Hyperlinks to Feb/March 2013 news articles on Africa news, mobile and agriculture

Posted in: Uncategorized- Mar 10, 2013 No Comments

African Agriculture

Global Vision blog, Rural Youth Seek Greener Pastures in the City, but Farming Could Get Hot. Feb 4, 2013

AllAfrica:  Africa: Changing How Food Aid Is Allocated ‘May Save More Lives’  March 4, 2013

Guardian, Poverty Matters Blog, Are women the secret weapon in the battle for food security? March 5, 2013

The World Bank, Africa’s Agriculture and Agribusiness Markets Set to Top US$ One Trillion in 2030, March 4, 2013

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Impatient Optimists,  Farmers Deserve Options  March 06, 2013

GSMA mAgri blog, February 8, 2013: The potential of mobile phones in transforming agriculture for smallholder farmers: Results from the Agri-Fin Mobile product development and baseline surveys 

Business Fights Poverty blog (discussion with comments), Feb 26, 2013 Barbara Crowther: Making international supply chains work for smallholder farmers

Global Vision: Two ways to get farm loans where they’re needed most: the boonies.  By Jessica Perkins, March 4, 2013

SciDevNet: The adaptation of scientific findings to local needs is key to improving the economic impact of research funding in developing countries, according to an independent evaluation of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency’s (SIDA) innovation programmes. Knowledge adaptation key to local innovation, finds reviewRachel Mundy, 27 February 2013

Agri4Africa.com: Five reasons why companies and small-scale farmers are not in business together, BY KATE DOUGLAS | 4 JANUARY 2013, Integrating these farms into value chains not only promises to provide new sources for agricultural products, but will also enable smallholders to purchase better inputs and raise investment levels, thus creating market opportunities for input providers,” argued the report. “Inclusive agribusiness practices thus create business growth opportunities for smallholders and companies alike.

New Agriculturist, Community-based extension improves livelihoods. February, 2013

How We Made it in Africa blog: Six companies investing in African agribusiness, and what we can learn from them, Feb 27, 2013

 Africa News

The Next Web Blog: Why winning in African tech is a patience game, by Nmachi Jidenma,  March 10, 2013

MIT Technology Review: The World’s “Young and Hungry”: Where Real Mobile Innovation Will  Come From. Feb 26, 2015   Companies are scrambling to develop products and operating systems for the developing world, but any old phone will do.

Mara Online, Plingm To Start Free Calling, Texting Service In Africa, February 22, 2013  VENTURES AFRICA – Mara Online and Plingm, the Swedish mobile VoIP application provider, have formed a strategic partnership to market a free mobile VoIP app called Mara ConnectTM, allowing smartphone and tablet users across Africa to call and text for free, both domestically and internationally.

Memeburn: 3 things Mobile Web East Africa taught us about the state of tech in Africa, Feb 28, 2013  1) Africa needs trade not aid, 2) Disrupting traditional film, and 3) Get Africa reading

How We Made it in Africa blog: Three mega-trends fueling investor interest in Africa, Feb 18, 2013

Interesting and important blog article on incubators versus makerspaces: Close the Incubators and Accelerators, Open FabLabs and MakerSpaces instead By: Mawuna Remarque Koutonin, February 20th, 2013 at Silicon Africa blog.

Mail Guardian, Africa, Text messages help fight cholera in Mozambique, Feb 21, 2013, Jinty Jackson

The Economist, Transport in Africa, Get a move on. Africa’s booming economy needs modern trade routes Feb 16th 2013, by Wadi Halfa

Aid 2.0: mobile relief application expanding into a global market  Published: 21 February 2013.  Something as technologically basic as SMS has had a significant impact on the speed and quality of our relief operations,” says Will Rogers, IFRC coordinator for beneficiary communication and one of the original TERA collaborators.

