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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Africa

According to an article published on VENTURES AFRICA, Frank Jejding, the newly-appointed Head of Region for Ericsson sub-Saharan Africa, has call on Africa governments to fashion out ways to deepen broadband penetration on the continent.
 
Jejding said potential of the African markets are yet untapped and the benefit of mobility in broadband connectivity has become very critical and governments must support its growth.
 
“Africa needs to combine mobility, cloud technology and broadband. This will improve the continent’s development. I believe that ICT solutions will address poverty, increase expansion and boost productivity.”
 

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Press release on CORDIS Wire

Posted by on in Project Updates

A memorandum of understanding (MoU), a document describing a bilateral agreement, was signed between eI4Africa and iMENTORS on 4 April indicating an intended common line of action. The two projects have a common interest in a close cooperation in order to achieve their respective objectives and promote the adoption of consolidated standards in the e-Infrastructure with the ultimate aim of boosting RTDI (Research, Technology Development and Innovation) in Africa.

Read full press release on CORDIS Wire

This service gives you access to information sent to us by European innovation and research stakeholders. For more information on CORDIS Wire go to FAQs or terms and conditions.

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A memorandum of understanding (MoU), a document describing a bilateral agreement, was signed between eI4Africa and iMENTORS on 4 April 2013 indicating an intended common line of action. The two projects have a common interest in a close co-operation in order to achieve their respective objectives and promote the adoption of consolidated standards in the e-Infrastructure with the ultimate aim of boosting RTDI (Research, Technology Development and Innovation) in Africa. e-Infrastructures - electronic research infrastructures - are collections of ICT based resources and services used by the worldwide research and education community to conduct collaborative projects and generate, exchange and preserve knowledge.

Read more on Primeur weekly magazine

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GridCast team blogging on iMENTORS

Posted by on in Project Updates

A memorandum of understanding (MoU), a document describing a bilateral agreement, was signed between eI4Africa and iMENTORS on 4 April indicating an intended common line of action. The two projects have a common interest in a close cooperation in order to achieve their respective objectives and promote the adoption of consolidated standards in the e-Infrastructure with the ultimate aim of boosting RTDI (Research, Technology Development and Innovation) in Africa.

The GridCast team cover e-science events from around the world. From Taipei to Barcelona, the GridCast blogging teams keep you up to date with the latest news and views.

Read more about the MoU between eI4Africa and iMENTORS on GridCast

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A memorandum of understanding (MoU), a document describing a bilateral agreement, was signed between eI4Africa and iMENTORS indicating an intended common line of action. The two projects have a common interest in a close cooperation in order to achieve their respective objectives and promote the adoption of consolidated standards in the e-Infrastructure with the ultimate aim of boosting RTDI (Research, Technology Development and Innovation) in Africa.

iMENTORS www.imentors.eu is a one-stop-shop data warehouse on all e-infrastructure development projects of Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). The objectives of the project are to:

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VENTURES AFRICA – Across nations, many firms and governments face the increasingly complex challenge of resolving international poverty, variations of political instability, and global climate change. With United Nations experts projecting the world population to reach 10.1 billion by 2100 some of these problems may worsen before they are improved. Both firms and governments are addressing these challenges differently, with firms investing highly in profitable innovation, and governmental organizations investing in less innovative but essential social services. This has created a gap for socially minded non-governmental organizations, which aspire to provide moderately innovative social services.
 
Innovation Today: Social Media as a tool for innovation in Africa
 

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At first sight, it seems unlikely - a continent most associated with war and famine producing globally significant scientific research.
However, in many ways, the groundwork is there - knowledge, ingenuity, willingness to learn and adapt, coupled with the rapid expansion of digital technology. All of this is really allowing Africa to play a major part in global scientific collaborations.
Holding development back, higher education remains poor.
Many non-governmental organisations (NGOs), churches and development agencies push basic literacy - it is a huge international industry.
But there is nothing at the higher end, very little money for tertiary education. It is quite hard to study in Africa, and encouraging talented students to leave is an industry in itself, with a large variety of academic bursaries available for study in the US and Europe.
If the limited available statistics are to be believed, there are perhaps fewer than five million students in higher education in the whole of sub-Saharan Africa - and most of those, perhaps two-thirds, are in South Africa, the wealthiest country.

Tagged in: Africa science
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Africa-EU Joint Task Force meeting

Posted by on in Events

The 15th Africa-EU Joint Task Force meeting was held to review the 8 Partnership areas of the Joint Africa-Europe Strategy (JAES), including Priority 8 for Science, Information Society and Space. The aim of the meeting was to assess recent progress and agree on priorities for 2013 in each area.

