Monday, October 29, 2007

The Africa Channel

The Africa Channel is a showcase for the African continent's most outstanding English language television series, specials, documentaries feature films, music, event specials, biographies, soap operas, current business analysis, cultural and historical programs...shows that reflect the people of Africa, their incredible stories, their daily lives, their music and art, their successes, celebrations and challenges.

Co-Founder of The Africa Channel and originally from Zimbabwe, Mr. Makawa enjoyed a successful career in both local and network television in the United States. For more than 10 years, Mr. Makawa worked as a local news reporter and anchor with leading local stations before joining NBC News as a correspondent in New York and Chicago.

Somdiaa sugar cane producer, distributor

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Somdiaa is the leading sugar cane producer, refiner and distributor in Central Africa. Through its plantations in Cameroon, Chad and Congo-Brazzaville, the Company produces approximately 80% of the sugar sold in the Central African Economic and Monetary Community free-trade region. The Company also owns and operates flour mills in Gabon and produces a range of other agricultural products.

D-MADE grant giving competition for Africans in Europe

D-MADE, is a grant giving competition that will reward the innovative entrepreneurial African diaspora in Europe for projects implemented in Sub-Saharan Africa and has two components:

A Competition of innovative projects that will grant 10-15 prizes (ranging fro €10,000 to €40,000 in size) to implement profit-making projects that empower the disadvantaged, are results-oriented, and scalable. Technical assistance will also be extended to the winners for one year during the implementation of the project.

Click here to apply

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Google hiring in developing markets and education reform

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I just read an interesting Fortune article about Google hiring in India, and thought "wow that is a lot of money." Google has gone to the extreme to hire quality human capital for R&D operations in India. Perks for working at Google India include: taxi service, health care for parents, and etc.

Google is hiring in Africa, but mostly in Kenya and South Africa. Google is not doing this because of pure development/need goals. Google sees Africa and other developing markets as an opportunity. As soon as we get some reliable communications infrastructure: WiMax, fiber, other microwave technology Google will be scaling it's workforce in Africa.

One thing I realized reading this article is that, India is attractive because of it's huge graduate pool of students in the universities each year in Science and engineering. India graduates like 50 million students a year! What we need, and what is lacking is more technical education in science and engineering. One person leading the charge in technical education in Africa is Patrick Awuah from Ghana.

Patrick is President of Ashesi University; even though Ashesi is located in Accra, Ghana a good percentage of it's students are from neighboring countries. We have 53 countries, imagine each country having a dozen quality university or technical schools. This could be very attractive to a company like Google to hire and train African programmers or computer scientists.

Water Health and Lifestraw water technologies

Water is one of the most abundant molecules on the earth's surface. Unfortunately, a small percentage of water is drinkable to man and a smaller percentage is available to many developing markets. However, there are some interesting technologies out there to purify water.

WaterHealth International is leading such a revolution — the Blue Revolution — with a mission to provide sustainable access to clean, safe water to all, including the poorest communities. WaterHealth is already providing such access to clean water to hundreds of thousands of people around the world.

LifeStraw™ is a simple device, still in a prototype phase, designed for those unfortunate people in the third world who do not have access to clean drinking water. The pipe is composed of two textile filters, followed by a chamber with beads impregnated with iodine:

Monday, October 22, 2007

Brazil to promote Biofuels in Africa - Business Week

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The Brazilians are known as experts when it comes to Biofuels. They have been progressive since the early 70's when world oil prices were too high. Most of Brazil's Biofuel comes from sugar cane, and a small percentage from corn and other crops.

Brazil's president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva wants to help African countries seize this surging interests in Biofuel and build their own capacity. Even though Africa is a net exporter of oil, many believe that Biofuels can enable poverty reduction on the continent.

Read this BusinessWeek article about Brazil and Africa's collaboration.

Chinedu Echeruo founder of

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Chinedu Echeruo is the founder of HopStop users type addresses, landmarks or businesses into origin and destination fields. Based on criteria set by the user, the site determines the quickest and most convenient pathway through New York's expansive mass transit system. Users of the free service can print the directions or have them sent as text messages to cellphones.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Ethiopia - Top 10 for doing business in Sub-Saharan Africa

Conducting business in a developing country is never easy. Ethiopia has been ranked in the top 10 of doing business in Africa. Rankings mean a lot to any country, rankings allow you to sell bonds to the world markets and attract foreign investment.

Read EthioBlog about Ethiopia's rankings

South Africa’s Web 2.0 winners

South Africa leads the continent of Africa when it comes to Web 2.0. However, there are other websites catering to content in Africa:,, and

As communications infrastructure becomes ubiquitous, and prices of connection falls many Africans will need to me entertained using the Internet.

Read more about South Africa’s Web 2.0 winners

Monday, October 15, 2007

African countries join the patent game

Africans are looking around the world and realizing that intellectual property protection is important and key to guarding one's intangible property. African countries are starting to collaborate and share resources for IP protection. In a publicly heated debate; Starbucks coffee corporation was trying to patent Ethiopia coffee brands. However, to the chagrin of Starbucks, Ethiopia won this debate and Starbucks agreed to pay the country of Ethiopia royalty rights. This issue wouldn't have even occurred if Ethiopia, or the African Union had a strong patent or intellectual property law.

From Science and Development Network

Researchers in six African countries can now better protect their rights and benefit from the commercialisation of their research as a result of a project to improve their countries' capacity to address intellectual property issues.

Researchers from 22 health and medical research institutes in Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and the Republic of Congo have benefited from a three-year project to build an intellectual property 'hub' through which they share resources to process patent applications and commercialise research results.

