Issue no 537 14th January 2011

top story

  • The dirty downside of the ICT industry is that computers have to go somewhere when they die and because they are full of potentially toxic materials they cannot simply be dumped in landfills. Uganda’s Government has sought to tackle part of the problem by banning the import of secondhand computers and sparked the law of unintended consequences. Russell Southwood talked to Shakeel Padamsey of Camara and Kyle Spencer of the Uganda Linux Group about what’s happened.

    In June 2009 the Ugandan Government passed the Financial Bill which prohibited the import of  “used refrigerators, freezers, computers and television sets” from October 2009. The background to the legislation was a concern that Uganda was not dealing properly with the issue of e-waste.

    In May 2008 a report called “e-Waste Assessment in Uganda - A situational analysis of e-waste management and generation with special emphasis on personal computers authored by the Uganda Cleaner Production Centre and EMPA from Switzerland (and sponsored by UNID0 and Microsoft draw attention to the issue. It concluded that:”… only around 10% of those computers (estimated 300,000 in 2007) reach the waste stream, whereas the rest is kept in storage without being used. The 10% in the waste stream gets collected by individuals, whereas material and parts are sold informally and the rest gets dumped informally…This (is) equal to about 2,000 tons of computer waste (desktop unit
    and CRT screen) in total, which contains e.g. 80 tons of printed circuit boards and 400 tons of plastic. These numbers are hypothetical but represent a realistic order of magnitude”. The report’s recommendation was that it be dealt with by a UNIDO/Microsoft refurbishment initiative.

    However, the Government’s complete ban on used computers has had significant unintended consequences. According to a position paper in December 2010 from the E-Waste Special Interest Group is comprised of over 200 traders, importers, suppliers, recyclers, and ICT-Education charitable organisations involved with refurbished ICT equipment:” The vast majority of educational institutions, SMEs, and the public rely upon NGOs and other used-computer importers for affordable high-quality ICT equipment. This ban especially affects thousands of schools and millions of
    students who rely upon these organisations for their ICT needs”.

    “The six-fold price difference between the cheapest refurbished computer (supplied with educational software, training and maintenance), means that schools that
    would have been able to afford 10 or 20 computers now can only afford 2 or 3, making teaching ICT impossible and affecting generations of Ugandans. As a result of the work of organisations which were operating before the ban was implemented, over 2 million
    individuals now have access to high quality branded ICT equipment”.

    “Due to these efforts, educational software and the Internet is now more widely accessible, providing access for 1.8 million students across 4500 schools – working towards targets set out within a number of Millennium Development Goals (2 and 8f). Furthermore, these organisations have trained approximately 32,000 individuals, including 4000 teachers. As a result of the ban, it is estimated that per year at least 1,500 teachers will not be trained and more than 500,000 students will not gain access to ICT equipment”.

    But is not just the education sector that will feel the consequences but also Uganda’s economy:”According to our research, we estimate that the ban immediately eliminates over one thousand skilled jobs and annually removes $17 million from the local economy. A 2009 study by Private Sector Foundation Uganda, projects
    that losses as a result of the ban will total $60 million in revenue and 100,000 jobs in Uganda, compared to the EAC and other African countries without a ban”. All lobby groups are prone to exaggerate slightly for effect but the points are well made.

    The e-Waste Special Interest Group is arguing that the alternative is to produce sound and enforceable regulations on the importation of all electronic goods through licensing of businesses, ensuring only high quality goods are brought into the country. Elements of this approach would include: licensing importers of electronic goods; verification of equipment sent to Uganda by organizations like such Bureau Veritas, SGS, and Intertek; and a system of independent auditing procedures to be adopted with the help of
    relevant Government institutions to ensure that each organisation is actively
    involved in recycling activities; and a recycling “deposit” that would be refunded when the defunct computer was delivered to a recycling centre.

    The Government’s response to these points has been somewhat ill-thought-out. In the response from the Government Minister, NEMA (the environmental agency) and the Parliamentary Natural Resources Committee, it said:”Uganda is being used as a dumping ground by developed countries and yet we do not have capacity to dispose E- waste”.

    Two points are very clear: Firstly, why would anyone go to the time and trouble of exporting e-waste to an inland country like Uganda? What is currently being exported are secondhand computers that have a 2-3 year life. Secondly, if Uganda genuinely becomes the ICT society it aspires to be, it will build up a steady stream of defunct computers (and fridges, freezers and televisions) and as every year passes the number will increase. Therefore surely now is the moment to start creating recycling facilities as one of the unfortunate consequences of getting wealthier is that you have to deal with a different type of waste.

    The response also said “that government plans to distribute free computers to government aided schools. It will also ensure that computers are assembled locally at affordable prices”. Sad to say, in our view pigs will fly before this starts happening. Again encouraging a local assembly industry is laudable but Uganda is a relatively small market in which to make it financially viable.

    Kyle Spencer estimates that out of an estimated 350,000-500,000 computers in the country, 130,000 are computers that were bought secondhand. Of these, 1 in seven were refurbished computers:”They simply don’t have the data to support their argument.” Currently an average refurbished computer costs between US$60-70 whereas a new computer at the low end costs around US$350, a price differential of 5-6 times.

    If the Government wants to encourage computer ownership then giving access at the lower price is surely worthy of consideration. Indeed Padamsey’s own organization sold refurbished computers to schools for just US$50. Padamsey says:”The Government wanted to give a waiver to one organization to import refurbished computers. But what can be given by Government can be taken away and a waiver system would be open to corruption.”

    Padamsey went to one of the major landfill sites North of Kampala:”There was some eWaste like dot matrix printers and TVs but most of it was very old. There’s a Chinese company that has been trying to buy plastics and metals at US25 cents a kilo. Things like this would be the basis for a new recycling industry. NEMA doesn’t seem to distinguish between refurbishing and recycling. Our organization runs an e-waste facility in Mombasa and when computers in schools reach the end of their life, they have to return them to us”.

    This is story without heroes and villains but a classic case where legislation has created unintended consequences. The Government has put itself in the position where it is cutting off a supply of cheap, working computers and will need to take on the task of supplying computers to schools (Which part of the budget will that come out of?). It is seeking to deal with a small amount of the refurbished waste stream without anticipating the huge increase in e-waste that the successful adoption of new computers will bring about. Creating recycling capacity has to be the way to go and is probably cheaper than the current legal corner that the politicians have backed themselves into.

