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[STORIFIED] Social Media: Where is Africa? #SMDayAfrica

Yes! Digital and social media is growing globally, but where is Africa on the social media map?

This was the focus of the first session – “Social Media: Where is Africa?” of the maiden Social Media Day Africa celebration.

If you missed the session, here is a storified version of the TweetChat with Social Media Consultant, Chioma  Chuka; Winner, #SMAA Twitter Handle of Year Award, Jimi Tewe and the African Media Initiative, AMI. The session was moderated by #SMAA’s Startup of the Year Winner, AdForumCo.

ENJOY…Social Media: Where is Africa? #SMDayAfrica

Tayo Elegbede
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Plugged into the global euphoria of the 6th Social Media Day, which is annually marked on June 30, Africa for the first time celebrated the Social Media Day with continental pulse using the hashtag #SMDayAfrica.

The Social Media Day Africa #SMDayAfrica celebration is a parallel event with the global Social Media Day launched in 2010 by Mashable – a global technology firm. #SMDayAfrica was organized by the Social Media Awards Africa, #SMAA, as an all-day continent-wide virtual event to commemorate the 2015 Social Media Day from an African perspective with global ambience.

The event which featured eight (8) sessions cutting across diverse sectors and countries of the continent had appearances from leading industry experts with a knack for social media such as Maverick Music Producer,  Don Jazzy; HR Expert, Jimi Tewe; Songstress, Simphiwe Dana; Social Commentator, Japheth Omojuwa;  Social Media Denizens, Subomi Plumtre and Chioma Chuka; Representatives of the African Media Initiative, AMI; Social Innovators, Yemi Adamolekun and Seun Onigbinde; as well as winners, finalists and nominees of the maiden Social Media Awards Africa #SMAA from across the continent – Ben Kiruthi, Michael Hlatshwayo, Jimi Tewe, Barefootlaw, The Love Tour,Republic of Rwanda Ministry of Youth and ICT, DHL Africa, Stand to End Rape, Adforumco, KCB Group, Afrinolly, #TheNiteTalk, Raha 2.0, Nigeria Trade Hub; amongst other prominent personalities, social media enthusiasts and users across the continent.

The hashtag #SMDayAfrica which started trending in Nigeria within 2 hours of launch had an all-day penetration across Africa reaching over 30million Twitter users. The celebration also had other events at country-levels with active participations by the online community including #SMAA winners, finalists and nominees in Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, South Africa, Uganda, Egypt, Tunisia, and Morocco.

Opening the conversation on the realities of social media usage and practice in Africa, Chioma Chuka posited that although gradual progress is been made on internet penetration across the continent, yet, more needs to be done on digital penetration and local content generation.

Chioma urged Africans to be conscious to their online existence. HR Expert, Jimi Tewe, explained that social media is a growing component of online recruitment which Africans need to come to terms with.

Don Jazzy and Simphiwe Dana, however had a point of difference on whether or not music artistes need to be signed to a record label, considering the growing popularity of digital collaboration – see conversation here.

Sterling Bank Plc, lead sponsor of the Social Media Awards Africa #SMAA, explained that the future of banking on the African continent is social, which, the bank says it is taking the lead in innovating the path and pattern towards the social media boom. The innovative #Onecustomer financial institution which has clearly set the pace in social banking, participated actively and engaged stakeholders for an hour’s session entitled: ‘The Social Media Story: Me and My Bank.’

Relating governance with social media practice in Africa, Seun Onigbinde of BudgIT and Yemi Adamolekun of Enough Is Enough, agreed that although social media tools are viable in advancing governance and accountability processes in Africa, they however cannot in isolation pull through on the desired social needs of the continent, hence, the need for offline and online convergence.

Citing emerging trends such as digital jobs and cloud computing, experts raised the need for Africans to acquire requite digital skills in order to be effectively relevant in the globalized world. They also challenged the African continent to influence and develop itself through local content production and distribution.

Subomi Plumtre challenged African businesses to be more social, leveraging the power of cost-effective social media tools and platforms

Wrapping the all-day TweetChat, was the relationship session tagged: E-Relationship: Love through the web. Gist, Gossip and Tips, anchored by #TheNiteTalk – @LtCaezar, winner of the 2014 #SMAA hashtag of the year award.

As the maiden continental celebration of the world Social Media Day, #SMDayAfrica has succeeded in establishing an African perspective to social media, through robust virtual engagement, education and entertainment.

#SMDayAfrica: Social Media Day Africa

#SMDayAfrica: Social Media Day Africa

In coming years, it is hoped that the Social Media Day celebration in Africa will be bigger and broader, towards enriching continental good.

