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Issue no 836 22nd July 2016

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Money Transfer

  • M-Pesa customers will soon be able to use debit cards for quicker transactions.

    Safaricom, parent of the M-Pesa mobile money platform, is eying a piece of the $13.5 billion in annual transactions in Kenya’s payment cards industry with a new debit card. In its pilot stage, the new card, which is largely expected to challenge commercial banks for card commissions, is linked to its Lipa na M-Pesa (pay with M-Pesa) service, which enables traders and individuals to settle bills at different points of sale across the country.

    Operating on the Near Field Communication (NFC) technology ecosystem, Safaricom’s M-Pesa debit cards and point-of-sale (POS) terminals will allow consumers to pay for goods and services much quicker on the ‘tap-and-go’ basis. It is best suited for “high-volume, low-value transactions that are typically paid for with cash (pdf)”. A transaction occurs when an NFC-enabled mobile handset is placed near a POS terminal, typically over distances of up to 10 centimetres.

    The current payment set-up using M-Pesa is much slower as it requires users to follow through several stages before a transaction is completed. In a typical set-up like the cashier’s till at a supermarket, a buyer is required to input the till number, the amount money due, the M-Pesa PIN and then wait for the transaction to be completed.

    The success of its flagship mobile money transaction service, M-Pesa, has inspired the mobile phone firm to seek further success in the electronic payments industry, whose popularity has however lagged behind mobile money’s in the past five years.
    Read the full story here:
    Source: Quartz 19 July 2016

  • mastercardUnited Bank Africa (UBA) and Mastercard have announced a partnership which will see UBA act as the issuer for MasterCard in 18 new markets in Africa. The partnership, which came into effect in 2016, will see UBA issue Mastercard credit, debit and prepaid cards across these markets.

    The partnership will also focus on increased payments infrastructure across Africa, including the roll out of point-of-sale and mobile-point-of-sale technology, to ensure merchants are able to accept the cards when introduced into these markets.

    Mastercard and UBA are partnering across the 19 African countries in which UBA currently operates: Nigeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Cote D’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, Gabon, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Mozambique, Republic of Congo, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. Read the full story here:
    Source: ITNews Africa 19 July 2016


  • South Africa’s third largest mobile network, Cell C, has expressed its concern over having to fork out at least R3bn to bid for radio frequency spectrum. Communications regulator Icasa on Friday invited applicants to apply for spectrum licences in the 700MHz, 800MHz and 2,6GHz bands.

    The move comes as mobile networks such as Vodacom have called for more frequencies as they have resorted to “re-farming” spectrum to provide limited LTE coverage in the country.

    An applicant will qualify to bid on only one of the spectrum lots which range from “Lot B” to “Lot E”.

    The reserve price or minimum starting cost of the lots is also R3bn, while the auction for the licences is expected to start on 17 January 2017 and end on 30 January 2017.

    But Cell C has questioned the timelines and reserve price for the auction.

    “On an initial reading the timetable, it seems quite rushed and the reserve price for the spectrum lots appears high especially as the spectrum lots are not equally valuable,” said Cell C chief legal officer Graham Mackinnon.

    Icasa said that “a licence is valid for 15 years from the date of issue” and that it is “renewable on an annual basis upon payment of the prescribed annual licence fee”.

    The main aim of the licensing is to ensure nationwide broadband access for all citizens by 2020, said Icasa. But Mackinnon said that Icasa may be at odds with the department of telecommunications & postal services regarding the auction.

    “It is an interesting development, but we are concerned that Icasa has issued the invitation to apply (ITA) without a clear policy directive from government,” said Mackinnon.

    “We know for a fact that the department of telecoms & postal services is in the process of finalising its policy in this regard and so by issuing the ITA before this is finalised, this may create unnecessary tension.

    “We are still studying the ITA to assess its terms and will apply if the terms are fair,” Mackinnon added.

    Cell C has still cautiously welcomed the spectrum auction, but called for government buy-in as well. “Operators cannot effectively roll out next generation technologies without this spectrum,” said Mackinnon.

