News & Events

Our blog is where you'll find all our project updates,highlights and achievements, as well as other news and events related to Botswana Speaks Parliamentary Initiative.

Namibia: more girls to get involved in the ICT field

Biztech Africa features an interesting article related to the ICT Day event at Telecom Namibia’s main offices. Telecom Namibia and Cisco Systems hosted more than 20 girls from the University of Namibia for the International Girls in ICT. The forum was organised to encourage Namibian girls to choose a career in information and communication technologies (ICT).

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More U-Touch digital centres on the cards for Africa

U-TOUCH, a global social enterprise that transforms lives by bridging the global digital divide, announced that it will discuss its sustainable expansion plans for Africa at the upcoming Business4Better (B4B) Conference in Anaheim, CA, May 1-2, 2013. The initiative wants to engage with NGOs, businesses and philanthorpic organisations and indviduals across the continent to assist in the rollout of its expansion plans.

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Five great African tech innovations

Africa is filled with innovative solutions, from making life just a little bit easier in rural areas, to actually saving lives in the most dire of situations through science. While Africa is slowly catching up to the technological marvels of Westerns nations, there is definitely no shortage of creative and aspiring minds on the continent. ITNewsAfrica.com took a look at some of the innovations and inventions that have been developed on home soil.


Read here the original article

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Top Social Media Savvy Companies In Africa’s Biggest Economy

Accodring to an article published on VENTURES AFRICA, large corporate brands in Africa’s biggest economy, South Africa have woken up to social media, following in the footsteps of their customers, according to new findings from technology market researchers World Wide Worx and information analysts Fuseware.
 

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Open data platforms: a tool to revolutionise governance

Having returned from speaking at a conference hosted by the World Bank president Jim Yong Kim on the issue of constituency feedback, Jay Naidoo shares lessons on how to engage citizens in governance and strengthen civil society through open data.

Among other, Jay Naidoo mentions that "Africa is the fastest growing mobile market in the world, with over 600 million users. Using the pervasive mobile technology platform, we could avoid costly software applications and improve the performance of education. [...] What we need is the political will to co-create the tools with citizens and civil society, and to harness the expertise and technology of the marketplace to deliver the services to which our citizens have a right".

Read the article here

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Kenya’s iHub To Develop Technology Sector

Accoring to an article published on VENTURES AFRICA, Nairobi has seen the rise of Kenya’s first tech hub, iHub as series of investments have been initiated to promote the development of Kenya’s technology sector.
 
The iHub offers free internet access and specialist forums for entrepreneurs and promotes the innovation-intensive industries. Kenya’s tech hub, which was funded by Hivos and Omidyar Network, has been expanding continuously, becoming a benchmark for tech hubs in Africa.
 

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Botswana: Ministry explores health technologies

Accoring to an article on Daily News, the Ministry of Health continues to explore various technologies in the provision of health care, Assistant Minister of Health Mr Gaotlhaetse Matlhabaphiri has said.
 
Mr Matlhabaphiri said rolling out of the Integrated Patient Management System (IPMS) technology in major hospitals is one of the moves that mark a new era in the way health care services are being offered.
 
“With this initiative, going paperless is no longer a dream but a possibility within reach,” Mr Matlhabaphiri said.
 

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Experts Endorse Technology As The ‘Biggest Driver Of Change’ For Africa

VENTURES AFRICA – Technology has been adjudged as the biggest driver of change for developing nations of the world and being instrumental to Africa’s transformation over the past decade.
 
According to the Steven Evans, Chief Executive Officer, Etisalat Nigeria, who was represented by the company’s Director of Network Engineering, Temi Ogunbambi at the at the just-concluded Economist Conference sponsored by Etisalat in Lagos with the theme: ‘Nigeria Summit 2013: Enabling and Implementing Change’; most developing nations around the world have come to recognize the importance of information technology in the development of their various countries.
 

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Banks' IT systems hosted locally

Assistant Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Mr Vincent Seretse says all the commercial banks in Botswana are subsidiaries of foreign banks with operations in many countries and markets, but their information technology systems are hosted and maintained locally.
 
He informed Parliament on Wednesday that while the banks' IT systems were maintaned locally, they were also integrated in to regional hubs or international group IT centres.
 

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TECH DEMO AFRICA, 21-22 May 2013

ITNewsAfrica, Africa’s technology news leader, has partnered with The Innovation Hub, Africa's first internationally accredited Science Park and a full member of the International Association of Science Parks, to host the continent’s premier technology-focused demo event: The 2nd Tech Demo Africa Conference (www.techdemoafrica.com).

