01 August, 2014

Able Wireless: Why Government(Communications Authority)Should Enable Rather Than Disable Local Entrepreneurship !

Its hardly two months since the Government re branded the statutory regulatory body  Communications Commission of Kenya to the Communications Authority of Kenya. The move was hailed as "a new dawn" for in the ICT sector in Kenya. At the Launch His Excellency the President stated and i quote  “In establishing an independent regulator, we gather to mark a new beginning for the Information and Communications Technology sector and indeed for the whole Nation”As with any other statutory body i am a bit apprehensive and pessimistic as to whether Kenyans and foreign investors are experiencing a new dawn with regards to service delivery.Case in point :The Able Wireless Company.

A lot of verbal pep talk has been made about vision 2030, empowering the youth, making it ideal for local investors to get an enabling environment with little legal impediments ...etc.But time and again you read of local start ups by vibrant young men being hounded and frustrated left right center in Government  offices trying to get regulatory approvals and that is repeated time and again and you wonder is it all talk and little or no action with our systems?Do we ever take audit of what our leaders say and what happens in  practice shortly thereafter?

 Speaking of which note the tone of frustration and economic sabotage that has faced Able Wireless( a company founded by a young Kenyan entrepreneur) in their quest to roll out their services due to regulatory impediments ...and i quote from their blog
But in Kenya, despite the push to help enable youth driven businesses, The Regulatory atmosphere has failed to adapt. Come August 2nd 2014, we will have spent a year seeking Regulatory Approval to start operating in Kenya. This Regulatory overhead means that every month, we have to meet financial commitments to our suppliers per contractual agreements without having earned a single shilling. August 1st marks the 2nd time The Regulator will have delayed our launch owing to their own internal processes. Despite us being gazetted on March 21st 2014, we only know that the process is still ongoing, and approval is due soon, but this is proving to be a protracted endeavor. Two months ago, it seemed impossible that we would be forced to wait longer than August. We were wrong.

Able Wireless TopBox
Able Wireless is a Company that seeks to revolutionize content delivery and connectivity in the local market by streaming Video On Demand (VOD) content and other services at an all time low fee of Kshs 500 per month(See the video interview  explaining the service)The founder is a pioneer blogger and techie  Kahenya Kamunyu a brilliant chap and a friend. Therefore when i read his blog post on 31 July, 2014 detailing the  bottlenecks he is facing as he tries to realize his venture and create value for Kenyans. I had to throw in my support and highlight that its time we changed our modus operandi if we expect to improve the collective livelihoods of fellow Kenyans.

Its imperative to note that often it may not be the policy of a Government body to stifle investment but individually Government staff have a responsibility to be thrifty and hardworking in their duties and service delivery.Corruption ,bureaucracy ,tribalism and other malignant  practices are a shot at ones own foot;self defeatist at best.Once an investor meets the required statutory requirements thresh-hold , the Licenses  should be issued promptly.To keep people visiting your offices as if that is their daily occupation is ethically, economically and morally unsound.

I hope someone from the "newly" re branded Communications Authority of Kenya picks up on this issue and grant s Able Wireless the opportunity to start providing services  to Kenya and enable us to have a cheaper local alternative to the foreign based content providers that  have dominated the entertainment industry in Kenya for a considerable period.
To Kahenya Kamunyu....don't let that stop you soldier on, sky is the limit!

30 July, 2014

PwC announces investment to accelerate Africa growth opportunities

JOHANNESBURG, South-Africa, July 30, 2014/ -- PwC has today announced it is increasing its investment in Africa and building closer links between PwC UK and PwC Africa, to meet increased demand for professional services as trade activity between the two regions grows. 

The investment is part of PwC’s ongoing strategy to develop high potential markets, and follows the UK firm’s successful investment in Central and Eastern Europe.

Ian Powell, UK Chairman and Senior Partner, commented:

"This is an exciting development which enhances our ability to serve clients across the fastest growing region in the world. Africa has an abundance of natural resources and seven of the world’s fastest growing economies meaning the opportunities for UK business are significant.”

Suresh Kana, PwC Africa Network Territory Senior Partner, said:

“This is great news for our network. Over the years we have built PwC into the leading network in Africa. We now see huge opportunities to build our capabilities further as we will be able to invest even faster in key industry sectors such as Capital Projects & Infrastructure, Oil & Gas, Government & Public Sector and Financial Services. We have great teams in Africa and this investment will help us build more local capacity, and create teaming and secondment opportunities.”

As part of the investment, Paul Cleal, PwC UK partner and chair of its Africa Business Group, will be seconded to the African Leadership team and based on the continent.

PwC teams from the UK and Africa have a strong track record of working together to support businesses, governments and NGOs in nations such as Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda and Zambia with expertise in fields such as economic development, climate change, education, infrastructure, natural resources, and power and utilities.

The UK is renowned for the strength of its business and professional services sector and this deal is a demonstration of how the nation can play to its strengths on the global stage. This commitment not only benefits our clients and the PwC network, but is also good for the UK and African economies.

Professional and business support services is one of the most successful sectors in the UK economy, contributing 12% of total UK GDP - more than financial services (8.5%) or manufacturing (10%). The sector has grown by nearly 6% a year since Q3 2009 and has been one of the biggest job-creating sectors in the UK economy as well as a major contributor to UK exports.

A 2013 report by BIS – ‘Growth is our business: A Strategy for Professional and Business Services (PBS)’ – recognised the contribution of the professional and business services sector to the UK economy, and highlighted the opportunities in developing markets. Other business services contribute 29% of total services exports and totalled £58.6 billion in 2013, with a trade surplus of £29.3 billion.

25 July, 2014

Nokia Lumia 2520:Why Windows 8.1 Tablet's Are Your Best Pick !

Without doubt Android based Tablets are the majority and most used Tablets in the market but if you are used to your Windows based personal computer(pc) and would like to engage the same functionality on other devices any tablet or phone that runs the Windows 8.1 is your best pick. Locally the Nokia Lumia 2520 may be your best pick .

This is not a review of the tablet as there is already much written on it especially since  its launch in 2013 (please watch the video for specifications and hands on demo)  but rather its my opinion as to why running the Windows 8.1 operating system by Microsoft is a game changer in the mobile devices market.

Most of us  have used windows desktop software for much of our social ,academic and business activities.We find it relatively easy to navigate Microsoft Office tools and platform.It therefore makes much sense that we would prefer having these functionality across our different devices.

It so happens that some of us have customized software  for different functions perhaps its research , business, tracking or other software and we find it a tad bit hard engaging a developer to generate an app that can run on our hand held devices.This is where Windows 8.1 devices become readily convenient.The guys up at Marketing at Nokia/Microsoft should actually take advantage of this and run with it ! but so far as yet their approach is down.!

Surprisingly Microsoft after purchasing the Nokia franchise have not been aggressive enough in pushing /advertising their Windows based Tablets in the emerging markets which is their largest consumers.For example just searching for the availability online of the Nokia Lumia 2520 Windows 8.1 Tablet will reveal just press releases by a number of bloggers and news websites.

Their is hardly any review of the gadgets, scant information as to its availability in Kenya, East Africa or the Sub Saharan Region.All price quotations are in anticipated Dollar price rather than Kshs. A search on Midcom East Africa facebook page reveals that many people want  to know how much the device goes for and where to purchase it but there is hardly  any response, just a deafening silence.That's how a good product gets buried under in all the noise that is tech products!


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