For Priority 8 it was acknowledged that progress had been made but that more could be achieved. A number of areas for enhanced collaboration were identified and will be developed, such as continuing the successful EU-supported AU Research Grants and the Kwame Nkrumah Scientific Awards programmes, as well as helping build Africa’s capacities, such as the Pan African Intellectual Property Organisation (PAIPO) and the African Observatory for STI (AOSTI).

Source: Europe-Africa Research & Innovation Newsletter (February 2013)

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iMENTORS,launched in April 2012 by Stockholm UniversityandGov2u, will map all e-infrastructures of the past five years in Sub-Saharan Africa, in the objective of providing valuable insights on the gaps and progress made in the region and to enhance the coordination of international actors involved in information and communication technology initiatives.

The project is co-funded by the European Commission, DG CONNECT, under the seventh framework programme.

iMENTORS is in the final phase of building the online virtual observatory platform.The alpha version has been online and operational with the final additions uploaded by April 2013. The beta version will be available to the public starting July 2013.

Want to participate in an online community of practice?

 Join our Community of Practice! Register and create your own or your organisation’s public profile to exchange ideas, expertise and best practices, find partners, contacts and opportunities in e-infrastructure development, or increase the visibility of your own project.

 

Tagged in: Africa data ICT Research
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Capture: EC e-infrastructures Head of Unit Kostas Glinos presents the iMENTORS project at the PAERIP conference

 

A high-level conference on “Promoting Africa-EU Research Infrastructure Partnerships” took place on 7-8 March 2013 at the Hotel Thon EU in Brussels, Belgium.  The conference presented the outcomes of the PAERIP (Promoting African European Research Infrastructures Partnerships) project, funded under the EU’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). 

 

The conference took place at a crucial time for the development of new cooperation instruments for Africa-EU cooperation including for collaboration in science, technology and innovation.  These instruments include, for example, the new EU Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, the EU Development Cooperation Instrument and the European Development Fund.  Within this context, one of the highlights of the conference was the presentation of PAERIP’s recommendations on how research infrastructure partnerships could best be promoted as part of the Joint Africa-EU Strategy.

 

iMENTORS was presented by EC e- infrastructures Head of Unit Kostas Glinos as a case study of potential flagship Africa-EU research infrastructure cooperation initiative in e-infrastructures. He explained that the ultimate objective of iMENTORS is to form a vibrant online community of practice made of international actors and practitioners exchanging of up-to-date knowledge and information through online social interactions and dedicated spaces for online collaboration, and encourage the community to adopt and update the platform on its own.

 

The event placed EU research at the centre of the scientific response to global challenges, bringing together scientists and science policymakers from 100 countries.

 

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2013 Human Development Report data

Posted by on in Related News

The rise of the South is radically reshaping the world of the 21st century, with developing nations driving economic growth, lifting hundreds of millions of people from poverty, and propelling billions more into a new global middle class, says the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) 2013 Human Development Report.

The latest figures and rankings released in the 2013 HDR include life expectancy, education and income. Norway once again comes out top, with Burkina Faso, Chad, Mozambique, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Niger propping up the bottom. But the report also includes a table on trends in the HDI over the past three decades – which makes more favourable reading for poorer African nations.

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A system used by South Africa’s National Research Foundation (NRF) to rate researchers is biased against some disciplines and researchers who co-publish.

This is the message of a paper, ‘The objectivity of National Research Foundation peer review in South Africa assessed against bibliometric indexes’.

The paper, published in the journal Scientometrics on 2 March, says researchers who co-publish are more likely to receive a B-rating than an A-rating. A B-rating is given to researchers with considerable international recognition while an A-rating is the highest recognition given to leading scholars.

“The NRF evaluation process appears biased against disciplines in which multi-author publications are the norm, as well as multi-disciplinary work, which is inherently collaborative,” said Johannes Wolfgang Fedderke, an economics professor at the Pennsylvania State University in the US, who wrote the paper.

Researchers in the physical sciences are also more likely to get an A-rating than those in medical sciences, business studies or social sciences though they produce the same number of publications.

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Africa has a pretty impressive tech startup scene. Very few people know about it because the companies that are being built aren’t exiting for millions of dollars, well, not all of them.

The continent has, in the last decade, seen a mobile explosion that beats the developed world. Yes, connectivity is still an issue that needs resolving but somehow the tech innovators are building products that have seen interest from the likes of financial juggernaut Visa and are winning innovation prizes against more established counterparts in the developed world.

According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Africa will have the fastest-growing economy of any continent over the next five years.

Africa as a market place is peaking, the rise of technology on the continent has inspired a new age of tech-based entrepreneurs to build products that solve African problems. A majority of these entrepreneurs are building service-based technology because of the low barrier to entry. So the consumer market is focused on ecommerce and app purchases but a few are trying solve the hardware problem too.