Tech Demo Africa 2013 will focus on Enterprise technology with a strong focus on Cloud, Big Data, Mobility and Enterprise Innovation. This inspiring two day event will feature technology demos, engaging keynotes, lively panel discussions, local and international speakers, a startup competition, along with an amazing technology exhibition area.

Tech Demo Africa provides a forum for the discussion of burning IT issues and IT Leaders are afforded an opportunity to view product demos that directly address these challenges. Combining panel discussions with direct, real-life demonstration of relevant solutions to assist decision makers, places Tech Demo Africa in a completely different league from other enterprise summits.
 
Visit the event website - Download the brochure

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Mobility, connectivity and the cloud – trends driving ICT

Eckart Zollner, Business Development Manager at Jasco ICT Solutions, writes an interesting article in ItNewsAfrica.com commenting on the several factors that have driven the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) market, creating shifts in the way businesses operate.

Zoller explains that these trends include the explosion of the smartphone and tablet market, the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) revolution and the emergence of cloud computing locally as a truly viable technology in a host of different areas. All of these trends however are driven by one overarching megatrend – increased connectivity and a move towards always on, always connected technology.

To view his original full article click here

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Microsoft gives internet access to rural areas in Africa

An interesting article featured in "HoWeMadeItInAfrica.com" explains that ICT in Africa is a blooming industry, but internet penetration on the continent was at about 11.5% in 2011. Even with the laying of new submarine cables, the continent lags behind the rest of the world in broadband development and requires innovative solutions to its Africa-specific problems.

One of the continent’s challenges that needs to be addressed surrounds the issue of providing underserviced rural areas – that are often not even connected to an electrical grid – with internet access.

A solution to this can be seen in a pilot network in Kenya that makes use of solar-powered towers that tap into unlicensed “white space” frequencies. This initiative was launched by Microsoft in February, in partnership with the Kenyan Ministry of Information and Communications; Indigo, a Kenyan internet service provider; and US-based wireless startup, Adaptrum.

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New apps transforming remote parts of Africa

For generations, breeding cows in the rural highlands of Kenya has hinged on knowledge and experience passed down from parents to children. But Mercy Wanjiku is unlike most farmers. Her most powerful tool is her cellphone, and a text messaging service called iCow.

The service informs her when her cows are in heat, which feed might boost their milk output and what their fair market price is. And when she needed a veterinarian recently, she relied on the service’s extensive database. “Otherwise, it would have been hard to find someone qualified in my area,” said Wanjiku, a 29-year-old farmer in Mweru, a village about 100 miles north of the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.

Across sub-Saharan Africa, technology, particularly mobile technology, has transformed the lives of digital-savvy entrepreneurs. While many are forging successful high-tech businesses in urban centers, others are finding ways to help people such as Wanjiku prosper in more traditional, low-tech professions such as farming and fishing. Digital tools are also being used to overcome the continent’s obstacles to growth, such as corruption and weak health care, social services and education. In recent months, text messaging was a crucial tool in monitoring elections in Kenya and Ghana.

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Over 60 senior IT leaders at the 2nd Annual Cloud World Forum Africa

Over 60 senior IT leaders from the world’s most important industries will share their opinions and views about the benefits of cloud computing at the 2nd Annual Cloud World Forum Africa – www.cloudworlseries.com/africa  – taking place on the 23rd-24th of April at the Sandton Sun Hotel in Johannesburg.

IT leaders from the world’s most important industries will share their opinions and views about the benefits of cloud computing at the 2nd Annual Cloud World Forum Africa.

The two-day conference features concurrent theatre streams; Enterprise and Telco, each with their own industry-focused agenda. Some of the main industries represented by top cloud experts will include Technology, Finance & Banking, Public Sector and Telecommunications.

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Tech startups in Africa and what works

Portland Communications released some data from research carried to find out about the usage of Twitter in Africa. The report was received quite well and received some notable attention across the web. Much of what has been written has looked mostly at just the implications of the research on primarily social media and it’s use and growth in Africa. Some of the insights from this research can be used to shed light on the subject of tech startups in Africa and what works.

According to the report, South Africa is the continent’s most active country by volume of geo-located Tweets, with over twice as many Tweets (5,030,226 during Q4 2011) as the next most active Kenya (2,476,800) and third comes Nigeria at 1,646,212 tweets. This continues to give credence to the idea that these three are the countries to watch as far as technology and innovation in Africa go.

