#CitiTrends Episode 11: Mobile Platform wars & Data Protection in Ghana

Source: SMSGH

Source: SMSGH

Greetings earthlings, Its time to talk technology again.

When you log on to any social media network, you are basically opening your life up to the world. What happens when there is a breach of security and someone access your information illegally? What happens when your personal information is hacked into or stolen? Is anyone looking our for you in Ghana? Did you know that there is a body set up to protect your privacy and your personal data by regulating the processing, retrieval and usage of personal information? Well there is and i caught up with the Executive Director for the Data Protection Commission, Mrs Teki Falconer to have a chat about her commission’s role in this fast-moving data driven world we live in.

Mobile phone penetration is high in Ghana, however, smartphones account for only 15% of this penetration. Government has agreed to remove 20% tax on smartphone imports. This means more and more smartphones coming into the country soon… we hope. Now, there are three major mobile platforms in use to in Ghana. Android which can be found in most Samsung, LG, Sony, Huawei and HTC phones. Then there is iOS which is the platform that powers the iPhone and the iPad. Then there is the Windows Phone which powers the Lumia range of phones. Now this war is raging and every quarter, the battle mostly exists between iOS and Android. With Windows getting ready to release Windows 10, the dynamics could change. Alex Agjei Bram is the CEO of SMS GH and we spoke about these developments. 

Mawuli Tsikata shares some of the best technology related news from the past week while Nathan Quao steps in for Awo Apaloo (who is on holiday) with some apps to get acquainted with. The apps featured today are ‘Pacemaker’ and ‘Ready Contact List’. In the #CitiTrends 2-minute App Pitch Challenge, we feature an app called BuzzTrick’.

Press play and take a listen to the show.

#DUMSORMUSTSTOP: The Day Ghana Marched

Edits-3Saturday May 16, 2015.

A day etched in the history books of Ghana forever.

Why?

Simple. Ghanaians stood up, walked and spoke out.

After three years of living with a power crisis which has seen the Ghana Tourism Authority announce the potential shutdown of some 20 hotels within the country. Telecoms operator, MTN; UK charity for education, culture and development services, British Council; textile manufacturer, Juapong textiles have all either laid off workers or preparing to lay off workers due to the power crisis.

The government’s response has been varied, albeit dreadful.

Here are a few headlines to illustrate my point:

NPP demo has encouraged me to end ‘Dumsor’ – Mahama

I will ‘banish dumsor forever’ – Mahama

My ‘dumsor banishment’ promise was just a prayer- Mahama

Gov’t resolute to end ‘Dumsor’ – Mahama

‘Dumsor’ will erode government’s good initiatives – Mahama 

Edits-6The commentary and public outcry has been immense across social media with dozens of memes and every trolling effort in the book being tried out. Government officials also weighed into the conversation from time to time and did what all employees do; defend their employer.

Then Yvonne Nelson, award winning actress, philanthropist and all-round nice person spoke out on the power crisis with a simple tweet: #dumsormuststop.

The aftermath of that tweet has been a complex mix of support, insults, emotional outbursts and career defining decisions. It has gotten politicians such as Alhaji Halidu Haruna to learn the grave effects of taking social media for granted and shot others such as Yvonne Nelson into legendary status.

Edits-1The #dumsormuststop vigil which took place on Saturday showed just how much can be done when citizens of a country decide on their own free will and with the guidance of one purpose, to speak out about something.

I am terribly proud of my country men and women who showed up and to them i dedicate this video below.

#CitiTrends Episode 10: Farmerline & Grameen Foundation

Source: Oxfam

Source: Oxfam

A great week it has been indeed and feedback on the show has been incredible.

Sub-Saharan Africa has the fastest-growing mobile market in the world, increasing at an average of 44% annually since 2000, according to the worldwide mobile communications industry association GSMA. The continent is also home to a quarter of the world’s fertile land. 80% of this is not being utilised and of the 20% that is, the majority is owned by poor smallholder farmers. I spoke to Senyo Worlali, Business Development Manager for Farmerline, a social enterprise about some technology solutions they offer to farmers.

All across the world, the health sector is being transformed by technology. In Ghana and in most rural areas, actually even in the urban dwellings, a trip to a doctor or for a check up comes with too many complications. If you need to see a specialist, this means a referral, another long journey and probably a lengthy wait. A group is trying to make this situation much better. The group is called the Grameen Foundation and i caught up with the man in charge of the technology and innovation at the foundation, David Hutchful, to get a clear sense of where we are regarding the Ghana’s health care delivery system and its relationship with technology.

Awo Apaloo serves you ‘Moneygraph’ and ‘Swiftkey Clarity’ as the new apps for the week on the Apps segment of the show. She features Mobifliks, an app where users can watch local content for free, in the #CitiTrends 2-minute App Pitch Challenge.

Mawuli Tsikata brings you up to date with the latest happenings in the world of technology on the Trending segment of the show.

Enjoy the show.

#MarchAgainstMisogyny: Introduction

I woke up in Sunday morning feeling very good about myself.

Mayweather had won his fight.

Manchester United had been humbled (i saw that coming so i dealt with it emotionally).

There was just one thing that was wrong about it.

A political figure in the ruling National Democratic Congress in Ghana in his attempt to defend his party had tagged all women who were above 30, successful and unmarried as ‘prostitutes’.

I read some posts of friends on social media and decided that i should say something. Do something. Anything.

So i did. I started this little campaign: #MarchAgainstMisogyny.

I think women should speak more about it and i think the men should also get with the programme.

As i explained to a friend, misogyny seeps beyond political bounds. It permeates the very essence of our society. It is almost engrained. But women deserve better. They do far too much not to.

So, women out there. Please speak, preach, sing, write, dance or do anything to #MarchAgainstMisogyny. If we eventually get to march soon, i will be most excited. But for now, let us keep the conversation going.

Two of my work colleagues have started… you can too.

#CitiTrends Episode 9: Google ranking algorithm and Women in Tech Africa

Credit: Women in Tech Africa

Credit: Women in Tech Africa

When search giant Google decided to introduce a new ranking system for websites on its search engine, millions panicked. They were right to. Imagine waking up to realise your site’s ranking has been lowered tremendously because your site was not mobile friendly! I caught up with Divine Puplampu, a technology journalist, and asked him for some more details.

Journalist, Emmanuel Dogbevi, Malta, was at the IFA Global Press Conference which is a meeting place of over 360 journalists from more than 50 countries and leading consumer technology companies such as Philips, Grundig, ZTE, and Gibson and Microsoft. New technology that could knock you off your feet was showcased and he shared with me some the things that caught his eye.

I was also one of the lucky guys in the room at the Women in Tech Africa (Ghana Chapter) event at Alisa Hotel. The Women in Tech Africa is a formal Pan-African Network of Women in Technology who organise regular activities to provide effective support to women in technology across the African continent. The theme for the event was Women in technology – the future of Africa. Founder of Women in Tech Ghana, Ethel Cofie; Airtel MD, Lucy Quist; Mobile Web Ghana Director, Florence Toffah and David Hutchful, Director of technology and innovation at Grameen Foundation feature here.

Awo shares the gospel according to CLEAR and Mailbox from Dropbox on the Apps segment on the show while Nathan Quao brings you up to date with the latest technology news.

All this and more on the 9th episode of #CitiTrends.