Issue no 625 5th October 2012

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Top story

  • The growth of data traffic and Internet and social media users has been the big story over the last two years. But more quietly behind the scenes, Africa has begun to develop a more sophisticated data architecture through a combination of exchange points and data centres. Russell Southwood looks at the progress so far.

    One cascade of changes affecting the continent has become very clear. With new, competitive international cables and improved, cheaper fibre access at a national level, wholesale prices in both of these parts of the value chain have dropped.

    These wholesale price drops have encouraged retail price drops to end users that have accelerated the growth of Internet use, particularly on mobile phones. Internet subscriber levels that used to be in the hundreds or thousands are now in the tens of thousands to the millions.

    There are still blockages at the local loop access level in the value chain and some countries have still not yet got the message on competitive bandwidth costs. On a recent visit to a Central African country, I discovered that an mbps of international bandwidth still costs over US$1,500 compared to the low hundreds or lower in more competitive countries.

    But alongside this more public set of changes, a whole set of backroom changes are taking place to accommodate this increased data demand and to create the kind of data architecture found elsewhere in the world. Increased demand – particularly interactive data demand of the kind driven by smartphones and increased video use – need networks that are capable of delivering fast and locally.

    There are now two types of Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) where local traffic can flow locally rather than having to be routed out and back via New York, Paris or London. There are the shared IXPs created by agreement between carriers and operated at a neutral point and a second category now being offered by neutral data centre provider Teraco out of South Africa.

    Of the first category, there are 20 across Africa. Nearly half of these are from countries where there is more than one IXP: South Africa (3), Tanzania (2), Kenya (2) and Nigeria (2). In 2011, there were two new additions in Lesotho and Sudan.

    Although some of these have been created in less competitive countries, they have tended to be more successful in more competitive countries. There is a real gap in IXP presence in francophone West Africa where more competitive market regimes have yet to arrive. Take the example of Senegal, where Orange-owned Sonatel controls well over 95% of the data market and the independent ISPs still remaining would all fit comfortably in a small lift. It’s hard to see the rationale for an IXP where there is only one dominant carrier.

    A more successful example is Ghana where after a complicated start where there were two competing IXPs, GIXP now brings together 13 carriers, of which Vodafone Ghana is by far the largest. However, its presence has not overwhelmed and put out of business the other 13 data carriers that exist in the country. Furthermore, there is a local Google cache server that improves response time.

    GIXP is reaching a peak traffic of 961.21 mbps, most of which is You Tube traffic. Traffic through other IXPs varies from 128 kbps (Swaziland) through to 911 mbps (Kenya). South Africa has two big IXP and one much smaller ones: Johannesburg with 3.3 gbps, Cape Town with 1.5 gbps and Grahamstown with 4.3 mbps. These figures date back to mid-year 2012 and undoubtedly have increased since that point.

    The second category of IXP being offered is from Teraco and is called NAPAfrica. Launched 5 months ago, it now has 1 gbps of traffic. It is focused not only on local Internet Service Providers (ISPs), but on large content providers, carriers and enterprise, both local and international to service the whole of Africa.

    NAPAfrica started as an initial exchange of just 64 mbps and the recent growth makes it one of the largest multi-lateral peering exchanges in Africa. NAPAfrica argues that it offers customers an immediately visible and continuously growing network of peers with just one peering agreement. “The simplicity of just one agreement is further enhanced by settlement-free interconnection,” says Lex Van Wyk, Managing Director, Teraco.

    The pitch is that instead of having to establish, manage and maintain individual peering sessions with each exchange participant, peers at NAPAfrica have the option of creating only one peering session with the route servers. “Currently we manage 1045 interconnects and offer access to over 20 carriers offering our clients access to a total capacity of 23tbps.” says van Wyk. “We’ve also seen over 4gbps of private peering live within the data centre which truly demonstrates the core benefit of an exchange like NAPAfrica.” NAPAfrica works Africa Cloud eXchange (ACX), which Teraco launched earlier in the year.

    These kinds of shared data delivery network that will help reduce the operating costs to both consumers and corporates, rely on the existence of data centres. The number and size of these have been growing rapidly over the last 12 months but outside of South Africa most are still well below the 1,000 sq m level. However, some of these will fit into global networks of data centres. Orange will open a data centre in Johannesburg that will form part of its global data centre delivery network.

    As with every kind of infrastructure, these have become new “pinch points” where the dominant mobile players try to assert their control over this emerging market. For example, a mobile operator will build a data centre and tell potential customers that they can only use it if they buy connectivity from them. The larger, more dominant players have more peering relationships and therefore can use this to capture market share. Neutral data centre providers can offer a much more cost effective service and if they achieve “critical mass” will succeed in gaining significant market share and peering connections.

    However, the mind-set change required to see data centres as essential part of operating a data network is slow in coming. One small neutral data centre operator told us in some frustration:”If their office building hasn’t burnt down yet, they can’t see the point.”

    But the global relationships that will improve data centre delivery are beginning to fall into place. Nigerian international cable Main One has a Tier 3 power rated rack space that is connected to a backbone, via diverse physical and logical network paths. This week it became part of the International Data Centre Group (IDC-G), the first global data centre alliance with 33 carrier neutral data centres across 5 continents. Beyond the existing facilities, the company is actively planning the construction of additional data centres in Lagos.

      My thanks to Michuki Mwangi, Internet Society for the IXP data from a presentation he made in May 2012 to the ITU African regional meeting.

    To get up-to-the minute news, you need to be on Twitter. Follow us on @BalancingActAfr

    Kwabena Smith, Orun Energy on saving diesel costs on base stations

    Justin Hartman, Social Code on South Africa's ICT entrepreneurialism and the failure to support it

    Julian Macharia, Buni TV on this new online video delivery platform

    Doron Ben Sira, CEO, SkyVision on its acquisition of Afinis

    Envir Fraser, Convergence Partners on investment opportunities in ICT

    Tayo Oviosu, CEO, Paga on the mobile money market in Nigeria

    Nigerian ICT blogger Loy Okezi
    e on Nigeria's online successes

    Victor Dibia, CEO, Denvycom.com
     on his games portfolio and plans to monetize

    Oluseye Soyode-Johnson, consultant to Maliyo Games
     on the business model

     

    A special for Balancing Act readers:

    Mike Best, Georgia Tech on using interactive media with Liberia's Truth Commission

    Leonard Ah Kun from South Africa’s on augmented reality, Leap Motion and Google glasses

    Emma Kaye on an African mobile platform to make music and films

    Michael Ugwu, iROKING on Nigeria's Spotify-type service

telecoms

  • The prices of recharge cards have been increased in some parts of Moyamba District despite relentless efforts by the National Telecommunication Commission (NATCOM) to ensure that the prices remain the same across the country.

    Investigation carried out by Concord Times revealed that a 100 units recharge card is sold by vendors at Le4,600 in Shenge and Le5,000 in some remote areas in the Kargboro chiefdom. At Taiama, 100 units recharge card goes for Le4,400 and Le5,000 or more at Mondokor village in the Upper Banta chiefdom.

    Many top-up vendors interviewed by this reporter said they had decided to increase the prices on recharge cards because the profit they make from selling them at the normal price is very small and alleged that NATCOM is even aware of the increase. They threatened to stop selling the products should the regulatory body try to force them to revert to the normal rates.

    When contacted, NATCOM District Superintendent, Ahmed Kannah, noted that a lot of sensitization has been done by the commission to ensure the prices of top-up remain uniform throughout the country.

    "Normally, consumers refuse to complain those dealers that are selling top-up above the legal price. I will visit the said locations where this illegal practice is being carried out," he promised.

    However, Kannah admitted that dealers only make little profit from the sale of top-up cards but refused to comment on what the commission would do to persuade mobile companies to reduce the prices of their recharge cards for those who buy in large quantity to sell to the public.

    He denied the allegation that the commission is aware of the illegal prices, saying they have embarked on several sensitization programmes, preaching against the illegal sale of top-up cards.

  • Tunisia believes the future of their telecom market is in the 3G sector and not in fixed-lines. The government has announced that in their push to boost the 3G and mobile markets, they will break up the country’s fixed-line monopoly to promote diversification and competition.

    According to the ministry of communications, the country’s telecom sector accounts for roughly 11 percent of Tunisia’s Gross Domestic Product. It currently has three operators in the country, Orange Tunisia, Tunisiana and Tunisia Telecom, with a reported penetration of 115.3 percent through last year.

    A report from Frost & Sullivan says that by 2018, the telecom market could near the $3 billion in revenue target as it continues to see positive growth.

    “The arrival of the new fixed and mobile service operator in 2010 dissolved the monopoly of the fixed-line incumbent,” noted Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Jonas Zelba.

    “At the same time, it increased competition which is likely to drive growth in the telecom market,” added Zelba.

    With the operators grabbing 3G licenses, the study of the North African country’s telecom industry notes that they expect Tunisia to see continued exponential growth as more and more citizens are able to use their smartphones. It will also open up the market for hand devices as citizens want to be able to get onto the Internet as they go about their daily life.

    The only concern Frost & Sullivan had for Tunisia going forward was the political instability in the country. As a result of the 2011 uprising, the telecommunication market has been significantly affected by the unrest as the market’s revenue shank by 3.6 per cent in 2011, but experts and the government believe it will be back on track this year.

    “It is critical for Tunisia to resolve the political instability quickly to ensure healthy and much needed investments in the country,” says Zelba.

  • The union of Niger’s state-owned national PTO Societe Nigerienne des Telecommunications (Sonitel) and its mobile arm SahelCom has criticised the country’s private operators for rolling out fibre-optic infrastructure in areas where such networks have already been deployed by the incumbent.

    Afriquinfos reports that after parliament voted to keep Sonitel in government hands (abandoning a renewed attempt to find a buyer for the telco) in May 2012, Niger granted the company exclusivity on international calls and the rollout of fibre-optic infrastructure for a period of five years, although this was later withdrawn following protests from Orange and Airtel.

    The government subsequently awarded Sonitel a contract to deploy a 900km fibre-optic backbone from the capital Niamey to Dosso, which began in August 2012. According to the report, Orange began deploying its own fibre-optic network between the two cities at the same time, prompting Sonitel’s unions to ask the government to ban the duplication of fibre-optic networks in the country, arguing that the telco would lose a valuable source of revenue if this were to continue.

  • While neighbour Kenya has seen nearly one million phones turned off as a result of the government registration of hand devices, Uganda could be facing an even larger figure with many residents still unregistered.

    According to the ministry of communications, the country has 10 million SIM card users to register, with many still outstanding, sparking fears that the result could be disastrous to the telecom sector.

    The ministry issued late last month a new directive to help inform users of the need to register their SIM in order to maintain services, but many still remain on the outside.

    Residents have until March of next year to register, so the government is not in panic mode just yet.

    However, after Kenya saw massive black-outs of users, Kamapala wants to ensure that its mobile phone users are on the same page and understand the importance of registering.

    According to the Uganda Communications Commission, only 40 percent of the 17 million SIM cards have been registered.

    Experts say there is still time to get customers to register, but the ministry believes that without a concerted effort to educate and inform, millions could see their services cut in 6 months time.

internet

  • Tigo Tanzania has launched a text message internet service to cater for those who cannot afford to get hold of smart phones.

    The service, dubbed "Tigo SMS Internet" is designed for phones that do not have internet capabilities or for people who lack access to the digital world internet-enabled phones and laptops. "This platform is an innovative SMS-based application that will give our customers access to the internet," said David Zacharia, Tigo Entertainment Category Manager.

    He added: "(The service) provides customers with the easiest way to access the internet from their handsets via normal text messages." Tigo SMS Internet is designed to bridge a digital gap in society by enabling access to the digital world for millions of customers at a very affordable cost.

    The service comes with a cost after free trial period ends where a customer would be given an option to opt out or continue to enjoy the service at 97/- per day, with unlimited access to all WebPages.

  • iROKING, Africa’s number one online digital music platform, has launched a brand new mobile website that allows users to download tracks on the go – anytime, anywhere. The new site m.iroking.com comes with a whole host of exciting features for Africa’s 700 million+ mobile phone subscribers.

    The site has been optimised to ensure downloads are fast and that they are available for all mobile handsets across Africa. For the very first time, iROKING users will be able to download their favourite tracks, so they can listen to them and make playlists on their own mobile devices offline. To celebrate the launch of the iROKING mobile site, free track downloads from the mobile site will be available for a limited period.

     The new mobile site has been designed to enhance each user’s experience on iROKING and has incorporated sophisticated search capabilities where users can see their search results by artist, track or album. For those with a love of all things visual, iROKING has built in a one-click functionality that takes listeners directly to artists’ YouTube videos. Users will also be able to share their favourite iROKING tracks with the rest of the world at the click of a button via email, Twitter and Facebook.

     The brand new mobile site launches in the same week the leading music company unveils a total redesign for its web platform www.iroking.com. Apart from a super-slick makeover, making the site’s navigation simpler and more intuitive, the iROKING team has introduced genre-based radio channels for its users to tune into. The new site also sees music videos from iROKING managed YouTube artists being streamed for the first time.

     Michael Ugwu, CEO of iROKING says: “This week sees the launch of iROKING 2.0 – the next generation. We know that our listeners want to access awesome, fresh tunes from the best of West Africa’s artists anytime, anywhere – so we’ve built them the ultimate mobile platform to do that.

     “The stunning new mobile site is going to revolutionise the way music fans can listen to and access digital music from Africa – there is nothing out there like this and we hope that our fans, both old and new, will love this new mobile site as much as we do.”

    The new mobile site launch comes just weeks after the company announced it had reached the impressive milestone of 100,000 registered users in just 7 months.

     Veteran Nigerian rapper, 2Shotz says: “This has clearly been made with music lovers in mind. I’m loving the look and feel of the mobile site and I’m already addicted to it – it’s amazing! I can listen to my fellow Nigerian artists literally anywhere, I can get the tracks I want straight to my phone at the touch of a button and I can push them out to my fans on Facebook and Twitter. What more could I want? Try it NOW people – it’s the smartest thing you’ll do all year.”

     Since launch, iROKING boasts over 400 recording artists and 35,000 tracks in its catalogue. iROKING’s biggest stars include Bez, 2face, Bracket, Flavour, Omawumi, Timaya, Iyanya, Duncan Mighty – more are signing up every day.

  • Benin’s University of Abomey now has access to 20 Mbps bandwidth to supports its work and research.

    Max Ahouke, Benin’s Minister of Communication Technologies and ICT, officially launched the new bandwidth at the campus of Abomey Calavi. He said this access was in line with the government’s willingness to support the rollout of ICTs as a tool for development.

    The university said now students, teachers and researchers would benefit from broadband WiFi, making and the information society a reality on the campus of Abomey Calavi.

  • As part of its contribution to the Social Good Summit held in New York with parallel sessions in Nairobi and Beijing on Monday September 24, 2012, Swedish-based IT firm Ericsson has announced its commitment to join Oscar-winning actor, humanist and Goodwill Ambassador of UNESCO, Forest Whitaker, in a new foundation whose mission it is to promote peace among youth everywhere, from troubled urban neighbourhoods in Africa – especially South Sudan and Uganda – as well as the United States.

    Ericsson's engagement will begin by providing ICT solutions to schools in two locations, South Sudan and Uganda, in conjunction with the global education initiative Connect To Learn. This will enable the PeaceEarth Foundation to establish access to the internet and create a collaborative environment among the participating youth and further develop the education initiatives.

    Also through Connect To Learn, Ericsson will provide on-site project management resources, Wi-Fi coverage, and basic ICT training for teachers and students on the use of the Ericsson cloud computing solution.

    Ericsson President and CEO Hans Vestberg said that the company’s work with PeaceEarth Foundation is a natural extension of how to bring its competence to advocate for Technology for Good around the world.

    “We know that our technology has a positive link to development, where 10% of increased broadband penetration leads to more than 1% sustainable growth in GDP. You can't have positive social and economic development where people are suffering from conflicts or natural disasters. I hope that extending access to education will help enable the PeaceEarth Foundation further its goals," said Vestberg.

    Lars Lindén, head of Ericsson Sub-Saharan Africa, who introduced a panel discussion on ‘African digital entrepreneurs’ at the Nairobi session which discussed ways in which the internet has revolutionized African businesses and the role played by organizations like Ericsson in driving this, underscored the importance of broadband revolution.

    “Today, broadband is recognized as a basic need, a core part of societal infrastructure as essential as roads and bridges. It is revolutionizing all areas of our lives and enabling a new era of empowerment for people, business and society. We see this forum as an occasion to explore new ways in which we can exploit the opportunities the technology avails,” said Lindén.

    The PeaceEarth Foundation brings together public and private entities and aims to serve as a vehicle for an array of programs, initiatives and campaigns in the U.S. and around the world.

    "Ericsson's support to PeaceEarth will establish a truly connected program in South Sudan and Uganda. The commitment will allow us to advance our shared goal to collectively move our world towards peace, one day at a time," said Forest Whitaker.

    Currently, 1.5 billion people live in countries affected by violent conflict, and more than 8 million children have been killed or disabled through violent conflict. Working in partnership with local and regional experts, civil society and multilateral organizations, governments and businesses, PeaceEarth will work to promote peaceful conflict resolution through youth empowerment, access to knowledge, capacity-building and cultural diversity.

    PeaceEarth Foundation recently launched an interactive website that gives people the power to learn, engage and act. It serves to connect and foster dialogue among communities, practitioners and scholars, giving people key information about conflict zones, best practices in peace-building, and solutions.

computing

  • rlg Communications expects  to deliver the last 34,249 laptops to Ghana’s Basic School Computerisation Project by the end of this month.

    rlg, which assembles the laptops locally, has already supplied 25,751 laptops to the Ministry of Education for onward distribution to selected Basic Schools across the country as part of the project, which began last year.

    The remaining laptops are to be supplied by the end of the October. In all, a total of 60,000 laptops are to be supplied to 2,500 basic schools in ten regions.

    The Corporate Affairs Manager of rlg Communications, Emmanuel Arthur, said  this was in line with the agreed deadline for the supply of all laptops before the end of this year.

  • MTN Uganda has embraced social media to reach its customers, saying its Facebook page now attracts more than 50,000 people. The mobile operator in 2011 took a new focus on social media by opening official pages on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube with the intention of developing critical mass and loyalty from a specific segment of the market.

    A large majority of the followers of social media are young people, who comprise more than 60 percent of Uganda's population. MTN Uganda currently has the largest community network on Facebook in Uganda with over 50,000 followers, plus 4,200 followers on Twitter.

  • AccessKenya Group has deployed the first High Definition Telepresence solution.
    Telepresence is technology that allows feeling of real presence in virtual meetings enabling people in different offices around the world to meet virtually via video call and transact business irrespective of distance.

    Speaking during the official launch, AccessKenya Managing Director Kris Senanu said the company is committed to deploying high value technologies with the aim of improving the business environment and enhancing mobility for its clients.

    "We are continuously investing in research for the best solutions for all our clients and will remain consistent in our delivery of service," he said.

    AccessKenya will be offering the Telepresence Solution as a Value Addition Service to its clients.

    The Telepresence service is targeting corporate companies looking to achieve efficiency in their day-to-day business at a reasonably lower cost.

    "In this time of high inflationary pressures and high cost of doing business, companies are looking to reduce overheads incurred on utility and concessional expenses such as travel. This technology provides a unique opportunity for any business to achieve this all year round," Senanu said.

    Last year, AccessKenya together in partnership with Aga Khan University Hospital showcased the country's first Video Telesurgery using the High Definition Polycom HDX-8000 series equipment.

    The telesurgery transmitted live surgical procedures at a Pan African Urological Surgeons' Association (PAUSA) Conference held in Nairobi heralding a new age in telemedicine in Kenya.

    "With this technology, most corporate organizations will be able to reduce their carbon footprint and this will greatly impact on the future of this globe," Senanu said about the Telepresence product.

    The solution was launched in partnership with Polycom through its Certified Reseller in the East African region - Sight & Sound Limited.

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

  • Leading officials within the Ghana government have called on the country to float its minority shares of Vodafone Ghana and Airtel Ghana in an effort to boost productivity and trade volumes on the country’s stock market.

    The government of Ghana has a 30 percent share of Vodafone Ghana and 25 percent of Airtel Ghana via the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC).

    Ghana Stock Exchange Chairman Sam Mensah said at the exchange’s annual general meeting in Accra that these stakes should be “separately floated in the interest of the bourse and the market at large.”

    Mensah argued that the stocks would enable the market and could be of interest to investors.

    He said Ghana needed to take “far reaching listing and divestiture decisions” to help support the growth of the GSE and the market at large.

    Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission Adu Anane Antwi also reiterated the call on government to make it compulsory for all telecommunication companies in the country to list a stake on the GSE after five years of operations.

    The operators, in response, said they are considering the move to list on the GSE to “economically empower locals,”

    Vodafone Ghana CEO Kyle Whitehill said he expects operators to list on the local bourse “in the next couple of years.”

  • Visa Inc. and the government of Rwanda on Wednesday officially launched financial literacy in schools across the country dubbed 'Visa Financial Football game.'

    Financial Football is a free computer game that combines the world's most popular sport with a financial literacy curriculum developed especially for Rwanda. The interactive game provides essential information on personal financial management.

    Pichette Kampeta Sayinzoga, the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Finance and economic planning, explained that it is in line with the government's commitment to increase financial literacy and to make children familiar with managerial skills at an early age so that they can be able to manage little resources they have and preparing them to be financial literate in the future.

    "The idea is that students should understand that managing money doesn't start when you are adult - it's starts when you are a young person and the real message is to get information about financial literacy, what is to have an account, have a loan, how to use an ATM card and the message is really to say that you can learn while having a fun," she explained.

    The PS was talking to journalist on Wednesday after officially launching the Visa Financial Football game at Lycee de Kigali. The same campaign is to be undertaken throughout the country in both.

    The game, which will be distributed for free in public and private schools, is available in both Kinyarwanda and English. Ginger Baker, managing director of Visa Rwanda, expressed his excitement to introduce the Financial Football game in Rwanda given that access to financial services is essential for economic progress.

    "We hope this game will bear tangible results for financial access in Rwanda, empowering young people to tackle real-life personal finance situations with confidence," he said.

    Accessible at www.rwanda.financialfootball.com, the game challenges players on their level of financial literacy through a set of multiple choice questions. The questions cover a wide range of topics including saving, budgeting, setting financial goals and what to do in the event of losing a bank card.

    The Financial Football game is part of a nation-wide financial literacy program announced last year in December by Visa and the government of Rwanda in a bid to develop a wide range of solutions of electronic financial services in the country.

  • THE information and communications technology (ICT) sector attracted the lion's share of venture capital funding in the three and a half years to July, according to data released this week.

    A survey by specialist advisory firm Venture Solutions, on behalf of the Southern African Venture Capital & Private Equity Association, showed the ICT sector accounted for 32% of the total deal flow in the period.

    This rose from 23% in the previous survey to July 2010. ICT outpaced the life sciences (biotechnology, health technology and medical devices) sector, which previously accounted for 41% of total investments.

    ICT received around R265.6-million as venture capital investments reached the R830-million mark. The researchers said numbers could be close to double that because the research did not take into account certain deals not disclosed to the association, including enterprise development activities and "angel" funding.

    Adrian Dommisse, a corporate finance attorney at Dommisse Attorneys, said the ICT sector attracted the most funding deals because of the potential it held for fast growth.

    "Venture capitalists require returns over a shortish time frame relative to other investors," said Dommisse. "There is often good potential in ICT to achieve a faster return and exit, which is the sweet spot for venture capital investors."

    Venture capital firms backed by government were the most active, accounting for 51% of deals compared with 46% of deals executed by private-equity players.

    "Government-backed investors were the most active during the period under review, despite [the Technology Innovation Agency or TIA] making considerably fewer equity investments following its incorporation, than when operating as seven separate entities," reads the survey report.

    "This was due to limitations on the TIA's ability to conduct equity-type investments post amalgamation. The agency did however conclude a substantial number of loan-type transactions, about R100-million, during the period."

    The TIA was formed through the merger of the Department of Science and Technology's Innovation Fund, Tshumisano Trust, Cape Biotech Trust, PlantBio Trust, LIFElab, BioPAD Trust, and the Advanced Manufacturing Technology Strategy.

    Though venture capital fund managers were reluctant to indicate how much they made on exiting their investments, the overall figure is estimated at more than R1-billion. But this figure was skewed by the mega-acquisition of mobile financial services provider Fundamo, whose investors walked away with $110-million from global payments company Visa.

    "South Africa's high-growth entrepreneurial system is producing notable exits, such as Visa's acquisition of Fundamo, as well as a spate of recent start-up acquisitions, many of which are based in Cape Town," said Stephan Lamprecht, Venture Solutions's CEO.

    Justin Stanford, founding partner at 4Di Capital, which provides early-stage venture capital to technology start-ups, said the ICT sector would continue to be very attractive to investors because it was easily accessible.

    "This is one of the sectors that is democratised globally due to wide availability of free tools and education, broadband internet, and cloud infrastructure, meaning that there aren't any geographical or other barriers or advantages, really, any more, which is allowing many 'secondary' markets like South Africa to tap this sector on a global basis and compete internationally," said Stanford.

Telecoms, Rates, Offers and Coverage

  • - South Africa’s Cell C has announced its latest data bundle promotional offer called GigaNite, which has been launched in response to customer demand. As of 10 October, new and existing postpaid (contract) customers will be able to bolt on a 10 GB GigaNite bundle for R149 per month or 20 GB GigaNite bundle for R249 per month onto any Cell C SmartData postpaid contract, depending on their overnight data needs.

    - A new a mobile-based entertainment platform called Gbedumobile will launch later this month in Nigeria enabling mobile users to search for music, buy premium content, download free content and share with friends via social media channels.

Digital Content

  • South Sudan will soon benefit from tele-education and tele-medicine projects funded by the Government of India as part of a capacity building programme.

    Equipment for the project have already been dispatched to South Sudan for installation, Vimal Wakhlu, Chairman and Managing Director for Telecommunication Consultants India Limited (TCIL) disclosed this to African journalists participating in a specialised training in India.

    "South Sudan will soon benefit from the project since it is the baby country born to the African continent and to the world at large," Wakhlu stated. He added that the basic objectives of the Pan-Africa e-Network Project was to help build the capacity of the African countries by imparting quality education to students from some of the Indian universities.

    He further explained that the Pan Africa e-Network had been funded by the Indian government with an approved budget of over US$116 million which was inaugurated earlier in 2009. This came as a follow up to the initiative taken by Dr. Abdul Kalam, the former President of India.

    "Today this project exists in many African countries and before its end in 2014, we believe African countries will be able to sustain it for the next generation," asserted Wahklu. He further pointed out that within a period of five years over 10,000 students from Africa will learn tele-education and medicine.

    The project also covers Continuing Medical Education (CME) to practising doctors and nursing staff with a view to update their knowledge and skills. The Africa Union member states signed the agreement with Telecommunication Consultants India Limited (TCIL) with its hub station at Dakar in Senegal. It has been working since 2008.

  • Just like napkins and packets of tomato sauce, WI-FI hotspot connections are becoming standard fare in several restaurants in Kenya. Google, Eat Out and Wazi Wi-Fi have inked an agreement to connect restaurants in Nairobi and other cities, the three companies announced this morning. The new agreement is a collaboration of these three to make sure diners and hotel owners take full advantage of the online platform in their digital life.

    Riyaz Bachani, the CTO Wananchi Group says Wazi Wi-Fi has over 200 hotspots in Nairobi that can be accessed by users on one account. Steers which has received over 5,000 diners connected via Wazi Wi-Fi charges for the food and seats, otherwise customers have ten minutes on the Wi-Fi per device. “For those who want to have unlimited Internet access per day, they will pay KSh50 per device. One month access per device will cost KSh. 500." 

    Just like Steers, Blancos and Brew Bistro who are on Wazi Wi-Fi believe that the more time customers are sitting at their tables, the more money they are going to spend in the restaurant. Offering wireless access to the Internet for those customers with a Wi-Fi-enabled laptop or smartphone will add even more sales to the bottom line and make customers more loyal to their brand.

    Speaking at the partnership breakfast, Mikul Shah the CEO and founder of Eat Out Kenya, says Wi-Fi brings more people into businesses and improves customer loyalty, while Eat Out through the connection will help restaurant owners learn what their customer needs and behaviors. The company has been working for a while tweaking its systems and expanding their portfolio, at the moment 400 restaurants are registered with Eat Out. Mikul says they are going to launch “Eat In” soon in the market.

    “The technology this collaboration is based on will ensure restaurants’ websites are well optimized for easy search through Google Web crawlers both for PCs and on mobile devices”, says Joe Mucheru, Google’s Country lead.

    Wi-Fi hotspots aren't just confined to retail and coffee joints, however. Hospitals, airports and hotels are three other classes of businesses that offer wireless connectivity in and around their facilities.

    Kai Wulff, Google Access Field Development Director compares a Wi-Fi connection in a hotel as necessary as the toilets and the seats, “Wireless hotspots are a must have for restaurants that want to stay on top of the game. People bring their lives into the restaurants and it is therefore vital for these business owners to reach out to their customers by providing them with a platform that enables them to extend this online presence”

  • According to a research by Africa’s largest independent mobile ad network, InMobi Nigerians currently appreciate mobile apps more than mobile websites, with three out of five users recorded to have paid for a mobile app.

    Nigerian publication BusinessDay, reports Inmobi recently conducted a survey with 1007 respondents in Nigeria selected through the InMobi Ad network, which produced the finding.

    Sales director for InMobi Moses Kemibaro said the research was conducted to inform prospective mobile apps or mobile webs entrepreneurs what the average Nigerian thinks so they can take advantage of this.

    “We want them to understand the usage and preferences; where Nigerians are concerned in terms of mobile apps; Nigerians’ attitudes, opinions, expectations, etc,” Moses said.

    The research revealed 60 percent of the sample population preferred mobile apps to mobile web; 63 percent of whom are young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 with 68 percent being mothers. According to date from the research work by the global leader in the mobile technology space, social media and entertainment rank highest as the regularly most accessed mobile content with 81 percent, followed by games with 73 percent, news (70 percent), sports (55 percent), Finance (40 percent) and shopping (38 percent).

    According to Moses,  “In terms of generating revenue through mobile devices, as far as Nigeria is concerned, social media, entertainment, news and sports are areas one needs to focus on.”

More

  • Johannesburg Stock Exchange listed IT firm Gijima has announced that its Chief Executive Officer Jonas Bogoshi has tendered his resignation, coinciding with the company reporting on Wednesday that they had a decline in revenue for the financial year ending June 30.

  • Broadband World Forum

    16 – 18 October 2012, Amsterdam RAI Convention Centre, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

    The event, now in its 12th year, is the most respected in the regions Telecoms calendar and the comprehensive agenda includes breakfast briefings, 3 co-located summits,  keynote plenary sessions and a choice of 4 tracks for delegates each day as well as the world class exhibition area. For more information please click here:

    AfricaCom 2012
    13th-15th November 2012, CTICC, Cape Town, South Africa

    The digital ecosystem will take centre stage at AfricaCom 2012, at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, 13 – 15 November 2012.  Network with over 7000 industry executives at Africa’s largest event embracing all aspects of the continent’s converging telecoms, media and ICT sectors.  Incorporating 11 co-located events all pertinent to future-proofing your business in the digital era, including cloud computing, OTT, apps, broadband and multiplatform content, see and hear how Africa’s communications market is a hotbed for innovation and long term prosperity. 
    Contact: Subuola.akinkugbe@informa.com
    For more information please click here:

    Telecoms Fraud & Revenue Assurance Forum
    26th - 27th November 2012, Dubai
    The only event currently in the region dedicated to telecoms fraud and revenue assurance, Tavess' Telecoms Fraud and Revenue Assurance Forum in Dubai has been designed to provide Revenue Assurance and Fraud professionals from across the Middle East, Asia and Africa the opportunity to learn about the latest RA strategies that the operators are adopting to more effectively detect and prevent revenue leakage and fraudulent activities in an increasingly complex scenario. In addition to an in-depth look at the detection and prevention of various types of fraud, the Forum also explores how to evolve the organization, streamline processes, effectively integrate systems and embed revenue assurance into new products. For more information please click here:

  • Startup Knight competition launched for software developers

    Do you have an inspirational idea ready to take the software world by storm? Startup Knight is a competition for software-based tech start-ups that are aiming to make it big in the world of business.

    Hosting the event is Byte Orbit, the force behind Startup Knight, alongside companies such as Microsoft, Nokia, Bandwidth Barn and 8ta, who have come onboard with significant sponsorship for the winning start-up.
     
    Microsoft will be providing software packages for the winners to run their business for three years as well as $60 000 (±R502 500) worth of Azure Services. Bandwidth Barn is offering office space for the duration of six months, while Nokia is a product sponsor. In addition, 8ta will provide a 3G data modem loaded with its 60 Gig + 60 Gig offering.
     
    The grand prize will be sponsored by Byte Orbit and will consist of software development to the value of R100 000 and ongoing mentorship. Byte Orbit is set to take a 15% equity stake in the winning business and will subsequently support them on an ongoing basis, leveraging nine years of industry experience to increase their ability to succeed.
     
    Participants can enter online at www.byteorbit.com, with entries closing on 25 October. Fifteen finalists will be announced by 26 October and they will be required to pitch to a judging panel at Byte Orbit Offices in Durbanville, Cape Town on 3 November 2012.
     
    The judging panel will include:
     
    Amit Ramdath, Byte Orbit CEO
    Anthony Stonefield, Nokia head of Ecosystem
    Kethan Parbhoo, Microsoft Equity Equivalent lead
    Amith Maharaj,  8ta senior managing executive
    Charl Norman, Bandwidth Blog / OnNet MD
    Martin Ras, Ching Payments MD.
     
    The winner of the competition will be announced on the evening of 3 November 2012 in Cape Town.

Issue No 192, 4 octobre 2012

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Editorial

  • Il y a dix ans, le Sénégal était l'un des pays africains les plus prometteurs en matière d'accès à Internet, avec une pénétration plus de deux fois supérieure à celle du Nigeria. Mais aujourd’hui, le Nigéria se retrouve devant avec 30 % de sa population utilisant l’Internet, contre 16 % seulement au Sénégal.

    Pour comprendre les problèmes, nous avons commandité une étude avec Balancing Act. Les résultats de cette étude sont récapitulés dans ce rapport intitulé "Obstacles et opportunités pour la démocratisation de l’Internet haut débit au Sénégal."

    Le rapport a identifié un certain nombre de problématiques dont les plus critiques sont un régime de licence rigide et une régulation faible. Ces deux problèmes ont conduit à un monopole de fait de l'opérateur historique sur l'accès au réseau national en fibre optique et aux câbles de cuivre qui alimentent les habitations. Cette absence de concurrence maintient les prix d’accès internet à un niveau élevé et inaccessibles à beaucoup de Sénégalais.

    Pour étayer ce point, le rapport compare le système au Sénégal avec le Kenya et l’Afrique du Sud. Le rapport montre effectivement que c’est l’introduction d’un régime de licence libéral au Kenya et en Afrique du Sud qui a rendu possible l’entrée de plusieurs opérateurs dans le marché et une compétition accrue.

    Balancing Act propose plusieurs changements clés dont les deux ci-dessous:

    - Les fournisseurs d’accès Internet doivent être autorisés à construire leur propre infrastructure pour pouvoir concurrencer l’opérateur historique.

    - Le gouvernement doit encourager la concurrence et la transparence en matière de capacité internationale, en faisant appliquer la réglementation régionale qui n'existe jusqu'à présent que sur le papier.

    Nous vous invitons à prendre part à cette conversation. Veuillez télécharger et prendre connaissance du rapport, puis partager vos commentaires, vos observations, vos questions et vos contributions via ce formulaire.  Le 11 octobre prochain, nous organiserons un atelier de restitution à Dakar.

    Google Africa Blog
  • Netherland British Compagny (NBC), société de droit congolais accuse l'Autorité de régulation des postes et télécommunications (ARPTC) d'avoir illégalement attribué sa fréquence d'exploitation Internet de la technologie 3G aux entreprises de téléphonie mobile opérant en République démocratique du Congo (RDC), citant notamment Vodacom, Oasis [ Tigo], Airtel et Africel.

    L'avocat de NBC, Serge Lukanga, a indiqué que son entreprise qui émet et distribue des signaux visuels, par réseaux hertziens de télédistribution, a obtenu depuis 2004 une autorisation d'exploitation du ministère des Postes, Téléphones et Télécommunications (PTT) pour une durée de dix ans.

    NBC demande, par ailleurs, au tribunal de commerce de suspendre l'usage de cette fréquence par ces sociétés, en attendant que les responsabilités soient établies et qu'elle soit remise dans ses droits.

    La troisième génération (3G) désigne une génération de normes de téléphonie mobile, représentée principalement par les normes Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) et CDMA2000, permettant des débits bien plus rapides (de 2 à 42 Mb/s prévus à maturité du réseau) qu'avec la génération précédente, par exemple le GSM, selon le dictionnaire wikipedia.

    L'entreprise Vodacom Congo a annoncé au mois d'août dernier l'utilisation de la 3e génération. Les premières applications grand public de la 3G sont l'accès à Internet, le visionnage de vidéos, voire d'émissions de télévision et la visiophonie.

    Radio Okapi
  • La bataille qui oppose les Syndicats de la société nigérienne des télécommunications (Sonitel) , société nationale du Niger, et sa filiale Sahelcom, aux opérateurs privés de la téléphonie mobile, notamment Airtel niger et Orange Niger, au tour de la problématique de la réalisation des infrastructures de la fibre optique, continue de défrayer la chronique au niveau de l'opinion publique nationale et la situation est loin d'être résolue au regard des derniers évènements.

    En effet, les opérateurs privés, très puissants, profitant d'une situation embrouillée concernant le droit de l'exploitation de la fibre optique, ont entrepris des travaux de pose de fibre optique à coté de celle déjà installée par la Sonitel, au mépris de toutes les mises en garde de l'autorité en charge des télécommunications au Niger.

    Le 2 mai dernier, l'Assemblée nationale a adopté les lois autorisant l'Etat du Niger à nationaliser la Sonitel et Sahel-com, après un long plaidoyer du ministre de la communication et des nouvelles technologies de l'information Salifou Labo Bouché et l'échec constaté par le gouvernement de la privatisation des deux sociétés.

    Ces nouveaux textes juridiques accordaient à ces deux entités de l'Etat le monopole d'appel international et d'internet haut débit (fibre optique) pendant un temps transitoire de cinq ans.

    Trois semaines plus tard, le gouvernement a renvoyé, en seconde lecture, à l'Assemblée nationale la même loi sur la nationalisation de ces deux entreprises pour modifier certaines dispositions relatives notamment à ces privilèges octroyés à la Sonitel, et ceci, suite à une lettre de protestation que les responsables des deux opérateurs étrangers de la téléphonie mobile auraient adressée au président nigérien Mahamadou Issoufou.

    Selon la loi modifiée, adoptée par les parlementaires, la Sonitel ne bénéficie plus de l'exclusivité dans le développement de la fibre optique.

    Cette volteface des élus du peuple avait suscité la colère des travailleurs de Sonitel et de sa filiale Sahel-Com, qui ont manifesté le 25 mai dernier devant les locaux de l'Assemblée nationale.

    Par la suite, le gouvernement nigérien a autorisé Sonitel à construire le réseau de transmission Backbone National en fibre optique de Niamey à Zinder, sur plus de 900 km.

    Pour ce faire, deux missions ont été effectuées par le ministre de tutelle, Salifou Labo Bouché, et ses collaborateurs, en Chine et en Algérie, qui ont abouti à des accords de principe pour le déploiement de la fibre sur les axes stratégiques définis par le Niger.

    C'est ainsi que pour marquer toute la détermination et l'engagement du gouvernement à la réalisation du Backbone National en fibre optique, pour le compte de la Sonitel, le président nigérien Issoufou a donné le coup d'envoi, le 12 août passé, à Dosso, 140 km à l'est de Niamey, les travaux de la pose de la fibre optique.

    Comme pour défier l'autorité, Orange Niger démarre au même moment, les travaux de pose de sa fibre optique sur le tronçon Niamey-Dosso-Malan ville (frontière du Bénin), alors même que ces infrastructures sont déjà réalisées par la Sonitel, sur cet axe, selon ses responsables.

    Aussi, face aux agissements persistants de ces opérateurs étrangers à vouloir coûte que coûte poser la fibre optique, la convergence des syndicats du secteur de télécommunications a demandé aux autorités nationales d'interdire "la duplication" des infrastructures en fibre optique par ces opérateurs.

    Les syndicats du secteur des télécommunications ont exigé du gouvernement l'interdiction formelle de la duplication des infrastructures en fibre optique par Airtel et Orange.

    Ils ont lancé un vibrant appel au président de la république pour qu'il accorde une attention particulière à même d'arrêter " cette mise en scène dans le secteur des télécommunications et donner toute la plénitude à la SONITEL et SahelCom de jouer le rôle du pionnier dans ce secteur au Niger".

    Au Niger, le secteur des télécommunications joue un rôle éminemment important dans l'économie nationale, en termes de consommation, de mobilisation des ressources et surtout la génération des revenus.

    Pour le gouvernement, la construction du Backbone National par la Sonitel lui procure des sources importantes de revenus estimés à plusieurs dizaines de milliards de fcfa/an.

    Le retrait de l'exclusivité ou du retard dans la construction du Backbone national en fibre optique, aura comme conséquences, entre autres, la non rentabilité de l'investissement sur le Backbone fibre-optique de Sonitel. Ce qui engendrerait, une perte drastique de la valeur de Sonitel et affecterait négativement l'intérêt que suscitera la reprivatisation auprès des repreneurs.

    Xinhua
  • Stéphane Ralandison soutient que l'APR est en train de chercher des solutions aux problèmes rencontrés par les patients

    L'insuffisance du nombre de médecins référents incite à trouver des solutions. Les rhumatologues ont dévoilé des alternatives pour sauver les patients, hier.

    Comment faire pour soigner les patients et les 20 millions de Malgaches avec quatre rhumatologues Tel est l'un des objets de la troisième Rencontre internationale en rhumatologie, organisée par l'Association des praticiens en rhumatologie (APR), depuis hier, à Ankatso.

    Faute de solution magique pour augmenter le nombre de spécialistes, l'APR fait appel ainsi à la technologie pour résoudre cette équation. «Un logiciel est en cours de conception pour gérer les informations concernant tous les patients. Ce logiciel permettra, ensuite, de conseiller ces malades grâce à un service de message court (SMS). Il sera fonctionnel au mois de novembre», a annoncé Stéphane Ralandison, membre de l'APR.

    À l'entendre, le SMS s'avère vital pour beaucoup de patients. En effet, 60 % des patients atteints de rhumatisme inflammatoire chronique telle la polyarthrite rhumatoïde, les spondylarthropathies et la goutte ne sont plus revenus voir leurs médecins après avoir effectué un suivi pendant un ou deux ans.

    «Le SMS gratuit envoyé par l'APR permet de rappeler les patients d'aller revoir leur médecin ou de leur conseiller sur la suite de leur traitement», explique Stéphane Ralandison. Aussi, le patient devrait-il se battre pour avoir un rendez-vous afin d'être consulté par un rhumatologue et faire son inscription après. «Le problème relatif au traitement de cette maladie est qu'il n'y a que deux médecins rhumatologues qui travaillent dans un service hospitalier public. Les deux autres se trouvent dans le secteur privé. C'est ainsi que l'obtention d'un rendez-vous demeure difficile », ajoute toujours le rhumatologue.

    Mais ce SMS ne résout qu'en partie le calvaire du patient. «Comment voulez-vous qu'un patient revienne chez le rhumatologue en attendant la somme de 15 millions d'ariary pour traiter sa polyarthrite rhumatoïde », s'est interrogé Julien Rafidimanantsoa, un patient venu à l'hôpital Joseph Raseta Befela- tanana pour revoir son médecin, hier.

    Stéphane Ralandison a sorti sa dernière carte pour répondre à cette inquiétude des patients. «Un système mutuel est en cours de conception afin que la charge financière pour l'achat de médicament soit allégé pour les plus démunis», conclut le rhumatologue sans dévoiler les détails.

  • Au cours de l’année 2011, l’ARCEP a enregistré 9 nouveaux fournisseurs d’accès à Internet (FAI). Ainsi à la date du 31 décembre, il existe 45 FAI déclarés sur le marché. Mais, seuls 10 de ces fournisseurs étaient actifs dont Fasonet, la division Internet de l’ONATEL qui occupe une position dominante sur ce marché.

    Le parc d’abonnés à Internet au Burkina était de 340 025 à la date du 31 décembre 2011 contre 28 741 en 2010, soit une croissance de 1 083,06%. Les abonnés Internet de l’ONATEL (Fasonet) sont passés de 28 741 à 31 186 en une année, soit un taux de croissance de 5,09%. 17 123 abonnés ONATEL, soit 54,91% utilisaient jusque là la connexion « bas débit ». C’est donc dire que l’accès au « haut débit » au Burkina n’est pas encore à la portée de la majorité des abonnés.

    Pendant ce temps, les opérateurs de téléphonie mobile font une entrée en force dans le marché de l’Internet. Les trois opérateurs mobiles, grâce à la technologie GPRS/EDGE offrent une connectivité à l’Internet à leur clientèle. Le service Internet est disponible pour l’ensemble des abonnés de leur réseau.

    Mais, le parc des utilisateurs effectifs d’Internet via les réseaux de téléphonie mobile était estimé à 308 526 au 31 décembre 2011, soit 2 941 pour Telmob, 199 307 pour Airtel et 106 278 pour Telecel. En plus de la technologie GPRS/EDGE, Telecel utilise la technologie WIFI (WIGO) pour offrir de l’Internet à ses clients.

    L’arrivée annoncée de la licence 3G pour les opérateurs mobiles permettra sans doute d’accroitre le parc d’abonnés Internet et peut-être améliorer considérablement les services offerts.

    L’ARCEP a enregistré 45 fournisseurs d’accès à Internet (FAI) en 2011, comme l’indique son rapport d’activités 2011. Mais, seulement une dizaine sont réellement actifs et seulement les données de ALINK (226 abonnés) et de IPSYS (87 abonnés) sont disponibles. Et, les débits offerts par ces FAI vont de 128 kbps à 2 Mbps en mode dédié ou partagé.

    Faso-tic.net
  • Patrick Pisal Hamida, directeur général de Telma, est fier de présenter la nouvelle offre de sa compagnie

    Une offre révolutionnaire. Telma a lancé l'ADSL Pro sur le marché de l'internet. Il s'agit d'une solution internet permettant de se connecter à très grande vitesse, avec un débit de 20Mb/s, 20 fois plus rapide que les offres ADSL grand public. A cette vitesse, c'est une grande première pour Madagascar, et c'est du vrai haut débit.

    « C'est l'offre internet tout en un pour communiquer et collaborer au sein d'une entreprise. Elle répond parfaitement aux attentes des professionnels, à leurs besoins grandissant en télécommunications pour les échanges de mails, la navigation sur internet ainsi que les partages de fichiers volumineux », a déclaré Patrick Pisal Hamida, directeur général de Telma, vendredi dernier.

    Actuellement, les méthodes, les concepts et les environnements au sein d'une entreprise ont changé. La virtualisation et la mobilité, l'informatique de nuage deviennent des outils indispensables pour être plus compétitifs. Toutes ces infrastructures sont très gourmandes en termes de bande passante et nécessitent une connexion très rapide. L'offre arrive donc à un moment opportun.

    L'ADSL Pro 20 méga est là pour les entreprises, mais à quand le très haut débit pour le grand public.

  • L'internet ne sera plus contrôlé en Tunisie et ses domaines d'exploitation ne seront pas limités, a assuré, hier, le chef du gouvernement provisoire, Hamadi Jebali, à l'ouverture du forum ICT4All 2012 à Hammamet.

    Cette manifestation, a-t-il souligné, est appelée à réaliser ses objectifs, notamment la garantie de l'accès des citoyens au réseau, plus particulièrement dans les pays du Sud, eu égard aux perspectives qu'offrent les nouvelles technologies de l'information et des télécommunications (TIC) en matière de développement et de concrétisation du droit d'accès au savoir.

    Il a ajouté que toutes les parties concernées par ce domaine sont conscientes de la nécessite de développer un environnement favorable à une utilisation libre, équitable et sécurisée de l'internet.

    Le 6 septembre, le ministre des Technologies de l'information et de la communication, Mongi Marzoug, avait déclaré que la censure du net, plus connue sous le nom de «Ammar 404» n'est désormais plus de mise en Tunisie, niant les informations qui ont circulé, sur les réseaux sociaux concernant un retour de la censure de l'Internet.

    La Tunisie, a encore relevé Jebali, œuvre à concrétiser les objectifs du Sommet mondial sur la société de l'information (Smsi). Le gouvernement, a-t-il dit, est déterminé à poursuivre les efforts de réformes, annonçant que la Tunisie abritera, en 2013, la troisième conférence pour la liberté de l'internet.

    Il a fait savoir que l'un des principaux nouveaux intérêts du domaine des technologies de l'information est la mise en place de l'économie numérique compte tenu de son rôle dans l'intensification de l'investissement, la création de richesses et d'emplois.

    La Presse
  • NITA, l’agence chargée des Technologies de l’Information et de la Communication (TIC) au sein du ministère ghanéen des Communications, a lancé une initiative à l’échelle nationale visant à développer les services informatiques en régions et à renforcer la transparence et l’efficacité des fonctions gouvernementales.

    Le nouveau réseau fibre optique permettra aux antennes de l’Etat, dans les régions reculées, d’avoir accès à des services en ligne.

    Dans cette perspective, Alcatel-Lucent assurera la conception et la mise en place d’une « dorsale » fibre optique de 600 kilomètres de long pour établir des liaisons à haute vitesse entre l’administration centrale et les sites ruraux éloignés. L’équipementier livrera également un centre de traitement des données en étroite collaboration avec HP, son partenaire dans le cadre d’une alliance mondiale destinée à fournir des solutions TIC convergées.

    Le programme est financé avec le soutien de l’Agence danoise pour le développement international (DANIDA).

    Au cours des prochaines années, le gouvernement ghanéen a l’intention d’étendre ses e-services aux domaines de la santé, de l’éducation, de la justice, de l’immigration et du parlement, notamment.

     

  • Le souci permanent des Etats d’inventer ou d’élaborer de nouvelles stratégies de développement a poussé les acteurs du développement à s’intéresser à plusieurs aspects parfois émergeant du constat de certaines faiblesses théoriques qui sont inhérentes à l’ère industrielle. On peut simplement prendre à titre d’illustration l’emphase mis sur les aspects quantitatifs du développement au détriment des aspects qualitatifs.

    Or, l’avènement de l’ère postindustrielle qui se caractérise selon Manuel CASTELLS par « la transformation du rôle que la connaissance » dans les différents secteurs de travail au sein de la société, et se matérialise par l’usage de « la technologie et de ses conséquences directes sur l’organisation du travail et des aspects importants de la vie sociale » marque la montée d’une nouvelle logique qui fait l’information la nouvelle colonne vertébrale de toute entreprise ou politique publique qui aspire à l’efficacité et à la pérennité. En effet, le savoir est devenu avec la violence et l’argent l’un des intrants à prendre en compte dans toute entreprise. C’est la nouvelle contrainte de l’ère de l’information qui a imposé l’ère de l’économie de la connaissance ou du savoir dont les technologies de l’information et de la communication constitue l’un des outils comme le note Walter Steinmuller  pour qui la nouvelle économie n’existe pas en dehors des autoroutes de l’information.

    C’est fort de cette nouvelle donne que nous nous sommes penché sur l’apport de ces TIC à l’efficacité des politiques publiques au sein des Etats. Le champ de l’agriculture nous a particulièrement accroché depuis l’apparition de plus en plus fréquente tant sur l’agenda international, régional que national avec la nécessité d’une révolution verte ou d’une agriculture de seconde génération. D’où la thématique TIC, agriculture et révolution verte en Afrique : le cas du Cameroun.

