Issue no 512 9th July 2010

top story

  • Mobile operator’s margins are coming down from the heady days ten years ago and the growth left in the voice market is largely among low ARPU customers. Data may help rescue ARPUs in some countries but not those with low literacy levels. All this plus higher levels of competition amongst more operators must focus minds on the costs side of the equation. Providing energy to base stations is a huge element of any operator’s costs. Shared energy transmission supply options are being developed (see issue 482) but not with any great speed. So looking at other energy options is a must if costs are to come down. Russell Southwood talks to Zephyr's Europe, Middle East and Africa General Manager Mats Vilander.

    Africa is famous for its sunny climate but if you ask where has the wind to support energy generating turbines, the answers are perhaps not so obvious. Wind strength maps show that the following countries have enough wind on a regular basis to power turbines: South Africa (particularly in the Eastern Cape and Cape Town), Namibia, Kenya, Nigeria, Madagascar, most of North Africa (particularly Libya) and Ethiopia. The US space agency NASA has wind maps for the entire globe at 40 metres above the earth’s surface and this with historic weather data is used to identify whether a site might be used for wind power. For as Vilander told us:”When 60 metre towers are erected, vendors look for evidence of what wind they will need to withstand.”

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The cost for a wind power turbine from Zephyr (including construction) for a site using 10 KW a day is US$25,000. This costing is based on putting the turbine on an existing tower. Mats Vilander says:” The concept is modular so that it can be scaled up based on load and the wind turbine and its battery work independently of existing systems. It will work intelligently with a generator and identify when there’s no wind and therefore no power left in the batteries.” It can also work as a back-up system for existing sites reliant on diesel generators.

    One pan-continental operator estimated that 10% of its sites were operating solely on diesel generator supplied power costing them US$146 million a year. It has been estimated that 65% of mobile operators’ energy consumption is for base stations but few companies have systems for tracking these costs in ways that will reduce them.

    Given the costs, the pitch for wind turbines is two-fold: firstly, it can be used as a way of reducing diesel costs on existing base station sites (50% OPEX reductions claimed on rural sites) and for new sites (100% CAPEX savings where wind conditions are right). For as Vilander concedes:”It’s unlikely to be the primary source of energy for an existing site but it will be for new sites.” So with all the usual caveats about total energy requirements, wind speed, battery size and total cost of investment, the payback is likely to be around three years.

    But whilst Vilander can point to plentiful wind turbine deployments by Zephyr, work with mobile companies is in its early stages. The company has a base station with Turkcell that has been in place for two years and according to Vilander the experience has been positive. There’s also sites in Japan but these have been used to feed energy back into the grid, something which should be happening in Africa but isn’t yet. There’s also a site in the Maldives that has been operating for six months. The company is currently talking to a range of African operators.

    In terms of maintenance, Vilander claims zero cost provided the installation is done properly:”Any failures have been due to bad installing. Otherwise it doesn’t need maintenance. Everything is built in. It’s a low mass per watt output and comes with a 5 year warranty but will actually last 25 years. It can be controlled and checked remotely. If it exceeds 20 metres per second, the rotors will go down.”

    The GSM Association’s Green Power for Mobile programme estimates that there have been 1,500 deployments of green power solutions in the developing world. The programme involves 25 global operators and from Africa’s viewpoint Vodafone and Bharti are on the list.

telecoms

  • Nigeria’s government should approve the sale of Nigerian Telecommunications Ltd. to the companies that bid $2.5 billion for the state-owned fixed-line phone operator, the head of a Senate oversight committee said.

    New Generation Telecom Ltd., consisting of China Unicom (Hong Kong) Ltd., Minerva Group of Dubai and Nigeria’s GiCell Wireless Ltd., won the bidding for 75 percent of Nitel on Feb. 16. Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan suspended the transaction on March 12 and told a committee including senior ministers to conduct further due diligence on the bidders.

    “I don’t see why we can’t go ahead,” Ayo Arise, chairman of the Senate Committee on Privatization, said in a telephone interview on June 30. “The bidding process appeared to be quite transparent.”

    Jonathan ordered the review after China Unicom, China’s second-biggest mobile-phone carrier, denied any involvement in the winning group. The Chinese operator later said one of its units was interested in “providing technical and managerial support.” The head of Nigeria’s Bureau of Public Enterprises, the agency that sells state-owned assets, was suspended in March by the government. It didn’t give a reason for the decision.

    In April, the acting head of the BPE, Bolanle Onagoruwa, urged Jonathan to award Nitel to New Generation. Failure to do so would send the wrong signal that Nigeria can’t abide with “simple processes and procedures,” Onagoruwa said.

    Chukwuma Nwokoh, a spokesman for the BPE, said last month that no action would be taken until Jonathan makes a ruling on the investigation he ordered. Ima Niboro, Jonathan’s spokesman, didn’t answer his mobile phone today when called for comment.

    Nitel’s sale to New Generation must be cancelled should the group of investors fail to pay $2.5 billion, Arise said this week. The minimum price for Nitel should be $1 billion, he said. “There’s a whole lot of money buried in Nitel and it shouldn’t be sold for less than $1 billion,” Arise said.

    Nomura Holdings Inc. analyst Danny Chu wrote in a report in February that the $2.5 billion offer for Nitel was “relatively high” compared with Bharti Airtel Ltd.’s $9 billion purchase of the African wireless assets of Zain. Nitel’s annual Ebitda, or earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization, was estimated at about $13 million, according to Chu. A previous attempt in 2006 to sell Nitel to Transnational Corp. was annulled after the Lagos-based investment company failed to comply with sale conditions.

    Bloomberg
  • Nigeria’s government should approve the sale of Nigerian Telecommunications Ltd. to the companies that bid $2.5 billion for the state-owned fixed-line phone operator, the head of a Senate oversight committee said.

    New Generation Telecom Ltd., consisting of China Unicom (Hong Kong) Ltd., Minerva Group of Dubai and Nigeria’s GiCell Wireless Ltd., won the bidding for 75 percent of Nitel on Feb. 16. Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan suspended the transaction on March 12 and told a committee including senior ministers to conduct further due diligence on the bidders.

    “I don’t see why we can’t go ahead,” Ayo Arise, chairman of the Senate Committee on Privatization, said in a telephone interview on June 30. “The bidding process appeared to be quite transparent.”

