The Hustler’s Digest – FarmCrowdy wants to create an Internet of Farmers

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farmcrowdy

Africa

Ericsson signs grant agreements for 5G research

Key for success in the telecom industry is the delivery of future-proof, high-quality networks and solutions. In that light, Ericsson is announcing that it has signed agreements for credit facilities with the Nordic Investment Bank (NIB) for USD 220 million, maturing in 2023, and AB Svensk Exportkredit (SEK) for USD 150 million are maturing in 2025.  They aim at increasing their investments to secure technology leadership in 5G, IoT and digital services.

And as of now, they have 38 operators engaged in developing and preparing for 5G networks.

FarmCrowdy gets $1m seed fund to inflate into more states in Nigeria

Barely a year after it launched, from Techstars and other international investors, the Nigerian digital and crowd-funded agriculture platform, FarmCrowdy has announced raising $1m seed fund. FarmCrowdy enables working class Nigerians to crowd-sponsor farming projects with the promise of a share in the returns. Bravely, they were the first and only African startup to be shortlisted into Techstars Atlanta’s accelerator programme in August. This can only mean the rise of internet farmers (IoFs).

Africa Produces first Footballer President

Liberia has reached another milestone in its political history, by electing a former football star as President. George Weah, former AC Milan striker and lone African winner of World Best Player Award, is set to become the next President of Liberia. Weah defeated Vice President, Joseph Boakai in a Liberian presidential run-off held on December 26, 2017, in 12 of the 15 counties.

George Weah is taking over from outgoing President, 79-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.

Cameroon

Philisiwe Sibiya Career finally Comes to an End in Cameroon.

The South African chartered accountant Philisiwe Sibiya career officially comes to an end on January 31, 2017, as the General Manager of MTN Cameroon. Throughout her 3 years of service, the country has benefited from major investments, such as the deployment of 4G and extension of 3G networks. Also, the firm started sponsoring the national football championship and more importantly remained the number one operator despite her competitors. However, the service offered by the firm is now questionable as she is leaving.

Could Biya’s PB HEV Laptop “Gift” Be the Start of a New Odyssey?

80,000 laptops were delivered at Yaoundé airport last week which constituted the first part of an order of 500,000 laptops to be shared for free to young Cameroonian students. The PB HEV laptops are a fulfillment of Paul Biya’s promise, whose intention is to boost the development of digital economy and diffusion of knowledge in Cameroon.

This will go a long way to ease startups operational activities. Branded PB HEV, short for “Paul Biya Higher Education Vision,” The estimated budget for the project to manufacture the laptops is at CFA 75 billion.

Cameroon Expels Prize-Winning Poet for Criticizing Government

After three weeks of detention at the Yaounde maximum security prison, the Cameroon government has finally freed New York-based Cameroonian prize-winning novelist, Patrice Nganang.

Just when Patrice Nganang was about boarding a flight to Kenya, he was arrested at the Douala International Airport on December 7. He was accused of allegedly threatening the life of President Paul Biya in a Facebook post. Nganang’s supporters have however maintained that the accusations against him were politically motivated.

World

Could African governments use parental control to strengthen their grip on social media control?

What if breaching your child’s right to privacy wasn’t illegal?

A Spanish court just made sure of that by acquitting a divorced father accused of breaching his daughter’s privacy rights after reading WhatsApp messages between the nine-year-old and her mother. According to the judge, checking the well-being of children overrides invasion of privacy. Conversely, African governments could place an eye on this Spanish ruling to intensify monitoring of their citizens.

Meanwhile, market regulator Sebi has promised to sanction companies like WhatsApp that leak key financial details.

U.S President Donald Trump Advocates more Charges for AMAZON

U.S. President, Donald Trump has targeted online retailer Amazon, in a call for increased prices in the country’s postal services sector. The call is intended to raise prices of shipments in order to recoup costs.

Trump is furious over the fact that the United States Post Office is losing many billions of dollars a year while charging Amazon and others so little to deliver their packages. Hence, making Amazon richer and the Post Office dumber and poorer.

The Postal Service of the United State is a Federal government independent agency and does not receive taxes for operating expenses.

Deadly and Worst New York Fire Incident in 25 Years

Authorities in the city of New York, USA by mid-day on Friday 29,  December 2017, were still to ascertain the causes of a fire incident in an apartment at Bonx. The blaze, which Mayor Bill de Blasio called the “worst fire tragedy in this city in at least a quarter-century,” killed at least 12 people, including at least three children under the age of 10.

The fire broke out on the first floor of a five-storey building and critacally injured four persons, Thursday evening.

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Better Breed Cameroon Launches 2018 Sama Randy Youth Write Contest

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Better Breed Cameroon Launches 2018 Sama Randy Youth Write Contest

In a bid to encourage critical consciousness and active citizenship in young people, Better Breed Cameroon – a youth-led, youth-focused philanthropic initiative, officially announces the call for submissions for the 4th edition of the Sama Randy Youth Write Contest.

This annual essay competition is named in memory of pioneer Better Breed Cameroon member, Sama Randy. It challenges undergraduate students of all higher institutions in Cameroon to ponder and constructively contribute to the discourse on socio-economic and political issues concerning the country.

