TNM’s Airtime Advances service hits almost 20% of its user base in six months – another money service that will spread
TNM’s Passuvate service is offering short-term, micro loans – Airtime Advances – to a staggeringly large number of its users. The sheer scale of use indicates that users find this kind of service extremely useful. Russell Southwood spoke to Sean Pashley, Net1 Mobile Solutions whose Supa Pesa platform drives the service.
Sean Pashley is quick to make the point that this kind of service is not new. Indeed, there are two or three other big players in the market. So why did they launch the service?:”We noticed that other operators didn’t have a pre-vetting system. They simply offered the loan and this is obviously more risky.”
“We could pre-screen customers based on their behavior: what calls and SMS were made and received. On this basis, we could say only allow them to borrow a specific value. Others once they installed the service, left it to run by itself. There was no CRM. We think we’ve improved the back end business model. For example, we can identify that 80% of the loans are at one denomination level.”
Since its launch in mid March earlier this year, TNM has had more than 20 million air-time advances. Towards the end of September 200,000 TNM subscribers were using the Pasuvate service on a daily basis. This figure equates to almost 20% of the active user base utilising the service every day. The service is offered in both English & Chichewa ensuring that TNM subscribers can engage in their language of preference. Currently there is an average of 28 loans per user.
The service allows subscribers of TNM to purchase airtime in advance and pay the face value of the airtime voucher at a later stage. A subscriber can purchase one advance airtime voucher at a time and is charged a nominal service fee per airtime voucher purchased.
Pasavute is available via the USSD and SMS channels provided by TNM, and both channels are free to the customer. The TNM subscriber is only charged a service fee when an advance airtime voucher is purchased.
“We carry the costs of the hardware and there is a service charge, either as a percentage of the money loaned or as a flat fee to the operator. In Malawi, users pay 10% of the loan. So your loan is for 50 Kwachas and you get 45 Kwachas of airtime.”
“It allows people to get airtime at any time of the day. The level of trading after midnight is big. But the ‘umbrella ladies’ still get money because you top up in a conventional channel to pay back the money.”
So what happens if a customer doesn’t pay back the loan?:”There’s an agreed period with the operator. If he or she doesn’t pay back in 60 days, they are blacklisted from the Pasavute but they are not cut off completely from using the voice service.”
They are currently close to completing agreements in another seven territories:”Some of the more current deals are around a flat fee with a Service Level Agreement and no revenue share so things are evolving.”
Digital Content Africa: Balancing Act’s web TV channel Smart Monkey TV has launched a new e-letter called Digital Content Africa. On a fortnightly basis, it will cover online film, music, publishing and services and applications. We have already produced 20 issues and these can be viewed on this link:
Essential reading for those in mobile VAS to anyone just interested in what African and relevant international content they can now get online. If you would like to subscribe, just send an email to email@example.com with Digital Content Africa in the title line. Some examples of past issues below:
Digital Content Africa Z24: The South African TV announcer who runs a fashion blog from Moscow which she is going to turn into a business
Digital Content Africa Z19 – The Mobile Deal that is keeping Africans from having more music, film and TV on their mobiles
Digital Content Africa Z16 - MTN Play Côte d’Ivoire is looking for digital content that will play well on mobile phones
Videos interviews to watch:
For breaking news, follow us on Twitter: @BalancingActAfr
Kenya remains the king of mobile banking, with 93 per cent of consumers using their mobile device to perform banking, but there is also significant usage in the Middle East (78 per cent) and Nigeria (85 per cent up from 76 per cent in 2013).
This is according to the Mobile Entertainment Forum (MEF), the global community for mobile content and commerce.
MEF gave a sneak preview of what the 2014 survey results look like before the whole report in unveiled at next month’s MEF Global Forum set for November 17 – 19, in San Francisco. During the Fourm, MEF will be launch the 4th Annual MEF Global Consumer Survey which analyses the behaviors, attitudes and trends that are shaping the mobile industry from over 15,000 respondents in 15 countries.
The survey also reveals that Kenyans are well aware of the benefits of m-education, with 45 per cent saying it makes learning more convenient (versus a global average of 33 per cent) and 39 per cent appreciating its enabling of remote learning (versus a 26 per cent global average). The survey also reveals that Mobile privacy is the single biggest concern for today’s mobile consumers and remains the largest obstacle to growth.
The survey covered countries from Mexico to UAE and from Nigeria to Indonesia and is set to look at essential facts about global mobile trends from wearable and mHealth to mobile payments and The Internet of Things.
“All of these topics and more will be represented at MEF Global Forum - as part of the Global Day’s regional tracks. In addition, the highlighted trends will be discussed at #MEFGF14’s Innovation Day which looks at the companies and technologies that are advancing consumer adoption of mobile content and commerce worldwide,” said a blog post on MEF blog. Here are some of other findings according to the survey:
In terms of wearable technologies and mHealth, Consumers in Asia (63 per cent) and the Middle East (52 per cent) are more likely to be aware of wearable devices than their European (43 per cent) or US (42 per cent) counterparts and another 62 per cent of consumers in United Arab Emirates have seen a medical professional use a mobile device during diagnosis or treatment. In the UK it is just 31 per cent and US it is 37 per cent.
In terms of mPayments and Mobile money Kenya remains the king with 93 per cent of consumers banking via mobile but in 2014 there has also been significant usagr in the Middle East (78 per cent) and Nigeria (85 per cent up from 76 per cent in 2013) however, Germany is an early adopter of in-app purchases which stands at 44 per cent versus a global average of 19 per cent, though the adoption of mobile payment is growing worldwide.
Whereas in the US emphasis in making learning more fun or social, 20 per cent US consumers say mobile makes learning more fun, and 14 per cent believe mEducation is more social on the other hand Kenyans are well aware of the benefits of using their mobiles for educational purposes. 45 per cent say it makes learning more convenient and 39 per cent appreciate its enabling of remote learning (26 per cent global average).
Another fact revealed was the fact that 44 per cent of Africans transfer airtime as a form of currency versus a global average of 17 per cent.
In terms of consumer experience the survey stated that a lack of trust in mobile remains the largest single obstacle to growth, and nowhere more so than in China and Mexico (41 per cent and 40 per cent versus an average of 34 per cent). Brazil has also seen a sharp rise in trust-related concerns (from 31 per cent to 36 per cent).The use of a tablet computer alongside a mobile phone is on the increase, most notably in China and the UK (34 per cent versus an average of 22 per cent).
China continues to lead the way in the purchase of physical and perishable goods via mobile (52 per cent versus a global average of 30 per cent). In the UK and US, such purchases – while higher than average (36 per cent and 35 per cent) – are on the decline on the other hand Indian consumers are among the most likely to purchase via a social media page (23 per cent versus a global average of 15 per cent) while in the UK, it is just 11 per cent and the US 16 per cent.
