Will connectivity frequency get affordable?

At the height of digital migration, there was a lot of optimism on the opportunities available to people not able to afford the huge capital outlay that broadcast services require.

One of the things we were told was that with the migration, there would be available spectrum for businesses to use and better still, the white spaces would be available for rural area wifi services. White spaces refer to the gap between two stations; usually left to avoid interference.

The ideas coming from the ministry of information and communication was that now rural folks interested in newer versions of cyber cafes or wifi services could use the white spaces. The Communications Authority wasn’t buying in the whole philanthropic angle; it ha always insisted that white spaces don’t work.

That is why the story by Business Daily today is not shocking; CA has said that white spaces is the domain of signal distributors. There is no rule that a certain group of people will get concessionary rates when it comes to buying space; the distributors are also in business.

Some companies had invested in the white spaces as a way to demonstrate the opportunities low cost internet can provide. One such project was spearheaded by Microsoft and the ministry, while the CA felt that it was left out of the discussions. With the rates going commercial, let us watch and see.

The CA gets so many things right, except those that involve catalysing business outside the bigger players. It has done well to stay out of the dispute between Airtel and Safaricom over frequency sharing. That is after Safaricom paid or committed $55m to blocks on the 700 freed after digital migration. There is an impasse on the pricing and whether the sharing envisaged under the policy was for the big players and smaller players like the wifi providers.

Have you ever wondered why smaller companies buying connectivity from bigger companies struggle? Read Kahenya Kamunyu’s optimism when he launched Able Wireless  then skip to his first blog outlining his frustration and then the more frustrations; rinse and repeat. Try and not laugh at the part where he disses Joe Mucheru, information and comms CS and the other luminaries of Kenya’s ICT sector.

Of course the CA is entitled to collect as much rent as it can, but it would collect even more if the companies thrive. Why not create another category for frequency recipients and peg it on radius? That way, we probably wouldn’t need the universal services fund to grow network in certain areas because these businesses will establish the business case. For instance, if a wifi provider in Tana river interests the local businesses, schools and the people, the big providers may just come with better offers.

There are initiatives to drive Huduma into every county but if there are private entities  providing similar services; the counties can only grow more.

The question is; will we ever get the free frequency to roll out services in whatever area  smaller players want? We usually think rural areas deserve more but there are other areas in urban that could provide opportunities.

The question of spectrum is contested, just read about the drama in South Africa, where people feel the impending auction will only benefit the bigger players. Of course  the big players like Vodacom have spoken on how the economy will receive a major boost.

If you are interested in reading more about spectrum developments in Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and Senegal, please read this paper by Steve Song.

 

////

 

Angola Seeks to be the new Atlantic Hub

Angola is banking on its unique geographical location to establish its position as the technology hub connecting the Atlantic coast of Africa and South America.

Angola Cables, the leading ICT infrastructure provider in Angola has invested in various submarine cables, in its efforts to increase connectivity in West and Southern Africa. As a Lusophone country with deep relations with Brazil, there is another cable connecting to the South American country.

“Angola has the advantage of our strategic and geographically position serving both Africa and South America; the country is also investing heavily in carrier neutral Datacenter facilities,” ,” said Darwin Da Costa IP Product Manager, Angola Cables.

Angola Cables currently has Points of Presence (POPs) in Angola and Portugal but the number is set to increase to seven, with the addition of POPs in Spain, France, Germany, South Africa and UK.

“Our main strategy is to minimize high latency between Africa and Brazil to our IP and transmission customers; with one Hub in Luanda and the other one in Fortaleza, Angola Cables is aiming to provide a high quality services and accelerated web speed access,” added Da Costa.

In Southern Africa, Cape Town and Johannesburg have already established hubs while Lagos and Accra handle most of the connectivity in West Africa, offering stiff competition to Angola.

“Competition is always good in order to keep us innovating and deliver better services into the country and the region, the advantage of creating an Hub from scratch is that we can learn from previous mistakes and make the right choices in our core projects,” Da Costa said.

Angola Cables is an international carriers’ carrier with focus on wholesale business, built in 2009 by five major Angolan Telecom Operators. The five are; Movicel, MStelecom, Unitel, Startel and Angola Telecom.

