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Google: Kenya may be Africa’s tech leader

Google chairman Eric Schmidt

Google chairman Eric Schmidt

Kenyan capital Nairobi has emerged as a “serious tech hub” and may become Africa’s technology leader, Google chairman Eric Schmidt said this week.

Schmidt visited Kenya’s iHub innovation hub last week during a whirlwind visit to Africa that also included stops in South Sudan, Chad, Nigeria and Rwanda.

Schmidt says Kenya’s political stability, its use of the British legal system and its benign climate made it attractive to foreign investors.

Furthermore, he praised the mobile money solution M-Pesa, calling it an example of Kenya’s technological proficiency.

Assuming that Kenya’s upcoming March election goes off without incident, Schmidt says the East African country’s technology enterprises can be expected to grow quickly.

Schmidt’s African visit excluded a trip down to South Africa. Sources: Daily Nation and Eric Schmidt’s blog post

Fibre link planned for South Sudan
Despite being one of Africa’s poorest nations, South Sudan is planning to build three fibre-optic links from the country’s capital, Juba, to Kenya, Tanzania and Ethiopia.

For now, the country’s mobile operators and Internet service providers rely on satellite connectivity to provide communication services.

South Sudan is weighing up its funding options, which include seeking finance from the World Bank or turning to Chinese companies Huawei or ZTE. The South Sudanese government is also considering building microwave links. The measures are aimed at reducing the cost of Internet connectivity in the region. Source: The East African

Vodacom sues Tanzanian regulator
Vodacom Tanzania has taken that country’s regulator to Fair Competition Tribunal over proposed cuts to interconnection rates – the fees mobile operators charge each other to field calls over their networks. The regulator has proposed a cut of 60% and wants it to come into effect at the beginning of March.

The regulator argues that the cuts will make mobile telecommunications more affordable for Tanzanians. Vodacom argues that the reduction will impair its capacity to invest in infrastructure. Source: AllAfrica

Kenya gets Intel-powered $125 smartphone
Safaricom, Kenya’s largest mobile operator, has launched a US$125 smartphone powered by processor manufacturer Intel’s 1,2GHz Atom Z2420 processor.

The device, called the Yolo, will come bundled with 500MB of data. It runs Google’s Android operating system.

Intel unveiled the handset at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in the US earlier this month. It includes a 3,5-inch touch display, FM radio and a slot for microSD card. It will be available from Safaricom in April.

Intel has had success with a similar device, called the Xolo, which it launched in India last April. Source: HumanIPO

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