The full results and analysis of the MEF Global Consumer Survey will be available to attendees at MEF Global Forum 2014 and discussed as part of the two-day international agenda. #MEFGF14 speakers will include senior executives from Andreessen Horrowitz, Mozilla, Twitter, LinkedIn, Uber, Etisalat Nigeria and Deutsche Telekom.
Launched in beta this June, bitcoin remittance service BitPesa has launched a new service that aims to help NGOs operating in Nairobi, Kenya receive donations in bicoins with ease and faster.
BitPesa says it’s already working with three Kenyan NGO’s to help them receive donations in form of bitcoins.
“With BitPesa, an NGO can receive Kenyan shillings directly into their corporate mobile money wallet, which it can immediately use to spend on operations,” explained BitPesa CEO Elizabeth Rossiello. While there are a few other companies starting to facilitate the receipt of Bitcoin donations, Rossiello says, “It doesn’t make sense for an NGO to receive Bitcoin donations and then have no way to cash out the Bitcoin into local African currency. BitPesa allows NGOs to receive Kenyan shillings without even having to touch bitcoins.”
BitPesa is working with Tunapanda Institute, a digital skills education NGO, Heshima Children’s Center, a welfare home for children with disabilities, and Reaching Out with Compassion in Kibera (R.O.C.K.), a scholarships and tutoring services NGO targeting at-risk youth in Kibera.
“We’ve already received Bitcoin donations in the past, and look forward to receiving more through the BitPesa platform,”said Jay Larson, Founder of Tunapanda Institute. “These funds will help us build an open source platform to deploy learning content in low-bandwidth areas globally.”
Donors who want to donate and have no bitcoins can purchase them from a Bitcoin ATM, a Bitcoin exchange such as Coinbase or BitStamp, or a peer-to-peer marketplace such as LocalBitcoins.com said the firm.
Bitcoins are becoming more popular for donations both globally and on the continent with non-profits such as Wikipedia, United Way, Safello, among others. In Africa the Botswana Children’s Charity, the Water Project, among others giving to both the fight against Ebola and wildlife poaching in Africa.
The first-ever cash withdrawal machine in Mogadishu has been installed by the Salaam Somali Bank in an upmarket hotel. The first-ever cash withdrawal machine in Mogadishu has been installed by the Salaam Somali Bank in an upmarket hotel.
Somalia's capital Mogadishu now has its first-ever ATM bank machine -- and it dispenses U.S. dollars.
The machine was installed in late September in the upscale Jazeera Palace Hotel, which is located 300 meters from Aden Adde International Airport in the south-west of the city
Justus Mulinge Kisaulu, the hotel's general manager, said that he had seen people using the new machine but it had not been widely adopted. "Most of the customers were not aware there is an ATM in Somalia," Kisaulu explained. "Local residents, most of them don't have a debit credit or a credit card to use the ATM."
The U.S. dollar is "widely accepted" in Mogadishu and is used in local trading, according to the African Development Bank. The country's official currency, the Somali shilling, has seen a sustained decline in value following decades of conflict in the war-torn nation.
Said Moallim Abukar, marketing manager of Salaam Somali Bank, which operates the ATM, said that other currencies would be available from the machine "in the near future."
But Michael Walls, senior lecturer at the Development Planning Unit at University College London, says that it's unlikely the bank is aiming for local Somali people at this stage. "Diaspora Somalis will use it for sure," he explains, referring to people of Somali origin who will probably have a bank account overseas. "It is likely to be a bit longer before locally based Somalis start using it."
This is the first ATM in Somalia proper, but cash withdrawal machines already exist in the city of Hargeisa in the breakaway state of Somaliland, according to Salaam Somali Bank's Abukar. Somaliland remains internationally unrecognized despite unilaterally declaring independence in 1991. According to local media outlet Somalilandsun, ATM facilities were available in the city from March.
According to the Africa Research Institute, a British think-tank focused on sub-Saharan Africa, more than $1.2 billion is remitted to Somalia each year. This is more than half of Somalia's gross national income, and also more than the total amount of international aid sent to the region.
While the recently-installed ATM could be seen as a sign of progress and stability, Walls says it is also an important development for remittance companies, who are also trying to adapt to mobile money transfers and cashless transactions. Indeed, he described the new ATM as presenting "some kind of challenge" to remittance companies.
However, Dahabshiil, a remittance company with 286 locations in Somalia, said they are "in the process of rolling out an ATM project" in Hargeisa and Mogadishu, but that these facilitates wouldn't "replace the need for our traditional remittance services."
While a great many obstacles still exist for Somalia, it is projects like this ATM that illustrate how business confidence is slowly returning to the war-ravaged city.
Bharti Airtel has announced a reduction of call rates by 60% and free incoming calls for Airtel Kenya’s postpaid and prepaid customers roaming to Rwanda.
Airtel Kenya will offer affordable voice rates where outgoing calls while roaming in Rwanda will now be charged at Ksh10 per minute down from Ksh25 per minute. The new rates apply to customers making calls from Kenya to Rwanda and customers making calls from Rwanda to Kenya. This represents a 60% reduction of the charges for call rates for roamers in Rwanda on Airtel network.
Airtel Kenya prepaid customers roaming in Rwanda will enjoy a one of its kind unique benefit and convenience of being be able to top-up their prepaid SIM cards with locally purchased scratch cards, which can be purchased at any Airtel Rwanda points of sale and top up by simply dialling “138*Voucher-PIN” and press the OK button. For prepaid customers, the roaming service is automatically activated when crossing into Airtel Rwanda network, with no prior registration required or sign-up fee charged. The new offers on Airtel’s One Network will enable customers to be treated as local customers when they travel.
Source: Humanipo 15 October 2014
Rappers might not be the most obvious line of defence against the growing Ebola epidemic, but as I heard at an event in London, United Kingdom, their role as positive agents of behavioural change can be profoundly influential and demands more attention.
This unusual message was aired at ‘The West African Ebola outbreak: Gaps in governance and accountability’, a meeting convened by the Royal African Society last week (8 October). It brought together a panel of health and policy experts — including Peter Piot, who helped first identify the virus in 1976 — to discuss strategies for tackling the current epidemic and for bolstering countries’ capacity to deal with future crises.
One topic to emerge was the importance of putting the spotlight on “local African heroes” engaged in fighting the epidemic. Another was, as Kandeh K. Yumkella, a UN undersecretary-general, put it, tackling “the lack of trust” that communities have in public health information on Ebola.
One route to rebuilding people’s trust in public health messages on Ebola is to tap into the socially influential roles of musicians, rappers and community radio, said Carlos Chirinos, director of SOAS radio at the University of London, and a visiting professor at NYU Steinhardt in the United States, where he works on links between radio, music and social development in Africa and Latin America.