    For more market news and insights, go to Balancing Act’s Web TV channel:

    Clips include:

    * Main One’s Michael Iyayi on extending the cable to South Africa and Cameroon.
    * Bouzaine Zaid on the use of You Tube in Morocco
    * Tito Alai on a B2B GPRS sales tracking tool.
    * Praveen Sadalage of Busy Internet on Ghana’s first third party data centre,
    * The CEO of Hadera Tech on green approaches to data servers for Africa.

    There are 51 clips in both English and French that contain news and information that does not appear in our e-letter or on our web site.

telecoms

  • Sudan Vote Monitor, a Web platform that allows ordinary citizens to report on electoral fraud and violence in real time via text message, went live on January 7, 2011, ahead of the January 9 independence referendum in South Sudan.

    Sudan Vote Monitor uses open source software to transmit, collect and interpret information from volunteer observers at polling stations, and also allows users to upload video to a YouTube site, or link directly to social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, in addition to several Sudan-specific sites.

     “Our technology will provide the closest thing that exists to a real-time snapshot of what is happening on the ground during the referendum,” says Fareed Zein, spokesperson for Sudan Vote Monitor. “Our role is to make it possible for ordinary people to monitor the process.”

    Powering the Sudan Vote Monitor Website is Ushahidi.com, a Web portal that allows anyone to gather data via SMS messaging, e-mail or the internet and
    visualize it on a map. Since the Ushahidi platform was first deployed during the 2008 political crisis in Kenya, it has been used for election monitoring in
    India, Burundi, Mexico and Afghanistan.

    Sudan Vote Monitor is a collaboration of several Sudanese civil society organizations led by the Sudan Institute for Policy and Research (SIRP)
    http://www.sudaninstitute.org and the Asmaa Society for Development http://asmaasociety.org.

  • Brymedia Consortium, one of the initial bidders for state-run incumbent telco Nitel, is looking to acquire the ailing operator, should the preferred buyer fail to make the initial payment, local newspaper Daily Independent reports, citing sources close to the consortium. Brymedia came third during the bidding process for Nitel in February 2010, after offering USD551 million for a 75% stake in Nitel (excluding its CDMA network) and its mobile arm M-Tel. The report follows the failure of Nitel’s preferred bidder, New Generation Telecommunications, to meet its extended deadline for payment of a USD750 million bid security on 23 December 2010.

    President Goodluck Jonathon finally approved New Generation’s bid of USD2.5 billion in October 2010, after an investigation into the bidding process led to an eight-month delay. New Generation – which comprises Minerva Group of Dubai, Nigeria’s GiCell Wireless and technical partner China Unicom – was asked to pay a bid security of USD750 million within ten days from 25 October and was given 60 days to pay the remaining USD1.75 billion.

    On 5 November the bid security deadline was extended by 20 working days and subsequently to 23 December 2010, after the consortium failed to come up with the funds in time. However, Usman Gumi, GiCell’s managing director, said that New Generation was able to secure financial documentation from a foreign investor – which he said showed evidence of imminent payment of the funds following processing by the banks – and submit it to the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) on 23 December. The BPE is due to meet to discuss the fate of NITEL shortly.

    Telegeography
  • The High Court of Malawi has reportedly upheld a decision by telecoms regulator Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) to introduce a new interconnection law governing calls across both fixed and mobile networks.

    Two mobile operators, Airtel Malawi (formerly Zain/Celtel) and Telekom Networks Malawi (TNM), had attained an injunction against the introduction of the Sender Keeps All (SKA) interconnection regime, in which the operator originating the call keeps all of the revenues it collects. However, having heard arguments from MACRA and the operators, the court has now lifted the injunction.

    According to a statement from MACRA following the 23 December 2010 ruling, this means therefore that the court’s decision vindicates the legality and rationale of MACRA’s decision to intervene in the interconnection dispute that currently exists among operators. The regulator has now instructed all fixed and wireless operators to abide by the new interconnection law.

  • Tigo Rwanda has announced that it is now providing mico-SIM cards for subscribers with smart phones particularly those using the 3G iPad and latest iPhone 4.  The company’s Marketing Manager Nina Ndabaneze said on 10th January 2011 that the micro-SIM is now available for Tigo Rwanda subscribers wishing to acquire new numbers and those who wish to swap and retain their old numbers.

    She said that the company has also slashed prices on the Tigo Go Wireless data modem from Rwf25,000 to Rwf19,700  making the device the most affordable 3G modem in Rwanda. From the 10th to the 16th of January, the price per megabyte for our Go Wireless modem subscribers will be Rwf15 from Rwf30/MB

    According to Ndabaneze the company is set to introduce two ZTE low-cost smart phones which are equally useful as any other smart phone when browsing the Internet. The phones including the G-R352 that costs Rwf33,700 (US$56) and the F102 that goes for Rwf35,700 (US$59) which each handset coming with free internet subscription for one month.

    Officials at the Muhima based company also said that Tigo Rwanda was the first to introduce the micro-SIM in Rwanda.  “We have had in our stock the micro-SIM for more than two months. With the use of the new micro-SIM, mobile devices can store a larger battery, and we already see that in the new iPhone which has 16 percent more capacity. With Facebook, Twitter and all these utilities, users browse the Internet all day so they want a large screen, and that kills the battery of most smart phones,” Ndabaneze said.

    “The micro-SIM can be significantly used with Apple products like the 3G iPad or with the new iPhone 4. It is sold at the same price of Rwf350. Tigo subscribers can purchase and use the card as new or also by swap,” Nabaneze added.

    The new iPhone 4 is the first mobile phone to forgo the use of the usual SIM card and move to micro-SIM. Tigo officials said that subscriber who have recently purchased or intend to purchase the iPhone 4 don’t need to worry about the availability of the micro-SIM.

    Tigo and all the other telecom companies in Rwanda already provide the usual mini-SIM card. The new micro-SIM card is basically over 50 percent smaller, measuring only 15 mm × 12 mm × 0.76 mm.

    The micro-SIM standard is the creation of the European Telecommunications Standards Institute, and it’s been a standard since late 2003.

    In addition to new technology offerings, Tigo is this week launching a portfolio of products under the banner “Tigo My Choice”.  Subscribers will be able to buy bulk packages of voice minutes, SMS or data by simply sending an SMS to the relevant short-code for each package.

    “With these new packages we are telling our subscribers that we understand their unique needs and we will always do our best to provide the most personalized experience for each of them as possible.  Our customers can get more information by dialing *505# on their Tigo mobile, or calling or visiting any of our customer care centres,” Ndabaneze said.   

