Issue no 613 13th July 2012

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Top story

  • Video streaming will be the next big wave of online content use in Africa. There are still considerable network challenges but… The level of existing use shows that once these issues are resolved, the volume of users will be in the millions. Russell Southwood spoke to the biggest player in the market Google’s YouTube. Elijah Kitaka explained how it sees the potential of video streaming being realized.

    YouTube is available in all African countries but has been localized in a number of African countries including: South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya and Uganda. In one West Africa country with a local Google cache server, the amount of traffic through the local IXP is now 800 mbs and the majority of it is YouTube use.

    So how does a country get to have a localized YouTube site? According to Kitaka:”We need to sign an agreement with a (rights) collection society for authors, publishers and composers. Typically one body plays that role and it deals not just with local rights collection but also works on behalf of global rights holders.”

    Once that important formality is dealt with, YouTube looks at levels of existing use and the number of potential content publishers to see whether any interest.”There’s still a lot of pain on the infrastructure side but this pain should reduce. Access and the cost of access is still really a barrier. But YouTube can play a key role in Africanising the web”. Google has installed local cache servers in 4 countries and neighboring countries can take advantage of their presence.

    In addition, the YouTube Feather feature allows users with much lower bandwidth access to watch a lower resolution version:”Feather will make these settings static and deactivate the fancy features. With optimization, a stream should run properly even with low bandwidth.”

    In terms of content providers, there are three categories that YouTube wants to work with:

    1.    Existing African broadcasters: YouTube can take broadcasters existing content and extend its audience, whether in the country itself or for the diaspora. Kenya’s NTV has a live stream of its prime time news programme and also uses YouTube as a platform for catch-up viewers. It has had 10 million views to date. South Africa’s SABC also makes use of it in much the same way.

    2.    African film and music producers: Much has now been written about the success of Nollywood Love but there are still film and music producers in other countries who are not yet properly exploiting the potential of online streaming. A typical example of this kind of content producer would be Homeboyz Entertainment Group in Kenya.

    3.    New wave user generated content: This is new African businesses that are beginning to explore business models that will generate real income for them. One example is Kenya’s Kulahappy which produces candid camera-style comedy clips. It has been going for just over six months and has generated 2 million views.

    What works in content terms is the same as for TV: where it’s available, users prefer local content:”80% of what’s popular is African content.”

    So how do views turn into money? “The secret is quite simple. You have to have an audience for the content. Once you’ve signed up as a Google Ads partner, there are two models: either you earn on a cost per click on adverts served or you get paid a cost per million views.

    But how many views do you need before you start seeing real money? This is where Google becomes a little more circumspect. To be fair, the answer is more complicated than a one-liner. You need an audience that is part of a market that is in “high-contention for advertising and has audiences that those advertisers want to reach.”

    It seems from the very few cases where income figures have been released that that you start to earn real money at between 0.5 million to 1 million views and that it’s important to have significant diaspora audiences in the mix. Also in terms of African audiences, there will have to be higher numbers online to see advertising revenue growth.

    As almost everything to do with data, Google is maddeningly coy. It will only say that between 2010 and 2011 YouTube use in South Africa grew by 110% and the number of uploads grew by 120%. Nevertheless partner revenues grew by 570%. For the other larger markets, it has to wait 12 months after the launch to get figures out.

    Nevertheless, it broke out the socio-demographic results on YouTube users from its Insights Africa survey. Although the sub-sample size is not completely robust, it does give some pointers. The majority of current users are in the 16-34 age group, reflecting the broader trend of technology take-up in Africa. Current male users outnumber female users 2 to 1. But as elsewhere in the developing world, this gender skew is likely to level up once the numbers increase.

    Two things need to happen before online streaming becomes more popular.
    One, mobile operators need to get their networks up to 3.75G and 4G so that the numbers who can access it goes up. There is an iron rule that no piece of content will ever attract all potential users. Two, African content and owners and producers need to take the plunge and get used to reaching potential audiences.

    To follow the exchanges about this news, you need to be on Twitter. Follow us on @BalancingActAfr

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

    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:

    Sean Krepp, Uganda Country Director, Apps Lab on raising farmers income using community knowledge workers with smartphones

    Kobus Roux, CSIR Meraka Institute on getting rural schools connected using local micro-entrepreneurs and Wi-Fi mesh technology

    Two experts discuss the challenges of mobile operators as brands:

    Laine Barnard, Founder, 8Brand - Mobile outlets as "giant waiting rooms" for selling airtime

    Sammy Thuo, Director, Saracen Media on differentiating African mobile brands

     

telecoms

  • Two mobile phone operators are involved in a Sh1.9 billion network dispute. Airtel has threatened to switch off Essar Telcom's, popularly known as Yu, connectivity over the disputed amount. According to the court documents, Yu and Airtel entered into a Site Leasing Agreement on April 3 2009, in which Airtel leased certain sites to Yu.

    Yu however claims that Airtel failed to meet the agreement which caused the former to start experiencing frequent site failures that disrupted its network and hampered the customer's ability to make calls, send sms and use data services. It also claims that it lost 34 batteries from the sites as a result of Airtels breach of the agreement to provide daily security at the sites.

    Yu claims Sh1.9 billion against Airtel and Airtel is claiming Sh252 million from Yu. Yu intends to refer the matter to arbitration and has succeeded in getting an injunction restraining Airtel from switching off its connectivity or interfering with the company's equipment at Airtel's sites. The case will proceed on July 20 before High Court judge Daniel Musinga.

  • Four mobile operators in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have acquired 3G licences, paying USD15 million apiece for the long-awaited concessions. The companies in question are Airtel DRC, Oasis Telecom (Tigo), Vodacom Congo and Africell, which only announced the launch of its GSM network late last month, almost two years after receiving rights and spectrum to offer wireless services in the DRC. Conspicuous by its absence is Congo Chine Telecom (CCT), which was taken over by France Telecom-Orange (FT-Orange) in October 2011, and which is currently in the process of being rebranded in line with Orange’s other operations in the regions.

    At the time of the transaction it was reported that, on top of the monies paid for the cellco itself, FT-Orange paid USD71million to the Congolese government for improved licence terms, including a ten year extension to its existing 2G concession, access to an additional 2MHz of spectrum in the 1800MHz band and 10MHz in the 2100MHz spectrum band for 3G services. It remains unclear whether the latest batch of 3G licensees have also been issued with frequencies in the 2100MHz band.

  • A South African farmer has equipped his sheep with cell phones to keep a tab on the flock and prevent livestock thefts from his vast farm.

    Whenever Erard Louw, a Cape Town farmer gets a call from his sheep, it’s always a bad news as the phones are programmed to switch on only when the sheep start running, a sign that the thieves might have cut through the fence.

    “As they run it gives me a phone call and says ‘sheep one’ or ‘sheep two’ and so on, so at least I know where to start looking because the farm is 750 hectares,” The Cape Times quoted Louw as saying.

    Louw reportedly had 27 sheep and 13 lambs stolen 10 days ago, which led him to innovate to protect his animals. He came up with the idea of tying cell phones on to the collars of four sheep in separate flocks.

    Louw said that since the police stations are located far away, there is not much point calling the police because either they did not have a vehicle available, or they had no petrol, or the tyres had been stolen, or there was no one who could drive.

    According to Louw, cell phones have proved to be useful as as one of the sheep snatchers was caught with the help of the devices.

    Stock theft of sheep is a major problem in the Western Cape and has led to sheep farmers leaving the industry. A few sheep-robbers have, however, managed to get away despite the devices.

    “The phone did start ringing that night and I went out. I checked all the fences — because they normally cut the fences — and they were all okay and the gates were closed. But the phone kept ringing, so I knew they were running. Then I found a new place where they had cut the fence.”

  • South Africa's foreign ministry has started an investigation into claims that the country's former Ambassador to Iran took a US$200,000 bribe to help MTN's attempt to secure a mobile license in the country.

    MTN is already facing a lawsuit from Turkey's Turkcell over its claims that MTN bribed officials to have Turkcell removed from a winning consortium for the license.

    South Africa's Foreign Minister, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane has confirmed that her department is investigating the allegations against Yusuf Saloojee, who was serving as Ambassador to Oman, but has since been suspended.

    The South African government has previously denied that any of its officials were involved in the MTN transaction, which enabled the company to secure a 49% stake in the Iranian mobile network.

    MTN has also repeatedly denied the charged, but has hired a UK Judge to investigate them.

internet

  • Businesses, institutions and consumers in Lesotho are set to experience faster, reliable and significantly more affordable internet connectivity as Africa’s carriers’ carrier WIOCC brings additional broadband capacity into Lesotho.

    Utilising its extensive terrestrial and submarine fibre-optic cable network, WIOCC is delivering lower-cost internet connectivity to Lesotho, bringing benefits to consumers and businesses in this mountainous African kingdom. Its arrival has already enabled a reduction in pricing of internet services by up to 67 per cent. This is supporting the Lesotho Government’s 8th Millennium Goal to make the benefits of new technologies available to its citizens and organisations, and to help businesses compete in the international arena.

    Educational institutions, such as the National University of Lesotho, are already benefitting – with Basotho students now able to access essential web-based resources that were previously unavailable.  For consumers, mobile internet services are being made more affordable to a wider section of the population through significantly reduced charges.

    “Until recently, internet access in Lesotho terminated in South Africa and was shaped and thus limited in international capacity. The connection provided by WIOCC terminates in Europe and provides Lesotho with faster and more affordable connectivity. This change will have a significant impact on the daily lives of the Basotho and Lesotho businesses,” explained WIOCC CEO, Chris Wood.

    “Our extensive network reach also enables international enterprises, ISPs and carriers to terminate their services in Lesotho. This, together with the introduction of reduced wholesale pricing, will open up further opportunities in the region.”

    Mpine Tente, General Manager of Econet Telecom Lesotho (ETL) – the first operator in Lesotho to benefit from the  WIOCC capacity - commented:  “The extra bandwidth made available by WIOCC has enabled us to make a huge reduction in our internet access costs. We are taking advantage of our improved international connectivity to deliver more reliable and affordable broadband services to our customers. Public and private businesses will benefit from reduced prices. All Basotho will benefit from cheaper access to the internet.”

  • Kenya’s mobile service provider Safaricom has introduced a new service that will allow its customers to purchase data bundles using Scratch cards

    Safaricom says it has introduced a wide range of  scratch cards that will now retail in various shops with data bundles and expiry duration.

    The new 4MB, 8MB and 16MB will be active for one week. The 4MB scratchcard will cost KSh5 (US$0.06) while the 8MB and 16MB scratchcards will cost KSh10 (0.12) and KSh20 (US$0.24) respectively. The 50,100,250 and 500MB data bundles will last for 30 days retailing at KSh 50 (US$0.60), KSh100 (US$1.19), KSh250 (US$2.98) and KSH500 (US$5.96).

    I.5GB data bundle will costs KSh 1000 (US$11.92) with an expiry duration of 30 days.

    Users can purchase the bundles by dialing *544*, entering the 16 digits PIN, the hash sign (#) and pressing the "Ok" button in that order.

    Also, users can buy data bundles for a third party by dialling *544*, entering the other user’s cellphone number, the hash sign and then pressing the "Ok" button.

    Safaricom as an Internet Service Provider (ISP) faces stiff competition from other providers including Airtel, Yu and Orange.

    The Communication Commission of Kenya’s (CCK) April 2012 report indicates an increase in mobile service subscription. In the last financial year, 89.10 percent of the population in the country had access to the services compared to 84.5 percent in the previous year.

    An estimated 16 million people use Internet services, an increase of 13.20 percent from 86.62 percent which CCK attributes to high Internet subscriptions on General Packet Radio Services (GPRS), Enhanced Data for Global Evolution (EDGE) and 3rd Generation of Cellphone technology(3G).

  • Africa’s youngest nation has added its voice to the chorus of support for the bid to ensure the African online community is properly represented in cyberspace.

    The Republic of South Sudan (RSS) this week became the 39th African country to formally endorse the African Union-endorsed UniForum ZA Central Registry (ZACR) bid to administer the proposed .africa generic Top Level Domain (gTLD).

    The African Union Commission (AUC) endorsed the UniForum ZACR bid earlier this year and last week reaffirmed its support at the 44th meeting of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) in Prague, Czech Republic.

  • The South African government announced on July 8, that they would begin offering electronic visas in an effort to increase tourism and relations with other African nations such as Nigeria.

    allAfrica.com reports that Tourism Minister, Marthinus Van Schalkwyk spoke at the opening of the 2012 Routes Africa Conference in Seychelles. Van Schalkwyk said the creation of E-Visas would allow international visitors and intra-African travellers to move more efficiently.

    “The bureaucracy and costs involved in applying for and issuing visas are a major impediment to foreigners wishing to visit our shores, and to our own people who travel on our continent,” Van Schalkwyk said.

    E-Visas are becoming an attractive option for countries because it does not require travellers to visit a country’s consulate in person. Currently the only three countries that offer E-Visas are Australia, Sri Lanka and the United States.

    Van Schalkwyk said that that continent still has a significant amount of work ahead of itself in order to capitalize on its unique attractions and culture.

    According to multiple sources, Van Schalkywk believes that the continent of Africa is expected to experience a massive tourism boom over the coming decades.

    “In a mere three years from now, there will be just over 50 African cities with populations exceeding three million,” Van Schalkwyk said.

    Van Schalkywk added that old airline connectivity models are a current problem in Africa and need to be improved.

    “They inhibit growth and only serve to keep our destinations dependent on air arrivals from economically hard-pressed traditional source markets,” he said. “We need a long-term plan to create an intra-continental air transport architecture that facilitates intra-African travel and trade, including tourism.”

    According to Leader.ng Deputy South African President, Mr. Kgalema Motlanthe said Nigeria is an important strategic partner for South Africa and that both nations have been short changing themselves.

    Van Schalkywk said that the E-Visa would also improve and create new job opportunities.

    The importance of South Africa offering E-Visa’s should not be underestimated. When only three other countries currently offer this service, South Africa will now join this small group. Not only will this improve cross border efficiency but it should also significantly improve trade within South Africa and the continent of Africa.

  • Goal.com, the world’s biggest football website, believes that Africa loves football, a sport it is also passionate about. It is hence expanding to populations in love with soccer and this time round, it is launching in Ghana.

    In a post, Goal.com said: ”The continent loves football, and in Africa the beautiful game is more than just a pastime, it is a passion. In Ghana, the story is no different – the passion is on and soaring higher.

    “In few countries is that passion more inspiring than Ghana, and it was simply a matter of time before the world’s leading football and new media website – Goal.com – rewarded that inspiration with a local edition of the site.

    The site strives to maintain and outdo the high standards it has set in other places around the world.

    Kent Mensah, Chief Editor of the Goal.com Ghana edition, says he is very excited about the prospects of bringing Goal.com closer to the people of Ghana.

    Goal.com says it will also provide news, personal features, interviews, match reports and editorials to Ghanaians around the world.

    It is therefore our great pleasure to announce the launch of the Ghanaian edition of Goal.com, the site said.

    With a huge fan base in Ghana, Goal.com will serve loyal Ghanaian fans with a site of their own, which will however be managed by tested Ghanaian football journalists and columnists.

    It is Goal.com’s mission to unite the world through football, and with the launch of yet another African edition following the highly successful Goal.com Nigeria, it is one-step closer to bringing the game to the doorsteps of all football-loving nations.

    The service will be available via the Web, mobile or apps, with latest news, insightful commentary and worldwide match coverage.

    Goal.com launched in March in Nigeria and has been offering football news on the Nigerian football league, tournaments, friendly matches and on Nigerian international players.

    Now available on mobile, courtesy of Airtel and Etisalat Nigeria, its is a leading football website in Nigeria.

computing

  • If you really think that you are a hacker worth his salt, you need to be ready because Kenya’s election authority will be looking to involve you in a systems penetration test in the not so distant future.

    According to the CEO of Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), James Oswago, the commission will be looking to involve hackers in testing its result transmitting system in November. The involvement of hackers is a move meant to assure all candidates of the systems capabilities and security.

    It comes after some of the top presidential contenders complained that they have not had access to the system to test its security and the failure of IEBC to assure the contenders that they will be allowed to assign specialised agents to monitor the system during the the general election.

    The commission is also looking to replicate the experience of India which offered even upto Ksh 1.5 Million to hackers who would have penetrated the Voter Verifiable Paper Trial (VVPT) machine. The VVPT is an electronic voting machine (EVM) that prints out paper as proof of data transmitted through it.

    There will no electronic voting but the provisional results of the election will be transmitted electronically. The commission has also promised to allow voters to authenticate their registration electronically. Voters will be verified through a biometric system before the elections.

  • A new technology that keeps records of academic, discipline and other information for students in secondary schools and colleges has been launched.

    The new system dubbed 'centralized students' information' will enable teachers, students as well as parents and guardians keep track of academic performance among other information of respective students.

    A brainchild of Hill Brokers Technology Limited, the technology is also envisaged to allow respective schools and colleges to easily manage students' information.

    "The system shows remarks by teachers, attendance, examination schedules, fees payments and discipline of the students which can be accessed anytime by the user of the system for a particular school," according to Hill Brokers Technology Chief Executive Officer, Mr Maleva Selestine.

    Speaking during the launch of the technology over the weekend, the Tanzania Association of Managers and Owners of Non-governmental Schools and Colleges (TAMONGSCO) was impressed by the system and called for modern ways of keeping school records of students.

    "Modern ways of keeping records help parents, guardians, school authorities and students to keep track of academic performance which also save time," TAMONGSCO Chairman, Mr Mark Mringo, said.

    He urged both private and government owned schools to use the facility as it is hassle-free, saves time, energy, money and other resources.

  • Open Society Foundation and Disability Right Initiative have formed an organization to cater specifically to the disabled African youth - African Youth With Disability Network.

    Through the network, African youths around the continent with disability received training on social media skills and how to work and portray themselves as journalists:

    Earlier this month, a workshop was held in Dakar, Senegal and several countries including Uganda, Kenya, Senegal, Zambia, and Tunisia. Persons with disability are not just covered in positive light but no light at all. The workshop empowered persons with disability with techniques on how to handle and take over media especially the social media and included communication and writing techniques.

    Rebecca, an active Kenyan blogger, discusses the workshop on her blog:

        This week I had a fabulous week with a group of young people; training on media, whether new or old is never easy. The media in every country is almost guilty of similar things; they don’t cover our issues, they entrench prejudice and stereotypes in most cases never have time to write and air positive stories.

    The workshop educated and trained the disabled so that they can in turn educate the public using tools such as Twitter and Facebook.

    Deputy Secretary General for Administration at Federation of Liberian Youth, Daintowon Pay-bayee ,says, “disability is not inability.” She then asks, “you have heard that before but what is your perception if you first meet a disabled person?” Ms Pay-bayee refuses to be judged because of what she is that's why she will keep working on her dream:

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

  • At least Shs 7 trillion worth of revenue resulting from 1.4 million payments have so far been receipted through electronic tax payments. This revenue is a result of over 360,000 tax returns that have been received online via the electronic tax system codenamed ‘e-Tax’ which commenced in June 2009.

    e-Tax is a web-based application developed to automate URA’s services. It enables taxpayers to access domestic revenue services such as registration, returns, payments and objections, and appeals through the internet daily from any part of the world. In 2011, e-Tax was linked to the customs’ Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA) to further ease transactions.

    “Countrywide, taxpayers have embraced the e-Tax system and to date over 130,000 electronic Taxpayer Identification Numbers (TINs) have been issued,” said URA’s Manager Business Analysis, Myra Ochwo.

    A TIN is a unique identifier that anyone dealing or intending to deal with URA must possess and is issued in accordance with sections 50 and 135 of the VAT Act and the Income Tax Act respectively.

    “The system has boosted our ability in filing returns since we are not bound by distance, enables us to make self-assessments and pay in the bank without going to URA,” said Ephraim Sentamu Kaddu, the Secretary General of KACITA-Uganda. “It saves us costs of hiring services of middlemen, some of whom are unscrupulous.”

    Owing to the system, tax declarations among the large and medium taxpayers have improved dramatically with a slower though steady improvement by smaller taxpayers. The e-Tax system enables taxpayers to access exchange rates, search other taxpayers’ TINs to ensure that they are dealing with registered taxpayers and print submitted forms. Other advantages include accessing the Withholding Tax exempted list, extend due dates for filing tax returns and access return history.

    Additionally, taxpayers can make Owners Transport Vehicle (OTV) applications, dealer licence applications, access Tax Clearance Certificate formats, register motor vehicles, amend registration history and amend returns for individuals as well as access penalty reversal requests.

    These services can only be enjoyed by a taxpayer, who has an account with URA. An account is created after applying for registration and getting a TIN. The pass code that is allocated to the taxpayer together with the TIN is actually used to create an account and a password.

    Citing unstable internet, lack of skills among some of the users and the electronic bill that has not yet been passed into law - to allow electronic signatures hence necessitating submission of physical documents to URA offices, KACITA-Uganda’s Sentamu Kaddu called for more sensitization.

    “We still need more computer education and a URA permanent office in KACITA office to teach our taxpayers how to do transactions online,” said Mr Kaddu, adding that KACITA was ready to mobilize the business community.”

    Meanwhile, URA is in final stages of setting up tax hubs in various parts of business infested areas such as Kikuubo and Kiyembe, both trading communities in downtown Kampala.

    “The URA office at Diamond Trust building shall turn into a fully fledged service centre point to support business persons,” said URA Central Service Office acting Manager, Dorah Okuja.

    These tax hubs, to start in September, will be held weekly in selected parts of the central business district. At these hubs, URA officials will facilitate taxpayers in tax registration and online transactions, gather their views and sensitize them about tax matters.

  • Nigeria’s Globacom has acquired two per cent market share of the total Ghana telecom subscriber base just after a month of launching its operations in the West African country, according to latest figures from the National Communication Authority (NCA). The telecom company which launched commercial operations in May 2012, finished its first month of operations with 468,508 subscribers. However, telecom rival, MTN increased its subscribers to 10,644,804, representing a solid 47% market share, while Vodafone maintained its second position with 4,671,999 subscribers, representing 21% of the total market share.

    The stats also who that Tigo comes third with 3,457,427 subscribers, representing 15% market share, while Airtel finishing the period with 3,015,499 subscribers, representing 14% of the total market share. It is noteworthy that Globacom finished three times the subscriber base of Ghana’s only CDMA network, Expresso, which finished the period with 195,670 subscribers representing a one per cent market share.

Telecoms, Rates, Offers and Coverage

  • - PSTN operator Angola Telecom has introduced a national single rate tariff to standardise the cost of making calls to all areas of the country within its network, news agency ANGOP reports. The wireline and CDMA network operator has set off-peak and peak tariffs for destinations countrywide between its subscribers, at KWZ7.20 (USD0.075) and KWZ8.93 per minute respectively. To promote the move Angola Telecom is offering customers free calls at the weekend this month.

    - Telecommunications company Alcatel-Lucent has announced plans to help expand Smile Tanzania’s 4G mobile broadband network by the end of this year. Smile Tanzania is the first network in Africa to provide a 4G LTE service in the 800 MHz frequency band, providing businesses and consumers with fast internet access, initially in Dar es Salaam. But the company has plans to expand the coverage area beyond just one city. “There are plans for further expansion during 2012 to offer ubiquitous coverage as soon as possible,” said Sherine Aziez, Alcatel Lucent Africa head of communications.

Digital Content

  • Google has today announced the release of walking directions for Africa, although in Beta. This comes after it released the driving direction on Google Maps in 2010 in Africa.

    This is “a big release” noting that in Africa’s developing countries, people have more use for walking directions.

    The Walking Directions capability will enable users to get route maps for their destinations -- using paths, roads and sidewalks.

    To start using the walking direction, users have to first access Google Maps and instead of using the driving direction button on the top left part, there is a walking direction icon they can use.

    Google however cautions that the walking direction is still in Beta and many routes might be missing.

    “Walking directions are editable, so if anything is amiss, you can correct it with our community mapping tool Google Map Maker,” the company said.

    “We are always grateful to our active African online cartographers who have helped make our African maps what they are today,” Jacqueline Rajuai, GIS Specialist and Jarda Bengl, Business Product Manager, Google said in a statement.

    Google seems to be taking mapping in Africa seriously after years of neglect. Early this year, the company started the street view project in Botswana.

    Google street view is a component of the Google map project.  It enables users to view a real representation of various streets in given cities.

  • Radiologists in East Africa are now able to read and report on x-rays and scans for many physicians with quicker turn around.  They can accomplish their readings and report from their offices, homes, or from anywhere in the world thanks to a new distance radiology application, Teleradiology, developed by Medisoft East Africa Ltd.

    Teleradiology was developed by three, young Kenyans.  Two are medical doctors, Dr. Emmanuel Mukoya and Dr. Ndii Kanake who are also pursuing Masters of Medicine in radiology at The University of Nairobi. The third is Ruth Wangari a computer science graduate, who is in the midst of studying for her Masters in Business Administration at Africa Nazarene University.

    The three entrepreneurs recognised that radiologists who are qualified to correctly interpret x-rays and scans are in very short supply in Africa.  Doctors often have to keep their patients waiting for weeks before they can give them a proper diagnosis based on a radiology report.  Some doctors are even tempted to do the interpretations themselves, without proper training to do so.

    Medisoft's Teleradiology solution erases the boundaries between image acquisition, reporting and referring doctors.  It speeds up the process by enabling licensed radiologists to provide reports and consultation services for many doctors and hospitals either from their homes or offices.  Doctors can read these reports and view the images from their clinical office or from their homes.  The application also gives medical imaging centers and hospitals the freedom to outsource interpretation services to offsite radiologists around the clock, with ease.  Patients’ lives have been saved by Teleradiology by cutting down the time from scan to diagnosis.

    Doctors and radiologists can access the Teleradiology platform on a web browser or a light desktop program. They can manipulate the images and even download them to a flash drive.  The images and reports can be printed from any location.

    Teleradiology comes with the added benefit of allowing simultaneous viewing of studies by different users at different locations for collaboration between radiologists or doctors.  The platform allows for quick second opinions.  It also comes with the capability to automatically route studies from a given imaging facility to a specified radiologist and give off a sound alert for the radiologist to be notified of an incoming study.

    The Medisoft East Africa innovation was recently recognised by the Vision 2030 ICT Innovation Awards. The Teleradiology application took the top overall honour with over 400 entries.

    The technology stores all of the images and reports on the cloud so it cuts expenses involved in traditional radiology by doing away with the printing and physically storing images.  The images and reports can be immediately viewed anywhere on the planet.

    There are many realms of medical practice in Africa that are ripe for innovative IT solutions. There is much room for Medisoft East Africa and others to expand and profit while making better service available to doctors and patients.

  • Snapplify, a service that transform PDFs into company branded mobile applications, has signed a deal with Kotobarabia, an online e-book store that specialises in Arabic content.

    The deal with the South African-based startup has apparently been signed in a bid to make Kotobarabia’s content available to a wider audience. In part this is because it’s easier to make Snapplify’s mobile apps available to a wide range of devices and also because conventional e-publishing forms such as EPUB don’t deal well with Arabic text. According to director and co-founder of Kotobarabia Ramy Habeeb:

    “Snapplify’s platform is innovative because it is simple. Being a publisher from an emerging economy, it is difficult for me to comply with international standards such as EPUB, especially when EPUB does not comply with the standards of my language. As a result, digitally distributing my content on valuable e-real estate such as the iPad and other tablets is expensive, time-consuming and often impossible. Snapplify’s pdf-based platform solves those issues, and now my titles are available on the iPad.”

    Snapplify founder Wesley Lynch claims that his company’s service could become increasingly valuable to content producers, especially in Arab-speaking markets:

    “Content owners can serve these markets by converting their catalogue to mobile apps at the click of a button, at no upfront cost, and distribution and monetisation is part of the deal with the tablet app store model.”

  • Yezzi [translated as “enough” from Tunisian dialect], is a “cop watch map in Tunisia” which seeks to document and report police abuse ranging from taking bribes, physical or sexual abuse to racism and death threats. The platform was launched by the Tunisian Association for Digital Liberties [known by ATLN from its French Acronym], which deploy new technologies to create online platforms like Yezzi as a way to “help build a democratic, free and open society in Tunisia”.

    Last April, Yezzi came first in the National Contest for Free Softwares, which this year rewarded the most innovative open source projects.

    Based on Ushahidi platform, Yezzi seeks to collect violence testimonies sent by mobile, web, e-mail and SMS, and then place them on a Google Map. Yezzi deploys the concept of crowdsourcing in the service of the mobile social mapping, and a combination of social activism, citizen journalism, and geographical information…
    We believe that transparency can help not only solve problems but also better understand them.

    For so many years, Tunisia stood as a country where police corruption and abuse passed unnoticed - and unpunished. People would talk among themselves about such wrong doings, but only few would dare speak about them in public, or resort to justice. Yezzi, offers those who experience police abuse, or witness police officers involved in wrongdoings the chance to report on such incidents, and anonymously if they so wish. The users of this platform can also upload videos and pictures illustrating police abuse.

  • Africa Online, formerly MWeb Namibia, is rolling out WiFi hotspots in Windhoek, with more centres to follow. Marc Gregan, General Manager of AfricaOnline, said the massive increase in users of mobile devices and laptops led to the decision to expand the product.

    "AfricaOnline WiFi hotspots are used in lodges and hotels across Namibia. We received requests to introduce the product to various centres in Namibia and we begun the roll-out to the general public, using the same voucher system that is used in tourism," Gregan said.

    "More and more people are using laptops and mobile devices, to work and during their leisure time, for browsing, e-mail and social networking. AfricaOnline's WiFi hotspots will give access to well-maintained internet at very competitive rates."

    The first WiFi hotspots are available at Eros Park Shopping Centre, Baines Centre, the Old Power Station Centre, in Kleine Kuppe, at the Show Grounds and at the AfricaOnline offices.

    Gregan said any device with wireless networking capability can use AfricaOnline WiFi hotspots.

    "This includes laptops, desktops and many mobile devices such as iPhones, iPads and Kindles. All you have to do is use your wireless software to find the AFOL Hotspot network, enter the voucher details and you are on."

  • The BeMyApp Startup Weekend, has announced the winner, a mobile app “Taxi Counter,” from Morocco has won this BeMyApp World Cup.
    Every registered idea generator has 1 minute to pitch a mobile application concept to a specialized jury on the first day. The jury is composed of people with mobile/tech/digital and entrepreneurship backgrounds select the best mobile application concepts, around which teams are formed.

  • Nairobi — Researchers hope to harness mobile phone technology to improve water supplies in rural parts of Africa.

    A team from the University of Oxford, in the United Kingdom, proposes installing handpumps containing devices that automatically send text messages to local water engineers whenever pumps break down or dry up.

    The device, known as a waterpoint data transmitter, is fitted into handpump handles, and automatically monitors the number of strokes made when a pump is operated.

    This data, which provides estimates of daily and seasonal demand, including critical under- or over-usage information, is then transmitted to a central hub - thus informing engineers, cheaply and regularly, of the need for repairs, and helping to ensure a constant flow of water.

    The researchers will trial their idea, which is known as the 'Smart Handpumps' initiative, in 70 villages in Kenya next month (August). A prototype transmitter was successfully trialled in Zambia in 2011.

    "We came up with the project in response to the widespread failure of hand pumps [largely because of wear and tear, and mechanical faults] and associated health and economic failure impacts on the 276 million Africans who do not have improved water services," lead researcher Rob Hope, a senior research fellow at the University of Oxford, told SciDev.Net.

    "It is estimated that at any one time, one third of handpumps in rural Africa are not working. Unimproved water access is associated with 1.5 million unnecessary deaths of children under five," said Hope.

    "Women and children spend close to 40 billion hours collecting water each year in Africa, and 448 million school days [are] lost because of unreliable water supplies," he added.

    Julius Kabubi, an East African Commission risk reduction adviser, said that the initiative would particularly benefit arid and semi-arid areas, which require a constant water supply.

    "A minor [pump] breakdown in a remote area can cause a well to be abandoned, and this is what the technology is trying to address," Kabubi said.

    He added that for the project to be effective, it needed to work closely with mobile communication providers to ensure good signal coverage, as in some remote areas the mobile network coverage, upon which handpump technology depends, is not very strong.

    Furthermore, Kabubi believes the initiative will work better if more water engineers - who are in low supply in Africa - receive training.

    The researchers hope to expand the technology to other African countries, including Malawi, South Sudan and Zambia.

More

  • IBM SA country GM Oliver Fortuin has stepped down in order to establish his own business. Long-serving IBM executive Abraham Thomas will take on the role. Abraham, who has been with IBM in a number of executive roles, including MD of IBM India and IBM Global Services India, has a business

  • Innovation Prize for Africa: Call for Proposals

    The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the African Innovation Foundation (AIF) have just  announced the call for the 2013 Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA).

    Eligible are innovations by Africans for Africa. Africans in the Diaspora can also apply if their innovations are of significance to Africa. The winning proposal will be awarded a cash prize of USD100,000, with the two runner-ups receiving USD25,000.

    The registration deadline for the 2013 prize has been set for 31 October 2012.

    For detailed information of competition categories, conditions of entry, and submission procedures, please visit here:

Issue no 613 13th July 2012

node ref id: 25358

Top story

  • Video streaming will be the next big wave of online content use in Africa. There are still considerable network challenges but… The level of existing use shows that once these issues are resolved, the volume of users will be in the millions. Russell Southwood spoke to the biggest player in the market Google’s YouTube. Elijah Kitaka explained how it sees the potential of video streaming being realized.

    YouTube is available in all African countries but has been localized in a number of African countries including: South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya and Uganda. In one West Africa country with a local Google cache server, the amount of traffic through the local IXP is now 800 mbs and the majority of it is YouTube use.

    So how does a country get to have a localized YouTube site? According to Kitaka:”We need to sign an agreement with a (rights) collection society for authors, publishers and composers. Typically one body plays that role and it deals not just with local rights collection but also works on behalf of global rights holders.”

    Once that important formality is dealt with, YouTube looks at levels of existing use and the number of potential content publishers to see whether any interest.”There’s still a lot of pain on the infrastructure side but this pain should reduce. Access and the cost of access is still really a barrier. But YouTube can play a key role in Africanising the web”. Google has installed local cache servers in 4 countries and neighboring countries can take advantage of their presence.

    In addition, the YouTube Feather feature allows users with much lower bandwidth access to watch a lower resolution version:”Feather will make these settings static and deactivate the fancy features. With optimization, a stream should run properly even with low bandwidth.”

    In terms of content providers, there are three categories that YouTube wants to work with:

    1.    Existing African broadcasters: YouTube can take broadcasters existing content and extend its audience, whether in the country itself or for the diaspora. Kenya’s NTV has a live stream of its prime time news programme and also uses YouTube as a platform for catch-up viewers. It has had 10 million views to date. South Africa’s SABC also makes use of it in much the same way.

    2.    African film and music producers: Much has now been written about the success of Nollywood Love but there are still film and music producers in other countries who are not yet properly exploiting the potential of online streaming. A typical example of this kind of content producer would be Homeboyz Entertainment Group in Kenya.

    3.    New wave user generated content: This is new African businesses that are beginning to explore business models that will generate real income for them. One example is Kenya’s Kulahappy which produces candid camera-style comedy clips. It has been going for just over six months and has generated 2 million views.

    What works in content terms is the same as for TV: where it’s available, users prefer local content:”80% of what’s popular is African content.”

    So how do views turn into money? “The secret is quite simple. You have to have an audience for the content. Once you’ve signed up as a Google Ads partner, there are two models: either you earn on a cost per click on adverts served or you get paid a cost per million views.

    But how many views do you need before you start seeing real money? This is where Google becomes a little more circumspect. To be fair, the answer is more complicated than a one-liner. You need an audience that is part of a market that is in “high-contention for advertising and has audiences that those advertisers want to reach.”

    It seems from the very few cases where income figures have been released that that you start to earn real money at between 0.5 million to 1 million views and that it’s important to have significant diaspora audiences in the mix. Also in terms of African audiences, there will have to be higher numbers online to see advertising revenue growth.

    As almost everything to do with data, Google is maddeningly coy. It will only say that between 2010 and 2011 YouTube use in South Africa grew by 110% and the number of uploads grew by 120%. Nevertheless partner revenues grew by 570%. For the other larger markets, it has to wait 12 months after the launch to get figures out.

    Nevertheless, it broke out the socio-demographic results on YouTube users from its Insights Africa survey. Although the sub-sample size is not completely robust, it does give some pointers. The majority of current users are in the 16-34 age group, reflecting the broader trend of technology take-up in Africa. Current male users outnumber female users 2 to 1. But as elsewhere in the developing world, this gender skew is likely to level up once the numbers increase.

    Two things need to happen before online streaming becomes more popular.
    One, mobile operators need to get their networks up to 3.75G and 4G so that the numbers who can access it goes up. There is an iron rule that no piece of content will ever attract all potential users. Two, African content and owners and producers need to take the plunge and get used to reaching potential audiences.

    To follow the exchanges about this news, you need to be on Twitter. Follow us on @BalancingActAfr

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

    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:

    Sean Krepp, Uganda Country Director, Apps Lab on raising farmers income using community knowledge workers with smartphones

    Kobus Roux, CSIR Meraka Institute on getting rural schools connected using local micro-entrepreneurs and Wi-Fi mesh technology

    Two experts discuss the challenges of mobile operators as brands:

    Laine Barnard, Founder, 8Brand - Mobile outlets as "giant waiting rooms" for selling airtime

    Sammy Thuo, Director, Saracen Media on differentiating African mobile brands

     

telecoms

  • Two mobile phone operators are involved in a Sh1.9 billion network dispute. Airtel has threatened to switch off Essar Telcom's, popularly known as Yu, connectivity over the disputed amount. According to the court documents, Yu and Airtel entered into a Site Leasing Agreement on April 3 2009, in which Airtel leased certain sites to Yu.

    Yu however claims that Airtel failed to meet the agreement which caused the former to start experiencing frequent site failures that disrupted its network and hampered the customer's ability to make calls, send sms and use data services. It also claims that it lost 34 batteries from the sites as a result of Airtels breach of the agreement to provide daily security at the sites.

    Yu claims Sh1.9 billion against Airtel and Airtel is claiming Sh252 million from Yu. Yu intends to refer the matter to arbitration and has succeeded in getting an injunction restraining Airtel from switching off its connectivity or interfering with the company's equipment at Airtel's sites. The case will proceed on July 20 before High Court judge Daniel Musinga.

  • Four mobile operators in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have acquired 3G licences, paying USD15 million apiece for the long-awaited concessions. The companies in question are Airtel DRC, Oasis Telecom (Tigo), Vodacom Congo and Africell, which only announced the launch of its GSM network late last month, almost two years after receiving rights and spectrum to offer wireless services in the DRC. Conspicuous by its absence is Congo Chine Telecom (CCT), which was taken over by France Telecom-Orange (FT-Orange) in October 2011, and which is currently in the process of being rebranded in line with Orange’s other operations in the regions.

    At the time of the transaction it was reported that, on top of the monies paid for the cellco itself, FT-Orange paid USD71million to the Congolese government for improved licence terms, including a ten year extension to its existing 2G concession, access to an additional 2MHz of spectrum in the 1800MHz band and 10MHz in the 2100MHz spectrum band for 3G services. It remains unclear whether the latest batch of 3G licensees have also been issued with frequencies in the 2100MHz band.

  • A South African farmer has equipped his sheep with cell phones to keep a tab on the flock and prevent livestock thefts from his vast farm.

    Whenever Erard Louw, a Cape Town farmer gets a call from his sheep, it’s always a bad news as the phones are programmed to switch on only when the sheep start running, a sign that the thieves might have cut through the fence.

    “As they run it gives me a phone call and says ‘sheep one’ or ‘sheep two’ and so on, so at least I know where to start looking because the farm is 750 hectares,” The Cape Times quoted Louw as saying.

    Louw reportedly had 27 sheep and 13 lambs stolen 10 days ago, which led him to innovate to protect his animals. He came up with the idea of tying cell phones on to the collars of four sheep in separate flocks.

    Louw said that since the police stations are located far away, there is not much point calling the police because either they did not have a vehicle available, or they had no petrol, or the tyres had been stolen, or there was no one who could drive.

    According to Louw, cell phones have proved to be useful as as one of the sheep snatchers was caught with the help of the devices.

    Stock theft of sheep is a major problem in the Western Cape and has led to sheep farmers leaving the industry. A few sheep-robbers have, however, managed to get away despite the devices.

    “The phone did start ringing that night and I went out. I checked all the fences — because they normally cut the fences — and they were all okay and the gates were closed. But the phone kept ringing, so I knew they were running. Then I found a new place where they had cut the fence.”

  • South Africa's foreign ministry has started an investigation into claims that the country's former Ambassador to Iran took a US$200,000 bribe to help MTN's attempt to secure a mobile license in the country.

    MTN is already facing a lawsuit from Turkey's Turkcell over its claims that MTN bribed officials to have Turkcell removed from a winning consortium for the license.

    South Africa's Foreign Minister, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane has confirmed that her department is investigating the allegations against Yusuf Saloojee, who was serving as Ambassador to Oman, but has since been suspended.

    The South African government has previously denied that any of its officials were involved in the MTN transaction, which enabled the company to secure a 49% stake in the Iranian mobile network.

    MTN has also repeatedly denied the charged, but has hired a UK Judge to investigate them.

internet

  • Businesses, institutions and consumers in Lesotho are set to experience faster, reliable and significantly more affordable internet connectivity as Africa’s carriers’ carrier WIOCC brings additional broadband capacity into Lesotho.

    Utilising its extensive terrestrial and submarine fibre-optic cable network, WIOCC is delivering lower-cost internet connectivity to Lesotho, bringing benefits to consumers and businesses in this mountainous African kingdom. Its arrival has already enabled a reduction in pricing of internet services by up to 67 per cent. This is supporting the Lesotho Government’s 8th Millennium Goal to make the benefits of new technologies available to its citizens and organisations, and to help businesses compete in the international arena.

    Educational institutions, such as the National University of Lesotho, are already benefitting – with Basotho students now able to access essential web-based resources that were previously unavailable.  For consumers, mobile internet services are being made more affordable to a wider section of the population through significantly reduced charges.

    “Until recently, internet access in Lesotho terminated in South Africa and was shaped and thus limited in international capacity. The connection provided by WIOCC terminates in Europe and provides Lesotho with faster and more affordable connectivity. This change will have a significant impact on the daily lives of the Basotho and Lesotho businesses,” explained WIOCC CEO, Chris Wood.

    “Our extensive network reach also enables international enterprises, ISPs and carriers to terminate their services in Lesotho. This, together with the introduction of reduced wholesale pricing, will open up further opportunities in the region.”

    Mpine Tente, General Manager of Econet Telecom Lesotho (ETL) – the first operator in Lesotho to benefit from the  WIOCC capacity - commented:  “The extra bandwidth made available by WIOCC has enabled us to make a huge reduction in our internet access costs. We are taking advantage of our improved international connectivity to deliver more reliable and affordable broadband services to our customers. Public and private businesses will benefit from reduced prices. All Basotho will benefit from cheaper access to the internet.”