“The biggest challenge to containing Ebola is public misinformation and fighting urban and rural myths about the disease,” he said. And music has a vital role to play here.
“There are many reasons why music appeals as an information carrier,” Chirinos told me. “One is that it has a good relationship with youth. In countries where a large proportion of the population is young, music is a powerful tool to relay information.”
Furthermore, in West Africa “musicians are respected members of the community”. They are often linked in public consciousness to the rich oral traditions of the West African ‘griot’: oral historians and storytellers “who for centuries have been charged by their communities to deliver messages, oral history and recommendations for what people need to do to survive”.
The lyrics replicate the same agendas that the international health agencies are saying: first and foremost that Ebola is real.
Carlos Chirinos, SOAS Radio at the University of London
Combine the cultural status of musicians with the social penetration of radio and you have a recipe for providing fast, cheap, socially acceptable messages to people about Ebola, he said.
“The messages contained in songs are easy to understand as they are told in vernacular non-biomedical language and provide simple instructions,” said Chirinos. And the fact that musicians and radio producers can create pieces much more quickly than other media such as print or TV is also crucial, he added.
So far, Chirinos has followed ten new music tracks focusing on Ebola produced by musicians in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. One track that has been a particular hit is ‘Ebola in town’ by Liberian artists Shadow, D-12 and Kuzzy of 2kings. It includes the lyrics: “Ebola, Ebola in town, don’t touch your friends” (see below for video clip).
“The lyrics replicate the same agendas that the international health agencies are saying: first and foremost that Ebola is real,” Chirinos said.
As well as building the credibility of public health messages through music, he said the songs have played a vital role in creating talking points for communities, creating a “soft environment” for people to communicate in.
The scientific community needs to do more to engage with the powerful role musicians can play in disseminating information, Chirinos told me, and work with them to ensure that they relay appropriate health information.
There is the risk that traditional artists might not necessarily understand what the message needs to be, he said. “The goodwill is there, but they are not necessarily saying anything beyond ‘Ebola is here, Ebola is real’.”
More needs to be done to “engage with communities and musicians to help them deliver the right messages”.
See here for the music video for ‘Ebola in town’:
Alcatel-Lucent upgrading Djezzy network in Algeria with microwave solution to meet increasing demand for ultra-broadband access
Alcatel-Lucent is providing Djezzy with its industry-leading 9500 Microwave Packet Radio solution, upgrading OTA’s mobile backhaul architecture to meet demand created by expanding ownership of smartphones.
OTA, a division of Vimpelcom, is Algeria’s leading mobile service provider, and Alcatel-Lucent’s 9500 MPR long-haul system will provide it with more than eight times the capacity in a third of the footprint of traditional systems.
The system will also provide a much more cost-effective soluton for providing access outside urban areas and in remote regions of Algeria . The network upgrade will support OTA’s current need to provide 3G access as well as offer ultra-broadband 4G LTE services in the future.
Source: Company Press Release
Mobile Phones and Accessories Dealers Association has appealed to government to withdraw the 20 percent import tax on mobile handsets and accessories introduced recently.
According to the Association, the implementation of the 20 percent tax on mobile phones and accessories had imposed untold hardship on its member and led to the collapse of many businesses in the country.
Government recently introduced 20 percent import tax on phones and accessories, which attracted public criticism.
Joseph Osei Agyemang, Chairman of the Association, who was addressing a press conference in Accra, said they anticipated the untold hardship the implementation of the tax would impose on businesses and cautioned government accordingly but it ignored the advice. He said the policy had led to the smuggling of products into the country, which had affected the generation of revenue for the State.
Mr. Agyemang said, 'As government prepares 2015 budget statement, we, mobile phone and accessories dealers, would like to appeal to the policy makers to take into consideration and cancel the implementation of the 20 percent tariffs and its attendant taxes, which in all come to 43 percent.'
'This appeal is necessitated by the fact that most of our people are gradually losing their jobs because they cannot cope with the high cost of doing business in the country.
'We do not want to escape paying taxes towards building a better Ghana but we would like to indicate that the policy does not have the potential to deliver for the intended purpose,' he said.
The Association declared its support for the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) in its fight against the operation of foreigners in retail market.
Mr. Agyemang said, 'In our case, our brothers from Nigeria have entered the local market and are doing what they are not permitted to do under the laws of Ghana. We therefore appeal to government to enforce the laws.'
He also called on government to expedite action on the deployment of the taskforce to remove foreigners from the local markets, stating that the deadline government gave the foreigners has elapsed but no action has been taken.'
Mr. Agyemang urged government to consider using the local currency, cedi in the determination of the tax component payable at the entry points so that projections could be made by the stakeholders.
One of the benefits of working in the tech industry is that you can be pretty flexible when deciding where to choose an office. An Internet connection, a computer, a cup of coffee, and creative thinking are basically all you need. So techies yearning for the chance to see some of Sub-Saharan Africa's best sights should pack their bags immediately.
The Cambridge-based Fab Foundation, with the help of BongoHive Tech Hub in Zambia, put together a great database of the many innovation hubs popping up across the African continent. The Fab Foundation predicts that the database, though imperfect, includes about 90 percent of the formal start-up labs in Africa. CityLab put together this map directing you to nearly 100 of them.
See some of Africa's most electric cities and beautiful landscapes while developing the next great tech idea. You'll notice booming cities like Lagos, Nairobi, Cape Town, and Accra boast the most innovation centers.
About 30,000 Tanzanian farmers will benefit from a partnership that will see them receive mobile services to improve their farming practices. The programme targets coffee, cotton and cocoa smallholder farmers in Tanzania under the Olam International umbrella.
The deal also brings together, Connected Farmer Alliance (CFA), the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and not-for-profit organisation, TechnoServe.
Services will include text messages on how to improve farming practice, market price information for their produce and training session updates. The telecom hopes to also replace cash transactions between the farmers with mobile money, MPesa.
Vodafone Group Regional CEO, Africa, Middle East and Asia Pacific Region Serpil Timuray, said: “In this case, mobile services are being used to enhance farmers’ lives and transform business performance at all points of the agricultural value chain. These partnerships have a powerful effect in helping rural communities develop new skills and grow revenues. Vodafone is committed to using its technology to help improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers around the world.”
“Working with the CFA, we can put agriculture expertise, accurate data and payments in to the hands of smallholder farmers in real time and at considerable scale, no matter how remote. This helps to improve yields and farmer livelihoods while our business benefits from smarter operations and lower costs. Ongoing evaluation from the farmers will be fed back in to the programme,” Olam Environmental & Social Manager, South and East Africa Jeremy Dufour, said.