Conversations and other activities of the #SMDayAfrica celebration can be followed via: @sma_africa on Twitter or through Storify.

ABOUT #SMDayAfrica

The Social Media Day Africa #SMDayAfrica is to recognize and celebrate social media’s impact on Africa’s communication and growth, blending the African perspective with global ambience.

This day is marked annually on June 30th in consonance with the global Social Media Day celebration as launched by Mashable, a global tech and social media firm.


The Social Media Awards Africa #SMAA is a premier continental initiative poised to recognise and reward excellence, creativity and impact in the use of social media tools and platforms by individuals and organisations.

The Social Media Awards Africa is an initiative of Development Diaries and sponsored by Sterling Bank Plc.

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June 30 is, annually, commemorated as the World Social Media Day. This day brings to the fore the realities of a growing global community of diverse individuals who are wirelessly wired.

The Social Media Day was launched by an organisation called Mashable, a digital technology company, in 2010 to recognize and celebrate social media’s impact on global communication. While every day is essentially a social media day, today marks the sixth celebration.

Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, BBM, Instagram and a host of other social networking platforms are a next to none work or playground for both tech-savvy and non-tech-savvy individuals across the world to explore their lives.

Daily, these networking platforms record a high number of new users, thereby keeping the social media space ever busy with restive timelines.

For sure, the impact of social media, though a relatively — growing space when we focus on the African continent, cannot, and should not be undermined. Social media are growing with Africa and vice-versa.

With over 110 million active social media subscribers and 300 million active Internet users, social media are literally influencing every facet of Africa’s livelihood. This is most notable in ecommerce, online entertainment and civic engagements. They complement the traditional media, thereby forming an outstanding convergence.

The continent also boasts over 700 million mobile phones. Little wonder Africa is referred to as the mobile continent.

For the many benefits enjoyed thus far by the people — and the envisaged ones — the Social Media Africa Initiative, parent initiative to the Social Media Awards Africa #SMAA, is hosting a continent-wide virtual event to, among others, venerate the 2015 Social Media Day from an African perspective.

The Social Media Day has never been celebrated in Africa and an all-day TweetMeet to deliberate on Social Media appreciation, relevance and the African reality (eCommerce, Entertainment & Creative Industry, Governance and Leadership, Banking, amongst others) has been planned. The event will also feature interesting meet-up sessions and historical review of the growth and evolution of social media in Africa.

The TweetMeet is segmented into seven sessions, with each running for an average of two hours. Each session will be moderated by a proficient social media personality while having at least two competent individuals as guests to examine each subject. Questions, interventions and other engagements will not be exclusive to the moderator as members of the public are expected to contribute.

During the TweetMeet, Africa’s best from across the online and offline will engage diverse issues of interest.


The growing reality of social media in Africa leaves the continent with no option but to join the global celebration to evaluate the impact of ever-changing communication while looking forward to harnessing the dividends of the process for the benefit of Africa.

For individuals and organisations that have embraced digital technology and social media, they can join in the global celebration from any part of the world.

First, you can join the global trend via the hashtag #SMDay as well as the Africa hashtag – #SMDayAfrica.

Many leading social media organisations like Mashable and Social Media Africa Initiative have free ‘toolkits’ for individuals and organisations to download and use before and during the celebration.

Another key component of the celebration is a promotional campaign by individuals and organisations through their social media accounts and blogs. By doing this, you will be recognised as an authority in the social media space.

Thirdly, you can take and share pictures of yourself and your team members carrying posters with inscriptions such as happy Social Media Day, Social Media Day Africa, We love social media, among other creative lines.

As Africa celebrates the 2015 Social Media Day, some pertinent issues come to mind, which both users and industry experts must make conscious efforts to address. Some of the challenges are digital illiteracy, cyber security and identity theft. The challenges confronting the African social media and, indeed, the cyberspace are enormously daunting.

It is, however, hoped that with the conscious efforts by policy makers, industry experts and social media influencers, some of the challenges will be addressed. Addressing them is critical to unlocking the potential of social media and making them serve the need of the continent.

Wherever you live, you join the conversation cum celebration on Twitter via #SMDayAfrica. Global hashtag is #SMDay.

Happy Social Media Day!

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#SMDayAfrica: Africa celebrates Social Media Day

June 30th is annually commemorated as the World Social Media Day. This day brings to the fore the realities of a growing global community of diverse individuals who are wirelessly wired.

The Social Media Day was launched by Mashable in 2010 as a way to recognize and celebrate social media’s impact on global communication. While every day is essentially Social Media Day, June 30th, 2015 marks the sixth-annual official global celebration.

