[AfrICANN-discuss] FW: Issue 528: Worldreader.org trials Amazon Kindles in Ghanaian schools and plans to roll-out in other African countries

Seun Ojedeji seun.ojedeji at unn.edu.ng
Sat Oct 30 12:17:26 SAST 2010

> Worldreader.org chose Ghana because according to Risher:”Its Government was
> stable and it was focused on education.”

May God help my country....:) congrats to Ghana and Africa as a whole!!


On Sat, Oct 30, 2010 at 10:28 AM, Anne-Rachel Inne <
anne-rachel.inne at icann.org> wrote:

>       Issue no 528
> 29th Oct 2010
>  Top Story <#12bfc995e707a429_topstory>
>  Telecoms News <#12bfc995e707a429_tel>
>  Internet News <#12bfc995e707a429_int>
>  Computer News <#12bfc995e707a429_comp>
>  On the Money <#12bfc995e707a429_money>
>  More <#12bfc995e707a429_others>
> Worldreader.org trials Amazon Kindles in Ghanaian schools and plans to
> roll-out in other African countries <#12bfc995e707a429_topstory>
> Worldreader.org’s CEO David Risher is passionate about encouraging reading.
> After a “road to Damascus” moment in an orphanage in Ecuador with a locked
> library, he decided with his co-founder that Kindle e-readers would be an
> effective way of relighting the reading habit in developing country schools.
> He chose Ghana to try out this idea and this week he talks to Russell
> Southwood about progress so far.
> [image: Gateway Communications Banner]<http://lists.balancingact-africa.com/t/8396/239012/48/0/>
> *In this issue*
> **
>   [image: SES WORLD SKIES banner]<http://lists.balancingact-africa.com/t/8396/239012/770/0/> telecoms
> news Safaricom signs M-Pesa Mobile Money deals with Uchumi Supermarkets
> and Naivas
>  <#12bfc995e707a429_tel01> Telecom Namibia Battles Underground Cable
> Damage
>  <#12bfc995e707a429_tel02> Telkom Kenya Calls Back With Lower CDMA Charges
>  <#12bfc995e707a429_tel03> France Telecom steps up interest in Benin<#12bfc995e707a429_tel04>
> Internet NEWS
>  <http://lists.balancingact-africa.com/t/8396/239012/989/0/>
> MTN relaunches UUNet as MTN Business in Kenya and targets the corporate
> market
>  <#12bfc995e707a429_int01> Spectrum Out With Back-ups for Internet
>  <#12bfc995e707a429_int02> Mobile Internet Revolution Takes Zimbabwe by
> Storm <#12bfc995e707a429_int03>
> [image: O3B Networks]<http://lists.balancingact-africa.com/t/8396/239012/1207/0/>
>  Computer news
> Controversy Brews at Addis Chamber Over IT Solution Buy
>  <#12bfc995e707a429_comp01> Plans to Set Up Science & Technology Park in
> Gambia
>  <#12bfc995e707a429_comp02> Mauritius to Employ 30,000 Ugandans to
> position itself as IT hub <#12bfc995e707a429_comp03>
> On the Money
> Zimbabwe Parliament Ratifies U.S.$45 Million Loan for NetOne
>  <#12bfc995e707a429_money01> Red tape holds up Microsoft BEE deal
>  <#12bfc995e707a429_money02> Lower revenues, higher ad costs prompt net
> income slump for MobiNil in 3Q10 <#12bfc995e707a429_money03> Rural
> Varsities Get Better Connected in South Africa in R28 million funding deal<#12bfc995e707a429_money04>
> More
> Telecoms, Rates, Offers and Coverage <#12bfc995e707a429_telrates> Web and
> Mobile Data News <#12bfc995e707a429_data> People, Events, Jobs and
> Opportunities, Contracts <#12bfc995e707a429_people>
> [image: iBasis banner]<http://lists.balancingact-africa.com/t/8396/239012/898/0/>
> **
> Back to top <#12bfc995e707a429_top>
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>   Worldreader.org trials Amazon Kindles in Ghanaian schools and plans to
> roll-out in other African countries
> Worldreader.org’s CEO David Risher is passionate about encouraging reading.
> After a “road to Damascus” moment in an orphanage in Ecuador with a locked
> library, he decided with his co-founder that Kindle e-readers would be an
> effective way of relighting the reading habit in developing country schools.
> He chose Ghana to try out this idea and this week he talks to Russell
> Southwood about progress so far.
> David Risher took his family off round the world on a year long vacation,
> visiting places in Asia and Latin America. He and his wife schooled their
> children while away using books on an Amazon Kindle e-reader. During one
> part of their trip, they visited an orphanage and found that what had once
> been a library was padlocked and no-one could find the key.
> ”The girls in the orphanage had lost interest in reading.” These two things
> came together and he and his co-founder began to think about how they could
> give access to books to students using the Kindle e-reader device:”The
> technology is useful in the developing world where paper can’t reach.”
> Worldreader.org chose Ghana because according to Risher:”Its Government was
> stable and it was focused on education.” It ran a two week trial and during
> that time it became clear that the students felt it was like using a mobile
> phone. However, there were four hours training time over the two weeks for
> both teachers and students.
> Now it is in the process of putting e-readers into six schools, two from
> each different education level: primary, junior high and secondary. A
> research project will be conducted with another set of schools that have no
> e-readers for the purpose of comparison. So there will be 500 teachers and
> students with access to the device and 500 without.
> An international donor is paying for the research that will ask two fairly
> fundamental questions: do the students with access to the Kindles read more
> and does their reading level increase? Alongside these two questions, it
> will look at how the Kindle is used in the family setting and how the
> teacher incorporates new material into the curriculum. Refreshingly, Ritter
> wants the research to be “arms-length and credible for us and the funders”
> rather than a piece of advocacy work.
> The Kindle e-readers will have three roughly equal categories of material:
> classics like Charles Dickens, Victor Hugo and Nathanial Hawthorne for
> advanced years study (where the material is out of copyright); local books
> in English and vernacular languages that it has helped Ghanaian publishers
> digitise; and text books. Among the local books is one called The Shark
> about a student wrongly accused of having an affair with her teacher.
> Content will be rolled out in three phases. Phase 1 will be pre-loaded
> books that come with the Kindle loaded on by Worldreader.org. Phase 2 will
> be materials that the teachers have added. And phase 3 is where it might get
> really interesting. Students will be given US$15-20 to buy any books they
> want:”If we give children a budget to rent or buy books, it will become
> demand-driven.”
> So how well can the Kindle survive the rough and tumble of the school
> environment?: “It is good but not great. School is where kids throw things
> around. We haven’t lost any to this kind of damage yet. We partnered with
> M-Edge who make neoprene jackets for them and they’ve donated jackets that
> we hope will protect them.” In the medium to long-term, he’d like to be able
> to influence their design to make them faster and more rugged.
> The money to be able buy the US$250 readers has come from a range of
> different sources, largely private: from some ex-Microsoft employees in
> Seattle who wanted smart ways to invest their money socially and through
> “in-kind” donations. Amazon donated some initial readers and is offering
> discounts on the rest.
> Worldreader.org chose the Kindle because it is more or less a single
> function machine and is therefore cheaper than its equivalent tablet devices
> like the iPad:”For the developing world, an iPad is overkill.” Risher also
> believes that as a reader only it is less distracting for students. The 3G
> capability means that books can be delivered in relatively far-flung places
> as 3G networks expand. It has only limited Internet capability:”You can get
> it to cough up a Wikipedia article but its Internet functionality is very
> limited.” Furthermore, the 1 hour recharge lasts in most instances two weeks
> but obviously makes access to electricity a must.
> The mid-term ambition once the pilot has been evaluated is two-fold:
> firstly, to learn the lessons of the pilot and to continue to expand and
> secondly, to roll-out to more countries, some of which will be in Africa in
> the near term:”In choosing, there are many factors but two are really
> important. There are infrastructure factors: is there 3G coverage? But the
> real issue is we’re trying to change human behaviour. So in the next
> geography we go to, it will be about the willingness of Government to
> embrace this.”
> Worlreader.org are not the first organisation to travel this road so it’s
> worth reviewing some of the general issues raised when this kind of project
> comes into view:
> * Africa’s not a reading culture: Yes, Africa has a wonderful oral
> tradition of storytelling and should have for many years to come. But
> reading is a key skill from the most basic functional literacy (filling in a
> form) to accessing the new digital world (SMS and the Internet).