TechnoServe Vice President Global Development Simon Winter, said: “Seventy-five per cent of the world’s poor live in rural areas, with the vast majority dependent on agriculture for all or part of their incomes. Growth in the agricultural sector, therefore, has been shown to be at least twice as effective at reducing poverty as growth in other sectors. Tanzania is a model example of this. But unlike in more developed countries, its farmers do not have sophisticated technology and infrastructure to rely on. This programme will help to change that.”
MTN Guinea (Areeba), a subsidiary of South Africa’s MTN Group, has reportedly deployed 148 new 3G sites throughout the country, according to a company statement quoted by Agence Ecofin. The sites are said to be spread around all four of the country’s geographic regions of Maritime, Middle, Upper and Forest Guinea. The wireless operator announced its licence to provide 3G services in August of last year, with its W-CDMA/HSPA+ network then primarily covering the capital of Conakry. At end-June 2014 MTN lay in second place in the Guinean market with 33.8% of the country’s 2G/3G mobile market share, according to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database.
MTN Guinea also disclosed that it has commissioned 18 additional 2G base stations, mainly in the vicinities of the country’s second- and third-largest cities Kankan and Nzerekore, plus localities around Boke, Faranah and Labe.
Alcatel-Lucent and MTN Nigeria to boost connectivity in Africa’s most populous nation with ultra-broadband 100G fibre-optic data network
Alcatel-Lucent is opening up Africa’s most populous nation to the benefits of ultra-broadband connectivity by launching a superfast, 100 gigabit-per-second fibre-optic network with MTN Nigeria, a subsidiary of Dubai-based MTN Group and the leading service provider in Africa.
MTN Nigeria, which covers more than almost 90 percent of Nigeria’s land mass, will deploy a 100G network that re-uses existing 10G optical assets thereby preserving MTN past investments while ensuring future proof and state of art solution.
Nigeria’s growing economy is fueling a proliferation of mobile subscribers, which number about 275 to every one landline in the country. As a result, Nigeria has a significant need for reliable, mobile broadband access to support growing demand for bandwidth hungry services such as streaming video plus the ever-increasing need from enterprises for storage and data centre connections. The new network also gives MTN the capacity and flexibility to offer wholesale services to other service providers in the region.
Source: Company Press Release 13 October 2014
Telecom Namibia is constructing a fibre-optic network to connect central government to the administrative capitals of all 14 regions in the country, its MD Frans Ndoroma told the Windhoek ‘ICT For Development’ summit, adding that the fibre network would also provide the government with a connection to ‘all educational and health institutions’. As reported by BizTech Africa, Telecom has invested in excess of NAD2 billion (USD180 million) to improve the country’s telecommunications infrastructure since 2007, and Ndorama stated: ‘We truly believe in sharing communication and ICT infrastructure towards achieving the development goals of the country.’ The MD indicated that the telco’s wider goals are to continue to expand consumer and business broadband services by expanding via expansion of modern backbone networks and access technologies based on ADSL, WiMAX, fibre-optics, ‘carrier-gate Wi-Fi’ and its mobile 3G and 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) platforms.
Movitel, SA – a joint venture between of Viettel in Mozambiuqe – gained its second honourable international prize of the year by winning Golden Globe of “Fastest Growing of the Year in Middle-East and Africa” at the International Business Awards 2014. The Award was attributed to Movitel for its outstanding development and achievements in Mozambique and the area. Within one year, Movitel has increased its coverage area from 60% to 80% and doubled the number of covered people from 35% to 85%. Nearly 600,000 people in at least 5 rural districts in Mozambique have been covered and served telecom services for the first time in life. Movitel has had over 5 million users, taking the leading position in the mobile market.
Liquid Telecom Starts US$34m Rwandan Investment Plan and Network Expansion including First Fibre to the Home
The Liquid Telecom Group today announced the expansion and investment plans of its operations in Rwanda which will enable more businesses and homes to access its high-speed broadband service both within Rwanda and surrounding countries.
The Liquid Telecom Group has long recognised the advantages of Rwanda’s central African location and role as an Internet services hub for east and central Africa. In June the company announced that it had completed the build of the East Africa Fibre Ring which connects Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania and back into Kenya. This provides consistently high speeds and continuous uptime across the region.
Over the next two years, Liquid Telecom Rwanda, the wholesale business in Rwanda, will invest a further $34 million laying thousands of kilometres of new fibre across the country and to the borders of neighbouring Burundi, the DRC, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.
The new fibre will enable more businesses and homes to access Liquid Telecom’s broadband service. In addition, operators in neighbouring countries will be able to interconnect with Liquid Telecom Rwanda’s network for additional security, backup for Uganda and an alternative routing option through Tanzania.
As part of the expansion plan, and following a successful rollout at Liquid Telecom Zimbabwe, Liquid Telecom Rwanda will be the first company in Rwanda to lay extensive Fibre To The Home (FTTH) starting in the capital city of Kigali where it has already built a metropolitan fibre ring. Homes and businesses in the country have traditionally used a combination of WiMAX, dongles, satellite and mobile broadband but will now be able to connect using fibre laid directly to the premises.
The FTTH service will be available from Liquid Telecom Rwanda’s retail business. It will offer speeds of up to 100Mbps which, combined with unlimited capacity, will provide home connections comparable to large multinational corporations enabling usage such as high definition video, live TV streaming, uninterrupted VoIP calling, real-time online gaming and both uploading and downloading of large files.
Future plans for the FTTH service include offering value-added and OTT services similar to those currently launching in Zimbabwe.
Sam Nkusi, Chairman Liquid Telecom Rwanda, said “We are an ambitious company which is investing heavily in laying new fibre across the nation and direct to people’s doors. We are building a 21st century network which will help our country continue to grow and prosper.”
The Liquid Telecom Group is exhibiting at Capacity Africa which takes place in Dar Es Salaam this week.
Source: Press Release
With fibre optic cables limited to urban areas, cybercafes in rural Kenya have turned to modems for internet connection.
The wireless modems sold by various telecoms in the East African nation are offering the small internet points located in market centers a lifeline as a good number of people seek their services.
Some of the cybercafes have a modem for each computer while others share from one machine to another depending on customer flow.
"This is the only way we can remain in business. We cannot wait until the telecoms bring fibre optic cables or other forms of fixed internet connection this side. We have to survive because there is need for our services," Martin Waswa, who runs a small cybercafe at a market center in Busia, told Xinhua on phone on Thursday.
The 34-year-old runs his cybercafe alongside a typing, photocopying and printing business.
"I have three computers but I use only two for browsing the internet, the other one for typesetting work. Each of the two computers has a modem," said Waswa, who is among dozens of cybercafe operators in Kenya who use modems.
Waswa said he was encouraged to use the wireless modems because people were asking for internet services.
"Initially I was only offering typesetting services but I would get many inquires about internet services. It is then that I added the two machines, and bought the modems," he said, adding he had to use modems because of unavailability of the other forms of faster internet connections.
