Tech: Latest News
Tom Jackson, 4:42 am AFKI Original
Another year, another milestone for the African technology space. With things developing at a rapid pace, it is hard to predict what will be the next big innovation in this exciting sector. Let’s have a go, in any case. Drones seem to have been a topic of discussion for a long time, yet in Africa we haven’t seen much of them. That is probably about to change. The continent is no longer deemed a risky place to do business, but rather digital’s “final frontier”.
Dana Sanchez, 1:45 pm
In the process of tapping into the sharing economy, Airbnb tapped into a relatively unfilled niche in Africa — the need for reliable, mid-range accommodation in African cities. Doing so helped Airbnb become the second most valuable U.S. startup in 2016. Valued at $68 billion, Uber is the most valuable startup in the U.S. and across the globe — proof that you can get rich by sharing.
Kevin Mwanza, 6:32 am
M-Pesa, the world’s largest mobile money network, could be the key to poverty eradication in the developing world based on its success in Kenya where almost 200,000 households headed by women are living above the poverty line as a result of the innovation, according to a study by Journal Science. The service, owned by telecom service provider Safaricom has economically improved the lives of many families in rural parts of East Africa’s biggest economy in the last six years.
Tom Jackson, 2:01 am AFKI Original
Africa is increasingly establishing itself as a hotbed of tech innovation, and 2016 was packed with further progress. From Cairo to Cape Town, from major players to the smallest startups, African tech is developing at a startling pace. But what were the major developments on the tech scene over the course of 2016? Increasingly, investors are seeing Africa as an opportunity rather than a risk, and the tech space in particular is proving itself able to withstand the general slowdown.
Staff, 6:12 pm
Where there are challenges or deficits, business and investment opportunities often emerge in the informal sector. The East African informal sector contributes 30-40% of GDP. Operating off the grid (not paying taxes), informal-sector employers and employees run the risk of punishment, limited police protection, and lack of social support services. Consumers help keep the informal sector growing, and it’s not going away anytime soon. Formal companies are getting rich providing services to the millions of consumers who use informal services. Here are some of them.
Dana Sanchez, 12:01 am
Tanzania, Rwanda and Malawi have a permissive approach to drone regulations, helping make them attractive places for trials. Madagascar has also tested drones to reduce the time it takes to transport life-saving supplies in areas where roads are impassable or transport infrastructure is nonexistent. How useful are drones for carrying out human welfare tasks? The work is still too new and the data too thin to know. One study said humanitarian cargoes are often much heavier than a drone can handle.
Staff, 12:00 am
Throughout 2016, the perception of bitcoin as a new safe haven persisted. People thought that if the U.S. Federal Reserve hiked interest rates, bitcoin’s perceived use as protection against economic uncertainty might be diminished. Its price might then fall. But despite the dollar’s 2016 gains and year-end rate hike, bitcoin still outpaced. When the U.S. dollar surges, currencies in emerging markets are devalued, increasing demand and the price of bitcoin, says investor Vinny Lingham.
Staff, 4:43 pm
Demo Africa has sent 20 African startups to Silicon Valley over the last four years. Arriving there is no guarantee of success. Twelve of the startups are still alive and breathing, four are on life support and four “are just dead and done,” said angel investor Stephen Ozoigbo. Demo Africa was launched five years ago by the U.S. State Department. It’s the African edition of a bigger group of events that include Demo U.S., Russia, Europe, Brazil and Demo China. The Demo-brand launchpad has helped big-name startups such as Adobe got exposure.
Ann Brown, 2:52 pm AFKI Original
Simbarashe Mhuriro has learned that doing business in a country with a bad reputation requires a fighting spirit. Mhuriro founded Oxygen Africa, raising $7 million so far to develop grid-connected solar plants in Zimbabwe. “Every time I step in front of a panel of investors, it’s like stepping into a ring and fighting for your country,” he told AFKInsider. In the process, Mhuriro said he has learned to create his own destiny. “With renewable energy you get to effect change in people’s thoughts and actions.”
Uganda Could Be 1st African Country To Regulate Digital Currencies. Bitcoin Africa: What To Expect In 2017By Dana Sanchez, 4:52 pm
Some African countries have openly criticized bitcoin use. Others have taken a wait-and-see approach. Bitcoin enjoyed a rally in 2016 that’s beaten every major currency, stock index and commodity contract, surging 15 percent during Christmas week alone. Bitcoin transactions increased more than tenfold in Kenya in 2016, according to LocalBitcoins, the world’s largest online bitcoin trading marketplace. In 2017, Uganda could be the first African country to regulate digital currencies.
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