    “However, it needs to be done with the buy-in of all stakeholders, obviously including government, as spectrum is a national resource,” Mackinnon added.
    Source: Fin24

  • ESPOO, Finland, 19 July 2016 -/African Media Agency (AMA)/- Safaricom, the largest integrated telecommunication service provider in East Africa, is improving services for more than 25 million subscribers in Kenya thanks to Nokia's Customer Experience Management on Demand. With help from Nokia, Safaricom now uses big data technology to derive real time insights from network, customer and revenue touchpoints. With the insights, Safaricom is better able to provide proactive customer care, resolve network issues and prioritize capital expenditures.

    Safaricom uses Nokia CEM on Demand to derive insights on voice, SMS and MPesa traffic; processing 214 billion data points per day. The team is currently adding mobile data capabilities.

    Nokia CEM on Demand allows Safaricom to collect every customer's network experience from network probes and is integrated to other internal systems including financial, customer data warehouse, Customer Relationship Management and MPesa. The insights are actively used by Safaricom's technology, customer care, finance, marketing, sales, and strategy teams.

    The solution was deployed within 12 months with a pilot up and running in the first six months in the western region of Kenya.

    By using Nokia CEM on Demand, Safaricom has reduced the time it takes to:
    * Retrieve subscriber records for customer care from 2-6 hours to 15 minutes
    * Obtain customer satisfaction scores for the entire network from 30 days to near real-time
    * Determine root causes for service degradation from 24 hours to 10 minutes
    * Ensure network-related issues are put into context with a real time understanding of the customers impacted and their value to Safaricom

    Bob Collymore, CEO, Safaricom, said: "We differentiate Safaricom with our customer-centric approach, so our investments in CEM are important. With Nokia CEM on Demand, we now have one customer experience management solution for the company. We can resolve issues before they impact subscribers. We can give individual customers a personal touch and make our constant quality of service improvements visible."

    Bhaskar Gorti, president of Applications and Analytics at Nokia, said: "Safaricom has been a Nokia customer for more than 15 years and it consistently hasbeen an innovative operator on the forefront of trends. By selecting CEM on Demand, Safaricom is demonstrating once more that its main concern is providing its subscribers the best possible service in East Africa."
    Source: Company Press Release

  • London: The GSMA calls for the Egyptian authorities and the country’s mobile industry to work closely together to set a roadmap for the successful introduction of 4G services. Egypt is planning to move forward on licensing spectrum to support 4G in the coming weeks, although it is not yet clear if sufficient spectrum will be made available on terms that will encourage rapid and large-scale investments in 4G networks and services.

    “There are some critical success factors that should to be clarified before moving forward with 4G licensing in Egypt,” said John Giusti, GSMA Chief Regulatory Officer. “The GSMA is concerned about sufficient spectrum being made available at fair, market-reflective prices to support full-fledged 4G rollout. A clear spectrum roadmap is necessary to allow operators to understand how and when sufficient spectrum will be made available. We believe that further dialogue between government and industry ahead of the proposed licensing process could provide clarity on a plan to bring world-class 4G mobile broadband to consumers and businesses across Egypt.”

    Based on the GSMA’s international experience, the total amount of spectrum assigned to each operator for 4G needs to be in the range of 2x30MHz to 2x60MHz, across a range of coverage and capacity bands, with a minimum contiguous bandwidth of 2x10MHz in each band (to enable efficient network economics). It is also essential that cost of spectrum access enables the delivery of the long-term social and economic benefits of mobile broadband and takes into account the investment necessary to provide robust networks.

    “To ensure the lowest possible cost and best possible experience for consumers, national 4G services must be able to scale rapidly,” added Giusti. “This requires that sufficient spectrum be made available now, and that plans for future spectrum releases are clarified. Having a spectrum roadmap is critical for business and investment planning.”