From recent 2013 Mobile World Live convention in Barcelona:

Telcom operators urged to lead cloud services revolution.  Mobile Word Live, Feb 27, 2013

Nokia and Bharti eye next billion Internet connections, February 26, 2013

On Linux Smartphone Hands-on with the Ubuntu Touch Linux smartphone Infoworld Feb 22, 2014 article


Study of mesh-casting (free communication between phones) in Port Harcourt, Nigeria

In Nigeria Etisalat, Conviva offer web content via USSD, Feb 27, 2013


Facebook wants its app to be right in front of buyers switching from feature phones to smartphones in markets such as Latin America, Southeast Asia, Africa, and India. Facebook to Embed App in Smartphone Chips, Feb 7, 2013, The Motley Fool


African News Innovation Challenge Update

Posted in: Uncategorized- Aug 21, 2012 No Comments

Mark you calendar’s for September 10th, when the African News Innovation Challenge finalist will be announced during the annual HighwayAfrica conference in South Africa per News Challenge Facebook message you can read here.

If you interested in state of art analysis of African news organization see this great report from same great folks running news challenge.  I’ve only scanned it but looks chocked full of facts on leading african news organizations.

Here is the Facebook update:

Read Next2′s and other News Challenge Entries here 

The new date for announcing finalists is therefore Sept 10.

We will announce the ANIC finalists during the annual HighwayAfrica conference in South Africa, which will generate significant additional publicity for those of you that make it to the shortlist.

The TechCamp for finalists, at the inaugural OpenAfrica Summit in Zanzibar, has been shifted to accommodate the new judging timelines and will now run in the week of Oct 01.

Here is full text of announcement

ANIC has postponed the announcement of finalists for our first round of grants.

The sheer volume of applications, and our commitment to carefully evaluating every single application, made the original targeted deadline of August 10 impossible. We initially expected a maximum of 250 qualifying submissions (i.e. applications that met the minimum criteria for eligibility), but have received slightly

 over 500 qualifying applications. This includes roughly 360 open applications, and roughly 150 closed applications.Our review panel has fact-checked every single submission, while a tech panel is evaluating the proposed technologies outlined in the proposed solutions. The results of this preliminary evaluation help the jury make their decisions. The larger than expected volumes mean that judging started later than planned, and is now running behind schedule.The new date for announcing finalists is therefore Sept 10.We will announce the ANIC finalists during the annual HighwayAfrica conference in South Africa, which will generate significant additional publicity for those of you that make it to the shortlist.The TechCamp for finalists, at the inaugural OpenAfrica Summit in Zanzibar, has been shifted to accommodate the new judging timelines and will now run in the week of Oct 01.

Leading African Media Organization Announces $1 Million Fund for News Innovation

Posted in: Media, News- Aug 08, 2012 No Comments

The African News Innovation Challenge is looking to transform the way that African media work with significant and tangible improvements to existing tools or techniques, or new ways for African journalists to gather news, tell stories, engage with audiences, or sustain media organizations.

Next2 has joined with PenPlusBytes in proposing The African Citizen Journalist Exchange Network (ACJEN) as a crowd-sourced news platform that will allow journalist and citizens to discover, share and collaborate on locally relevant news stories.  The platform will allow media, journalist and elected officials to quickly and cost effectively deliver news and information to mobile phones using a mobile network operator’s short message service (SMS).

 ACJEN is built on top of Next2′s  geo-fence and content fulfillment services that are accessible via the internet or by SMS.  As part of the ACJEN project the Next2 platform and software will be modify to provide the following:

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Posted in: Social, Uncategorized- Aug 02, 2012 No Comments

Next2 Featured in ICT UPDATE for Agriculture

Posted in: Agriculture- Aug 02, 2012 No Comments

A simple exchange system for farmers.

ICT Update August 2012 Issue: 67 ICT INNOVATIONS IN AGRICULTURE features Next2 message exchange platform for one to many communication.

Farmers in Kenya and Nigeria use a unique SMS service to share information.

We are excited that Next2 has been included in current issue of ICT Updates a bi-monthly publication that highlights innovation in agriculture in Africa, Asia, Pacific and Latin America emerging markets

This issue of ICT Update highlights ICT Innovation in agriculture.

Read the history of Next2 messaging technology in ICT Journal.

Large networks of engaged users in Africa (part 2) — mobile money.

