Link for 10-02-2014

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

New Stuff

It has been a minute since I posted something here. In other news, it is new month + new job….

New Stuff and Links

It has been a while since I last blogged but, since then changed jobs twice and I am on a new right now. Working my restless side

I’ll be posting links to stories I found interesting till i get back in rhythm.  So here goes:

Twitter and Clay

Clay Muganda is a good writer, I dare say a very good one though some might disagree.  I have been reading him since his articles and pieces started appearing the the dailies and magazines here and that is a couple of years ago.  I particularly like the Clay Court column in the Daily Nation, it makes for good reading on any morning. also his cricket analysis is spot-on.  That said, Clay does sometimes goes in bouts of literary overkill.  Where his writing becomes too focused on shaming and ridiculing his subject that he loses focus of the subject itself instead focuses mainly on adjectives to paint and colour his ridicule.

His latest piece is an example of this.  Reading Clay’s article on the surface it seems well thought out and clear, but once one tries to understand what twitter actually is, his article loses meaning.

First one should bear in mind that twitter is not a newspaper/magazine nor is it radio station or television, it differes from these media in the way it is used.  Once someone signs up and decides that his/her timeline will consist of updates of his bowel movements they are free and in fact encouraged are by twitter to do so, seeing as the question is ‘What’s happening’?.  The fact that this might turn away any prospective followers is a choice he/she has to live with.  Following any user is a deliberate act actualized by you clicking the follow button, it is not forced.  Twitter does not and will never have caveats on what someone can tweet, save for legal remedial measures that any offended party may seek.  Something to note here is that using twitter to defame is not without punishment as courts in the UK and US have shown us.

I, myself have bored people who follow me with drunken tweets, offended them with derogatory statements and galled them with inanities and this has been rewarded with being unfollowed.  In many situations I have been schooled leading to retractions. Clay himself did this once.

What is I find interesting about the article is that Clay attempts to educate, through chastizing, twitter users of habits that he himself indulges in.  The whole issue of herd mentality which he talks about as he attempts to reply to tweets consequent to his article falls on its face due to the fact that he goes about re-tweeting others who are in agreement with his article, attempting to coalesce with these, but wants the subjects of his ridicule to suffer singly.  I write this not as a group but as an individual who has been using twitter for a while now, and mostly without any incidences of abuse or online fights.

Twitter can sometimes be bile inducing what with Trending Topics that dont make sense, hashtags that irritate and serial re-tweeters but such is the medium, you have to accept it warts and all.  The most important thing on twitter, I think, is that YOU the user are the filter, the unfollow button is your friend, use it!  Create lists and place your followers in them according to the importance of their tweets to you and your irritability levels will go down.

This is not not to say that Clay’s article is totally incorrect, he does raise important points about the Brand Kenya Board and many goings on wrong in our society.  Points that we would be follish to ignore.  Another issue the article and the subsequent debate raises though not directly is online bullying which though not exclusive to, is slowly rearing its ugly head on the Kenyan twitter-sphere.  He is absolutely correct in many matters in the article but with his assessment of twitter use in Kenya, I fear he is grossly misinformed.

Report on ICT Impact Investing in East Africa

In my last post I wrote about the launch of the EA Impact Investing Report commissioned by CMA and the Rockefeller foundation.  I got my hands on it a couple of days ago, and I was not disappointed.
The report looks at the ICT industry in its entirety from startup to growth to maturity, and is concise with each item looked at properly queried and recommendations given.  I will look at the chapters two and three and then the last three chapter in conclusion in the subsequent post.
ICT SECTOR IN EA
Broadly, the EA ICT industry is segmented into four; Telecoms, Software, Hardware and IT enabled services, with the software segment being the largest, followed by a significant telecoms segment.  The industry can be said to be at the start-up/early stages as majority of the firms are small and medium sized.
Telcoms
The telcoms segment accounts for a majority of the ICt sector’s revenue, upto 90% as this is where the telephony service providers are.  With the penetration of the mobile phones in the region cuopled with the attendant usage, this explains its share of the revenue pie.  Regionally, growth in the ICT sector has been mainly driven by this segment.
Hardware
This segment mainly comprises of local repsentatives of international manufacturer, eg HP, IBM, both as resellers and distributors.  Most of these are mature companies and there is high level of competition in this segment.  It is also a high volume-low margin industry.  Another thing to note is that there is virtual no PC assembly done in EA and so this firms will need to look at emerging and alternative business models to further grow.
Software
This holds the largest number of ICT firms operating in the region accounting for approximately 67%.  This are small outfits developing proprietary and non-proprietary software and some customizing the same.  Due to their sizes the face typical SME challenges of lack of proper financial and reporting systems.  This hinders their growth prospects.
Information Technology (IT)enabled services
Herein lie the Business Process Outsorcing firms, in EA the BPO industry is not fully developed but is growing rapidly as compared to the international scene.  It is relatively new and as the industry grows worldwide it is expected that they same will happen in the region.
FINANCING OF THE ICT SECTOR
Below is a table illustrating sources of financing in the industry, in the region
SME Financing

SME Financing

From the above it is clear that majority of the firms were started from internal loans ie loans from the owner, friends and family.  This is something that is prevalent in most SMEs and not specific to the industry.
Challenges faced by firms is accessing finace/capital were noted as:
  • Lack of Collateral
  • Risk profile
  • Irregular Cashflows

among others.

The report goes into depth analysing this challenges and offfers recommendations on how to overcome them.

You can download the report here.

My Position On KenyaFeb28 (via Diasporadical)

I do not entirely agree with this, but interesting all the same…

My Position On KenyaFeb28 I'm certainly not the first to delve into the subject of #KenyaFeb28. The lovely 3CB, who's also a writer on DR, touched on the subject on her blog. Another blogger Kachwanya eulogized the event weeks before its perceived death. Let me also clarify that though I am in support of #KenyaFeb28, I do not speak on behalf of the organizers. I just happen to a be a blogger and tweep (@Nittzsah) who doesn't mind singing the National Anthem, for the whole … Read More

via Diasporadical

Launch of EA ICT Impact Investing Report

Tomorrow, the Capital Markets Authority, CMA, will launch a report from a taskforce it appointed to look into ICT Impact Investing in the East Africa region. In appointing the taskforce the CMA set out to:

To encourage the growth of impact investing in the ICT sector in East Africa and thus improve ICT services to the poor while also contributing to the growth of the financial market…

The taskforce with Richard Bell as the chairman undertook a three-phased research and will be launching their report on Thursday 24th February at the Nairobi Serena.

The taskforce’s major objecitves were:

  • Identify the impediments to socially impactful technology investments in the region.
  • Identify possible technology investments that could be attractive to Impact Investors
  • Develop tangible recommendations on steps that could be taken to overcome the existing obstacles to successful impact investing and venture capital in the East African ICT sector.

The most important output of this report is the fact that actual and relevant data available to groups and individuals interested in investing in the ICT sector in the EA region.

Another issue I am most interested in is the recommendations from the taskforces on tax and legal requirements obtaining in the EA region. One thing to note is that in so much as the EA governements have tried to streamline tax and legal obligations to investment, they still are dissimilar, thus exposing investors to bottlenecks.

From the extensive expertise of the taskforce members, we expect a thorough and detailed report, I’ll be writing more on this once I after the launch..

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