  • - Second National Telecommunications Operator, Globacom, has launched the fourth generation mobile technology, 4G-LTE network, in Nigeria. Group Chief Operating Officer of Globacom, Mohamed Jameel, noted that Globacom has already deployed the services on over 100 sites in Lagos alone, adding that "for our subscribers, LTE offers the key benefits of performance and capacity".

    - In Kenya, mobile phone service providers have settled on 60 cents as the new rate they will be charging each other to terminate SMS’s from Tuesday next week.

    - The 2nd Annual Congress on Angola's Telecommunications called "Globalcom 2011" will bring together experts of the sector in Luanda on May 17-18, under an initiative of the Institute for International Research (IIR).

    - The Gambia received another boost in her national and wider regional efforts in ensuring sustainable development with the installation of a Satellite Data Receiving Station of the environment at the National Environment Agency as part of the Africa Monitoring of the Environment for Sustainable Development (AMESD) Programme.

    ­- The African country of Niger plans to impose new taxes on telecom networks to help fund record government spending, Reuters has reported, citing the military Junta spokesman, Mahaman Laoualy Dan Dah. "The contribution from telecoms to the budget has been weak up to this point, despite the enormous resources of the telecoms operators," he told state radio. He did not give details on the new taxes, and an official was not immediately available to comment. Officials from the companies declined to comment. The move to raise taxes comes even as the country expects to start exporting oil during 2011, and the presumed resumption of international aid once the military government hands over to a civillian authority.

    - South Africa’s SNO, Neotel has a fight on its hands as the Communication Workers Union (CWU) and Solidarity Workers Union prepare to fight tooth and nail to protect its members from proposed retrenchments at the company. The operator recently confirmed it may retrench staff as the company is not performing in line with expectations. A process involving staff consultation is currently under way and Neotel says some jobs may become redundant.

internet

  • Construction of the national information communication technology broadband backbone is expected to be completed this December, according to a senior government official. The move brings the hope of increased broadband uptake and reduced Internet tariffs in the Tanzanian hinterland and beyond.

    The backbone, which is the terrestrial continuation of the fibre optic submarine cables that landed in the Dar es Salaam coast last year has already contributed to a significant drop in Internet capacity charges. The NICTBB project was embarked on in 2008 and is expected to cost about Sh251 billion when it is completed at the end of this year.

    "The construction of the backbone was divided in two phases to cover the whole country. Phase I became operational in July 2010 and covers the northern ring of the network with ten Points of Presence (POP) which include Dar es Salaam, Morogoro,Singida, Iringa, Babati, Arusha, Namanga, Moshi and Tanga," Gilder Kibola, Head of the National ICT Broadband Backbone told The Citizen in an interview recently in Dar es Salaam.

    "Phase II is expected to be completed by December 2011 with operational PoPs at Lindi, Mtwara, Tunduru, Songea, Sumbawanga, Tabora, Kigoma, Manyovu," she added. The project is funded by a $170 million soft loan from China and Sh30 billion from government sources.

    The government intends to turn the country into the regional ICT hub, according to Ms Kibola. Since phase I of the backbone became operational last July four major locally licensed cellular and data operators were subscribed to NICTBB services, with other two companies from landlocked countries of Malawi and Zambia getting access to NICTBB through licensed local operators.

    According to the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority, the broadband subscriptions stood at four million by the end of last year.

    The Citizen
  • Vodacom Business has begun rolling out its optical fibre network in towns across the Western Cape, with over 120km of cable trenched across Stellenbosch, Somerset West, Paarl and Wellington.

    Ermano Quartero, Managing Executive of Products and Marketing at Vodacom Business, explains that the fibre-optic cabling enables the rapid transfer of large amounts of data, and is ideal for services that require smooth data provisioning, such as video conferencing.

    Quartero says the current network covers 23km of cable in Stellenbosch, 48km of cable in Somerset West, and 49km in Paarl and Wellington. There are also 38km of optic spurs in Stellenbosch, Paarl and Somerset West, he notes.

    Parent company Vodacom has been investing heavily in its network infrastructure, reporting R4.573 billion in network expenditure, according to the company's last year-end financial results. Over the past six months, Vodacom laid 831km of fibre and has to date encircled 11 metro rings with optical technology across the country.

    ITWeb
  • Nigeria internet Registration Association (NiRA), managers of the Nigerian name space on the internet, the dot ng domain name has released 50, 000 free domain names for Nigerians as part of efforts to identify with the Golden Jubilee celebrations of the country. Registration of free domains commenced formally on Friday, December 31, 2010 and will run till March 21, 2011.

    President of NiRA, Mary Uduma, who disclosed this in Abuja saying: "This sense of identification is tied to our perceptiveness of the collective responsibility required to project the true and appropriate Nigerian image and our conviction that the nation's country code, Top Level Domain .ng, is a veritable tool towards achieving this. To this effect, we have chosen to partner with the Ministry of Information and Communications in the re-branding Nigeria Project with the offer of 50,000 free .ng domains in 50 days."

    She said the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) who will provide the necessary funding for the project implementation would champion the project.

    The Agency, she said is committed to training a substantial number of Nigerian youths as web developers in readiness for an envisaged increased demand for the services of web developers with the registration of 50,000 .ng domains in the first quarter of 2011, and the target population of the .ng registry with 250,000 domains by the end of 2011, thereby preparing them for gainful employment.

    The project is expected to be launched this month by NITDA who will also sponsor the capacity building effort of NiRA in the setting up of a datacenter and co-location facility to support the activation of the 250,000 domains.

    NITDA promises to use the project in promoting the adoption of government policy to recognise only .ng e-mails for Government-to-Government, Government-to-Business, and Government-to-Citizens transactions.

    While the free domain name offer lasts, registrars will register domains at no cost to registrants for a period of one year. The offer of free domains is restricted to the following second level domains (SLDs): .com.ng, .org.ng, .name.ng, .mobi.ng, and .sch.ng.

    Registrations outside the listed SLDs will attract the usual charges and other activities in the registry such as renewal and transfer shall attract the normal fees. Recipients are expected to renew their domains at the usual fees at the expiration of the one-year period.

    Since NiRA operates the Registry/Registrar module, domains can only be registered through NiRA accredited registrars, Uduma said. She listed conditions for participation in the free domain name registration to include compliance of all domain names with the NiRA domain name policy; All registrants are subject to the NiRA registrants policy; Domains that are not put to use within six months of the registration shall be withdrawn/deleted. The waiver on the domain registration fee is for a period of one year, only.