As a plus, this year’s edition is neither limited to a question nor specific theme. Essays of any style and various themes are welcome given that they fall within 1000 to 1500 words and suitably end with the statement, “This is what Cameroon needs now.”

Better Breed Cameroon Launches 2018 Sama Youth Write Contest

Better Breed, therefore, implores interested candidates to think broadly and write freely on what they feel Cameroon as a nation is in dire need of. Participants must be undergraduate students enrolled in any Cameroonian higher education institution.

All essay entries must be written in English and submitted via email as attachments to Better Breed Cameroon’s email address: betterbreed@gmail.com. The subject of the email should read: Sama Randy Youth Write Contest Submission 2018. Meanwhile, the email body should provide the candidate’s names, contact number, age, degree/diploma program and higher institution to which they belong.

What’s in for me?

This year’s competitors stand to win one of three prizes; 1st, 2nd, and 3rd prize of FCFA 100.000, 50.000, and 25.000 respectively. Grading will be based on intellectual uniqueness of content and presentation of arguments, spelling, grammar, and compliance with rules of submission.

The deadline for submission has been set for the 28th of January 2018. Meanwhile, winners will be contacted three weeks later and awarded soon after. For more information on the essay contest, please contact Better Breed Cameroon using their email address: betterbreed@gmail.com. Alternatively, you can send them a message on their Facebook Page at Better Breed Cameroon.

 

Net Neutrality Repeal Endorses Internet Restrictions in Africa

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The US telecommunications regulator, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), on December 14, 2017, voted 3 to 2, to repeal the principle of net neutrality in the country. This repeal means that the Internet has become a private good at the disposal of telecommunications operators; an action that has attracted heavy backlashes from activists, large technology companies and social platforms.

These bodies consider the repeal as tilting the scale in favor of telecoms providers such as AT & T (American Telephone & Telegraph) and Verizon, who could increase their bottom lines and engage in all kinds of financial arrangements that are no longer prohibited.

Net Neutrality repeal Endorses Internet Restrictions in Africa

Comic cartoon against the repeal of net neutrality

Net neutrality comprises a set of rules designed under the Obama administration that compelled internet service providers to treat all data that they carry without discrimination. That is, the principle did not permit content blockades, reduction in the speed or bandwidth for these contents, or charging end users for faster internet services.

This equality of treatment allowed users access to all the information contained on the global network, no matter the source.

Internet Without Borders (an NGO fighting internet restrictions), believes the FCC’s decision is a setback for emerging countries. This is because they are inspired by the American model to ensure their cyber development.

“The FCC vote is a step backward for free and accessible Internet for all without discrimination…We urge emerging countries, for whom the Internet is a major stake of economic development, to be inspired rather by these models.

The history of the global network has shown that only a free and open Internet inspires innovators, promotes research, the creation of goods and services, and thus creates wealth” according to Julie Owono, Executive Director of Internet Without Borders.

Net Neutrality Repeal Endorses Internet Restrictions in Africa

The internet without net neutrality

 

There are possibilities of African governments using this repeal as an argument to intensify internet restrictions. This include blocking particular websites, especially in times of political crisis.

Many conservative and revolutionary African leaders have become accustomed to restricting internet access during electioneering periods and/or rising political tensions. At least 12 countries have had internet shutdowns, for the above reasons, with the most recent being; Togo, Gambia and Cameroon.

The spillover effect

The vote on net neutrality has already had consequences in Senegal. It could also potentially embolden the present internet restrictions in English Cameroon. In Senegal, a draft law on electronic communications is already under review in parliament. The law, seeks to empower the telecom regulator, to compel operators take management measures on traffic that they deem useful.

In Cameroon, internet service providers and local digital technology startups, reportedly  lost about $38 million. This was due to the bandwidth restrictions and social media blockade, currently imposed by government on the two English-speaking regions. These regions act as hubs for digital marketing and tech startups.

Government cut off Internet connection from the two regions for 93 days during the first quarter of 2017. Bandwidth restriction and social media blockage has remained in force since October 1st 2017, due to the sociopolitical upheavals.

Net Neutrality Repeal Endorses Internet Restrictions in Africa

Some startups in English-speaking Cameroon hit by the internet blackout

It is therefore necessary for human rights activists, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and related Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in Africa, to begin a serious campaign against the restriction of access to internet services by more African governments.

Internet accessibility, as an indispensable service for sustainable economic development in 21st century Africa, cannot be overemphasized. There must be a reasonable and clear demarcation between unlimited supply of internet services and political scheming by African governments. This avoid constant arbitrary interruptions in online economics activities.

The Hustler’s Digest – Jumia Aims Higher Heights

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Jumia aims high growth

Africa

Jumia aims at 1M products in 2018 to be the biggest online shop

In order to position the company as the only online one-stop-shop in Africa, Jumia Kenya has announced that it projects to grow its product category by 2X more next year to 1 million. According to the company, their most popular products for this year have been: Unilever’s Blue Band, Pampers Diapers, Infinix Hot 5 Lite.

The online retailer plans to implement a customer loyalty program from next year to tap into the customer loyalty; seen from the repeat customers who prefer to shop online for lower prices, convenience, choice & high-quality products.