> Notwithstanding the continuing debates about the dumbing- down impact of
> global culture, there is a clear causal link between reading levels and the
> development of a society. And perhaps this may be as strong a causal link as
> the roll-out of broadband. There are issues of local language and the
> availability of local materials but these are more likely to be solved if
> there is a distribution system in place.
> * It’s a waste of money. Why don’t they just spend more money on education
> (or something else that the person thinks is important)?: This is a classic
> development argument that is both self-defeating and unreal. Ten years ago,
> development experts were arguing that more water stand-pipes were needed,
> not the Internet. The truth is that the development community does not
> really get to make these choices. Middle class African parents will buy
> themselves or their kids iPads or Kindles and get ahead in the race to
> succeed. Private investors put in 3G networks that others will use.
> Classrooms that have no windows when the Kindles arrive will simply
> demonstrate uneven development and in the best of circumstances, inspire
> people to improve things more generally. They find money to build churches
> and mosques, so why not money to improve schools? However, this will only
> happen if the teachers, parents and children love the device that is
> introduced and prove it can work. And on things like the One Laptop Per
> Child (OLPC), the jury’s still out.
> * Africans can’t afford it: At US$250, this puts it squarely out of the
> reach of all but the LSM9-12 categories. However, at US$100, which is where
> the price of Kindle-type devices is most likely headed, then it’s easier to
> imagine a wider range of users wanting to buy it for their children. We’ve
> seen iPad knock-offs that Chinese manufacturers are claiming that they can
> bring in at under that price. All over Africa, there is a thirst for
> education amongst parents of a wide range of backgrounds and incomes, and if
> they are convinced that reading will help their children get ahead, then it
> will begin to succeed both inside the market (where parents buy them) and
> outside the market (where donors buy them).
> * But it doesn’t give them Internet access or full this or full that: The
> Kindle is uni-functional as against something like the OLPC, which is
> multi-functional. The strength of uni-functional is that it brings the price
> down and in concentrating on one thing allows the user to get quick access
> to that single function. You don’t always have to be worrying about software
> glitches, incomprehension at operating systems and the delicacy of PC
> innards in a tropical climate. However, there a ladder of expectations
> across all technologies. If some of your friends start getting smartphones
> to access Facebook, you don’t say to yourself, “well, I’ll just sit this one
> out while they get on with it.”
> Too much African education is repetition and rote learning. The more
> students and their parents as knowledgeable, or even more knowledgeable,
> than teachers, the greater the opportunities of raising the level of
> expectation beyond learn and repeat-type lessons. Demand-driven education –
> both inside and outside the classroom – may well expand horizons faster than
> any Ministry of Education or curriculum can keep up with. The digital
> transition in broadcast has already seen education channels introduced in
> Kenya and Nigeria. Who knows, we may even get to a position where students
> understand how to analyse problems and then begin to solve them. And in that
> they’d certainly be ahead of most of the current elderly generation of
> African leaders. But hey, maybe I’m just an optimist.
> It’s worth repeating that Africa now has the bandwidth to make these kind
> of technology interventions that ten years were the embarrassing failures
> where things like PCs were sometimes not even unpacked from their boxes in
> schools. Now there is the bandwidth to deliver to the edges of the 3G
> network, so the question will be: will students love to use this device and
> will it make reading more widespread?
> [image: Qkon banner]<http://lists.balancingact-africa.com/t/8396/239012/901/0/>[image:
> SkyVision banner]<http://lists.balancingact-africa.com/t/8396/239012/56/0/>
> [image: Unificom Banner]<http://lists.balancingact-africa.com/t/8396/239012/217/0/>[image:
> Balancing Act Report on African Voice and Data Bandwidth Forecast
> (2007-2012)] <http://lists.balancingact-africa.com/t/8396/239012/1281/0/>
> **
> Back to top <#12bfc995e707a429_top>
> Safaricom signs M-Pesa Mobile Money deals with Uchumi Supermarkets and
> Naivas
> Safaricom has started to target high turnover retail chains business using
> its money transfer service, M-Pesa with its latest deal with Uchumi
> Supermarkets. The deal, which will enable Safaricom's subscribers to use the
> M-Pesa service to buy goods from two of Kenya's leading retail chains was
> signed last Friday, deepening the country's foray into the era of cashless
> transactions.
> The partnership involving Uchumi Supermarkets, which is Kenya's second
> largest retail chain by annual turnover, and fourth placed Naivas deepens
> the mobile money transfer platform's transformation into a key electronic
> commerce tool with the potential of upsetting the cash-based transaction
> system that currently dominates the country's commerce.
> "Our aim is to bring about a situation where M-Pesa subscribers will leave
> home with money in their M-Pesa accounts and not need any other form of cash
> to transact during the day," said Michael Joseph, the outgoing Safaricom
> CEO. "This is only the beginning of a new revolution because we also plan to
> sign up petrol stations, restaurants, hotels, and chemists as M-Pesa Buy
> Goods partners," he said.
> The move comes at a time when Safaricom's main income earner - sale of
> airtime - is under severe pressure from a fierce price war that has seen
> calling tariffs drop to rock bottom levels in the past two months.
> Safaricom's signing up of more retailers is hinged on the expectation that
> use of the service by the estimated 12.5 million M-Pesa customers will boost
> the company's top line, and help scale down its reliance on voice calls as
> the main revenue earner. Joseph said the service will initially be free, but
> will later attract charges.
> The Uchumi supermarket's chief executive, Jonathan Ciano said about 20
> million shoppers visited Uchumi's stores last year, an indication of the
> high revenue potential based on the low-margin, high volume pricing model.
> In the year ended June 2010, shoppers at Uchumi spent Sh9.6 billion. As a
> listed company, Uchumi is the only supermarket in Kenya that publishes its
> annual accounts.
> (Source: Daily Nation on the web)
>   Telecom Namibia Battles Underground Cable Damage
> tFrequent cable cuts by contractors and builders are resulting in a sharp
> increase in telecommunications service disruptions, Telecom Namibia said
> this week. Cut cables usually mean that communications services are
> needlessly interrupted in a neighbourhood, town or even in a wider area,
> affecting hundreds of homes and businesses.
> Telecom spokesperson Oiva Angula said the disruptions were impacting on the
> company's business both from a quality and financial perspective. "In order
> to provide end-to-end, always-on connectivity, other service providers rely
> on leased circuits procured from Telecom Namibia. This service provisioning
> is backed by strict Service Level Agreement (SLA) norms due to the need for
> high quality and resilient connectivity.
> "However, frequent stoppages due to cable cuts experienced in the networks
> cause serious losses to Telecom Namibia - which pays significant penalties
> on account of non-conformity to SLA norms," Angula said in a statement.
> He said the "unpleasant surprise" could be avoided if construction
> companies and others first contacted the nearest Telecom Namibia office
> before starting a project that involved digging or disturbance of the earth
> of any kind.
> "A severed cable can be costly to the person or company responsible for the
> damage, and even more hurtful to someone who needs to make an emergency call
> but cannot because the phone line is cut," he said.
> He called on contractors and builders to familiarise themselves with all
> services - electrical, water and telephone - at a site before they start
> work. Telecom Namibia said it will issue a drawing, free of charge,
> detailing all the information it has on underground cables in the area where
> work is to be carried out.
> "In recent months we have discovered contractors working without mark-up
> drawings on site - this is a highly dangerous practice and steps must be
> taken to ensure proper safety procedures are followed," Angula said. He said
> anyone who failed to comply could be liable for repair costs or civil
> penalties.
> (Source: The Namibian)
>   Telkom Kenya defends its landline turf with lower CDMA charges
> Telkom Kenya has moved to defend its landline turf which has been hit by
> stiff competition from mobile phones by slashing its tariff on the wireless
> network offered on CDMA technology by 71 per cent. Subscribers will now make
> calls for Sh2 per minute down from Sh7 per minute charged previously within
> the network. Calls from the CDMA wireless service to other networks will
> cost Sh4 per minute.
> The telecoms company has also cut its SMS charges to Sh1 within network
> while to other networks will be billed at Sh2. Telkom Kenya CEO Mickael
> Ghossein said the move has been informed by the changing market dynamics and
> facilitated by the recent successful integration of the different platforms
> used to support all their telephony services. "This is part of our ongoing
> commitment to making communication affordable to all, irrespective of the
> time", Ghossein said.
