups: Silicon Valley’ premieres
A new reality TV series about America’s technology jewel Silicon Valley, Start-Ups: Silicon Valley, premiered Monday, November 5 at 10 pm ET/PT on Bravo TV, a program service of NBC Universal Cable Entertainment.

Kabarak University debuts its Android bootcamp for Nakuru County
Kabarak University, in underlining the important role of ICT, held its first Android mobile boot camp for Nakuru County on Nov 1 to 3, 2012 under the theme “Innovation & Solutions through Mobile“.

Kenyan daily deals website pinning to make sales
Zetu Deals, a Kenyan daily deals website, is one the country's first businesses to have endorsed Pinterest, which uses standard social networking features to share content by pinning images, videos and other objects on its user interface known as Pinboards, for a monthly discount fair.

Kenya's music buying service 'Mdundo' featured on BBC’s Click
Kenya’s new scratch card buying service dubbed Mdundo was featured on Click, BBC's flagship TV show, for introducing innovative means of selling music downloads in Africa.

The HumanIPO Debate: Does Kenya need Konza Tech City?
In the second installment of the HumanIPO debate series, where reporters and guest writers debate important issues within the African tech sector and invite readers to join in the discussion on Twitter and Facebook, we discuss the positives and negatives of the multi-billion shilling Konza Tech City project.

The HumanIPO Debate: Should CCK continue implementing the reduced MTR rates?
The Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) has finally announced a cut in mobile termination rates (MTR), ending months of uncertainty about the move and flying in the face of protests from market leaders Safaricom and Orange. But is this the right move? HumanIPO reporters Gythan Munga and Kamau Mbote debate the issue.

Kenya’s digital broadcasting switchover deadline extended
Kenya’s communications industry regulator the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) has extended the deadline for the analogue to digital TV switchover to April 2013, from the previous deadline of the end of this year.

The Next Web unveils online entrepreneurship academy
Top publisher of online technology news The Next Web (TNW) has started an online training and education programme through its new Web-based venture the TNW Academy.

Student suspended for washing college’s ‘dirty linen’ on Facebook, Twitter
A student in Kenya has been suspended for one year after being accused of ranting against his college on social media.

Applications open for Safaricom’s AppStar challenge
Safaricom in partnership with the Vodafone Group has unveiled an Appstar challenge for local application developers, who will be contesting for a grand prize of KSh1 million.

Safaricom cuts off 680,000 fake phone subscribers
Safaricom, Kenya’s leading mobile network operator, today cut off 680,000 subscribers in compliance with the Communication Commission of Kenya’s fake handset switch-off directive.

OPINION: Take on CCK's fake handset switch-off fiasco
The Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) is just about to take the bold step of switching off all counterfeit mobile handsets, looking to rid Kenyan streets of black market phones.

Kenyan company rolls out social media monitoring tool ahead of elections
Kenya-based new media company African Laughter has launched a social media monitoring phone app to help politicians monitor their reputations online.

Angry Birds maker Rovio unveils Bad Piggies game
Rovio, the makers of the riveting addictive mobile and Web game Angry birds officially announced a new game Bad Piggies on Tuesday.

Opinion: SMS services’ rivalry with WAP applications
A number of games nowadays, aside from gambling, demand the taste of money. Web and mobile apps, which were popular about 10 years ago, have now been eclipsed by SMS that rakes in 28 times the revenue in mobile commerce.

Weekends or weekdays, when does Africa browse most?
Mobile Web has taken over the lives of people across the world. If not by chance, most people will mostly browse during the weekends than weekdays. This, however, according to Opera mobile is not an easy logic. Some countries will record lesser unique users and others more page views while others will transfer more or less data.

IBM Simon: The cellular gizmo that paved way for smartphones
As the world bids farewell to feature phones, new look gadgets generally referred to as smartphones are taking over the void. IBM Simon, a PDA launched in 1994, is said to be the device that ushered in the touch screen phones of the 21st Century.

Hot new pocket friendly smartphones hit Kenyan market
Following the introduction of three high-end and affordable mobile phones within a span of 2 months, Kenya is currently witnessing a clash of the phone making titans.

Growthhub, Village Capital partner for business acceleration in Africa
GrowthAfrica has entered into a partnership with Village Capital to run a program dubbed Village Capital Nairobi program at The GrowthHub.

