Airtel Africa Announces Yaya Touré as the new African Ambassador

New campaign to bolster company focus and strategy

Bharti Airtel Africa, a leading telecommunications service provider with operations in 20 countries across Africa and Asia, has today announced Yaya Touré as the new African face for its upcoming continental campaign.

Airtel Kenya CEO Adil El Youssefi and Airtel Africa CEO Christian de Faria during the unveiling of the It's Now campaignAirtel’s partnership with the Ivory Coast’s captain and Manchester City’s midfield will launch the brand’s “It’s Now” campaign which seeks to nurture and grow talent in Africa through various consumer touchpoints such as sports, lifestyle and music while providing customers with access to connectivity and technological solutions that will enable them explore opportunities around them.

Airtel Africa Chief Executive Officer, Christian de Faria, said that the campaign reiterates the company’s commitment to support the youth in Africa as well as drive economic growth by unlocking people’s potential.

Mr. de Faria said:

“We are excited to be signing the pact with Mr. Touré who is respected in Africa and beyond. As the first player to win African Player of the Year four consecutive times, Touré is an inspiration to everyone working to achieve their potential and striving to be their best every day,”

Speaking on his partnership with Airtel Africa, Mr. Touré said,

“Throughout my career I have been fortunate to have a great deal of success on the field. However, I know that the strongest performances come only when you commit 100 percent to the task at hand and display the strength and mettle to give it your all.  “It’s Now” is a campaign that is close to my heart as it calls on Africans to embrace the opportunities around them to better their lives. I am glad to be working with Airtel, with its wide reach within Africa, in order to inspire many people.”

The partnership will see Mr. Touré support Airtel’s corporate social responsibility particularly in youth empowerment for development.

Having entered the African market in 2010, Airtel Africa has steadily increased its customer base in Africa to reach over 70 million people. Airtel currently has Africa’s widest 3G footprint across 17 countries, coupled with the widest mobile commerce footprint in Africa with Airtel Money.

25 Pictures That Prove Technology Is Ruining Society

Seen what you might ask? People with their heads stuck to their phones no matter where they are or what they are doing. It has become so bad that people are forgetting how to have a healthy social life. I think it’s time people put those phones/tablets down for a while and come back to the real world. Below are 25 examples of this claim:

1. Indeed, we are tied.

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2. What’s the guy on the right doing? Looks mad!
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3. LOL… This is deserved!
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4. Is this really love?
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5. What a wedding?!?!
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6. Not working out to well for him…
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7. How do they know when it’s their turn?
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8. Looks like there is one guy who gets it.
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9. Even the Chinese!
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10. What a nice family dinner.
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11. Some people are catching on and trying to put a stop to it!
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12. Now this is what should be happening.
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13. Here is the evolution of this issue:
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14. The power grid is dying…
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15. Why would you ring the doorbell when you could…
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16. No wonder there are so many broken relationships.
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17. Why save someone when you can take a video of them?!
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18. Who needs to talk when out at dinner?
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19. This is sick.
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20. LOL…
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21. The good old days.
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22. Before the outbreak:
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23. Kids were kids having fun!
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24. Nowadays:
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25. OMG don’t do that!
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Apple proves that Android is the new Windows

You know you’re too big to ignore when Apple starts making apps for you

Apple prides itself on thinking and being different to everyone else. It acknowledges competitors like Microsoft and Google only grudgingly, and usually in a way that only illustrates how much nicer and more prosperous its own Mac and iPhone platforms are. It will have hurt that pride, therefore, to have to announce today that the big new Apple initiative, Apple Music, will be available on iPhones, iPads, Macs, PCs, and Android.

Until today’s announcement, Apple’s presence in the Google Play Store was only a technicality of its $3 billion acquisition of Beats Electronics, which had already released Beats Music on Android. With the unveiling of its ambitious new music subscription service, however, Apple is now a fully fledged Android developer. The only previous occasions when Apple had made an effort of this kind was when it brought iTunes and Safari (which has since been discontinued) to Windows. Besides iTunes, QuickTime, and iCloud Drive on Microsoft’s desktop OS, Apple software lives only on Apple devices.

