Business

iROKO Partners’ Jason Njoku Joins Nigeria’s Stock Exchange To Inspire Next Generation Of Interrnet Start-up Entreprenuers

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Jason Njoku TEDxiROKO Partners’ Jason Njoku was today confirmed as an official Growth Ambassador for the Alternative Securities market (ASeM), a specialised board for listing small and mid-sized companies with high growth potential and is part of the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

 Njoku, CEO and co-founder of iROKO Partners, started his business in 2010, streaming Nollywood movies for free. Today, with www.irokotv.com, his company is the world’s largest distributor of African movies online, with over one million unique visits each month, and he has since been voted as one of Forbes’ ‘Ten Young African Millionaires to Watch’.

Today, he was nominated as a Growth Ambassador, thanks to his track record in building a successful, global Nigerian tech company and promoting business best-practice. At only 32 years-old, he is the youngest member of the Growth Ambassador programme for the ASeM and will be working with advisors to look at how Nigeria’s young, budding entrepreneurs, notably in the technology and Internet sphere, can access funding and mentorship from business veterans and investors.

On joining the ASeM Growth Ambassador programme, Jason Njoku says: “It is a huge honour to be recognized by the Nigerian Stock Exchange for my work within Nigeria’s business and technology sector and I Iook forward to starting an immediate dialogue on how we can collectively encourage and support the young Nigerian entrepreneurs of the future.

“Believe me, there are a lot of very smart young men and women out there who have awesome ideas and are desperate to start their own company, but too many fall at the first hurdle because they cannot access funding or navigate the bureaucracy of starting a business here.

“Today was about fostering the spirit of entrepreneurialism in Nigeria’s SME market and the coming months and years for both the ASeM and myself will be extremely interesting”.

The ASeM launch, held The Muson Centre in Lagos on Tuesday April 23, was attended by dignitaries from the Nigerian Stock Exchange, including CEO Oscar Onyema, as well as representatives of the Nigerian Government, official business organisations and business entrepreneurs. Jason Njoku was also joined by the distinguished Mrs. Florence Seriki, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Omatek ventures Plc as an official ASeM Growth Ambassador.

BancVue Selects MicroStrategy’s Business Intelligence Platform & Wisdom Professional For Enhanced Business Analytics

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logo_wisdom-professional MicroStrategy® Incorporated, a leading worldwide provider of business intelligence (BI) and mobile software, today announced that BancVue, Ltd. has selected MicroStrategy as its enterprise analytics standard.

BancVue is an innovative provider of banking instruments and marketing assistance to community banks and credit unions across the United States.

BancVue plans to use the MicroStrategy Business Intelligence Platformand Wisdom Professional™ to significantly reduce reporting requirements for their client service managers, allowing them to focus on increasing customer service and helping their clients succeed. BancVue also will use MicroStrategy technology to expand the performance detail they provide both internally and externally through their client portal. Data scalability, ease of use, and elegant data visualization became key differentiators for MicroStrategy during BancVue’s evaluation process.

“With Wisdom Professional’s extensive market intelligence capabilities, we’ll be able to explore data from our client network to reveal new ways to be of service,” said Nathan Baumeister, Vice President of Analytics at BancVue. “Using Wisdom to assimilate information, and MicroStrategy Business Intelligence to analyze it, is consistent with the data-driven solutions our clients have come to expect from BancVue.”

“We’re delighted to support BancVue’s efforts to help community financial institutions reinvent themselves,” said MicroStrategy President Paul Zolfaghari. “Always at the forefront of its industry, BancVue will now enhance its offerings with powerful business analytics and market intelligence to position its clients for even higher growth, profitability, and retention.”

allows enterprises to deploy MicroStrategy BI apps and mobile apps more quickly and with lower financial risk than with traditional on-premises solutions.

Zanzibar Telecom Names Pratap Ghose As New CEO

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pratap
Pratap speaking to reporters.

Zantel Tanzania, has announced the appointment of Pratap Ghose as their new Chief Executive Officer (CEO), replacing Ali Bin Jarsh, who successfully led the operations at Zantel Tanzania for the past couple of years.

Prior to this appointment Pratap, who has 18 years experience in various sectors including telecommunication was the Group Vice president for Etisalat, Finance and Business Optimization for the Africa Region for Etisalat Group.

He has also held various executive positions in the Etisalat Group such as Chief Financial Officer for Etisalat’s Indian operations and Member of Board of Directors for Atlantique Telecom S.A, Ivory Coast.

Mr. Ghose has an understanding of Tanzanian market as he had served as an Advisor for Zantel Tanzania and was the Chief Financial Officer for Millicom’s International (Tigo) operations in Tanzania. He is therefore conversant with the lay of the land and people of Tanzania.

Speaking about the appointment, Zantel Tanzania said: “We’re very excited to have Pratap joining the team as he brings a wide range of experience from emerging markets as diverse as India, Nigeria and Middle East’’

Pratap holds an MBA from Melbourne Business School, Australia and is also a qualified Chartered Accountant. In Zantel he would be responsible for enhancing market share and margins along with growth of alternate revenue streams including 3G, Data, Ezypesa and value added services, taking Zantel to their next phase.

Zantel is the official brand name for Zanzibar Telecom Limited, the fourth mobile service provider in Tanzania. Zantel is a home-grown Tanzanian company that seeks to positively enhance the lives of all its customers through improved communications.

By providing value, high quality and smooth services, Zantel seeks to present customers with service they can rely on whether to conduct business efficiently or simply stay in touch with friends and family.

Zantel is the only telecommunication company in Tanzania offering total communication solutions for both voice and data services through its GSM 2G, 3G, and CDMA networks. Zantel also offers international traffic and carrier services.

Zantel was the first private telecom company in Tanzania to own an international gateway that enabled Zantel to reduce the rates for international calls by 60% that paved way for cheaper international calls in the country. It offers the most affordable and competitive international rates in the country to all the popular international destinations in the world and is partnering with more mobile companies to ensure customers roam with Zantel anywhere in the world. Today, Zantel’s network covers all cities, major towns, highways and rural areas in Tanzania.