With over 110 million active social media subscribers and 300 million active Internet users, social media is literally influencing all facets of Africa’s livelihood. This is remarkable in the growth of ecommerce, online entertainment, civic engagements and the outstanding convergence of traditional and new media across the continent.

The continent also boosts of over 700 million mobile phones. Little wonder the continent is referred to as the mobile continent.

To this end, the Social Media Africa Initiative, parent initiative to the Social Media Awards Africa #SMAA, is hosting a continent-wide virtual event to commemorate the 2015 Social Media Day from an African perspective with global ambience.

The Social Media Day has never been celebrated in Africa and an all-day Tweet Chat to deliberate on Social Media appreciation, relevance and the African reality (eCommerce, Entertainment & Creative Industry, Governance and Leadership, Banking, amongst others) has been planned. The event will also feature interesting meet-up sessions and historical review of the growth and evolution of social media in Africa.


The TweetMeet is segmented into 7 sessions, with each session running for an average of two (2) hours. Each session will be moderated by a proficient social media personality whilst having at least two competent individuals as guest/authority on each subject line. Questions, interventions and other engagements will not be exclusive to the moderator as the general public can also have their say.


TIME: 9.00 – 21.00 GMT

PASS: #SMDAYAFRICA (Global hashtag is #SMDay)

No matter where you live, you can celebrate with us! Learn how to make Social Media Day official in your city, and follow @sma_africa on Twitter for #SMDayAfrica updates.

Download ToolKit Here

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Africa Rebooting

We all know Africa is a continent full of innovation. Now policy makers at all levels must put this strength, along with scientific and technical development, at the centre of economic strategies. Fortunately, the African Union has recently adopted a strategy that seeks to do exactly that.

Strong demand for raw materials, especially by China, and a growth in consumption by an expanding middle class has driven Africa’s growth in the past decade. Seeking sustainability, policymakers are shifting their attention from raw materials to an economic outlook that is driven by technological innovation.

The 10-year Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa (STISA-2024) recently adopted by the African Union (AU) embodies this vision. Its mission is to “accelerate Africa’s transition to an innovation-led, knowledge-based economy.” The strategy is part of the longer-term Agenda 2063 – the AU’s development vision and action plan.

Acting strategically

The strategy takes into account Africa’s current level of development and its persistent challenges. It seeks to deploy science, technology and innovation to address six key challenges. These include building infrastructure, eliminating hunger, improving human development, protecting the environment, enhancing social cohesion and spreading prosperity.

These priorities have been extensively discussed and are not new. What is different is the determination of African leaders to leverage existing and new technologies to address them in ways that are sustainable and inclusive.

STISA-2024 builds on a series of previous efforts to leverage science and technology for development. Most of the previous efforts assumed a linear relationship between research, development, demonstration and deployment. As a result, much of the policy emphasis was on allocating at least 1% of GDP to research and development (R&D).

Africa still values the importance of research, but no longer considers this linear view to be viable. Based on experiences in the rapid adoption of mobile phones, the continent is now looking into combining R&D with leveraging existing technologies and using them to create new enterprises. This approach provides Africa with a more hopeful future for tapping into an exponentially-growing global knowledge reservoir.

The plan also includes seeing innovation emerge as a result of interactions between government, academia, business and civil society. For example, South Africa has become a major player in the world wine market through interactions between private producers, research institutes, universities and government. Similarly, the emergence of the mobile money transfer industry in Kenya was a result of interactions between government, business, development organisations and the research community.

STISA-2024 has identified four strategic actions that reflect the continent’s statement of development while accommodating differences among states. These are investing in infrastructure development, building human competence, incubating and growing enterprises, and providing an enabling environment for innovation.

Infrastructure development

Africa has identified two critical areas of infrastructure development that have a direct impact on innovation. The first is physical infrastructure and the associated institutional and legal arrangements. Africa needs nearly $93 billion annually over the next decade to meet its infrastructure needs, according to the African Development Bank (AfDB).

Such projects are inherently technological and provide a basis for accumulating scientific and technical capacity. But being able to do so requires procurement procedures that emphasise the domestication of the associated technologies and knowledge.

The design and implementation of such projects involves expertise in mechanical, civil, electrical and chemical engineering, among other fields. Africa’s design of infrastructure will, therefore, need to be directly linked to the creation of engineering capabilities. Egypt, Kenya and Ghana have recently created universities that focus on telecommunications technologies.

The second area involves the creation of research infrastructure, especially laboratories. Many of these can be directly linked to infrastructure projects, but others need to be set up at universities and research institutes. Engineering projects can be used to acquire equipment needed for scientific research.