Posted in: M-Pesa, Mobile Money, Telcoms, Uncategorized- Mar 08, 2012 2 Comments

Thus solution (M-Pesa) aimed at improving economic activity for the poor needed ‘non poor’ actors in the ecosystem in order to inject cash into the system and thus make it flow and grow initially. Niti Bhan writing in Afrinnovator, March 5, 2012

This is a continuation in our thinking about how large networks of engaged users will play out in Africa with a look at mobile money and its impact on commerce, trade, aid, philanthropy and host of other topics.

According to recent McKinsey report, in July, 2011, there have been more than 100 mobile-money deployments in emerging markets; at least 84 of them originated in the past three years. Only a handful of these deployments have reached a sustainable scale; some notable examples include M-Pesa in Kenya, MTN Uganda, Vodacom  Tanzania, FNB in South Africa, and GCASH and  Smart Money in the Philippines.  Even these players have not gained much traction for financial services beyond simple transfers and payments.

Read more »

Large networks of engaged users in Africa

Posted in: Social, Uncategorized- Mar 05, 2012 No Comments

Fred Wilson, of Union Street Ventures (Twitter, Foursquare, Tumblr), often talks about their investment thesis of “building large networks of connected (engaged) uses.”  These new markets are a “networked” architecture rather then a hierarchical model.  And, rather then looking for startups that sell software, or services, to established market participants, they look for startups that enable things to happen “outside” existing channels. Monetization happens, not in building the network, but afterwards by selling value-added services,

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about how a ‘network’ architecture of connected users plays out in Africa.

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Simple QR codes by SMS

Posted in: Uncategorized- Mar 01, 2012 No Comments

QR codes (Quick Response Codes) are convenient way to access information on mobile phones.

When you scan or read a QR code with your iPhone, Android or other camera-enabled Smartphone, you can link to digital content on the web; activate a number of phone functions including email, IM and SMS; and connect the mobile device to a web browser.  Source

The problem is many people still use simple feature phones that can not access QR codes.  However, even simple phones can access information services using text messaging and Next2′s auto-messaging software.

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Pinwheel: Location based storytelling

Posted in: LBS, Social- Feb 25, 2012 No Comments

Caterina Fake new startup Pinwheel is in private beta.   Storytelling around place seems to cover a wide range of possible applications, everything from checkins, recommendations, to hyperlocal news and citizen journalism could all involve a location based, storytelling service.  I am really looking forward to how Pinwheel grows; especially after reading  Liz Gannes article in AllthingsD, Caterina Fake: Fast Growth for a New Social App Is a Very Bad Thing

Caterine advice seems to contradict common perceptions about how to provide value to users (and investors) in networked based applications. Now when you are proven entity that can raise capital it makes it easier to do it right. And, I think Caterina’s plans, to grow slowly, so you can learn, adapt, set rules, change and not overwhelm your audience makes sense.

However, the problem in building networked businesses is providing value to users from day 1 that is not derived from the “network” of users (ie lots of content from people that have not yet arrived and participated). Very few people take time to contribute to something that may have value in the future.

Likewise, in building networks of users, traction is important to investors — but, I don’t think Caterina has to worry about that.

A SMS to IP messaging bridge

Posted in: SMS, Telcoms- Feb 25, 2012 No Comments

Kevin Fitchard of GigaOm writes SMS 2.0 could make its first appearance at MWC

it will be interesting to see how this story plays out with operators and in the market for number of reasons.   There is not much detail but as I understand it the proposed solution both enhances SMS with features found in instant messaging, such as live, and group chat, and acts as bridge between IP based instant messaging solutions and standard old SMS.

Apparently operators will need to install equipment on their networks and update client handsets to enable richer messaging .   Most likely this will leave out simple, feature phones.

These things should really be done as standards and it looks like Mavenir gets that;

Ideally, a platform like MCM becomes part of a standard, not a proprietary and closed system, and Shubh claimed that Mavenir has the exact same aim. The problem is the standards process is slow and unwieldy.

You don’t need to wait for a standards body to provide a piece of technology that you hope will become a standard.  It will be interesting to see how open Mavenir is by providing full open technical specification and/or software code.