In order to reduce the latency to Angola Cables customers, AS# 37468 is peering openly at: Angonix, Gigapix, LINX and DE-CIX Frankfurt. In addition Angola Cables plans to be connected at least into De – Cix Marseille, De- Cix Madrid, Espanix, France – IX, AMS – IX and Nap Africa soon.

“These new peering agreements will further enchance the performance and reduce significantly the latency for our customers.” Da Costa said.

Angola Cables is partnershipping the major CDN´s ( content delivery networks ) in order to serve the Angolan and regional market. The company IP strategy is now being supported by the WACS ( West African Cable System ) infrastructure whereby Angola Cables is one of the major investors.

“Our global IP strategy is driven by our customers demand, these demands are going further than exepected so far. Having said Angola Cables has two main projects SACS ( South Atlantic Cables System ) and Monet connecting Brazil up to Miami, in order to minimize the latency from Africa to South and North America and vice versa,” added Da Costa.

Angoloa Cables has established partnership with major CDNs such as Google, Akamai and Cloudflare, and is seeing increased demand for global content in the region. With the ICT infrastructure investments, Angola is expecting to be a major player in Southern Africa as well as West Africa coast.

Ends

 

 

 

 

ICANN cancels morocco meeting

Whenever there is meeting taking place in Africa, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), is always jittery. If the meeting is in South Africa….well…. its much more comfortable. But anywhere else…. a myriad of issues crop up.

If you are wondering what is ICANN…. here are some interesting articles I have dome in the past.

For the latest episode, let us just call it western paranoia against Africa. Please read the statement here and it doesn’t even give a reason. But we all know its because of Ebola. Apparently, ICANN has no faith that by next February, the three West African countries will have contained the spread.

Yes, ICANN has a right to decide where they hold their meetings but why pretend to care about Africa while you lead the chorus of those feeling that Africa has nothing to contribute in the whole ICANN agenda?

The argument is that Americans feel that they will be quarantined in February next year, if they make a point of visiting morocco. The insurance companies will also not cover them, if the meeting is held in any African country.

“Community concerns that would prevent maximum participation at its next global meeting (ICANN 52, 8-12 February 2015), a critical one given the ongoing discussions around the IANA Stewardship Transition and ICANN Accountability, has prompted ICANN to postpone the meeting in Marrakech, Morocco and to relocate to Singapore on the same dates,” says the statement from ICANN.

Ahead of the statement, Fadi made a call to selected ICT and ICANN big wigs in Africa, explaining the decision and how the meeting will coincide with the internationalisation of ICANN, if you believe Africa has anything to benefit from that.

Aside from ICANN bias, I think it serves Morocco right. They can’t refuse to host CAF Nations Cup for fear of Ebola, then they were ready to host ICANN, yet there will be participants from all over the region.

Its bad for West Africa, a region of 17 countries that has been banded together as carriers of Ebola virus but you would expect more. But again, if the West boycotts, then the meeting may not take place at all because African voices at ICANN are generally missing.

///

Venture Capital and growing businesses

In the past four years, the tech space in Africa has grown beyond South Africa. It has provided investors and developers choices beyond South Africa, which for a long time had been seen as the source of tech innovations.

It is hard to talk about tech innovation without talking about capital; innovative ideas need dedicated time and people must meet basic needs. Whether its shoestring budget, borrowing from relatives and friends or taking a bank loan, funding is key.

For those in the tech space, venture capital is the buzz word. It is what start ups run to for growth and scaling services and products. Its not that the money is readily available but if you have all the factors working for you, you may find it easier than others. You can read past articles on venture capital and financing in Kenya, don’t miss the one on race and VC funding.

@whiteafrican has also written extensively on this topic and you can check out his articles.

For a latest look at the VC lessons, please read this piece I did on the sale of Movirtu to Blackberry and how the founders were left unhappy.

For the sake of this piece, let us deal with VC for growing companies, not start ups. You know the ones that have survives past the start up phase and can make money? Yeah, those.

There have been some successful engagements with VCs, where local founders make money but why are some cases filled with bitterness and bad blood when VCs take over? Look at the case of Wananchi Group since the days of Joe Mucheru….. yes, VC money helped scale company operations but what happened to founders? They were not exactly very happy with being elbowed out.

