Friday, October 31, 2008

TEDGlobal 2007 - Ernest Madu: Bringing world-class health care to the poorest

Dr. Ernest Madu runs the Heart Institute of the Caribbean in Kingston, Jamaica, where he proves that -- with careful design, smart technical choices, and a true desire to serve -- it's possible to offer world-class healthcare in the developing world.

ARM - Nigerian Asset managers

From the Site:
ARM is one of Nigeria’s leading asset management and financial advisory firms with a global perspective in investment management. We provide a wide range of services worldwide to a diversified client base that includes corporations, financial institutions, governments and high-net-worth individuals.

ARM was established in 1994 as an asset management firm with a global perspective.

MRM - Kenya Steel rolling manufacturing

MRM dominates the steel roofing industry in Kenya. The company pioneered the ultra thin gauge rolling for galvanized steel and cold rolled drawing materials for tube making, drum manufacturing and steel fabrication.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Economist - Is the financial turmoil an opportunity for africa?

Economist offers a unique view of the global financial crisis and the impact or opportunity that may effect Africa.

Oct 9th 2008
From The Economist print edition

With world markets in turmoil, an unexpected and overlooked continent may benefit from its very isolation

TAKE a snapshot of the main news stories around Africa. In Nigeria, its most populous country, the insurgency in the oil-producing Delta region grows fiercer by the day. Zimbabwe’s agony continues as President Robert Mugabe and the new prime minister, his opponent in the last election, Morgan Tsvangirai, fail to agree on the composition of a face-saving coalition government; meanwhile, the country’s official rate of inflation has topped 11m%, with the unofficial rate put at more than 531 billion%. The president of Sudan, Africa’s largest country, has officially been accused of genocide and war crimes by the International Criminal Court. In Somalia, the tragedy of a lawless and ungoverned country only gets worse. Even in South Africa, the continent’s biggest economy, political uncertainty has set in after the ousting of the former president, Thabo Mbeki, in a bitter political feud.

Yet all this has been accompanied by a steady drumbeat of optimism about the continent, and confidence in its prospects. Despite the litany of problems, the 48 countries of sub-Saharan Africa (hereafter referred to as plain Africa) are, by several measures, enjoying a period of unparalleled economic success. And despite the turmoil in the world’s financial markets, international investors still think they can make money there.

In 1990-94 annual GDP growth was a weak 0.9%; since then, growth has averaged closer to 5% (see chart 1). Before this autumn’s financial meltdown, the IMF was predicting GDP growth of 6.6% this year; now it is predicting only a slightly lower rate. Annual GDP growth per person was 1.1% in the late 1990s; from 2004 to 2006 it was around 4%. In 1990 47% of Africans lived in poverty; in 2004 41% did and, if present trends continue, only 37% will by 2015. Zimbabwe apart, most African countries have been bringing inflation down, even if the trend is now creeping up again, in line with the rest of the world.

PharmAccess - Building sustainable health systems in Africa

Since its inception in 2001 PharmAccess operates at the cutting edge of health sector support in Africa, pioneering innovative approaches. PharmAccess works closely with the public and private health sector and companies, aiming to alleviate the healthcare burden of African governments through the establishment of public-private partnerships. PharmAccess always works with local organizations in Africa in order to avoid brain drain.

Through its activities PharmAccess contributes to the building of sustainable integrated health systems with upgraded hospitals and clinics, well-trained African doctors and nurses, sufficient beds, reliable diagnostics, an accountable financial and administrative organization and improved access to quality basic health care.

Cordiant Capital

Established in 1999, Cordiant is a pre-eminent fund manager of emerging market, private sector investments. With USD1.4 billion in subscriptions since inception and a solid record, the firm counts a number of the world's top institutional investors amongst its clients.

Drawn from around the globe and with over 150 years of collective experience, Cordiant's investment professionals manage top quality private equity and debt deals throughout the emerging and high growth markets. Adept at filtering deal flow, quantifying risk and navigating the challenges inherent in these markets, the Cordiant team is able to provide institutional investors with efficiently managed and cost effective access to emerging market assets.

African GIS Kenya video: Earthwatch Puts Clean Water on the Map in Africa

Research ICT Africa

Research ICT Africa seeks to fulfil a strategic gap in the development of a sustainable information society and knowledge economy on the African continent by building information communication technology (ICT) policy and regulatory research capacity in Africa needed to inform effective governance.

Research ICT Africa! is hosted by the Edge Institute in Johannesburg, South Africa. RIA! is divided into three regions-Southern Africa, East Africa and West Africa regions. The manager for the West African region is Dr Olivier Nana Nzepa while Dr Lishan Adam is the East Africa regional manager. The North Africa region is in the final stages of being set up. Professor Alison Gillwald is Research ICT Africa! Director.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Ethan Zuckerman - Explains 7 rules of innovation based on constraints

Too many times we think technology can just fix a problem. Ethan Zuckerman offers a great post of how he sees innovation come from constraints. This post actually reminds me of a book I read in business school called, "The Goal". The goal is operational book about the theory of constraints. 