  • Kenya’s mobile service provider Safaricom has introduced a new service that will allow its customers to purchase data bundles using Scratch cards

    Safaricom says it has introduced a wide range of  scratch cards that will now retail in various shops with data bundles and expiry duration.

    The new 4MB, 8MB and 16MB will be active for one week. The 4MB scratchcard will cost KSh5 (US$0.06) while the 8MB and 16MB scratchcards will cost KSh10 (0.12) and KSh20 (US$0.24) respectively. The 50,100,250 and 500MB data bundles will last for 30 days retailing at KSh 50 (US$0.60), KSh100 (US$1.19), KSh250 (US$2.98) and KSH500 (US$5.96).

    I.5GB data bundle will costs KSh 1000 (US$11.92) with an expiry duration of 30 days.

    Users can purchase the bundles by dialing *544*, entering the 16 digits PIN, the hash sign (#) and pressing the "Ok" button in that order.

    Also, users can buy data bundles for a third party by dialling *544*, entering the other user’s cellphone number, the hash sign and then pressing the "Ok" button.

    Safaricom as an Internet Service Provider (ISP) faces stiff competition from other providers including Airtel, Yu and Orange.

    The Communication Commission of Kenya’s (CCK) April 2012 report indicates an increase in mobile service subscription. In the last financial year, 89.10 percent of the population in the country had access to the services compared to 84.5 percent in the previous year.

    An estimated 16 million people use Internet services, an increase of 13.20 percent from 86.62 percent which CCK attributes to high Internet subscriptions on General Packet Radio Services (GPRS), Enhanced Data for Global Evolution (EDGE) and 3rd Generation of Cellphone technology(3G).

  • Africa’s youngest nation has added its voice to the chorus of support for the bid to ensure the African online community is properly represented in cyberspace.

    The Republic of South Sudan (RSS) this week became the 39th African country to formally endorse the African Union-endorsed UniForum ZA Central Registry (ZACR) bid to administer the proposed .africa generic Top Level Domain (gTLD).

    The African Union Commission (AUC) endorsed the UniForum ZACR bid earlier this year and last week reaffirmed its support at the 44th meeting of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) in Prague, Czech Republic.

  • The South African government announced on July 8, that they would begin offering electronic visas in an effort to increase tourism and relations with other African nations such as Nigeria.

    allAfrica.com reports that Tourism Minister, Marthinus Van Schalkwyk spoke at the opening of the 2012 Routes Africa Conference in Seychelles. Van Schalkwyk said the creation of E-Visas would allow international visitors and intra-African travellers to move more efficiently.

    “The bureaucracy and costs involved in applying for and issuing visas are a major impediment to foreigners wishing to visit our shores, and to our own people who travel on our continent,” Van Schalkwyk said.

    E-Visas are becoming an attractive option for countries because it does not require travellers to visit a country’s consulate in person. Currently the only three countries that offer E-Visas are Australia, Sri Lanka and the United States.

    Van Schalkwyk said that that continent still has a significant amount of work ahead of itself in order to capitalize on its unique attractions and culture.

    According to multiple sources, Van Schalkywk believes that the continent of Africa is expected to experience a massive tourism boom over the coming decades.

    “In a mere three years from now, there will be just over 50 African cities with populations exceeding three million,” Van Schalkwyk said.

    Van Schalkywk added that old airline connectivity models are a current problem in Africa and need to be improved.

    “They inhibit growth and only serve to keep our destinations dependent on air arrivals from economically hard-pressed traditional source markets,” he said. “We need a long-term plan to create an intra-continental air transport architecture that facilitates intra-African travel and trade, including tourism.”

    According to Leader.ng Deputy South African President, Mr. Kgalema Motlanthe said Nigeria is an important strategic partner for South Africa and that both nations have been short changing themselves.

    Van Schalkywk said that the E-Visa would also improve and create new job opportunities.

    The importance of South Africa offering E-Visa’s should not be underestimated. When only three other countries currently offer this service, South Africa will now join this small group. Not only will this improve cross border efficiency but it should also significantly improve trade within South Africa and the continent of Africa.

  • Goal.com, the world’s biggest football website, believes that Africa loves football, a sport it is also passionate about. It is hence expanding to populations in love with soccer and this time round, it is launching in Ghana.

    In a post, Goal.com said: ”The continent loves football, and in Africa the beautiful game is more than just a pastime, it is a passion. In Ghana, the story is no different – the passion is on and soaring higher.

    “In few countries is that passion more inspiring than Ghana, and it was simply a matter of time before the world’s leading football and new media website – Goal.com – rewarded that inspiration with a local edition of the site.

    The site strives to maintain and outdo the high standards it has set in other places around the world.

    Kent Mensah, Chief Editor of the Goal.com Ghana edition, says he is very excited about the prospects of bringing Goal.com closer to the people of Ghana.

    Goal.com says it will also provide news, personal features, interviews, match reports and editorials to Ghanaians around the world.

    It is therefore our great pleasure to announce the launch of the Ghanaian edition of Goal.com, the site said.

    With a huge fan base in Ghana, Goal.com will serve loyal Ghanaian fans with a site of their own, which will however be managed by tested Ghanaian football journalists and columnists.

    It is Goal.com’s mission to unite the world through football, and with the launch of yet another African edition following the highly successful Goal.com Nigeria, it is one-step closer to bringing the game to the doorsteps of all football-loving nations.

    The service will be available via the Web, mobile or apps, with latest news, insightful commentary and worldwide match coverage.

    Goal.com launched in March in Nigeria and has been offering football news on the Nigerian football league, tournaments, friendly matches and on Nigerian international players.

    Now available on mobile, courtesy of Airtel and Etisalat Nigeria, its is a leading football website in Nigeria.

computing

  • If you really think that you are a hacker worth his salt, you need to be ready because Kenya’s election authority will be looking to involve you in a systems penetration test in the not so distant future.

    According to the CEO of Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), James Oswago, the commission will be looking to involve hackers in testing its result transmitting system in November. The involvement of hackers is a move meant to assure all candidates of the systems capabilities and security.

    It comes after some of the top presidential contenders complained that they have not had access to the system to test its security and the failure of IEBC to assure the contenders that they will be allowed to assign specialised agents to monitor the system during the the general election.

    The commission is also looking to replicate the experience of India which offered even upto Ksh 1.5 Million to hackers who would have penetrated the Voter Verifiable Paper Trial (VVPT) machine. The VVPT is an electronic voting machine (EVM) that prints out paper as proof of data transmitted through it.

    There will no electronic voting but the provisional results of the election will be transmitted electronically. The commission has also promised to allow voters to authenticate their registration electronically. Voters will be verified through a biometric system before the elections.

  • A new technology that keeps records of academic, discipline and other information for students in secondary schools and colleges has been launched.

    The new system dubbed 'centralized students' information' will enable teachers, students as well as parents and guardians keep track of academic performance among other information of respective students.

    A brainchild of Hill Brokers Technology Limited, the technology is also envisaged to allow respective schools and colleges to easily manage students' information.

    "The system shows remarks by teachers, attendance, examination schedules, fees payments and discipline of the students which can be accessed anytime by the user of the system for a particular school," according to Hill Brokers Technology Chief Executive Officer, Mr Maleva Selestine.

    Speaking during the launch of the technology over the weekend, the Tanzania Association of Managers and Owners of Non-governmental Schools and Colleges (TAMONGSCO) was impressed by the system and called for modern ways of keeping school records of students.

    "Modern ways of keeping records help parents, guardians, school authorities and students to keep track of academic performance which also save time," TAMONGSCO Chairman, Mr Mark Mringo, said.

    He urged both private and government owned schools to use the facility as it is hassle-free, saves time, energy, money and other resources.

  • Open Society Foundation and Disability Right Initiative have formed an organization to cater specifically to the disabled African youth - African Youth With Disability Network.

    Through the network, African youths around the continent with disability received training on social media skills and how to work and portray themselves as journalists:

    Earlier this month, a workshop was held in Dakar, Senegal and several countries including Uganda, Kenya, Senegal, Zambia, and Tunisia. Persons with disability are not just covered in positive light but no light at all. The workshop empowered persons with disability with techniques on how to handle and take over media especially the social media and included communication and writing techniques.

    Rebecca, an active Kenyan blogger, discusses the workshop on her blog:

        This week I had a fabulous week with a group of young people; training on media, whether new or old is never easy. The media in every country is almost guilty of similar things; they don’t cover our issues, they entrench prejudice and stereotypes in most cases never have time to write and air positive stories.

    The workshop educated and trained the disabled so that they can in turn educate the public using tools such as Twitter and Facebook.

    Deputy Secretary General for Administration at Federation of Liberian Youth, Daintowon Pay-bayee ,says, “disability is not inability.” She then asks, “you have heard that before but what is your perception if you first meet a disabled person?” Ms Pay-bayee refuses to be judged because of what she is that's why she will keep working on her dream:

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

  • At least Shs 7 trillion worth of revenue resulting from 1.4 million payments have so far been receipted through electronic tax payments. This revenue is a result of over 360,000 tax returns that have been received online via the electronic tax system codenamed ‘e-Tax’ which commenced in June 2009.

    e-Tax is a web-based application developed to automate URA’s services. It enables taxpayers to access domestic revenue services such as registration, returns, payments and objections, and appeals through the internet daily from any part of the world. In 2011, e-Tax was linked to the customs’ Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA) to further ease transactions.

    “Countrywide, taxpayers have embraced the e-Tax system and to date over 130,000 electronic Taxpayer Identification Numbers (TINs) have been issued,” said URA’s Manager Business Analysis, Myra Ochwo.

    A TIN is a unique identifier that anyone dealing or intending to deal with URA must possess and is issued in accordance with sections 50 and 135 of the VAT Act and the Income Tax Act respectively.

    “The system has boosted our ability in filing returns since we are not bound by distance, enables us to make self-assessments and pay in the bank without going to URA,” said Ephraim Sentamu Kaddu, the Secretary General of KACITA-Uganda. “It saves us costs of hiring services of middlemen, some of whom are unscrupulous.”

    Owing to the system, tax declarations among the large and medium taxpayers have improved dramatically with a slower though steady improvement by smaller taxpayers. The e-Tax system enables taxpayers to access exchange rates, search other taxpayers’ TINs to ensure that they are dealing with registered taxpayers and print submitted forms. Other advantages include accessing the Withholding Tax exempted list, extend due dates for filing tax returns and access return history.

    Additionally, taxpayers can make Owners Transport Vehicle (OTV) applications, dealer licence applications, access Tax Clearance Certificate formats, register motor vehicles, amend registration history and amend returns for individuals as well as access penalty reversal requests.

    These services can only be enjoyed by a taxpayer, who has an account with URA. An account is created after applying for registration and getting a TIN. The pass code that is allocated to the taxpayer together with the TIN is actually used to create an account and a password.

    Citing unstable internet, lack of skills among some of the users and the electronic bill that has not yet been passed into law - to allow electronic signatures hence necessitating submission of physical documents to URA offices, KACITA-Uganda’s Sentamu Kaddu called for more sensitization.

    “We still need more computer education and a URA permanent office in KACITA office to teach our taxpayers how to do transactions online,” said Mr Kaddu, adding that KACITA was ready to mobilize the business community.”

    Meanwhile, URA is in final stages of setting up tax hubs in various parts of business infested areas such as Kikuubo and Kiyembe, both trading communities in downtown Kampala.

    “The URA office at Diamond Trust building shall turn into a fully fledged service centre point to support business persons,” said URA Central Service Office acting Manager, Dorah Okuja.

    These tax hubs, to start in September, will be held weekly in selected parts of the central business district. At these hubs, URA officials will facilitate taxpayers in tax registration and online transactions, gather their views and sensitize them about tax matters.

  • Nigeria’s Globacom has acquired two per cent market share of the total Ghana telecom subscriber base just after a month of launching its operations in the West African country, according to latest figures from the National Communication Authority (NCA). The telecom company which launched commercial operations in May 2012, finished its first month of operations with 468,508 subscribers. However, telecom rival, MTN increased its subscribers to 10,644,804, representing a solid 47% market share, while Vodafone maintained its second position with 4,671,999 subscribers, representing 21% of the total market share.

    The stats also who that Tigo comes third with 3,457,427 subscribers, representing 15% market share, while Airtel finishing the period with 3,015,499 subscribers, representing 14% of the total market share. It is noteworthy that Globacom finished three times the subscriber base of Ghana’s only CDMA network, Expresso, which finished the period with 195,670 subscribers representing a one per cent market share.

Telecoms, Rates, Offers and Coverage

  • - PSTN operator Angola Telecom has introduced a national single rate tariff to standardise the cost of making calls to all areas of the country within its network, news agency ANGOP reports. The wireline and CDMA network operator has set off-peak and peak tariffs for destinations countrywide between its subscribers, at KWZ7.20 (USD0.075) and KWZ8.93 per minute respectively. To promote the move Angola Telecom is offering customers free calls at the weekend this month.

    - Telecommunications company Alcatel-Lucent has announced plans to help expand Smile Tanzania’s 4G mobile broadband network by the end of this year. Smile Tanzania is the first network in Africa to provide a 4G LTE service in the 800 MHz frequency band, providing businesses and consumers with fast internet access, initially in Dar es Salaam. But the company has plans to expand the coverage area beyond just one city. “There are plans for further expansion during 2012 to offer ubiquitous coverage as soon as possible,” said Sherine Aziez, Alcatel Lucent Africa head of communications.

Digital Content

  • Google has today announced the release of walking directions for Africa, although in Beta. This comes after it released the driving direction on Google Maps in 2010 in Africa.

    This is “a big release” noting that in Africa’s developing countries, people have more use for walking directions.

    The Walking Directions capability will enable users to get route maps for their destinations -- using paths, roads and sidewalks.

    To start using the walking direction, users have to first access Google Maps and instead of using the driving direction button on the top left part, there is a walking direction icon they can use.

    Google however cautions that the walking direction is still in Beta and many routes might be missing.

    “Walking directions are editable, so if anything is amiss, you can correct it with our community mapping tool Google Map Maker,” the company said.

    “We are always grateful to our active African online cartographers who have helped make our African maps what they are today,” Jacqueline Rajuai, GIS Specialist and Jarda Bengl, Business Product Manager, Google said in a statement.

    Google seems to be taking mapping in Africa seriously after years of neglect. Early this year, the company started the street view project in Botswana.

    Google street view is a component of the Google map project.  It enables users to view a real representation of various streets in given cities.

  • Radiologists in East Africa are now able to read and report on x-rays and scans for many physicians with quicker turn around.  They can accomplish their readings and report from their offices, homes, or from anywhere in the world thanks to a new distance radiology application, Teleradiology, developed by Medisoft East Africa Ltd.

    Teleradiology was developed by three, young Kenyans.  Two are medical doctors, Dr. Emmanuel Mukoya and Dr. Ndii Kanake who are also pursuing Masters of Medicine in radiology at The University of Nairobi. The third is Ruth Wangari a computer science graduate, who is in the midst of studying for her Masters in Business Administration at Africa Nazarene University.

    The three entrepreneurs recognised that radiologists who are qualified to correctly interpret x-rays and scans are in very short supply in Africa.  Doctors often have to keep their patients waiting for weeks before they can give them a proper diagnosis based on a radiology report.  Some doctors are even tempted to do the interpretations themselves, without proper training to do so.

    Medisoft's Teleradiology solution erases the boundaries between image acquisition, reporting and referring doctors.  It speeds up the process by enabling licensed radiologists to provide reports and consultation services for many doctors and hospitals either from their homes or offices.  Doctors can read these reports and view the images from their clinical office or from their homes.  The application also gives medical imaging centers and hospitals the freedom to outsource interpretation services to offsite radiologists around the clock, with ease.  Patients’ lives have been saved by Teleradiology by cutting down the time from scan to diagnosis.

    Doctors and radiologists can access the Teleradiology platform on a web browser or a light desktop program. They can manipulate the images and even download them to a flash drive.  The images and reports can be printed from any location.

    Teleradiology comes with the added benefit of allowing simultaneous viewing of studies by different users at different locations for collaboration between radiologists or doctors.  The platform allows for quick second opinions.  It also comes with the capability to automatically route studies from a given imaging facility to a specified radiologist and give off a sound alert for the radiologist to be notified of an incoming study.

    The Medisoft East Africa innovation was recently recognised by the Vision 2030 ICT Innovation Awards. The Teleradiology application took the top overall honour with over 400 entries.

    The technology stores all of the images and reports on the cloud so it cuts expenses involved in traditional radiology by doing away with the printing and physically storing images.  The images and reports can be immediately viewed anywhere on the planet.

    There are many realms of medical practice in Africa that are ripe for innovative IT solutions. There is much room for Medisoft East Africa and others to expand and profit while making better service available to doctors and patients.

  • Snapplify, a service that transform PDFs into company branded mobile applications, has signed a deal with Kotobarabia, an online e-book store that specialises in Arabic content.

    The deal with the South African-based startup has apparently been signed in a bid to make Kotobarabia’s content available to a wider audience. In part this is because it’s easier to make Snapplify’s mobile apps available to a wide range of devices and also because conventional e-publishing forms such as EPUB don’t deal well with Arabic text. According to director and co-founder of Kotobarabia Ramy Habeeb:

    “Snapplify’s platform is innovative because it is simple. Being a publisher from an emerging economy, it is difficult for me to comply with international standards such as EPUB, especially when EPUB does not comply with the standards of my language. As a result, digitally distributing my content on valuable e-real estate such as the iPad and other tablets is expensive, time-consuming and often impossible. Snapplify’s pdf-based platform solves those issues, and now my titles are available on the iPad.”

    Snapplify founder Wesley Lynch claims that his company’s service could become increasingly valuable to content producers, especially in Arab-speaking markets:

    “Content owners can serve these markets by converting their catalogue to mobile apps at the click of a button, at no upfront cost, and distribution and monetisation is part of the deal with the tablet app store model.”

  • Yezzi [translated as “enough” from Tunisian dialect], is a “cop watch map in Tunisia” which seeks to document and report police abuse ranging from taking bribes, physical or sexual abuse to racism and death threats. The platform was launched by the Tunisian Association for Digital Liberties [known by ATLN from its French Acronym], which deploy new technologies to create online platforms like Yezzi as a way to “help build a democratic, free and open society in Tunisia”.

    Last April, Yezzi came first in the National Contest for Free Softwares, which this year rewarded the most innovative open source projects.

    Based on Ushahidi platform, Yezzi seeks to collect violence testimonies sent by mobile, web, e-mail and SMS, and then place them on a Google Map. Yezzi deploys the concept of crowdsourcing in the service of the mobile social mapping, and a combination of social activism, citizen journalism, and geographical information…
    We believe that transparency can help not only solve problems but also better understand them.

    For so many years, Tunisia stood as a country where police corruption and abuse passed unnoticed - and unpunished. People would talk among themselves about such wrong doings, but only few would dare speak about them in public, or resort to justice. Yezzi, offers those who experience police abuse, or witness police officers involved in wrongdoings the chance to report on such incidents, and anonymously if they so wish. The users of this platform can also upload videos and pictures illustrating police abuse.

  • Africa Online, formerly MWeb Namibia, is rolling out WiFi hotspots in Windhoek, with more centres to follow. Marc Gregan, General Manager of AfricaOnline, said the massive increase in users of mobile devices and laptops led to the decision to expand the product.

    "AfricaOnline WiFi hotspots are used in lodges and hotels across Namibia. We received requests to introduce the product to various centres in Namibia and we begun the roll-out to the general public, using the same voucher system that is used in tourism," Gregan said.

    "More and more people are using laptops and mobile devices, to work and during their leisure time, for browsing, e-mail and social networking. AfricaOnline's WiFi hotspots will give access to well-maintained internet at very competitive rates."

    The first WiFi hotspots are available at Eros Park Shopping Centre, Baines Centre, the Old Power Station Centre, in Kleine Kuppe, at the Show Grounds and at the AfricaOnline offices.

    Gregan said any device with wireless networking capability can use AfricaOnline WiFi hotspots.

    "This includes laptops, desktops and many mobile devices such as iPhones, iPads and Kindles. All you have to do is use your wireless software to find the AFOL Hotspot network, enter the voucher details and you are on."

  • The BeMyApp Startup Weekend, has announced the winner, a mobile app “Taxi Counter,” from Morocco has won this BeMyApp World Cup.
    Every registered idea generator has 1 minute to pitch a mobile application concept to a specialized jury on the first day. The jury is composed of people with mobile/tech/digital and entrepreneurship backgrounds select the best mobile application concepts, around which teams are formed.

  • Nairobi — Researchers hope to harness mobile phone technology to improve water supplies in rural parts of Africa.

    A team from the University of Oxford, in the United Kingdom, proposes installing handpumps containing devices that automatically send text messages to local water engineers whenever pumps break down or dry up.

    The device, known as a waterpoint data transmitter, is fitted into handpump handles, and automatically monitors the number of strokes made when a pump is operated.

    This data, which provides estimates of daily and seasonal demand, including critical under- or over-usage information, is then transmitted to a central hub - thus informing engineers, cheaply and regularly, of the need for repairs, and helping to ensure a constant flow of water.

    The researchers will trial their idea, which is known as the 'Smart Handpumps' initiative, in 70 villages in Kenya next month (August). A prototype transmitter was successfully trialled in Zambia in 2011.

    "We came up with the project in response to the widespread failure of hand pumps [largely because of wear and tear, and mechanical faults] and associated health and economic failure impacts on the 276 million Africans who do not have improved water services," lead researcher Rob Hope, a senior research fellow at the University of Oxford, told SciDev.Net.

    "It is estimated that at any one time, one third of handpumps in rural Africa are not working. Unimproved water access is associated with 1.5 million unnecessary deaths of children under five," said Hope.

    "Women and children spend close to 40 billion hours collecting water each year in Africa, and 448 million school days [are] lost because of unreliable water supplies," he added.

    Julius Kabubi, an East African Commission risk reduction adviser, said that the initiative would particularly benefit arid and semi-arid areas, which require a constant water supply.

    "A minor [pump] breakdown in a remote area can cause a well to be abandoned, and this is what the technology is trying to address," Kabubi said.

    He added that for the project to be effective, it needed to work closely with mobile communication providers to ensure good signal coverage, as in some remote areas the mobile network coverage, upon which handpump technology depends, is not very strong.

    Furthermore, Kabubi believes the initiative will work better if more water engineers - who are in low supply in Africa - receive training.

    The researchers hope to expand the technology to other African countries, including Malawi, South Sudan and Zambia.

More

  • IBM SA country GM Oliver Fortuin has stepped down in order to establish his own business. Long-serving IBM executive Abraham Thomas will take on the role. Abraham, who has been with IBM in a number of executive roles, including MD of IBM India and IBM Global Services India, has a business

  • Innovation Prize for Africa: Call for Proposals

    The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the African Innovation Foundation (AIF) have just  announced the call for the 2013 Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA).

    Eligible are innovations by Africans for Africa. Africans in the Diaspora can also apply if their innovations are of significance to Africa. The winning proposal will be awarded a cash prize of USD100,000, with the two runner-ups receiving USD25,000.

    The registration deadline for the 2013 prize has been set for 31 October 2012.

    For detailed information of competition categories, conditions of entry, and submission procedures, please visit here:

Issue no 613 13th July 2012

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Top story

  • Video streaming will be the next big wave of online content use in Africa. There are still considerable network challenges but… The level of existing use shows that once these issues are resolved, the volume of users will be in the millions. Russell Southwood spoke to the biggest player in the market Google’s YouTube. Elijah Kitaka explained how it sees the potential of video streaming being realized.

    YouTube is available in all African countries but has been localized in a number of African countries including: South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya and Uganda. In one West Africa country with a local Google cache server, the amount of traffic through the local IXP is now 800 mbs and the majority of it is YouTube use.

    So how does a country get to have a localized YouTube site? According to Kitaka:”We need to sign an agreement with a (rights) collection society for authors, publishers and composers. Typically one body plays that role and it deals not just with local rights collection but also works on behalf of global rights holders.”

    Once that important formality is dealt with, YouTube looks at levels of existing use and the number of potential content publishers to see whether any interest.”There’s still a lot of pain on the infrastructure side but this pain should reduce. Access and the cost of access is still really a barrier. But YouTube can play a key role in Africanising the web”. Google has installed local cache servers in 4 countries and neighboring countries can take advantage of their presence.

    In addition, the YouTube Feather feature allows users with much lower bandwidth access to watch a lower resolution version:”Feather will make these settings static and deactivate the fancy features. With optimization, a stream should run properly even with low bandwidth.”

    In terms of content providers, there are three categories that YouTube wants to work with:

    1.    Existing African broadcasters: YouTube can take broadcasters existing content and extend its audience, whether in the country itself or for the diaspora. Kenya’s NTV has a live stream of its prime time news programme and also uses YouTube as a platform for catch-up viewers. It has had 10 million views to date. South Africa’s SABC also makes use of it in much the same way.

    2.    African film and music producers: Much has now been written about the success of Nollywood Love but there are still film and music producers in other countries who are not yet properly exploiting the potential of online streaming. A typical example of this kind of content producer would be Homeboyz Entertainment Group in Kenya.

    3.    New wave user generated content: This is new African businesses that are beginning to explore business models that will generate real income for them. One example is Kenya’s Kulahappy which produces candid camera-style comedy clips. It has been going for just over six months and has generated 2 million views.

    What works in content terms is the same as for TV: where it’s available, users prefer local content:”80% of what’s popular is African content.”

    So how do views turn into money? “The secret is quite simple. You have to have an audience for the content. Once you’ve signed up as a Google Ads partner, there are two models: either you earn on a cost per click on adverts served or you get paid a cost per million views.

    But how many views do you need before you start seeing real money? This is where Google becomes a little more circumspect. To be fair, the answer is more complicated than a one-liner. You need an audience that is part of a market that is in “high-contention for advertising and has audiences that those advertisers want to reach.”

    It seems from the very few cases where income figures have been released that that you start to earn real money at between 0.5 million to 1 million views and that it’s important to have significant diaspora audiences in the mix. Also in terms of African audiences, there will have to be higher numbers online to see advertising revenue growth.

    As almost everything to do with data, Google is maddeningly coy. It will only say that between 2010 and 2011 YouTube use in South Africa grew by 110% and the number of uploads grew by 120%. Nevertheless partner revenues grew by 570%. For the other larger markets, it has to wait 12 months after the launch to get figures out.

    Nevertheless, it broke out the socio-demographic results on YouTube users from its Insights Africa survey. Although the sub-sample size is not completely robust, it does give some pointers. The majority of current users are in the 16-34 age group, reflecting the broader trend of technology take-up in Africa. Current male users outnumber female users 2 to 1. But as elsewhere in the developing world, this gender skew is likely to level up once the numbers increase.

    Two things need to happen before online streaming becomes more popular.
    One, mobile operators need to get their networks up to 3.75G and 4G so that the numbers who can access it goes up. There is an iron rule that no piece of content will ever attract all potential users. Two, African content and owners and producers need to take the plunge and get used to reaching potential audiences.

    To follow the exchanges about this news, you need to be on Twitter. Follow us on @BalancingActAfr

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

    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:

    Sean Krepp, Uganda Country Director, Apps Lab on raising farmers income using community knowledge workers with smartphones

    Kobus Roux, CSIR Meraka Institute on getting rural schools connected using local micro-entrepreneurs and Wi-Fi mesh technology

    Two experts discuss the challenges of mobile operators as brands:

    Laine Barnard, Founder, 8Brand - Mobile outlets as "giant waiting rooms" for selling airtime

    Sammy Thuo, Director, Saracen Media on differentiating African mobile brands

     

telecoms

  • Two mobile phone operators are involved in a Sh1.9 billion network dispute. Airtel has threatened to switch off Essar Telcom's, popularly known as Yu, connectivity over the disputed amount. According to the court documents, Yu and Airtel entered into a Site Leasing Agreement on April 3 2009, in which Airtel leased certain sites to Yu.

    Yu however claims that Airtel failed to meet the agreement which caused the former to start experiencing frequent site failures that disrupted its network and hampered the customer's ability to make calls, send sms and use data services. It also claims that it lost 34 batteries from the sites as a result of Airtels breach of the agreement to provide daily security at the sites.

    Yu claims Sh1.9 billion against Airtel and Airtel is claiming Sh252 million from Yu. Yu intends to refer the matter to arbitration and has succeeded in getting an injunction restraining Airtel from switching off its connectivity or interfering with the company's equipment at Airtel's sites. The case will proceed on July 20 before High Court judge Daniel Musinga.

  • Four mobile operators in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have acquired 3G licences, paying USD15 million apiece for the long-awaited concessions. The companies in question are Airtel DRC, Oasis Telecom (Tigo), Vodacom Congo and Africell, which only announced the launch of its GSM network late last month, almost two years after receiving rights and spectrum to offer wireless services in the DRC. Conspicuous by its absence is Congo Chine Telecom (CCT), which was taken over by France Telecom-Orange (FT-Orange) in October 2011, and which is currently in the process of being rebranded in line with Orange’s other operations in the regions.

    At the time of the transaction it was reported that, on top of the monies paid for the cellco itself, FT-Orange paid USD71million to the Congolese government for improved licence terms, including a ten year extension to its existing 2G concession, access to an additional 2MHz of spectrum in the 1800MHz band and 10MHz in the 2100MHz spectrum band for 3G services. It remains unclear whether the latest batch of 3G licensees have also been issued with frequencies in the 2100MHz band.

  • A South African farmer has equipped his sheep with cell phones to keep a tab on the flock and prevent livestock thefts from his vast farm.

    Whenever Erard Louw, a Cape Town farmer gets a call from his sheep, it’s always a bad news as the phones are programmed to switch on only when the sheep start running, a sign that the thieves might have cut through the fence.

    “As they run it gives me a phone call and says ‘sheep one’ or ‘sheep two’ and so on, so at least I know where to start looking because the farm is 750 hectares,” The Cape Times quoted Louw as saying.

    Louw reportedly had 27 sheep and 13 lambs stolen 10 days ago, which led him to innovate to protect his animals. He came up with the idea of tying cell phones on to the collars of four sheep in separate flocks.

    Louw said that since the police stations are located far away, there is not much point calling the police because either they did not have a vehicle available, or they had no petrol, or the tyres had been stolen, or there was no one who could drive.

    According to Louw, cell phones have proved to be useful as as one of the sheep snatchers was caught with the help of the devices.

    Stock theft of sheep is a major problem in the Western Cape and has led to sheep farmers leaving the industry. A few sheep-robbers have, however, managed to get away despite the devices.

    “The phone did start ringing that night and I went out. I checked all the fences — because they normally cut the fences — and they were all okay and the gates were closed. But the phone kept ringing, so I knew they were running. Then I found a new place where they had cut the fence.”

  • South Africa's foreign ministry has started an investigation into claims that the country's former Ambassador to Iran took a US$200,000 bribe to help MTN's attempt to secure a mobile license in the country.

    MTN is already facing a lawsuit from Turkey's Turkcell over its claims that MTN bribed officials to have Turkcell removed from a winning consortium for the license.

    South Africa's Foreign Minister, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane has confirmed that her department is investigating the allegations against Yusuf Saloojee, who was serving as Ambassador to Oman, but has since been suspended.

    The South African government has previously denied that any of its officials were involved in the MTN transaction, which enabled the company to secure a 49% stake in the Iranian mobile network.

    MTN has also repeatedly denied the charged, but has hired a UK Judge to investigate them.

internet

  • Businesses, institutions and consumers in Lesotho are set to experience faster, reliable and significantly more affordable internet connectivity as Africa’s carriers’ carrier WIOCC brings additional broadband capacity into Lesotho.

    Utilising its extensive terrestrial and submarine fibre-optic cable network, WIOCC is delivering lower-cost internet connectivity to Lesotho, bringing benefits to consumers and businesses in this mountainous African kingdom. Its arrival has already enabled a reduction in pricing of internet services by up to 67 per cent. This is supporting the Lesotho Government’s 8th Millennium Goal to make the benefits of new technologies available to its citizens and organisations, and to help businesses compete in the international arena.

    Educational institutions, such as the National University of Lesotho, are already benefitting – with Basotho students now able to access essential web-based resources that were previously unavailable.  For consumers, mobile internet services are being made more affordable to a wider section of the population through significantly reduced charges.

    “Until recently, internet access in Lesotho terminated in South Africa and was shaped and thus limited in international capacity. The connection provided by WIOCC terminates in Europe and provides Lesotho with faster and more affordable connectivity. This change will have a significant impact on the daily lives of the Basotho and Lesotho businesses,” explained WIOCC CEO, Chris Wood.

    “Our extensive network reach also enables international enterprises, ISPs and carriers to terminate their services in Lesotho. This, together with the introduction of reduced wholesale pricing, will open up further opportunities in the region.”

    Mpine Tente, General Manager of Econet Telecom Lesotho (ETL) – the first operator in Lesotho to benefit from the  WIOCC capacity - commented:  “The extra bandwidth made available by WIOCC has enabled us to make a huge reduction in our internet access costs. We are taking advantage of our improved international connectivity to deliver more reliable and affordable broadband services to our customers. Public and private businesses will benefit from reduced prices. All Basotho will benefit from cheaper access to the internet.”

  • Kenya’s mobile service provider Safaricom has introduced a new service that will allow its customers to purchase data bundles using Scratch cards

    Safaricom says it has introduced a wide range of  scratch cards that will now retail in various shops with data bundles and expiry duration.

    The new 4MB, 8MB and 16MB will be active for one week. The 4MB scratchcard will cost KSh5 (US$0.06) while the 8MB and 16MB scratchcards will cost KSh10 (0.12) and KSh20 (US$0.24) respectively. The 50,100,250 and 500MB data bundles will last for 30 days retailing at KSh 50 (US$0.60), KSh100 (US$1.19), KSh250 (US$2.98) and KSH500 (US$5.96).

    I.5GB data bundle will costs KSh 1000 (US$11.92) with an expiry duration of 30 days.

    Users can purchase the bundles by dialing *544*, entering the 16 digits PIN, the hash sign (#) and pressing the "Ok" button in that order.

    Also, users can buy data bundles for a third party by dialling *544*, entering the other user’s cellphone number, the hash sign and then pressing the "Ok" button.

    Safaricom as an Internet Service Provider (ISP) faces stiff competition from other providers including Airtel, Yu and Orange.

    The Communication Commission of Kenya’s (CCK) April 2012 report indicates an increase in mobile service subscription. In the last financial year, 89.10 percent of the population in the country had access to the services compared to 84.5 percent in the previous year.

    An estimated 16 million people use Internet services, an increase of 13.20 percent from 86.62 percent which CCK attributes to high Internet subscriptions on General Packet Radio Services (GPRS), Enhanced Data for Global Evolution (EDGE) and 3rd Generation of Cellphone technology(3G).

  • Africa’s youngest nation has added its voice to the chorus of support for the bid to ensure the African online community is properly represented in cyberspace.

    The Republic of South Sudan (RSS) this week became the 39th African country to formally endorse the African Union-endorsed UniForum ZA Central Registry (ZACR) bid to administer the proposed .africa generic Top Level Domain (gTLD).

    The African Union Commission (AUC) endorsed the UniForum ZACR bid earlier this year and last week reaffirmed its support at the 44th meeting of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) in Prague, Czech Republic.

  • The South African government announced on July 8, that they would begin offering electronic visas in an effort to increase tourism and relations with other African nations such as Nigeria.

    allAfrica.com reports that Tourism Minister, Marthinus Van Schalkwyk spoke at the opening of the 2012 Routes Africa Conference in Seychelles. Van Schalkwyk said the creation of E-Visas would allow international visitors and intra-African travellers to move more efficiently.

    “The bureaucracy and costs involved in applying for and issuing visas are a major impediment to foreigners wishing to visit our shores, and to our own people who travel on our continent,” Van Schalkwyk said.

    E-Visas are becoming an attractive option for countries because it does not require travellers to visit a country’s consulate in person. Currently the only three countries that offer E-Visas are Australia, Sri Lanka and the United States.

    Van Schalkwyk said that that continent still has a significant amount of work ahead of itself in order to capitalize on its unique attractions and culture.

    According to multiple sources, Van Schalkywk believes that the continent of Africa is expected to experience a massive tourism boom over the coming decades.

    “In a mere three years from now, there will be just over 50 African cities with populations exceeding three million,” Van Schalkwyk said.

    Van Schalkywk added that old airline connectivity models are a current problem in Africa and need to be improved.

    “They inhibit growth and only serve to keep our destinations dependent on air arrivals from economically hard-pressed traditional source markets,” he said. “We need a long-term plan to create an intra-continental air transport architecture that facilitates intra-African travel and trade, including tourism.”

    According to Leader.ng Deputy South African President, Mr. Kgalema Motlanthe said Nigeria is an important strategic partner for South Africa and that both nations have been short changing themselves.

    Van Schalkywk said that the E-Visa would also improve and create new job opportunities.

    The importance of South Africa offering E-Visa’s should not be underestimated. When only three other countries currently offer this service, South Africa will now join this small group. Not only will this improve cross border efficiency but it should also significantly improve trade within South Africa and the continent of Africa.

  • Goal.com, the world’s biggest football website, believes that Africa loves football, a sport it is also passionate about. It is hence expanding to populations in love with soccer and this time round, it is launching in Ghana.

    In a post, Goal.com said: ”The continent loves football, and in Africa the beautiful game is more than just a pastime, it is a passion. In Ghana, the story is no different – the passion is on and soaring higher.

    “In few countries is that passion more inspiring than Ghana, and it was simply a matter of time before the world’s leading football and new media website – Goal.com – rewarded that inspiration with a local edition of the site.

    The site strives to maintain and outdo the high standards it has set in other places around the world.

    Kent Mensah, Chief Editor of the Goal.com Ghana edition, says he is very excited about the prospects of bringing Goal.com closer to the people of Ghana.

    Goal.com says it will also provide news, personal features, interviews, match reports and editorials to Ghanaians around the world.

    It is therefore our great pleasure to announce the launch of the Ghanaian edition of Goal.com, the site said.

    With a huge fan base in Ghana, Goal.com will serve loyal Ghanaian fans with a site of their own, which will however be managed by tested Ghanaian football journalists and columnists.

    It is Goal.com’s mission to unite the world through football, and with the launch of yet another African edition following the highly successful Goal.com Nigeria, it is one-step closer to bringing the game to the doorsteps of all football-loving nations.

    The service will be available via the Web, mobile or apps, with latest news, insightful commentary and worldwide match coverage.

    Goal.com launched in March in Nigeria and has been offering football news on the Nigerian football league, tournaments, friendly matches and on Nigerian international players.

    Now available on mobile, courtesy of Airtel and Etisalat Nigeria, its is a leading football website in Nigeria.

computing

  • If you really think that you are a hacker worth his salt, you need to be ready because Kenya’s election authority will be looking to involve you in a systems penetration test in the not so distant future.

    According to the CEO of Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), James Oswago, the commission will be looking to involve hackers in testing its result transmitting system in November. The involvement of hackers is a move meant to assure all candidates of the systems capabilities and security.

    It comes after some of the top presidential contenders complained that they have not had access to the system to test its security and the failure of IEBC to assure the contenders that they will be allowed to assign specialised agents to monitor the system during the the general election.

    The commission is also looking to replicate the experience of India which offered even upto Ksh 1.5 Million to hackers who would have penetrated the Voter Verifiable Paper Trial (VVPT) machine. The VVPT is an electronic voting machine (EVM) that prints out paper as proof of data transmitted through it.

    There will no electronic voting but the provisional results of the election will be transmitted electronically. The commission has also promised to allow voters to authenticate their registration electronically. Voters will be verified through a biometric system before the elections.

  • A new technology that keeps records of academic, discipline and other information for students in secondary schools and colleges has been launched.

    The new system dubbed 'centralized students' information' will enable teachers, students as well as parents and guardians keep track of academic performance among other information of respective students.

    A brainchild of Hill Brokers Technology Limited, the technology is also envisaged to allow respective schools and colleges to easily manage students' information.

    "The system shows remarks by teachers, attendance, examination schedules, fees payments and discipline of the students which can be accessed anytime by the user of the system for a particular school," according to Hill Brokers Technology Chief Executive Officer, Mr Maleva Selestine.

    Speaking during the launch of the technology over the weekend, the Tanzania Association of Managers and Owners of Non-governmental Schools and Colleges (TAMONGSCO) was impressed by the system and called for modern ways of keeping school records of students.

    "Modern ways of keeping records help parents, guardians, school authorities and students to keep track of academic performance which also save time," TAMONGSCO Chairman, Mr Mark Mringo, said.

    He urged both private and government owned schools to use the facility as it is hassle-free, saves time, energy, money and other resources.

  • Open Society Foundation and Disability Right Initiative have formed an organization to cater specifically to the disabled African youth - African Youth With Disability Network.

    Through the network, African youths around the continent with disability received training on social media skills and how to work and portray themselves as journalists:

    Earlier this month, a workshop was held in Dakar, Senegal and several countries including Uganda, Kenya, Senegal, Zambia, and Tunisia. Persons with disability are not just covered in positive light but no light at all. The workshop empowered persons with disability with techniques on how to handle and take over media especially the social media and included communication and writing techniques.

    Rebecca, an active Kenyan blogger, discusses the workshop on her blog:

        This week I had a fabulous week with a group of young people; training on media, whether new or old is never easy. The media in every country is almost guilty of similar things; they don’t cover our issues, they entrench prejudice and stereotypes in most cases never have time to write and air positive stories.

    The workshop educated and trained the disabled so that they can in turn educate the public using tools such as Twitter and Facebook.

    Deputy Secretary General for Administration at Federation of Liberian Youth, Daintowon Pay-bayee ,says, “disability is not inability.” She then asks, “you have heard that before but what is your perception if you first meet a disabled person?” Ms Pay-bayee refuses to be judged because of what she is that's why she will keep working on her dream:

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

  • At least Shs 7 trillion worth of revenue resulting from 1.4 million payments have so far been receipted through electronic tax payments. This revenue is a result of over 360,000 tax returns that have been received online via the electronic tax system codenamed ‘e-Tax’ which commenced in June 2009.

    e-Tax is a web-based application developed to automate URA’s services. It enables taxpayers to access domestic revenue services such as registration, returns, payments and objections, and appeals through the internet daily from any part of the world. In 2011, e-Tax was linked to the customs’ Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA) to further ease transactions.

    “Countrywide, taxpayers have embraced the e-Tax system and to date over 130,000 electronic Taxpayer Identification Numbers (TINs) have been issued,” said URA’s Manager Business Analysis, Myra Ochwo.

    A TIN is a unique identifier that anyone dealing or intending to deal with URA must possess and is issued in accordance with sections 50 and 135 of the VAT Act and the Income Tax Act respectively.