    Jonathan ordered the review after China Unicom, China’s second-biggest mobile-phone carrier, denied any involvement in the winning group. The Chinese operator later said one of its units was interested in “providing technical and managerial support.” The head of Nigeria’s Bureau of Public Enterprises, the agency that sells state-owned assets, was suspended in March by the government. It didn’t give a reason for the decision.

    In April, the acting head of the BPE, Bolanle Onagoruwa, urged Jonathan to award Nitel to New Generation. Failure to do so would send the wrong signal that Nigeria can’t abide with “simple processes and procedures,” Onagoruwa said.

    Chukwuma Nwokoh, a spokesman for the BPE, said last month that no action would be taken until Jonathan makes a ruling on the investigation he ordered. Ima Niboro, Jonathan’s spokesman, didn’t answer his mobile phone today when called for comment.

    Nitel’s sale to New Generation must be cancelled should the group of investors fail to pay $2.5 billion, Arise said this week. The minimum price for Nitel should be $1 billion, he said. “There’s a whole lot of money buried in Nitel and it shouldn’t be sold for less than $1 billion,” Arise said.

    Nomura Holdings Inc. analyst Danny Chu wrote in a report in February that the $2.5 billion offer for Nitel was “relatively high” compared with Bharti Airtel Ltd.’s $9 billion purchase of the African wireless assets of Zain. Nitel’s annual Ebitda, or earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization, was estimated at about $13 million, according to Chu. A previous attempt in 2006 to sell Nitel to Transnational Corp. was annulled after the Lagos-based investment company failed to comply with sale conditions.

    Bloomberg
  • Vodafone Group Plc, France Telecom SA and Bharti Airtel Ltd., which spent at least $18 billion on deals in Africa and the Middle East in the last two years, may face lower margins in the world's fastest-growing phone markets.

    Countries with as many as 11 operators, falling tariffs, a shrinking pool of new customers who can pay the bills and unpredictable government regulation, are weighing on profit for companies operating in Africa.

    "The next round of growth in Africa is not as profitable as the first stage, and the difference is quite dramatic," said Mike Dunning, a managing director at Fitch Ratings in London. "You hit a certain point where you've got all the juicy subscribers covered, and you have to mine the people who can't really afford the service."

    Nigeria, Africa's most populous country, had 11 mobile operators at the end of 2009, compared with about four in European countries. In Tanzania, tariffs fell by 80 per cent in the 18 months to May, according to Vodafone's South African unit, Vodacom Group Ltd.

    European companies haven't been deterred because revenue gains in Africa are still faster than stagnant or slowing growth at home. France Telecom Chief Executive Officer, Stephane Richard, said in April that the Paris-based company may spend as much as 7 billion euros ($8.8 billion) on deals in Africa and the Middle East in the next five years.

    Vodafone is targeting sub-Sahara Africa as one of three "priority areas" for expansion, and Vivendi SA has built up its Maroc Telecom unit with deals in Mali and Burkina Faso.

    "Five years ago, it took half a year to recover investments in infrastructure for new clients," said Marc Rennard, the head of France Telecom's African and Middle Eastern operations. "Now, it's more than two years, but that's still pretty good."

    Services revenue in Africa, which grew 3.4 per cent to $48.7 billion last year, will rise 2.9 per cent this year and 7.9 per cent next year, according to market researcher, Gartner Inc. The region is still one of the largest untapped mobile-phone markets with about 300 million unsigned subscribers as of last year. Still, operators expanding with those growth rates in sight may be less willing to pay rich premiums for assets.

    Bharti paid $9 billion, or about 10 times annual earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation, for Zain's African assets. The assets had also been considered by Vivendi before it balked at the price. "Except in a truly special case, we wouldn't be prepared to pay 10 times Ebitda for a target," France Telecom CEO Richard said on July 5.

    Vodacom had also been in talks with Zain "long before Bharti," said Pieter Uys, Vodacom's CEO. It walked away from the price "the businesses, knowing the countries, and the opportunities," he said Vodacom would pay as much as six or seven times earnings for the right assets, Chief Financial Officer, Rob Shuter, said.

    "The glory days and gold rush are over to some extent," said Dave Hagedorn, a former mergers and acquisitions executive at Zain's Celtel unit, now at Vodafone.

    Kinnevik Investment AB's Millicom International Cellular SA, with operations from Chad to Tanzania, may be "the only real possibility to buy something that is more or less worthwhile," Lerche said. Millicom Chief Executive Officer Mikael Grahne said in an interview in May that Africa has too many licenses and that the Luxembourg-based company may sell units that can't be among the top two operators in their countries.

    With multiple companies in markets, profit margins have been sliding. In Sierra Leone, the margins of Zain, tumbled to 7 percent in the nine months to September 2009 from 26 percent in the year- earlier period. MTN's Ebitda margins slipped to 41 percent last year from about 44 percent in 2007.

    "We do not want to deteriorate our Ebitda ratio, but we need growth," France Telecom's Rennard said. Margins in Africa are higher than those in Europe, according to CEO Richard.

    Bharti will invest about $600 million over three years in Nigeria, the company's Africa CEO Manoj Kohli told reporters in Lagos yesterday. Half of that amount will be spent in the first year in the West African state, where Bharti bought Zain's assets.

    Leadership
  • According to a report by local daily Nyasa Times, the board of the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) is unsure whether to declare Comium Malawi the successful bidder of the country’s fourth mobile licence, as the company has links to President Bingu wa Mutharika’s daughters. ‘If this goes ahead it will be corruption of some sort, Comium Malawi should not get it because it was not the best company,’ a top level MACRA source said.

    MACRA launched an international tender for a fourth wireless licence earlier in the year, after two previous attempts to introduce new players in the market failed. The country’s third mobile licence holder, Global Advanced Integrated Networks (GAIN, or G-Mobile), is currently facing the revocation of its permit after repeatedly missing the rollout deadlines stipulated by its licence, while in October 2009 the government suspended two licences – awarded to Lacell of Singapore and the UAE’s Expresso Telecom in April 2009 – following legal concerns that the regulator had issued a pair of concessions, but had only advertised one for sale.
    (Source: Telegeography)

  • A number of media reports have appeared in the past few weeks about a new South African telecoms company that was launched by ex-employees of iBurst Business. While the gist of the story that a new business was being launched was correct, a number of key details were speculation as planning work and negotiations were still being finalised.