 

Kenya’s 30 Million Plus Mobile Subcribers, 16 Million Plus Internet Users & The Shrinking Letters Sent Locally

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cell-phones-in-africaNew statistics from Kenya’s telecoms regulator CCK show that from October 1 to December 31 last year, the number of internet users in Kenya was 16.2 million, up 11.6 percent from the previous period.

30.7 Million Mobile Subscribers

The report adds that the total number of mobile subscribers  rose by 1.0 percent to 30.7 million, while the number of letters sent locally declined by 2.0 percent to reach 17.3 million down from 17.7 million letters sent during the previous period, indicating an  11.8 percent decline compared to the same period last year.

CCK says Kenyans sent more letters internationally than they received. The total number of international outgoing letters went up by 18.1 percent to 1.9 million from 1.6 million during the previous period while international incoming letters went up 20.9 percent to just 191,672 letters from 158,549 received during the previous period.

99 Percent Internet Subscription Is On Mobile Devices
According to the report Kenyans are accessing internet on mobile phones. It said, “Mobile internet continued to dominate the Internet market contributing 99% of the total internet subscriptions in the country.”
But an interesting trend is that Kenya’s internet penetration reached 41.1 percent up from 36.8 percent, indicating a 4.3 percent increase from the previous period while broadband subscribers reduced to 1,002,701 from 1,006,071.
According to the CCK increase in data subscription was due to increasing bandwidth which rose  to 328,641 Mbps from 278,329 Mbps, representing an 18.1 percent increase from the previous quarter.

Nigeria’s Standards Body Maintains June Deadline For E-registration Of Products

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SON
Dr Joseph Odumodu, the Director-General of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has announced that SON will not extend the June 2013 deadline for electronic-registration of manufacturers and importers products in the country for easy tracing.
Peaking Tuesday in Abuja, Odumodu the deadline was earlier extended from May to June but warned against traders thinking they would be further extension.

SON wants all products in the Nigerian market registered electronically so as they get a code for easy identification.

He said: “Any product that does not carry SON electronic code by June 2013, will be removed from the market and destroyed by the agency.”

He added that SON is setting up a database to the electronic security system in collaboration with other agencies to monitor products and be alerted on arrival of new products.

“At present, we have improved collaborations with relevant authorities in order to achieve this objective. The essence of this is to build a database on details of all the products in the market.

“We need to have a link with the products by having all the details, we will not accept any product that has no product liability,” he said.

SON February launched an electronic product registration system in a move to curb the influx of fake and substandard products into the country. The organisation also wants to promote certified made-in-Nigeria products by checking cheap fake products.

Image:Qlichy.com

Vodafone India Partner With ICICI Bank To Launch M-Pesa In India

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01Mobile money transfer and payment service M-Pesa is live in India today, courtesy of ICICI Bank, India’s largest private sector bank and telecommunications service provider Vodafone India.

The service was launched in Kolkata by Rajiv Sabharwal, Executive Director, ICICI Bank and Marten Pieters, MD & CEO, Vodafone India Ltd.

‘The service is being launched initially in the eastern parts of Kolkata, West Bengal, Bihar and Jharkhand through over 8300 specially trained authorized agents. M-Pesa will soon be rolled out across the country in a phased manner.

Its launch will help users deposit and withdraw cash from designated outlets, transfer money to any mobile phone in India, remit money to any bank account in India, make payments to recharge mobile, clear utility bills and for DTH service subscription, shop at select shops  and  participate in e-commerce/m-commerce.

Speaking during the launch, Rajiv Sabharwal, Executive Director, ICICI Bank said, “ICICI Bank has been at the forefront of technological innovations in banking. With the launch of M-Pesa’, the Bank now offers a unique and innovative service that provides basic banking facilities to millions of Indians who still depend on informal channels for their banking needs. We are very happy with the partnership with Vodafone as the tie-up will effectively leverage the security of financial transactions provided to customers by ICICI Bank and the strengths of Vodafone’s significant distribution reach. This launch is line with the Bank’s objective of achieving greater financial inclusion. It also enriches the Bank’s existing suite of mobile banking offerings.”

According to Marten Pieters, Managing Director & CEO, Vodafone India, “Mobile technology has a critical role to play in servicing the unbanked and underserviced sections of the society and we are delighted to introduce this world-class offering in India in partnership with ICICI Bank. Using ‘MMM–Pesa’esa’,esa’esa’ we will provide people in remote areas a convenient way to bank, transfer money and make payments in a safe and secure manner. We have customized our offering to serve the needs of Indian customers while ensuring its compliance with all applicable regulations. Financial inclusion is a national priority and we believe that with M–Pesa we now have the ideal offering to enable the same.”

To sign up for M-Pesa, users will have to visit an ‘M-Pesa’ outlet, register with ‘M-Pesa’ agent and fill and submit a form, provide identity and address proofs for initial access to the service.  After registration, they can deposit a minimum amount, transfer money it to a bank account or another ‘M-Pesa account holder, recharge mobile and data bundles and pay mobile or utilities.

Vodafone has launched M-Pesa across Africa and Asia and continues to leverage mobile technology to serve the unbanked populations especially in emerging markets.

Flextronics Completes Acquisition Of Google’s Motorola Mobility Operations

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sold1Electronics Manufacturing Services (EMS) provider, Flextronics today announced that it has completed its previously announced acquisition of manufacturing operations in Tianjin, China, and has assumed the management and operation of the Jaguariuna, Brazil facility from Motorola Mobility LLC, owned by Google.

Employees and assets at both locations have transferred to Flextronics. The previously announced agreement also included a manufacturing and services agreement for Motorola products.

Mike McNamara , CEO at Flextronics said,”We welcome the highly skilled Motorola Mobility manufacturing team to our organization. Their extensive operations expertise and capabilities will provide tremendous value to our company, particularly in China and Brazil.”

“We appreciate the professionalism and dedication of the personnel at both sites,” said Mark Randall , senior vice president, supply chain & operations at Motorola Mobility, LLC. “This is a great outcome for our manufacturing team, and it enables us to focus on what we do best: designing and creating amazing mobile devices.”

Flextronics will report its fourth quarter and year-end fiscal 2013 results after the market closes on April 30. Further details regarding the financial impact of this transaction will be discussed at that time.

Image Courtesy.