APPLE MUSIC IS ON WINDOWS BECAUSE IT HAS TO BE, AND THE SAME IS NOW TRUE OF ANDROID

Android’s extraordinary scale and reach is reaffirmed by Apple’s news today. Just like Windows on the desktop, Android commands too big a presence in the mobile realm to be ignored. As much as Apple would prefer to constrain its software and services to augmenting only its own devices, it is now pragmatically accepting that it has to play ball on Google’s court as well. There’s too much competition in the streaming music space for Apple to limit its chances of success to only iPhones, iPads, and Macs. Apple Music is on Windows because it has to be, and the same is now true of Android.

This need not necessarily signal a sea change in Apple’s way of doing business. When iTunes became available on Windows in 2003, it may have been interpreted as a sign of a more inclusive and collaborative Apple, but over a decade later, that software remains only an isolated example. The same will likely be true with Apple Music: it will be available on Android in order to properly compete with the likes of Spotify, but it’s unlikely to be joined by other new software from Apple like the good-looking Apple News app.

APPLE HATES MAKING SOFTWARE FOR OTHERS, BUT IT WILL DO SO WHEN THERE’S PROFIT IN IT

Apple MusicAn important commonality between iTunes on Windows and Apple Music on Android is that both are services that generate direct revenue. Apple enhances the choices available to Windows and Android users only when it’s able to profit from that directly, whether it be through music sales on the iTunes Store or music subscriptions in the new Music app. Other than that, the only reason Apple would make an Android app is quite literally to help you Move to iOS, which is the title of an upcoming app to assist smartphone users switching from Android to the iPhone.

Whether it succeeds or fails as a service, Apple Music is already significant in cementing Android’s mobile predominance. What could have been a point of differentiation for Apple has been turned into a more inclusive service by embracing Google’s smartphone platform. Even Apple can’t resist the allure of Android’s massive audience. The ultimate beneficiaries of these competitive dynamics are the users, who’ll get a broader set of services to choose from and should also find it a little easier to switch between devices.

Beyond Apple’s narrow set of interests, the cross-platform availability of Apple Music illustrates a positive trend happening across the tech industry. Whereas we once lived in a world where BBM was only on BlackBerry, Microsoft Office was only on Windows, and Nintendo games were only playable on Nintendo consoles, the present and the future look to be increasingly device-agnostic. That’s the subtext to Microsoft’s current mantra of cloud and mobile first, which is the strategy that Google has been pursuing for a long time already. And now Apple is joining them, bearing the gift of Music.

via The Verge.

Jumia’s Whitepaper: The growth of the smartphone market in Kenya – analysis

The Kenyan smartphone market continues to experience substantial growth and it is easy to see why. The combination of a strong economic climate and increasing internet and mobile connectivity has created a favourable competitive landscape which has brought more brands and cheaper devices to the market. This white paper explores these trends and delves further into how consumers in this market are using and choosing their smartphone devices.

The smartphone market is growing

Kenya is a country to watch: With an average GDP growth of 5.8% over the last three years it can in 2015 lay claim to the title of the world’s third fastest growing economy. Its mobile and internet penetration are among  the highest in Africa at 83% and 58% respectively of the 44.35 million population. And a burgeoning middle class today makes up 22% of the country’s population.

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The estimated number of internet users stands at 26.1 million, making Kenya the 21st most connected population in the world. Of those, 99.9% access their internet through mobile data. While feature phones still dominate, smartphones are catching up fast. In 2015 so far, 58% of all phones that were sold in the country, an estimated 1.8m devices, were smartphones. This represents substantial year on year growth of 112%, compared to just a 3.6% increase in the feature phone category. Regionally Nairobi is still significant, currently generating over 42% of the smartphone sales in the country.

