All Articles Tagged "kenya"
(Forbes) — Chris Kirubi is a complex man. One of Africa’s richest and most successful businessmen, he’s that rare blend ofDonald Trump, Jeffrey Sachs,Richard Branson and American music star DJ Khaled, in African skin. In business, he’s got the cunning and clout of Trump, the economic intellect of Sachs, the rebellion of Branson, and the musical inclinations of hip-hop act DJ Khaled. Here’s the reason why: In between running one of Africa’s largest privately held business conglomerates, delivering countless keynote lectures during frequent international economic gatherings, writing a weekly business column for a daily newspaper and mentoring young Kenyan entrepreneurs, Kirubi still finds time to make cameo appearances in Kenyan hip-hop videos, movies, and even hosts a rock show on Capital FM, a Nairobi radio station he owns. He’s the DJ!
Most Western news about Africa focuses on the seeding of al-Qaeda terrorism in nations like Yemen, or revolutionary battles against dictators like Muammar Gaddafi. But there is another, quieter disruption taking place in countries like Kenya in which black coders and tech entrepreneurs are creating their own boom. In Alex Perry’s article for Time, the author outlines numerous stories of success that have had international implications emerging from the continent, chronicling Africa’s exponential growth in the sector. Mobile tech via cell phones in particular has seen a host of creative applications sparked by African inventiveness. About the impact of cell phones on Africa’s economies, Perry reports:
According to studies by the London Business School, the World Bank and consultants at Deloitte, for every 10 additional mobiles per 100 Africans, GDP rises 0.6% to 1.2%. [...]
But this is not a story merely of how technology is changing Africa. Africans are changing technology right back. They now use text-message networks to send e mail, run social networks (South Africa’s MXit) and even verify from a bar code whether a drug is genuine or fake (mPedigree in Ghana and Sproxil in Nigeria). Africa’s influence on global technology is most marked in mobile banking: with its M Pesa service (M for mobile, pesa meaning money in Swahili), Kenyan operator Safaricom became the first-ever telecom company to create a mass mobile-banking service, setting industry standards now being copied from California to Kabul.
Africans, and Kenyans in particular, are making their presence felt online too. When Kenya erupted in violence in the aftermath of a disputed general election in late 2007, a handful of Nairobi code writers created Ushahidi (meaning testimony in Swahili), a data-mapping platform to collate and locate reports of unrest sent in by the public via text message, e mail and social media. The idea was simply to find out what was happening. Says Ushahidi co-founder Juliana Rotich: “The TV was playing The Sound of Music while we could see houses burning in our neighborhood.” But the desire to know what’s going on turned out to be universal, and Ushahidi quickly became the world’s default platform for mapping crises, disasters and political upheaval. According to Rotich, by May of this year, Ushahidi, which is free to download, had been used 14,000 times in 128 countries to map everything from last year’s earthquake in Haiti to this year’s Japanese tsunami and the Arab Spring.
We can only expect more African tech companies to blow up as plans to add Internet cables in the region are executed in the coming years. The cost of connectivity will go down and the speed of the average connection will go up as a result, leading to more involvement by the already active community. Growing investment from companies like Google, which has its regional headquarters in Kenya’s Nairobi, will lead to similar inventions like cloud computing, which came out of South Africa.
But unlike South Africa, the most developed African country, Kenya is the nation tech onlookers are observing with the greatest expectations. It has promoted the free and open use of telecom, unlike leaders that over-control or underdevelop state resources to the detriment of their useful application. Kenya invests in tech infrastructure so that both companies and citizens can enjoy the Internet as “a basic human right,” the nation’s information minister told Time.
Such is its affinity for technology that “Kenya’s love for IT has earned it the nickname Silicon Savanna,” Perry wrote. Playing on the name of America’s tech hub — Silicon Valley — this moniker shows just how important the region has become as a leader in international innovation.
Read more in detail about the leaders, movers and shakers of Silicon Savanna on Time.com. Does this movement shake up your vision of Africa as impoverished and underdeveloped? Is investing in its burgeoning tech sector something you would consider? Leave your comments below!
