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Technologically African: The Tech Boom in Africa

For some time now, I’ve been talking about how mobile Apps. and technology was going to be the game changer for Africa, while trying to find African programmers to join me in my vision and path to future Africa. Now, everywhere I look, there is one story after another about the growth and use of technology in Africa. From mobile technology , to smart money usage,  to creating homegrown tablets, to retail and merchandising, to solutions for power generation and everyday information – there is an App. for that and companies like AfriApps are literally putting Africa on the map and in business. There are incubators, learning centers, companies and innovators like Herman Chinery-Hesse known as the Bill Gates of AfricaMEST Ghana and AppAfrica International creating opportunities to motivate Africans to get directly involved in App. development and their own African destiny.

Africa seems to be rising economically with technology being one of its greatest contributors. While government entities stuck in the past maybe overwhelmed and sometimes just plain ignorant about the necessity and greatness of investing and using technology to move African nations forward; developers in and out of Africa are stepping up to the plate to offer Africans new beginnings in their quality of life by making necessities of everyday life easier and more accessible. From knowing the flow of traffic patterns in any given area to plan daily journeys, to using your mobile phone as a wallet, bank and cash register to make daily purchases and to accept payments for purchases and services rendered, and even making the local and global traveler’s life and experience that much easier and better throughout Africa, where there are often no registered street addresses, consistent public transportation and direct landlines for businesses- the tech boom in Africa has set the stage for solutions to many of Africa’s basic challenges.

There’s a buzz, a palpable energy, running through the corridors of Africa’s capitals and urban areas, and much of it revolves around tech…What happens when smartphones outsell computers four to one, and 50% of a continent’s population is below the age of 20? You have a technology-literate mobile generation unlike any that has come beforeREAD MORE

The Congolese entrepreneur responsible for Africa’s first-ever homegrown smartphone and tablet, says that “only Africans know what Africa needs … Apple is huge in the U.S., Samsung is huge in Asia and we want VMK to be huge in Africa.” Via Positive Black Stories

There has never been a more exciting time in Africa’s tech start-up community. The sector has reached an unprecedented level of maturity and growth. Africa’s techies and developers are no longer building mobile apps, software and websites just for the love of it; they are adopting a rather aggressive approach towards business planning, commercialization and profitability..READ MORE

Dozens of youth leaders from across Africa gathered in Kampala, Uganda, December 14 to present ideas for innovative solutions to some of the continent’s pressing problems… With the theme “Our Moment,” the event showed how youth are harnessing their energy to create a new future for themselves. The gathering was organized by TEDxYouth@Bukoto with the U.S. Embassy in Kampala and the State Department Office of the Special Representative to Muslim Communities and the Office of Global Youth Issues. Bukoto is a township within Kampala, Uganda’s capital… Eleven young African change-makers told those attending the conference what motivates them, explained how they apply their ideas for social good, and articulated their visions for the future of Africa…” READ MORE

It’s just past midnight, and Herman Chinery-Hesse can’t sleep. The 43-year-old entrepreneur is lying on his back, eyes closed, mind cranking…He’s working through the details of a pitch to American and European investors — many of whom have never backed a company like the one he’s proposing. The pitch is absurdly ambitious: a tech company that aims to reshape the business climate for small entrepreneurs in Africa while grabbing a share of the $28 billion that Africans living abroad send home every year. His start-up is a long shot, will cost millions of dollars to execute, and could take five years to get off the ground. In other words, it’s not the kind of thing you would expect from a company based in West Africa, a place known for many things — malaria, civil wars, famine — but definitely not disruptive technology companies…Ghana is a small country in one of the poorest parts of the sub-Saharan region, but it’s also a hotbed of technology entrepreneurship thanks largely to the pioneering work of Chinery-Hesse. Today, Accra boasts dozens of tech companies and one of the largest Internet cafés in Africa. Chinery-Hesse was an early investor in the Internet café, which also serves as an incubator that rents space to start-ups. He went on to found what is widely considered the first and largest software company in the country, called theSOFTtribe, where he serves as executive chairman and controlling shareholder. Chinery-Hesse has also left a wider mark on the country’s tech sector. Many former SOFTtribe engineers have gone on to start other software companies, including the second largest in the country…These accomplishments have earned him a moniker at once homespun and grandiose: “the Bill Gates of Ghana.” They have also landed him speaking engagements at Harvard, Wharton, and Cambridge. Last summer, he shared a stage with Bono and Jane Goodall at the TEDGlobal conference in Tanzania. “Herman is the godfather of the software industry, not just in Ghana but in all of Africa,” says Eric Osiakwan, a Ghanaian journalist and IT consultant. At its height in 2003, SOFTtribe employed 80 people, mostly programmers, and was booking well over $1 million a year in revenue — a substantial sum in a country in which a three-bedroom house costs $20,000…READ MORE

 

DHL Express has expressed optimism over Africa’s technology boom, saying more consumers are demanding good quality products with affordable prices, tailored to its environment…It described Nigeria as having half of Africa’s consumer spending market, saying that in 2010, Africa was home to over one billion consumers and consumer expenditure worth $600bn, which amounted to eight per cent of total consumer spending…“In SA alone, consumer electronics was projected to be worth $9.4bn in 2012; an average South African spends $940 on electronics per year, this is more than the average Indian,” it explained, adding that Africa was currently undergoing rapid urbanisation and less than half of the population live in the cities, and is set to increase to 70 per cent in the next 10 years…READ MORE

The African Ministerial Council on Science and Technology (AMCOST) was established in November 2003 under the auspices of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and the African Union (AU)…It is a high-level platform for developing policies and setting priorities on science, technology and innovation for African development. AMCOST provides both political and policy leadership for the implementation of Africa’s Science and Technology Consolidated Plan of Action (CPA)…READ MORE

For African politicians and officials involved in the increasingly protracted Digital Migration, 2012 has been a year they would rather forget, but how realistic is significant progress over the next 12 months?…With Mauritius the only country on the continent to have completed the switch from analogue to digital signal, even Africa’s heavyweights of technology and infrastructure – Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa – are scrambling to catch up in order to meet the agreed June 2015 deadline…There is a lot of talk, promotion of the expected benefits and planned conferences for 2013, but the talk is cheap and there are some embarrassing own goals which will need to be rectified quickly..READ MORE

 

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