GES2015: US govt pledges support for Kenyan wireless internet provider

The US government’s development finance institution, Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC),and Microsoft have signed an agreement with Kenyan wireless internet provider Mawingu Networks Ltd that will pave the way for possible funding to the tune of $4million towards the company’s free Wi-Fi project.

The Project is aimed at helping people living off-grid and in rural communities across Africa access affordable Wi-Fi.

OPIC president and CEO Elizabeth Littlefield is currently in Nairobi for the 2015 Global Entrepreneur Summit, and signed the OPIC mandate alongside Antony Cook who is Microsoft’s head of legal and corporate affairs for the Middle East and Africa. Cook served as a witness to the mandate between OPIC and Mawingu.

“The development potential from creative private sector organisations like Mawingu captures the spirit and promise at the heart of this week’s Global Entrepreneurship Summit,” said Littlefield.

– See more at: http://www.itwebafrica.com/network/262-kenya/234948-us-govt-pledges-support-for-kenyan-wireless-internet-provider#sthash.L1zIqv06.dpuf

Airtel unveils App challenge for African developers

Bharti Airtel has revealed a new application challenge for startup developers. According to the company, the drive behind the challenge is to attract the ‘next big app developers’ into the Airtel group of companies.

mobile phone  dungThe challenge – a partnership between Bharti Airtel, Singaporean Telecommunications Company, Singtel and smartphone company Samsung – seeks to attract developers in Africa and Asia who will partner with the companies to launch applications on the two continents.

Announcing the partnership, Airtel Africa Chief Executive Officer, Christian de Faria said that the challenge reiterates the company’s commitment to empowering the youth to realise their potential in various sectors including Information Communication and Technology.

“This initiative is a great opportunity for developers in Africa to come up with innovative mobile apps that directly touch individual consumer’s needs. We hope to partner with like-minded individuals who will come forward and work together with us to come up with apps that will help us deliver the best smartphone experience for customers,” said Mr. de Faria.

Under the partnership, Airtel Africa will provide all operational support by running the campaign promotions while Singtel and Samsung together will organize a two- day mentorship program for the regional winners and the finale in November 2015.

The five-month app challenge will see participants develop consumer-centric mobile applications that will leverage on mobile network services – mobile, data, carrier billing, location and SMS.

The deadline for applications submission is September 5th, 2015 after which two African winners will be selected to participate in a Startup Mentorship Program in October 2015 in Singapore. The overall winners will be announced in November 2015 and expected to commence assignment with Airtel/ Singtel group of companies in 2016.

According to a 2014 Flurry Analytics study, mobile applications command 86 percent of the time that the average mobile consumer spends on their smartphone while smartphone users spend an average of 2 hours 42 minutes on mobile devices with app usage accounting for 2 hours and 19 minutes of this time.

Darryl Linington

Mobile app penetration in Africa

Experts predict that mobile applications will be the next big thing in five years in Africa. A host of new mobile phone applications, developed by software designers across the continent, are promising to boost development and business growth. More and more business and service providers are going mobile, in South Africa all commercial banks have mobile app. We have seen a dramatic changes in the tech world, most radio stations in South Africa are also going to the mobile app route.

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With more than 700 million mobile broadband subscribers across the continent, it’s no surprise that the growing number of young entrepreneurs are jumping on the digital trend and creating innovate, interactive content for the African market. Millions of people in Africa are embracing the technology by downloading apps every day.

The mobile app penetration has opened up opportunities for entrepreneurs and has changed the way business is done in the continent’s banking, agricultural, telecoms and pharmaceutical sectors. A lot of transformation has begun to take place in even the remote places in Africa. Read more 

Be aware of roaming and WiFi connectivity Risks

Overall, both mobile roaming and Wi-Fi Hotspots pose a risk financially, especially if your data ends up in the wrong hands.

Whether you are travelling throughout Africa, or globally, you may be considering activating your mobile roaming services with your mobile operator of choice.

While mobile roaming services are indeed a blessing, especially when it comes to staying in contact with loved ones, business colleagues and associates… it can however become a financial burden.

According to various reports, users utilsing roaming services have received substantially high mobile phone bills. According to enca.com, Kyle White was shocked to learn that Vodacom slammed him with a R46,000 bill for data roaming in Mauritius during the course of November 2014. Read more..