    Registrants are expected to pay the necessary renewal fee at the expiration of the one-year period; Registrars may offer some value-added services to the recipients beyond the offer of free domains from NiRA. Other guidelines include the right of registrants to choose, with regard to the freebies they are willing to accept from registrars, particularly on the hosting of their domains; and that registrants may park their .ng free domains on their existing sites since it is completely disallowed to park domains on sites other than theirs.

  • - Reporters Without Borders condemned the arrests and disappearances last week of bloggers and online activists across a number of Tunisian cities. The worldwide press freedom organization has monitored at least five such cases but the list could well be longer. Police arrested the bloggers to question them about hacking into government websites by the militant group Anonymous, several sources told the organisation.

computing

  • Software giant Microsoft SA expects to name the first four or five winning partners in its multimillion-rand empowerment deal by next February. This comes after it dispelled government's concerns, which had held up the announcement for several months.

    Microsoft's scheme is anticipated to further transform empowerment in South Africa, as the company has already had calls from other multinationals seeking advice on how they can implement similar empowerment structures.

    The software company first announced its R472 million empowerment deal in April, saying it will partner with a handful of software developers, providing investment and advice, in a bid to grow start-up firms into multinational giants.

    Analysts previously described the deal as “unique in SA” and it has been hailed for empowering smaller companies instead of the usual suspects. Microsoft will fund start-up enterprises and provide business knowledge to help them become global software players, but will not take equity stakes in the companies in return.

    It received more than 680 applications from prospective companies in response to its nationwide request for proposals. Of these, 141 met the qualifying criteria, and were whittled down further through a selection panel.

    The company expected to announce the first handful of partners in October, but this was held up when concerns arose within the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) over how to measure the outcomes of the equity equivalency plan.

    Microsoft SA MD Mteto Nyati says he met with DTI acting director-general Lionel October early last month and the parties agreed on a memorandum of understanding that now only needs to be signed off.

    Once the deal has been signed, the company will receive 20 ownership points, which it will earn in return for offering the equity-equivalency plan, says Nyati. He hopes to be in a position to announce the first four or five companies that will benefit from investment and assistance in the middle of next month.

    Nyati says another one or two companies could benefit from the deal this year and Microsoft will open up the offer for new applications. However, after wrapping up the DTI's concerns, the process is expected to run faster.

    Microsoft SA has had a number of enquiries from companies seeking guidance on how to implement a similar deal, says Nyati. His sense is that some multinationals may replicate Microsoft's deal to some degree.

    ITWeb
  • A commuter bus service company, Kigali Bus Services (KBS), effective today started issuing electronic cards for its passengers, a technology that is the first of its kind in the Great Lakes region.

    According to the company's marketing manager, Thierry Ngarambe, the service will relieve passengers the risk of having to travel with money in their pocket and help them with effective budgeting.

    Ngarambe also said that the cards, known as twende card are in two categories; e-pass which allows a passenger to load any amount of money from Rwf 200 to 60,000 which is the maximum and seasonal card which ranges from Rwf10,000 valid for one month and to 60,000 for six months. They can be accessed through mobile phone agents, FINA Bank, KBS bus conductors and at the Union Trade Centre.

    He explained that the system was in line with the government policies of technological advancement and environmental cleanliness and as well fulfilling the Central Bank campaign of discouraging people to move with cash in their pockets. The system, according to Ngarambe will also help the company maximize profits due to cases of dishonest taxi touts.

    "This is the most convenient way to achieve efficiency, the card can be used by a passenger swiping it in an electronic device at the bus entrance and deducts the fare automatically for e-passes and the date of expiry for a seasonal card," he said.

    Ngarambe also revealed that the use of paper tickets will not be immediately stopped but passengers using the new system will given priority. He further pointed that a 20 percent discount is guaranteed for the first season card buyers.

    In case of one's card loss or misplacement, passengers are assured of refund with a new card loaded with the previous amount only after the owner had reported the loss to the management who will then cancel the lost card.

    New Times
  • The Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communication (GIFEC) on Monday rolled out its electronic connectivity agenda for 2011, which includes setting Information, Communication and Technology centres in all nurses training institutions.

    “GIFEC partnering with the Ministry of Health would equip all nursing training institutions with modern computer laboratory to ensure that trainees have unhindered access to the internet and other electronic facilities,” Kofi Attor, GIFEC Administrator, told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in an interview in Accra.

    He said the project involved providing the institutions with high speed computers, printers, scanners, projectors and servers, linking them with the internet in consonance with government’s policy.

    Attoh said under the “Better Ghana Agenda,” and in the Action Year of the government, the President had acknowledged the urgent need for the development and implementation of a comprehensive and integrated ICT for accelerated development policies, strategies and plans.

    In view of these, GIFEC will set up ICT Centres at Agricultural Training Institutions, Security Agencies and National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) and also set up more Community Information Centres (CIC).

    Attor said the government in effect had identified ICT as the driver and enabler of a sustained and co-ordinated socio-economic development in Ghana. He said other projects such as Common Telecommunication Facilities, School Connectivity, CIC, Post Office Connectivity, Prison Connectivity, and the Library projects would continue in 2011.
    “We are currently working under the School Connectivity Project with 38

    Colleges of Education, 10 Youth Centres, 37 National Vocational Training Institutes, 37 Technical Schools and a number of Junior and Senior High Schools.” Attoh said GIFEC was set up to facilitate the spread of ICT and its use in rural Ghana to help promote research and reading culture, train rural schoolchildren and teachers in and the use of ICT and empower rural communities by providing access to information.

    He said GIFEC was collaborating with all the major telecommunications operators in the provision of common telecommunications site facilities in selected areas across the country under the Universal Access to Telecommunications Programme (UATP).

    The collaboration involves the award of subsidies to willing and eligible telecommunications operators for the provision of Common Telecommunications Site Facilities.

    He said GIFEC would also continue to educate both the public and telecommunication operators on the erection of masts, their impact on community and health of the people and also monitor the situation to ensure that operators adhered to safety mechanism.

    GNA
  • - London- and Johannesburg-listed Datatec expects its results for the second half of the year to be an improvement on the previous year, as profitability continues to pick up. In October, Datatec reported its first-half results and said revenue grew 19%, to $2.13 billion, while operating profit moved from $28.7 million to $40 million. Net profit leapt from $8.7 million to $17 million. CEO Jens Montanana says the “improvement in trading conditions reported at our interim results in October last year has continued, with a notable return to confidence across all our major markets, particularly the US”.

