Category Archives: tedglobal2007

Tech Tuesday

SABC – Highway Africa Awards 2007 for Innovative use of new media technology in Africa. Awards are given in three categories: 1) Individual/Student, 2) Non-profit and 3) Corporate.
– Individual and Non-profit category: communications which find innovative ways to overcome the limitations of the existing African infrastructure.
– Corporate category: creative adaptation of global technologies in an African media context.
– Other criteria (which apply to both categories)is the use of new media to benefit press freedom in Africa and encourage social empowerment in African communities. Also the functionality of websites/blogs/wikis is an absolute must, interactive features, design and use of mobile technology in an innovative way is encouraged.Entries to be submitted online or via fax by 20/8

Digital Village Concept opportunities
(i) Own manage digital village center/kiosk (there will be one in each constituency). Applicant’s must have experience in running cyber cafe, computer lab and already have electricity, steady clients, premises and qualified staff. Details here and deadline is 20/8
(ii) Supply products/services such as hardware/software, loans/finance, stationery, furniture, and supplies. Details here and deadline is 20/8.

Threat to ISP’s: Safaricom has applied for a 3G license to offer broadband wireless through their extensive base station network to subscribers.

Congratulations to TED Global Fellow Paul Kukubo who has been appointed as chief executive of the Kenya ICT Board

Idea Exchange: sponsors & links

Before he went to satellite, radio mega star Howard Stern would occasionally get into hot water in some US cities over the content of his show. This would be manifested by busy bodies in some towns starting a petition/protect outside the station re-broadcasting his show and occasionally threatening to boycott local sponsors of the show. Stern’s usual answer to this (besides accusing these groups of racketeering) was to ask his listeners to support the local sponsors of the show (in their towns/regions) by giving them business and mentioning that they had heard about them from listening to the show.

Anyway, I also read yesterday how a major league blogger – John Chow acknowledges sponsors and thought it would be a good time to do the same.

So Thanks to;

Mama Mikes: who have a new promotion where all phone airtime ordered before 5 PM (Kenyan time) is topped up on the same day. Also, several phones can be topped up in one order, all for only $2.49

Business Post: A reminder that not all good writing is online; this monthly magazine offers a great collection of Kenyan business stories.

TED: Thanks for the invitation to TED Global Arusha. They have now begun to stream some of the most popular talks from the conference, starting off with George Ayittey, William Kamkwamba and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. These three talks were among the memorable. Ghanaian economist George Ayittey coined the race in African between the hippo and cheetah generation of leaders, while William Kamkwamba, a 19 year old Malawian embodies this as an inventor of a electricity producing windmill out of scrap metal. And former Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, famous for fighting corruption and restructuring her country’s debt, who rightly put an end to the aid vs. trade debate by reminding us that both are needed. These should be up on Wednesday afternoon with a fourth from Euvin Naidoo – President of the South African Chamber of Commerce, America on strengthening meaningful corporate ties across the Atlantic.

Readers i.e. you, but especially commenters. No one has a monopoly on information, and I learn so much from comments on investments, and perspectives from readers. I’ve said it before, but anonymous comments are given less weight, no matte how insightful they are – so try and register/come up with a name e.g. bankelele to leave comments and so we can interact better.

Linked In: I have not responded to some invites from people on Linked In. I apologize for not following up as I am not keen on that networking aspect – yet
Pajama Nation – micro jobs and freelance work site.
piloting request: any ideas where a Kenyan ‘A’ student with a passion for flying can obtain piloting scholarship?

All on July 31

election 2007 registration closed. If Oprah (no comparison) can endorse a candidate (Obama), then so can I – I support and will be voting for Jonathan Mueke who will be going up in a real David vs. Goliath battle in Westlands constituency. Good luck in party elections which can be more significant than the real election. Best wishes – Bwana J

Kenya Re IPO closed

Uchumi shareholder loan deadline passed. What’s the future like for shareholders? Delta Airline (US) is a far different company in another country (different laws), but which emerged from a similar reorganization to chart a new direction. For Delta shareholders;
– The company will issue new shares to claim holders (previous debt holders) as part of its reorganization.
– Other claims remain in dispute.
– Previous shares were canceled and holders of those shares received nothing in the reorganization.

Nairobi WiFi

I am an Internet addict and if you put up a WiFi zone/Hotspot, I’d like to check it out.

I checked into Tamasha (pub in hurlingam, Nairobi) on Saturday afternoon during qualifying for the French grand prix where I hoped to do a live blog of the qualifying hour like ESPN’s Bill Simmons who has lived blogged dozens of events like the super bowl, boxing matches and most recently the NBA draft.

I arrived at Tamasha at 3 pm. Ordered a beer and a goulash soup, had them change the TV channel to super sport 5 and also got the network key for the hotspot from the barman.