    Several agreements have been concluded, and the story can now be reported on more fully:

    The new company is called Arc Telecoms, and the corporate identity is being finalised and the company formally launched within weeks. The company will provide end-to-end voice and data connectivity solutions for the mid-size corporate market.

    The company has its roots in iBurst Business, which was a division of iBurst that was incubated to the point where it could become a stand-alone company, in line with the WBS strategy of building and then spinning off service provider companies. iBurst Business as it then stood was spun off in April 2010. At the time negotiations were ongoing as to the final structure and shareholding of the business. The new company was temporarily based at the Blue Label offices while these details were being determined. ARC Telecoms management team, which includes Steve Briggs, Michelle McCann and Paven Chetty, were also in discussions with other potential partners that had approached them, including WOA, the investment company of Alan Knott-Craig Jnr.

    On 1 July 2010 an agreement was reached with WOA to become shareholders, with Alan Knott-Craig Jnr taking a non-executive position, leaving the day-to-day running of ARC Telecom to the management team.

  • * Three out of 22 interested parties have been shortlisted to become Mozambique's third mobile phone operator, the National Institute of Communications (INCM) has announced. The three in question are TMN (the cellular unit of Portugal Telecom), UNI-Telecom (a joint venture between Angolan cellco Unitel and Mozambique's Energy Capital) and a Vietnam-backed bidder named Movitel. Though the ownership of the Vietnamese company was not reported, military-run GSM operator Viettel previously announced plans to seek investment opportunities in other developing countries including Mozambique, following its recent takeover of the Haitian operator Teleco. INCM director Americo Muchanga commented: ‘The three have presented required documents. Technical and financial proposals will be evaluated over the next two months after which we will announce the winning bid’. Mozambique is currently home to Mcel with an estimated 3.7 million customers in March 2010 and Vodacom with 1.49 million at the same date. Wireless penetration stands at 23.8%, leaving plenty of room for growth. * Telecel Zimbabwe has revealed it will launch its 3G service within the next three months. Telecel, the country’s second largest mobile operator by subscribers, acquired 3G frequencies in February this year, and if the launch goes to schedule it will become the second domestic 3G operator in the country after Econet Wireless initiated its service last year. The operator said it had constructed an additional 30 base stations across the country to increase network coverage, and will have capacity for 50,000 subscribers at launch. * Tunis — According to a communiqué released on Monday by Tunisia's Central Bank (BCT), the mobile phone payment mechanism was launched early July. This service was developed by Tunisie Telecom and Monétique Tunisie under the aegis of the BCT, and in collaboration with other banks. The service will be launched on a two week trial basis. The new service benefits from world standard safety regulations. Until the end of 2010 the service is free for customers and merchants. This service will be open to all mobile operators by the end of the year. * Johannesburg — The telecommunications industry is anxiously waiting for the Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) to announce its final decision on the interconnection rate cut after a marathon three-day public hearing last week. The regulator issued a statement on Friday but did not commit to any time frames regarding the release of the final call termination regulations. The regulations mainly seek to reduce the wholesale price or interconnection rate - fees that fixed and mobile telecommunications operators pay each other to terminate calls on each others' network, and also the terms and conditions of those interconnection agreements.

internet

  • The long-awaited multibillion-rand Gauteng Link broadband project could be shelved, a senior government official has told Business Day. Putting the project on ice would mean Gauteng residents would have to wait longer for access to faster and cheaper broadband. According to reports, about R40m has already been spent on pre-feasibility studies.

    The Gauteng executive council approved the project strategy in 2006 with the aim of integrating existing networks to create faster and cheaper access to broadband. This was the government's attempt to make doing business in the province easier and attract more investment.

    However, the senior official said Gauteng Shared Services Centre (GSSC) officials, who were tasked with implementing the project, had failed to convince Premier Nomvula Mokonyane's executive council that it was sustainable. "The GSSC people are clueless. They don't know what they are doing," the official said.

    He said the GSSC plan, presented to the executive council earlier this year, did not take into consideration the existing privately owned broadband network. "They plan as if they'll be starting from scratch; that is why the costs are so high."

    The source said that after the Gauteng government spent more than R20bn on the Gautrain, there were no funds left for such a project. "There is not a cent allocated to the project," he said.

    Gauteng government spokesman Thabo Masebe said the GSSC had estimated the project would cost between R7bn and R10bn. He said the government had instructed the GSSC to find an affordable funding model. "Municipalities have been doing it. We needed to find areas not covered," said Mr Masebe.

    GSSC spokeswoman Khusela Sangoni said staff were still working on the funding model. "We are exploring, amongst others, project finance, venture capital, loan (debt) funding, government grant funding or private-public partnership, and build-operate-transfer concessions."

    Speculation is rife that Ms Mokonyane wants to move the project from the GSSC to the department of economic development. Mr Masebe denied this. "It's not a concern at the moment where the project is located."

    The project was initially located within BlueIQ, the province's investment arm, which falls under the economic development department. In May 2008, the project was controversially moved from BlueIQ to the GSSC. Then CEO Nomhle Canca tried to oppose the move, but was overruled by then economic development MEC Paul Mashatile.

    Ms Canca is suing BlueIQ for defamation as she claims the agency had deliberately withheld information from the auditor-general to discredit her. The matter relates to the R22m expenditure on Gauteng Link which the auditor-general found was irregular as it was not authorised.

    The expense was for consultancy work for a pre-feasibility study that was paid in foreign currency. BlueIQ last year maintained that the expenditure was not authorised, but Ms Canca insisted she got the go-ahead from Mr Mashatile and former department head Sibusiso Xaba.

    Ms Canca was suspended in 2008 and reached an out-of-court settlement with BlueIQ last year after she had a fall-out with the board. Her attorney, Pamela Stein, said the defamation case would be heard in court later this year.

    Business Day
  • The 2010 World Cup gave Sport24 and Supersport a massive boost in traffic, but not everyone benefitted. The 2010 World Cup brought thousands of international visitors to South Africa, but despite this increase in tourism, the impact on local Internet traffic was uncertain.
    Some industry players predicted that local Internet and website traffic will slide to levels typically seen during the December holidays while others felt that the influx of tourists would boost local traffic.
    The latest Nielsen Online website statistics showed that there was in fact no significant slowdown or growth in local website traffic which is possibly an indication that the influx of international visitors cancelled out the effect of school holidays.  In June local OPA registered websites attracted 20,481,203 unique visitors, a decline of only 0.85% from May.
    Not surprisingly, the two biggest benefactors of the 2010 World Cup in terms of June website traffic were Sport24 and Supersport.  In June Sport24 showed an impressive 86% growth compared to the website’s traffic in May while Supersport showed a 24% growth over the same period.
    The following table provides an overview of the largest websites in South Africa according to the latest total traffic report from Nielsen Online.