Technical competence

African countries will need significantly to expand the availability of quality postgraduate education, and in particular programmes that lead to doctoral qualifications. Achieving this requires a systematic and coordinated approach to human capital development by popularising science and technology. More will need to be done to bring research, teaching and commercialisation under more coordinated management. In much of Africa, research is carried out in national research institutes that do not teach, and universities offer educational programmes with little research capacity or funding. This situation will need to change.

A typical response to such inefficiency is to call for increases in university research funding. An additional approach is to add teaching functions to research institutes to create a new generation of innovation universities. Another path is to encourage the creation of new research universities under technology-oriented businesses, as is being done in Tanzania and Ethiopia.


Enterprises — whether public or private — are the primary vehicle for turning knowledge into goods and services. They are, therefore, the primary driver of economic transformation. It is also in enterprises that technological capabilities accumulate. These capabilities are the fuel for competitiveness.

Africa is investing in enterprise development. But the growing awareness of technical knowledge and entrepreneurship will require forging close connections between business and academia. Other ways to spur entrepreneurship include using universities as incubators for new companies. Creating this role for educational establishments will require reforms to redefine the missions of some universities.

As businesses grow, they demand more technical knowledge. Some of this can be generated internally. Focusing on the scaling up of business, therefore, increases a country’s knowledge base.  As firms grow, they also produce new technical knowledge that makes them suitable locations for training future generations.

Universities serve as incubators of businesses. Enterprises also act as midwives of new knowledge-based universities. Africa can learn from South Korea, which has considerable experience in supporting enterprises to create universities. Some African enterprises have internal training programmes that could be upgraded to the level of university-level courses.

Enabling environment

The approaches outlined above demand greater creativity and flexibility from African policy makers. Enlightened leadership is required with heads of state or government acting as innovation champions. In addition to providing coordinated policies that fit specific purposes, African countries will need to create policy environments that nurture innovation.

Fostering a culture of innovation requires continuous policy adjustment. This process is best achieved with the support of effective Offices of Science and Innovation Advice for heads of state and government. So far, no African country has a statutory Office of Science and Innovation Advice. Their creation should be a priority in the early stages of the implementation of STISA-2024.

Getting it done

STISA-2024 will be implemented over four phases at continental, regional and national levels, through flagship programmes that reflect local priorities, needs and capabilities. The strategies outlined above make it possible for countries to leverage their regular investments in infrastructure, education and entrepreneurship to support innovation.

The first task is therefore exploring how to integrate innovation into ongoing activities. Making innovation a routine aspect of existing activities involves considerably less additional financial investment than other routes.

The main task facing Africa is identifying opportunities for innovation in existing programmes. New and additional resources are important. But they are not as critical as using local resources to leverage international cooperation. In the final analysis, making Africa an innovation-driven economy will require creativity and imagination. There is no shortage of these two intrinsic assets.

Source: NewAfricanMagazine

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Africans unite to #SayNoToXenophobia via social media

Tayo Elegbede – @tayojet1 on Twitter

From South Africa to Nigeria, Kenya to Malawi, Africans across continent are taking to social media platforms to condemn and protest against xenophobic actions in South Africa and generally on the continent. 

In Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city, rallies were organised to press home the demands to stop the xenophobic attacks in South Africa. The protesters marched to the South African Embassy in the city.

Want to lend your voice to the anti-xenophobic campaign, tweet at us on @sma_africa and use the hashtag #SayNoToXenophobia

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A little Internet goes a long way in Africa; and the strange case of South Africa vs. Rwanda

Even with a similar level of government policies and “official” commitment to promote ICTs in a country, the outcomes can be wildly divergent.

Using satellite for internet in South Sudan. (Photo: Flickr)
Using satellite for internet in South Sudan. (Photo: Flickr) 

A NEW report by the World Economic Forum (WEF) measuring how economies use opportunities offered by ICT for increased competitiveness and well-being has the majority of African countries at the bottom of the rankings, given high poverty levels and poor infrastructure.

Only Mauritius makes it into the top half of the rankings, at position 45 overall, and the list shows a high correlation between a country’s income and its position on the WEF’s Networked Readiness Index (NRI).

Rich countries have more access to ICT and are able to leverage it effectively, and poor countries, less so. Essentially, ICTs are neither as ubiquitous nor spreading as fast as many believe, and this explains in part the persistence of the digital divide across and within countries.

You might think that that’s the end of the story – too bad if you’re poor.

But digging deeper into the data reveals that it’s more complex than that; a little Internet can go a long way in Africa.

Even with a similar level of government policies and “official” commitment to promote ICTs in a country, the outcomes can be wildly divergent.

Take South Africa and Rwanda as an example. On the overall NRI rankings, they occupy position three and six in Africa respectively, although South Africa is 14 times richer per capita than Rwanda.

When we break down the index into its constituent indicators, some interesting trends emerge.