    Dans l’optique de mieux cerner cette thématique, le fil conducteur suivant nous a permis de mieux construire notre objet d’étude : Quelle est l’influence des  TIC sur le processus de développement agricole au Cameroun ? Les questions secondaires suivantes permettront de mieux répondre à cette interrogation principale :

    -          Quelle est la situation de l’information agricole  et des TIC au Cameroun ?

    -          Dans quelles mesures peuvent-elles avoir un impact sur la révolution verte au Cameroun?

    Ces interrogations ont donné lieu à une hypothèse principale autour de laquelle gravitent deux hypothèses secondaires :

    Hypothèse principale : L’usage des technologies de l’information et de la communication dans le monde agricole constituerait une solution pour l’accès rapide à l’information et à l’amélioration des activités agricoles, même si l’implication minimale de l’Etat dans la cyberagriculture s’avèrerait comme un frein pour la révolution verte au  Cameroun.

    Hypothèse secondaire 1 : La politique agricole du Cameroun serait confrontée à de nombreuses incertitudes  et contraintes informationnelles tandis qu’on constaterait une insertion des TIC dans la stratégie nationale de développement.

    Hypothèse secondaire 2 : L’action du SAILD montrerait que les TIC représentent une nouvelle opportunité pour la transformation du monde agricole au Cameroun et une plus grande implication de l’Etat dans l’agriculture numérique favoriserait la révolution verte au Cameroun.

    Ces hypothèses pour être appréhendées nous ont imposé une approche théorique diversifiée et complexe. Car la question du développement agricole appelle une approche théorique hybride et surtout transdisciplinaire. Il s’agit plus précisément du transnationalisme qui selon Jean-Jacques ROCHE, consacre l’avènement d’un monde post-westphalien où on constate l’abandon de la compétence nationale exclusive de l’Etat dans les relations internationales. Pour « satisfaire les besoins et aspirations de la race humaine. », d’autres acteurs comme les ONG peuvent œuvrer dans le champ de compétence jadis considéré comme le domaine réservé de l’Etat. Elle nous permet non seulement ici de voir comment une organisation non gouvernementale à travers les TIC œuvre pour la révolution verte mais met aussi en exergue le dépérissement de l’Etat.

    Nous avons par ailleurs convoqué la théorie de la dépendance pour faire ressortir la dépendance des projets de la cyberagriculture vis-à-vis des financements extérieurs. Nous nous inspirons de la perspective transdisciplinaire de Celso FURTADO qui établit un parallèle entre la dépendance des pays du Sud et la domination des pays développés à travers l’aide.

    Le paradigme du nouveau développement nous a par ailleurs permis de lire la dimension participative que peut renforcer l’usage des TIC. Ce développement est surtout un « Un processus global et participatif  de changement social qui vise le bien-être matériel et social des populations et dont les sociétés elles-mêmes sont responsables. »

    La communication pour le développement n’était pas en reste et elle nous a permis de voir la communication comme le nouveau lubrifiant de toute action de développement.

    Enfin l’économie du savoir nous a permis de comprendre que L’information et le savoir sont intégrés à tous les niveaux du processus de production. Autrement dit, toute économie qu’elle soit industrielle ou agricole doit devenir informationnelle et globale au risque de disparaître.

    Nous nous sommes par ailleurs fondé sur une approche analytique et descriptive pour pouvoir cerner la place des TIC dans le processus de développement agricole au Cameroun. Tout ceci a été complété par un travail de terrain qui nous a permis de rencontrer des personnes ressources.

    Tout ceci nous a permis d’élaborer ce travail qui se structure en 2 parties et 4 chapitres.

    La première partie nous a permis  dans un premier temps de faire ressortir les différentes contraintes de l’agriculture camerounaise. L’avènement des PAS a contribué à une déconfiture du monde rurale et englué l’agriculture camerounaise dans un certain nombre d’incertitudes telles l’incertitude institutionnelle qui marque le retrait progressif de l’Etat, chose que n’arrange pas l’incertitude climatique qui davantage laisse l’agriculture dans une zone de turbulence. C’est pourquoi malgré les énormes potentialités de notre agriculture, elle reste tributaire des importations. Cette situation est d’autant plus significative que l’intrant primaire qui est l’information est absent du champ agricole. C’est pourquoi dans un second moment de cette première partie, nous montrons  que les contraintes informationnelles sont aussi un facteur qui entrave le déploiement des potentialités de la politique agricole du Cameroun. La vulgarisation de l’information est sujette à de nombreux écueils. En effet, la couverture du monde rural est très limitée au Cameroun. Le monde de la presse ne s’intéresse pas à ce domaine. Ce qui justifie le faible nombre des journaux d’obédience agricole. Ce faible nombre en dehors de la pauvreté du lectorat et de l’enclavement des villages, vit sous perfusion des financements externes. D’où sa fin programmée comme le prédisent les responsables de ces structures.

    La situation n’est pas reluisante avec les structures étatiques de vulgarisation qui font face à l’épineuse question du financement. En effet depuis la fin du financement des partenaires internationaux en 2004, la situation de la vulgarisation est précaire. De nombreuses zones recherchent en vain un agent vulgarisateur de zone. D’où la  conclusion de Jean Felix MAKOSSO pour qui la vulgarisation de l’information stratégique agricole dans les pays africains est un échec.

    C’est dans un tel contexte morose dans le monde agricole que les TIC représentent une nouvelle opportunité. La société de l’information exige un ajustement des Etats. Car tous sont conscients de ce que « C’est par l’utilisation de l’information et la création des connaissances qu’on peut rehausser le niveau de vie et augmenter les revenus. » C’est pourquoi on a vu la naissance de nouveau dispositif juridico-institutionnel à travers les textes comme la loi des télécommunications de 1998 et les lois sur les communications électroniques de 2011 et les lois sur la cybercriminalité et la cybersécurité de 2011. On a par ailleurs les référentiels que sont la stratégie nationale de développement des TIC et son plan de mise en œuvre tout comme le document de stratégie pour la croissance et l’emploi. Ces référentiels réaffirment l’importance des TIC dans la stratégie nationale de développement dans tous les secteurs au Cameroun allant de la santé jusqu’à l’agriculture.

    Les modes d’appropriation ont tout aussi évolué. La densité mobile a connu une croissance fulgurante depuis 1999. On est ainsi passé de 0,04 à 41% en 2011. Ce qui n’est pas le cas d’internet dont la progression est encore timorée.

    Cette appropriation dans le secteur de l’agriculture a un impact qui cependant est relatif.

    A travers l’action de l’ONG SAILD qui a mis sur pied le programme Allô Ingénieur , on constate que les TIC et plus particulièrement le téléphone portable est un ressort de la mutation numérique du monde agricole. En effet, en 8 années d’existence, ce programme a permis l’émission de 6939 appels provenant de l’ensemble des 10 régions du Cameroun. L’agriculteur qui bippe est tout de suite rappelé par un ingénieur agronome à qui il peut poser son problème et trouver une solution.

    Malgré les problèmes de ce service, on constate une prééminence de l’information immédiate qui tient le peloton de tête avec près de 4790 appels. On a par ailleurs les informations après recherches qui sont au nombre de 1632 et les dossiers d’information qui sont 517.

    L’usage de l’information révèle aussi une incidence globalement sur les activités des agriculteurs qui l’utilisent. En effet, l’utilisation du téléphone portable permet le démarrage d’une activité agricole (26,4%), d’avoir l’information sur le choix d’une activité agricole (25%), l’information sur les marchés, l’élaboration d’un projet agricole, l’achat d’un équipement, etc. Ceci nous permet de dire que les TIC sont  à l’origine de la transformation du processus agricole. Car, elles permettent l’acquisition d’une information opérationnelle en ceci que  Les technologies de l’information et de la communication sont au centre d’un nouveau mode de production qui met à la disposition de l’agriculteur la connaissance ou le savoir dont il a besoin pour mener à bien son travail. On constate par ailleurs l’émergence d’une communication inclusive. Les agriculteurs peuvent s’exprimer et donner leurs points de vue, ce qui permet de mieux les cerner et de résoudre leurs problèmes, ceci grâce au caractère interactif des TIC. Internet ne connait pas la même fortune que le téléphone portable et reste encore à parfaire pour ce qui est de son usage.

    Le caractère relatif de cet impact réside dans le fait que l’intervention de l’Etat se caractérise par une certaine modestie dans le déploiement des initiatives et des moyens. La dépendance des ONG agissant dans ce secteur aux financements extérieurs est un véritable handicap pour la révolution verte ou agricole au Cameroun. L’absence de soutien aux initiatives privées montre un Etat qui défaille dans le secteur de la cyberagriculture  pourtant porteur pour la révolution verte. Ce qui est dangereux à un moment où on repense le développement de puis l’Afrique. On peut appeler à un Etat développementiste qui permettra de faire de l’information un ingrédient indispensable pour la révolution agricole et même la rationnalisation  des télécentres communautaires qui permettront de former et de faire converger l’information agricole sous toutes ses formes chez les paysans.

  • Le ministre des communications et de la technologie d'information, Hani Mahmoud, et le ministre de l'enseignement supérieur, Moustafa Mossad, ont inauguré le dimanche 23/9/2012 le 4e Forum d'embauche dans le domaine des CTI, organise pour les étudiants des universités égyptiennes.

    Ce Forum, organisé cette année par l'institut de la technologie d'information au "Smart Village", en coopération avec le ministère de l'enseignement supérieur, durera jusqu'au 27 septembre courant, avec la participation de 17 entreprises égyptiennes et mondiales, assurant plus de 7.378 emplois.

    Dans une allocution à cette occasion, M. Mahmoud a souligné que ce Forum figurait dans le cadre de l'application de la stratégie du ministère des CTI, visant à préparer une nouvelle génération prometteuse des jeunes entraines au plus haut niveau, de manière à répondre à la demande accrue au marché de travail.

  • La Guinée devient le 11ème pays du continent Africain à proposer Orange Money. Avec plus de 4,6millions de clients à travers le continent, Orange Money est aujourd'hui un service de paiement mobile incontournable.

    Orange Guinée lance ce jour Orange Money, son service de paiement mobile permettant à ses clients de réaliser des opérations et des transactions bancaires courantes depuis leur mobile partout où ils se trouvent et en toute sécurité sans avoir besoin de posséder un compte bancaire. Accéder aux services d'Orange Money est très simple :

    tous les clients mobiles peuvent gratuitement ouvrir un compte dans les agences Orange et points de ventes agréés Orange Money.

    Ce nouveau service représente un potentiel de croissance important pour la Guinée où le taux de bancarisation est inférieur à 5% alors que la taux de pénétration mobile - en pleine progression - est supérieur à 40%.

    Orange Money permet aux clients Orange depuis leur mobile de :

    • transférer de l'argent entre clients Orange partout en Guinée

    • recharger du crédit de communication sans avoir à se déplacer

    Les clients pourront bientôt payer leurs factures et également acheter des biens de consommation courante dans les commerces partenaires. Pour les entreprises voire les administrations, le paiement de salaire des employés sera possible grâce à Orange Money d'ici fin 2013. A travers cette innovation, Orange réaffirme son engagement à apporter jour après jour à la population guinéenne les toutes dernières innovations technologiques dans le but de rendre leur quotidien plus facile.

    Le Directeur Général d'Orange Guinée, Monsieur Alassane DIENE commente : « Orange Money est une offre stratégique.

    Les services de paiement mobile ont un très fort potentiel car ils apportent à tous et particulièrement aux populations à faible revenu la possibilité d'accéder aux services bancaires. En permettant à nos clients d'épargner, de transférer de l'argent à leurs proches et bientôt de payer leurs factures, nous allons non seulement leur faciliter la vie mais aussi participer encore plus activement au développement économique du pays ».

    Ce lancement a été possible grâce à un partenariat stratégique avec la banque BICIGUI, filiale du groupe BNP PARIBAS.

    Le Directeur Général de la BICIGUI, Monsieur Manga Fodé TOURE commente : « Grâce à ce partenariat entre Orange et BNP Paribas, notre groupe bancaire entend pleinement jouer sa partition dans le développement économique et l'innovation relative aux services offerts aux populations africaines. Au sein de la BICIGUI, notre réseau est mobilisé pour faire en sorte qu'Orange Money soit le plus bénéfique possible pour les guinéens.

    Orange Money, qui a été lancé pour la première fois en Côte d'Ivoire en décembre 2008, est déjà disponible au Botswana, au Cameroun, à l'Ile Maurice, en Jordanie, au Kenya, à Madagascar, au Mali, au Niger et au Sénégal avec l'objectif d'Orange de lancer le service dans l'ensemble des 22 pays d'Afrique et du Moyen-Orient où le Groupe est présent.

    Aminata
  • C’est le groupement Photalia-Vergnet Burkina qui a remporté le contrat de fourniture pour l'alimentation électrique solaire de nouveaux sites télécom sur l’ensemble du territoire burkinabé.

    L’objectif principal de ce projet télécom d’envergure est de contribuer au désenclavement de nombreuses zones du pays. Il s’agit aussi de rendre les réseaux télécom moins dépendants des infrastructures électriques nationales parfois déficientes.

    Photalia, filiale du groupe français Vergnet, indique avoir déjà mis en place une organisation capable de répondre aux exigences du cahier des charges en termes de planning et de sécurisation des systèmes afin de réaliser l'ensemble des travaux dans un délai de 39 semaines.

    Photalia assurera la coordination du projet, l'ingénierie des systèmes, la fourniture du matériel, la formation et l'appui technique à l'installation. Vergnet Burkina, partenaire local de Photalia, sera en charge de l'installation, de la mise en service, de la gestion des stocks de pièces détachées et du service après-vente.

    Agence ecofin
  • Les pouvoirs publics doivent s'armer de volonté politique pour mettre fin aux coûts exorbitants des droits de retransmission des évènements sportifs dans les pays africains, a plaidé, lundi à Dakar, le ministre de la Communication, des Télécommunications et des Technologies de l'information et de la communication (TIC), Abou Lô.

    "Il est clair que la volonté politique est nécessaire au plus haut niveau afin de mettre fin à la surenchère des coûts de retransmission des évènements sportifs", a-t-il déclaré à l'ouverture d'un séminaire de trois jours, organisé par l'Union africaine de la radiodiffusion (UAR) sur le thème : "La commercialisation des droits de diffusion des évènements sportifs".

    Selon Abou Lô, les organismes membres de l'UAR, comme la Radiotélévision sénégalaise (RTS), délégataire d'une mission de service public, "sont pour la plupart soumis à une forte pression financière".

    "Pour certains même, le déficit est structurel et c'est l'Etat qui finance les déficits", a souligné le ministre de la Communications, des Télécommunications et des TIC.

    "An niveau du Sénégal, on avait discuté avec la RTS qui nous a fait comprendre que les coûts de retransmission sont très élevés et cela est dû au fait qu'il y a beaucoup d'intermédiaires : la Caf, d'une part, et les organisations des évènements, d'autre part", a-t-il expliqué.

    "Du coup, les conditions de cession à titre onéreux des droits issus des évènements sportifs doivent éviter le double écueil de la fixation unilatérale des prix sans aucune discussion préalable et des intermédiaires inutiles qui augmentent les prix par leur seule présence", a-t-il indiqué.

    Abou Lô a par ailleurs rappelé que "les évènements sportifs retiennent l'attention des pouvoirs publics, dans la mesure où ils rendent effectif le droit à l'information des citoyens et son corollaire, la notion de société du savoir".

    Pour lui, "cette dernière notion est le critère de reconnaissance des sociétés modernes qui garantissent l'accès universel à l'information et à la connaissance".

    "Il est temps que les gens réfléchissent pour trouver une solution qui aboutirait à la baisse des coûts, parce que nous avons des Etats dont le budget est très faible. Nous ne pouvons pas continuer à payer des prix exorbitants pour avoir des matches de football ou pour la retransmission d'évènement sportifs", selon le ministre.

    "Nous allons proposer une rencontre avec les autres ministères des autres pays africains pour discuter de ce problème et trouver des solutions à proposer à la CAF et à la FIFA, et c'est à eux de voir s'ils vont continuer avec la même méthode. Nous, notre rôle, c'est de garantir l'information aux citoyens", a-t-il révélé.

    APS
  • Réunion annuel de FRATEL

    22-23 octobre 2012, Lomé, Togo 

    Le réseau Francophone des régulateurs des Télécommunications, FRATEL, organise sa réunion annuelle du 22 au 23 octobre 2012 à Lomé- TOGO. Au programme l’adoption du rapport d’activité 2012 et du plan d’action 2013, l’élection du comité de direction. Des tables rondes aborderont aussi le thème de l’accès haut débit fixe et mobile.

    Salon International des technologies et de l'intormation (Med-IT) 

    24-26 September 2021, Alger, Algérie 

    Cette année, le thème de l'innovation IT sera à l'honneur avec l'organisation des Trophées MED-IT 2012 qui portera sur les «Meilleures Start-up IT». «L'événement accueille chaque année plus de 5,000 visiteurs professionnels et 150 exposants, dont les principaux acteurs algériens du secteur des TIC ainsi que 30% d'entreprises étrangères, parmi lesquelles les grandes multinationales. *

    CARREFOUR D’AFFAIRES ET DE TECHNOLOGIES 2012

    «NOUVELLE TUNISIE, NOUVELLES OPPORTUNITES » Tunis, Parc International des Expositions 28-30 Novembre 2012 Organisé, du 28 au 30 Novembre 2012, par l’Agence de Promotion de l’Industrie et de l’Innovation, en association avec l’Union Tunisienne pour l’Industrie le Commerce et l’Artisanat (UTICA) et en collaboration avec l’Agence de Promotion de l’Investissement Extérieur (FIPA) et le Centre de Promotion des Exportations (CEPEX), CAT 2012 se veut être une réelle plateforme dédiée à l’entreprise, où vont se côtoyer décideurs et leaders de divers horizons, avec leurs offres et demandes dans des secteurs innovants à fort potentiel de croissance:

    Mécanique, électrique et électronique 

    Agroalimentaire 

    Plastique technique et plasturgie 

    Textile technique 

    Nouvelles technologies de l’information et de la communication 

    Pharmaceutique Pour plus d’infos cliquez ici 

     

    Réunion publique de l’ICANN

    14-19 juillet 2013, Durban, Afrique du Sud

    Le Conseil d'administration de l'ICANN a approuvé la ville de Durban, Afrique du Sud, comme l'emplacement pour la 47ème réunion publique de l'ICANN qui se tiendra du 14 au 19 juillet 2013.

     

     

  • - Le groupe Orange, filiale du Groupe France Télécom, a procédé "en accord avec ses partenaires locaux", à la nomination de directeurs généraux dans sept de ses filiales en Afrique et au Moyen-Orient, indique un communiqué reçu jeudi à l'APS.

    Outre la nomination à la tête de la Société nationale des télécommunications du Sénégal (SONATEL) de l'ancien Directeur général d'Orange Mali, Alioune Ndiaye, qui cède son poste à Jean-Luc Bohé, Brelotte Ba s'est vu porter à la tête d'Orange Niger. Il succède ainsi à Jean-Louis Branco.

    Pendant ce temps, Michel Barré prend les rênes d'Orange Madagascar, en remplacement de Jean Luc Bohé qui va poser ses baluchons au Mali.En Tunisie, Thierry Marigny cède son poste à Didier Charvet, tandis que Nathalie Clere est nommée Directrice générale adjointe de Mauritius Telecom à la place de Jean François Thomas. Ce dernier pend désormais les commandes de Jordan Telecom, succédant ainsi à Nayla Khawam.

    - Airtel au Congo RDC a annoncé la nomination de M. Louis LUBALA au poste de Directeur Général de la plus grande opération francophone Airtel en Afrique. Il remplace à cette position M. Antoine Pamboro qui rejoint Airtel Gabon en qualité de Directeur Général, après 5 années et demie passées en République Démocratique du Congo.

  • * Le forum Convergences, premier salon de recrutement totalement en ligne destiné aux cadres et aux diplômés africains, tient sa première édition du 19 au 23 novembre prochain, annonce un communiqué reçu à l'APS.

    "Par son caractère inédit de +salon 100 % en ligne+, bilingue et régional, il s'adresse à l'ensemble du continent. Il donne aussi à toute personne à la recherche d'opportunités de carrière en Afrique, la possibilité de participer gratuitement à l'évènement, à partir de n'importe quel point du globe", précise la même source.

    "Il s'agit pour nous de donner leur chance aux milliers de cadres ou de jeunes diplômés qui, pour diverses raisons, sont exclus des multiples salons physiques organisés dans le monde", a expliqué Yann Hazoumè, directeur de People Development, le cabinet de ressources humaines basé à Dakar à l'origine de l'initiative.

    "Ciblant également l'important réservoir de cerveaux+ d'Africains de la Diaspora, le salon constitue une expérience unique de promotion de l'expertise africaine, grâce à un accès direct sur la plateforme en 3D mise en place par les organisateurs", mentionne le texte.

    Il ajoute : "Une telle plateforme donne, pour une fois, des chances égales à tous les candidats et offre la possibilité aux entreprises de disposer des meilleurs CV sur le marché, en plus grand nombre, dans un seul espace et en un temps très court".

    Les organisateurs indiquent que plus de 20.000 professionnels et candidats africains sont attendus au salon. Plus de 20 grandes multinationales et grands groupes africains seront sur la ligne de départ, assurent-ils.

Edition Française Issue No 192, 4 octobre 2012

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Editorial

  • Il y a dix ans, le Sénégal était l'un des pays africains les plus prometteurs en matière d'accès à Internet, avec une pénétration plus de deux fois supérieure à celle du Nigeria. Mais aujourd’hui, le Nigéria se retrouve devant avec 30 % de sa population utilisant l’Internet, contre 16 % seulement au Sénégal.

    Pour comprendre les problèmes, nous avons commandité une étude avec Balancing Act. Les résultats de cette étude sont récapitulés dans ce rapport intitulé "Obstacles et opportunités pour la démocratisation de l’Internet haut débit au Sénégal."

    Le rapport a identifié un certain nombre de problématiques dont les plus critiques sont un régime de licence rigide et une régulation faible. Ces deux problèmes ont conduit à un monopole de fait de l'opérateur historique sur l'accès au réseau national en fibre optique et aux câbles de cuivre qui alimentent les habitations. Cette absence de concurrence maintient les prix d’accès internet à un niveau élevé et inaccessibles à beaucoup de Sénégalais.

    Pour étayer ce point, le rapport compare le système au Sénégal avec le Kenya et l’Afrique du Sud. Le rapport montre effectivement que c’est l’introduction d’un régime de licence libéral au Kenya et en Afrique du Sud qui a rendu possible l’entrée de plusieurs opérateurs dans le marché et une compétition accrue.

    Balancing Act propose plusieurs changements clés dont les deux ci-dessous:

    - Les fournisseurs d’accès Internet doivent être autorisés à construire leur propre infrastructure pour pouvoir concurrencer l’opérateur historique.

    - Le gouvernement doit encourager la concurrence et la transparence en matière de capacité internationale, en faisant appliquer la réglementation régionale qui n'existe jusqu'à présent que sur le papier.

    Nous vous invitons à prendre part à cette conversation. Veuillez télécharger et prendre connaissance du rapport, puis partager vos commentaires, vos observations, vos questions et vos contributions via ce formulaire.  Le 11 octobre prochain, nous organiserons un atelier de restitution à Dakar.

    Google Africa Blog
  • Netherland British Compagny (NBC), société de droit congolais accuse l'Autorité de régulation des postes et télécommunications (ARPTC) d'avoir illégalement attribué sa fréquence d'exploitation Internet de la technologie 3G aux entreprises de téléphonie mobile opérant en République démocratique du Congo (RDC), citant notamment Vodacom, Oasis [ Tigo], Airtel et Africel.

    L'avocat de NBC, Serge Lukanga, a indiqué que son entreprise qui émet et distribue des signaux visuels, par réseaux hertziens de télédistribution, a obtenu depuis 2004 une autorisation d'exploitation du ministère des Postes, Téléphones et Télécommunications (PTT) pour une durée de dix ans.

    NBC demande, par ailleurs, au tribunal de commerce de suspendre l'usage de cette fréquence par ces sociétés, en attendant que les responsabilités soient établies et qu'elle soit remise dans ses droits.

    La troisième génération (3G) désigne une génération de normes de téléphonie mobile, représentée principalement par les normes Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) et CDMA2000, permettant des débits bien plus rapides (de 2 à 42 Mb/s prévus à maturité du réseau) qu'avec la génération précédente, par exemple le GSM, selon le dictionnaire wikipedia.

    L'entreprise Vodacom Congo a annoncé au mois d'août dernier l'utilisation de la 3e génération. Les premières applications grand public de la 3G sont l'accès à Internet, le visionnage de vidéos, voire d'émissions de télévision et la visiophonie.

    Radio Okapi
  • La bataille qui oppose les Syndicats de la société nigérienne des télécommunications (Sonitel) , société nationale du Niger, et sa filiale Sahelcom, aux opérateurs privés de la téléphonie mobile, notamment Airtel niger et Orange Niger, au tour de la problématique de la réalisation des infrastructures de la fibre optique, continue de défrayer la chronique au niveau de l'opinion publique nationale et la situation est loin d'être résolue au regard des derniers évènements.

    En effet, les opérateurs privés, très puissants, profitant d'une situation embrouillée concernant le droit de l'exploitation de la fibre optique, ont entrepris des travaux de pose de fibre optique à coté de celle déjà installée par la Sonitel, au mépris de toutes les mises en garde de l'autorité en charge des télécommunications au Niger.

    Le 2 mai dernier, l'Assemblée nationale a adopté les lois autorisant l'Etat du Niger à nationaliser la Sonitel et Sahel-com, après un long plaidoyer du ministre de la communication et des nouvelles technologies de l'information Salifou Labo Bouché et l'échec constaté par le gouvernement de la privatisation des deux sociétés.

    Ces nouveaux textes juridiques accordaient à ces deux entités de l'Etat le monopole d'appel international et d'internet haut débit (fibre optique) pendant un temps transitoire de cinq ans.

    Trois semaines plus tard, le gouvernement a renvoyé, en seconde lecture, à l'Assemblée nationale la même loi sur la nationalisation de ces deux entreprises pour modifier certaines dispositions relatives notamment à ces privilèges octroyés à la Sonitel, et ceci, suite à une lettre de protestation que les responsables des deux opérateurs étrangers de la téléphonie mobile auraient adressée au président nigérien Mahamadou Issoufou.

    Selon la loi modifiée, adoptée par les parlementaires, la Sonitel ne bénéficie plus de l'exclusivité dans le développement de la fibre optique.

    Cette volteface des élus du peuple avait suscité la colère des travailleurs de Sonitel et de sa filiale Sahel-Com, qui ont manifesté le 25 mai dernier devant les locaux de l'Assemblée nationale.

    Par la suite, le gouvernement nigérien a autorisé Sonitel à construire le réseau de transmission Backbone National en fibre optique de Niamey à Zinder, sur plus de 900 km.

    Pour ce faire, deux missions ont été effectuées par le ministre de tutelle, Salifou Labo Bouché, et ses collaborateurs, en Chine et en Algérie, qui ont abouti à des accords de principe pour le déploiement de la fibre sur les axes stratégiques définis par le Niger.

    C'est ainsi que pour marquer toute la détermination et l'engagement du gouvernement à la réalisation du Backbone National en fibre optique, pour le compte de la Sonitel, le président nigérien Issoufou a donné le coup d'envoi, le 12 août passé, à Dosso, 140 km à l'est de Niamey, les travaux de la pose de la fibre optique.

    Comme pour défier l'autorité, Orange Niger démarre au même moment, les travaux de pose de sa fibre optique sur le tronçon Niamey-Dosso-Malan ville (frontière du Bénin), alors même que ces infrastructures sont déjà réalisées par la Sonitel, sur cet axe, selon ses responsables.

    Aussi, face aux agissements persistants de ces opérateurs étrangers à vouloir coûte que coûte poser la fibre optique, la convergence des syndicats du secteur de télécommunications a demandé aux autorités nationales d'interdire "la duplication" des infrastructures en fibre optique par ces opérateurs.

    Les syndicats du secteur des télécommunications ont exigé du gouvernement l'interdiction formelle de la duplication des infrastructures en fibre optique par Airtel et Orange.

    Ils ont lancé un vibrant appel au président de la république pour qu'il accorde une attention particulière à même d'arrêter " cette mise en scène dans le secteur des télécommunications et donner toute la plénitude à la SONITEL et SahelCom de jouer le rôle du pionnier dans ce secteur au Niger".

    Au Niger, le secteur des télécommunications joue un rôle éminemment important dans l'économie nationale, en termes de consommation, de mobilisation des ressources et surtout la génération des revenus.

    Pour le gouvernement, la construction du Backbone National par la Sonitel lui procure des sources importantes de revenus estimés à plusieurs dizaines de milliards de fcfa/an.

    Le retrait de l'exclusivité ou du retard dans la construction du Backbone national en fibre optique, aura comme conséquences, entre autres, la non rentabilité de l'investissement sur le Backbone fibre-optique de Sonitel. Ce qui engendrerait, une perte drastique de la valeur de Sonitel et affecterait négativement l'intérêt que suscitera la reprivatisation auprès des repreneurs.

    Xinhua
  • Stéphane Ralandison soutient que l'APR est en train de chercher des solutions aux problèmes rencontrés par les patients

    L'insuffisance du nombre de médecins référents incite à trouver des solutions. Les rhumatologues ont dévoilé des alternatives pour sauver les patients, hier.

    Comment faire pour soigner les patients et les 20 millions de Malgaches avec quatre rhumatologues Tel est l'un des objets de la troisième Rencontre internationale en rhumatologie, organisée par l'Association des praticiens en rhumatologie (APR), depuis hier, à Ankatso.

    Faute de solution magique pour augmenter le nombre de spécialistes, l'APR fait appel ainsi à la technologie pour résoudre cette équation. «Un logiciel est en cours de conception pour gérer les informations concernant tous les patients. Ce logiciel permettra, ensuite, de conseiller ces malades grâce à un service de message court (SMS). Il sera fonctionnel au mois de novembre», a annoncé Stéphane Ralandison, membre de l'APR.

    À l'entendre, le SMS s'avère vital pour beaucoup de patients. En effet, 60 % des patients atteints de rhumatisme inflammatoire chronique telle la polyarthrite rhumatoïde, les spondylarthropathies et la goutte ne sont plus revenus voir leurs médecins après avoir effectué un suivi pendant un ou deux ans.

    «Le SMS gratuit envoyé par l'APR permet de rappeler les patients d'aller revoir leur médecin ou de leur conseiller sur la suite de leur traitement», explique Stéphane Ralandison. Aussi, le patient devrait-il se battre pour avoir un rendez-vous afin d'être consulté par un rhumatologue et faire son inscription après. «Le problème relatif au traitement de cette maladie est qu'il n'y a que deux médecins rhumatologues qui travaillent dans un service hospitalier public. Les deux autres se trouvent dans le secteur privé. C'est ainsi que l'obtention d'un rendez-vous demeure difficile », ajoute toujours le rhumatologue.

    Mais ce SMS ne résout qu'en partie le calvaire du patient. «Comment voulez-vous qu'un patient revienne chez le rhumatologue en attendant la somme de 15 millions d'ariary pour traiter sa polyarthrite rhumatoïde », s'est interrogé Julien Rafidimanantsoa, un patient venu à l'hôpital Joseph Raseta Befela- tanana pour revoir son médecin, hier.

    Stéphane Ralandison a sorti sa dernière carte pour répondre à cette inquiétude des patients. «Un système mutuel est en cours de conception afin que la charge financière pour l'achat de médicament soit allégé pour les plus démunis», conclut le rhumatologue sans dévoiler les détails.

  • Au cours de l’année 2011, l’ARCEP a enregistré 9 nouveaux fournisseurs d’accès à Internet (FAI). Ainsi à la date du 31 décembre, il existe 45 FAI déclarés sur le marché. Mais, seuls 10 de ces fournisseurs étaient actifs dont Fasonet, la division Internet de l’ONATEL qui occupe une position dominante sur ce marché.

    Le parc d’abonnés à Internet au Burkina était de 340 025 à la date du 31 décembre 2011 contre 28 741 en 2010, soit une croissance de 1 083,06%. Les abonnés Internet de l’ONATEL (Fasonet) sont passés de 28 741 à 31 186 en une année, soit un taux de croissance de 5,09%. 17 123 abonnés ONATEL, soit 54,91% utilisaient jusque là la connexion « bas débit ». C’est donc dire que l’accès au « haut débit » au Burkina n’est pas encore à la portée de la majorité des abonnés.

    Pendant ce temps, les opérateurs de téléphonie mobile font une entrée en force dans le marché de l’Internet. Les trois opérateurs mobiles, grâce à la technologie GPRS/EDGE offrent une connectivité à l’Internet à leur clientèle. Le service Internet est disponible pour l’ensemble des abonnés de leur réseau.

    Mais, le parc des utilisateurs effectifs d’Internet via les réseaux de téléphonie mobile était estimé à 308 526 au 31 décembre 2011, soit 2 941 pour Telmob, 199 307 pour Airtel et 106 278 pour Telecel. En plus de la technologie GPRS/EDGE, Telecel utilise la technologie WIFI (WIGO) pour offrir de l’Internet à ses clients.

    L’arrivée annoncée de la licence 3G pour les opérateurs mobiles permettra sans doute d’accroitre le parc d’abonnés Internet et peut-être améliorer considérablement les services offerts.

    L’ARCEP a enregistré 45 fournisseurs d’accès à Internet (FAI) en 2011, comme l’indique son rapport d’activités 2011. Mais, seulement une dizaine sont réellement actifs et seulement les données de ALINK (226 abonnés) et de IPSYS (87 abonnés) sont disponibles. Et, les débits offerts par ces FAI vont de 128 kbps à 2 Mbps en mode dédié ou partagé.

    Faso-tic.net
  • Patrick Pisal Hamida, directeur général de Telma, est fier de présenter la nouvelle offre de sa compagnie

    Une offre révolutionnaire. Telma a lancé l'ADSL Pro sur le marché de l'internet. Il s'agit d'une solution internet permettant de se connecter à très grande vitesse, avec un débit de 20Mb/s, 20 fois plus rapide que les offres ADSL grand public. A cette vitesse, c'est une grande première pour Madagascar, et c'est du vrai haut débit.

    « C'est l'offre internet tout en un pour communiquer et collaborer au sein d'une entreprise. Elle répond parfaitement aux attentes des professionnels, à leurs besoins grandissant en télécommunications pour les échanges de mails, la navigation sur internet ainsi que les partages de fichiers volumineux », a déclaré Patrick Pisal Hamida, directeur général de Telma, vendredi dernier.

    Actuellement, les méthodes, les concepts et les environnements au sein d'une entreprise ont changé. La virtualisation et la mobilité, l'informatique de nuage deviennent des outils indispensables pour être plus compétitifs. Toutes ces infrastructures sont très gourmandes en termes de bande passante et nécessitent une connexion très rapide. L'offre arrive donc à un moment opportun.

    L'ADSL Pro 20 méga est là pour les entreprises, mais à quand le très haut débit pour le grand public.

  • L'internet ne sera plus contrôlé en Tunisie et ses domaines d'exploitation ne seront pas limités, a assuré, hier, le chef du gouvernement provisoire, Hamadi Jebali, à l'ouverture du forum ICT4All 2012 à Hammamet.

    Cette manifestation, a-t-il souligné, est appelée à réaliser ses objectifs, notamment la garantie de l'accès des citoyens au réseau, plus particulièrement dans les pays du Sud, eu égard aux perspectives qu'offrent les nouvelles technologies de l'information et des télécommunications (TIC) en matière de développement et de concrétisation du droit d'accès au savoir.

    Il a ajouté que toutes les parties concernées par ce domaine sont conscientes de la nécessite de développer un environnement favorable à une utilisation libre, équitable et sécurisée de l'internet.

    Le 6 septembre, le ministre des Technologies de l'information et de la communication, Mongi Marzoug, avait déclaré que la censure du net, plus connue sous le nom de «Ammar 404» n'est désormais plus de mise en Tunisie, niant les informations qui ont circulé, sur les réseaux sociaux concernant un retour de la censure de l'Internet.

    La Tunisie, a encore relevé Jebali, œuvre à concrétiser les objectifs du Sommet mondial sur la société de l'information (Smsi). Le gouvernement, a-t-il dit, est déterminé à poursuivre les efforts de réformes, annonçant que la Tunisie abritera, en 2013, la troisième conférence pour la liberté de l'internet.

    Il a fait savoir que l'un des principaux nouveaux intérêts du domaine des technologies de l'information est la mise en place de l'économie numérique compte tenu de son rôle dans l'intensification de l'investissement, la création de richesses et d'emplois.

    La Presse
  • NITA, l’agence chargée des Technologies de l’Information et de la Communication (TIC) au sein du ministère ghanéen des Communications, a lancé une initiative à l’échelle nationale visant à développer les services informatiques en régions et à renforcer la transparence et l’efficacité des fonctions gouvernementales.

    Le nouveau réseau fibre optique permettra aux antennes de l’Etat, dans les régions reculées, d’avoir accès à des services en ligne.

    Dans cette perspective, Alcatel-Lucent assurera la conception et la mise en place d’une « dorsale » fibre optique de 600 kilomètres de long pour établir des liaisons à haute vitesse entre l’administration centrale et les sites ruraux éloignés. L’équipementier livrera également un centre de traitement des données en étroite collaboration avec HP, son partenaire dans le cadre d’une alliance mondiale destinée à fournir des solutions TIC convergées.

    Le programme est financé avec le soutien de l’Agence danoise pour le développement international (DANIDA).

    Au cours des prochaines années, le gouvernement ghanéen a l’intention d’étendre ses e-services aux domaines de la santé, de l’éducation, de la justice, de l’immigration et du parlement, notamment.

     

  • Le souci permanent des Etats d’inventer ou d’élaborer de nouvelles stratégies de développement a poussé les acteurs du développement à s’intéresser à plusieurs aspects parfois émergeant du constat de certaines faiblesses théoriques qui sont inhérentes à l’ère industrielle. On peut simplement prendre à titre d’illustration l’emphase mis sur les aspects quantitatifs du développement au détriment des aspects qualitatifs.

    Or, l’avènement de l’ère postindustrielle qui se caractérise selon Manuel CASTELLS par « la transformation du rôle que la connaissance » dans les différents secteurs de travail au sein de la société, et se matérialise par l’usage de « la technologie et de ses conséquences directes sur l’organisation du travail et des aspects importants de la vie sociale » marque la montée d’une nouvelle logique qui fait l’information la nouvelle colonne vertébrale de toute entreprise ou politique publique qui aspire à l’efficacité et à la pérennité. En effet, le savoir est devenu avec la violence et l’argent l’un des intrants à prendre en compte dans toute entreprise. C’est la nouvelle contrainte de l’ère de l’information qui a imposé l’ère de l’économie de la connaissance ou du savoir dont les technologies de l’information et de la communication constitue l’un des outils comme le note Walter Steinmuller  pour qui la nouvelle économie n’existe pas en dehors des autoroutes de l’information.

    C’est fort de cette nouvelle donne que nous nous sommes penché sur l’apport de ces TIC à l’efficacité des politiques publiques au sein des Etats. Le champ de l’agriculture nous a particulièrement accroché depuis l’apparition de plus en plus fréquente tant sur l’agenda international, régional que national avec la nécessité d’une révolution verte ou d’une agriculture de seconde génération. D’où la thématique TIC, agriculture et révolution verte en Afrique : le cas du Cameroun.

    Dans l’optique de mieux cerner cette thématique, le fil conducteur suivant nous a permis de mieux construire notre objet d’étude : Quelle est l’influence des  TIC sur le processus de développement agricole au Cameroun ? Les questions secondaires suivantes permettront de mieux répondre à cette interrogation principale :

    -          Quelle est la situation de l’information agricole  et des TIC au Cameroun ?

    -          Dans quelles mesures peuvent-elles avoir un impact sur la révolution verte au Cameroun?

    Ces interrogations ont donné lieu à une hypothèse principale autour de laquelle gravitent deux hypothèses secondaires :

    Hypothèse principale : L’usage des technologies de l’information et de la communication dans le monde agricole constituerait une solution pour l’accès rapide à l’information et à l’amélioration des activités agricoles, même si l’implication minimale de l’Etat dans la cyberagriculture s’avèrerait comme un frein pour la révolution verte au  Cameroun.

    Hypothèse secondaire 1 : La politique agricole du Cameroun serait confrontée à de nombreuses incertitudes  et contraintes informationnelles tandis qu’on constaterait une insertion des TIC dans la stratégie nationale de développement.

    Hypothèse secondaire 2 : L’action du SAILD montrerait que les TIC représentent une nouvelle opportunité pour la transformation du monde agricole au Cameroun et une plus grande implication de l’Etat dans l’agriculture numérique favoriserait la révolution verte au Cameroun.

    Ces hypothèses pour être appréhendées nous ont imposé une approche théorique diversifiée et complexe. Car la question du développement agricole appelle une approche théorique hybride et surtout transdisciplinaire. Il s’agit plus précisément du transnationalisme qui selon Jean-Jacques ROCHE, consacre l’avènement d’un monde post-westphalien où on constate l’abandon de la compétence nationale exclusive de l’Etat dans les relations internationales. Pour « satisfaire les besoins et aspirations de la race humaine. », d’autres acteurs comme les ONG peuvent œuvrer dans le champ de compétence jadis considéré comme le domaine réservé de l’Etat. Elle nous permet non seulement ici de voir comment une organisation non gouvernementale à travers les TIC œuvre pour la révolution verte mais met aussi en exergue le dépérissement de l’Etat.

    Nous avons par ailleurs convoqué la théorie de la dépendance pour faire ressortir la dépendance des projets de la cyberagriculture vis-à-vis des financements extérieurs. Nous nous inspirons de la perspective transdisciplinaire de Celso FURTADO qui établit un parallèle entre la dépendance des pays du Sud et la domination des pays développés à travers l’aide.

    Le paradigme du nouveau développement nous a par ailleurs permis de lire la dimension participative que peut renforcer l’usage des TIC. Ce développement est surtout un « Un processus global et participatif  de changement social qui vise le bien-être matériel et social des populations et dont les sociétés elles-mêmes sont responsables. »

    La communication pour le développement n’était pas en reste et elle nous a permis de voir la communication comme le nouveau lubrifiant de toute action de développement.

    Enfin l’économie du savoir nous a permis de comprendre que L’information et le savoir sont intégrés à tous les niveaux du processus de production. Autrement dit, toute économie qu’elle soit industrielle ou agricole doit devenir informationnelle et globale au risque de disparaître.

    Nous nous sommes par ailleurs fondé sur une approche analytique et descriptive pour pouvoir cerner la place des TIC dans le processus de développement agricole au Cameroun. Tout ceci a été complété par un travail de terrain qui nous a permis de rencontrer des personnes ressources.

    Tout ceci nous a permis d’élaborer ce travail qui se structure en 2 parties et 4 chapitres.

    La première partie nous a permis  dans un premier temps de faire ressortir les différentes contraintes de l’agriculture camerounaise. L’avènement des PAS a contribué à une déconfiture du monde rurale et englué l’agriculture camerounaise dans un certain nombre d’incertitudes telles l’incertitude institutionnelle qui marque le retrait progressif de l’Etat, chose que n’arrange pas l’incertitude climatique qui davantage laisse l’agriculture dans une zone de turbulence. C’est pourquoi malgré les énormes potentialités de notre agriculture, elle reste tributaire des importations. Cette situation est d’autant plus significative que l’intrant primaire qui est l’information est absent du champ agricole. C’est pourquoi dans un second moment de cette première partie, nous montrons  que les contraintes informationnelles sont aussi un facteur qui entrave le déploiement des potentialités de la politique agricole du Cameroun. La vulgarisation de l’information est sujette à de nombreux écueils. En effet, la couverture du monde rural est très limitée au Cameroun. Le monde de la presse ne s’intéresse pas à ce domaine. Ce qui justifie le faible nombre des journaux d’obédience agricole. Ce faible nombre en dehors de la pauvreté du lectorat et de l’enclavement des villages, vit sous perfusion des financements externes. D’où sa fin programmée comme le prédisent les responsables de ces structures.

    La situation n’est pas reluisante avec les structures étatiques de vulgarisation qui font face à l’épineuse question du financement. En effet depuis la fin du financement des partenaires internationaux en 2004, la situation de la vulgarisation est précaire. De nombreuses zones recherchent en vain un agent vulgarisateur de zone. D’où la  conclusion de Jean Felix MAKOSSO pour qui la vulgarisation de l’information stratégique agricole dans les pays africains est un échec.

    C’est dans un tel contexte morose dans le monde agricole que les TIC représentent une nouvelle opportunité. La société de l’information exige un ajustement des Etats. Car tous sont conscients de ce que « C’est par l’utilisation de l’information et la création des connaissances qu’on peut rehausser le niveau de vie et augmenter les revenus. » C’est pourquoi on a vu la naissance de nouveau dispositif juridico-institutionnel à travers les textes comme la loi des télécommunications de 1998 et les lois sur les communications électroniques de 2011 et les lois sur la cybercriminalité et la cybersécurité de 2011. On a par ailleurs les référentiels que sont la stratégie nationale de développement des TIC et son plan de mise en œuvre tout comme le document de stratégie pour la croissance et l’emploi. Ces référentiels réaffirment l’importance des TIC dans la stratégie nationale de développement dans tous les secteurs au Cameroun allant de la santé jusqu’à l’agriculture.

    Les modes d’appropriation ont tout aussi évolué. La densité mobile a connu une croissance fulgurante depuis 1999. On est ainsi passé de 0,04 à 41% en 2011. Ce qui n’est pas le cas d’internet dont la progression est encore timorée.

    Cette appropriation dans le secteur de l’agriculture a un impact qui cependant est relatif.

    A travers l’action de l’ONG SAILD qui a mis sur pied le programme Allô Ingénieur , on constate que les TIC et plus particulièrement le téléphone portable est un ressort de la mutation numérique du monde agricole. En effet, en 8 années d’existence, ce programme a permis l’émission de 6939 appels provenant de l’ensemble des 10 régions du Cameroun. L’agriculteur qui bippe est tout de suite rappelé par un ingénieur agronome à qui il peut poser son problème et trouver une solution.

    Malgré les problèmes de ce service, on constate une prééminence de l’information immédiate qui tient le peloton de tête avec près de 4790 appels. On a par ailleurs les informations après recherches qui sont au nombre de 1632 et les dossiers d’information qui sont 517.

    L’usage de l’information révèle aussi une incidence globalement sur les activités des agriculteurs qui l’utilisent. En effet, l’utilisation du téléphone portable permet le démarrage d’une activité agricole (26,4%), d’avoir l’information sur le choix d’une activité agricole (25%), l’information sur les marchés, l’élaboration d’un projet agricole, l’achat d’un équipement, etc. Ceci nous permet de dire que les TIC sont  à l’origine de la transformation du processus agricole. Car, elles permettent l’acquisition d’une information opérationnelle en ceci que  Les technologies de l’information et de la communication sont au centre d’un nouveau mode de production qui met à la disposition de l’agriculteur la connaissance ou le savoir dont il a besoin pour mener à bien son travail. On constate par ailleurs l’émergence d’une communication inclusive. Les agriculteurs peuvent s’exprimer et donner leurs points de vue, ce qui permet de mieux les cerner et de résoudre leurs problèmes, ceci grâce au caractère interactif des TIC. Internet ne connait pas la même fortune que le téléphone portable et reste encore à parfaire pour ce qui est de son usage.

    Le caractère relatif de cet impact réside dans le fait que l’intervention de l’Etat se caractérise par une certaine modestie dans le déploiement des initiatives et des moyens. La dépendance des ONG agissant dans ce secteur aux financements extérieurs est un véritable handicap pour la révolution verte ou agricole au Cameroun. L’absence de soutien aux initiatives privées montre un Etat qui défaille dans le secteur de la cyberagriculture  pourtant porteur pour la révolution verte. Ce qui est dangereux à un moment où on repense le développement de puis l’Afrique. On peut appeler à un Etat développementiste qui permettra de faire de l’information un ingrédient indispensable pour la révolution agricole et même la rationnalisation  des télécentres communautaires qui permettront de former et de faire converger l’information agricole sous toutes ses formes chez les paysans.

  • Le ministre des communications et de la technologie d'information, Hani Mahmoud, et le ministre de l'enseignement supérieur, Moustafa Mossad, ont inauguré le dimanche 23/9/2012 le 4e Forum d'embauche dans le domaine des CTI, organise pour les étudiants des universités égyptiennes.

    Ce Forum, organisé cette année par l'institut de la technologie d'information au "Smart Village", en coopération avec le ministère de l'enseignement supérieur, durera jusqu'au 27 septembre courant, avec la participation de 17 entreprises égyptiennes et mondiales, assurant plus de 7.378 emplois.

    Dans une allocution à cette occasion, M. Mahmoud a souligné que ce Forum figurait dans le cadre de l'application de la stratégie du ministère des CTI, visant à préparer une nouvelle génération prometteuse des jeunes entraines au plus haut niveau, de manière à répondre à la demande accrue au marché de travail.

  • La Guinée devient le 11ème pays du continent Africain à proposer Orange Money. Avec plus de 4,6millions de clients à travers le continent, Orange Money est aujourd'hui un service de paiement mobile incontournable.

    Orange Guinée lance ce jour Orange Money, son service de paiement mobile permettant à ses clients de réaliser des opérations et des transactions bancaires courantes depuis leur mobile partout où ils se trouvent et en toute sécurité sans avoir besoin de posséder un compte bancaire. Accéder aux services d'Orange Money est très simple :

    tous les clients mobiles peuvent gratuitement ouvrir un compte dans les agences Orange et points de ventes agréés Orange Money.

    Ce nouveau service représente un potentiel de croissance important pour la Guinée où le taux de bancarisation est inférieur à 5% alors que la taux de pénétration mobile - en pleine progression - est supérieur à 40%.

    Orange Money permet aux clients Orange depuis leur mobile de :

    • transférer de l'argent entre clients Orange partout en Guinée

    • recharger du crédit de communication sans avoir à se déplacer

    Les clients pourront bientôt payer leurs factures et également acheter des biens de consommation courante dans les commerces partenaires. Pour les entreprises voire les administrations, le paiement de salaire des employés sera possible grâce à Orange Money d'ici fin 2013. A travers cette innovation, Orange réaffirme son engagement à apporter jour après jour à la population guinéenne les toutes dernières innovations technologiques dans le but de rendre leur quotidien plus facile.

    Le Directeur Général d'Orange Guinée, Monsieur Alassane DIENE commente : « Orange Money est une offre stratégique.

    Les services de paiement mobile ont un très fort potentiel car ils apportent à tous et particulièrement aux populations à faible revenu la possibilité d'accéder aux services bancaires. En permettant à nos clients d'épargner, de transférer de l'argent à leurs proches et bientôt de payer leurs factures, nous allons non seulement leur faciliter la vie mais aussi participer encore plus activement au développement économique du pays ».

    Ce lancement a été possible grâce à un partenariat stratégique avec la banque BICIGUI, filiale du groupe BNP PARIBAS.

    Le Directeur Général de la BICIGUI, Monsieur Manga Fodé TOURE commente : « Grâce à ce partenariat entre Orange et BNP Paribas, notre groupe bancaire entend pleinement jouer sa partition dans le développement économique et l'innovation relative aux services offerts aux populations africaines. Au sein de la BICIGUI, notre réseau est mobilisé pour faire en sorte qu'Orange Money soit le plus bénéfique possible pour les guinéens.

    Orange Money, qui a été lancé pour la première fois en Côte d'Ivoire en décembre 2008, est déjà disponible au Botswana, au Cameroun, à l'Ile Maurice, en Jordanie, au Kenya, à Madagascar, au Mali, au Niger et au Sénégal avec l'objectif d'Orange de lancer le service dans l'ensemble des 22 pays d'Afrique et du Moyen-Orient où le Groupe est présent.

    Aminata
  • C’est le groupement Photalia-Vergnet Burkina qui a remporté le contrat de fourniture pour l'alimentation électrique solaire de nouveaux sites télécom sur l’ensemble du territoire burkinabé.

