One of the major frustrations in Nigeria is the unreliability of the internet at a time when the world has gone digital. But things are about to get quite exciting for millions of Nigerians.
Google has launched a network of free Wi-Fi hotspots in Nigeria, part of its effort to increase its presence in Africa’s most populous nation.
The U.S. technology firm, owned by Alphabet Inc, has partnered with Nigerian fiber cable network provider 21st Century to provide its public Wi-Fi service, Google Station, in six places in the commercial capital Lagos, including the city’s airport.
Internet penetration is relatively low in Nigeria. Some 25.7 percent of the population made use of the internet in 2016, according to World Bank data.
The poor internet infrastructure is a major challenge for businesses operating in the country, which is Africa’s largest oil producer. Broadband services are either unreliable or unaffordable to many of Nigeria’s 190 million inhabitants.
“We are rolling out the service in Lagos today but the plan is to quickly expand to other locations,” Anjali Joshi, Google’s vice president for product management, told Reuters in Lagos.
The company said it aimed to collaborate with internet service providers to reach millions of Nigerians in 200 public spaces across five cities by the end of 2019.
It said it would generate cash from the service in Nigeria by placing Google adverts in the login portal. Google did not disclose the amount invested in the new Nigeria service.
The technology firm said it planned to share revenues with its partners to help them maintain and deploy the Wi-Fi service but did not disclose the expected advertising revenue split.
Nigeria is the fifth country to launch Google Station. Similar services have been launched in India, Indonesia, Mexico and Thailand.
Rwanda’s Rise 2.5 Decades After The Devastating Genocide
Rwanda is emerging as an economic powerhouse in East Africa just 2.5 decades after a very dark and devastating genocide. So good is the economic progress that the country has reduced its reliance on foreign donations. Currently, Rwanda domestically funds 84 percent of its budget. Two decades ago, the country could afford to fund only 36 percent of its budget.
In addition to the reduced reliance on foreign aid, several indicators demonstrate Rwanda’s rapid growth. Major indicators are the rate of growth, decline in inequality, diversification, and decline in rates of poverty.
Between 2001 and 2014, the average economic growth was 8 percent. The IMF projected Rwanda’s economic growth at 7.2 percent in 2018. The projections were based on favorable rains and strong industrial activity. In the first quarter of 2018, Rwanda registered a 10.6 percent growth in economy.
Equality in Rwanda
The country’s growth is also characterized by a decline in rates of inequality. The decline is largely due to improved healthcare, school enrollment, literacy, and life expectancy.
Greater equality is exhibited in the country’s parliament, where women make up 68 percent of parliament. This is one of the highest rates globally, putting Rwanda up in the ranks of countries with highest female representation in parliament.
Farming is an important sector in Rwanda’s economy. A majority of the population still live in rural areas and depend on subsistence farming. The government plans to shifts this focus to include more economic and investment opportunities. Specifically, the country is moving towards becoming more of a service-oriented and knowledge-based economy.
Decline in Poverty
The economic growth has translated into reducing poverty levels across the country. In 2005, 57 percent of Rwandese lived below the poverty line. By 2010, this number had reduced to 45 percent. In 2017, the poverty level was registered at 38.2 percent, according to the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda.
Kagame’s Transformative Leadership
At the centre of the country’s rapid growth is President Paul Kagame. Kagame adopted and pursued policies that have transformed Rwanda to a prospective middle economy. The President continues to implement development plans for the country, as outlined in the country’s vision 2020. Also, under Kagame, Rwanda’s ease of doing business has significantly improved.
Vision 2020 is Rwanda’s blueprint to continued economic progress. The vision is based on several pillars that include good governance, human resource development, infrastructure development, and private sector-led development. Other pillars are regional and international integration and market-oriented agriculture. With only one year left on the Plan, the government is still optimistic it will hit the targets.
Rwanda will be moving from Vision 2020 to Vision 2050, which heightens the growth prospects of the country by targeting a high income economy status by 2050. In order to reach this target, the country needs to achieve an average growth rate of 10 percent.
Video Games Are Emerging in Africa With Strong African themes
Video games are becoming a booming industry in Africa thanks to a mushroom of innovators and developers on the continent. Startups are spiraling across the continent coming up with unprecedented games and content with African themes. The gaming industry in Africa is now worth millions of dollars due to relentless efforts of these developers, programmers, scientists, entrepreneurs and other tech gurus.