Glo Mobile SA loses its license in Benin

The operator is required to stop the sale of new SIM cards throughout the national territory of the Republic of Benin, as well as the sale of refill cards at all its branches including its master distributors. Glo Mobile now needs to communicate to its subscribers, the termination of its activities. This decision was passed by Benin’s regulatory authority for Electronic Communications and Post.

New successor promises to revise Mugabe’s land policy

During Mugabe’s reign, many white Zimbabweans were stripped of land ownership and control. But the new president has promised to revise Mugabe’s land policy and compensate some of Mugabe’s white victims. This move has attracted a lot of condemnation from his detractors. President Emerson Mnangagwa made his intentions known this week during his first State-of-the-Nation Address since he took over from former Southern African strongman, Robert Mugabe.

For decades, Zimbabwe’s economy has been battered by the numerous sanctions imposed by the international community. But President Emerson has now expressed his ardent determination to overhaul the country’s economy. Mnangagwa’s daunting task is to prove that he is not an opportunistic beneficiary of what could be described as Africa’s 21st Century bloodless and glorious revolution.       

Cameroon

Cameroon reduces cost of internet access services

The internet exchange points of Yaoundé and Douala have been operational since early 2017. The state has now invested about FCFA 1.417 billion in setting up these two structures to reduce the cost of accessing internet service in the country by avoiding transit through foreign networks. However, internet users in Cameroon haven’t yet felt this tech revolution. Perhaps, its less competitive nature in the digital sphere seems to provide a reason.

GIST Tech-I offers job opportunities to tech entrepreneurs

GIST Tech-I competition is an annual competition for science and technology entrepreneurs from emerging economies worldwide. This year, U.S Department of state has invited all former GIST Tech-I finalists to participate in the program to recruit and mentor the next generation of science and tech entrepreneurs.

The top 10 semi-finalists with most public votes, along with their Alumni Mentors will advance to the Tech-I finals during the 2018 Global Entrepreneurship Congress in Istanbul, Turkey. Competing entrepreneurs will pitch their startups to a global audience with the chance to win prizes and seed capital, a perfect opportunity for Silicon Mountain startups.

Commonwealth Secretary-General in Cameroon: Resolving Anglophone problem tops agenda

The Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Rt. Hon. Patricia Scotland, arrived in Yaoundé last week for a five-day working visit to Cameroon. Top on her agenda was a series of meetings with government officials, opposition and civil society leaders on how to fast-track efforts, aimed at finding a lasting solution to the year-old Anglophone crisis.

According to Patricia Scotland, Cameroon is a valuable member of the Commonwealth. She also met with the former leader of the outlawed Cameroon Anglophone Civil Society Consortium, Barrister Nkongho Felix Agbor-Balla.

Yesterday, she made her way to Buea to engage in talks with government representatives, traditional rulers, civil society leaders and the population at large. Her aim was to get firsthand report on the situation in the duo English-Speaking regions of the country. Leaders of the separatist movement, however, stated that her visit to Buea would be incomplete if she failed to speak to the true voices of Anglophone Cameroon – Pa Mola Njoh Litumbe, Hon. Joseph Wirba and Hon. Justice Ayah Paul Abine.

World

Apple addresses aging battery snafu

“I used my brother’s iPhone 6 Plus, and his was faster than mine? This is when I knew something was wrong,” wrote TeckFire. The popular gist is that Apple is trying to force customers to upgrade their phones by making their old phones run slower.  A new software feature introduced for iPhone 6, 6S and SE, slows the processor clock speed as the battery ages to prevent unexpected shutdowns, according to Apple.

Turns out the reaction is mixed as to what this means, but it definitely seems to provide an answer for anyone who felt like their phones were slowing down as they got older.

In developing areas like Africa, these breed of smartphones is above the purchasing power of many. The question now is, are Africans ready for an upgrade?

The man who helped make Google a verb is stepping down

Eric Schmidt has been Google’s CEO for over a decade and later became the chairman of its parent company. But now, Alphabet announced that executive chairman Eric Schmidt will be stepping down. He helped make Google a verb. He says “the time is right” for him to step down, but he’s staying on as an advisor for Alphabet.

How the Republican tax-reform is hitting hard on African-Americans

Last Friday, Republicans released the final version of the tax bill. This new reform is definitely not putting a smile on everyone’s face and Black-Americans constitute a big part of that group. For one thing, they’re really going to be hit hard. First, not only is black America the least likely to see a tax cut, but it’s also the most likely to see future tax increases.

This tax-overhaul is a smart way to make African-Americans pay for wealthy white people’s tax cuts. But it’s not just the tax cuts. Republicans will also starve the federal government so bad that it will hike fees on blacks to squeeze the last of what is left of them. Then, there will be shredding of social-safety-net programs which majority of African-Americans rely on.

Black folks! It’s about to get rocky now.