Business in Africa has been booming and the movement is being led by a new league of African businessmen. These men are building pan-African companies with regional and global presences. They are considered some of Africa’s most esteemed voices in the business and political spheres. Ultimately, they are helping to shape the economic future of the continent. Here are 10 of those bold and fearless leaders according to a recent list compiled by Forbes:
Chairman, Shanduka Group, MTN
Ramaphosa is considered one of South Africa’s most respected business and political figures. He is the founder and executive chairman of the Shanduka Group, a black owned and managed investment group with investments in resources, financial services, property, energy and beverages. Recently, his company acquired the South African operations of McDonalds.
Ramaphosa is committed to South Africa’s development in the areas of education and enterprise development. The Shanduka Foundation focuses on these areas through the initiatives of the Adopt a School program and the Shanduka Black Umbrellas.
(Time) — To meet the future of retail banking, cross Moi Avenue into the rougher part of downtown Nairobi, pass the Chicken Spot restaurant and squeeze between four stalls selling counterfeit mobile phones, and you’ll reach a door — and behind it a tiny room containing a hat stand, a wall calendar, a strip light and a desk. Patrick Maina’s offices don’t look like a bank, his bank — Safaricom — doesn’t sound like one, and Maina doesn’t appear at all like a banker: 38 years old, he likes his suits iridescent and his head shaved; his manner is friendly and modest. Maina’s results over the past few years are particularly unbanklike.
(Wall Street Journal) — Mobile-phone companies across Africa are drawing battle lines to capture the rising middle-class consumer. But in Kenya, the war already is well under way, stocked with ammunition from abroad. In the past year, units of India’s Bharti Airtel Ltd. and the U.K.’s Vodafone Group PLC have been locked in competition. Vodafone’s Safaricom Ltd. dominates the Kenyan telecommunications sector, with 77% of the market. But in the third quarter, Bharti’s Airtel Kenya boosted its market share to 15% from 11% in the second and captured 60% of new mobile customers each month, according to Rene Meza, Airtel’s managing director in Nairobi. Airtel Kenya is on a path to “market leadership,” the 33-year-old Paraguayan says.
The continent of Africa offers much more than the typical negative news stories of political unrest, corruption, poverty and disease that we often hear about. Though Africa still had its troubles, 2010 was a momentous year for the motherland that included the excitement of the World Cup being hosted in South Africa and 17 African countries celebrating 50 years of independence from colonialism. Here’s a recap of some of Africa’s memorable events from last year:
FIFA World Cup
This past summer, South Africa had the honor of the hosting The World Cup, an international championship competition that brings together the best soccer players – or should we say footballers- in the world once every four years. Though only a few African teams competed out of 32 teams, and Spain took home the trophy for the first time ever, the festivities did wonders for the country’s economy by generating tons of tourist dollars and enabling funds to build more infrastructure. It also influenced a peaceful union between African soccer fans and casual viewers.
The Year of Independence
This year marked 50 years of independence for 17 African countries, including Nigeria, Cameroon, Senegal, Madagascar, Ivory Coast, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Somalia. Ironically, the occasion was marked by a number of African leaders attending the Bastille Day celebrations in France, the former colonial power for 14 of the 17 countries. In spite of the hardships these countries have faced (civil wars, dictatorship, corruption, etc.) there’s no denying the pride and love the natives feel for their homelands.
(AP) — Five nations in East Africa implemented new economic rules Thursday to boost cross-border employment and trade. The new steps push forward a larger plan to integrate the economies of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda, which together form the East African Community. When most African countries gained independence from European colonial powers in the 1950s and 1960s, Africa’s founding fathers wanted the entire continent to become one economy as a way of achieving self-reliance and better negotiating power in international markets.
Fine brothers will not be the only ones present at the World Cup in South Africa this week. Our very own vice president Joe Biden will be there too, among other countries in the Motherland.
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