Besides, Waswa found the modems cheaper as he was not asked to pay set-up fees and other charges that come with the fixed internet connections.
"I bought the two modems at 22.5 U.S. dollars each. It is now about a year since I started using them. They have helped me get extra business and customers that I did not have," he said.
Waswa normally connects the gadgets that he loads with airtime and buys data bundles whenever a customer pops in.
"I connect, record the time he starts browsing and when he stops, I disconnect. I charge them 0.01 dollars per minute. This is double what many cybercafs in urban areas charge," he said, adding that he has no competition at the market center.
However, his customers have to do with numerous challenges that come with using modems. Many times the internet connection is slower and erratic, and they cannot download or send bulk documents.
"If I had a choice, I would not go to the modem cybercafes because you can barely do anything meaningful, but it is all we have in these areas," said Vincent Bwire, a secondary school teacher in Busia.
The business education teacher visits the cybercafes to read, send emails and do research.
"I do not encounter problems reading emails, but when it comes to downloading files, modems are a mess. One ends up spending a lot of money. Sometimes even the cybercafe operator does not buy enough data bundles, which is inconveniencing," said Bwire.
Bernard Moina, an agricultural officer based in Kitale in Rift Valley, also said he uses a modem cybercafe because there is no alternative.
"If I have to use a cybercafe with a fixed line connection, then I would have to travel for about 40 km to the town center," Moina said.
According to the Communication Authority of Kenya, as of March, there are 69,377 fibre optic internet subscriptions in the East African nation. Mobile internet, where wireless modems lie, leads with 13.3 million subscriptions.
Fibre optic and other forms of fixed internet connections are limited in rural areas, but there are efforts to spread them across the country.
SES and University of Eichstätt – Ingolstadt to premiere live Germany to Africa Interactive Classroom
SES has premiered its Live Interactive Classroom application with partners from the Catholic University Eichstätt - Ingolstadt and The Permanent Centre for Education, Kampala, Uganda.
The session is part of an ongoing eLearning project called KUganda and will feature a demonstration delivering an interactive classroom experience via SES Broadband Services’ satellite broadband solution to Ugandan teachers located at The Permanent Center for Education. During the interactive session, Germany-based Professor Dr. Gaby Gien will deliver a seminar together with students in Eichstätt.
“Part of the challenge is to provide teachers in Africa with computers and resources. Without Internet connectivity, teachers and children are deprived of the use of educational content online. Bridging this digital divide is key,” said Dr. Gien, speaking for the KUganda initiative. “With this demonstration, we aim to show how satellite broadband can help to improve social and educational development by providing access where it wasn’t previously possible.”
“Satellite broadband technology has the potential to be transformative by enabling us at KUganda to plan frequent interactive training sessions and increase the scale and impact of our work while accelerating knowledge transfer and reducing costs and time,” Dr. Gien added.
The Live Interactive Classroom application combines a video signal and presentation slides in a comfortable interface. With state of the art peer-to-peer technology, it enables seamless audio/video communications with multiple students anywhere. It requires no third party software installation or licenses and runs on standard equipment like PCs, laptops or tablets on both sides, while tutor-controlled live feedback enables classroom-like interaction.
The application demonstrated by KUganda is part of the SES Broadband eEducation Network, a service which offers an end-to-end learning environment for teachers, schools and classrooms, as well as for individual students.
“We are pleased to be able to contribute and be part of the KUganda project, which is the first to benefit from our solution. We hope that the SES Broadband eEducation Network will enable more universities and institutions, publishers of educational content and countries in Africa to deliver education services to remote areas in the future,” said Patrick Biewer, Managing Director of SES Broadband Services.
Source: Company Press Release 13 October 2014
At the end of its two-month Data Festival, MTN Rwanda launched a mini Data Expo at the MTN Service Center in UTC in Kigali. The expo, which kicked off on Tuesday and ended on Thursday October 16, just before the official closing ceremony of the Data Festival. The Data Expo showcased MTN's latest devices and solutions, with phones on sale for as little as Frw 6,800. All phones are bundled with a SIM card and data-enabled phones are bundled with 500MB of free data. The Data Fest and Expo are intended to give more people access to the digital experience and the Internet.
Top-New-PlatinumsFrench tablet and smartphone maker Archos, recently signed a deal with Uni Group for distribution in Egypt as a door to its final launch in Africa beginning from Senegal, Nigeria and the Maghreb countries.
Uni Group, a mobile phone leader in Egypt distributes products in more than 1700 sales points all over Egypt and is number 3 in the mobile phone market in Egypt according to GFK. There deal in May this year, will help the firm’s launch affordable devices in Egyptian market.
The two firms aim ship over a million units in 2015 and have put aside EGP 20 million to take over the market.
Speaking to the AFP, Archos’s CEO, Loic Poirier said: “The important thing is to find a partner that can deliver mobiles in different points of sale and to have a solid network. Poirier forecast that between 50 and 70 million smartphones would be sold in Africa next year, compared to 25 million in 2014 and 15 million in 2013.”
According to GFK, during the first half of 2014, the 100 to 150€ smartphone segment was the only one to show sustainable growth in terms of value. Capitalising on Egypt’s positive experience, Archos and Uni Group aim to expand across the region creating more subsidiaries in markets they are interested in.
Wiko and Infinix recently launched in Africa and are taking on incumbets such as Samsung, Tecno, Huawei, Microsoft among others.
Johannesburg - Vodacom has launched a low-cost tablet that has been designed specifically for the South African market, reported City Press on Tuesday. This was in a bid to drive greater data usage as voice revenues continue to slide.
“Just over a year ago we stepped back and looked at the devices currently in the market in South Africa and realised there was a massive gap. The smartphones and tablets on offer were either prohibitively expensive or cheap and badly specced,” said Vodacom’s commercial officer Phil Patel.
“We sketched out what we thought the ideal specifications were for South Africa, and using the purchasing power of Vodafone’s global device team, we were able to have the device manufactured at a price point that works out at R2 per day.”
Vodacom said in a statement on Tuesday that the low-cost tablet called the Vodacom Smart Tab 3G will be available on prepaid for R999. The device will be on sale from Wednesday.
In August, Vodacom released its first low-cost smartphone Kicka, and according to Patel over 250,000 units have been sold in a month and a half. He estimated that the data usage per unit was on average 100-150MB. Rival MTN also has its own low-cost device called the Steppa.
“Introducing high-quality, low-priced devices is just one leg of our three-part strategy to connect South Africa. The first leg is the network itself – we’re investing R9bn across South Africa this year to expand both the reach and quality of our coverage,” Patel said.
He said the focus was on township, rural and greater suburban areas and the network was being built to support video and multimedia.
Patel acknowledged that income in rural and township areas especially may be limited and he said the approach to pricing of data will not be the same as with the cities.
