Even in Africa’s biggest cities, it’s not easy to get online. This pretty device could help.
The story behind the minerals in your gadgets: you’re not going to feel great about your phone, but photographer Marcus Bleasdale’s Price of Precious also captures the positive change happening to the industry.
An artist in Nairobi can use Soko’s platform to create a vendor profile using only her feature phone. She can use basic SMS text entry forms to upload personalized images of herself and her work, as well as product details. This information is then turned into metadata that is automatically uploaded to the Soko website, creating a virtual storefront with the entire world as her potential clientele.
In the U.S., Avon ladies helped pioneer the door-to-door sales business model while peddling makeup and perfumes. Today, one at a time, women are fanning out to reach some of the world’s most remote markets with desperately needed goods and services. How a traveling salesforce of women could bridge Africa’s “last mile.”
Baidu and France Telecom are collaborating on a low-end smartphone browser for Africa. The browser, which will launch in Egypt, will be pre-installed on phones sold by France Telecom, which already has around 80 million African customers, on the continent. The move means that the Chinese search giant will become part of what is an already huge Sino-centric presence.
Fonderie 47 takes guns off the market in Africa, melts them down, and gives the materials to artists to make jewelry.
Four African teenagers create power from pee.
Hacking the Internet!
What do you need to get online in rural Africa?
Find out from Boukary Konaté, from Rising Voices grantee project Segou Village Connection.
Can viral videos help save war-torn Africa? That’s the question driving the Voice Project, a New York-based not-for-profit that aims to raise awareness for Ugandan women’s groups — by tapping into our shared love for music. It all started with a women’s choir in Gulu. “They sent me footage of themselves singing ‘Suitcase‚’ by [American folk artist] Joe Purdy,” says CEO Hunter Heaney, who had taught the group the tune during a 2008 trip to Uganda. “I thought, Wouldn’t it be great if we could keep this going?” So he reached out to Purdy, who covered a song by R.E.M. (seen here), whose bassist, in turn, covered a song by Billy Bragg, and so on. Today, the Voice Project website, which launched in March 2010, features videos from 41 artists, including R.E.M.’s Mike Mills and Peter Gabriel (whose daughter, Anna, is a Project cofounder). In sum, they’ve logged more than 3 million views on Vimeo and generated some $50,000 in donations — enough to fund job-training courses, an eggplant farm, and 500 microloans to Gulu residents. Heaney’s new goals: recruiting corporate sponsors, releasing an album, and expanding the Voice Project’s reach worldwide. “We’re gettin’ out there word-of-mouth style,” he says, “just like they do in Uganda.”
(Source: Fast Company)
A new statistical analysis indicates that the more Facebook fans an African politician has, the more likely they are to be forced from power. Who knew, right?
Ethan Zuckerman, a researcher at Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, discovered that having more followers on Facebook was directly proportional to regime instability:Of course, it never hurts to be skeptical. #obviousstatementsHere are the top leaders, in terms of followers, as of December 2010:
341,759 Goodluck Jonathan, Nigeria
232,424 Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, Tunisia
61,510 Mwai Kibaki, Kenya
59,744 King Mohamed VI, Morocco
57,072 Morgan Tsvangirai, Zimbabwe (Prime Minister to Robert Mugabe)
21,306 Jakaya Kikwete, Tanzania
15,723 Hosni Mubarak, Egypt
15,377 Laurent Gbagbo, Ivory Coast
14,714 Jacob Zuma, South Africa
12,658 Abdelaziz Bouteflika, Algeria
In that top ten, we’ve got two leaders who’ve been forced out of power (Ben Ali, Mubarak), one struggling to retain power after losing an election (Gbagbo), one facing protests like the ones that toppled his neighbor (Bouteflika) and one in danger of arrest from opponents within his coalition government (Tsvangirai.) In other words, there doesn’t seem to be a strong correlation between Facebook friends and staying power of a regime.