East Africa Internet Exchange Point To Launch Next Year

VENTURES AFRICA – Talks about regional integration and moves to boost intra-African trading have become popular on the continent as stakeholders fully realize the economic goodies embedded in a totally connected Africa; in this spirit, members of the East African Community (EAC) are gearing up to the launch of a regional East African Internet Exchange Point (EAXIP), scheduled to go live next year.

EAXIP, as championed by the East African Communications Organization (EACO), will interconnect the EAC member countries via internet links in order to keep the region’s internet traffic local and further reduce the cost of internet services. The exchange point provides a physical network access area through which major network providers connect their networks and exchange traffic. With an exchange link of this kind, costs associated with traffic exchange between Internet Service Providers will be reduced as well.

Joseph Tiampati, ICT Principal Secretary disclosed some information suggesting that the countries have already started drafting policies, regulations and the necessary operational framework to ensure the smooth execution and running of the initiative which will first be implemented in five EAC countries before it is extended to seven other countries within the region.

“In a bid to support the growth of Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) within the country and beyond, the government of Kenya has already put in place several measures to promote the growth of electronic commerce and by extension, the growth of e-government services,” he said. Read more

Mobile Payments to Determine Future of Global Economy

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, Nov 03 (IPS) – Half the global working age population does not have a bank account, yet six billion people have access to a mobile phone. Ninety percent of people in developing countries have mobile phone subscriptions and 84 percent have signed up to mobile broadband subscriptions.

This supports an upward trend in adoption of mobile payment technologies in developing countries, where many users now have a means to utilise previously inaccessible financial services via their mobile phones.[pullquote]3[/pullquote]

It has been predicted that mobile payment subscribers will reach almost 1.1 billion users by the end of 2015, with an annual 1.3 trillion dollars in global mobile commerce by 2017.

The growth of mobile data traffic in Africa is also expected to increase 20 times between 2013 and 2019, Latin America is forecasted to experience a 67 percent growth in mobile data traffic by 2017, and Asia Pacific will produce 47 percent of all global mobile data traffic within this same period.

On a global scale, mobile data traffic will surpass growth rates of Internet access, driven primarily by developing economies that are reliant on mobile data to access the internet. Mobile devices will continue to be more common than desktop or laptop computers in developing countries, signaling that mobile commerce will continue to dominate e-commerce.

Societies that have weaker financial systems with less regulation are quicker to accept m-payment technologies, with better consumer response than in developed economies, possibly due to different expectations than those in developed economies.

These emerging economies will face a range of growing pains as regulations and competition surface in markets where digital transactions represent the first mainstream financial system. Its unclear whether the current model will be sustainable.

Its highly likely that emerging economies will bypass diffusion of credit or debit cards completely. Current trends have demonstrated a move directly from cash to mobile. In order to get a credit or debit card, individuals must go through a lengthy process and merchants must invest in hardware to accept cards. Using mobile payments typically just requires a basic mobile phone subscription in developing countries.

Mobile payments and mobile banking in developing countries will establish a financial system which will be led primarily by private sector telecommunication companies. Read More

Africa Tech Trends: Cross-border remittances set to get easier in East Africa

Cross-border remittances set to get easier in East Africa

Pan-African operator Bharti Airtel, which has operations in 20 African and Asian countries, is set to launch the pilot phase of a cross-border money transfer product in East Africa on 1 November. The initiative is the first of its kind in Africa, and will allow Airtel Money customers in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda to transact across borders.

The process of removing barriers to mobile money transactions has been stepped up in the last few months, with Airtel again playing a role in the launch of an inter-operable service in Tanzania. Airtel and Tigo partnered for a cross-network transfer service that allows customers to send money to any recipient regardless of what company they hold their mobile wallet with. Read more

Apple outlines $100m grant for Obama’s ConnectED initiative

Apple plans to contribute $100 million in grants to US schools as part of President Obama’s ConnectED initiative.

The iPad and iPhone maker’s new microsite details the company’s contribution, saying that “Education is a fundamental right for everyone,” and so free Apple technology will be issued where it is needed most to further student tuition.

Obama’s ConnectED initiative aims to bring reliable Internet access to 99 percent of US students by 2017, with a particular focus on “parts of the country that typically have trouble attracting investment in broadband infrastructure.” The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and firms including Apple, Microsoft, Adobe and Verizon support the scheme by offering grants, as well as free and discounted software.

Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple plans to divide $100 million between 114 schools in 29 states. The company has chosen schools where at least 96 percent of the students are eligible for a free or discount-price lunch, and 92 percent of students enrolled at the partner schools are of Hispanic, Black, Native American, Alaskan Native, or Asian heritage.

The tech giant says that every student at these schools will receive an iPad, every teacher and administrator will be given a free iPad and a Mac, and every ConnectED classroom will be equipped with an Apple TV. In addition, a team from Apple will be assigned to each school in order to ensure the technology is used effectively.

The statistics surrounding Apple’s contribution to ConnectED are detailed below.

Screen Shot 2014-10-28 at 10.24.56

Read on here