    L’objectif principal de ce projet télécom d’envergure est de contribuer au désenclavement de nombreuses zones du pays. Il s’agit aussi de rendre les réseaux télécom moins dépendants des infrastructures électriques nationales parfois déficientes.

    Photalia, filiale du groupe français Vergnet, indique avoir déjà mis en place une organisation capable de répondre aux exigences du cahier des charges en termes de planning et de sécurisation des systèmes afin de réaliser l'ensemble des travaux dans un délai de 39 semaines.

    Photalia assurera la coordination du projet, l'ingénierie des systèmes, la fourniture du matériel, la formation et l'appui technique à l'installation. Vergnet Burkina, partenaire local de Photalia, sera en charge de l'installation, de la mise en service, de la gestion des stocks de pièces détachées et du service après-vente.

    Agence ecofin
  • Les pouvoirs publics doivent s'armer de volonté politique pour mettre fin aux coûts exorbitants des droits de retransmission des évènements sportifs dans les pays africains, a plaidé, lundi à Dakar, le ministre de la Communication, des Télécommunications et des Technologies de l'information et de la communication (TIC), Abou Lô.

    "Il est clair que la volonté politique est nécessaire au plus haut niveau afin de mettre fin à la surenchère des coûts de retransmission des évènements sportifs", a-t-il déclaré à l'ouverture d'un séminaire de trois jours, organisé par l'Union africaine de la radiodiffusion (UAR) sur le thème : "La commercialisation des droits de diffusion des évènements sportifs".

    Selon Abou Lô, les organismes membres de l'UAR, comme la Radiotélévision sénégalaise (RTS), délégataire d'une mission de service public, "sont pour la plupart soumis à une forte pression financière".

    "Pour certains même, le déficit est structurel et c'est l'Etat qui finance les déficits", a souligné le ministre de la Communications, des Télécommunications et des TIC.

    "An niveau du Sénégal, on avait discuté avec la RTS qui nous a fait comprendre que les coûts de retransmission sont très élevés et cela est dû au fait qu'il y a beaucoup d'intermédiaires : la Caf, d'une part, et les organisations des évènements, d'autre part", a-t-il expliqué.

    "Du coup, les conditions de cession à titre onéreux des droits issus des évènements sportifs doivent éviter le double écueil de la fixation unilatérale des prix sans aucune discussion préalable et des intermédiaires inutiles qui augmentent les prix par leur seule présence", a-t-il indiqué.

    Abou Lô a par ailleurs rappelé que "les évènements sportifs retiennent l'attention des pouvoirs publics, dans la mesure où ils rendent effectif le droit à l'information des citoyens et son corollaire, la notion de société du savoir".

    Pour lui, "cette dernière notion est le critère de reconnaissance des sociétés modernes qui garantissent l'accès universel à l'information et à la connaissance".

    "Il est temps que les gens réfléchissent pour trouver une solution qui aboutirait à la baisse des coûts, parce que nous avons des Etats dont le budget est très faible. Nous ne pouvons pas continuer à payer des prix exorbitants pour avoir des matches de football ou pour la retransmission d'évènement sportifs", selon le ministre.

    "Nous allons proposer une rencontre avec les autres ministères des autres pays africains pour discuter de ce problème et trouver des solutions à proposer à la CAF et à la FIFA, et c'est à eux de voir s'ils vont continuer avec la même méthode. Nous, notre rôle, c'est de garantir l'information aux citoyens", a-t-il révélé.

    APS
  • Réunion annuel de FRATEL

    22-23 octobre 2012, Lomé, Togo 

    Le réseau Francophone des régulateurs des Télécommunications, FRATEL, organise sa réunion annuelle du 22 au 23 octobre 2012 à Lomé- TOGO. Au programme l’adoption du rapport d’activité 2012 et du plan d’action 2013, l’élection du comité de direction. Des tables rondes aborderont aussi le thème de l’accès haut débit fixe et mobile.

    Salon International des technologies et de l'intormation (Med-IT) 

    24-26 September 2021, Alger, Algérie 

    Cette année, le thème de l'innovation IT sera à l'honneur avec l'organisation des Trophées MED-IT 2012 qui portera sur les «Meilleures Start-up IT». «L'événement accueille chaque année plus de 5,000 visiteurs professionnels et 150 exposants, dont les principaux acteurs algériens du secteur des TIC ainsi que 30% d'entreprises étrangères, parmi lesquelles les grandes multinationales. *

    CARREFOUR D’AFFAIRES ET DE TECHNOLOGIES 2012

    «NOUVELLE TUNISIE, NOUVELLES OPPORTUNITES » Tunis, Parc International des Expositions 28-30 Novembre 2012 Organisé, du 28 au 30 Novembre 2012, par l’Agence de Promotion de l’Industrie et de l’Innovation, en association avec l’Union Tunisienne pour l’Industrie le Commerce et l’Artisanat (UTICA) et en collaboration avec l’Agence de Promotion de l’Investissement Extérieur (FIPA) et le Centre de Promotion des Exportations (CEPEX), CAT 2012 se veut être une réelle plateforme dédiée à l’entreprise, où vont se côtoyer décideurs et leaders de divers horizons, avec leurs offres et demandes dans des secteurs innovants à fort potentiel de croissance:

    Mécanique, électrique et électronique 

    Agroalimentaire 

    Plastique technique et plasturgie 

    Textile technique 

    Nouvelles technologies de l’information et de la communication 

    Pharmaceutique Pour plus d’infos cliquez ici 

     

    Réunion publique de l’ICANN

    14-19 juillet 2013, Durban, Afrique du Sud

    Le Conseil d'administration de l'ICANN a approuvé la ville de Durban, Afrique du Sud, comme l'emplacement pour la 47ème réunion publique de l'ICANN qui se tiendra du 14 au 19 juillet 2013.

     

     

  • - Le groupe Orange, filiale du Groupe France Télécom, a procédé "en accord avec ses partenaires locaux", à la nomination de directeurs généraux dans sept de ses filiales en Afrique et au Moyen-Orient, indique un communiqué reçu jeudi à l'APS.

    Outre la nomination à la tête de la Société nationale des télécommunications du Sénégal (SONATEL) de l'ancien Directeur général d'Orange Mali, Alioune Ndiaye, qui cède son poste à Jean-Luc Bohé, Brelotte Ba s'est vu porter à la tête d'Orange Niger. Il succède ainsi à Jean-Louis Branco.

    Pendant ce temps, Michel Barré prend les rênes d'Orange Madagascar, en remplacement de Jean Luc Bohé qui va poser ses baluchons au Mali.En Tunisie, Thierry Marigny cède son poste à Didier Charvet, tandis que Nathalie Clere est nommée Directrice générale adjointe de Mauritius Telecom à la place de Jean François Thomas. Ce dernier pend désormais les commandes de Jordan Telecom, succédant ainsi à Nayla Khawam.

    - Airtel au Congo RDC a annoncé la nomination de M. Louis LUBALA au poste de Directeur Général de la plus grande opération francophone Airtel en Afrique. Il remplace à cette position M. Antoine Pamboro qui rejoint Airtel Gabon en qualité de Directeur Général, après 5 années et demie passées en République Démocratique du Congo.

  • * Le forum Convergences, premier salon de recrutement totalement en ligne destiné aux cadres et aux diplômés africains, tient sa première édition du 19 au 23 novembre prochain, annonce un communiqué reçu à l'APS.

    "Par son caractère inédit de +salon 100 % en ligne+, bilingue et régional, il s'adresse à l'ensemble du continent. Il donne aussi à toute personne à la recherche d'opportunités de carrière en Afrique, la possibilité de participer gratuitement à l'évènement, à partir de n'importe quel point du globe", précise la même source.

    "Il s'agit pour nous de donner leur chance aux milliers de cadres ou de jeunes diplômés qui, pour diverses raisons, sont exclus des multiples salons physiques organisés dans le monde", a expliqué Yann Hazoumè, directeur de People Development, le cabinet de ressources humaines basé à Dakar à l'origine de l'initiative.

    "Ciblant également l'important réservoir de cerveaux+ d'Africains de la Diaspora, le salon constitue une expérience unique de promotion de l'expertise africaine, grâce à un accès direct sur la plateforme en 3D mise en place par les organisateurs", mentionne le texte.

    Il ajoute : "Une telle plateforme donne, pour une fois, des chances égales à tous les candidats et offre la possibilité aux entreprises de disposer des meilleurs CV sur le marché, en plus grand nombre, dans un seul espace et en un temps très court".

    Les organisateurs indiquent que plus de 20.000 professionnels et candidats africains sont attendus au salon. Plus de 20 grandes multinationales et grands groupes africains seront sur la ligne de départ, assurent-ils.

Issue no 624 28th September 2012

node ref id: 26042

Top story

  • The global debate about “over-the-top” services (delivered by the Internet) vs the walled garden approach (delivered within apps or the mobile operators’ walled space) is not just some distant developed world issue but crucial for Africa. The current African content deals and the frameworks that support them are broken beyond repair. Russell Southwood looks at why and what happens next.

    Historically, the terms for content deals come out of the mobile operators providing SMS services. The mobile operators sometimes deal directly with content owners but in the main these deals go through “VAS aggregators”, the value-added service providers who provide the content delivery platform.

    The terms for the deal vary but they are significantly less good than the terms found elsewhere in the world. The mobile operator takes between 70-80% of revenues generated, leaving the balance to be shared between the VAS aggregator, the content provider and sometimes the artist. Last year both Glo and Airtel moved to keeping 80% of the revenues generated.

    The operator’s rationale for this approach is that they do most of the marketing and own the access to the customers, sometimes rather misleadingly described as owning the customers . Also it’s fair to say that when these services were simply religious texts, goal scores or headlines, the amount of work put in by the content owners was fairly minimal. Even less if these were “retread” international services.

    But if you look at the case of Nigerian musicians the picture is rather different. In 2011, according to Obi Asika, CEO, Storm 360 the mobile operators generated $150 million through ringtones and music related services. The artists and label owners shared only 15% (by his account) with the VAS aggregators. 

    Not surprisingly, he would like to see the iTunes model where the platform operator keeps 30%, leaving 70% for the artists and labels. The difference in income is huge and the mobile operators will find it hard to make the case that they are “marketing the service” when the artists involved are famous in their own right and have no difficulty raising interest whatever media platform they appear on. See Obi Asika in a video clip interview on the Nigerian music industry and this issue.

    I’ve spent the last twelve months talking to people who have been selling content services to the mobile operators and the problem is compounded by the way that mobile operators deal with content owners. The mobile operators treat VAS services as a very narrow channel and understandably only commit marketing resources to a limited number of “content releases” in a year. As a result, perfectly good ideas with respectable content owners or artists attached get backed up in the queue. 

    Mobile operators are conflicted about content and, with a few notable exceptions, do not really understand it. If they did, the size of the sport and entertainment offers would be far more varied. We did a comparison of SMS services in West Africa last year and discovered that well over 95% of the services were identical, in some cases down to having the same underlying information provider. If you use the analogy of newspapers or magazines, individuals don’t buy identical newspapers or magazines, they buy particular ones because they are different.

    The second major obstacle that mobile operators have created is the operation of their payment systems. They each have a monopoly on offering payment systems and the larger operators like Kenya’s Safaricom are in a dominant position. To reach 70% of Kenya’s mobile users, you have to go through Safaricom. 

    You can’t get money paid on the platform and transferred to you as the content owner without going through the onerous deal structure described above. Indeed, given the similarity of the deal structures across operators there is undoubtedly a case for regulatory investigation. There is no cost basis for the 80/20 or 70/30 split to the operators. These are media channels – like radio and television – through which increasingly countries will understand themselves.

    The alternative is “over-the-top” services using the Internet. You don’t have to line up for a mobile operator launch window. You can take the money directly or go through a platform like iTunes where the platform operator will give you something more like 70%. But you don’t need me to tell you that this is Africa and the number of people able to access the Internet – whether on PC, laptop, tablet or phone – is currently probably too small to make this alone a viable alternative.

    But the mobile operators should not get too smug about this. During my recent visits to Lagos, I was struck by the number of sites that are now making a living out of selling things like music, travel and clothes. Currently, it’s no more than a small hole in the walled garden. But we’re at the beginning of the process and that hole is only going to get bigger.

    European operators are already beginning to have to wrestle with how the date business model might operate. Telia Sonera got itself into hot water trying to charge users extra for using Skype. After much protest in Sweden, it backed down but will charge extra for data use above certain levels.

    The issue is of crucial importance for Africa because if the content operators, the rights holders and the artists cannot get something better out of the current system, the speed with which the content and services ecosystem develops will slow down or become still born. 

    Operators have to devise a new, better business model that enables them to make money out of supplying data and platform services, whilst giving more like 70% of the revenues back. Mobile operators do not understand content so they should stick to what they do understand: providing cost-effective network operations. If they don’t, in five to ten years time the Internet will have eaten their lunch.

     

    A bumper crop of video clips this week on Balancing Act’s You Tube channel:

    Kwabena Smith, Orun Energy on saving diesel costs on base stations

    Justin Hartman, Social Code on South Africa's ICT entrepreneurialism and the failure to support it

    Julian Macharia, Buni TV on this new online video delivery platform

    Doron Ben Sira, CEO, SkyVision on its acquisition of Afinis

    Envir Fraser, Convergence Partners on investment opportunities in ICT

    Tayo Oviosu, CEO, Paga on the mobile money market in Nigeria

    Nigerian ICT blogger Loy Okezi
    e on Nigeria's online successes

    Victor Dibia, CEO, Denvycom.com
     on his games portfolio and plans to monetize

    Oluseye Soyode-Johnson, consultant to Maliyo Games
     on the business model

     

     

telecoms

  • Last week, employees of the Swaziland Posts and Telecommunications Corporation (SPTC) became the latest group to go on strike in the public sector in Africa’s last remaining absolute monarchy. The protest was a reaction to the decision by the International Court of Arbitration (ICA) to hold the SPTC in violation of a Joint Venture  Agreement with Swazi MTN (MTN), the only other company trading in the telecommunications sector.

    Yet many claim the Joint-Venture Agreement lacks legitimacy. It prevents SPTC from expanding into specific areas such as internet data services and fixed phone tariffs - designed to secure a trading monopoly for MTN in the most lucrative areas of the telecommunications. And the deal has attracted further controversy because an "esteemed shareholder" in MTN is suspected of having used his influence to obtain the signatures of SPTC officials. That shareholder is believed to be King Mswati III. 

    Raiding the community chest 

    This case bears a wider significance than simply upholding the legal interests of one company. It shows the willingness of a narrow elite to enrich themselves to the detriment of a majority.

    Xolile Dlamini* told Think Africa Press that she could not understand why an international body deemed an agreement so clearly skewed in the interests of one party worthy of protection. 

    The SPTC, by diversifying its business ventures and providing some competition with MTN, brought significant benefits to consumers. While Swazi MTN charges higher rates than anyone else in the region, it is renowned for poor service delivery - internet modems will frequently lose connection, services will be down and text messages are often undelivered. 

    Those who previously could not afford to use MTN were able to take advantage of the lower rates offered by the SPTC. And a continued SPTC presence would have put real pressure on MTN to both review its pricing strategy and improve its provision of services.

    However, with the SPTC no longer allowed to provide these services, many Swazis face a return to life without basic ways of communicating that are taken for granted in so many countries around the world.

    Public sector revolt

    The Joint-Venture Agreement, signed in 1998, was not left to chance. Official papers claim that MTN's "esteemed shareholder", who owns a 10% stake in the company, used his power to force the deal through under conditions of duress. By ensuring that SPTC does not move into the more profitable areas of internet and telephone services it allows a company that the king is invested to operate without accountability - to charge higher prices and capitalise on the growing interest in mobile phones and the internet.

  • Ten years after Algeria's mobile phone industry was opened up to the private sector, the market still remains fragile.Two private-owned networks have been embroiled in a string of crises.

    Market leader Djezzy, a subsidiary of Orascom Telecom, was taken over by the Russian-Norwegian company VimpelCom in 2011. The company boasts over 16 million subscribers, while its rival Nedjma has nine million customers. Eleven million Algerians are subscribed to state-owned operator Mobilis.

    Following Djezzy's example, Nedjma, a subsidiary of Kuwaiti group Wataniya Telecom, has decided to change hands by offering itself to the Qatar-based Qtel group. Both deals have greatly irritated the Algerian authorities.

    If Nedjma sold the remainder of its shares to Qtel, the government would exercise its pre-emptive right to acquire the company, Finance Minister Karim Djoudi said on September 11th. "If Qtel takes over Wataniya completely, that will be a change of ownership, and if there is a change of ownership, there's a rule that applies: 51%/49%," he explained.

    In March 2007, Qtel became a controlling shareholder with a 51% stake in Wataniya Telecom, which allowed the Qatari company to take a 80% stake in Nedjma. Qtel, which aims to become the number one operator across the Maghreb, made a takeover bid to become the sole owner of the Kuwaiti group.

    The pre-emptive right is a mechanism that was created under 2009 Supplementary Finance Act. It gives the Algerian government the right to buy whenever stakes are transferred to or from foreign shareholders. Meanwhile, a different crisis, involving market leader Djezzy, has been brewing in Algeria.

    The company was accused of infringements worth of $189 million between 2007 and 2009 when its capital was transferred abroad. Djezzy was taken over by VimpelCom in 2011, which holds 51% of the shares. The foreign company refuses to sell its stakes to the Algerian government unless an "acceptable" price is offered.

    Djezzy's value is estimated at 6.5 billion dollars. The foes of the company have accused it of monopolising the market. In July, Mobilis CEO Saad Damma called on the Post and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (ARPT) to intervene in order to balance the market and prevent one operator from becoming dominant.

    "The role of the ARPT is to ensure that there is fair competition between operators," ARPT chief Zohra Derdouri said on July 30th. Its goal "is not to prevent dominance, which would be tantamount to stifling competition, but to suppress the banned practice of abusing a dominant position."

    Derdouri added that her organisation seeks to ensure that no product offered for sale can destabilise the market. This statement has not allayed people's fears and the market remains fragile, a decade after it was opened up to the private sector.

    The unresolved conflict has prevented the telecommunications ministry from deploying the 3G mobile system. The award of the 3G license has been put on hold, pending the outcome of the Djezzy affair.

    "The [3G] project is ready, but the government is delaying out of a desire to be fair to Djezzy." The issue is taking a long time to be sorted out," Minister of Post and Telecommunications Moussa Benhamadi told the press in February.

  • The fixed line, mobile and internet operator, Sierratel, has been labouring under millions of dollars in debt for some time. In May this year, Sierra Leone’s National Commission for Privatisation (NCP) signed a three-year contract with the Management and Development Co of Beirut to run the telco, in a bid to turn it around.

    The NCP also tabled a proposal in Parliament on the privatisation of Sierratel. The Minister of Information and Communication, Alhaji Ibrahim Ben Kargbo, told Parliament that privatising the telco would be in the best interests of the country, ensuring proper management and serving to encourage investors. The proposal was unanimously approved.

internet

  • Safaricom is still keen on doing its own 4G-LTE network. This is despite an ongoing public-private partnership (PPP) led by the government to have a country wide 4G-LTE network by the end of 2013. The government aims to kill two birds with one stone through the PPP. The PPP will see better utilisation of spectrum which the country is facing a shortage of while also expected to make 4G broadband affordable to majority of Kenyans by sharing costs between multiple entities.

    TEAMS, also founded on a similar PPP model,  provides undersea fiber capacity at prices less than $ 100 per megabit per second compared with other cables whose pricing starts at between $ 200 to $ 250.

    “We think it is worth exploring both options (PPP and own LTE network), because you may not want to be in the same bucket with some people. You may want to be in control of your own destiny. This is what we are doing with our fibre network - we are trying to put as much of our own fibre down  so that we have control of the quality and delivery of service to our customers and cuts,” Bob Collymore, CEO said.

    The CEO said he was not aware of any such PPP rollout of 4G-LTE in the world. “Not to say it’s not going to work, but it needs a lot of thought, “he said.Safaricom has however satisfied with TEAMS. “TEAMS has been okay, there may be some challenges, but it does work.”

    Commenting on the LTE consortium, Collymore said while it is still early on who are members of the consortium, there needs to be a convincing reason for the role of vendors in such a consortium. The CEO says it will take quite a number of months before the project takes root, especially with the setting up of the legal entity itself expected to take months.

  • 400 senior high schools across 10 regions of Ghana are to get Internet access as part of a Government-driven project.

    The schools have been selected to benefit from the government’s  Senior High School Internet Access Project.

    The Minister for Education, Ambassador Lee Ocran, said the project would provide internet access to schools to aid teaching and learning. 

    The Minister called on the Ghana Education Service (GES) to ensure that appropriate organisational structures were put in place to give way to the effective integration of ICT in Senior High Schools as well as issue appropriate guidelines on the use of the internet in the schools.

  • A decade ago, Senegal was one of the most promising African countries in the area of Internet adoption, with more than double the Internet penetration in Nigeria. Yet today, Nigeria is ahead with 30% of its population enjoying access to the web versus 16% in Senegal. 

    In order to understand the issues, we commissioned a study through Balancing Act. The findings of that study have been summarized in this report titled "Obstacles and Opportunities for the democratization of broadband in Senegal."

    The report identifies a few issues, the most critical of which are rigid licensing and weak regulation. These two issues have resulted in the incumbent operator holding a de facto monopoly on access to the national fiber infrastructure and the copper lines into households. This lack of competition has kept data prices high and inaccessible to many Senegalese.  

    To buttress this point, the report compares the system in Senegal to what obtains in Kenya and South Africa. The report shows that it was indeed the introduction of liberal licensing regime in Kenya and South Africa that made it possible for more operators to come into the market, and increased competition. 

    Balancing Act proposes several key changes, two of which are :

    Internet suppliers must be authorized to build their own infrastructure and compete against incumbents. 

    Government should encourage competition and transparency in international capacity by enforcing existing but until now ignored regional regulation.

  • MozMed is a virtual platform covering all aspects of health, that has recently been launched in Mozambique (August 2012). The platform offers the possibility to ask questions via Internet (www.mozmed.com) and mobile (6640), start conversations and discussions and receive valuable answers from both from other users of the platform and health experts in corresponding areas of health.

    MozMed is officially supported by the Ministry of Health and the Mozambique Red Cross. Those institutions, as well as other NGOs, local and international organizations, provide experts in their areas of specialization (sexual and reproductive health, dermatology, oncology, general practice, etc.). 

    The platform will act as a meeting point between individuals interested in getting answers to questions related to all aspects of health. The platform will also function as an early warning system, in that the users can use it to be informed (via their mobile phones) if a question has already been answered, commented or voted on.

    Mozambique is one of the ten countries in the world with the highest rate of HIV prevalence, with an average of 11.5% of the population living with the disease, according to data from UNAIDS. Malaria and other dangerous diseases are also present in the country, which makes the platform MozMed even more relevant in the local context. Only about 17% of the Mozambicans have access to sanitary facilities, according to UNICEF figures. Furthermore, data from WHO and UNICEF show that there is a great demand for various types of health information, especially about sexual and reproductive health.

    This health forum platform is already running on Internet and offers access codes to the experts who provide answers. It records and stores all questions, responses and discussions, which will remain available for any further reference by anyone interested. To participate in the forum, one needs to register with MozMed. The process is simple and fast. Simply go to www.mozmed.com and click "login" and then connect up or register according to the instructions.

  • Telecom Malagasy (Telma), Madagascar’s monopoly provider of fixed line telecoms services, has announced the launch of a new high speed fixed broadband service which it claims significantly increases the downlink rates on offer to business subscribers. 

    According to L’Express de Madagascar, the telco’s new ‘ADSL Pro’ service will provide download speeds of up to 20Mbps, and Telma CEO Patrick Pisal Hamida was cited as saying that the new product would ‘perfectly meet the expectations of professionals, [and] their growing needs for … internet browsing and large file sharing’.

    Residential subscribers too look set to benefit from improved connection speeds, with Telma also unveiling a new bundled service which includes DSL-based broadband at download speeds of up to 8Mbps; the package also included fixed and mobile voice and satellite TV.

  • Kenyans on social media are demanding the arrest and prosecution of an assistant minister who was caught on camera calling for the eviction of members of the Maasai community from one of Nairobi's estates.

    Kenyans on Twitter want Ferdinand Waititu, who is also a member of parliament, charged with incitement and hate speech for comments he made Monday afternoon sparking unrest and protests.

    Waititu who wants to run for Nairobi governor seat in the next elections, is still at large despite both the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and minister for Internal Security issuing orders for his arrest.

    "We don't want to see any Maasai here in Kayole. And to all people who employed Maasai, to sack them with immediate effect." said Waititu in a video recorded by local media.

    A video posted by broadcaster NTV shows Waititu making the comments in the presence of police officers. Waititu was addressing irate members of the public who were angered by the killing of a youngster, allegedly by guards from the Maasai community for stealing a chicken in Nairobi's Kayole estate.

    Hundreds of social media users have in the last 48 hours used the hashtag #ArrestWaititu to condemn the ministers comments and criticise authorities for failing to arrest and charge him.

    "#Waititu should lose his parliamentary seat and go straight to Guantanamo Bay Jail 4 life without trial!! He is a DISGRACE!,” wrote Eliud Kirui via Twitter.

    “There is a charge known as incitement to violence. Waititu must be arrested, and charged tomorrow. If not, lets conclude that the law favours,” tweeted Francis Gachuri.

    Social media users have raised concerns over the use of hate speech by local politicians that could instigate violence in the next elections with some drawing comparisons to Rwanda's 1994 genocide.

    Waititu's party, TNA, and its presidential candidate Uhuru Kenyatta - who is also facing charges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in connection with the 2008 post election violence- was also criticised for failing to suspend Waititu from the party.

    “If TNA believes in the rule of law they should suspend Waititu. What do you expect when the party leader is ICC suspect. #ArrestWaititu,” wrote Karani Mutonga.

    Andrew Alovi added : “Aljazeera are running a documentary on the Rwanda genocide. Meanwhile Waititu is still Water Assistant Minister under Uhuru's ( Kenyatta) party.”

    Waititu's comments come at a time when Kenya is preparing for the March 4, 2013 general elections, the first presidential election since the 2007 poll which was marred with incitement and violence leading to the killing of 1,300 people and displacement of 300,000 others.

    Waititu has since apologised adding that his comments were directed at Maasai's from Tanzania and not the Kenyan Maasai community.

    “I am fully responsible for what I said. There was nobody who was hurt after my utterances. You can interpret my statements as incitement, but that’s your view. But they were already incited. When I arrived, they had already blocked the roads,” Waititu said at a news conference in Parliament buildings.

    The assistant minister yesterday evening managed to escape from parliament buildings in unclear circumstances and evaded arrest despite police checking all vehicles leaving the buildings.

    Social media users now want the people who helped him escape arrested.

    “Parliament has CCTV, the police can easily get who helped Waititu sneak from the law. Or that's also privileged? #Accomplice #arrestWaititu ,” Mac Otani wrote on Twitter.

    Another assistant minister and member of parliament was this month fired from cabinet and charged in court for allegedly inciting violence that claimed more than 100 lives in the south-eastern Tana River area at the Kenyan coast.

     

     

  • Main One has connected its cable network to the London Internet Exchange Point (LINX), one of the largest internet exchange points in the world with over 430 members from more than 50 countries worldwide.

    Connection to the LINX provides Main One with reliable exchange of Internet traffic with improved routing control and performance. “For businesses connected to the MainOne network, this translates to faster response times to most popular sites. Achieving pioneer status as the first West African carrier to connect directly to the LINX is further evidence of MainOne’s dedication to innovation to improve customers’ broadband experience on our network,” the company said in a statement.

    Last week, MainOne joined over 380 decision-makers from 140 different carriers and service providers to discuss the future of wholesale communications in Africa at the annual “Capacity Africa” event that held at the Hyatt Regency, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

     

  • “Facebook evolved to be of extreme importance for any digital marketing efforts, and understanding all about Facebook users becomes an essential step to start any Facebook marketing activity“, Said Ahmad Nagy; eMarketing Egypt Managing Director.

    “For the third year in row we try to provide marketers with a crystal view of Facebook in Egypt, this year edition is very unique as it included additional Facebook usage insights based on recent survey conducted by the company”, added Ossama El Badawy, The author of the report and the online competitive intelligence manager of eMarketing Egypt.

computing

  • Huawei has partnered with Makerere University’s College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology to promote local ICT talent from the secondary school level through sponsoring of the Science and Technology Innovations Challenge. This was announced during the grand challenge, which had seven schools each with a team of six students.

    This year’s challenge was won by team St. Mary’s College Kisubi and the technology giant will build an E-lab for the school and pay tuition fees for the winning students. The E-lab will seek to provide a richer educational experience to students through exposure to high-end hands on technologies that facilitate appreciation of theoretical concepts aimed at addressing local needs.

    In his speech, the permanent secretary for Information and Communication Technology, Dr. Jimmy Patrick Samanya, said that the challenge stimulates an active interest in science and technology amongst the secondary school students who are on the way to pursuing related careers and contributing to future ground-breaking innovations.  “The competition will assist in providing innovative solutions that can be used to further improve service delivery by government, as well as create a channel for entrepreneurs with innovative ideas to be supported to commercialize their ideas,” he added.

    The challenge, which is overseen by the ilabs@mak project, seeks to identify gifted students in computer programming. The competition has been going on since February has attracted many secondary schools from which the 7 finalists were drawn from various regions to compete in the grand challenge. It involves the Robotics Challenge, focusing on assembly and programming of real-life robotics to undertake meaningful tasks and the Mobile Phone Challenge, involving disassembling and re-assembly of a mobile phone.

  • Public Service and Administration Minister Lindiwe Sisulu says “ICT-illiterate” senior managers are obstacles to the best use of information and computer technology (ICT) in the civil service.

    She says such circumstances, coupled with unmanaged service providers and consultants, lead to the government buying “solutions for imaginary problems, while leaving out real problems which include responsive solutions that enhance and remove challenges of poverty”. She says for government to overcome this, the main challenge is its ability to “insert the technology into our everyday performance”.

    Sisulu was speaking during the official opening of the seventh GovTech conference, South Africa’s top public sector ICT knowledge-sharing and learning event, which is being held at Durban’s International Convention Centre until tomorrow.

    “ICT-illiterate senior managers are obstacles to the optimum use of ICTs, while at the same time unmanaged whizzkids can lead us down a path of fruitless expenditure and lack of empowerment of the same civil servants,” said Sisulu.

    She added that in order for the goverment to improve its national rating as a user of ICT, it needed to partner with companies that could offer students internships and outreach programmes with schools, tertiary institutions and community-based organisations.

    “I am convinced we cannot rest until there is universal access in public schools and a pool of ICT-competent children, or else what we discuss here is superficial, to say the least. We must cover the basics and provide opportunities in the ICT value chain, lest we entrench inequalities in the next generations,” said Sisulu.

    “The old model of ICT and e-government is that we work and produce services that are designed and structured around the needs of the rich. The new way is that technology and services must be designed and adapted to fit the needs of the poor. We must conduct our business to reflect a new social consciousness and commitment to nation-building and development.

    Asher Bohbot, the CEO of EOH, a listed business and IT solutions provider, has challenged JSE-listed companies to help create jobs instead of looking at government to do so.

    Bohbot says JSE companies are sitting on a cash pile of about R666bn that could be used to create job opportunities for the 5 million able-bodied but unemployed South Africans.

    “If every JSE-listed company took 10% of that money and invested it by offering learnerships and other minor things, unemployement would be history.

    “In South Africa, business must have a much broader role, which must include the wellbeing of our society. The interesting thing is that this kind of thinking is not in conflict with shareholder interest. It is harder to run a successful business in a failing society,” said Bohbot while addressing Govtech delegates during a gala dinner.

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

  • Allied Technologies Limited (Altech) has announced that it plans to dispose of its 75% share in Altech West Africa Limited (AWA).

    Altech said in a statement that AWA launched in Nigeria, in 2005. The company produces cash recharge vouchers for the cellular network operators in Nigeria and has more recently commenced the manufacture of plastic card products for Nigerian banks and other clients.

    While AWA was highly profitable for most of the time since its inception, it has become loss-making during the last 18 months. Altech says this is due to a reduction in demand for its secure recharge vouchers (as opposed to cheaper non-secure products made by other suppliers) and delays in the up-take of plastic chip cards by banks. In addition, its “pioneer industry” tax-free status expired recently.

    These factors, plus the costs involved in maintaining Altech management control of AWA from South Africa, additional investment required to enhance AWA’s production facilities, as well as the fact that AWA‘s product area is non-core to the Altech group, has prompted Altech to reached agreement to dispose of its 75% interest in AWA.

  • Orange says this is in line with Orange’s goal to launch the service in all 22 countries in Africa and the Middle East where the Group operates. 

    Since the service was first launched in Cote d’Ivoire in 2008, it has accumulated over 4.6 million customers across its regions.

    Orange Money allows users to transfer money, top up airtime and perform other transactions using their mobile phones.

Telecoms, Rates, Offers and Coverage

  • - South African-based mobile social network MXit has acquired mobile community specialists Motribe. When the deal gets approved, MXit is expected to own 100% of Motribe, after MXit bought out current shareholders 4Di Capital, Nic Haralambous and Vincent Maher.

Digital Content

  • The Zambian government has said the Electronic Voucher (e-voucher) system to be introduced under the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) will be implemented in the 2013/2014 farming season.

    Agriculture and Livestock Deputy Minister Rodgers Mwewa told Parliament this week that the Zambian government would initially implement the e-voucher system in a pilot project in 10 selected districts.

    He said under the e-voucher system, beneficiaries could be easily targeted since they would be registered in the system.

    Mwewa said farmers would be easily tracked and the Zambian government would be able to monitor the farmers in their activities.

    Among the districts to benefit from the pilot projects are Chongwe, Kalomo, Chibombo, Mazabuka and Ndola.

    Mwewa said that e-voucher system had been used in Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, where it had proved to be successful.

    He said instead of using middlemen in the process, farmers would directly collect vouchers in a transparent and cost-effective manner.

  • Tanzanians could soon have access to an SMS application that enables the country’s ferry passengers to confirm and ensure that the vessel they are set to board on is indeed safe for travel.

    Usizame, or ‘don’t drown’ in the local Kiswahili language, is expected to begin testing the prototype system from today and systematically roll out the product across a series of ferries travelling between Unguja, Pemba and Dar Es Salaam.

    The Usizame initiative comes in response to a series of tragic maritime accidents stretching as far back as 1996 to the capsizing of the MV Bukomba, which saw an estimated 1000 people drown.

    There has, however, been two more recent accidents over the last year that saw the people behind Usizame come together to find a solution.

    “There had been two major ferry accidents in one year, first the sinking of the Spice Islander in September 2011 and then the Skagit in July 2012, and the result was many hundreds of deaths and grieving families,” explains Rachel Hamada, one of the co-founders of Usizame.

    “We decided that enough was enough – and if safety standards were not being adhered to for passengers, that we would help passengers to improve safety standards from the ground up,” adds Hamada.

    The prototype system can receive SMS messages, allow registration via SMS, and receive passenger check-ins and produce auto responses. Once first-stage testing is complete, details of the public trial are planned to be announced.

    Hamada explains that Usizame is an on-going collaboration among a number of professionals across Tanzania and Zanzibar.

    In a country where internet penetration remains low the creation of an SMS-based solution was both inevitable and inspired.

    “The idea is to make use of the high level of mobile phone penetration in Zanzibar and Tanzania to allow people to co-operate to improve their own safety – we will collate information within our system and, if necessary, feed it back to passengers in a way that should help them make informed choices about the risks they are taking,” she said.

    Thanks to Usizame, passengers are set to be able to check into their ferry with their name through a free SMS to help establish a record of exactly who is, and how many passengers are, on each boat.

    In addition Usizame is designed to collect information that will make the solution able to warn passengers in the case of overloading or inclement weather conditions.

    Also passengers can quickly log and verify any emergency situations and notify family members and authorities to ensure a fast response.

    It is designed to create more awareness among ferry users of their right to be safe from harm and at the same time also make the ferry operators more aware and accountable regarding their responsibilities.

    If the boat is in danger after departing, passengers would be able to send a free text alerting Usizame that the vessel is in peril.

    Information would then be verified and subsequently automatic alerts would be sent to the authorities, media and chosen family members in order to ensure the fastest response possible.

  • Cancellation of a $16.5m US project to use Amazon's e-reader to teach English around the world highlights the challenges of achieving effective results from m-learning

    Days before US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos were due to launch a partnership, to promote US culture and provide English lessons to young learners around the world via 35,000 Kindle e-readers, the event was quietly cancelled.

    The proposed partnership with Amazon to develop the Kindle Mobile Learning Initiative was officially terminated on 15 August. The cancellation notice stated that the state department "intends to conduct additional market research and re-examine its requirements for this programme".

    The U-turn was an embarrassment for the state department, which spends close to $40m a year on spreading English language skills around the world. But it is also a tacit acknowledgement that e-readers may not be a quick fix for raising learning achievement and that more needs to be done to learn how to exploit them effectively.

    The reasons behind the withdrawal remain unclear. One factor may have been the US's National Federation of the Blind's (NFB) claim that Kindles are not fully accessible to the visually impaired and therefore the project was illegal. "This agreement would violate US law regarding access to information by the blind," NFB president Marc Maurer said.

    Meanwhile, the apparent commitment to conduct further research has been welcomed by many education experts. Mobile learning has a relatively short history, but there is much to learn from both the successes and failures of early projects.

    The agreement with Amazon would have involved a purchase of 35,000 Kindles over five years, with pre-loaded content and access to further material online. The anticipated value of the contract was $16.5m with the state department aiming to: "Create a global e-reader programme that introduces aspects of US society and culture directly to young people, students, and international audiences in new ways and expands English language learning opportunities worldwide."

    While Amazon's input into the project was clearly outlined in US Federal Business Opportunities documentation, there appeared to have been little focus on exactly how the Kindles would be integrated into current education programmes. Yet a concentration on technology over pedagogy has become a critical factor in determining the success of English language programmes that combine ICT and traditional teaching, also known as blended learning.

    Kindles have already been used to support large-scale education projects. The nonprofit organisation Worldreader aims to improve literacy and language skills of school children in developing countries by providing digital libraries on Kindle devices. With current projects in Ghana, Kenya and Uganda, encouraging results have been reported in evaluation studies. Worldreader is also developing its Book App that can be accessed on mobile phones, with further details on new funding partners for this scheme expected to be announced shortly.

    However, putting in funding and providing hardware for a blended learning project is not enough by itself. The US-based One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project has distributed more than 2m low-cost laptops since 2007 to children globally, but a report by the Inter-American Development Bank into OLPC in Peru sparked widespread debate when it appeared in February. It stated that, 15 months after implementation, there appeared to be no significant increase in language test score levels or the quality of teaching in classrooms. The report suggested that the amount of training that teachers received on how to use the technology with their students could have been a factor in the disappointing results.

    When large numbers of expensive and delicate electronic devices are involved, research and training on how to maintain them is key. Over 40% of the Kindles broke during Worldreader's initial pilot in Ghana. According to USAid's final evaluation report: "[the] high breakage rates were primarily a result of the device's fragile screen and vulnerability to dust." Worldreader claims that the breakage rates have been reduced to almost zero in the latest project, following the introduction of a more robust screen and better training for users on care and maintenance.

    Working on ways to ensure that the technology is valued by the students, teachers and administrators is also of crucial importance in ensuring that the devices do not end up being discarded.

    As UK-based ELT learning technologies specialist Pete Sharma states: "Both teachers and students need to hold positive attitudes towards technology. While many teachers are happy to incorporate digital learning, others are less so. If the teacher does not believe in the pedagogical soundness of the digital component, there is a real chance of failure."

    The content that is available for use via the devices must also be closely matched to the existing curriculum.

    The British Council's English projects manager David Pardoe has been working on bringing English language audio content to resource-poor schools in sub-Saharan Africa. British Council-produced podcasts and radio programmes are loaded onto solar-powered, portable devices with integrated speakers, known as Lifeplayers. These are being distributed to rural schools in eight countries in southern Africa.

    "A lot of people get excited when they see the device and that is good, but the initial enthusiasm can quickly be lost if it's not linked to curriculum," Pardoe says. "I would say that right now, matching content is almost more important than the device, because if it's not then it's quite difficult to convince a teacher to use it in lessons."

    Unesco is currently drafting policy guidelines for the development of m‑learning initiatives. According to its programme specialist Steve Vosloo, "[Our] research has found that there is a dearth of policy related to mobile learning at the national level. [The guidelines will] try to fill that vacuum by helping policy makers understand the benefits and challenges related to mobile learning and to offer guidelines for creating an enabling policy environment in which mobile learning can grow."

  • A staff member who made comments on Twitter about an altered photograph published in the Citizen was dismissed on Thursday, according to a statement on the newspaper's website. “A disciplinary hearing under an independent, external chairperson found him guilty on two charges.”

    These were bringing the company name into disrepute by making defamatory comments on Twitter and irretrievably damaging the trust relationship between employer and employee.

    The Citizen also warned of the potential consequences of making irresponsible comments on social networks.

    “An employer, company or institution has a responsibility to take action when it and its employees are defamed and false information about them is spread.

    “In the matter of the 'cloned' photograph published on September 19, the company has dealt individually with all people who had a role in the serious error.”

    The image in question was that of a suicide attack on a minibus in Kabul, Afghanistan, in which eight South Africans were killed.

    At the time, editor Martin Williams said a decision was taken to blur the bodies shown in the photograph as the picture was too gory to publish in its original form.

    Instead, the bodies were digitally removed from the image in error.

    According to a report on the Mail & Guardian's website the dismissed empoyee was photograher Johann “Slang” Hattingh.

    Hattingh drew attention to the newspaper's use of a photograph, sourced from Agence France-Presse, which had been altered to remove the bodies of two South Africans killed in the blast. He tweeted about the Citizen's use of the image shortly after it went to press.

    At his disciplinary hearing on Tuesday, Hattingh argued that the page should have been checked by senior editorial staff and as such it was they - not him - who had brought the company name into disrepute.

    Hattingh told the M&G: “I'm quite disappointed with the outcome but obviously I'll take it up further with the (Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration)”. - Sapa

  • Almost every week, African software developers introduce new applications to the market. Two IT students in Uganda have developed an application that shows motorists the cheapest gas stations in the capital, Kampala.

    Edward Sekyewa is driving through Kampala. His  tank's almost empty and he urgently needs to find a gas station.  But fuel is expensive in Uganda and prices vary widely. To find the cheapest price, Edward uses his cellphone.

    With his smart phone and the 'Mafuta-Go' (Gas-Go) application, he is able to find out where he'll get the most fuel for his money. According to Mafuta-Go it's the  City Oil gas station in Kamwokya where a liter costs 3,550 Ugandan shillings (1.10 euros, $1.40). 

     

More

  • Google rolls out ICT scholarship to African students

    Google has announced a scholarship programme targeted at African female students who are enrolled in ICT courses, to encourage students to take an active role in the sector and become role models and leaders across Africa.

    The 2013/14 academic year scholarships will focus on African students in computer science, computer engineering, Informatics or any related courses. Student with excellent academic backgrounds will get the opportunity to study in Europe or Israel.  

    Kenya’s Presbyterian University of East Africa’s acting director of organisation development and e-learning Denis Muchangi told Humanipo he welcomes the move and urges Kenyan students to apply.

    “Google scholarship will empower African females in the ICT sector,” he said.

    Other regions that will benefit from the scholarship include Middle East and Europe.

    The other category of scholarship is aimed students with disabilities studying  computer science, computer engineering, informatics with a disability

    Applications should be received before February 1, 2013. Announcements of successful applicants will be made in May next year.

     

    Growth academy invites applications

    A new Nokia/CcHub Growth Academy in Kenya has invited applications from software startups.

    The academy aims to accelerate the growth of start-ups, to help them develop into high growth mobile application businesses.

    Having successfully completed a pilot, the partner now invite applications the first three-month intensive programme, which will focus on capacity building, product development andlaunch.

    Each start-up will undergo hands-on prototype development and structured training with modules such as business model development, project implementation plan and lean product development. Tailored technical training and support will be provided by Futurice, a global training organization with expertise in mobile application development and user driven design.

    During product development each start-up is complemented with the best of resources i.e. one-on-one mentorship from experienced tech entrepreneurs with a strong understanding of the African market, project implementation plan; and market research support to ensure that solutions meet specific market needs.

    The last phase of the programme is dedicated to product testing, pilot launch and value redesign based on initial customer feedback. Each start-up will also pitch at an open Pitchfest to the wider community and investors as part of the final product launch.

    To apply, visit www.growthacademy.org; applications close by 6pm on 3 October 2012. Ten start-ups will be recruited into programme which culminates in a formal launch of the mobile apps on the Nokia store.

  • Broadband World Forum

    16 – 18 October 2012, Amsterdam RAI Convention Centre, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

    The event, now in its 12th year, is the most respected in the regions Telecoms calendar and the comprehensive agenda includes breakfast briefings, 3 co-located summits,  keynote plenary sessions and a choice of 4 tracks for delegates each day as well as the world class exhibition area. For more information please click here:

    AfricaCom 2012
    13th-15th November 2012, CTICC, Cape Town, South Africa

    The digital ecosystem will take centre stage at AfricaCom 2012, at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, 13 – 15 November 2012.  Network with over 7000 industry executives at Africa’s largest event embracing all aspects of the continent’s converging telecoms, media and ICT sectors.  Incorporating 11 co-located events all pertinent to future-proofing your business in the digital era, including cloud computing, OTT, apps, broadband and multiplatform content, see and hear how Africa’s communications market is a hotbed for innovation and long term prosperity. 
    Contact: Subuola.akinkugbe@informa.com
    For more information please click here:

    Telecoms Fraud & Revenue Assurance Forum
    26th - 27th November 2012, Dubai
    The only event currently in the region dedicated to telecoms fraud and revenue assurance, Tavess' Telecoms Fraud and Revenue Assurance Forum in Dubai has been designed to provide Revenue Assurance and Fraud professionals from across the Middle East, Asia and Africa the opportunity to learn about the latest RA strategies that the operators are adopting to more effectively detect and prevent revenue leakage and fraudulent activities in an increasingly complex scenario. In addition to an in-depth look at the detection and prevention of various types of fraud, the Forum also explores how to evolve the organization, streamline processes, effectively integrate systems and embed revenue assurance into new products. For more information please click here:

Issue no 139 27 September 2012

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  • When it comes to getting its film and television programmes seen outside Africa, the continent needs all the help it can get. Several events and initiatives have been launched in Europe to help people get a better understanding of African cultures and their global impact. For a short list click on the link here: This year, "Out of Europe XII" / 'Filme aus Afrika' is one of them; it is the largest African film festival organized in Germany. The festival set up by FilmInitiativ kicked off last week and runs from 20 to 30 September 2012; Balancing Act talked to its executives.

    Who’s behind the organization?

    FilmInitiativ Köln e.V. is an association of journalists, media educators and cineastes from Cologne in Germany. One of the group's main activity is the presentation of African films in Cologne and across Germany and a platform for African right holders to commercialize their work.  

    The group was established in 1988, works as a collective and is aimed at people interested in cinematic art. It organizes film-screenings, tours around Germany, discussions and courses, but above all provide a platform for films not normally shown in commercial cinemas. Despite considerable obstacles and limited funds and human resources, the group presents films of cinematographic value and selected programs of cinematic art beyond Europe. In 1992 it presented the first Africa Film Festival “Out of Europe“, which celebrates it’s 20th anniversary this year.  

    Ade Bantu Odukoya (Nigerian musician and patron of the Out of Europe XII festival) wrote: "Over the last two decades they have been trying to correct the distorted and cliché-ridden images of Africa, not by claiming to be experts or by trying to speak on behalf of Africans, but by creating a platform for African film. Filmmakers from the African continent and from the African diaspora have been invited to show their work. The dreams, fears and hopes of a complex, many-layered and multi-faceted continent, encompassing 54 countries, have come to the German public’s attention”.  

    For once, the result has been a sort of dialogue of equals. Of course, it is not enough to put on a biennial African Film Festival and show a number of African films in between. Clearly, the films you see here need to find their way into mainstream cinemas in order to reach the general public. German television must be more open to African films too, not to help Africa, but to keep apace with the breath-taking rate of the continent’s development.  

    Technical progress over the last ten years has been enormous, the democratic movements are unstoppable, the era of despots is over, the days of the corrupt are numbered. The people of Cairo, Lagos, Kinshasa and Harare have laid their fears to rest. They now go out onto the streets and demand transparency and justice. Urban Africa has long since developed its own language and identity. It is freeing itself from the founding fathers of the independence movements. The new Africa is not desperately seeking recognition, but wants to be seen and respected as an equal – something it lays claim to without any ifs or buts. The new Africa will not be palmed off with development aid and hand-outs. Those days are over. The new trends are reflected in the “New African Cinema” productions which you will see and experience at the Out of Europe XII festival."  

    “Following past film series on topics such as the anti-nuclear movement, Palestine, neo-fascism and images of Germany in cinema, this year, FilmInitiativ Köln is presenting a selection of films from Western Africa. This is as much a political choice as one of cinematic aesthetics... It is not only in politics that much of Europe is perceiving Africa as a blank spot on the map, in our movie theaters, too, we can barely make out an African voice... Africa itself, however, has an advanced, multi-faceted film production industry, which under infinitely difficult circumstances (funding, distribution, censorship) is bringing forth films of a broad topical spectrum. Addressing issues such as the struggle against colonialism and neocolonialism, criticism of outdated traditions, the urban-rural divide and class divisions, these films are extremely lively, full of suspense and of an extraordinary quality. They are diametrically opposed to much of what is shown at our cinemas in so far as they convey a simple immediate humanism that allows novel access to subjects and people.“  

    The initiative's announcement dates back to June 1992. FilmInitiativ Köln presented a first series of events including 21 feature and documentary films from Western Africa at the Filmpalette cinema in Cologne. A further series featuring films from other African regions followed within half a year. The programme’s title 'Out of Europe' pointed out the ambition to present authentic images of Africa as opposed to the clichés widely portrayed in TV documentaries and feature movies like the romantic drama 'Out of Africa' (which is set within the milieu of white colonial society whereby Africa is serving merely as a scenic backdrop). 

    Out of Europe was to show films originating in Africa rather than commenting on it, films in which Africans themselves reflect on their history, their everyday existence and the societal problems of their countries. From day one, FilmInitiativ Köln invited guests from various African states, such as the filmmakers Jean-Marie Teno from Cameroon and S. Pierre Yaméogo from Burkina Faso. Mamady Keïta from Guinea, percussionist and protagonist of the music documentary Djembéfola, played a post-screening concert at the civic centre Alte Feuerwache.

    Sawadogo Saga of Burkina Faso’s national broadcasting corporation, who at the time completed an educational course at the   Deutsche Welle in Cologne, was invited to a discussion on filmmaking in Western Africa and pointed out that whoever wants to learn about the variety in African film making ought to visit his home town Ouagadougou. It is there, he added, that the biggest and globally most important African film festival, FESPACO (Festival Panafricain de Cinéma et de la Télévision de Ouagadougou), had been taking place biennially since 1969.  

    FilmInitiativ's partners followed the recommendation and visited FESPACO in Burkina Faso in spring 1993. The opening ceremony alone was overwhelming. It didn’t take place in a cinema but in the city’s biggest football stadium, gathering 40,000 spectators amidst live music and laser shows. The enthusiasm of the local moviegoers in the vast open-air theatres of Ouagadougou, the spectrum of films on the programme and the encounters with filmmakers from all over the continent inspired FilmInitiativ to produce a two-week long “sequel to the FESPACO“ in Cologne as early as December 1993. It showed 50 films under the title Out of Europe III. The programme featured the prize-winners of the original FESPACO and retrospectives on Ousmane Sembène and Safi Faye (Senegal), Gaston Kaboré (Burkina Faso) and Raoul Peck (Haiti) representing the diaspora. Guests included the filmmakers Fanta Régina Nacro from Burkina Faso, Ahmed Diop from Senegal and Balufu Bakupa-Kanyinda from the Congo (at the time still called Zaire).  