    - In a bid to bridge the digital divide, especially among the rural population, over 1,500 Rwandans have benefited from the services offered by Rwanda Development Board (RDB) mobile ICT buses, Wilson Muyenzi the Coordinator of e-Rwanda Project. "Since the beginning of last year, more than 1,500 people including women and local leaders in rural communities have benefited," he said. Muyenzi added that 484 farmers, 283 local leaders, 80 women entrepreneurs, 277 students and school children in four districts have so far benefited from the ICT training services provided on the buses.

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

  • Two alleged accomplices of the former governor of Delta State, James Ibori, have pleaded guilty to V-Mobile shares theft charges. Daniel McCann and Mr. De Boer were charged for forgery and money laundering in relation to the sale of V-Mobile telecoms shares owned by Akwa Ibom and Delta States. They are accused of violating the Forgery and Counterfeiting Act of the UK by creating fake documents between Delta State and "Africa Finance Ltd," and also between Delta and "African Development Company."

    They are also accused of creating a false account that used both men's names as beneficiaries as part of a scheme to hide the fraudulent nature of the transactions. Daniel McCann pleaded guilty before the Southwark Crown Court judge, last week, while Mr. De Boer had pleaded guilty in a similar trial last December

    Late last year, Ibori's UK-based lawyer, Bhadreh Gohil, who was accused of participating in the laundering of funds realised from the sale of V-Mobile shares owned by the governments of Delta and Akwa Ibom had also pleaded guilty.

    Others who are accused in the scam include Mr. Ibori, David Edevbie, a former Principal Secretary to Umaru Yar'Adua; Love Ojakovo, a former Commissioner of Finance to Ibori and Henry Imashekka, a business associate of Ibori.

    The accused face 14 counts of forgery and money laundering in relation to the sale of V-Mobile telecoms shares by two from the Niger Delta region. The accused men reportedly used front companies to defraud the Nigerian states of a total of $37.8 million realised from the sale of the shares.

    Prosecutors alleged that a company named "Africa Development Finance Company" was the major conduit used to steal the funds.

    In an instance cited in the case summary, prosecutors state that an $11 million loan was purportedly granted to an aviation company that assisted Mr. Ibori in purchasing a jet from Canada; $10 million was given to "Ascot Offshore Nigeria Limited," the company that Ibori used to purchase Wilbros; and another $790,000 was granted to another fake firm "Africa Development Co." and an offshore nominee firm.

    The two men alongside Mr. Gohil will be sentenced on February 21, 2011. UK prosecutors expect that Mr. Ibori would be coming to London soon after the United Emirates Authorities give a green for UK Metropolitan Police to move him over to London where he is expected to face three separate trials for money laundering, forgery and graft. The successful prosecution of Ibori has so far netted his wife, mistress and older sister.

    Vanguard
  • Safaricom shares accounted for more than half of the market turnover recorded at the Nairobi Stock Exchange last year, indicating strong investor interest in the telecommunications firm and bearing heavily on overall movement at the bourse.

    Research by Sterling Investment Bank indicates that more than 3.4 billion shares of the listed mobile phone service provider were traded out of the 5.9 billion shares moved at the Nairobi bourse, translating into about 57 per cent of the total market volumes.

    Fund managers attributed the high turnover at the counter to the high float of the company's shares in the market. "Safaricom traded the highest volumes because it is a 'cheap' stock offering investors relative stability," said Reginald Kadzutu, a senior fund manager.

    The trend was upheld in the first week of trading at the NSE as more than 47 million of the company's shares were sold, out of a total of 77 million in trade dominated by foreign investors.

    This comes amid calls from institutional investors to have the share consolidated to mop up the high volumes of the stock that have been blamed for the sluggish price appreciation that has kept the stock trading below its Sh5 per share offer price.

    The company's chief executive, Bob Collymore, held investor road shows in Cape Town, Johannesburg, London, Barcelona, New York, Boston and Washington DC where he made presentations to institutional investors who are seen as having the financial muscle to buy the stock in bulk and lead to its natural consolidation. "Given its complexity and legal implications, our board of directors is still deliberating and consulting relevant parties on how best to approach it," said Collymore in an interview.

    The firm's shareholder records indicate that local corporate investors owned 86 per cent of the company at the beginning of December, while foreign corporate investors owned 6.2 per cent.

    At the time of listing in 2008, the company introduced 10 billion shares to the NSE out of the total 40 billion issued shares in a move meant to ensure that shares of the corporation, then majority owned by the State, were spread to more Kenyans.

    The IPO was massively oversubscribed with investors placing offers worth Sh226 billion as compared to the Sh50 billion that the government's 25 per cent stake was worth.

    In the share allocation, foreign investors got less than an eighth of the bids they collectively put in, and have generally been strong on the buy side despite the stock's slow price growth which has only managed an all time high of Sh6.

    Einsten Kihanda, a fund manager at ICEA Asset Management, said that the high volumes attributed to the counter indicate there is an oversupply of the stock in the market, which has further depressed prices.

    "There are too many Safaricom shares in the market which have resulted in the stock selling below its real value," said Mr Kihanda.

    He, however, said that a share buy-back could be the only way that the oversupply of the stock could be resolved to pave way for a price appreciation to reflect on the firm's fundamentals.

    In the half year results for the period ending June 2010, the company had grown its revenue 15.9 per cent to Sh47 billion at a time when income from non-voice shot up by more than 71 per cent to Sh14.6 billion.

    It is expected that revenue from the voice segment would take a hit as call rates declined by more than 50 per cent in the course of the second half of the year.

    The company has, however, sought to reduce dependency on airtime sales for revenue and has diversified into data and retail sales of gadgets to plug the income leaks.

    The regulatory framework would have to be changed to allow for share buy back, according to Mr Kihanda, who noted that the current set of laws in Kenya do not allow for share consolidation.

    "It is definite that Safaricom would drive the volumes this year again," he added.

    Demand for the share is likely to push the stock price up to its offer price of Sh5 in the foreseeable future, while a protracted price war in the second half of last year in the mobile telephone industry had dampened the company's prospects.

    This saw investors wary of the implications of the price war flee the counter, suppressing the stock price to an all-time low of Sh2.75.

    Business Daily
  • IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, last week announced a $25 million equity investment in Helios Towers Africa Limited (HTA) to help the company build and maintain mobile phone towers in several countries across sub-Saharan Africa, increasing mobile phone coverage and reducing communication costs in the region.