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    Website

    Unique monthly visitors

    News24

    2,793,717

    MSN

    2,027,169

    Supersport

    1,903,635

    IOL

    1,780,591

    Sports24

    1,399,034

    Football365

    1,307,970

    TimesLIVE

    1,289,904

    Hotmail

    1,271,995

    MWeb

    1,030,652

    MyBroadband

    835,285

    It should however be noted that only OPA registered websites are listed in the Nielsen Online report, and to get a rough idea of which websites are the most popular among South African Internet users Alexa’s country statistics can be used.
    According to the latest Alexa rankings the ‘Top Sites’ in South Africa are:  Google, Facebook, YouTube, Yahoo, Twitter, WikiPedia, Blogger, Gumtree, News24 and FIFA.

    Business Daily
  • Main One has announced today that it’s 1,920 Gbps, 7000 kilometres long, submarine fibre optic cable system linking West Africa to Europe has been completed and commissioned. With landing stations in Nigeria and Ghana and branching units in Morocco, Canary Islands, Senegal and Ivory Coast, the cable will deliver unprecedented broadband capacity to West Africa, more than ten times what is currently available.

    With its cable system now turned on, Main One is poised to champion a communications revolution in Africa impacting businesses, governments and individuals by providing higher bandwidth and exceptional speeds at a lower cost. The ramifications of Main One’s cable will be felt in all sectors: from education, to health, to entertainment, etc helping driving economic growth and creating job opportunities all over Africa.

    “Today is a historic day for West Africa. The arrival of the Main One cable proves that much good can be done by Africans for Africans. We are pleased to realise the fruit of our dedication and commitment in the past30 months. More importantly, we are happy to be a channel for driving growth in Africa and changing the status quo for the average African as reliable internet connectivity becomes easily accessible and affordable for all” said Fola Adeola, Chairman Main One Cable Company.

    Main One, is wholly African and is the first privately owned submarine network cable in West Africa. A landmark achievement, Main One delivered its cable system on time and within budget, a rare occurrence with projects of this magnitude and complexity.

    West African submarine fibre-optic cable system Glo-1, which was developed by Nigerian telecoms operator Globacom and French vendor Alcatel-Lucent, is ready for commissioning, Nigerian newspaper ThisDay reports.

  • * Kenya Data Networks (KDN) has expanded its network reach to six major countries in sub-Saharan Africa, enabling it to deliver cost effective services to Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon and Malawi. This year KDN is expanding its subscriber base which is prevalent in Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, and Eldoret to provide high-quality broadband services to customers in the cities and rural areas of Kenya. KDN has said that it aims to reach 80% of Kenyans with its data networks by the end of 2010.

    *A fault in the Seacom undersea cable which runs along Africa's east coast has interrupted internet access for millions, including local users. Its undersea cable system had collapsed, disrupting services from Kenya to India and Europe. Internet Solutions and MWeb subscribers appear to be worst hit. Initial investigations had revealed that there was a fault on the component that amplified the signal. The repairs could take up to a week. Internet traffic would be routed on to other cables such as the TEAMS and the SAT3/SAFE cable system. Telkom South Africa’s international clients on consumer DSL and Velocity packages were affected, but business DSL clients were not experiencing any problems because the company used Telkom's SAT3 cable as a backup.

    * South African mobile operator Vodacom has confirmed that it will be launching a consumer based ADSL service to complement its current wireless and business offerings. Vodacom, which is South Africa’s largest cellco, has been actively working towards entering the fixed broadband market since 2007 - initially as a reseller - but also with the intention of providing services using its own bandwidth.

    * Neotel has launched an uncapped Internet access package under the name 'NeoBroadband WiMAX'. Neotel, which currently has WiMAX networks installed in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town and Durban, says that its new offering is a flexible solution that can be upgraded or downgraded to suit the needs of the user; 1Mbps, 2Mbps, 5Mbps and 8Mbps download speeds are available. Neotel promises a five-day turnaround time for installation.

computing

  • Access to data online for graduates and undergraduates of Nigerian Universities had been a difficult exercise unlike what obtained in other climes. However, the establishment of National Universities Commission Data Base (NUCDB), a partnership between NUC and GUCCI-CHIS may have put an end to that plight.

    The National Universities Commission Data Base (NUCDB) was established by the federal government to help enforce the laws establishing, regulating and sanitising the product of the universities for improved visibility among other objectives. And to ensure that the university system rides with the demands of 21st century realities, the project was conceived essentially as a public private partnership by NUC and its partner, GUCCI -CHIS to provide an online information system where valuable data are stored and retrieved.

    At a stakeholders forum convened to sensitise the Committee of Vice Chancellors and information technology experts of universities on the new era about to begin, the former Minister of Education, Igwe Aja-Nwachukwu had stated that NUCDB would serve as a central data repository, with access to information on students, university staff, facilities, programmes, research and all other relevant activities of Nigerian universities. The deliverables among other things include: complete academic records for Nigerian university graduates past and present, automation of result gathering for present and future undergraduates and a standard information storage structure for use in Nigerian universities. This will encompass results, staff information, student information, facilities information, lecture information among others.

    To guarantee the continued availability and update of information with integrity, state of the art central storage facility for the NUC and all approved Universities will be deployed. In his opening remarks, NUC Executive Secretary Professor Julius Okojie, explained the importance of the NUC database project as it will assist university graduates up to 25 years back seeking to check their entire academic records online, and that their universities will be able to forward transcripts in not later than three days on request. This is in addition to the fact that the biometrics data of current university students will be captured in line with global practices. The database also, will assist the NUC to enforce some of its regulations on standards, such as Carrying Capacity, Accreditation, Programme Audit and Staff Audit.

    Okojie also contended that students could now check their results online immediately after every examination.