    A recent Memorandum of Understanding between the GSMA, the Government of Egypt and the National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (NTRA) was agreed to promote a regulatory environment in Egypt that stimulates long-term investment in mobile services.
    Source: Press Release

  • The UK's Department for International Development has announced £100m of funding to help 175,000 of the world's poorest girls get an education.

    The push will include smartcards that monitor attendance and offer incentives for families to send their daughters to school.

    It will also deploy satellite broadband to improve connectivity in rural areas.

    Putting girls through school is increasingly seen as one of the best long-term ways to end poverty.

    International Development Minister Nick Hurd said: "It is only through making use of the latest technological innovations that we will reach every girl.

    "Already in Kenya, thanks to UK-funded attendance monitoring software, satellite broadband connectivity and interactive learning platforms, we have seen attendance increase by 15% in schools we work with."

    The iMlango programme is currently working in more than 200 schools in Kenya and includes:

        Android tablets and contactless attendance cards that allow schools to collect accurate attendance data. The data is used to offer conditional payments to incentivise families to send girls to school

        Satellite broadband - high speed connectivity via satellite is extending the use of technology in hard-to-reach areas

        Interactive learning platform - allows students to access lessons in English, maths and life skills. Tests suggest it improves scores by between 15 and 25%.

    The money will be mainly spent in sub-Saharan Africa in countries such as Ethiopia, Nigeria, Malawi and Rwanda but will also fund work in Afghanistan, Myanmar, also known as Burma, and Nepal.

    The investment was announced at the first Girls' Education Forum in London.

    Julia Gillard, chair of the charity Global Partnership for Education, said: "Investing in girls and women isn't just morally right, it is essential for the development of families, communities and countries.

    "When we educate girls, we see reduced child deaths, healthier children and mothers, fewer child marriages and faster economic growth."

    It is estimated that 63 million girls around the world are out of school, with over half of these in sub-Saharan Africa.
    Source: BBC News 

  • Ooredoo completed Algeria’s first 4G trial with Nokia in Tlemcen, a province in the country’s north west, reaching speeds of up to 75Mb/s, ahead of a nationwide commercial launch in the coming months.OREDOO

    With the full launch, customers will be able to access 4G speeds for the same price as Ooredoo Algeria’s 3G service.

    The trial phase was conducted using a preliminary licence from the Algeria Regulatory Authority for Post and Telecommunications and the speed achieved is claimed to be the fastest recorded in the country.

    The network upgrade will also support efforts to offer e-commerce, m- payments, m-banking, m-health and m-education services.

    CEO Sheikh Saud Bin Nasser Al Thani (said the move demonstrates the operator’s commitment to investing in superfast networks across all its markets.

    “We continue to offer our customers a better data experience, enabling them to enjoy faster downloads and clearer, buffer-free streaming, made possible by the latest network technology,” he said.

    The move follows a launch in Myanmar in May 2016, where Ooredoo, the country’s third largest operator, was also the first operator to offer 4G. Coverage started in Yangon, Mandalay and Naypyitaw, and is continuing to roll-out across the country.

    Ooredoo is the number three operator in Algeria, with a 30 per cent market share. Djezzy has nearly 38 per cent and Mobilis (Algerie Telecom) has 32 per cent (GSMA Intelligence figures).

    In April it was reported that the economy was slowing in Algeria, with the result that Ooredoo’s revenue in the region fell by eight per cent in Q1 2016. Overall, it reported revenue of QAR7.9 billion ($2.2 billion), a two per cent decline over the year-ago period.

    Ooredoo’s other 4G markets include Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, Maldives and Indonesia.
    Source: Mobile World Live


  • Gabon Telecom has officially launched its fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) and fibre-to-the-building (FTTB) networks in Libreville. The FTTH network, which supports download speeds of up to 50Mbps, is initially available in the following districts of the capital: Asecna, Sabliere, Tahiti, Narval, Kalikak and Batterie IV.