    HTA is building a pan-Africa tower company starting in Ghana and expanding into other countries such as Tanzania. The company leases space on its mobile towers to telecom companies, helping widen access to mobile telephony, and other communications technologies, bringing new opportunities, including voice services, market information, financial services, and health services, to developing countries in Africa.

    Helios CEO, Charles Green, said, “IFC understands the unique needs of growing companies in Africa’s telecoms sector and has provided us with a finance package that will allow us to continue our role as the leading independent tower company in Africa, expanding and providing benefits to mobile operators and users in Sub-Saharan Africa.”

    Bernard Sheahan, IFC Director of Infrastructure & Natural Resources in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, said, “Broadening access to affordable mobile telecommunications services remains a crucial part of development across Africa. With this investment, IFC is further lowering the barriers to accessing the knowledge, innovation, and improved government and business services that mobile communications can bring.”

    The reduced costs of leasing towers gives new, smaller companies access to existing tower facilities and allows larger operators to expand into remote areas that would normally by unprofitable.  Lower tower costs should result in enhanced service offerings and declining mobile prices for African consumers.

    HTA was established by Helios Investment Partners in 2009 to replicate the success achieved by its affiliate, Helios Towers Nigeria, which in 2005 became the first independent tower company in Africa. In 2010, HTA formed Helios Towers Ghana Limited to purchase and lease back approximately 750 towers in Ghana to mobile operator Millicom, the first transaction of its kind in Africa. The company recently announced that it will acquire an additional 1,020 sites from Millicom in Tanzania.

    The investment follows IFC’s 2009 investment in Helios Towers Nigeria, where IFC made available $250 million in syndicated loans, mezzanine financing and senior debt, allowing the company to build, maintain, and lease space on its network of telecommunications towers in Nigeria.

  • - Business process outsourcing (BPO) services provider, Aegis BPO Holdings SA, has announced its investment in South African BPO start-up, Iningi Investments. The investment will see Aegis provide assistance worth over R1.5 million in the next three years. The deal will see Aegis BPO Holdings SA invest up to R500 000 per annum in the 83% black owned SME, with the explicit goal of assisting the company to grow and employ at least 100 employees and achieve sustainable maturity during the period.

    - Movitel, a consortium that was granted the third mobile telephony license in Mozambique, plans to invest US$465 million over the next five years, a representative of one of the shareholders said Thursday in Maputo. The consortium, which was the winner in ºOctober 2010 of the international tender for a third mobile operator’s license in Mozambique, is majority-owned by Vietnamese company, Viettel Telecom, with 70 percent, by SPI Gestão e Investimentos, a stake-holding company linked to the governing political party in Mozambique, Frelimo, with 29 percent, and by a group of investors known as Invespark, with 1 percent.

    - MTN Rwanda, the country's leading telecom company by market share, has said that its revenues dropped, last year , on account of increased competition in the sector. “Our revenues suffered because of the way the market was behaving with the advent of competition and the tariffs, promotions they brought on board; it was difficult to realize the revenues..," Andrew Rugege, MTN's Chief Operations Officer (COO),told Business Times.

Digital Content

  • Pumwani Maternity Hospital, in the impoverished Nairobi neighbourhood of Eastlands, is the site of a trial project using mobile phones to help HIV-positive mothers avoid passing the virus on to their children. Juliet Wangari Njuguna is a research nurse with Kenya Aids Control Project. She works at the Pumwani clinic to assist HIV-positive mothers.

    "We help with the enrolment, and as the patients are coming in they are sifted. We talk to the ones who happen to be HIV positive, and we find out how long they have known their status and if they have disclosed it to anyone." They also find out if the women have a mobile phone.

    In July, the Kenya Aids Control Project started using the Pumwani Hospital as a site to study the potential of following up with HIV positive patients using mobile phones.

    The phone contact is intended to make sure that mothers are keeping up with taking their antiretroviral medicines and stay informed on what they need to do during their pregnancy to reduce the risk of passing the virus on to their child.

    Mobile phones have become a popular means of communication in Kenya. The recent lowering of costs by the various service providers is encouraging even more people to embrace the mobile phone.

    Pediatrician Frida Govedi, the chief executive officer of Pumwani Maternity Hospital, says, "through this telephony they are being empowered with information. How they should eat, when they should take their vitamins, when they should come for their CD4 counts, it is an interactive medium between the mother and the healthcare worker."

    Ms Njuguna and the other research nurses at Pumwani guide HIV-positive mothers at the clinic through a questionnaire to determine if they are candidates for the mobile phone programme. The questionnaire records details such as the woman's age, her general health, how long she has known that she is HIV positive and if she is already on any medication.

    The mother also has to live within a reasonable distance of the hospital and be able to understand English or Kiswahili. The questionnaire responses are entered into a database. All the women will receive antiretroviral therapy, but a randomly selected group will also receive SMS messages.

    All the women will be followed-up after they give birth to assess the success of the course of treatment. This is also aimed at measuring the effectiveness of the SMS prompts to the mothers receiving the messages against the results of a control group.

    "The women start receiving one message per week reminding them to come for their antenatal care visit," says Ms Njuguna. "Then in their last month of pregnancy, the message changes to remind them to take their drugs.

    "But we write, 'Remember to take your vitamins.' We don't want to put 'ARVs' in a text message, because we don't know who can come across their phones." Ms Njuguna says stigma and the pressure to hide one's HIV status are a major challenge for HIV positive women.

    Extreme poverty is another challenge, with women sometimes missing appointments due to a lack of money for transport or at times not being able to make it as they struggle to make ends meet.

    Literacy is yet another obstacle. "Another thing is that some of them understand English and Kiswahili, but they can't read, so the text messages will not help them. So there are some who feel like we should do calls in the future."

    Dr Govedi worries that the potential advantages of the SMS notification system are also limited by the late enrolment into the programme of many of the women, who are far into their pregnancy by the time they first come to Pumwani.

    "We would have loved to have gotten them as early as 14 weeks, when we are able to institute their antiretroviral therapy for PMTCT. But you find most of the mothers are coming to us well after 20 weeks," says Dr Govedi.

    A day in the life of the health workers providing mobile support is busy. Njuguna must keep up with responding to various text messages and calls from the over 90 women enrolled in the programme, as well as ensuring crucial information is sent out at the right time.

    The routine messages are programmed into a computer and sent out automatically, but when that system is down, a health worker must send them out manually to the women who depend on the reminders.