At government level, the two are the clear leaders pro-ICT policies

Rwanda is first in Africa (and an impressive 19th globally, ahead of even the US, France and South Korea) in how much the regulatory and legal framework facilitates ICT penetration and business development, taking into account factors such as property rights and the rule of law; South Africa comes second.

World Cup 2010 and IT

But South Africa has a much more developed technology infrastructure than Rwanda does, partly because South Africa is richer and so has more money to invest on its fibre optics and networks, and also because it is not landlocked, unlike Rwanda.

The other reason is that South Africa has a much more globalised economy, so there is high external demand for ICT infrastructure from people wanting to invest in the country, and internal demand from those South Africans for whom connecting with the global economy is an integral part of their lives.

In fact, when South Africa won the bid to host the World Cup in 2010, FIFA began to put major pressure on it to upgrade its Internet infrastructure to “Western” standards, so that European audiences would be able to live-stream the games.

With that, a kind of undersea cable arms race began, starting in South Africa and quickly spilling over to the eastern and western coasts of the continent.

That puts South Africa in fifth place in ICT infrastructure in Africa, after Seychelles, Libya, Mauritius and Algeria. Rwanda is 13th.

But when we look at the economic and social impacts of ICT – in other words, its actual outcomes on the ground – the two countries are very  far apart.

South Africa is first in the continent in the economic impact of ICT, mainly because business usage is so high. Because the economy is highly formalised (just 15% of jobs in South Africa are in the informal sector), there’s a big demand for technology to streamline business and make it more efficient.

In fact, nearly a quarter of South Africa’s GDP is drawn from the financial services, where there’s a huge need for automating and monitoring transactions down to the last second.

Transporting bananas to market in Rwanda. Agriculture accounts for 70% of Rwandan exports, 80% of employment, and a third of GDP.(Photo: IFPRI/Gwendolyn Stansbury)

But in Rwanda, the informal sector accounts for 79% of all non-agricultural jobs, and many of them are in small trading and services, therefore the business demand of technology as a critical component of operations (once you have actually opened the business) is lower.

In any case, agriculture accounts for the bulk of employment and exports, and the key inputs in the agricultural sector are land, rainfall and labour – not internet technology as such.

Rwanda beats South Africa

But when it comes to the social impact, the rankings are reversed. Rwanda is now first in Africa in the social impact of technology, measured by improvements in wellbeing, with a particular focus on education, energy consumption, health and the environment.

Rwanda’s high performance on this indicator is boosted by the government’s use of ICT in providing services to citizens, as well as the One-Laptop-Per-Child policy that has seen over 200,000 laptops distributed to pupils in grade school. South Africa is 15th.

In other words, a little Internet in Rwanda goes a long way in improving the wellbeing of citizens, while in South Africa, technology does not have broad social benefits as such, and tends to reward capital.

Countries like Kenya and Senegal display a similar trend of doing more with less – the two are 10th and 19th in their policy and regulatory environment, not particularly good, but not so bad either.

Their infrastructure is fairly good – Kenya at position 9, and Senegal at position 20.

But technology has outsized economic and social impacts. Kenya is second on both counts, and Senegal is fifth on both.

But perhaps the country which is punching the most above its ICT weight, in economic terms at least, is Nigeria.

Nigeria does not feature in Africa’s top 20 rankings with regard to policy, regulation or infrastructure. But it still manages to be eighth in the economic impact of technology.

Source: MailGuardianAfrica

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Mobile Africa 2015: African phone use decoded