    In FTTB-enabled locations, the final connection is delivered in-building via a VDSL copper tail, the telco notes. While no prices are quoted on the company website, Gabon Telecom notes that it charges XAF200,000 (USD335.7) for an FTTH router and XAF80,000 for a VDSL/FTTB router, whilst broadband users also get a fixed voice connection.
    Source: Telegeography 21 July 2016

  • At this year’s International AIDS conference, the Praekelt Foundation launched a Facebook Messenger chatbot to give South African mothers access to maternal health information. The project is called MomConnect, it’s got 850,000 subscribers and it’s been operated by the South African National Department of Health as an SMS-based service. This development means that these women (and more) will now have access to all that information without having to deal with character limits, USSD fees et al.

    Pertinent to the conversation, are HIV-positive (soon-to-be) mothers, and those who have high-risk pregnancies. They will receive stage-based information about HIV, pregnancy, delivery, first-year child care, etc.
    Find out more from Momconnect here:

  • It’s official—the African Union has launched its continental e-passport program Sunday as part of the opening ceremony of the 27th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union in Kigali, Rwanda.

    But unless you’re Rwandan President Paul Kagame or Chadian President Idriss Eby, who are already carrying their fancy-looking red and gold document, an AU official or select government personnel, it’s unclear when AU passports will become available.
    Read the full story here:


  • South Africa’s experiencing one of its worst droughts this side of the millennium, with water levels in storage systems across the country down around 20% over last year. While crop and livestock farmers are struggling in some areas, municipalities are also facing difficulties keeping growing communities hydrated.

    With that said, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) this week launched its Water Risk Filter interactive data set for South Africa — an interactive map that allows users to visualize various municipalities’ water management situations and risks within South Africa.

    “The map represents the aggregated overall water risk for a selected industry. The weighting scheme varies between different industries and therefore overall risk maps may vary,” the map’s explainer notes.

    The WWF’s map lets users filter regions by industry, types of risk — from supply to storage, and country. Currently, only Great Britain and SA are available for view.

    It’s massively interesting, and especially worth a look for cartography enthusiasts.

    Have a look at it here.
    Source: Memeburn 21 July 2016

  • Rwanda has risen to become of the leading nations in Sub Saharan Africa in the in the use of technology, with a wide range of innovation projects that have attracted tech firms from across the world.

    Positivo BGH, a South American firm has taken advantage of this unprecedented growth in the tiny East African nation by introducing the first ever, ‘Made in Rwanda’ laptops.

    The firm’s manufacturing plant is located in Gasabo neighborhood in Kigali, the capital city.

    It approached several African countries to operate in, but Rwanda moved fast.

    “We had been talking to different African countries but I have to say Rwanda moved fast. They have a strong anti-corruption drive and the country has been growing at about 8 percent per annun for the last few year”’ Juan Ignacio Ponelli the firm’s president for Africa told BBC.

    The firm is a joint venture between Positivo Informatica of Brazil and BGH of Argentina.

    It started operating in the country in 2015 and produces 60 laptops per month. According to The Rwanda Focus, the average cost of a Positivo BGH laptop is Rwf 200, 000 ($265).

    According to CNN, Positivo BGH has a deal with the Rwandese government to sell 150, 000 laptops each year. Most of them are meant for the educations sector.

    This will boost the government’s efforts to ensure each of the 2.5 million children in primary school get a laptop in a plan dubbed, ‘One Laptop per child’.

    Its operations in the country have seen the employment of 170 people, both directly and indirectly.

    A majority of the experts in the firm’s line building computers are youthful Rwandese.

    The government has an ambitious plan of increasing the percentage of her citizens online from the current 13 percent to 95 percent by the end of 2016.

    This will be based on a rollout of a 4G network across the country.

    The government-Positivo BGH deal will also see cooperatives across the country get laptops from the firm.

    In June 2016, the government launched Smart Cooperative Initiative that will help distribute the laptops to cooperatives.

    Positivo BGH has also set eyes on launching Made in Rwanda mobile phones.
    Source: Afkinsider 20 July 2016

Digital Content

  • The Ugandan president has become a meme sensation after being photographed making an important phone call while sitting on a portable chair at the side of the road.