    She feels it's worth the extra work. "It feels good that you are doing something and they are grateful.

    Then they tend to ask you all sorts of questions, which is better than being at home and assuming things. So you feel like you are having an impact in people's lives."

    The initiative is expected to end in mid-2013. Researchers hope to find positive results in empowering women living with HIV to protect their own health and that of their newborn children.

    IPS
  • Traffic lights have become attractive targets for thieves in Johannesburg. Some 400 high-tech South African traffic lights are out of action after thieves in Johannesburg stole the mobile phone Sim cards they contain. The thieves ran up bills amounting to thousands of dollars by using the stolen cards to make calls.

    Johannesburg Road Agency (JRA) said it is investigating the possibility of an "inside job" after only the Sim card-fitted traffic lights were targeted. The cards were fitted to notify JRA when the traffic lights were faulty. JRA believes a syndicate "with links on the inside" is behind the thefts.

    "We have 2,000 major intersections in Johannesburg and only 600 of those were fitted with the cards," the agency's spokesperson Thulani Makhubela told the BBC. "No-one apart from JRA and our supplier knows which intersections have that system." He described the thefts as "systematic and co-ordinated".

    "The vandalism began with a few lights in November and we repaired them. Over December the thieves struck again, this time hitting hundreds more, including the ones we had repaired," he said. "These people know what they are doing."

    Repairing the faulty traffic lights will cost JRA about 9m rand ($1.3m; £870,000).
    JRA has said it has blocked all the stolen Sim cards so that they cannot be used to make further calls - but this was not before the thieves had run up huge bills.

    "One card had a bill of 30,000 rand ($4,500; £2,900) and we are talking about no less than 150 Sim card bills. Whichever way we look at it we are talking about a lot of money," said Mr Makhubela. Several cases of theft and vandalism have apparently been opened across Johannesburg.

    Johannesburg's roads have been fairly quiet over December but with hundreds of holiday-makers expected to return over the weekend, the damaged lights pose a hazard in the city's major roads says the BBC's Pumza Fihlani in Johannesburg.

    BBC

Telecoms, Rates, Offers and Coverage

  • - Safaricom has stepped up its foray into mobile commerce by introducing M-Pesa-based booking of travel tickets and hotel accommodation - a new service that also promises to open additional revenue opportunities for the company's agents. Though the telecommunications operator had introduced a similar ticket-payment service almost one year ago, the new system is an improvement on the earlier "Easy Travel" version in that it allows customers to obtain ticket printouts from Safaricom's customer care shops and later from M-Pesa dealers. "We have launched the service with the necessary infrastructure at over 30 Safaricom shops countrywide for now. Plans are under way to recruit strategic agent outlets which will offer the service," said Bob Collymore, the company's chief executive. In addition, parents and guardians can now remit school fees for their children to the learning institutions through Safaricom's mobile phone money transfer service, M-Pesa.

    - The signal of the cellphone company, Movicel, has reached Caimbambo district, in central Benguela province, thus connecting the locality to the rest of Angola and the world.

    - Kenyan mobile operator Safaricom, the country's largest mobile phone operator by subscribers, has announced that it has reduced the price of sending an on-network SMS to KES1 (USD0.01), down from KES3.5. An SMS sent to an alternative operator's network will cost KES2, down from KES5. Safaricom has confirmed that the newly reduced rates will be permanent, and apply to both pre-paid and post-paid customers.

    - InMobi, a leading mobile ad network, has released its updated network research report.It provides a snapshot of mobile advertising trends in Africa between July 2010 and October 2010. “Africa continues to be a major market in the global mobile ad ecosystem. With nearly 19 per cent – growth in mobile ad impression inventory in just 90 days, it’s clear Africans are increasingly connecting to the Internet via their mobile phone. Key findings include breaking of the 3 billion impressions mark to reach 3.3 billion monthly impressions saying this represented an 18.8% growth over just 90 days.

    - AdMob, the mobile advertising agency now owned by Google says that it is now handling in excess of 2 billion ad requests per day, more than quadrupling the daily rate over the last twelve months. The growth is global. Nine countries in the AdMob network generated more than a billion monthly ad requests in December 2010, up from just one country a year ago. The strongest regional growth in monthly ad requests over the past year has come from Asia (564%), Western Europe (471%) and Oceania (363%). Growth in Africa was recorded at 81%.

    - Namibia’s mobile operator, MTC Namibia has broadened its customer service capacity by introducing an Outbound Call Centre as from mid-December 2010. Before the opening of the Outbound Call Centre, MTC only had an Inbound Call Centre which caters for customers calling in to seek solutions and understanding of various queries that they may have with the company’s products and/or services.

    - A research team at the University of Dar es Salaam says half the Tanzanian population is currently hooked to mobile phones, and that it takes just a handset to run a business in the country. Led by Prof Ophelia Mascarenhas of the university, there is no need for offices, visiting cards or huge capital investments. The Tanzanian study is part of four-nation initiative code-named Picture-Africa. The other countries currently doing similar studies are Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda – all financed by Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC).

More

  • - Jin Moo Lee has been appointed as LG Electronics SA's new CEO, replacing Peet van Rooyen as part of a global restructuring process of the multinational group's operations.

    - The new fixed line service company Malawi Telecommunications Limited (MTL) CEO, replaces expatriate Bernd Flack who left last month. Charles Chuka becomes the second indigenous Malawian to take over the running of a telecommunications company in the country. He is preceded by Saulos Chilima who took over as executive director of Celtel, now Airtel, a mobile telecommunications service provider, last year.