In my interview with him, TLcom founder says that VC brings in the money and must align it with a proper team. No one can argue with aligning your money with a team that brings in results and given the kind of money they made, it seems to have paid off.

One of the lessons is how to negotiate exit and share valuation. It seems there needs to be a big deal of legal input needed from the initial stages. Ben White argued a more complex point that I think those looking for funding need to understand before entering into any unions. How do you safeguard your interests and make sure your shares are not watered down? You can imagine starting a company, growing it and only to receive a fraction of the salary of the CEO in return for the shares and your efforts growing the company.

This may be the only known case, there must be other cases of Vulture Capital- where a founder realises its easier to just accept and move on.

So, the new lesson is that if you ever plan to seek funding, make sure you retain a lawyer from the word go. If not, make sure you have a relative or a lawyer who will sit with you and go through all the scenarios. There is no marking scheme, you can go through and still be messed up but at least, having a lawyer is better than having none.

 

///

ICANN to host its regional talkshop in Nairobi next month

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is set to host a talkshop next month. Why do I call it a talkshop? Because ICANN hasn’t held such a meeting to address key issues affecting Africa stake holders, they just dance around issues of Internet Governance.

If you are new to ICANN, you can read more about it here 

Let us first look at some of the issues the conference will be addressing next month. Here is what I got from their comms department.

“We will be hosting a panel on “Sustaining the power of Global Internet for transformative economic growth” based on the findings of the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) report commissioned by us on sources of e-Friction for the internet economy.  The meeting will focus on two main subject matters:

  • Introduce ICANN to the two business groups invited and display the different avenues for participating in ICANN and possibly IG going forward
  • Highlight the DNS industry as a business and motivate new and potential registrars be seek ICANN accreditation

Present will be a mixture of stakeholders from private business sectors, government officials and media, where avenues of collaboration and participation will be discussed.  Invitations are yet to be sent out. I hope you can make it.  The main speaker will be Chris Mondini, VP Stakeholder Engagement in N. America & Global Business, and will be joined by leading company executives to be announced at a later time. ”

Now, for those who may know Africa’s issues at ICANN, you will know that relegation of African domains is one of the key issues and has been dragging for ages. Redelegation is the process where a country gets back the operations of its country code Top Level Domain, like the way KENIC is in charge of .ke.

So, before we get to issues of Internet Governance, what is the status of redelegations?

“Re delegations have been a concern for close to 10 African countries in the last three years. We did have successful relegation in a few of them so far,  including : Mali, Botswana; Gabon;..Currently pending are Togo, Uganda, Guinea Bissau,Mauritius, Namibia (the worst scenario so far) , Zambia, and Cameroon.Some of the delay is due to incomplete submission of request or an ignorance of the IANA procedures by some requestors.”

So, for years, ICANN has known that countries have a problem or are ignorant on IANA rules, so, why not hold a conference on how to deal with IANA or address some of their problems? Why is it so easy to discuss IGF matters while for years, you can’t deal with relegation or at least pretend to care and hold a panel on how to answer those IANA questions. First, that IANA website can be a maze.

Most of the operational registries are manual

It is no contest that when it comes to tech, Africa adopts last. That is why the domain name business is still lagging behind. That is why you wonder, if most registries are stymied by manual operations, why are they discussing IGF matters, shouldn’t the priority be those ICANN experts to help with this? Yes, countries have a right to help, but if ICANN is to act like it cares about Africa, then let it do a better job at it.

There will be an argument that there is the annual DNS forum and the current training on DNSSEC, if the operations are manual, how does this help? It is like going to talk cyber security and benefits of e-commerce to a community that has no access to computers or the internet, what is priority?

ICANN even has a training scheduled on root zone signing, in a continent struggling with redelegations and manual operations. Here is what they have to say:

“One of the flagship projects in the Africa Strategy is Promoting DNSSEC adoption in Africa and to this effect we have already conducted 8 DNSSEC trainings in 8 countries in Africa, Kenya Included. In FY15, we have budgeted for another 5 countries. So, the DNSSEC Roadshow is about capacity building on the DNS security  which include 1)awareness building at country (cctld) level, 2) Training on DNS security an 3) Country root zone signing.”