    From that point on, collaborators and friends of FilmInitiativ visited the Ouagadougou festival continually every two years, and in 1996 launched the Africa Film Festival in Cologne, running in each subsequent year. As FilmInitiativ started to visit other festivals specialised in African film making, some in Europe (Amsterdam, Milan, Leuven, Tarifa, Berlin and Frankfurt) and some in Africa (Tunis, Cairo and Durban), the Cologne festival soon grew to offer more than FESPACO’s prize-winning films. Both the quality and the extent of the Cologne festival programme increased and so did the interest of local visitors and visitors from other regions. 

    The Filmpalette as well as the Kölner Filmhaus Cinema theaters quickly proved too small, and later editions of the festival took place in larger cinemas such as the Broadway (which sadly no longer exists), the OFF Broadway and the cinema of the Filmclub 813. Since 2008 the festival hub has become fixed at the Film forum of the Museum Ludwig, as it not only offers a large cinema with 260 seats but also provides a spacious foyer to accommodate information stands for African communities and sales stands for literature, music, art and culinary specialities.  

    The 10th festival in 2008 saw 700 visitors attending the opening day alone, which is more than the first West African film series in 1992 counted over its running period. In 2010, the festival attracted 4,000 visitors, many of which had travelled from other cities and neighbouring countries. The biennial Cologne festival 'Out of Europe' has thus grown into the most comprehensive platform for African film making in Germany.  

    FilmInitiativ further offered film series with a topical or country-specific focus. An early example of this is 'A week of remembrance: Ken Saro-Wiwa' in 1996. The extensive nine-day programme stretched beyond screenings to include readings and concerts, Nigerian theatre performances and an event at the University of Cologne with Wole Soyinka, Africa’s first Nobel Prize winner for literature. The series was organised in memory of Ken Saro-Wiwa, opposition politician, writer and filmmaker, who had been executed by Nigeria’s military regime in 1995 for criticising the environmental destruction of Ogoniland in the Niger Delta by international petroleum companies such as Shell. The programme was conceived in close cooperation with Nigerian musicians from Cologne such as Adé Bantu and Don Abi.  

    Cooperation with African communities continued. In 1996, many Cameroonians from Cologne acted as extras in Jean-Marie Teno’s movie Clando about a refugee from Western Africa while the European part of the film was shot in various locations in Cologne with the support of FilmInitiativ. After the premiere of the feature Lumumba in 2002, Congolese living in Cologne and nearby conducted a discussion with the publicist Ludo de Witte from Leuven, who wrote a book revealing the involvement of the Belgian government in the murder of Congo’s first post-independence prime minister. On the occasion of Ghana’s 50th Independence Day celebrations in November 2007, FilmInitiativ showed a series produced in collaboration with the Ghana Union Cologne.  

    As uprisings spread across North Africa in late 2010 and early 2011, FilmInitiativ decided to present the series Game Over and No More Fear with screenings of current features and documentaries from the affected regions. It thereby cooperated with the association “Helft Tunesien e.V.“, founded by Tunisians in exile. The January 2012 preview screening of the documentary 'Tahrir 2011', co-produced by the German public broadcasting institution WDR, marked the beginning of collaboration with the German-Egyptian association “Deutsch- Ägyptische Gesellschaft Köln“.  

    There were dozens of Egyptian migrants amongst the over 300 spectators attending the film’s launch at the Filmforum. Their factual knowledge and guiding contributions to the post-film discussion presented the remaining public with a tangible impression of just how intensely Egyptians are engaged in forming the future of their country.  

    For 20 years, the aim of FilmInitiativ in presenting new African films has remained consistent. The goal is to open our minds to different realities by showing authentic images and hearing stories told by Africans themselves. Director Sarah Maldoror, who presented her 1972 classic Sambizanga on the Angolan War of Independence at Out of Europe VI (Cologne, 2000), put it this way: “At the beginning of this third millennium, cinema is the most popular form of artistic expression worldwide... More than ever do we as Africans have to be present at this rendez-vous of give and take... What counts is our perspective, is to see ourselves through our own images.”  

    This month, Cologne’s African film festival is celebrating its 20th anniversary, presenting Out of Europe XII with a jubilee programme of 85 feature and documentary films, political videos, shorts, experimental and animated films from 20 African countries - many of which are premieres in Germany- as well as 20 guests traveling in from Cairo, Casablanca, Dakar, Cape Town, Paris, Geneva, Vienna and Berlin. The 2012 festival is offering Cologne’s most comprehensive portrayal of contemporary African film making so far.  

    To compile such a programme, members of FilmInitiativ have again visited the world’s most significant festival of African cinema, the FESPACO in Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso), as they have been doing biennially since 1993. The FESPACO’s 23rd edition took place in spring 2011 and its most important prize-winners are now present in Cologne.  The anniversary festival’s pre-programme, titled Africa goes Veedel  has counted more than 2100 visitors. The programme, organised by FilmInitiativ preceded and inaugurated the 20th anniversary of Cologne’s African film festival, and ran from the beginning of May to mid-September 2012. It offered 20 classics of African film in venues across 13 districts' towns.    

    With an opening ceremony with live music, films and international guests, the festival will feature short films from Tanzania and South Africa, guests from Egypt, Burkina Faso, Morocco, Senegal and beyond, Congolese hip hop by Lopango Ya Banka, video clips by the Cairo media collective Mosireen and clips from the africologne theatre festival in Cologne, the launch of the organizer's website and database www.filme-aus-afrika.de – and a wealth of surprises in store. Admission is free and access is provided anytime throughout the entire event.  

    This year, the festival has also invited an unprecedented number of guests. As in earlier years, in-depth post-screening discussions will follow at the cinema, and the museum’s educational services are again offering their workshop on the ground floor to allow interested parties to continue talks within a smaller setting.  

    For this year’s anniversary festival, the foyer of the Filmforum will again transform into a small African bazaar with sales of DVDs, CDs, art, books and information from Africa. African community organisations such as tunicare e.V., the Deutsch- Ägyptische Gesellschaft Köln, the Kenyan association Neema international from Bonn as well as the initiative Ingenieure ohne Grenzen (engineers without borders) will be offering information on their work.  

    Various community members will be offering culinary treats from Africa in the foyer. The first weekend is dedicated to specialities from West Afrika (20 to 23 September) and the second to Eritrean dishes (26 to 29 September).  Year 2012 marks the 20-year anniversary not only of Cologne’s Africa Film Festival but also of the association Öffentlichkeit gegen Gewalt e.V. To honour the occasion, FilmInitiativ is collaborating with the association to present a four-part special series of Cologne premieres on racism and discrimination, including films from Germany, France and the USA.   In adding current features, documentaries, shorts and experimental films from North Africa to the festival programme, FilmInitiativ continues its cinematic portrayal of the societal upheavals and changes affecting the region.  

    The last two years saw FilmInitiativ extend their festival visits to Tunis, Cairo, Tarifa, Rotterdam, Leuven and Berlin – and assess programmes of African cinema events from Zanzibar to Toronto and New York. Research resulted in a choice of hundreds of films, of which only the best were selected to make the Cologne anniversary programme. The weeks of viewing turned into a proverbial agony of choice amongst films of outstanding quality, produced against all political, technical and financial odds encountered in many African countries. Recent productions from North and South Africa made this more evident than ever.  

    FilmInitiativ will continue to broaden the platform for such African perspectives – for perspectives that are aware of what is happening outside Europe and to which degree Europe is to be held responsible. The growing support of the festival's visitors is encouraging the group to pursue this goal despite numerous obstacles. 

     The group's aim is to create a 'Center For African Film' in Cologne over the next three years. This project is about to create a database and online presence which pools information and lends support to increase the distribution of African films in the context of cinematic and political education, in the three languages of German, French and English. Till now, nearly 500 African Films have been screened in Cologne with over 70 guests from 35 countries in Africa. 

     

    More information is available here and via facebook here  

    To get up-to-the minute news, you need to be on Twitter. Follow us on @BalancingActAfr.

    A bumper crop of video clips this week on Balancing Act’s You Tube channel:

    Julian Macharia, Buni TV on this new online video delivery platform

    Kezzy Kimoni, CCD on the impact of digital TV on TV

    Deji Awokoya, General Manager of Beat, Classic and Naija FM on radio in

    Envir Fraser, Convergence Partners on investment opportunities in ICT and media

    Nyasha Mutsekwa, CEO, Metvafrica.com on its Pan-African VOD service

    Special for Balancing Act readers:

    Obi Asika on the split of music revenues with the mobile operators and the size of the Nigerian music industry

    Michael Ugwu, iROKING on Nigeria's Spotify-type service

    Stuart Forrest, Triggerfish Studios on South Africa’s first animation feature Adventures in Zambezia

    Out in November 2012: Anthony Abuah on his new film Woolwich Boys about 419 scammers

    Nigerian Mahmoud Ali-Balogun on his film Tango With Me

     

     

  • One of the first scenes in the ridiculous but thoroughly nasty film "Innocence of Muslims" shows angry Muslims running through the streets smashing things and killing people.

    So what happens when a clip from the film dubbed into Arabic goes up on the internet? Angry Muslims run through the streets smashing things and killing people. It's as simple as that: press the right button, and they'll do what you want.

    Some Christian extremists set out to provoke Muslim extremists into violence that would discredit Islam in the eyes of the West - and it worked, of course. As the US consulate in Benghazi burned and the American dead were carried out, many people in the West thought to themselves: "The Libyans are biting the hand that freed them."

    Wrong conclusion. It wasn't "the Libyans" who broke into the Benghazi consulate and murdered the US ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens; it was a heavily armed band of Islamic extremists.

    "The Libyans" recently voted in their first real election ever, and they elected a secular government. The film just gave the fanatics an opportunity to undermine that choice.

    Maybe the Christian extremists don't understand that their fi lm serves the purposes of those who want to overthrow the moderate, democratically elected governments, both Islamic and secular, that have come to power in the "Arab spring".

    Or maybe they do realise that, and hope that the violence that they are stirring up will bring Muslim extremists to power in those countries. After all, it's easier to mobilise Western opinion against outright fanatics.

    The grown-ups try to keep the situation under control. Grand Mufti Sheik Abdel-Aziz al-Sheik, the highest religious authority in Saudi Arabia, said that Muslims should denounce the film, but without anger: "Muslims should not be dragged by wrath and anger to shift from legitimate to forbidden action, (as) by this they will, unknowingly, fulfill some aims of the film."

    Exactly so, but the leaders of the Arab world's post-revolutionary governments have to walk a fi ne line, denouncing both the film and the violent protests against it.

    Moderate Islamic governments like that of Egypt's President Mohamed Morsi have a particularly tricky task, since they are competing with the Muslim extremists who are organising the protests for the support of the same pious and socially conservative bloc of voters.

    "We Egyptians reject any kind of assault or insult against our prophet," Morsi said last Thursday, "but at the same time we firmly say that this cannot be taken as a justification to assault consulates or embassies and cannot be taken also as a justification for killing innocent people."

    It was not a sufficiently robust condemnation of the violence for US President Barack Obama, who said on the same day: "I don't think that we would consider (Egypt) an ally, but we don't consider them an enemy."

    Obama has his own right flank to protect, and cannot afford to acknowledge in public that elected Arab leaders are in competition with Islamic fanatics for popular support, and so must choose their words with care.

    Most American voters are not sophisticated enough to understand the intricacies of Arab politics, or patient enough to care.

    Similarly, most Arab voters do not want to hear about the American constitution, which guarantees free speech and means that the US government cannot just ban crude attacks on Islam by American citizens.

    The elected Arab leaders will certainly have had this fact explained to them in private by their political advisers, but in public they must demand that the US government suppress the film and punish its makers.

    It's not the United States that has attacked Islam, or even "Hollywood"; just a handful of Americans with a political and religious agenda.

    It's not "Egypt" or "Libya" that has attacked American and other Western diplomatic missions in the Arab world, but small groups of Islamic extremists with a political agenda of their own, supported by a larger number of pious dupes.

    Indeed, the fi lm in question passed without notice when it had its single public screening in the Vine Theatre in Los Angeles in June; only a dozen or so people showed up, probably mostly friends of the producer.

    It attracted little more attention when a shortened version was posted on YouTube at the beginning of July.

    It only took off when the religious Egyptian television channel al-Nas broadcast scenes from it on September 8, and then posted a clip online with an Arabic translation.

    That got hundreds of thousands of views in a matter of days, and the violent protests began almost at once.

    The Christian fanatics and the Muslim extremists are, in the old Marxist phrase, "objective allies."

    This is not a "turning point" in Western relations with the Arab countries or the broader Muslim world (as some excitable commentators have suggested).

    The whole thing will blow over after a little while, just like the violent protests against Danish newspaper cartoons about Muhammad did six years ago.

    It is a tempest in a teapot.

     

  • Ladies and gentlemen, Kenya has come really far in as far as our TV shows are concerned. Gone are the days when Kenyans were ashamed to say they enjoy watching Kenyan shows yet for many it was a guilty pleasure. Gone are the days when the elite and sophisticated wannabees only spoke about watching foreign shows consigning anyone who enjoys them to enduring the label of "mboch".

    Well, with that said, here are Kenya's top 10 hottest TV shows!

    #10 Tahidi High

    This show was the hottest show for what seemed to be half a decade. That was all before the more memorable characters who made the show what it was "graduated". When i could no longer enjoy the guilty pleasure of watching "Shish" do her conniving bad girl act, i weaned myself off the show altogether.

    #9 Mheshimiwa

    I have never truly understood this show. But one thing i do know, is that the show is mighty popular! It has a shocking fanbase that are dedicated and in appreciation of the fact, it gets a spot on the list.

    #8 Inspekta Mwala

    The premise of the show is a bit dodgy in the sense that no police force in the world would hire a midget but i will admit that it's a rather entertaining show.

    I enjoy the fact that they developed all the characters besides Inspector Mwala himself and this makes for a rather interesting blend.

    #7 Briefcase Inc

    These guys are hella hilarious! I can't help but chuckle at the two main characters antics but unfortunately, the plot is abit too redundant for my liking! This show is like a telenovella in the fact that it takes too long to develop the plot. With that said, the actors are top notch and the have that screen chemistry that makes watching the show enjoyable!

    #6 Lies that Bind

    This show is a bit too similar to another on the list but the production work is good, the plot awesome and the actors truly talented. However, because of the comparison that is bound to occur, they are mightily handicapped.

    #5 Changes

    The show boasts a star studded cast that is not just diverse on the talent spectrum but also is a good representation of cosmopolitan Kenya.

    And the stars are good! This is one show you should tune into if you want to see what quality acting is about.

    #4 Vioja Mahakamani

    This show gets to the top of the pile because it was a ground breaking show. And up to date, the show has kept it's fan base up to date. The show is a throw back to the early days of Kenyan television. It is sort of a time capsule.

    #3 Je Huu Ni Ungwana?

    I don't understand half of what is said on this show but this show is a true depiction of how Kenyans behave irrespective of their social standing. These are the "peculiar habits" that Micheal Joseph was talking about.

    And to top it all off, it stars Kenyan acting legends. The guys who made it possible to have the Brenda Wairimu's on telly. Or i might just be a little nostalgic...

    #2 Vitimbi

    True story Bro! This show was/is a legend. Ask any child in Kenya that watches Kenyan TV shows and they can tell you who either Mama Kayai or Mzee Ojwang are.

    And that is the mark this show has left on the entertainment industry for years to come.

    #1 Mali

    What can you say about this show? the only show on the list that gave it a run for it's money did so merely on the basis of nostalgia. The whole team that works on Mali are truly gifted: from the production team, to the actors to the plot. Everything is on it's A game.

    The only improvement i would suggest for Mali is for them to incorporate some Uncle Chim Tuna into the mix and hey presto! Emmys here we come!

  • In November 2009, AfricAvenir, in cooperation with Joe-Vision Production and the Franco-Namibian Cultural Centre (FNCC) launched a joint project called "Namibian Movie Collection", which was placed at the Multimedia Library of the FNCC. The collection currently consists of almost 50 Namibian films.

    For a broader dissemination and exposure of Namibian film work and in order to assist Namibians to tell their story through the medium of film, the NMC is part of a wider project to promote and develop Namibian film productions. AfricAvenir will present ten films from the Namibian Movie Collection at the 7th edition of DISCOP AFRICA*, introducing Namibian films to international sellers and buyers of TV content (visit AfricAvenir @ Viewing Box VB16). 

    Amongst the films to be viewed and purchased are the documentaries "The Power Stone", "Born in Etosha Part I & II", "Testimonies – Breaking the Walls of Silence", "Nda Mona – I have Seen", "Wanahepo – The return of a Namibian Here", and the two striking short films "Rider Without a Horse" and "Love Is".

    All the films presented at DISCOP are to be purchased and are available for TV channels, distribution companies and film festivals. To discover the whole catalogue, visit the site here

    *Note: the 2012 edition of the DISCOP AFRICA multiplatform, television content market and co-production forum to take place from 31 October to 2 November, in precisely 5 weeks from now, at the SANDTON CONVENTION CENTER in Johannesburg, South Africa. As many as 1000+ exhibiting and non-exhibiting delegates representing 700+companies from 85 countries are expected to take part in Africa's #1 industry gathering dedicated to the production, programming and commerce of movies, TV series, animation, formats, telenovelas, documentaries, sports and educational content, live events and thematic channels. 

  • The introduction of South Africa’s first ever prepaid pay-TV model on 13 August by local satellite subscription television operator TopTV is positioned as a key factor in the broadcaster’s turnaround strategy. 

    Since TopTV’s phenomenally successful launch in June 2010, the subscriber base has not grown as originally projected, necessitating a full review of the TopTV business earlier this year. 

    The prepaid model has been introduced to re-activate dormant subscribers and attract new subscribers, particularly in areas outside the main urban centres and television viewers in the lower income bracket. Prepaid vouchers will be available for purchase at outlets all over the country, including spaza shops in townships. 

    Although the official launch took place at The Tavern in Soweto’s Maponya Mall on 16 August, the service went live on 13 August, with 100 vouchers sold in the first three days.

    Each voucher runs for a period of 30 days and subscribers can choose from two options: the Variety package at R109 and the Ultimate Package at R279 – the latter provides access to 62 channels. Once a voucher is purchased the subscriber merely dials a number on his cell phone, punches in the TopTV decoder Smartcard number and the prepaid voucher number and the service will be activated in a few minutes. There are no re-connection fees in between prepaid activations.

    At the Maponya Mall launch the prepaid service was introduced via a humorous snippet from ZA News, the satirical political puppet series currently broadcast on TopTV. 

    “Wouldn’t it be great if our politicians ran on prepaid,” said a puppet of journalist Tim Modise, while the puppet version of investigative reporter Debora Patta responded: “They would have to be topped up all the time.”

    TopTV’s interim chief executive officer Eddie Mbalo noted that the prepaid model had only been introduced into a few countries in the world. “TopTV has introduced the prepaid service to give viewers instant access to the TopTV bouquet and to offer subsribers an alternative and instant payment method.”

    TopTV has secured two partners in terms of retail outlets – Pep Stores and Blue Label. By the end of the year there will be about 6, 000 outlets around the country, with the ultimate goal to expand to 100,000. Eventually, TopTV prepaid vouchers will be available in every outlet where mobile phone airtime can be purchased.

    Lekola noted that TopTV was in the process of claiming its own position as a real innovator and market disruptor. “We are also going to launch a mobisite as well as Internet banking to facilitate the prepaid service.” 

  • OSN, the leading pay-TV network in the Middle East and North Africa, has announced the launch of its first rewards programme, OSN Privileges, offering money can't buy lifetime experiences, special offers and premium prizes all year round for its subscribers.

    The launch of OSN Privileges affirms the broadcaster's commitment in going that extra mile for its subscribers and rewarding them for their loyalty. Designed to make the viewing experience richer and even more enjoyable, OSN Privileges aims to bring the magic of TV to life by giving subscribers access to the most exclusive and unforgettable experiences, incredible rewards and limited edition merchandise. 

    OSN Privileges members will also have access to special offers and benefits from retail partners across the region - from leisure activities to shopping and electronics to VIP cinema tickets. Regional partners include Majid Al Futtaim Leisure, Marriott Hotel and Resorts, Fitness First, Damas and Emax to name a few.

    The rewards programme will be available to existing and new customers. All subscribers need to do is log on to OSN Privileges . Once registered, customers will receive regular updates, news and information on the latest prize draws.

    OSN Privileges has been launched with five amazing prizes to be won in September including an all expense paid week-long trip for four to the amazing Euro Disney Resort in Paris. Other big draw prizes to look forward to include a three-night luxury trip with VIP access for two to attend the MTV Europe Music Awards; three pairs of tickets for the sold-out JLo World Dance Tour in Dubai including 5-star hotel stay; lunch with the Hamdan sisters - glamorous celebrity hosts of the popular talk show Sisters Soup; and OSN Privileges members stand the chance to win over 25 hi-tech Home Cinema systems and 32GB iPads. All this in just one month!

     

  • IN the last 20 to 25 years, pay TV industry, especially the Multi-channels, Multi-points Distribution System (MMDS) arm, has been connecting middle-class and low-income earning Nigerians to the rest of the world through satellite television via cable. But the business of this category of pay TV service providers has lately been hampered by multi-dimensional challenges. In this interview with Kabir Alabi Garba, the President, Association of Cable Operators of Nigeria (ACON), Kunle Osisanya speaks on the challenges and the need for stakeholders, particularly government to quickly tackle them. Excerpts:

    Q: What is cable TV operation all about?

    A: There are basically two ways of watching television: free to air and through the satellite called pay TV. And in the new digital format, there are three basic ways of receiving digital signals in Nigeria for now. There is Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) service, which is being offered by Star TV and GOtv. More may be coming. Again you will notice that GOtv has a slightly different format. Their own is a handheld, that is, the mobile handheld service. However, in the last few months, they have surprised everybody by going into the sales of decoders, which we are made to believe is not part of the original license given to GOtv. Just like the name suggests, it is supposed to be a handheld thing.

    Also, there is Direct To Home (DTH), which is what Multi-Choice is doing. It was what hiTV did. Service providers such as FStv, Trend TV, and DAARSAT had all, at one time or the other, operated on this platform.

    The last but not the least, which is the oldest, is Multi-channels, Multi-points Distribution System (MMDS) and it is the most common around. It has been around for about 20 to 25 years. These are the three different ways through which pay TV service is offered in Nigeria. The cable TV operators fall under the third category, and we are spread all over the country. We are now in 43 locations. Each company has a single license. However, some companies have two or three licenses where they have different locations.

    Q: As the oldest platform for offering pay TV service, how has business fared lately?

    A: Over the last few years, the business has been affected by various challenges including government policies. First is the issue of licensing; the second is power generation, third is unfair competition. The issue of licensing and renewal has always been what the regulatory body, National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), has tried to maintain. However, over the last few years, there are issues of sales, turnover that have affected the industry. The amount paid for issuance of license has not really changed much, but the amount being paid as renewal does not take into reality of the operating environment.

    For in instance, in Kano, as I am speaking to you, operators cannot go to the bank in the daytime; they have to arrange for the banker to come to receive money. That means, customers cannot go to the bank at will to pay. This is one of the environmental problems we have in the industry. Also, in Warri, the situation is pathetic. The operator has a license to cover Effurun, but in Warri, there is what they call string operation. It is a situation where somebody just wakes up and buys about 20 to 40 different decoders from all pay TV operators, put them in a room, receives all the signals and distributes around the town using PHCN poles and boosters, collecting five hundred from people, thus killing the business of the licensed operator. This is because if it would cost you between N300 and N500 to receive 40 channels why would you go and pay N2000 for one operator when you can get the product of five other operators at N500 or thereabout?

    And unfortunately, the NBC and Nigerian Copyright Commission as well as the police have not been able to stop this illegal operation that is already running genuine and licensed operators out of business. These pirates have become so notorious and they operate with impunity.

    In the area of power generation, we all suffer power problems in Nigeria, but it affects the broadcast industry substantially. A client or subscriber may not come for renewal when he has only two to three hours of electricity supply in one week for instance. And the logic is simple: if he struggles to generate power for other essential things, why should he struggle to generate power for pay TV for that matter? That also affects the sales of cable operators. And why it affects them so much is because they are meant to service the middle class. High class people can decide to buy DTH and pay whatever they are asking, but those in the middle class may not be able to afford N9,000, N10,000 every month; but they can afford the rent of cable operators. By license, cable operators have a smaller range of coverage. The license is 50 kilometre radius from where they are operating. It is a community-based thing and that is why cable operators are closer to the people at the grassroots. And the fee is affordable.

    Q: What is your group doing about these challenges?

    A: In ACON, the belief is that piracy is not an issue that can be tackled in Nigeria legally and legitimately. This is because piracy occurs when there is monopoly or scarcity. If there is no scarcity, and it is available for everybody, there would be no piracy. Nobody will steal from you if he can go to the market and buy at the rate the world buys. It is when you are frustrated, when you get there they tell you, ‘Nigerians are bad! Nigerians always want to cut corner!’ And the stuff like that. The man who is selling the programme has already been fed with wrong information about you. So, when you get there, as a legitimate businessman from Nigeria, you are confronted with all these stereotypes and when you ask for the identity of the backbiters, they would decline to mention names.

    In some instances, we have been able to get evidence. The owners of the programme would declare, ‘this is what we heard about your country, this is the evidence, this is the letter written to us that we shouldn’t sell the rights to this so and so company.’

    This is what has led to the death of most of the DTH operators in Nigeria. FSTV died because of content; hiTV died because of content; DAARSAT died because of content.

    There is one thousand and one content available out there. However, there is content that is Nigeria-related. There is the content average Nigerians are interested in. When we say DAAR content, you will be surprised that DAAR content is not only available on A or B channel only, it is also available on CD. But what we are talking about is, let me take a documentary channel worldwide; these are what they call educative channels. There should be no infringement or anything disturbing anybody from getting documentary channels because knowledge is supposed to be shared by the world. It is when we have knowledge spread all over the world that there would be peace and harmony, that people will get to know about others.

    Normally, documentary and educational contents are not supposed to go under such monopolistic tendencies but unfortunately, Discoveries Channel, which teaches about anything you can think of; and we are saying somebody should not say he has the right for the whole of Africa. If you say you have the right, then you have gone to negotiate what is called ‘exclusive deal with the suppliers’. This is wrong!

    Given the fact that the two dominant and relatively successful operators in the industry today have ‘foreign’ connections: Multi-Choice (South Africa), Star Time (China), will it be correct to conclude that pay TV can only succeed in Nigeria with foreign partnership?

    Far from it! Pay TV can succeed in Nigeria and in fact, the best medium to get to Nigerians, especially in this era of digitization, is through the cable. And given the fact that not all Nigerians will be able to afford digital TV as soon as the country goes digital in 2015, the cable operators can serve as stop gap pending the time Nigerians could afford to procure their digital facilities such as decoder or set-top-box as the case may be.

    Indeed, the cable operators are alive and kicking, we only ask the government, especially the regulatory agency to straighten some of the contours that are slowing down the pace of development and progress in the industry. Level playing field must be created for all categories of operators, while the issue of exclusive deal on broadcast rights must be tackled comprehensively.

  • Pay TV households in South Africa are set to grow to a staggering 5.9 million by 2016 with subscription television reaching a phenomenal TV household penetration of 81.4% as viewers' disillusionment with the quality and limited choice offered by the SABC grows.

    The third annual PricewaterhouseCoopers' South African Entertainment and Media Outlook 2012-2016 Report has been released and the section looking at South Africa's white hot television industry estimates massive double-digit growth for pay TV in South Africa as TV viewers want better and more television – and they are willing to pay for it.

    According to the report, pay TV households in South Africa are set to grow from 3.7 million in 2011 to a staggering 5.9 million by 2016 - with subscription television reaching a phenomenal TV household penetration of 81.4% by then.

    According to the report, the quality of content and limited choices on the SABC channels are the main factors underlying the migration of viewers from free channels to pay TV.

    The report also predicts that social media is going to be a strong factor fueling the uptake of subscription television in South Africa as viewers talk and interact around buzz-worthy, must-see television, and notes that "quality local TV content is becoming increasingly important".

    According to the report, PwC predicts, based on current trends and information, that the total television advertising revenue in South Africa will increase at a projected 7.8% compound annual rate to a staggering R14.6bn by 2016. 

    Meanwhile subscription spending on pay TV is set to continue double-digit growth through 2015 and rise to R21.8bn by 2016, compared to R12bn in 2011. That is 12.7% compound growth annually.

    Community TV stations in South Africa are beginning to generate measurable audiences and meaningful advertising revenue. 

    According to the benchmark report, the SABC is facing increasing competition from pay TV providers which are attracting viewers. The SABC will face further increased competition after the launch of digital terrestrial television (DTT) as even more free TV channels are rolled out.

    According to the report TopTV "does not have have a meaningful sports offering and has scaled back on its plans to introduce high definition (HD) channels and a personal video recorder (PVR)."

    The report states that "TopTV has encountered several problems over the past year, including not being able to secure meaningful sports content, billing problems, and losing third-party channels from its bouquet as a result of dwindling subscriber numbers. However, TopTV has managed to replace some of these with new channels.

    "DStv's PVR service has been extremely succesful with more than 650 000 subscribers already using the service, a 37% increase from 2011."

    "With the increased competition in the market, and with the proposed introduction of DTT, consumers increasingly want to have a service tailored to their specific needs," says the TV report. 

    "As consumers increasingly want to select what they would like to watch, it is increasingly becoming more and more difficult for service providers to differentiate their service offering.

    "M-Net produces various reality shows, the most popular being Idols and the recently-concluded MasterChef South Africa. Not only does this provide unique content not available anywhere else, but it also enhances M-Net and MultiChoice's presence on social networks.

    According to the report, pay TV competition in South Africa is limited, with MultiChoice and DStv and On Digital Media (ODM) and TopTV being the only players. 

    "Even if new licences are issued for both pay TV and DTT in South Africa, it would take significant time for new market entrants to gain traction in the market and therefore we don't expect a meaningful change during the forecast period [-2016]."

    The overall subscription household universe is growing rapidly, notes the report. "The number of pay TV subscribers rose by 700,000 in 2011, the largest single-year increase in South African pay TV history. Between 2008 and 2011 the subscription household base nearly doubled. The availability of popular sports on pay TV has proved to be a major lure. Enhanced services for the high-end subscriber and discount packages for the less affluent have helped to expand the market.

    "During the past three years, subscription household growth averaged 23.8% compounded annually. We do not expect this steep pace of growth to be maintained. With a majority of TV households in South Africa now subscribing to a pay TV service, future growth will necessarily be more limited.

    "In addition, the launch of DTT in late 2012 will provide an enhanced TV channel selection that will be largely free, providing new competition for pay TV. We expect that a growing DTT market will cut into subscription TV household growth during the latter part of the forecast period.

    "The overall number of subscription households in South Africa will increase from 3.7 million in 2011 to a projected 5.9 million by 2016. Subscription household penetration will reach 81.4% in 2016 from 52.9% in 2011." 

    "With a significant number of households now subscribing to pay service, the SABC is facing the prospect of ongoing share loss. 

    "The quality of content and limited choices available on the SABC channels are the main factors underlying the migration of viewers to pay TV. 

    "The launch of DTT will exacerbate this trend as broadcasters such as e.tv and M-Net introduce new TV channels on DTT bouquets," notes the report.

  • South African film, Material, had its world premier at the Montreal International Film festival last month. The festival's objectives includes encouraging cultural diversity and understanding among nations, and fostering the cinema of all continents by stimulating the development of quality cinema.

    Directed by Craig Freimond, and produced by Ronnie Apteker and Robbie Thorpe, Material tells the story of a young boy who works in the family shop and who wants to become a stand-up comic. Being from a Muslim family, rooted in deep traditions, this creates a family conflict, that has been likened to the Jazz Singer.

    It is a story about a boy who wants to challenge the status quo, and pursue his God given talents. The film received endless praise and resonated with young and old.

    The Material movie was released in February of this year in cinemas throughout South Africa and had a very long and successful run. It is the one of the first non-Afrikaans films to actually recover its investment (albeit a very modest budget) and has been invited to participate in a list of key international film festivals.

    "The film has a chance of getting some international distribution" comments its lead actor, Riaad Moosa. Riaad, a medical doctor, whose parents are also doctors, is one of the most cherished stand-up comics in the land. He believes that laughter is the best medicine, and his special brand of comedy is admired far and wide. Riaad has just finished shooting in another film, a major motion picture, with his role of Ahmed Kathrada in the Long Walk to Freedom alongside British stars Idris Elba and Naomie Harris.

    Material will also be playing in Busan in South Korea in October - the Busan festival is the biggest in Asia. The movie has also been scheduled to screen at the London film festival directly after Busan. The Material team are waiting for news from India. The big film festival there at the end of November, the International Film Festival of India (IFFI), feels like the perfect fit for this colourful story of family and spiritual purpose.

    For more information on the movie visit here

  • The hard work, passion and resilience dedicated to the production of The Adventures in Zambezia by the producers and team at Triggerfish Animation Studio has paid off. This animation film has finally reached the silver screen. By Karen van Schalkwyk.

    Zambezia was picked up by Sony Pictures for distribution in English-speaking territories and will be released in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia. It has already been screened in Israel, Austria, Switzerland, Russia and Germany. Overall the film has been sold in over 40 territories world-wide and will be released in South Africa on 26 December by Nu Metro.

    The film began as a pilot in 2006 and received development funding from the National Film & Video Foundation (NFVF). Stuart Forrest, producer and CEO at Triggerfish, says that it took two years to write the script and over two and half years in production. This time frame is in line with international animated film production. Pixar Animation takes close to three years to write scripts and as long in production. For a South African animated film shot on a limited budget of $20 million and under difficult circumstance, the turnaround on The Adventures in Zambezia is a real achievement.

    As with most films the real challenge was raising the budget. However from the outset, the producers wanted the film to reach a global audience and therefore decided to secure CGM, an international sales agent, based in Beverly Hills, to provide estimates on what the film could sell for. Forrest explains that this enabled them to pre-sell the film and CGM brought a gap financier on board who cash flowed the presales. The next challenge was sorting out the legal documents with the investors who included the IDC, DTI, NFVF and investors in San Francisco and Los Angeles. It took over nine months for the legal work to be finalized so that the funding could be transferred. "Surviving this was a huge challenge," says Forrest.

    The Adventures in Zambezia was also the first feature film for Triggerfish, so the learning curves were immense. Forrest explains that they had to learn the lessons the hard way, which often lead to disappointment and frustration. He is quick to point out, that it is due to the amazing team that the film achieved international recognition.

    The team adopted a methodical approach. After they secured the financiers, they shopped it around extensively during production. On completion, the film was screened to an invited audience of major studios in LA. This lead to Sony securing an interest in the project and a deal with the Head of International Acquisitions. They also conducted test screenings and were rewarded with an audience feedback of 93% positive for the target market.

    Forrest explains that they had over 250 people working on the film with a core group of around 90 people. Most of the animators were Cape Town based with the balance mostly from Johannesburg.

    One of the key elements was to keep the film authentically South African even though many of the voice artists like Samuel L. Jackson, Richard E. Grant, Jeff Goldblum and Abigail Breslin are international stars. Forrest says to attract international interest they had to have name actors attached. However, the 'fingerprints' all over the film with regards to the music, design, and story came from the hearts and minds of South African filmmakers.

    The long term vision was to send a clear South African voice out to the rest of the world. The other business objective was to develop strategic partners both locally and globally who were aligned with their vision.

    The audience feedback thus far is very positive. The film, recently released in Russia on 650 screens in 150 cities, has gained the box office number 2 spot in Russia and was also the number 1 independent film of the summer in Israel and is still playing. Forrest explains that they have had positive response in other territories like Austria and Switzerland although they expected better results in Germany. To date the film has sold over half a million tickets in the first few territories.

    Triggerfish are currently working on their second film called Khumba, scheduled for completion in the first quarter of 2013, and are in development with their third project in association with the NFVF. Forrest explains that they have learnt a tremendous amount from interaction with distributors, sales agents and financiers on Zambezia. This has resulted in a clear vision of the kind of films they want to make and that they want to grow into an international company.

    Triggerfish is in the process of establishing the company as a global, media and entertainment brand and has already launched a games department as well as eBooks publishing for mobile devices. Forrest points out that the most important aspect is to monetize the intellectual property (IP).

  • MultiChoice Nigeria, the country's leading pay-tv service provider, has announced that it is moving forward the implementation date of its special subscription discount promotion from October to September this year.

    According to a statement issued by the company in Lagos, the implementation of the discount promotion was moved forward by a month from October to September to reward subscribers for their loyalty and support to the company's DStv service.

    To this end, the statement further stated that all monthly paying subscribers who pay their subscription in September before they are due for disconnection attract a 10% discount with immediate effect while annual paying subscribers also attract a 12% discount across all bouquets with immediate effect, provided they make payment before they are disconnected.

    Giving the details of the discounts, it stated that "For monthly paying subscribers who take advantage of the special offer, the 10% discount translates to N1,350 from N1,500 (N150 less than the new rate) for DStv Access; N2,700 from N3, 000 (N300 less than the new rate) for DStv Family; N4, 500 from N5, 000 (N500 less than the new rate) for DStv Compact; N6,750 from N7, 500 (N750 less than new rate) for DStv Compact Plus; and N9, 900 from N11, 000 (N1,100 less than the new rate) for the DStv Premium.

    "For annual paying subscribers, the 12% discount translates into N 15,840 from N18,000 (N2,160 less) for DStv Access; N31,680 from N36,000 (N4,320 less) for DStv Family; N52,800 from N60,000 (N7,200 less) for DStv Compact; N79,200 from N90,500 (N11,300 less) for DStv Compact Plus and N116,160 from N132,000 (N15,840 less) for the DStv Premium bouquet for annual paying subscribers "Initially, we informed our subscribers and members of the public that subscribers can only qualify for the price discount effective from the 1st of October this year but we have decided to bring this forward to September as a token of appreciation to our valued subscribers," says, Managing Director of MultiChoice Nigeria, John Ugbe

  • 'Burn it up Djassa', a film shot in 11 days for a budget of only 15,000 USD created a buzz at the TIFF, the main film event in North America, with sold-out screenings and numerous reviews in the press. 

    Today, this film is legally watchable on AfricaFilms.tv for 7 days only.

    In order to allow a wide audience to enjoy the film as the festival's visitors could, 'Burn it up Djassa' will be available online on the legal VoD portal AfricaFilms.tv as of tonight Friday September 14, 2012 from 4 P.M. Toronto time.

    This is a time-limited offer, starting right after the last world-première at TIFF - until Friday 21st. September, 2012.

    Buy or rent the film for 4 USD here 

    The film takes place in Wassakara, a ghetto in Abidjan (Ivory Coast). Tony, 25, lives with his sister Ange, 23. As a cigarette street vendor, he blows his luck gambling and loses all his money. He will drift down into gangsterhood, and as a result into serious problems. On the other side of the law stands Mike, the ghetto cop, who happens to be his elder brother.

    Toronto Star wrote: "The music is hot and the steel is cold in this ghetto tragedy". 

    AfricaFilms.tv is the first VOD portal devoted to the best films from and about Africa, the Caribbean and the Diaspora. The 350 titles yet available for 48-hours rental or download-to-own include: all the comedies by late master Henri Duparc, the best South-African fictions and documentaries, dozens of TV-series, Nollywood hits… and many other cult-titles such as "Coz Ov Moni", the first hip hop musical shot in Ghanaian pidgen. Prices start at 1 USD.

  • The president of the African Network of Promoters and Cultural Entrepreneurs (RAPEC), John Dossavi, on Monday played down in Paris the closure of cinema halls in Africa and pleaded for a new policy on cinemas. 'I am naturally not for the closure of cinema halls. But I take the view that the problem is not so much the wave of closures as the absence of African films that reflect African realities and respond to the demand on the continent,' he said in an interview with PANA.

    For Mr. Dossavi, the advent of 'African films shot by Africans for Africans' would be largely enough to resolve the problem of the spate of closures of cinema halls on the continent.

    'To say the truth, I can't see what we are losing now with the closure of these cinema halls. In fact, no African films are projected on African screens. Young cinema-goers are rather interested in action films. Let us take their demand into account and let us produce and distribute films that correspond to our realities,' RAPEC president emphasized.

    He also repeated his doubts about the capacity of the  Ouagadougou Pan African Cinema and Television Festival (FESPACO) to really promote African films.

    'Let us be clear: I am not going to blame anybody. I am just going to be alert on the urgency of having our own cinema. If we spend one million euros to produce an African film, we will need five others to communicate on the film and promotes it across our vast continent', Mr. Dossavi added.

    According to him, even if we succeed in producing films that reconcile the African cinema to its audience, there is the need to envisage opening a reasonable number of cinema halls in each major African city.

    'We did have 2, 3 even 4 cinema hall in a single African city. I think that even if we produce films that make the African youth dream we can stick to one cinema hall per African city,' RAPEC president further said.,

    For the past several years, cinema rooms in major African cities have been closing down one after the other. Capital cities like Dakar, Niamey, Yaoundé, Libreville no longer have a single cinema hall.

  • Founded in February 2010, NaShakaraTv has established itself as being a leading broadcaster for music and entertainment in Africa, allowing billions of people to discover watch and share, authentic creative videos, images and news feeds online. NashakaraTv provides an entity for people to connect, inform, and inspire others across the globe and acts as a distribution platform for original content creators to advertise their work / finding.

    NaShakaraTV are committed to deliver the best entertainment and music sources from the African culture; such as: up and coming models, new music from Africa, brand new music videos, exclusive interviews and of course live behind the scene material from our clients.

    Although we are still a growing organisation, we would like to maintain our value for music and entertainment and encourage all clients and users to acknowledge NaShakaraTv as a source for factual and genuine information / media.

    We have a strict regime for quality over quantity and we hope to continue providing you, our viewers with the best in African music and entertainment and work our upmost to keep climbing towards the top, breaking down any barriers we may encounter along this journey to become Africas “Number one, broadcasting channel” online.

     

  • The China Africa Development Fund and China Development Bank have committed to invest large sums of money in the digitalisation of TV in African countries.

    Chinese news source China Daily quotes Chi Jianxin, president of the China Africa Development Fund, as saying at a seminar organised by Beijing-based private media group StarTimes that the development fund has already invested US$ 100mn since 2007, and has earmarked a further US$ 50mn for the project.

    China Development Bank meanwhile has offered a whopping US$ 400mn in loans for Africa’s digital switchover initiatives, and may double this figure in the near future, according to the report.

    StarTimes operates digital TV services (delivered via DTH) across Africa, serving more than 1.4mn homes in 13 African countries with around 140 channels, and its chairman Pang XinXing has indicated that he wants to make the company into Africa’s most influential digital TV operator.

  • Ari Kesisoglu, Managing Director of Google’s operations in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, discusses how online video is becoming more social, and the products Google is developing specifically for the Arab market.

    What can be expected from the convergence of Connected and Linear TV?

    Connected TV, which is made possible through the internet, has changed the way people watch television forever. People no longer need to watch a programme just because it’s on.

    Viewers now expect to watch what they want, when they want, on whatever device they are using. Needless to say, linear TV is here to stay, however, companies with a forward-looking outlook are shifting their strategies to accommodate the shift in trends.

    We have seen this happen recently in MENA when more than 50 Ramadan premium shows (peak TV viewership) were made available on a dedicated Ramadan hub on YouTube (YouTube.com/Ramadan).

    What do you believe are the most significant current and future trends in online video?

    We see online video becoming increasingly more social. Now more than ever users share, comment, post videos and that triggers virtual conversations and user engagement.

    Production of local content is also on the rise. We have seen a huge plunge of local content on YouTube for example in countries like Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan and expect to see even more of that across the MENA region.

    We also expect to see more premium content owners coming online and sharing exclusive content like behind the scenes, extra scenes, and live feeds through YouTube.

    How is online becoming a destination of premium content?

    The Internet is fundamental to the future of premium content for one simple reason: because it’s what people want. It give users more choice which is a good thing.

    In the MENA region there are 167 million video views a day, putting the region in the second spot in the world, only after the US.

    Many premium content creators and owners see this as a huge opportunity. By integrating TV and online they ensure they are where the viewers are searching for them.

    What role does Google plan to play here in the MENA region?

    Google is serious about the MENA region: we have been investing in many different ways and will continue to do so. We have doubled our workforce in the region with offices in the UAE and Egypt.

    We are keen on driving the Arabization of the Internet through many different ways, such as launching many products in Arabic, including Voice Search, Driving directions for Maps, and Arabic interface of Google+.

    Also we have reached out to nearly 12,000 entrepreneurs and developers through g|days (launched in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, UAE & Jordan) as part of our outreach programmes.

    Ari will be speaking at the TV Connect MENA event taking place in Dubai on 30th-31st October, 2012. For more information and to register, please visit here: 

  • On 6 September (2012) South African free-to-air commercial broadcaster e.tv made a presentation to the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) in Johannesburg stating that the current draft regulations for digital terrestrial television (DTT) threaten the future viability of FTA television.

    The presentation was premised on e.tv’s desire ‘to prevent the ghettoisation of FTA TV’ and questioned whether satellite pay-TV platform DStv or FTA TV will become the primary television platform for the majority of South Africans once the country migrates to DTT.

    In existence for 14 years, e.tv is currently South Africa’s only private commercial FTA TV broadcaster and claims a viewership of over 16 million people daily, second only to FTA public broadcast channel SABC1.

    At the ICASA presentation e.tv maintained that the draft DTT regulations will further entrench DStv’s already powerful position and will weaken the prospects of a successful DTT platform. It also accused DTT regulation over the past four years as being ‘arbitrary and lacking in consistency’.

    e.tv questioned why pay-TV broadcaster M-Net, which has a terrestrial footprint of under 65,000 households, has been given 40% of DTT multiplex 2 by ICASA against the 50% given to e.tv (with 8.3 million households). In other words, e.tv’s household base is 128x the size of M-Net’s but its multiplex allocation is only one quarter more than that of M-Net.

    “This is the 5th time in four years that e.t has made a presentation to ICASA on the issue of DTT,” said e.tv. “In the meantime with all the dithering, pay-TV’s dominance has grown – four years ago 13% of South African households had pay-TV and that figure has now grown to 31%. DStv has an ad revenue share of 44% and audience share 25% - all of which threatens the potential success of FTA services on the DTT platform.” 

    In addition e.tv compared the cost of a fully installed DStv set –top box (R499) against a FTA DTT STB (R800), which will have a maximum of 19 standard definition channels as opposed to DStv’s premium offering of 102 channels, 15 of which are HD.

    “The challenge for the regulator to fulfil its mandate is to prevent DStv from becoming the primary multi-channel platform in South Africa,” stated e.tv.

    It further maintained that it will be impossible for to provide HD services in DTT under the proposed licensing framework The capacity provided to e.tv on Mux 2 would enable it to broadcast only two HD channels including its current service (and neither of those could be sport). 

    “By allocating e.tv only 50% of a multiplex in circumstances where additional spectrum has been made available by the Authority, it discriminates against e.tv as a terrestrial broadcasting licensee which competes for audiences and advertising against DStv,” said e.tv. 

    The broadcaster proposed the following DTT multiplex framework during dual illumination when both analogue and DTT signals will be broadcast: Multiplex 1: SABC and public radio; Multiplex 2: e.tv and commercial radio; and Multiplex 3: 25% to M-Net to dual illuminate the M-Net channel in HD with the balance to be shared among incumbent pay-TV licensees.

    e.tv also made a case against the local content quotes in the draft DTT regulations. “The quotas are quite simply unaffordable and also contrary to the industry standard for multi-channel television, which is based on repeat ratios and formulas. It would cost any channel – whether e.tv, SABC or a new service – a minimum of R100m per annum per channel to comply with this quota in a manner which is cost-effective but which also does not affect the audience attractiveness of its service. 

    “The cost of these three hours alone would exceed the budgeted of the total 24-hour schedule of many of the individual DTT channels,” claimed the broadcaster.

  • On September 5, 2012, APO reported that a Tanzanian TV journalist was killed on Sunday during a confrontation with police over the arrest of another journalist, according to several local journalists who witnessed the shooting.

    The victim was identified as Daudi Mwangosi, a reporter with the private station Channel Ten and chairman of the press club in the southern city of Iringa, who was covering an opposition party gathering in Nyololo village, local journalists told CPJ. Supporters of Chadema cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (Party for Democracy and Progress) had gathered in defiance of a ban on political demonstrations, which had been put in place during an ongoing regional census, according to news reports. Violence ensued when police beat the Chadema supporters and fired tear gas at them, local journalists said.

    Police attacked Mwangosi after he confronted them about the assault and arrest of Godfrey Mushi, a reporter with Nipashe newspaper, three journalists told CPJ. Neville Meena, secretary-general of the Tanzania Editors’ Forum, told Reuters that police fired a tear gas canister into Mwangosi’s stomach at close range. One widely circulated photo appears to show an officer pointing a rifle at an individual being held down by several officers. The scuffle was documented by several journalists, including Francis Godwin and Gustav Cheha.

    Mushi told CPJ that police had beaten and detained him for photographing the demonstration. No other journalist was attacked, and he was released without charge two hours later, he said. Mushi also told CPJ he did not know why the police had targeted him.

    Police spokesman Advera Senso did not return repeated calls from CPJ seeking comment. Reuters quoted police commissioner of operations Paul Chagonja as saying that “police deny any deliberate involvement in the death of the journalist.” He said a joint military-police inquiry would be conducted into Mwangosi’s death.

    “We condemn the killing of Daudi Mwangosi, who witnesses say lost his life while defending a fellow reporter at a news event,” said CPJ Africa Advocacy Coordinator Mohamed Keita. “Preliminary statements show police have pre-judged this case, but with the abundance of photographic evidence and eyewitness testimony, we expect the Tanzanian government to set aside such preconceptions, undertake an immediate, independent investigation, and bring the perpetrators to justice.”

    Mwangosi, who began his journalism career in 2005, was elected chairman of the Iringa Press Club in 2011, according to local journalists. He was survived by a wife and four children.

    Mwangosi’s death is the first work-related fatality documented by CPJ in Tanzania since the organization began keeping detailed records in 1992.

  • Togo has launched an initiative to completely renew the country’s broadcast TV infrastructure. Harris will be at the heart of the overhaul, designing, installing and commissioning an entire digital video chain to transmit throughout the country — using a national network of DVB-T2 transmitters and satellite services.

    “Harris will play a central role in this ground-breaking digital TV transition – not only in supplying the market’s most advanced digital production, distribution and transmission technology, but also in providing the human resources that are so important to the success of this pioneering project,” said Vincent Pernin, technical manager, General d’Afrique – the project’s prime contractor. “Already, we have developed a close working relationship with Harris’ team of engineers and technology specialists. We look forward to an exciting period as we move forward in this initiative.”

    To meet the TV needs of an entire country, Harris will supply a complete solution comprising three complete TV stations, including production studios, master control rooms, distribution and post-production centres. It will also provide Togo with mobile news gathering equipment; satellite uplink and receiving systems at each TV site; content distribution systems at the using the Selenio media convergence platform; and nine TV sites, featuring new and refurbished towers, new antennas, electrical equipment, air handling equipment and Harris Maxiva DVB-T2 transmitters.

    Togo is turning on digital TV with Harris equipment

    “Togo is setting a new standard in the African region by adopting a digital TV ecosystem based on the DVB-T2 transmission standard and using our most advanced contribution, production and distribution technologies,” said Harris Morris, President, Harris Broadcast Communications. “This investment will provide Togo with a valuable resource that will aid cultural and economic development in the country.”

  • Christie Digital Systems Canada has announced that Ster-Kinekor Theatres has confirmed a major deal, as it undertakes full conversion of its cinema estate to digital. This will be the first time that the brand's Solaria, Solaria One and Solaria One+ and its IMB and 4K resolution have all featured in the same deployment.

