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facebook1Shares of social network giant Facebook were officially floated on the NASDAQ on 18 May with an estimated value of $100 billion. The company’s IPO is priced at $38 per share, turning it into the largest tech IPO in history. The social networking website has a 900-million strong user base – a significant portion of whom reside in Africa.

Bloomberg.com reported that the IPO makes Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg wealthier than Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page. According to the report, Facebook sold 421.2 million shares for $38 each, which values the 503.6 million shares and options Zuckerberg owns at $19.1 billion.

Microsoft has unveiled its Surface tablet and company executives showed two versions of the Windows tablet to attendees at an event in Hollywood. Surface is designed to enable seamless transition between consumption and creation, without compromise.

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Visa, Inc agreed to engineer Rwanda's payments system: upgrading ATMs, installing merchant card readers, you name it. As the world's largest bankcard network, it is a gigantic step for our economy.

However, how many Rwandans have bank accounts and debit/credit cards? I suspect a considerable percentage of Rwandans do not. If this is true, hand in hand with establishing well-developed financial infrastructure with the help of Visa, we could also look into e-money as a financial enabler.

Kampala, Uganda — As internet enabled gadgets become more affordable, a whole new world of possibilities is unlocking itself and enabling many people access areas that were previously inaccessible.

With the number of internet users in Uganda set to grow by between 15% to 20% this year, boosted by the distribution of computers to institutions like schools and the growing competition among the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in the sector, product developers are mooting ways of providing relevant content.

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Google recently announced the launch of the Google Apps Developer Challenge, a challenge aimed at providing developers the world over the opportunity to find new and innovative ways to use the Google Apps and Drive APIs to build cool apps. The APIs are available to a large community of developers who code in a variety of languages that include Java, PHP, Python, and .Net.

In the past year, the Google team has been engaging with local developers by running various Google conferences and Google+ Hackathons, showcasing creative applications, and supporting Tech Hubs. Since we are always looking for opportunities to encourage (and challenge!) you, we are looking forward to giving developers the opportunity to take on this year’s challenge, which will focus on Google Apps Script, Google Apps and Google Drive APIs.

ipv6Orange Uganda today announced the activation of IPv6 on Orange Internet, becoming the first telecommunications company in the country to enable the new protocal. IPv6 will be available for Orange corporate customers who wish to peer on IPv6.

skypeethiopiaParis — Ethiopia has banned Skype and other use of Voice-over-Internet-Protocol (VoIP) services that offer audio and video related communications.

The new law was passed late last month and breaking the law is punishable by 15 years in prison.

Internet-based phone calls have been a popular means of communication for government opponents and their supporters abroad. Addis Ababa's actions are interpreted to be a attempt to cut off these lines of communication with Ethiopians abroad, from which the opposition secure most of their funding.

smsMore than 4000 students in 84 schools across Kenya are using an SMS-based mobile learning system called Mprep to prepare for exams.

The text messaging assessment tool, aligned to the Kenyan curriculum quizzes students on topics they have learned in class, gives learners feedback and additional information on topics they are weak in.

airtelpostNDJAMENA, Chad, June 18, 2012/ -- Airtel Chad has collaborated with one of the leading banks on the continent – ECOBANK- to launch Airtel Money in the West African nation. Touted as the first Mobile commerce product in the country, the service will allow subscribers to carry out financial transactions on their mobile phones and enhance the delivery of financial services at affordable costs.

The launch ceremony of the new service was held at the Kempinski Hotel in the capital Ndjamena, in the presence of various dignitaries, notably Prime Minister Emmanuel Nadingar, Telecommunicatons Minister Alingue Jean Bawoyeu and members of the diplomatic corps in Chad.

orangePARIS, France, June 18, 2012/ -- Orange Money has reached the threshold of 4 million customers in Africa and the Middle East and celebrates its commercial launch in Jordan and Mauritius. These two additional countries mean that the service is now available in 10 countries across the region.

Orange Money, the Group's mobile payment service, was first launched in Côte d’Ivoire in December 2008. It has since been made available in Botswana, Cameroon, Kenya, Madagascar, Mali, Niger and Senegal. Over the past few weeks, the service has also been launched in Jordan and Mauritius, in line with Orange’s goal to launch the service in all 22 countries in Africa and the Middle East where the Group operates.