> The high cost of maintaining landlines, estimated at Sh2 billion annually
> and operate on copper cable prone to vandalism has limited Telkom Kenya from
> lowering its rates. The high calling rates has seen more consumers shift to
> cheaper options.
> The number of fixed lines uses saw a decline of 0.5 per cent, having
> decreased to 245,791 in March 2009 down from 247,082 in December 2009. This
> was against the backdrop of increase in number of mobile users from 19.4
> million to 19.9 million in the period under review, registering a growth of
> 2.7 per cent, statistics from Communication Commission of Kenya (CCK)
> indicate.
> At the same time, the number of fixed wireless subscriptions experienced a
> decline of 41 per cent from 551,132 in December 2009 to 325,022 in March
> 2010. The new Orange fixed line tariffs will see a reduction in the cost of
> calling per minute from Sh14 to other networks to Sh12 per minute. Calls to
> other Orange fixed line handsets, Orange Wireless and Orange mobile will now
> be charged at Sh.6 per minute from the previous Sh7.
> Telkom Kenya will also be offering 30 bonus on-net minutes for all
> post-paid fixed customers, with the new tariffs is a move at wooing
> customers. "The bonus minutes will be applied automatically and will be
> consumed before any billable minutes", he said.
> The CEO also said that there has been a phenomenal increase in the number
> of new fixed line operators despite stiff competition from the mobile
> sector. Orange has in the past three months lowered its mobile calling
> tariffs and internet access costs. Orange is the only wireless service
> (CDMA) provider in the country so far, and dominates the fixed line market
> (Source: Business Daily)
>   France Telecom steps up interest in Benin
> Financial journal Les Afriques writes that France Telecom (Orange) has
> stepped up its interest in taking over state-owned Benin Telecoms, according
> to an unnamed source speaking to the publication.
> France Telecom is known to have held talks on entering the Benin market
> through a planned privatisation deal, since indicating its interest back in
> 2007, when the proposal was aired by the African state, but according to the
> quoted source, the French giant has recently entered a ‘final round of
> negotiations’ with Benin Telecoms’ board and the government. ‘Since the idea
> of privatisation was announced, a number of internationally known operators
> have expressed an interest,’ said the source, adding that financial and
> technical offers remained under scrutiny, whilst it has been rumoured that
> Orange’s submission is in pole position, helped by intense lobbying efforts
> from the company’s delegation in Benin over the past few months.
> Another persistent rumour is that a possible deal could also include Bell
> Benin Communication, a cellco owned by businessman and politician Issa
> Salifou, despite Benin Telecoms also owning a 100% GSM subsidiary, Libercom.
> Regardless of the details, the potential takeover fits into Orange's
> expansion strategy in Africa, with the group currently finalising
> acquisitions in Togo and Morocco. In the latter market – where it has agreed
> a minority share purchase of Medi Telecom – it will compete with Maroc
> Telecom, owned by France rival Vivendi, which is another company previously
> mentioned in connection with a possible purchase of Benin Telecoms.
> [image: Balancing Act Banner]<http://lists.balancingact-africa.com/t/8396/239012/35/0/>
>   telecoms briefs
> - Cell C has made a pit stop in Polokwane in its race to hook up the
> country’s main towns and cities to its third-generation mobile
> network.Polokwane, the capital of Limpopo province, will have 67% network
> coverage for now, slightly lower than many of the other cities in which the
> company has launched its new network.
> However, Cell C’s Head of Marketing, Simon Camerer, says the city will have
> 98% coverage by January next year.Residents of Polokwane, will receive
> average download speeds of between 6Mbit/s and 9Mbit/s.Gauteng residents
> will be hoping Pretoria and Johannesburg will be the next on Cell C’s list.
> Cell C CEO Lars Reichelt has said Gauteng should go live in mid-November.
> However, he has also said that the Gauteng roll-out has been more difficult
> than expected.
> - An argument over whether South Africa’s telecommunications regulator has
> jurisdiction to rule in a dispute between Telkom and Vodacom, MTN and Cell C
> over interconnection fees, could spell bad news for the traditionally
> fixed-line operator. Telkom wants the mobile operators to pay it 93c/minute
> for calls it carries from them onto its new mobile network, 8ta. In turn, it
> wants to pay them the lower “termination rate” of 89c/minute (in peak times)
> and 77c/minute (off-peak) for calls in the other direction. The three
> incumbent operators are fighting tooth and nail to prevent the asymmetrical
> regime that Telkom wants imposed and has taken the matter to Icasa for
> resolution. Vodacom on Friday argued that the Icasa committee does not have
> the right to set an interconnection rate. It said the Electronic
> Communications Act only allows Icasa, as a full council, to make a decision
> on pricing. However, Telkom said the act fully empowered the committee to
> make a ruling on the matter. The committee was required to investigate and
> make an appropriate finding on an interconnection dispute if requested to do
> so by the Icasa council, it said.
> [image: Balancing Act Report - African Mobile ARPU and Subscriber
> Forecasts] <http://lists.balancingact-africa.com/t/8396/239012/1280/0/>
> **
> Back to top <#12bfc995e707a429_top>
> MTN relaunches UUNet as MTN Business in Kenya and targets the corporate
> market
> Last Wednesday UUNET was re-branded as MTN Business Kenya, to reflect its
> principal shareholder. MTN group is Africa's largest telecommunications
> operator with nearly 130 million cellular subscribers in the region and in
> the Middle East. "We are leveraging on MTN's continental footprint to up our
> game in the internet market," said the new outfit's managing director, Tom
> Omariba.
> This is anticipated to renew rivalry in the corporate data market, where
> the firm currently has about 700 customers. Its competitiors AccessKenya,
> Safaricom and Telkom Kenya are also fighting from their end to remain
> strong. According to Omariba, the new structure will give the firm impetus
> to play within the data sphere and will carry internet traffic from
> pan-African networks to the rest of the world by leveraging on MTN Business.
> "With the rebrand, one of our core objectives is to open up the region for
> business with additional VAS offerings," said Mr Omariba. In 2004, Verizon
> South Africa bought UUNET Africa, including the Kenyan subsidiary.
> However, in 2008, South Africa-based mobile operator MTN bought 100 per
> cent of corporate internet service provider Verizon South Africa, which was
> owned by US-based Verizon Communications (70 per cent) and local group Jay &
> Jayendra (30 per cent).
> Later, MTN (60 per cent) and Telkom South Africa (40 per cent) in a joint
> venture formed SDN Mauritius that took over 70 per cent of UUNET Kenya. The
> other 30 per cent is taken by local shareholding.
> (Source: Daily Nation on the Web)
>   Tanzania: National Electoral Commission’s web site not ready for
> forthcoming election
> With only four days to go before the 2010 General Election, information on
> the National Electoral Commission (NEC) website is shockingly outdated as
> very few facts and figures are available about the October 31 elections.
> The total number of visitors to www.nec.go.tz, currently standing at about
> 3,500, is an indication of how few people are relying on it as a source of
> information, although the outdated and limited details can be frustrating.
> A quick visit proves that NEC was yet to post up-to-date details of voters
> and polling centres, or the presiding officers as deployed countrywide.
> Coupled with constant breakdowns, and the continued use of obsolete
> information, the site could mislead those intent on using it to monitor or
> follow the voting progress on Sunday and the subsequent counting exercise.
> It is not clear why NEC is yet to update some of the information, including
> changing the names of former MPs, some who are deceased and others who had
> already been replaced during by-elections. An example of the site's
> shortcomings is the retaining of the status of deceased MPs such as Juma
> Akukweti, Richard Nyaulawa and others as members of the National Assembly.
> There is also no list of presidential candidates running this year, with
> Chadema's Dr Willibrod Slaa still being referred to as MP for Karatu.
> Under the tag of Voter Register, the latest entry is an update for
> 2007/2008 that put the total number of voters at 18 million, with an
> additional 2 million new entries. NEC had indicated this year that those who
> have been cleared to vote stand at over 19 million.
> Last week, the NEC principal education officer, Ms Ruth Masham, told The
> Citizen in a phone interview that the Commission had been experiencing
> technical problems in running the website. Asked why tit had not updated it,
> she said: "This is an internal matter whose details I can't disclose to you
> but we are working on it and will soon bring it to date." However, part of
> the problem appears to be a shortage of staff, including those with IT
> skills.