Silicon Times

Events

  • Attend the 3rd ECCAS Region Sustainable Energy Access Summit & Tradeshow on May 22, 2018, from 8:30 AM – 25, 2018, 7:00 PM WAT at Palais des Congrès Yaounde, Centre.
  • Enjoy your weekend with Saint Sylvestre 2017 Douala Edition 4 on December 31, 2017, from 7:00 PM – Jan 1, 2018, 7:00 AM WAT at Hotel Vallee Des Princes, Douala Littoral.
  • Make a date to be at the Formation en Communication Digitale – SESSION 3 on February 3, 2018 – March 3, 2018 from 3:30 PM WAT at ActivSpaces Boulevard de la Liberté Akwa Douala Littoral.
  • Cape Town Big Data & Hadoop Training IT Training will be taking place from Jan 6 2018, 6:00 PM –  April 8, 2018, 8:00 PM SAST by Instructor led Online Video Conference Cape Town, in Cape Town South Africa.
  • Be at the Lagos Tableau B Training IT Training  Data Visualization Dashboard coming Dec 31, 2017, 4:00 AM – Jan 29, 2018, 7:00 AM WAT by Instructor led Online Video Conference Lagos, in Lagos Nigeria.
  • Data Science in 30 Minutes: by Former NYTimes Journalist Alan Schwarz on February 27, 2018 at 5:30 PM – 6:00 PM EST which is an online event at The Data Incubator New York United States.
  • Spend your night with AfroBeat Gala Holiday Edition on Dec 24, 2017, from 10:00 PM – Dec 25, 2017, 3:00 AM EST at Saint Yves 1220 Connecticut Avenue Northwest Washington, DC 20036 United States.

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Ubenwa Develops Life-Saving Machine for Newborn Babies

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Ubenwa

A Nigerian startup has developed an app, Ubenwa which is a learning system with the capacity to detect child birth asphyxia. The founders hope to save the lives of thousands of babies when the technology is fully brought into use.

The young startup is gaining a lot of international attention. It has already enrolled in the IBM Watson AI XPRIZE competition, with a prize worth of $5 million.

Developers of Ubenwa say the AI solution has achieved more than 95% prediction accuracy with almost 1,400 recorded baby cries. Currently, the startup is raising funds to enable them acquire more resources. The aim is to improve the machine’s accuracy and also, obtain approvals from clinical institutions.

 

According to WHO, birth asphyxia ranks the third highest under-five deaths and about a million neonatal deaths annually. It has also been linked to 1.1 million intrapartum stillbirths, neurological disabilities or impairment. Dr. Victoria Feyikemi, a physician at Babcock University Teaching Hospital in Ogun state, Nigeria, says the condition could be a manifestation of the immaturity of a baby’s respiratory system.

It’s a challenge detecting the condition in Nigeria and most parts of Africa. Thus, Feyikemi says “medical expertise is needed to positively establish diagnoses using blood gas analysis, and administer oxygen support to treat the underlying cause.”

How Ubenwa does it

Ubenwa, which means baby’s cry, helps parents detect asphyxia earlier without having to wait on doctors. Ubenwa’s founder, Charles Onu explained that the machine uses an infant cry as input, analyses the amplitude and frequency patterns of the cry and provides instant diagnosis of birth asphyxia. Despite the fact that the condition is detectable, just few public hospitals have been able to have the machine. Frequent electricity failure, high cost and unrealistic medical routines for most children, have hastened the need for Ubenwa.

Udeogu Innocent, co-founder and engineering lead of Ubenwa, said after achieving a certain level of success, they deployed a mobile app to easily diagnose birth asphyxia with speech recognition techniques. Ubenwa’s team is currently conducting clinical validation exercises in Nigeria and Canada.

 

The Hustler’s Digest- Huawei & Xpress Money to Grow Mobile Money in Africa

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Mobile money

Africa

Mobile Money in Africa about to experience a new phase

In order to drive mobile money services to more of the world, Huawei, partners with Xpress Money. This collaboration is set to hit a significant note in the African market. Xpress money will have access to Huawei’s 100 million mobile money subscriber base platform.

Growing Xpress Money’s mobile money footprint and strengthening Huawei’s international reach will help reduce the cost of remittance services. It will also drive financial inclusion for millions of mobile money users in Africa. Graciously, these ICT solutions providers are bent on growing mobile money in Africa.

Nairobi County partners with Cisco to deploy Digital Business Roadmap

The Nairobi City County has deployed the first phase of the foundation technology solutions covered in the Digital Business Roadmap. Recently, it launched its Digital Business Roadmap that will drive better citizen experiences when engaging the county; better the county’s workforce environment and technology experience; drive operational efficiency in transport, health, education, and agriculture; and reduce overall risk as a result of cyber threats. With innovations like this, it’s now hard to say the African techsphere hasn’t expanded.

Senegal air traffic control hit at new Dakar airport

The Blaise Diagne International Airport cost more than $600 million to build. But just after a week of official opening, an air traffic controller strikes. Several flights were canceled and others re-routed to The Gambia. Hundreds of passengers got affected. However, the government hopes that the new airport will boost economic growth through tourism and become a regional hub for West Africa.

Cameroon

Eligibility for Indian e-visas now open to Cameroonians

The path to India has been opened. No more long procedures, all you need to have is your passport. The Indian Honorary Consul in Douala just made Cameroon eligible for the Indian e-visa. This is good news for every Cameroonian tourist who wishes to travel to India. However, Cameroonians requesting a visa online must do that at least four days prior to the arrival.