    “The system has boosted our ability in filing returns since we are not bound by distance, enables us to make self-assessments and pay in the bank without going to URA,” said Ephraim Sentamu Kaddu, the Secretary General of KACITA-Uganda. “It saves us costs of hiring services of middlemen, some of whom are unscrupulous.”

    Owing to the system, tax declarations among the large and medium taxpayers have improved dramatically with a slower though steady improvement by smaller taxpayers. The e-Tax system enables taxpayers to access exchange rates, search other taxpayers’ TINs to ensure that they are dealing with registered taxpayers and print submitted forms. Other advantages include accessing the Withholding Tax exempted list, extend due dates for filing tax returns and access return history.

    Additionally, taxpayers can make Owners Transport Vehicle (OTV) applications, dealer licence applications, access Tax Clearance Certificate formats, register motor vehicles, amend registration history and amend returns for individuals as well as access penalty reversal requests.

    These services can only be enjoyed by a taxpayer, who has an account with URA. An account is created after applying for registration and getting a TIN. The pass code that is allocated to the taxpayer together with the TIN is actually used to create an account and a password.

    Citing unstable internet, lack of skills among some of the users and the electronic bill that has not yet been passed into law - to allow electronic signatures hence necessitating submission of physical documents to URA offices, KACITA-Uganda’s Sentamu Kaddu called for more sensitization.

    “We still need more computer education and a URA permanent office in KACITA office to teach our taxpayers how to do transactions online,” said Mr Kaddu, adding that KACITA was ready to mobilize the business community.”

    Meanwhile, URA is in final stages of setting up tax hubs in various parts of business infested areas such as Kikuubo and Kiyembe, both trading communities in downtown Kampala.

    “The URA office at Diamond Trust building shall turn into a fully fledged service centre point to support business persons,” said URA Central Service Office acting Manager, Dorah Okuja.

    These tax hubs, to start in September, will be held weekly in selected parts of the central business district. At these hubs, URA officials will facilitate taxpayers in tax registration and online transactions, gather their views and sensitize them about tax matters.

  • Nigeria’s Globacom has acquired two per cent market share of the total Ghana telecom subscriber base just after a month of launching its operations in the West African country, according to latest figures from the National Communication Authority (NCA). The telecom company which launched commercial operations in May 2012, finished its first month of operations with 468,508 subscribers. However, telecom rival, MTN increased its subscribers to 10,644,804, representing a solid 47% market share, while Vodafone maintained its second position with 4,671,999 subscribers, representing 21% of the total market share.

    The stats also who that Tigo comes third with 3,457,427 subscribers, representing 15% market share, while Airtel finishing the period with 3,015,499 subscribers, representing 14% of the total market share. It is noteworthy that Globacom finished three times the subscriber base of Ghana’s only CDMA network, Expresso, which finished the period with 195,670 subscribers representing a one per cent market share.

Telecoms, Rates, Offers and Coverage

  • - PSTN operator Angola Telecom has introduced a national single rate tariff to standardise the cost of making calls to all areas of the country within its network, news agency ANGOP reports. The wireline and CDMA network operator has set off-peak and peak tariffs for destinations countrywide between its subscribers, at KWZ7.20 (USD0.075) and KWZ8.93 per minute respectively. To promote the move Angola Telecom is offering customers free calls at the weekend this month.

    - Telecommunications company Alcatel-Lucent has announced plans to help expand Smile Tanzania’s 4G mobile broadband network by the end of this year. Smile Tanzania is the first network in Africa to provide a 4G LTE service in the 800 MHz frequency band, providing businesses and consumers with fast internet access, initially in Dar es Salaam. But the company has plans to expand the coverage area beyond just one city. “There are plans for further expansion during 2012 to offer ubiquitous coverage as soon as possible,” said Sherine Aziez, Alcatel Lucent Africa head of communications.

Digital Content

  • Google has today announced the release of walking directions for Africa, although in Beta. This comes after it released the driving direction on Google Maps in 2010 in Africa.

    This is “a big release” noting that in Africa’s developing countries, people have more use for walking directions.

    The Walking Directions capability will enable users to get route maps for their destinations -- using paths, roads and sidewalks.

    To start using the walking direction, users have to first access Google Maps and instead of using the driving direction button on the top left part, there is a walking direction icon they can use.

    Google however cautions that the walking direction is still in Beta and many routes might be missing.

    “Walking directions are editable, so if anything is amiss, you can correct it with our community mapping tool Google Map Maker,” the company said.

    “We are always grateful to our active African online cartographers who have helped make our African maps what they are today,” Jacqueline Rajuai, GIS Specialist and Jarda Bengl, Business Product Manager, Google said in a statement.

    Google seems to be taking mapping in Africa seriously after years of neglect. Early this year, the company started the street view project in Botswana.

    Google street view is a component of the Google map project.  It enables users to view a real representation of various streets in given cities.

  • Radiologists in East Africa are now able to read and report on x-rays and scans for many physicians with quicker turn around.  They can accomplish their readings and report from their offices, homes, or from anywhere in the world thanks to a new distance radiology application, Teleradiology, developed by Medisoft East Africa Ltd.

    Teleradiology was developed by three, young Kenyans.  Two are medical doctors, Dr. Emmanuel Mukoya and Dr. Ndii Kanake who are also pursuing Masters of Medicine in radiology at The University of Nairobi. The third is Ruth Wangari a computer science graduate, who is in the midst of studying for her Masters in Business Administration at Africa Nazarene University.

    The three entrepreneurs recognised that radiologists who are qualified to correctly interpret x-rays and scans are in very short supply in Africa.  Doctors often have to keep their patients waiting for weeks before they can give them a proper diagnosis based on a radiology report.  Some doctors are even tempted to do the interpretations themselves, without proper training to do so.

    Medisoft's Teleradiology solution erases the boundaries between image acquisition, reporting and referring doctors.  It speeds up the process by enabling licensed radiologists to provide reports and consultation services for many doctors and hospitals either from their homes or offices.  Doctors can read these reports and view the images from their clinical office or from their homes.  The application also gives medical imaging centers and hospitals the freedom to outsource interpretation services to offsite radiologists around the clock, with ease.  Patients’ lives have been saved by Teleradiology by cutting down the time from scan to diagnosis.

    Doctors and radiologists can access the Teleradiology platform on a web browser or a light desktop program. They can manipulate the images and even download them to a flash drive.  The images and reports can be printed from any location.

    Teleradiology comes with the added benefit of allowing simultaneous viewing of studies by different users at different locations for collaboration between radiologists or doctors.  The platform allows for quick second opinions.  It also comes with the capability to automatically route studies from a given imaging facility to a specified radiologist and give off a sound alert for the radiologist to be notified of an incoming study.

    The Medisoft East Africa innovation was recently recognised by the Vision 2030 ICT Innovation Awards. The Teleradiology application took the top overall honour with over 400 entries.

    The technology stores all of the images and reports on the cloud so it cuts expenses involved in traditional radiology by doing away with the printing and physically storing images.  The images and reports can be immediately viewed anywhere on the planet.

    There are many realms of medical practice in Africa that are ripe for innovative IT solutions. There is much room for Medisoft East Africa and others to expand and profit while making better service available to doctors and patients.

  • Snapplify, a service that transform PDFs into company branded mobile applications, has signed a deal with Kotobarabia, an online e-book store that specialises in Arabic content.

    The deal with the South African-based startup has apparently been signed in a bid to make Kotobarabia’s content available to a wider audience. In part this is because it’s easier to make Snapplify’s mobile apps available to a wide range of devices and also because conventional e-publishing forms such as EPUB don’t deal well with Arabic text. According to director and co-founder of Kotobarabia Ramy Habeeb:

    “Snapplify’s platform is innovative because it is simple. Being a publisher from an emerging economy, it is difficult for me to comply with international standards such as EPUB, especially when EPUB does not comply with the standards of my language. As a result, digitally distributing my content on valuable e-real estate such as the iPad and other tablets is expensive, time-consuming and often impossible. Snapplify’s pdf-based platform solves those issues, and now my titles are available on the iPad.”

    Snapplify founder Wesley Lynch claims that his company’s service could become increasingly valuable to content producers, especially in Arab-speaking markets:

    “Content owners can serve these markets by converting their catalogue to mobile apps at the click of a button, at no upfront cost, and distribution and monetisation is part of the deal with the tablet app store model.”

  • Yezzi [translated as “enough” from Tunisian dialect], is a “cop watch map in Tunisia” which seeks to document and report police abuse ranging from taking bribes, physical or sexual abuse to racism and death threats. The platform was launched by the Tunisian Association for Digital Liberties [known by ATLN from its French Acronym], which deploy new technologies to create online platforms like Yezzi as a way to “help build a democratic, free and open society in Tunisia”.

    Last April, Yezzi came first in the National Contest for Free Softwares, which this year rewarded the most innovative open source projects.

    Based on Ushahidi platform, Yezzi seeks to collect violence testimonies sent by mobile, web, e-mail and SMS, and then place them on a Google Map. Yezzi deploys the concept of crowdsourcing in the service of the mobile social mapping, and a combination of social activism, citizen journalism, and geographical information…
    We believe that transparency can help not only solve problems but also better understand them.

    For so many years, Tunisia stood as a country where police corruption and abuse passed unnoticed - and unpunished. People would talk among themselves about such wrong doings, but only few would dare speak about them in public, or resort to justice. Yezzi, offers those who experience police abuse, or witness police officers involved in wrongdoings the chance to report on such incidents, and anonymously if they so wish. The users of this platform can also upload videos and pictures illustrating police abuse.

  • Africa Online, formerly MWeb Namibia, is rolling out WiFi hotspots in Windhoek, with more centres to follow. Marc Gregan, General Manager of AfricaOnline, said the massive increase in users of mobile devices and laptops led to the decision to expand the product.

    "AfricaOnline WiFi hotspots are used in lodges and hotels across Namibia. We received requests to introduce the product to various centres in Namibia and we begun the roll-out to the general public, using the same voucher system that is used in tourism," Gregan said.

    "More and more people are using laptops and mobile devices, to work and during their leisure time, for browsing, e-mail and social networking. AfricaOnline's WiFi hotspots will give access to well-maintained internet at very competitive rates."

    The first WiFi hotspots are available at Eros Park Shopping Centre, Baines Centre, the Old Power Station Centre, in Kleine Kuppe, at the Show Grounds and at the AfricaOnline offices.

    Gregan said any device with wireless networking capability can use AfricaOnline WiFi hotspots.

    "This includes laptops, desktops and many mobile devices such as iPhones, iPads and Kindles. All you have to do is use your wireless software to find the AFOL Hotspot network, enter the voucher details and you are on."

  • The BeMyApp Startup Weekend, has announced the winner, a mobile app “Taxi Counter,” from Morocco has won this BeMyApp World Cup.
    Every registered idea generator has 1 minute to pitch a mobile application concept to a specialized jury on the first day. The jury is composed of people with mobile/tech/digital and entrepreneurship backgrounds select the best mobile application concepts, around which teams are formed.

  • Nairobi — Researchers hope to harness mobile phone technology to improve water supplies in rural parts of Africa.

    A team from the University of Oxford, in the United Kingdom, proposes installing handpumps containing devices that automatically send text messages to local water engineers whenever pumps break down or dry up.

    The device, known as a waterpoint data transmitter, is fitted into handpump handles, and automatically monitors the number of strokes made when a pump is operated.

    This data, which provides estimates of daily and seasonal demand, including critical under- or over-usage information, is then transmitted to a central hub - thus informing engineers, cheaply and regularly, of the need for repairs, and helping to ensure a constant flow of water.

    The researchers will trial their idea, which is known as the 'Smart Handpumps' initiative, in 70 villages in Kenya next month (August). A prototype transmitter was successfully trialled in Zambia in 2011.

    "We came up with the project in response to the widespread failure of hand pumps [largely because of wear and tear, and mechanical faults] and associated health and economic failure impacts on the 276 million Africans who do not have improved water services," lead researcher Rob Hope, a senior research fellow at the University of Oxford, told SciDev.Net.

    "It is estimated that at any one time, one third of handpumps in rural Africa are not working. Unimproved water access is associated with 1.5 million unnecessary deaths of children under five," said Hope.

    "Women and children spend close to 40 billion hours collecting water each year in Africa, and 448 million school days [are] lost because of unreliable water supplies," he added.

    Julius Kabubi, an East African Commission risk reduction adviser, said that the initiative would particularly benefit arid and semi-arid areas, which require a constant water supply.

    "A minor [pump] breakdown in a remote area can cause a well to be abandoned, and this is what the technology is trying to address," Kabubi said.

    He added that for the project to be effective, it needed to work closely with mobile communication providers to ensure good signal coverage, as in some remote areas the mobile network coverage, upon which handpump technology depends, is not very strong.

    Furthermore, Kabubi believes the initiative will work better if more water engineers - who are in low supply in Africa - receive training.

    The researchers hope to expand the technology to other African countries, including Malawi, South Sudan and Zambia.

More

  • IBM SA country GM Oliver Fortuin has stepped down in order to establish his own business. Long-serving IBM executive Abraham Thomas will take on the role. Abraham, who has been with IBM in a number of executive roles, including MD of IBM India and IBM Global Services India, has a business

  • Innovation Prize for Africa: Call for Proposals

    The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the African Innovation Foundation (AIF) have just  announced the call for the 2013 Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA).

    Eligible are innovations by Africans for Africa. Africans in the Diaspora can also apply if their innovations are of significance to Africa. The winning proposal will be awarded a cash prize of USD100,000, with the two runner-ups receiving USD25,000.

    The registration deadline for the 2013 prize has been set for 31 October 2012.

    For detailed information of competition categories, conditions of entry, and submission procedures, please visit here:

Issue No 186 12 juillet 2012

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Editorial

  • Le 21 juin dernier, Cellcom a officiellement lancé son réseau HPSA+ durant une cérémonie à laquelle plus de 400 hautes personnalités ont assisté. Pendant 24 heures, le « city hall » de Monrovia était décoré  aux couleurs rouge et blanche de Cellcom  avec de drapeaux et bannières portant le slogan suivant « 4G. Le Premier. Le Plus Rapide ». Isabelle Gross qui a assisté à cette cérémonie grandiose et très « high-tech » retrace les travaux et les prouesses humaines que ce petit opérateur a accomplis avant le lancement officiel de la 4G et s’analyse aussi les avantages commerciaux qu’offre la position de leader technologique dans le segment de la data.

    Une chose est certaine: aucun opérateur mobile n’est jamais prêt à 100% lorsqu’il lance un nouveau réseau basé sur une nouvelle technologie. Cellcom n’a pas fait exception à cette règle mais un nombre suffisant de facteurs techniques, commerciaux et humains étaient réunis pour encourager Avishai Marziano, le DG de Cellcom à prendre la décision qu’il était temps de passer de la phase test au lancement officiel. Le réseau HSPA+ de Cellcom a été fourni par l’équipementier chinois ZTE et couvre pour l’instant la capitale Monrovia et sa banlieue ainsi que le port de Buchanan dans le comté de Grand Bassa. Dans les mois à venir, Cellcom envisage d’étendre la couverture de son réseau 4G le long de l’axe Monrovia vers la frontière avec la Guinée incluant les villes de Kakata, Banga et Ganta.

    Avant le lancement du réseau 4G, des douzaines et des douzaines de stations de base ont été équipées avec les nouveaux équipements 4G et de nouvelles stations de base ont aussi été construites pour renforcer les signaux sur le nouveau réseau 4G. En parallèle il a fallu revoir et augmenter la puissance électrique dont chaque station de base a besoin pour alimenter les nouveaux équipements 4G. En même temps que ces travaux ont été réalisés sur le terrain, il a fallu installer et tester les équipements centraux du réseau et connecter les équipements 4G sur les stations de base. La connexion des stations de base implique beaucoup de travaux d’optimisation radio mais ce qui est le plus important c’est que le réseau 2G existant et le nouveau réseau 4G communiquent ensemble et sans erreurs.

    Tandis que l’équipe technique de Cellcom était très occupée avec l’installation du nouveau réseau, le département marketing s’agitait à définir une stratégie commerciale et un plan marketing pour les services et produits 4G que Cellcom allait proposer lors du lancement de son nouveau réseau. Là, il s’agissait bien de définir les segments du marché à cibler, de créer les nouveaux packs data avec une nouvelle structure des prix et de décider d’une politique de communication envers les utilisateurs mobiles et l’ensemble de la population du Liberia. En parallèle au lancement de nouveaux packs data 4G, Cellcom a  introduit une facturation des services data 4G par MB. Cette nouvelle facturation permet aux clients qui ont épuisé leur pack data 4G de continuer à surfer l’Internet s’ils le souhaitent. Cette nouvelle méthode de facturation permet aussi aux clients qui ne désirent pas acheter un pack data 4G  de surfer de manière « pay as you go » à 12 US cents par MB. Définir une nouvelle offre de services data n’est que la première étape puisqu’il a fallu ensuite intégrer aussi ses nouvelles offres dans le système de facturation.

    Enfin, il y a l’ensemble du personnel qu’il faut former par rapport au nouveau réseau. Le déploiement d’une technologie mobile plus avancé suppose beaucoup de formations pour le personnel technique afin qu’ils comprennent tous les aspects techniques du nouveau réseau et assurent son bon fonctionnement 24h sur 7. Le personnel non technique comme les personnes à la vente et au service clientèle ont aussi été formé aux nouveaux produits et services disponibles avec le réseau 4G. A la fin du compte, c’est la somme des efforts de chaque employée qui a permis le lancement du nouveau réseau. Les quelques jours qui ont précédé le lancement officiel ont été particulièrement durs pour la personne à la tête de Cellcom qui comme un chef d’orchestre a du s’assurer que l’ensemble de l’orchestre joue au même rythme.

    La téléphonie mobile est une activité commerciale ou la technologie est centrale. Le lancement du réseau HSPA+ donne à Cellcom une avance technologique sur ses concurrents ainsi que les moyens d’attirer leurs clients avec un ARPU élevé. Ces clients possèdent certainement un iPhone ou encore ils sont les heureux propriétaires d’un Samsung Galaxy ou d’un téléphone Blackberry. Mieux encore ils ont peut-être aussi un iPad ou une tablette Samsung. Pour profiter au maximum de la puissance de ces smartphones et tablettes il vaut bien mieux que ces clients puissent avoir accès à un réseau 3G, HSPA ou plus. Connecter ces gadgets high-tech a un réseau mobile utilisant la technologie GPRS/Edge résulte en une expérience Internet « très très » lente. De part le monde les utilisateurs mobiles veulent toujours plus de vitesse lorsqu’ils surfent l’Internet et les utilisateurs mobiles au Libéria sont identiques. Le réseau HSPA+ de Cellcom est très rapide et m’a permis par exemple de regarder une vidéo sur YouTube à partir de mon téléphone HTC sans aucun arrêt.

    Dans un pays qui n’a presque pas de lignes fixes et par conséquent pas de technologie large bande concurrente comme l’ADSL, le câble ou encore la fibre, déployer un réseau offrant une vitesse de téléchargement de l’ordre de 21Mbps présente plus d’opportunités commerciales que de simplement offrir un accès Internet ultra rapide aux propriétaires de smartphones. Il y a un nombre grandissant d’équipements 4G mobiles et fixes à même de satisfaire l’ensemble des besoins des utilisateurs de la data. Cellcom offre bien sur des smartphones mais propose aussi des clés USB, des hotspots 4G (utilisation nomadique) et des routeurs 4G (utilisation fixe) avec l’objectif de cibler le segment large bande sans fil. La vitesse de téléchargement de la technologie HSPA+  n’a rien à envier à celle offerte par par exemple la technologie WiMAX ou CDMA. Qui plus est l’évolution de la technologie HSPA est déjà connue et permet à Cellcom et plus généralement à l’ensemble des opérateurs mobiles d’avoir une visibilité sur la vitesse de téléchargement qu’ils vont pouvoir vendre à leurs clients dans les années à venir.

  • La commission des secteurs des services, celle de la commission des finances, de la planification et du développement et celle de l'infrastructure de base relevant de l'Assemblée nationale constituante ont reporté sine die, lundi, l'examen du projet de loi amendant et complétant le code des télécommunications.

    Le président de la commission des services, Mahmoud Baroudi, a indiqué, dans une déclaration à l'agence TAP, que la commission a préféré appeler le ministre des Technologies de la communication, des représentants de l'instance nationale des communications et des experts à une séance d'audition préalable qui, en principe, doit avoir lieu jeudi 12 juillet 2012.

    Il a, en outre, expliqué que la commission a choisi de ne se presser pour donner son avis concernant un secteur fondamental, stratégique et d'une importance économique et financière pour le pays, jusqu'à l'audition des parties concernées.

    Selon le document présenté pour l'explication des raisons, le projet de loi vise la consolidation des mécanismes juridiques permettant de garantir les bases d'une compétition saine, entre les intervenants sur le marché des télécommunications, le renforcement de l'infrastructure de base et sa bonne exploitation de manière à aider au développement des réseaux des télécommunications à haut débit, ainsi que l'impulsion de l'investissement et l'amélioration de l'employabilité.

    Le projet propose, en outre, la détermination des cadres juridiques régissant les activités des différents intervenants sur le marché des télécommunications, notamment les opérateurs sur les réseaux virtuels et les fournisseurs de services internet.

  • Le ministère de la Poste et des technologies de l'information et de la communication (Ptic), dans le cadre de l'opération d'identification des abonnés aux services de télécommunication, a invité les opérateurs de ce secteur à ouvrir des stands dans le hall de l'immeuble Postel 2001, au plateau.

    Au cours de la visite qu'il y a effectué, Guibessongui N'Datien Sévérin, président du comité de suivi de cette opération, a révélé que la Côte d'Ivoire compte aujourd'hui 17.842.000 abonnés de téléphonie mobile. « Au 31 mai 2012, 43% des abonnés mobiles étaient déjà identifiés », a-t-il fait savoir.

    « A ce jour, il importe pour nous d'informer et sensibiliser suffisamment les utilisateurs de leurs opérateurs, de les rapprocher d'eux. C'est le sens de cette opération », a-t-il indiqué pour expliquer les objectifs de cette opération d'identification. Il pense qu'elle s'imposait avant que n'arrive la phase de sanction. Car, soutient-il, dès le 31 octobre 2012, les abonnés qui ne se seraient pas faits recensés seraient mis au restreint, c'est-à-dire en réception simple. Avant que la ligne ne soit définitivement interrompue en décembre 2012.

    Par décret 2011-476 du 21 décembre 2011 portant identification des abonnés aux services de télécommunications ouverts au public, l'identification des abonnés aux services de téléphonie et d'Internet est désormais obligatoire. L'Objectif, selon les autorités Ivoiriennes, est d'assurer la protection des utilisateurs des services de télécommunications contre les actes malveillants et délictueux et d'assurer la sécurité des services de communications électroniques, voix et données.

    Notre Voie
  • Depuis quelque temps, lorsque je fais un transfert de crédit, le seul bonus que je reçois ce sont quelques sms gratuits. Le surplus de crédit qui nous faisait tant plaisir n'existe plus », se plaint Larissa Ndengue, une jeune lycéenne.

    Elle n'est pas la seule consommatrice de téléphonie mobile à avoir ce sentiment. D'autres ne comprennent pas pourquoi les tarifs de communication auprès de ces espèces de cabines téléphoniques ont été revus à la hausse. Mais, il n'y a pas que les consommateurs qui déplorent cette situation. Même si les raisons diffèrent.

    En effet, l'Agence de régulation des Télécommunications (ART) veut se pencher sur le problème car selon elle, les « call-boxeurs » ont abusé des facilités que les opérateurs leur offrent, parce qu'ils « ont profité des marges bénéficiaires pour s'enrichir au détriment des compagnies de téléphone », explique une source à l'ART. Et d'ajouter qu' « à cause des transferts avec bonus, la vente des cartes de recharge a subit un coup pendant un moment Dans un communiqué rendu public récemment, le régulateur rappelle que la suppression des bonus, mais surtout la hausse des tarifs « ne constituent pas une hausse des tarifs publics des communications, mais une fluctuation de la répartition des marges bénéficiaires dans la chaîene de distribution, du trafic téléphonique ». C'est pour dire que les opérateurs de « Call-box » ont supprimé ou réduit les bonus de transfert et augmenté les prix des appels, passant de 50 F à 75 ou 100 F parce que leurs bénéfices à eux ont été revus à la baisse. Pas parce que les opérateurs de téléphonie mobile ont haussé leurs tarifs.

    Seulement, le gendarme du secteur avoue ne pas pouvoir appliquer sa volonté dans ce pan de l'activité qui relève du marché de détail. « Ce segment de marché de la redistribution est totalement libre et l'encadrement de l'Agence reposant sur le marché de gros, le régulateur ne dispose pas de base réglementaire pour l'influencer directement », peut-on lire dans le communiqué signé de Jean Louis Beh Mengue, DG de l'ART. Toutefois, l'Agence ne compte pas rester les bras croisés. Les concertations avec les opérateurs pour réellement baisser les tarifs vont reprendre. Le ministre des Postes et Télécommunications, qui assure la tutelle technique de ce secteur, y tient. En début d'année, Jean Pierre Biyiti bi Essam a demandé à l'ART de poursuivre les négociations avec les opérateurs pour une réduction encore plus substantielle des coûts des communications. Ceci en évitant par exemple la gratuité liée aux cadrages horaires.

    Par ailleurs, un texte réglementaire pour le suivi des activités de revente de trafic, ainsi que des relations entre les différents acteurs du secteur à soumettre à la tutelle technique est en préparation.

  • Ndongo Diaw, ancien directeur général de l'Agence de régulation des télécommunications et des postes (Artp), l'agent comptable Mamadou Yaké Ba et le responsable financier de l'agence, Léon Pierre Sagna, ont été déférés, hier, au parquet et placés sous mandat de dépôt.

    Par contre, Moustapha Yacine Guèye, Dg de Magal Holding limited (Mtl), entendu dans cette même affaire, bénéficie d'une liberté provisoire.

    Il était 18 heures passées de quelques minutes. Visage tendu, la démarche atone, les trois avocats qui se sont constitués pour la défense de Mamadou Yaké Ba, l'un des compagnons de Ndongo Diaw, sortent des locaux du tribunal.

    Quelques minutes plus tard, la fourgonnette qui transporte les détenus sort du cave en trombe dans un concert de soupirs des parents et proches. La messe vient d'être dite.

    L'ancien directeur général de l'agence de régulation des télécommunications et des postes (Artp) Ndongo Diaw vient d'être placé sous mandat de dépôt au même titre que Léon Pierre Sagna, le responsable financier, et le comptable de l'agence Mamadou Yaké Ba.

    Pourtant, plus tôt en début d'après-midi, leur ami Moustapha Yacine Guèye, directeur général de Magal Holding limited (Mtl), entendu dans la même affaire, a été libéré.

    Une situation qui met les avocats dans tous leurs états. «A travers cette affaire, nous assistons à une justice à deux vitesses», se plaint Me Pape Seyni Mbodji, l'un des avocats de Mamadou Yaké Ba.

    Poursuivis pour détournement de deniers publics, faux et usage de faux en écriture authentique, corruption passive et concussion, Ndongo Diaw et Cie n'ont pas versé une caution en vue de bénéficier d'une liberté provisoire.

    Et ce, du fait qu'ils n'ont pas reconnu, selon leurs avocats, les faits qui leur sont reprochés. Ainsi, après l'ex-directeur du Conseil Sénégalais des chargeurs (Cosec) Amadou Kane Diallo, Ndongo Diaw, Mamadou Y. Ba et Léon Pierre Sagna rejoignent la prison de Rebeuss.

    Le Soleil
  • Trois opérateurs leaders de télécommunication Vodafone Ghana, Togo Telecom et ONATEL-SA ont procédé à l'inauguration de l'interconnexion par fibre optique entre le Burkina Faso, le Ghana et le Togo.

    Renforcer les capacités opérationnelles des 3 opérateurs et des 3 pays pour les services internationaux des technologies de l'information et de la communication (TIC) et assurer des meilleures prestations à leurs clientèles respectives.

    C'est le but de cette interconnexion dont la cérémonie d'inauguration a été placée sous le parrainage des ministères en charge de télécommunications des trois pays. C'était le 28 juin 2012 à Cinkansé, Togo.

    Avec l'évolution de la technologie, les liaisons par faisceau hertzien sont devenues obsolètes face aux besoins de la clientèle de plus en plus exigeante. D'où la nécessité d'évoluer vers l'utilisation des fibres optiques.

    Un Consortium entre trois operateurs leaders de télécommunication dans leur pays : ONATEL-SA Vodafone Ghana et Togo Telecom a abouti à l'interconnexion des réseaux à fibre optique entre le Burkina Faso, le Ghana et le Togo.

    C'était le 28 juin 2012 à Cinkansé, Togo. Pour Sam P. Bikassam, directeur général de Togo Télécom, cette cérémonie marque la force et la volonté des 3 opérateurs de mettre en commun leur compétence en vue d'augmenter leur capacité et d'optimiser la qualité et la sécurité de leur fibre de communication.

    Jaouad Hamed représentant du directeur général de ONATEL-SA a indiqué qu'avec cette interconnexion une nouvelle ère de relation s'ouvre pour les 3 opérateurs et « offre l'opportunité à nos Etats, nos institutions, nos entreprises et nos populations de communiquer entre eux dans des conditions les plus optimales ».

    « Grâce à nos partenaires cette interconnexion est une opportunité d'offrir un accès internet aux populations de la sous-région », a dit Lucy J. Quist, directrice générale de Vodafone Ghana.

    Jaouad Hamed a signalé la fin très prochainement d'un autre chantier de liaison à fibre optique entre le Burkina Faso et le Niger. Le représentant de la ministre Togolaise de télécommunication Atcha Dedji Affoh a quant à lui indiqué qu'avec cette inauguration, la politique d'interconnexion entre pays des espaces économiques de l'Union économique monétaire ouest-africaine (UEMOA) et de la Communauté économique des Etats de l'Afrique de l'Ouest (CEDEAO) vient d'être mise en marche.

    Haruna Iddrissu, ministre ghanéen des télécommunications a pour sa part lancé un appel à l'endroit des autorités de régulation et opérateurs de télécommunication pour qu'ils diminuent les tarifs d'accès à l'internet afin qu'il puisse être accessible à l'ensemble de la population des 3 pays.

    Dans cette foulée, madame Ouandaogo Lucie a au nom du ministre Burkinabè en charge de l'économie numérique exhorté les populations à œuvrer non seulement pour que cette interconnexion serve à l'amélioration de leurs activités professionnelles et au renforcement des liens socioculturels existant entre nos communautés, mais aussi à la protection surtout des réseaux à fibres optiques qui traversent leurs territoires.

    Elle a relevé qu'au plan continental, cette interconnexion participe à la réalisation de l'engagement de connecter toutes les capitales africaines au plus tard en 2012, décision prise pat nos chefs d'Etats et de gouvernements lors du sommet « Connecter l'Afrique », tenu à Kigali en octobre 2007.

    Madame Ouandaogo Lucie a ajouté que cette interconnexion sera bientôt renforcée par la réalisation d'une 2e liaison entre le Burkina Faso et le Ghana dans la zone frontalière de Paga-Dakola. « Dans le cadre du groupe Maroc Telecom ;

    un vaste chantier d'interconnexion par fibre optique reliant le Maroc, la Mauritanie, le Mali et le Burkina est en cours de réalisation et sera bientôt opérationnel », a dit le représentant du DG de l'ONATEL SA.

    Madame Ouandaogo Lucie a au nom du ministre en charge de l'économie numérique exprimé sa reconnaissance à l'union internationale des télécommunications (UIT), à l'UEMOA et à la CEDEAO pour toutes les initiatives en faveur du développement de ces infrastructures essentielles.

    Assoki BAHAM, chef du système de transmission Togotelecom

    Les 3 pays sont prêts à augmenter leur débit de connexion

    « Sur ce site de Togo Telecom nous n'avons rien que des équipements de transmission optix OSN 7500 d'une capacité de 350 Gbits pour les 3 pays (Burkina, Ghana, Togo). C'est ici qu'arrivent les 3 câbles des 3 pays. Nous avons du coté de chaque pays une capacité de 2,5 Gbit.

    L'interconnexion de tous les trafics ce fait dans ce bâtiment afin d'augmenter les trafics entre les 3 pays et en même temps de servir de protection au cas où un des 3 pays rencontre des problèmes.

    Et ça va leur permettre d'avoir accès au système de câble sous-marin qui se trouve au bord de la mer. A partir de maintenant, du point de vue technique et commercial, les 3 pays sont prêts à augmenter leur débit de connexion ».

    Le Pays
  • Un mémorandum d’entente a été signé vendredi dernier, 29 juin 2012, entre l’Etat camerounais et le groupe MTN International pour l’utilisation du câble sous-marin à fibre optique WACS, qui a désormais un point d’atterrissement à Limbé. Après ce mémorandum d’entente, une entité juridique de droit camerounais, devant gérer la branche camerounaise du câble sous-marin à fibre optique WACS, sera mise sur pied de commun accord avec le groupe MTN pour l’exploitation de ce câble.

    Pour Jean-Pierre Biyiti bi Essam, le ministre des Postes et des Télécommunications du Cameroun, ce mémorandum d’entente «définit le cadre de collaboration entre l’Etat du Cameroun et la société MTN Dubaï Limited». « Il va être constitué dès ce jour, une équipe qui s’associera à la vôtre, pour travailler à la mise en place urgente de cette entité juridique. En signant le MoU objet de la présente cérémonie, nous reconnaissons que l'adoption d'une approche privilégiant l'accès ouvert aux câbles internationaux à fibre optique est la meilleure façon d'obtenir la largeur de bande internationale abordable qui contribuera à stimuler la croissance des marchés au niveau national», a déclaré le ministre camerounais.

    John Unterhost, le représentant du groupe MTN, a pour sa part indiqué que le groupe a choisi le Cameroun pour son potentiel. «Nous avions la lourde charge de choisir parmi les 10 pays dans lesquels nous opérons le long de l’Océan Atlantique où le WACS est déployé et nous avons choisi le Cameroun. Le Cameroun est un marché important pour le groupe MTN ; il s’impose de plus en plus comme un hub pour les infrastructures de télécommunications en Afrique Centrale. C’est l’un des 5 premiers pays dans lesquels MTN s’est installée et nous avons toujours eu des relations fructueuses avec le gouvernement et le peuple du Cameroun. Le groupe MTN est par conséquent fier d’être un partenaire de la vision du gouvernement camerounais pour le développement technologique», explique-t-il.

    D’après un communiqué de MTN Cameroun, le câble sous-marin WACS, long de près de 14500 km, relie l’Europe et l’Afrique à travers l’Océan Atlantique. «Il représente un investissement de près de 400 milliards de francs CFA supporté en grande partie par l’Etat sud-africain et de grandes entreprises sud-africaines telles que le Groupe MTN, Vodacom, Telkom SA, Broadband Infraco et Neotel. Il a été construit pour fournir l’accès large bande aux universités sud-africaines et rendre la fibre optique accessible à d’autres pays africains. 15 pays de la côte ouest africaine sont ainsi connectés au Wacs. Le Cameroun en fait partie sur proposition du Groupe MTN», indique le communiqué qui précise que WACS offrira au Cameroun une capacité de transmission énorme de 5,12 Térabytes.

    Le câble sous-marin WACS est le second câble à fibre optique qui dessert le Cameroun. Le premier, mis en service en 2002, est déjà arrivé à saturation d’après de nombreux experts. C’est le câble sous marin SAT-3, dont le point d’atterrissement est à Douala.

    Agence ecofin
  • Le portail de l'emploi public permettant d'accéder aux informations et données relatives à la procédure de recrutement par voie de concours dans la Fonction publique, les collectivités locales et les établissements publics, a été lancé, vendredi à Rabat, lors d'une rencontre d'information présidée par le chef du gouvernement et le ministre de la Fonction publique et de la Modernisation de l'administration.

    Le portail  comporte des informations relatives aux composantes des salaires dans la Fonction publique, aux dispositions du statut général de la Fonction publique et des statuts particuliers, en plus d'une rubrique dédiée aux questions les plus fréquentes posées par les futurs candidats à la fonction publique, indique un communiqué du ministère de la Fonction publique et de la Modernisation de l'administration.

    Le portail fait état de 12.201 postes d'emploi à pourvoir dans la fonction publique sur un total de 18.355 postes vacants pour l'année 2012, en majorité dans le secteur de l'éducation nationale (65 %) et pour l'échelle de rémunération N°10 (8.130 postes).
    Le site web, qui vise à consacrer les principes d'équité, d'égalité des chances et de mérite dans l'accès à la fonction publique, tels que stipulés par l'article 31 de la nouvelle Constitution, met à la disposition des candidats toutes les informations relatives aux conditions, dates et lieux du déroulement des concours et affichera les listes des candidats retenus, les résultats finaux et les listes d'attente, ajoute le communiqué.

    Libération
  • Les institutions universitaires publiques malgaches sont désormais interconnectées à très haut débit par le réseau national de l'enseignement supérieur et de la recherche, dénommé iRenala. Il permet à ses membres de partager un accès international mutualisé.

    Les institutions universitaires publiques malgaches se modernisent. Et ce, grâce au réseau national de l'enseignement supérieur et de la recherche iRenala. « C'est un réseau inter et intranet. Il interconnecte entre eux et à l'international 21 sites de la recherche et de l'enseignement supérieur malgaches, via une connexion à très haut débit par fibre optique », explique Lala Andriamampianina, président de l'association iRenala.

    Parmi les institutions raccordées à ce réseau figurent les six campus universitaires, les instituts supérieurs de technologie, ainsi que d'autres institutions comme le ministère de l'Enseignement supérieur, ou encore iMailaka University.

    En plus des nombreux avantages à court terme, iRenala s'inscrit dans un long processus ayant pour but la mise en place pérenne de normes internationales dans les domaines scientifique et universitaire.

    « iRenala regorge de nombreux avantages. L'échange de données, la mutualisation des outils et des ressources documentaires ainsi que la mise en place de nouvelles formations à distance s'en trouveront grandement facilités », explique notre interlocuteur.

    L'accès aux ressources numériques pour les étudiants, les chercheurs et les enseignants de Madagascar ne sera plus limité. Avec une capacité de 155 Mb, le réseau constitue donc une vraie autoroute de l'information pour ces différents acteurs de l'enseignement supérieur.

    La genèse de ce réseau ne date pas d'hier. En 1996, une étude de faisabilité dans sa mise en place a été lancée par le ministère en charge de l'Enseignement supérieur de l'époque. Depuis, le projet est resté dans les cartons. Ce n'est qu'en 2010 qu'il refait surface.

    « C'est en janvier 2010 que le ministère de l'Enseignement supérieur et de la recherche scientifique et le ministère des Postes, des télécommunications et des nouvelles technologies (MPTNT), ont conjointement initié le projet iRenala, afin de moderniser en profondeur le système malgache de l'enseignement supérieur et de la recherche scientifique », rappelle en substance Lala Andriamampianina.

    La mise en place des infrastructures réseaux au niveau national a été financée par le MPTNT à hauteur de 9,76 millions d'euros. La desserte entre le réseau et les sites sélectionnés a, quant à elle, été financée par la Coopération française, laquelle a investi près de 800 000 euros. Les investissements consentis permettent d'assurer la pérennité du réseau pour les quinze prochaines années.

    Irenala permet dès à présent à l'enseignement supérieur et à la recherche d'entrer de plain-pied dans une nouvelle dimension communicationnelle en offrant aux étudiants, aux enseignants, aux chercheurs et à l'administration une multitude d'opportunités. On peut citer la facilité d'accès aux bibliothèques virtuelles, les nouvelles possibilités en matière de téléchargement de fichier volumineux, l'exploitation du matériel de visioconférence à des fins pédagogique, la réalisation et le développement de formations ouvertes et à distance (FOAD), la sécurisation et la modernisation des procédures des services de la scolarité, et la vulgarisation de la messagerie électronique en attribuant à chaque étudiant une adresse au moment de l'inscription.

    Le réseau iRenala relie 21 sites, à savoir les six universités, les trois instituts supérieurs de technologie (Antsiranana, Ambositra et Antananarivo), l'École nationale d'informatique, l'École supérieure polytechnique d'Antananarivo, l'Ecole normale supérieure d'Antananarivo, la Présidence de l'Université et l'Office du baccalauréat à Antananarivo, le Centre d' information, de communication, d' orientation et de rencontres de Toamasina, la Présidence de l'Université de Toliara, la Présidence de l'Université et l'Office du baccalauréat à Mahajanga, l'Institut d'Odonto-stomatologie de Mahajanga, le Centre hospitalier universitaire de Mahajanga, le ministère de l'Enseignement supérieur à Fiadanana, l'Imailaka University, l'Institut médical de Madagascar, le ministère des Postes et des télécommunications, et l'Office malgache de régulation de la télécommunication (Omert).

    Quelques chiffres

    - 21 sites interconnectés

    - 50 000 à 100 000 adresses emails à attribuer aux étudiants au moment de l'inscription

    - 150 Mb de bande passante dont 75Mb pour les sites à Antananarivo, 20 Mb pour Antsiranana, 10Mb chacune pour les autres villes.

  • Un séminaire gouvernemental sur le projet « e-Conseil des ministres » a eu lieu le jeudi 5 juillet 2012 à Ouagadougou, sous la présidence du chef de l'Etat, Blaise Compaoré. Cette rencontre a permis aux membres de l'exécutif de se pencher sur l'état d'avancement dudit projet, ses avantages et le délai de sa mise en œuvre effective.

    A travers cette initiative, le gouvernement burkinabè veut se mettre à la page des Technologies de l'information et de la communication (TIC), évolution oblige.

    Ainsi, le projet e-Conseil des ministres, à entendre le ministre des Transports, des postes et de l'économie numérique, Gilbert Noël Ouédraogo, va permettre aux ministres de travailler de manière électronique, de gagner en temps, en efficacité et en confidentialité. Il ne sera plus question pour eux, de « trimbaler » des piles de dossiers au Conseil des ministres.

    Désormais, les ministres viendront à la réunion hebdomadaire avec des tablettes électroniques qui contiendront les dossiers et autres informations relatives à leurs départements respectifs.

    Une véritable révolution à l'horizon 2013, année de mise en œuvre effective du projet ! Et c'est en cela qu'il faut saluer cette initiative, soutenue à bout de bras par l'Union internationale des télécommunications (UIT) et dont les avantages sont multiples.

    On dénombre, entre autres, l'accélération du traitement de l'information et de l'amélioration de la communication entre les acteurs de l'e-Conseil, une économie substantielle sur la consommation d'encre, de papier, de carburant et de temps, et une garantie sur la sécurité et la confidentialité des données.

    Sur ce dernier avantage, les spécialistes affirment qu'il y aura moins de fuite de données et d'intermédiaires, des acteurs à travers lesquels certaines informations sont souvent rendues publiques, au grand dam des membres de l'exécutif.

    Le suivi maîtrisé de l'exécution des décisions prises en conseil des ministres et la traçabilité des documents sont également des opportunités qui seront offertes par la future plate-forme électronique.