Now You Can Pay Your Restaurant Bills with M-PESA

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Bob and Mikul
Bob and Mikul at the Launch today

We told you last week that Eat Out Kenya , Kopo Kopo and Safaricom’s M-PESA services had an awesome partnership and were set to launch an M-Pesa restaurant bill payment service, now it is official. Restaurant patrons will conveniently pay their bills via M-PESA in a major restaurants in town as others join the service.

Eat Out was founded in 2010 and has become the largest online restaurant guide and booking engine in Kenya and in just two years after its launch, it had sat over 100,000 diners at hundreds of restaurants, generating over Ksh 200 million in revenue for its restaurant clients.

KopoKopo launched its service in Kenya in March 2012.They are the official partner of Safaricom and offer a service that enables small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to accept payments via M-PESA Buy Goods at a rate of 1.5% per transaction. KopoKopo is the first company to offer this service in conjunction with Safaricom and currently serves thousands of businesses throughout Kenya.

“We are very excited about the partnership with Safaricom and Eat Out as it gives Kenya’s leading restaurants a chance to accept electronic payments at the best rate in Kenya” Dylan Higgins, CEO KopoKopo.

Ben Lyon speaking at launch
Ben Lyon speaking at launch

Safricom’s CEO Bob Colymore along with Eat Out’s MD Mikul Shah and Director Ben Lyon from KopoKopo introduced the product which will be used by a number of Nairobi’s finest restaurants.

“We are looking forward to brining new easily accessible technologies to restaurants for the convenience of both patrons and restaurateurs.” Mikul Shah, Managing Director, Eat Out Kenya. This partnership will afford restaurant owners the opportunity to attract a vast number of clientele as well as process their payment by the seconds.

mapIT’s International Partner Micello Announces 15 000 Indoor Venue Maps Available Worldwide

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MapIT_logo_CMYKSA’s mapIT, a digital mapping partner today announced that Micello its international partner has 15 000 indoor venue maps worldwide including 65 shopping malls and 9 airports in South Africa.This data enables enterprises to deploy an extensive array of maps in mobile and desktop applications.

Etienne Louw, Managing Director of mapIT said,“mapIT are pleased to bring yet another international solution to the South African mapping market with this partnership.”

“With 40% of mobile search having location intent, indoor mapping will offer our clients a whole new dimension to their businesses.” Louw added.

The latest maps strengthen the already extensive collection which now includes 3, 700, 000, 000+ mapped square feet, 50, 000+ individual buildings and  775, 000+ places of interest (POI)

Ankit Agarwal, CEO and Founder of Micello said,“As the indoor mapping industry heats up, especially with recent news about Apple’s acquisition of WiFiSlam, we are positioned perfectly to help grow the ecosystem by focusing on generating geo-accurate indoor venue maps. Micello is already the leading indoor map and navigational data supplier for many GIS and Mapping Platforms and this additional content will enable a new class of mobile location experiences for markets like retail, healthcare, entertainment and enterprise.”

Micello was able to achieve this milestone using in-house technology, which has been developed over the last several years to create a quick yet highly scalable operation designed to meet the growing needs of the indoor industry.

This expanding indoor map collection offers both publicly available and privately maintained venue maps including shopping malls, retail stores, airports, college campuses, schools, stadiums, hotels, casinos, museums, business campuses and hospitals.
Micello makes all indoor venue maps available through their products including a map and location-based cloud platform via downloadable map and data packages.

Via mapIT

Etisalat Nigeria To Raise $5 Million For Expansion

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­etisalatrEtisalat Nigeria is set to raise US$500 million to bolster its network expansion plans in the country.

The Chief Commerical Officer, Wael Ammar quoted by Reuters said the debt financing will be sourced from local banks and will be invested in the firm’s network investments to help the firm fulfill its plan to add four million customers this year and 20 million by 2014.

Ammar said: “We are investing $500 million this year to expand our network and services to Nigerian consumers.”

Etisalat Nigeria also plans to increase its existing 3,000 cell sites with the funding.  Banking on the fact that Nigeria’s penetration rate is still at 60 percent, Ammar said Etisalat can still grow its customer base.

According to him:”We see the second wave of growth coming from the youth segment. It is a huge segment that will turn into future consumers and the growth will happen across multiple years.”

Etisalat Nigeria has 15 million subscribers and growing. The loan will help it invest in heavily in its network and even expand to cover more areas in the country with a population of over 150 million and over 110 million mobile phone subscribers.

 

SpryAds Wants To Be The Online Advertising Platform For Africa

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spryads-logo-500x245SpryAds is a self-serve online advertising network for targeted ads in Africa built for website owners, individuals, companies and advertising,

Accordingt o Richard Nyasha Kaseke of Spryads, “We are currently inviting users to participate in an early access beta preview of our web application SpryAds, a self-serve online advertising network.The goal of the beta is to gauge overall user experience and to give early access to a few select group of people.”

The service allows business owners, individuals and firms and even ad agencies to sell  or buy ad space online on their own.

Advertisers can use the platform to run ad campaigns in a few steps, analyse their audience with Spryads stats engine, choose different campaign types (CPM, fixed rate, one page ads and bursts), control their ads by rotating the creatives, pausing them, resuming or deleting anytime and they can also track impressions, clicks, geographical locations and visitor’s technology.

Publishers on the other hand can manage their websites, webapps, startups’ advertising with one interface, run ads from other networks (e.g google adsense) through backfills, control their ad space by approving and disapproving ads. They can also analyse their sites’ audience and define their own ad formats.

Joining a few startups in Nigeria doing this, Spryads is a fast and is set to be an alternative of Google’s Ad Sense as it gives the a publisher right to pick where the ad will be and from which company. It gives the control back to the owner and the fact that a publisher can track how much money they have in their accounts, it helps to either stiffen sales efforts or relax when your bank account is OK.

Good stuff for blogs in Africa to use.

Integr8 Achieves Select Certification From Cisco In South Africa

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Bennie Strydom, Chief Sales Officer at Integr8
Bennie Strydom, Chief Sales Officer at Integr8

 

Integr8, part of Africa’s largest publicly traded ICT management and managed services company, announced today it has achieved Select Certification from Cisco.  The Select Certification recognizes Cisco® resale channel partners that focus on meeting the technology and services needs of small businesses.