A survey of mobile phone usage in five African countries has delivered startling findings on the rise of Internet access viaphones, the potential demise of Nokia and the continued appeal of BlackBerry.The Mobile Africa 2015 study, conducted by mobile surveying company GeoPoll and World Wide Worx, surveyed 3 500 mobile phone users in five of Africa’s major markets, namely South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana and Uganda.
The most significant finding was that Internet browsing via phones now stands at 40 percent across these markets, with 51% of respondents in Ghana and 47% in Nigeria reporting that they use their phones to access the internet. South Africa lags behind at 40%, and Kenya (34%) and Uganda (29%) are slowest on the uptake. However, South Africa leads in app downloads, usually an indication of higher smartphone adoption, with 34% of phone users making downloads from app stores. This compares to 31% in Ghana, 28% in Nigeria, 19% in Kenya and 18% in Uganda.
“This finding also indicates that mobile broadband infrastructure is more robust in South Africa, despite anecdotal reports of the Internet being used more actively in Nigeria and Kenya,” says Arthur Goldstuck, managing director of World Wide Worx, a leading technology analysis organisation. “Internet use is far greater in some of these countries in terms of number of people, but substantially lower in terms of intensity of use. ”The survey confirms a widely held view that Nokia remains the single biggest phone brand in the major
African markets. However, its market share is plummeting fast. While almost half of respondents – 46% – reported owning a Nokia as their previous phone, only 34% own one now. And only half of those – 18% – intend buying a Nokia next. The big winner is Samsung, which is currently owned by 17% of respondents, up marginally from 14% ownership previously. When asked what phone will be bought next, the Samsung proportion shot up to 26% more than a quarter of phone users. A big surprise of the survey was the finding that BlackBerry, which has held steady at 6% penetration for current and previous phones, is expected to rise to 16%. While this flies in the face of international trends, it reveals a hidden dynamic of the aspirations of new smartphone users. Matt AngusHammond, Business Development Lead for GeoPoll in Southern Africa, explains one reason for the possible surge in Blackberry adoption: “BlackBerry introduced most of Africa to the idea of a smartphone, and for the first few years was the flagship brand for the category. They initially hit the market through companies who got contracts for their executives, but as new models were introduced the old Blackberries have entered the mass market, and are still regarded as a status symbol in much ofAfrica.”
The handmedown effect suggests BlackBerry will retain its position as the third most popular phone brand in major African markets for now. However, brands that will challenge both BlackBerry and Nokia in the near future include Apple (2% currently, expected to rise to 11%), Huawei (3%, expected to go to 9%), Sony (2% to 5%) and LG (3% to 5%). Current phone usage varies dramatically by country, with Nokia dominance ranging from a high 43% in Nigeria, 36% in South Africa and 34% in Uganda to 32% in Kenya and 28% in Ghana. In each of the five countries, however, the data shows it will drop to below 25% when the next phone is acquired, with Kenya least loyal to the brand: only 14% of Kenyans surveyed say they expect to buy a Nokia as their next phone. Samsung finds its strongest current markets in Ghana (29%) and South Africa (21%), but is expected to rise in most other countries when the next phone is purchased. While it will remain at a similar level in South Africa and Ghana, it will rise from 18% to 39% in Kenya, and to 28% in Uganda, where it currently stands at only 10%. Nigeria market share will double, from 8% to 16%. Apple is the surprise challenger for third place, with 16% of respondents in Ghana, 15% of Nigerians and 14% of South Africans indicating they would buy one next. Uganda at 8% and Kenya at 5% also show surprisingly strong intentions to buy the high cost iPhone next.
The data collected in the survey tends to contradict formal retail data, as these questions ask about future purchases from those who are not yet in the market for a new phone. The survey was conducted through GeoPoll’s SMS survey platform, and the sample size of 700 per country gives a margin of error of 3.7% for each country. “By reaching respondents across Africa through the mobile phone, GeoPoll is able to provide consumer data faster than ever before, and in addition we can collect data around intended purchases and brand affinity which is not represented by straightforward retail data,” AngusHammond explains. Goldstuck adds: “Africa will always hold surprises in technology uptake, and continue to underline the reality that every country on the continent is different, and each will reflect different market dynamics.”

Most common phone activity in Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, Ghana, and South Africa.

48% use Facebook

45% send SMS

41% listen to radio

37% take photos

36% use instant messaging

32% play games

26% download apps

13% use Twitter

Most common phone activity by country

                                 SA           Nigeria          Ghana           Kenya         Uganda
Facebook                 41%            58%              54%             44%            44%

Send SMS               52%            39%              40%             55%            43%

FM Radio                 40%            36%              40%             46%            46%

Browse Internet        40%           47%               51%             34%            29%

Take Photos            45%           38%               37%              34%            31%

Instant Messaging    41%           34%              34%               40%            34%

Play Games             34%          34%              33%                30%            27%

Download Apps         34%         28%              31%                19%             18%

Twitter                      14%       14%                13%                 14%             11%

Source: BizTechAfrica



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Africans Must Stand Up for the Rights We Want in the Digital Era

The continent’s digital future is looking bright and Africans stand to benefit in areas as diverse as business, human rights, journalism the arts and more. Find out why policy-makers and citizens from African countries must make the most of the internet.

The fight for the future of the Web is one that Africans must play an active role in. Internet connectivity is changing the lives of countless African people and providing economic and social benefits, from alleviating poverty and improving health, to enabling Africa’s transition from a resource- to a knowledge-based economy. It is creating new ways to communicate and socialise, new business models and industries, and new ways in which public services, healthcare and education are provided and shared. A recent Deloitte report estimated that if Internet penetration rates in developing countries could be raised to those of developed countries, GDP growth would climb by 72 percent and 140 million new jobs would be created.