 MTN Cameroon and Ericsson aid in recycling tons of electronic waste

Not everyone has the same view towards a specific topic or thing. What some people consider as waste, Mtn and Ericsson see them as very useful resources. These two giant companies collected and shipped 53 tons of electronic waste for recycling to South Africa. This, in the framework of a programme called “Product Take Back”. It might interest you to know that this programme also has a positive effect on clients: it helps them reduce the costs associated with eliminating used electronic materials.

Manyu under repeated attack after Biya’s famous “declaration of war”

For close to two weeks now, the villages across the Division recount casualties in terms of human displacement, indiscriminate arrests and loss of lives as security forces waged war on unidentified attackers. The famous ‘calecale’ method of arrest has resurfaced in the Division in the face of the recent government pronouncement. This makes living in Manyu Division of the Southwest Region, a nightmare.

World

Net neutrality is no more, but the fight is not over

Four days ago, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to ditch net neutrality – the idea that Internet providers can’t speed up or slow down a site’s connection based on its ability to pay. The Obama-era FCC put net neutrality rules in place in 2015. Now, it’s the reverse. Supporters of net neutrality say it keeps the internet free and fair. Critics say it’s an unnecessary regulation.

But we do have one thing on our side – opposition is tremendous. A recent university survey showed that 83% of Americans opposed the FCC’s repeal.

In the internet’s social hubs – Reddit, Facebook, Twitter… hundreds of thousands of people are standing up against the ruling. And on the legal front, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has already announced a multi-state lawsuit challenging the vote. The FCC’s ruling is really just the beginning of a protracted legal and political battle: the future of the internet won’t be determined so easily.

I see war as Disney sets out to acquire Fox

On Thursday, Disney announced it’s buying a big chunk of 21st Century Fox. The media juggernaut announced their plan to buy 21st Century Fox for over $66 billion, the second-largest merger this year. The deal will include Fox’s movie studios, networks Nat Geo and FX, and a 60% stake in Hulu, among other things.

In Disney’s all-out media domination, if this deal goes through, they can finally check “streaming market” off their bucket list. This merger will allow Disney to sell a trifecta of streaming services: a sports streaming platform, Hulu, and in 2019, their own mega movie and TV subscription service.

What do you see?

Target is also spending a cool $550 million to acquire Shipt.

Silicon Times

Events

  • Take part in the  Get together for charity (yaounde) event on December 20th, 2017 starting from 7:00PM – 11:00PM Cameroun at the prestigious Hilton Yaoundé.
  • Pycon Cameroon will be hosting a science tech conference on January 24, 2018, from 10:00 AM –Sun, Jan 28, 2018, 4:30 PM at Hotel Scandinavia Limbe, South West Region.
  • EVAW/G stakeholders conference 2018 is already around the corner. It runs from February 18, 2018, from 9:00 AM – Feb 21, 2018, 5:00 PM WAT at the University of Buea, Molyko, South West Region.
  • Accra Data Science Training, IT Training, Disruptive Technologies will be an event not to miss out. It starts from December 19, 2017, 3:00 AM –January 19, 2018, at 5:00 AM GMT with Instructor-Led Online | Video Conference Accra, Accra Ghana.
  • Be at Cape Town Data Science Training, IT Training, Disruptive Technologies. On December 19, 2017, 5:00 AM –January 19, 2018, 7:00 AM SAST Instructor-Led Online | Video Conference Cape Town, Cape Town South Africa
  • Participate in the Lagos Data Science Training , IT Training , Disruptive Technologies. Starting from December 19, 2017, 4:00 AM –January 19, 2018, at 6:00 AM WAT Instructor-Led Online | Video Conference Lagos, Lagos Nigeria.
  • Washington DC 2018 Professional Hiring Event will be taking place on February 8, 2018, from 10:00 AM-1:00 PM (EST) in Washington DC TRN.
  • Schedule your moment to attend the Event Marketing School (Virtual Summit) starting March 6, 2018, at 10:30 AM – March 9, 2018, at 11:30 AM EST Washington Washington, DC 20008 United States.

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How Nges Brian Built Muzikol to Provide a Market for Cameroonian Music

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muzikol

In a country where artists die even before they try rising, give up on their vision because they can’t find a way through and disregarded in the society, Nges Brian births Muzikol.

The slow-growing nature of the Cameroon music industry is as a result of the absence of marketing and distribution channels. In effect, artists can’t make money from their craft. However, Brian’s passion for music drove him to discover long-lasting solutions to this problem.

What is Muzikol?

Muzikol is an online music market and social network built to meet the needs of African music lovers and artists. Muzikol was created to solve the two major problems faced by all artists in Cameroon: the problem of music distribution and the problem of making money from their craft.

Muzikol

Muzikol’s Home Page

However, the journey to building this platform that connects African music lovers and artists started some 3 years ago. Nges Brian in 2014, started commercial music where he did an album for Saint Bedes College, Ashing – Kom at their Golden Jubilee. The budding musical Brian enjoyed some obscurity upon his admission into the University of Buea.

As a growing youth, trying to build his vision and getting good grades at the same time was not a ride for anyone to admire.

It became a matter of choice – have good grades in school and forget your vision or build your vision and drop the latter. But Brian hoped he could still achieve both.

As an artist, he had a burning desire to solve a problem. Problem solvers are always in short supply in the world. Everyone wants success, but none likes the sacrifice you undergo to get it. However, nothing could stop him from becoming one.