Strathmore partners with Samsung Galaxy 10.1 tablet for virtual classes
In a joint venture with Samsung, Kenya-based Strathmore University has embarked on a project set to see the college’s MBA students use the Samsung Galaxy 10.1 tablet for lectures.

Nigerian mobile operators get new customer acquisition platform
Vytautas Paukstys, CEO and Chief Executive officer of Eskimi, a Lithuanian-based mobile social network recently revealed the company’s new mobile money marketing platform aimed at supporting the cashless initiative.

50 Pivot East semi-finalists unveiled
Pivot East, a mobile and Web competition slated for June 5 and 6, 2012 at the Ole Serani Hotel in Nairobi has announced its semi-finalists.

15-year-old girl scoops top prize at Science Hack Day Nairobi
Leah Atieno, a 15-year old high school student came out top in the Judges Selection for her brilliant showcase of Alpharex, a 30 inch robot that walks and uses voice commands.

SCN to link Nigerian students via android phones
Students Circle Network (SCN), a global social network for College and High School students, has partnered with the Encipher Group Nigeria to make educational resources accessible to students in Nigeria via the android phones.

Day One @ Ignite Hackathon Nairobi
The Ignite Hackathon kicked off yesterday in Nairobi, witnessing over 80 developers register on day one. Other than the busy coding activities, the day was highlighted by an interesting speaker faculty, including James Mwai, winner of the Nokia for Millions Challenge.

Elevator Pitch Day by 88mph in Startup Garage Nairobi
Here’s another offer for East African startups to make themselves seen. On Monday, 26th March, Kenyan accelerator 88mph will organize an informal Pitch Day at Startup Garage, and is inviting startups to sign up.

Ignite Hackathon to Charge Up at Startup Garage Nairobi
The newly launched tech hub in Kenya, Startup Garage will host its first major event on Saturday when eMobilis, a technology academy brings the Ignite Hackathon to Nairobi.

Dating: Eskimi is Out to Give Love a Location
Social network and mobile flirting service Eskimi is now partnering with land mark data provider Gecko Landmarks to deliver location based dating and flirting services. According to Vytas Paukstys, CEO at Eskimi, “ Love needs location.”

SA: New Nokia Data Package to Rival Blackberry’s
South Africa Telecommunications Company Nashua Mobile and Phone Manufacturer Nokia have introduced a unique data service for Nokia that will compete with the BlackBerry Internet Solution (BIS).

Interview: Safaricom Clarifies Position on Bulk SMS Blockage
Weeks ago, Safaricom decided to block every incoming SMS terminating with a modified foreign alphanumeric code to its subscribers. Many companies acquiring bulk SMS from international providers were targeted.

Day One @ Mobile Web East Africa 2012 (#MWEA2012)
Mobile Web East Africa (#mwea2012) competition, organized by All Amber (UK) and hosted by ICT Board, kicked off at the Southern Sun in Nairobi Kenya yesterday morning. Here are some of the ideas which prevailed.

Safaricom Blocking International Bulk SMS
Bulk SMS solution providers in Kenya have been dealt a blow after Safaricom decided to block every incoming SMS terminating with a modified foreign alphanumeric code to its subscribers. Their position is that any bulk SMS purchased away from them will be blocked from terminating to its subscribers.

Facebook Verification to Control Impersonation
Facebook, with its over 37.7 million users in Africa, had until recently stayed away from verifying the identity of high profile users, unlike Twitter that provides an indisputable way of identifying VIPs through the blue ‘Verified’ badge. Impersonation as a result has long been an issue of concern.

Startup Weekend Goes to Nairobi
A 54 hour start-up event, Startup Weekend, that canvases cities around the world will be in Nairobi on February 24-26.

134 Million African Internet Users in a Decade
A decade ago, the number of African Internet users stood at 4.5 million. Today the figure has risen close to 140 million users which is a 2 988.4% growth according to a research by the Internet World Stats.

Vodacom Smart Tab Launched in South Africa
Vodacom, South Africa’s 1st cellular network, quietly launched a range of 7 and 10 inch screen tablets to be used with the mobile operator’s contract and pre-paid plans.

iCow Introduced Livestock Trading on Mobile
ICow, the winning application in the Apps for Africa Competition in 2010 introduced a new feature the iCow Soko, allowing small- scale dairy farmers to trade livestock on their mobile phones in Kenya.