Bennie Strydom, Chief Sales Officer at Integr8, says the company has enjoyed a long and mutually beneficial relationship with Cisco, via its established Partner Program, and the strategic alliance continues to add value to its growing market. “Our model is based on transferring benefit and value to the core infrastructures of our clients. We have always placed a premium on housing the most advanced and up-to-date skills sets and product available to offer our clients a choice in terms of solutions. This certification strengthens the credibility of our service offering, which is used extensively across a number of industries to meet the increasing demands on the network and help  adapt to changing market conditions,” says Strydom.

The certification also reinforces the company’s ongoing technical training program, based on an extensive range of Cisco technology solutions. “It ensures that our technical engineers are trained up on the very latest technology and continue to add measurable value on all integration projects, particularly in line with an increase in interest and activity amongst businesses,” adds Strydom.

“The Cisco Select Certification was created in response to customer demand for channel partners capable of designing and implementing Cisco solutions purpose-built for small businesses,” Stefano Mattiello, Director, Partner Led Cisco, Africa. “With the Select Certification, Integr8 has made an investment in obtaining the training, skills and knowledge necessary to play a pivotal role in meeting this growing demand.”

To earn Select Certification, Integr8 fulfilled the training and exam requirements for the Cisco Small Business Specialization.  Integr8 also met the personnel, training and post sales support requirements set forth by Cisco.

The Cisco Resale Channel Program provides a framework for channel partners to build the sales, technical and Cisco Lifecycle Services skills required to deliver Cisco solutions to end customers. Through the program’s specializations and certifications, Cisco recognizes a channel partner’s expertise in deploying solutions based on Cisco advanced technologies and services.

Using a third-party audit process, the program validates channel partner qualifications such as technology skills, business best practices, customer satisfaction, and presales and post sales support capabilities — critical factors for customers choosing a trusted channel partner.

 

Integr8 Tweaks Technology To Grow Tourism Trade In South Africa

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Lance Fanaroff, joint CEO, Integr8
Lance Fanaroff, joint CEO, Integr8

 

Although concrete numbers are hard to come by, South Africa’s multi-million Rand tourism industry is widely acknowledged to be a major source of employment. According to statistics published online by the National Department of Tourism 2012, the government plans to increase tourism’s contribution to R499-billion by 2020. The sector supports one in every 12 jobs in the country.

Much of the success of this industry is dependent on networked systems and technology that help users manage resources effectively and operate competitively to fuel global interest in the country.

Integr8, part of the largest publicly traded ICT company on the African continent, has remained a close ally of those who are tasked with maintaining the highest levels of service and operation across the spectrum of business disciplines that feature within hospitality and tourism.

The company has been selected as the preferred technology services provider to several established operators in the ultra-competitive industry, including Newmark Hotels, part of the Ambassador Group of Hotels.

Integr8 is also the infrastructure management partner of listed Amadeus Southern Africa, a leading transaction processor and provider of technology solutions to the international travel and tourism industry. Integr8 provides ongoing device and network support, proactive monitoring and management.

When Newmark Hotels invested in fibre-optic technology as part of a large-scale inter-site connectivity project across its network, Integr8 was brought on board to supply the infrastructure and support.

“One of the main objectives was to assist our client with the challenge of having to handle recurring costs in order to service all sites independently. We also wanted to speed up Internet connectivity for guests at the hotels providing guests with a superior experience,” explains Lance Fanaroff, joint CEO, Integr8.

Integr8 made use of existing fibre routes already in place throughout the V&A Waterfront in order to connect Newmark Hotels, The V&A Hotel, Dockhouse Boutique Hotel & Spa as well as The Queen Victoria Hotel as part of a single Wide Area Network using fibre optic cabling.

The solution integration and services project has highlighted the mandatory requirement for connectivity at institutions and service providers operating within tourism and hospitality.

“Consumers expect to have access to connectivity and other technology services as part of their travel requirements,” says Fanaroff. “We noticed an upward curve in growth in technology investment from operators in this sector.”

“Front-of-client services and the capacity to deliver connectivity to the end-user, for example, remain critical considerations. But, we are also aware of the increasing need for operators to have their own systems upgraded and strengthened. This applies to a range of infrastructure, including booking systems, intra-and internet and the corporate network,” he continues.

He refers to the company’s decade long relationship with Amadeus Southern Africa as an example.

Integr8 was contacted to assist on a project to migrate the travel company’s largest customer onto its Sales Management Solution. The project required a national upgrade of the Amadeus front-office software and this was the largest rollout Amadeus has implemented on the African continent.

Says Fanaroff, “Our mandate was to remove the existing front-office software, deploy enhanced software, test as well as confirm that the systems were in full working order. We’ve been part of the development and advancement of Amadeus and its infrastructure for many years. We’re very pleased to have been able to continue to provide meaningful, results-driven service and support to our client as well as to the travel sector in which they feature as a respected leader.”

As a result of this partnership, Integr8 has also been instrumental in helping retail travel agency Club Travel with the required level of support for a network-enhancement project.

“The common thread linking our service to the tourism and hospitality industry is the implementation of critical communications infrastructure to keep operators up to date with the changing requirements of the market. We know that cost, access, ease of use and simple management are all part of the overall expectations…we are positioned to add value immediately,” Fanaroff adds.

“We know that travel and tourism is an immensely different environment compared to the past. The role of social networking, Internet access and mobility changed the landscape substantially. If the growth projections are accurate, there is every reason to believe the sector will grow rapidly and technology will remain at the heart of evolution,” he concludes.

 

Absa Bank Launches Its App For Android & Apple Devices | Adding BlackBerry Devices Shortly

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absa-bank-logoSouth Africa’s Absa Bank yesterday launched its much-anticipated App as part of its strategic digital journey, which forms part of its ambition of becoming the Go-To bank in South Africa.

The App builds on a strong foundation of infrastructure developments while leveraging shared global resources to deliver value to customers. The technological capability built up over the last two years lays a solid foundation of infrastructure, products and services taking one step further in the bank’s digital journey in South Africa and the rest of Africa.

With this launch, Absa customers can enjoy the speed and convenience of simple, intuitive payments and effortless navigation with fewer clicks to perform their banking transactions.

Absa said the App would be the first real, local financial services App for smartphones and tablets in South Africa available for both retail and business customers.