    En clair, le Burkina Faso veut se positionner comme une grande nation du numérique avec ce programme, toute chose qui pourrait impulser son développement.

    Le président du Faso, Blaise Compaoré, en ait convaincu, lui, qui, dans son programme quinquennal 2010-2015, « Bâtir, ensemble, un Burkina émergent », a mentionné « la capacité à absorber et à adapter les nouvelles technologies, notamment les TIC, comme un des principaux leviers de l'émergence ». C'est pourquoi, il ne tarit pas d'éloges pour le projet e-Conseil des ministres.

    « Nous avons là une opportunité pour que le travail gouvernemental puisse gagner à la fois en qualité, en modernisation, mais aussi, en économie budgétaire », a-t-il confié, au sortir du séminaire gouvernemental.

    Les plus hautes autorités burkinabé ne veulent pas que le pays soit en marge de l'évolution numérique et le projet e-Conseil des ministres vient à point nommé pour le prouver. Reste donc à conduire le projet à bon terme, et là-dessus, le ministre des Transports, des postes et de l'économie numérique a relevé que « la plate-forme est déjà prête ».

    Aussi, une mission d'inspection de l'UIT, conduite par le Bureau de développement des télécommunications (BDT), a noté « avec satisfaction », le niveau d'exécution du projet courant mai 2012.

    Et en prélude à la mise en train de l'e-Conseil des ministres prévue en janvier 2013, des sessions de formation seront organisées de septembre à novembre 2012, au profit des ministres, en vue de leur permettre de s'approprier le système, avant son opérationnalisation.

    Tout semble indiquer que le projet, dont le coût avoisine les 750 millions de F CFA, sera bientôt une réalité. Ce qui est à souhaiter, quand on imagine les dépenses occasionnées par la tenue d'un conseil des ministres.

    Au soir de la réalisation effective de ce programme, le Burkina aura marqué un pas important en matière de TIC et ce serait à l'honneur de tous. Les TIC constituent un facteur de développement à l'heure actuelle, et le « Pays des hommes intègres » semble l'avoir compris !

    Sidwaya
  • Avec l'appui de la FAO, un atelier de lancement officiel du système de représentation des terres par satellites (SRTS) de la Rd Congo (Terracongo) s'est tenu hier jeudi 5 juillet 2012, au lycée Mgr Shaumba, dans la commune de la Gombe. Son objectif, a dit Augustin Mawalala, représentant du secrétaire général à l'Environnement empêché, était de lancer le processus de la mise en place d'un système national de représentation des terres par satellites de la Rd Congo, dans une approche transparente, participative et représentative de toutes les organisations concernées de la société civile et des parties prenantes nationales et internationales.

    Les participants à cet atelier, les acteurs nationaux (du gouvernement, de la société civile, du secteur privé, etc.) et les partenaires internationaux ont entre autres étaient informés du processus en chantier sur le suivi national du couvert forestier ; ont passé en revue les expériences tant nationales qu'internationales dans ce domaine, aussi bien dans la gestion du secteur forestier et que dans d'autres secteurs ; ont échangé sur les principales questions et préoccupations, ainsi que des pistes de solutions liées à la mise en place d'un système national durable de surveillance des forêts en Rd Congo qui soit robuste, transparent, efficient et opérationnel.

    Le directeur Malele de la Direction des inventaires et aménagements forestiers (DIAF) a expliqué que le pays s'est résolument engagé dans le mécanisme de la réduction des émissions liées à la déforestation, la dégradation des forêts (REDD) ; qui prend en compte la conservation de carbone forestier, la gestion durable des forêts et l'accroissement des stocks de carbone ou « REDD+ ». En cette phase de préparation du processus, une attention soutenue est focalisée sur la construction de la stratégie nationale, l'établissement d'un cadre institutionnel et légal pour la mise en oeuvre de la REDD+, mais aussi sur la mise en place d'un système national de mesure, rapportage et vérification (MRV) complet et opérationnel.

    Le MRV vise, a dit le directeur de DIAF, essentiellement l'amélioration de la qualité de l'inventaire forestier national, de l'inventaire des gaz à effet de serre du secteur forestier, ainsi que du système de suivi et de surveillance du couvert forestier par satellite. Avec ce système, la DIAF et la Direction du développement durable (DDD) devront être en mesure de fournir toute information sur l'étendue nationale, la localisation et la nature des forêts de la Rd Congo, aussi bien sur l'estimation de son potentiel de séquestration/émission de carbone, que de la façon dont ces forêts pourront changer dans l'avenir. Les résultats et produits seront facilement et librement disponibles en forme élémentaires, résumés et analysés sur une plateforme pour une utilisation systématique.

    Ndiaga Gueye, représentant de la FAO en Rd Congo avait pris la parole pour exprimer la détermination de cette agence onusienne à collaborer et à partager des informations et à communiquer avec tous les autres acteurs et partenaires financiers et/ou techniques en vue de la mobilisation des ressources et du renforcement des capacités, afin d'accomplir avec sérénité, les actions qui lui sont assignées dans ce volet d'activités prévues dans le programme national, à savoir l'appui à la conception et à la mise en place d'un système MRV complet et opérationnel pour la Rd Congo.

    Tenant compte des défis majeurs à relever dans ce volet et considérant les différentes composantes qui doivent rentrer en ligne de compte dans le futur système de gestion de l'information complet et intégré, le représentant de la FAO estime que le travail en cours de préparation requiert des plans d'actions crédibles pour sa finalisation. Il a souligné le fait que les données dont dispose actuellement la Rd Congo ne correspondent pas aux normes Giec.

    Ndiaga Gueye a signalé que la FAO, dans le but de concrétiser ses engagements vis-à-vis du gouvernement, venait de mettre à la disposition de la Rd Congo pour les 18 mois qui suivent, une forte équipe composée d'experts internationaux et nationaux, chargée d'accompagner le gouvernement à travers le ministère de l'Environnement, pour la mise en place de son système MRV national complet et opérationnel. Des protocoles d'accord ont été signés et d'autres sont prévus, pour la mise en oeuvre des activités, le renforcement des capacités et l'acquisition des équipements et matériels.

    Le Phare
  • Les services de santé scolaire et universitaire bénéficieront désormais d'un logiciel de gestion médicale des élèves. L'information a été donnée au cours de l'atelier bilan des activités des services de santé scolaire et universitaire tenu le 28 juillet dernier à l'Infas.

    Ce logiciel permettra aux élèves et étudiants d'avoir des dossiers médicaux informatisés. Et ce, dans le souci d'améliorer la promptitude et la fiabilité des données médicales de ceux-ci.

    Dr Koffi Zamblé, directeur général adjoint de la Santé et représentant la ministre de la Santé et de la Lutte contre le sida à cet atelier bilan, s'est réjoui de cette innovation qui permet d'avoir une visibilité des activités du programme.

    «Avec l'informatisation du suivi médical de votre cible, votre travail sera plus digeste, mais vous disposerez en temps réel de données de qualité pour intervenir efficacement.

    C'est une valeur ajoutée à l'exercice de votre art qui vous permettra davantage de vous concentrer sur votre mission première qui est la prévention des pathologies et l'éducation à la santé» a-t-il précisé.

    Selon lui, «la santé est compatible avec de bonnes conditions physiques et mentales d'apprentissage». Dr. Kouyaté Karim, directeur-coordinateur du Programme national de santé scolaire et universitaire (Pnssu), estime que cet atelier permettra de faire le bilan de l'exercice passé et d'aborder l'année scolaire et universitaire 2013 avec détermination.

    «La priorité sera de mise sur la création de base de données nécessaire à la gestion efficiente de l'état de santé de tous les élèves et étudiants de Côte d'Ivoire».

  • Un rapport de l'ONU soutient que si les pays de la Communauté des pays de l'Afrique de l'Est sont au premier rang des transactions financières par téléphone mobile, ils doivent cependant harmoniser leurs législations dans le secteur pour permettre l'élargissement des services.

    Le rapport, produit par la Conférence des Nations unies sur le commerce et le développement (CNUCED), précise: «La Communauté des pays de l'Afrique de l'Est est le leader mondial dans l'offre de services d'argent mobile et abrite plus d'un quart de tous ces types de services connus en Afrique. L'Afrique a pris le leadership dans la mise en œuvre de solutions d'argent mobile, avec environ 60 services déjà fonctionnels, dont seize se trouvent dans la Communauté des pays de l'Afrique de l'Est. Trois des plateformes de cette communauté ont maintenant plus d'un million d'abonnés actifs.»

    A cause de cette fulgurante croissance dans les systèmes d'argent mobile, la CNUCED estime qu'une solide réglementation régionale devrait être mise en place. Elle indique que «des étapes doivent être franchies pour résoudre les questions concernant la protection des consommateurs, les limites des souscriptions et des transactions, la collaboration et l'interopérabilité entre les différents réseaux».

    Le rapport de la CNUCED ne manque pas de souligner, cependant, «les progrès accomplis par la communauté des pays de l'Afrique de l'Est sur la législation, avec la préparation des directives sur les transactions électroniques, les signatures et authentifications électroniques, la protection des données et des informations privées, la protection des consommateurs et la cybercriminalité». Pour faire évoluer la collaboration sur la législation dans la région, l'une des options serait d'entreprendre un travail similaire pour promouvoir l'harmonisation des services, souligne le rapport.

    Agence ecofin
  • Des entreprises des technologies de l'information et de la communication (TIC) vont mettre en place un club d'investisseurs pour permettre aux jeunes entrepreneurs de se doter de moyens pour la réalisation de leur projet.

    Cette initiative est lancée grâce au programme Innovation mondiale par le biais de la technologie et de la science du président américain Barack Obama, connu sous son nom anglais de Global Innovation Trough Science and Technology (GIST).

    "Ce club va faciliter l'accès au financement", a déclaré Souleymane Demba Sy, directeur de cabinet du ministre de la Communication, des Télécommunications et des TIC, invitant les jeunes entrepreneurs à l'exigence personnelle, à innover et à trouver des solutions aux problèmes de l'Afrique.

    "Le club des investisseurs est un moyen de financement innovant, une belle alternative. Le financement classique ne fonctionne pas très bien avec le secteur de l'économie numérique. Il sera très utile à notre secteur", a souligné Antoine Ngom, président de la fondation des incubateurs TIC du Sénégal.

    Le club des investisseurs sera mis en place, mercredi, à l'issue du séminaire sur la problématique du financement des entreprises et la formation des jeunes entrepreneurs venus des pays de l'espace de la CEDEAO sur les outils d'accès au financement organisé par l'entreprise Croissance TIC Dakar.

    Pour Ibrahima Diouf, Directeur des petites et moyennes entreprises (PME), c'est au niveau du démarrage que le jeune entrepreneur éprouve des difficultés de trouver une trajectoire qui permet au banquier de lui faire confiance ou bien d'apporter les garanties qui lui sont exigées.

    "Après la création du club des investisseurs à Dakar, d'autres clubs peuvent être créés dans les régions, départements et quartiers pour soutenir l'entreprenariat et apporter des solutions à la question du financement", a dit Ibrahima Diouf.

    Selon lui, les entreprises de TIC sont "assez particulières, assez spécifiques et nécessitent beaucoup de réflexion sur le financement de l'innovation, de la recherche, sur la question de la croissance du développement".

    "Très souvent, une entreprise qui a fait le cap des quatre ou cinq années, a des problèmes pour croîetre, gagner de nouveaux marchés, se diversifier et souvent elle manque de structure financière pour l'accompagner."

    "Ces clubs peuvent jouer ce rôle-là. Ils auront comme fonctions, le financement de l'amorçage, de l'innovation et de la croissance. Je pense que l'Etat, à côté du secteur privé, va avoir un rôle important à jouer pour apporter des solutions pérennes", a ajouté le PME.

    M. Diouf a indiqué que rôle "permet à des bonnes volontés de mobiliser des ressources et de venir en appoint sous forme de mentorat à ces jeunes entrepreneurs qui n'ont pas les moyens de s'adresser directement aux banques et de trouver des solutions à leurs problèmes".

    Cet un atelier de formation interactive et d'encadrement destiné à stimuler des idées innovatrices dans le secteur des TIC, de l'énergie, de la santé et de l'agriculture, a souligné Robert Yamate, chef de mission adjoint de l'ambassade des Etats-Unis au Sénégal.

    "L'initiative de GIST vise à renforcer le développement de la technologie de l'entrepreneuriat national, régional et global par le biais d'un partenariat centré sur l'amorçage, le développement et bien sûr le financement", a-t-il poursuivi.

    APS
  • Le groupe de travail sur le numérique comprenant 20 membres et installé en décembre dernier par les ministres de la Poste, des Technologies et de la Communication, Bruno Koné, et de la Communication, Souleïmane Diakité Coty, a remis, hier le rapport définitif de son travail, au cabinet du ministre de la Communication, au Plateau,

    A cette occasion, le président de ce groupe, Léandre Anoma-Kanié, a présenté les grandes articulations de son travail. Pour lui, l'objectif de leur démarche était de présenter le meilleur schéma stratégique de migration à la Télévision numérique terrestre (Tnt) pour la Côte d'Ivoire.

    Obligation leur a été faite de réussir cette migration avant le 17 juin 2015 dans la bande Uhf conformément au traité international appelé Accord GE06.

    Il a dévoilé la méthodologie de travail que le groupe a privilégiée et qui lui a permis de trouver des réponses à des questions essentielles pour le succès du basculement au tout numérique en Côte d'Ivoire.

    « La stratégie élaborée prend en compte le diagnostic de l'existant, l'analyse de l'environnement sectoriel, pour aboutir à des propositions de choix au triple plan juridique, technique et socioéconomique », a avancé le président du groupe.

    Tout en définissant le numérique- évolution technologique permettant, entre autres, d'obtenir une meilleure qualité d'image, de son, et de réduire les coûts de la transmission et de la diffusion des programmes-, il a égrené les objectifs de la stratégie de mise en oeuvre de la migration vers la Tnt.

    Notamment proposer les normes et standards de la télévision numérique terrestre à implémenter en Côte d'Ivoire, identifier les adaptations à apporter au cadre juridique du secteur de l'audiovisuel pour le rendre compatible à l'environnement numérique, évaluer la construction du réseau numérique de diffusion des programmes télévisuels, faciliter l'accès des ménages aux équipements de réception et communiquer efficacement autour du processus afin de créer l'adhésion des populations.

    « Le document stratégique laisse entrevoir que la Tnt donnera un coup d'accélérateur au développement de la télévision en Côte d'Ivoire.

    Elle modifie profondément la structure de la chaîne de valeur de la télévision telle qu'elle est connue », a souligné Anoma-Kanié, avant de faire des recommandations.

    Il a aussi parlé du coût financier de la migration, a fait des propositions sur les modes de financement de la migration vers la Tnt et relevé les retombées de la migration.

    Le ministre de la Communication a retenu, à l'issue de cet exposé, que le passage à la télévision numérique de terre est un processus complexe.

    A l'en croire, dès son adoption, les différentes actions recommandées par le groupe de travail seront rapidement mises en oeuvre, afin que les exigences de délai qui s'imposent à tous soient respectées.

    Quant au ministre Bruno Koné, il a affirmé que le défi que doit relever le groupe de travail, c'est de tenir le cap pour que, le 31 décembre 2015, la Côte d'Ivoire puisse faire un basculement sans désagrément pour les téléspectateurs.

    Notre Voie
  • Le Premier ministre, Dr. Moulaye Ould Mohamed Laghdaf a inauguré au centre émetteur à Nouakchott la plate forme de télédiffusion numérique pour le bouquet mauritanien. Ce bouquet renferme 14 chaînes de télévisions et 15 radiodiffusions en même temps, avec la possibilité d'augmenter ces chaînes en cas de besoin.

    La nouvelle plate forme émet sur une chaîne satellitaire d'une capacité de 36 mégahertz. Elle dispose aussi d'équipements d'émission par satellite pour la télédiffusion numérique.

    Après la coupure du ruban symbolique en signe de démarrage de la plate forme, le premier ministre s'est enquit des différentes composantes de cette nouvelle plate forme et a écouté des explications détaillées, présentées par les techniciens sur les spécificités techniques et la capacité.

    Dans un mot pour la circonstance, le ministre de la communication et des relations avec le parlement, Me. Hamdi Ould Mahjoub a indiqué que la création de cette plate forme est le fruit d'efforts continus visant à répondre aux besoins du pays en matière des diffusions radiophoniques et télévisées, pour satisfaire les exigences de la libéralisation de l'espace audiovisuel, qui est devenu une réalité vécue.

    Et Me. Hamdi Ould Mahjoub d'ajouter que cette réalisation s'inscrit dans le cadre d'une série de reformes que connaît le secteur actuellement, sur orientation du Président de la République, Monsieur Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, orientations concrétisées sur le terrain par des plans et programmes ambitieux, conçus et exécutés par le gouvernement du premier ministre, Dr. Moulaye Ould Mohamed Laghdaf.

    Le ministre a rappelé, dans ce cadre, que cette nouvelle structure vient compléter l'opération de création d'une société nationale de diffusion supervisant la plate forme chargée de la distribution de ces services aux clients.

    Il a, également, souligné qu'elle couronne la restructuration des medias publics, qui sont devenus aptes techniquement à soutenir la concurrence

    Le ministre a souligné que la création de cette plate forme constitue le début d'une importante et historique expérience dans le domaine de la promotion des medias en Mauritanie et de leur diversification.

    Me. Hamdy Ould Mahjoub a, en outre, précisé que cette plate forme permettra le début d'une opération de regroupement des chaînes mauritaniennes privées et publiques dans un seul bouquet, pour permettre au téléspectateur mauritanien, arabe et africain de suivre le bouquet mauritanien sur une unique fréquence dans les différentes zones du moyen orient, de l'Afrique du Nord et d'une grande partie de l'Europe et l'Asie, et ce dans le cadre des efforts menés par le département de la Communication et des Relations avec le Parlement pour promouvoir les infrastructures de la télédiffusion numérique nationale.

    Le ministre a rappelé que le montant de location a été doublé par rapport à ce qu'il était en 2003, et que la capacité de diffusion a été doublée quatorze fois, précisant qu'il y aura une période de 6 mois, de diffusion gratuite, avec la possibilité de location pour des télévisions étrangères en cas de couverture des besoins nationaux en matière de diffusion.

    Me. Hamdi Ould Mahjoub a enfin loué le partenariat fructueux existant entre la Mauritanie et la Société Arabe de télécommunications (Arabsat).

    La cérémonie d'inauguration s'est déroulée en présence d'un certain nombre des membres du gouvernement, de plusieurs hauts responsables de l'Etat et d'autres personnalités.

  • 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

  • - La presse sénégalaise, notamment le quotidien Enquête, annonce que l'actuel directeur général de la Sonatel (une société du groupe Orange France Telecom) pourrait quitter la compagnie, après vingt-cinq ans passé à sa tête. Se référant à des « sources dignes de foi », le quotidien informe que, dès à présent, cette évolution « se traduit en interne par une série de départs-arrivées-promotions ». Pour succéder à Cheikh Tidiane Mbaye, Alioune Ndiaye, ex-directeur général d'Orange Mali, serait pressenti. Il est crédité par Enquête d’une réputation de compétence et d’intégrité pour faire face à une concurrence de plus en plus rude.

  • Ingénieur informaticien génie logiciel – Sénégal

    Annonceur : La Banque Centrale des États de l’Afrique de l’Ouest (BCEAO)

    Mission :
    La Banque Centrale des États de l’Afrique de l’Ouest (BCEAO) est un établissement public international constitué entre les huit (8) États membres de l’Union Monétaire Ouest Africaine (UMOA) qui sont le Bénin, le Burkina, la Côte d’Ivoire, la Guinée-Bissau, le Mali, le Niger, le Sénégal et le Togo. Son Siège est situé à Dakar, au Sénégal.
    La BCEAO est investie des missions fondamentales suivantes :

    définir et mettre en œuvre la politique monétaire au sein de l’UMOA ;
    veiller à la stabilité du système bancaire de l’UMOA ;
    promouvoir le bon fonctionnement et assurer la supervision et la sécurité des systèmes de paiement dans l’UMOA ;
    mettre en œuvre la politique de change de l’UMOA dans les conditions arrêtées par le Conseil des Ministres ;
    gérer les réserves officielles de change des États membres de l’UMOA.

    Qualification / Formation :

    niveau Master

    Les postulants doivent être ressortissants de l’un des huit (8) États membres de l’UMOA précités et être âgés de 40 ans au plus. Les candidats retenus seront engagés sous des contrats de travail à durée indéterminée, assortis d’une période d’essai d’un (1) an.

    Description de l'offre :

    La Banque Centrale des États de l’Afrique de l’Ouest (BCEAO) cherche: Ingénieur informaticien génie logiciel.

    Date d'expiration : 26-07-2012.

    Dossier de candidature :

    Le présent avis de recrutement et le formulaire de candidature sont disponibles sur le site web de la BCEAO, à l’adresse susmentionnée. Les candidatures seront présentées exclusivement sous format électronique suivant le formulaire précité sur la période du 5 au 26 juillet 2012.
    Aucune candidature ne sera reçue après la date limite indiquée ci-dessus.
    Seules les candidatures enregistrées en ligne sur le site internet de la BCEAO seront examinées.

    Pour plus d’infos ou pour postuler cliquez ici

Issue no 612 6th July 2012

node ref id: 25308

Top story

  • On June 21st, Cellcom officially launched its HSPA+ services at a ceremony attended by a crowd of over 400 VIPs. For a day, Monrovia’s City Hall was decorated with Cellcom’s red and white flags and banners with the slogan “4G The First. The Fastest”. Isabelle Gross, who attended the event, looks at what it takes for a small mobile operation to launch a new 4G network and, at the commercial potential that becoming the technology leader in the data market may bring.

    One thing is for sure: no mobile operator is ever 100% ready when it comes to rolling out a new network based on a new technology. Cellcom is no exception to this rule, but a combination of technical, commercial and human elements gave the company and its CEO, Avishai Marziano, enough confidence to decide that now was the time to go to market. Cellcom’s HSPA+ network is provided by the Chinese telecommunications company ZTE. For now the network covers Monrovia and greater Monrovia as well as Buchanan in Grand Bassa county. Cellcom plans to further expand its 4G network coverage along the main axis from Monrovia to the border with Guinea (Kakata, Banga and Ganta). In order to get this level of coverage, dozens of BTSs had to be fitted with new 4G equipment, while at the same time new BTSs have been built to further strengthen the signal of the 4G network. The power requirements of each BTS had to be reviewed too in order to cope with the additional load coming from the new 4G equipment. At the same time the new core network was being set up and tested and the new 4G equipment on the BTSs had to “go on air”. Connecting the BTSs require a lot of tweaking and radio optimisation but what’s more important is that the existing 2G network and the new 4G network had to work together seamlessly.

    As the technical team was busying itself getting the new network up and running, the marketing department was engaged in building a commercial strategy and marketing plan about the new data services and devices that Cellcom would offer at- and post-launch. This was all about defining which market segments to target, what data packs to offer, how to price them, and above all how to communicate all this to mobile users and Liberians at large. So, for example, alongside a new range of 4G data bundles, Cellcom has introduced “out of bundle” data billing, which allows customers to stay online just a little more to let them finish what they are doing. It also works as a 12¢ per MB “pay as you go” option for customers who don’t want to buy a data bundle.

    Building a consistent data offering is only the first step in the process, as these data offers need to be integrated in the prepaid billing system. Least but not last, the people need to be trained up to deal with the new system. Rolling out a more advanced mobile technology implies a lot of training for the technical staff to make sure that they understand all the technical aspects of the new network and ensure that it will be up and running 24/7. Non-technical personnel such as sales and customer support staff also need to learn the ins and outs of the new 4G data devices and services. At the end of the day, it was the sum of each employee’s inputs that got Cellcom’s new baby up and running. The days up to the launch were especially hard for the person at the top who like a maestro had to get the whole orchestra to play in tune.

    Mobile telephony is a technology-driven business. Rolling out HPSA+ has given Cellcom a technology edge over its competitors as well as the means to poach their high ARPU customers. When it comes to mobile phones, these users are likely to be the owner of an iPhone, a Samsung Galaxy or a Blackberry smartphone. They might also have an iPad or a Galaxy tablet. To get the most from these devices high-end customers need access to a 3G, HSPA network or above. Connecting such devices to the Internet through a GPRS/Edge network is “slow slow” as Liberians would put it. Mobile data users across the world do not want their experience to be ruined by lethargic network performance and Liberian mobile users are no exception. Cellcom’s HSPA+ network is impressively quick, allowing me to watch a Youtube video on my HTC mobile phone without any buffering

    In a country that has hardly any fixed lines and therefore no competing broadband Internet technologies like ADSL+,  cable or fibre, rolling out a network that offers a download data speed of up to 21Mbps and an upload speed up to 5.8Mbps has wider commercial potential than just providing fast Internet access to smartphone owners. There is a growing variety of both mobile and fixed 4G devices that data users can choose from to fulfil their data access requirements. Alongside smartphones, Cellcom is also for example offering 4G USB dongles, hotspots (nomadic) and 4G routers (fixed) with the aim to tap into “the fixed wireless” broadband segment. HSPA+ data speed compares very well with WiMAX data speed and is far superior to what CDMA technology can offer. Furthermore, the evolution path of HSPA technology is already set providing Cellcom and mobile operators at large with a clear roadmap of what data speed they can except to sell in the coming years.

    To follow the exchanges about this 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:

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

    Alan Knott-Craig Jr, CEO, MXit on his African expansion plans

    Mark Kaigwa, Afrinnovator talking about monetization of mobile content at OIAS

    EyalCoppitt, SVP Sales MEA, Amos Spascecom on the launch of the Amos 5 satellite


    Shawkat Ahmed, COO, Yahsat talks about its new low cost satellite broadband product


    Jonah Fink, SVP, net2phone on the potential for VoIP in Africa


    Angus Hay, Chair of WACS on the impact of this new, international cable

    A special for Balancing Act readers:

    Sean Krepp, Uganda Country Director, Apps Lab
    on raising farmers income using community knowledge workers with smartphones

    Kobus Roux, CSIR Meraka Institute on getting rural schools connected using local micro-entrepreneurs and Wi-Fi mesh technology

    Two experts discuss the challenges of mobile operators as brands:

    Laine Barnard, Founder, 8Brand - Mobile outlets as "giant waiting rooms" for selling airtime

    Sammy Thuo, Director, Saracen Media on differentiating African mobile brands

telecoms

  • The Botswana Telecommunications Authority (BTA) has issued a notice to operators to develop infrastructure-sharing plans, following the drawing up of passive infrastructure sharing guidelines. The three-month notice is in line with the BTA's strategic intent of promoting rapid deployment of efficient infrastructures and better service provision.

    CEO Thari Pheko said the development encourages and promotes the sharing of rights of way, antennae, poles, ducts, trenches and space in equipment shelters and buildings. He said the guidelines will promote fair competition by granting equal access to the installations and facilities of operators on mutually agreed terms.

    Telecommunications operators in the country are urged to cooperate and embrace infrastructure sharing as means of improving network quality, particularly in congested areas, he added. Pheko said infrastructure sharing will improve rollout in underserved areas, protect the environment by reducing the proliferation of infrastructure and facilities installations, and avoid duplication of network deployment to save cost and reducing customer tariffs.

    Pheko said the BTA is committed to continuously monitoring the market in order to prevent the possibility of anti-competitive practice that may occur with infrastructure sharing.

  • ccording to an unverified report by Egyptian news website Alborsa, telecoms tycoon Naguib Sawiris has indicated that his Orascom Telecom Media and Technology (OTMT) holding company is actively pursuing management contracts for Libya’s two state-owned mobile operators, Libyana and Al Madar Telecomm Company. Sawiris told Alborsa that OTMT is currently conducting talks regarding management contracts and the reactivation and development of the two firms’ networks. Further, Sawiris said that OTMT’s interest could potentially exceed a management contract if the Libyan government displays an interest in privatising the cellcos.

    OTMT was formed on 29 November 2011 as a result of the merger between Orascom Telecom Holding and Russian telecoms group Vimpelcom. Following the completion of the deal certain Orascom assets – notably its part-ownership of Egyptian cellco Mobinil (which in the process of being sold to France Telecom-Orange) and a 75% stake in CHEO, a cellular operator in North Korea – fell under the control of the new entity.

  • Telecommunications operators in the country will pay in, annually, 3 per cent of their business turnovers to an account at the Central Bank opened by the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications. This is to feed a Special Telecommunications Fund set up within the framework of the 1998 reforms that came with the liberalisation of the sector. Initially, they were paying in 2 per cent to the "Fond Spécial d'Affectation" in the Ministry of Finance.

    This innovation is contained in a Presidential decree of June 26, 2012 setting out the modalities for the management of the Special Telecommunications Fund, code-named, "Le Fonds" (The Fund). The Telecommunications Regulatory Board, by the decree, is charged with ensuring that the operators effectively pay in the required amount to the account. Like any tax that is paid based on what operators declare as their business turnover, the decree empowers the Telecommunications Regulatory Board to verify the amounts declared. As such, in case of any doubt, the regulator can carry out an audit at the expense of the operator.

    The Fund permits the State to develop the telecommunications sector by taking telecoms services to where operators cannot by virtue of their profit motive, especially in the rural areas where profit margins are either low or inexistent, as well as pay the country's contributions in international organisations concerned with information and communication technologies.

  • Leading electronics and mobile phone maker, Samsung Electronics West Africa has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Co-Creation Hub (Cchub) Nigeria’s foremost technology innovation centre. The agreement will allow Samsung to provide expertise, resource, capacity building, and marketing support to local mobile apps developers in addition to availing them the right platforms to create awareness for and monetise their creations.

    As part of this partnership, Samsung recently sponsored the June 2012 edition of CcHUB’s ‘Developers Parapo’, where Nigerian web and mobile application developers network to share and gain knowledge required for starting and growing viable businesses.

    The Head of Product Marketing for Samsung Electronics West Africa, Jude Omozegie, who officially opened the event with a presentation entitled Samsung Business Content, expressed Samsung’s delight at the opportunity provided by the platform to interface with young developers whose contributions are critically needed to drive local participation in the blossoming mobile application industry.

    “Learning, entertainment, social networking, health services, financial services and so on are going mobile. As a result, applications have emerged as a fundamental part of this evolution, as more and more consumers want to access relevant content on the go on their mobile devices,” he said.

    Omozegie added that Samsung is in tune with this dynamics, and recognises the pivotal role of mobile phones in facilitating innovation-based services, which he said, explains why Samsung is currently the topmost Smartphone manufacturer in the world.

    “At Samsung, our core business is apps and technology solutions, but we still rely on different stakeholders to help provide content; hence our interest in building a strong mutually beneficial relationship with Cchub. Samsung recognises the need for partnership because fast-growing portfolios of mobile applications would be fuelled by efficient developer ecosystem”.

    Also speaking at the event, the Head, Content and Services, Samsung South Africa, Mr. Thabiet Allie, urged the young developers to strive to combine marketing and business perspectives with their technology or coding background, stressing that this is key to their emerging successful entrepreneurs. “The essence of apps developing business is recognising a niche market and matching it with a solution”, said Allie.

    Chief Executive Officer, Co-Creation Hub, Mr. Bosun Tijani in his remarks thanked Samsung for supporting the community, which according to him had availed local technology entrepreneurs of the opportunity to meet face to face with Samsung to explore mutually beneficial opportunities.

    “Our relationship with Samsung will enable members acquire new skills and leverage Samsung’s extensive reach in the market to promote their solutions. Opportunities available to members under this partnership will include the possibility of preloading their apps on Samsung devices and retailing them at Samsung apps store, among others” said Tijani.

    He implored other corporate organisations to follow in the footsteps of Samsung by partnering with local technology entrepreneurs and developers for the overall benefit of mobile phone users.

    Samsung and CcHUB also used the event to announce an Ideation Challenge for developers to develop concepts for localized content in the Nigeria market.

internet

  • Airtel  unveiled the 3.75 G Internet in Rwanda’s capital Kigali. The mobile phone service provider terms it as “the fastest Cellphone Internet in Rwanda.”

    Commenting on the new service, Airtel's Rwanda country manager Marcellin Paluku said:  “This latest technology on our 3.75G network will offer our customers the opportunity to interact with data in a different way. They will be able to share ideas with people globally to allow growth in the business and social sector.”

    Paluku added that people in  Rwanda who are business oriented whether in small or medium enterprises will benefit from the new development.

    According to him, the Internet technology is up to 21 Mbps speed. He rates it as the fastest and latest 3G.

    “Customers through their smartphones will access the fast Internet to explore all the relevant information in the social network, accessing e-mail, music as well as acquire knowledge through e-books. Companies will also witness increased productivity due to prompt communication,” Paluku  said.

    It’s only in Kigali that customers will be able to access the Internet. Plans are underway to extend the service to other regions in the country within this month.

    Airtel Rwanda’s customers will have free daily Internet access of 1GB for the first two weeks, and 20 Rfw per MB from 6:00 hrs to 00:00 hrs and 10 Rfw from 00:00 hrs to 5:59 hrs.

  • The world’s largest Video sharing website, Youtube has officially launched in Ghana with a domain name, youtube.com.gh The website is expected to feature the most popular videos in Ghana, together with those that have high views.

    “We are thrilled to be launching YouTube in Ghana today”, said Estelle Akofio Sowah, Google Ghana’s Country Manager. “YouTube receives more than 3 billion views a day and has 72 hours of video uploaded every minute. It is an ideal platform for Ghanaian local video content to be more easily discovered both in Ghana and around the world. With a new local version of YouTube, it has become much easier for Ghanaians to connect with a worldwide audience”.

    The website will allow users in Ghana and other parts of the world to easily find local content and relevant videos, it will also give anyone the ability to publish or share local videos online, a way of making local content more accessible to internet users and giving Ghanaians more exposure to the outside world.

  • In a bid to prevent youths from falling prey to terrorist propaganda, the Mauritanian government may tighten control over internet use.

    Mauritania's cabinet recently discussed the possibility of establishing a centre to monitor the internet.

    The body will "play an important role in the standardisation of systems between different actors", according to the statement on June 7th.

    "It will ensure the safety of national databases and contribute to solutions that allow the isolation of viruses and copyright protection," the statement read.

    The number of Facebook users in Mauritania reached 85,440 in June, which puts the country in the 151st position globally in terms of network users, according to social marketing firm Socialbakers.

    The figure represents 2.67% of the Mauritanian population.

    The largest group (35,030) of Facebook users in Mauritania are aged 18-24, followed by those aged 25 to 34. Males make up 73% of the total number of users.

    Young internet users are more likely to be exposed to content published by jihadists online, according to the journalist Mokhtar Salem. This calls for more government efforts to control dissemination of materials encouraging extremism and violence, he said.

    According to the Information Distribution Centre (CDI) in Mauritania, "more than 50% of the users of social networks do not pay attention to the seriousness of the issue".

    The regional upheavals known as the "Arab Spring" have caused the government to pay greater attention to the electronic domain.

    Security and information technology experts discussed means to protect information in a seminar held by the CDI in March. The workshop included a training course on information security in co-operation with anti-virus company Kasperky. Bab Ould Bomes, the Secretary-General of the Delegate Ministry in charge of Employment, attended the event.

    "Mauritanian authorities think that access of jihadists to the electronic network is now widely available," journalist and analyst Zine El Abidine Ould Mohamed told Magharebia. "The dissemination of subversive ideas as religiously justified is within the philosophy of terrorists. This is a threat to young people, particularly at an early age. Monitoring the internet will allow the authorities to block these sites and deny access by militants to the Mauritanian space."

    He argued that internet control would also "allow the tracking of these sites and the opportunity to assess their activities and follow them up technically as far as possible".

    "It is known today that al-Qaeda depends on the internet to transmit its ideas," Ould Mohamed added. "However, monitoring must be followed by a strategy of security training for bloggers and journalists in order to avoid their being exploited for the purposes of the jihadists in their coverage of terrorism issues."

    Work will start this summer on a giant submarine cable to strengthen internet speed in Mauritania during the current year, according to the secretary-general of the Mauritanian Post office (Mauripost). This will increase the current speed of the internet by 40 times and support scientific, medical and technical research in the country.

    The anticipated submarine cable cost of $25 million will be funded by the Mauritanian government and communication companies.

    "The new centre which the government intends to launch may plant the seeds for creating good blogs in Mauritania," terrorism analyst Hamadi Ould Dah noted. "The country needs more than ever a law that fights jihadist extremist sites. They are dangerous to society, especially in light of the high proportion of young users of the internet."

  • Namibia was one of the last countries in Africa to introduce competition in the mobile communications sector when a second network finally launched in 2007. Despite this, the country has achieved a market penetration rate well above the regional average, according to Research & Markets. However, the average revenue per user has more than halved since then.

    Both GSM operators – MTC (managed by Portugal Telecom) and Cell One (renamed Leo by its new owner, Orascom) – have entered the internet and broadband market with 3G mobile broadband services in a bid to create new revenue streams. MTC introduced fourth generation (4G) technology to the market in May 2012 when it launched an LTE network in the capital, Windhoek. In addition, Telecom Namibia (TN) is offering 3G mobile broadband services using EV-DO technology.

    Fixed-line services are still a monopoly of TN, but as a member of the WTO the government plans to open the telecom sector to full competition. TN entered the lucrative mobile market as the third player with a CDMA network but was put on hold by the industry regulator, the Namibian Communications Commission, until a new communications law was enacted which, among other issues, addresses fixed-mobile convergence. Since then, however, the absence of effective regulation during the transition to a new regulatory authority, the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia, has led to further delays in market liberalisation.

    Despite being reasonably competitive with six ISPs, development of Namibia’s internet and broadband sector has been held back by high prices for international bandwidth, caused by the lack of a direct connection to international submarine fibre optic cables. This changed in early 2011 when the WACS cable landed in the country, with services launched in May 2012. In parallel, Namibia is working to diversify its transit access routes via neighbouring countries, but broadband price reductions on the retail level have only been moderate so far.

    The country is well prepared for a broadband boom, with 3G and 4G mobile services and a national fibre backbone infrastructure in place. Several WiMAX and other wireless broadband services offer additional access options and are standing by to bring additional competition to the voice market as well, once internet telephony is deregulated.

computing

  • The Starz College of Technology has developed an information technology program under the name "Starz for Kids" to provide IT skills training and education in various disciplines such as math, spelling, reading and Art, among others to Liberian youth.

    According to the administration of the school, the initiative will help to broaden the minds of Liberia's future generation and help them gain interest in technology.

    The program is expected to operate in three different categories with students having access to computer and typing skills, Mathematics, English and spelling lessons along with educational and challenging computer games. The IT kid academy is first of its kind in the country for children between 5 and 15.

    The President of the institution Latim Dathong said in an interview with this paper the prime objective is to provide kids with basic computer literacy and computerized educational experiences as well as training that will improve their skills in Math, English, reading and spelling, using the computer.

    He said the school has done a lot for adults, adding, it is about time the kids of Liberia be given an opportunity to enable them get on the path of technology like in other countries.

    "Liberian kids are really smart; by providing resources for them to learn, it will help them in many different ways as they grow with technology", Dathong stressed.

    He said though the program seeks sponsorship from donors, the school will eventually open by the end of July. "We are hoping that many people will invest in the kids for a better Liberia; if the kids' minds are open to technology, they will think positively as the world advances in technology," he added.

    He explained that the first phase of the program will comprise of students between ages 5 and 9 years and they will undergo three separate levels. Level one will last for two months while levels two and three will last for three months each. He added that a child within this category will last for eight months before advancing to the next stage.

    Dathong said students in category two will be between ages 9 and 12, and that levels one and three will last for three months each, while level two will last for two months. According to him, kids in category two will attend classes for seven months before moving to the next stage.

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

  • Nigeria’s mobile payment startup, Paga has processed over 276,000 transactions that are worth more than N2.6 billion (about $9.8 million) transaction volumes to date.

    The company recently announced a recent series of investments from high calibre investors including Adlevo Capital, Omidyar Network, Acumen Fund, Capricorn Investment Group, and its current investors, Goodwell West Africa Microfinance Development Company.

    Last September when Paga officially launched its commercial and marketing operations, it did over 18,000 transactions and processed over N100 million transaction volumes in a few weeks.

    It also announced that its growing agent network now comprises of more than 850 agents currently located in 19 cities. The company is now building a grassroots distribution network which would see it achieving 30,000 agents by 2015.

  • Dahabshiil Group, a leading remittance company in East Africa, officially denied rumours on Sunday that it has purchased a majority stake in Telcom Somalia.

    The chief of media relations and public information, Hassan M. Jama “Heiss”, said he was “pleasantly surprised” with the news, flatly denying the acquisition.

    “Lately, the Somali media have been circulating various versions of Dahabshiil’s takeover of Telcom Somalia and that their staff have been laid-off,” he said in a statement.

    “Dahabshiil wants to make crystal clear that these rumours are far-fetched, preposterous and far from the truth. Dahabshiil has no affiliation nor interest in the affairs of Telcom Somalia,” he said.

    Hassan furthermore stated the company was committed to making a real and sustainable difference to communities in need.

    “The community has known Dahabshiil for its customer-focused-service, trustworthiness, and its commitment to wide range of community programs,” Mr. Heiss stated.

    He finally said that Dahabshiil stands ready lend a supporting hand through a wide range of initiatives, to communities wherever they might be.

    From its humble beginning as a small funds transfer company in Burao, Dahabshiil has evolved into an international success story – operating in 144 countries, with over $300 million annual revenue just 40 years after its inauguration by Mr. Mohamed Saeed Duale.

    With strong roots in its native Somaliland, Dahabshiil operates 24,000 branches worldwide and over 2,000 staff.

    Telcom Somalia is regarded as the oldest telecommunication service operator in Somalia and controls about 34 percent of the market. It provides wireless services including mobile and internet and local and long distance telephone.

  • EAC countries need to harmonize mobile money regulations to allow the expansion of such services in the region, a UN body has said.

    The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development said the EAC is a world leader in mobile money transactions hence the need to study how laws governing such services are evolving.

    In a report titled Mobile Money for Business Development in the East Africa Community, UNCTAD notes: "The EAC is a world leader in offering mobile money services and hosts more than one quarter of all known such systems in Africa," says UNCTAD. "Africa has taken the lead in mobile money implementation, with about 60 mobile money services already in place, a quarter (16) of which are in the EAC. Three of the EAC platforms now have more than 1 million active subscribers. M-Pesa, operated by Safaricom of Kenya, is currently the most popular platform."

    It is because of this rapid development in mobile money systems that UNCTAD feels a robust legal framework with a regional outlook should be put in place. "Steps are needed to address concerns related to consumer protection, registration and transaction limits, regulatory collaboration and interoperability, meaning interconnection between telecommunication networks," UNCTAD says.