EOH Company and Infor Master Partner, Softworx has launched the Africa Partner Network (Softworx APN) to channel Infor software sales and consulting services throughout Sub-Saharan Africa.
The digital industry’s most anticipated Awards event will take place on 12th November 2014 at The Waterfront Lookout, Cape Town. Celebrating and acknowledging leaders in digital technology, ICT, Telecommunications and Media across Africa, attract a growing number of entries each year.
In 2014, 161 entries were received. “The overall quality of the entries this year surpassed expectation,” commented Adam Thompson, Research Manager, Informa Telecoms & Media. “The innovation taking place in the digital ecosystem across the entire continent is heartening and also world class. Many are leaders in their fields and pioneers of new technology and services answering the needs of emerging markets that more traditional markets can and should take note of:
The shortlisted contenders or the various categories in 2014 are:
Best App for Africa
· Orange - Libon
· Orange - Orange Self-care Application: My Orange
· Kirusa - InstaVoice
· Bharti - Airtel Internet.org App
· Spice - Mziiki
Best Connectivity Solutions for Africa
· Orange - My Social WiFi
· Liquid Telecom -100Mbps FTTH Service
· Breeze Micro and World Telecom Labs - New Inter-city VoIP Routes in Nigeria from Breeze Micro and World Telecom Labs
· WIOCC - Connecting Somalia - closing the final link
· Sky Vision - SkyVision Hybrid Satellite and Terrestrial network solutions
Best Cost Efficiency Solutions for Africa
· TKM Maestro - TKM Cost Efficiency Solution
· Nomanini - Nomanini payments platform
· Digital Route- Mediation Zone
· Afrigis - Voting Station Monitor USSD Solution
· Huawei - Africa’s 1st SDN Innovation
· Opera Software - Opera Web Pass
· Fairwaves - Mobile network which you can build yourself
Best Device for Africa
· Solarway - Solar Powered Mobile Phone Charging Station
· Solarway - Solar Kiosk
· Equatel - Equatel SIM Payphone
· Nomanimi - Nomanini payments platform
· Bharti Airtel - Airtel Red
Best Marketing Campaign
· MTN - MTN Corporate Campaign
· OgilvyOne Africa /Airtel Zambia - Go For It : Be Whatever, Do Whatever
· Orange - Emergency Credit Campaign
· Orange - Orange Football Club Campaign
· Huawei - MTN’s Mandela Birthday‘ 67 Minutes
· Onlime - Marketing Campaign - Rebrand
· Millicom Tanzania TIGO - Free Facebook in Swahili
· Bharti Airtel - Mr Money Campaign
Best Mobile Money Solution
· Orange - Mobile Travel Tickets
· Orange - Mobile Pensions
· eTranzact - PocketMoni Mobile Money Service
· Bharti Airtel - Airtel Money
· Mahindra Comviva - Mahindra Comviva mobiquity Connect
Best Network Improvement
· Ericsson - Unitel Angola, Smile Nigeria, TiGO Senegal
· World Telecoms Lab - Nigeria’s new interconnect exchange carriers and World Telecom Labs’ 2nd Generation VoIP Switches
· WIOCC - Extending WIOCC’s Pan-African Network into Somalia
· Tigo Rwanda - Tigo Voice and Data Mobile Services
· Bharti Airtel - Nigeria Data Service Improvement
· Liquid Telecom - Upgrading and improving the fibre network of Liquid Telecom Kenya
Best Pan African Initiative
· MTN - MTN GLOBAL MPLS VPN
· PCCW Global - High-Quality Calling with Direct Routing in Africa
· Orange - Pan-African Partnering Play Store
· Liquid Telecom - East Africa Fibre Ring
· Airtel Africa and IBM - Business Intelligence Solution (based on Cognos, DB2, Websphere, AIX and IBM Blade Center)
Breakthrough LTE Development
· PCCW Global - Global LTE Roaming for African Mobile Subscribers
· Ericsson - LTE Market Impact
· Ericsson - Breakthrough LTE Development - Unitel
· Orange - LTE for fix
· Huawei - Innovative LTE Rollout
· Smile Communications - SmileON and Data Management
· Telkom - LTE
· Surfline - Deployment of 4G LTE network in Ghana
Changing Lives Awards
· Afrigis - Gender-Based Violence Command Centre (GBVCC)
· Orange Digital School Project
· WIOCC - Closing the final link - connecting Somalia
· afb Mauritius Ltd - Mobile Consume and Businesses Unsecured Credit
· TXT Ghana - JOB 1917
· Bharti Airtel - Ebola Initiative
· Sky Vision - Ghana Crossover Academy
· Telekom - TNM Moyo Cover
Excellence in Customer Experience Management
· Procera - RAN Perspectives
· OgilvyOne Africa /Airtel Ghana - Uncle MB | Sorting data drama
· SafariCom - Customer Care support for M-PESA product - the leading mobile money transfer service in the world
· Orange - '100% Successful Calls' Suites of services
· Bharti Airtel - Airtel Premier
Most Innovative Service
· Huawei - Huawei’s Digital Music Service for MTN
· Millicom Tanzania TIGO - Tigo Pesa - International Mobile Money Transfer
· Econet Renewable Energy Systems - Titan - Home Power Station
· Opera Software - Opera Web Pass
· Orange - Facebook Partnerships
· Kifiya Financial Technologies - Digital Finance and Payment Service
VSAT Innovation for Africa
· Afrique Telecom - Full VNO OSS/BSS for VSAT Industry and Customers
· Liquid Telecom - Shared MPLS Satellite service
· EMC - Fully managed VSAT services
· Sky Vision - Sky Vision Active Series
Source: Press Release
Second national operator, Globacom says that the dream of every Nigerian child for academic success is now a reality with the introduction of its mobile-based educational application called Glo Mobile Tutor.
Glo Mobile Tutor is an innovation with full Junior and Secondary school curricula that had been specially designed to provide instant knowledge and prepare students for examinations.
The application is rich in content such as lecture notes, live video lectures, timed mock exams, structured assignments, revision videos and a segment tagged Talk to Counsel.
Delivering her address during the launch at the Mike Adenuga Towers, Victoria Island, Lagos on Friday, Sales Director, Glo 1 Enterprise, Bolanle Ogundogba said: "Globacom is committed to the development and education of the Nigerian child".
Glo Mobile Tutor provides instant knowledge and puts the power of education within the reach of every child in all the 774 local government areas of Nigeria." Adding that "Glo, having realized that there's a relatively low literacy rate in Nigeria and Africa, found the need to introduce this service with the application and contents provided by Roducate."
The innovation is loaded with both West African and British Curricula and has been endorsed by the relevant educational bodies such as the Joint Admissions and Matriculations Board (JAMB), the National Educational Research Development Council (NERDC) and Federal Ministry of Communication Technology.