“This means our App is optimised for smartphone and tablet screens and encompasses a visually rich interface,” explains Arrie Rautenbach, Absa Head of Retail Banking.

The App provides access to a built-in video tutorial that will assist customers on a journey of learning. It is available for both individual and business customers and will permit multiple users in one household the ability to link into a single device or to have one user connect their profile to multiple devices.

“The new technology, which also integrates seamlessly with all other Absa digital banking channels incorporates many aspects of traditional transactional services, while combining smart device features such as your GPS location to allow for easy and instant search to the closest Absa branch or ATM,” adds Rautenbach.

The App also utilises the device’s contacts to make the sending of airtime or cash to friends and family quick and easy.

These and other unique features, such as the addition of an images library, are just some of the enhanced functionality features that customers can expect to see as new features and upgrades roll out every eight weeks.

Says Rautenbach: “The App gives users of smartphones and tablet devices easy access to their accounts in those ‘in-between’ moments when they have a moment before their train arrives or during the ad breaks.”

It is currently available for Android and Apple devices with support for Blackberry devices expected to be released shortly.

The bank says the App is the latest in a series of new financial solutions Absa has developed that rewards customers for an extended relationship with the bank, following its Value Bundles and Potentiate offerings launched in 2012.

“We have continued to focus extensively on how we can make the lives of our customers easier, and the App is just one part of our customer centric solutions, not forgetting Absa Rewards that adds real value to customers, offering real cash back for debits and credits. The launch of our App simplifies our customer experience, while permitting us integrated digital presence in Africa that offers customers internet banking in 11 countries, mobile banking in 6 countries and a financial services App in 6 countries,” concludes Rautenbach.

FAO Launches New Food Security Information Programme In Sudan

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fao The Food and Agriculture Organization has officially launched a new $US11.2 million programme to improve food security information collection and analysis and related policy design and implementation in Sudan.

The Food Security Policy and Strategy Capacity Building Programme (FSPSCBP) is funded by the European Union and implemented by FAO in partnership with the Government of Sudan. The 3-year programme operates in Red Sea, Kassala, Gedaref and Blue Nile states.

The Federal Undersecretary of the Ministry of Agriculture Mr Mohammed Hassan Jubara attended Wednesday’s launch workshop in Khartoum. “We appreciate very much the efforts of FAO and the EU in supporting Sudan in general and the Ministry of Agriculture especially,” he said.

Mr Joachim Knoth from the EU Delegation in Sudan also attended the launch. “If we work together this programme can help secure food security and reduce poverty in Sudan – this is what matters,” he said.

The new programme aims to strengthen the capacity of government line ministries in the four target states in the collection and analysis of food security information for policy decision-making. This means that food security decisions can be more informed and inclusive, and better implemented and monitored. The programme is supported by technical expertise from FAO’s Headquarters in Rome and from FAO’s Regional Office for the Near East and North Africa, based in Cairo.

The FSPSCBP will build on the achievements made under FAO’s EU­funded SIFSIA programme (Sudan Institutional Capacity Program: Food Security Information for Action). SIFSIA helped build the foundations at the federal level for an integrated and coordinated food security information system through intensive capacity building activities. The new programme is being implemented in partnership with the Government of Sudan’s Food Security Technical Secretariat which was established under SIFSIA and which has responsibility for food security data collection in Sudan.

“Sudan has enormous potential in agriculture, livestock and fisheries development, and the policies that this programme will help develop will work towards harnessing that potential,” said Mr Charles Agobia, the FSPSCBP Chief Technical Advisor.

FAO has successfully implemented other EU-funded projects in Sudan, including the five-year Sudan Productive Capacity Recovery Programme-Capacity Building (SPCRP-CB) which enhanced agricultural production capacities in Red Sea, River Nile, South Kordofan and Blue Nile states.

WhatsApp; We Are Not Selling To Google

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whatsappWhatsApp says it not selling to Google according to a new report to AllThingsD.

WhatsApp’s Business Development Head Neeraj Arora said there is no such thing and denied any negotiations with Google or any other firm on its acquisition.

Last week Digital Trends reported that WhatsApp was playing hardball and asking for a higher acquisition price from Google close to $1 billion and even compared it with last year’s billion dollar acquisition by Facebook.
The report further added that Google was working on Google Babel so it  desperately needed WhatsApp to put up a full communication service. Digital Trends further added that Google didn’t have the time to rebrand and rebuild a competitive messaging app for use on its purported Babel service to be launched.

WhatsApp has been growing by leaps and bounds by the day and is used in more than 100 countries and over 750 mobile networks.

MTN’s Cloud Service Offering Goes Live After Successful Trial

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mtn grp

After a successful pilot last year December, MTN is launching its bouquet of distinct cloud services this April.
MTN tried the service in Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda and South Africa among SMEs and became the first mobile network operator in Africa to adopt the Cloud Service Brokerage model.MTN centralised the access to services as a third-party single point of contact for customers with a focus on convenience by easing the administrative burden for SMEs.

Executive for MTN’s Group Enterprise Business Unit, Farhad Khan, says the response to the MTN Cloud trial was positive.

“What the pilot project confirmed is that our offerings are on the mark. There is great appetite for ICT solutions that are relevant, customised and affordable. SMEs are looking to technology service providers such as MTN to bring them world-class tools that improve their business efficiencies. MTN Cloud offers exactly that.”

MTN will be going live with MTN Cloud in Ghana and Nigeria on Wednesday April 10, with other markets to follow later in the year.

MTN Cloud offers an impressive list of services. As part of the trial, participating companies were offered access to Office Desktop, a cost-effective email and collaborative software, Mozypro, a back-up service for the effective management of files and servers, and Dialcom, an on-demand video conferencing offering.

Also on offer were McAfee, a popular anti-virus and anti-spam security software, Averiware, used for companies’ HR, accounting, finance and sales force automation needs, and Microsoft SharePoint, a staff and cross functional collaborative tool. This is in addition to Microsoft Dynamics CRM, a customer relations management tool.

The most popular of the MTN Cloud solutions during the trial were Averiware, MozyPro Online Backup, and McAfee SaaS.

Companies that participated in the pilot ranged from SMEs in the IT, manufacturing and hospitality sectors in Ghana to those in media and advertising in Nigeria.