My Hearts in Accra

So I offered a talk about some very different types of innovation - African innovations including the zeer pot, William Kamkwamba’s windmill, biomass charcoal, and endless examples of innovation using mobile phones. My argument was that innovation often comes from unusual and difficult circumstances - constraints - and that it’s often wiser to look for innovation in places where people are trying to solve difficult, concrete problems rather than where smart people are sketching ideas on blank canvases.

I offered seven rules that appear to help explain how (some) developing world innovation proceeds:

- innovation (often) comes from constraint (If you’ve got very few resources, you’re forced to be very creative in using and reusing them.)

- don’t fight culture (If people cook by stirring their stews, they’re not going to use a solar oven, no matter what you do to market it. Make them a better stove instead.)

- embrace market mechanisms (Giving stuff away rarely works as well as selling it.)

- innovate on existing platforms (We’ve got bicycles and mobile phones in Africa, plus lots of metal to weld. Innovate using that stuff, rather than bringing in completely new tech.)

- problems are not always obvious from afar (You really have to live for a while in a society where no one has currency larger than a $1 bill to understand the importance of money via mobile phones.)

- what you have matters more than what you lack (If you’ve got a bicycle, consider what you can build based on that, rather than worrying about not having a car, a truck, a metal shop.)

- infrastructure can beget infrastructure (By building mobile phone infrastructure, we may be building power infrastructure for Africa - see my writings on incremental infrastructure.)

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Thursday, October 9, 2008

Africa Rising by Vijay Mahajan

With more than 900 million consumers, the continent of Africa is one of the world's fastest growing markets. In Africa Rising, Vijay Mahajan, a marketing professor at The University of Texas at Austin, reveals this remarkable marketplace as a continent with massive needs and surprising buying power.
Crossing thousands of miles across the continent, he shares the lessons that Africa's businesses have learned about succeeding on the continent...shows how global companies are succeeding despite Africa's unique political, economic, and resource challenges...introduces local entrepreneurs and foreign investors who are building a remarkable spectrum of profitable and sustainable business opportunities even in the most challenging locations...reveals how India and China are staking out huge positions throughout Africa...and shows the power of the diaspora in driving investment and development

U.S.-Africa Private Sector Health Forum - Nov 21st - 22nd DC

The 2008 U.S.-Africa Private Sector Health Forum will focus on opportunities for private sector investment in health care and delivery in Africa, including medical franchising, leveraged partnerships, innovative financing mechanisms, risk pooling and health insurance, policy and regulatory incentives, human capacity development and social entrepreneurship.

eTranzact - online payment service

eTranzact is the first online real-time payment system that allows account holders to pay for goods and services purchased from merchants, transfer funds to any bank account, cell phone, any card, pay bills, order products e.t.c without stress.

Web (using any internet browser in a secured transaction)

Mobile Phones (GSM, CDMA or Analog)

POS (Point of Sale)

ATM (Automated Teller Machines)

Other Mobile Devices

Bank Branches

BarCamp Africa - At Google Campus Oct 11, 2008

BarCampAfrica 2008 will be held at the Google Campus in Mountainview on 11 October 2008 as a way to bring people interested in Africa, on a variety of levels and topics, together in one place for a day of exploration, connection and enjoyment.
BarCamp Africa/Silicon Valley brings people, institutions and enterprises interested in Africa - as a topic, an opportunity, or a place of action - together in one location to exchange ideas, build connections, re-frame perceptions and catalyze action that leads to positive involvement and mutual benefit between Silicon Valley and the continent of Africa.

Africa: A New Emerging Markets Frontier? (OECD) - Video

Interesting thoughts from OECD about Africa's emerging markets.

In the past five years Africa's emerging markets have increasingly attracted major global investment. But the continent faces important human capital and infrastructure challenges. The International Forum on African Perspectives provided a unique opportunity to discuss these and other key issues in achieving sustainable growth in the region. In this video, Donald Kaberuka, President of the African Development Bank, Angel Gurria, Secretary-General of the OECD, Javier Santiso, Director of the Development Centre, Grace Naledi Mandisa Pandor, South African Minister of Education and Neil Harvey, CEO of Africa and New Markets Renaissance Capital, talked to OECD TV.
More on

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

2008 USAID Development 2.0 Challenge

USAID is proud to announce the upcoming launch of the 2008 USAID Development 2.0 Challenge. The Challenge will reward the best ideas with an invitation to present them before senior officials at USAID and a grant of as much as $10,000 for the winning solution.

Mobile technology, including everything from inventive applications for smart phones to simple text messaging, is increasingly ubiquitous in the developing world. USAID challenges you to explore its potential through an innovation for maximum development impact in areas such as health, banking,education, agricultural trade, or other pressing development issues.

An Open Source Competition

For the next two months, innovators can submit project ideas or comment on submissions. Once the submission process closes, an online community vote will select the top fifteen projects. Those projects will then go in front of a panel of USAID-selected judges who will pick the winner and two runners-up.

Go to and submit your ideas!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Meet the Bill Gates of Ghana - Herman Chinery Hesse, article

Herman Chinery-Hesse

Great article on Herman and his new service called BSL, a hybrid of Paypal and Herman is well-known for co-founding Softtribe, Ghana's 1st software house. For those that don't know Herman, he is a story teller and a character to boot. He is a funny and passionate man, that sees potential in sectors many would consider mundane.

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