    "The report recognizes progress made by the EAC Task Force on Cyberlaws in preparing regional guidelines on electronic transactions, electronic signatures and authentication, data protection and privacy, consumer protection and computer crime. One option to increase regulatory collaboration around mobile money would be to undertake similar work to promote harmonization in the area of mobile money services, the report says."

Telecoms, Rates, Offers and Coverage

  • - AppChat mobile voice network operator is set to revolutionize South Africa’s telecom sector with its promise of affordable local and international calls.
    AppChat promises per-second billing for daily off-net calls other than in-bundle and out-of-bundle billing rates. According to John Holdsworth, the founder and CEO of the MOVO, the firm will cut the calling costs in SA by 50 percent. Holdsworth told TechCentral he will achieve this through lean operations and instead of circuit switched operations, AppChat will use mobile VoIP in partnership with Cell C.

    - SOMTEL Subscribers can now select multiple ring-back tones depending on who is calling or what time they receive a call, this was revealed during a press conference held at the company Headquarters . Speaking during the press conference SomTel head of marketing and sales Mr. Nassir Haji saleban Abdi accompanied by the Managing Director of SomTel Mr. Awil Salah and Mr. Farah Mohamed Elmi head of finance, said Danan allows SomTel users to preview new ring-back tones on the Web, upload their own voice clips, update their profiles, and perform other self-service activities.

    - Nigeria - The National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) and the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) have partnered with Airtel in providing public health information for Nigerians.  As part of the arrangement, Airtel will provide dedicated lines for citizens to call in to NACA or NAFDAC. Citizens also receive text messages and alerts on issues of public health concern.

Digital Content

  • Second-year students at the Makerere University College of Computing and Information Technology (CIT), in Uganda, have invented a hand-held pregnancy scan-like machine called WinSenga.

    The machine, which consists of a funnel-like pinnard horn similar to the one used by midwives, can be used to scan a pregnant woman’s womb or detect problems such as ectopic pregnancy or abnormal foetal heart beats.

    “We called it WinSenga to relate to traditional birth attendants,” the team said.
    The students- Aaron Tushabe, Joshua Okello and Josiah Kavuma, said the project was carried out under the tutelage of Dr. Davis Musinguzi, who works with UNICEF as a health systems consultant. The team also call themselves Cipher256.

    The pinnard horn part of the machine while connected to a smart phone is pressed against the abdomen of the pregnant woman. The smart phone screen then displays data on the location and condition of the foetus.

  • A mobile developer in Botswana has come up with an app set to frustrate music piracy specially through file sharing. This move, he says, was motivated by the fact that African musicians lose billions of shillings a year to piracy and copyright-related issues.

    Itumeleng Garebatshabe, the developer, said the new mobile application will make it hard for sharing of music files from one device to another via bluetooth.

    Garebatshabe’s firm Intelligere Media built the application that once users install on the phone, keeps the songs intact in the application on the phone memory. The songs cannot be shared or transferred afterwards.

    According to Intelligere Media, the mobile digital application cannot play a song that is not on the smartphone. The developer believes that this will help fight music piracy, which has been detrimental to Africa’s music industry for long.

    A report in Kenya claims from 10 songs played, nine are pirated. The pirates earn billions of shillings a year even as the artists and the government lose an estimated KSh4 billion annually.

    The Kenya Copyrights Board, its legal counsel Edward Sigei, recently asked the Kenya government to introduce stiffer penalties to pirates -- apart from the 10-year jailterm for offenders and the KSh800,000 fine.

    Sigei was quoted by the Daily Nation as sayingt the fine should be "increased and the sentence lengthened.”

    Although religious places and non-commercial activities are exempted from paying the penalties, Sigei wanted the board to be empowered to ensure premium content providers paid more to the artists.

    According to Garebatshaber, this new app is well oiled to reduce and even end music piracy.

    He said: "the  Mobile Digital Album Application only plays a music album from an internal player within the phone and as smartphones become commonplace in Africa by the day, this app will help revolutionise music on the continent”.

    Presently, Intelligere Media claims the US$10  priced app has received over 1,000 downloads across the world.

  • Globacom has introduced a service that allows subscribers, especially job seekers send their Curriculum Vitae (CV) or resumes to prospective employers through Short Messaging Service (SMS).

    In a statement, the company said the service, Glo Job Express, is a new feature of Glo Messenger which allows subscribers send their CVs using regular SMS by sending the keyword CV or REG to 2034 to start.

    Glo Messenger is an SMS to email/Instant Messaging service that was launched to enable non- Internet users send and receive emails on Yahoo, MSN, etc, directly from their mobile phones via SMS.

    Globacom’s Head of Value Added Services, Mr Samson Isa, explained that with Glo Job Express, a subscriber sends CV via SMS. This is delivered to the recipient such as the employer or recruitment agent as a regular mail with pre–composed job application or cover letter in the body of the email with the sender’s CV as an attachment.

More

  • Vodacom’s Pieter Uys resigns
    South African mobile operator Vodacom announced today that CEO Pieter Uys would be stepping down from his position, which he has occupied since 2008.
    Uys will remain in the position of CEO until March 2013, after which Shameel Joosub will take over.

  • ASP.NET & MySQL Developer Finance in Motion GmbH
    Vacancies: 1
    Location: Anywhere, Kenya
    Deadline: 30 Sep, 2012

    Job Description: Finance in Motion develops its core business tools in-house and is currently looking for an experienced programmer and business analyst to strengthen its internal software development capacity. The candidate will be working from his home office and will liaise frequently with colleagues based in Nairobi and with the head-office based in Frankfurt.

    These will be the duties and responsibilities:

    Liaise with the IT manager and with the operational departments to collect specification and produce technical description for the software development projects.
    Recommend on the most appropriate technologies to be employed for secure and scalable web solutions.
    Provide leadership, methodology and example when managing the development of new software modules for the company.
    Provide high quality code in line with company coding guidelines and thorough technical documentation on the modules developed.

    Qualifications / Skills:
    NET development. Preferred language VB.NET, but C# is welcome, too
    Good experience in database design and development. Preferred platform: MySQL
    Experience of collaborative software development in teams: source control, versioning, with tools like SVN or Visual Source Safe
    Proven track record in all phases of the software delivery life-cycle, from technical specification, to development, roll-out, documentation and support
    Minimum of 5 years of professional experience in software development
    Creative, responsible and self motivating attitude

    Besides above formal qualifications, it is equally important that our team members show a high commitment to development finance and international cooperation. We are a young, multicultural team and enthusiastic about what we do, convinced that a strong and dedicated team is the key to success. We promote free thinking to generate results that will contribute to developing inclusive financial systems in transition economies and developing countries.
    Apply for this position:

    Send a resume to it.jobs@finance-in-motion.com

    Nokia contest targets East African music lovers

    Phone maker Nokia has launched a competition aimed at promoting her smart phones among youth in East Africa.

    Dubbed “Don’t Break the Beat” the campaign is linked to the Nokia Asha range of mobile phones, centres on a competition to find ‘the definitive rapper, also known as a cypher, among the youth in East Africa.’

    “The search will be conducted in cities and towns across Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, with a number of auditions and elimination rounds in each country to determine the national finalists. This will culminate in early September with the East Africa battle to determine the overall champion who walks away with the title and a whopping 250,000 Kenyan Shillings,” said Angela Githuthu, Marketing Activation Manager for Nokia East Africa.

Issue no. 133 4th July 2012

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  • Triple Play (voice Internet and TV services) holds out the prospect of faster household growth for both broadcasters and telcos in Africa. But thus far, legal restrictions on supplying one or more of the different elements have stymied attempts to get it off the ground. However, Eutelsat has pitched itself into this search for the holy grail of growth with its IP Easy product. Senior research analyst Sylvain Béletre talks to Eutelsat’s Gaethan Donlap Kouanga, sales and marketing manager for central Africa and to Jean-François Fremaux, Director of market development at Eutelsat.

    In Africa so far, only a few players like Zuku  from Wananchi group have made the breakthrough to provide legal African Triple Play.

    At the last Satcom 2012, Eutelsat announced that its new ‘IP Easy’ broadband platform extends high-speed internet access to residential and home office users as well as small and medium-sized enterprises across sub-Saharan Africa. Delivering downlink speeds of up to 4Mbps, the service can be configured to support VoIP and satellite reception of TV channels in dual and triple play modes. Since then, the company has started rolling out the solution within its distribution network.

    Q. What is IP Easy background history?
    A. Eutelsat has been providing broadband services in Africa since 2003, principally targeting users with high bandwidth requirements (oil and gas sector, financial services, public agencies), but with IP Easy, we are now reaching a new level. Launched at Satcom Africa in May 2012, IP Easy was built to extend high-speed Internet access to residential and home office users as well as small and medium-sized enterprises across sub-Saharan Africa. The service can also be configured to support VOIP. In addition, users can also bundle their Internet access with TV channels reception via a single antenna, allowing them to benefit from a triple play mode. Combining the strengths of Ku-band capacity on the recently-launched Eutelsat 16A satellite with Newtec’s successful Sat3Play technology, IP Easy is available across Africa, from the Gulf of Guinea to Madagascar.

    The IP Easy hub is located at Eutelsat’s Skylogic Mediteraneo teleport, which provides broadband services for users in Africa thanks to its location in the south of Europe and its direct access to the internet backbone via key Points of Presence in Europe.

    Q. Who should buy IP Easy?
    A. Our objective with IP Easy is to diversify the product range so that residential and home office users as well as small and medium-sized enterprises have access to a product adapted to their needs. Our targeted market also includes schools, local African governments, NGOs, distance working, prospecting and mobile teams.

    Q. Is IP Easy that easy to set up?
    A. We wanted to provide a service that would enable its users to self-install the equipment. This is why Newtec’s proven Sat3Play platform and its system's Point&Play facility were selected.   It works with a 1 meter dish and a PC-connected modem. A hearing aid helps align the dish more easily and there is no need to configure the modem. The main advantage is that end users can autonomously install the complete system with no specific qualification needed or expensive tooling. For maximum bandwidth efficiency, the terminal incorporates numerous advanced features such as DVB-S2 modulation and coding, rain fade countermeasures, end-to-end Quality of Service (QoS) mechanisms and state-of-the-art acceleration and compression technologies. The kit is available via a strong network of local service providers.

    Q. What are IP Easy’s main benefits for clients?
    A. IP Easy responds to pent-up demand for broadband from the many users beyond terrestrial networks in Africa. Without using great amounts of energy (less than 1 Watt), the service can reliance on local energy sources such as solar energy via solar panels. It delivers downlink speeds of up to 4Mbps, irrespective of your location within EUTELSAT 16A’s coverage, from the Gulf of Guinea to Madagascar. It can be configured to support VOIP and satellite reception of TV channels in triple play mode. The installation of the 1 meter dish and modem connected to a PC is so simple that it can be performed without the need for costly specialised installers, and the terminal requires no configuration at all, further reducing the initial investment for each new site.
     
    Q. Right now, where in Africa can clients use IP Easy?
    A. The solution has a trans-continental coverage from Senegal to Madagascar. We are initiating the service in countries around the Gulf of Guinea, places with high density of population and significant revenues per capita, and in Madagascar where the lack of telecoms infrastructures creates a real opportunity for the part of the population with adequate revenues.
     
    Q. where are you rolling out next?
    A. We will progressively extend IP easy to other African regions covered by Eutelsat 16A. We are also planning to deploy the service on other Eutelsat satellites in operation or planned to be launched in order to cover the entire African continent.

    Q. Which African countries have the largest potential?
    A. We are looking at Nigeria, Cameroun, Ghana, DRC, Benin, Ivory Coast with interest because of the high population density.
     
    Q. On the marketing side, are you encountering any country barriers?
    A. In many targeted countries, most of the required equipment is free of license and transmit because of very low irradiated power. In other cases, licensing issues are solved by our distributors building partnerships with national companies which have all the necessary licenses to operate.

    Q. Which TV content does IP Easy support?
    A. Buying a simple DVB-S2 set-top box - usually on sale from USD 100 - will allow IP Easy users to receive through their dish 25 free-to-air French speaking channels. These are national channels from Cameroun, Benin, Gabon, Central African Republic, Madagascar, Senegal, Congo, Burkina Faso and Togo, broadcasted via Eutelsat 16A . Further work is currently being undertaken on Eutelsat 16° East neighbourhood's to enrich television offer, including in the pay-TV area.

    Q. Which distributors to talk to in order to buy the service?
    A. Many distributors within EUTESLAT 16A's footprint are currently finilasing the intregration of IP Easy into their service portfolio.  Afrique Télécom  already sells the service under the "SpaceDSL" brand ,  from 29€ VAT incl. (512 kbps/ 500 MB) to 120€ VAT incl. (2048kbps/4GB) .

    Q. What is the pricing like for the kit and monthly subscription?
    A. Pricing levels are set by our network of distributors and are competitive compared to ADSL subscription fees in Europe. 
     
    Q. Who do you contact at Eutelsat and within your distribution network to partner/resell/purchase the solution?
    A. Please refer to our website here. IP Easy is already commercialised by Afrique Télécom under the "SpaceDSL"  brand. Afrique Télécom sells the service from 29€ VAT incl. 512 kbps/ 500 MB to 120€ VAT incl. 2048kbps/4GB. Other distributors are currently finilasing the intregration of IP Easy into their service portfolio.  

    Eutelsat has confirmed it will be joining Africa’s telcos, media professionals, broadcasters and film-makers at the Broadcast, Film and Music Africa (BFMA) conference to be held in Nairobi over 10-11 July. The company will present its offering for Africa including IP Easy.

    To follow the exchanges about this 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:

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

    Alan Knott-Craig Jr, CEO, MXit on his African expansion plans

    Nigerian Adamu Waziri talks about its childrens' animation, the Bino and Fino Show

    XYZ Show's Gado on its new childrens's show and mobile distribution

    Special for Balancing Act readers:

    British-Nigerian director Obi Emelonye on his latest filmLast Flight to Abuja

    Debra Odutuyo talks about British-Nigerian TV comedy Meet the Adebanjos and its forthcoming UK stage tour

    Congolese director Djo Munga on his next film project Inspector Lu

    Big World Cinema’s Steven Markovitz on a new African cinema - neither homework, nor medicine

    Kenya's Just a Band on their video Makmende going viral globally

  • Organised by Apimed, this year’s MEDIMED event will take place on 12-14 Oct. 2012 in
    Sitges, Spain, and present 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.

    This small-scale market is intended to improve on the promotion and development of new European and Mediterranean independent production of documentaries and the networking of audio-visual professionals and operators. MEDIMED has become a special-interest that which supports the promotion of Euro-Mediterranean audio-visual productions involving private and public television networks together with independent producers with the objective of European transnational co-operation.

    Documentaries’ topics include arts, music, culture, and performance, human rights, anthropology, sociology, and human interest, nature, wild-life, discoveries, travel and adventure, current affairs and investigative journalism, science, knowledge, education, history among other subjects.

    The Industry Conference Sessions will explore some of the issues and concerns facing the present and future of documentary and factual producers, sharing a wealth of insight and expertise while gauging the pulse of the industry. This dynamic panels and discussions will provide essential ground rules for emerging and mid-career doc-makers.

    Special attention will be given to new formats of documentary production. The use of ICT technologies and mobile phones is changing some traditional ways of filming. An informative session will be dedicated to mobile content and new technologies focused on documentary proposals.

    EU programs from countries with a low documentary production capacity will benefit from a new focus on them.

    The VI Ahmed Attia's Award for the Dialogue of Cultures will be given to one of the documentaries entered this year in the dedicated section "MEDIMED Ready Made Projects" which shows new productions pitched in previous editions of the forum.
    Courtesy of APIMED, the winner will receive a 1.000,00 Euros cash prize, awarded to the producer of the best documentary pitched at MEDIMED.

  • The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) is inviting nominations for its annual MISA Press Freedom Award. The award is given to honour excellence in journalism.

    Excellence in journalism may be described as the upholding of ethics of the profession at all costs and the relentless pursuit of truth behind the bare facts. The award is also in recognition of the work of an individual or institution where this is considered to have made a significant contribution to the promotion of media freedom in the region. The excellence, which the award acknowledges, can be achieved either through reportage or in other ways such as media reform, lobbying or training.

    The MISA Press Freedom Award is open to all forms of media e.g. photography, print, video, internet, or media associations and institutions. Eligible individuals or institutions should be based in the Southern African region.

    The press freedom award can only be entered into through nominations. All nominations should be accompanied by a motivation not exceeding 1500 words stating how the nominee meets the above criteria and the CV of the nominee. Where applicable a copy of the work, or a portfolio of work, should be included with the nomination. Nominations should be sent to the MISA secretariat for the attention of the Regional Director by June 15, 2012.

    Postal: Private Bag 13386 Windhoek Namibia,
    Fax: +264 61 248016
    Email: info@misa.org

    Deadline: June 15, 2012

    For more information contact the Communications Officer on +264 61 232975 or birbal@misa.org or visit the website here:

  • In the beginning: The story of Nigeria's Nollywood is like Ben Okri's "river" in his novel, The Famished Road, "which becomes a road and branches out to the world."

    Like a river, which starts small from a tiny tributary, the industry began as a small effort by some persons with energetic entrepreneurial spirit, who wanted to do small budget films for commercial purposes; and suddenly branched out like an ocean into one huge market that today intersects the world of business interests of actors and actresses, script writers, production crews, distributors and regulatory bodies, even in the daunting face of threatening copyright infringement challenges.

    Berthing in Nigeria in 1992, this entertainment industry popularly known as Nollywood is acclaimed by industry players to rank as the third largest movie industry in the world after India's Bollywood and America's Nollywood. According to movie scholars and critics, Nollywood industry, which despite its relative young emergence in the global movie market has successfully become an enviable artistic cultural vehicle with which African narrative is communicated to the world, ironically emerged as a child of necessity to fill the gap created by the total collapse of the country's theatre and stage culture.

    According to industry sources, the failure of government in providing adequate security surveillance over life and property in the late 80s'and early 90s'resulted in the very negative manner at which the public viewed public shows, especially as it had to do with cinema, stage and theatrical performances with disenchantment.

    Also added to this ugly development "was the fact that there were inadequate television stations across the country with enough entertainment contents to satisfy the yearning needs of the viewing public, a development that led content providers to seek alternative."

    "Nollywood was a child of necessity" says Professor Ahmed Yerima, theatre artiste and former Artistic Director of The National Troupe of Nigeria. He said: "There were very few television stations and we got to a point where the TV stations that existed needed you, the producer, to get sponsorship for your productions."

    But for Obby Patrick Ebewo, Nigerian born and American based film scholar, "The collapse of movie-theatre going culture in the 1980s caused by incessant harassment of innocent citizen by criminals, the country's economic downturn and various problems affecting celluloid film production, gave rise to video film."

    The implication of this new development, according to Yerima, was that fast thinking and business minded entrepreneurs cashed into the opportunity provided by this yearning need; and aided with the arrival of VHS tapes embarked on a business trial and experimentation that was to transform the continent's entertainment turf.

    Prior to this boom, efforts had been made by some dramatists to evolve a film culture in Nigeria. It is on record that as early as the 1960s' theatre artistes in the mould of Hubert Ogunde, had recorded his plays on celluloid. Other artistes like Moses Adejumo and Duro Ladipo had equally attempted to reduce the cinematic art of film to a more popular medium for social commentary.

    In an effort to trace the emergence of Nollywood and the entire film culture in the country, Ebewo argues that "the current video film industry in Nigeria owes a huge debt to the pioneering efforts of Nigerian theatre, particularly practitioners of the Yoruba Travelling theatre, who branched off from mainstream theatre to experiment with celluloid."

    However, the Nollywood brand today owes its projection and commercial resourcefulness to Kenneth Nnebue, who according to market consensus, pioneered the raving popular media brand with his movie, Living in Bondage, in 1992. According to unconfirmed sources, since inception, "the industry rakes gross estimate of about 200 million dollars every year with a popularity that cuts across the entire continent of Africa to Europe and North America."

    If you ask any person from any part of Africa whether he knows or has heard about the country called Nigeria, he is most likely to answer in the affirmative. When you probe further to know if he understood what you meant, by asking him to mention one landscape feature of significance to identify Nigeria with, you would be shocked when he tells you, Nollywood.

    The next thing you may hear him say would be a reel out of names of stars in the industry, and mostly screen markers like Chinedu Ikedieze and Osita Iheme (Aki na Ukwa), Mama Gee, Patience Ozokwo, Toronto Dike, the bad girl of Nollywood, Desmond Elliot, Ramson Noah; the lover boys and some other patron markers like the late Sam Loco, Chinwentalu Agu, Pete Edochie, Enebeli Enebuwa and Alex Usifo.

    Some of these characters are the defining screen markers, around which script writers and producers of Nollywood video films weave their arresting stories about African experiences, and experiences that form the thematic template of these video films.

    Talking about the popularity of Nigerian video films, Ebewo submits that "Nollywood films are popular in Nigeria because they have indigenous contents and address issues relevant to a mass audience. He adds: "through an amalgam of narrative techniques (African story lines) and western technology, these films document and re-create socio-political and cultural events that occur within and beyond the borders."

    Supporting this view, Professor Onookome Okome of the School of English and Film Studies, University of Alberta, Canada states: "in Nigeria, Nollywood is popular because it speaks aspects to aspects of social life that many people live. It speaks to and debates social and cultural anxieties the way no other media had done before."

    Also aiding the popularity of the video film in Nigeria is the cheapness of the CD tapes across video shops located in every nook and cranny of the country. Ebewo adds: "The industry has also saved poor Nigerians the cost of procuring expensive films from the West. The price per film ranges from N150 to N200, something short of $100 dollars per film."

    Therefore, as a result of the cheapness of the product and its availability coupled with the fact that the thematic narratives of the filmic plots revolve around issues that the mass of people can easily lay claims to, help to endear the industry and its products to the public.

    In a nutshell, the popularity of Nigeria's video film is akin to the popularity enjoyed during the era of the pamphleteering narratives popularly known as Onitsha Market literature; the era that produced such popular titles like Veronica My Daughter, Beware Harlots of Many Friends, Rosemary and the Taxi Driver, Boys and Girls of Nowadays and Drunkards Believe Bar as Heaven. Nollywood films churned out in their thousands address such everyday concerns of the public ranging from subjects as diverse as love, hatred, envy, wickedness, magic, sorcery, bewitchment and such other socio-cultural and religio-political matrix.

    Prolificacy of films: Going by market indicators, it is no longer contestable that Nigeria is one of the highest producers of video films in the world. It is said that an average of 50 video films are churned out from different producers every week. This is understandably so going by the fact that producers of Nigerian films go for low or shoe string budgets. "Films can be produced with as little as $10,000", says Ejike Nwankwo, an independent film producer. He adds: "the low budget film makes it possible for us to shoot and complete production as quickly as possible, sometimes within a month or less. But sadly, it affects the quality of productions as everything is hurriedly done."

    Added to the problem of low budget films is the problem of inadequate infrastructure that can support the shooting and production of big budget films like Titanic and Passion of the Christ. Comparing the situation between Nigeria and South Africa, Professor Kole Omotosho, who played prominent role in the production of MNET's popular movie, Jacob's Cross argues that "in South Africa, there are structures and infrastructure for film producers and there is also a thriving video culture. So both exists unlike in Nigeria, where the infrastructure to produce films in the real sense of the word hardly exists."

    With low budget and inadequate infrastructure, movie producers are, therefore, left in the hands of mediocrity and unprofessionalism. It is against this background that one can explain the poor quality of video films produced from annoying scripts and bad technical finishing. Going by this disturbing scenario, movie business in Nigeria has, sadly, become a one man show. And just as Yerima observes "the producer who sits in Aba or Onitsha says what he wants to act in the film and that is how he does his casting."

    In the process of making the industry jack of all trade, "technicalities", Omotosho maintains, "is not a question of one person writing the script, doing the directing, doing the set. No, it is a communal thing. Film, theatre, television, these are communal forms which have different roles for everybody."

    As popular as Nigeria's Nollywood has become, can it now be said that the country is qualified to be described as a film nation? It is still doubtful whether through all that have been done and achieved so far one can come to that glorious conclusion.

    By applying all the film aesthetic standards, is it also possible to say, yea, Nigeria is now one of them? A country that can boast of the types of Danny Clover, Samuel Jackson or Denzel Washington, all renowned world film makers and producers? Regarding this issue, both scholars and industry players agree that a lot still needs to be done for the nation's Nollywood to be accepted into the global hall of fame. Not until then can the Nigerian film begin to take stand at such prestigious films fora like Cannes Film Festival, Oscar and Emmy Awards.

    Blurring any hope of launching into global acceptance in the near future, Yerima argues that Nigeria's video film is at best a television drama, which explains why most of the movies are shot in episodes. He said: "I doubt whether what we describe as the Nigerian film can be described as film in Europe and America. They will rather call it television drama or documentary. They were originally T.V. series. They were to be serialized. Because the market was there, they now got encouraged not to go to TV houses any more. So from TV drama series, they became movies."

    Nollywoodand representation: In the 20 years existence of Nollywood in Nigeria, the industry has been trailed with some disturbing criticisms. Despite the criticism about poor quality productions, which has been explained to be as a result of low budget and poor infrastructure, the industry is also accused of playing into the antics of western etiquettes by portraying in many of the movies the continent as a backward one.

    Nollywood movies are said to be replete with images of cultic, voodoo and fetish re-enactments that do not in any way represent African practices of the present generation. Another critical issue that has come under serious fire of criticism is the question of gender imbalance in movie narratology. Opinions and recent discourses reveal that scripts and directional interpretation of Nollywood movies still follow the patriarchal order and, therefore, favours men over the women.

    "Ninety five per cent of the video films down play the liberating and positive roles of women. Women characters are cast in such ways that they are either made appendages to men, object of sexual gratification or lust. I think it is time Nollywood re-told the narrative of the woman in the light of contemporary achievements," says Ejim Omalicha.

    Reacting to negative representation given to the continent's religious and cultural ethos, Professor Gbaazi Uko, a cultural anthropologist said: "The idea of constantly casting the continent in the Conradian mode is bad. It does not help to fight our cause. Why would it be that both the writers and producers of these scripts insist that western values would always prevail over the indigenous ones. Who are they trying to please?"

    For these aggrieved scholars and the entire viewing public, Nollywood may not have told the world the whole truth about Africa. But it has all the same done a lot to project the image of the continent across the globe. For these people, the industry should strive, as Sandra Obiago argues, and "enable the world to continue to see Africa, as unbelievably beautiful."

    In several quarters, involvement of producers in low budget films has been identified as one of the greatest banes militating against this fast rising industry. The poor quality of films experienced from the industry as well as the hurriedness with which these movies are shot and produced have all been attributed to low budgets.

    Nollywood films apart from being produced with shoe-string budgets ranging from $10,000 to $15,000 are also hurriedly done in less than ten days, and equally devoid of premiere, which is the only professional way of introducing a new movie to the viewing public. Says Ibiwikari Nengi: "When films are premiered and first viewed in cinemas, it makes it a lot easier for the producers to reap profit from their investments and also helps to checkmate piracy, which tries very hard to undermine the interest of producers."

    It is, therefore, heart warming to note the decision of some industry players who go for big budget films and have also concluded to return movies to the big screen. One industry source, who would not want to be mentioned told this reporter that "Stephanie Okereke's award winning movie, Through the Glass, grossed well over N10 million in two weeks after it premiered at Silverbird Cinema, Lagos, last year."

    Apart from enjoying economy of scale provided by big budget films, the effort also helped in bringing international touch to the previously domesticated industry by also incorporating international actors and actress into the entire enterprise. Okereke's movie was also said to have premiered in America, where it was shot and had in its cast Hollywood stars as well as Ghanaian and Kenyan stars.

    Other producers that have toed the line of producing big budget films are Emen Isong, who jointly produced Guilty Pleasure with Desmond Elliot and Uche Jombo; and Mahmood Ali Balogun, who produced Tango With Me.

    With all these litanies of achievements recorded in the industry, can it also be said that all is rosy for the movie industry in Nigeria? No. That is far from the truth. The movie industry in Nigeria, like in all other creative industries, suffers the hard bite of piracy and copyright infringements.

    Reports have it that Nigeria loses an estimated $50 million annually to international piracy of Nigerian movies and films in America, Canada and African countries. This sad situation is worsened by the fact that the existing distribution system has been stretched to the limit, which makes it impossible to satisfy the ever growing need of Nollywood audience.

    The absence of a structured and wide distribution network has equally accelerated the incidence of piracy and encouraged bootleggers whose activities magnify as the distribution problem worsens.

  • Inaugurated in 2005 by famous filmmakers like Martin Scorsese, the new ‘Cinémathèque française’ in Paris Bercy (France) presents ‘Ciné-Égyptomania’, a special event organised by Magda Wassef, critic and historian of Arab cinema. The event showcases 51 films, runs from 13 June to 5 August 2012 and includes a round table. Stephan Zaubitzer photographed the cinema theatres of downtown Alexandria and Cairo.

    Egyptian cinema has a rich history. This is the film that dominated all screens in the Arab world for decades. Melodramas or comedies mixed with songs and dances have revealed the filmmakers and stars who made it popular and special. A desire to anchor film Art in a more realistic view of society asserts itself in the 1950s, in a report to Nasserism oscillating between acceptance and criticism. Fifty films will be shown to form a journey through the history of this exceptional cinematography.

    Films include (titles in French):

    Al Soukariah - Hassan Al-Imam
    Alexandrie pourquoi ? - Youssef Chahine
    L'Amour aux pieds des pyramides - Atef al-Tayeb, Atef al-Tayeb
    Le Caire 30 - Salah Abou Seif
    Le Chant du courlis - Henri Barakat, Henri Barakat
    Le Chauffeur de bus - Atef al-Tayeb
    Le Collier et le Bracelet - Khaïri Bechara
    Le Costaud - Salah Abou Seif
    Les Démons de l'asphalte - Oussama Fawzy
    Les Eaux noires - Youssef Chahine
    L'épouse d'un homme important - Mohamed Khan
    Le Facteur - Hussein Kamal
    Une femme sur la route - Ezz Eddine Zoulficar
    Femmes du Caire - Yousry Nasrallah
    Fleur de henné - Hussein Fawzy
    Flirts de jeunes filles - Anwar Wagdi
    Gare centrale - Youssef Chahine
    L'Immeuble Yacoubian - Marwan Hamed
    L'Innocent - Atef al-Tayeb
    J'aime le cinéma - Oussama Fawzi
    Je demande une solution - Saïd Marzouk
    Un jour de ma vie - Atef Salem
    Karnak - Ali Badrakhan
    Kit Kat - Daoud Abdel Sayed
    Les Lunettes noires - Houssam Eddine Mostafa
    Ma femme est PDG - Fatine Abdel Wahab
    Madame la diablesse - Henri Barakat
    Méfie-toi de Zouzou - Hassan Al-Imam
    Microphone - Ahmed Abdalla
    Le Moineau - Youssef Chahine
    La Momie - Shady Abdel Salam
    Mort parmi les vivants - Salah Abou Seif
    Une nuit chaude - Atef al-Tayeb
    Les Nuits blanches - Hani Khalifa
    Palabres sur le Nil - Hussein Kamal
    Le Passage des miracles - Hassan Al-Imam, Hassan Al-Imam
    Le Prince de la ruse - Henri Barakat
    Les Rêves de Hind et Camélia - Mohamed Khan
    La Ruelle des fous - Tewfik Saleh
    Salama va bien - Niazi Mostafa
    La Sangsue - Salah Abou Seif
    La Seconde Epouse - Salah Abou Seif
    Un soupçon de peur - Hussein Kamal
    Table Ronde "Filmer l'Egypte" + Film "La Vie, mon amour"
    Tahrir : lève, lève la voix - Safaa Fathy
    La Terre - Youssef Chahine
    Terrorisme et Kebab - Chérif Arafa
    Le Terroriste - Nader Galal
    Trois sur la route - Mohamed Kamel Al Kalioubi
    Trop jeune pour l'amour - Niazi Mostafa
    Un/Zéro - Kamla Abou Zikri
    Vie ou Mort - Kamal Al-Cheikh
    La Vie, mon amour - Magdi Ahmed Ali

    Address: 51 rue de Bercy (Paris 12e)

  • In a counterturn to the mainstream media, Top TV has announced that it will screen the Nando's 'Diversity' ad, from today, 21 June 2012. The decision was taken following an approach from Nando's media agency, The MediaShop, to provide a broadcast platform for the advert.

    "We are a young, yet highly competitive player in the pay-tv space in South Africa. As such, we are prepared to 'push the envelope' and use our platform to promote freedom of expression and to encourage debate and conversation among our diverse subscriber base," says Jean Meyer, vice president: airtime sales of TopTV.

    "Broadcasting the topical and satirical first series of ZA News on Top One last year is testimony to this standpoint and we applaud Nando's for tackling often thorny, South African issues by giving them a satirical twist. The positive message contained in the advert, with the line, '... real South Africans love diversity...' is a sentiment that all South Africans should embrace."

    The advert will play out across nine commercial channels on the bouquet, Top One, Top Movies, Top Movies +2, Top Movies +24, Top History, Top Explore, Top Crime, Top Gospel and ASTV. The advert will be tagged with a promotional SMS element that offers subscribers the opportunity to win a R1000 Nando's voucher per week for a period of four weeks.

  • At 98 percent, Zimbabwe's literacy rate is the second highest in Africa. Among its population of 14 million, 6 million are said to be cell phone users. Yet since gaining independence in 1980, the country's regime has maintained a tight grip on the media. Some citizens believe the one national TV station, Zimbabwe Broadcasting Cooperation (ZBC), and few radio stations that do exist simply churn out propaganda.

    To fill the vacuum of trustworthy information, Zimbabweans now resort to news reports originating from outside the country's borders. "Sometimes I need time away from my daily routine, alone with my radio or television, but I can't tune into the ZBC poison," says Eugene Makaya, a vegetable vendor in the Harare suburb of Mbare. "It's like I'm being taken for granted or simply as a fool, so definitely I will go for the foreign media, using my free-to-air-decoder, or simply tune in to Studio 7 or Radio VOP on shortwave, where I feel the truth is being told."

    Makaya's experience is echoed by university dropout Petros Mabasa when it comes to television. "I'm better off watching news presented by SABC, BBC or Aljazeera than watching ZBC," he says. "It has nothing to offer economically marginalized people like us because most - if not - all of their time, they are talking politics, ignoring...our plight as marginalized communities. All they do is churn out hate speech - and I hate it," he adds.

    Even the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ), which is empowered to issue broadcasting licenses, had no words to defend the ZBC's poor-quality programming.
    In an interview with the BAZ, chairperson Tafataona Mahoso, said: "Who am I to say this or that? Go out to the people there and ask them, carry out surveys and use whatever information you get from them."

    Local media expert Ernest Mudzengi believes that ZBC has long abused its monopoly, resulting in viewers' lost trust. "People are not happy with what is being offered locally," he says. "Basically, what we need to do is to free the airwaves so that people can have a wide choice to choose from."

    According to the Zimbabwe All Media Products Survey (ZAMPS), exiled radio stations such as Radio VOP, Studio 7 and Short Wave Radio Africa now attract the majority of listeners in Zimbabwe. Meanwhile, over 60 per cent of TV owners have abandoned state-controlled Zimbabwe television in favour of free-to-air regional and international channels.

    To tap into international broadcasts, some Zimbabweans are making use of new technology. Particularly popular these days are free-to-air-decoders. They are sold for a price between 45 and 55 euros; there is no need for a licence.

    Meanwhile, the Zimbabwean government has requested all the exiled radio stations to register and regularize their operations. And yet, a disturbing trend where only President Mugabe's loyalists have been awarded the operating licenses has been noted.

  • Sony Professional Solutions confirmed training support for Nairobi gathering of African broadcasters and filmmakers for 4th annual Broadcast & Film conference

    Japan-based audio visual equipment manufacturer, Sony has confirmed it will be joining Africa’s media professionals, broadcasters and film-makers at the Broadcast, Film and Music Africa (BFMA) conference to be held in Nairobi over 10-11 July.

    Billed as the largest gathering of broadcast professionals and film-makers in Africa, BFMA will this year celebrate and review the strides made by the continent in developing creative content and broadcasting.

    Sony’s Dubai office confirmed the announcement, noting that Africa’s broadcast industry remained an important market for its professional range of film equipment.  “We are excited and proud of Africa’s growing broadcast and film industry. Sony continues to develop new technologies for its equipment that will help the creative and news industry become more expressive in their craft,” said Vahid Macvandi, Marketing Manager for Sony Professional Solutions.

    Ryan Moroney, AITEC Africa Events Director, confirmed that BFMA would host a multimedia workshop by Sony on “How to choose the right video formats”.  “We are also delighted to have a renowned producer and professional cameraman Nick Hughes as another Sony workshop facilitator, who will offer tips on ‘advanced camera settings’”, he said.

    Other training workshops at the conference include one on digital microphones, “ The AES-42 Protocol: The benefits of transporting audio from microphones in a digital format and the methods used to achieve this”, by Ryan Burr of Sennheiser from the UK.

    Brian Whitehead of the Creative Arts University in the UK will be facilitating workshops at the BFMA on “Branding and creating an identity for portfolio development” and “Case study: The design and repackaging of a definitive collector’s piece.”

  • CNBC Africa, a CNBC International franchise owned by Africa Business News, has entered into a joint venture with Mozambique's state broadcaster, Televisão de Moçambique (TVM), and will open a bureau in Maputo. CNBC Africa's country bureau representative will be Sunnyboy Mshengu.

    The Maputo bureau joins its sister offices in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Nairobi, Lagos, Abuja, Windhoek, Libreville and Lusaka, making it the seventh African country to boast a CNBC Africa presence. CNBC Africa plans to have bureaux in 20 African territories by the end of 2014.

    The link between Maputo and CNBC Africa's Sandton (Johannesburg) studios is currently being tested, and should be finalised in time for coverage of Mozambique's National Independence Day on 25 June.

    It makes perfect sense for CNBC Africa to establish a permanent presence in Mozambique, says Sid Wahi, the ABN Group's vice president for business development. "Since 2001, Mozambique has been one of the world's top 10 countries for annual average GDP growth. This is a country that has overcome a decades-long civil war and tackled massive socio-economic challenges, to become one of the most exciting economies globally," says Wahi.

    "It is therefore quite clear that in order for CNBC Africa to fulfil its mandate as the continent's leading source of accurate, reliable and actionable business and finance information, it must have its finger firmly on the pulse of the Mozambican economy."

    .

  • African journalists currently on a study tour in the People's Republic of China have applauded China Central Television (CCTV) after the network announced that it will provide more coverage to Africa to highlight development and positive issues about the continent to the rest of the world.

    The Beijing-based Chinese media outlet, covering most parts of the world, currently broadcast just a one hour program for Africa, besides its 24 hour news service, and has an African headquarter based in Nairobi Kenya.

    The Vice Director of CCTV Li Bin Friday told a team of 34 African journalists (including the Press Union of Liberia's Assistant Secretary General D. Kaihenneh Sengbeh) that his entity seeks to give a "better face" to Africa as a developing continent, unlike what appears on western TV stations.

    Mr. Li told the journalists during a roundtable at the gigantic structure of the giant Chinese TV station that CCTV current has its African bureau headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, with just 11 journalists to cover the entire continent. Before the bureau was established months back, he said the entity solely depended on western media to report stories on Africa, but said this was not fair was to treat Africa.

    "It is not fair to report Africa from the western eye," he admitted. "We have plans to enlarge our presence in Africa," he continued, disclosing that at least 15 more African correspondents will be recruited next year to boost up the CCTV coverage of Africa.

    Many giant western media are accused of portraying Africa as a continent of darkness from where nothing good or positive comes except increasing wars, diseases, starvation, mass corruption and backwardness, among others.

    Mr. Li said CCTV interest in the continent is to promote its development, showcase its positive attributes and most especially to balance the stories that come from there.

    China as a nation has a huge interest and presence in Africa and has undertaken massive infrastructure development across the continent including the construction of the African Union's new headquarters.

    Mr. Li however noted that CCTV's interest in Africa is not to promote Chinese businesses but to rather highlight the cordial relationship existing between African nations and China, too promote economic and infrastructure development and to tell the true African story to the rest of the word--void of biases and misrepresentations.

    "We are planning to recruit more African journalists to highlight the development in Africa," Mr. Li noted and asked African journalists on the visit to suggest how they would want their continent should be presented to the rest of the world.

    Many of the journalists including Liberia's D K Sengbeh welcomed CCTV planned expansion coverage of Africa, hoping that their respective countries which have growing Chinese population and investments, would benefit from the international coverage.

    The journalists said they were pleased that CCTV was providing a balanced coverage of events in Africa, highlighting the continents progress, and commended Mr. Li for the additional time the media outlet would give the continent.

    They urged CCTV to expand its bureau of the continent from Nairobi to other parts, at least on a regional level, to enable it get better coverage of the entire Africa.

    The media practitioners from Liberia (D K Sengbeh and Police Spokesman George Benedict Bardue), Madagascar, Nigeria, Algeria, Sudan, Tanzania, South Sudan, Sierra Leone, Malawi, Zambia, Ethiopia, Cameroon, Seychelles and Uganda are attending a media seminar for senior journalists and editors of developing African countries.

    The Chinese government is footing every cost of the training as part of its human resource capacity building support to the continent, particularly the media. The participants of the training organized by the International Radio, Film and Television Media Research Center of State Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) are learning more about the Chinese media, culture and people. They are also having the opportunity to learn about the operations and roles of the media in each other's countries and to enable them used the positive attributes back home.

    The journalists, as part of the training program, are visiting several parts of China including participating in national forums and events such as the 18th Shanghai Film and TV festival and the Mongolian Forum which climaxed over the weekend--all giving a deep insight of the bustling Chinese radio and TV industries.

  • Tribeca Film has picked up 'War Witch.'

    Tribeca Film has conjured up US rights to "War Witch," the Kim Nguyen film that had its North American preem at the Tribeca Film Festival in the spring.
    Congo-shot tale starring newcomer Rachel Mwanza world preemed at the Berlin Film Festival, where Mwanza snagged a Silver Bear for actress. She also took home the actress kudo at Tribeca, which awarded the film the laurel for narrative feature.

    Story centers on a young girl who is kidnapped by African rebels and forced to become a soldier. Alain Bastien, Serge Kanyianda, Ralph Prosper and Mizinga Mwinga also are among the cast. Written and directed by Nguyen, pic was produced by Pierre Even and Marie-Claude Poulin of Item 7.

    Tribeca Film, the Gotham-based distributor loosely affiliated with the Tribeca fest, aims to release the movie on multiple platforms in early 2013. Distribution deal was inked by Tribeca Film's Nick Savva with Nicholas Brigaud-Robert of Films Distribution.

  • Television Viewers in Zimbabwe Have Been Gripped By Anxiety Following the Expiry of South Africa's May Deadline to Switch Off Its Free to Air Channels.

    If disconnected, viewers face the dismal prospect of either going back to ZTV or the more expensive option of paying for Digital Satellite Television (DStv) which ranges from US$10 to US$72 per month depending on the package one likes.