Brian decided to be good in both his studies and his vision. A decision which required blood, sweat and tears, but he was ready to sail through. As life went on, he worked in the studio at night, producing music and went to school during the day.

Multi-tasking is a normal phenomenon in the life of an entrepreneur. Brian could not avoid it and had to start managing a team, running a company while involved in community development (open-source development). Being an artist and a core developer of a great product such as Muzikol was not an easy journey. But aged 20, the young man was too ambitious to give up.

Why Muzikol?

As a computer engineering student, he developed a love for programming which was obvious.  He was selected for the Google Summer of Code program to work on a project called “White Box and Regression Test on the Mynewt OS” under the Apache Software Foundation in his second year in the University. His experience in this program gave him a wider scope on how to build his dream product.

“As an artist, a producer, a DJ, a lover of African music, I discovered that there was a need to bring into existence a place on the internet where we can share, maintain, support and grow African music,” says Brian.

Muzikol

Muzikol’s Timeline

According to Brian, music reflects and shapes who we are as a people. The music we listen to can affect how we behave, how we reflect and how we act. We find and share a sense of communal identity in music. Therefore, our music is our heritage and our culture. Through our music, we identify with our people. Music is food for the soul.

There’s an old adage that says; “you can’t know where the shoe pains until you wear it.” As an artist, Brian has felt those pains. the losses, the struggle to find his voice in the industry are experiences he has passed through. He’s is no stranger to the pangs of no returns on investment. You might want to consult him!

The tough practice pushed him to discover the gap. And with every fiber in his joints, he has been fighting to close it. And the birth of Muzikol seems like the perfect gap filler.

How it works

Muzikol is a phenomenal initiative as it connects musicians and music lovers to deepen their relationship and grow the market for the African music industry.

This is achieved by the opening given to share content, sell music, sell merchandise and event tickets, book artists directly, chats, posting, etc, on the platform.

Also, purchases can be done locally using local payment methods such as MTN Mobile Money and internationally using Master and Visa Cards.

Revenue is raised by charging 19.9% of the money paid to Artist over Muzikol

With their huge database, they also do data mining for people willing to invest in music, record labels, etc. They also run adverts.

Its Achievements

Since its creation, the product has been blazing the trail with its amazing accomplishments.

The online music market platform was recently shortlisted for the Africa Prize for Engineering and Innovation alongside 15 other projects from all over Africa by the Royal Academy of Engineering from the United Kingdom.

The only project from Cameroon and the CEMAC region selected this year happens to be Muzikol. The shortlist comes with entrepreneurship training for six months by CiTi in South Africa.

Muzikol is one of the nominees for Best Innovation of the Year at the Bonteh Media Network Awards coming up this December.

Muzikol is rumored to have signed a distribution deal of artistic services for Alpha Better Records.

This product is a ‘dream come true’ for young artists in Cameroon and Africa at large. Profit motives obviously drive anyone in business. If your business isn’t profitable, no matter how hard you work, it’s not worth the sacrifice. Muzikol offers a rare opportunity for Cameroonian artists to enjoy the fruits of their labour.

 

SICO Technology Unveils Egypt’s First Locally-Made Smartphone

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SICO Technology Unveils Egypt's First Locally-Made Smartphone

By January 2017, mobile phone subscription in Egypt recorded 110 percent, with 98.2 million users. Earlier this month, the country announced the launch of its first Egyptian-made smartphone SICO, that targets the local market.

According to Mohamed Salem, President of SICO Technology – the Egyptian company that built the country’s first smartphone, “We have been working on this project for almost four years … we hope to sell 1.5 million in 2018.”

The smartphone was made with a $22.5 million investment in the company’s factory in Assiut, Cairo. With five production lines spread over 4.520 square meters, the factory has the capacity of producing 1.8 million smartphones yearly. Thus, the company’s ambition to distribute 1.5 million devices in 2018 seems feasible.

SICO mobile phones are now the first local brand in the industry. 45% of the components used in the production of these devices is locally made. The rest of the components were imported from China.

This breed of 4G smartphones will start retailing from December 18 this year. These devices will sell in the range of nearly 6,500 to 130,000, enough to compete with foreign mobile phones.

The company also intends to deploy its solution on the African market and elsewhere. Note also that SICO announces the release of other models of Smartphones within the next six months.

The country’s local market in 2016 accounted for nearly 100 million subscribers according to Egypt’s National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority. Meanwhile, SICO Technology plans to acquire 5% of Egypt’s mobile phone market share in its first year of selling.

Egypt’s smartphone market

According to a 2015 report, Egypt’s smartphone sales reached 4.6 billion in 2014. This positioned the country as having one of the highest smartphone sales in developing markets. Ranked eighth that year, Egypt was anticipated to reach $5 billion by the end of 2015, achieving a 0.3% growth rate in terms of sales value compared to 2014.

Largest device growth market in 2015

 

While the global phone market is expected to drop, countries such as Egypt, India and China will continue to grow, dominating tech device sales growth. According to the report, emerging markets will increase by $10 billion, led by India which was expected to grow by $5 billion in 2015.

Egypt’s deployment of their first ‘made-in-Egypt’ smartphone seems to act as a bolster for countries in Africa and other emerging markets to take up the challenge and produce smartphones specifically targeted towards their local markets.