> "We have been overwhelmed by preparations for the General Election and as a
> result the person tasked to update and manage the website could not get time
> to do so," Ms Christina Njovu, NEC's public relations officer told The
> Citizen last week in a telephone interview.
> Only a few websites including that of the Bank of Tanzania (BoT),
> parliament and the national bureau of statistics appear updated, modernised
> and busy. Some websites belonging to ministries have not been updated with
> critical information for the past year. The ministry of East African
> Cooperation is another huge non-performer.
> Unlike the corresponding websites of other East African partner states, the
> local website has no single material posted regarding the East African
> Common Market protocol that came into force in July. For more than two
> years, the ministry of Energy and Minerals website is more or less like a
> "dummy." It has neither energy nor minerals statistics posted on it.
> "Statistics coming soon," it reads.
> The EAC ministry website is outdated, despite its first page claiming that:
> "It is our fervent hope that our website provides you with beneficial
> information and assists you in understanding the EAC integration process."
> The director for Information and Communication Technologies at the ministry
> of Communication, Science and Technology, Dr Zaipuna Yonah, says the
> responsibility to manage the websites is within the ministries and agencies
> themselves.
> He said the authorities have realised there is a deficiency in ICT
> utilisation for communication and has called a meeting for tomorrow
> (Thursday) to discuss, among other things, matters pertaining to
> mismanagement of government websites.
> "It is unfortunate that the government is not harnessing fully the
> potentials of the ICT infrastructure it has improved," said Mr Mwenda, chief
> executive officer of WiA Group, a telecommunications investment management
> firm in Tanzania. He said lack of effective use of ICT was hurting the
> country because many potential local and international investors
> increasingly relied on the internet to get information.
> (source: The Citizen)
>   Mobile Internet Revolution Takes Zimbabwe by Storm
> Zimbabwe entered a new digital era last week Friday when the largest mobile
> phone network Econet Wireless launched its mobile broadband package
> available to their estimated 4.5 million subscribers.
> Econet CEO Douglas Mboweni said this was the most ambitious project they
> had undertaken since 1998 when the company was launched adding the broadband
> would be pivotal in reconstructing the country's economy.
> Reporting from Harare our correspondent Simon Muchemwa said three broadband
> packages were being offered; "On the Go" for customers on the move using
> internet capable handsets and laptops, the "@Home" package for home users
> surfing for leisure, school and light business and "@Work" for business
> users.
> Muchemwa said customers were asked to send a blank text message to 145 and
> a confirmation would then be sent by Econet confirming if the line has been
> activated. Subscribers can then buy internet 'bundles' ranging from 1 to
> 1000 megabytes to allow them to connect to the internet. Each megabyte costs
> 50 US cents although many customers were given a free promotional 100
> megabytes.
> The project has cost Econet close to US$100 million and covers many of the
> major cities. Previous attempts at launching the service in September last
> year resulted in an over-subscription and Econet had to suspend offering the
> service to new customers until the necessary upgrade had been completed.
> While the economic advantages are obvious, Muchemwa reports that activists
> are excited at the prospect of the technology helping to discourage rights
> abuses. 'Anyone with a camera or video phone can capture incidents of
> political violence and within minutes the whole world will be watching,' he
> said.
> Cost however will remain the main stumbling block for the service to take
> root effectively. At 50 US cents per megabyte, many people will struggle to
> afford the luxury of sending and receiving large files. Early signs are
> promising though with Muchemwa saying in the first day of the launch
> hundreds of people in Harare could be seen glued to their phones and laptops
> surfing the internet.
> (Source: SW Radio Africa)
>    Internet briefs
> - Broadband Infraco, the new State-Owned Enterprise (SOE) that will sell
> high capacity long distance transmission services to network service
> providers in South Africa, has confirmed that it will unveil its new ZAR1
> billion (USD144.1 million) network during the third week of November. The
> company has been plagued by licensing issues since its inception three years
> ago. Broadband Infraco has since confirmed that it will operate exclusively
> within a wholesale business model, targeting both fixed and mobile
> operators, as well as internet service providers. Licensed operators may buy
> multiple capacity increments of 155Mbps - up to 10Gbps. Broadband Infraco’s
> lowest capacity service reportedly offers transmission speeds akin to 20 HD
> movies being screened simultaneously.
> - AccessKenya has announced that it has expanded its WiMAX network to the
> towns of Nyeri, Nanyuki and Mukurwe-ini in central Kenya. The company said
> that there have been numerous requests for its services in these areas, with
> AccessKenya identifying sufficient commercial potential in the region. New
> customers will benefit from Layer 2 and Layer 3 Virtual Private Networks
> (VPNs), inter-branch connectivity, MPLS and other value-added services, all
> of which will be linked to AccessKenya's backbone. In 2009 AccessKenya
> expanded its WiMAX network from Nairobi and Mombasa to Nakuru, Eldoret and
> Kisumu in order to meet the growing demand for its services. AccessKenya had
> signed up 3,000 residential customers during 2009, and is expecting to reach
> 7,000 by end-2010. Corporate leased-line connections increased from 2,550 to
> 3,150 during 2009. In August 2010 AccessKenya claimed that it had a 42%
> share of corporate customers.
> - The prospect of having affordable and unprecedented high speed internet
> services by telecom consumers became brighter last week as Nigeria's Second
> National Operator, Globacom, formally commenced the commercial services on
> its multi-million dollar international 10, 000 kilometres submarine optic
> fibre cable, Glo 1.
> [image: Balancing Act Report on Fibre and Satellite Markets]<http://lists.balancingact-africa.com/t/8396/239012/1279/0/>
> **
> Back to top <#12bfc995e707a429_top>
> Controversy Brews at Addis Chamber Over IT Solution Buy
> The acquiring of a multimillion Birr software solution by the secretariat
> of the Addis Abeba Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Association (AACCSA) has
> provoked stern controversy among the board and management, following a deal
> entered into between the chamber and CIMAC Inc, an Information Technology
> (IT) firm based in California.
> The chamber is installing an expanded enterprise resources planning (ERP)
> solution which it procured with 5.2 million Br in funds from the Swedish
> International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA). The ERP solution
> includes financial, membership, project, human resources, and procurement
> management as well as payroll and property administration.
> Teshome Beyene, secretary-general of the chamber, signed the contract
> agreement with Seyoum Bereded, representative of CIMAC in Ethiopia, on
> August 13, 2010. While SIDA granted the chamber close to one million dollars
> in 2008, the process of selecting an IT vendor took a little over a year.
> Meant for seven components of the chamber, the lion's share of the money is
> set aside for IT. The secretariat hired Africom Technologies Plc, a local
> company, in July 2008, which it paid 150,000 Br to consult the chamber on
> its technology requirements.
> Africom produced a strategy document and terms of reference (ToR) for the
> public tender. The document was sent for evaluation by GAIA, a Swedish
> consultant which the chamber had contracted for evaluation.
> Subsequently, a team of three went to the Paris Chamber of Commerce in
> March 2009, and the East Sweden Chamber of Commerce (ESCC) in May 2009, to
> determine whether an in-house developed IT solution or a standard
> off-the-shelf solution would be better for the chamber. The team settled on
> solution provided by Microsoft.
> "Based on the assessment of the team made after the visit and
> recommendations from Africom and GAIA, it was decided that an off-the-shelf
> solution was best for the chamber," Teshome told Fortune. "Wes decided to
> use a solution provided by Microsoft."
> For the country's oldest private sector institution which has a 40 million
> Br annual budget, installing a state of the art IT solution will transform
> its operation, particularly in managing the status of its 7,000 members on
> its database, argue those who support the decision by the chamber to buy the
> solution.
> However, not everyone is on the same page regarding the purchase. The issue
> of whether the chamber's operations require the acquisition of a highly
> sophisticated and very expensive ERP solution was debated by the board of
> directors.
> A strong critic of the board's decision is Demissie Assefa, a board member
> who was elected with the second highest number of votes next to Brehanu
> Getaneh, president of United Bank (UB).
> ERP is more appropriate for companies with multiple and diverse operations
> such as manufacturing plants and airlines, Demissie told Fortune. Its
> licence and ownership fees are much higher than the original price to
> acquire the solution.
> After a majority of the board of directors voted in favour of the project,
> the chamber signed an agreement with its Swedish counterpart for the
> purchase and delivery of computers and servers at a cost of 2.7 million Br,
> on October 10, 2009.