    Incidentally, the project has taken off fully with the University of Uyo, Akwa-Ibom State, being the first to embrace the new NUC Database (NUCDB) system. The NUCDB provides among other things, full student bio-data and course registration, management of minimum and maximum course unit per student, dynamic inclusion of carry-over courses on registration and maintenance of a live online results system. A High speed V-SAT equipment and service for the university's NUCDB project were also commissioned at the kick-off.

    The university community will also avail itself of the project's numerous benefits as it caters for students, academic staff, administrators, and research records as well as provide online access to a virtual library of international books and journals as subscribed to by the NUC. Data from each university will also be replicated by the NUC headquarters to provide a centralised storage repository for all university data. The NUCDB Portal is equipped with 1mbps satellite communication, a high-capacity database server, an Internet access server and more than 40 HP Compaq laptops for the smooth operation of data gathering and data collation. Live registration of students of the university commenced shortly after the official kick-off. Students of all Nigerian universities where NUCDB has commenced can now access their university NUCDB Portal by visiting www.nucdb.com, clicking 'universities' and clicking their university name.

    Other universities that have taken advantage of the global standard of centralised database scheme include the University of Lagos, University of Calabar and Federal University of Technology, Owerri.

    However, Delta State University, Ahmadu Bello University, University of Nigeria Nsukka and Nnamdi Azikiwe University are on the verge of full implementation.

    For University of Lagos, bio-data and academic records of its undergraduate and postgraduate students from 1989 to date have already been transferred to the database. These include records of the College of Medicine and those of Distance Learning Institute. Moreso, at the University of Calabar and Federal University of Technology, Owerri, information on students, lecturers, administrators and others are already captured in the newly deployed NUC database system. With this project, Nigerian Universities have joined the league of forward-looking institutions of higher learning in the world. Amid a huge database of schools, colleges and universities across Nigeria, NUCDB provides accurate and up-to-date information on students, academic and non-academic personnel, research outputs, and university infrastructure.

    The overall objective of the project is to establish a centralised database system for the Nigerian University System. The project will address among others the problems associated with delays in the processing and/or forgery of transcripts of Nigerian universities, help reduce the incidence of fake students, fake lecturers and prevent students who have been rusticated by any institution from simply relocating and gaining admission to another institution without knowledge of their past records and misdeeds. It will also eliminate doubts and apprehension in accepting transcripts from Nigerian tertiary institutions by foreign missions and institutions outside the country.

    With education increasingly becoming the key determinant of overall development in the emerging knowledge economy of the world, managing the modern university system requires tracking the utilisation of resources, highlighting the depreciation of infrastructure and knowing the accurate student-lecturer ratios so that planners can easily fine-tune university quotas and resources.

    It was also gathered that NUCDB ensures complete elimination of problems associated with over-admission and over-population in the universities. The project, it is also said, will enhance proper monitoring and supervision of each university due to communication link provided by this initiative. This will in turn help to ensure that actual graduates only from recognised universities can serve in the nation's one-year mandatory NYSC programme. Speaking on the benefits of this innovation, project consultant, Hon. Paul Adingwupu told Daily Independent that universities will benefit immensely from the infrastructure provided and managed by the NUCDB project and the Internet connectivity deployed and serviced by the project. He added that parents and prospective students would be able to compare performance in certain courses across different universities overtime from one reliable source online.

    In summation Nigerian universities and indeed the general public stand to benefit tremendously from this initiative. Before the inauguration of the NUCDB project, there was no central database for the Nigerian university system and this made it difficult to access accurate information from the nation's Ivory Tower. Not unmindful of previous attempts to implement the Nigerian Universities Management Information System (NUMIS) and the Nigerian Universities Network (NUNet), NUC database is a Public-Private-Partnership initiative and to guarantee full success, NUC and its technical partner GUCCI-CHIS have resolved that the NUCDB Project will stand the test of time. This it hopes to achieve through the involvement of stakeholders to guarantee the implementation and sustenance of the project. Already, the NUCDB project is profiting, not only the universities and students but also every sector of the Nigerian economy.

  • In Tunisia, the ICT sector currently accounts for 11% of the country's GDP. Efforts are underway to further boost its contribution to reach 13% of the GDP in the next 5 years. In line with this strategy, a cyberpark was recently put into service in Medenine in southern Tunisia. It is the country's 13th cyberpark.

    The cyberpark which will offer a remote work platform, was set up at an investment cost of 1, 2 million dinars. It also includes a call center employing 30 young people.
    Other projects will be launched within the premises of the Medenine cyberpark, including units specializing in computer maintenance, the programming of mobile phones and other technical solutions operated remotely.

    Tunisia's 13 cyberparks currently employ some 900 people and are home to 90 companies. By the end of 2010, Tunisia will count 15 cyberparks with the forthcoming launch of two additional cyberparks in the governorates of Jendouba and Sidi Bouzid.

    Tunisia Online
  • The Federal Government said it will soon enact new laws that will regulate the importation and dumping of end-of life electrical/electronic equipment into the country to check the harmful effects of e-waste on the environment.

    The Director-General of the National Environmental Standards Regulatory and Enforcement Agency(NESREA), Dr. Ngeri Benebo disclosed this shortly after delivering a lecture at the Joseph Babalola University in Osun State. "The regulations cut across several sectors including; electrical/electronic equipment, telecommunications sector as well as to establish more effective mode of prosecution of culprits arrested for dumping toxic waste", she said.

    According to the DG, the regulations are currently being drawn-up with the help of scientists and experts from the universities and would soon be ready for implementation before the end of this year.

    She explained that the commencement of these regulatory frameworks will depend on when the agency concludes the drafting of the measures which is being done in collaboration with experts in the universities.

    "What we are doing is that we invited professionals from within and outside Nigeria as well as other related agencies to look at the regulations and offer suggestions so that it would be able to achieve the desired purpose. I can assure you that before the year ends, the new regulations would be ready", she said. The NESREA boss disclosed that her agency has invited experts from (a University) in the United Kingdom to come and train their technicians on how to recycle the end-life used computers, mobile telephone handsets and other similar electronic equipments.

    Leadership
  • * In a bid to solve the problem of inadequate computers in most universities of Rwanda in the country, the Ministry of Education is considering providing laptops to students in public institutions of higher learning on loan at affordable prices so they can pay for them in a stipulated period of time. The availability of laptops coupled with wireless internet access at the universities, will also reduce the pressure to expand libraries since there are millions of books that can be accessed online.

