By Alex Perry (Nairobi)

Thursday, June 30, 2011

The buzz at Pivot25, a conference for mobile-phone software developers and investors held this June, is all about the future of money. Ben Lyon, the 24-year-old business-development VP of Kopo Kopo, wants $250,000 to produce his app for shops to process payments made by text message. Paul Okwalinga, 28, describes his money app — called M-Shop, it allows you to buy travel tickets and takeout via mobile phone — as "not reinventing the wheel but pimping it." Kamal Budhabhatti, 35, claims Elma, the latest product from his company Craft Silicon, lets a phone do and be almost anything financial — act like a credit card or an online bank (a "digital wallet," he says), trade shares or forex, organize a company's payroll and (incidentally) surf the Web and phone home. Cash suddenly seems very old. The previous week, Joe Mucheru, a senior manager at Google, declared credit cards prehistoric. Adding to the giddy mood is the thought that the inventions on display might make some lucky Pivot25ers gazillionaires. And where are these extraordinary futures being imagined and plotted? The giraffes and zebras grazing in the game park outside rule out Silicon Valley, Seattle and Bangalore. Try Nairobi.

Read more: Silicon Savanna: Mobile Phones Transform Africa

Nile Capital Management’s Chief Investment Officer Larry Seruma answers questions about investment opportunity in Africa.

Q. For which type of investor do you believe Nile Pan Africa Fund can be a good portfolio fit?
A. We think this fund can work well for investors who are already participating in emerging markets and have some familiarity with emerging markets. Our fund will enable them to make a larger allocation to Africa within the total emerging markets asset class. We realize that this fund may not be an easy first step into emerging markets for most individuals. But once investors have had some experience in other emerging markets, Africa can become a logical extension of that thinking and investing.

Read more: Nile's Chief Investment Officer Larry Seruma on Investment in Africa

By Azuka Nzegwu

This is an abstract for a dissertation that was recently and successfully defended in Philosophy, Interpretation, and Culture at Binghamton University on November 23, 2010. The title of the dissertation is The Conduit and Whirlpooling: A New Theory of Knowledge Constitution and Dispersion

Read more: Dissertation Abstract

It is assumed that early Europeans were derived exclusively from the middle Paleolithic modern humans, expanding through southwestern Asia and then westward across Europe at about 41 000 years ago. However, there are numerous craniofacial, dental, and postcranial traits in European early humans that are unlikely to have come from middle Paleolithic modern humans; many of these traits are distinctly Neanderthal.

Read more: Europeans and Neanderthals: Are there Biological Relationships?

Mobile phones are changing developing markets faster than anyone imagined. Today there are some 3 billion mobile subscriptions worldwide, and that will grow to 5 billion by 2015, when two-thirds of the people on earth will have phones, predicts Finnish handset maker Nokia Corp. Nowhere is the effect more dramatic than in Africa, where mobile technology often represents the first modern infrastructure of any kind. The 134 million citizens of Nigeria, Africa's most populous country, had just 500,000 telephone lines in 2001 when the government began encouraging competition in telecommunications. Now Nigeria has more than 30 million cellular subscribers. Muruguru, meanwhile, had just a single pay phone before people started getting handsets a few years ago. "Communications used to be a barrier," says Paul Ndiritu, the former village head man. Since the advent of mobile phones, he says, "the burden has eased."

Read more: Cell Phones Revolutionizing African Economics

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