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Oliver AugustFormer Europe Editor at the Economist
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In September 2018, Oliver August became the CEO of Mawingu Networks, an African wireless internet service provider that aims to affordably connect the non-urban population in Africa. The service operates Wi-Fi hotspots that the public can use on a pay-as-you-go account. This enterprise is heavily supported by a string of international investors including Microsoft. Microsoft offered the initial investment and has publicly championed the company since. Barack Obama also publicly lauded Mawingu for “providing low-cost broadband”.
August was the Europe Editor at The Economist, covering a wide range of events from Gibraltar to Vladivostok. He writes extensively about the EU, the euro crisis and Russia.
Oliver August was The Economist's Africa Editor. For five years, he covered the continent's emergence as an economic success story, travelling in Africa every month to meet with government officials, business executives and entrepreneurs. August has a strong interest in foreign investment in Africa, and watches closely the China-Africa dimension.
August was previously based in Beijing for seven years and wrote a very well regarded book about China, "Inside the Red Mansion" which was translated into eleven languages. The book tells the story of the hunt for China's most wanted man. Lai Changxing is an illiterate billionaire tycoon on the run from corruption charges. Sensing something emblematic in his outsized tale of rise and fall, he tries to find the self-made billionaire and understand how he reinvented himself.
He was a Middle East correspondent for The Times newspaper in Damascus, Beirut and Baghdad, and retains a strong interest in Arab political and business developments. He started his career as a correspondent for The Times of London.
Oliver August has covered financial markets in America, Europe and Asia, and worked as a war correspondent in Bosnia, Afghanistan and Iraq.
He was born in Germany and his first book "Along the wall and watchtower: A journey down Germany's divide” chronicles an 800 mile journey along the former Iron Curtain and examines the political, economic and social consequences of German reunification. His writing on Germany won him the Anglo-German Foundation Journalism Prize in 1998.
Oliver August regularly appears on the BBC, CNN and CNBC and speaks at major government and business conferences in Africa, the Middle East and Asia. His writing has appeared in Wired magazine, Marie Claire, U.S. News & World Report, the L.A. Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times and the Washington Post.
In 2012 he was named "journalist of the year" at the Diageo Africa Business Reporting Awards.