    Yoweri Museveni was on his way to a public engagement in the south west district of Isingiro when his motorcade ground to a halt, a padded foldout seat appeared and he relaxed into a 30 minute chat.

    Or at least that’s what the photo posted on Facebook by his press secretary appeared to suggest.

    It did not take long to reach the consciousness of Ugandans on Twitter (#UOT), who spent the next few hours frantically speculating about who could be on the receiving end of such an important call.
    Read the full story here:
    The Guardian

  • A 16-year-old South African has won the coveted Google Science Fair Community Impact Award, in the hotly-contested Africa and Middle East region. Kiara Nirghin, from Johannesburg, is now in the running to become one of 16 Global Finalists, who will get to visit Google Headquarters in California in September, for the Annual Awards celebration.

    The Google Science Fair invites the brightest young minds from around the world to answer one important question: how can they make the world better through science, math, and engineering. That’s precisely what Kiara has done with her submission, No More Thirsty Crops. With the Southern African region experiencing its worst drought in more than two decades, Kiara has come up with a revolutionary way of keeping crops hydrated for longer, at a much lower cost.

    Using orange peels and avocado skins, the teen has managed to create a material, that can hold hundreds of times its weight in water, in the soil. This super absorbent polymer then acts as a water reservoir in the earth.

    By saving water this way, her idea could have a massive impact on how the continent manages the effects of climate change in years to come. And, because it’s made from orange and avocado skins, it won’t break the budget of local farmers, like so many other water storage devices currently do.
    Read the full story here:
    Source: ITNews Africa

  • Absa has launched a new, revamped website and banking app to bring its online banking into a 24/7 connected digital age.

    According to the bank, the revamp, called Absa Online, is an entirely new banking platform that is focusing on an all-digital banking platform that is available 24/7.

    The revamp has been worked on for the past six months, and was developed using “Silicon Valley techniques”, launching on Amazon Cloud, according to head of digital products at Barclays Africa, Brett StClair.

    The digital platforms will “instantly transform your computer into a 24/7/365 personal financial centre,” the bank said.

    “It goes far beyond a purely transactional online service to a comprehensive suite of transactional, non-transactional and personal financial management tools.”

    Customers can pay accounts, transfer funds, open accounts, apply for personal loans, invest in unit trusts, buy prepaid airtime and send money – all through the digital platforms.

    While the 24/7 banking concept is not new – an all-online digital-first approach has been championed by FNB for a number of years – Absa has been trying its hand at more digitally-focused strategies in recent months.

    Included in this was the introduction of bots – again being pushed in the ad campaigns launched along with the new site – as well as social media banking, where clients can perform basic transaction through Twitter.
    Source: Business Tech 19 July 2016

  • Kirusa, an Information Technology company that provides telecoms and social media solutions, has introduced 'myGenie', a free airtime app for prepaid Android users in Nigeria.

    The myGenie app allows Android users to explore and download new and popularAndroid apps.

    myGenie users are rewarded with free airtime credits for downloading, installing and using the Android apps.

    According to Kirusa, they can use the free credits to recharge their mobile numbers or gift the airtime credits to their friends and family.

    "What's more is that myGenie also provides free airtime credits when a user invites their friends to the app, and when their friends start downloading apps via myGenie," the firm said.

    According to it, the apps that can be downloaded through myGenie range from games through dating to local utility apps.

    Some of the apps available on myGenie at the time of launch include InstaVoice, 474Recharge, Zamba Caller, APUS Launcher, Super B Clearer, BBM, UC Browser, and more.

    Speaking on the occasion, The Head, Financial Inclusion, African Development Bank, Robert Masumbuko, said, "We are excited about myGenie app being launched in Nigeria. African mobile app developers will now have the opportunity to reach out to a wider audience and get assured usage of their apps. It will also influence app usage market, thereby opening doors for fresh investments in this sector."
    Source: The Guardian 20 July 2016

  • The Postal Corporation of Kenya has launched a convenience service meant to help its clients access post and mail services with ease and at their convenience through their mobile phones.