> Five companies which are agents of the Microsoft solution and based in East
> Africa were invited to take part in the bid. Only four showed interest, of
> which two, CIMAC and TechnoBrain, submitted technical and financial
> proposals. They also held their respective presentations to the technical
> team and executive council members as well as a special advisor and experts
> from different departments of the chamber.
> A technical committee comprised of four - Ketema Bayou, IT manager and
> chairperson of the committee; Ahmed Aboubeker, capacity building manager;
> Abdulkadir Hussien, training centre head; and Ayalneh Zerihoun, planning and
> project services head were tasked with evaluating the proposals.
> Both companies scored above 70pc in their technical proposals, according to
> the findings of the technical committee.
> Ketema, chairing the technical team, voiced his dissent with the score
> given to TechnoBrain in a letter he sent to the secretary-general after the
> evaluation was concluded. The proposal of TechnoBrain did not meet the
> specifications in the ToR, he argued.
> "TechnoBrain's proposal, while it had Microsoft components, also contained
> other components which it had developed in-house and which was a complete
> deviation from our specifications," Ketema told Fortune.With three of the
> technical committee members voting otherwise, both companies were eligible
> to bid on their respective financial offers.
> However, after three meetings, the chamber's top management decided to drop
> TechnoBrain from the bidding process and opened the financial proposal made
> by CIMAC, which had scored 80.25pc, but not of that of its contender.
> This was done in a clear violation of the bid document floated for the
> procurement, according to which a bidding company that scored above the
> cutoff point of 70pc would qualify to be evaluated financially. TechnoBrain
> had scored 75.25pc.
> The decision to drop TechnoBrain was made after a recommendation from the
> chair of the technical committee and GAIA pointing out that its proposal
> contained solutions that were not Microsoft certified, according to Teshome.
> In addition, "a tender shall be rejected if at this stage it does not
> respond to important aspects of the ToR," according to SIDA's procurement
> guideline.
> Controversy began after two of the technical committee members and those on
> the board of directors called for the cancellation of the existing tender
> and suggested that the chamber redo the bid. The removal of Ayalneh from his
> position and sending him on forced leave was considered retaliation by the
> secretariat for his dissent in the handling of the bidding process.
> "I believe that I am under pressure to leave my job because of my dissent
> in the selection of an IT [vendor] while I was working as a technical
> committee member," Ayalneh appealed to the board of directors in a letter
> dated August 2010. He questioned the relevance of the technical committee if
> in the end the management selects its own preferred bidder.
> Despite the existence of such dissent within the technical committee, the
> secretariat decided to consider only CIMAC's financial proposal. As a
> result, Teshome wrote to SIDA explaining the basis of his decision and
> requested a "no objection," which he was granted in a positive response on
> June 17, 2010.
> The financial offer of 6.4 million Br before VAT made by CIMAC was included
> and opened on June 21, 2010. After six rounds of negotiations between the
> chamber and CIMAC, a deal was made at 5.2 million Br. CIMAC's offer included
> a licence fee for two years, although the chamber has to pay for it on a
> yearly basis after that.
> The agreement for the delivery of the solution was for one year; CIMAC,
> which does not have any experience installing the software in Africa, will
> finish the project in less than the agreed period, according to Seyoum.
> However, the board of directors who voted for a budget of 4.8 million Br
> for the procurement of the ERP solution was not informed before the signing
> of the agreement, which involved a higher cost than they had approved.
> "The deal, which was more than the allotted budget, came as a surprise to
> the board when it read about it in the chamber's newspaper," Demissie told
> Fortune.
> The amount approved by the board was only for the fiscal year, while what
> he had signed for was to be disbursed over the coming years, Teshome argued.
> Ayalew Zegeye, president of the chamber, declined to comment on the matter,
> saying that he had been away when the agreement was signed and is not aware
> of such disputes brewing within the chamber.
> (Source: Addis Fortune)
>   Plans to Set Up Science & Technology Park in Gambia
> The government of The Gambia, in partnership with UNESCO and the Islamic
> Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (ISESCO) are exploring
> ways and possibilities of setting up a science and technology park in the
> country.
> This development was unveiled Tuesday afternoon at State House in Banjul
> during a meeting by the Gambian leader Yahya Jammeh with a six-man experts
> delegation from UNESCO-ISESCO, who are in the country to assess the
> potential for The Gambia to set up the aforementioned project. The project
> described as the initiative of the Gambian leader, if successful, would be
> the country's first science and technology park to be established as part of
> the relentless drive towards the realisation of the country's development
> vision.
> The president reaffirmed that his government wants to develop this country
> very rapidly, and stressed that for that to really come true, it takes more
> than just agriculture, tourism and other sectors, thus, the need to embrace
> science and technology. He pointed out those countries such as Japan,
> Malaysia amongst a host others, achieved development thanks to science and
> technology. Given the importance of this initiative, the president again
> stated that this is a golden opportunity for The Gambia, which it must not
> miss, while challenging the concerned stakeholders to take the issue with
> extra-seriousness and total commitment to see it through. He said that the
> future of this country depends on the initiative.
> "This is one thing that we have to take very seriously because the future
> of our country depends on this. This is a golden opportunity, something that
> money cannot buy. It is the only way that we would be able to achieve Vision
> 2020. Without science and technology, forget it," he emphasised, while
> further challenging the government officials assigned to the initiative to
> show unquestionable degree of dedication and commitment.
> President Jammeh also used the opportunity to stress that if Africa does
> not take science and technology seriously, the continent will continue to
> lag behind. "We are the richest continent in terms of natural resources and
> to exploit these resources, you need technology. So if you don't have the
> technology, no matter what you have underground, it will not benefit you,"
> he emphasised. He then concluded by reiterating gratitude to UNESCO and
> ISESCO for coming to help The Gambia out in its development needs.
> For her part, Aja Dr Isatou Njie-Saidy, the vice president and minister of
> Women's Affairs was equally thankful to UNESCO and ISESCO for the move, and
> underscored the significance President Jammeh attaches to science and
> technology. She said that with the existence of the science and technology
> park in the country complimented by the education system in place, the
> country is creating a knowledge-based society. Like President Jammeh, VP
> Njie-Saidy also reiterated the importance of science and technology, noting
> that without it in this day and age, one cannot be anywhere. She described
> that science and technology as very key to development, while observing that
> many countries are developed due to science and technology.
> (Source: Daily Observer)
>   Mauritius to Employ 30,000 Ugandans to position itself as IT hub
> Mauritius wants to recruit about 30,000 Ugandan graduates of information
> technology as it positions itself as an IT hub. The Mauritius government
> recently contacted the faculty of computing at Makerere University over the
> deal. The faculty graduates about 900 IT students every years ago, the
> highest in the region.
> Michael Niyitegeka, an official of the faculty, said Mauritius first
> contacted the faculty about two years, but the programme stalled over the
> global economic slowdown. However, Mauritius recently revived interest in
> recruiting Ugandan IT graduates. "We are waiting for clarification from
> Mauritius on the specific types of skills," said Niyitegeka.
> Mauritius is reportedly compiling more data from local technology firms on
> the specific IT skills required. Niyitegeka said initially the programme was
> supposed to be handled by Makerere, but the university is now co-opting the
> Government so that the state can own the process and manage the recruitment
> process. Makerere is seeking to involve relevant government authorities like
> the National Information Technology Authority that have promised to follow
> up on the offer.
> Industry sources expect the process to start early next year. Experts
> advise that the country's Ministry of Labour has to cross-check the work
> terms and conditions to ensure that Ugandans are not exploited. "They
> (Mauritius) have the infrastructure and the facilities but lack the human
> resource. Uganda has the advantage of numbers compared to any country in the
> region," said Niyitegeka from the corporate affairs department.
> The faculty has emerged as a centre of excellence in the region, with a
> global appeal. Niyitegeka said the skills needed are largely in database
> management systems, application development and the applicants must know
> English and French.
> Click to learn more...
> Uganda now has to move first to grab the opportunity in the globally
> lucrative sector of business process outsourcing, he added. This involves
> call centres, data entry, software development, e-learning and transaction
> processing. The salary is expected to be about $500 depending on skills,
> experience and competence. In Uganda, graduate trainees are paid about $100
> monthly.
> (source: New Vision)
> [image: BA banner]<http://lists.balancingact-africa.com/t/8396/239012/454/0/>
>   Computer briefs
> - Twenty one civil servants from the Workforce Development Authority (WDA),
> Kicukiro College of Technology and Tumba College of Technology have
> completed a six-week course in Cisco applications.The training was organised
> by WDA in partnership with Cisco Networking Academy.