Kenyan Businesses Going Online with Payment Aggregators
Just 8 years ago in Kenya, online businesses had to contend with international payment and money transfer services such as Paypal that offered little or no option of withdrawing money locally. Today, the invent of mobile money has businesses using the mobile payment to transact online via payment gateways.

Top Tweeters in Africa Revealed
According to results of recent study “How Africa Tweets”, South Africans are by far the most active tweeters of the continent (5.3 mill tweets in Q4), followed by Kenya (2,476,800) Nigeria (1,646,212), Egypt (1,214,062) and Morocco (745,620) in the top five.

InMobi, largest independent mobile advertising network with offices on 4 continents, is pushing its mobile and web content advertising in Africa.

You hardly find a tech event focused on improving learning of technology in primary and secondary schools in Africa without the agenda being to only equip the kids with computers and laptops.

Kenyan developers will help test drive an initiative by Computer Scientists at the Carnegie Mellon University that aims at formulating a professional certification for Software Developers.

Facebook announced in a recent press conference the integration of 60 apps to the timeline. They also hinted at allowing developers to build applications that enable users to add just about anything to their timelines.

Kenyans can now receive medical advice from qualified health professionals by dialing a service from their Safaricom line.

Afghanistan Emulating Africa with M-Paisa
War infested third world country Afghanistan in 2008 became the first country after Kenya to launch mobile money transfer service in the country. The service, dubbed M-Paisa, was initially adopted as a service for the Afghan police force to pay salaries securely via mobile rather than in cash.

103 Kenyan Government Websites Hacked
Hacking is a malicious practice that comes to no good involved parties. At best, you can only hope that a hacker is some guy just trying to prove his expertise rather than one trying access and destroy your data.

Kenyan E-Commerce Site Accepting Installments
Ravenzo is an online shopping website launched in November 2008 where Kenyan consumers can purchase laptops, computers, accessories and gadgets at an affordable price. They deal in brands that include HP, Dell, Toshiba, Samsung, Acer, APC, Mecer, Epson, Canon, Microsoft, Kaspersky and many more.

Mobile Web East Africa Returns to Nairobi
Mobile Web East Africa 2012 (#MWEA2012) is part of a series of Mobile technology events that include Mobile Web Africa 2009, 2010 and 2011, Mobile Web West Africa 2011 and Mobile Entertainment Africa 2011.

New Android Africa Challenge with Courses Competition
The Africa Android Challenge (AAC) is an opportunity to discover the best developers and Android experts on the African continent. The contestants have an opportunity to create innovative applications and produce local "African" content. In addition, they can submit lectures related to Android on the Android Platform via the Google University Consortium Program.

Wikipedia Blacks Out in Protest of Internet Censorship
Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales announced through a tweet today that Wikipedia’s English Version would on Wednesday, 18th January go offline for 24hrs in Protest of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA).

Gathering of African Tech Entreprenuers in Kampala
The African Gathering is an annual conference that brings together thinkers, innovators and entrepreneurs who inspire development in technology, health, social networking and good governance in the African Continent.

Kenyan Football Site Futaa Redesigned, a football website in Kenya covering local leagues and live score updates yesterday unveiled a new website design that enhances the look and readability of news content on the site.

Android App Monitoring M-PESA Transactions
Android users can now download an app from the Android market that lets them track their MPESA transactions from one location. M-Pesa is an award winning mobile money transfer service launched in Kenya, Tanzania and Afghanistan. In Kenya alone, the service had over 16 million subscribers as of November last year.

Google has been accused by Kenyan business search engine Mocality for scraping their client database and using the information obtained to market their Getting Kenyan Businesses Online initiative, KBO, which sought to host Kenyan businesses by creating free websites for them.

Rwanda has been recognized in many publications as one of the few places in the world where setting up a new business is easiest. With only over 2 million persons using their mobile phones only as a tool for communication, the opportunity for growth in the mobile industry is huge.

The Apple iPhone 4s will beginning Friday 13th of January be available in Kenya and 21 other countries in Africa and America.

Fireside Chat with Safaricom CEO
Thursday evening last week brought the best minds in the ICT industry in Kenya at one location once again. This time, the event was held at the iHub innovation center in Nairobi. In attendance were members of the iHub community, Mobile application developers and entrepreneurs in Kenya.

African Financial Mapping System CrowdPesa Now Launched
PesaPay launched in December last year a Mobile location-based app to map and track financial data and information in Kenya. The application, dubbed as Crowdpesa, provides access to information about people, entities and financial services located in various parts of the world.