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Angels over Johannesburg – South Africa hosts the first Pan-African event to introduce ICT entrepreneurs to angel investors

Until recently there were so many gaps in the ICT entrepreneurship ecosystem that new start-ups did not have much of a fighting chance of success. However, even with the recent improvements there has still been an “equity gap” for newer start-ups. The creation of the Angel Africa network and its Angel Fair event next week may change things. Russell Southwood talks to co-founder and long-time ICT activist Eric Osiakwan.

Welcome to Gulu – What it feels like being an Internet user at the edge of the network

African data networks have improved immeasurably in the last 3 years.  There are still many problems like under-provisioning and vandalism but they are beginning to start to work. However, go only a short distance from the core networks and it’s a very different picture. This week we talk to Brian Longwe, Programme Manager, Internet Now! about the forgotten Internet users of Gulu.

African LTE momentum is building despite all the obstacles along the way

LTE will be a game changer in terms of how a significant number of Africans use their phones. Its implementation has been slow so far because of the many obstacles it faces: a shortage of devices, lack of appropriate spectrum and waiting to get back investment on 3G. But from our tracking it’s clear that a momentum is building up that will see LTE implementation as the big story on data in 2014. Russell Southwood looks at the current state of play.

VoIP services in Africa already driving the transition to data – video will accelerate that trend

For years VoIP services in Africa were the grey market in voice calling, which was seen as rather grubby by the mainstream operators. VoIP came of age with  widespread use of consumer apps like Skype and Viber which have continued to increase in popularity, particularly among high-end consumers. Now a corporate version of this kind of VoIP calling is being adopted by companies in Africa. Russell Southwood spoke to Marc Israel, Microsoft Office Division Director and reflects on what this means for traditional mobile operators.

The irresistible Law of Circles – getting mobile and online content to African users in a fragmented market

For those launching mobile content and services, Africa’s mobile users are a fragmented bunch. Overcoming this fragmentation is one of the key challenges for both entrepreneurs and developers face. Russell Southwood looks at how the Law of Circles can help you understand how to overcome these challenges.

Mobile incumbents start to make early moves towards an all-data future by targeting online transactions and services

Vodafone’s contested acquisition of Kabel Deutschland was highly publicized and is but one high-profile move by one of the former “masters of the universe” to address the all-data future. Two similar things have happened in Africa that are closer to home.  Firstly, Millicom invested in Rocket Internet’s African companies and MTN pledged a wodge of cash for Amadeus Ventures’ for investment in online and mobile applications and services.

Bozza steps up its game to become a platform for new African talent – 300,000 users without marketing

No-one has ever said that Africa is short of potential creative talent – in music, film and writing – but until recently it has lacked the channels through which newcomers can project what they do. Bozza’s digital platform aims to take talent from the slum or township and allow it to connect with potential audiences. Russell Southwood talked to Emma Kaye about how she sees Bozza developing.

iSpace joins the wave of incubators setting up across the continent but questions still hover over the ecosystem

The past two years has seen the steady growth of things that are variously called innovation hubs, incubators and accelerators. They are now creating support networks that give ICT entrepreneurs a much better chance of survival. This week Russell Southwood spoke to Josiah Eyison and reflects of the continuing dangers for this ecosystem.

Flashcast’s hybrid play seeks to create both an ad medium to reach the new middle classes and a mass-based Twitter

Flashcast’s founder Jeremy Gordon wanted to solve a simple problem. There were very few low-cast advertising channels for small businesses in Kenya. He decided to create a geo-locational, wireless-run bus service in Nairobi. Russell Southwood talked to him about the potential for its new service.

Africa’s mobile media moves beyond ringtones, football scores and news headlines

Everyone will nod quickly at the idea that the mobile is Africa’s device of choice but people have been much slower to realize the implications for mobile media. Algy Williams, CEO, Every1Mobile is publishing seven mobile channels (what in old media speak you might have called magazines) on everything from sex and relationships to creative writing. What marks it out as unusual is that it has already gathered sizeable loyal readerships for each of these channels across Africa. Russell Southwood talked to him last week.

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