    The South African group currently has Christie Series 2 cinema projectors operating but this will grow considerably to 180 Christie Series 2 projectors along with 198 Solaria One and Solaria One+ projectors, which will be available from the end of 2012. These come complete with lens, custom-designed Xenon lamp, Christie integrated media block (IMB) and easy-to-operate screen management software (SMS).

    The new deployment will also include 4K DLP Cinema projectors for use at selected cinemas in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban and Cape Town, chosen after careful evaluation against competitive models.

    The theatre group began the conversion process in 2008, turning its first five screening rooms into 3D digital with the help of the brand's 2K projectors. Because of this success, it set a target to become 100% DCI-compliant by mid-2013 and formed a partnership with Arts Alliance Media (AAM) to expedite this. 

    Ster-Kinekor Theatres CEO, Fiaz Mahomed, says that the upgrade is a critical step in helping the company grow the business and take film viewing to the next level. "Christie is crucial to this development and its close relationship with Arts Alliance and overall bid was compelling. The digital conversion will ensure a heightened viewing experience and is critical in meeting the very real demand from our valued audiences in seeing the best film content at its best."

    He also believes that the solution offers many competitive advantages. "The superior optics and high brightness are ideal for 3D applications and the projectors also provide low cost of ownership," he said. "As for the 4K platform, the high frame rate and 4096 x 2160 resolution moves the whole experience a step further."

  •  

    8-11 October 2012
    Mipcom
    The world's entertainment content market

    Venue: Cannes, France
    For more information click here:

    10 - 21 October  2012

    The 56th. BFI London Film Festival

    venue: London, UK.The 56th. BFI London Film Festival - from the 'British Film Institute' - includes several productions focused on Africa. For details about the Africa-related films at this year’s London Film Festival,for more information please click here:

    12-14 October 2012

    13th edition of MEDIMED 
    Sitges, Spain

    Organised by Apimed, the event will present again an exclusive selection of documentary projects, and ready made programmes, aiming to enhance the professional and creative exchange between the 12 MEDA countries and the 27 EU countries, encouraging the development, promotion and distribution of European and Mediterranean audio-visual works.
    Click here for more info.

    13th to 21st October 2012
    9th edition of FCAT Córdoba African Film Festival 
    Venue: Córdoba, Spain
    Summary: The Spanish city of Córdoba and Al Tarab (the NGO behind FCAT) announce changes in both the host city and dates for the 2012 edition. The Festival, which has been held since 2004 in Tarifa, Spain, will now take place every Fall in Córdoba, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, craded of civilizations and cultures for over 2000 years. Call for entries now available on their website. Deadline: May 15, 2012.
    Contact: For more information, contact Marion Berger at Fcat.

    25 October - 2 November 2012
    Africa In Motion (AIM) Film Festival

    Venue:Filmhouse Cinema Edinburgh and Glasgow Film Theatre (GFT) Glasgow
      Scotland’s biggest celebration of African cinema returns for its 7th consecutive year at Filmhouse Cinema and launches this year for the first time at the Glasgow Film Theatre (GFT). Taking the theme of ‘Modern Africa’, a diverse programme of documentary and fictional films will explore the African urban experience, contemporary politics across the continent. The full programme will be announced on 24 September, and will be available at: Africa in Motion (AIM) Film Festival here: 

    30 & 31 October 2012
    IP&TV ME and North Africa 2012

    The IP&TV Forum MENA 2012 is the main IPTV event in the region.
    Venue: Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Dubai
    For more information click here:

    31 Oct. -2 Nov. 2012
    DISCOP AFRICA 2012

    Venue: the SANDTON CONVENTION CENTER in Johannesburg, South Africa
    Launched in 2008, DISCOP AFRICA is the only pan-African industry gathering strictly dedicated to the production and distribution of multiscreen television content.
    More here  

    10-18 Nov. 2012  Lumières d'Afrique  
    Venue: Besançon, France.  African film festival in France. For more information click here:

    14th-15th November 2012
    AfricaCast
    Venue: Cape Town Convention Centre, Cape Town, South Africa
    AfricaCast is a new event organised jointly by Informa’s Com World Series and IP&TV World Series to address the challenges and opportunities in Africa’s broadcasting market.
    More here

    20-21 November 2012  
    NollywoodCon 2012 

    venue: Civic Centre, Lagos, Nigeria NollywoodCon 2012 brochure for your perusal. NollywoodCon is the premier Film, TV, Mobile Content Expo and Fans Convention. We are interested in exploring sponsorship/partnership opportunities. More information visithere:

    27 - 28 November, 2012
    3rd MYCONTENT

    Venue: Dubai Int’l Convention and Exhibition Centre
    The event will be held Under the Patronage of H.H. Sheikh Majid Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Culture & Arts Authority, and is the leading international entertainment content show in the Middle East & North Africa region.
    For more information click here:

    23 February - 2 March 2013

    The twenty third (23rd) edition of the Pan-African Film & TV Festival of Ouagadougou 

    Venue; Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, several places.One of the most popular African film festival will take place with “African Cinema and Public Policy in Africa” as the edition’s theme.

    5-26 May 2013  
    Festival de Cannes  

    venue: Palais du Festival, Cannes, South of France.  The Festival de Cannes has celebrated the cinema for more than 60 years. Over the years, the French Association of the International Film Festival has been able to evolve whilst retaining the essential: the passion for motion pictures, discovery of new talents, and enthusiasm of festival-goers and professionals from around the world, all contributing to the birth and distribution of films.  For more information click here:

    27-30 May 2013  
    The Broadcast Show Africa  

    Venue: Sandton Convention Centre - Johannesburg, South Africa  The Broadcast Show Africa provides a platform where new revenue streams can be explored; key technologies can be evaluated, and operators and businesses can gain valuable insight into implementing successful TV business models.  For more information click here:

    27-30 May 2013  
    SatCom Africa  

    Venue: Sandton Convention Centre - Johannesburg, South Africa  The largest satellite conference & expo focusing on the needs of the African continent. Bringing together end-users & suppliers of satellite technology to find cost effective & reliable communication solutions. For more information click here:

    17-21 April 2013  
    Festival International Du Film Panafricain - Cannes /PanAfrican International Film Festival 

    Venue: Cannes France  The festival is devoted to the new generation of African Digital filmmaking.  For more information click here:

    3-4 July 2013  
    Broadcast, Film & Music Africa 2013  

    Venue: Oshwal Centre, Westlands, Nairobi, Nairobi, Kenya.  One of the largest international meeting on the African continent for film, electronic media and TV/broadcast professionals. The 2012 edition gathered 650 delegates.  For more information clickhere:

     

  •  - Two former employees of the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation last week admitted that they were guilty of corruption and other crimes in connection with the selling of stolen NBC television licences five years ago. James Tjilondelo, who was employed at the NBC as a senior compliance officer, and Timotheus Sheepo, who was a compliance officer with the national broadcaster, are set to be sentenced by Magistrate Dinnah Usiku in the Windhoek Regional Court on Wednesday next week. Each of them has pleaded guilty to two charges. Tjilondelo (29) admitted guilt to a charge of theft and a count of the corrupt use of an office or position to obtain gratification. Sheepo (43) pleaded guilty to charges of receiving stolen property, and the corrupt use of an office or position to obtain gratification. The crimes which the men admitted cost the NBC close to N$110 000.

    - Tunisian National TV Channel 2 was awarded the Best Television Production Prize at the 13th Video Clip Oscars, organised in Cairo, September 13-16.The clip "Sarkhat Omma," which was directed by Khalfallah Khalsi and performed by singer Sofia Sadek, was produced by the National TV Channel 2, last July. 

  •  

    South Africa: Call for proposals for NFVF First Time Filmmaker Project

    05 September 2012: The National Film and Video Foundation invites all eligible first time filmmakers to respond to the Call for Proposals for the production of a low budget film aimed at female filmmakers as part of the Tier 2 development process.

    Background

    The concept for the First Time Filmmaker Project is to provide recent film school graduates from historically disadvantaged backgrounds with an opportunity to make their first professional film. Successful applicants will be guided in the development of their stories into 24 minute scripts over a period of 5 months.

    The ten best scripts will then be work shopped for camera in preparation for the production of the films over a five week period. During this process each director will be provided with the necessary tools to break down scripts for camera as well as detailed strategies for extracting the best performances from the actors.

    The successful projects and teams will then be provided with a professional production crew to shoot their film. A post-production supervisor will be appointed to assist them in the editing and final delivery of the film.

     

    Finally, a special premiere of three of the best completed films as chosen by their peers will be held at a suitable venue to be confirmed with the cast, crew and creative personnel as well as NFVF council and staff.

    Eligibility

    In order for a filmmaker to be considered for this opportunity, the applicant must meet the following requirements:

    a. Have graduated from an accredited tertiary film programme within the last two years.

    b. Have majored in one or more of the following: writing, directing, editing, cinematography or producing.

    c. Be a Historically Disadvantaged Individual as defined in the constitution of South Africa.

    d. Be under 30 years old.

    e. Be able to set aside the requisite time over a period of 9 months to complete the programme

     

    Criteria

     

    Eligible candidates for the project must:

     

    Have a strong written concept for a half hour stand alone film with a clearly thought out premise or controlling idea that would allow it to be packaged with at least 4 other projects.

    Demonstrate familiarity with the tools of scriptwriting including software, formatting, scheduling and editing.

    Demonstrate a willingness and ability to work with others in pursuit of the same objective

    Understand the value of and is able to work under pressure and tight schedules

    Not have made a short film professionally.

    APPLICATIONS

    All applications should be able to provide the following documentation in hard copy triplicate for consideration:

     

    1. Narrative treatment for a half hour film including character bible, detailed synopsis, major turning point document.

    2. CV and copy of ID document.

     

    Closing date: 28 September 2012

     

    All applications must be submitted as hard copies to: Thandeka Zwana by the closing date.

     

    All enquiries may be directed to Thandeka Zwana.

    Source: nfvf.co.za

     

    Time to Award the Best in Film & TV. The Kalashas Are Back

     

    The 2012 edition of the Kalasha Film & Television Awards are here. Filmmakers are urged to submit their films and TV shows to be considered for the awards show which seeks to reward excellence in film and TV.

    Interested parties will have to download their submission forms from the Kenya Film Commission Website here and fill out an application form for each of the productions they are entering for the awards. The categories films will vie in include:

     

    Film

    Best Lead Actor

    Best Supporting Actor

    Best Lead Actress

    Best Supporting Actress

    Best Cinematography

    Best Sound

    Best Original Score

    Best Editing

    Best Scriptwriter in Original Screenplay

    Best Feature

    Best Director

    Best Documentary

    Best Short Film

    Best Vernacular Production

    Television

    Best Lead Actor in a TV Drama

    Best Supporting Actor in a TV Drama

    Best Lead Actress in a TV Drama

    Best Supporting Actress in a TV Drama

    Best Performance in a Comedy

    Best Talk Show

    Best TV Documentary

    Best TV Comedy

    Best TV Entertainment Programme

    Special Awards

    Best Student Film (University, College, Secondary School)

    Best Student Documentary (University, College, Secondary School)

    Best Animation Production

    Best Diaspora Production

    Best Riverwood Production

    The deadline for the submission of entries is on the 12th of October, 2012, so you have about a month before the deadline.

    Source: www.ghafla.co.ke, 14 September 2012-Adam Wagwau.

     

     

     

Issue no 139 27 September 2012

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  • When it comes to getting its film and television programmes seen outside Africa, the continent needs all the help it can get. Several events and initiatives have been launched in Europe to help people get a better understanding of African cultures and their global impact. For a short list click on the link here: This year, "Out of Europe XII" / 'Filme aus Afrika' is one of them; it is the largest African film festival organized in Germany. The festival set up by FilmInitiativ kicked off last week and runs from 20 to 30 September 2012; Balancing Act talked to its executives.

    Who’s behind the organization?

    FilmInitiativ Köln e.V. is an association of journalists, media educators and cineastes from Cologne in Germany. One of the group's main activity is the presentation of African films in Cologne and across Germany and a platform for African right holders to commercialize their work.  

    The group was established in 1988, works as a collective and is aimed at people interested in cinematic art. It organizes film-screenings, tours around Germany, discussions and courses, but above all provide a platform for films not normally shown in commercial cinemas. Despite considerable obstacles and limited funds and human resources, the group presents films of cinematographic value and selected programs of cinematic art beyond Europe. In 1992 it presented the first Africa Film Festival “Out of Europe“, which celebrates it’s 20th anniversary this year.  

    Ade Bantu Odukoya (Nigerian musician and patron of the Out of Europe XII festival) wrote: "Over the last two decades they have been trying to correct the distorted and cliché-ridden images of Africa, not by claiming to be experts or by trying to speak on behalf of Africans, but by creating a platform for African film. Filmmakers from the African continent and from the African diaspora have been invited to show their work. The dreams, fears and hopes of a complex, many-layered and multi-faceted continent, encompassing 54 countries, have come to the German public’s attention”.  

    For once, the result has been a sort of dialogue of equals. Of course, it is not enough to put on a biennial African Film Festival and show a number of African films in between. Clearly, the films you see here need to find their way into mainstream cinemas in order to reach the general public. German television must be more open to African films too, not to help Africa, but to keep apace with the breath-taking rate of the continent’s development.  

    Technical progress over the last ten years has been enormous, the democratic movements are unstoppable, the era of despots is over, the days of the corrupt are numbered. The people of Cairo, Lagos, Kinshasa and Harare have laid their fears to rest. They now go out onto the streets and demand transparency and justice. Urban Africa has long since developed its own language and identity. It is freeing itself from the founding fathers of the independence movements. The new Africa is not desperately seeking recognition, but wants to be seen and respected as an equal – something it lays claim to without any ifs or buts. The new Africa will not be palmed off with development aid and hand-outs. Those days are over. The new trends are reflected in the “New African Cinema” productions which you will see and experience at the Out of Europe XII festival."  

    “Following past film series on topics such as the anti-nuclear movement, Palestine, neo-fascism and images of Germany in cinema, this year, FilmInitiativ Köln is presenting a selection of films from Western Africa. This is as much a political choice as one of cinematic aesthetics... It is not only in politics that much of Europe is perceiving Africa as a blank spot on the map, in our movie theaters, too, we can barely make out an African voice... Africa itself, however, has an advanced, multi-faceted film production industry, which under infinitely difficult circumstances (funding, distribution, censorship) is bringing forth films of a broad topical spectrum. Addressing issues such as the struggle against colonialism and neocolonialism, criticism of outdated traditions, the urban-rural divide and class divisions, these films are extremely lively, full of suspense and of an extraordinary quality. They are diametrically opposed to much of what is shown at our cinemas in so far as they convey a simple immediate humanism that allows novel access to subjects and people.“  

    The initiative's announcement dates back to June 1992. FilmInitiativ Köln presented a first series of events including 21 feature and documentary films from Western Africa at the Filmpalette cinema in Cologne. A further series featuring films from other African regions followed within half a year. The programme’s title 'Out of Europe' pointed out the ambition to present authentic images of Africa as opposed to the clichés widely portrayed in TV documentaries and feature movies like the romantic drama 'Out of Africa' (which is set within the milieu of white colonial society whereby Africa is serving merely as a scenic backdrop). 

    Out of Europe was to show films originating in Africa rather than commenting on it, films in which Africans themselves reflect on their history, their everyday existence and the societal problems of their countries. From day one, FilmInitiativ Köln invited guests from various African states, such as the filmmakers Jean-Marie Teno from Cameroon and S. Pierre Yaméogo from Burkina Faso. Mamady Keïta from Guinea, percussionist and protagonist of the music documentary Djembéfola, played a post-screening concert at the civic centre Alte Feuerwache.

    Sawadogo Saga of Burkina Faso’s national broadcasting corporation, who at the time completed an educational course at the   Deutsche Welle in Cologne, was invited to a discussion on filmmaking in Western Africa and pointed out that whoever wants to learn about the variety in African film making ought to visit his home town Ouagadougou. It is there, he added, that the biggest and globally most important African film festival, FESPACO (Festival Panafricain de Cinéma et de la Télévision de Ouagadougou), had been taking place biennially since 1969.  

    FilmInitiativ's partners followed the recommendation and visited FESPACO in Burkina Faso in spring 1993. The opening ceremony alone was overwhelming. It didn’t take place in a cinema but in the city’s biggest football stadium, gathering 40,000 spectators amidst live music and laser shows. The enthusiasm of the local moviegoers in the vast open-air theatres of Ouagadougou, the spectrum of films on the programme and the encounters with filmmakers from all over the continent inspired FilmInitiativ to produce a two-week long “sequel to the FESPACO“ in Cologne as early as December 1993. It showed 50 films under the title Out of Europe III. The programme featured the prize-winners of the original FESPACO and retrospectives on Ousmane Sembène and Safi Faye (Senegal), Gaston Kaboré (Burkina Faso) and Raoul Peck (Haiti) representing the diaspora. Guests included the filmmakers Fanta Régina Nacro from Burkina Faso, Ahmed Diop from Senegal and Balufu Bakupa-Kanyinda from the Congo (at the time still called Zaire).  

    From that point on, collaborators and friends of FilmInitiativ visited the Ouagadougou festival continually every two years, and in 1996 launched the Africa Film Festival in Cologne, running in each subsequent year. As FilmInitiativ started to visit other festivals specialised in African film making, some in Europe (Amsterdam, Milan, Leuven, Tarifa, Berlin and Frankfurt) and some in Africa (Tunis, Cairo and Durban), the Cologne festival soon grew to offer more than FESPACO’s prize-winning films. Both the quality and the extent of the Cologne festival programme increased and so did the interest of local visitors and visitors from other regions. 

    The Filmpalette as well as the Kölner Filmhaus Cinema theaters quickly proved too small, and later editions of the festival took place in larger cinemas such as the Broadway (which sadly no longer exists), the OFF Broadway and the cinema of the Filmclub 813. Since 2008 the festival hub has become fixed at the Film forum of the Museum Ludwig, as it not only offers a large cinema with 260 seats but also provides a spacious foyer to accommodate information stands for African communities and sales stands for literature, music, art and culinary specialities.  

    The 10th festival in 2008 saw 700 visitors attending the opening day alone, which is more than the first West African film series in 1992 counted over its running period. In 2010, the festival attracted 4,000 visitors, many of which had travelled from other cities and neighbouring countries. The biennial Cologne festival 'Out of Europe' has thus grown into the most comprehensive platform for African film making in Germany.  

    FilmInitiativ further offered film series with a topical or country-specific focus. An early example of this is 'A week of remembrance: Ken Saro-Wiwa' in 1996. The extensive nine-day programme stretched beyond screenings to include readings and concerts, Nigerian theatre performances and an event at the University of Cologne with Wole Soyinka, Africa’s first Nobel Prize winner for literature. The series was organised in memory of Ken Saro-Wiwa, opposition politician, writer and filmmaker, who had been executed by Nigeria’s military regime in 1995 for criticising the environmental destruction of Ogoniland in the Niger Delta by international petroleum companies such as Shell. The programme was conceived in close cooperation with Nigerian musicians from Cologne such as Adé Bantu and Don Abi.  

    Cooperation with African communities continued. In 1996, many Cameroonians from Cologne acted as extras in Jean-Marie Teno’s movie Clando about a refugee from Western Africa while the European part of the film was shot in various locations in Cologne with the support of FilmInitiativ. After the premiere of the feature Lumumba in 2002, Congolese living in Cologne and nearby conducted a discussion with the publicist Ludo de Witte from Leuven, who wrote a book revealing the involvement of the Belgian government in the murder of Congo’s first post-independence prime minister. On the occasion of Ghana’s 50th Independence Day celebrations in November 2007, FilmInitiativ showed a series produced in collaboration with the Ghana Union Cologne.  

    As uprisings spread across North Africa in late 2010 and early 2011, FilmInitiativ decided to present the series Game Over and No More Fear with screenings of current features and documentaries from the affected regions. It thereby cooperated with the association “Helft Tunesien e.V.“, founded by Tunisians in exile. The January 2012 preview screening of the documentary 'Tahrir 2011', co-produced by the German public broadcasting institution WDR, marked the beginning of collaboration with the German-Egyptian association “Deutsch- Ägyptische Gesellschaft Köln“.  

    There were dozens of Egyptian migrants amongst the over 300 spectators attending the film’s launch at the Filmforum. Their factual knowledge and guiding contributions to the post-film discussion presented the remaining public with a tangible impression of just how intensely Egyptians are engaged in forming the future of their country.  

    For 20 years, the aim of FilmInitiativ in presenting new African films has remained consistent. The goal is to open our minds to different realities by showing authentic images and hearing stories told by Africans themselves. Director Sarah Maldoror, who presented her 1972 classic Sambizanga on the Angolan War of Independence at Out of Europe VI (Cologne, 2000), put it this way: “At the beginning of this third millennium, cinema is the most popular form of artistic expression worldwide... More than ever do we as Africans have to be present at this rendez-vous of give and take... What counts is our perspective, is to see ourselves through our own images.”  

    This month, Cologne’s African film festival is celebrating its 20th anniversary, presenting Out of Europe XII with a jubilee programme of 85 feature and documentary films, political videos, shorts, experimental and animated films from 20 African countries - many of which are premieres in Germany- as well as 20 guests traveling in from Cairo, Casablanca, Dakar, Cape Town, Paris, Geneva, Vienna and Berlin. The 2012 festival is offering Cologne’s most comprehensive portrayal of contemporary African film making so far.  

    To compile such a programme, members of FilmInitiativ have again visited the world’s most significant festival of African cinema, the FESPACO in Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso), as they have been doing biennially since 1993. The FESPACO’s 23rd edition took place in spring 2011 and its most important prize-winners are now present in Cologne.  The anniversary festival’s pre-programme, titled Africa goes Veedel  has counted more than 2100 visitors. The programme, organised by FilmInitiativ preceded and inaugurated the 20th anniversary of Cologne’s African film festival, and ran from the beginning of May to mid-September 2012. It offered 20 classics of African film in venues across 13 districts' towns.    

    With an opening ceremony with live music, films and international guests, the festival will feature short films from Tanzania and South Africa, guests from Egypt, Burkina Faso, Morocco, Senegal and beyond, Congolese hip hop by Lopango Ya Banka, video clips by the Cairo media collective Mosireen and clips from the africologne theatre festival in Cologne, the launch of the organizer's website and database www.filme-aus-afrika.de – and a wealth of surprises in store. Admission is free and access is provided anytime throughout the entire event.  

    This year, the festival has also invited an unprecedented number of guests. As in earlier years, in-depth post-screening discussions will follow at the cinema, and the museum’s educational services are again offering their workshop on the ground floor to allow interested parties to continue talks within a smaller setting.  

    For this year’s anniversary festival, the foyer of the Filmforum will again transform into a small African bazaar with sales of DVDs, CDs, art, books and information from Africa. African community organisations such as tunicare e.V., the Deutsch- Ägyptische Gesellschaft Köln, the Kenyan association Neema international from Bonn as well as the initiative Ingenieure ohne Grenzen (engineers without borders) will be offering information on their work.  

    Various community members will be offering culinary treats from Africa in the foyer. The first weekend is dedicated to specialities from West Afrika (20 to 23 September) and the second to Eritrean dishes (26 to 29 September).  Year 2012 marks the 20-year anniversary not only of Cologne’s Africa Film Festival but also of the association Öffentlichkeit gegen Gewalt e.V. To honour the occasion, FilmInitiativ is collaborating with the association to present a four-part special series of Cologne premieres on racism and discrimination, including films from Germany, France and the USA.   In adding current features, documentaries, shorts and experimental films from North Africa to the festival programme, FilmInitiativ continues its cinematic portrayal of the societal upheavals and changes affecting the region.  

    The last two years saw FilmInitiativ extend their festival visits to Tunis, Cairo, Tarifa, Rotterdam, Leuven and Berlin – and assess programmes of African cinema events from Zanzibar to Toronto and New York. Research resulted in a choice of hundreds of films, of which only the best were selected to make the Cologne anniversary programme. The weeks of viewing turned into a proverbial agony of choice amongst films of outstanding quality, produced against all political, technical and financial odds encountered in many African countries. Recent productions from North and South Africa made this more evident than ever.  

    FilmInitiativ will continue to broaden the platform for such African perspectives – for perspectives that are aware of what is happening outside Europe and to which degree Europe is to be held responsible. The growing support of the festival's visitors is encouraging the group to pursue this goal despite numerous obstacles. 

     The group's aim is to create a 'Center For African Film' in Cologne over the next three years. This project is about to create a database and online presence which pools information and lends support to increase the distribution of African films in the context of cinematic and political education, in the three languages of German, French and English. Till now, nearly 500 African Films have been screened in Cologne with over 70 guests from 35 countries in Africa. 

     

    More information is available here and via facebook here  

    To get up-to-the minute news, you need to be on Twitter. Follow us on @BalancingActAfr.

    A bumper crop of video clips this week on Balancing Act’s You Tube channel:

    Julian Macharia, Buni TV on this new online video delivery platform

    Kezzy Kimoni, CCD on the impact of digital TV on TV

    Deji Awokoya, General Manager of Beat, Classic and Naija FM on radio in

    Envir Fraser, Convergence Partners on investment opportunities in ICT and media

    Nyasha Mutsekwa, CEO, Metvafrica.com on its Pan-African VOD service

    Special for Balancing Act readers:

    Obi Asika on the split of music revenues with the mobile operators and the size of the Nigerian music industry

    Michael Ugwu, iROKING on Nigeria's Spotify-type service

    Stuart Forrest, Triggerfish Studios on South Africa’s first animation feature Adventures in Zambezia

    Out in November 2012: Anthony Abuah on his new film Woolwich Boys about 419 scammers

    Nigerian Mahmoud Ali-Balogun on his film Tango With Me

     

     

  • One of the first scenes in the ridiculous but thoroughly nasty film "Innocence of Muslims" shows angry Muslims running through the streets smashing things and killing people.

    So what happens when a clip from the film dubbed into Arabic goes up on the internet? Angry Muslims run through the streets smashing things and killing people. It's as simple as that: press the right button, and they'll do what you want.

    Some Christian extremists set out to provoke Muslim extremists into violence that would discredit Islam in the eyes of the West - and it worked, of course. As the US consulate in Benghazi burned and the American dead were carried out, many people in the West thought to themselves: "The Libyans are biting the hand that freed them."

    Wrong conclusion. It wasn't "the Libyans" who broke into the Benghazi consulate and murdered the US ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens; it was a heavily armed band of Islamic extremists.

    "The Libyans" recently voted in their first real election ever, and they elected a secular government. The film just gave the fanatics an opportunity to undermine that choice.

    Maybe the Christian extremists don't understand that their fi lm serves the purposes of those who want to overthrow the moderate, democratically elected governments, both Islamic and secular, that have come to power in the "Arab spring".

    Or maybe they do realise that, and hope that the violence that they are stirring up will bring Muslim extremists to power in those countries. After all, it's easier to mobilise Western opinion against outright fanatics.

    The grown-ups try to keep the situation under control. Grand Mufti Sheik Abdel-Aziz al-Sheik, the highest religious authority in Saudi Arabia, said that Muslims should denounce the film, but without anger: "Muslims should not be dragged by wrath and anger to shift from legitimate to forbidden action, (as) by this they will, unknowingly, fulfill some aims of the film."

    Exactly so, but the leaders of the Arab world's post-revolutionary governments have to walk a fi ne line, denouncing both the film and the violent protests against it.

    Moderate Islamic governments like that of Egypt's President Mohamed Morsi have a particularly tricky task, since they are competing with the Muslim extremists who are organising the protests for the support of the same pious and socially conservative bloc of voters.

    "We Egyptians reject any kind of assault or insult against our prophet," Morsi said last Thursday, "but at the same time we firmly say that this cannot be taken as a justification to assault consulates or embassies and cannot be taken also as a justification for killing innocent people."

    It was not a sufficiently robust condemnation of the violence for US President Barack Obama, who said on the same day: "I don't think that we would consider (Egypt) an ally, but we don't consider them an enemy."

    Obama has his own right flank to protect, and cannot afford to acknowledge in public that elected Arab leaders are in competition with Islamic fanatics for popular support, and so must choose their words with care.

    Most American voters are not sophisticated enough to understand the intricacies of Arab politics, or patient enough to care.

    Similarly, most Arab voters do not want to hear about the American constitution, which guarantees free speech and means that the US government cannot just ban crude attacks on Islam by American citizens.

    The elected Arab leaders will certainly have had this fact explained to them in private by their political advisers, but in public they must demand that the US government suppress the film and punish its makers.

    It's not the United States that has attacked Islam, or even "Hollywood"; just a handful of Americans with a political and religious agenda.

    It's not "Egypt" or "Libya" that has attacked American and other Western diplomatic missions in the Arab world, but small groups of Islamic extremists with a political agenda of their own, supported by a larger number of pious dupes.

    Indeed, the fi lm in question passed without notice when it had its single public screening in the Vine Theatre in Los Angeles in June; only a dozen or so people showed up, probably mostly friends of the producer.

    It attracted little more attention when a shortened version was posted on YouTube at the beginning of July.

    It only took off when the religious Egyptian television channel al-Nas broadcast scenes from it on September 8, and then posted a clip online with an Arabic translation.

    That got hundreds of thousands of views in a matter of days, and the violent protests began almost at once.

    The Christian fanatics and the Muslim extremists are, in the old Marxist phrase, "objective allies."

    This is not a "turning point" in Western relations with the Arab countries or the broader Muslim world (as some excitable commentators have suggested).

    The whole thing will blow over after a little while, just like the violent protests against Danish newspaper cartoons about Muhammad did six years ago.

    It is a tempest in a teapot.

     

  • Ladies and gentlemen, Kenya has come really far in as far as our TV shows are concerned. Gone are the days when Kenyans were ashamed to say they enjoy watching Kenyan shows yet for many it was a guilty pleasure. Gone are the days when the elite and sophisticated wannabees only spoke about watching foreign shows consigning anyone who enjoys them to enduring the label of "mboch".

    Well, with that said, here are Kenya's top 10 hottest TV shows!

    #10 Tahidi High

    This show was the hottest show for what seemed to be half a decade. That was all before the more memorable characters who made the show what it was "graduated". When i could no longer enjoy the guilty pleasure of watching "Shish" do her conniving bad girl act, i weaned myself off the show altogether.

    #9 Mheshimiwa

    I have never truly understood this show. But one thing i do know, is that the show is mighty popular! It has a shocking fanbase that are dedicated and in appreciation of the fact, it gets a spot on the list.

    #8 Inspekta Mwala

    The premise of the show is a bit dodgy in the sense that no police force in the world would hire a midget but i will admit that it's a rather entertaining show.

    I enjoy the fact that they developed all the characters besides Inspector Mwala himself and this makes for a rather interesting blend.

    #7 Briefcase Inc

    These guys are hella hilarious! I can't help but chuckle at the two main characters antics but unfortunately, the plot is abit too redundant for my liking! This show is like a telenovella in the fact that it takes too long to develop the plot. With that said, the actors are top notch and the have that screen chemistry that makes watching the show enjoyable!

    #6 Lies that Bind

    This show is a bit too similar to another on the list but the production work is good, the plot awesome and the actors truly talented. However, because of the comparison that is bound to occur, they are mightily handicapped.

    #5 Changes

    The show boasts a star studded cast that is not just diverse on the talent spectrum but also is a good representation of cosmopolitan Kenya.

    And the stars are good! This is one show you should tune into if you want to see what quality acting is about.

    #4 Vioja Mahakamani

    This show gets to the top of the pile because it was a ground breaking show. And up to date, the show has kept it's fan base up to date. The show is a throw back to the early days of Kenyan television. It is sort of a time capsule.

    #3 Je Huu Ni Ungwana?

    I don't understand half of what is said on this show but this show is a true depiction of how Kenyans behave irrespective of their social standing. These are the "peculiar habits" that Micheal Joseph was talking about.

    And to top it all off, it stars Kenyan acting legends. The guys who made it possible to have the Brenda Wairimu's on telly. Or i might just be a little nostalgic...

    #2 Vitimbi

    True story Bro! This show was/is a legend. Ask any child in Kenya that watches Kenyan TV shows and they can tell you who either Mama Kayai or Mzee Ojwang are.

    And that is the mark this show has left on the entertainment industry for years to come.

    #1 Mali

    What can you say about this show? the only show on the list that gave it a run for it's money did so merely on the basis of nostalgia. The whole team that works on Mali are truly gifted: from the production team, to the actors to the plot. Everything is on it's A game.

    The only improvement i would suggest for Mali is for them to incorporate some Uncle Chim Tuna into the mix and hey presto! Emmys here we come!

  • In November 2009, AfricAvenir, in cooperation with Joe-Vision Production and the Franco-Namibian Cultural Centre (FNCC) launched a joint project called "Namibian Movie Collection", which was placed at the Multimedia Library of the FNCC. The collection currently consists of almost 50 Namibian films.

    For a broader dissemination and exposure of Namibian film work and in order to assist Namibians to tell their story through the medium of film, the NMC is part of a wider project to promote and develop Namibian film productions. AfricAvenir will present ten films from the Namibian Movie Collection at the 7th edition of DISCOP AFRICA*, introducing Namibian films to international sellers and buyers of TV content (visit AfricAvenir @ Viewing Box VB16). 

    Amongst the films to be viewed and purchased are the documentaries "The Power Stone", "Born in Etosha Part I & II", "Testimonies – Breaking the Walls of Silence", "Nda Mona – I have Seen", "Wanahepo – The return of a Namibian Here", and the two striking short films "Rider Without a Horse" and "Love Is".

    All the films presented at DISCOP are to be purchased and are available for TV channels, distribution companies and film festivals. To discover the whole catalogue, visit the site here

    *Note: the 2012 edition of the DISCOP AFRICA multiplatform, television content market and co-production forum to take place from 31 October to 2 November, in precisely 5 weeks from now, at the SANDTON CONVENTION CENTER in Johannesburg, South Africa. As many as 1000+ exhibiting and non-exhibiting delegates representing 700+companies from 85 countries are expected to take part in Africa's #1 industry gathering dedicated to the production, programming and commerce of movies, TV series, animation, formats, telenovelas, documentaries, sports and educational content, live events and thematic channels. 

  • The introduction of South Africa’s first ever prepaid pay-TV model on 13 August by local satellite subscription television operator TopTV is positioned as a key factor in the broadcaster’s turnaround strategy. 

    Since TopTV’s phenomenally successful launch in June 2010, the subscriber base has not grown as originally projected, necessitating a full review of the TopTV business earlier this year. 

    The prepaid model has been introduced to re-activate dormant subscribers and attract new subscribers, particularly in areas outside the main urban centres and television viewers in the lower income bracket. Prepaid vouchers will be available for purchase at outlets all over the country, including spaza shops in townships. 

    Although the official launch took place at The Tavern in Soweto’s Maponya Mall on 16 August, the service went live on 13 August, with 100 vouchers sold in the first three days.

    Each voucher runs for a period of 30 days and subscribers can choose from two options: the Variety package at R109 and the Ultimate Package at R279 – the latter provides access to 62 channels. Once a voucher is purchased the subscriber merely dials a number on his cell phone, punches in the TopTV decoder Smartcard number and the prepaid voucher number and the service will be activated in a few minutes. There are no re-connection fees in between prepaid activations.

    At the Maponya Mall launch the prepaid service was introduced via a humorous snippet from ZA News, the satirical political puppet series currently broadcast on TopTV. 

    “Wouldn’t it be great if our politicians ran on prepaid,” said a puppet of journalist Tim Modise, while the puppet version of investigative reporter Debora Patta responded: “They would have to be topped up all the time.”

    TopTV’s interim chief executive officer Eddie Mbalo noted that the prepaid model had only been introduced into a few countries in the world. “TopTV has introduced the prepaid service to give viewers instant access to the TopTV bouquet and to offer subsribers an alternative and instant payment method.”

    TopTV has secured two partners in terms of retail outlets – Pep Stores and Blue Label. By the end of the year there will be about 6, 000 outlets around the country, with the ultimate goal to expand to 100,000. Eventually, TopTV prepaid vouchers will be available in every outlet where mobile phone airtime can be purchased.

    Lekola noted that TopTV was in the process of claiming its own position as a real innovator and market disruptor. “We are also going to launch a mobisite as well as Internet banking to facilitate the prepaid service.” 

  • OSN, the leading pay-TV network in the Middle East and North Africa, has announced the launch of its first rewards programme, OSN Privileges, offering money can't buy lifetime experiences, special offers and premium prizes all year round for its subscribers.

    The launch of OSN Privileges affirms the broadcaster's commitment in going that extra mile for its subscribers and rewarding them for their loyalty. Designed to make the viewing experience richer and even more enjoyable, OSN Privileges aims to bring the magic of TV to life by giving subscribers access to the most exclusive and unforgettable experiences, incredible rewards and limited edition merchandise. 

    OSN Privileges members will also have access to special offers and benefits from retail partners across the region - from leisure activities to shopping and electronics to VIP cinema tickets. Regional partners include Majid Al Futtaim Leisure, Marriott Hotel and Resorts, Fitness First, Damas and Emax to name a few.

    The rewards programme will be available to existing and new customers. All subscribers need to do is log on to OSN Privileges . Once registered, customers will receive regular updates, news and information on the latest prize draws.

    OSN Privileges has been launched with five amazing prizes to be won in September including an all expense paid week-long trip for four to the amazing Euro Disney Resort in Paris. Other big draw prizes to look forward to include a three-night luxury trip with VIP access for two to attend the MTV Europe Music Awards; three pairs of tickets for the sold-out JLo World Dance Tour in Dubai including 5-star hotel stay; lunch with the Hamdan sisters - glamorous celebrity hosts of the popular talk show Sisters Soup; and OSN Privileges members stand the chance to win over 25 hi-tech Home Cinema systems and 32GB iPads. All this in just one month!

     

  • IN the last 20 to 25 years, pay TV industry, especially the Multi-channels, Multi-points Distribution System (MMDS) arm, has been connecting middle-class and low-income earning Nigerians to the rest of the world through satellite television via cable. But the business of this category of pay TV service providers has lately been hampered by multi-dimensional challenges. In this interview with Kabir Alabi Garba, the President, Association of Cable Operators of Nigeria (ACON), Kunle Osisanya speaks on the challenges and the need for stakeholders, particularly government to quickly tackle them. Excerpts:

    Q: What is cable TV operation all about?

    A: There are basically two ways of watching television: free to air and through the satellite called pay TV. And in the new digital format, there are three basic ways of receiving digital signals in Nigeria for now. There is Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) service, which is being offered by Star TV and GOtv. More may be coming. Again you will notice that GOtv has a slightly different format. Their own is a handheld, that is, the mobile handheld service. However, in the last few months, they have surprised everybody by going into the sales of decoders, which we are made to believe is not part of the original license given to GOtv. Just like the name suggests, it is supposed to be a handheld thing.

    Also, there is Direct To Home (DTH), which is what Multi-Choice is doing. It was what hiTV did. Service providers such as FStv, Trend TV, and DAARSAT had all, at one time or the other, operated on this platform.

    The last but not the least, which is the oldest, is Multi-channels, Multi-points Distribution System (MMDS) and it is the most common around. It has been around for about 20 to 25 years. These are the three different ways through which pay TV service is offered in Nigeria. The cable TV operators fall under the third category, and we are spread all over the country. We are now in 43 locations. Each company has a single license. However, some companies have two or three licenses where they have different locations.

    Q: As the oldest platform for offering pay TV service, how has business fared lately?

    A: Over the last few years, the business has been affected by various challenges including government policies. First is the issue of licensing; the second is power generation, third is unfair competition. The issue of licensing and renewal has always been what the regulatory body, National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), has tried to maintain. However, over the last few years, there are issues of sales, turnover that have affected the industry. The amount paid for issuance of license has not really changed much, but the amount being paid as renewal does not take into reality of the operating environment.

    For in instance, in Kano, as I am speaking to you, operators cannot go to the bank in the daytime; they have to arrange for the banker to come to receive money. That means, customers cannot go to the bank at will to pay. This is one of the environmental problems we have in the industry. Also, in Warri, the situation is pathetic. The operator has a license to cover Effurun, but in Warri, there is what they call string operation. It is a situation where somebody just wakes up and buys about 20 to 40 different decoders from all pay TV operators, put them in a room, receives all the signals and distributes around the town using PHCN poles and boosters, collecting five hundred from people, thus killing the business of the licensed operator. This is because if it would cost you between N300 and N500 to receive 40 channels why would you go and pay N2000 for one operator when you can get the product of five other operators at N500 or thereabout?

    And unfortunately, the NBC and Nigerian Copyright Commission as well as the police have not been able to stop this illegal operation that is already running genuine and licensed operators out of business. These pirates have become so notorious and they operate with impunity.

    In the area of power generation, we all suffer power problems in Nigeria, but it affects the broadcast industry substantially. A client or subscriber may not come for renewal when he has only two to three hours of electricity supply in one week for instance. And the logic is simple: if he struggles to generate power for other essential things, why should he struggle to generate power for pay TV for that matter? That also affects the sales of cable operators. And why it affects them so much is because they are meant to service the middle class. High class people can decide to buy DTH and pay whatever they are asking, but those in the middle class may not be able to afford N9,000, N10,000 every month; but they can afford the rent of cable operators. By license, cable operators have a smaller range of coverage. The license is 50 kilometre radius from where they are operating. It is a community-based thing and that is why cable operators are closer to the people at the grassroots. And the fee is affordable.

    Q: What is your group doing about these challenges?

    A: In ACON, the belief is that piracy is not an issue that can be tackled in Nigeria legally and legitimately. This is because piracy occurs when there is monopoly or scarcity. If there is no scarcity, and it is available for everybody, there would be no piracy. Nobody will steal from you if he can go to the market and buy at the rate the world buys. It is when you are frustrated, when you get there they tell you, ‘Nigerians are bad! Nigerians always want to cut corner!’ And the stuff like that. The man who is selling the programme has already been fed with wrong information about you. So, when you get there, as a legitimate businessman from Nigeria, you are confronted with all these stereotypes and when you ask for the identity of the backbiters, they would decline to mention names.

    In some instances, we have been able to get evidence. The owners of the programme would declare, ‘this is what we heard about your country, this is the evidence, this is the letter written to us that we shouldn’t sell the rights to this so and so company.’

    This is what has led to the death of most of the DTH operators in Nigeria. FSTV died because of content; hiTV died because of content; DAARSAT died because of content.

    There is one thousand and one content available out there. However, there is content that is Nigeria-related. There is the content average Nigerians are interested in. When we say DAAR content, you will be surprised that DAAR content is not only available on A or B channel only, it is also available on CD. But what we are talking about is, let me take a documentary channel worldwide; these are what they call educative channels. There should be no infringement or anything disturbing anybody from getting documentary channels because knowledge is supposed to be shared by the world. It is when we have knowledge spread all over the world that there would be peace and harmony, that people will get to know about others.

    Normally, documentary and educational contents are not supposed to go under such monopolistic tendencies but unfortunately, Discoveries Channel, which teaches about anything you can think of; and we are saying somebody should not say he has the right for the whole of Africa. If you say you have the right, then you have gone to negotiate what is called ‘exclusive deal with the suppliers’. This is wrong!

    Given the fact that the two dominant and relatively successful operators in the industry today have ‘foreign’ connections: Multi-Choice (South Africa), Star Time (China), will it be correct to conclude that pay TV can only succeed in Nigeria with foreign partnership?

    Far from it! Pay TV can succeed in Nigeria and in fact, the best medium to get to Nigerians, especially in this era of digitization, is through the cable. And given the fact that not all Nigerians will be able to afford digital TV as soon as the country goes digital in 2015, the cable operators can serve as stop gap pending the time Nigerians could afford to procure their digital facilities such as decoder or set-top-box as the case may be.

    Indeed, the cable operators are alive and kicking, we only ask the government, especially the regulatory agency to straighten some of the contours that are slowing down the pace of development and progress in the industry. Level playing field must be created for all categories of operators, while the issue of exclusive deal on broadcast rights must be tackled comprehensively.

  • Pay TV households in South Africa are set to grow to a staggering 5.9 million by 2016 with subscription television reaching a phenomenal TV household penetration of 81.4% as viewers' disillusionment with the quality and limited choice offered by the SABC grows.

    The third annual PricewaterhouseCoopers' South African Entertainment and Media Outlook 2012-2016 Report has been released and the section looking at South Africa's white hot television industry estimates massive double-digit growth for pay TV in South Africa as TV viewers want better and more television – and they are willing to pay for it.

    According to the report, pay TV households in South Africa are set to grow from 3.7 million in 2011 to a staggering 5.9 million by 2016 - with subscription television reaching a phenomenal TV household penetration of 81.4% by then.

    According to the report, the quality of content and limited choices on the SABC channels are the main factors underlying the migration of viewers from free channels to pay TV.

    The report also predicts that social media is going to be a strong factor fueling the uptake of subscription television in South Africa as viewers talk and interact around buzz-worthy, must-see television, and notes that "quality local TV content is becoming increasingly important".

    According to the report, PwC predicts, based on current trends and information, that the total television advertising revenue in South Africa will increase at a projected 7.8% compound annual rate to a staggering R14.6bn by 2016. 

    Meanwhile subscription spending on pay TV is set to continue double-digit growth through 2015 and rise to R21.8bn by 2016, compared to R12bn in 2011. That is 12.7% compound growth annually.

    Community TV stations in South Africa are beginning to generate measurable audiences and meaningful advertising revenue. 

    According to the benchmark report, the SABC is facing increasing competition from pay TV providers which are attracting viewers. The SABC will face further increased competition after the launch of digital terrestrial television (DTT) as even more free TV channels are rolled out.

    According to the report TopTV "does not have have a meaningful sports offering and has scaled back on its plans to introduce high definition (HD) channels and a personal video recorder (PVR)."

    The report states that "TopTV has encountered several problems over the past year, including not being able to secure meaningful sports content, billing problems, and losing third-party channels from its bouquet as a result of dwindling subscriber numbers. However, TopTV has managed to replace some of these with new channels.

    "DStv's PVR service has been extremely succesful with more than 650 000 subscribers already using the service, a 37% increase from 2011."

    "With the increased competition in the market, and with the proposed introduction of DTT, consumers increasingly want to have a service tailored to their specific needs," says the TV report. 

    "As consumers increasingly want to select what they would like to watch, it is increasingly becoming more and more difficult for service providers to differentiate their service offering.

    "M-Net produces various reality shows, the most popular being Idols and the recently-concluded MasterChef South Africa. Not only does this provide unique content not available anywhere else, but it also enhances M-Net and MultiChoice's presence on social networks.

    According to the report, pay TV competition in South Africa is limited, with MultiChoice and DStv and On Digital Media (ODM) and TopTV being the only players. 

    "Even if new licences are issued for both pay TV and DTT in South Africa, it would take significant time for new market entrants to gain traction in the market and therefore we don't expect a meaningful change during the forecast period [-2016]."

    The overall subscription household universe is growing rapidly, notes the report. "The number of pay TV subscribers rose by 700,000 in 2011, the largest single-year increase in South African pay TV history. Between 2008 and 2011 the subscription household base nearly doubled. The availability of popular sports on pay TV has proved to be a major lure. Enhanced services for the high-end subscriber and discount packages for the less affluent have helped to expand the market.

    "During the past three years, subscription household growth averaged 23.8% compounded annually. We do not expect this steep pace of growth to be maintained. With a majority of TV households in South Africa now subscribing to a pay TV service, future growth will necessarily be more limited.

    "In addition, the launch of DTT in late 2012 will provide an enhanced TV channel selection that will be largely free, providing new competition for pay TV. We expect that a growing DTT market will cut into subscription TV household growth during the latter part of the forecast period.

    "The overall number of subscription households in South Africa will increase from 3.7 million in 2011 to a projected 5.9 million by 2016. Subscription household penetration will reach 81.4% in 2016 from 52.9% in 2011." 

    "With a significant number of households now subscribing to pay service, the SABC is facing the prospect of ongoing share loss. 

    "The quality of content and limited choices available on the SABC channels are the main factors underlying the migration of viewers to pay TV. 

    "The launch of DTT will exacerbate this trend as broadcasters such as e.tv and M-Net introduce new TV channels on DTT bouquets," notes the report.

  • South African film, Material, had its world premier at the Montreal International Film festival last month. The festival's objectives includes encouraging cultural diversity and understanding among nations, and fostering the cinema of all continents by stimulating the development of quality cinema.

    Directed by Craig Freimond, and produced by Ronnie Apteker and Robbie Thorpe, Material tells the story of a young boy who works in the family shop and who wants to become a stand-up comic. Being from a Muslim family, rooted in deep traditions, this creates a family conflict, that has been likened to the Jazz Singer.

    It is a story about a boy who wants to challenge the status quo, and pursue his God given talents. The film received endless praise and resonated with young and old.

    The Material movie was released in February of this year in cinemas throughout South Africa and had a very long and successful run. It is the one of the first non-Afrikaans films to actually recover its investment (albeit a very modest budget) and has been invited to participate in a list of key international film festivals.

    "The film has a chance of getting some international distribution" comments its lead actor, Riaad Moosa. Riaad, a medical doctor, whose parents are also doctors, is one of the most cherished stand-up comics in the land. He believes that laughter is the best medicine, and his special brand of comedy is admired far and wide. Riaad has just finished shooting in another film, a major motion picture, with his role of Ahmed Kathrada in the Long Walk to Freedom alongside British stars Idris Elba and Naomie Harris.

    Material will also be playing in Busan in South Korea in October - the Busan festival is the biggest in Asia. The movie has also been scheduled to screen at the London film festival directly after Busan. The Material team are waiting for news from India. The big film festival there at the end of November, the International Film Festival of India (IFFI), feels like the perfect fit for this colourful story of family and spiritual purpose.

    For more information on the movie visit here

  • The hard work, passion and resilience dedicated to the production of The Adventures in Zambezia by the producers and team at Triggerfish Animation Studio has paid off. This animation film has finally reached the silver screen. By Karen van Schalkwyk.

    Zambezia was picked up by Sony Pictures for distribution in English-speaking territories and will be released in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia. It has already been screened in Israel, Austria, Switzerland, Russia and Germany. Overall the film has been sold in over 40 territories world-wide and will be released in South Africa on 26 December by Nu Metro.

    The film began as a pilot in 2006 and received development funding from the National Film & Video Foundation (NFVF). Stuart Forrest, producer and CEO at Triggerfish, says that it took two years to write the script and over two and half years in production. This time frame is in line with international animated film production. Pixar Animation takes close to three years to write scripts and as long in production. For a South African animated film shot on a limited budget of $20 million and under difficult circumstance, the turnaround on The Adventures in Zambezia is a real achievement.

    As with most films the real challenge was raising the budget. However from the outset, the producers wanted the film to reach a global audience and therefore decided to secure CGM, an international sales agent, based in Beverly Hills, to provide estimates on what the film could sell for. Forrest explains that this enabled them to pre-sell the film and CGM brought a gap financier on board who cash flowed the presales. The next challenge was sorting out the legal documents with the investors who included the IDC, DTI, NFVF and investors in San Francisco and Los Angeles. It took over nine months for the legal work to be finalized so that the funding could be transferred. "Surviving this was a huge challenge," says Forrest.

    The Adventures in Zambezia was also the first feature film for Triggerfish, so the learning curves were immense. Forrest explains that they had to learn the lessons the hard way, which often lead to disappointment and frustration. He is quick to point out, that it is due to the amazing team that the film achieved international recognition.

    The team adopted a methodical approach. After they secured the financiers, they shopped it around extensively during production. On completion, the film was screened to an invited audience of major studios in LA. This lead to Sony securing an interest in the project and a deal with the Head of International Acquisitions. They also conducted test screenings and were rewarded with an audience feedback of 93% positive for the target market.

    Forrest explains that they had over 250 people working on the film with a core group of around 90 people. Most of the animators were Cape Town based with the balance mostly from Johannesburg.

    One of the key elements was to keep the film authentically South African even though many of the voice artists like Samuel L. Jackson, Richard E. Grant, Jeff Goldblum and Abigail Breslin are international stars. Forrest says to attract international interest they had to have name actors attached. However, the 'fingerprints' all over the film with regards to the music, design, and story came from the hearts and minds of South African filmmakers.