The connection was very good and I was able to check my mail, check google reader (which is a test of Internet speed, in itself) and even update my anti-virus (took 2 minutes). I did not stay online for the hour (watching the race, typing the happenings, fear of viruses) but was impressed by the connection.

I did a live post of the qualifying hour, but I was unable to edit it within the hour and decided not to finish the post. I also wonder how Ethan was able to live blog every session for four straight days.

Other Nairobi hotspots

After our few days at Ngurdoto Lodge (for TED), I can’t imagine checking into another hotel that does not offer Wifi. The days of hotels offering expensive unreliable internet access should come to an end and wifi should become a regular feature for guests. Already Country lodge and Fairview have made it a point to promote their wifi as an attraction. Other hotels may have it but they don’t advertise it as a main attraction – and of course they would be for guests only.

What other hotpots are there? JKIA wifi is a bust, there’s the elusive butterfly, Java (at Junction, ABC, Adams, Village Market – but only in early morning and late night, except Adams which I am told is all day). I hope to check out Telkom hot spot at Nandos/ Pizza Inn and a Skunkworks session and welcome more businesses to set up hotspots.

Plane spotter

Emirates Cargo 747 at Eldoret airport

Saudi Ok, Africa Not

After listening to a week of stories on aid, development, and entrepreneurship, we emerged from Ted Global in Arusha to find one of the proponents of a new vision for development in Africa – outgoing British prime minister Tony Blair endorsing shady dealings that involve Saudi Arabia in the name of strategic relationships

The implications of this are that (accoring to the US & UK governments) is that corruption/economic transgressions in Saudi Arabia are ok, but not in Zimbabwe or (former aid darling) Uganda. But the effects of these are that no British high commissioner can come preach good good governance to Kenya, or any other African country.

Africans are not all corrupt, not are we without faults, but so are British and American and their agents. In the words of George Ayittey we will find African solutions to African problems and be wary of cheerleaders on governance.

NN (Part II)

In Part I I was unable to get enough local newspaper content. But when I got back to my room at the end of Day 3 (Wednesday, around 7 pm), I found a “dear me” letter from the hotel reception and attached to it were three English newspapers – just as I had requested, and even though it was the end of the day, that was great! But unfortunately they were from the day before (Tuesday). Still you work and I was later able to get several Swahili newspapers on Thursday.

So here goes: highlighting local financial & development issues and challenges specifically addressed to during the TED week

– There is a shortage of a new anti-malaria medicine – ALu (syrup), made by Norvatis to be given to infants. And the government will come up with a national HIV testing program. combating malaria and HIV were cited as major steps needed to be achieved to enable Africa to develop
Celtel has lowered its Internet access charges from Tshs. 1766 to 475 (about $0.4) per MB downloaded. The company has also extended its East Africa network to Congo, Gabon and the giant DRC
– The Tanzania Chamber of commerce, industry and agriculture won an afriglobal African achiever award in South Africa.
– Tanzania exported 51,000 tons of coffee last year, earning the country earning about $100 million
Education will get the highest allotment (17.1%) of the country’s 5.1 trillion ($4.2 billion) budget to be announced this month.
– In preparing for the budget, the government has commissioned a report to crack down on vehicle misuse – it is estimated that the government owns over 800 land cruiser VX’s that costs over 33 billion a year ($26 million) to run
– Ben Enterprises launches – – a database of quality jobs.
UNICEF donates 1,500 lap desks to Salei primary school in Arusha
– The government denies knowledge of Integrated Property Investments – a British firm that is reported to have acquired 120 acres of Indian Ocean shoreline in the Dar es Salaam area to set up a $20m mangrove plant.
– The University of Dar es Salaam has an evening MBA program
– The Tanzania government plans to start auditing all foreign mining companies to verify their processing and export figures
– Last year, the Tanzania post office system processed 17.7 million letters which was 8% less than the year before. Also reducing (by 5%) were the number of parcels leaving country and the number of registered letters (down 19%). All these were attributed to advances in technology (email, SMS, fax).
– Tanzania wants most of the 500,000 refugees from Burundi to return to their country by year end
– Zara solar limited (of Northern Tanzania) has been nominated an Ashden Award (winners to be announced on June 21 in London) that recognizes outstanding sustainable energy projects. Zara sold over 3,600 solar PV systems, benefiting 18,000 people. It is estimated that 10% of the country and only 2% of rural population have access to the electricity grid.
– Fastracking of teachers to fill acute shortages at newly built secondary schools may be lowering the quality of education.
USAID has commissioned a 2 year environmental education program that will be administered by the Jane Goodall Institute.
– The World Bank will offer vulture aid to help developing countries stuck with high & expensive commercial debt following an infamous fleecing case of the Zambia government by a European investment- vulture fund.