    The service is known as MPost, with the tagline 'Posta Mkononi', literally 'the post in your hands'. It turns the user's mobile phone number into a virtual post office box.

    The Postal Corporation, commonly known as Posta, has launched the service as part of its mission to deliver superior communication, distribution, and financial solutions to customers and create value to stakeholders.

    The virtual post box costs KES 300 (US$2.96) a year, and enables users to track mail from their mobile phones and get timely notifications once mail is received. Users also have the option to get their mail delivered to a preferred location using Posta Dispatch or EMS services.

    The mobile-based service links your physical box to a virtual address, which in this case is your mobile phone number. You can use this service in conjunction with your physical box, and you will then be able to receive notifications when you've got mail.

    While postal services have been on the decline, it's not all gloom and doom for snail mail in Kenya. The last Quarterly Statistics Report [PDF] from the Communications Authority of Kenya indicates that the number of letters sent locally experienced a 35.6 percent growth, with 17.6 million letters sent during the first quarter of 2016, up from 12.9 million in the preceding quarter. The percentage of courier items sent also grew from 305,248 items in quarter 4 of 2015 to 445,836 during the first quarter of 2016.

    The Postal Corporation has also gotten into the e-commerce business, delivering orders made online from outside Nairobi, leveraging on its extensive network and distribution infrastructure.

    These moves are part of a strategy to add value to a service that has seen its core business shrink due to the emergence of private courier service companies and electronic communication.

    Delivery of letters and post to people's physical addresses remains a challenge. Although there have been efforts to assign buildings in Nairobi's Central Business District with numbers and physical addresses, the rest of the city lacks a proper addressing system that would ensure that people get letters where they are instead of having to go to the post office.

    This new service is a step in the right direction, removing the need to constantly check the post box for new mail, and the ability to have your mail delivered to you directly is a definite value addition.
    Source: iAfrikan  18 July 2016

  • Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s main opposition party, MDC-T, led an all-women #BeatThePot protest on Saturday demanding President Robert Mugabe to resign from the post as the country’s socio-economic crisis worsens. Approximately 2000 protesters, led by MDC-T deputy president, Thokozani Khupe, took to the streets.

    Starting the march with women beating their empty pots singing revolutionary songs, and thereafter spiraling into anti-Mugabe chants as they entered the streets, the protest brought business in the country’s second largest city to a brief hault. Read the full story here:
    Source: Okayafrica 17 July 2016

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

  • NEW DELHI: Bharti Airtel Tuesday said it has completed the sale of its subsidiary in Sierra Leone to France's Orange, after having completed the sale of its unit in Burkina Faso to the same company in June.

    In January, Bharti Airtel had said it will sell its operations in Burkina Faso and Sierra Leone to France-based Orange to Orange SA for around $900 million (Rs 6,030 crore),

    "We wish to inform that Orange has completed the acquisition of 100% of the operations of Airtel in Sierra Leone via its subsidiaries, having already closed the transaction for Burkina Faso , " India's No. 1 telco said in a filing to the National Stock Exchange".

    "Proceeds from both the transactions have been applied to pay down bank debt," Airtel added.

    Airtel had been looking to sell its operations in Burkina Faso, Chad, Congo Brazzaville and Sierra Leone, all Francophone countries, or non-English speaking markets in Africa, a continent where the company has been making losses since its entry in 2010, which has been dragging the carrier's consolidated financials.

    While the telco, in July last year, entered into a pact with Orange to sell its four subsidiaries in the four countries to Orange, it closed the deals in Burkina Faso and Sierra Leone. Agreements for the remaining two countries lapsed.
    Source: Telecom Econimic Times 20 June 2016

  • Johannesburg - Nigeria’s mega fine on mobile network MTN is still weighing on the company as it warned of forthcoming losses on Tuesday.

