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WeGov

In Kenya, Apps Fizzle Out After Winning Competitions

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, June 11 2013

Nairobi (Sam Stearman/Wikipedia)

This spring, Kenyan tech blogger Kennedy Kachwanya left the regional Microsoft Imagine Cup competition thoroughly underwhelmed by the quality of the apps presented. He then wrote an impassioned post (in his words, a rant) on his website Kachwanya.com about the decline of the Kenyan mobile app. He is also outraged because even winning apps seem to fall off the map – basically fail – after the competition is over and media coverage dies down.

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WeGov

Does Mobile Technology Exacerbate Wartime Violence?

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, June 5 2013

After watching one video of the war in Syria, YouTube suggests many more, all in the same vein.

You might have heard of 'conflict minerals' making their way into your cell phone, but has it occurred to you that cell phones could be fueling violent conflicts? A recent article in the American Political Science Review by Jan Pierskalla and Florian Hollenbach argues just that.

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WeGov

Internet You Can Actually Stick in a Suitcase

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, May 7 2013

Erik Hersman, aka @whiteafrican, in a Brck video screengrab

More than six months after Hurricane Sandy knocked Verizon’s landlines and Internet service out of commission, there are New Yorkers still waiting for their Internet to come back online. While a rarity in the States, unreliable access is not so uncommon in developing countries. A new device from Ushahidi hopes to solve that problem. Read More

WeGov

In South Africa, Organizers Combine Old and New Media to Take on Corruption

BY Anna Therese Day | Monday, May 6 2013

Screenshot from anti-corruption campaign video.

Civil society organizers engage South Africans in the fight against corruption by employing both an old and new media awareness strategy about the gravity of this issue. Read More

WeGov

New Web Platform Allows Students in Kenya, Uganda to Report Corrupt Professors

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, May 6 2013

Screengrab from Notinmycountry.org

Students in Kenyan and Ugandan universities now have an outlet to anonymously report professors and university personnel for corrupt activities or ineffective and lazy work. Read More

WeGov

IBM Optimizes Ivory Coast Bus Routes by Mining Mobile Phone Data

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, May 1 2013

Abidjan, Ivory Coast (credit: Flickr/SoCE)

Cell phone data might be the next indispensable resource for urban planners. Mining mobility data from 2.5 billion call records, a team of IBM researchers identified modifications to bus routes in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, which could slash travel time up to 10 percent. Read More

WeGov

Mobile Banking Outpaces Traditional Banking in Kenya

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, April 24 2013

Screengrab from YouTube Video The Story of M-Pesa

Kenya’s mobile networks last year collectively held more in deposits than the country’s largest bank. The telecoms regulator CCK reported the mobile networks held Sh226 billion ($2.70 billion) in deposits at the end of last year while the largest commercial bank held Sh223 billion ($2.66 billion). The report said the number of mobile money transfer subscribers grew to 21.1 million from 19.3 million in the previous period, a growth of 9.4 percent.

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WeGov

Occupy Nigeria Documentary: Banned by Censors, Viral on YouTube

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, April 23 2013

Screengrab of the video Fuelling Poverty

A documentary about the removal of fuel subsidies in Nigeria, which drove the cost of living up, the quality life down and kicked off the Occupy Nigeria protests, went viral after being banned by the Nigerian authorities. The film “Fuelling Poverty” premiered in December 2012 and the director Ishaya Bako then submitted it to Nigeria’s National Film and Video Censors Board for approval. On April 8, the board responded by letter, banning the documentary and prohibiting Bako from distributing it independently. It now has almost 55,000 views on YouTube and on April 20, in spite of the ban, organizers of the African Movie Academy Awards voted it Best Documentary.

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WeGov

Closing the Job Gap in Tanzania with Online Courses in IT Skills

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, April 16 2013

Coursera MOOC offerings

Coursera and the World Bank have teamed up in Tanzania to use MOOCs (Massive Open Online Course) to teach students market-relevant IT skills and reduce the gap between job openings and skilled workers. A World Bank blog explains employers in Tanzania complain too many jobs go unfilled because job seekers lack the specific, necessary skills, especially in IT and ICT. The World Bank thinks Coursera could play an important part in a new and improved education system.

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WeGov

Can Tech Solve African Agriculture's Four Big Problems?

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, April 15 2013

Screengrab from Kilimo Salama promotional video.

A recent BBC article highlighted three of the tech-heavy startups trying to change the game in Africa's agriculture sector, including a franchise that gives farmers access to higher quality products, a crop insurance scheme that makes it easier for farmers to get credit, and a SMS service through which farmers can check market prices and coordinate with other farmers to buy supplies in bulk. As observed in the article, these tech solutions try to leapfrog over basic infrastructure problems – like bad roads and inefficient communications. Considering the fact that 80 percent of the arable land in Africa is not being used, tech has an awful lot to make up for.

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