The project — the Virtual Communal Intellectual Property Service (SECOVIPI) project — was initiated by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the Geneva International Academic Network (GIAN).

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Ghana-India Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence in ICT (AITI-KACE)

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The Ghana-India Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence in ICT (AITI-KACE), Ghana's first Advanced Information Technology Institute works to stimulate the growth of the ICT Sector in ECOWAS. Established in 2003, through a partnership between the Government of Ghana and the Government of India, this state-of the-art facility provides a dynamic environment for innovation, teaching and learning as well as practical research on the application of ICT4D in Africa.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

African countries strive for outsourcing business

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There is a great article on outsourcing in Africa by Offshoring Times. As soon as we get redundent communications infrastructure: fiber optics, microwave or other emerging technology Africa can then be an international player.

Most recently, the government of Nigeria has decided to put together a national strategy for an official Outsourcing industry. The government is also looking at building educational institutions focused on ITES, or BPO market. There will be a time when the Indians outsourcers, the Wipros, Tata's and Infosys will be outsourcing back-office work to Africa. The Indians are already setting up show in Mauritius because of the close colonial ties to that country.

From Outsourcing Times: African countries strive for outsourcing business

The South Africa is vying to bring in more of business processing outsourcing (BPO) on the continent, and other countries are also following to attract more of this business.

There are common factor in the African continent is the language skills, time zone/geographical location and an underemployed workforce with resulting low labor costs. But among all these the only real competitor to them in the BPO sector is Egypt.

Egypt at present has 4,000 agent positions and is estimated to grow to 12,000 in 2012, according to a technology analyst with consultancy Datamonitor PLC.

Afropop African music

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Afropop is a radio program, a web site, a searchable database, an international musical archive, a team of researchers, and a travel series to Africa and Latin America . “Afropop” is also now used as a general term to describe popular African music.

In 1988, interest in international pop was at an all-time high and Afropop was launched by NPR as a weekly series. It was the first of its kind and, years later, the program has expanded its vision to include the music and cultures that encompass the entire African Diaspora. Now known as Afropop Worldwide (APWW), the program is still the standard for both the curious and the connoisseur.

Hosted by one of Africa 's best-loved broadcast personalities, Georges Collinet, and produced by Sean Barlow for World Music Productions, Afropop Worldwide is currently distributed by PRI Public Radio International to over 100 stations in the U.S. The series is also heard in Europe and Africa .

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Kenyan economic growth up to 7 percent!

Reuters Africa is reporting that Kenya economic growth is 7% for the second quarter of this year!

From Reuters

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenya's economy grew a robust 7 percent in the second quarter, up from 5.8 percent in the same period 2006, the Central Bank said on Tuesday in good news for President Mwai Kibaki two months before an election.

Friday, October 5, 2007

The Wharton Africa Business Plan Competition

**Phase I submission due October 27**

Register and submit here

The 2007 Wharton Africa Business Plan Competition (WABPC) Finals will take place on Saturday November 10, 2007. The competition will be a key component of the 2007 Wharton Africa Business Forum and is organized to promote entrepreneurship in Africa. The intent of program is to link entrepreneurs with African business ideas to prospective investors such as banks, advice and investments toward the implementation of their business Idea.

The WABPC is organized in 3 phases. In Phase I, applicants submit an executive summary of their business plan

which will be reviewed for admission into Phase II by a group of professionals from the consulting or the investment world. In Phase II, the 6 admitted applicants from Phase I will pitch their business concept to a group of bankers, venture capitalists and private equity investors: The top 3 best ventures win predetermined prizes. In Phase III, follow up advice and funding is provided to co-opted ventures by investors and other professionals on their sole discretion. Finalists are eligible to win up to $3,000 in prizes.

Upcoming events

Start: Oct 08, 2007
End: Oct 10, 2007

The 12th International Business Forum in Washington DC, is part of the continued cooperation on ‘Business and the Millennium Development Goals’ (MDGs) between InWEnt – Capacity Building International, Germany, and the World Bank Institute. It deals with the prospective impact of the business sector in promoting sustainable development and furthering the MDGs.

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Start: Oct 09, 2007
End: Oct 10, 2007

Emerging markets are too important to be overlooked by businesses that want to grow in the coming decades. Spotting new opportunities and managing risks are key to success in emerging economies.This 2-day summit in LONDON will address major issues for those who want to do responsible business in developing and emerging world.You'll learn how to develop strategies that combine responsible business with profits.

No more roaming fees with Safricom in Rwanda!


Safricom Kenya just announced that it will extend it's network to Rwanda. This is important because there are expensive roaming fees when you cross to another country or territory. I think in the next few years you will see reciprocal agreements between several carriers in the developing world.

From AfricaNews

The Kenyan mobile phone firm said it was still consulting with other African players in DR Congo, Mozambique and South Africa to extend the network to the Southern Africa region, but this would depend on the cost of connection.

Safaricom Chief Executive Officer Michael Joseph said the service would allow some 600,000 MTN Rwanda subscribers to use the service. The deal makes Rwanda the third East African country to join the borderless network.

Uganda and Tanzania became the first two East African states to join the one-area network, which allows the subscribers to use mobile phone re-charge vouchers from any of the networks. The service would be activated

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Africa's energy reserves

Foreign Policy reports that Africa is using it's energy resources to effect geopolitical policies. The map below showcases the biggest concentration of oil, natural gas, and coal.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Entrepreneurs From China Flourish in Africa

NY Times has an article about Chinese businessmen thriving in Africa. Increasingly you are starting to hear more of these stories, and the risks the Chinese are willing to make in Africa. The Chinese are not doing this because the love Africa, they see an opportunity to make a lot of money!

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