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This incredible growth has been driven by medium-term macroeconomic and policy factors as well as more recent competition among telcos and handset makers. Starting in 2009, the Kenyan government has been investing in undersea fiber-optic cables which continue to expand internet penetration rates in the country at a rapid pace. According to the Communication Authority of Kenya, this new infrastructure has been the main driver behind a massive 25% YoY increase in internet subscriptions in Q4 2014 alone.

At the same time, fierce competition between telecommunications companies has been steadily decreasing the cost of data, with secondary telcos aggressively challenging the incumbent leader Safaricom, whose share of them market is 70%. Consumers, eager to take advantage of offers from different companies, are therefore investing in dual-SIM smartphones. These types of devices experienced a healthy YoY growth of 35% in Q4 2014.

 A new brand landscape

Kenya’s economic boom and increasing internet connectivity has made this economy a very attractive market for new entrants in the smartphone market. In recent years, the country has seen an influx of newer Chinese brands bringing high-spec, low cost phones to the Kenyan market. According to GFK, over the last few years the number of brands selling smartphones has increased from 15 to 22. This has affected the competitive landscape in the smartphone market such that it would not be an understatement to claim that the ballgame has completely shifted: in the MEA region, smartphones priced under $100 captured 5% of the market in 2013. This increased to 20% by 2014. In Kenya, the growth in smartphone sales by number of devices was 90% higher than the growth in revenue in 2014, suggesting that average price points are dropping steeply.

Many new vendors have taken advantage of this golden price point and launched new devices which have led them to be able to effectively challenge the dominance of established players. This has driven incumbent brands to respond to the competition with their own low to mid tier models. As a result, price points of smartphones have gone down across the board, making the technology available to a much wider segment of the general population.

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This is reflected in retail figures: The average cost of a smartphone on Jumia, Kenya’s biggest online retailer, was around $100 in May 2015, down from over $200 a year ago. While the overall handset market in Kenya is dominated by Nokia, Tecno and Samsung, who together control around 75% of the total volume, newer brands such as Infinix, Innjoo and Wiko, whose flagship devices all sell for under $100, are making a name for themselves in the smartphone segment. This has led to a more fragmented smartphone market as a whole over recent years. While in 2011, 70% of the market’s volume was captured by just 4 brands, this figure has now increased to 7.

Usage habits are evolving

In May 2015, Jumia conducted original research based on a survey of 576 Kenyan smartphone users to delve deeper into how consumers in this market are choosing and using their smartphone devices. The survey responses were collected through Jumia’s network, including callers to its customer service line and social media followers. They should therefore be regarded as a sample representing a typical consumer that e-commerce companies in Kenya might target.

36% of survey responses were Female and 64% male, broadly matching the demographics of internet users in the country as a whole. The biggest age bracket was 25-34 year olds, at 59% of responses, followed by 18-34 year olds at 30% and 35-44 year olds at 10%. Just 2% of the respondents, or 10 individuals, were aged over 45.

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The survey results support the wider economic trend of rising smartphone sales: Almost half of all Kenyan smartphone users in the survey bought their most recent smartphone less than 6 months ago. However, it was the first smartphone for only 7% of respondents. 2012 marks the year that first-time smartphone ownership ballooned, with 67% of users purchasing their first such device since then. This trend is strongest for 35-44 year olds, 75% of whom waited until after 2012 to make the jump, while 25-34 year olds were the clear early adopters with 45% investing before that time.

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The average number of smartphones ever owned by Kenyans is a whopping 3.1, with that figure being 24% higher for men. The biggest gender gap by age was found in the 35-44  year old segment, with men having owned 47% more smartphone devices over their lifetime than women. This may suggest that men are more responsive to new technologies in that age bracket. However, this is not a concern at all when considering 18-24 year olds, for whom lifetime smartphone device ownership is almost equal at 2.9 for women and 3.1 for men. Despite the fact that young people generally make less money, it is clear that they are willing to invest more to keep up with the latest technology consumer products.
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Usage patterns

We asked smartphone users what activities they use their device for. The most popular activity was chatting and social networking at 78%, higher than calling which was named by 75% of users. E-mails and online browsing both accounted for 69%, followed by the data heavy activities falling under entertainment; 57% of respondents played games, listened to music and watched videos on their smartphone.