“MTN is optimistic about the uptake of MTN Cloud. Our focus as MTN is to contribute to the development of enterprises and the sustainable growth of economies, and SMEs are key economic growth drivers in most of our markets.”

In line with the new commercial offering, business customers will receive a 30-day trial of MTN Cloud. Customers who subscribe to MTN Cloud, through MTN Business, in the different markets, will also be able to pay for services using airtime. Plans are also underway to enable businesses to utilise MTN Mobile Money to pay for MTN Cloud services. Payment will be effected in the local currency of the participating market.

 

Eurochannel Picks EUTELSAT 16A To Extend Reach In Sub-Saharan Africa

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The range of channels broadcasting across sub-Saharan Africa via the EUTELSAT 16A satellite further increased today with the launch of Eurochannel, the international TV channel dedicated to European films and series. Eurochannel’s selection of EUTELSAT 16A marks the latest step in its international expansion and comes three months after its launch into all Europe via Eutelsat. The channel has signed a new five-year contract for capacity and services with Eutelsat Communications.

Leveraging EUTELSAT 16A’s powerful Ku-band footprint that sweeps across Africa, from Senegal in the West to Madagascar in the East, Eurochannel has joined a digital platform uplinked by Eutelsat and comprising over 20 TV channels. Eurochannel is broadcasting programmes subtitled in English, French and Portuguese, with terrestrial headends its principal target.

Eurochannel Chairman and CEO, Gustavo Vainstein commented: “When we analysed our options for expansion across sub-Saharan Africa EUTELSAT 16A quickly emerged as the obvious choice for its high-power and strong reach of our target audience. Working with Eutelsat since our launch across all Europe last year has enabled us to develop a solid relationship which we look forward to taking to the next level with this new phase in our international development.”

Rodney Benn, Regional Vice-President Africa at Eutelsat, responded: “EUTELSAT 16A has quickly established itself as a valued platform for content delivery to network headends and for DTH reception in Africa. Its reach of over 25 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, combined with the services we are supplying from our Rambouillet teleport, enable us to satisfy a surge of new demand and we are delighted to welcome Eurochannel as the latest addition to the platform.”

How to receive Eurochannel:

EUTELSAT 16A at 16° East

Downlink Frequency: 10 804 MHz

Polarisation: Horizontal

DVB-S2 8PSK FEC, 2/3 Symbol rate, 30 Mbaud

Speech By Kenya’s Digital President H.E Uhuru Kenyatta On His Inauguration

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Your Excellency Mwai Kibaki, CGH, MP;
Your Excellency Daniel arap Moi;
Your Excellencies Visiting Heads of State & Government;
Chief Justice Willy Mutunga;
Invited Guests;
Fellow Kenyans,

On behalf of the Kenyan people, I welcome   all of you to Kenya. Karibuni Sana!
Let me also acknowledge with gratitude and respect the distinguished service of my predecessors.
President Mwai Kibaki, a true statesman and a great leader who over the past 10 years has laid a firm foundation for the future prosperity of our country.

Asante sana Mzee. Shukrani nyingi sana.
I pay tribute also to former President Moi who is with us today and thank him for his years of leadership and dedication to our nation. Asante Mzee!
With humility and respect, I acknowledge and pay tribute to the memory of my father, the late founding father of our nation, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta.
May he and his fellow architects of liberation in Kenya and Africa as a whole rest in peace with the knowledge that this generation is committed to fulfilling their dreams for our nation and our continent.

I would like to thank all my worthy opponents in the recently completed presidential election. Every one of you helped define and make stronger our democracy. Because of you ,  Kenyans had real choices.  Because of you ,  Kenyans felt free to exercise their sovereign will. Thank you all.

In an open and free democracy ,  there is a vital role for a vibrant opposition that helps to hold the Government to account.  Kenya is such a democracy , and as President I will respect that role just as I will champion the right of every Kenyan to speak their mind free of fear of reprisal or condemnation.
Fellow Kenyans,
Our nation has now successfully navigated the most complex general election in our history. Our journey began three years ago, with the promulgation of a new constitution , and ended eleven days ago, with a landmark Supreme Court decision.  Ours has been an unusual story.

An unconventional path. We have been praised and criticized in turn – depending on who was telling our story. Yet while some watched the unfolding national events with skepticism, resigned to what they believed was the inevitability of chaos , others , the vast majority, looked upon our nation with a tempered hope; cheering us on not only because they
believed in us but because they knew that if Kenya succeeded they too would succeed.

For all that has been said of our nation , the records of history will attest to a number of undeniable facts.

They will outline the long queues we made, the long hours we waited to vote and the historic voter turnout of these elections.

They will detail the decisions that the Kenyan media made – the
professionalism and responsibility with which they acted.

They will remind us of the fact that we embarked on a feat that few other countries have attempted , holding six elections simultaneously.

They will call our attention to the fact that the youth were meaningfully engaged in the entire electoral period and that the political consciousness of Kenyans was at an all-time high.

They will list and honor the individuals, institutions and service
organizations that played a strong role in this defining chapter of our nation’s history.

They will contrast our accomplishments , with the fact that Kenya ventured into multi-party politics only 20 years ago further strengthening and entrenching our democracy.

When the records remind us of these truths , we will recognise that at the end of the day , it is the indomitable spirit of the Kenyan people ; their commitment to peace ; their desire for progress and their respect for the rule of law – that was the true headline of this election story.

Where systems failed, Kenyans did not. Where decisions were delayed and ambiguity prevailed , Kenyans were patient – seeking and waiting for clarity. Where issues arose to stir up dissent , Kenyans exercised restraint ; peacefully sought redress and submitted themselves again to the constitution and the rule of law – united in the belief that God’s judgment would guide that of men.
Today ,  I am humbled and honoured to accept the mantle of leadership that the people of Kenya have bestowed on me. I will lead all Kenyans – those who voted for me – and those who voted for our competitors – towards a national prosperity that is firmly rooted in a rich and abiding peace in which unity can ultimately be realised.

Peace is not simply about the absence of violence. It is defined by the presence of fundamental liberties and the prevalence of economic opportunities.

We will not settle for a perfunctory peace that is disrupted every five years by an election cycle.  Rather , we are calling and working towards a permanent peace, through which democracy is glorified rather than undermined. A peace that fosters unity.

