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.

Scientific Animations Without BordersSM is a University of Illinois-based initiative dedicated to the development and deployment of animated educational materials to better the lives of people in developing nations. Current scientific literature contains many innovative solutions that can help the world's poor.  However, much of this vital information lies in scientific journals written in highly technical language.

By Calvin Reid

April 15, 2011

Launched in January as an independent digital venture headed by Karen Hunter, publisher of the Simon & Schuster imprint Karen Hunter Publishing, First One Digital Publishing is an ambitious digital-first venture looking to create a new model for book publishing. Focused on releasing a list of fiction and nonfiction written by both veteran and emerging authors, First One Digital Publishing has released 11 e-books so far as it gears up for a new set of e-book releases and the launch of a major marketing and promotional compaign for its titles.

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.

Knowledge Project

Africa Knowledge Project is an academic resource that offers journals and databases. Check them out at AKP.

Upcoming Deadlines

CALL FOR PAPERS

Columnists

LivewireRasta Livewire is a leading blog that provides in-depth viewpoints from Rastas in Africa and African Diaspora.

Africa Knowledge Project (AKP) publishes peer-reviewed journals and academic databases.

Ojedi is an online retailer of fine art and exceptional handcrafted pieces from around the world.

Africa House is an Africa and Diasporian gallery. Africa House accepts proposals for submission on a rolling basis.

African Event Posters show posters of events at Africa House.

African Gourmet Dinners shows images of African gourmet dishes.