Reuters Africa

IBM starts rolling out Watson supercomputer in Africa

IBM began rolling out its Watson supercomputer system across Africa on Thursday, saying it would help to address continental development obstacles as diverse as medical diagnoses, economic data collection and e-commerce research.

Source: Reuters Africa

China's Huawei to roll out 4G service in Ethiopian capital

Ethiopia's state-run Ethio Telecom said on Thursday it had picked Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, the world's second largest telecom equipment maker, to roll out a high-speed 4G network across the capital Addis Ababa.

The introduction of the service is part of a $1.6 billion deal signed in July and August between the Ethiopian firm, Huawei and ZTE, China's second-biggest telecoms equipment maker, to expand mobile phone infrastructure throughout the Horn of Africa country.

Source: Reuters Africa

Hydrogen phone chargers to keep Africans connected when power runs short

African smartphone users will soon have an alternative means to get round the power shortages afflicting much of the world's poorest continent - a portable charger that relies on hydrogen fuel cells.

British company Intelligent Energy plans to roll out 1 million of the new chargers in mid-December, mainly in Nigeria and South Africa, after successfully testing them in Nigeria over the last five months, its consumer electronics managing director, Amar Samra, said.

Source: Reuters Africa

Kenyan press, opposition criticise proposed harsh media law

Kenyan media and opposition politicians have criticised media rules proposed by the government, saying they would muzzle the press and stunt democracy in the country.

Kenyan members of parliament late on Thursday voted to pass a new law that empowers the government to form a powerful tribunal to draw up a code of conduct for the media.

In an African region where several nations tightly control news-gathering, Kenya's media has enjoyed broad freedoms to criticise successive governments.

Source: Reuters Africa

South Africa's MTN hopes for U.S.-Iran thaw to free its cash

Better U.S.-Iranian relations would be very welcome for South African mobile phone operator MTN Group as it has been unable to repatriate around $450 million from a unit in Iran due to sanctions, a company spokesman said.

Johannesburg-based MTN, Africa's largest mobile phone operator, said its funds had been blocked since early last year because of Washington's sanctions against Tehran.

Source: Reuters Africa

Maroc Telecom stake sale to be completed in two months

UAE Etisalat's planned deal to buy a majority stake in Maroc Telecom will be finalized in 1-2 months, Morocco's Minister of Foreign Affairs told reporters on Wednesday.

France's Vivendi SA in July entered exclusive talks with Etisalat - the United Arab Emirates No.1 telecom operator - to sell its 53 percent stake in Maroc Telecom for 4.2 billion euros ($5.54 billion) in cash.

Morocco's government owns 30 percent of Maroc Telecom, with the remaining 17 percent publicly traded.

Source: Reuters Africa

Ivory Coast fibre optic network to boost growth - minister

A $210 million project to lay fibre optic network across Ivory Coast should allow the West African country to connect up to 30 percent of its population to the Internet within 5 years, boosting economic growth, the technology minister said.

Chinese telecoms firm Huwaei began work last year on the first stage of the 6,700 km network - a 1,400 km cable running through the west of the country from the southwestern port city of San Pedro to Ferkessedougou in the central north.

Source: Reuters Africa

Zimbabwe's Econet says full-year profit falls 16 pct

Zimbabwe's largest mobile telephony company, Econet Wireless, reported a 16 percent drop in full-year net profit, pulled lower by growing financing costs.

Econet Wireless said net profit fell to $140 million in the year ended in February from $165.7 million a year earlier. Revenue grew 14 percent to $695 million.

The company concluded a $307 million syndicated loan during the year that increased interest charges and ate into the company's profitability, Chief Executive Douglas Mboweni told reporters.

Source: Reuters Africa

Etisalat's Nigeria affiliate signs $1.2 billion loan

Etisalat's Nigeria affilate has signed a $1.2 billion loan with 13 Nigerian banks, the United Arab Emirates' No.1 telecom operator said on Tuesday.

The medium-term facility will be used to refinance an existing $650 million loan and bolster Etisalat Nigeria's network, Etisalat said in a statement to the Abu Dhabi bourse.

Etisalat owns a 40 percent stake in its Nigeria affiliate, which is formally known as Emerging Markets Telecommunications Services Ltd (EMTS).

EMTS will acccount for 3.7 percent of Etisalat's revenue in 2013, HSBC forecasts in a research note.

Source: Reuters Africa

Altron offers to buy out Altech minorities

South Africa's Allied Electronics (Altron) said on Friday it had made a firm offer to acquire all of the share capital in Allied Technologies Limited (Altech) it does not already own.

Altron said in a statement it would make a cash offer of 47.50 rand a share, driving Altech's share price up more than 30 percent to 45 rand.

Altron said the proposed transaction would simplify the group's corporate and operating structure and “create a single listed point of entry into the Altron Group.”

Source: Reuters Africa
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