> - Hackers on Monday hacked into the servers of MWEB and posted the login
> details of some clients on the web while the internet service provider was
> migrating to new servers. It is not the only South African company to be
> targeted by hackers. According to HackingStats, a South African electronic
> crime investigation company and website where more than 17,000 hackers post
> their successes, 1558 websites have been hacked in South Africa this month.
> More than 14,000 websites were hacked since January - 53 of them government
> sites.
> [image: advert]
> **
> Back to top <#12bfc995e707a429_top>
> Zimbabwe Parliament Ratifies U.S.$45 Million Loan for NetOne
> Last Wednesday Wednesday Zimbabwe’s Parliament ratified a US$45 million
> loan from the Import Export Bank of China for NetOne's second (2G) and third
> generation (3G) network rollout project set to transform the information
> communication technology (ICT) industry in the country through connection of
> the Zimbabwean optic fibre-network to the undersea cable in the Mozambican
> channel.
> Minister of Finance Tendai Biti moved the motion for the ratification of
> the loan that was contracted on June 1 in Harare between the government and
> the Chinese bank. The loan has a grace period of five years during which
> period only the interest and no principal is payable by the borrower to the
> lender, and goods, technologies and services to be purchased by the proceeds
> of the loan should preferably come from China.
> Biti urged parliament to ratify the loan saying it was good for the nation
> which still lags behind in technological advancement when compared to the
> region and the world. The minister said: "Zimbabwe is 23 years behind in
> technological infrastructure development. The loan will enable us to
> increase capacity to move to third and fourth generation phone technology
> (3G and 4G). The country's use of ICT leaves a lot to be desired. There are
> only 371,000 fixed telephone lines serving only 3% of the population while
> only 1.4 million people have access to the Internet. We are ranked 132 out
> of 135 on the World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness on Report on
> technology readiness.
> The minister reassured parliament that the loan would not be abused as in
> the past because of the manner in which the agreement was structured.
> "Huawei Technologies of China will manage and implement the roll out
> project. This project will have maximum impact on the rural communities.
> NetOne will only be a partner in the project but will not have direct access
> to the resources," the minister said.
> The loan is also expected to put NetOne on a good footing to compete
> against its main competitors locally. Econet leads the pack in subscribers
> with a massive 4.1 million subscribers, followed by Telecel with
> 1.,27million and lastly NetOne with 1.1 million subscribers.
> Biti said the government was considering offers from international
> companies that were willing to become strategic partners to NetOne when it
> is finally privatised in the near future. "The cabinet has agreed on
> privatising state telecoms utility. Privatisation is on course and I cannot
> mention the potential suitors now suffice to say some big players on the
> continent are sniffing around," he said.
> (Source: Zimbabwe Independent)
>   Red tape holds up Microsoft BEE deal
> Microsoft is waiting for the department of trade & industry to give it the
> go-ahead for its empowerment plan so it can proceed with plans to invest
> nearly R500m in several local black-owned software development companies.
> Red tape appears to be holding up the process. Micosoft had been expected
> to announce the names of the companies it will invest in at the end of May.
> “If it were up to me, we would have the process underway already,” says
> Microsoft SA MD Mteto Nyati, who has now requested a meeting with trade &
> industry minister Rob Davies to ascertain if there is a way of accelerating
> the process. Nyati says the company has identified four companies from 650
> applicants.
> KPMG has assisted the company in the process. Representatives of the
> Shuttleworth Foundation, the Black Management Forum and the Centre for
> Entrepreneurship helped make the final selection of four.
> But Nyati says the company’s investment plans now require the nod from the
> department, which has got involved to ensure Microsoft is giving the four
> black-owned businesses a “fair deal”.
> The software giant announced its “equity equivalence” plan in April. In
> terms of the plan, it will invest R472m in the identified companies over the
> next seven years.
> The plan was hatched between Microsoft and the department because, like
> other US companies, Microsoft can’t sell a stake in its SA operation for
> regulatory and other reasons.
> Nyati says trade & industry is doing the right thing by reviewing the
> process. “They have to make sure that the companies we have chosen will get
> the best out of the investment,” he says.
> (Source: TechCentral)
>   Lower revenues, higher ad costs prompt net income slump for MobiNil in
> 3Q10
> Egyptian cellco MobiNil has released its financial results for the three
> months ended 30 September 2010, revealing a 41% plunge in net profit, which
> the operator attributed to lower service revenues and higher costs related
> to advertising during the month of Ramadan.
> In its third fiscal quarter MobiNil posted turnover related to mobile
> services of EGP2.707 billion (USD467 million), down 3.1% year-on-year, and
> while takings from connection fees, handsets and roaming all grew against
> the same period a year earlier, service revenue, which accounts for the bulk
> of the company’s turnover, fell by 4.7% to EGP2.501 billion.
> Net income from mobile services stood at EGP289 million for the three-month
> period, down 41.2% from EGP491 million a year earlier. Despite the declines,
> MobiNil CEO Hassan Kabbani did note that the quarter had seen ‘a slowdown in
> the rate by which revenues are declining despite the seasonal affect of
> Ramadan.’
> Meanwhile, including financial results from the company’s fixed line
> operations – MobiNil finalised the acquisition of local ISP LINKdotNET and
> has begun consolidating its results – total company revenues for the quarter
> were EGP2.74 billion, representing a 2% y-o-y drop, while consolidated net
> income was EGP280 million, down 42.9% against 3Q 2009. Earnings before
> interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) for the operator
> were down 14.1% at EGP1.083 billion.
> At the end of September 2010 MobiNil reported that its mobile subscriber
> base had risen to 28.4 million, up from 24.6 million a year earlier.
> (Source: Telegeography)
>  Rural Varsities Get Better Connected in South Africa in R28 million
> funding deal
> R28 million has been approved to partially fund internet access networks
> for rural higher education campuses. Higher Education South Africa and the
> Tertiary Education Network of South Africa (TENET) had requested to further
> extend points of presence on the existing network to strengthen universities
> research and teaching capabilities.
> Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande said funds had been
> approved because the capacity of universities to conduct research was of
> great importance as it would allow each university to have all its campuses
> connected at sufficiently high bandwidths.
> "This enables shared production and distribution of teaching and learning
> materials, deployment of centralised administrative systems and processes
> for the efficient management of multi-campus institutions, access to high
> performance scientific computing facilities and other educational and
> research resources via the existing backbone and equitable internet access
> to other research and education networks globally," Nzimande said.
> The first phase of the project, funded by Science and Technology Department
> for a three year period ending on 31 March 2010, connected seven major
> cities and towns to a high speed (10 gigabytes per second) network,
> providing 70 university and research campuses with high speed connection of
> at least one gigabyte per second to points of presence on the high speed
> backbone.
> It also delivered optical fiber metropolitan access network in Johannesburg
> that interconnects seven different campuses of the University of
> Johannesburg and the Witwatersrand, high speed connection from the Council
> for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) satellite application centre
> at Haretbeesthoek to the CSIR main campus and the Wits main campus and
> optical fiber access networks in Cape Town, Durban and Pretoria.
> However, Nzimande noted that due to network coverage limitations caused by
> a lack of adequate funding for the project, the full rollout of the project
> was compromised by not being extendable to the majority of South Africa's
> remote and rural campuses.
> "By being able to provide additional funding toward the completion and
> extension of this network coverage, there will be enormous benefit to
> institutions that are not able to connect to the network or who are not able
> to connect at sufficiently high speed," Nzimande said.
> The second phase of the project will see the backbone network being
> extended to points of presence in Grahamstown, Makhado, Middleburg
> Nelspruit, Pietermaritzburg, Polokwane, Potchefstroom, Vanderbijl Park and
> Witbank while TENET will secure at least 50 rural campuses to the presence
> points.
> (Source: BuaNews Tshwane)
>     On the Money briefs
> - The Algerian government has declared that it is only willing to negotiate
> with Orascom Telecom about the purchase of the company’s local mobile unit,
> Djezzy, and not with Russian telco Vimpelcom, which has agreed to buy a
> majority stake in the Algerian telco. Earlier this month, Vimpelcom,
> Russia’s second-largest mobile operator by subscribers, and Egyptian
> billionaire Naguib Sawiris agreed to merge their telecommunications assets
> in a transaction valued at about USD6.5 billion. Algerian government
> envisions a figure in the range of USD2 billion–USD3 billion for the cellco.