L-root copies in Africa

If there is one thing about ICANN that has somehow worked, I think its the L-root copies. Maybe its because they partnered with AFRINIC, or maybe its because the L-root doesn’t require the country to have an IXP, just the telco is enough. I say somehow because if you ask me, most telcos in Africa should have it but again, the legal department at ICANN takes its time.

“As of today we are processing a number of L-Root requests (4) to add to the ones we have in Africa (9) ; Some of the delay depends on the necessary  due diligence to be conducted by  Legal department.”

For a continent where telcos are the major ISPs, the copies should be much more. Root server copies contribute to the resilience of the internet in a country. I will probably get a chance with AFRINIC to understand the actual hold up for these process.

So, do you still think our priorities are in IGF issues? Yes, when it comes to politics between ICANN and the ITU, ICANN will need countries on its side.

But does ICANN seriously have the issues of the continent at heart? Do they understand the priorities? Do we understand what ICANN means with its Africa Strategy?

Can you imagine if the current merry-go round about .africa happened to .EU or .asia? Or any domain that China or Russia have an interest in? Do you think ICANN would hide under their rules the way they are doing now?

Somehow I thought Fadi Chehade would be different as ICANN president, I remember listening to him talk about Africa when he was appointed and I thought, “this guy is too good to be true” years later I am looking at it and thinking, “this guy maybe all about talk, policy papers and nothing practical.”

He still has time to deliver whatever but if you are going to be concerned about Africa, start with the priorities!

//

 

East Africa Ministers stay in the hotel whole day

Government Ministers from Rwanda and Uganda were forced to stay in their hotel rooms after Fred Matiangi, Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Information and Communication failed to turn up for the first day of Connected Kenya Summit.

Matiangi was meant to open the first day of Connected Kenya and launch the ICT Masterplan (revamped) but he was apparently/allegedly held up in meetings with the president and could not make it for the first day. Word is that he will arrive later tonight, to participate in the second day.

The minsters/reps from East Africa could not participate in the conference because protocol demands that if you visit a country in official government capacity, then your host must be there to receive you. If not, it would break protocol or raise an international incident.

It would be nice to hear stories of how Uganda and Rwanda have implemented the digital companies registry. Kenya is yet to get there.

Let us see if they turn up tomorrow….

Africa’s ICT in the next 12 months

As we wind up the year 2013 and look forward to 2014 we can only hope that better things lay in wait for us here in Africa and more so in our ICT development. Nevertheless, it is not always wise to leave things in the hands of fate and “how things will take us” perception and thus we have a few predictions for the ICT sector in the coming year hoping that other sectors follow suit…

kamtu

Here we go:

Prediction 1:  Strong GDP growth plus high ICT spend and investment will still make Africa an attractive technology region in 2014 but users are more sophisticated and demanding and suppliers need to be more focused and relevant in the year ahead.

What is been said here is there are still many investment and growth runaways in Africa to show case your ICT muscles, suppliers need to give us some “wow!” and “OMG” moments.

Clients express a preference for providers with solid track records and continued local presence. Service providers will have to display solid long-term strategies and commitment to African markets in order to gain confidence and increased market share in 2014 and beyond.

Prediction 2:   – “Keyboard ready” IT Skills in high demand but short supply: academia and commerce meet minds in 2014

I am certain that you my reader might have come across a list of the “best-paying” or “high demand” degrees…if you haven’t let me give you one – ICT knowledge and skills!

In 2014 commercial enterprises, government and academic institutions will work together to produce “keyboard-ready” graduates and young-professionals. African CIOs believe that IT staffing shortage will result in increased dependency on IT service companies (60.00 percent), delayed projects (47.69 percent), and decreased adoption of new and innovative technologies (41.54 percent) (source: IDC’s 2013 African CIO Summit).

Keeping in mind that the ability to drive innovation internally in an efficient and timely manner has become a key factor of success for companies operating in the increasingly competitive African markets, IDC believes that African companies will increasingly include addressing the IT skills challenge as a part of their growth strategy.