    In February this year, Sentech, a South African television signal carrier, was ordered by the Johannesburg High Court to encrypt its signal within the next three months, a development expected to see many Zimbabweans losing access to the neighbouring country's free-to-air TV channels.

    Sentech distributes free-to-air channels such as South African Broadcasting Corpo-ration (SABC) 1, 2 and 3 among others, which are popular among Zimbabweans who use Wiztech, Philibao, Fortec Star and Vivid decoders to gain free access to the channels.

    The ultimatum to disconnect viewers from outside South Africa followed eBotswana, a subsidiary of South Africa's eTV, which last year approached the Johannesburg High Court, seeking an order compelling the signal carrier to encrypt its signal, as failure to do so had given rise to signal piracy.

    The order, if implemented, would mean viewers from Zimbabwe, Malawi, Lesotho, Namibia, Angola and Mozambique will no lo-nger have access to South African television.

    "We are very much worried about that as we will lose a lot in terms of entertainment since our ZBC has since been a disappointment having degenerated to levels that are not even watchable," said Tamara Tshuma of Kingsdale.

    She added: "I think viewers will have to just sacrifice and subscribe to DStv although it might be too expensive for some people, because truly speaking who can withstand the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC)?"

    Isabel Ncube, another Bulawayo resident disturbed by the expiry of the three months period said she feared losing entertainment and Christian programmes. She urged South African authorities to be lenient on Zimba-bweans as the removal of SABC would create a vacuum that would be difficult to fill.

    Two years ago, information and entertainment starved Zimbabweans lost free access to South Africa's private eTV. Rodrick Fayayo, Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association coordinator, said: "Obviously the cutting-off of SABC will have serious consequences as you know that the majority of the residents have Wiztech, which means they have a serious problem with ZBC which is not serving their interests."

    He said the removal of SABC channels would result in the reduction of alternative sources of information. Anglistone Sibanda, National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations western region secretary-general, said the departure of SABC would deal a heavy blow on the people of Matabeleland, the majority of who have no access to ZBC.

    "SABC has been our television station ever since as we cannot rely on ZBC, which has even failed to implement reforms prescribed by the Global Political Agreement," he said.

    Sibanda said SABC should wait to cut-off Zimbabwe until elections, to counter ZANU-PF propaganda that usually overwhelms ZBC during polls.

    He added that it would be difficult for many to subscribe to DStv, adding that external radio stations such as The Voice of America's Studio 7 would have to increase their hours of broadcast to cover up for the gap created by SABC.

    The SABC channels have become popular with thousands of Zimbabweans, who are frustrated by poor programming, a dearth on local broadcasting standards and the lack of variety from the only broadcaster, ZBC.

    Zimbabwe has the highest broadcast piracy rate in Africa of 92 percent, as people use Wiztech and Philibao decoders to decrypt South African signal career, Sentech's signals.

  • Talking Drum Entertainment, a new UK distributor specialising in black films, will release Nigerian romantic drama "Tango With Me" in UK cinemas on 24 August 2012. Bookings include screens at Odeon, Vue and Cineworld.

    The film stars Genevieve Nnaji and Joseph Benjamin as a young couple facing complex issues in their marriage. Mahmood Ali-Balogun directs and produces for his company Brickwall Communications.

    Talking Drum’s Dapo Oshiyemi said: “Our research estimates that there are over 5.5 million people in the UK who are interested in films based on black history, culture, society and lifestyle and we aim to connect that audience to the filmmakers who make that type of content thereby helping them achieve their commercial objectives while ensuring the audience is entertained, inspired and informed.”

  • AITEC roots for the promotion of Africa's creative industry

    Broadcasters and filmmakers in Africa will gather in Nairobi, Kenya at the fourth annual Broadcast, Film & Music Africa (BFMA) conference from 10-11 July 2012. Sean Moroney, chairman of AITEC Africa, organisers of the BFMA Conference, answers questions about the role of BFMA in developing Africa's creative content industry.

    Sean Moroney, chairman of AITEC Africa
    Why did AITEC Africa start the annual Broadcast, Film & Music Africa conference?

    Sean Moroney:What we call the creative content industry has huge untapped potential in Africa. Creative talent and energy abounds across the continent but we need to channel this into creative activities that bring financial returns and increase income earning power.

    So, we decided to develop a two-day business event that provides an in-depth technology and business briefing, focusing on the best practices across the continent and internationally. All this is to accelerate the growth of our film and broadcast industries.

    You have been organising the Annual Broadcast, Film & Music Africa for the last four years. What has this forum achieved so far?

    Moroney: We have exposed a large number of emerging enterprises in the sector to potential partners, suppliers, investors and customers. That is what we aim to do with each of our events.

    Through this conference, you intend to nature a more vibrant creative industry in East Africa, what loopholes or weaknesses have you observed over the time?
    Moroney: In East Africa in particular there is a huge unmet demand for local content. Viewers want content that they relate to their lives and aspirations. To some extent Nollywood has filled this gap but low quality series from Europe and South America are still bought by broadcasters as cheap content. So, local content development remains limited.

    What are some of the appropriate solutions to these challenges?

    Moroney: We need to find new business models, and subsidies to develop and promote local production initiatives. The region needs to be promoted as a creative industries destination for international and local production ventures.

    This is why this year, we have timed our conference to coincide with the Zanzibar International Film Festival, taking place over the same period, to maximise the attraction for international industry stakeholders to visit the region and explore its potential.

    What role do you expect international stakeholders in Africa's broadcasting and film industry like Sony, and Samsung, to play in the continent's quest for high quality content?

    Moroney: Suppliers like Sony and Samsung provide world-class technology that the industry needs to achieve high-quality production and broadcasts. Beyond that, they can educate their customers to achieve higher levels of excellence.

    That's why we are working with Sony to hold training workshops during the conference on production quality techniques. More of this sort of training needs to be done in the region and perhaps through industry associations.

    Africa is currently migrating from analogue to digital broadcasting migration; however, many countries are struggling on the road. Which markets can East Africa emulate to ensure that the migration is a success?

    Moroney: I don't think any country has developed an ideal migration strategy. Different lessons can be learnt from a wide range.

    Infringement of copyrights of global content developers in East Africa has persisted despite some steps by the various governments. What exactly needs to be done to deal with this problem?

    Moroney: Government leadership, with consultation and input from industry stakeholders - also at a regional level. So EAC, for example, could play a role in developing standards across the region, to provide guidelines and key milestones to achieve across the region.

    What challenges will the forthcoming conference Annual Broadcast, Film & Music Africa address?

    Moroney: We have two major focus areas: Content Development and Content Distribution. Content development faces huge challenges in terms of lack of resources and lack of capacity and investment. We will be looking at alternative or new business models that can leverage on international or regional partnerships.

    And in Distribution, there are dramatic and exciting new developments in the market, including mobile broadcasting, the launch of digital, which opens up multiple distribution channels, as well as new satellite technologies, which will also spread services and drive down costs. All these developments will be covered in detail.

    Apart from the Sony workshop, are there any other unique aspects to this year's conference?
    Moroney: For the first time this year, we have introduced music as a conference focus area. This is a rapidly growing industry, with a huge talent pool that through convergence with broadcasting and film-making will multiply its revenue-earning potential.

    This conference largely covers participants in East Africa are they plans to get the rest of Africa involved by taking it to other regions?

    Moroney: The conference is definitely pan-African. It is our intention to grow it into the continent's leading annual technology and business event for the electronic media and creative content industries.

    With government and industry support we can grow it into the annual must-attend event for stakeholders from throughout the continent that reinforces East Africa's status as a creative industries business and investment destination.

  • Film projectors will get the axe as the cinema chain moves to digital technology.

    Cinema chain Ster-Kinekor Theatres will replace all of its screens countrywide with digital technology over the next 12 months in a deal that will probably be worth nearly R100m. About 400 screens are affected by the move.

    The company, which is owned by Primedia, has signed an agreement with Arts Alliance Media, a digital cinema equipment supplier, to install the technology at all of its 59 sites. Roughly 12% of its screens are already digital.

    Ster-Kinekor Theatres CEO Fiaz Mahomed tells TechCentral that the majority of the new screens will use 2K projectors (2 048-pixel width), but some sites will get higher-definition — and costlier — 4K projectors (4 096-pixel width).

    The two companies are working to establish the optimum equipment configuration for the new installations. All the sites will be kitted out with Arts Alliance Media’s proprietary TMS software, called Screenwriter, to manage all digital screens and content. Mahomed says the move will mean “rapid and in certain instances instantaneous release of movie titles as well as alternative content such as sporting events and live concerts”.

    He says moving to digital will allow the company to screen more 3D content. It should also provide superior picture quality, new genres of film content and closer alignment of local release dates with international ones.

    A second phase of the project will involve connecting the cinemas together to allow content to be distributed automatically from a central office. For now, though, movies will be distributed to individual cinemas using hard drives.  

  • y bringing together the media research industry across African borders, the Pan African Media Research Organisation (PAMRO) aims to produce harmonised, compatible and comprehensive audience measurement data for the entire continent. By promoting media research in Africa, PAMRO aims to assist in uncovering the opportunities that exist for growth and development in all African countries. One of PAMRO's key vehicles for bringing people together from around the continent is its annual conference, the PAMRO All Africa Media Research Conference.
    This year's event takes place at Lake Victoria, Uganda, from 26-29 August 2012 - delegates from across the continent come together to touch base at what is regarded as the premier event on the pan-African media research calendar.

    "The PAMRO conference has grown into a remarkable networking and learning opportunity, and provides a valuable forum for intra-country communication and the exchange of ideas," says PAMRO president and MD of Telmar Media Systems, Jennifer Daniel.

    From the measurement and status of radio, print, TV, internet and outdoor across Africa, to future trends and challenges in the media audience field, the programme for the 14th PAMRO Conference covers a range of media research topics, based around the theme "From Local to Global: Media Research in a Developing World".

    Speakers from Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa will be joined by experts from as far afield as the United Kingdom, Hong Kong and Switzerland.

    Romi Hofer of GfK Switzerland will look at approaches to facing the challenges of media research. Thanks to digitalisation and advanced technologies, the media content available to consumers has become so comprehensive and multi-layered, and on such a variety of platforms, that traditional research approaches are no longer sufficient for providing planners and researchers with the correspondingly complex data they need. Hofer will outline how GfK is tackling these challenges, presenting the company's latest measurement approach being employed to meet the demands of an ever-changing media environment.

    Keld Nielsen, global business development director of TNS Media Research, UK, and Laurence Chausson, marketing director of Kantar Media, UK, will give their perspectives on new media measurement.

    Looking specifically at television measurement, Craig Johnson and Candice Ulrich from Nielsen SA will explore the route to installing peoplemeter panels in Africa to measure television viewing. While low-tech television diaries are a good source for supplying TV currency data, electronic peoplemeter panels are able to deliver much richer forms of data to broadcasters and marketers. Johnson and Ulrich will explore the route to installing peoplemeter panels within the African context and look at the advantages for media stakeholders.

    James Fergusson, manager of TNS, Singapore, and Karin du Chenne, MD of TNS Johannesburg, will demonstrate the crucial role which mobile will play in how Africans access products and services, and will highlight the critical factors behind successfully utilising mobile as a marketing and communications channel.

    Other confirmed speakers include Andrzej Suski of Millward Brown Africa and Middle East, who asks whether multi-channel campaigns in Africa can maximise return on investment.

    Suski looks at whether some media are more effective than others in the African context, and if so, are they the most efficient in achieving brand-building goals? In markets which lack well-established media currencies or any formal (or even intuitive) understanding of media interactions, is spreading the marketing message across various touch points the right way to ensure brands get noticed, or would maximizing the weight behind one channel provide best impact for the campaign as a whole?

    A number of other speakers will also be presenting at this year's conference, including Steve Garton, MD of Media for Greater China and global head of Media at Synovate, Hong Kong, Joe Otin of Ipsos Sub-Saharan Africa, and Adelaide McKelvey of Continental Outdoor Media, to name a few.

    Finally, there will be updates on media audience research activities from PAMRO member countries across the continent.

    The 14th PAMRO All Africa Media Research Conference runs from Sunday 26 August 2012 to Wednesday 29 August 2012, at the Speke Resort and Conference Centre in Munyonyo, Lake Victoria, Uganda.

    The conference will start on Sunday, 26 August with registration in the late afternoon, and presentations and papers beginning on the Monday. The conference will end around midday on Wednesday, 29 August, after lunch.

    Programme highlights include a dinner, a breakfast session, conference outing, and the Speciality Dinner where the Piet Smit Achiever Award will be awarded by the president of PAMRO. Named after PAMRO's late founder and honorary president, the Piet Smit Achiever Award is presented each year to the individual or group who has made a significant contribution to media research on the continent.

    For more, go to the website here:

  • Eutelsat Communications and the government of Madagascar announced the renewal for seven years of a capacity lease on the Eutelsat satellite 16A, at 16 ° is. These resources provide distribution of the first public television station, Television Malagasy (TVM), and national radio, Radio Madagasikara (MNC), on the whole territory of Madagascar.

    This contract renews a lease already initiated in 2006 and repeated in 2009. It secures the long-term resource for leading Radio and Television Malagasy Madagasikara, allowing them to supply power to the heads of wireless networks that bring together the country and serve Malagasy households.

    Commenting on the agreement, Harry Lawrence Rahajason, Minister of Communication of Madagascar highlighted the trust between both parties: "Since the beginning of our collaboration, Eutelsat has shown a remarkable quality of service. This new contract reflects our confidence in the ability to maintain Eutelsat, in the long run, this operational excellence. "

  • The official countdown to Africa’s premiere film finance and coproduction forum kicks off with a bang this year. With less than six weeks to go to the 3rd Durban FilmMart, organisers are gearing up for the ‘behind-the scenes’ film event of the year. The Durban FilmMart Delegate Registration is officially open promising access to key experts, broadcasters, financiers at the new venue Blue Waters Hotel on the Golden Mile of Durban’s beachfront.

    Created as a partnership project between the Durban Film Office and the Durban International Film Festival, the Durban FilmMart is positioned to facilitate the development of African film content and ultimately create further business and employment opportunities within the sector.  “It is with great excitement and much anticipation that we announce the countdown to the Durban FilmMart,” said Durban Film Office’s Toni Monty.

    Last month the official selection of Durban FilmMart projects comprising 11 feature films and 12 documentaries was announced.  Filmmakers who are not in the official selection still have an opportunity to register and attend Durban FilmMart as delegates. Delegates will have the opportunity to partake in a majority of the Durban FilmMart’s events, said Monty. “This will be a unique informative platform for delegates seeking stimulation and growth within their professional careers”.

    The Durban FilmMart 2012 programme will be presented in three strands – the Finance Forum, Master Classes and Africa in Focus. Delegates of the Durban FilmMart will have full access to the Master Classes held with leading experts in the areas of Finance, Marketing, Distribution, Project Packaging, co-production, New Media and other topics. Delegates will also have the opportunity to attend the Africa in Focus range of seminars and panel discussions featuring local and international filmmakers and industry experts with a special focus of African issues and initiatives.  Delegates seeking co-production partners will also have a chance to interact during several scheduled networking sessions.

    Partners and supporters of the Durban FilmMart 2012 include International Film Festival Rotterdam's (IFFR) CineMart, the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA), the Berlinale Film Festival as well as Dubai Film Connection, and several others. Also on board this year is the Hot Docs Documentary Film Festival- North America’s largest documentary film festival, which through the inaugural Hot Docs - Blue Ice Fund Group initiative will be facilitating a financing and mentorship program to six African film grantees, awarded earlier this year. The initiative, which was founded in 2011, will fly in the grantees and a highly acclaimed panel of film experts to join in the Durban FilmMart 2012 programe.

    So far 18 broadcasters will be in attendance at the Durban FilmMart 2012. These include the presence of a delegation of African broadcasters facilitated through the Canal France International (CFI) as part of the French Season in South Africa involvement with the Durban International Film Festival. A dozen African broadcasters will by visiting South Africa attending CFI’s annual conference and these African broadcasters will attend the Durban FilmMart DOC Circle pitches and take part in the one-on-one meetings.

    A number of European and North American financiers and co-producers will take one-on-one meetings with selected projects at the Finance Forum. International guests  confirmed so far include Kisha Cameron Dingle (Completion Films), Joslyn Barnes (Louverture Films), Alice Ramsey (Bankside Films), Meinolf Zurhorst (ZDF Arte), Remi Burah (Arte France), Simon Kilmurry (Point of View), Kate Townsend (BBC Storyville), Cynthia Kane (ITVS), Zanele Mthembu (etv) and Dominique Young (Al Jazeera).

    Heading up the expert panel this year are facilitators from the European Audio Visual Entrepreneurs – EAVE a professional training, project development and networking organization for producers within the audiovisual sector.  The Durban FilmMart is excited to be building a new partnership with EAVE who aim to provide training opportunities and bring producers of different regions together in order to facilitate co-production relationships. EAVE representatives attending the Durban FilmMart include EAVE president Alan Fontain, Roshanak Behesht Nediad who will present a masterclass on Finance and Jacques Akchoti who will present a masterclass on script writing.

    Peter Rorvik, director of the Durban International Film Festival added that this year’s line-up would add value to the development of African Cinema. Said Rorvik; “With this our third edition, the Durban FilmMart is set to spread its wings and build on its already significant contributions to the development of the African film Industry.”

    The 3rd edition of Durban FilmMart takes place from 20-23 July 2012 during the Durban International Film Festival and is open for delegate registration. For more information view the delegate registration process online at the official website; www.durbanfilmmart.com

  • Digital satellite television company MultiChoice could be losing revenue running into hundreds of thousands of dollars a year as Magic Box - a free-to-air satellite receiver that can pirate DStv signals - is becoming popular in Zimbabwe. Magic Box broadcasts MultiChoice's DStv channels through intercepting satellite signals provided to genuine Multichoice subscribers. But MultiChoice Zimbabwe is not aware of the new craze.

    "I am not aware of this development. I will consult with our technical team and find out what is happening," said Elizabeth Dziva, MultiChoice Zimbabwe public relations manager. Satellite decoder dealers say the Magic Box has been around since early last year, selling for an average of 120, and one can access the full bouquet without any interruption. The DStv full bouquet costs $73 a month.

    "We buy the decoders from Dubai and China, but there are some cheaper ones coming from Botswana," said a satellite installer. Those that are coming from Botswana are a result of a massive campaign by Botswana's MultiChoice to block Magic Box from pirating the signal early this year.

    Billy Sekgororoane, general manager for MultiChoice Botswana, was quoted in the Botswana press as saying MultiChoice was aware of Magic Box's existence and they are working on a way to deal with it.

    "We are very much aware of these new decoders; we have actually been following it for some time now," Sekgororoane said. Dealers say for the decoders to intercept the signal they use two satellite dishes facing each other. The biggest loser in this new craze could be the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, which is also accessed through DStv. Locals are refusing to pay their television licences, leaving the state broadcaster with revenue from DStv. But with DStv accessed by many for free, there will be less revenue.

  • The state controlled Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) has approached the country’s judges pleading for the arrest of millions of people resisting to pay radio and television licenses.

    “We are broke because our source of funds comes from licenses and we are owed millions of dollars by viewers and listeners. We do not have a proper tracking mechanism to thousands of tickets we are issuing daily. The problem we are having is our police and judiciary are not cooperating with us,”a senior ZBC  Manager  who requested not to be named told ZimEye,

    ZBC is demanding US$30 per year from motorists with radio receivers, US$50 for television and radio house hold owners.

    The Official said during their engagement with the judiciary it emerged that it needs more than two months for it to clear millions of  ZBC radio and television license defaulters. “They said they do not have the manpower to deal with our cases, and promised to accommodate us”, he said.

    The bankrupt state broadcaster in an effort to raise income from the resisting public, has dispatched officers at police roadblocks, car parks, to collect listeners and viewers licenses.

    The ZBC official said the company needs the revenue to cover for ZANU (PF) propaganda programmes which ‘are not being paid for’. He said advertisers were shunning the broadcaster because of the programs.

    “We cannot talk of adverts here as advertisers are no longer forthcoming. Flow of funds is deteriorating and we are failing to pay our workers in time – the reason why we are paying our workers in batches,” he added.

    Zimbabweans have to date been reluctant to pay radio and television licences arguing that they have abandoned the state broadcaster due to propaganda transmitted on a daily basis.

    The issue of the freedom of the airwaves has remained outstanding issue in the global political pact, as the ZANU (PF) side of the inclusive government refuses to release its control on ZBC.

  • Bright Malopa, former CEO at state owned broadcaster, Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC), bemoaned a court ruling last week, where about 300 members of staff of the broadcaster have lost a case over merger of television and radio sections that led to loss of jobs. The High Court in Blantyre on Tuesday 12 June 2012, dismissed an application for judicial review on the merger of MBC and Television Malawi (TVM).

    Presiding judge Justice Healy Potani dismissed the application in his draft ruling describing it as "incompetent". Potani ruled that the issues raised are purely employment matters suitable for the Industrial Relations Court.

    "The matter in its entirety, that is both on the relevant law and the facts, tends to show that while the applicants may be entitled to complain about the effect of the merger on the respective employments with the first respondent [MBC], they have no standing to question the procedure leading to the merger," he said.

    The judge conclude that the matter in respect of the applicants seeking judicial review is purely an employment one involving private law rights with no trappings of public law.

    "... and therefore ought not to be entertained," he declared.

  • A Burundian appeals court must reverse the ruling against a journalist sentenced to life in prison on vague terrorism charges, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

    A High Court in the eastern town of Cankuzo today found Hassan Ruvakuki, a reporter for local radio station Bonesha FM and French government-funded broadcaster Radio France Internationale, and 13 other defendants guilty of “participating in terrorist attacks” under the country’s penal code, Patrick Nduwimana, the interim director at Bonesha FM, told CPJ.

    The verdict was based on Ruvakuki’s November 2011 trip to a rebel-held area along Burundi’s border with Tanzania, during which he recorded an audio statement from Pierre Claver Kabirigi, a former police officer who claimed to be the leader of a new rebel group, the Front for the Restoration of Democracy-Abanyagihugu. When Ruvakuki returned to the capital, Bujumbura, security agents arrested him, searched his home, and questioned him over his alleged links to the rebel group, according to news reports.

    Ruvakuki’s defense counsel said the judges had not been impartial during the trial and that the government was pressuring the court to find a conviction, according to local journalists. Defense lawyer Onesimus Kabayabaya plans to file an appeal once he receives the court ruling, Nduwimana told CPJ.

    “It’s the duty of any reporter to interview both sides in a conflict,” said CPJ East Africa Consultant Tom Rhodes. “That is what Hassan Ruvakuki tried to do. We call on the court of appeals to overturn the conviction.”

  • In the 80's, the primary purpose of buying a television set was solely for viewing motion pictures, less attention was paid to its picture quality.

    Over the years, the need for vivid picture quality and weight reduction became the chief priorities in the TV market.

    However, this has led to the new generation breeds of TV's classified with their display platforms such as LCD, Plasma, HDTV, LED and 3D viewing.

    Aside from the competitive demand of high graphical display qualities and ultra slim TV, these new breed ultra-slim panel TVs are built with multifunctional advantage and incredible features that gives the device computing capabilities that are capable of rendering the desktop PC in homes useless.

    They are designed with built-in Wi-Fi, app store, web browser, media streaming and smartphone control.

    Their monster screen is flanked by the thinnest of glistening material mostly of choice metals like silver bezels, and they are designed so slim in terms of depth for light weightiness, flexibility and space management. The ultra-slim built keeps one wondering exactly how their vendors managed to put the tech device together.

    Some LED set come with up to 1,920 x 1,080 resolution coupled with Free-view HD and Free-sat HD tuners. Their Playbacks naturally include 3D in all manner of conversion frames (frame-sequential, side-by-side, etc), plus 2D-3D conversion and Auto-stereoscopy that displays stereoscopic images with binocular perception of 3D display without the use of special glasses.

    Their image engines gives mega contrast ratio as they scrub pictures by its proprietary 3D Hyper-Real Engine, thus giving an accurate colour reproduction that matches the solid contrast range.

    Connectivity options for these flat panels are so rich and advance, Wi-Fi, Ethernet, USB (for media playback from storage devices), HDMI inputs, Bluetooth, VGA inputs, AV in/out, Memory card slots Audio Return Channel (ARC) (used to hook the TV up to a home cinema system) and plus component accessories like wireless min-keyboard and full key remote with track-pad that serves as control pads for pre-installed games.

    Other jacks include an optical audio output for non-HDMI sound systems and two RF inputs to feed the double tuners.

    These ultra-slim televising sets are no longer just for TV viewing, they are branded as Smart TV, and offers full suite of connected features, including its Application store, VOD services, full web-browser, social hub for social networking and All-share media streaming.

    These features are accessed from the Smart Hub, with gorgeous coloured animated user-interface packed with user friendly icons. Some have PiP window that allows one to continue watching television while in the menu arena.

    Useful apps like Google Maps and weather notifying apps like AccuWeather, helps in location services and weather forecast so you don't have to wait for the timely weather forecast on local TV stations before planning your day!

    As for Video on Demand, apps like Netflix, LOVEFiLM and Acetrax, are readily available on/for download on these TV's. This implies that the Box-office is at your finger tip and having the 'cinematic' experience right in your home with absolute clarity! These apps allow you to stream new movies directly to the TV set; however it requires a subscription fee. You can still get freebies streamed to the set from VOD (by BBC iPlayer) and YouTube, amongst others.

    The slinky frame house high-end speakers, which produces awesome sound effect gear with SRS TruSurround and widen soundstage of up to five-band equalizer.

    However, the audio performance could be a little disappointment when compared with the quality of the display; thus for thumbs-up sound effect one should partner it with dedicated sound bar.

  • New DVB-S2 standard improvements break speed records on a 72 MHz Ku transponder operated by Eutelsat.
     
    Newtec has ushered in a new era of bandwidth efficiency by breaking the magical 0.5 Gbps two way throughput over a 72 MHz transponder on a Eutelsat satellite.
     
    Testing was performed at Eutelsat’s teleport in Rambouillet during the night in order not to disturb crucial daytime sport transmissions. A significant margin was taken in cloud cover conditions to ensure the tests were relevant for real-life high availability services in broadcast and telecom markets.
     
    The tests were carried out in several steps to validate different market application scenarios. In the two-way high speed backbone tests, Newtec combined its Bandwidth Canceller and Next Generation modems (Newtec MDM6000 series) to achieve a staggering 506 Mbps (2 x 253 Mbps).
     
    A number of innovative elements were used to improve overall current market available efficiencies, including Clean Channel Technology® (a Newtec technology for implementing lowest roll-off and filtering to boost throughput). New modulation and Forward Error Correction (FEC) codes were also used, which can be seen as demonstrators for evolutions in extending the DVB-S2 standard. In particular for this part of the test, a complete reworked 32 APSK 135/180 (135 over 180) modulation proved to be most optimised.
     
    In another test, 352Mbps was achieved in a one-way distribution set-up over the 72 MHz transponder using 64 APSK modulations and related codes, with significant margin on the Ku-band system.

  • Wednesday 27th June, 2012- Chinese digital broadcasting technology firms with interest in Africa’s rapidly growing broadcasting and electronic media content distribution sectors will compose the delegation from China to Africa’s largest gathering of broadcasting professionals and film makers, the annual Broadcast, Film and Music Africa (BFMA)conference scheduled for July 10-11 in Nairobi.

    Organizers of the global event say that six firms from China with global reach and impressive product manufacturing lines including digital TV head-ends, cable TV equipment, set-top boxes, digital TVs and radio and telecommunication equipment have booked exhibition stands to showcase their products at the event.

    This latest development enhances BFMA’s status as the content’s leading industry gathering for the electronic media industry.

    Jason Xia of the ABE International Group, who will lead the delegation from China to the conference, said Chinese firms’ interest in Africa Film and Broadcasting space has been growing. “Some of the key factors include the migration from analogue to a digital broadcasting regime by media across the continent. This is a good opportunity for media investors to know what China has to offer in making this possible,” he said.
    The firms include digital broadcasting equipment maker GlobalSat International Tech, TV head-end experts Dexin Digital Tech and Guangdong last-mile connectivity equipment and systems expert Hansen Tech. One of China’s largest broadcast equipment manufacturers, the Beijing BBEF Science & Technology Company, is also among the firms that will showcase in Nairobi at the BFMA conference.
    “Chinese manufacturers invest elaborately in research and development, and have been pioneering innovation and production of next technologies in broadcasting equipment,” said Sean Moroney, Chairman of AITEC Africa – which organizes the event. “Their participation will add value to Africa’s broadcasting and content space.”

  • Côte Ouest Audiovisuel: appointment of Ms Leticia N’CHO to the position of General Manager

    The board of CÔTE OUEST group of companies is delighted to announce the appointment of Ms Leticia N’CHO to the position of General Manager effective 1st July 2012.
    Leticia has been an employee of CÔTE OUEST Abidjan regional office since January 2012 and has in a short space of time gained extensive knowledge of CÔTE OUEST business operations, customers and audiovisual products for Francophone Africa television sector. Leticia’s formal responsibilities as General Manager will include oversight of all aspects of the content acquisition and distribution value chain. She will take charge of all aspects of Abidjan office management and product support functions inclusive of marketing, communication, sales, content sourcing and production. 
      
    Leticia’s appointment was announced by Group CEO Mr. Bernard Azria at a recent high powered CÔTE OUEST Strategy and Planning workshop in Abidjan.
    Mr. Bernard Azria CEO, CÔTE OUEST Group of Companies said, “CÔTE OUEST has experienced impressive growth in French Speaking African region over the past 17 years of our existence as Africa’s premier distributor of compelling TV content from Africa and the developing South (southern hemisphere). We realize that in order to strengthen and build on our existing relationships in the region we need strong and dedicated leadership armed with an intimate knowledge of the market. Leticia’s bring to the job an extensive resume in sales, marketing and business management. I am confident that Leticia’s unique skill-set will enhance our already extensive experience in content distribution and service excellence to our customers”

    Mr. Mike Dearham SVP of CÔTE OUEST Group of companies said, “Leticia is a truly remarkable entrepreneur and represents a new echelon of high powered African women dedicated to the growth and development of the African creative industry. I have no doubt that Leticia has the required skill, commitment and strength to nurture CÔTE OUEST drive for sustainable impact despite the challenging economic conditions we face in the region and globally”
    LETICIA N’CHO PROFILE 
    Holder of a Post Graduate Diploma in Finance and Accounting (DESCF) as well as a Masters in International Relations Political Science, Leticia has started her career as junior Assistant in an accounting firm, and then worked in the world of communication and events, between France and Miami.

    She then became head of Development and Strategy at ESPACE IMAGE (Voodoo Group – first Communication Agency in West Africa) in Abidjan, CÔTE D’IVOIRE, where she catered for the management strategy and development of LIFE magazine – ‘TYCOON’.  She provided strategic recommendations on communication media and non media strategy: party planning, design and audiovisual production design and updating of the website.

    Afterwards, she joined INITIAV as Sales and Marketing Director. Her first mission was initially to restructure the department as well as the company's products, divided into four areas: billposting, press, audiovisual production and innovative products.
     
    In 2010, Leticia joined CÔTE OUEST group as Sales and Marketing Director. She was responsible for Francophone Sub-Saharan Africa (excluding Indian Ocean) - TV (private and public) + Pan-African Advertisers . Project manager of strategic thinking, exploration, development and supervision of local correspondents, competitive intelligence.

    CÔTE OUEST AUDIOVISUEL is the premier distributor of audiovisual rights for and from Africa. It owns a unique catalogue of TV programmes including prestigious soap operas and telenovelas, major US and African feature films, TV series, movies made for TV, documentaries and animations for the young audience.
    CÔTE OUEST is an independent company with offices in Abidjan (Ivory Coast), in Ebene City (Mauritius) and in Casablanca (Morocco) to effectively serve its customers across the entire continent.

    CÔTE OUEST has sealed exclusive agreements with M-Net in South Africa, Globo TV in Brazil, Majors and independent producers in the USA and many other producers worldwide, thus securing the distribution of thousands of hours of the best drama to its numerous clients. CÔTE OUEST distributes an annual average of over 20,000 hours of programmes to nearly 75 television stations spread across 42 markets. For more details, contact CÔTE OUEST here.

    Source: Fin Manjoo Online Editor/Co-ordinator The Call Sheet

     

    Ziff Chief Guest Mario Van Peebles

    “Being a filmmaker is like having a really big megaphone,” jokes Van Peebles “When you can wake folks up a little in a positive way, do it.”

    Mario Van Peebles is currently probably the most prominent African-American film director.

    In addition to coming to join African and diaspora filmmakers at ZIFF Van Peebles will also be presenting his latest film, the dynamic  We the Party at ZIFF 2012 and in Dar es Salaam for commercial distribution.  

    Just recently Van Peebles handed a copy of his film to US President Barack Obama at a special event for the  president’s viewing on Airforce One.

    With his other films including Ali (2001),  New Jack City (1991) Baaadassss (2003) and Posse (1993),  Van Peebles has directed 27 films and acted in 87 in Hollywood. He has won a string of Awards and many nominations for his ouvre.

    In addition to the Golden Globe nominated Boss, Van Peebles has directorial credits for other award-winning television shows such as Damages and Lost.

    A graduate of Columbia University with a B.A. in Economics and recipient of an honorary doctorate from Hofstra University, Van Peebles worked for two years for New York’s Department of Environmental Protection before moving to Hollywood to act, write, and direct.

    Van Peebles directed and produced Panther, teaming up with his maverick filmmaking father, Melvin Van Peebles, who also wrote the script. Panther is the story of the Black Panther Party’s rise to power. The film became a political classic, stirring up controversy and winning awards that included the Locarno Film Festival’s Silver Leopard award.
    Source: Ziff, 22 June 2012.

    South Africa: Zama Mkosi, appointed chief executive of the National Film and Video Foundation in February, pinpoints skills development as one of her challenges. The NFVF has been mandated by the government to develop and promote the South African film industry both domestically and internationally. Full story here  by Karen Van Schalkwyk.

    - Sony Pictures Television Networks is to split its business across Europe, the Middle East and Africa into two. Stewart is promoted to senior VP for Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa, continuing to oversee business across Germany, Russia, the Baltics and Africa, while adding Central Europe to his remit and leading new opportunities in Turkey, Greece and the Middle East.

    - Naspers financial director Steve Pacak
    tells Bizcommunity why DStv had a good year, what the future of pay-TV looks like and why, with the Media24 print business, there's some heartening news for journalists: full story here

    - In South Africa, the Minister of Communications Dina Pule is inviting the public to nominate persons to serve on the South African Broadcast Production Advisory Body (SABPAB). The role of the SABPAB is to advise on how the development, production and display of local content can be supported in the country.

    - Africa 24’s CEO Constant Nemale
    has announced that Dakar will be a major platform for his TV channel in Africa.

  • Great audiovisual experts lined up at BFMA Conference set for July in Nairobi
    The fourth annual Broadcast, Film & Music Africa (BFMA) Conference, hosted by AITEC Africa is set to take place from 10-11 July 2012 at the Oshwal Centre in Nairobi, Kenya.

    To double the attraction for creative industry professionals throughout the world to travel to East Africa and experience African film and art, the Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF) will coincide with the BFMA Conference and will take place from 7-15 July, to double the attraction for creative industry professionals throughout the world to travel to East Africa and experience African film and art.

    Nollywood comes to Nairobi

    From the confirmations, the speaker line-up for BFMA reflects widespread participation of experts from across the continent. There will be participation from Nollywood movers and film executives.

    Scheduled to speak at the conference include Jason Njoku, CEO and founder of iROKOtv; Michael Ugwu, director of IROKING (the online music portal); Sola Green from Media Made in Africa; Gregory Olumuya Odutayo of Royal Roots Communications and Eric Idiahi of Splinlet. Dr Sophia Zhang from StarTimes, Nigeria will also share her experiences on digital media at the conference.

    iROKOtv, the Nigeria-base Netflix of Africa has recently announced that it would be releasing a new website with “a breathtakingly beautiful new look and feel with an incredibly easy to use interface”, next week. Along with this, its much anticipated subscription service called iROKOtv+ will give clients access to over 200 brand new and exclusive Nollywood movies for just $5 a month. In May, the platform started allowing its over 500,000 users to share and rate what they’re watching via Facebook on its platform. iROKOtv, launched December 1, 2011 has the largest catalogue of Nollywood movies ever online with over 5,000 movie titles.

    As West Africa's film scene and broadcast industry compares wisdom with the rest of Africa, BFMA will see other West African electronic media players including Ghanians Samuel Attah-Mensah, CEO of Omni-Media and Akwasi Ageyman, MD of Global Media Alliance Broadcasting.

    Uganda will be represented by William Odoch of Revelation Media and Abubaker Kawenja, a prominent journalist and theatre practitioner among others.

    Insights to be shared

    Valuable insights will be shared by Michael Dearham, senior vice president of Cote Ouest Mauritius, former head of archiving at DStv. Interviewed by Sylvain Béletre, Michael Dearham said that Côte Ouest is after quality fictions including African TV series, soaps, telenovelas, other types of fictions, niche genres, kids programmes and possibly sports.

    Kevan Jones, executive director of the South African Communication Industries Association, will provide an overview of latest trends across the continent.

    Other South African speakers include Envir Fraser, head of Research, Regulatory & Policy and Convergence Partners, a South African investment fund, who will be talking on "Investment in media across Africa: Regulation, piracy, multiplay", and Jason Lobel, regional director for Africa at NDS, who will conduct a showcase presentation on "Trends in digital television in Africa: Where is the market and what are the opportunities?"

    Another speaker from South Africa, Steve Rich, a pioneer in African satellite communications, will be speaking on broadcast content delivery through latest satellite technologies.

    Cote D'Ivoire will be represented by Corinne Loze, CEO of StarAfrica.com at Orange.

    Belgium's voice in broadcast and film will be heard through Dr Ann Overbergh, an audio visual expert and from the UK, will be Dr Fred Mundhai, senior lecturer of media and communication at the School of Art and Design at Coventry University. Justine Atkinson, CEO of UK-based Aya Distribution will also present.

    Film and broadcast experts from Kenya

    Experts from Kenya's Film industry will include Peter Mutie, CEO of the Kenya Film Commission; Vivien Maries, MD Africa for Intermedia; Joe Otin, Research and Monitoring director at Ipsos Synovate and Gary Rathbone, MD for Africa at Supersport.

    Also from Kenya will be Jaco du Toit, UNESCO Communication and Information advisor; Julian Smallwood, partner and director at Media Made in Africa; Daniel Obam, Communication Radio Technology expert at the National Communications Secretariat; Tobias Seda, GM of Adcare; Julian Macharia of Royal Media Services; Lilian Muendo of Kenya Broadcasting Commission; Santos Okuttah, MD of Eziki Kenya and Mary Lusiba, head of communication at BBC.

    Mukura Were, the founder of the East Africa Documentary Network, will make a presentation on "local content development, successes and hurdles" with special reference to the documentary industry in East Africa. Zuku/Wananchi Group will be presented at BFMA by Hannelle Bekker, managing director for programming.

    Sean Moroney, Chairman of AITEC Africa, which organizes the conference, say the event's vision is to become the leading annual business and technology gathering for Africa's rapidly growing creative content industry. "The level of expertise we have lined up for the conference this year is a compelling educational and networking opportunity for electronic media professionals from throughout the continent."

    For more, go to Aitec Africa.

    The 10th Annual African Diaspora Film Festival  - June 15-21, 2012

    "The annual African Diaspora Film Festival is as diverse and porous as the diaspora itself" -TimeOut Chicago

    The African Diaspora International Film Festival and The Facets Cinémathèque are presenting The 10th Annual Chicago African Diaspora International Film Festival (ADIFF 2012-Chicago), which will be held at Facets from June 17-21. This outstanding event will feature a selection of Black Independent Films from around the world, depicting an eclectic mix of foreign, independent, classic and urban films which represent the human experience of people of color through an extraordinary range of subjects and artistic approaches. In collaboration with the South African Consulate in Chicago, ADFF-Chicago 2012 will pay homage to the 100 year anniversary of the ANC on South African Youth Day, June 16th with the screening of two important South African films: Come Back Africa, shot in 1960 during the apartheid era and also Nothing But The Truth, a film about the new South Africa directed by John Kani, one of the major cultural figures in that country. Highlighting stories from South Africa, Surinam, The United States, Brazil, Cuba and Cameroon are some of the countries represented in the 10th African Diaspora Film Festival-Chicago, as well as several works by independent African American filmmakers, ADIFF Chicago 2012 is poised to be another success in the Windy City.

    The 10th Annual African Diaspora Film Festival-Chicago is made possible thanks to the generous support of the following institutions: Facets Cinémathèque, ArtMattan Productions, the Center for Black Diaspora at DePaul University, the South African Consulate General, Chicago; the Quebec Government Office - Chicago, the Consulate General of Switzerland - Chicago, and TV5 Monde.

    Source: facets, June 2012.

     

    The Online submissions to the shnit International Shortfilmfestival 2012 are now open. This year the festival runs simultaneously in Cape Town, Berne (Switzerland), Cologne (Germany), Vienna (Austria), Singapore and San Jose (Costa Rica), with new countries set to be announced.

Issue no. 133 4th July 2012

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  • Triple Play (voice Internet and TV services) holds out the prospect of faster household growth for both broadcasters and telcos in Africa. But thus far, legal restrictions on supplying one or more of the different elements have stymied attempts to get it off the ground. However, Eutelsat has pitched itself into this search for the holy grail of growth with its IP Easy product. Senior research analyst Sylvain Béletre talks to Eutelsat’s Gaethan Donlap Kouanga, sales and marketing manager for central Africa and to Jean-François Fremaux, Director of market development at Eutelsat.

    In Africa so far, only a few players like Zuku  from Wananchi group have made the breakthrough to provide legal African Triple Play.

    At the last Satcom 2012, Eutelsat announced that its new ‘IP Easy’ broadband platform extends high-speed internet access to residential and home office users as well as small and medium-sized enterprises across sub-Saharan Africa. Delivering downlink speeds of up to 4Mbps, the service can be configured to support VoIP and satellite reception of TV channels in dual and triple play modes. Since then, the company has started rolling out the solution within its distribution network.

    Q. What is IP Easy background history?
    A. Eutelsat has been providing broadband services in Africa since 2003, principally targeting users with high bandwidth requirements (oil and gas sector, financial services, public agencies), but with IP Easy, we are now reaching a new level. Launched at Satcom Africa in May 2012, IP Easy was built to extend high-speed Internet access to residential and home office users as well as small and medium-sized enterprises across sub-Saharan Africa. The service can also be configured to support VOIP. In addition, users can also bundle their Internet access with TV channels reception via a single antenna, allowing them to benefit from a triple play mode. Combining the strengths of Ku-band capacity on the recently-launched Eutelsat 16A satellite with Newtec’s successful Sat3Play technology, IP Easy is available across Africa, from the Gulf of Guinea to Madagascar.