    MTN told shareholders on Tuesday that it “expects to report negative basic headline earnings per share (HEPS) and basic earnings per share (EPS)” for the six months ended June 30.

    For the previous comparable period, MTN reported HEPS of 654 cents and EPS of 653 cents.

    The fall in earnings comes amid MTN having agreed to pay a 330 billion naira (R24.94bn) fine to the Nigerian government for its failure to register five million subscribers.

    Amid the warning on Tuesday, MTN shares fell over 2% to R137.80 at 09:49 in Johannesburg.
    Read the full story here: 
    Source: Fin24


  • ICASA publishes an Invitation To Apply for International Mobile Telecommunications spectrum

    Invitation To Apply for International Mobile Telecommunications spectrum (Radio Frequency Spectrum Licence for Mobile Broadband Wireless Access Services 700MHz, 800MHz and 2.6GHz)

    Johannesburg – The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa hereby informs all stakeholders and the media that the Invitation To Apply (ITA) for radio frequency spectrum to provide mobile broadband wireless access services for urban and rural areas using the complimentary bands IMT700, IMT800 and IMT2600 has been issued.

    The main aim of licensing 700MHz, 800MHz and 2600MHz is to ensure nationwide broadband access for all citizens by 2020 in line with the National Development Plan (NDP) and SA Connect Policy.

    The licensing of this spectrum will go a long way in:

        prioritizing connectivity in roll-out obligations throughout the country

        promoting investment in the sector to facilitate economic growth

        prescribing high standards for quality of services, and

        implementing measures to promote affordability of services

    South Africa experiences continued growth in demand for more spectrum as a result of significant growth in data traffic. The lack of availability of spectrum for IMT brings constraints and challenges in the provision of broadband services. In order to address South Africa’s bandwidth deficiency, the current allocated bandwidth of 567 MHz IMT spectrum needs to be increased.

    ICASA believes that mobile telecommunication technologies are a critical component in achieving the goal of ‘broadband for all citizens’ in South Africa. ICASA is therefore inviting applications for prospective licensees for the licensing process of the IMT spectrum. 

    Seedstars World is coming to Nigeria on August 11, applications open now

    Startups with a working (minimum viable) product, who are less than two years old, and have raised less than $500,000 can start applying for Seedstars Lagos, the seed-stage startup competition for emerging markets. They are partnering with Omidyar Network, and are offering up to $1.5 million in equity investment prizes. If you’re interested, click here  to apply. Be sure to do it before July, 29.

    30 Startup Finalists To Pitch To Angel Investors At Demo Africa 2016

    Thirty African startups will get a chance to introduce their businesses and pitch their products and services to a dream audience — we’re talking venture capitalists, angel investors, and investment fund managers — at DEMO Africa 2016.

    Scheduled for Aug. 25-26 in Johannesburg, the fifth annual Demo Africa is expected to attract tech buyers, entrepreneurs, innovation supporters and media from around the world.

    That’s because the founding partners of Lions@frica — the initiative that created Demo Africa — include governments and private mega corporations from around the world: the U.S. State Department, Global Entrepreneurship Week, Microsoft, Venture Capital for Africa, Nokia, InfoDEV, African Development Bank, the U.S. Agency for International Development, DEMO, Startup Weekend, Appfrica, Business Action for Africa, Business Fights Poverty, and Venture Hive.

    Launched at the 2012 World Economic Forum on Africa, the partnership is on track to achieve its goal to support 100,000 entrepreneurs as they launch and expand tech-based businesses by 2020.
    Read the full story here:

    Gaming hub launched in Kenya to develop local startups

    Various partners including VIA Water and iHub have launched the Chezo Serious Gaming Hub in Nairobi, aimed at realising the untapped potential of serious gaming in Kenya.

    The Chezo Serious Gaming Hub, backed by VIA Water, has been formed by a consortium that brings together experienced serious gaming experts from the Netherlands and Kenya.