Prediction 3: Always something new from Africa:  innovation is the name of the game

Back home (Kenya), we have sung the m-pesa song for long enough even a new born is a registered user! Now it’s time to get something else to sing about.

IDC global research indicates that by 2020, 80 percent of the industry’s growth and innovation will be driven by 3rd platform technologies, such as mobility, cloud, social business and big data & analytics. Interestingly, African companies are adopting these newer technologies at a rapid pace, which gives them the right tools to come up with new and innovative business models, services or processes.

innovation

The rest of the predictions are self explanatory read on to see what will happen…

Prediction 4: Government Focus on development of sustainable ICT sectors shifts into high gear and 2014 will see governments across the region re-examine or initiate policies regarding ICT sector development as a driver for economic growth.

Governments across the region will promote the creation and development of domestic high tech sectors that will stimulate economic development, provide employment and drive regional growth and investment.  Traditionally, technology startups in Africa have faced a host of significant challenges to get themselves up-and-running, ranging from limited availability of venture financing, an immature regulatory environment, poor access to regional and global markets, and a shortage of ICT skills among staff.

However, national governments, in cooperation with international developmental agencies, academia, and ICT vendors, in countries such as Kenya, Ghana, Rwanda, Tanzania, South Africa, and Nigeria, signal that there will be significant changes to this present-day reality.

Prediction 5: Hustle is the bustle in African ICT – in the coming year business models based on mobility, Internet and cloud will quickly grow but local constraints will cause this to be in fits and starts and regional pockets.

The key premise of IDC’s worldwide ICT predictions is that the most important events in 2014 will continue to cluster around what IDC calls the ―3rd Platform for IT growth and innovation, built on mobile devices, cloud services, social technologies and Big Data analytics. Mobile technologies in particular are seeing rapid adoption, with mobile enterprise applications a leading priority for investment in apps, tools & technology, in Africa and particularly in South Africa. Source: IDC’s 2013 African CIO Summit

Prediction 6:  Undersea Bandwidth is done – now for the terrestrial network –  ICT infrastructure development across the continent accelerates in 2014 as collaboration between private and public improves, demand for access grows and competition heats up.  Alternative technologies including satellite and radio come to the fore in a new guise and the regulatory environment gets focused on spectrum allocation.

IDC expects the focus of terrestrial fiber rollouts in Africa to change in 2014 – FTTx will become an emerging reality in the region

The arrival of undersea cables over the past 5 years has increased bandwidth, lowered the cost of internet and consequently increased internet penetration in Africa.

Convergence is one outcome of the increased bandwidth. The arrival of submarine cables, the accompanying terrestrial fiber expansions, and decreases in the cost of smartphones have prompted telecom operators to focus on boosting data revenues.

Prediction 7: African Content creation ignites the local digital media industry – 2014 will see the African digital Media sector grow as demand from locally produced content accelerates.    IDC expects 2014 to be the year of awakening for the African digital media industry driven by strong demand for content. The strong growth in mobile data usage and Smart phones as well as advancement in communications infrastructure acts as the catalysts to this trend. The number of mobile connections in the three major Sub Saharan countries, South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria, is expected to grow 28.2 percent in 2014 to reach 55.8 million.

growth

Prediction 8:  Governance and Compliance drive adoption of data analytics in Banking, O&G, and Telco and Government sectors.

In 2014 governments, banks, telcos and the Energy sector will adopt data analytics to improve efficiency, regulate effectively, reduce corruption and comply internationally. Governance and complying with regulations is one among the major challenges CIOs in Africa face as indicated by 40 percent of the CIOs in IDC’s Africa CIO Summit survey. In 2013, South Africa passed the Protection of Personal Information (POPI) Bill which is expected to have a significant impact on the manner in which organizations process personal information, significantly affecting banking, government and telecom sectors.

While similar initiatives are already underway in Nigeria (Personal Information and Data Protection Bill) and Kenya (Data Protection Bill 2013, The Kenya Information and Communications (Amendment) Bill, 2013), the increasing GRC requirements coupled to growing reliance on ICT systems and processes are expected to result in other countries in the region to follow suit.

