Archives: Media, Internet, and Technology

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SpaceX rocket explosion deals a blow to expanding internet connectivity in SSA

The explosion of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket yesterday was bad news for SpaceX, certainly, but the loss of the rocket’s payload is particularly troubling in light of the need to further expand internet access within Sub-Saharan Africa. That payload was the Amos-6 communications satellite, which Facebook, as part of its Internet.org initiative, intended to use … Continue Reading

Commercializing Africa’s Rapid Urbanization

In a recent interview, Executive Director of the Nairobi-based United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) Dr. Joan Clos stated that “urbanization will be a big opportunity for Africa in the coming years.”  It comes as no surprise that harnessing the potential of Africa’s  urbanization will be a top agenda item at Habitat III, the major … Continue Reading

You cannot use your hand to force the sun to set

Social media is one of the most powerful tools available to Africans — especially the sizeable youth population — who previously have felt disenfranchised, neglected, and powerless.  Across the continent, this tool has been wielded to demand accountability, strengthen democracy, and increase transparency.  Unfortunately, there are increasing efforts to attack this power. The African Charter … Continue Reading

Francophone and Technophile: French-Speaking Africa’s Budding Tech Scenes

The past few years have been replete with media stories of an unfolding “African digital renaissance” and the wonders of the “Silicon Savannah” and other Sub-Saharan African tech hubs, with coverage reaching a fever pitch in the wake of the recent Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Nairobi. Yet francophone Africa has been noticeably absent from tech reporting … Continue Reading

India’s ICT Companies Lead the Way to Further Indian Investment in Africa

This week, numerous companies from emerging economies will gather in New Delhi, India to participate in the third annual Growth Net conference, a unique platform focused on promoting business, trade and financial partnerships amongst the countries represented.  South-South cooperation will be the focus of much of Growth Net’s agenda, and a principal topic of interest … Continue Reading

Alternative Data Is Making (Credit) History in Sub-Saharan Africa

In yet another example of how mobile technology is revolutionizing service delivery in Sub-Saharan Africa, application developers, data mining companies and financial institutions are using mobile usage data and social media activity to determine the credit risk of potential borrowers.  These efforts are helping to surmount one of the most significant obstacles to extending credit … Continue Reading

Mobile Money Continues to Prove to be the Way Forward for Banking in Sub-Saharan Africa

For the past few years, the explosive growth of mobile financial services (which includes mobile banking, mobile payments and mobile money transfers) in Kenya and other countries in Sub-Saharan Africa has indicated that the future of banking on the continent will be through mobile phone accounts rather than brick and mortar locations.  New analysis by … Continue Reading

South Africa Pushes Ahead with Proposed Drone Regulations

As recently reported in Covington’s GlobalPolicyWatch blog, the US Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”) has granted CNN permission to use drones under the terms of a research agreement that will study how drones can be used safely and effectively by news organizations.  Drones or  unmanned aircraft systems (“UAS”) have also been used for journalism in Africa; … Continue Reading

Nollywood and Bollywood film industries to collaborate

On 4 January 2015, India’s Acting High Commissioner in Nigeria, Kaisar Alam, announced that the Indian commission is facilitating a partnership between Nollywood (Nigeria’s movie industry) and Bollywood (India’s movie industry).  Mr Alam noted that the two industries contribute greatly to their respective countries’ gross domestic product and stated that “India can use its more … Continue Reading

African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights Issues Landmark Ruling on Criminal Defamation Laws

Today, the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights issued its judgment on the landmark freedom of speech case, Lohé Issa Konaté v. Burkina Faso.  In a major victory for media and human rights organizations in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Court “has ruled that imprisonment for defamation violates the right to freedom of expression while criminal … Continue Reading

Facebook Makes Strides in Africa by Enabling the Market and then Tailoring to It

Although it groups the African region within its “Rest of World” operating segment, Facebook’s attention to — and resulting successes on — the continent indicate that Africa has the potential to play a significant role in the company’s future. This month, Facebook reached 100 million active users in Africa, a figure that represents half of … Continue Reading

e-Curriculum Portal: Innovative Service Delivery in Nigeria’s Education Sector

As various African countries seek to engage their sizeable youth populations, this human capital investment will prove as important as the other types of investments being made on the continent.  The e-Curriculum portal in Nigeria demonstrates how the public and private sector can work together to ensuring that these youth have the skills needed to … Continue Reading

Drones Over Kenya and South Africa?

Similar to the growing U.S. interest in exploring civilian uses of unmanned aircraft systems (“UAS”), efforts are underway across the African continent to deploy UAS in innovative ways such as protecting wildlife, expanding internet connectivity to isolated communities, and delivering humanitarian aid.  In Kenya, Dickens Olewe and his African SkyCAM project is helping journalists to … Continue Reading

The Electronic Wallet System: How Nigeria Is Dialing Into Its Agricultural Sector

One of the most effective and innovative uses of mobile technology in recent years has been in the delivery of government services.  Yesterday, during the Corporate Council on Africa’s “Leading the Way in U.S.-Africa Investment” program, the Nigerian Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Dr. Akinwumi Adesina detailed how mobile technology has been used to … Continue Reading

The Role of Technology in Spreading Democracy

In the past two decades, the spread of democracy has been one of the most important advances across the African continent.  Since the 2008 launch of the website Ushahidi (the Swahili word for “testimony” or “witness”) which crowd-sourced and mapped user-generated reports of post-election violence in Kenya, technology has been playing an increasingly critical role … Continue Reading

Innovative Solutions for E-Waste Management in Africa

Electrical and electronic waste (“e-waste”), which includes discarded technology equipment and parts, contains contaminants that are hazardous to human health and the environment.  E-waste management is a growing concern for a number of African countries which, in addition to generating e-waste domestically, also receive millions of tons of (often illegally) exported foreign e-waste.  In light … Continue Reading

Nollywood, Intellectual Property and Nigeria’s New GDP

There are many significant aspects to the recent recalculation of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which has nearly doubled in size to become the largest economy on the African continent.  It is worth noting that the country’s film industry, known as Nollywood, had not previously registered statistically. According to the new calculation, it now accounts … Continue Reading
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