    The long term vision was to send a clear South African voice out to the rest of the world. The other business objective was to develop strategic partners both locally and globally who were aligned with their vision.

    The audience feedback thus far is very positive. The film, recently released in Russia on 650 screens in 150 cities, has gained the box office number 2 spot in Russia and was also the number 1 independent film of the summer in Israel and is still playing. Forrest explains that they have had positive response in other territories like Austria and Switzerland although they expected better results in Germany. To date the film has sold over half a million tickets in the first few territories.

    Triggerfish are currently working on their second film called Khumba, scheduled for completion in the first quarter of 2013, and are in development with their third project in association with the NFVF. Forrest explains that they have learnt a tremendous amount from interaction with distributors, sales agents and financiers on Zambezia. This has resulted in a clear vision of the kind of films they want to make and that they want to grow into an international company.

    Triggerfish is in the process of establishing the company as a global, media and entertainment brand and has already launched a games department as well as eBooks publishing for mobile devices. Forrest points out that the most important aspect is to monetize the intellectual property (IP).

  • MultiChoice Nigeria, the country's leading pay-tv service provider, has announced that it is moving forward the implementation date of its special subscription discount promotion from October to September this year.

    According to a statement issued by the company in Lagos, the implementation of the discount promotion was moved forward by a month from October to September to reward subscribers for their loyalty and support to the company's DStv service.

    To this end, the statement further stated that all monthly paying subscribers who pay their subscription in September before they are due for disconnection attract a 10% discount with immediate effect while annual paying subscribers also attract a 12% discount across all bouquets with immediate effect, provided they make payment before they are disconnected.

    Giving the details of the discounts, it stated that "For monthly paying subscribers who take advantage of the special offer, the 10% discount translates to N1,350 from N1,500 (N150 less than the new rate) for DStv Access; N2,700 from N3, 000 (N300 less than the new rate) for DStv Family; N4, 500 from N5, 000 (N500 less than the new rate) for DStv Compact; N6,750 from N7, 500 (N750 less than new rate) for DStv Compact Plus; and N9, 900 from N11, 000 (N1,100 less than the new rate) for the DStv Premium.

    "For annual paying subscribers, the 12% discount translates into N 15,840 from N18,000 (N2,160 less) for DStv Access; N31,680 from N36,000 (N4,320 less) for DStv Family; N52,800 from N60,000 (N7,200 less) for DStv Compact; N79,200 from N90,500 (N11,300 less) for DStv Compact Plus and N116,160 from N132,000 (N15,840 less) for the DStv Premium bouquet for annual paying subscribers "Initially, we informed our subscribers and members of the public that subscribers can only qualify for the price discount effective from the 1st of October this year but we have decided to bring this forward to September as a token of appreciation to our valued subscribers," says, Managing Director of MultiChoice Nigeria, John Ugbe

  • 'Burn it up Djassa', a film shot in 11 days for a budget of only 15,000 USD created a buzz at the TIFF, the main film event in North America, with sold-out screenings and numerous reviews in the press. 

    Today, this film is legally watchable on AfricaFilms.tv for 7 days only.

    In order to allow a wide audience to enjoy the film as the festival's visitors could, 'Burn it up Djassa' will be available online on the legal VoD portal AfricaFilms.tv as of tonight Friday September 14, 2012 from 4 P.M. Toronto time.

    This is a time-limited offer, starting right after the last world-première at TIFF - until Friday 21st. September, 2012.

    Buy or rent the film for 4 USD here 

    The film takes place in Wassakara, a ghetto in Abidjan (Ivory Coast). Tony, 25, lives with his sister Ange, 23. As a cigarette street vendor, he blows his luck gambling and loses all his money. He will drift down into gangsterhood, and as a result into serious problems. On the other side of the law stands Mike, the ghetto cop, who happens to be his elder brother.

    Toronto Star wrote: "The music is hot and the steel is cold in this ghetto tragedy". 

    AfricaFilms.tv is the first VOD portal devoted to the best films from and about Africa, the Caribbean and the Diaspora. The 350 titles yet available for 48-hours rental or download-to-own include: all the comedies by late master Henri Duparc, the best South-African fictions and documentaries, dozens of TV-series, Nollywood hits… and many other cult-titles such as "Coz Ov Moni", the first hip hop musical shot in Ghanaian pidgen. Prices start at 1 USD.

  • The president of the African Network of Promoters and Cultural Entrepreneurs (RAPEC), John Dossavi, on Monday played down in Paris the closure of cinema halls in Africa and pleaded for a new policy on cinemas. 'I am naturally not for the closure of cinema halls. But I take the view that the problem is not so much the wave of closures as the absence of African films that reflect African realities and respond to the demand on the continent,' he said in an interview with PANA.

    For Mr. Dossavi, the advent of 'African films shot by Africans for Africans' would be largely enough to resolve the problem of the spate of closures of cinema halls on the continent.

    'To say the truth, I can't see what we are losing now with the closure of these cinema halls. In fact, no African films are projected on African screens. Young cinema-goers are rather interested in action films. Let us take their demand into account and let us produce and distribute films that correspond to our realities,' RAPEC president emphasized.

    He also repeated his doubts about the capacity of the  Ouagadougou Pan African Cinema and Television Festival (FESPACO) to really promote African films.

    'Let us be clear: I am not going to blame anybody. I am just going to be alert on the urgency of having our own cinema. If we spend one million euros to produce an African film, we will need five others to communicate on the film and promotes it across our vast continent', Mr. Dossavi added.

    According to him, even if we succeed in producing films that reconcile the African cinema to its audience, there is the need to envisage opening a reasonable number of cinema halls in each major African city.

    'We did have 2, 3 even 4 cinema hall in a single African city. I think that even if we produce films that make the African youth dream we can stick to one cinema hall per African city,' RAPEC president further said.,

    For the past several years, cinema rooms in major African cities have been closing down one after the other. Capital cities like Dakar, Niamey, Yaoundé, Libreville no longer have a single cinema hall.

  • Founded in February 2010, NaShakaraTv has established itself as being a leading broadcaster for music and entertainment in Africa, allowing billions of people to discover watch and share, authentic creative videos, images and news feeds online. NashakaraTv provides an entity for people to connect, inform, and inspire others across the globe and acts as a distribution platform for original content creators to advertise their work / finding.

    NaShakaraTV are committed to deliver the best entertainment and music sources from the African culture; such as: up and coming models, new music from Africa, brand new music videos, exclusive interviews and of course live behind the scene material from our clients.

    Although we are still a growing organisation, we would like to maintain our value for music and entertainment and encourage all clients and users to acknowledge NaShakaraTv as a source for factual and genuine information / media.

    We have a strict regime for quality over quantity and we hope to continue providing you, our viewers with the best in African music and entertainment and work our upmost to keep climbing towards the top, breaking down any barriers we may encounter along this journey to become Africas “Number one, broadcasting channel” online.

     

  • The China Africa Development Fund and China Development Bank have committed to invest large sums of money in the digitalisation of TV in African countries.

    Chinese news source China Daily quotes Chi Jianxin, president of the China Africa Development Fund, as saying at a seminar organised by Beijing-based private media group StarTimes that the development fund has already invested US$ 100mn since 2007, and has earmarked a further US$ 50mn for the project.

    China Development Bank meanwhile has offered a whopping US$ 400mn in loans for Africa’s digital switchover initiatives, and may double this figure in the near future, according to the report.

    StarTimes operates digital TV services (delivered via DTH) across Africa, serving more than 1.4mn homes in 13 African countries with around 140 channels, and its chairman Pang XinXing has indicated that he wants to make the company into Africa’s most influential digital TV operator.

  • Ari Kesisoglu, Managing Director of Google’s operations in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, discusses how online video is becoming more social, and the products Google is developing specifically for the Arab market.

    What can be expected from the convergence of Connected and Linear TV?

    Connected TV, which is made possible through the internet, has changed the way people watch television forever. People no longer need to watch a programme just because it’s on.

    Viewers now expect to watch what they want, when they want, on whatever device they are using. Needless to say, linear TV is here to stay, however, companies with a forward-looking outlook are shifting their strategies to accommodate the shift in trends.

    We have seen this happen recently in MENA when more than 50 Ramadan premium shows (peak TV viewership) were made available on a dedicated Ramadan hub on YouTube (YouTube.com/Ramadan).

    What do you believe are the most significant current and future trends in online video?

    We see online video becoming increasingly more social. Now more than ever users share, comment, post videos and that triggers virtual conversations and user engagement.

    Production of local content is also on the rise. We have seen a huge plunge of local content on YouTube for example in countries like Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan and expect to see even more of that across the MENA region.

    We also expect to see more premium content owners coming online and sharing exclusive content like behind the scenes, extra scenes, and live feeds through YouTube.

    How is online becoming a destination of premium content?

    The Internet is fundamental to the future of premium content for one simple reason: because it’s what people want. It give users more choice which is a good thing.

    In the MENA region there are 167 million video views a day, putting the region in the second spot in the world, only after the US.

    Many premium content creators and owners see this as a huge opportunity. By integrating TV and online they ensure they are where the viewers are searching for them.

    What role does Google plan to play here in the MENA region?

    Google is serious about the MENA region: we have been investing in many different ways and will continue to do so. We have doubled our workforce in the region with offices in the UAE and Egypt.

    We are keen on driving the Arabization of the Internet through many different ways, such as launching many products in Arabic, including Voice Search, Driving directions for Maps, and Arabic interface of Google+.

    Also we have reached out to nearly 12,000 entrepreneurs and developers through g|days (launched in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, UAE & Jordan) as part of our outreach programmes.

    Ari will be speaking at the TV Connect MENA event taking place in Dubai on 30th-31st October, 2012. For more information and to register, please visit here: 

  • On 6 September (2012) South African free-to-air commercial broadcaster e.tv made a presentation to the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) in Johannesburg stating that the current draft regulations for digital terrestrial television (DTT) threaten the future viability of FTA television.

    The presentation was premised on e.tv’s desire ‘to prevent the ghettoisation of FTA TV’ and questioned whether satellite pay-TV platform DStv or FTA TV will become the primary television platform for the majority of South Africans once the country migrates to DTT.

    In existence for 14 years, e.tv is currently South Africa’s only private commercial FTA TV broadcaster and claims a viewership of over 16 million people daily, second only to FTA public broadcast channel SABC1.

    At the ICASA presentation e.tv maintained that the draft DTT regulations will further entrench DStv’s already powerful position and will weaken the prospects of a successful DTT platform. It also accused DTT regulation over the past four years as being ‘arbitrary and lacking in consistency’.

    e.tv questioned why pay-TV broadcaster M-Net, which has a terrestrial footprint of under 65,000 households, has been given 40% of DTT multiplex 2 by ICASA against the 50% given to e.tv (with 8.3 million households). In other words, e.tv’s household base is 128x the size of M-Net’s but its multiplex allocation is only one quarter more than that of M-Net.

    “This is the 5th time in four years that e.t has made a presentation to ICASA on the issue of DTT,” said e.tv. “In the meantime with all the dithering, pay-TV’s dominance has grown – four years ago 13% of South African households had pay-TV and that figure has now grown to 31%. DStv has an ad revenue share of 44% and audience share 25% - all of which threatens the potential success of FTA services on the DTT platform.” 

    In addition e.tv compared the cost of a fully installed DStv set –top box (R499) against a FTA DTT STB (R800), which will have a maximum of 19 standard definition channels as opposed to DStv’s premium offering of 102 channels, 15 of which are HD.

    “The challenge for the regulator to fulfil its mandate is to prevent DStv from becoming the primary multi-channel platform in South Africa,” stated e.tv.

    It further maintained that it will be impossible for to provide HD services in DTT under the proposed licensing framework The capacity provided to e.tv on Mux 2 would enable it to broadcast only two HD channels including its current service (and neither of those could be sport). 

    “By allocating e.tv only 50% of a multiplex in circumstances where additional spectrum has been made available by the Authority, it discriminates against e.tv as a terrestrial broadcasting licensee which competes for audiences and advertising against DStv,” said e.tv. 

    The broadcaster proposed the following DTT multiplex framework during dual illumination when both analogue and DTT signals will be broadcast: Multiplex 1: SABC and public radio; Multiplex 2: e.tv and commercial radio; and Multiplex 3: 25% to M-Net to dual illuminate the M-Net channel in HD with the balance to be shared among incumbent pay-TV licensees.

    e.tv also made a case against the local content quotes in the draft DTT regulations. “The quotas are quite simply unaffordable and also contrary to the industry standard for multi-channel television, which is based on repeat ratios and formulas. It would cost any channel – whether e.tv, SABC or a new service – a minimum of R100m per annum per channel to comply with this quota in a manner which is cost-effective but which also does not affect the audience attractiveness of its service. 

    “The cost of these three hours alone would exceed the budgeted of the total 24-hour schedule of many of the individual DTT channels,” claimed the broadcaster.

  • On September 5, 2012, APO reported that a Tanzanian TV journalist was killed on Sunday during a confrontation with police over the arrest of another journalist, according to several local journalists who witnessed the shooting.

    The victim was identified as Daudi Mwangosi, a reporter with the private station Channel Ten and chairman of the press club in the southern city of Iringa, who was covering an opposition party gathering in Nyololo village, local journalists told CPJ. Supporters of Chadema cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (Party for Democracy and Progress) had gathered in defiance of a ban on political demonstrations, which had been put in place during an ongoing regional census, according to news reports. Violence ensued when police beat the Chadema supporters and fired tear gas at them, local journalists said.

    Police attacked Mwangosi after he confronted them about the assault and arrest of Godfrey Mushi, a reporter with Nipashe newspaper, three journalists told CPJ. Neville Meena, secretary-general of the Tanzania Editors’ Forum, told Reuters that police fired a tear gas canister into Mwangosi’s stomach at close range. One widely circulated photo appears to show an officer pointing a rifle at an individual being held down by several officers. The scuffle was documented by several journalists, including Francis Godwin and Gustav Cheha.

    Mushi told CPJ that police had beaten and detained him for photographing the demonstration. No other journalist was attacked, and he was released without charge two hours later, he said. Mushi also told CPJ he did not know why the police had targeted him.

    Police spokesman Advera Senso did not return repeated calls from CPJ seeking comment. Reuters quoted police commissioner of operations Paul Chagonja as saying that “police deny any deliberate involvement in the death of the journalist.” He said a joint military-police inquiry would be conducted into Mwangosi’s death.

    “We condemn the killing of Daudi Mwangosi, who witnesses say lost his life while defending a fellow reporter at a news event,” said CPJ Africa Advocacy Coordinator Mohamed Keita. “Preliminary statements show police have pre-judged this case, but with the abundance of photographic evidence and eyewitness testimony, we expect the Tanzanian government to set aside such preconceptions, undertake an immediate, independent investigation, and bring the perpetrators to justice.”

    Mwangosi, who began his journalism career in 2005, was elected chairman of the Iringa Press Club in 2011, according to local journalists. He was survived by a wife and four children.

    Mwangosi’s death is the first work-related fatality documented by CPJ in Tanzania since the organization began keeping detailed records in 1992.

  • Togo has launched an initiative to completely renew the country’s broadcast TV infrastructure. Harris will be at the heart of the overhaul, designing, installing and commissioning an entire digital video chain to transmit throughout the country — using a national network of DVB-T2 transmitters and satellite services.

    “Harris will play a central role in this ground-breaking digital TV transition – not only in supplying the market’s most advanced digital production, distribution and transmission technology, but also in providing the human resources that are so important to the success of this pioneering project,” said Vincent Pernin, technical manager, General d’Afrique – the project’s prime contractor. “Already, we have developed a close working relationship with Harris’ team of engineers and technology specialists. We look forward to an exciting period as we move forward in this initiative.”

    To meet the TV needs of an entire country, Harris will supply a complete solution comprising three complete TV stations, including production studios, master control rooms, distribution and post-production centres. It will also provide Togo with mobile news gathering equipment; satellite uplink and receiving systems at each TV site; content distribution systems at the using the Selenio media convergence platform; and nine TV sites, featuring new and refurbished towers, new antennas, electrical equipment, air handling equipment and Harris Maxiva DVB-T2 transmitters.

    Togo is turning on digital TV with Harris equipment

    “Togo is setting a new standard in the African region by adopting a digital TV ecosystem based on the DVB-T2 transmission standard and using our most advanced contribution, production and distribution technologies,” said Harris Morris, President, Harris Broadcast Communications. “This investment will provide Togo with a valuable resource that will aid cultural and economic development in the country.”

  • Christie Digital Systems Canada has announced that Ster-Kinekor Theatres has confirmed a major deal, as it undertakes full conversion of its cinema estate to digital. This will be the first time that the brand's Solaria, Solaria One and Solaria One+ and its IMB and 4K resolution have all featured in the same deployment.

    The South African group currently has Christie Series 2 cinema projectors operating but this will grow considerably to 180 Christie Series 2 projectors along with 198 Solaria One and Solaria One+ projectors, which will be available from the end of 2012. These come complete with lens, custom-designed Xenon lamp, Christie integrated media block (IMB) and easy-to-operate screen management software (SMS).

    The new deployment will also include 4K DLP Cinema projectors for use at selected cinemas in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban and Cape Town, chosen after careful evaluation against competitive models.

    The theatre group began the conversion process in 2008, turning its first five screening rooms into 3D digital with the help of the brand's 2K projectors. Because of this success, it set a target to become 100% DCI-compliant by mid-2013 and formed a partnership with Arts Alliance Media (AAM) to expedite this. 

    Ster-Kinekor Theatres CEO, Fiaz Mahomed, says that the upgrade is a critical step in helping the company grow the business and take film viewing to the next level. "Christie is crucial to this development and its close relationship with Arts Alliance and overall bid was compelling. The digital conversion will ensure a heightened viewing experience and is critical in meeting the very real demand from our valued audiences in seeing the best film content at its best."

    He also believes that the solution offers many competitive advantages. "The superior optics and high brightness are ideal for 3D applications and the projectors also provide low cost of ownership," he said. "As for the 4K platform, the high frame rate and 4096 x 2160 resolution moves the whole experience a step further."

  •  

    8-11 October 2012
    Mipcom
    The world's entertainment content market

    Venue: Cannes, France
    For more information click here:

    10 - 21 October  2012

    The 56th. BFI London Film Festival

    venue: London, UK.The 56th. BFI London Film Festival - from the 'British Film Institute' - includes several productions focused on Africa. For details about the Africa-related films at this year’s London Film Festival,for more information please click here:

    12-14 October 2012

    13th edition of MEDIMED 
    Sitges, Spain

    Organised by Apimed, the event will present again an exclusive selection of documentary projects, and ready made programmes, aiming to enhance the professional and creative exchange between the 12 MEDA countries and the 27 EU countries, encouraging the development, promotion and distribution of European and Mediterranean audio-visual works.
    Click here for more info.

    13th to 21st October 2012
    9th edition of FCAT Córdoba African Film Festival 
    Venue: Córdoba, Spain
    Summary: The Spanish city of Córdoba and Al Tarab (the NGO behind FCAT) announce changes in both the host city and dates for the 2012 edition. The Festival, which has been held since 2004 in Tarifa, Spain, will now take place every Fall in Córdoba, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, craded of civilizations and cultures for over 2000 years. Call for entries now available on their website. Deadline: May 15, 2012.
    Contact: For more information, contact Marion Berger at Fcat.

    25 October - 2 November 2012
    Africa In Motion (AIM) Film Festival

    Venue:Filmhouse Cinema Edinburgh and Glasgow Film Theatre (GFT) Glasgow
      Scotland’s biggest celebration of African cinema returns for its 7th consecutive year at Filmhouse Cinema and launches this year for the first time at the Glasgow Film Theatre (GFT). Taking the theme of ‘Modern Africa’, a diverse programme of documentary and fictional films will explore the African urban experience, contemporary politics across the continent. The full programme will be announced on 24 September, and will be available at: Africa in Motion (AIM) Film Festival here: 

    30 & 31 October 2012
    IP&TV ME and North Africa 2012

    The IP&TV Forum MENA 2012 is the main IPTV event in the region.
    Venue: Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Dubai
    For more information click here:

    31 Oct. -2 Nov. 2012
    DISCOP AFRICA 2012

    Venue: the SANDTON CONVENTION CENTER in Johannesburg, South Africa
    Launched in 2008, DISCOP AFRICA is the only pan-African industry gathering strictly dedicated to the production and distribution of multiscreen television content.
    More here  

    10-18 Nov. 2012  Lumières d'Afrique  
    Venue: Besançon, France.  African film festival in France. For more information click here:

    14th-15th November 2012
    AfricaCast
    Venue: Cape Town Convention Centre, Cape Town, South Africa
    AfricaCast is a new event organised jointly by Informa’s Com World Series and IP&TV World Series to address the challenges and opportunities in Africa’s broadcasting market.
    More here

    20-21 November 2012  
    NollywoodCon 2012 

    venue: Civic Centre, Lagos, Nigeria NollywoodCon 2012 brochure for your perusal. NollywoodCon is the premier Film, TV, Mobile Content Expo and Fans Convention. We are interested in exploring sponsorship/partnership opportunities. More information visithere:

    27 - 28 November, 2012
    3rd MYCONTENT

    Venue: Dubai Int’l Convention and Exhibition Centre
    The event will be held Under the Patronage of H.H. Sheikh Majid Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Culture & Arts Authority, and is the leading international entertainment content show in the Middle East & North Africa region.
    For more information click here:

    23 February - 2 March 2013

    The twenty third (23rd) edition of the Pan-African Film & TV Festival of Ouagadougou 

    Venue; Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, several places.One of the most popular African film festival will take place with “African Cinema and Public Policy in Africa” as the edition’s theme.

    5-26 May 2013  
    Festival de Cannes  

    venue: Palais du Festival, Cannes, South of France.  The Festival de Cannes has celebrated the cinema for more than 60 years. Over the years, the French Association of the International Film Festival has been able to evolve whilst retaining the essential: the passion for motion pictures, discovery of new talents, and enthusiasm of festival-goers and professionals from around the world, all contributing to the birth and distribution of films.  For more information click here:

    27-30 May 2013  
    The Broadcast Show Africa  

    Venue: Sandton Convention Centre - Johannesburg, South Africa  The Broadcast Show Africa provides a platform where new revenue streams can be explored; key technologies can be evaluated, and operators and businesses can gain valuable insight into implementing successful TV business models.  For more information click here:

    27-30 May 2013  
    SatCom Africa  

    Venue: Sandton Convention Centre - Johannesburg, South Africa  The largest satellite conference & expo focusing on the needs of the African continent. Bringing together end-users & suppliers of satellite technology to find cost effective & reliable communication solutions. For more information click here:

    17-21 April 2013  
    Festival International Du Film Panafricain - Cannes /PanAfrican International Film Festival 

    Venue: Cannes France  The festival is devoted to the new generation of African Digital filmmaking.  For more information click here:

    3-4 July 2013  
    Broadcast, Film & Music Africa 2013  

    Venue: Oshwal Centre, Westlands, Nairobi, Nairobi, Kenya.  One of the largest international meeting on the African continent for film, electronic media and TV/broadcast professionals. The 2012 edition gathered 650 delegates.  For more information clickhere:

     

  •  - Two former employees of the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation last week admitted that they were guilty of corruption and other crimes in connection with the selling of stolen NBC television licences five years ago. James Tjilondelo, who was employed at the NBC as a senior compliance officer, and Timotheus Sheepo, who was a compliance officer with the national broadcaster, are set to be sentenced by Magistrate Dinnah Usiku in the Windhoek Regional Court on Wednesday next week. Each of them has pleaded guilty to two charges. Tjilondelo (29) admitted guilt to a charge of theft and a count of the corrupt use of an office or position to obtain gratification. Sheepo (43) pleaded guilty to charges of receiving stolen property, and the corrupt use of an office or position to obtain gratification. The crimes which the men admitted cost the NBC close to N$110 000.

    - Tunisian National TV Channel 2 was awarded the Best Television Production Prize at the 13th Video Clip Oscars, organised in Cairo, September 13-16.The clip "Sarkhat Omma," which was directed by Khalfallah Khalsi and performed by singer Sofia Sadek, was produced by the National TV Channel 2, last July. 

  •  

    South Africa: Call for proposals for NFVF First Time Filmmaker Project

    05 September 2012: The National Film and Video Foundation invites all eligible first time filmmakers to respond to the Call for Proposals for the production of a low budget film aimed at female filmmakers as part of the Tier 2 development process.

    Background

    The concept for the First Time Filmmaker Project is to provide recent film school graduates from historically disadvantaged backgrounds with an opportunity to make their first professional film. Successful applicants will be guided in the development of their stories into 24 minute scripts over a period of 5 months.

    The ten best scripts will then be work shopped for camera in preparation for the production of the films over a five week period. During this process each director will be provided with the necessary tools to break down scripts for camera as well as detailed strategies for extracting the best performances from the actors.

    The successful projects and teams will then be provided with a professional production crew to shoot their film. A post-production supervisor will be appointed to assist them in the editing and final delivery of the film.

     

    Finally, a special premiere of three of the best completed films as chosen by their peers will be held at a suitable venue to be confirmed with the cast, crew and creative personnel as well as NFVF council and staff.

    Eligibility

    In order for a filmmaker to be considered for this opportunity, the applicant must meet the following requirements:

    a. Have graduated from an accredited tertiary film programme within the last two years.

    b. Have majored in one or more of the following: writing, directing, editing, cinematography or producing.

    c. Be a Historically Disadvantaged Individual as defined in the constitution of South Africa.

    d. Be under 30 years old.

    e. Be able to set aside the requisite time over a period of 9 months to complete the programme

     

    Criteria

     

    Eligible candidates for the project must:

     

    Have a strong written concept for a half hour stand alone film with a clearly thought out premise or controlling idea that would allow it to be packaged with at least 4 other projects.

    Demonstrate familiarity with the tools of scriptwriting including software, formatting, scheduling and editing.

    Demonstrate a willingness and ability to work with others in pursuit of the same objective

    Understand the value of and is able to work under pressure and tight schedules

    Not have made a short film professionally.

    APPLICATIONS

    All applications should be able to provide the following documentation in hard copy triplicate for consideration:

     

    1. Narrative treatment for a half hour film including character bible, detailed synopsis, major turning point document.

    2. CV and copy of ID document.

     

    Closing date: 28 September 2012

     

    All applications must be submitted as hard copies to: Thandeka Zwana by the closing date.

     

    All enquiries may be directed to Thandeka Zwana.

    Source: nfvf.co.za

     

    Time to Award the Best in Film & TV. The Kalashas Are Back

     

    The 2012 edition of the Kalasha Film & Television Awards are here. Filmmakers are urged to submit their films and TV shows to be considered for the awards show which seeks to reward excellence in film and TV.

    Interested parties will have to download their submission forms from the Kenya Film Commission Website here and fill out an application form for each of the productions they are entering for the awards. The categories films will vie in include:

     

    Film

    Best Lead Actor

    Best Supporting Actor

    Best Lead Actress

    Best Supporting Actress

    Best Cinematography

    Best Sound

    Best Original Score

    Best Editing

    Best Scriptwriter in Original Screenplay

    Best Feature

    Best Director

    Best Documentary

    Best Short Film

    Best Vernacular Production

    Television

    Best Lead Actor in a TV Drama

    Best Supporting Actor in a TV Drama

    Best Lead Actress in a TV Drama

    Best Supporting Actress in a TV Drama

    Best Performance in a Comedy

    Best Talk Show

    Best TV Documentary

    Best TV Comedy

    Best TV Entertainment Programme

    Special Awards

    Best Student Film (University, College, Secondary School)

    Best Student Documentary (University, College, Secondary School)

    Best Animation Production

    Best Diaspora Production

    Best Riverwood Production

    The deadline for the submission of entries is on the 12th of October, 2012, so you have about a month before the deadline.

    Source: www.ghafla.co.ke, 14 September 2012-Adam Wagwau.

     

     

     

Issue no 623 21st September 2012

node ref id: 25976

Top story

  • Africans have a thirst for mobile content and it’s not just for SMS news headlines and football scores. Last week social media content platform biNu announced that its partnership with World Reader had netted it 0.5 million book readers on mobile phones and that the number was growing 30% a month. Russell Southwood spoke to Mark Shoebridge of biNu about this development.

    When you hear about content being developed for mobile phones, it’s not the mobile operators who are making the running. Yes, SMS services and income will be relevant for some time to come. But the really interesting content services that give some idea of what Africa’s future will look like are being developed by independent companies.

    Social media content platform biNu entered into a partnership with World Reader. The latter is the organization that has been putting 3G Kindles into schools in Kenya, Rwanda, Ghana and Uganda, pre-loaded with content, more of which later. biNu provides a cloud-based, low-bandwidth, smart-phone like service for low-end smartphones and feature-phones. It gives the user a scroll button navigable, icon-based screen. biNu created the World Reader book app. This has then been available to its 4.2 million monthly active users globally, 1 million of whom are in Africa.

    The partnership with World Reader is part of biNu’s overall education strategy that includes: a Wordnik dictionary (which can both listen and translate); flash cards for doing test revision in key school subjects; educational quiz games; and Word Target, a  game that gets the user to make as many words as possible out of a combination of letters.

    World Reader’s motto is books for all and a key part of its work has been making agreements with African and international publishers to make their books available on devices like mobiles and Kindles. These books include African titles like City Life, Kobbey’s Trolley, No Empty Dream and Happiness at last as well as international titles like Roald Dahl’s Matilda and Nancy Drew books. These titles are available in – in English, in Twi, in Kiswahili, in Kinyarwanda. 

    The books offered on the Kindles are for primary school students whereas the mobile phone readers are teens and young adults. World Reader found negotiating book rights for the Kindle relatively easy but publishers were “freaking out” about the scale of the potential mobile readership and its potential impact on paid sales. Nevertheless a number of publishers took the leap and signed up.

    It currently has 1,000 books available and these are a mixture of public domain classics and books where publishers have the rights. The latter includes some of the following organisations: The Caine Prize for African Writing (short stories), Harlequin/Mills and Boone (25 bodice rippers, most of which quickly shot into the readers’ top 10), CK-12 and Yoza cellphone stories.

    The attraction of the partnership for World Reader is that it can: see what they’re searching for; collect data on what people are reading and have a channel to ask them what they want more of.

    biNu had 484,000 active mobile readers in July who read some 24 million pages. The number of active readers is growing at around 30% a month. This is interesting interesting in terms of the widely repeated assumption that Africans don’t read. In terms of African page views, 42% are from Nigeria, 10% from Zimbabwe and 5% from Ethiopia and Ghana respectively. With public domain classics from Gutteberg there was demand globally but that demand had begun to flatline. With the addition of new books, use in Africa and India really took off. The challenge now is to create a consistent pipeline of new books.

    47% of its readers have a phone with a screen that is  240 mm by 320 mm – which is also the most popular phone type. 31% of its readers have a phone with a screen 320 mm by 240 mm and 14% have a screen that is 128 mm x 160 mm. The latter has a tiny number of words per screen.

    To get some idea of what makes biNu users tick, it collected the top 20 searches, which account for just 9% of its 180,000 monthly searches. These provide a fascinating insight into the pre-occupations of its readers: sex (3,172), love (1,505), the Bible (1,338), Harry Potter (1,199) and the Quran (1,078). Among the other top searches are Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart (which is probably a school text) and Romeo and Juliet.

    World Reader ran a survey with biNu and got 15,000 responses in a month which gives some idea of the enthusiasm and loyalty users have. Based on three surveys in a six-week period with 17,865 responses it discovered that the majority of respondents were male (82%) but there must be many female mobile readers based on the popularity of the Harlequin/Mills and Boone titles. 90% are aged 16-35, 81% are single, 41% are students and 85% have no children. This is Africa’s coming generation and they aren’t much like their parents. 74% of them read books on their mobile at home.

    The five main reasons for reading on a mobile phone (in descending order) were: convenience; access to books which were otherwise available, free, more fun than a book and light for night-time reading. Top five books are fairly consistent for both men and women: romance, action, textbooks, spiritual and classics. 

    72.2% said they read to learn, 8.3% for entertainment and 5% to escape reality. They would spend more time reading if they had more interesting books (42.9%) and more free time (35.9%). The majority of users were reading themselves but in Africa’s sharing culture 28.9% of those reading were friends, 11.7% were siblings and 9.6% were parents. 92.9% accessed the Internet on their mobile but 5% had their own computer. 

    All of this data illustrates that young Africans have a thirst for knowledge and want to read. The challenge now is for both African and International publishers to step up to the plate and get them more materials. Chinua Achebe’s place in the hearts of young Africans will be assured if his texts are available on mobile phones.

    To see a video clip interview with Mark Shoebridge, of Meffy award winning biNu, click on the link here:

     

    A bumper crop of video clips this week on Balancing Act’s You Tube channel:

    Kwabena Smith, Orun Energy on saving diesel costs on base stations

    Justin Hartman, Social Code on South Africa's ICT entrepreneurialism and the failure to support it

    Julian Macharia, Buni TV on this new online video delivery platform

    Doron Ben Sira, CEO, SkyVision on its acquisition of Afinis

    Envir Fraser, Convergence Partners on investment opportunities in ICT

    Tayo Oviosu, CEO, Paga on the mobile money market in Nigeria

    Nigerian ICT blogger Loy Okezi
    e on Nigeria's online successes

    Victor Dibia, CEO, Denvycom.com
     on his games portfolio and plans to monetize

    Oluseye Soyode-Johnson, consultant to Maliyo Games
     on the business model

    A special for Balancing Act readers:

    Kristine Pearson shows how the Lifeplayer, an MP3 player for rural education, works


    Mobile learning Steve Vosloo on how m-learning can support teaching

    Steve Vosloo on edutainment and interactivity in mobile learning, the Yoza mobile story project and other examples of m-learning in Africa

    South African Niall Murphy, Marmalade on multi-platform software distribution for apps based on the ARM chipset

     

     

telecoms

  • Nokia has partnered with local mobile service providers and retail outlets to collect and dispose off counterfeit phones, ahead of the planned switch-off of these devices by the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK).

    The handsets manufacturer has partnered with Safaricom, Airtel, Nakumatt, Naivas, Phonelink, and Tuskys to ensure an additional 100 collection points are set up across the country for consumers to dispose of the fake phones.

    Ahead of the CCK's planned switch-off end of this month, there has been mounting concern amongst Kenyan NGO's, environmental agencies and consumers as to what will happen to the devices once they are discarded.

    "Consumers in Kenya, like in many countries across the globe, are unaware of the environmental benefits of recycling their broken or unwanted mobile phones, "says Bruce Howe, General Manager for Nokia East Africa.

    The number of counterfeit handsets in use around the country is estimated at over two million, and it is feared that once switched off the handsets will end up in landfills, contributing to the growing e-waste threat in the country.

    "The reality is that mobile phones contain many valuable and useful materials that can be recycled, including precious metals and plastics. In fact, for every one million phones recycled, it is possible to recover nearly 35kg of gold and 350kg of silver, which can be re-used in the production of future electronic goods, "he added.

    Nokia is also working with the Anti-Counterfeits Authority (ACA), National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA), as well as local operators to encourage consumers to dispose of these fake handsets in a responsible manner by recycling them.

    CCK has set September 30 as the official deadline for operators to switch off fake mobile phone handsets.

  • Former Kampala mayor Al Haji Nasser Ntege Sebaggala Thursday stormed MTN head offices in Kampala demanding the audio tapes containing caller tunes in his voice. 

    Sebaggala said he wants to use the tapes as evidence in a law suit he filed against the company where he wants MTN to pay him sh2b. He held talks with MTN top officials over the matter. Sebaggala sued telecom giant MTN Uganda Limited, claiming it has infringed on his copyright by using his speeches as ringtones without his authorization.

    In the suit filed on July 13 at the Commercial Court in Kampala, Sebaggala is demanding for all the proceeds collected by MTN in relation to the ringtones.

    Copyright infringement refers to the unauthorized use of works owned by a copyright holder who enjoys exclusive rights. Additionally, he wants damages plus costs of the suit.

    The ex-mayor is also demanding a 20% monthly interest on the ascertained audited figure, together with a 20% monthly interest on damages and costs of the suit, from the date of judgment until full payment.

    Sebaggala wants court to permanently restrain MTN from further violation of his purported copyright. He is seeking a declaration that MTN’s use of his speeches is an infringement on his copyright. In his plaint, Sebaggala states that the speeches were authored in the recent past, with the latest being one year ago at Parliament.

    He alleges that without his consent, MTN proceeded to use the speeches for selfish commercial gain. According to him, MTN and the purchaser of the ringtone are in a syndicate, and that the benefit of this relationship is unacceptable in the free and fair progressive market economies.

  • Algeria’s Ministry of Posts, IT and Communications (MPTIC) is reportedly considering three strategies which would finally see the award of 3G mobile licences in the country. The Ministry is currently discussing its options with industry watchdog Regulatory Authority for Post and Telecommunications (ARPT) after a planned 3G auction last September was cancelled when operators called for more time to prepare for the sale. 

    According to a report from Algerie Presse Service, the MPTIC is looking at three possible licensing formats: the first would offer a single concession to the highest bidder from the country’s three existing cellular operators, Djezzy, Mobilis and Nedjma; the second option would award a licence to each of the three operators at a nominal price but would then require the firms to pay an annual fee of around 3%-4% of their revenues; the final option would be to assign a 3G permit to each operator at full market value.

  • The Regulatory Board of the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Agency (RURA) has issued an enforcement notice to Tigo Rwanda over quality of service.

    RURA said in an official notice that Tigo’s quality of service had been below the acceptable standards from 7 to 21 August.

    The regulator said Tigo had until 20 September to make representations to the Board if it had complaints about the decision.

    The telco has been given one month, until 13 October, to comply with the enforcement notice.

  • After a process lasting over a year, Mali’s Council of Ministers has approved the conditions for a new mobile  operator, Alpha Telecom Mali, to enter the market.

    Alpha Telecom Mali is a consortium including Planor and Monaco Telecom. The consortium won the tender proposal with a bid of 84 million euros, over Viettel and Bharti Airtel.

    The process of awarding the license began in June last year, and the license is expected to be handed over next month.

    Alpha Telecom Mali will compete for market share against Sotelma and Orange Mali.

internet

  • The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Air Chief Marshal Uluseyi Petinrin, said some unknown persons have gained unlawful access to the computer systems of Defence Headquarters and that of the Nigerian Navy.

    The CDS represented by the Chief of Research and Development, Major General M. K Amao made the remarks during the 'world cyber security conference' last week in Abuja.

    He said there was daily increase in high profile hacking incidents against major corporations and institutions around the world and that the nature of attacks has taken the form of infiltration of systems or confidential information being compromised or stolen.

    "Here in Nigeria, our defence and security institutions have not been left out. My defence headquarters' website for example, was hacked not too long ago. One of the services, the navy also had its website hacked. We are also aware of similar experiences with other security agencies in the country.

    He said criminals have attacked cloud-based servers in a global fraud campaign affecting at least 60 banks worldwide and stealing billions of dollars. He said cyber attacks may however standout as a stumbling block or threat to the actualization of the Nigeria's 'cashless policy' except if concrete measures are put in place to counter such attacks. The hackers used sophisticated techniques including automation and targeted high-value bank accounts.

  • The capitals of the Republic of Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Brazzaville and Kinshasa, have been linked by an under-river fibre cable installed by Chinese engineers, Agence Ecofin reports. 

    An event held to celebrate the fibre deployment was attended by Kin-Kiey Mulumba, the DRC’s Minister of Posts, Telecommunications and New Technologies, and Thierry Moungalla, his Congolese counterpart. The move paves the way for the DRC to belatedly connect to the West African Cable System (WACS) submarine link, which officially launched on 11 May 2012.

    The combined conurbation of Kinshasa-Brazzaville, which is divided by the Congo River, is home to around twelve million inhabitants, although significant political and infrastructure-related challenges generally prevent the two cities from functioning with any meaningful kind of connection.

  • Orange is the title sponsor of this year’s WordCamp Kenya Conference, set for November 10-11, 2012.

    As the platinum sponsor of the event, Orange’s contribution will go towards the organisation of the franchise conference, for the world’s most popular blogging and online publishing software, WordPress.

    Speaking during the sponsorship presentation to the event organisers, Telkom Kenya’s Chief Corporate Communications Officer, Angela Ng’ang’a-Mumo, reiterated the support and efforts from Orange to actively engage with various stakeholders on the social media and blogging scene, as the integrated telecommunications company increases data penetration levels in the country.

     “Orange is proud to be associated with this year’s conference and we believe our support will go a long way in ensuring the success and continuity of this event,” she said. “Orange has been at the forefront of building local content as Kenya moves towards a new frontier in the integration of social media in the country,” she added.

    The theme of this year’s conference “Responsible Blogging and Positive Influence on Social Media” will focus primarily on the role of the social media as an emerging medium of communication as well as other aspects of blogging, social media and digital publishing. 

    Social media’s accessibility and the freedom of speech and expression as enshrined in the Kenyan constitution have helped grow Kenya’s online presence. This has led to more people being able to freely express themselves by way of the internet, reaching wide audiences both locally and globally. 

    While the focus of the conference will be to equip attendees on knowledge to impact their blogging/social media experience in the long-term, it also aims to give special attention to responsible political blogging and social interaction. 

    “This is a positive change that could end up being used as a channel of incitement and abuse of these fundamental rights if used irresponsibly, more so as Kenya prepares for its first general elections after the 2007/2008 violence,” said David Mugo, one the key organiser of the WordCamp 2012. 

    This year’s WordCamp that will also be streamed live to sitting audiences in Uganda and Tanzania, will host varied professionals: Marketers, ICT professionals, Web developers and Bloggers .

  • Millenium Telecom Centrafrique S.A. has announced the launch of the first 4th Generation wireless high speed Internet network, technology-­‐based mobile WiMAX (802.16e), under the brand name “BLACK”.

    As a result of this latest generation network, individuals and businesses now benefit from ultrafast, reliable and quality Internet access, with an optimal availability rate.

    Clients can access the Black network by purchasing a Black USB dongle or a Black Modem, and benefit flows ranging from 128Kbps to 2Mbps, according to their needs.

    Two modes of billing are available for more flexibility:

    • Prepaid Billing for individuals with Black recharge cards starting from CFA 2,000 F and offering a navigation rate of 10 F / minute

    • Prepaid Billing for SOHO with Black scratch card of CFA 50,000 F

    • Postpaid Billing for Businesses

    Black Internet Network by Millenium Telecom will cover the entire city of Bangui in September, and will be gradually extended to major cities of the provinces.

  • Despite all its cutting-edge technology, Google Inc. has turned to the humble text message to break into Nigeria’s booming economy.

    The search engine has started a service in Nigeria, as well as in Ghana and Kenya, which enables mobile phone users to access emails through text messaging.

    That comes as Google’s office in Lagos has begun working with small business owners in this nation of more than 160 million people, bringing more than 25,000 businesses online over the past year.

    Google’s choice of using text messages to reach consumers highlights the challenges of doing business in Africa’s most populous nation. There is money to be made, but most people rarely have access to electricity, let alone the Internet, and a $20 mobile phone is as close as many will ever come to owning a computer.

    ‘‘We don’t want to just come in and start looking for how to generate profit,’’ said Affiong Osuchukwu, Google’s Nigeria marketing manager. ‘‘We consider (sub-Saharan Africa) to be an investment region. We know we have to invest resources and time to develop the market in order for the market to become valuable to us in a way that we can do business.’’

    Google makes tens of billions of dollars a year from advertising, much of it coming from simple text ads that pop up next to its search results. But such ads are rarely relevant to Nigerians looking for goods and services in their neighborhoods. Only a fraction of business owners have websites, and those that do rarely offer consumers many services online.

    Google Nigeria is trying to ‘‘develop the ecosystem’’ by making the Internet part of more people’s lives, Osuchukwu said. Its most recent push came in July as the company began advertising its text message email service, which allows users to receive their emails through Gmail for free as text messages. Users also can reply to the emails for only the cost of sending a text message. They also can access local classified ads hosted by Google.

    Google officials declined to offer usage statistics for the text message service. But the service, advertised across billboards and buses in Nigeria’s largest city Lagos, could provide a way to bring the search engine into the lives of people otherwise untouched by it. More than half of the 44 million people who use the Internet in Nigeria access the web through smartphones, according to International Telecommunications Union. But that represents only a fraction of mobile phone users in Nigeria, a nation turned mobile-reliant by the collapse of the state-run telephone company which has left landlines almost nonexistent.

    By getting the Internet to the simplest of handsets, Google is making a bet it can reach consumers it can ultimately make money from, as well as offer access millions otherwise wouldn’t have.

    ‘‘The Internet is an enabler,’’ said Taiwo Kola-Ogunlade, a Google spokesman in West Africa. ‘‘I may not have as much money as you but I can have enough social capital to drive as much influence as you do.’’

    Google isn’t alone in trying to add low-tech features to its interface to broaden the Internet’s reach. There’s an emerging technology industry trying to increase access to basic and sometimes life-saving information on the web.

    Sproxil Inc., a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based company, has partnered with pharmaceutical companies to allow people to verify the authenticity of drugs before purchasing them. This comes as Nigeria is awash with counterfeit drugs.

    Meanwhile, a Seattle, Washington-based technology startup called SlimTrader offers consumers in Nigeria and Senegal the ability to discover, preview and purchase goods and services from mobile phones that aren’t Internet-enabled.

    SlimTrader’s CEO Femi Akinde said: ‘‘To reach a lot more people, you've got to reach them on the most ubiquitous device possible.’’

computing

  • Gemalto, has been selected by the Government of Gabon for its national biometric identification initiative, following an international tender. The program aims to build a reliable national biometric civil registry to replace paper identification with electronic documents and generate a secure electoral register ahead of the local 2013 elections. 

    The agreement supports Digital Gabon strategic plan to modernize and secure the country’s infrastructure and protect its citizens from identity fraud.

    The Gemalto end-to-end solution comprises of its Coesys biometric citizen enrolment system including desktop and mobile stations with the related software to capture citizens’ demographic data, fingerprints and digital photographs. The solution integrates fingerprint matching capabilities to guarantees the identity’s uniqueness of each entry. Gemalto also provides its Coesys Issuance solution to enable the Gabonese government to personalize future official documents as well as a Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) to build a trusted backbone for the integration of future eGovernment services. Gemalto also supplies consulting, training, technical assistance and maintenance services.

    The biometric database will serve as a master registry to issue all citizen ID, including birth certificates, national identity cards, passports and driver’s licenses. Tamper-proof biometric authentication will be instrumental to preventing fraud and abuse of government benefits programs.

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

  • Etisalat has launched new SIM Application solution for mobile money payments and transfers, aimed at providing secure and innovative products and services for its customers.

    Etisalat is offering the service in a more convenient and secure platform, in partnership with some Nigerian banks including First Bank, GTBank, Stanbic IBTC Bank, and Zenith Bank.

    The solution will enable Etisalat customers to easy access to their preferred mobile money scheme for conducting secure money transfers and payments.

    Etisalat said it would use Easywallet to bring mobile money closer to the customer and to drive the Central bank of Nigeria (CBN's) Cashless policy by growing the use of mobile payments and making it easy to use.

    "The launch of Easywallet is a landmark in Nigeria and progress towards mobile money adoption, as it is the first fully secure Mobile Money SIM Application offered to customers with the Easywallet application installed on their SIM cards. This unique application supports multiple languages - English, Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba and works across all makes and models of phones, smartphones and even tablet devices.

    Easywallet is compliant with all industry standards such as ISO-1 and guarantees adequate protection of customer information while carrying out mobile financial transactions across multiple Mobile Money schemes," the company said during the launch of Easywallet in Lagos recently.

    Speaking at the launch, Chief Executive Officer, Etisalat Nigeria, Steven Evans stated that the company's strategy was to become a leader in providing its customers with cutting edge and secured channels for mobile financial services, which involves being a major enabler and innovator in the Nigerian Ecosystem and working with all key stakeholders to create a value proposition to meet the needs of the customers.

    "Research has shown that mobile-banking and mobile-payments can help lower the transaction costs of money transfer, increase the flow of money by making it easier to send smaller amounts and introduce those without bank accounts to a means of secure financial management. By enabling people to use their mobile phones as mobile wallets, we hope to deliver lasting benefits not just for our customers, but also for the Nigerian economy,"

    Evans said, adding "We believe the benefits of Etisalat Easywallet to our customers will be immense and also has the potential to transform the way we handle and manage money in Nigeria. Mobile phones have already improved the African way of life in so many ways and it is exciting to think it now has the potential to replace notes and coins and give all of our customer's access to world-class banking services."

    Speaking on the features of Easywallet, Chief Commercial Officer, Etisalat Nigeria, Wael Ammar said, "Easywallet allows users to have easy and secure ways to perform financial services using their mobile phones from any part of the country. The service works on all Etisalat SIM cards and customers are only required to register with any of the schemes in order to start using Easywallet. Customers are not charged from their airtime for any transactions from the mobile money SIM menu."

    With Easywallet service, customers could pay bills, pay for goods and services, receive and send money to friends and family, send and receive money to bank accounts, withdraw cash, top up their own airtime account, top up someone else's and manage their bank accounts.

  • The South African government is re-nationalising the Telkom Group given its importance to the growth of telecommunications infrastructure in the country, reports say.

     The government is set to offer R24 ($3.00) a share and approximately R12 billion ( $1.5 billion) for the Telkom Group, MyBroadband reported.

    “The government views Telkom as a strategic asset in the rollout of ICT infrastructure in the country, and is moving with speed to find a lasting solution that will make Telkom sustainable,” the Department of Communications (DoC) said in a statement.

    The SA Government owns some 39 percent of  the group but its stake adds up to 51 percent if the Public Investment Corporation’s (PIC) stake is added. According to MyBroadband, the Department of Communications (DoC) will later this week present to the cabinet three strategic options for the Telkom Group.

    The firm’s shares increased 4.32 percent to R19.31 ($2.34 ) on the JSE on Friday (14 September) making the firm worth some R10 billion, half its value a year ago.

    According to some analysts, the nationalisation was discussed in June at the ANC’s national policy conference.

    Speaking to Bloomberg, ANC Treasurer General Mathews Phosa briefly confirmed having discussions about the future of the firm and said delisting was among the strategies being considered.

    Experts say the SA government sees Telkom as important in the development of the country’s telecommunications infrastructure, and might play a central role in the rollout of its broadband programme by 2020.

    Korea-based telecom KT Corp was set to acquire in cash a strategic equity shareholding of 20 percent in Telkom’s post-issue ordinary share capital in May, but the move was blocked in Cabinet in June.

  • South Africa’s online and mobile payment service provider PayU has launched EasyMerchant, a payment solution targeted at enabling small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to perform credit card payment transfers.

     EasyMerchant will give SMEs prompt access to online payment services, saving them time in addition to simplifying transactions for e-business operations.

    The system also helps in marketing businesses online leading to increase in sales, according to PayU.

    PayU’s chief executive Mark Chirnside said startups and SMEs should be aggressive and consider taking their businesses online to benefit from PayU’s EasyMerchant .

    “The platform allows one to have an EasyMerchant account which makes e-business simpler, increase sales, cut paperwork and reduce the risk by authorising credit card purchases, processing and deposit into your account. It’s simple,” he said.

    According to the 2012 SME report by World Wide Worx, close to 410,000 SMEs in South Africa have a website, with some 63 percent representing active formal SMEs.

    Chirnside commented that e-business has sustained more than 150,000 SME business in South Africa and that entrepreneurs are plunging into it “at an alarming rate”.

    The Internet is important in searching for a service provider, which makes it impossible for businesses to sell their products and services without it, he said.

Telecoms, Rates, Offers and Coverage

  • - Dar es Salaam-based newspaper the Daily News writes that Vodacom Tanzania has slashed the cost of off-net mobile calls by 50%. The cellco has introduced a new ‘Bonga Tariff’ which applies to both pre-paid and contract (Vodajaza) customers and which costs TZS1.5 (USD0.00097) per second, down from TZS3.0 previously.

    - Egypt's Mobinil is offering 1,000 SMS messages for EGP1, although the bundle lasts for one day before expiring.