Indeed, national unity will only be possible if we deal decisively with some of the issues that continue to hinder our progress.
It will come through job creation.

It will be founded on economic growth. It will be strengthened by a globally competitive education system : by the building of more schools across the nation and by ensuring that we
have well thought out curricula that prepares our children for the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century.

It will be upheld when all citizens are able to access affordable
healthcare and protect themselves, and their children , from preventable diseases that still wage war on our populace.

It will be strengthened through the promotion of public-private
partnerships and through the creation of a friendly and enabling environment for business.

It will be reflected in our men and women working side by side as equals to move our country forward.

It will be realised when we become a food-secure nation by investing in and modernizing the agricultural sector by equipping it with the relevant information and technology that it needs to grow.

It will be confirmed when the rights of all citizens are protected through legislation that upholds the spirit of our constitution. When women and young people are both seen and heard at the decision-making table, at national as well as devolved levels of government. When all communities in Kenya are confident that they have a Government that listens to and addresses their needs.

Achieving peace and strengthening unity will be the goal of my Government. This work begins now. We welcome all Kenyans to hold us to account.
Within the first one hundred days  – we will ensure that maternity fees are abolished and that all citizens of Kenya are able to access government dispensaries and health centres free of charge.
Within the first one hundred days , we will develop a framework to direct the 6 billion Kenya Shillings  previously allocated for the election run-off  towards establishing a new Youth and Women Fund that will be open to the youth and women from every part of this country.
Within the first one hundred days, we will put measures in place to ensure that all students , joining class one next year , within the public school system receive a laptop. We made a promise to our children and we will keep it because we believe that early exposure to technology will inspire future innovation and be a catalyst for growth and prosperity.
Fellow Kenyans,
My government will immediately begin the process of supporting devolution and enabling county leadership to carry out their constitutional mandate and fulfill the pledges they made to the Kenyan people.

Let us all be clear – supporting devolution is not a choice , as some claim it to be – it is a duty. A constitutional duty.  One that I have sworn to uphold. Our constitution does not suggest devolution , it demands it. I urge all Kenyans to be persistent, pragmatic, patient and non-partisan , as we pursue the promise of devolved governance.

Fellow Kenyans,
Dealing with unemployment will be a priority for my government. We are committed to creating jobs and opportunities for our people  – especially our young people.

We will do this, by creating an enabling environment for the private sector.
We will harness the gifts and talents of our youth , in order to make sports and entertainment providers of profitable livelihood and to make Kenya a global leader in these areas.

We will make the procurement process faster, more accessible, and transparent. We will simplify the process of starting and running a business , in order to make it friendly and cost-effective to do business in Kenya.

We will expand electricity generation, extend the transmission network and ensure that electricity supply is more consistent and reliable.

We will build on the accomplishments of the last administration in infrastructure , by increasing accessibility through roads and rail networks , as well as increasing digital connectivity.

To the private sector, my promise to you , is that we will create an enabling environment , so that you can play your part in creating employment and fostering economic growth.

Fellow Kenyans,
For too long our nation has exported jobs that should rightly belong to our citizens. We have focused on exporting primary products , instead of promoting value addition and manufacturing finished goods thereby creating
jobs and improving our standard of living.

Today, I pledge , that my administration will work towards diversifying our economic base. We will support the manufacturing industry and support all enterprises , both local and international, that strive to create finished goods using local labour and materials. I also pledge , that this Government, as the largest buyer of goods and services will take the lead in supporting local industry , by buying Kenyan first.
I have consulted with Parliament and on the 16th of April, I will address both Houses and announce a detailed government program and legislative agenda.

Fellow Kenyans,
One of the biggest challenges to national unity is the feeling of
exclusion in the decision making process, hence our desire and need for devolution. That notwithstanding, my commitment to Kenya is that our national Government shall and will reflect the true face of Kenya , with the clear understanding that as we bring decision making and services closer to the people , the integrity and solidarity that binds us as citizens of one nation , must not only remain , but must be strengthened.

I am equally committed to ensuring that interests of women, and the interests of young people are represented in my government. A department in my office will be dedicated to ensuring that the interests of these
groups not only inform every decision I make as President , but also those of every department and government ministry.

Our doors will always be open. We will never turn a deaf ear to the needs of any person or group.  We will leave no community behind.

Fellow Kenyans –
To achieve these goals and to achieve Vision 2030 – we must be responsible stewards of our natural resources.

In light of this  – my commitment and the commitment of the Government will be to support the National Land Commission as they seek to provide the land answer. My government will strive to work with all actors to ensure that the issue of land will never again be a contentious or a divisive subject but rather that land will be seen as what it truly is, a factor of production.

I also promise that we will exploit our natural resources in a way that benefits the current generation while safeguarding the interests of generations to come. I want to assure all Kenyans that we shall use all the money that comes from natural resources for development programs.

Fellow Kenyans
We will ensure that the harmony we are striving for extends to the environment. It is our heritage. It is our duty as guardians and custodians of that heritage to protect it for future generations. Indeed, my government will strike a decisive blow against all those that threaten it. My fellow Kenyans, poaching and the destruction of our environment has no future in this country. The responsibility to protect our environment
belongs not just to the Government, but to each and every one of us. We will do all this, and more.

Where there is uncertainty , we will revive confidence in the governments ability to protect its citizens. Where there is disillusion – we will restore hope. Where there is opportunity denied – we will open new frontiers, and through our actions , we will renew our faith in government as an instrument of good.

Let me reiterate that  even as we work together to promote inclusion, open new frontiers and create new opportunities, we will not tolerate those who
continue to threaten the peace and security of our citizens. Criminals, cattle rustlers, drug barons and agents of terror , who disrupt the peace of our society will be met with the full force of the law and the strength of Kenya’s Security Forces. On this matter, we are resolute.

To our men and women in uniform, I say, this nation is indebted to you. You continue to lay down your lives in service, protecting Kenyans from threats both external and internal. My government will continue to work with you and do all that is in its power to support you as you continue in your noble duty.

To our sister countries in the region- we understand that our future is joined to yours. Our peace is linked to the security and stability of the region.

