Nigeria frets over Kenya ICT
TechCentral wraps up the week's major technology news from around the African continent. Compiled by Duncan McLeod.
There are fears that Nigeria is being left behind in information and communications technology (ICT) development after US computer services giant IBM elected to build its first research laboratory in Kenya rather than in the more populous West African state.
“When IBM, the US$230bn American IT and software company sought a spot in Africa to build is new research centre, it didn’t pick Nigeria with its 168m people and $270bn economy,” says Nigeria’s Business Day newspaper. “It chose Kenya instead, a country whose economy at $34bn is about the size of Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital, and has a population seven times smaller than Nigeria’s.”
According to the newspaper, the new research lab is a joint venture between the Kenyan government’s ICT Board and IBM, with each contributing $10m of funding over the next five years.
“For stakeholders, this highlights the risk that Nigeria may be falling behind peer countries such as South Africa, Kenya and Egypt in IT, software development and skilled ICT manpower development,” it says.
“In terms of education we are behind. Kenya’s tech scene did not just explode overnight, they had it coming,” the newspaper quotes Francis Onwumere, a Nigerian developer, as saying. Source: Business Day
Namibia deploys 4G/LTE network
Namibia’s largest mobile operator, MTC, has launched that country’s first fourth-generation network using long-term evolution (LTE) technology. The network covers Windhoek, Namibia’s capital city.
MTC MD Miguel Geraldes says MTC is only the second operator in Africa to launch a 4G/LTE network.
MTC wants 45% of Namibia’s population, including those in rural areas, covered with the new service in the next 12 months. — Source: New Era
Tigo to upgrade network
Tanzanian mobile phone operator Tigo plans to spend $100m upgrading its network and installing base stations in various parts of the country.
The expansion, which is expected to be completed in 2012, will bring coverage to all of Tanzania’s 26 regions, giving the company the largest coverage footprint among mobile operators in the country.
“This material investment will increase network capacity, improve coverage and enhance users’ experience,” Tigo said in a statement. “Access to the Internet will be more widely available in the country and our customers will experience faster connection speeds.” Source: Daily News
Sim-card registration in Zambia
Zambia has become the latest African country to require mobile phone users to register their Sim cards. The move is led by the Zambian Information and Communications Technology Authority to “enhance security in the telecommunications sector and protect subscribers from hackers”, according to a report in the Daily Mail newspaper.
The authority says it is working in partnership with Airtel, Zamtel and MTN to implement the registration drive. Source: Zambia Daily Mail
- Image: Flickr/Patrick H