    The IP Easy hub is located at Eutelsat’s Skylogic Mediteraneo teleport, which provides broadband services for users in Africa thanks to its location in the south of Europe and its direct access to the internet backbone via key Points of Presence in Europe.

    Q. Who should buy IP Easy?
    A. Our objective with IP Easy is to diversify the product range so that residential and home office users as well as small and medium-sized enterprises have access to a product adapted to their needs. Our targeted market also includes schools, local African governments, NGOs, distance working, prospecting and mobile teams.

    Q. Is IP Easy that easy to set up?
    A. We wanted to provide a service that would enable its users to self-install the equipment. This is why Newtec’s proven Sat3Play platform and its system's Point&Play facility were selected.   It works with a 1 meter dish and a PC-connected modem. A hearing aid helps align the dish more easily and there is no need to configure the modem. The main advantage is that end users can autonomously install the complete system with no specific qualification needed or expensive tooling. For maximum bandwidth efficiency, the terminal incorporates numerous advanced features such as DVB-S2 modulation and coding, rain fade countermeasures, end-to-end Quality of Service (QoS) mechanisms and state-of-the-art acceleration and compression technologies. The kit is available via a strong network of local service providers.

    Q. What are IP Easy’s main benefits for clients?
    A. IP Easy responds to pent-up demand for broadband from the many users beyond terrestrial networks in Africa. Without using great amounts of energy (less than 1 Watt), the service can reliance on local energy sources such as solar energy via solar panels. It delivers downlink speeds of up to 4Mbps, irrespective of your location within EUTELSAT 16A’s coverage, from the Gulf of Guinea to Madagascar. It can be configured to support VOIP and satellite reception of TV channels in triple play mode. The installation of the 1 meter dish and modem connected to a PC is so simple that it can be performed without the need for costly specialised installers, and the terminal requires no configuration at all, further reducing the initial investment for each new site.
     
    Q. Right now, where in Africa can clients use IP Easy?
    A. The solution has a trans-continental coverage from Senegal to Madagascar. We are initiating the service in countries around the Gulf of Guinea, places with high density of population and significant revenues per capita, and in Madagascar where the lack of telecoms infrastructures creates a real opportunity for the part of the population with adequate revenues.
     
    Q. where are you rolling out next?
    A. We will progressively extend IP easy to other African regions covered by Eutelsat 16A. We are also planning to deploy the service on other Eutelsat satellites in operation or planned to be launched in order to cover the entire African continent.

    Q. Which African countries have the largest potential?
    A. We are looking at Nigeria, Cameroun, Ghana, DRC, Benin, Ivory Coast with interest because of the high population density.
     
    Q. On the marketing side, are you encountering any country barriers?
    A. In many targeted countries, most of the required equipment is free of license and transmit because of very low irradiated power. In other cases, licensing issues are solved by our distributors building partnerships with national companies which have all the necessary licenses to operate.

    Q. Which TV content does IP Easy support?
    A. Buying a simple DVB-S2 set-top box - usually on sale from USD 100 - will allow IP Easy users to receive through their dish 25 free-to-air French speaking channels. These are national channels from Cameroun, Benin, Gabon, Central African Republic, Madagascar, Senegal, Congo, Burkina Faso and Togo, broadcasted via Eutelsat 16A . Further work is currently being undertaken on Eutelsat 16° East neighbourhood's to enrich television offer, including in the pay-TV area.

    Q. Which distributors to talk to in order to buy the service?
    A. Many distributors within EUTESLAT 16A's footprint are currently finilasing the intregration of IP Easy into their service portfolio.  Afrique Télécom  already sells the service under the "SpaceDSL" brand ,  from 29€ VAT incl. (512 kbps/ 500 MB) to 120€ VAT incl. (2048kbps/4GB) .

    Q. What is the pricing like for the kit and monthly subscription?
    A. Pricing levels are set by our network of distributors and are competitive compared to ADSL subscription fees in Europe. 
     
    Q. Who do you contact at Eutelsat and within your distribution network to partner/resell/purchase the solution?
    A. Please refer to our website here. IP Easy is already commercialised by Afrique Télécom under the "SpaceDSL"  brand. Afrique Télécom sells the service from 29€ VAT incl. 512 kbps/ 500 MB to 120€ VAT incl. 2048kbps/4GB. Other distributors are currently finilasing the intregration of IP Easy into their service portfolio.  

    Eutelsat has confirmed it will be joining Africa’s telcos, media professionals, broadcasters and film-makers at the Broadcast, Film and Music Africa (BFMA) conference to be held in Nairobi over 10-11 July. The company will present its offering for Africa including IP Easy.

    To follow the exchanges about this 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:

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

    Alan Knott-Craig Jr, CEO, MXit on his African expansion plans

    Nigerian Adamu Waziri talks about its childrens' animation, the Bino and Fino Show

    XYZ Show's Gado on its new childrens's show and mobile distribution

    Special for Balancing Act readers:

    British-Nigerian director Obi Emelonye on his latest filmLast Flight to Abuja

    Debra Odutuyo talks about British-Nigerian TV comedy Meet the Adebanjos and its forthcoming UK stage tour

    Congolese director Djo Munga on his next film project Inspector Lu

    Big World Cinema’s Steven Markovitz on a new African cinema - neither homework, nor medicine

    Kenya's Just a Band on their video Makmende going viral globally

  • Organised by Apimed, this year’s MEDIMED event will take place on 12-14 Oct. 2012 in
    Sitges, Spain, and present 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.

    This small-scale market is intended to improve on the promotion and development of new European and Mediterranean independent production of documentaries and the networking of audio-visual professionals and operators. MEDIMED has become a special-interest that which supports the promotion of Euro-Mediterranean audio-visual productions involving private and public television networks together with independent producers with the objective of European transnational co-operation.

    Documentaries’ topics include arts, music, culture, and performance, human rights, anthropology, sociology, and human interest, nature, wild-life, discoveries, travel and adventure, current affairs and investigative journalism, science, knowledge, education, history among other subjects.

    The Industry Conference Sessions will explore some of the issues and concerns facing the present and future of documentary and factual producers, sharing a wealth of insight and expertise while gauging the pulse of the industry. This dynamic panels and discussions will provide essential ground rules for emerging and mid-career doc-makers.

    Special attention will be given to new formats of documentary production. The use of ICT technologies and mobile phones is changing some traditional ways of filming. An informative session will be dedicated to mobile content and new technologies focused on documentary proposals.

    EU programs from countries with a low documentary production capacity will benefit from a new focus on them.

    The VI Ahmed Attia's Award for the Dialogue of Cultures will be given to one of the documentaries entered this year in the dedicated section "MEDIMED Ready Made Projects" which shows new productions pitched in previous editions of the forum.
    Courtesy of APIMED, the winner will receive a 1.000,00 Euros cash prize, awarded to the producer of the best documentary pitched at MEDIMED.

  • The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) is inviting nominations for its annual MISA Press Freedom Award. The award is given to honour excellence in journalism.

    Excellence in journalism may be described as the upholding of ethics of the profession at all costs and the relentless pursuit of truth behind the bare facts. The award is also in recognition of the work of an individual or institution where this is considered to have made a significant contribution to the promotion of media freedom in the region. The excellence, which the award acknowledges, can be achieved either through reportage or in other ways such as media reform, lobbying or training.

    The MISA Press Freedom Award is open to all forms of media e.g. photography, print, video, internet, or media associations and institutions. Eligible individuals or institutions should be based in the Southern African region.

    The press freedom award can only be entered into through nominations. All nominations should be accompanied by a motivation not exceeding 1500 words stating how the nominee meets the above criteria and the CV of the nominee. Where applicable a copy of the work, or a portfolio of work, should be included with the nomination. Nominations should be sent to the MISA secretariat for the attention of the Regional Director by June 15, 2012.

    Postal: Private Bag 13386 Windhoek Namibia,
    Fax: +264 61 248016
    Email: info@misa.org

    Deadline: June 15, 2012

    For more information contact the Communications Officer on +264 61 232975 or birbal@misa.org or visit the website here:

  • In the beginning: The story of Nigeria's Nollywood is like Ben Okri's "river" in his novel, The Famished Road, "which becomes a road and branches out to the world."

    Like a river, which starts small from a tiny tributary, the industry began as a small effort by some persons with energetic entrepreneurial spirit, who wanted to do small budget films for commercial purposes; and suddenly branched out like an ocean into one huge market that today intersects the world of business interests of actors and actresses, script writers, production crews, distributors and regulatory bodies, even in the daunting face of threatening copyright infringement challenges.

    Berthing in Nigeria in 1992, this entertainment industry popularly known as Nollywood is acclaimed by industry players to rank as the third largest movie industry in the world after India's Bollywood and America's Nollywood. According to movie scholars and critics, Nollywood industry, which despite its relative young emergence in the global movie market has successfully become an enviable artistic cultural vehicle with which African narrative is communicated to the world, ironically emerged as a child of necessity to fill the gap created by the total collapse of the country's theatre and stage culture.

    According to industry sources, the failure of government in providing adequate security surveillance over life and property in the late 80s'and early 90s'resulted in the very negative manner at which the public viewed public shows, especially as it had to do with cinema, stage and theatrical performances with disenchantment.

    Also added to this ugly development "was the fact that there were inadequate television stations across the country with enough entertainment contents to satisfy the yearning needs of the viewing public, a development that led content providers to seek alternative."

    "Nollywood was a child of necessity" says Professor Ahmed Yerima, theatre artiste and former Artistic Director of The National Troupe of Nigeria. He said: "There were very few television stations and we got to a point where the TV stations that existed needed you, the producer, to get sponsorship for your productions."

    But for Obby Patrick Ebewo, Nigerian born and American based film scholar, "The collapse of movie-theatre going culture in the 1980s caused by incessant harassment of innocent citizen by criminals, the country's economic downturn and various problems affecting celluloid film production, gave rise to video film."

    The implication of this new development, according to Yerima, was that fast thinking and business minded entrepreneurs cashed into the opportunity provided by this yearning need; and aided with the arrival of VHS tapes embarked on a business trial and experimentation that was to transform the continent's entertainment turf.

    Prior to this boom, efforts had been made by some dramatists to evolve a film culture in Nigeria. It is on record that as early as the 1960s' theatre artistes in the mould of Hubert Ogunde, had recorded his plays on celluloid. Other artistes like Moses Adejumo and Duro Ladipo had equally attempted to reduce the cinematic art of film to a more popular medium for social commentary.

    In an effort to trace the emergence of Nollywood and the entire film culture in the country, Ebewo argues that "the current video film industry in Nigeria owes a huge debt to the pioneering efforts of Nigerian theatre, particularly practitioners of the Yoruba Travelling theatre, who branched off from mainstream theatre to experiment with celluloid."

    However, the Nollywood brand today owes its projection and commercial resourcefulness to Kenneth Nnebue, who according to market consensus, pioneered the raving popular media brand with his movie, Living in Bondage, in 1992. According to unconfirmed sources, since inception, "the industry rakes gross estimate of about 200 million dollars every year with a popularity that cuts across the entire continent of Africa to Europe and North America."

    If you ask any person from any part of Africa whether he knows or has heard about the country called Nigeria, he is most likely to answer in the affirmative. When you probe further to know if he understood what you meant, by asking him to mention one landscape feature of significance to identify Nigeria with, you would be shocked when he tells you, Nollywood.

    The next thing you may hear him say would be a reel out of names of stars in the industry, and mostly screen markers like Chinedu Ikedieze and Osita Iheme (Aki na Ukwa), Mama Gee, Patience Ozokwo, Toronto Dike, the bad girl of Nollywood, Desmond Elliot, Ramson Noah; the lover boys and some other patron markers like the late Sam Loco, Chinwentalu Agu, Pete Edochie, Enebeli Enebuwa and Alex Usifo.

    Some of these characters are the defining screen markers, around which script writers and producers of Nollywood video films weave their arresting stories about African experiences, and experiences that form the thematic template of these video films.

    Talking about the popularity of Nigerian video films, Ebewo submits that "Nollywood films are popular in Nigeria because they have indigenous contents and address issues relevant to a mass audience. He adds: "through an amalgam of narrative techniques (African story lines) and western technology, these films document and re-create socio-political and cultural events that occur within and beyond the borders."

    Supporting this view, Professor Onookome Okome of the School of English and Film Studies, University of Alberta, Canada states: "in Nigeria, Nollywood is popular because it speaks aspects to aspects of social life that many people live. It speaks to and debates social and cultural anxieties the way no other media had done before."

    Also aiding the popularity of the video film in Nigeria is the cheapness of the CD tapes across video shops located in every nook and cranny of the country. Ebewo adds: "The industry has also saved poor Nigerians the cost of procuring expensive films from the West. The price per film ranges from N150 to N200, something short of $100 dollars per film."

    Therefore, as a result of the cheapness of the product and its availability coupled with the fact that the thematic narratives of the filmic plots revolve around issues that the mass of people can easily lay claims to, help to endear the industry and its products to the public.

    In a nutshell, the popularity of Nigeria's video film is akin to the popularity enjoyed during the era of the pamphleteering narratives popularly known as Onitsha Market literature; the era that produced such popular titles like Veronica My Daughter, Beware Harlots of Many Friends, Rosemary and the Taxi Driver, Boys and Girls of Nowadays and Drunkards Believe Bar as Heaven. Nollywood films churned out in their thousands address such everyday concerns of the public ranging from subjects as diverse as love, hatred, envy, wickedness, magic, sorcery, bewitchment and such other socio-cultural and religio-political matrix.

    Prolificacy of films: Going by market indicators, it is no longer contestable that Nigeria is one of the highest producers of video films in the world. It is said that an average of 50 video films are churned out from different producers every week. This is understandably so going by the fact that producers of Nigerian films go for low or shoe string budgets. "Films can be produced with as little as $10,000", says Ejike Nwankwo, an independent film producer. He adds: "the low budget film makes it possible for us to shoot and complete production as quickly as possible, sometimes within a month or less. But sadly, it affects the quality of productions as everything is hurriedly done."

    Added to the problem of low budget films is the problem of inadequate infrastructure that can support the shooting and production of big budget films like Titanic and Passion of the Christ. Comparing the situation between Nigeria and South Africa, Professor Kole Omotosho, who played prominent role in the production of MNET's popular movie, Jacob's Cross argues that "in South Africa, there are structures and infrastructure for film producers and there is also a thriving video culture. So both exists unlike in Nigeria, where the infrastructure to produce films in the real sense of the word hardly exists."

    With low budget and inadequate infrastructure, movie producers are, therefore, left in the hands of mediocrity and unprofessionalism. It is against this background that one can explain the poor quality of video films produced from annoying scripts and bad technical finishing. Going by this disturbing scenario, movie business in Nigeria has, sadly, become a one man show. And just as Yerima observes "the producer who sits in Aba or Onitsha says what he wants to act in the film and that is how he does his casting."

    In the process of making the industry jack of all trade, "technicalities", Omotosho maintains, "is not a question of one person writing the script, doing the directing, doing the set. No, it is a communal thing. Film, theatre, television, these are communal forms which have different roles for everybody."

    As popular as Nigeria's Nollywood has become, can it now be said that the country is qualified to be described as a film nation? It is still doubtful whether through all that have been done and achieved so far one can come to that glorious conclusion.

    By applying all the film aesthetic standards, is it also possible to say, yea, Nigeria is now one of them? A country that can boast of the types of Danny Clover, Samuel Jackson or Denzel Washington, all renowned world film makers and producers? Regarding this issue, both scholars and industry players agree that a lot still needs to be done for the nation's Nollywood to be accepted into the global hall of fame. Not until then can the Nigerian film begin to take stand at such prestigious films fora like Cannes Film Festival, Oscar and Emmy Awards.

    Blurring any hope of launching into global acceptance in the near future, Yerima argues that Nigeria's video film is at best a television drama, which explains why most of the movies are shot in episodes. He said: "I doubt whether what we describe as the Nigerian film can be described as film in Europe and America. They will rather call it television drama or documentary. They were originally T.V. series. They were to be serialized. Because the market was there, they now got encouraged not to go to TV houses any more. So from TV drama series, they became movies."

    Nollywoodand representation: In the 20 years existence of Nollywood in Nigeria, the industry has been trailed with some disturbing criticisms. Despite the criticism about poor quality productions, which has been explained to be as a result of low budget and poor infrastructure, the industry is also accused of playing into the antics of western etiquettes by portraying in many of the movies the continent as a backward one.

    Nollywood movies are said to be replete with images of cultic, voodoo and fetish re-enactments that do not in any way represent African practices of the present generation. Another critical issue that has come under serious fire of criticism is the question of gender imbalance in movie narratology. Opinions and recent discourses reveal that scripts and directional interpretation of Nollywood movies still follow the patriarchal order and, therefore, favours men over the women.

    "Ninety five per cent of the video films down play the liberating and positive roles of women. Women characters are cast in such ways that they are either made appendages to men, object of sexual gratification or lust. I think it is time Nollywood re-told the narrative of the woman in the light of contemporary achievements," says Ejim Omalicha.

    Reacting to negative representation given to the continent's religious and cultural ethos, Professor Gbaazi Uko, a cultural anthropologist said: "The idea of constantly casting the continent in the Conradian mode is bad. It does not help to fight our cause. Why would it be that both the writers and producers of these scripts insist that western values would always prevail over the indigenous ones. Who are they trying to please?"

    For these aggrieved scholars and the entire viewing public, Nollywood may not have told the world the whole truth about Africa. But it has all the same done a lot to project the image of the continent across the globe. For these people, the industry should strive, as Sandra Obiago argues, and "enable the world to continue to see Africa, as unbelievably beautiful."

    In several quarters, involvement of producers in low budget films has been identified as one of the greatest banes militating against this fast rising industry. The poor quality of films experienced from the industry as well as the hurriedness with which these movies are shot and produced have all been attributed to low budgets.

    Nollywood films apart from being produced with shoe-string budgets ranging from $10,000 to $15,000 are also hurriedly done in less than ten days, and equally devoid of premiere, which is the only professional way of introducing a new movie to the viewing public. Says Ibiwikari Nengi: "When films are premiered and first viewed in cinemas, it makes it a lot easier for the producers to reap profit from their investments and also helps to checkmate piracy, which tries very hard to undermine the interest of producers."

    It is, therefore, heart warming to note the decision of some industry players who go for big budget films and have also concluded to return movies to the big screen. One industry source, who would not want to be mentioned told this reporter that "Stephanie Okereke's award winning movie, Through the Glass, grossed well over N10 million in two weeks after it premiered at Silverbird Cinema, Lagos, last year."

    Apart from enjoying economy of scale provided by big budget films, the effort also helped in bringing international touch to the previously domesticated industry by also incorporating international actors and actress into the entire enterprise. Okereke's movie was also said to have premiered in America, where it was shot and had in its cast Hollywood stars as well as Ghanaian and Kenyan stars.

    Other producers that have toed the line of producing big budget films are Emen Isong, who jointly produced Guilty Pleasure with Desmond Elliot and Uche Jombo; and Mahmood Ali Balogun, who produced Tango With Me.

    With all these litanies of achievements recorded in the industry, can it also be said that all is rosy for the movie industry in Nigeria? No. That is far from the truth. The movie industry in Nigeria, like in all other creative industries, suffers the hard bite of piracy and copyright infringements.

    Reports have it that Nigeria loses an estimated $50 million annually to international piracy of Nigerian movies and films in America, Canada and African countries. This sad situation is worsened by the fact that the existing distribution system has been stretched to the limit, which makes it impossible to satisfy the ever growing need of Nollywood audience.

    The absence of a structured and wide distribution network has equally accelerated the incidence of piracy and encouraged bootleggers whose activities magnify as the distribution problem worsens.

  • Inaugurated in 2005 by famous filmmakers like Martin Scorsese, the new ‘Cinémathèque française’ in Paris Bercy (France) presents ‘Ciné-Égyptomania’, a special event organised by Magda Wassef, critic and historian of Arab cinema. The event showcases 51 films, runs from 13 June to 5 August 2012 and includes a round table. Stephan Zaubitzer photographed the cinema theatres of downtown Alexandria and Cairo.

    Egyptian cinema has a rich history. This is the film that dominated all screens in the Arab world for decades. Melodramas or comedies mixed with songs and dances have revealed the filmmakers and stars who made it popular and special. A desire to anchor film Art in a more realistic view of society asserts itself in the 1950s, in a report to Nasserism oscillating between acceptance and criticism. Fifty films will be shown to form a journey through the history of this exceptional cinematography.

    Films include (titles in French):

    Al Soukariah - Hassan Al-Imam
    Alexandrie pourquoi ? - Youssef Chahine
    L'Amour aux pieds des pyramides - Atef al-Tayeb, Atef al-Tayeb
    Le Caire 30 - Salah Abou Seif
    Le Chant du courlis - Henri Barakat, Henri Barakat
    Le Chauffeur de bus - Atef al-Tayeb
    Le Collier et le Bracelet - Khaïri Bechara
    Le Costaud - Salah Abou Seif
    Les Démons de l'asphalte - Oussama Fawzy
    Les Eaux noires - Youssef Chahine
    L'épouse d'un homme important - Mohamed Khan
    Le Facteur - Hussein Kamal
    Une femme sur la route - Ezz Eddine Zoulficar
    Femmes du Caire - Yousry Nasrallah
    Fleur de henné - Hussein Fawzy
    Flirts de jeunes filles - Anwar Wagdi
    Gare centrale - Youssef Chahine
    L'Immeuble Yacoubian - Marwan Hamed
    L'Innocent - Atef al-Tayeb
    J'aime le cinéma - Oussama Fawzi
    Je demande une solution - Saïd Marzouk
    Un jour de ma vie - Atef Salem
    Karnak - Ali Badrakhan
    Kit Kat - Daoud Abdel Sayed
    Les Lunettes noires - Houssam Eddine Mostafa
    Ma femme est PDG - Fatine Abdel Wahab
    Madame la diablesse - Henri Barakat
    Méfie-toi de Zouzou - Hassan Al-Imam
    Microphone - Ahmed Abdalla
    Le Moineau - Youssef Chahine
    La Momie - Shady Abdel Salam
    Mort parmi les vivants - Salah Abou Seif
    Une nuit chaude - Atef al-Tayeb
    Les Nuits blanches - Hani Khalifa
    Palabres sur le Nil - Hussein Kamal
    Le Passage des miracles - Hassan Al-Imam, Hassan Al-Imam
    Le Prince de la ruse - Henri Barakat
    Les Rêves de Hind et Camélia - Mohamed Khan
    La Ruelle des fous - Tewfik Saleh
    Salama va bien - Niazi Mostafa
    La Sangsue - Salah Abou Seif
    La Seconde Epouse - Salah Abou Seif
    Un soupçon de peur - Hussein Kamal
    Table Ronde "Filmer l'Egypte" + Film "La Vie, mon amour"
    Tahrir : lève, lève la voix - Safaa Fathy
    La Terre - Youssef Chahine
    Terrorisme et Kebab - Chérif Arafa
    Le Terroriste - Nader Galal
    Trois sur la route - Mohamed Kamel Al Kalioubi
    Trop jeune pour l'amour - Niazi Mostafa
    Un/Zéro - Kamla Abou Zikri
    Vie ou Mort - Kamal Al-Cheikh
    La Vie, mon amour - Magdi Ahmed Ali

    Address: 51 rue de Bercy (Paris 12e)

  • In a counterturn to the mainstream media, Top TV has announced that it will screen the Nando's 'Diversity' ad, from today, 21 June 2012. The decision was taken following an approach from Nando's media agency, The MediaShop, to provide a broadcast platform for the advert.

    "We are a young, yet highly competitive player in the pay-tv space in South Africa. As such, we are prepared to 'push the envelope' and use our platform to promote freedom of expression and to encourage debate and conversation among our diverse subscriber base," says Jean Meyer, vice president: airtime sales of TopTV.

    "Broadcasting the topical and satirical first series of ZA News on Top One last year is testimony to this standpoint and we applaud Nando's for tackling often thorny, South African issues by giving them a satirical twist. The positive message contained in the advert, with the line, '... real South Africans love diversity...' is a sentiment that all South Africans should embrace."

    The advert will play out across nine commercial channels on the bouquet, Top One, Top Movies, Top Movies +2, Top Movies +24, Top History, Top Explore, Top Crime, Top Gospel and ASTV. The advert will be tagged with a promotional SMS element that offers subscribers the opportunity to win a R1000 Nando's voucher per week for a period of four weeks.

  • At 98 percent, Zimbabwe's literacy rate is the second highest in Africa. Among its population of 14 million, 6 million are said to be cell phone users. Yet since gaining independence in 1980, the country's regime has maintained a tight grip on the media. Some citizens believe the one national TV station, Zimbabwe Broadcasting Cooperation (ZBC), and few radio stations that do exist simply churn out propaganda.

    To fill the vacuum of trustworthy information, Zimbabweans now resort to news reports originating from outside the country's borders. "Sometimes I need time away from my daily routine, alone with my radio or television, but I can't tune into the ZBC poison," says Eugene Makaya, a vegetable vendor in the Harare suburb of Mbare. "It's like I'm being taken for granted or simply as a fool, so definitely I will go for the foreign media, using my free-to-air-decoder, or simply tune in to Studio 7 or Radio VOP on shortwave, where I feel the truth is being told."

    Makaya's experience is echoed by university dropout Petros Mabasa when it comes to television. "I'm better off watching news presented by SABC, BBC or Aljazeera than watching ZBC," he says. "It has nothing to offer economically marginalized people like us because most - if not - all of their time, they are talking politics, ignoring...our plight as marginalized communities. All they do is churn out hate speech - and I hate it," he adds.

    Even the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ), which is empowered to issue broadcasting licenses, had no words to defend the ZBC's poor-quality programming.
    In an interview with the BAZ, chairperson Tafataona Mahoso, said: "Who am I to say this or that? Go out to the people there and ask them, carry out surveys and use whatever information you get from them."

    Local media expert Ernest Mudzengi believes that ZBC has long abused its monopoly, resulting in viewers' lost trust. "People are not happy with what is being offered locally," he says. "Basically, what we need to do is to free the airwaves so that people can have a wide choice to choose from."

    According to the Zimbabwe All Media Products Survey (ZAMPS), exiled radio stations such as Radio VOP, Studio 7 and Short Wave Radio Africa now attract the majority of listeners in Zimbabwe. Meanwhile, over 60 per cent of TV owners have abandoned state-controlled Zimbabwe television in favour of free-to-air regional and international channels.

    To tap into international broadcasts, some Zimbabweans are making use of new technology. Particularly popular these days are free-to-air-decoders. They are sold for a price between 45 and 55 euros; there is no need for a licence.

    Meanwhile, the Zimbabwean government has requested all the exiled radio stations to register and regularize their operations. And yet, a disturbing trend where only President Mugabe's loyalists have been awarded the operating licenses has been noted.

  • Sony Professional Solutions confirmed training support for Nairobi gathering of African broadcasters and filmmakers for 4th annual Broadcast & Film conference

    Japan-based audio visual equipment manufacturer, Sony has confirmed it will be joining Africa’s media professionals, broadcasters and film-makers at the Broadcast, Film and Music Africa (BFMA) conference to be held in Nairobi over 10-11 July.

    Billed as the largest gathering of broadcast professionals and film-makers in Africa, BFMA will this year celebrate and review the strides made by the continent in developing creative content and broadcasting.

    Sony’s Dubai office confirmed the announcement, noting that Africa’s broadcast industry remained an important market for its professional range of film equipment.  “We are excited and proud of Africa’s growing broadcast and film industry. Sony continues to develop new technologies for its equipment that will help the creative and news industry become more expressive in their craft,” said Vahid Macvandi, Marketing Manager for Sony Professional Solutions.

    Ryan Moroney, AITEC Africa Events Director, confirmed that BFMA would host a multimedia workshop by Sony on “How to choose the right video formats”.  “We are also delighted to have a renowned producer and professional cameraman Nick Hughes as another Sony workshop facilitator, who will offer tips on ‘advanced camera settings’”, he said.

    Other training workshops at the conference include one on digital microphones, “ The AES-42 Protocol: The benefits of transporting audio from microphones in a digital format and the methods used to achieve this”, by Ryan Burr of Sennheiser from the UK.

    Brian Whitehead of the Creative Arts University in the UK will be facilitating workshops at the BFMA on “Branding and creating an identity for portfolio development” and “Case study: The design and repackaging of a definitive collector’s piece.”

  • CNBC Africa, a CNBC International franchise owned by Africa Business News, has entered into a joint venture with Mozambique's state broadcaster, Televisão de Moçambique (TVM), and will open a bureau in Maputo. CNBC Africa's country bureau representative will be Sunnyboy Mshengu.

    The Maputo bureau joins its sister offices in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Nairobi, Lagos, Abuja, Windhoek, Libreville and Lusaka, making it the seventh African country to boast a CNBC Africa presence. CNBC Africa plans to have bureaux in 20 African territories by the end of 2014.

    The link between Maputo and CNBC Africa's Sandton (Johannesburg) studios is currently being tested, and should be finalised in time for coverage of Mozambique's National Independence Day on 25 June.

    It makes perfect sense for CNBC Africa to establish a permanent presence in Mozambique, says Sid Wahi, the ABN Group's vice president for business development. "Since 2001, Mozambique has been one of the world's top 10 countries for annual average GDP growth. This is a country that has overcome a decades-long civil war and tackled massive socio-economic challenges, to become one of the most exciting economies globally," says Wahi.

    "It is therefore quite clear that in order for CNBC Africa to fulfil its mandate as the continent's leading source of accurate, reliable and actionable business and finance information, it must have its finger firmly on the pulse of the Mozambican economy."

    .

  • African journalists currently on a study tour in the People's Republic of China have applauded China Central Television (CCTV) after the network announced that it will provide more coverage to Africa to highlight development and positive issues about the continent to the rest of the world.

    The Beijing-based Chinese media outlet, covering most parts of the world, currently broadcast just a one hour program for Africa, besides its 24 hour news service, and has an African headquarter based in Nairobi Kenya.

    The Vice Director of CCTV Li Bin Friday told a team of 34 African journalists (including the Press Union of Liberia's Assistant Secretary General D. Kaihenneh Sengbeh) that his entity seeks to give a "better face" to Africa as a developing continent, unlike what appears on western TV stations.

    Mr. Li told the journalists during a roundtable at the gigantic structure of the giant Chinese TV station that CCTV current has its African bureau headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, with just 11 journalists to cover the entire continent. Before the bureau was established months back, he said the entity solely depended on western media to report stories on Africa, but said this was not fair was to treat Africa.

    "It is not fair to report Africa from the western eye," he admitted. "We have plans to enlarge our presence in Africa," he continued, disclosing that at least 15 more African correspondents will be recruited next year to boost up the CCTV coverage of Africa.

    Many giant western media are accused of portraying Africa as a continent of darkness from where nothing good or positive comes except increasing wars, diseases, starvation, mass corruption and backwardness, among others.

    Mr. Li said CCTV interest in the continent is to promote its development, showcase its positive attributes and most especially to balance the stories that come from there.

    China as a nation has a huge interest and presence in Africa and has undertaken massive infrastructure development across the continent including the construction of the African Union's new headquarters.

    Mr. Li however noted that CCTV's interest in Africa is not to promote Chinese businesses but to rather highlight the cordial relationship existing between African nations and China, too promote economic and infrastructure development and to tell the true African story to the rest of the word--void of biases and misrepresentations.

    "We are planning to recruit more African journalists to highlight the development in Africa," Mr. Li noted and asked African journalists on the visit to suggest how they would want their continent should be presented to the rest of the world.

    Many of the journalists including Liberia's D K Sengbeh welcomed CCTV planned expansion coverage of Africa, hoping that their respective countries which have growing Chinese population and investments, would benefit from the international coverage.

    The journalists said they were pleased that CCTV was providing a balanced coverage of events in Africa, highlighting the continents progress, and commended Mr. Li for the additional time the media outlet would give the continent.

    They urged CCTV to expand its bureau of the continent from Nairobi to other parts, at least on a regional level, to enable it get better coverage of the entire Africa.

    The media practitioners from Liberia (D K Sengbeh and Police Spokesman George Benedict Bardue), Madagascar, Nigeria, Algeria, Sudan, Tanzania, South Sudan, Sierra Leone, Malawi, Zambia, Ethiopia, Cameroon, Seychelles and Uganda are attending a media seminar for senior journalists and editors of developing African countries.

    The Chinese government is footing every cost of the training as part of its human resource capacity building support to the continent, particularly the media. The participants of the training organized by the International Radio, Film and Television Media Research Center of State Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) are learning more about the Chinese media, culture and people. They are also having the opportunity to learn about the operations and roles of the media in each other's countries and to enable them used the positive attributes back home.

    The journalists, as part of the training program, are visiting several parts of China including participating in national forums and events such as the 18th Shanghai Film and TV festival and the Mongolian Forum which climaxed over the weekend--all giving a deep insight of the bustling Chinese radio and TV industries.

  • Tribeca Film has picked up 'War Witch.'

    Tribeca Film has conjured up US rights to "War Witch," the Kim Nguyen film that had its North American preem at the Tribeca Film Festival in the spring.
    Congo-shot tale starring newcomer Rachel Mwanza world preemed at the Berlin Film Festival, where Mwanza snagged a Silver Bear for actress. She also took home the actress kudo at Tribeca, which awarded the film the laurel for narrative feature.

    Story centers on a young girl who is kidnapped by African rebels and forced to become a soldier. Alain Bastien, Serge Kanyianda, Ralph Prosper and Mizinga Mwinga also are among the cast. Written and directed by Nguyen, pic was produced by Pierre Even and Marie-Claude Poulin of Item 7.

    Tribeca Film, the Gotham-based distributor loosely affiliated with the Tribeca fest, aims to release the movie on multiple platforms in early 2013. Distribution deal was inked by Tribeca Film's Nick Savva with Nicholas Brigaud-Robert of Films Distribution.

  • Television Viewers in Zimbabwe Have Been Gripped By Anxiety Following the Expiry of South Africa's May Deadline to Switch Off Its Free to Air Channels.

    If disconnected, viewers face the dismal prospect of either going back to ZTV or the more expensive option of paying for Digital Satellite Television (DStv) which ranges from US$10 to US$72 per month depending on the package one likes.

    In February this year, Sentech, a South African television signal carrier, was ordered by the Johannesburg High Court to encrypt its signal within the next three months, a development expected to see many Zimbabweans losing access to the neighbouring country's free-to-air TV channels.

    Sentech distributes free-to-air channels such as South African Broadcasting Corpo-ration (SABC) 1, 2 and 3 among others, which are popular among Zimbabweans who use Wiztech, Philibao, Fortec Star and Vivid decoders to gain free access to the channels.

    The ultimatum to disconnect viewers from outside South Africa followed eBotswana, a subsidiary of South Africa's eTV, which last year approached the Johannesburg High Court, seeking an order compelling the signal carrier to encrypt its signal, as failure to do so had given rise to signal piracy.

    The order, if implemented, would mean viewers from Zimbabwe, Malawi, Lesotho, Namibia, Angola and Mozambique will no lo-nger have access to South African television.

    "We are very much worried about that as we will lose a lot in terms of entertainment since our ZBC has since been a disappointment having degenerated to levels that are not even watchable," said Tamara Tshuma of Kingsdale.

    She added: "I think viewers will have to just sacrifice and subscribe to DStv although it might be too expensive for some people, because truly speaking who can withstand the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC)?"

    Isabel Ncube, another Bulawayo resident disturbed by the expiry of the three months period said she feared losing entertainment and Christian programmes. She urged South African authorities to be lenient on Zimba-bweans as the removal of SABC would create a vacuum that would be difficult to fill.

    Two years ago, information and entertainment starved Zimbabweans lost free access to South Africa's private eTV. Rodrick Fayayo, Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association coordinator, said: "Obviously the cutting-off of SABC will have serious consequences as you know that the majority of the residents have Wiztech, which means they have a serious problem with ZBC which is not serving their interests."

    He said the removal of SABC channels would result in the reduction of alternative sources of information. Anglistone Sibanda, National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations western region secretary-general, said the departure of SABC would deal a heavy blow on the people of Matabeleland, the majority of who have no access to ZBC.

    "SABC has been our television station ever since as we cannot rely on ZBC, which has even failed to implement reforms prescribed by the Global Political Agreement," he said.

    Sibanda said SABC should wait to cut-off Zimbabwe until elections, to counter ZANU-PF propaganda that usually overwhelms ZBC during polls.

    He added that it would be difficult for many to subscribe to DStv, adding that external radio stations such as The Voice of America's Studio 7 would have to increase their hours of broadcast to cover up for the gap created by SABC.

    The SABC channels have become popular with thousands of Zimbabweans, who are frustrated by poor programming, a dearth on local broadcasting standards and the lack of variety from the only broadcaster, ZBC.

    Zimbabwe has the highest broadcast piracy rate in Africa of 92 percent, as people use Wiztech and Philibao decoders to decrypt South African signal career, Sentech's signals.

  • Talking Drum Entertainment, a new UK distributor specialising in black films, will release Nigerian romantic drama "Tango With Me" in UK cinemas on 24 August 2012. Bookings include screens at Odeon, Vue and Cineworld.

    The film stars Genevieve Nnaji and Joseph Benjamin as a young couple facing complex issues in their marriage. Mahmood Ali-Balogun directs and produces for his company Brickwall Communications.

    Talking Drum’s Dapo Oshiyemi said: “Our research estimates that there are over 5.5 million people in the UK who are interested in films based on black history, culture, society and lifestyle and we aim to connect that audience to the filmmakers who make that type of content thereby helping them achieve their commercial objectives while ensuring the audience is entertained, inspired and informed.”

  • AITEC roots for the promotion of Africa's creative industry

    Broadcasters and filmmakers in Africa will gather in Nairobi, Kenya at the fourth annual Broadcast, Film & Music Africa (BFMA) conference from 10-11 July 2012. Sean Moroney, chairman of AITEC Africa, organisers of the BFMA Conference, answers questions about the role of BFMA in developing Africa's creative content industry.

    Sean Moroney, chairman of AITEC Africa
    Why did AITEC Africa start the annual Broadcast, Film & Music Africa conference?

    Sean Moroney:What we call the creative content industry has huge untapped potential in Africa. Creative talent and energy abounds across the continent but we need to channel this into creative activities that bring financial returns and increase income earning power.

    So, we decided to develop a two-day business event that provides an in-depth technology and business briefing, focusing on the best practices across the continent and internationally. All this is to accelerate the growth of our film and broadcast industries.

    You have been organising the Annual Broadcast, Film & Music Africa for the last four years. What has this forum achieved so far?

    Moroney: We have exposed a large number of emerging enterprises in the sector to potential partners, suppliers, investors and customers. That is what we aim to do with each of our events.

    Through this conference, you intend to nature a more vibrant creative industry in East Africa, what loopholes or weaknesses have you observed over the time?
    Moroney: In East Africa in particular there is a huge unmet demand for local content. Viewers want content that they relate to their lives and aspirations. To some extent Nollywood has filled this gap but low quality series from Europe and South America are still bought by broadcasters as cheap content. So, local content development remains limited.

    What are some of the appropriate solutions to these challenges?

    Moroney: We need to find new business models, and subsidies to develop and promote local production initiatives. The region needs to be promoted as a creative industries destination for international and local production ventures.

    This is why this year, we have timed our conference to coincide with the Zanzibar International Film Festival, taking place over the same period, to maximise the attraction for international industry stakeholders to visit the region and explore its potential.

    What role do you expect international stakeholders in Africa's broadcasting and film industry like Sony, and Samsung, to play in the continent's quest for high quality content?

    Moroney: Suppliers like Sony and Samsung provide world-class technology that the industry needs to achieve high-quality production and broadcasts. Beyond that, they can educate their customers to achieve higher levels of excellence.

    That's why we are working with Sony to hold training workshops during the conference on production quality techniques. More of this sort of training needs to be done in the region and perhaps through industry associations.

    Africa is currently migrating from analogue to digital broadcasting migration; however, many countries are struggling on the road. Which markets can East Africa emulate to ensure that the migration is a success?

    Moroney: I don't think any country has developed an ideal migration strategy. Different lessons can be learnt from a wide range.

    Infringement of copyrights of global content developers in East Africa has persisted despite some steps by the various governments. What exactly needs to be done to deal with this problem?

    Moroney: Government leadership, with consultation and input from industry stakeholders - also at a regional level. So EAC, for example, could play a role in developing standards across the region, to provide guidelines and key milestones to achieve across the region.

    What challenges will the forthcoming conference Annual Broadcast, Film & Music Africa address?

    Moroney: We have two major focus areas: Content Development and Content Distribution. Content development faces huge challenges in terms of lack of resources and lack of capacity and investment. We will be looking at alternative or new business models that can leverage on international or regional partnerships.

    And in Distribution, there are dramatic and exciting new developments in the market, including mobile broadcasting, the launch of digital, which opens up multiple distribution channels, as well as new satellite technologies, which will also spread services and drive down costs. All these developments will be covered in detail.

    Apart from the Sony workshop, are there any other unique aspects to this year's conference?
    Moroney: For the first time this year, we have introduced music as a conference focus area. This is a rapidly growing industry, with a huge talent pool that through convergence with broadcasting and film-making will multiply its revenue-earning potential.

    This conference largely covers participants in East Africa are they plans to get the rest of Africa involved by taking it to other regions?

    Moroney: The conference is definitely pan-African. It is our intention to grow it into the continent's leading annual technology and business event for the electronic media and creative content industries.

    With government and industry support we can grow it into the annual must-attend event for stakeholders from throughout the continent that reinforces East Africa's status as a creative industries business and investment destination.

  • Film projectors will get the axe as the cinema chain moves to digital technology.

    Cinema chain Ster-Kinekor Theatres will replace all of its screens countrywide with digital technology over the next 12 months in a deal that will probably be worth nearly R100m. About 400 screens are affected by the move.

    The company, which is owned by Primedia, has signed an agreement with Arts Alliance Media, a digital cinema equipment supplier, to install the technology at all of its 59 sites. Roughly 12% of its screens are already digital.

    Ster-Kinekor Theatres CEO Fiaz Mahomed tells TechCentral that the majority of the new screens will use 2K projectors (2 048-pixel width), but some sites will get higher-definition — and costlier — 4K projectors (4 096-pixel width).

    The two companies are working to establish the optimum equipment configuration for the new installations. All the sites will be kitted out with Arts Alliance Media’s proprietary TMS software, called Screenwriter, to manage all digital screens and content. Mahomed says the move will mean “rapid and in certain instances instantaneous release of movie titles as well as alternative content such as sporting events and live concerts”.

    He says moving to digital will allow the company to screen more 3D content. It should also provide superior picture quality, new genres of film content and closer alignment of local release dates with international ones.

    A second phase of the project will involve connecting the cinemas together to allow content to be distributed automatically from a central office. For now, though, movies will be distributed to individual cinemas using hard drives.  