 

 

The Hustler’s Digest – WorldRemit Raises $40m to Drive Next Phase of Global Growth

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worldremit

Africa

Parents to now track children’s activities via a GPS device in Gabon

Gabonaise parents are about to be offered the rare privilege of being able to track their children’s activities. With the help of the device, they can virtually know the exact location and activities of their kids. Literally, this is every parent’s dream. However, according to the telecommunication operator – Gabon Telecom, the GPS device called “Smart Kids” which will soon be launched, is to improve the safety of children.

WorldRemit on a mission to drive next phase of global growth

Digital money transfer service, WorldRemit raises $40m, aiming to serve 10 million customers connected to the emerging market. This action will help drive them to their next phase of global growth. But most importantly, the new service will make sending money within Africa faster, easier and cheaper.

According to the World Bank, inter-Africa transfers are amongst the most expensive in the world and fortunately, half of WorldRemit’s customers are in Africa. WorldRemit is the Global leader in Mobile-to-Mobile international money transfer.

Hundreds of Egyptians deny U.S. decision on Jerusalem

Hundreds of protesters on Thursday gathered in downtown Cairo, Egypt to demonstrate against Donald Trump’s decision to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

Protesters shouted slogans against the decision, joining Arab and European leaders in their rejection of the move. Egypt, which forged the first Arab peace deal with Israel in 1979, brushed off Trump’s decision and said it did not change Jerusalem’s disputed legal status. A makeshift Israeli flag was burned during the demonstration as well as a picture of Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netenyahu.

Cameroon

About FCFA 10 billion penalties issued to telecommunication operators

Cameroon prestigious telecommunications operators (MTN, Orange, Nexttel and CAMTEL) suffer from sanctions by its regulatory agency following their violation of the legislation governing subscriber’s identification and the required radio frequency. The three operators were fined at a minimum of FCFA 3 billion with a reduction of their license by a year. CAMTEL’s fine was lesser of FCFA 300 million. However, they pleaded for a reduction of the fines.

Mamfe denizens on a mission to wipe out Cameroon’s military

After the October 1 manslaughter, one would have thought all was well again. Rather, things seem to be getting worse and the civilian population of Mamfe in the Southwest Region of Cameroon seems to have retaliated. This revenge cost the lives of four soldiers after the country’s president “officially declared war” on the city.

The bloodshed is the latest episode in an escalating crisis in the Southwest and Northwest Regions, home to a large minority of English-speakers in the francophone-majority nation, Cameroon. Eight members of the security forces have been killed this month alone.

World

Brexit talks resurface after momentarily dying

We haven’t talked about Brexit in a long time, probably because the negotiations have been a lot less interesting than last year’s historic vote. But the UK’s divorce from the European Union has crossed a major hurdle with a deal reached on the issue of the Irish border.

Ireland is staying in the EU, and there were fears that border checkpoints between Ireland (which remains in the EU) and Northern Ireland (part of the UK) would hurt both economies and lead to unrest in the North. But two days ago, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and British Prime Minister Theresa May, announced there would be no ‘hard’ border controls between the two. Now, Brexit talks move on to the truly hard work – hammering out a trade agreement.

Someone just hit the snooze button. In the US, Congress needs to agree on a budget to keep the federal trains running and the due date. But on Thursday, the House and Senate voted to give themselves an extension. Now, they have two weeks to resolve a few key issues.

Will Bitcoin come crashing down?

Bitcoin has soared about 70% this week, with its dramatic rise being likened to a charging train without brakes. While Bitcoin has become more mainstream in recent weeks, many observers warn the market could be a bubble waiting to pop. According to Coindesk.com, the digital currency slid as low as $13.963 before rallying again to trade at about $15.600 by Friday afternoon.

The digital crypto-currency continued its roller-coaster ride on Friday, hitting a new high above $17,00 before falling. It is expected to continue even hiking even faster. But the business world worries that this could turn out bad for Bitcoin.

Ford recruits Alibaba to help break into China’s electric vehicle industry

Ford has put a lot of focus on China’s electric vehicle market – with a local joint venture expected to lead to 15 electric or hybrid models on sale in the country by 2025. On Friday, the automotive giant announced a tie-in with Alibaba to fulfill its ambitious goals.

The scope of the alliance is fairly broad and vague at this point, but a large chunk of the”strategic collaboration” appears to be based around developing a direct sales channel to reach consumers in China.

Silicon Times

Events

  • EVAW/G stakeholders conference 2018 is already around the corner. It runs from February 18, 2018, 9:00 AM –February 21, 2018, 5:00 PM WAT at the University of Buea Molyko, South West Region.
  • Be a part of the DevFest Douala 2017. The event starts on Saturday, December 16, 2017 from 09:00 AM – 5:00 PM at HIB (Higher Institute of Business) in Douala, Littoral region.
  • Pycon Cameroon will be hosting a science tech conference on Jan 24, 2018 from 10:00 AM – Jan 28, 2018, 4:30 PM at  Hotel Scandinavia Limbe, South West 00237.
  • Info Session: Moringa School Courses at MEST Accra is a gathering not to give excuses of absence which will be running from December 11, 2017 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM at the GMT Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology 20 Aluguntugui Street Accra, Greater Accra Region Ghana.
  • Get ready to have innovative ideas on Time with Dangote from December 15, 2017 7:00 PM – 10:00 PM GMT at the Accra International Conference Centre Castle Road Accra, Greater Accra Region.
  • The glorious season is around. Magical Lantern Festival London is an event you would love to be part of on December 16, 2017, 5:00 PM – 10:00 PM GMT at Chiswick House & Gardens London W4 2QN United Kingdom.
  • In Conversation: Thelma Golden and Gary Simmons will be throwing an event on December 13, 2017, 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM PST California African American Museum 600 State Drive Los Angeles, CA 90037 United States.