49% of users claimed to use their smartphone for online shopping, pointing to the fact that the sample was taken from the network of Jumia.co.ke, Kenya’s biggest online retailer. In a recent IPSOS survey, 1% of all internet users country-wide claimed to pursue this activity.

The least popular activities were online banking at 26% and checking weather, sports scores or the stock market at 25%. The latter however had the biggest variation among the genders: 113% more men claimed to use their smartphones for this than women.

Unsurprisingly, the 18-25 year bracket is much more likely to use their smartphones for academic purposes: 33% above average. Conversely, this age group was also 33% less likely than average to use their smartphone for online banking. Another outlier was that 35-44 year olds were not keen on using their smartphones for entertainment purposes and did this with 26% less likelihood than the sample size taken as a whole.

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Frustrations

When asked about their biggest frustrations with smartphones, the answer was clear for all: 78% of respondents named battery life as the feature most deserving of improvement. This was followed by 47% who mentioned memory and 36% that mention program crash and general instability as problem areas that they experience.

The youngest demographic distinguishes itself as the most critical. 18-24 year olds selected an average of 3 smartphone issues they are frustrated by, while for others the average was around 2.5. This age group is also 35% more likely to be frustrated by data privacy concerns, 24% by program crashes and 22% by camera quality.
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Purchase drivers

When it came to main purchase drivers, Jumia asked respondents to name their 3 most important out of 6: Price, Brand, Memory, Camera, Size and Battery life. It is clear from the responses that Kenyans are savvy consumers looking to get the best features for their money. The top 3 purchase drivers were memory at 72%, battery life at 59% and camera at 56%. The brand of the device was only mentioned by 44% of respondents as being one of the most important considerations. Females however were 15% more likely to list brand than males, and 10% more likely to list the camera capabilities. And though screen sizes have been steadily increasing in recent years, Kenyan consumers seem to be happy with what’s on offer, with only 33% considering this feature key to their purchase decision.

When looking at these purchase drivers by age group some interesting and perhaps counter-intuitive insights emerge. The 18-24 age bracket named price at a 5% lower rate than the total sample size, while 35-44 year olds were 14% more likely to be swayed by price. This older segment also cares 11% more about the brand of the device and an entire 25% more about the size of the device. For the youngest demographic, Memory, Camera and Battery life are all 12% more important compared to the overall share of responses prioritising these features .

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Putting the data into practice

For Kenyan consumers, quality is king. Our survey results support the wider economic trends: Kenyans are above all looking for value for money. This means that they are willing to shift brand loyalty if they can find better features and service for a better price.

Brands wishing to get ahead must therefore keep innovating on their smartphones’ features, put attention into great after-sales support and get creative in order to win the price war. In recent years, interesting examples of industry partnerships have emerged that have enabled device makers to further strengthen their value proposition to Kenyan consumers.

  1.  With Retailers (Eg: 6 top smartphone brands have partnered with Jumia.co.ke for a week long sales promotion called #JumiaMobileWeek in June 2015. The online retailer invests in marketing on the brands’ behalf, allowing them to keep prices low.)
  2. With Telcos (Eg: Jumia has partnered with Airtel during its #JumiaMobileWeek promotion to give consumers 6GB free data on all deals that are part of the sale)
  3. With App & Content producers (Device makers should consider partnering with app companies to pre-install content that will add value to the consumer. Eg: Samsung partnership with Dropbox for free cloud storage)

Six Ways Technology can Help You Save on Travelling Costs

Since the advent of mobile payments, online travel agencies and quirky applications that almost allow you to see into the future, the Silicon Valley fellas have not gone a day without churning a surprise for the user. Not a bad thing at all, except that while we all go gaga on just how smart the next invention will be, sometimes we lose the core objective of these innovations: convenience. Still, savvy travelers can always count on technology to save them both time and money when planning and on trip/vacation. Below are six areas as listed by Jovago that travelers can maximize on for that elusive money-saving scheme.