  • 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 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@glopac.com or visit here

    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 here

    Managed Services Growth Markets 2011

    4-5 April, Movenpick Jumeirah Beach, Dubai, UAE
    Now in its 4th year and attended by over 200 attendees in 2010, Informa Telecoms and Media’s Managed Services for Growth Markets event will take place on 4th - 5th April at the Moevenpick Jumeirah Beach, Dubai, UAE.With a proven track-record and repeat sponsorship from leading suppliers Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, NokiaSiemens Networks and Motorola, this event is truly established as the ultimate meeting-place for the Managed Services industry in the growth markets.A 50% discount for operators ensures a high percentage operator attendance.  Extended break times and additional social functions will guarantee a further enhancement to the already unique networking opportunities. Informa’s Managed Services for Growth Markets conference is the only established event in the region, proven to deliver an industry focussed agenda, the highest level speakers, superior networking opportunities, and top class delegates year on year.
For more information visit here

    Cloud Computing World Forum Middle East & Africa

    9 March  2011, Grand Millennium Hotel, Dubai
     Taking place on the 9th March 2011, the Cloud Computing World Forum Middle East and Africa is a Free-to-attend event and will feature all of the key players within the Cloud Computing and SaaS market providing an introduction, discussion and look into the future for the ICT industry.
    This one day conference will provide the most complete and comprehensive platform for the global Cloud Computing and SaaS industry. Register Free today and get inspiration on how to address your latest issues with advice from real-life end-user case studies and practical examples.
    Show Highlights include:
    1 Day Conference on Cloud Computing and SaaS
    Featuring presentations on Cloud Computing, SaaS, Applications, IaaS, Virtualization and PaaS
    Keynote theatre featuring leading industry speakers
    More case studies than any other like event
    Learn from the key players offering leading products and services
    Pre-show online meeting planner
    Evening networking reception for all attendees
    For more information please contact the Keynote team on +44 (0) 845 519 1230 or email info@keynoteworld.com. Or visit here

    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 here

  • The Tech Awards
    The Tech Awards is a programme that aims to honour and award innovators from around the world who use technology to benefit humanity. Three Laureates in each category are honoured, and one Laureate per category receives US$50 000.

    Individuals, for-profit companies, and not-for-profit organisations are eligible to apply.

    The purpose of The Tech Awards programme is to inspire global engagement in applying technology to humanity's most pressing problems by recognising individuals, organisations, and companies that are utilising innovative technology solutions to address the most urgent issues facing our planet.

    The categories are: environment, economic development, education, equality and heath.

    The submission deadline is 31 March 2011.

    For nomination form,  For more information about the award,
    To view other opportunities, visit:

    Request for Expressions of Interest - Maputo ICT Incubator Program
    The Government of Mozambique (GoM) has received a Credit from the International Development Association (IDA) toward the cost of the Mozambique eGovernment and Communications Infrastructure Project (MEGCIP) and intends to apply part of the proceeds for contracting of services and infrastructure to establish the “Maputo ICT Incubation Program”. Other complementary funds to be used in this project will be obtained from the Finnish Government, channeled through infoDev.              

    OBJECTIVE OF ASSIGNMENT
    To select a host organization (incubation partner) capable of supporting emerging ICT-enabled businesses and incubating them towards growth and success. The vision for the pilot incubator is that it will eventually become a national ICT small business support center, including additional physical and virtual facilities, contributing strategically to the sector’s growth.

    SCOPE OF SERVICES
    The Incubator will be guided by a business plan, agreed upon with the Ministry of Science and Technology (MCT). It is expected that the Incubator manager will be selected via a competitive process. The incubation model to be agreed upon with MCT will be expected to deliver on the following:

    - Create affordable office space and facilities for small and medium-sized ICT companies. If a virtual/outreach model is proposed, then the minimum space requirement must be specified and made available free of charge

    - Provide Human Resources to manage the Maputo ICT Incubator facilities and services. Where these resources will be “in sourced” indicate which organization will be providing these resources.
    - Grow the ICT industry by facilitating the development and successful growth of early stage companies
    - Attract investment into local ICT companies and services providers
    - Build understanding among the broader business community in terms of the relevance and importance of small, innovative ICT companies in their value chains
    - Position Mozambique as an ICT innovator on the African continent
    - Develop a business model that generates revenue streams to ensure the sustainability of the incubator
    - Generate funds in the medium to long term to support the expansion of the incubator
    - Create linkages with strategic partners in building a sustainable ecosystem
    - Support extension on the Maputo incubator through virtual support services and expansion to other physical locations (such as the Maluana Science Park or incubator facilities in other provinces throughout the country)

    MCT acting as beneficiary institution now invites host organizations interested in managing the Maputo ICT incubator using their own facilities or those of their consortium partners. Interested host organizations must provide information indicating that they are qualified to perform the services. This should include evidence of:
    - The availability of free space and facilities that can be used, with relatively little adaptation, to accommodate start-ups and SMEs , and which can be scaled up over time as the incubator grows;
    - A close link to innovation and to entrepreneurs and the ability to generate, or attract, a steady flow of ICT business start-ups and requisite funding.
    - Energetic, inspired and capable management able to stimulate the development of the ICT small business community. This team should be composed at least by the Maputo ICT Incubator Manager, Business Development Manager, Financial Manager, Administrative Officer and Secretary (the Incubator manager however may be selected in parallel),
    - The host or at least one consortium partner should be of Mozambican origin and the institution based in Mozambique; and provide a viable business plan, geared towards meeting the objectives and purposes outlined above, and be capable of sustaining growth after the expiry of the grant-support period.

    This assignment is estimated to cover an initial two-year engagement for grant support with the possibility of extension, depending on the overall success of the program.

    Host organizations will be selected in accordance with the procedures set out in the World Bank’s guidelines:

    Selection and employment of consultants by World Bank Borrowers, May 2004 (revised October 2006, and May 2010). Interested consultants may obtain additional information at the address indicated below during the working days from 7:30 a.m. to 15:30 p.m. (local time) and on MCT web page www.mct.gov.mz.

    Expression of interest must be delivered to the address below until 15:30 p.m. (local time) of January 23rd, 2011

    Ministry of Science and Technology
    Directorate of Infrastructure and Information Systems (DISI )
    Av. Patrice Lumumba, 770
    Maputo-Mozambique
    Tel.: +258 21 352800
    Fax: +258 21 352860
    E-mail: secretariado@mct.gov.mz

  • Vodafone and Huawei - Ghana
    Ghanaian fixed and mobile operator Vodafone Ghana has awarded China’s Huawei a five-year managed services agreement under which it will take over responsibilities for the operations and maintenance of the Vodafone mobile, microwave, SDH and fixed switching networks. It is hoped the long term partnership will provide the telco with a sustainable operating model, reducing its operating expenses and enabling it to focus further on providing more attractive new services to its customers. The network operations agreement signed by the pair also guarantees performance and service quality of the Vodafone network, which is used by multiple vendors across the country, the vendor said.


    Synchronica and handset manufacturer - Africa

    Synchronica, the international provider of next-generation mobile messaging services, has secured an initial contract worth more than USD 500,000 with a device manufacturer targeting the African mass market. The device manufacturer will bundle the white-labelled Synchronica Mobile Gateway with a number of MediaTek-based handsets, enabling consumers in Africa to experience a BlackBerry-like service on a range of low-cost devices.

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