Ogundogba assured Nigerians of Globacom's continued support for education because of its belief that good education makes a great nation and encouraged parents and guardians to avail their children and wards of this laudable technology with its pocket-friendly tariffs and rates.
The Glo Mobile Tutor is open to both new and existing subscribers.
Desperate for your favourite international band to tour South Africa? You will soon be able to do more than just wish quietly for it to happen thanks to a new crowdsourcing platform that wants to give music fans a voice.
Inbound Sound wants to give South Africans a voice about which acts they want to see perform here, based on demand.
Local fans can nominate the artists that they would like to see perform here on a platform that functions similarly to KickStarter.
Inbound Sound will launch in early November and its developers want to work with music promoters to bring popular artists to local music venues.
“In South Africa, we usually just have to wait for our favourite artists to arrive. We don’t really have a say in the matter on which artists the promoters bring out here,” says Inbound Sound co-founder Richard Theunissen.
The idea for Inbound Sound came earlier this year when a crowdsourced campaign in the US town of Richmond, Virginia saw fans crowdsource the funds needed to get the Foo Fighters to perform there. (Incidentally, it is also frontman Dave Grohl’s hometown.)
Inbound Sound will allow users to create artist or concert pages, or join existing ones. The popularity of these nominations will allow Inbound Sound to work with promoters and brands to get the artists here.
Although users will be able to create a free account on Inbound Sound, to create or add their name to a concert will require payment of a once-off registration fee. Theunissen says this fee is to show the commitment of the user wanting to buy the concert ticket. The money will be used to cover the basic costs of the website and to ensure its sustainability. “It won’t paying salaries” says Theunissen, adding that Inbound Sound will only make make money if a concert is successfully hosted.
There will be two levels of fees — a once-off basic subscription and a once-off premium subscription that will offer different levels of value. These prices are R15 and R29 respectively. The basic fee will give users access to the concert sections of the website, while the premium option will allow Inbound Sound to bundle extra services or value for users.
Event nominations are restricted to Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban for now. Users will also be able to select their ticketing tier, be it general standing, seated or golden circle. Theunissen says that it’s not possible to get the exact pricing before the concert has been booked and planned, but people will have a rough idea of what the tiered prices are for the various tickets. The selection of these details will then give Inbound Sound an overview of the demand that exists for a particular artist.
When an artists is booked and scheduled to perform in South Africa, Inbound Sound users will then have early access to tickets. Theunissen says that throughout the entire process, users will be able to change or cancel their nomination if their availability or financial situation changes.
Theunissen says it is not the company’s intention to take on the likes of Big Concerts and Computicket, but rather to provide a complementary service.
An animation that dispels myths about how Ebola is spread and promotes prevention
United Methodist Communications collaborated with Chocolate Moose Media and iHeed to create an animation for West Africa that dispels myths about how Ebola is spread and promotes prevention. The video can be downloaded free (click here to download)
“Our goal is to provide education that leads to better understanding to prevent infections,” said the Rev. Larry Hollon, chief executive of United Methodist Communications. “Ebola gains foothold in poor communities where mistrust, resistance to proper care and lack of understanding of the virus and is widespread. The church’s advantage lies in its network of trusted leaders who live in the affected regions.”
United Methodist Communications, the global communications agency of The United Methodist Church, is using several approaches, including providing text messages to clergy in Sierra Leone and Liberia. Commentaries by trusted leaders encourage cooperation with health programs.
The agency provided partial funding for Chocolate Moose Media to create the video. The executive producer is iHeed, a mobile-health-education innovator.
“I have created what I hope will be a compelling video to prevent the spread of Ebola,” said Chocolate Moose Media founder and award-winning director Firdaus Kharas. “My approach is to combine animation with non-coercive persuasion by having Africans speak to their own broader family.”
Accessed through download for local playback, all partners will distribute the video to reach as many as possible. Distribution channels include international organizations, non-governmental organizations, civil society and churches and through social media using #Ebolavideo.
“Through a combination of weak health infrastructure, inconsistent levels of education and unpreparedness, this epidemic has become a global threat,” said Dr. Kunal D. Patel, medical director of iHeed. “Digital media can fill the gaps. In combination with technologies such as mobile phones, cinemas, projectors and tablets, animated information can help.”
The United Methodist Church is responding in a number of other ways in a joint effort by the United Methodist Committee on Relief, West African United Methodist church leaders and regional health boards, denominational health facilities, and others. Visit here.
According to the World Health Organization, 7,470 cases of Ebola had been reported as of Oct. 3, with 3,431 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
Ebola is transmitted to humans from wild animals and spreads through person-to-person transmission. Contact with the body of a deceased person can also play a role in transmission.
Source: Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of the United Methodist Communications.
Kigali-based technology incubator think has announced the selection of 4 African startups for support. The startups are Beliaa (Egypt), Cribpark (Nigeria), PollAfrique (Ghana), and TorQue (Rwanda).
In a statement, think said the startups were selected out of about 150 received applications and they represent innovative, digital, private sector solutions that demonstrate the potential to scale across Africa.
The selected startups have been offered US$15,000 funding, access to Tigo networks across Africa, mentoring from business and tech leaders, tech-specific curriculum on how to develop their businesses and a range of support from think corporate partners.
Tongai Maramba, General Manager of Tigo Rwanda said: “The companies we have selected for think show innovation in a crowded playing field. The founders are smart, determined and have the potential to scale their firms across the continent. After a rigorous review process, we have selected companies that demonstrate incredible promise.”
The four startups will participate in a six-month accelerator program, beginning in Kigali, Rwanda in early November 2014.
Johannesburg - The government is considering selling its $2.5bn stake in the local unit of Vodafone to raise funds for state power utility Eskom, Bloomberg News reported on Wednesday.
The government has approached financial advisers about the possible sale of its 13.9% stake in Vodacom Group, Bloomberg said, citing four people familiar with the matter.
The stake is likely to be sold to institutional investors although a deal is not imminent, Bloomberg said, citing one of the sources.
The government's stake in Vodacom is worth around R28bn ($2.5bn), according to Reuters data.
Vodacom spokesperson Richard Boorman said the company was "not aware of any developments along these lines".
Shares of Vodacom, the dominant mobile operator in South Africa, were down 1.9% at R124.20 at 11:53.
Former top bankers Michael Jordaan and Paul Harris are shareholders in a company that has made an offer to buy Wireless Business Solutions (WBS), the company that owns iBurst and Broadlink, TechCentral has established.
Technology company Multisource, in which Jordaan and the Harris family trust are shareholders, has made an offer to acquire WBS.
WBS has access to valuable radio frequency spectrum that could be used to build a national wireless broadband network. In particular, it has access to spectrum in the 1,8GHz band that is ideally suited to building next-generation wireless broadband networks using 4G/LTE technology.
