Tech: Latest News
Staff, 12:01 am
Facebook’s record of collaborating with governments should make us wary of Free Basics. The app is only worth the gamble if one believes that governments where it’s been rolled out have the best interests of their citizens at heart — a presumption that is unwarranted in much of Africa. In just the last year, in Gabon, Ethiopia, Uganda, Chad, Zimbabwe, and many other countries, online actions of pro-democracy protestors prompted the state to shut down the internet for the entire country. Free Basics gives them a version of the internet that totally control.
Dana Sanchez, 5:10 pm
A big draw for Sony Music in West Africa is mobile music services in countries where the global record industry hasn’t made much money. Michael Ugwu, Sony’s GM for West Africa, spent part of the year signing deals with telcos like MTN and Airtel so they can distribute ringtones and market content to tens of millions of subscribers. Ugwu says he has clinched contracts with iTunes and VEVO. “For us it’s about trying to formalize … creating markets that are taxable,” he said. “Once you create those platforms and the government benefits, (you) create the right business environment for more creative businesses to grow.”
Staff, 4:03 pm
The Africa Energy Forum isn’t happening in Africa but 75 percent of Africa’s energy regulators, utilities bosses and ministers will be there, according to event organizers. The 19th annual conference is scheduled for June 7–9, 2017, in Copenhagen, Denmark. Participants travel from Africa to Europe to meet and do business with power investors from around the world. The goal? To capitalize on the wealth of Scandinavian companies investing in Africa’s power sector.
Peter Pedroncelli, 11:50 am AFKI Original
Naspers is Africa’s most valuable company, and it has built its $72 billion valuation through investments in international companies and the creation of other businesses that have gone global. The South African media company which is listed on the Johannesburg and London Stock Exchanges has stakes in about 45 technology and media companies around the world. Here are 15 global businesses owned by Africa’s most valuable company, Naspers.
Dana Sanchez, 3:02 pm
Cape Town hopes to become the first city in Africa to use electric buses for public transport, but other African countries have made earlier first-mover claims. The high cost of electric buses has been a barrier for the industry. They’re twice as much as their non-electric counterparts. But as crude oil prices fluctuate, the global electric bus market is predicted to grow 28 percent by 2020. By the end of 2020, China is expected to account for nearly half the global market.
Tom Jackson, 2:33 am AFKI Original
Whereas in places like London, local transport authorities have rolled out app and web-based solutions allowing commuters to check schedules and be notified of issues, in Africa that role is falling to startups like Ma3Route and GoMetro. This is a vital role. Transport is at the heart of how people live and work, and making it affordable and accessible is key to economic success.
Staff, 12:01 am
The cost of wind and solar energy has fallen so dramatically that wind and solar plants can now be built in South Africa at nearly half the cost of new coal, according to the country’s main research organisation. A request for proposals for 9.6GW of nuclear power has been put off indefinitely. South Africa’s most recent competitive tender in November 2015 for large-scale solar was one sixth the cost of its first tender in 2011. The cost of wind energy has also fallen by 60 percent.
Dana Sanchez, 8:48 am
Microbial solutions for pesticides and fertilizer are revolutionizing Western agriculture, but are slow getting started in Africa. There’s an overwhelming need to improve soil health and crop productivity on the continent. Yields have been stagnant for decades for several staple food crops. The bacteria living in roots, leaves and soil that help plants absorb nutrients, fight disease, and resist drought are less toxic than chemical ones, and potentially more efficient for farmers.
Peter Pedroncelli, 3:05 pm AFKI Original
The hotel industry in Africa is growing with opportunities and excitement, as investors make plans to enter the market while other more established players look to expand their footprint on the continent. Here are 12 things that perhaps you did not know about the hotel industry in Africa.
Tom Jackson, 4:27 am AFKI Original
Far too many times over the last few months we have seen African governments meddle in the continent’s tech sector. The risk is that this undue involvement will curtail the growth of what is currently Africa’s most buoyant sector. The Kenyan government was the latest to get active in tackling tech last week, backing legislation that will regulate content of gaming applications, video on demand (VoD) companies and over the top (OTT) services.
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