Taxi Ride Share Services and Taxi Apps

Whether travelling overseas or taking a break to the coast, we all admit that tagging your vehicle will not only cause you headaches with authorities and clearances involved, but may also incur a deep dent on your bank account. To counter this, and for the sake of a few notes, you can chose to enjoy a taxi ride with like-minded flight mates, or simply download taxi applications such as Easytaxi , with a reputation for agreeable charges as well as security.

Flight compare Sites, and Early Reservations

Flight fares can be awfully unpredictable and especially for last minute travelers who may not have much of an option. However, the moment you have an inkling on exploring some new destination, your first step should be to get up and get on with flight comparing apps such as Skyscanner. Select a period you are most likely to travel and keep a graph on the updates. As a common observation, weekends, public holidays and school holidays will attract a sizeable hike in flight fares. Travel websites are great go-to as well, for instance www.jovago.com has scheme called Best Price Guarantee, which promises to always the lowest rate for accommodation or refund the difference if guests find the same at cheaper rate elsewhere on the web!

While technology has its own demerits like the new era of robotic humans! We cannot ignore the savvy convenience. Once you set your travel budget, remember any trips to the flight agent, Travel Agencies and even immigration offices will consume both your time and money. Where possible, always do your travel prepping online; sites such as Jovago.com, Expedia etc. have thousands of updated information on hotels in every other destination, making it very convenient to choose, compare price and services, check out reviews by previous guests as well.

Cooking Apps and Kitchen-Whizz Sites

So you may be wondering what thyme and the asparagus has to do with your dreamy vacation? Well, these could turn out to be your best beach buy of the season! If you are planning on a camping trip, self-catering cottages or homestays, then it’s time you expanded your app store for such apps as Big Oven and Food Network. This could make a great turning point for discovering otherwise underexplored gourmet skills while saving on that over-priced three.

Budget Apps and Expenditure Trackers

Although these savvy inventions will never literally stop you from getting from making that unneeded purchase at the duty free shop, or ordering that exotic wine beyond your means. However, a glance at the trend might at least give you a much needed slap back to reality. Budget apps also come in handy when establishing a saving plan for your next trip; with a bit of keenness, you can trace records for a clear tracking of what you need, what you want and what From baggage charges, to pitiful exchange rates and airport transfers, the last thing any budget-minded traveler wants to hear is roaming charges! With the advent of Skype, Viber and now Whatsapp calls, you can stay connected with friends and family without breaking bank. All you have to do is download the app, and make use of it.

Facebook’s world domination with the Internet of Things

Facebook announced a new software development kit (SDK) on Wednesday to support the growing influx of web-connected devices for the home, like smart garage door openers and refrigerators.

The company will be opening its mobile app building suite, Parse, to web-connected devices to support the Internet of Things.

The Internet of Things refers to products — and, well, things — that are connected to the web. This includes everything from smart thermostats and garage doors to toothbrushes, tennis racquets and even your bed. They collect data about your usage patterns and habits, and typically connect to an app that offers feedback to improve your lifestyle (or your racquet swing, for example).

Eventually, these products will work together and form what the industry is calling “smart home.”

Earlier on Wednesday, Facebook accidentally leaked news that it was going to reveal “Parse for IoT” via its official F8 conference app.

It’s unclear as of now how exactly Facebook will want to incorporate Internet of Things technology into its platform, but perhaps dimming the lights at night or opening your garage door could one day all be possible from directly within the social network.

Via Mashable