The Internet has grown so powerful that many, governments and businesses alike, want to colonise it for their own ends

A fight to secure Africa’s digital future is a fight for the ability of students to access life-changing, free resources; for Africans struggling with injustice and corruption to make their voices heard around the world; for African musicians, designers and film-makers to reach broader international audiences; and for the potential of a tiny African start up to become a billion dollar business. Africa must secure this innovation and the breakthroughs in science, commerce and culture that a free and open Internet offers us.

The Internet has grown so powerful that many, governments and businesses alike, want to colonise it for their own ends. Just as the Windhoek Declaration resulted in World Press Freedom Day, the African Declaration on Internet Rights and Freedoms is an opportunity for Africa to take a leading role in advancing communication rights and securing Africa’s growth in the digital era.

The journey ahead for the African Declaration may be long and exhausting, but its purpose is crystal clear: to help policy-makers meet their responsibility to protect human rights online; to secure an open Internet that has a beneficial economic impact for Africa; and to harmonise Internet policies and laws across Africa in an effort to avoid regulation clashes that may cause foreign policy difficulties.


Africa is not alone in this journey. Less than a year ago I stood on stage at the Grand Hyatt hotel in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and watched as President Dilma Rousseff signed the Marco Civil da Internet into law: “ladies and gentlemen, the President of the Republic has approved a law that guarantees the rights and duties for the use of internet in the world.” The Marco Civil da Internet provides every Brazilian with strong and enforceable guarantees of free expression, net neutrality, due process, the right to privacy and the right to connect. It is a product of consultation with a wide-range of stakeholders spanning nearly a decade and it carries with it the spirit, hope and belief of scores of campaigners across Brazil and the rest of the world.

It is that same sense of spirit, hope and belief that has spurred the development of the African Declaration on Internet Rights and Freedoms. In September 2013, a group of Africans huddled together at the Multimedia University of Nairobi in Kenya. Their discussion did not focus on the recent Westgate bomb attacks; instead they discussed rights and freedoms online. Their collective desire was to ensure Internet rights and freedoms and they began developing the African Declaration on Internet Rights and Freedoms. Larger meetings followed and the expertise of more than twenty civil society groups working in Africa were drawn upon. The group developed a rough outline for the African Declaration and nominated a drafting committee, led by Edetaen Ojo, Executive Director of Media Rights Agenda. The draft was developed by the committee through an interactive feedback and consultation process, with around 40 submissions from a range of stakeholder groups.

The goal for the next year is to secure political support for the African Declaration.

The Declaration builds on well-established African human rights documents, including the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights of 1981, the Windhoek Declaration on Promoting an Independent and Pluralistic African Press of 1991, the African Charter on Broadcasting of 2001, the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression in Africa of 2002, and the African Platform on Access to Information Declaration of 2011. The principles outlined in the Declaration are openness, access and affordability, freedom of expression, right to information, freedom of assembly and association, cultural and linguistic diversity, right to development, privacy, security, rights for marginalised groups, right to due process, and the right to a democratic Internet governance framework.

The goal for the next year is to secure political support for the African Declaration. We will be collecting endorsements and further comments on the text. We want to include as many African people as possible with us on on this journey and we have already started to see a growing movement around the Declaration.


The World Wide Web Foundation, through our Web We Want campaign, is committed to the Declaration. The Declaration has journeyed to the third Africa Internet Governance Forum in Abuja, Nigeria; to the Alliance for Affordable Internet national coalition workshops in Nigeria; and to the office of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression. It has also been a part of the global Internet Governance Forum in Istanbul, Turkey; to Highway Africa in Grahamstown, South Africa; to the Web We Want Festival at the Southbank Centre in London, England; and to the African Union ICT Ministerial meeting in Lusaka, Zambia. Where it journeys next is down to the will of Africans.

The biggest threat to the Web today is not actually from companies or governments. Instead, the biggest threat is us simply taking it all for granted. That is why I am asking people across Africa to endorse the Declaration, for African Union Member states to support the Declaration when it is presented, and for the ACHP to pass a resolution endorsing the Declaration. It will require the efforts of millions of Africans — people like you and me — to see this journey through to the end. I am here and ready. Where are you?

Source: OpenNetAfrica

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What Africa’s poor are reading on their phones

With mobile phone subscriptions on the continent growing exponentially, the potential educational benefit is big.

LOVE is the one universal language across mobile readers in developing countries, it would seem, even on a continent regularly accused of not reading.

But a leading mobile reading platform says that young Africans have increasingly taken up reading on mobile devices, with romance (popular phrases include sex, love, Romeo and Juliet), education and inspirational content the main draws.

Through its mobile application, Worldreader, a not-for-profit organisation, allows people in low income countries to access books and stories through mobile phones, including still-dominant feature phones, which are priced lower.