Madiba Guillaume Olivier had dreams like any other teenager when he was growing up in Cameroon. His most pressing dream was to move to America or even to Europe in order to pursue not “greener pastures” but his zeal for video games. He lived a life of video games because his father owned a video store. Olivier did not sit and wait; rather he went online in order to understand more about game design. However, it was not until when he was doing computer science at the University of Yaoundé that his dream (and that of the continent) started to bear fruit. He partnered with a group of friends to work on a project they dubbed Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan.
Video Games Project and the Prince of Planet Auriona
The project was a 2D flight of the imagination game that featured Enzo and Erine, a Prince and his fiancée. The two were embroiled in a quest to reclaim the lost power after a family member betrayed them in the planet Auriona. The team later improved the game design and used it to dive deeper into the industry. Olivier did not move to US or even Europe. The project led to a natural death of his dreams of moving but gave birth to even better dreams with continent-wide and later worldwide ramifications. Olivier and his team released the official version of the game in 2011 winning the hearts of fans, investors and everything else in between. That is how Africa got Kiro’o Games, the first video game studio to come up with an African-themed mythological video game.
“We started to think about the fact that we can make our own studio here [Africa] and sell games abroad,” Olivier remembers.
Olivier and his team are not the only innovators doing Africa proud in this emerging video game industry. In fact, over the last ten years, many video game developers and startups have sprung up across the continent. There are startups in South Africa, Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, Tunisia and even in Egypt. Because of growth in funding opportunities and supporting accelerator tech hubs on the continent, Africa is moving beyond the confines that resulted from inadequate infrastructure in some countries. Traditional fintechs in Arica are now normal and nothing to write home about anymore. The continent is expanding beyond what has now become normal tech disruptions in education, health, insurance, agriculture into other areas. Now is the time for the gaming industry.
Other African Themed Video Games
The African narratives, myths, legends, traditions, stories, creativities, mysteries and other mystical societal characteristics are more frightening than Halloween. Or at least to those who understand why it is commemorated in the first place. Tapping into this social heritage and cultural material is a sure success path for the gaming industry. That is why a Moroccan Telcom has invested in a mobile game.
There are other notable gaming innovators doing exciting video games. This boom can be observed with The International Game Developers Association having seven chapters in Africa.
Some innovators in this space include:
- Ananse: The Origin by Leti Arts in Kenya, is a game based on impressive folklore from Ghana.
- Celestial Games and Thoopid are also doing Africa proud with magnificent games from the South of the continent.
- Ebola Strike Force that touches on the story of researchers and scientists yearning to save humankind from the lethal virus is breathtaking.
- Mzito by Weza Interactive Entertainment in Kenya is a game that takes users on a journey to save the continent. Here, you play as a lion and use ancient spirits to save Africa from ancient corruption. “We wanted to focus on the African theme on because we think it’s time for Africa,” George Ohere, the Weza Interactive CEO said recently.
- Sambisa Assault is another one that gives game enthusiasts the chance to join the fight against terror movements.
- The Okada Rider by ChopUp studio in Nigeria that simulates the notorious traffic congestion in the streets of Lagos.
- Digitalmania has more than 87 magnificent games on Google Play, Facebook, and Apple Store. Sadly, these tech giants do not allow merchant payments in Tunisia. Because of this, the innovator cannot get revenue from their innovations.
The African Video Game Industry by Revenue
Miss Algeria 2019 Is Black, Racist Trolls Are Attacking Her But She Won’t Back Down
The newly crowned winner of Miss Algeria beauty pageant has hit back at critics who have hurled racial abuse at her because of her skin color.
“I will not back down because of the people who criticised me,” Khadija Ben Hamou told Algerian news site TSA.
Slurs about her dark skin colour, nose and lips have been made on Facebook and Twitter.
Darker-skinned Algerians face discrimination in the North African state.
Ms Ben Hamou, who comes from the southern Adrar region, said that she was proud of her identity and winning the competition.
“I am honoured that I have achieved my dream, and I am honoured by the state of Adrar where I come from,” she said.
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