Best of Appfrica 2009

appfrica 2009 review

The close of the year is often a time for reflection, for individuals and companies alike. For Appfrica it’s no exception as we profile the twelve most trafficked stories from the blog. Last year we did the same, but read on to see what our most popular stories were this year.

15. Kampala Riots, Citizens Tweet

In mid-September, Kampala was rocked by rioting across the city. The whole continent watched in wait as one of sub-Saharan Africa’s ‘darling’ cities had it’s reputation of tranquillity marred by the events. Luckily the violence subsided and things settled down but it leaves us all wondering what’s in store for Uganda’s 2011 elections.

14. PayPal’s Electronic Profiling

Frustrated by apparent IP profiling, I review some of the problems with PayPal’s policies when it comes to African consumers.

13. PayPal Alternatives for African Entrepreneurs

Theresa Carpenter followed up on the previous post with recommendations of alternatives to PayPal. This is a space I’m hoping we see explode in 2010 as more Africans come online.

12. Asynchronous Info, Disjointed Data and Crisis Reporting

The Kampala riots were scary, but what was even scarier was the lack of a resource for ‘filtering out the noise’ and inaccurate reports. Can apps like Ushahidi’s SwiftRiver or DevelopmentSeed’s ManagingNews fill this void?

11. How to Save Money as an African Startup

This post was filed very early on in the life of Appfrica Labs. These days we’ve changed our modus operandi a bit. For instance, our staff is free to work from anywhere and our hours have dropped from eight hours a day to six.

10. Responds to Fraud

Kiva ran into some different trouble this year but prior to that was the issue of apparent fraud. It turns out this report may have been inaccurate so make sure you read through the comments to find out the story from both sides (the accused and Kiva).

9. The Future of Giving

Concept art for an augmented reality application that could change the way donors and ngo’s work in the field. Since this post, Appfrica Labs has been encouraged to look into the possibility of making this application a reality.

8. The Popularity of Programming Languages in Africa

Our most popular post in 2008 was the Popularity of Programming Languages in Africa, this year it drops to number 8 but to be fair we only published this years report about two weeks ago. That it’s on the list it all really surprised me.

7. Google South Africa to Open Theme Park

April Fools day is my favorite day of the year! We pulled a fast one on our readers by claiming Google was building a Theme Park in South Africa. Google, if you’re looking for new revenue streams, I think the flood of email I got about this announcement from people who didn’t get the joke might be an indicator of where to look!

6. Undersea Cable Arrives in Africa

Another April Fool’s joke that fooled many people (I was even contacted for an interview), partly because anticipation for SEACOM and TEAMS was high and people were truly fed up with internet speeds. Both cables would arrive only a few months after this was published, adding to the realism. The aftermath of these cables, however, has been no joke as Appfrica Labs saw it’s internet costs cut in half in September, only two months after Seacom’s arrival in Mombasa.

5. 20 Ideas for Social Entrepreneurs

The throw back from last year that’s still ranking up the page views! Want to save the world, here’s a few things that I’d love to do if I had the time and capital.

4. Do Cellphones Outnumber Lightbulbs in Uganda?

A controversial post that was paralleled by this episode of FricaFactoid. Still I think cellphones actually outnumber lightbulbs in Uganda. Don’t let the connectivity of Kampala fool you, the country-side and city-clums are severely lacking power.

3. 10 Social Entrepreneurs to Follow on Twitter

Another throwback from last year. Ten people that are champions of various social causes. Of course, this is by no means a list of the best or most effective, just a list of people I continue to find interesting.

2. Best and Worst Project Management Applications

It’s interesting that ten months ago my internet was so slow that I couldn’t used Basecamp, but now it’s so fast I’m using Basecamp over a 3G connection on a daily basis! Still, here’s a look at some of the project management applications that might be suited ‘for the field’ or areas with poor connectivity.

1. Infostate of Africa

To help offer people a better understanding of the rapid progress of African internet penetration, I made this infographic that explores how investment in infrastructure is improving ‘readiness’ and internet penetration all across the continent. Will 2010 be the continent’s most explosive period for internet growth? Looks like that very well may be the case!

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About the author: Jonathan Gosier is a UI designer, software developer and writer. He currently lives in Kampala, Uganda where he incubates and invests in East African entrepreneurs as the CEO of Appfrica Labs. He's also a TED Fellow.
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