Prediction 9: Citizen Focused Services accelerate African government ICT investment – 2014 will see governments take advantage of mobile, data centre and Internet based platforms to speed delivery of services to citizens and between departments while improving transparency and governance.  Government entities will prioritize ICT spending on various electronic service delivery initiatives that “situate the citizen at the center”. This will likely involve the expansion of existing service channels such as physical service centers, call centers, or web portals for self-service. Alongside these, IDC also expects a greater push towards mobile enablement of government services to take place.

Prediction 10:  Security concerns grow as mobile devices, data and access methods proliferate. Africa joins the world in 2014 as cybercrime makes its presence felt and forces public and private institutions to collaborate to face the threat.

Data protection is becoming more important across Africa with new laws having been passed in South Africa, and under consideration in Kenya and Tanzania. Ghana has already passed legislation in this regard. Nigeria, Uganda, Botswana, and other countries are also considering data protection legislation in the near future.

An increase in security breaches will require security vendors, enterprises, and governments to work together to combat cybercrime. It will become increasingly important to join forces and establish partnerships in order to combat cybercriminals more effectively. For instance, South Africa’s National Cyber Security Advisory Council includes academic, public and private sector stakeholders.

Prediction 11:  Crowdsourcing on the rise: many government mobile services will be created by in-country online communities 2014 – 2014 will see significant increases in community creation of mobile and internet based applications and services as ways are found to quickly bring required services to market.

Accordingly, IDC predicts that 2014 will see a significant increase in community-led creation of government-related mobile applications. The low marginal cost of crowdsourcing will make this market- driven mechanism a much more efficient way to quickly bring required such applications to market.

Within the African continent, Kenya is likely to be a hotbed for this trend. The country already has a legacy of citizen involvement in the development of various government applications.

prediction

There you have them, Africa’s 2014 ICT predictions!

Do Venture Capitalists, Angel investors, favor whites in Africa

Over the years, I have had a chance to hear many people talk; some brilliant some not, I have listened and interviewed people with start up ideas and growing businesses and the struggle to break to the next level. In that period you listen to people and you can tell those committed and those not, those going places and those just waiting time.

Until very recently (in Kenya at least) starting a business meant using your savings and shoe stringing, pooling money with friends and getting money from family members to start and sustain your business.

Financing your business through Venture Capital and Angel Investments came into fashion in Africa tech three years ago. The starting of the tech spaces brought together some Western immigrants with idle money, others without, some educated, others not.

I remember attending a meeting about rising Kenyan tech companies and in a room of about 20, there were only two black women and a black man. Others were western immigrants running companies in Kenya and the going conversation was that they had sufficient money and all they needed were ideas.

The best part is that even my fellow woman noticed the trend and wondered if there were no Africans in tech doing good stuff. Believe me when I say that all those ideas sounded sexy, but had no was of making money or breaking even in the next five years.

We wondered if such enterprises were being run by black people, would they get attention from a giant multinational with bottomless financing capability? It led me to ask; is VC funding inherently racist?

Get me right, at times people feel comfortable with people they know or know where they can get them from if everything went south. Maybe thats what is used to justify tribalism.

I have heard stories of one company getting VC funding and a relationship is established. The company is then sort of made the local contact person and the go-to person in determining whether the VC invests in local companies. The story goes like; anytime the VC made enquiries and the company was headed by local chaps, the local contact would discredit the company and dissuade the VC from funding but you can guess what happens when the reverse is the case.

 

venturecapital1

 

I talked to a bunch of people on the race specific question. These are some Kenyans running tech companies and have had experiences with international VCs. I know I can be unhinged but the comments I got were very honest and sad.

For a more tempered news article, you can read this article on how business challenges hinder VC funding and can continue to the comments below.

Here are the comments I got to the question- is there any connection between VC funding and race? Do whites find it easier to raise funds?

From personal and painful experience the black man is at the bottom of the foodpile when it comes to EVERYTHING – venture capital, prospecting, sales, costing …

I think the only person who’d have it harder is a black woman

—- @roomthinker

It’s more about your network and access than it is about your skin color.  Many Kenyans who are grads from Stanford or Harvard have an easier time raising funds than an mzungu who didn’t go there.