Started in 2010, Worldreader hands out e-readers and e-books to children in African countries, in addition to making its library, which now has 15,000 books in 10 African languages, accessible to them.

In 2014, it says it reached 1.2 million unique readers, who spent an average of an hour reading. “We average about 200,000 active monthly readers, and 125,000 of those are across the African continent,” Worldreader Europe managing director Elizabeth Wood told  Smart Monkey TV, a new web channel of Balancing Act, an Africa-focused tech consultancy.

The majority of Worldreader’s books are free, requiring the user to only have a data connection, and cost an estimated 2-3 US cents to read 1,000 words. Wood said they have sold 5,000 books last year, 90% of these in Zimbabwe and Nigeria, through credits and payment gateways.

The organisation is looking to add more African authors to its platform, which is expected to grow as mobile phone access continues to expand in the region. Penetration in the region is estimated to have reached 69% last year,  according to the international Telecommunication Union.

While still lagging, mobile broadband penetration in Africa reached 20% in 2014, from 2% in 2010.

To further understand the habits, preferences and attitudes of mobile readers in developing countries, the organisation came together with UNESCO and Nokia on a  study, which was launched last year.

Seven countries—Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, India and Pakistan were surveyed, where it found that access to text, specifically books, was as in many other developing countries, low.

This contributed to low literacy rates, and by extension, to high poverty prevalence—what researchers identified as the Matthew Effect. Essentially, in the same way awards are disproportionately given to people who are already well-known, the failure to be literate becomes a cycle of poor life outcomes.

Ideally, texts can be found in libraries, but in developing countries learners are lucky if they find the local library open, the study noted, They also have to contend with dated books if they can locate them at all. In richer countries, libraries thrive, with full time staff making for a rich learning experience, indicating a correlation between wealth and access to books.

The study said that while in Japan, where 99% of people can read and write, there is 1 library for every 47,000 people, in Nigeria the ratio falls steeply to 1: 1,350,000. UNESCO estimates that nearly 800 million people cannot read, a sixth of them aged between 15-24 years.

The advent of the internet is thus seen as a great hope in reversing this state for developing countries, researchers said. In addition to accelerating the spread of information, it has also helped democratise access. “Today, a robust internet connection gives a person access to more text than in all of the physical libraries ever built,” the study noted.

But despite regional ICT transformations, just 20% of Africans are online according to the ITU, itself a doubling from four years ago. But due to such gaps, the mobile phone is identified as the best way of currently delivering access.

According to the United Nations, more people have access to a mobile phone than they have to a toilet, translating to six billion phones  compared to the 4.5 billion who have access to at least a latrine. (Read: The mobile phone comes first in Africa; before electricity, water, toilets or even food)

The report’s significant findings include that people read more when they are on mobile devices, that they enjoy reading more, and are increasingly reading books out to children from their mobile phones.

There were also other fascinating findings from the data collated over 2013 from the platforms’s back-end, and which ware complemented with questionnaires.

On average, male mobile readers outnumbered female readers by 3:1, with the gap falling to 2:1 in Nigeria and Zimbabwe. In Ethiopia, the ratio was 9 males to 1 female, reflecting other studies conclusions that in developing countries, a woman is five times less likely than a man to own a mobile phone.

But women more than made up for it by reading more frequently, and longer—by as much as four times when the most active readers were sampled. On average, the survey said, women spent 207 minutes a month on their mobile phones reading; men spent 33 minutes, reflecting trends in developed countries that women read more.

Women were also consistently more enthusiastic about reading than men—a general reason offered by the study was that in some communities where female education is lagging, reading on mobiles was seen as more socially acceptable.

Once hooked, more women also kept reading than men—71% to 60%-though both groups read more after taking up mobile reading.

Users of the mobile platform were also much younger—over 90% were aged under 35 years. Polls globally consistently show younger people are more likely to own a mobile phone.

Convenience was offered as the leading reason why most respondents preferred to read on their mobile phones—they always had their devices near them. Preference and surprisingly, affordability, ranked lower.

The biggest obstacles to mobile reading were found to be limited content, connectivity issues and third, cost. Women were however more concerned about their airtime, reflecting their lower access to disposable income for airtime and budgetary priorities, researchers said.

Certain demographic groups were also more likely to read on their mobile phones: females, higher educated, and teachers.

The study, while noting increasing access to books did not translate to deriving relevant knowledge from them, urges governments and policy makers  to help diversify mobile content, start awareness campaigns about the benefits, and help reduce the cost of broadband and other technological barriers if the continent is to reap the benefits of higher literacy.

Source: Mail and Guardian Africa 


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