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African Tech Tidbits: video streaming, crowdfunding, northern Mali, and more

July 16, 2012  »  NewsNo Comment

July 16th, 2012 was a banner day for news of online progress in Africa. A handful of diverse stories made their way to the Internet. What’s so great isn’t necessarily the level of thematic or international diversity, but the amount of insight, detail, and opportunity found in each piece of reporting.

Video streaming gains steam as networks develop:

  • Russell Southwood of Balancing Act explains the promises and challenges facing online video delivery in Africa. He particularly is bullish on YouTube, which now has localized versions in South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, and Senegal. (In fact, just launched last week.) Of course, a new challenge emerges in bringing content to the site: existing broadcasters, producers, and new users are needed to generate local content. And then, a suitable ad market is needed. Either way, YouTube use in South Africa more than doubled from 2010 to 2011. Finally, Mr. Southwood points out the need for robust mobile networks (>3.5G). {“YouTube opens the road to new online business models in Africa with video streaming“}

Crowdfunding holds promise:

  • Could crowdfunding, the practice of investors pooling their money into a trust, via the internet, to support a business, be the ideal way to grow mobile businesses? Venture capitalist firms and angel investors are becoming more interested in the region, in part to successful tech competitions, but better legislation is needed before crowdfunding can succeed. {“Crowdfunding The Future For African Technology“}

Mobile Average Revenue Per User on the decline:

  • According to analysts, Nigeria‚Äôs low mobile Average Revenue per User (ARPU) is discouraging investment in last mile networks required to take internet capacity to the end user. To combat the issue, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) plans to give financial incentives to infrastructure providers. From another perspective, ARPU has dropped due to customers subscribing to even more lines. {“Investment in underwater cables hit N365bn amid poor internet service“}

Ghana can serve as an example to USA:

  • Adam Jackson, who guest lectured at MEST in Ghana last month, came away with a great impression of how the program operates. Develop an intensive school that teaches people how to run a lean technology business and even build the tech side of it themselves. He speculates that the US could put a dent in its unemployment problem if more support were given to small businesses via the MEST model. {“If Startups Can Be Built In Ghana, Africa, They Can Be Built In Cleveland, Ohio“}

Northern Mali uses Facebook to organize:

  • For much of 2012, the northern part of Mali has been detached from the rest of the country (ie. Bamako) in the south. News of violence, protests, and famine have made it online, but little of how social media is organizing unity has been displayed until now. Not surprisingly, Facebook has become a platform for organizing resistance to the growing Islamic presence. {“Resistance in the Streets and Online“}

Foundation Day for SEACOM is next Monday:

  • The 3rd anniversary of the commercial launch of the groundbreaking undersea cable is next Monday, July 23rd. The company plans on creating a series of community development initiatives across core territories of South Africa, Mozambique, Tanzania, Kenya, and Mauritius. All local efforts involve donating computing supplies to select local schools. {“Africa-wide Foundation Day celebration for SEACOM“}