> - The government of Guinea-Bissau has announced that Portugal Telecom (PT)
> is no longer a shareholder in the country’s fixed line monopoly Guine
> Telecom (GT) and its mobile arm Guinetel. A press release from the
> government states: ‘The minister of economy has informed the Council of
> Ministers about the progress of negotiations, which based on a friendly
> agreement led to the cession of the shares held by PT, representing 40% of
> GT’s share capital, and the shares held by Portugal Telecom Internacional
> (PTI), representing 55% of the share capital of GT.’ PTI bought a 49% stake
> in GT in 1989, but its decision to leave the country in June 1998, at the
> outbreak of the civil war forced the state to take management control of GT
> in July 2008, amid accusations that PT had effectively walked away from the
> two companies. In February 2009 the situation was muddied when PTI claimed
> it still held a 40% stake in GT and Guinetel.
> - MTN Nigeria has signed a deal worth over USD40 million with Chinese
> equipment supplier Huawei Technologies for the deployment of rural telephony
> infrastructure in roughly 350 villages across the country before the end of
> May 2011 while 500 villages will be covered in the second phase before the
> end of December 2011.’ Following research into Nigeria’s telecoms sector,
> MTN concluded that around 500 villages and communities and 40 million
> Nigerians do not have access to basic telephony services. Under the project,
> Huawei will deploy environment friendly base stations that consume low
> energy.
> - The head of the Tunis stock exchange has confirmed that Tunisie Telecom
> (TT) is planning a dual listing by the end of this year on the Tunis
> exchange and a European bourse. Speaking to Reuters, Mohamed Bichiou, chief
> executive officer of the Tunis stock exchange, said the Tunisian state would
> contribute 10% of the company's shares, while a further 10% would come from
> the company’s United Arab Emirates shareholders. TT is majority owned by the
> state while Dubai’s TECOM Investments and Dubai Investment Group (DIG)
> jointly hold 35%.Last month Tunisia sold a 3G licence to Tunisie Telecom’s
> wireless arm Tunicell for USD80 million, putting it on a level footing with
> rival wireless network operator Orange Tunisia, which secured its W-CDMA
> concession in July 2009 and has been offering 3G services since May this
> year.
> *MORE*
> **
> ·        Telecoms, Rates, Offers And Coverage <#12bfc995e707a429_troc>
> ·        Web and Mobile Data news <#12bfc995e707a429_wmd>
> ·        People <#12bfc995e707a429_people>
> ·        Events <#12bfc995e707a429_events>
> ·        Jobs and opportunities <#12bfc995e707a429_jobs>
> ·        Contracts <#12bfc995e707a429_contracts>
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>  Telecoms Rates, Offers and Coverage
> - In South Africa, Vodacom has thrown down the gauntlet to competitors with
> the launch of a R1.40 all-day voice call tariff to all mobile operators.
> Shameel Joosub, the MD of Vodacom SA, said the new rate is the "lowest
> per-minute rate to mobile networks available to prepaid customers anywhere
> in SA". He said Vodacom will bill in 30-second increments after the first
> minute, as opposed to other offers in the market, which are billed in
> 60-second increments after the first minute. Vodacom has also introduced a
> flat rate of 50c per SMS for text messages - the same as 8ta. But 8ta gives
> 50 free SMSes after five sent messages.
> - Kigali — Mobile subscribers in Rwanda grew by 44.7% between January and
> September this year, the industry regulator shows. Statistics obtained from
> Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Agency (RURA) indicate that mobile users grew
> from 2,497,170 in January to 3,615,467 in September. This is more than a
> half of the government target of 6 million users by 2012 an indication that
> the market is growing fast.
>     Web and Mobile Data News
> *Technology Revolution Hits HIV Testing and Treatment*
> Delayed test results often mean HIV patients in Mozambique fail to get
> timely treatment, but new technology is reducing the need to send tests to
> far away laboratories, and speeding up test results and HIV treatment.
> Mozambique's Ministry of Health has increasingly begun experimenting with
> new technology to make diagnosing and monitoring HIV patients quicker and
> easier. After a successful 2009 pilot the country has nationally rolled out
> SMS or text message printers, which transmit the results of infant HIV tests
> electronically from two central reference laboratories in Maputo and the
> northern provincial capital, Nampula, to more than 275 health centres.
> Previously test samples and results would have taken on average three
> weeks, and up to several months to be transported to and from clinics via
> car, plane and even kayak in remote parts of the country.
> According to research conducted by the Ministry of Health and the Clinton
> Health Access Initiative (CHAI), who developed the technology, the time it
> took for clinics to receive test results dropped from an average of about
> three weeks to about three days after the printers were introduced. Research
> presented by the Ministry of Health and CHAI at the International AIDS
> Conference 2010 in Vienna, Austria, showed that this, in turn, reduced the
> time it took to start infants on antiretroviral (ARV) treatment as part of
> national prevention of mother-to-child (PMTCT) HIV transmission services by
> about four months. The number of infants starting treatment also increased
> by 60 percent.
> How the technology works: Clinics collect dried blood spot samples from
> infants and transport them to the nearest reference lab, where technicians
> conduct the HIV tests. Results are entered into a database and uploaded onto
> an online server, which then uses a wireless phone network to transmit
> results back to clinics. These clinics receive a small, receipt-like print
> out of the results alongside a patient identification number.
> With interruptions in electricity and wireless network signal, the system
> has an added failsafe - if printers are offline, results are safeguarded in
> an online queue until the printer is available. The printer's small size
> also makes storage easy in space-constrained clinics, which must also ensure
> that the printer is kept in a secure room to guarantee patient
> confidentiality.
> Clinic-based, or point-of-care (PoC), CD4 count machines - vital to
> measuring an individual's readiness to start antiretroviral treatment - will
> also be rolled out to selected clinics by the end of November 2010,
> following positive results from a seven-site trial.
> The introduction of an SMS printer to a Matola city clinic, about 30
> minutes outside Maputo, has not only meant that babies who test HIV-positive
> can be started on ARVs sooner - a potentially life-saving intervention - but
> also reduced the numbers of new mums who disappear from the clinic's PMTCT
> programme during the long wait times or after having spent time and money on
> multiple clinic visits to check for results.
> The clinic in Matola was also one of initial sites to pilot the PoC CD4
> count machine. Smaller than a cash register, it has decreased the wait time
> for a CD4 count from one week to about 20 minutes, according to lab
> technician Gerardo Cumbane, who received one day of training on how to
> operate the new equipment.
> As many doctors are hesitant to start patients on ARVs without evidence
> that their CD4 counts have dropped below 250 - the threshold for treatment
> initiation in Mozambique - the faster results mean quicker access to the
> life-prolonging drugs. Currently, the CD4 count machines cost about US$5,000
> each.
> (Source: IRIN Plus News)
> *Creation of a Banana Wiki to give reliable spatial information*
> Soon all information on banana in Africa including the banana growing
> areas, yield, socio-economic status of the farmers and spread of pests and
> diseases will be available at the click of a mouse, after experts launched a
> crop's website.
> The banana wiki, (http://banana.mappr.info<http://lists.balancingact-africa.com/t/8396/239012/1423/0/>)
> developed by Philippe Rieffel a student of Science in applied Geography at
> the University of Muenster, Germany under supervision of scientists at the
> International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), hopes to make a wide
> range of reliable spatial information on banana readily available to
> researchers, policy makers and development workers. "Wiki" was obtained from
> the free Wikipedia on the internet - websites where anyone can add
> information. So the banana website has the same concept as anyone will be
> free to add information.
> According to Hein Bouwmeester, a GIS specialist with IITA, currently the
> website is focusing on banana-growing areas in Africa but if successful,
> will expand to include the whole world. He said the website was developed
> entirely with open source software and uses 'crowdsourcing' to build onto an
> existing geo-database. "The idea behind 'crowdsourcing' is that currently
> there is no accurate geospatial data on bananas in Africa. So, the platform
> will outsource the data from local experts in Africa," he said. "The core of
> the website is the editor that enables a user to view and edit banana
> growing areas and define their characteristics."
