Digital divide narrows

June 9, 2010 at 4:06 pm | Posted in B2C, Business Support, Economic Development, ICT, networking, Online Community | Leave a comment
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fibreFrance Telecom and 19 partners will invest 700 million dollars to bring high-speed Internet to 20 countries in western Africa, the company said in a statement yesterday.

The Africa Coast to Europe (ACE) fibre-optic cable will stretch 17 000 kilometres underwater from France to South Africa, and is slated to be completed in 2012.

It will connect 23 countries en route, including Spain and Portugal and countries along the western coast of Africa including Mauritania, Gabon and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Landlocked Mali and Niger will be connected by an overland cable.

France Telecom will contribute $250-million of the $700-million (R5.42-billion) cost of the project, according to the agreement.

“By signing this agreement, France Telecom-Orange is reinforcing its presence on the African continent and helping to reduce the digital divide in the region,” the company said in the statement.

The above reminds me that I have read some time in the past that Google and chosen partners were launching 4 satellites to provide land locked Africans’ access to the Internet.

Can anyone advise us whether this is happening and if so whether it will improve rural access to the Internet?

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AIN Conference Durban, PM Wednesday 17th March 2010

March 24, 2010 at 8:43 pm | Posted in AIN, Business Support, Economic Development, ICT, incubation, incubator, startup | 1 Comment
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Lunch was sprinkled with gems – meeting colleagues for the first time that I have collaborated with over the past three years only by phone, Skype and email. Amongst the notables were Phindile, Lynnette, Leone, Lalane, Charles, Ben, Iegshaan, Gordon & Quinton.    

Mark, Beryl, Lee, Alan, Goosain & Paul introduced themselves with business cards and brochures and the new bits of the AIN network jigsaw started to get filled around the edges for me.    

After lunch, we moved on to the role of Incubation in Local Economic Development.

This session was moderated by Mr. Phindile Tshabangu, who is the Business Developer for Innovus Technology Transfer, at the University of Stellenbosch in the Western Cape Province South Africa. Phindile is a cool dude when it come to cartoons!!    

Mr. Nigel Gwynne Evans, Director: Department of Economic Development and Tourism in the Western Cape Provincial Government in South Africa.    

no seats left

Standing room only today

 

Coming after lunch, Nigel came into the don’t dare fall asleep or you will miss some important advice.   Clusters – A framework for Incubation 
Touring Cluster networks in Italy and France brought us to why the Western Cape seem well versed in using incubation as an economic development lever. It came across loud and clear and goes back 14 years now. With 24 established and emerging clusters  – Michael Porter must have visited here for sure?      

‘Nigels department is 250 strong and surely plays hardball in winning budget and projects for his region. Sounds like they have 7 new incubators in the pipeline too – WOW what a note to finish upon!!!! NB Must add Cape Town to my To Do list [and maybe tour the wine cluster] – sheesh I need more paper.    

Nigel’s demand that  Sector Focused Incubators should not be considered unless framed within a cluster context! ensured that we ended his presentation on the edge of our seats with questions in mind.    

in conferenceMr. Phillip Sithole, the Head of Business Support and Markets Unit in the Ethekwini Municipality (of which this beautiful city of Durban is a part), gave us the Eastern Coast experience.  { NB Presentation to be uploaded when available} Philip also whetted our appetite for Fridays tour of Durban’s good and great incubators with SMART XCHANGE top of our list.     

Mr. Caiphus Chauke, the Executive Director is responsible for Local Economic Development in the Tshwane Metro, in Gauteng South Africa.   ENTERPRISE INCUBATION Development Strategy, Twashane LED. RSA 
With a staff of 11 (jings maybe small but performing miracles) he made sure we became aware of the way incubation and technology demonstration centres have mitigated the downturn in manufacturing while strengthening the supply chains and recently  attracting Foreign Direct Investment from the likes of BMW and Ford to his province and elsewhere in South Africa. RSA is definitely punching above its weight in the 21st C.    

With strong support and training programmes for University graduates and entrepreneurs,  Caiphus’s team and their Public and Private Partners have another 9 incubators are in the planning pipeline. Do they get any sleep I wonder.    

Densely populated [90% increase in Southern region and +22% overall ] and with many educational challenges – Caiphus explained the strategic sectoral programmes being implemented with alacrity and focus.  
—Automotives and Related products —Tourism and Related Services —Agriculture and Agro-processing —Aerospace and Defence Technologies —Mixed Manufacturing —Business Process Outsourcing & Off-shoring —Research and Development —Alternative and Renewable Energies ØInvestment Target = R400 million p/a    

Questions were masterfully delegated and speedily despatched by our moderator and even after this session finished many delegates  stayed back and button holed their speaker of choice. No hiding place could be found……….    