    * Kigali — 300 teachers from primary schools countrywide are undergoing an extensive training on One Laptop per Child (OLPC) capacity building and awareness programme.The four-day training that kicked off yesterday in Kigali, aims at enriching the teachers with knowledge on the programme, especially on how to operate the laptops.

    *Kampala — The Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) organized a training session in Information Technology Security for selected government IT officers as a step towards creating a IT security knowledgeable officers across Government Institutions. The officers were drawn from ministries, departments and agencies mostly those that house critical data.

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

  • International companies are raising their shareholding in telecoms firm Safaricom Ltd at the Nairobi Stock Exchange as locals and corporates gradually exit. Over the last year, they have increased their stake by 63.34 per cent while the share of Kenyan investors has been on the decline. As at May this year, foreign investors held 2.15 billion shares from 1.32 billion held the same period last year.

    Over the same period, local investors reduced their stake from 4.09 billion to 3.3 billion, while local institutional investors cut theirs from 4.47 billion to 4.37 billion.
    Foreign individuals have 91.9 million shares which is a reduction from 112.9 million as at May last year.

    Safaricom chief investor relations officer Les Baillie at a media briefing in Nairobi last week said since May last year, foreign firms have increased their stake by 8.35 per cent to 21.54 per cent as at the same month this year.

    Local institutional investors including pension schemes, insurance providers and collective investment vehicles, and individuals have sold off 0.99 per cent and 7.15 per cent of their shareholding respectively within the same period to 77.54 per cent collectively compared to 85.68 per cent a year ago.

    The number of shareholders has also gradually gone down since last year by 5.92 per cent to 775,147 shareholders in May 2010. "While the number of foreign corporates increased by 15.31 per cent, all the other classes of shareholders recorded a decline with local firms having the largest drop of 11.17 per cent," reads in part a document prepared by Safaricom's investor relations department.

    Analysts attribute the exit of small shareholders from the firm to the overall market trend where retail investors have reduced their participation in the market and lack of opportunity to make quick gains for speculative investors, who form a huge chunk of the retail investors.

    Increased interest from abroad in Safaricom follows a series of meetings the Nairobi-based company held with institutional investors outside the country to provide information about performance and outlook. "The company's management reinforced its strategy to promote investment prospects in Safaricom by undertaking an international investor roadshow in May-June that targeted 60 companies," said Baillie.

    Between May and June this year, the firm has held road shows in South Africa, twice in New York, Boston, Rwanda, Uganda, Frankfurt and London. NSSF Uganda and NSSF Rwanda are today the 4th and 8th largest shareholders in Safaricom, respectively.

    The mobile phone firm listed 10 billion shares on the Nairobi Stock Exchange in East Africa's largest initial public offering in 2008. In 2009 financial year, the firm reported Sh20.9 billion in pre-tax profit, 37 per cent increase, from Sh15.3 billion last year, driven largely by data business, especially its revolutionary M-Pesa money transfer service.

    Daily Nation
  • Bharti Airtel, which recently acquired the African operations of Zain, on Tuesday in Lagos, announced its plans for the Nigerian market, where it will invest a whopping N90 billion ($600 million) in the next three years.

    The company announced its new Chief Executive Officer (CEO), as Rajan Swaroop, and its Chairman as Oba Otudeko for the Nigerian operation. Otudeko's reappointment marks his return as Chairman, having being Chairman of the old Zain Nigeria.

    Otudeko, in his address, thanked Zain customers for their loyalty to and affinity for the company over the years, promising that with the presence of Bharti Airtel as the new owners of Zain, the best is yet to come to Nigeria.

    African Group CEO of Bharti Airtel, Manoj Kholi, who unveiled Bharti's plan and strategies for the Nigerian market, said: "Bharti has come to Nigeria not only to become an open telecom operator, but a rural network operator that will take its services and products to the rural community in order to give opportunity for rural dwellers to communicate effectively."

    He listed quality of service, affordability of service, employment opportunity, quality corporate social responsibility initiatives, as some of the things the company would bring to Nigeria, with plans to become the mobile market leader in Nigeria.

    Giving details of the N90 billion investment in the first three years of its operation in Nigeria, Kholi said the 50 per cent (N45 billion) would be spent in the first ysear of its operation in the country.

    He listed entrepreneurial spirit and staff enthusiasm as the two major factors driving the growth of the Indian company, and promised that Bharti would extend such to the Nigerian market, where its staff would be well managed.

    Pleased with the task of managing Bharti Airtel Nigeria, Swaroop reaffirmed the commitment of Bharti to go the extra mile in meeting and exceeding the expectations of customers. According to him, "In Nigeria, we will continue to build on the momentum and we are committed to taking the telecommunications industry to new heights. Going forward, it will be our endeavour to raise the bar and bring the best in class service, seamless network experience and introduce innovative products and services for our customers in Nigeria."

    Bharti Airtel also said it plans to bring its ecosystem of global partners to Nigeria, which would result in additional employment opportunities in Nigeria, and that the company also plans to set up schools and offer free quality education to underprivileged children in rural areas, as part of its corporate social responsibilities.

    With the successful completion of Zain's acquisition, Bharti Airtel is now the fifth largest mobile company in the world with over 185 million subscribers across its business units.

    African countries, which Bharti acquired their operations include Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Chad, Congo Brazzaville, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Niger, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

  • Egyptian telecoms group Orascom Telecom has announced the sale of its two local internet subsidiaries – LINKdotNET (Egypt) and Link Egypt – to mobile network operator MobiNil for USD130 million. According to Orascom, InTouch Communications, a wholly-owned Orascom subsidiary inked a share sale and purchase agreement with MobiNil, with the deal excluding the non-ISP part of Link Egypt's business, while the other non-connectivity business (LINK Development, LINKonLINE, Connect Ads, Arab Finance Brokerage Company and Arpu+) will also remain under the ownership of Orascom.

    The announcement followed the revelation that last week MobiNil shareholders had agreed to the purchase, with the acquisition part of an agreement that settled the long-running legal dispute between Orascom and France Telecom, the two major shareholders in the cellco. Orascom had previously postponed the sale until the settlement of its dispute with the French company.