Digital Content

  • Kenya-based new media company African Laughter has launched a social media monitoring phone app to help politicians monitor their reputations online.

    Named Track-All, the app delivers “every media and social media mention on any subject as real-time alerts to phones”.

    The app was developed in eight months at a cost approaching KSh5 million. It analyses mentions on social networking platforms including Facebook and Twitter for ‘sentiment’, alerting users to positive or negative posts. It can also show social media users who comment most on a post and the top keywords.

  • Salamworld, the new social network site created to compete with Zuckerberg’s Facebook, while providing a morally safe platform for Muslims around the world to interact, is currently running a trial version and being tested by users in Egypt.

    According to Hürriyet Daily News , Abdulvahed Niyazo, a Salamworld co-owner said: “The content that is being used on other social networks is not very secure and full of haram.” The Arabic translation of “forbidden” is “haram.”

    The site, whose policy is to uphold family values and Islamic beliefs, would definitely not advertise gambling and display certain obscene or sexual keywords.

    Salamworld’s competitive strength lies in the translation innovation that makes it possible for a user to chat in Arabic and an online “friend” reads the text in English, eliminating language barrier.

    The pan-islamic site is currently available in eight languages: English, Arabic, Turkish, Urdu, and Russian, while others will be added later

    Right now, there are about 1.2 billion muslims in the world and by 2017, Salamworld hopes to have registered 50 million active users.

  • ANHRI condemns the blocking of the "You Tube" by the Sudanese authorities without giving reasons of why "National Authority of Communication" blocked it.

    On September 16, 2012 the Sudanese Ministry of Communication had blocked "You Tube" from the Internet without reasons and without details, which met by strong condemns from several journalists and activists, who tried to call the national communication authority (which blocked You Tube), but they did not provide them with any information.

    Some analysts view that the reason of blocking is the role played by "You Tube" to support the communication between the rebellion movements and also provides media support to them. The Sudanese authorities did not provide any reasons or details related to the blocking.

    Therefore, Sudan is now joined to the list of the countries that blocked "You Tube" for the second time and for the fourth time since its establishment which is "Syria, India, Pakistan, Iran and Turkey".

    ANHRI said that "blocking You Tube and forbidding the Sudanese citizens from following the current events and blocking of transferring the news outside Sudan is a clear violations to the freedom of expression and opinion and to the right to information access and exchange".

    ANHRI added that "blocking You Tube is a methodological continuation by the regime which used to suppressing the freedom of opinion and expression and blocking any news related to the anger demonstration movements that calls for democracy".

    ANHRI mentioned that "the mechanism of suppressing and blocking used by all of the suppressive regimes, especially in the Arab regime. It calls all the concerned parties and the activists to support the freedom of opinion, expression and Internet. Moreover, it calls them to continue protest against the blocking of You Tube until it is unblocked as it is one of the most important independent platforms supporting democracy in Sudan".

  • Judges and magistrates have been warned over the dangers of using social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, with a call that their messages could jeopardise the cases that they have been assigned.

    The warning was issued on Wednesday by the secretary general of the Commonwealth Magistrates and Judges Association (CMJA), Dr. Karen Brewer.

    She was speaking at the 16th Triennial Commonwealth Magistrates and Judges Conference at the Commonwealth Resort in Munyonyo. Brewer noted the importance of social media as a marketing tool but asked the judges and magistrates to exercise restraint and caution when posting some comments.

    "Many individuals use it for personal information. However, a judge must not put issues that are controversial because they could be used against them," Brewer said.

    She also advised judges and magistrates to ensure that their private conversations are not placed in the public domain because they could be used by unscrupulous people against them.

    Brewer also noted that criminal law must keep pace with technological development. He stated that prosecution of cybercrime has become difficult since a person who commits it does not necessarily have to be in an area.

    Justice David Hope, the Right Honourable Lord Hope of Craighead in the UK, cautioned judges against getting agitated when hearing cases.

  • The Hackathon was staged at five m:Labs around the world. In Kenya, participants came up with 10 ideas, forming 10 teams. The teams concentrated on developing their ideas to prototypes overnight, after which they presented their apps to a panel of judges.

    The winning teams of the M2Work Hackathon are:

    1st Prize: Tafsiri

    Tafsiri is a solution that aims to provide companies or organizations translation of specific information to the language of the local community, creating employment for many.

    2nd Prize: Smart Blackboard

    Smart Blackboard is a solution that allows students to pose questions while doing their homework or preparing for tests and receive answers from qualified teachers.

    3rd Prize: MobiAgent

    MobiAgent is a solution that gives its user the ability to be an agent and get commission every time he/she sells a product e.g. event tickets to people on his/her phone contacts.

    4th Prize: Kaisari

    A compliance and authenticity monitoring system that enables organizations and/or individuals to track down fake products and/or  non-compliant individuals.

  • InMobi, the world’s largest independent mobile ad network, has reported a triple digit growth for its ad impressions in North Africa and the Middle East.

    InMobi’s second quarter resultsfor the 2012 fiscal year showed a growth of 248 percent in ad impressions in the two regions compared to the same period last year.

    Some 76 percent of the impressions came from smartphones, demonstrating the fact that more such devices have become increasingly available to users.

    In the same quarter last year, the company recorded 56 percent ad impressions from smartphones.

    “Behind the iPhone, the Nokia handset is still dominant in this market, however the greatest growth from an Operating System standpoint is from Android that grew by 8 percent,” said Daryn Smith of Inmobi Research.

    The figures give credence to the growth of mobile web advertising in Africa with more people having access to the Internet on Web-enabled phones.

    As a result, more mobile web advertising companies have set up shop in Africa and the market is yet to grow to its full potential, according to InMobi.

More

  • - Ethio Telecom, Ethiopia’s leading telco, has appointed a new chief executive to steward the company in its strategic expansion across the Horn of Africa. Bruno Duthoit is a former CEO of Orange Moldavia and Orange Armenia who has also served on the board of Orange Poland. Duthoit is a graduate of the Municipal Poly Technique and has over 21 years of professional experience with France Telecom.

    -  Writer, journalist, blogger, and free speech activist Eskinder Nega, the 2012 recipient of PEN American Center’s Freedom to Write Award, lived in Washington, D.C., before returning to his native Ethiopia to start one of the country’s first-ever independent newspapers. On Friday, Eskinder was back in D.C.–not physically, but as the subject of a candlelight vigil at the African American Civil War Memorial that commemorated the first anniversary of the blogger’s arrest and sent the message that those jailed for peacefully exercising their right to freedom of speech are never forgotten.

    - In agreement with its local partners, Orange  has appointed the following Chief Executive Officers in seven of its African and Middle Eastern subsidiaries:

     - Brelotte Ba is appointed Chief Executive Officer of Orange Niger, succeeding Jean-Louis Branco;

    - Michel Barré is appointed Chief Executive Officer of Orange Madagascar, succeeding Jean-Luc Bohé;

     - Jean-Luc Bohé is appointed Chief Executive Officer of Orange Mali, succeeding Alioune Ndiaye;

     - Didier Charvet is appointed Chief Executive Officer of Orange Tunisia, succeeding Thierry Marigny;

     - Nathalie Clere is appointed Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Mauritius Telecom, succeeding Jean-François Thomas;

     - Alioune Ndiaye is appointed Chief Executive Officer of Sonatel in Senegal, succeeding Cheikh Tidiane Mbaye; and

    These appointments fall within the Group’s international mobility policy and, in each case, were made at the end of the terms of the departing Chief Executive Officers. All of the appointments will be effective by October 1, 2012.

  •  

    Broadband World Forum
    16 – 18 October 2012, Amsterdam RAI Convention Centre, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
    The event, now in its 12th year, is the most respected in the regions Telecoms calendar and the comprehensive agenda includes breakfast briefings, 3 co-located summits,  keynote plenary sessions and a choice of 4 tracks for delegates each day as well as the world class exhibition area. For more information please click here:

    AfricaCom 2012
    13th-15th November 2012, CTICC, Cape Town, South Africa

    The digital ecosystem will take centre stage at AfricaCom 2012, at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, 13 – 15 November 2012.  Network with over 7000 industry executives at Africa’s largest event embracing all aspects of the continent’s converging telecoms, media and ICT sectors.  Incorporating 11 co-located events all pertinent to future-proofing your business in the digital era, including cloud computing, OTT, apps, broadband and multiplatform content, see and hear how Africa’s communications market is a hotbed for innovation and long term prosperity. 
    Contact: Subuola.akinkugbe@informa.com
    For more information please click here:

    Telecoms Fraud & Revenue Assurance Forum
    26th - 27th November 2012, Dubai
    The only event currently in the region dedicated to telecoms fraud and revenue assurance, Tavess' Telecoms Fraud and Revenue Assurance Forum in Dubai has been designed to provide Revenue Assurance and Fraud professionals from across the Middle East, Asia and Africa the opportunity to learn about the latest RA strategies that the operators are adopting to more effectively detect and prevent revenue leakage and fraudulent activities in an increasingly complex scenario. In addition to an in-depth look at the detection and prevention of various types of fraud, the Forum also explores how to evolve the organization, streamline processes, effectively integrate systems and embed revenue assurance into new products. For more information please click here:

     

     

     

     

Issue no 623 21st September 2012

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Top story

  • Africans have a thirst for mobile content and it’s not just for SMS news headlines and football scores. Last week social media content platform biNu announced that its partnership with World Reader had netted it 0.5 million book readers on mobile phones and that the number was growing 30% a month. Russell Southwood spoke to Mark Shoebridge of biNu about this development.

    When you hear about content being developed for mobile phones, it’s not the mobile operators who are making the running. Yes, SMS services and income will be relevant for some time to come. But the really interesting content services that give some idea of what Africa’s future will look like are being developed by independent companies.

    Social media content platform biNu entered into a partnership with World Reader. The latter is the organization that has been putting 3G Kindles into schools in Kenya, Rwanda, Ghana and Uganda, pre-loaded with content, more of which later. biNu provides a cloud-based, low-bandwidth, smart-phone like service for low-end smartphones and feature-phones. It gives the user a scroll button navigable, icon-based screen. biNu created the World Reader book app. This has then been available to its 4.2 million monthly active users globally, 1 million of whom are in Africa.

    The partnership with World Reader is part of biNu’s overall education strategy that includes: a Wordnik dictionary (which can both listen and translate); flash cards for doing test revision in key school subjects; educational quiz games; and Word Target, a  game that gets the user to make as many words as possible out of a combination of letters.

    World Reader’s motto is books for all and a key part of its work has been making agreements with African and international publishers to make their books available on devices like mobiles and Kindles. These books include African titles like City Life, Kobbey’s Trolley, No Empty Dream and Happiness at last as well as international titles like Roald Dahl’s Matilda and Nancy Drew books. These titles are available in – in English, in Twi, in Kiswahili, in Kinyarwanda. 

    The books offered on the Kindles are for primary school students whereas the mobile phone readers are teens and young adults. World Reader found negotiating book rights for the Kindle relatively easy but publishers were “freaking out” about the scale of the potential mobile readership and its potential impact on paid sales. Nevertheless a number of publishers took the leap and signed up.

    It currently has 1,000 books available and these are a mixture of public domain classics and books where publishers have the rights. The latter includes some of the following organisations: The Caine Prize for African Writing (short stories), Harlequin/Mills and Boone (25 bodice rippers, most of which quickly shot into the readers’ top 10), CK-12 and Yoza cellphone stories.

    The attraction of the partnership for World Reader is that it can: see what they’re searching for; collect data on what people are reading and have a channel to ask them what they want more of.

    biNu had 484,000 active mobile readers in July who read some 24 million pages. The number of active readers is growing at around 30% a month. This is interesting interesting in terms of the widely repeated assumption that Africans don’t read. In terms of African page views, 42% are from Nigeria, 10% from Zimbabwe and 5% from Ethiopia and Ghana respectively. With public domain classics from Gutteberg there was demand globally but that demand had begun to flatline. With the addition of new books, use in Africa and India really took off. The challenge now is to create a consistent pipeline of new books.

    47% of its readers have a phone with a screen that is  240 mm by 320 mm – which is also the most popular phone type. 31% of its readers have a phone with a screen 320 mm by 240 mm and 14% have a screen that is 128 mm x 160 mm. The latter has a tiny number of words per screen.

    To get some idea of what makes biNu users tick, it collected the top 20 searches, which account for just 9% of its 180,000 monthly searches. These provide a fascinating insight into the pre-occupations of its readers: sex (3,172), love (1,505), the Bible (1,338), Harry Potter (1,199) and the Quran (1,078). Among the other top searches are Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart (which is probably a school text) and Romeo and Juliet.

    World Reader ran a survey with biNu and got 15,000 responses in a month which gives some idea of the enthusiasm and loyalty users have. Based on three surveys in a six-week period with 17,865 responses it discovered that the majority of respondents were male (82%) but there must be many female mobile readers based on the popularity of the Harlequin/Mills and Boone titles. 90% are aged 16-35, 81% are single, 41% are students and 85% have no children. This is Africa’s coming generation and they aren’t much like their parents. 74% of them read books on their mobile at home.

    The five main reasons for reading on a mobile phone (in descending order) were: convenience; access to books which were otherwise available, free, more fun than a book and light for night-time reading. Top five books are fairly consistent for both men and women: romance, action, textbooks, spiritual and classics. 

    72.2% said they read to learn, 8.3% for entertainment and 5% to escape reality. They would spend more time reading if they had more interesting books (42.9%) and more free time (35.9%). The majority of users were reading themselves but in Africa’s sharing culture 28.9% of those reading were friends, 11.7% were siblings and 9.6% were parents. 92.9% accessed the Internet on their mobile but 5% had their own computer. 

    All of this data illustrates that young Africans have a thirst for knowledge and want to read. The challenge now is for both African and International publishers to step up to the plate and get them more materials. Chinua Achebe’s place in the hearts of young Africans will be assured if his texts are available on mobile phones.

    To see a video clip interview with Mark Shoebridge, of Meffy award winning biNu, click on the link here:

     

    A bumper crop of video clips this week on Balancing Act’s You Tube channel:

    Kwabena Smith, Orun Energy on saving diesel costs on base stations

    Justin Hartman, Social Code on South Africa's ICT entrepreneurialism and the failure to support it

    Julian Macharia, Buni TV on this new online video delivery platform

    Doron Ben Sira, CEO, SkyVision on its acquisition of Afinis

    Envir Fraser, Convergence Partners on investment opportunities in ICT

    Tayo Oviosu, CEO, Paga on the mobile money market in Nigeria

    Nigerian ICT blogger Loy Okezi
    e on Nigeria's online successes

    Victor Dibia, CEO, Denvycom.com
     on his games portfolio and plans to monetize

    Oluseye Soyode-Johnson, consultant to Maliyo Games
     on the business model

    A special for Balancing Act readers:

    Kristine Pearson shows how the Lifeplayer, an MP3 player for rural education, works


    Mobile learning Steve Vosloo on how m-learning can support teaching

    Steve Vosloo on edutainment and interactivity in mobile learning, the Yoza mobile story project and other examples of m-learning in Africa

    South African Niall Murphy, Marmalade on multi-platform software distribution for apps based on the ARM chipset

     

     

telecoms

  • Nokia has partnered with local mobile service providers and retail outlets to collect and dispose off counterfeit phones, ahead of the planned switch-off of these devices by the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK).

    The handsets manufacturer has partnered with Safaricom, Airtel, Nakumatt, Naivas, Phonelink, and Tuskys to ensure an additional 100 collection points are set up across the country for consumers to dispose of the fake phones.

    Ahead of the CCK's planned switch-off end of this month, there has been mounting concern amongst Kenyan NGO's, environmental agencies and consumers as to what will happen to the devices once they are discarded.

    "Consumers in Kenya, like in many countries across the globe, are unaware of the environmental benefits of recycling their broken or unwanted mobile phones, "says Bruce Howe, General Manager for Nokia East Africa.

    The number of counterfeit handsets in use around the country is estimated at over two million, and it is feared that once switched off the handsets will end up in landfills, contributing to the growing e-waste threat in the country.

    "The reality is that mobile phones contain many valuable and useful materials that can be recycled, including precious metals and plastics. In fact, for every one million phones recycled, it is possible to recover nearly 35kg of gold and 350kg of silver, which can be re-used in the production of future electronic goods, "he added.

    Nokia is also working with the Anti-Counterfeits Authority (ACA), National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA), as well as local operators to encourage consumers to dispose of these fake handsets in a responsible manner by recycling them.

    CCK has set September 30 as the official deadline for operators to switch off fake mobile phone handsets.

  • Former Kampala mayor Al Haji Nasser Ntege Sebaggala Thursday stormed MTN head offices in Kampala demanding the audio tapes containing caller tunes in his voice. 

    Sebaggala said he wants to use the tapes as evidence in a law suit he filed against the company where he wants MTN to pay him sh2b. He held talks with MTN top officials over the matter. Sebaggala sued telecom giant MTN Uganda Limited, claiming it has infringed on his copyright by using his speeches as ringtones without his authorization.

    In the suit filed on July 13 at the Commercial Court in Kampala, Sebaggala is demanding for all the proceeds collected by MTN in relation to the ringtones.

    Copyright infringement refers to the unauthorized use of works owned by a copyright holder who enjoys exclusive rights. Additionally, he wants damages plus costs of the suit.

    The ex-mayor is also demanding a 20% monthly interest on the ascertained audited figure, together with a 20% monthly interest on damages and costs of the suit, from the date of judgment until full payment.

    Sebaggala wants court to permanently restrain MTN from further violation of his purported copyright. He is seeking a declaration that MTN’s use of his speeches is an infringement on his copyright. In his plaint, Sebaggala states that the speeches were authored in the recent past, with the latest being one year ago at Parliament.

    He alleges that without his consent, MTN proceeded to use the speeches for selfish commercial gain. According to him, MTN and the purchaser of the ringtone are in a syndicate, and that the benefit of this relationship is unacceptable in the free and fair progressive market economies.

  • Algeria’s Ministry of Posts, IT and Communications (MPTIC) is reportedly considering three strategies which would finally see the award of 3G mobile licences in the country. The Ministry is currently discussing its options with industry watchdog Regulatory Authority for Post and Telecommunications (ARPT) after a planned 3G auction last September was cancelled when operators called for more time to prepare for the sale. 

    According to a report from Algerie Presse Service, the MPTIC is looking at three possible licensing formats: the first would offer a single concession to the highest bidder from the country’s three existing cellular operators, Djezzy, Mobilis and Nedjma; the second option would award a licence to each of the three operators at a nominal price but would then require the firms to pay an annual fee of around 3%-4% of their revenues; the final option would be to assign a 3G permit to each operator at full market value.

  • The Regulatory Board of the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Agency (RURA) has issued an enforcement notice to Tigo Rwanda over quality of service.

    RURA said in an official notice that Tigo’s quality of service had been below the acceptable standards from 7 to 21 August.

    The regulator said Tigo had until 20 September to make representations to the Board if it had complaints about the decision.

    The telco has been given one month, until 13 October, to comply with the enforcement notice.

  • After a process lasting over a year, Mali’s Council of Ministers has approved the conditions for a new mobile  operator, Alpha Telecom Mali, to enter the market.

    Alpha Telecom Mali is a consortium including Planor and Monaco Telecom. The consortium won the tender proposal with a bid of 84 million euros, over Viettel and Bharti Airtel.

    The process of awarding the license began in June last year, and the license is expected to be handed over next month.

    Alpha Telecom Mali will compete for market share against Sotelma and Orange Mali.

internet

  • The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Air Chief Marshal Uluseyi Petinrin, said some unknown persons have gained unlawful access to the computer systems of Defence Headquarters and that of the Nigerian Navy.

    The CDS represented by the Chief of Research and Development, Major General M. K Amao made the remarks during the 'world cyber security conference' last week in Abuja.

    He said there was daily increase in high profile hacking incidents against major corporations and institutions around the world and that the nature of attacks has taken the form of infiltration of systems or confidential information being compromised or stolen.

    "Here in Nigeria, our defence and security institutions have not been left out. My defence headquarters' website for example, was hacked not too long ago. One of the services, the navy also had its website hacked. We are also aware of similar experiences with other security agencies in the country.

    He said criminals have attacked cloud-based servers in a global fraud campaign affecting at least 60 banks worldwide and stealing billions of dollars. He said cyber attacks may however standout as a stumbling block or threat to the actualization of the Nigeria's 'cashless policy' except if concrete measures are put in place to counter such attacks. The hackers used sophisticated techniques including automation and targeted high-value bank accounts.

  • The capitals of the Republic of Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Brazzaville and Kinshasa, have been linked by an under-river fibre cable installed by Chinese engineers, Agence Ecofin reports. 

    An event held to celebrate the fibre deployment was attended by Kin-Kiey Mulumba, the DRC’s Minister of Posts, Telecommunications and New Technologies, and Thierry Moungalla, his Congolese counterpart. The move paves the way for the DRC to belatedly connect to the West African Cable System (WACS) submarine link, which officially launched on 11 May 2012.

    The combined conurbation of Kinshasa-Brazzaville, which is divided by the Congo River, is home to around twelve million inhabitants, although significant political and infrastructure-related challenges generally prevent the two cities from functioning with any meaningful kind of connection.

  • Orange is the title sponsor of this year’s WordCamp Kenya Conference, set for November 10-11, 2012.

    As the platinum sponsor of the event, Orange’s contribution will go towards the organisation of the franchise conference, for the world’s most popular blogging and online publishing software, WordPress.

    Speaking during the sponsorship presentation to the event organisers, Telkom Kenya’s Chief Corporate Communications Officer, Angela Ng’ang’a-Mumo, reiterated the support and efforts from Orange to actively engage with various stakeholders on the social media and blogging scene, as the integrated telecommunications company increases data penetration levels in the country.

     “Orange is proud to be associated with this year’s conference and we believe our support will go a long way in ensuring the success and continuity of this event,” she said. “Orange has been at the forefront of building local content as Kenya moves towards a new frontier in the integration of social media in the country,” she added.

    The theme of this year’s conference “Responsible Blogging and Positive Influence on Social Media” will focus primarily on the role of the social media as an emerging medium of communication as well as other aspects of blogging, social media and digital publishing. 

    Social media’s accessibility and the freedom of speech and expression as enshrined in the Kenyan constitution have helped grow Kenya’s online presence. This has led to more people being able to freely express themselves by way of the internet, reaching wide audiences both locally and globally. 

    While the focus of the conference will be to equip attendees on knowledge to impact their blogging/social media experience in the long-term, it also aims to give special attention to responsible political blogging and social interaction. 

    “This is a positive change that could end up being used as a channel of incitement and abuse of these fundamental rights if used irresponsibly, more so as Kenya prepares for its first general elections after the 2007/2008 violence,” said David Mugo, one the key organiser of the WordCamp 2012. 

    This year’s WordCamp that will also be streamed live to sitting audiences in Uganda and Tanzania, will host varied professionals: Marketers, ICT professionals, Web developers and Bloggers .

  • Millenium Telecom Centrafrique S.A. has announced the launch of the first 4th Generation wireless high speed Internet network, technology-­‐based mobile WiMAX (802.16e), under the brand name “BLACK”.

    As a result of this latest generation network, individuals and businesses now benefit from ultrafast, reliable and quality Internet access, with an optimal availability rate.

    Clients can access the Black network by purchasing a Black USB dongle or a Black Modem, and benefit flows ranging from 128Kbps to 2Mbps, according to their needs.

    Two modes of billing are available for more flexibility:

    • Prepaid Billing for individuals with Black recharge cards starting from CFA 2,000 F and offering a navigation rate of 10 F / minute

    • Prepaid Billing for SOHO with Black scratch card of CFA 50,000 F

    • Postpaid Billing for Businesses

    Black Internet Network by Millenium Telecom will cover the entire city of Bangui in September, and will be gradually extended to major cities of the provinces.

  • Despite all its cutting-edge technology, Google Inc. has turned to the humble text message to break into Nigeria’s booming economy.

    The search engine has started a service in Nigeria, as well as in Ghana and Kenya, which enables mobile phone users to access emails through text messaging.

    That comes as Google’s office in Lagos has begun working with small business owners in this nation of more than 160 million people, bringing more than 25,000 businesses online over the past year.

    Google’s choice of using text messages to reach consumers highlights the challenges of doing business in Africa’s most populous nation. There is money to be made, but most people rarely have access to electricity, let alone the Internet, and a $20 mobile phone is as close as many will ever come to owning a computer.

    ‘‘We don’t want to just come in and start looking for how to generate profit,’’ said Affiong Osuchukwu, Google’s Nigeria marketing manager. ‘‘We consider (sub-Saharan Africa) to be an investment region. We know we have to invest resources and time to develop the market in order for the market to become valuable to us in a way that we can do business.’’

    Google makes tens of billions of dollars a year from advertising, much of it coming from simple text ads that pop up next to its search results. But such ads are rarely relevant to Nigerians looking for goods and services in their neighborhoods. Only a fraction of business owners have websites, and those that do rarely offer consumers many services online.

    Google Nigeria is trying to ‘‘develop the ecosystem’’ by making the Internet part of more people’s lives, Osuchukwu said. Its most recent push came in July as the company began advertising its text message email service, which allows users to receive their emails through Gmail for free as text messages. Users also can reply to the emails for only the cost of sending a text message. They also can access local classified ads hosted by Google.

    Google officials declined to offer usage statistics for the text message service. But the service, advertised across billboards and buses in Nigeria’s largest city Lagos, could provide a way to bring the search engine into the lives of people otherwise untouched by it. More than half of the 44 million people who use the Internet in Nigeria access the web through smartphones, according to International Telecommunications Union. But that represents only a fraction of mobile phone users in Nigeria, a nation turned mobile-reliant by the collapse of the state-run telephone company which has left landlines almost nonexistent.

    By getting the Internet to the simplest of handsets, Google is making a bet it can reach consumers it can ultimately make money from, as well as offer access millions otherwise wouldn’t have.

    ‘‘The Internet is an enabler,’’ said Taiwo Kola-Ogunlade, a Google spokesman in West Africa. ‘‘I may not have as much money as you but I can have enough social capital to drive as much influence as you do.’’

    Google isn’t alone in trying to add low-tech features to its interface to broaden the Internet’s reach. There’s an emerging technology industry trying to increase access to basic and sometimes life-saving information on the web.

    Sproxil Inc., a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based company, has partnered with pharmaceutical companies to allow people to verify the authenticity of drugs before purchasing them. This comes as Nigeria is awash with counterfeit drugs.

    Meanwhile, a Seattle, Washington-based technology startup called SlimTrader offers consumers in Nigeria and Senegal the ability to discover, preview and purchase goods and services from mobile phones that aren’t Internet-enabled.

    SlimTrader’s CEO Femi Akinde said: ‘‘To reach a lot more people, you've got to reach them on the most ubiquitous device possible.’’

computing

  • Gemalto, has been selected by the Government of Gabon for its national biometric identification initiative, following an international tender. The program aims to build a reliable national biometric civil registry to replace paper identification with electronic documents and generate a secure electoral register ahead of the local 2013 elections. 

    The agreement supports Digital Gabon strategic plan to modernize and secure the country’s infrastructure and protect its citizens from identity fraud.

    The Gemalto end-to-end solution comprises of its Coesys biometric citizen enrolment system including desktop and mobile stations with the related software to capture citizens’ demographic data, fingerprints and digital photographs. The solution integrates fingerprint matching capabilities to guarantees the identity’s uniqueness of each entry. Gemalto also provides its Coesys Issuance solution to enable the Gabonese government to personalize future official documents as well as a Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) to build a trusted backbone for the integration of future eGovernment services. Gemalto also supplies consulting, training, technical assistance and maintenance services.

    The biometric database will serve as a master registry to issue all citizen ID, including birth certificates, national identity cards, passports and driver’s licenses. Tamper-proof biometric authentication will be instrumental to preventing fraud and abuse of government benefits programs.

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

  • Etisalat has launched new SIM Application solution for mobile money payments and transfers, aimed at providing secure and innovative products and services for its customers.

    Etisalat is offering the service in a more convenient and secure platform, in partnership with some Nigerian banks including First Bank, GTBank, Stanbic IBTC Bank, and Zenith Bank.

    The solution will enable Etisalat customers to easy access to their preferred mobile money scheme for conducting secure money transfers and payments.

    Etisalat said it would use Easywallet to bring mobile money closer to the customer and to drive the Central bank of Nigeria (CBN's) Cashless policy by growing the use of mobile payments and making it easy to use.

    "The launch of Easywallet is a landmark in Nigeria and progress towards mobile money adoption, as it is the first fully secure Mobile Money SIM Application offered to customers with the Easywallet application installed on their SIM cards. This unique application supports multiple languages - English, Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba and works across all makes and models of phones, smartphones and even tablet devices.

    Easywallet is compliant with all industry standards such as ISO-1 and guarantees adequate protection of customer information while carrying out mobile financial transactions across multiple Mobile Money schemes," the company said during the launch of Easywallet in Lagos recently.

    Speaking at the launch, Chief Executive Officer, Etisalat Nigeria, Steven Evans stated that the company's strategy was to become a leader in providing its customers with cutting edge and secured channels for mobile financial services, which involves being a major enabler and innovator in the Nigerian Ecosystem and working with all key stakeholders to create a value proposition to meet the needs of the customers.

    "Research has shown that mobile-banking and mobile-payments can help lower the transaction costs of money transfer, increase the flow of money by making it easier to send smaller amounts and introduce those without bank accounts to a means of secure financial management. By enabling people to use their mobile phones as mobile wallets, we hope to deliver lasting benefits not just for our customers, but also for the Nigerian economy,"

    Evans said, adding "We believe the benefits of Etisalat Easywallet to our customers will be immense and also has the potential to transform the way we handle and manage money in Nigeria. Mobile phones have already improved the African way of life in so many ways and it is exciting to think it now has the potential to replace notes and coins and give all of our customer's access to world-class banking services."

    Speaking on the features of Easywallet, Chief Commercial Officer, Etisalat Nigeria, Wael Ammar said, "Easywallet allows users to have easy and secure ways to perform financial services using their mobile phones from any part of the country. The service works on all Etisalat SIM cards and customers are only required to register with any of the schemes in order to start using Easywallet. Customers are not charged from their airtime for any transactions from the mobile money SIM menu."

    With Easywallet service, customers could pay bills, pay for goods and services, receive and send money to friends and family, send and receive money to bank accounts, withdraw cash, top up their own airtime account, top up someone else's and manage their bank accounts.

  • The South African government is re-nationalising the Telkom Group given its importance to the growth of telecommunications infrastructure in the country, reports say.

     The government is set to offer R24 ($3.00) a share and approximately R12 billion ( $1.5 billion) for the Telkom Group, MyBroadband reported.

    “The government views Telkom as a strategic asset in the rollout of ICT infrastructure in the country, and is moving with speed to find a lasting solution that will make Telkom sustainable,” the Department of Communications (DoC) said in a statement.

    The SA Government owns some 39 percent of  the group but its stake adds up to 51 percent if the Public Investment Corporation’s (PIC) stake is added. According to MyBroadband, the Department of Communications (DoC) will later this week present to the cabinet three strategic options for the Telkom Group.

    The firm’s shares increased 4.32 percent to R19.31 ($2.34 ) on the JSE on Friday (14 September) making the firm worth some R10 billion, half its value a year ago.

    According to some analysts, the nationalisation was discussed in June at the ANC’s national policy conference.

    Speaking to Bloomberg, ANC Treasurer General Mathews Phosa briefly confirmed having discussions about the future of the firm and said delisting was among the strategies being considered.

    Experts say the SA government sees Telkom as important in the development of the country’s telecommunications infrastructure, and might play a central role in the rollout of its broadband programme by 2020.

    Korea-based telecom KT Corp was set to acquire in cash a strategic equity shareholding of 20 percent in Telkom’s post-issue ordinary share capital in May, but the move was blocked in Cabinet in June.

  • South Africa’s online and mobile payment service provider PayU has launched EasyMerchant, a payment solution targeted at enabling small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to perform credit card payment transfers.

     EasyMerchant will give SMEs prompt access to online payment services, saving them time in addition to simplifying transactions for e-business operations.

    The system also helps in marketing businesses online leading to increase in sales, according to PayU.

    PayU’s chief executive Mark Chirnside said startups and SMEs should be aggressive and consider taking their businesses online to benefit from PayU’s EasyMerchant .

    “The platform allows one to have an EasyMerchant account which makes e-business simpler, increase sales, cut paperwork and reduce the risk by authorising credit card purchases, processing and deposit into your account. It’s simple,” he said.

    According to the 2012 SME report by World Wide Worx, close to 410,000 SMEs in South Africa have a website, with some 63 percent representing active formal SMEs.

    Chirnside commented that e-business has sustained more than 150,000 SME business in South Africa and that entrepreneurs are plunging into it “at an alarming rate”.

    The Internet is important in searching for a service provider, which makes it impossible for businesses to sell their products and services without it, he said.

Telecoms, Rates, Offers and Coverage

  • - Dar es Salaam-based newspaper the Daily News writes that Vodacom Tanzania has slashed the cost of off-net mobile calls by 50%. The cellco has introduced a new ‘Bonga Tariff’ which applies to both pre-paid and contract (Vodajaza) customers and which costs TZS1.5 (USD0.00097) per second, down from TZS3.0 previously.

    - Egypt's Mobinil is offering 1,000 SMS messages for EGP1, although the bundle lasts for one day before expiring.

Digital Content

  • Kenya-based new media company African Laughter has launched a social media monitoring phone app to help politicians monitor their reputations online.

    Named Track-All, the app delivers “every media and social media mention on any subject as real-time alerts to phones”.

    The app was developed in eight months at a cost approaching KSh5 million. It analyses mentions on social networking platforms including Facebook and Twitter for ‘sentiment’, alerting users to positive or negative posts. It can also show social media users who comment most on a post and the top keywords.

  • Salamworld, the new social network site created to compete with Zuckerberg’s Facebook, while providing a morally safe platform for Muslims around the world to interact, is currently running a trial version and being tested by users in Egypt.

    According to Hürriyet Daily News , Abdulvahed Niyazo, a Salamworld co-owner said: “The content that is being used on other social networks is not very secure and full of haram.” The Arabic translation of “forbidden” is “haram.”

    The site, whose policy is to uphold family values and Islamic beliefs, would definitely not advertise gambling and display certain obscene or sexual keywords.

    Salamworld’s competitive strength lies in the translation innovation that makes it possible for a user to chat in Arabic and an online “friend” reads the text in English, eliminating language barrier.

    The pan-islamic site is currently available in eight languages: English, Arabic, Turkish, Urdu, and Russian, while others will be added later

    Right now, there are about 1.2 billion muslims in the world and by 2017, Salamworld hopes to have registered 50 million active users.

  • ANHRI condemns the blocking of the "You Tube" by the Sudanese authorities without giving reasons of why "National Authority of Communication" blocked it.

    On September 16, 2012 the Sudanese Ministry of Communication had blocked "You Tube" from the Internet without reasons and without details, which met by strong condemns from several journalists and activists, who tried to call the national communication authority (which blocked You Tube), but they did not provide them with any information.

    Some analysts view that the reason of blocking is the role played by "You Tube" to support the communication between the rebellion movements and also provides media support to them. The Sudanese authorities did not provide any reasons or details related to the blocking.

    Therefore, Sudan is now joined to the list of the countries that blocked "You Tube" for the second time and for the fourth time since its establishment which is "Syria, India, Pakistan, Iran and Turkey".

    ANHRI said that "blocking You Tube and forbidding the Sudanese citizens from following the current events and blocking of transferring the news outside Sudan is a clear violations to the freedom of expression and opinion and to the right to information access and exchange".

    ANHRI added that "blocking You Tube is a methodological continuation by the regime which used to suppressing the freedom of opinion and expression and blocking any news related to the anger demonstration movements that calls for democracy".

    ANHRI mentioned that "the mechanism of suppressing and blocking used by all of the suppressive regimes, especially in the Arab regime. It calls all the concerned parties and the activists to support the freedom of opinion, expression and Internet. Moreover, it calls them to continue protest against the blocking of You Tube until it is unblocked as it is one of the most important independent platforms supporting democracy in Sudan".

  • Judges and magistrates have been warned over the dangers of using social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, with a call that their messages could jeopardise the cases that they have been assigned.

    The warning was issued on Wednesday by the secretary general of the Commonwealth Magistrates and Judges Association (CMJA), Dr. Karen Brewer.

    She was speaking at the 16th Triennial Commonwealth Magistrates and Judges Conference at the Commonwealth Resort in Munyonyo. Brewer noted the importance of social media as a marketing tool but asked the judges and magistrates to exercise restraint and caution when posting some comments.

    "Many individuals use it for personal information. However, a judge must not put issues that are controversial because they could be used against them," Brewer said.

    She also advised judges and magistrates to ensure that their private conversations are not placed in the public domain because they could be used by unscrupulous people against them.

    Brewer also noted that criminal law must keep pace with technological development. He stated that prosecution of cybercrime has become difficult since a person who commits it does not necessarily have to be in an area.

    Justice David Hope, the Right Honourable Lord Hope of Craighead in the UK, cautioned judges against getting agitated when hearing cases.

  • The Hackathon was staged at five m:Labs around the world. In Kenya, participants came up with 10 ideas, forming 10 teams. The teams concentrated on developing their ideas to prototypes overnight, after which they presented their apps to a panel of judges.

    The winning teams of the M2Work Hackathon are:

    1st Prize: Tafsiri

    Tafsiri is a solution that aims to provide companies or organizations translation of specific information to the language of the local community, creating employment for many.

    2nd Prize: Smart Blackboard

    Smart Blackboard is a solution that allows students to pose questions while doing their homework or preparing for tests and receive answers from qualified teachers.

    3rd Prize: MobiAgent

    MobiAgent is a solution that gives its user the ability to be an agent and get commission every time he/she sells a product e.g. event tickets to people on his/her phone contacts.

    4th Prize: Kaisari

    A compliance and authenticity monitoring system that enables organizations and/or individuals to track down fake products and/or  non-compliant individuals.

  • InMobi, the world’s largest independent mobile ad network, has reported a triple digit growth for its ad impressions in North Africa and the Middle East.

    InMobi’s second quarter resultsfor the 2012 fiscal year showed a growth of 248 percent in ad impressions in the two regions compared to the same period last year.

    Some 76 percent of the impressions came from smartphones, demonstrating the fact that more such devices have become increasingly available to users.

    In the same quarter last year, the company recorded 56 percent ad impressions from smartphones.

    “Behind the iPhone, the Nokia handset is still dominant in this market, however the greatest growth from an Operating System standpoint is from Android that grew by 8 percent,” said Daryn Smith of Inmobi Research.

    The figures give credence to the growth of mobile web advertising in Africa with more people having access to the Internet on Web-enabled phones.

    As a result, more mobile web advertising companies have set up shop in Africa and the market is yet to grow to its full potential, according to InMobi.

More

  • - Ethio Telecom, Ethiopia’s leading telco, has appointed a new chief executive to steward the company in its strategic expansion across the Horn of Africa. Bruno Duthoit is a former CEO of Orange Moldavia and Orange Armenia who has also served on the board of Orange Poland. Duthoit is a graduate of the Municipal Poly Technique and has over 21 years of professional experience with France Telecom.

    -  Writer, journalist, blogger, and free speech activist Eskinder Nega, the 2012 recipient of PEN American Center’s Freedom to Write Award, lived in Washington, D.C., before returning to his native Ethiopia to start one of the country’s first-ever independent newspapers. On Friday, Eskinder was back in D.C.–not physically, but as the subject of a candlelight vigil at the African American Civil War Memorial that commemorated the first anniversary of the blogger’s arrest and sent the message that those jailed for peacefully exercising their right to freedom of speech are never forgotten.

    - In agreement with its local partners, Orange  has appointed the following Chief Executive Officers in seven of its African and Middle Eastern subsidiaries:

     - Brelotte Ba is appointed Chief Executive Officer of Orange Niger, succeeding Jean-Louis Branco;

    - Michel Barré is appointed Chief Executive Officer of Orange Madagascar, succeeding Jean-Luc Bohé;

     - Jean-Luc Bohé is appointed Chief Executive Officer of Orange Mali, succeeding Alioune Ndiaye;

     - Didier Charvet is appointed Chief Executive Officer of Orange Tunisia, succeeding Thierry Marigny;

     - Nathalie Clere is appointed Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Mauritius Telecom, succeeding Jean-François Thomas;

     - Alioune Ndiaye is appointed Chief Executive Officer of Sonatel in Senegal, succeeding Cheikh Tidiane Mbaye; and

    These appointments fall within the Group’s international mobility policy and, in each case, were made at the end of the terms of the departing Chief Executive Officers. All of the appointments will be effective by October 1, 2012.

  •  

    Broadband World Forum
    16 – 18 October 2012, Amsterdam RAI Convention Centre, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
    The event, now in its 12th year, is the most respected in the regions Telecoms calendar and the comprehensive agenda includes breakfast briefings, 3 co-located summits,  keynote plenary sessions and a choice of 4 tracks for delegates each day as well as the world class exhibition area. For more information please click here:

    AfricaCom 2012
    13th-15th November 2012, CTICC, Cape Town, South Africa

    The digital ecosystem will take centre stage at AfricaCom 2012, at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, 13 – 15 November 2012.  Network with over 7000 industry executives at Africa’s largest event embracing all aspects of the continent’s converging telecoms, media and ICT sectors.  Incorporating 11 co-located events all pertinent to future-proofing your business in the digital era, including cloud computing, OTT, apps, broadband and multiplatform content, see and hear how Africa’s communications market is a hotbed for innovation and long term prosperity. 
    Contact: Subuola.akinkugbe@informa.com
    For more information please click here:

    Telecoms Fraud & Revenue Assurance Forum
    26th - 27th November 2012, Dubai
    The only event currently in the region dedicated to telecoms fraud and revenue assurance, Tavess' Telecoms Fraud and Revenue Assurance Forum in Dubai has been designed to provide Revenue Assurance and Fraud professionals from across the Middle East, Asia and Africa the opportunity to learn about the latest RA strategies that the operators are adopting to more effectively detect and prevent revenue leakage and fraudulent activities in an increasingly complex scenario. In addition to an in-depth look at the detection and prevention of various types of fraud, the Forum also explores how to evolve the organization, streamline processes, effectively integrate systems and embed revenue assurance into new products. For more information please click here:

     

     

     

     

Edition Française No 191, 20 septembre 2012

node ref id: 25952

Editorial

  • En cuivre (le cas de Togo Télécom ci-dessous) ou en fibre (le cas de Camtel ci-dessous), tout est bon pour les voleurs de câbles. Bien sur ces derniers ne mesurent jamais les désagréments qu’ils causent aux consommateurs ou encore aux opérateurs télécoms. Faut-il par conséquent un renforcement des sanctions pénalisant le vol de câble ou plus d’éducation et d’informations suffiraient ? Un choix s’impose pour résorber ce problême. 

    - Depuis plusieurs mois, les câbles en cuivre de Togo Télécom sont régulièrement volés. Le phénomène s’explique par l’embellissement du cours du cuivre sur le marché mondial. Des délinquants et des bandes organisées sont soupçonnés d’être les auteurs de ces actes qui causent de grand préjudice au réseau internet haut débit de Togo Télécom.

    Cina Lawso,  la ministre des Télécommunications, a demandé vendredi aux auteurs de ces actes de « cesser immédiatement car les sanctions vont suivre. Nous allons prendre des dispositions sécuritaires pour mettre fin à ces vols ». Yark Damehame, le ministre de la Sécurité a ajouté que plusieurs personnes avaient déjà été arrêtées.

    Pour l’opérateur, les pertes enregistrées se chiffrent au minimum à un 1 milliard de Francs Cfa depuis 6 mois, sans compter les désagréments causés aux abonnés de l’ADSL que sont les entreprises. Sam Bikassan, le directeur général de Togo Telecom, a précisé que le milliard représente uniquement les coûts de réparation, d’acquisition et d’installation de nouveaux câbles, mais pas le manque à gagner causé à l’entreprise.

    - 150 km de fibre optique ont été volés à Camtel et installés pendant plusieurs mois le long de la route Douala-Yaoundé par de fausses équipes de l’entreprise nationale.

    C’est le 12 septembre 2012 que la société Cameroon Telecommunications (Camtel) a découvert cette pose frauduleuse de fibre optique sur son propre réseau. Des ouvriers, croyant travailler pour l’entreprise parapublique, sont venus au siège revendiquer leurs arriérés de paiement, ce qui a permis de découvrir le pot aux roses.

    Selon Benjamin Gérard Assouzo’o, le responsable communication de Camtel, les ouvriers interrogés auraient fait savoir qu’ils ont creusé des tranchées et installé la fibre optique. Lorsqu’ils ont essayé de joindre leurs « employeurs » au téléphone, ceux-ci ont déclaré qu’ils étaient maintenant aux États-Unis et qu’une fois de retour ils les rappelleraient.

    Le mystère reste entier quant aux intentions de ces fraudeurs. Camtel avance deux hypothèses : un projet d’exploitation commerciale sauvage à prix cassés ou bien une tentative de piratage du réseau national de télécommunications qui aurait permis aux commanditaires de capter tous les échanges numériques du pays, y compris les plus sensibles.

  • Le Mali va octroyer à l'opérateur privé Alpha Telecom Mali une licence d'établissement et d'exploitation des réseaux et services de télécommunications par l'adoption d'un projet de décret portant approbation du cahier des charges de ladite licence, annonce un communiqué du Conseil du ministre de jeudi.

    Alpha Telecom Mali est un filiale du groupe Monaco Telecom. Cette compagnie devient ainsi le troisième opérateur de télécommunication sur le marché malien après la SOTELMA-MALITEL et Orange-Mali.

    De source officielle, cette troisième licence va procurer à l'Etat malien environ 55 milliards de francs CFA, dont 33 milliards disponibles lors de la signature de licence prévue dans les prochains jours, souligne-t-on.

    Info Plus Gabon
  • Le président de l'Autorité de régulation des communications électroniques et des postes (ARCEP), Mathurin Bako, a remis, le lundi 17 septembre 2012 au Premier ministre, Luc Adolphe Tiao, le rapport 2011 de l'institution qu'il dirige. On note une croissance du nombre d'abonnés de la téléphonie mobile et le non respect de l'intégralité des normes des services de qualité.

    « Le secteur de la téléphonie mobile continue de croître de manière soutenue aussi bien sur le plan de la couverture du territoire national que sur le taux de pénétration des services des Technologies de l'information et de la communication (TIC) ». C'est l'un des constats contenus dans le rapport 2011 de l'ARCEP, dont le Premier ministre, Luc Adolphe Tiao, a eu connaissance, le lundi 17 septembre 2012. « Le taux d'abonnés fixes et mobiles est passé de 5 millions 851 mille 813 à 7 millions 823 mille 629 au 31 décembre 2011, soit un taux de croissance global de 33,69% et une télé densité de 48,15 téléphones pour 100 habitants », a précisé le président de l'Autorité de régulation des communications électroniques et des postes (ARCEP), Mathurin Bako.

    Si la téléphonie mobile a poursuivi son évolution, on remarque que le réseau fixe de l'ONATEL a plutôt connu, au 31 décembre 2011, une décroissance de 1,69% passant de 143 mille 963 lignes en 2010 à 141 mille 529 en 2011. Sur les 3 opérateurs mobiles GSM qui se partagent le marché, au regard du parc d'abonnés, Airtel est leader en terme de part de marché avec 39,24%, suivi de près par Telmob avec 38,67% et enfin Telecel, avec 22,09%. Concernant le marché de l'Internet, en 2011, l'Autorité de régulation a enregistré 9 nouveaux fournisseurs d'accès internet, portant le total à 45 fournisseurs d'accès internet déclarés sur le marché. Les trois opérateurs mobiles en plus de l'ONATEL offrent de la connectivité à l'Internet à leurs clients. Le parc d'abonnés Internet, au 31 décembre 2011 était de 340 mille 025 clients.

    Au cours de l'année 2011, l'ARCEP a, conformément à la réglementation, réalisé un audit pour s'assurer du respect par les opérateurs de téléphonie mobile, des obligations en matière de qualité des services. L'analyse des résultats de l'audit a montré qu'aucun des réseaux, y compris le réseau fixe ONATEL, ne respecte en totalité, les indicateurs des services de qualité. La procédure de sanctions avait alors été entamée et a abouti à une mise en demeure et à des sanctions pécuniaires. En outre, l'ARCEP a poursuivi, l'an passé, le processus d'identification des abonnés mobiles. Mathurin Bako a martelé que : « Pour ce qui concerne les difficultés relatives à la qualité des services offerts par les opérateurs de téléphonie, à l'identification des abonnés mobiles, des mesures énergiques sont prises par l'Autorité de régulation pour la résolution définitive de ces questions ». Au 31 décembre 2011, a souligné le président de l'ARCEP, « Tous les opérateurs ont déclaré des taux d'identification supérieurs à 90% ». Quant au processus d'attribution des licences 3G, les opérateurs pourront utiliser les bandes GSM 900 pour fournir leurs services de troisième génération, afin de pouvoir rapidement déployer leurs réseaux 3G. Le montant du droit d'entrée a été révisé à la baisse par le gouvernement et les obligations du cahier des charges ont été allégées par l'ARCEP.

    L'Autorité de régulation a également, à la demande de Orange Niger, conduit des échanges sur les conditions d'attribution d'une licence individuelle pour l'établissement et l'exploitation d'un réseau de fibre optique et de location de capacité. Par ailleurs, 96 fréquences VHF/UHF et trois bandes SHF ont été assignées en 2011, à des stations de radiocommunication des services étatiques, du secteur privé et des missions diplomatiques contre 168 et deux bandes SHF en 2010. Au cours de l'année écoulée, le président de l'ARCEP a relevé la bonne évolution de la stratégie de mise en oeuvre de la Télévision numérique terrestre (TNT) au Burkina Faso, avec l'adoption de nombreux textes.

    Aussi, « la gestion des noms de domaine et des adresses IP, la cyber sécurité, la certification électronique et la migration vers IPv6 sont autant d'autres dossiers qui ont connu une évolution positive en 2011 », a ajouté le premier responsable de l'ARCEP. Le Premier ministre, Luc Adolphe Tiao, a félicité les membres de l'ARCEP pour le travail réalisé en 2011. Il a promis le soutien du gouvernement dans la mise en oeuvre des recommandations.

    Sidwaya
  • À l'instar de Free en France, Izi, opérateur internet réunionnais souhaite pénétrer le marché de la téléphonie mobile. Il promet des tarifs réduits, et de faire « bouger les lignes ».

    Si le lancement de la marque Izi Mobile est prévue aujourd'hui, les consommateurs devront patienter un an minimum pour profiter d'offres aux tarifs « au moins divisés par 2 ». Le temps pour Izi d'installer un réseau d'antennes, mais surtout d'obtenir les fréquences nécessaires à ce développement.

    « Aux mêmes maux les mêmes remèdes », martèle Yann de Prince. Devant un marché réunionnais de téléphonie mobile « peu concurrentiel » et « loin d'être saturé, contrairement à ce qu'on veut nous faire croire », le PDG d'Izi et de Mobius veut emprunter la méthode de Xavier Niel, le fondateur de Free. Se frotter aux opérateurs historiques et faire évoluer les tarifs pratiqués - « 4 fois plus cher ici qu'en métropole »- voilà l'objectif de la filiale Izi Mobile dont le lancement est prévu aujourd'hui. Sa promesse : proposer des offres « divisées au moins par 2 » par rapport à SFR ou Orange.

    Après huit mois de négociations infructueuses avec ses concurrents pour utiliser leur infrastructure et se convertir ainsi en opérateur virtuel (ou MVNO), Izi veut tenter l'aventure en solo et monter son propre réseau dores et déjà habilité à recevoir la 4G.

    Cet investissement, le possible quatrième opérateur le chiffre à 50 millions d'euros, dont 35 millions alloués au déploiement des antennes. « Il est évident que nous ne nous lancerons pas tant que nous n'aurons pas une couverture équivalente à celle de nos concurrents », précise Yann de Prince qui estime que ce projet drainera quelque 150 embauches, dont il assure qu'elles seront toutes pourvues localement.

