africa

  • $50 Android Smartphones Are Disrupting Africa Much Faster Than You Think, Says Wikipedia’s Jimmy Wales

    $50 Android Smartphones Are Disrupting Africa Much Faster Than You Think, Says Wikipedia’s Jimmy Wales

    What phone does Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales have in his pocket? An unlocked Android-powered 3G smartphone, made by Huawei – which was selling for $85 on the streets of Kenya last year and now goes for $50. Hundreds of thousands have been bought in Africa — and Wales believes the pace of smartphone adoption on the continent is changing its digital landscape much faster than… Read More

  • ABI: Africa’s Mobile Market To Pass 80% Subscriber Penetration In Q1 Next Year; 13.9% Of Global Cellular Market By 2017

    ABI: Africa’s Mobile Market To Pass 80% Subscriber Penetration In Q1 Next Year; 13.9% Of Global Cellular Market By 2017

    Analyst ABI Research expects mobile phone subscriber penetration levels in Africa to pass 80 percent in the first quarter of next year. In Q3 this year, it said the continent’s 54 countries and 1.08 billion people had accumulated 821 million mobile subscribers, up 16.9 percent year-on-year — to 76.4 percent — and it expects this to grow to 1.12 billion subscribers by 2017. Read More

  • Out Of Africa — A Whole MEST Of Startups Emerges In Ghana

    Out Of Africa — A Whole MEST Of Startups Emerges In Ghana

    Growing up as an adopted Korean boy in the cold climes of Norway, Jorn Lyseggen would have had no idea that one day he would be spearheading a technology renaissance in the sweltering heat of a West African state. But having created the successful $100m-in-revenue Meltwater SAAS company, which has made a name for itself in social analytics, he realised that it would be for nothing if he… Read More

  • In Five Years, Most Africans Will Have Smartphones

    In Five Years, Most Africans Will Have Smartphones

    Feature phones are not the future. Of course that verges on tautology; of course everyone will have a smartphone, until everyone has something smaller and better and even more integrated into the fabric of our lives, like Google Glasses or cybernetic jawbone/retinal implants or whatever Charles Stross dreams up next. But when, exactly? I’ve spent a good chunk of my life wandering around… Read More

  • Time For An African Valley? — Sub-Saharan Accelerators Start To Emerge

    Time For An African Valley? — Sub-Saharan Accelerators Start To Emerge

    The news that i/o Ventures had launched the Savannah Fund in Africa is clearly welcome news for an emerging continent. It’s $10m fund size will be a shot in the arm for the eco-system there. But I was surprised to see that it was being described in some quarters as the “first ever” Sub-Saharan African incubator and accelerator. Because it patently is not. “I think… Read More

  • And Now For Some Unexpectedly Good News

    And Now For Some Unexpectedly Good News

    Don’t look now, but sub-Saharan Africa is booming. Since 2003 its growth has been skyrocketing, and, to quote none other than McKinsey, “today the rate of return on foreign investment in Africa is higher than in any other developing region.” There are several reasons: commodity prices, Chinese investment, diaspora remittances… and, I would argue, the GSM revolution that… Read More

  • This Is Where The Magic Happens

    This Is Where The Magic Happens

    Seventeen years ago Wired published Neal Stephenson’s magisterial epic “Mother Earth Mother Board”, about the web of undersea fibre-optic cables being built to connect all of humanity. Well – almost all. Africa, again, was left behind. Until 2009, all of East Africa could only connect to the Internet over slow and hugely expensive satellite links. Finally, two years… Read More

  • The Unconquered Nation, Crippled By Bureaucrats

    The Unconquered Nation, Crippled By Bureaucrats

    Seems like it’s Sub-Saharan Month around here: first Sarah Lacy went to Nigeria, and now here I am in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital and Africa’s fourth-largest city. It feels like a boomtown. There are cranes and construction sites everywhere, throwing up gleaming new glass-and-steel buildings full of shops selling computers and mobile phones. The major thoroughfares… Read More

  • The Future Ain’t What It Used To Be

    My advice for the new year: go East and South, young man and woman … and investor. America, Europe, and Japan are stagnant and ponderous. More and more, in the coming years, the real moving and shaking will happen elsewhere. “2011 will be the year Android explodes!” cried a recent headline, citing a new Broadcom chipset that will reportedly make sub-$100 unsubsidized… Read More

  • Opportunities In The Patent-Free Zone


    China may overtake Japan to become the world’s second-largest economy this year. On its heels is India, and countries such as Brazil and Russia are not far behind. What does this mean for entrepreneurs? That, increasingly, the big opportunities lie outside the U.S. Most people aren’t aware of another advantage in emerging markets: you can freely leverage the wealth of proven… Read More

  • Tested by Guinean schoolchildren, XO laptop makes a difference

    I’m in. This article from Laptop magazine showed me why the One Laptop Per Child XO laptop is worth all the hullabaloo. The magazine sent an XO laptop to a handler in Guinea, who then showed it to grade school-aged kids. The kids, not jaded by megahertz races and touchscreens and format wars, readily took to the XO; built-in features likes its VGA Web cam caused a commotion amongst… Read More