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The Hustler’s Digest – Silicon Valley Tech Giants Strive to Incubate African Startups

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African Startups

Africa

Facebook and Google want to incubate African startups

A year after Facebook’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg visited Nigeria, the social network giant has announced it will fund several digital training programs, as well as a community space reserved for startups in Nigeria. The ultimate goal is to train 500,000 young entrepreneurs and SMEs in digital and the various services of Facebook.

With this initiative, Facebook joins the search giant, Google who also announced it will launch its training program, Launchpad Africa – the first of its kind outside the US.

But hey! A little earlier (in February 2017), Google made an opening gesture towards the continent by opening its Launchpad Accelerator mentorship program to African entrepreneurs.

Burkina Faso is now home to West Africa’s biggest solar farm

Built at a cost of $56.7 million, a 55-hectare (approximately 135-acre) farm was created to power tens of thousands of households in the country located in the town of Zatubi, outside the capital Ouagadougou. This Project was funded through donations from the European Union and a loan from AFD – France’s development agency.

Nigerians set out to protest about Lybians slave market

A small but dedicated group of protesters stood for about three hours outside the UN office in Lagos. This was to protest against reports of African migrants being sold as slaves in Libya. As ugly as slavery may seem, it is funny to think that some Africans till practice it these days. However, though the demonstration is small, it is a reflection of the huge reaction among Nigerians, mostly on social media, to reports of slavery in Libya.

Cameroon

3 Cameroonian kids are among the top 7 winners of Orange #SuperCodeurs

French Telecommunications group, Orange organized a contest for kids between the ages of 6 and 16. In principle, this game was aimed at letting young children around the world to create games or animations to raise public awareness of the protection of the planet. Among the winners, a 10-year old Cameroonian kid developed a game to protect against water pollution. Then, two other Cameroonian teens separately developed a garbage collection and anti-pollution game. All three of them made it to the top 7.

According to the terms of the competition, the 7 most remarkable projects will win a Thymio robot that allows children to discover the world of robotics and learn the language of robots from an early age.

Cameroon funds SMEs specialized in renewable energies

If you ask entrepreneurs in Cameroon and Africa their greatest challenge, the lack of funding will be at the top of the list. More specifically, the difficulty of accessing bank loans. However, startups working towards providing clean, renewable energy will soon start benefiting from funding.

This week, the French development bank – AFD and SCB Cameroon just launched a FCFA 10 billion credit line to finance Cameroonian SMEs initiating renewable energy projects.

The president to end terrorism in Cameroon

In a national radio address on his return from Ivory Coast, Cameroon’s President Paul Biya vowed to end attacks by separatists in the English-speaking regions of the country, describing them as “a band of terrorists”. Now the question everyone is asking is how a group of people fighting for their rights can be termed as “terrorists”. A number of protesters have been killed and many others detained.

The authorities have imposed night-time curfews, restrictions on movement, raids and body searches in the English-speaking areas of Cameroon.

World

The internet has made Trump’s spoiler a hero

A Twitter employee famously turned off the lights on Trump’s Twitter account when he learned he was leaving the company. Though the takedown only lasted 11 minutes, it was a profound silence for Donald Trump. Now, the employee responsible for those 11 minutes moved back home to Germany and agreed to reveal what happened that day. But it seems the internet has nominated the hero for a Nobel Peace Prize.

As it turns out, those who haven’t been happy with Trump’s victory in the 2016 U.S Presidential election felt an unexpected ounce of joy for those 11 minutes.

BuzzFeed is reducing the size of its staff

In recent years, BuzzFeed has been cited as a shining example of digital media success in a volatile landscape. But despite their apparent success, the company’s overall traffic has largely stagnated over the past year. According to the World Street Journal, BuzzFeed is planning to cut a whopping 8% of its U.S workforce.

The job cuts, which will mostly affect BuzzFeed’s business and sales teams, come less than a month after the media company reported it will miss its yearly revenue targets by 15-20%. Besides, 2017 has been especially brutal for major players in the media industry including one-time digital titan, Mashable. It seems media companies will need to find new revenue streams before the falling sky crushes them for good.

White House plans to replace Secretary of State Rex Tillerson

In the next few weeks, CIA Director Mike Pompeo will replace Tillerson. President Trump’s relationship with Tillerson has been openly tense for months. Trump has undermined Tillerson’s efforts to negotiate with North Korea. Tillerson is in charge of keeping international relations running smoothly and helping avoid things like war.

At a time when North Korea is becoming a bigger threat, it’s important this person and the president are on the same page.

Trump is also making headlines for reportedly trying to get Senate Republicans to drop their investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election.

Silicon Times

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