    Telegeography
  • The government of Tanzania is set to receive TZS15.4 billion (USD11.2 million) and to hold on to its 40% stake in fixed and mobile operator Zain Tanzania following the sale of the telco to India’s Bharti Airtel. Last month the Indians finalised the acquisition of the African assets of Kuwait-based Zain Group, with the deal valued at USD10.7 billion. Under the terms of the deal, first announced in March 2010, Bharti will pay USD8.3 billion upfront, followed by a further cash payment of USD700 million after one year, while it will also take over approximately USD1.7 billion of Zain’s debt.

    Local newspaper The Citizen now reports that the country's minister for Higher Education, Science and Technology, Prof Peter Msolla, told the National Assembly that the government is still in talks with Bharti Airtel concerning the sale. In a debate on the country’s budget for the 2010/11 financial year, Msolla said: ‘We met with the company’s officials on 21 June to discuss the sale… We have told them to finalise the evaluation of the assets so that we can determine whether the payment made to us is satisfactory.’ The minister went on to add: ‘Since the government has shares in the company, it is imperative that it be involved in transactions regarding the sale. The shares we hold in the company are assets that ensure our role is not underestimated.’
    (Source: Telegeography)

  • * Indian telecoms operator Bharti Airtel plans to invest around USD100 million in Niger to improve the reach and quality of its network in the West African nation by the end of 2012, Reuters reports. The Indian company expects to introduce the Airtel brand across its new units by October 2010. Bharti Airtel ensure that telecoms becomes more accessible in terms of price and the quality of the service improves.’, Zain Niger is the country’s largest cellco by subscribers, with 1.58 million users at the end of March 2010 (a market share of 61%), followed by Orange Niger with 563,000 users, Moov Niger (341,000) and SahelCom (105,000).

    * Last week MTN Uganda and United Bank for Africa signed an agreement establishing the bank as the first financial institution to become an MTN Mobile Money agent.

Digital Content

  • Competition in the mobile money business continues to bring better services to mobile phone users as Uganda Telecom's (UTL) M-sente joined the school fees platform. This comes just over a month since Zain launched its Zap school fees portfolio in the market.

    The mobile money market since its inception has been a battle for innovative partnership that improves on efficiency and effective service delivery. At the M-sente launch, UTL announced that it had partnered with Dfcu bank in bringing the School Fees platform closer to the people and make it more efficient to make these payments."Students do not have travel with cash. It can be transferred onto an m-sente account and sent to the schools' account in DFCU bank," Alex Waiswa from the M-Sente team told East African Business Week.

    With mobile money transfers the question of secure transactions can be read from the lips of some of the customers. At a breakfast for head teachers hosted by Dfcu bank, secure transactions were a key concern. UTL which looks to implement the new school fees platform by the end of august was put to task to explain how secure these transactions will be.

    "What if an m-sente agent runs away with the money that has been given to him by the various parents who have made the payment?" One headteacher asked.

    According to UTL, before an agent is selected, a particular amount of money is deposited by the agent on a UTL account. This way the agent will not be able to take off with schools money but instead will be working to recover the money already paid to UTL. The technology being used by UTL is a concept designed by MapSwitch a technology solutions company. MapSwitch Uganda Director of Mobile Banking Phil Levin said that m-sente platform has various security checks that effect the transactions. The checks include a pin number and some verification codes.

    "The transaction is safe. Once money is paid and the agent sends the virtual money to the school account, it is immediately deposited on the account of the School at Dfcu bank," Phil added.

    The partnership with DFCU, schools will need to open accounts with bank so that when the money is paid it directly goes to the schools account. Unlike the Zap system, where the bursar can access the platform and be able to see who has paid, the m-sente system is different as it is the bank that accesses these payments.

    "DFCU will have access to records of payment on a daily basis. The bank on receiving the report, will then deposit the money on the different schools' accounts. Daily the schools will receive an e-mail with a report on which student has paid," said Wilbrod Owor the head of Consumer Banking at DFCU bank. With convenience in the minds of parents, school fees payment platforms on mobile money then banks will not want to be left behind as the future technology now is visible in the telecom sector.

Web and Mobile Data_old

  • The Directorate Of Road Traffic Services has stated that its electronic enforcement of vehicles which would commence in August in the Federal Capital Territory would target the elimination of both production and circulation of fake driver's license, security of vehicles and reduce the rigorous manual documentation of vehicles.

    The DRTS director, Adamu Argungu (rtd), made the statement at the 2010 International Conference on Motor Vehicle Administration at the Yar' Adua Centre, Abuja.

    The e- enforcement is the electronic enforcement of vehicles plying the capital territory roads by using technology equipment to encode particulars of motorists for easy regulation.

    He noted that the use of private vehicles to commit crime such as 'one chance' made the directorate invoke the relevant sections of the FCT road transport regulation that required taxis to be registered and painted in commercial taxi colour with security number. "This has become an effective means to which the crime associated with 'one chance' was curtailed to the barest minimum," he said.

    Leadership

Telecoms, Rates, Offers and Coverage

  • * Zain Kenya has announced a cut in international call rates, with all pre and post-paid customers now able to call certain destinations around the globe for KES10 (USD0.11) per minute. The KES10 per minute charge will apply to calls made to the US, UK, India and Canada, whilst a KES20 per minute fee will be charged for calls to South Africa, East Africa, China and United Arab Emirates. Calls elsewhere will cost KES30 per minute.

    * Namibia's second mobile phone operator leo has added to its growing product portfolio by launching two new pre-paid products, namely, leo10 and leo20.
    leo10 is a pre-paid card for airtime costing N$10, while leo20 is a pre-paid card for N$20 worth of airtime.

    * Following years of delay, Kenyan mobile phone users will be able to switch networks without changing their numbers by the end of the year, following the award of a licence to manage the service. Mobile number portability (MNP) has long been a contentious issue in Kenya, and it was not until March 2010 that Porting Access of the Netherlands was awarded a contract to supply, install, commission, and manage MNP services. Those wishing to switch operators while retaining their numbers will pay a one-off fee of KES199.80.

    * South African incumbent Telkom has targeted a hike in tariffs for calls to Zimbabwe, a move meant to boost international interconnection revenues and mitigate losses.

    * As competition in Rwanda's telecommunication industry continues to intensify, the country's second largest telecommunication operator by market share, Rwandatel, says that active mobile subscribers on its network have increased by 5 percent in the last four months. This is 16 percent less than the company's 600,000 target in 2009.