Multisource chairman and shareholder Phumlani Moholi confirms that the company, which was once listed on the JSE, has made an offer to buy WBS, but cautions that the conclusion of the deal is subject to a financial and technical due diligence and the fulfilment of conditions precedent.
“We are at a sensitive stage of the transaction and bound by confidentiality. However, we are willing to engage with yourselves to share more information once we have more clarity,” Moholi tells TechCentral in an e-mail.
Moholi is a former chief technology officer at MTN and chief IT officer for the 2010 Fifa World Cup local organising committee.
On Monday, TechCentral revealed that WBS had received an offer to the business from a then-unnamed entity. WBS nonexecutive director David Hilewitz said then that various authorities, including communications regulator Icasa and the Competition Commission, would still have to give the thumbs up to a deal once the due diligence had been completed successfully.
WBS shareholders include Blue Label Telecoms co-CEOs Brett and Mark Levy, the Development Bank of Southern Africa, Investec, the Public Investment Corp and former WBS CEO Thami Mtshali, who stepped down in August.
It’s not immediately clear why Multisource would be interested in buying WBS. Founded in 1947, the firm says its “core tenet is designing, building, operating and federating next-wave networks”.
“These networks combine radio, wireless, voice, video and [Internet protocol] technologies into a single, integrated communication network,” it says on its website.
The company, which has offices in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban and Port Elizabeth, was listed on the JSE in 1988, but subsequently delisted.
InstituteX, an investment company founded by Harris, Moholi and technology entrepreneur Brandon Leigh, acquired a 66% stake in Multisource back in 2010.
Leigh, who serves as Multisource’s CEO, is the former head of Leaf Wireless, the company that distributed HTC products in South Africa until 2012.
CFP “IT Sourcing and Development” international workshop
20-21 October 2014
The University of Manchester’s Centre for Development Informatics
The workshop seeks to reflect on the changing context for IT sourcing and socio-economic development: analysing the new forces driving and shaping IT sourcing; characterising the new models of IT sourcing these forces have created; and reassessing the impacts of IT sourcing in light of the new criteria based on inclusive and sustainable development models and on corporate social responsibility.
Prospective presenters are asked to submit an abstract of 200-400 words outlining their proposed paper to firstname.lastname@example.org by 11 July 2014.
Full details here:
TMT World Congress
18 November 2014
TMT World Congress 2014 & Awards will gather the leading industry, finance and advisory executives in London on November 18 to assess the most exceptional investment strategies globally. For more information on the inaugural World Congress 2014 & Awards, visit here:
Digital Migration and Spectrum Management Forum – Africa 2014
25th -27th November 2014
Johannesburg, South Africa
A high-level industry conference, this conference will bring together key stakeholders across the broadcasting, telecoms, broadband and associated industries to assess the latest developments in spectrum technology, applications, standard, services and platforms and the relevance to Africa.
Please click here to access the event website and to register your participation at this event.
Director of Technology and Innovation1
Company: Living Goods
Deadline: Friday 14th November 2014
Living Goods is seeking a Director of Technology & Innovation to join our team in East Africa. We believe that mobile is an increasingly powerful and positive disruptive force in enabling our agents to sell and earn more while igniting social connections to drive impact.
As the Director of Technology and Innovation you will pioneer and implement game-changing innovations while overseeing all Living Goods’ mission critical mobile tools, data management systems and software needs. You will lead our technology team in piloting multiple innovations to; improve marketing & sales, monitor and evaluate impact, solve last mile distribution problems, track product and inventory, and provide mobile credit and loan systems. This position will play a key role on our global leadership teamand will be located in East Africa with frequent travel.
· Lead the Living Goods technology strategy, pioneering innovative mobile/tech solutions and applications to drive our growth, expansion and impact.
· Stay up to speed on latest innovations and applications of technology, building and maintaining relationships with key actors.
· Build and manage the Living Goods technology team, cultivating the growth of existing talent and bringing in new skills and experience where necessary.
· Lead product management and product design for all technology products, whether developed in-house at Living Goods or developed by vendors, ensuring effective communication across actors.
· Oversee development of innovative mobile marketing tools and platforms, e.g. data collection, training support, field sales force management, mobile money, customer financing, incentive systems, smart phone and tablet apps, GIS etc.
· Manage all Living Goods management information systems including: LG’s data warehouse and reporting tools, website, accounting software, point of sale system, and Salesforce database.
· Work with department heads, end users and stakeholders to understand their needs and develop creative and effective solutions.
· Contribute to overall organizational strategy as a core member of the Living Goods global management team.
· 6-10 years experience leading technology strategy for organizations with large sales force teams, with in depth exposure to: mobile-based systems, accounting systems, CRMs and SCMs.
· Strong business acumen with a track record of leading innovation and strategic initiatives.
· Cross-functional experience in sales, marketing or program implementation.
· Extensive experience leading and managing software application development for web or mobile platforms.
· Willingness to travel between Nairobi, Kampala and the USA.
· University degree required, preference to candidates with Information Technology, Computer Science, Software Engineering or Business degrees.
A highly competitive salary and benefits package commensurate with experience including health insurance and bonus opportunity. The opportunity to be your best while making lives better for those in need.
What is Living Goods?
Living Goods supports networks of ‘Avon-like’ micro-entrepreneurs who go door-to-door teaching families how to improve their health and wealth while selling affordable, high-impact products like basic medicines, fortified foods, water filters, clean cookstoves, and solar lights. Living Goods seeks nothing less than a disruptive reinvention of distribution in the developing world, through networks of franchised micro-entrepreneurs who leverage Living Goods’ brand, buying power and mobile marketing tools to deliver vital products at accessible prices to the people who need them most. By combining the best practices from the worlds of micro-enterprise, franchising and public health, Living Goods is creating a fully sustainable system to improve the health, and wealth, of the poor.
Living Goods has been featured in The New York Times, NBC News, The Economist, and The Huffington Post. Check out these articles and more on our press page.
Life at Living Goods
Living Goods is aiming to make disruptive changes, dramatically improving the lives of the poor. We think big, but we operate small and nimble. At Living Goods, you will have the chance to use your creativity and work with your teammates to conceive and test new ideas every day. If you work well in a dynamic, highly collaborative culture, if you set high standards for yourself and your colleagues, if you know how to fail fast and learn fast, if you meet challenges with calm determination and a sense of humor, you will thrive at Living Goods. See www.livinggoods.org/principles.
How to apply
To apply for this position please visit our career page and apply for Director of Technology & Innovation' through our applicant tracking system. In lieu of a cover letter you will be asked to answer a few short questions that will help us learn a little bit more about you and your interest in working with Living Goods.
For more information about Living Goods, please visit:
follow us @Living_Goods