    Other partners include iHub, Upande, Deltares, FloodCom and The Barn, with the Chezo Serious Gaming Hub launched in a bid to develop an industry of serious gaming in Kenya, focusing particularly on urban water-related issues.

    It is the first initiative of its kind in Kenya, and aims to inspire, train and incubate local entrepreneurs to assist them in launching new business ventures ready to tackle real life, urban water issues in new and compelling ways.

    Training materials developed will be freely available after the project in order to continue to inspire others beyond the project’s lifespan.

    “Using games to educate and teach is a long standing tradition in Africa. Think of the famous and, probably, the oldest “Mancala” game – also known as “the sowing game” – used to teach agriculture and problem solving. Games form an integral part of African tradition,” the partners said.

    “Kenya boasts a rich and vibrant technology scene and an entrepreneurship ecosystem that has in recent years received worldwide attention for churning out ingenious innovations. Despite this, serious gaming is still nascent and untapped, as is the case globally.”

    The Chezo Serious Gaming Hub looks to change that, with the various partners providing pro-bono training, mentorship and other support to aspiring game developers. Workshops will begin next month, culminating in a “game jam” to select winners to proceed to the second stage.

    These winners will receive additional support from consortium partners to further develop and launch their innovations, with this collaborative, mostly virtual stage taking up to four months.

    Three overall winning teams will then be selected to receive further mentorship and other support from consortium partners, with cash grants of up to EUR2,000 (US$2,200) also awarded to the most promising teams.

    Up to 30 people will be selected to participate in the programme, with applications open here.

    She Leads Africa has announced the ten startups that made it into its Accelerator programme

    The results are in. She Leads Africa has announced the first cohort for their SLA Accelerator Programme. The programme is supported by Guaranty Trust Bank, and the Work In Progress! Alliance and is made up of ten startups (some of which I think are pretty interesting). There’s Fresh Direct Produce and Agro-Allied Services, which uses Hydroponics to cultivate food crops (I like), VivaSante, which claims to “solve the medical industry’s procurement problem, by providing technology enabled distribution solution resulting in the transparency and simplicity”, DeliveryBros, which is a hyperlocal delivery startup (specifically pickups from the market to your house/office), Koko’s Kitchen, which makes confectionary dry mixes and sells them for cheap.

    There’s also BubbleTii, which makes Bubble Tea (I just found out what that is): a Taiwanese drink made of tea, and tapioca balls, Shuttlers, which is a transport network company that serves professionals in Lagos, Keek’s which sells weight loss and general wellness packages to busy women, Native Bukka, which sells…guess…bukka food, Bath Kandy which makes “dessert-inspired beauty treats for women who crave the finer things”, and iPA (Independent Personal Assistant) which “provides strategic virtual assistance to high-level executives across Africa”.

    The startups will spend the next three months working with mentors, investors and potential partners, and will have an opportunity to itch for N2 million at an investment Demo Day at the end of the programme.
    Source: Techcabal 20 July 2016

  • MTN South Africa appoints Qwebe as chief HR officer

    MTN South Africa has appointed Nhlanhla Qwabe as the new chief human resources officer effective 01 August, replacing Themba Nyathi. Qwabe joins MTN from Aspen Pharmacare, where he held the position of group human resources executive. Prior to Aspen, he served as human resources director for Nike South Africa, and he also worked for MultiChoice, where he served in various capacities in a senior management role.

    A graduate of the University of Zululand with a Bachelor of Administration and an honours degree in Administration, Qwabe also holds a Masters degree in Business Administration from Milpark Business School.

  • AITEC’s 10th anniversary Banking & Mobile Money Conference
    30-31 August
    Nairobi, Kenya
    Showcase for the region’s leading fintech innovations.
    To mark the 10th anniversary of its Banking & Mobile Money COMESA Conference, AITEC is selecting the region’s 20 most promising and innovative fintech start-ups to demo their products and services at the conference.
    Applications to participate are invited from start-ups from throughout the COMESA region. Email

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