 

AIN Conference Durban, Tuesday 16th March 2010

March 23, 2010 at 10:03 am | Posted in AgriTech, AIN, Business Support, Economic Development, ICT, incubation, incubator, Online Community, startup, Tools | Leave a comment
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AIN  

I left home at 8am Sunday 14th to travel from Edinburgh to Durban (RSA). It was 6 deg C. 

It was my first ever flights with Emirates and I will definitely use them again if the opportunity arises. Dubai is a stunning airport terminal with every facility you could wish for to pamper your needs. 

Touched down safely and smoothly but somewhat tired at in Durban 6pm local time on Monday evening after international transfers at Manchester and Dubai. Local temperature was a magical 26 deg C!! 

The Airport was busy. This is clearly a World Cup venue as I read all the advertising on display. Pity I am 82 days early and Scotland did not qualify. I am not allowed to say “Anyone but England” as that is deemed to be racist here in UK!! Well we can but hope – “”Come oan South Africa“” we will be watching every move? 

BTW What is this Fitba’ Friday thingie I hear people speaking aboot? (Sorry I do lapse into my Scots vernacular when I start to get excited.) 

Wow – the AIN conference is up on the adverts too – well done Pat & Zama @ ProactivePR. 

AIN conference 2010 

Don’t ya just luv that logo………growing Africa through incubation – yup that works for me. 

At breakfast on Tuesday I met Dr Mbarou Mbaye from Senegal one of the AIN committee members. I had previously talked with Mbarou via Skype so I already knew she is on the infoDEV global research Study team – incubator support for women into business. More on that topic later. 

Delegates continued to appear at our beautiful new venue Coastlands upon the Ridge during Tuesday – early for the conference which was due to start on the Wednesday. I find lasting and effective relationships often start with chance meetings during the times before during and after these collaborative events and today was no exception. 

In no particular order I met Dr. Julie Momah from the Technology Incubation Centres, Nigeria, Ms. Valerie da Costa, head of infoDEV, Steve Giddings, Regional Facilitator, Jill Sawers, InfoDEV Consultant and Ellen Olafsen, Operations Officer from infoDEV. 

InfoDEV support has been crucial and a catalyst and attractor for leveraging government and regional funding much of what has happened to grow AIN to this point – our third Annual Conference in Southern Africa. 

Chris

Chris

 

Another AIN committee member from Bandwidth Barn in Cape Town, CEO , Chris Vermuelen, arrived and we shared experiences on running competitions to select entrepreneurs suitable for incubation support and facilitation. I know he burned the the midnight oil Tuesday/Wednesday to make sure all the entries for the Cape competition were compliant as the 17th was the closing day for entries. Who says men can’t multi-task? 

The BWB Cisco online Entrepreneurial programme has just launched and sounds really good. It is a new exciting initiative for sub Saharan Africa! Good on you Chris. 

Jayesh Ravjee from STP / SABTIA and Michael Reddy FURNTECH /AIN hosted an informal evening meeting to welcome the infoDEV and AIN team members to Durban and to share progress on all fronts – Sub Sahara in advance of the Conference. 

Compared to other regional business incubation networks we are coming from behind. We have just reached 500+ subscribers for our Newsletter, while infoDEV have 5000 subscribers world-wide. Pulling our socks up with this conference is a timely and welcome shot in the arm for everyone interested in making a difference within Africa. 

infoDEV Nokia

infoDEV & Nokia partners

 

For their part Valerie gave us a good heads up, prior to her leading presentation in the morning. The “ink is still wet” on infoDEV’s recently agreed 2 year €11.9 million programme “Creating Sustainable Businesses in the Knowledge Economy” with support from Nokia and the Government of Finland. This will target Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe with particular support for countries including Cambodia (initiatives to support women), Nepal, Mozambique, Tanzania and Vietnam (initiatives to support women). 

With 4.6 billion mobile users around the world today we have the world’s biggest platform for economic development. It can clearly be utilised to transform the ability of the illiterate and computer-less population within developing world giving unfettered access to support within rural and urban communities. 

The recent Mobile Monday rollouts are a core part of raising awareness and the impact of mobile technology can have within Africa 

MobileMonday to launch chapters in Africa
09 Feb 2010 MobileMonday has announced the opening of chapters in Kampala, Uganda and Nairobi, Kenya. The Kampala chapter opens its doors on March 8, and the Nairobi chapter launches on March 11. A new South African chapter will also open in Capetown. After over a year of background work, the global organization formed a partnership with the World Bank to take the community’s concepts to several African countries. … 

and so to bed, my head reeling with new opportunities for sub Saharan Africa……….tomorrows conference launch awaited us.

Google releases new data research and display resources

March 8, 2010 at 7:48 pm | Posted in ICT | Leave a comment
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This is a very practical and interactive way to filter and share knowledge and data research by best in class providers, in this case the World Bank.

Internet Users per 100 population

Please click on the link to explore and enjoy this data rich resource.

Exploring public data

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