More

  • * Prof. Venansius Baryamureeba has surrendered his leadership at Makerere University's faculty of computing and information technology. Baryamureeba will be replaced by Dr. Josephine Nabukenya, who has been heading the information technology department, according to a statement issued on Monday.

    * The State Information Technology Agency (SITA) welcomed Ms. Nontobeko Ntsinde, as the Acting Chief Executive Officer to lead the organisation from the 01 July 2010.

    * The Director General of Rwanda Utilities and Regulatory Agency (RURA), Colonel Deogene Mudenge, was on Saturday, July 3, arrested after allegedly threatening a man with a fire arm. According to Lt. Col. Jill Rutaremara, the Defense and Military spokesman, about one year ago, Mudenge bought a piece of land from Celestin Twagirayezu, a farmer, and made the advance payment through Goboka, a housing cooperative society that the farmer belonged to, but he (Mudenge) later abandoned the project.

    "On Saturday Col Mudenge went to the farmer's house and it is alleged that he grabbed some documents from the farmer after putting him on gun point," Rutaremara said in a statement. Rutaremara added that Twagirayezu spent the advance payment he received but was unable to pay it back before getting another client, prompting Mudenge to threaten him with a pistol.

    "Mudenge was arrested for gross indiscipline and is currently under Military Police custody in Kanombe," Rutaremara said. Investigations into the case are on-going; however, Rutaremara said that the Colonel has been charged with assault.

  • CAPACITY AFRICA 2010
    21-22 October 2010, Nairobi, Kenya
    The most comprehensive African wholesale telecoms conference bringing together local and regional fixed-line and mobile operators from across the continent
    For further information visit Capacity Media's website

    http://www.capacitymedia.com/conferences-events.asp?id=66&cat=&subcat=&s...

  • Contracts Manager :Parvana Strategic Sourcing (PTY) Ltd in Cape Town

    Job Title: Contracts Manager
    Job Type: Permanent
    Job ID: 1000005
    City: Cape Town
    Country: South Africa

    Description

    Main role:

    • Manages a variety of government, international, and commercial contracts and subcontracts in accordance with company policies and procedures, applicable laws, and customer requirements.
    • Provides on-site advice to all of the clients business units and project teams on contract management and policy compliance matters.
    • The Contract Manager may manage more than one engagement or, alternatively, be full-time on a single engagement (depending on the size/complexity of the agreement).

    Duties & Responsibilities:

    • Responds to complex inquiries regarding contract obligations and revisions
    • Identifies risks and issues, suggests alternatives that lead to the best solution
    • Reviews and manages contractual obligations of the parties and provides continual review to ensure that all terms and conditions are met
    • Prepares and disseminates information regarding contract status, compliance, modifications, etc.
    • Responsible for the day-to-day management of one or several assigned project or business personnel assisting with the Contract Management function
    • Acts as the primary contact between the project team and/or business unit and Legal & Commercial, ensuring that all legal and contractual matters are addressed efficiently and promptly
    • Acts as liaison between the client and its clients/vendors
    • Responsible for adherence to company policies and procedures by assigned Contract Management, project or business personnel
    • Responsible for educating the project team on contract terms and monitoring compliance
    • Develops and integrates Contract Management tools, templates, methods and processes for the engagement

    Education and Qualifications:

    • LLB or similar

    Technical Skills & Experience:
    • Minimum of 4 years of applicable industry / contract management experience
    • Possess comprehensive knowledge of general corporate business practices, government and commercial contracting regulations and principles, subcontracting practices, and (preferred If this is available) accounting and finance principles
    • Able to resolve contracts and pricing issues
    • Advise and interact with all levels of management
    • Ability to demonstrate excellent analytical and mathematical skills
    • Excellent oral and written communication and negotiation skills
    • Demonstrated proficiency in spreadsheet, Microsoft Word, writing skills

    Please Send your cv to Tracy@parvana.co.uk

  • Contracts Manager :Parvana Strategic Sourcing (PTY) Ltd in Cape Town

    Job Title: Contracts Manager
    Job Type: Permanent
    Job ID: 1000005
    City: Cape Town
    Country: South Africa

    Description

    Main role:

    • Manages a variety of government, international, and commercial contracts and subcontracts in accordance with company policies and procedures, applicable laws, and customer requirements.
    • Provides on-site advice to all of the clients business units and project teams on contract management and policy compliance matters.
    • The Contract Manager may manage more than one engagement or, alternatively, be full-time on a single engagement (depending on the size/complexity of the agreement).

    Duties & Responsibilities:

    • Responds to complex inquiries regarding contract obligations and revisions
    • Identifies risks and issues, suggests alternatives that lead to the best solution
    • Reviews and manages contractual obligations of the parties and provides continual review to ensure that all terms and conditions are met
    • Prepares and disseminates information regarding contract status, compliance, modifications, etc.
    • Responsible for the day-to-day management of one or several assigned project or business personnel assisting with the Contract Management function
    • Acts as the primary contact between the project team and/or business unit and Legal & Commercial, ensuring that all legal and contractual matters are addressed efficiently and promptly
    • Acts as liaison between the client and its clients/vendors
    • Responsible for adherence to company policies and procedures by assigned Contract Management, project or business personnel
    • Responsible for educating the project team on contract terms and monitoring compliance
    • Develops and integrates Contract Management tools, templates, methods and processes for the engagement

    Education and Qualifications:

    • LLB or similar

    Technical Skills & Experience:
    • Minimum of 4 years of applicable industry / contract management experience
    • Possess comprehensive knowledge of general corporate business practices, government and commercial contracting regulations and principles, subcontracting practices, and (preferred If this is available) accounting and finance principles
    • Able to resolve contracts and pricing issues
    • Advise and interact with all levels of management
    • Ability to demonstrate excellent analytical and mathematical skills
    • Excellent oral and written communication and negotiation skills
    • Demonstrated proficiency in spreadsheet, Microsoft Word, writing skills

    Please Send your cv to Tracy@parvana.co.uk

  •  Swiss Vendor and CBE's - Ethiopia

    The long overdue IT procurement by the largest and oldest bank in the country, the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE), was signed and sealed two weeks ago by an international technology vendor based in Switzerland, Temenos Group AG.
    The CBE is the latest in the march for the use of the latest banking software, procured at a cost of nearly 70 million Br.Temenos had to beat other major contenders to bag the CBE's multimillion dollar contract.

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