> According to Bouwmeester, the website is important as it will allow
> information to be shared across projects and organisations for research and
> development work. The platform comes in handy as scientists are grappling
> with the spread of two deadly diseases that are ravaging the crop and
> threatening the livelihoods of millions farmers. These are the Banana
> Xanthomonas Wilt (BXW) and the viral Banana Bunchy
> (Source: The Monitor)
>   People
> - Safaricom  appoints new CEO Robert William Collymore who replaces Michael
> Joseph.
> - The Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) has a new
> councillor in the form of Ntombizodwa Ndhlovu, who was sworn in on
> Wednesday. Ndhlovu is one of three new councillors at the authority. Earlier
> this month, William Currie and Joseph Lebooa were sworn in at Icasa’s
> Sandton offices.
>   Events
> *G- South Africa*
> *8-9 November 2010, Cape Town, South Africa*
> Google is inviting Computer Science students, developers and entrepreneurs
> to G-South Africa. Some of  Google’s best engineers, product managers,
> business managers and leadership will  be speaking about Google’s open web
> and mobile technologies.
> For further information visit http://sitescontent.google.com/gsouthafrica/<http://lists.balancingact-africa.com/t/8396/239012/1376/0/>
> *ONLINE EDUCA BERLIN 2010 - Learning for All*
> *1-3 December, Berlin, Germany*
> Under the banner of Learning for All, ONLINE EDUCA BERLIN 2010 will dig
> deep into 4 themes that form the pillars of innovation: Learning Content,
> Learning About Learning, Learning Ecosystems and Learning Environments,
> which will contribute to successful learning outcomes in the three learning
> domains: Institutional Learning, Workplace Learning and Lifelong Learning.
> For further information visit www.online-educa.com<http://lists.balancingact-africa.com/t/8396/239012/1384/0/>
> *2010 Euro-Africa Week on ICT Research & e-Infrastructures**
> **7-8 December 2010. 7-8, Helsinki, Finland*
> The “3rd Euro-Africa Cooperation Forum on ICT Research” will be an event
> filled with discussions and debates, networking opportunities and knowledge
> sharing among key stakeholders in the field and policymakers coming from all
> over Europe and Africa. This Conference represents definitely a unique
> opportunity for all parties interested in the ICT domain to increase the
> visibility and impact of their activities, to network and expand their
> knowledge.
> For further information click here.
> <http://lists.balancingact-africa.com/t/8396/239012/1382/0/>
> *ICT Finance Emerging Markets Global Summit 2010*
> *6-7th December 2010, London UK BIS Conference Centre*
> The ICT Finance Emerging Markets Global Summit 2010 takes place at a
> critical time of opportunity for the world’s growth markets. In joining
> forces, The Commonwealth Telecom Organisation and BroadGroup TMT Ventures,
> will launch this compelling content and networking rich platform uniquely
> connecting key players from government and operator organizations in
> emerging markets with investors, financiers and professional advisors.
> further info, please visit the event website: http://www.tmtfinance.com/cto/ict/Default.aspx
> <http://lists.balancingact-africa.com/t/8396/239012/1413/0/>or email
> events at cto.int.
> *5th Africa Economic Forum 2011*
> *7-9 March 2011, Cape Town, South Africa Venue BMW Pavilion, V&A
> Waterfront*
> Our 5th Africa Economic Forum 2011 (AEF-2011) in Cape Town at the BMW-Imax
> Theatre, with Africa Exhibition, over 7-9th March 2011, is a landmark
> Conference on Africa and significant business networking occasion for the
> top corporate players active in, across and involved with the development of
> the African continent - Cape-to-Cairo, with Governments and officials in key
> industries and state institutions.
> Contact: babette at glopac.com or visit
> http://www.petro21.com/events/?id=578<http://lists.balancingact-africa.com/t/8396/239012/1414/0/>
> *ICT For Development in Africa – Sustaining The Momentum, Extending The
> Reach*
> *23-26 March 2011, Ota, Nigeria*
> The conference will initiate research and practice agenda where ICTs will
> aid the academia, organizations - public and private and non-governmental to
> improve socio-economic conditions and directly benefit the disadvantaged in
> some manner.
> For further information visit http://www.ictforafrica.org/<http://lists.balancingact-africa.com/t/8396/239012/1377/0/>
> *eLearning Africa 2011 - Spotlight on Youth, Skills and Employability*
> *25-27 May 2011, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania*
> The 6th event in the series of pan-African conferences and exhibitions will
> focus on Africa's youth. Africa has the highest percentage of young people
> anywhere in the world. How can it unlock the vast reservoir of talent? How
> can technology support education and training?
> For further information visit www.elearning-africa.com<http://lists.balancingact-africa.com/t/8396/239012/184/0/>
>     Jobs and Opportunities
> *Cape Town**
> South Africa*
> Young, Dynamic International Company is offering an opportunity of a
> lifetime...
> If you have SAP ISU/AMI experience/knowledge don’t let this slip through
> your fingers but must have 8 YEARS SAP and minimum 5 YEARS ISU experience.
> Qualifications:
> Bachelors Degree
> Proven Track Record of SAP AMI, CRM and ISU Knowledge and Implementation
> experience.
> Duties and Responsibilities:
> Must have SAP AMI master Data knowledge and Implementation experience.
> SAP AMI account, Contact Management knowledge as well as Implementation
> experience.
> Must have working knowledge of synchronization with ERP orders and
> notifications.
> Knowledge of SAP Middleware concepts and configuration synchronization.
> Must have knowledge of the SAP ISU module including interfaces meter
> readings.
> Interested candidates can forward their comprehensive written applications
> to the following e-mail: it.jobs at hireresolve.co.za
> <it.jobs at hireresolve.co.za%20>
> Correspondence will only be conducted with short listed candidates. Should
> you not hear from us within 3 working days after the closing date, please
> consider your application unsuccessful
>     Contracts
> *INEC Shortlists Zinox, Haier to Supply Ddc Machines -Signs Contract Next
> Week*
> Abuja — In what appears to be a recurring decimal, the Independent National
> Electoral Commission has for the second time in weeks issued three Requests
> for Quotation to manufacturers of computers and other hardware appliances
> needed for the voter registration exercise expected to commence in January
> 2011.
> The firms that got the RFQs are Nigerian firm Zinox Technology,
> Chinese-based Haier Electrical Applia-nces Technology and Avante Technology,
> a U.S. ICT company.
> All three will be expected to deliver 132,000 pieces of notebook computers
> along with other components that will used during the voter registration.
> Under the RFQs, Zenox, was asked to submit quotations for 80,000 units for
> biometric data capture, an increase from the 42,000 units initially awarded
> to it before the invalidation of original tender process started by INEC two
> months ago.
> Haier Electrical, which was expected to deliver 90,000 units before the
> cancellation, will now supply 30,000 units while Avante, which previously
> was dropped for not meeting the Bureau of Public Procure-ment's criteria,
> was asked to quote for 22,000 units.
> INEC sources said 12 companies applied for the multibillion naira contract,
> which based on the commission's budget of $2,000 per unit, is estimated to
> cost over N40 billion ($264 million), but only three were considered capable
> after they had made their presentations last week.
> It was also reliably gathered that the quotations submitted by the three
> ICT firms are expected to be screened by the BPP between now and Monday,
> while the Federal Executive Council may give final approval for the contract
> during its meeting next week.
> It was further gathered that the benchmark for the supply of the DDC
> machines has been pegged at $1443 per unit, which was the lowest quote
> submitted by one of the companies.
> Other companies will be expected to match the lowest quote, in the process
> saving INEC $557 per unit or $$73.5 million.
> Haier had previously bid $843 per unit, which it did to undercut other
> companies, with the hope of asking for a contract review as the contract
> progressed.
> But the tactic forced INEC to cancel the entire process and restart it from
> scratch.
> If anything you have read in this newsletter is "off the mark" or you have
> factual amendments, mail them to us and we will include them in subsequent
> issues. If you'd like to contribute, write and let us know. If you need
> information about a particular place or issue, just send your questions in.
> We are always happy to follow up on readers concerns.
> Balancing Act, 54 Walnut Tree Walk, London SE11 6DN
> Tel/fax: + 44 207 582 5220 Cell: + 44 7973 561987
> E-mail: editorial at balancingact-africa.com
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Seun Ojedeji,
System Analyst/Network Admin
ICT Centre,
University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus.
web:      http://www.unn.edu.ng
Mobile:  +2348035233535
Email:    seun.ojedeji at unn.edu.ng
             seun.ojedeji at gmail.com
skype:   seun.ojedeji
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