— @whiteafrican

Its a 50-50 thing. Race matters when you are playing in some mission critical fields and very few people want a black dude driving a mission critical boat, but race is also waning as money diversifies and networks grow and the number of black investors increase and white investors realise that there are some mad skills with black people too.

—- @kahenya

It depends. looking at Fanisi, TBL, Aureos, Savannah, Fusion Capital investments and you will realize that the majority of ivestees are black/notwhite

—- @agostal

I loved @69mb’s quote below, its probably the evidence you would ask for.

Race as a factor and should not be understated. Even with equal networks and access, the mzungu will have an easier time fund raising.  
Angani’s experience is a case in point:
The Angani team comprises of:
* Myself with experience in building and managing large mission critical systems for small, educational, large and non profit organizations.
* Phares who helped build the VMware market in the region
* A Cambridge PHD who wrote parts of Xen, a core virtualization technology used by the likes of Amazon.
* A reseller who has a *very* successful business offering virtualization and storage solutions to corporates. 
* And a couple other people with equally good track records. 
 
Yet, we have been told we know nothing about building clouds. Literally. 
 
Come in a western entrepreneur 
* No team.
* No experience. 
* Not very technically astute. 
* No network/access. 
 
Yet, he approaches the same individuals and they are more receptive.
We have also experienced the other side of the same coin. We have been told by respected local business leaders in tech, to leave Infrastructure to the likes of Amazon and Google. That it is too difficult and we should focus on apps(mVitus) instead.
— @69mb
Unknown
I know there are some people who say that you got to believe in your self that the system hasn’t been gamed. But what if it is what it is? Its either networks or people prefer to give money to their own colour even when the ideas are shitty.
I am sure very soon we will have some enterprising people who can help clinch a deal if all what people is the skin colour.
Liko also made a very nice argument that money is not the only thing that makes a company. But I wondered if he had attended some of the start up pitching events where  people look for VC funding even for projects they can shoe string. Its that phase where looking for money and investments is vital.
I am sure there are also black people who have received funding just because they are black 🙂 🙂
🙂 🙂

Africa.com selling domains at $20 to registrars

Are you a registrar or domain reseller who is tired of selling affordable domains from .com .net .org etc? Well, brace yourself because you can sell third level domains at an even higher cost.

Africa.com is a company incorporated in the US or EU but if you like, you can get a litany of the African countries the company wants to set up in. It will be selling domains to registrars ar $20 that means that the registrar can only sell it more expensively, depending on services.

Why would I pay more than $20 for wanjiku.africa.com when I can get a more direct domain?  The company is sponsoring ICANN meeting in South Africa so it must be well funded.

Personally I think its a rip off. The cost should be way lower. We are trying to make it lower and competitive, not exploit.

The company is getting registry services from CentralNIC, so its not like it has set up somewhere on the continent and is offering jobs.

Yes, you can offer services from anywhere but a third level at that cost?

Unknown

South Africa Government Snubs ICANN

South Africa is a very nice country; nice people, nice food, nice places, growing economy and most of all, the most developed in Africa, well that can be argued, but you get the drift.

The best part about this is that most South Africans know it and think they are better than the rest of Africa. Well, we can argue about that until the cows come home. The government is also aware of this and they don’t agree to be bossed around.

That is probably why the government hierarchy ignored the opening ceremony of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). Ordinarily in Africa, when there is a big meeting in the country, you know the kind that brings together 1800 people drawn from all over, the government is involved.

This is Africa, and we like political blessings. When ICANN came to Kenya, the Vice President was there with the other political people that fall under the vice presidency.

The last time ICANN held its meeting in Cape Town in 2004, the top brass, led by the then minister, was there.

Dot Joburg

So, what changed? 

The Department of Communication said that the right protocol was not followed and the government was not involved during the bidding process for Durban to be the host city.

For every meeting, ICANN spends more than $2 million and that is before the delegates spend on their food, safaris and those other night activities.

For a country that has a majority of the new Generic Top Level Domains, South Africa feels nothing 🙂 South Africa is leading in the application for .africa, .durban, .capetown .supersport etc

So, why wouldn’t the minister make an exception and just come? Well, there are rules and they must be followed.

Its not a must for politicians to be involved, but can you imagine in Costa Rica, the president was there to open the session.

Unknown-1