We deployed our armed forces to Somalia because terrorism and piracy affects all of us. Indeed in the last two decades, Kenya has invested immense diplomatic energy and resources in the quest for a stable Somalia.
Our commitment to fight terrorism and eradicate piracy will remain a central pillar of my government’s policy on peace and security.
As President , I will work with, the international community to
strengthen its support for IGAD and the AU peace process in Somalia because a stable and prosperous Somalia – is in the interest of all nations.

My fellow Kenyans –
The future of Kenya depends not only on our National Unity but also on deepening our bonds with our brothers and sisters in East Africa and Africa as a whole. It is with this unity that we will prosper and truly deliver on the promise of independence and liberation from our colonial past.

My administration is therefore committed to regional trade and cooperation and will continue to strengthen ties through the free movement of people , goods and investment , including the removal of tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade within the EAC. My goal is to see the continued growth of our community towards ultimate integration.

As Kenya celebrates its Jubilee year of freedom and independence, Africa too marks slightly over 50 years since the fall of colonialism. The breakaway from colonialism has not been easy. Indeed it has been fraught with great challenges and setbacks. Without fail however, the trajectory of our recent history, in Kenya as in Africa, has been one of great hope,
renewed progress and palpable determination.    Africa, Ladies and Gentlemen, is on the rise. Kenya sees herself as an integral part of this
exciting awakening. The great renaissance spoken of a mere 20 years ago is upon us. Across the continent evidence of renewal and growth is everywhere, built on the bedrock of rising self-confidence, a growing educated, youthful population and God given abundance of natural wealth and resources.

To the Nations of Africa and The African Union – we assure you that in Kenya , you will continue to have a partner and an ally. If we stand together in solidarity I am confident that we will find the strength to thrive and innovate solutions that work for us. Of course, we join you in continuing to insist on relating with all nations as equals- not juniors.
As partners, not subordinates. In our history as nations, we have seen some of the most ardent promoters of ideals of national sovereignty and democracy sometimes fail to live by the principles they espouse, but let us remember that their failure does not justify ours.

To the nations of the world – we acknowledge that in this age of globalization , all of us are interdependent. Our economies are interconnected as indeed are our people. I pledge to continue cultivating the relationships we have had with our traditional partners and I say to all developing and developed nations who desire a deeper and more mutually
beneficial relationship with Kenya: We are ready for partnerships, we are open for business and we invite you to invest in our country.
I also want to remind the International Community that for the last fifty years, Kenya has been one of the most engaged members and one of the most prolific co-authors of international treaties and instruments.

I assure you again that under my leadership, Kenya will strive to uphold our international obligations, so long as these are founded on the well-established principles of mutual respect and reciprocity.

Central to our continued contribution to the international community, will be the understanding that the world is made up of many countries, cultures, political experiences and world-views. We must remember that no one country or group of countries should have control or monopoly on international institutions or the interpretation of international
treaties. While each state has a right to its own view, it must respect the fact that it holds just one view amongst many in the community of nations.

Fellow Kenyans, Today , work begins.
The time has come, not to ask what community we come from but rather what dreams we share. The time has come not to ask what political party we belong to but rather what partnerships we can build. The time has come to
ask , not who we voted for, but what future we are devoted to.
Fellow Kenyans we must move forward together. Let us remember that although we may not be bound together by ethnicity, or cultural practices or religious conviction – our kinship rests solidly upon the fact that we have all been adopted by Kenya’s borders; we are all children of this
nation, we are all bound to one constitution which calls us to rise above our individual ideologies and march to our national anthem.  That anthem reminds us of the fundamental principles upon which our prosperity must be built. It calls us to reflect on the power of peace; to recall the supreme value of freedom; to believe, once more, in the beauty of service
and brotherhood; to aspire each day, to the dignity that results from hard work, and to contend for the hope that justice brings.
Brothers and sisters; Fellow Kenyans – let us move forward, together, in the spirit of our anthem and in the spirit of our constitution being confident that if we turn neither to the left nor to the right of our national values, we, as a people, will see the promised land of prosperity that our forbearers set out for.

God bless you, God bless the Republic of Kenya and God bless Africa.

Konga.com Appoints Former Head Of Marketing and Partnerships at Jumia Nigeria As New VP,Marketing.

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I received an email a couple of days ago from “Onyeka Akumah” inviting me along with several journalists to the offices of Konga, Nigeria’s Online Mega Store at Ilupeju  for a tour of their offices, and unless there is another top digital marketer called Onyeka Akumah in Nigeria, then it means that former head of marketing and partnerships at Rocket Internet Gmbh, the parent company of JUMIA Nigeria has joined a rival firm Konga, in the latter’s bid to improve operations around the company. I hear that Konga has been filling up a lot of different positions, and now has staff of over 100(unconfirmed) in the company’s bid to consolidate on its position in e-Commerce in Nigeria.
 
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I was at Tedx Victoria Island, and I remember a talk given by Sim Shagaya, founder of Konga, where talked about Sears, Walmart and other major retail chains in the US, and how that the emerging e-Commerce brands in Nigeria could all easily play in the field of eCommerce.
 
Onyeka who graduated from Sikkim Manipal University, India top of his class with a GPA of 4.65/5.00 earning a bachelor’s degree in Applied Information Technology has been in top online marketing positions in two of the biggest eCommerce brands in Nigeria. He first worked at wakanow.com as online marketing manager before being appointed as a director in Rocket Internet Nigeria and then on to be a  Council Member at GLG – Gerson Lehrman Group  focusing on the African Internet market, before becoming Lead, Online & Mobile Marketing (Digital Marketing Group) at Guaranty Trust Bank plc (GTBank), but he is finally back to his passion in e-Commerce with Nigeria’s online megastore; Konga.com
 
In his characteristic manner, Onyeka in his new role as VP, Marketing at Konga reached out to the media to give them a feel of operations at Konga HQ in Ilupeju.
 
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Konga.com has also just announced the launch of a new product that is set to revolutionize the face of online business in Nigeria forever with this special project codenamed “Konga Mall”, and according to an email sent in by their team, the goal of Konga Mall is to enable offline business thrive online by helping them  sell and deliver your products to over 49 million online Nigerians, increasing visibility and growing your profits. Konga.com wants to help your business succeed and keep you happy, with no hassles or headaches by providing
 
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