The report indicates that 60% of Africa’s tweeters are between the ages of 20 and 29. According to the 2011 Africa Youth Report compiled by the Economic Commission for Africa:The majority of Africa’s population is below the age of 30… Young Africans are the key to an African renaissance and will remain players in and advocates of social transformation and development in many spheres. The enormous benefits young people can contribute are realized when investment is made in young people’s education, employment,health care, empowerment and effective civil participation.

Finally, the Portland Communications research indicates that close to 60% of tweets from Africa are sent via mobile phone. Now, the amazing link between Africa and the mobile platform is not a new subject but one that deserves mention over and over again. The simple fact is that the mobile device will remain the most powerful platform to reach the mass market in Africa for some time to come.

Original article

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Aspiring Africa: a welcome transformation, but still incomplete

Celebrations are in order on the poorest continent. Never in the half-century since it won independence from the colonial powers has Africa been in such good shape. Its economy is flourishing. Most countries are at peace. Ever fewer children bear arms and record numbers go to school. Mobile phones are as ubiquitous as they are in India and, in the worst-affected countries, HIV infections have fallen by up to three-quarters. Life expectancy rose by a tenth in the past decade and foreign direct investment has tripled. Consumer spending will almost double in the next ten years; the number of countries with average incomes above $1,000 per person a year will grow from less than half of Africa’s 55 states to three-quarters.

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Kenya: Intel and Ihub to Support Mobile APP Development in Africa Through Tech Hubs

Intel has entered into an agreement with business incubator iHub to foster and grow the developer community in Africa through targeted investments in mobile app development, online developer resources, university training programs, device seeding programs and expansion of technology hubs.
 
iHub catalyzes the tech community in Kenya and has evolvedinto a space with over 10,000 members. The model set by iHub has been used to start more than 30 other techhubs across Africa, and enjoys a leadership role in the continent due to itssize and relationship with the other hubs. Being a tech space, iHub is able to offer thought leadership in areas ofmobile technology and its use.
 

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Significant technology trends and developments to shape Africa’s commercial landscape in 2013

ItNewsAfrica.com published an interesting article about the top technological trends that will have impact in Africa in 2013.
The ICT sector will play a major role within global commerce in 2013. Africa has an opportunity to leverage off these trends, possibly even leapfrog, and elevate its international ICT profile.

So what are the trends that businesses must look out for? What are the disruptive/ enabling technologies that will impact existing and emerging markets throughout the continent?

The following list presents the most significant technology trends and developments that will shape Africa’s commercial landscape this year:

1. Growing interest in e-Commerce and online trade

2. Enter the business incubator

3. International tech funds focussing on Africa 

4. Impact of mobility on the workplace 

5. Cloud build-up over markets 

6. More broadband for long-term growth

7. Social media as Africa’s news source

 

Original article

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Google Student Ambassadors 2013 now open

University students from across sub-Saharan Africa can now apply for the third annual Google Student Ambassadors (GSAs) programme, in which they would liaise between Google and campuses with a mission to use technology in making a difference.
 
GSAs will have an opportunity to enhance their professional development, leadership and communication skills, with access to a unique network of Google Ambassadors. The ambassadors will also learn about innovative Google products and programmes and will be responsible in planning and hosting events on campus.

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Building a tech-focused continent: 9 of Africa’s innovation hubs

Innovation, mobile, tech and startups. These are Africa’s buzzwords. A continent that arrived late to the web revolution, Africa is catching up fast and leading the way in some aspects.

The continent is working overtime to build and create products, services and businesses that can rival that of the developed world. It is no longer the dark continent. According to a Daily Beast report, Africa is being heralded as the “new Asia” and the “home of the next Google”.

“Compared to dismal rates in the rest of the world, Africa’s growth is exceptional,” Gustavo Galindo, a portfolio manager with Russell Investments is quoted in the Daily Beast as saying. “It surprises me many US investors don’t realize the opportunities this creates, with some African stocks gaining 15% to 20% returns.”
 
That surprise is echoed in Africa, where young entrepreneurs are building products that not only solve African problems but can scale as well. In spite of lack of investor interest, the continent thrives and that is to a great degree thanks to tech hubs and co-creation spaces popping up with the aim of fostering innovation and technological growth.
 
Here are nine innovation hubs and co-creation spaces that are doing their bit to champion the African tech boom.
 

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