    Ne manque plus que l'autorisation de l'Arceps, l'autorité de la régulation des télécoms, pour l'attribution de fréquences. Sur ce point, le PDG est confiant : « L'Arceps délivre généralement les autorisations dans un laps de quatre mois et je ne vois pas de raison pour que nous n'y soyons pas éligibles ». Ajoutons à cela un minimum de 6 mois pour la construction du réseau. Les consommateurs auront donc à patienter minimum un an pour connaître les nouveaux tarifs d'Izi...

  • Les activités du Groupe France Télécom Orange en RDC, héritier de la société de communication Congo Chine Télécom (CCT), vont démarrer bientôt, a annoncé jeudi à Kinshasa son directeur exécutif international Orange de la zone Afrique, Moyen-Orient et Asie (AMEA) et président du Conseil d'administration de CCT, Marc Rennard, lors d'un point de presse animé avec le directeur général de CCT Jean-Léon Bonnechère.

    00% du capital de CCT que se partageaient initialement l'équipement ZTE (51%) et l'Etat congolais (49%) et qui possédait une licence nationale, un réseau de qualité et une bonne couverture. « Conformément aux directives du PDG Stéphane Richard, nous visons les 7 milliards d'euros de chiffre d'affaires à l'horizon 2015 sur la zone Afrique, Moyen-Orient et Asie. Avec un taux de pénétration de la téléphonie mobile inférieur à 20% et une démographie croissante, la RDC, est un marché porteur », a déclaré Marc Rennard.

    Mais le déploiement de CCT ne correspondant pas aux standards internationaux pratiqués par France Télécom Orange, la mise à niveau en cours s'est avérée nécessaire. « Nous sommes en train de transformer une entreprise. Nous investissons massivement dans la formation de notre personnel, dans l'amélioration de la qualité du réseau afin de développer une offre performante de produits et de services », a rassuré le directeur général de CCT Jean-Léon Bonnechère, indiquant que la satisfaction du client est une priorité de la nouvelle direction de CCT.

    « Nous sommes une compagnie de proximité à l'écoute de nos clients et ce qui compte pour nous c'est le bénéfice que retirent nos usagers de notre technologie », a souligné Marc Rennard. Orange, à travers sa filiale CCT, fait déjà preuve d'audace et d'innovation en offrant des produits marqués du sceau de la simplicité et de la transparence. CCT propose entre autres la tarification à la seconde, une offre économique pour les élèves et étudiants (Staff+) et des offres datas rechargeables avec le modem CCT.

    Au-delà des services innovateurs, Orange se positionnera comme acteur majeur du développement à travers des actions sociales et caritatives, en commençant par l'amélioration des conditions de travail des employés de la société, constitués en majorité de Congolais. « CCT était autrefois opérée par les Chinois avec un management exclusivement chinois. Aussitôt que nous avons eu cette entreprise, nous avons immédiatement défini le projet et engagé les transformations. Nous avons un souci fort de rendre très rapidement la plupart de responsabilités opérationnelles à du personnel et cadres locaux. De telle sorte que l'entreprise soit imprégnée en la demande sur le marché. Pour devenir l'opérateur préféré des populations que nous servons, nous veillons tout particulièrement au développement économique et social des territoires, condition essentielle de la pérennité de notre activité », a dit Marc Rennard.

    Sur les 30 pays que représente le groupe Orange, la RDC est le premier des pays francophones le plus important de part l'importance de sa population. « Pour des raisons administratives ou logistiques, nous avons découpé les régions en cinq. A savoir, le Katanga, les deux Kivu, la province orientale, où aujourd'hui on est en position de leader, et les deux Kasaï. On est fortement leader à Mbuji-Mayi.

    On a également fait une grande région en découpage actuel, bien qu'il aille évoluer au fil du temps. Il s'agit de la province de Kinshasa avec le Bas-Congo, y compris l'Equateur », a expliqué Jean-Léon Bonnechère. « On va progressivement vers Orange mais, l'entité, le personnel, l'équipe et la société juridique de CCT demeurent les mêmes. CCT n'est pas une marque mais, le nom d'un réseau et en ce moment-là, ce nom changera et la société s'appellera définitivement Orange-RDC », ont expliqué tour à tour MM. Marc Rennard et Jean-Léon Bonnechère.

    Le Potentiel
  • Internet va connaître certainement une nouvelle dimension au Gabon à compter de l'année 2013 qui va être consacré « année de l'internet au Gabon », l'objectif de l'Agence Nationale des Infrastructures Numériques et des Fréquences (ANINF), étant éventuellement de relancer le développement de cette technologie qui a fini par prendre place dans le quotidien des Gabonais.

    Cette initiative de l'Agence Nationale des Infrastructures Numériques et des Fréquences a été présentée au cours d'une réunion d'échanges entre les acteurs du monde de l'internet présents au Gabon et Open TLD, spécialisé dans l'accompagnement au développement de l'internet, avec d'ailleurs des succès mondiaux qui font oeuvre de référence dans le domaine.

    L'ANINF espère, à travers cette année 2013, engager une véritable révolution, favoriser, selon les mots mêmes du Directeur Général de l'agence, « l'augmentation des capacités du Gabon à l'accès internet » sur la base, entre autres, de l'arrivée d'un second câble (ACE) et de l'existence du domaine Ga défendu aujourd'hui par le projet DIG (Domaine Internet Gabon) puisqu'il s'agit là « de la référence du Gabon dans le monde l'internet » selon Cyriaque Didier Kouma.

    Plusieurs entreprises investies dans le domaine de l'internet ont répondu présentes et applaudi l'initiative de l'ANINF, c'est-à-dire celle de consacrer l'année prochaine au développement de l'internet, et qui sera certainement l'occasion pour quelques unes de revoir leurs ambitions à la hausse, notamment celles liées à la conquête des usagers installés en dehors de Libreville qui ont encore un accès difficile à la toile.

    L'année 2013 sera l'occasion surtout pour tous ces acteurs de discuter, de relever les points d'achoppement qui ont fait que depuis quelques années le Gabon a perdu sa place de leader de l'internet dans la sous-région. Les représentants de 2ME, IPI9 et d'autres ont donc accepté de s'asseoir pour redonner au domaine Ga une place de choix mais aussi de tuer le mythe qui entoure encore la toile dans certains milieux sociaux et certaines régions du pays complètement déconnectées.

    Pour les consommateurs, cette année 2013 va peut-être sonner le glas d'une connexion approximative et d'un accès coûteux comme c'est le cas encore aujourd'hui. Christian Abiaghé, président d'une organisation de consommateurs a ainsi souhaité que « la concurrence devienne plus difficile et favorise ainsi dès la fin même de l'année internet un accès à cette technologie qui réponde aux possibilités du consommateur ».

    Gabonnews
  • Le mode d'opération des Ivoiriens: utiliser, entre autres, des jeunes femmes qui demandent de l'aide pour sortir d'une situation difficile. Des Mauriciens se sont laissé prendre au piège.

    Un internaute mauricien a ainsi récemment envoyé 1 800 euros (environ Rs 57 000) à un Ivoirien. Ce dernier affirmait être sans le sou après avoir été agressé. Le Mauricien a envoyé l'argent à Abidjan, la capitale de la Côte d'Ivoire, à travers la Western Union.

    Le mode d'opération de ces escrocs ivoiriens est relativement simple. Ils font parvenir à leurs cibles une demande via Facebook pour qu'elles les ajoutent à leur liste d'amis. Une fois la requête acceptée, ils passent à l'action. Les femmes, par exemple, usent de tous leurs charmes pour appâter leurs victimes.

    Autre scénario : les escrocs qui jouent la carte de la maladie. Un dénommé Alexandre Dubois explique ainsi à ses victimes qu'il est atteint d'une tumeur au cerveau et qu'il doit trouver au plus vite un héritier. Il vous dévoile ses comptes bancaires et se dit prêt à vous prouver sa maladie. En contrepartie, il vous réclame 500 euros pour transférer un compte en France à votre nom...

    L’Express
  • Une rencontre a regroupé différentes personnalités du secteur public et privé qui travaillent autour de l'Internet. Objectif : préparer les contributions à la réunion de Baku (Azerbaïdjan), qui se tiendra du 6 au 9 novembre.

    Avec l'appui de Google Afrique francophone et de son premier responsable M. Tidiane Dème, les régulateurs des télécommunications avec l'Agence de régulation des télécommunications et des postes (Artp), les pouvoirs publics ainsi que les différents spécialistes ont, dans le cadre de la préparation du forum sur la gouvernance mondiale, discuté de l'apport du Sénégal lors de cette rencontre internationale.

    Une occasion pour les acteurs de revenir sur le développement de l'Internet ainsi que les différents écueils qui ont pour nom manque d'infrastructures adéquates, cherté de l'accès au Net, cybercriminalité ou encore escroquerie sur la toile.

    Dans sa déclaration, Mme Maïmouna Diop Diagne, vice-présidente d'Internet society Sénégal (Isoc) et présidente du comité d'organisation, est revenue sur les enjeux économiques et sociaux de l'Internet au Sénégal.

    Elle a rappelé que, souvent, « les autorités politiques prennent des décisions qui parfois ne peuvent pas être en adéquation avec la vision des spécialistes quant au développement de l'Internet ». De son côté, le représentant de la Sonatel, El Hadji Maty Sène, a indiqué, au sujet du prix jugé élevé de l'Internet que « les contenus sont chers et il nous faut les importer, ce qui rend, peut-être, le coup élevé ».

    Sept panels permettent de préparer la contribution du Sénégal lors de la rencontre internationale de Baku, en novembre prochain. Les thèmes concernant le point de vue de la société sénégalaise sur Internet, les enjeux économiques du Net au Sénégal, la sécurité et la protection des données personnelles, la gestion des ressources critiques, la gouvernance d'Internet pour le développement sont autant de questions qui ont été abordées. Pour M. Tidiane Dème de Google Afrique francophone, « la démocratisation de l'accès au Net doit être une réalité dans notre pays car les services peuvent être pourvoyeurs de développement ».

    Le Soleil
  • Des acteurs du secteur des technologies de l'information et de la communication (TIC) ont plaidé, vendredi à Dakar, pour une règlementation des logiciels libres.

    "Il suffit que l'Etat prenne une réglementation pour que l'environnement change. Si l'Etat décide que l'administration utilise les logiciels libres, ça fera des économies" au pays, a dit Tidiane Seck, expert en TIC, à l'occasion de la cérémonie de clôture d'une session de formation de formateurs sur le thème :

    "Entreprendre avec les logiciels libres en Afrique". Il a plaidé pour que les autorités prennent "à coeur" cette question.

    Il faut "une réglementation positive dans le domaine des TIC", a de son côté estimé Ibrahima Diouf, directeur des Petites et Moyennes entreprises (PME) et coordonnateur du Programme sénégalo-allemand PACC-PME/PMF.

    La session de formation de formateurs sur le thème "Entreprendre avec les logiciels libres en Afrique" est organisé par la Coopération allemande au Développement-GIZ, en partenariat avec la Fondation africaine des logiciels libres (FOSSFA). Cette formation va prendre fin au mois de décembre prochain.

    Selon Steffi Meyer, chef de projet GIZ programme ict@innovation, elle "a pour objectif de promouvoir les petites et moyennes entreprises (PME) dans le domaine du logiciel libre à travers le développement de réseaux régionaux et la consolidation des capacités de conseil des associations et des institutions de formation en (TIC)".

    "L'accent est mis sur le logiciel libre en tant que technologie essentielle pour encourager l'innovation, valoriser les compétences locales et promouvoir des applications TIC abordables et orientées vers le développement humain", a-t-elle indiqué.

    "Les TIC sont dans des secteurs stratégiques, tels que l'éducation, l'administration et le commerce, clés pour le développement économique et social en Afrique subsaharienne", a-t-elle déclaré.

    APS
  • Avec une population de plus de 32 millions d’habitants, le Maroc a connu un augmentation de 113,57% du taux de pénétration d’abonnés au mobile l’année dernière. Le chiffre est révélé par l’Agence nationale de réglementation des télécommunications (ARNT).

    D’après un rapport produit par la structure, comparé à 2011, le trafic d’appel a augmenté de 65,5%, alors que les SMS ont grimpé de 31,38%. Or, « Maroc Telecom a vu sa part de marché mobile chuté de 48,85% à la fin de 2011, comparé à 52,81% une année plus tôt, Medi Telecom a plongé à 32,92% en partant de 33,74% et Wana Corporate (Inwi) a augmenté de 13.45% à 20,23% », note itnewsafrica.com.

    Pour ce qui est de la recherche sur la rapidité d’Internet dans les pays, menée par Net Index, le Maroc occupe la 115ème place sur la plus grande échelle en matière de vitesse de téléchargement Internet, avec une moyenne de 2,84 Mbps. C’est Meditel qui obtient la plus grande vitesse de téléchargement avec 6,98 Mbps pour son Internet fixe.

    Du rapport de l’ARNT, il ressort que Maroc Telecom est parti pour être le plus grand fournisseur de services de télécommunications du pays. L’ARNT lie l’accroissement de l’offre et l’utilisation des TIC dans le pays aux investissements continus dans le secteur.

    Agence ecofin
  • Cette entreprise procède actuellement au recrutement de 200 téléopérateurs. Roshan Seetohul, directeur général d'Euro CRM, explique que cette démarche s'inscrit dans la volonté de la société de répondre aux attentes de nouveaux clients. Elle fait également suite à l'augmentation du volume de travail avec ses clients existants.

    Les 200 nouveaux téléopérateurs s'ajoutent aux 600 opérateurs déjà employés par l'entreprise. Euro CRM, qui est implantée à Maurice depuis huit ans, a par ailleurs développé des procédures de recrutement exigeantes, explique la direction. Et d'ajouter que le niveau d'exigence du groupe est maintenu grâce à la richesse du bassin d'emploi local et l'attrait que représente le métier de téléconseiller à Maurice.

    La formation demeure une composante essentielle de la qualité pour ce centre d'appels. Ce, dans la mesure où les équipes d'opérateurs sont soumises aux mêmes règles et procédures de validation qu'en France.

    L’Express
  • Selon une étude réalisée en 2011 par l’Association des opérateurs mobile utilisant le GSM (GSMA), l’Afrique est le continent qui s’est le plus approprié le système de paiement par mobile. On y recense 735 millions de cartes SIM.

    80% des transactions financières ainsi effectuées sur mobile proviennent des pays d’Afrique de l’Est. Par exemple, le montant global des transferts réalisés au Kenya avec le système M-Pesa s’élève à 2,8 milliards d’euros, confirme une autre étude du GSMA.

    Notremonde.org précise que les transactions financières par téléphone sont bien ancrées sur le continent, alors que seuls 20% d’africains ont un compte bancaire. 27% des « m-payment » sont des transactions interpersonnelles et 5% concerne le paiement de factures.

    Agence ecofin
  • Une récente étude réalisée par la Ligue marocaine de la presse électronique a révélé que près 96 % des journalistes de la presse électronique sont favorables à la promulgation d'un Code de déontologie pour le secteur, alors que 40 % craignent que cette loi n'apporte des restrictions limitant la liberté d'exercice de leur profession.

    Réalisée avec l'appui de l'organisation islamique pour l'éducation, les sciences et la culture (ISESCO), l'étude, publiée dans un recueil présenté samedi dernier, indique que 95,86 % de ces journalistes approuvent la publication d'un code régissant le secteur, un indice qui atteste du niveau de maturité et de l'expérience de cette presse au Maroc et de son passage de l'amateurisme au professionnalisme.

    Si 40 % des journalistes interrogés éprouvent une appréhension vis-à-vis d'éventuelles restrictions que pourrait imposer ce code en cas de sa publication, 32 % croient fermement que ces restrictions seront bel et bien réelles, selon cette étude, la première du genre qui dresse, chiffres à l'appui, un état des lieux de la presse électronique au Maroc.

    En raison du vide juridique et organisationnel dont pâtit le secteur, 74 % des journalistes de la presse électronique estiment que le contenu de leurs journaux ne jouit pas de la protection intellectuelle requise, tandis que la majorité de ces journalistes estiment rencontrer des difficultés dans l'accès à l'information à sa source.

    Selon la même étude, la majorité des journalistes exerçant dans ce genre de presse sont des amateurs (46 %), en ce sens qu'ils n'ont reçu aucune formation spécialisée dans la presse, contre plus de 31 % qui exercent cette presse dans le but d'exprimer des opinions personnelles, tandis que la majorité de ces journalistes travaillent dans des journaux électroniques sans contrepatrie matérielle (83%), en raison de la non-institutionnalisation de ces organes de presse sous forme d'entreprises médiatiques.

    Près de 62,5 % des journaux électroniques comptent sur l'autofinancement, alors le taux d'appui sur la publicité pour le financement ne dépasse pas 44,28 %. Néanmoins, ces journaux électroniques gardent une ligne de conduite régulière en matière de publication et d'actualisation des informations, selon la même étude. La majorité de ces journaux (63 %) existe de manière fictive dans la mesure où ils ne relèvent pas de société et ne sont pas enregistrés de manière légale, en raison de leur incapacité financière pour 53 % des cas, en plus de l'ignorance des procédures pour 26 %. Pourtant, la majorité de ces journaux affiche sa ligne rédactionnelle à 84 %.

    Près de 27 % des journalistes de la presse électronique comptent sur leurs propres sources pour parvenir à l'information dans la rédaction des articles, puis sur le réseau des correspondants (23 %) et des agences de presse, alors que 73 % parmi eux sont conscients de la nécessité de mentionner les sources de l'information. La plupart des journaux électroniques marocains sont de nature informative (48%) et s'intéressent à la chose nationale (42%), contre 28 % qui s'intéressent au régional.

    Quelque 90 % des journalistes de la presse électronique sont de sexe masculin et peuvent être classés dans leur majorité dans la catégorie des personnes actives au sein de la société. Une bonne partie de ces journalistes est concentrée dans les régions de Tanger-Tétouan (20,2 %), de l'Oriental et du Rif (20,53 %).

    En outre, la majorité des journalistes de cette presse ont une expérience ne dépassant pas 5 ans (près 80 %), ce qui montre que l'exercice de cette profession est encore embryonnaire au Maroc . Plus de 64 % des rédacteurs et des correspondants de journaux électroniques sont réguliers dans leur travail, en dépit des moyens matériels et des conditions générales organisationnelles propres au secteur.

    Le secteur est à dominante jeune puisque la majorité des journalistes sont âgés entre 25 et 45 ans pour les hommes (63 %) et entre 20 et 35 ans pour les femmes.

    Concernant les fonctions et les missions des journalistes de la presse électronique, l'étude révèle des interférences dans les attributions en l'absence de procédures administratives régissant le secteur. Près de 31,76% de personnes œuvrant dans ce secteur sont des licenciés et la plupart des journalistes souhaitent bénéficier de la formation et de la formation continue, notamment dans les domaines de rédaction et du Code de la presse, pour exprimer librement leur opinion dans les limites de la responsabilité juridique pour éviter tout abus ou poursuite.

    MAP
  •  

    Salon International des technologies et de l'intormation (Med-IT) 

    24-26 September 2021, Alger, Algérie 

    Cette année, le thème de l'innovation IT sera à l'honneur avec l'organisation des Trophées MED-IT 2012 qui portera sur les «Meilleures Start-up IT». «L'événement accueille chaque année plus de 5,000 visiteurs professionnels et 150 exposants, dont les principaux acteurs algériens du secteur des TIC ainsi que 30% d'entreprises étrangères, parmi lesquelles les grandes multinationales. *

    CARREFOUR D’AFFAIRES ET DE TECHNOLOGIES 2012

    «NOUVELLE TUNISIE, NOUVELLES OPPORTUNITES » Tunis, Parc International des Expositions 28-30 Novembre 2012 Organisé, du 28 au 30 Novembre 2012, par l’Agence de Promotion de l’Industrie et de l’Innovation, en association avec l’Union Tunisienne pour l’Industrie le Commerce et l’Artisanat (UTICA) et en collaboration avec l’Agence de Promotion de l’Investissement Extérieur (FIPA) et le Centre de Promotion des Exportations (CEPEX), CAT 2012 se veut être une réelle plateforme dédiée à l’entreprise, où vont se côtoyer décideurs et leaders de divers horizons, avec leurs offres et demandes dans des secteurs innovants à fort potentiel de croissance:

    Mécanique, électrique et électronique 

    Agroalimentaire 

    Plastique technique et plasturgie 

    Textile technique 

    Nouvelles technologies de l’information et de la communication 

    Pharmaceutique Pour plus d’infos cliquez ici 

  • Le ministre sénégalais de la Communication, des Télécommunication et des Technologies de l'information et de la communication s'est félicité de la décision du chef de l'Etat Macky Sall de nommer l'ancien journaliste Babacar Touré à la présidence du Conseil national de régulation de l'audiovisuel (CNRA), indique un communiqué reçu à l'APS.

  • Informaticiens – Côte d’Ivoire

    Entreprise informatique recrute sur test 10 informaticiens

    avec ou sans expérience.conditions: être ivoirien,avoir un BAC + 2 à 3, avoir au plus 30ans.

    lettre de motivation. CV avec photo + copie du diplôme.

    date limite de dépôts des dossier 15 octobre 2012 à 17h00

    Pour plus d’information ou pour postuler cliquez ici

     

Edition Française No 191, 20 septembre 2012

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Editorial

  • En cuivre (le cas de Togo Télécom ci-dessous) ou en fibre (le cas de Camtel ci-dessous), tout est bon pour les voleurs de câbles. Bien sur ces derniers ne mesurent jamais les désagréments qu’ils causent aux consommateurs ou encore aux opérateurs télécoms. Faut-il par conséquent un renforcement des sanctions pénalisant le vol de câble ou plus d’éducation et d’informations suffiraient ? Un choix s’impose pour résorber ce problême. 

    - Depuis plusieurs mois, les câbles en cuivre de Togo Télécom sont régulièrement volés. Le phénomène s’explique par l’embellissement du cours du cuivre sur le marché mondial. Des délinquants et des bandes organisées sont soupçonnés d’être les auteurs de ces actes qui causent de grand préjudice au réseau internet haut débit de Togo Télécom.

    Cina Lawso,  la ministre des Télécommunications, a demandé vendredi aux auteurs de ces actes de « cesser immédiatement car les sanctions vont suivre. Nous allons prendre des dispositions sécuritaires pour mettre fin à ces vols ». Yark Damehame, le ministre de la Sécurité a ajouté que plusieurs personnes avaient déjà été arrêtées.

    Pour l’opérateur, les pertes enregistrées se chiffrent au minimum à un 1 milliard de Francs Cfa depuis 6 mois, sans compter les désagréments causés aux abonnés de l’ADSL que sont les entreprises. Sam Bikassan, le directeur général de Togo Telecom, a précisé que le milliard représente uniquement les coûts de réparation, d’acquisition et d’installation de nouveaux câbles, mais pas le manque à gagner causé à l’entreprise.

    - 150 km de fibre optique ont été volés à Camtel et installés pendant plusieurs mois le long de la route Douala-Yaoundé par de fausses équipes de l’entreprise nationale.

    C’est le 12 septembre 2012 que la société Cameroon Telecommunications (Camtel) a découvert cette pose frauduleuse de fibre optique sur son propre réseau. Des ouvriers, croyant travailler pour l’entreprise parapublique, sont venus au siège revendiquer leurs arriérés de paiement, ce qui a permis de découvrir le pot aux roses.

    Selon Benjamin Gérard Assouzo’o, le responsable communication de Camtel, les ouvriers interrogés auraient fait savoir qu’ils ont creusé des tranchées et installé la fibre optique. Lorsqu’ils ont essayé de joindre leurs « employeurs » au téléphone, ceux-ci ont déclaré qu’ils étaient maintenant aux États-Unis et qu’une fois de retour ils les rappelleraient.

    Le mystère reste entier quant aux intentions de ces fraudeurs. Camtel avance deux hypothèses : un projet d’exploitation commerciale sauvage à prix cassés ou bien une tentative de piratage du réseau national de télécommunications qui aurait permis aux commanditaires de capter tous les échanges numériques du pays, y compris les plus sensibles.

  • Le Mali va octroyer à l'opérateur privé Alpha Telecom Mali une licence d'établissement et d'exploitation des réseaux et services de télécommunications par l'adoption d'un projet de décret portant approbation du cahier des charges de ladite licence, annonce un communiqué du Conseil du ministre de jeudi.

    Alpha Telecom Mali est un filiale du groupe Monaco Telecom. Cette compagnie devient ainsi le troisième opérateur de télécommunication sur le marché malien après la SOTELMA-MALITEL et Orange-Mali.

    De source officielle, cette troisième licence va procurer à l'Etat malien environ 55 milliards de francs CFA, dont 33 milliards disponibles lors de la signature de licence prévue dans les prochains jours, souligne-t-on.

    Info Plus Gabon
  • Le président de l'Autorité de régulation des communications électroniques et des postes (ARCEP), Mathurin Bako, a remis, le lundi 17 septembre 2012 au Premier ministre, Luc Adolphe Tiao, le rapport 2011 de l'institution qu'il dirige. On note une croissance du nombre d'abonnés de la téléphonie mobile et le non respect de l'intégralité des normes des services de qualité.

    « Le secteur de la téléphonie mobile continue de croître de manière soutenue aussi bien sur le plan de la couverture du territoire national que sur le taux de pénétration des services des Technologies de l'information et de la communication (TIC) ». C'est l'un des constats contenus dans le rapport 2011 de l'ARCEP, dont le Premier ministre, Luc Adolphe Tiao, a eu connaissance, le lundi 17 septembre 2012. « Le taux d'abonnés fixes et mobiles est passé de 5 millions 851 mille 813 à 7 millions 823 mille 629 au 31 décembre 2011, soit un taux de croissance global de 33,69% et une télé densité de 48,15 téléphones pour 100 habitants », a précisé le président de l'Autorité de régulation des communications électroniques et des postes (ARCEP), Mathurin Bako.

    Si la téléphonie mobile a poursuivi son évolution, on remarque que le réseau fixe de l'ONATEL a plutôt connu, au 31 décembre 2011, une décroissance de 1,69% passant de 143 mille 963 lignes en 2010 à 141 mille 529 en 2011. Sur les 3 opérateurs mobiles GSM qui se partagent le marché, au regard du parc d'abonnés, Airtel est leader en terme de part de marché avec 39,24%, suivi de près par Telmob avec 38,67% et enfin Telecel, avec 22,09%. Concernant le marché de l'Internet, en 2011, l'Autorité de régulation a enregistré 9 nouveaux fournisseurs d'accès internet, portant le total à 45 fournisseurs d'accès internet déclarés sur le marché. Les trois opérateurs mobiles en plus de l'ONATEL offrent de la connectivité à l'Internet à leurs clients. Le parc d'abonnés Internet, au 31 décembre 2011 était de 340 mille 025 clients.

    Au cours de l'année 2011, l'ARCEP a, conformément à la réglementation, réalisé un audit pour s'assurer du respect par les opérateurs de téléphonie mobile, des obligations en matière de qualité des services. L'analyse des résultats de l'audit a montré qu'aucun des réseaux, y compris le réseau fixe ONATEL, ne respecte en totalité, les indicateurs des services de qualité. La procédure de sanctions avait alors été entamée et a abouti à une mise en demeure et à des sanctions pécuniaires. En outre, l'ARCEP a poursuivi, l'an passé, le processus d'identification des abonnés mobiles. Mathurin Bako a martelé que : « Pour ce qui concerne les difficultés relatives à la qualité des services offerts par les opérateurs de téléphonie, à l'identification des abonnés mobiles, des mesures énergiques sont prises par l'Autorité de régulation pour la résolution définitive de ces questions ». Au 31 décembre 2011, a souligné le président de l'ARCEP, « Tous les opérateurs ont déclaré des taux d'identification supérieurs à 90% ». Quant au processus d'attribution des licences 3G, les opérateurs pourront utiliser les bandes GSM 900 pour fournir leurs services de troisième génération, afin de pouvoir rapidement déployer leurs réseaux 3G. Le montant du droit d'entrée a été révisé à la baisse par le gouvernement et les obligations du cahier des charges ont été allégées par l'ARCEP.

    L'Autorité de régulation a également, à la demande de Orange Niger, conduit des échanges sur les conditions d'attribution d'une licence individuelle pour l'établissement et l'exploitation d'un réseau de fibre optique et de location de capacité. Par ailleurs, 96 fréquences VHF/UHF et trois bandes SHF ont été assignées en 2011, à des stations de radiocommunication des services étatiques, du secteur privé et des missions diplomatiques contre 168 et deux bandes SHF en 2010. Au cours de l'année écoulée, le président de l'ARCEP a relevé la bonne évolution de la stratégie de mise en oeuvre de la Télévision numérique terrestre (TNT) au Burkina Faso, avec l'adoption de nombreux textes.

    Aussi, « la gestion des noms de domaine et des adresses IP, la cyber sécurité, la certification électronique et la migration vers IPv6 sont autant d'autres dossiers qui ont connu une évolution positive en 2011 », a ajouté le premier responsable de l'ARCEP. Le Premier ministre, Luc Adolphe Tiao, a félicité les membres de l'ARCEP pour le travail réalisé en 2011. Il a promis le soutien du gouvernement dans la mise en oeuvre des recommandations.

    Sidwaya
  • À l'instar de Free en France, Izi, opérateur internet réunionnais souhaite pénétrer le marché de la téléphonie mobile. Il promet des tarifs réduits, et de faire « bouger les lignes ».

    Si le lancement de la marque Izi Mobile est prévue aujourd'hui, les consommateurs devront patienter un an minimum pour profiter d'offres aux tarifs « au moins divisés par 2 ». Le temps pour Izi d'installer un réseau d'antennes, mais surtout d'obtenir les fréquences nécessaires à ce développement.

    « Aux mêmes maux les mêmes remèdes », martèle Yann de Prince. Devant un marché réunionnais de téléphonie mobile « peu concurrentiel » et « loin d'être saturé, contrairement à ce qu'on veut nous faire croire », le PDG d'Izi et de Mobius veut emprunter la méthode de Xavier Niel, le fondateur de Free. Se frotter aux opérateurs historiques et faire évoluer les tarifs pratiqués - « 4 fois plus cher ici qu'en métropole »- voilà l'objectif de la filiale Izi Mobile dont le lancement est prévu aujourd'hui. Sa promesse : proposer des offres « divisées au moins par 2 » par rapport à SFR ou Orange.

    Après huit mois de négociations infructueuses avec ses concurrents pour utiliser leur infrastructure et se convertir ainsi en opérateur virtuel (ou MVNO), Izi veut tenter l'aventure en solo et monter son propre réseau dores et déjà habilité à recevoir la 4G.

    Cet investissement, le possible quatrième opérateur le chiffre à 50 millions d'euros, dont 35 millions alloués au déploiement des antennes. « Il est évident que nous ne nous lancerons pas tant que nous n'aurons pas une couverture équivalente à celle de nos concurrents », précise Yann de Prince qui estime que ce projet drainera quelque 150 embauches, dont il assure qu'elles seront toutes pourvues localement.

    Ne manque plus que l'autorisation de l'Arceps, l'autorité de la régulation des télécoms, pour l'attribution de fréquences. Sur ce point, le PDG est confiant : « L'Arceps délivre généralement les autorisations dans un laps de quatre mois et je ne vois pas de raison pour que nous n'y soyons pas éligibles ». Ajoutons à cela un minimum de 6 mois pour la construction du réseau. Les consommateurs auront donc à patienter minimum un an pour connaître les nouveaux tarifs d'Izi...

  • Les activités du Groupe France Télécom Orange en RDC, héritier de la société de communication Congo Chine Télécom (CCT), vont démarrer bientôt, a annoncé jeudi à Kinshasa son directeur exécutif international Orange de la zone Afrique, Moyen-Orient et Asie (AMEA) et président du Conseil d'administration de CCT, Marc Rennard, lors d'un point de presse animé avec le directeur général de CCT Jean-Léon Bonnechère.

    00% du capital de CCT que se partageaient initialement l'équipement ZTE (51%) et l'Etat congolais (49%) et qui possédait une licence nationale, un réseau de qualité et une bonne couverture. « Conformément aux directives du PDG Stéphane Richard, nous visons les 7 milliards d'euros de chiffre d'affaires à l'horizon 2015 sur la zone Afrique, Moyen-Orient et Asie. Avec un taux de pénétration de la téléphonie mobile inférieur à 20% et une démographie croissante, la RDC, est un marché porteur », a déclaré Marc Rennard.

    Mais le déploiement de CCT ne correspondant pas aux standards internationaux pratiqués par France Télécom Orange, la mise à niveau en cours s'est avérée nécessaire. « Nous sommes en train de transformer une entreprise. Nous investissons massivement dans la formation de notre personnel, dans l'amélioration de la qualité du réseau afin de développer une offre performante de produits et de services », a rassuré le directeur général de CCT Jean-Léon Bonnechère, indiquant que la satisfaction du client est une priorité de la nouvelle direction de CCT.

    « Nous sommes une compagnie de proximité à l'écoute de nos clients et ce qui compte pour nous c'est le bénéfice que retirent nos usagers de notre technologie », a souligné Marc Rennard. Orange, à travers sa filiale CCT, fait déjà preuve d'audace et d'innovation en offrant des produits marqués du sceau de la simplicité et de la transparence. CCT propose entre autres la tarification à la seconde, une offre économique pour les élèves et étudiants (Staff+) et des offres datas rechargeables avec le modem CCT.

    Au-delà des services innovateurs, Orange se positionnera comme acteur majeur du développement à travers des actions sociales et caritatives, en commençant par l'amélioration des conditions de travail des employés de la société, constitués en majorité de Congolais. « CCT était autrefois opérée par les Chinois avec un management exclusivement chinois. Aussitôt que nous avons eu cette entreprise, nous avons immédiatement défini le projet et engagé les transformations. Nous avons un souci fort de rendre très rapidement la plupart de responsabilités opérationnelles à du personnel et cadres locaux. De telle sorte que l'entreprise soit imprégnée en la demande sur le marché. Pour devenir l'opérateur préféré des populations que nous servons, nous veillons tout particulièrement au développement économique et social des territoires, condition essentielle de la pérennité de notre activité », a dit Marc Rennard.

    Sur les 30 pays que représente le groupe Orange, la RDC est le premier des pays francophones le plus important de part l'importance de sa population. « Pour des raisons administratives ou logistiques, nous avons découpé les régions en cinq. A savoir, le Katanga, les deux Kivu, la province orientale, où aujourd'hui on est en position de leader, et les deux Kasaï. On est fortement leader à Mbuji-Mayi.

    On a également fait une grande région en découpage actuel, bien qu'il aille évoluer au fil du temps. Il s'agit de la province de Kinshasa avec le Bas-Congo, y compris l'Equateur », a expliqué Jean-Léon Bonnechère. « On va progressivement vers Orange mais, l'entité, le personnel, l'équipe et la société juridique de CCT demeurent les mêmes. CCT n'est pas une marque mais, le nom d'un réseau et en ce moment-là, ce nom changera et la société s'appellera définitivement Orange-RDC », ont expliqué tour à tour MM. Marc Rennard et Jean-Léon Bonnechère.

    Le Potentiel
  • Internet va connaître certainement une nouvelle dimension au Gabon à compter de l'année 2013 qui va être consacré « année de l'internet au Gabon », l'objectif de l'Agence Nationale des Infrastructures Numériques et des Fréquences (ANINF), étant éventuellement de relancer le développement de cette technologie qui a fini par prendre place dans le quotidien des Gabonais.

    Cette initiative de l'Agence Nationale des Infrastructures Numériques et des Fréquences a été présentée au cours d'une réunion d'échanges entre les acteurs du monde de l'internet présents au Gabon et Open TLD, spécialisé dans l'accompagnement au développement de l'internet, avec d'ailleurs des succès mondiaux qui font oeuvre de référence dans le domaine.

    L'ANINF espère, à travers cette année 2013, engager une véritable révolution, favoriser, selon les mots mêmes du Directeur Général de l'agence, « l'augmentation des capacités du Gabon à l'accès internet » sur la base, entre autres, de l'arrivée d'un second câble (ACE) et de l'existence du domaine Ga défendu aujourd'hui par le projet DIG (Domaine Internet Gabon) puisqu'il s'agit là « de la référence du Gabon dans le monde l'internet » selon Cyriaque Didier Kouma.

    Plusieurs entreprises investies dans le domaine de l'internet ont répondu présentes et applaudi l'initiative de l'ANINF, c'est-à-dire celle de consacrer l'année prochaine au développement de l'internet, et qui sera certainement l'occasion pour quelques unes de revoir leurs ambitions à la hausse, notamment celles liées à la conquête des usagers installés en dehors de Libreville qui ont encore un accès difficile à la toile.

    L'année 2013 sera l'occasion surtout pour tous ces acteurs de discuter, de relever les points d'achoppement qui ont fait que depuis quelques années le Gabon a perdu sa place de leader de l'internet dans la sous-région. Les représentants de 2ME, IPI9 et d'autres ont donc accepté de s'asseoir pour redonner au domaine Ga une place de choix mais aussi de tuer le mythe qui entoure encore la toile dans certains milieux sociaux et certaines régions du pays complètement déconnectées.

    Pour les consommateurs, cette année 2013 va peut-être sonner le glas d'une connexion approximative et d'un accès coûteux comme c'est le cas encore aujourd'hui. Christian Abiaghé, président d'une organisation de consommateurs a ainsi souhaité que « la concurrence devienne plus difficile et favorise ainsi dès la fin même de l'année internet un accès à cette technologie qui réponde aux possibilités du consommateur ».

    Gabonnews
  • Le mode d'opération des Ivoiriens: utiliser, entre autres, des jeunes femmes qui demandent de l'aide pour sortir d'une situation difficile. Des Mauriciens se sont laissé prendre au piège.

    Un internaute mauricien a ainsi récemment envoyé 1 800 euros (environ Rs 57 000) à un Ivoirien. Ce dernier affirmait être sans le sou après avoir été agressé. Le Mauricien a envoyé l'argent à Abidjan, la capitale de la Côte d'Ivoire, à travers la Western Union.

    Le mode d'opération de ces escrocs ivoiriens est relativement simple. Ils font parvenir à leurs cibles une demande via Facebook pour qu'elles les ajoutent à leur liste d'amis. Une fois la requête acceptée, ils passent à l'action. Les femmes, par exemple, usent de tous leurs charmes pour appâter leurs victimes.

    Autre scénario : les escrocs qui jouent la carte de la maladie. Un dénommé Alexandre Dubois explique ainsi à ses victimes qu'il est atteint d'une tumeur au cerveau et qu'il doit trouver au plus vite un héritier. Il vous dévoile ses comptes bancaires et se dit prêt à vous prouver sa maladie. En contrepartie, il vous réclame 500 euros pour transférer un compte en France à votre nom...

    L’Express
  • Une rencontre a regroupé différentes personnalités du secteur public et privé qui travaillent autour de l'Internet. Objectif : préparer les contributions à la réunion de Baku (Azerbaïdjan), qui se tiendra du 6 au 9 novembre.

    Avec l'appui de Google Afrique francophone et de son premier responsable M. Tidiane Dème, les régulateurs des télécommunications avec l'Agence de régulation des télécommunications et des postes (Artp), les pouvoirs publics ainsi que les différents spécialistes ont, dans le cadre de la préparation du forum sur la gouvernance mondiale, discuté de l'apport du Sénégal lors de cette rencontre internationale.

    Une occasion pour les acteurs de revenir sur le développement de l'Internet ainsi que les différents écueils qui ont pour nom manque d'infrastructures adéquates, cherté de l'accès au Net, cybercriminalité ou encore escroquerie sur la toile.

    Dans sa déclaration, Mme Maïmouna Diop Diagne, vice-présidente d'Internet society Sénégal (Isoc) et présidente du comité d'organisation, est revenue sur les enjeux économiques et sociaux de l'Internet au Sénégal.

    Elle a rappelé que, souvent, « les autorités politiques prennent des décisions qui parfois ne peuvent pas être en adéquation avec la vision des spécialistes quant au développement de l'Internet ». De son côté, le représentant de la Sonatel, El Hadji Maty Sène, a indiqué, au sujet du prix jugé élevé de l'Internet que « les contenus sont chers et il nous faut les importer, ce qui rend, peut-être, le coup élevé ».

    Sept panels permettent de préparer la contribution du Sénégal lors de la rencontre internationale de Baku, en novembre prochain. Les thèmes concernant le point de vue de la société sénégalaise sur Internet, les enjeux économiques du Net au Sénégal, la sécurité et la protection des données personnelles, la gestion des ressources critiques, la gouvernance d'Internet pour le développement sont autant de questions qui ont été abordées. Pour M. Tidiane Dème de Google Afrique francophone, « la démocratisation de l'accès au Net doit être une réalité dans notre pays car les services peuvent être pourvoyeurs de développement ».

    Le Soleil
  • Des acteurs du secteur des technologies de l'information et de la communication (TIC) ont plaidé, vendredi à Dakar, pour une règlementation des logiciels libres.

    "Il suffit que l'Etat prenne une réglementation pour que l'environnement change. Si l'Etat décide que l'administration utilise les logiciels libres, ça fera des économies" au pays, a dit Tidiane Seck, expert en TIC, à l'occasion de la cérémonie de clôture d'une session de formation de formateurs sur le thème :

    "Entreprendre avec les logiciels libres en Afrique". Il a plaidé pour que les autorités prennent "à coeur" cette question.

    Il faut "une réglementation positive dans le domaine des TIC", a de son côté estimé Ibrahima Diouf, directeur des Petites et Moyennes entreprises (PME) et coordonnateur du Programme sénégalo-allemand PACC-PME/PMF.

    La session de formation de formateurs sur le thème "Entreprendre avec les logiciels libres en Afrique" est organisé par la Coopération allemande au Développement-GIZ, en partenariat avec la Fondation africaine des logiciels libres (FOSSFA). Cette formation va prendre fin au mois de décembre prochain.

    Selon Steffi Meyer, chef de projet GIZ programme ict@innovation, elle "a pour objectif de promouvoir les petites et moyennes entreprises (PME) dans le domaine du logiciel libre à travers le développement de réseaux régionaux et la consolidation des capacités de conseil des associations et des institutions de formation en (TIC)".

    "L'accent est mis sur le logiciel libre en tant que technologie essentielle pour encourager l'innovation, valoriser les compétences locales et promouvoir des applications TIC abordables et orientées vers le développement humain", a-t-elle indiqué.

    "Les TIC sont dans des secteurs stratégiques, tels que l'éducation, l'administration et le commerce, clés pour le développement économique et social en Afrique subsaharienne", a-t-elle déclaré.

    APS
  • Avec une population de plus de 32 millions d’habitants, le Maroc a connu un augmentation de 113,57% du taux de pénétration d’abonnés au mobile l’année dernière. Le chiffre est révélé par l’Agence nationale de réglementation des télécommunications (ARNT).

    D’après un rapport produit par la structure, comparé à 2011, le trafic d’appel a augmenté de 65,5%, alors que les SMS ont grimpé de 31,38%. Or, « Maroc Telecom a vu sa part de marché mobile chuté de 48,85% à la fin de 2011, comparé à 52,81% une année plus tôt, Medi Telecom a plongé à 32,92% en partant de 33,74% et Wana Corporate (Inwi) a augmenté de 13.45% à 20,23% », note itnewsafrica.com.

    Pour ce qui est de la recherche sur la rapidité d’Internet dans les pays, menée par Net Index, le Maroc occupe la 115ème place sur la plus grande échelle en matière de vitesse de téléchargement Internet, avec une moyenne de 2,84 Mbps. C’est Meditel qui obtient la plus grande vitesse de téléchargement avec 6,98 Mbps pour son Internet fixe.

    Du rapport de l’ARNT, il ressort que Maroc Telecom est parti pour être le plus grand fournisseur de services de télécommunications du pays. L’ARNT lie l’accroissement de l’offre et l’utilisation des TIC dans le pays aux investissements continus dans le secteur.

    Agence ecofin
  • Cette entreprise procède actuellement au recrutement de 200 téléopérateurs. Roshan Seetohul, directeur général d'Euro CRM, explique que cette démarche s'inscrit dans la volonté de la société de répondre aux attentes de nouveaux clients. Elle fait également suite à l'augmentation du volume de travail avec ses clients existants.

    Les 200 nouveaux téléopérateurs s'ajoutent aux 600 opérateurs déjà employés par l'entreprise. Euro CRM, qui est implantée à Maurice depuis huit ans, a par ailleurs développé des procédures de recrutement exigeantes, explique la direction. Et d'ajouter que le niveau d'exigence du groupe est maintenu grâce à la richesse du bassin d'emploi local et l'attrait que représente le métier de téléconseiller à Maurice.

    La formation demeure une composante essentielle de la qualité pour ce centre d'appels. Ce, dans la mesure où les équipes d'opérateurs sont soumises aux mêmes règles et procédures de validation qu'en France.

    L’Express
  • Selon une étude réalisée en 2011 par l’Association des opérateurs mobile utilisant le GSM (GSMA), l’Afrique est le continent qui s’est le plus approprié le système de paiement par mobile. On y recense 735 millions de cartes SIM.

    80% des transactions financières ainsi effectuées sur mobile proviennent des pays d’Afrique de l’Est. Par exemple, le montant global des transferts réalisés au Kenya avec le système M-Pesa s’élève à 2,8 milliards d’euros, confirme une autre étude du GSMA.

    Notremonde.org précise que les transactions financières par téléphone sont bien ancrées sur le continent, alors que seuls 20% d’africains ont un compte bancaire. 27% des « m-payment » sont des transactions interpersonnelles et 5% concerne le paiement de factures.

    Agence ecofin
  • Une récente étude réalisée par la Ligue marocaine de la presse électronique a révélé que près 96 % des journalistes de la presse électronique sont favorables à la promulgation d'un Code de déontologie pour le secteur, alors que 40 % craignent que cette loi n'apporte des restrictions limitant la liberté d'exercice de leur profession.

    Réalisée avec l'appui de l'organisation islamique pour l'éducation, les sciences et la culture (ISESCO), l'étude, publiée dans un recueil présenté samedi dernier, indique que 95,86 % de ces journalistes approuvent la publication d'un code régissant le secteur, un indice qui atteste du niveau de maturité et de l'expérience de cette presse au Maroc et de son passage de l'amateurisme au professionnalisme.

    Si 40 % des journalistes interrogés éprouvent une appréhension vis-à-vis d'éventuelles restrictions que pourrait imposer ce code en cas de sa publication, 32 % croient fermement que ces restrictions seront bel et bien réelles, selon cette étude, la première du genre qui dresse, chiffres à l'appui, un état des lieux de la presse électronique au Maroc.

    En raison du vide juridique et organisationnel dont pâtit le secteur, 74 % des journalistes de la presse électronique estiment que le contenu de leurs journaux ne jouit pas de la protection intellectuelle requise, tandis que la majorité de ces journalistes estiment rencontrer des difficultés dans l'accès à l'information à sa source.

    Selon la même étude, la majorité des journalistes exerçant dans ce genre de presse sont des amateurs (46 %), en ce sens qu'ils n'ont reçu aucune formation spécialisée dans la presse, contre plus de 31 % qui exercent cette presse dans le but d'exprimer des opinions personnelles, tandis que la majorité de ces journalistes travaillent dans des journaux électroniques sans contrepatrie matérielle (83%), en raison de la non-institutionnalisation de ces organes de presse sous forme d'entreprises médiatiques.

    Près de 62,5 % des journaux électroniques comptent sur l'autofinancement, alors le taux d'appui sur la publicité pour le financement ne dépasse pas 44,28 %. Néanmoins, ces journaux électroniques gardent une ligne de conduite régulière en matière de publication et d'actualisation des informations, selon la même étude. La majorité de ces journaux (63 %) existe de manière fictive dans la mesure où ils ne relèvent pas de société et ne sont pas enregistrés de manière légale, en raison de leur incapacité financière pour 53 % des cas, en plus de l'ignorance des procédures pour 26 %. Pourtant, la majorité de ces journaux affiche sa ligne rédactionnelle à 84 %.

    Près de 27 % des journalistes de la presse électronique comptent sur leurs propres sources pour parvenir à l'information dans la rédaction des articles, puis sur le réseau des correspondants (23 %) et des agences de presse, alors que 73 % parmi eux sont conscients de la nécessité de mentionner les sources de l'information. La plupart des journaux électroniques marocains sont de nature informative (48%) et s'intéressent à la chose nationale (42%), contre 28 % qui s'intéressent au régional.

    Quelque 90 % des journalistes de la presse électronique sont de sexe masculin et peuvent être classés dans leur majorité dans la catégorie des personnes actives au sein de la société. Une bonne partie de ces journalistes est concentrée dans les régions de Tanger-Tétouan (20,2 %), de l'Oriental et du Rif (20,53 %).

    En outre, la majorité des journalistes de cette presse ont une expérience ne dépassant pas 5 ans (près 80 %), ce qui montre que l'exercice de cette profession est encore embryonnaire au Maroc . Plus de 64 % des rédacteurs et des correspondants de journaux électroniques sont réguliers dans leur travail, en dépit des moyens matériels et des conditions générales organisationnelles propres au secteur.

    Le secteur est à dominante jeune puisque la majorité des journalistes sont âgés entre 25 et 45 ans pour les hommes (63 %) et entre 20 et 35 ans pour les femmes.

    Concernant les fonctions et les missions des journalistes de la presse électronique, l'étude révèle des interférences dans les attributions en l'absence de procédures administratives régissant le secteur. Près de 31,76% de personnes œuvrant dans ce secteur sont des licenciés et la plupart des journalistes souhaitent bénéficier de la formation et de la formation continue, notamment dans les domaines de rédaction et du Code de la presse, pour exprimer librement leur opinion dans les limites de la responsabilité juridique pour éviter tout abus ou poursuite.

    MAP
  •  

    Salon International des technologies et de l'intormation (Med-IT) 

    24-26 September 2021, Alger, Algérie 

    Cette année, le thème de l'innovation IT sera à l'honneur avec l'organisation des Trophées MED-IT 2012 qui portera sur les «Meilleures Start-up IT». «L'événement accueille chaque année plus de 5,000 visiteurs professionnels et 150 exposants, dont les principaux acteurs algériens du secteur des TIC ainsi que 30% d'entreprises étrangères, parmi lesquelles les grandes multinationales. *

    CARREFOUR D’AFFAIRES ET DE TECHNOLOGIES 2012

    «NOUVELLE TUNISIE, NOUVELLES OPPORTUNITES » Tunis, Parc International des Expositions 28-30 Novembre 2012 Organisé, du 28 au 30 Novembre 2012, par l’Agence de Promotion de l’Industrie et de l’Innovation, en association avec l’Union Tunisienne pour l’Industrie le Commerce et l’Artisanat (UTICA) et en collaboration avec l’Agence de Promotion de l’Investissement Extérieur (FIPA) et le Centre de Promotion des Exportations (CEPEX), CAT 2012 se veut être une réelle plateforme dédiée à l’entreprise, où vont se côtoyer décideurs et leaders de divers horizons, avec leurs offres et demandes dans des secteurs innovants à fort potentiel de croissance:

    Mécanique, électrique et électronique 

    Agroalimentaire 

    Plastique technique et plasturgie 

    Textile technique 

    Nouvelles technologies de l’information et de la communication 

    Pharmaceutique Pour plus d’infos cliquez ici 

  • Le ministre sénégalais de la Communication, des Télécommunication et des Technologies de l'information et de la communication s'est félicité de la décision du chef de l'Etat Macky Sall de nommer l'ancien journaliste Babacar Touré à la présidence du Conseil national de régulation de l'audiovisuel (CNRA), indique un communiqué reçu à l'APS.

  • Informaticiens – Côte d’Ivoire

    Entreprise informatique recrute sur test 10 informaticiens

    avec ou sans expérience.conditions: être ivoirien,avoir un BAC + 2 à 3, avoir au plus 30ans.

    lettre de motivation. CV avec photo + copie du diplôme.

    date limite de dépôts des dossier 15 octobre 2012 à 17h00

    Pour plus d’information ou pour postuler cliquez ici

     

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