A recent report from The Economist attributes growth on the continent to a booming economy.

Tagged in: Africa startup
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In this three part series (published today and two next Fridays on VC4Africa), Prof. dr. Jeff Gaspersz explores how to build innovative companies. 

Tagged in: Africa companies
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Three types of incubators in Africa

Posted by on in Related News

Incubators, accelerators, co-working spaces, and technology hubs have sprung up all across Africa, all claiming to be the right entity to fuel entrepreneurial activity in their region. This article describes three types of institutions active in the African incubation sector.

Since its origins, business incubation has taken many shapes and forms and the institutions claiming to ‘incubate’ provide varying services, making it difficult to compare them one to another. The term ‘incubator’ in a business sense dates back to the late 1950s and was once used to describe vacant property being subleased to multiple tenants, while providing them with basic business support. As Hackett and Dilts formulated it in their Systematic Review of Business Incubation Research (2004) the baseline for incubators is the “systematic method of providing business assistance to firms in the early-stages of their development”.

Because the term incubation can be used so freely, the taxonomy of the business incubators is not always clear. Nevertheless I find institutions active in the African incubation sector can be classified in three segments, listed below.

Tagged in: Africa incubators
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The lack of process and training given to people applying technology in African elections is the likely culprit when things go wrong, according to Stan Khan, managing director (MD) of South African Muvoni Biometric & Smartcard Solutions (MBSS).

HumanIPO reported extensively on the failures of technology during the Kenyan elections last week, which included the abandonment of the much celebrated biometric system.

Ghana also encountered problems with biometric technology in its December 2012 elections.

Speaking to HumanIPO at Cards and Payments Africa 2013, in Sandton, Johannesburg, MBSS MD Khan said: “I am not entirely surprised [by the failures]. There are three things to consider: the technology, the people and processes and the preparation before the event.

“These technologies are easy when they are working fine, but what do you do when it stops working. There needs to be the knowledge to solve the problem quickly without holding up the queue.”

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The privately owned communications service provider SEACOM has selected Ciena Corporation’s (NASDAQ: CIEN) 6500 Packet-Optical Platform and OneControl Unified Management System for the upgrade of its submarine network across the Southern and Eastern African coastlines. This falls in line with SEACOM’s focus on driving the development of the African internet and opening the broadband tap for African consumers.
 

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Expo Summit Africa closed on the 14th February 2013 after a successful line up of international and local speakers. Over 90 delegates attended the two day conference, and many of these delegates were international guests.

Mati Nyazema, Executive Director, Sandton Convention Centre moderated the two days. The Summit was opened by the Gauteng and Johannesberg Convention Bureau.

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What can be done to help African youth improve their prospects for a brighter future? The first step might be to understand the challenges they face.

Recently, Microsoft Chairman and philanthropist Bill Gates wrote a terrific piece in the Wall Street Journal on why we need to measure the world’s problems to solve them. “You can achieve incredible progress if you set a clear goal and find a measure that will drive progress toward that goal…,” said Gates.

That’s true.We need reliable information that can help 3 billion young people—nearly half of the world’s population—under the age of 25, according to the Population Reference Bureau (PRB), a Washington D.C- based nonprofit organization that “informs people around the world about population, health and the environment.”

PRB collaborated with United Nations Population Fund, an international development agency that conducts major national and demographic surveys and population censuses, to develop an interactive map about young people in Sub-Saharan Africa. The map profiles 45 countries, helping to visualize statistics on education, employment, gender and reproductive health, among other issues.


Click here to explore the map and tell us how you would use this information to help young people.

Original article by Ravi Kumar, co-authors: Liviane Urquiza published on Thu, 02/21/2013

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Innovation, mobile, tech and startups. These are Africa’s buzzwords. A continent that arrived late to the web revolution, Africa is catching up fast and leading the way in some aspects.

The continent is working overtime to build and create products, services and businesses that can rival that of the developed world. It is no longer the dark continent. According to a Daily Beast report, Africa is being heralded as the “new Asia” and the “home of the next Google”.

“Compared to dismal rates in the rest of the world, Africa’s growth is exceptional,” Gustavo Galindo, a portfolio manager with Russell Investments is quoted in the Daily Beast as saying. “It surprises me many US investors don’t realize the opportunities this creates, with some African stocks gaining 15% to 20% returns.”
 
That surprise is echoed in Africa, where young entrepreneurs are building products that not only solve African problems but can scale as well. In spite of lack of investor interest, the continent thrives and that is to a great degree thanks to tech hubs and co-creation spaces popping up with the aim of fostering innovation and technological growth.
 
Here are nine innovation hubs and co-creation spaces that are doing their bit to champion the African tech boom.

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EuropeLogo eInfastructure This project has received funding from the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no 313203
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