  • y bringing together the media research industry across African borders, the Pan African Media Research Organisation (PAMRO) aims to produce harmonised, compatible and comprehensive audience measurement data for the entire continent. By promoting media research in Africa, PAMRO aims to assist in uncovering the opportunities that exist for growth and development in all African countries. One of PAMRO's key vehicles for bringing people together from around the continent is its annual conference, the PAMRO All Africa Media Research Conference.
    This year's event takes place at Lake Victoria, Uganda, from 26-29 August 2012 - delegates from across the continent come together to touch base at what is regarded as the premier event on the pan-African media research calendar.

    "The PAMRO conference has grown into a remarkable networking and learning opportunity, and provides a valuable forum for intra-country communication and the exchange of ideas," says PAMRO president and MD of Telmar Media Systems, Jennifer Daniel.

    From the measurement and status of radio, print, TV, internet and outdoor across Africa, to future trends and challenges in the media audience field, the programme for the 14th PAMRO Conference covers a range of media research topics, based around the theme "From Local to Global: Media Research in a Developing World".

    Speakers from Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa will be joined by experts from as far afield as the United Kingdom, Hong Kong and Switzerland.

    Romi Hofer of GfK Switzerland will look at approaches to facing the challenges of media research. Thanks to digitalisation and advanced technologies, the media content available to consumers has become so comprehensive and multi-layered, and on such a variety of platforms, that traditional research approaches are no longer sufficient for providing planners and researchers with the correspondingly complex data they need. Hofer will outline how GfK is tackling these challenges, presenting the company's latest measurement approach being employed to meet the demands of an ever-changing media environment.

    Keld Nielsen, global business development director of TNS Media Research, UK, and Laurence Chausson, marketing director of Kantar Media, UK, will give their perspectives on new media measurement.

    Looking specifically at television measurement, Craig Johnson and Candice Ulrich from Nielsen SA will explore the route to installing peoplemeter panels in Africa to measure television viewing. While low-tech television diaries are a good source for supplying TV currency data, electronic peoplemeter panels are able to deliver much richer forms of data to broadcasters and marketers. Johnson and Ulrich will explore the route to installing peoplemeter panels within the African context and look at the advantages for media stakeholders.

    James Fergusson, manager of TNS, Singapore, and Karin du Chenne, MD of TNS Johannesburg, will demonstrate the crucial role which mobile will play in how Africans access products and services, and will highlight the critical factors behind successfully utilising mobile as a marketing and communications channel.

    Other confirmed speakers include Andrzej Suski of Millward Brown Africa and Middle East, who asks whether multi-channel campaigns in Africa can maximise return on investment.

    Suski looks at whether some media are more effective than others in the African context, and if so, are they the most efficient in achieving brand-building goals? In markets which lack well-established media currencies or any formal (or even intuitive) understanding of media interactions, is spreading the marketing message across various touch points the right way to ensure brands get noticed, or would maximizing the weight behind one channel provide best impact for the campaign as a whole?

    A number of other speakers will also be presenting at this year's conference, including Steve Garton, MD of Media for Greater China and global head of Media at Synovate, Hong Kong, Joe Otin of Ipsos Sub-Saharan Africa, and Adelaide McKelvey of Continental Outdoor Media, to name a few.

    Finally, there will be updates on media audience research activities from PAMRO member countries across the continent.

    The 14th PAMRO All Africa Media Research Conference runs from Sunday 26 August 2012 to Wednesday 29 August 2012, at the Speke Resort and Conference Centre in Munyonyo, Lake Victoria, Uganda.

    The conference will start on Sunday, 26 August with registration in the late afternoon, and presentations and papers beginning on the Monday. The conference will end around midday on Wednesday, 29 August, after lunch.

    Programme highlights include a dinner, a breakfast session, conference outing, and the Speciality Dinner where the Piet Smit Achiever Award will be awarded by the president of PAMRO. Named after PAMRO's late founder and honorary president, the Piet Smit Achiever Award is presented each year to the individual or group who has made a significant contribution to media research on the continent.

    For more, go to the website here:

  • Eutelsat Communications and the government of Madagascar announced the renewal for seven years of a capacity lease on the Eutelsat satellite 16A, at 16 ° is. These resources provide distribution of the first public television station, Television Malagasy (TVM), and national radio, Radio Madagasikara (MNC), on the whole territory of Madagascar.

    This contract renews a lease already initiated in 2006 and repeated in 2009. It secures the long-term resource for leading Radio and Television Malagasy Madagasikara, allowing them to supply power to the heads of wireless networks that bring together the country and serve Malagasy households.

    Commenting on the agreement, Harry Lawrence Rahajason, Minister of Communication of Madagascar highlighted the trust between both parties: "Since the beginning of our collaboration, Eutelsat has shown a remarkable quality of service. This new contract reflects our confidence in the ability to maintain Eutelsat, in the long run, this operational excellence. "

  • The official countdown to Africa’s premiere film finance and coproduction forum kicks off with a bang this year. With less than six weeks to go to the 3rd Durban FilmMart, organisers are gearing up for the ‘behind-the scenes’ film event of the year. The Durban FilmMart Delegate Registration is officially open promising access to key experts, broadcasters, financiers at the new venue Blue Waters Hotel on the Golden Mile of Durban’s beachfront.

    Created as a partnership project between the Durban Film Office and the Durban International Film Festival, the Durban FilmMart is positioned to facilitate the development of African film content and ultimately create further business and employment opportunities within the sector.  “It is with great excitement and much anticipation that we announce the countdown to the Durban FilmMart,” said Durban Film Office’s Toni Monty.

    Last month the official selection of Durban FilmMart projects comprising 11 feature films and 12 documentaries was announced.  Filmmakers who are not in the official selection still have an opportunity to register and attend Durban FilmMart as delegates. Delegates will have the opportunity to partake in a majority of the Durban FilmMart’s events, said Monty. “This will be a unique informative platform for delegates seeking stimulation and growth within their professional careers”.

    The Durban FilmMart 2012 programme will be presented in three strands – the Finance Forum, Master Classes and Africa in Focus. Delegates of the Durban FilmMart will have full access to the Master Classes held with leading experts in the areas of Finance, Marketing, Distribution, Project Packaging, co-production, New Media and other topics. Delegates will also have the opportunity to attend the Africa in Focus range of seminars and panel discussions featuring local and international filmmakers and industry experts with a special focus of African issues and initiatives.  Delegates seeking co-production partners will also have a chance to interact during several scheduled networking sessions.

    Partners and supporters of the Durban FilmMart 2012 include International Film Festival Rotterdam's (IFFR) CineMart, the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA), the Berlinale Film Festival as well as Dubai Film Connection, and several others. Also on board this year is the Hot Docs Documentary Film Festival- North America’s largest documentary film festival, which through the inaugural Hot Docs - Blue Ice Fund Group initiative will be facilitating a financing and mentorship program to six African film grantees, awarded earlier this year. The initiative, which was founded in 2011, will fly in the grantees and a highly acclaimed panel of film experts to join in the Durban FilmMart 2012 programe.

    So far 18 broadcasters will be in attendance at the Durban FilmMart 2012. These include the presence of a delegation of African broadcasters facilitated through the Canal France International (CFI) as part of the French Season in South Africa involvement with the Durban International Film Festival. A dozen African broadcasters will by visiting South Africa attending CFI’s annual conference and these African broadcasters will attend the Durban FilmMart DOC Circle pitches and take part in the one-on-one meetings.

    A number of European and North American financiers and co-producers will take one-on-one meetings with selected projects at the Finance Forum. International guests  confirmed so far include Kisha Cameron Dingle (Completion Films), Joslyn Barnes (Louverture Films), Alice Ramsey (Bankside Films), Meinolf Zurhorst (ZDF Arte), Remi Burah (Arte France), Simon Kilmurry (Point of View), Kate Townsend (BBC Storyville), Cynthia Kane (ITVS), Zanele Mthembu (etv) and Dominique Young (Al Jazeera).

    Heading up the expert panel this year are facilitators from the European Audio Visual Entrepreneurs – EAVE a professional training, project development and networking organization for producers within the audiovisual sector.  The Durban FilmMart is excited to be building a new partnership with EAVE who aim to provide training opportunities and bring producers of different regions together in order to facilitate co-production relationships. EAVE representatives attending the Durban FilmMart include EAVE president Alan Fontain, Roshanak Behesht Nediad who will present a masterclass on Finance and Jacques Akchoti who will present a masterclass on script writing.

    Peter Rorvik, director of the Durban International Film Festival added that this year’s line-up would add value to the development of African Cinema. Said Rorvik; “With this our third edition, the Durban FilmMart is set to spread its wings and build on its already significant contributions to the development of the African film Industry.”

    The 3rd edition of Durban FilmMart takes place from 20-23 July 2012 during the Durban International Film Festival and is open for delegate registration. For more information view the delegate registration process online at the official website; www.durbanfilmmart.com

  • Digital satellite television company MultiChoice could be losing revenue running into hundreds of thousands of dollars a year as Magic Box - a free-to-air satellite receiver that can pirate DStv signals - is becoming popular in Zimbabwe. Magic Box broadcasts MultiChoice's DStv channels through intercepting satellite signals provided to genuine Multichoice subscribers. But MultiChoice Zimbabwe is not aware of the new craze.

    "I am not aware of this development. I will consult with our technical team and find out what is happening," said Elizabeth Dziva, MultiChoice Zimbabwe public relations manager. Satellite decoder dealers say the Magic Box has been around since early last year, selling for an average of 120, and one can access the full bouquet without any interruption. The DStv full bouquet costs $73 a month.

    "We buy the decoders from Dubai and China, but there are some cheaper ones coming from Botswana," said a satellite installer. Those that are coming from Botswana are a result of a massive campaign by Botswana's MultiChoice to block Magic Box from pirating the signal early this year.

    Billy Sekgororoane, general manager for MultiChoice Botswana, was quoted in the Botswana press as saying MultiChoice was aware of Magic Box's existence and they are working on a way to deal with it.

    "We are very much aware of these new decoders; we have actually been following it for some time now," Sekgororoane said. Dealers say for the decoders to intercept the signal they use two satellite dishes facing each other. The biggest loser in this new craze could be the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, which is also accessed through DStv. Locals are refusing to pay their television licences, leaving the state broadcaster with revenue from DStv. But with DStv accessed by many for free, there will be less revenue.

  • The state controlled Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) has approached the country’s judges pleading for the arrest of millions of people resisting to pay radio and television licenses.

    “We are broke because our source of funds comes from licenses and we are owed millions of dollars by viewers and listeners. We do not have a proper tracking mechanism to thousands of tickets we are issuing daily. The problem we are having is our police and judiciary are not cooperating with us,”a senior ZBC  Manager  who requested not to be named told ZimEye,

    ZBC is demanding US$30 per year from motorists with radio receivers, US$50 for television and radio house hold owners.

    The Official said during their engagement with the judiciary it emerged that it needs more than two months for it to clear millions of  ZBC radio and television license defaulters. “They said they do not have the manpower to deal with our cases, and promised to accommodate us”, he said.

    The bankrupt state broadcaster in an effort to raise income from the resisting public, has dispatched officers at police roadblocks, car parks, to collect listeners and viewers licenses.

    The ZBC official said the company needs the revenue to cover for ZANU (PF) propaganda programmes which ‘are not being paid for’. He said advertisers were shunning the broadcaster because of the programs.

    “We cannot talk of adverts here as advertisers are no longer forthcoming. Flow of funds is deteriorating and we are failing to pay our workers in time – the reason why we are paying our workers in batches,” he added.

    Zimbabweans have to date been reluctant to pay radio and television licences arguing that they have abandoned the state broadcaster due to propaganda transmitted on a daily basis.

    The issue of the freedom of the airwaves has remained outstanding issue in the global political pact, as the ZANU (PF) side of the inclusive government refuses to release its control on ZBC.

  • Bright Malopa, former CEO at state owned broadcaster, Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC), bemoaned a court ruling last week, where about 300 members of staff of the broadcaster have lost a case over merger of television and radio sections that led to loss of jobs. The High Court in Blantyre on Tuesday 12 June 2012, dismissed an application for judicial review on the merger of MBC and Television Malawi (TVM).

    Presiding judge Justice Healy Potani dismissed the application in his draft ruling describing it as "incompetent". Potani ruled that the issues raised are purely employment matters suitable for the Industrial Relations Court.

    "The matter in its entirety, that is both on the relevant law and the facts, tends to show that while the applicants may be entitled to complain about the effect of the merger on the respective employments with the first respondent [MBC], they have no standing to question the procedure leading to the merger," he said.

    The judge conclude that the matter in respect of the applicants seeking judicial review is purely an employment one involving private law rights with no trappings of public law.

    "... and therefore ought not to be entertained," he declared.

  • A Burundian appeals court must reverse the ruling against a journalist sentenced to life in prison on vague terrorism charges, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

    A High Court in the eastern town of Cankuzo today found Hassan Ruvakuki, a reporter for local radio station Bonesha FM and French government-funded broadcaster Radio France Internationale, and 13 other defendants guilty of “participating in terrorist attacks” under the country’s penal code, Patrick Nduwimana, the interim director at Bonesha FM, told CPJ.

    The verdict was based on Ruvakuki’s November 2011 trip to a rebel-held area along Burundi’s border with Tanzania, during which he recorded an audio statement from Pierre Claver Kabirigi, a former police officer who claimed to be the leader of a new rebel group, the Front for the Restoration of Democracy-Abanyagihugu. When Ruvakuki returned to the capital, Bujumbura, security agents arrested him, searched his home, and questioned him over his alleged links to the rebel group, according to news reports.

    Ruvakuki’s defense counsel said the judges had not been impartial during the trial and that the government was pressuring the court to find a conviction, according to local journalists. Defense lawyer Onesimus Kabayabaya plans to file an appeal once he receives the court ruling, Nduwimana told CPJ.

    “It’s the duty of any reporter to interview both sides in a conflict,” said CPJ East Africa Consultant Tom Rhodes. “That is what Hassan Ruvakuki tried to do. We call on the court of appeals to overturn the conviction.”

  • In the 80's, the primary purpose of buying a television set was solely for viewing motion pictures, less attention was paid to its picture quality.

    Over the years, the need for vivid picture quality and weight reduction became the chief priorities in the TV market.

    However, this has led to the new generation breeds of TV's classified with their display platforms such as LCD, Plasma, HDTV, LED and 3D viewing.

    Aside from the competitive demand of high graphical display qualities and ultra slim TV, these new breed ultra-slim panel TVs are built with multifunctional advantage and incredible features that gives the device computing capabilities that are capable of rendering the desktop PC in homes useless.

    They are designed with built-in Wi-Fi, app store, web browser, media streaming and smartphone control.

    Their monster screen is flanked by the thinnest of glistening material mostly of choice metals like silver bezels, and they are designed so slim in terms of depth for light weightiness, flexibility and space management. The ultra-slim built keeps one wondering exactly how their vendors managed to put the tech device together.

    Some LED set come with up to 1,920 x 1,080 resolution coupled with Free-view HD and Free-sat HD tuners. Their Playbacks naturally include 3D in all manner of conversion frames (frame-sequential, side-by-side, etc), plus 2D-3D conversion and Auto-stereoscopy that displays stereoscopic images with binocular perception of 3D display without the use of special glasses.

    Their image engines gives mega contrast ratio as they scrub pictures by its proprietary 3D Hyper-Real Engine, thus giving an accurate colour reproduction that matches the solid contrast range.

    Connectivity options for these flat panels are so rich and advance, Wi-Fi, Ethernet, USB (for media playback from storage devices), HDMI inputs, Bluetooth, VGA inputs, AV in/out, Memory card slots Audio Return Channel (ARC) (used to hook the TV up to a home cinema system) and plus component accessories like wireless min-keyboard and full key remote with track-pad that serves as control pads for pre-installed games.

    Other jacks include an optical audio output for non-HDMI sound systems and two RF inputs to feed the double tuners.

    These ultra-slim televising sets are no longer just for TV viewing, they are branded as Smart TV, and offers full suite of connected features, including its Application store, VOD services, full web-browser, social hub for social networking and All-share media streaming.

    These features are accessed from the Smart Hub, with gorgeous coloured animated user-interface packed with user friendly icons. Some have PiP window that allows one to continue watching television while in the menu arena.

    Useful apps like Google Maps and weather notifying apps like AccuWeather, helps in location services and weather forecast so you don't have to wait for the timely weather forecast on local TV stations before planning your day!

    As for Video on Demand, apps like Netflix, LOVEFiLM and Acetrax, are readily available on/for download on these TV's. This implies that the Box-office is at your finger tip and having the 'cinematic' experience right in your home with absolute clarity! These apps allow you to stream new movies directly to the TV set; however it requires a subscription fee. You can still get freebies streamed to the set from VOD (by BBC iPlayer) and YouTube, amongst others.

    The slinky frame house high-end speakers, which produces awesome sound effect gear with SRS TruSurround and widen soundstage of up to five-band equalizer.

    However, the audio performance could be a little disappointment when compared with the quality of the display; thus for thumbs-up sound effect one should partner it with dedicated sound bar.

  • New DVB-S2 standard improvements break speed records on a 72 MHz Ku transponder operated by Eutelsat.
     
    Newtec has ushered in a new era of bandwidth efficiency by breaking the magical 0.5 Gbps two way throughput over a 72 MHz transponder on a Eutelsat satellite.
     
    Testing was performed at Eutelsat’s teleport in Rambouillet during the night in order not to disturb crucial daytime sport transmissions. A significant margin was taken in cloud cover conditions to ensure the tests were relevant for real-life high availability services in broadcast and telecom markets.
     
    The tests were carried out in several steps to validate different market application scenarios. In the two-way high speed backbone tests, Newtec combined its Bandwidth Canceller and Next Generation modems (Newtec MDM6000 series) to achieve a staggering 506 Mbps (2 x 253 Mbps).
     
    A number of innovative elements were used to improve overall current market available efficiencies, including Clean Channel Technology® (a Newtec technology for implementing lowest roll-off and filtering to boost throughput). New modulation and Forward Error Correction (FEC) codes were also used, which can be seen as demonstrators for evolutions in extending the DVB-S2 standard. In particular for this part of the test, a complete reworked 32 APSK 135/180 (135 over 180) modulation proved to be most optimised.
     
    In another test, 352Mbps was achieved in a one-way distribution set-up over the 72 MHz transponder using 64 APSK modulations and related codes, with significant margin on the Ku-band system.

  • Wednesday 27th June, 2012- Chinese digital broadcasting technology firms with interest in Africa’s rapidly growing broadcasting and electronic media content distribution sectors will compose the delegation from China to Africa’s largest gathering of broadcasting professionals and film makers, the annual Broadcast, Film and Music Africa (BFMA)conference scheduled for July 10-11 in Nairobi.

    Organizers of the global event say that six firms from China with global reach and impressive product manufacturing lines including digital TV head-ends, cable TV equipment, set-top boxes, digital TVs and radio and telecommunication equipment have booked exhibition stands to showcase their products at the event.

    This latest development enhances BFMA’s status as the content’s leading industry gathering for the electronic media industry.

    Jason Xia of the ABE International Group, who will lead the delegation from China to the conference, said Chinese firms’ interest in Africa Film and Broadcasting space has been growing. “Some of the key factors include the migration from analogue to a digital broadcasting regime by media across the continent. This is a good opportunity for media investors to know what China has to offer in making this possible,” he said.
    The firms include digital broadcasting equipment maker GlobalSat International Tech, TV head-end experts Dexin Digital Tech and Guangdong last-mile connectivity equipment and systems expert Hansen Tech. One of China’s largest broadcast equipment manufacturers, the Beijing BBEF Science & Technology Company, is also among the firms that will showcase in Nairobi at the BFMA conference.
    “Chinese manufacturers invest elaborately in research and development, and have been pioneering innovation and production of next technologies in broadcasting equipment,” said Sean Moroney, Chairman of AITEC Africa – which organizes the event. “Their participation will add value to Africa’s broadcasting and content space.”

  • Côte Ouest Audiovisuel: appointment of Ms Leticia N’CHO to the position of General Manager

    The board of CÔTE OUEST group of companies is delighted to announce the appointment of Ms Leticia N’CHO to the position of General Manager effective 1st July 2012.
    Leticia has been an employee of CÔTE OUEST Abidjan regional office since January 2012 and has in a short space of time gained extensive knowledge of CÔTE OUEST business operations, customers and audiovisual products for Francophone Africa television sector. Leticia’s formal responsibilities as General Manager will include oversight of all aspects of the content acquisition and distribution value chain. She will take charge of all aspects of Abidjan office management and product support functions inclusive of marketing, communication, sales, content sourcing and production. 
      
    Leticia’s appointment was announced by Group CEO Mr. Bernard Azria at a recent high powered CÔTE OUEST Strategy and Planning workshop in Abidjan.
    Mr. Bernard Azria CEO, CÔTE OUEST Group of Companies said, “CÔTE OUEST has experienced impressive growth in French Speaking African region over the past 17 years of our existence as Africa’s premier distributor of compelling TV content from Africa and the developing South (southern hemisphere). We realize that in order to strengthen and build on our existing relationships in the region we need strong and dedicated leadership armed with an intimate knowledge of the market. Leticia’s bring to the job an extensive resume in sales, marketing and business management. I am confident that Leticia’s unique skill-set will enhance our already extensive experience in content distribution and service excellence to our customers”

    Mr. Mike Dearham SVP of CÔTE OUEST Group of companies said, “Leticia is a truly remarkable entrepreneur and represents a new echelon of high powered African women dedicated to the growth and development of the African creative industry. I have no doubt that Leticia has the required skill, commitment and strength to nurture CÔTE OUEST drive for sustainable impact despite the challenging economic conditions we face in the region and globally”
    LETICIA N’CHO PROFILE 
    Holder of a Post Graduate Diploma in Finance and Accounting (DESCF) as well as a Masters in International Relations Political Science, Leticia has started her career as junior Assistant in an accounting firm, and then worked in the world of communication and events, between France and Miami.

    She then became head of Development and Strategy at ESPACE IMAGE (Voodoo Group – first Communication Agency in West Africa) in Abidjan, CÔTE D’IVOIRE, where she catered for the management strategy and development of LIFE magazine – ‘TYCOON’.  She provided strategic recommendations on communication media and non media strategy: party planning, design and audiovisual production design and updating of the website.

    Afterwards, she joined INITIAV as Sales and Marketing Director. Her first mission was initially to restructure the department as well as the company's products, divided into four areas: billposting, press, audiovisual production and innovative products.
     
    In 2010, Leticia joined CÔTE OUEST group as Sales and Marketing Director. She was responsible for Francophone Sub-Saharan Africa (excluding Indian Ocean) - TV (private and public) + Pan-African Advertisers . Project manager of strategic thinking, exploration, development and supervision of local correspondents, competitive intelligence.

    CÔTE OUEST AUDIOVISUEL is the premier distributor of audiovisual rights for and from Africa. It owns a unique catalogue of TV programmes including prestigious soap operas and telenovelas, major US and African feature films, TV series, movies made for TV, documentaries and animations for the young audience.
    CÔTE OUEST is an independent company with offices in Abidjan (Ivory Coast), in Ebene City (Mauritius) and in Casablanca (Morocco) to effectively serve its customers across the entire continent.

    CÔTE OUEST has sealed exclusive agreements with M-Net in South Africa, Globo TV in Brazil, Majors and independent producers in the USA and many other producers worldwide, thus securing the distribution of thousands of hours of the best drama to its numerous clients. CÔTE OUEST distributes an annual average of over 20,000 hours of programmes to nearly 75 television stations spread across 42 markets. For more details, contact CÔTE OUEST here.

    Source: Fin Manjoo Online Editor/Co-ordinator The Call Sheet

     

    Ziff Chief Guest Mario Van Peebles

    “Being a filmmaker is like having a really big megaphone,” jokes Van Peebles “When you can wake folks up a little in a positive way, do it.”

    Mario Van Peebles is currently probably the most prominent African-American film director.

    In addition to coming to join African and diaspora filmmakers at ZIFF Van Peebles will also be presenting his latest film, the dynamic  We the Party at ZIFF 2012 and in Dar es Salaam for commercial distribution.  

    Just recently Van Peebles handed a copy of his film to US President Barack Obama at a special event for the  president’s viewing on Airforce One.

    With his other films including Ali (2001),  New Jack City (1991) Baaadassss (2003) and Posse (1993),  Van Peebles has directed 27 films and acted in 87 in Hollywood. He has won a string of Awards and many nominations for his ouvre.

    In addition to the Golden Globe nominated Boss, Van Peebles has directorial credits for other award-winning television shows such as Damages and Lost.

    A graduate of Columbia University with a B.A. in Economics and recipient of an honorary doctorate from Hofstra University, Van Peebles worked for two years for New York’s Department of Environmental Protection before moving to Hollywood to act, write, and direct.

    Van Peebles directed and produced Panther, teaming up with his maverick filmmaking father, Melvin Van Peebles, who also wrote the script. Panther is the story of the Black Panther Party’s rise to power. The film became a political classic, stirring up controversy and winning awards that included the Locarno Film Festival’s Silver Leopard award.
    Source: Ziff, 22 June 2012.

    South Africa: Zama Mkosi, appointed chief executive of the National Film and Video Foundation in February, pinpoints skills development as one of her challenges. The NFVF has been mandated by the government to develop and promote the South African film industry both domestically and internationally. Full story here  by Karen Van Schalkwyk.

    - Sony Pictures Television Networks is to split its business across Europe, the Middle East and Africa into two. Stewart is promoted to senior VP for Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa, continuing to oversee business across Germany, Russia, the Baltics and Africa, while adding Central Europe to his remit and leading new opportunities in Turkey, Greece and the Middle East.

    - Naspers financial director Steve Pacak
    tells Bizcommunity why DStv had a good year, what the future of pay-TV looks like and why, with the Media24 print business, there's some heartening news for journalists: full story here

    - In South Africa, the Minister of Communications Dina Pule is inviting the public to nominate persons to serve on the South African Broadcast Production Advisory Body (SABPAB). The role of the SABPAB is to advise on how the development, production and display of local content can be supported in the country.

    - Africa 24’s CEO Constant Nemale
    has announced that Dakar will be a major platform for his TV channel in Africa.

  • Great audiovisual experts lined up at BFMA Conference set for July in Nairobi
    The fourth annual Broadcast, Film & Music Africa (BFMA) Conference, hosted by AITEC Africa is set to take place from 10-11 July 2012 at the Oshwal Centre in Nairobi, Kenya.

    To double the attraction for creative industry professionals throughout the world to travel to East Africa and experience African film and art, the Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF) will coincide with the BFMA Conference and will take place from 7-15 July, to double the attraction for creative industry professionals throughout the world to travel to East Africa and experience African film and art.

    Nollywood comes to Nairobi

    From the confirmations, the speaker line-up for BFMA reflects widespread participation of experts from across the continent. There will be participation from Nollywood movers and film executives.

    Scheduled to speak at the conference include Jason Njoku, CEO and founder of iROKOtv; Michael Ugwu, director of IROKING (the online music portal); Sola Green from Media Made in Africa; Gregory Olumuya Odutayo of Royal Roots Communications and Eric Idiahi of Splinlet. Dr Sophia Zhang from StarTimes, Nigeria will also share her experiences on digital media at the conference.

    iROKOtv, the Nigeria-base Netflix of Africa has recently announced that it would be releasing a new website with “a breathtakingly beautiful new look and feel with an incredibly easy to use interface”, next week. Along with this, its much anticipated subscription service called iROKOtv+ will give clients access to over 200 brand new and exclusive Nollywood movies for just $5 a month. In May, the platform started allowing its over 500,000 users to share and rate what they’re watching via Facebook on its platform. iROKOtv, launched December 1, 2011 has the largest catalogue of Nollywood movies ever online with over 5,000 movie titles.

    As West Africa's film scene and broadcast industry compares wisdom with the rest of Africa, BFMA will see other West African electronic media players including Ghanians Samuel Attah-Mensah, CEO of Omni-Media and Akwasi Ageyman, MD of Global Media Alliance Broadcasting.

    Uganda will be represented by William Odoch of Revelation Media and Abubaker Kawenja, a prominent journalist and theatre practitioner among others.

    Insights to be shared

    Valuable insights will be shared by Michael Dearham, senior vice president of Cote Ouest Mauritius, former head of archiving at DStv. Interviewed by Sylvain Béletre, Michael Dearham said that Côte Ouest is after quality fictions including African TV series, soaps, telenovelas, other types of fictions, niche genres, kids programmes and possibly sports.

    Kevan Jones, executive director of the South African Communication Industries Association, will provide an overview of latest trends across the continent.

    Other South African speakers include Envir Fraser, head of Research, Regulatory & Policy and Convergence Partners, a South African investment fund, who will be talking on "Investment in media across Africa: Regulation, piracy, multiplay", and Jason Lobel, regional director for Africa at NDS, who will conduct a showcase presentation on "Trends in digital television in Africa: Where is the market and what are the opportunities?"

    Another speaker from South Africa, Steve Rich, a pioneer in African satellite communications, will be speaking on broadcast content delivery through latest satellite technologies.

    Cote D'Ivoire will be represented by Corinne Loze, CEO of StarAfrica.com at Orange.

    Belgium's voice in broadcast and film will be heard through Dr Ann Overbergh, an audio visual expert and from the UK, will be Dr Fred Mundhai, senior lecturer of media and communication at the School of Art and Design at Coventry University. Justine Atkinson, CEO of UK-based Aya Distribution will also present.

    Film and broadcast experts from Kenya

    Experts from Kenya's Film industry will include Peter Mutie, CEO of the Kenya Film Commission; Vivien Maries, MD Africa for Intermedia; Joe Otin, Research and Monitoring director at Ipsos Synovate and Gary Rathbone, MD for Africa at Supersport.

    Also from Kenya will be Jaco du Toit, UNESCO Communication and Information advisor; Julian Smallwood, partner and director at Media Made in Africa; Daniel Obam, Communication Radio Technology expert at the National Communications Secretariat; Tobias Seda, GM of Adcare; Julian Macharia of Royal Media Services; Lilian Muendo of Kenya Broadcasting Commission; Santos Okuttah, MD of Eziki Kenya and Mary Lusiba, head of communication at BBC.

    Mukura Were, the founder of the East Africa Documentary Network, will make a presentation on "local content development, successes and hurdles" with special reference to the documentary industry in East Africa. Zuku/Wananchi Group will be presented at BFMA by Hannelle Bekker, managing director for programming.

    Sean Moroney, Chairman of AITEC Africa, which organizes the conference, say the event's vision is to become the leading annual business and technology gathering for Africa's rapidly growing creative content industry. "The level of expertise we have lined up for the conference this year is a compelling educational and networking opportunity for electronic media professionals from throughout the continent."

    For more, go to Aitec Africa.

    The 10th Annual African Diaspora Film Festival  - June 15-21, 2012

    "The annual African Diaspora Film Festival is as diverse and porous as the diaspora itself" -TimeOut Chicago

    The African Diaspora International Film Festival and The Facets Cinémathèque are presenting The 10th Annual Chicago African Diaspora International Film Festival (ADIFF 2012-Chicago), which will be held at Facets from June 17-21. This outstanding event will feature a selection of Black Independent Films from around the world, depicting an eclectic mix of foreign, independent, classic and urban films which represent the human experience of people of color through an extraordinary range of subjects and artistic approaches. In collaboration with the South African Consulate in Chicago, ADFF-Chicago 2012 will pay homage to the 100 year anniversary of the ANC on South African Youth Day, June 16th with the screening of two important South African films: Come Back Africa, shot in 1960 during the apartheid era and also Nothing But The Truth, a film about the new South Africa directed by John Kani, one of the major cultural figures in that country. Highlighting stories from South Africa, Surinam, The United States, Brazil, Cuba and Cameroon are some of the countries represented in the 10th African Diaspora Film Festival-Chicago, as well as several works by independent African American filmmakers, ADIFF Chicago 2012 is poised to be another success in the Windy City.

    The 10th Annual African Diaspora Film Festival-Chicago is made possible thanks to the generous support of the following institutions: Facets Cinémathèque, ArtMattan Productions, the Center for Black Diaspora at DePaul University, the South African Consulate General, Chicago; the Quebec Government Office - Chicago, the Consulate General of Switzerland - Chicago, and TV5 Monde.

    Source: facets, June 2012.

     

    The Online submissions to the shnit International Shortfilmfestival 2012 are now open. This year the festival runs simultaneously in Cape Town, Berne (Switzerland), Cologne (Germany), Vienna (Austria), Singapore and San Jose (Costa Rica), with new countries set to be announced.

Issue no 611 29th June 2012

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Top story

  • There are now several online and mobile music TV platforms that have started in Africa. Some like Iroko Partners started with Nollywood film and went into music, whilst others like Spinlet have started with music and could easily go into TV programming. Orange has thrown its hat into the ring with entry of its minority-owned Deezer platform into Africa. Sylvain Beletre, Senior Research Analyst, Balancing Act talks to the key players.

    African mobile operators are still stuck in the SMS way of thinking about content: it’s the stuff that the aggregators turn up with at their doorsteps. In the main, they don’t drive developments and they make it hard for others to use their platforms. Procedures are slow and the financial splits are awful.

    The future of mobile content in Africa has two big bits: either it will be international brands that secure market share and then localise (Like Facebook and You Tube) or it will be local operators who seek to compete both within and outside the content. Music will be one of the key drivers of the coming mobile content war.

    Whatever its successes and failures, Orange is a mobile company that has a lot of commitment to content, through its Pay TV operations and more recently, through its launching of music streaming service, Deezer, which is now coming to Africa.

    Over the past few years there have been several online music services in Africa including radio stations streaming. Nigeria’s Spinlet , a mobile music management and storage service launched at Midem in January 2012 and iROKING  is a free music Nigerian music streaming service that came out of Iroko Partners (Nollywood Love). Also Google’s initiative to have local servers on the continent for You Tube has put a large number of African countries within reach of free local music videos.

    On 12 June 2012, Deezer, a European and international music streaming service aimed at encouraging the growth of legal online music offers announced that it was now joining Africa’s digital music armada in two high potential African countries: Mauritius and Ivory Coast. There are the first countries to launch Deezer’s service in the Middle East and Africa region. It plans to rollout in about ten African countries in total with Orange, which is a minority shareholder. Currently it offers 18 million tracks from 2,000 different music labels so it has content in depth and it has 1.5 million premium users.

    As part of its new content strategy, Orange is currently only one of two operators to offer a large scale unlimited music streaming service: Deezer Premium bundled with its broadband internet tariff plans in Mauritius and Ivory Coast. It seems that only Spotify has actually set up a similar agreement with Telenor. Since 2010, Orange and Deezer entered a new phase in the evolution of legal online music offer and are helping to develop them on all available digital media.

    Set up in August 2007, Deezer launched the first internet and mobile offers integrating Deezer Premium+ in France in 2010 and then in the UK at the end of 2011. Deezer now has over 23 million users with 6 million unique visitors per month in France only. Each week, Deezer sees its number of subscribers driven from Facebook increase by 20%, excluding France, said Deezer’s CEO.

    It has a number of different approaches to the business model. There is:

    *   Deezer free of charge financed by advertising with 5 hours limited access time;

    * Deezer Premium at 4.99 Euros per month with unlimited access and extra benefits; and

    * Deezer Premium + at 9.99 Euros/month available to mobile phones and an offline mode (no internet and 3G+ network required) once music is downloaded.

    Contributing to the multi-screen and music everywhere revolution, the Deezer Premium+ service is available on all forms of devices whether it is PC, mobile, Wi-Fi walkman, IP channels, IP TV, or tablets.

    The advertising-free, premium services also deliver an editing app (Deezer Mix) and helps optimise listening quality.

    All three options provide access to web radios and 18 million music tracks from 2,000 different labels, including majors like Sony BMG, Universal Music, Warner Music International and EMI.

    Deezer wants to hit 200 countries (but not including the USA and Japan) noting that by January 31, 2012, Canada and Latin America would be added to its roster, with Australasia to follow the month after. Today Deezer is available in 88 territories.

    Competition on these online music platforms is intense both at a global and international level. The best know platform is Apple’s iTunes but access to the platform in Africa is limited by the limited number of people with access to an international credit card. Furthermore with the exception of the iPhone, Africa seems to have hardly registered in Apple’s overall emerging markets sales strategy. China seems to have been more attractive.

    It competes with global services like ShareTheMusic  a free and global MP3 service with 100,000 unique tracks; GrooveShark  which offers 15 million tracks to 20 million users globally; Guvera, a new breed of online music download and streaming service and Pandora, Spotify and many more.

    By comparison, Swedish Spotify offers 15 million tracks, has 10 million users including 3 million paid subscribers but is available in less than 20 countries, though it does have the USA sewn up – a country Deezer has no immediate intentions of touching. However, Spotify and Pandora are not present in all countries and have little visibility in Africa.

    Within the African region, Nigerian music platform Spinlet announced plans to roll out its music app to global users a week ago. It has global distribution rights for 1 million tracks, primarily for African record labels and is clearly eying the diaspora markets already captured for Nollywood movies by Iroko. It is available in 72 contries with a free streaming and pay per download offers for its African music catalogue. 22 of these countries are in Africa where it will start offering international content in December of this year.

    Spinlet is supported on the most popular smart phones including Android, BlackBerry and Symbian 3 and is available for free download via the Android Market, Blackberry Store, and Symbian Platform. Within Spinlet, users can remotely store, manage and listen to music from anywhere using their mobile device. Spinlet promotes social sharing with an interface that allows users to create accounts, make playlists and share their favorite titles using social-networking sites, such as Facebook with their friends.

    This has given Spinlet the clout to sign digital distribution agreements in Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, Ghana, Angola, Democratic Republic of the Congo and other African Countries. Spinlet offers an array of multi-national, award winning music and has signed hundreds of artists and labels to the service. Additionally, any music rights holders can upload their music for sale on the Spinlet platform.

    "Spinlet launched with our main goals being to create a revenue stream for artists with a legitimate outlet for sales and to fight the piracy markets by making to model readily available to music lovers including a free streaming service and downloads that are priced at an affordable level" said Eric Idiahi, Spinlet Chairman.

    "The presence of online and mobile music services can easily have a negative effect on traditional mediums. At Spinlet we have created a model that supports them by creating strategic partnership agreements with radio and television stations that benefit each medium and most importantly benefit the content rights holder by showcasing their music and increasing awareness and sales of their tracks" added Mark Redguard, Spinlet CMO.

    More can be found here

    To date, iROKING  free music online platform has 35,000 tracks in its catalogue dating from 1963 to the present day and 75,000 registered users in total. It also manages over 70 artist’s You Tube pages with more than 100 million views in the past 12 months. Its deal structure is 60/40 in favour of rights owners, the complete reverse of what the mobile companies are currently offering.

    It monetises and protects artists’ content for among others: P-Square, 2face, Bracket, Flavour, Omawumi, Timaya, Duncan Mighty, Lynxxx. The company has significantly reduced piracy of Nigerian music content to near zero.. iROKING also audio ID's digitally fingerprint sound recordings on Youtube to ensure rights are protected and also publishes Nigerian music content to the iTUNES/ Amazon stores for diaspora consumption (paid downloads etc).

    iROKING is present globally servicing the local (Africa) and Diaspora markets (Europe, US, Canada etc). The company has also launched mobile applications for its music solution on the iOS, Android, Windows and Symbian (Nokia) mobile handsets. The application allows access to thousand of the latest Nigerian tracks and stream songs over Wifi or 3G. The iROKING Mobile Application features include: Favourite selected songs; Create playlists and share them via Twitter or Facebook; Integrated ‘offline’ functionality where you can listen to your favourite tunes offline.

    So what about paid options to listen to music, do you have any (like Deezer premium)?:”Download economics at present do not work locally. iTunes/Amazon for diaspora users is currently the most viable option in terms of downloads. Mobile money is in its infancy. Premium SMS is exploitative. A subscription model is the model of choice however digital subscription culture is not yet tested. Our sister platform iROKOtv is testing this come July 1st 2012. For now we stream content for free. We pay license fees to large artists for exclusive partnerships. The freely available nature of Nigerian music content on sites like 4shared, Hulkshare, etc. stifles any move to charge the online audience. Critical mass audio ads and monthly subscriptions will come online. For now Youtube ad revenue is our primary source of income”.

    Apart from these above two solutions, other smaller African music entrants on the web include “Musique Kabyle”, djindo , afrique-music  streaming  websites, a growing number of local radio stations and a few informative web portals.

    With Deezer, Orange clients in these two African countries can now enjoy their favourite music anywhere and at any time and share it with their friends easily and legally explained Axel Dauchez, President of Deezer, but right now a broadband internet tariff plan is the sine qua non condition to gain access. With Deezer, “African music and artists will be more powerful than they are today” added Dauchez.

    Ms. Laurence Le Ny, Music Director at Orange Group explained that Deezer will partner with local providers of quality music content to enrich Deezer’s catalogue. Deezer signs non-exclusive agreements with rights owners and will have local bureaux in Africa to set up deals with local music content aggregators, music labels and even the small and unknown independent producers, Laurence Le Ny added. “We are working closley with the marketing and technical teams of our local subsidiaries in MEA countries in order to find the best way to integrate Deezer Premium into our mobile offers” Le Ny concluded. This should also benefit to local African musicians and producers.

    If it works out well, Deezer could potentially offer Deezer Premium across the whole continent, perhaps even independently of any operator partnership.

    The Middle East will apparently be following suit shortly with Orange/Deezer tie-ups, as will more countries across Europe and Africa.

    In France, Orange includes Deezer Premium in several of its broadband offers and Deezer Premium + in mobile offers such as Origami Jet and Origami Star. Deezer Premium is also available as an option for 5€ a month for broadband services and Deezer Premium + for 10€ per month for mobile services. This could happen soon in some Africa countries once networks are capable of supporting large music files and once legal and commercial barriers are cleared off.

    The content revolution towards unlimited legal music consumption is under way and Africans have started enjoying it. This will help combat piracy further on the continent but the question remains as to how well these online solutions will contribute to financing the African music sector.

    The only barriers for paid music in Africa are credit card payment and broadband capacity. Mobile money could be the answer to the first one and improved infrastructure is the answer to the second.

    The online music services partly rely on the explosion of smartphones and demand in emerging markets, especially Africa, Asia and Latin America. In a process of recovering from a decade of contraction, the music industry needs to generate new revenues and online access seems to be the way forward.

    Some of these new online players have managed to cajole hitherto reluctant record labels, scalded by cannibalizing their CD sales since the rise of digital audio services into signing deals. Today, the trend seems to be more about selling the music experience rather than selling records.

    African Voice ARPUs will continue to drop. Competition has already driven them down to teeth-clenchingly low levels in the key markets and the steady impact of mobile VoIP will build and build as it becomes an entrenched habit, particularly for continental and global calling at the top end of the market. This leaves data capacity sales and money from content and transactions as the two sources of revenue to replace the current voice income. Data may not be hugely profitable but Over-The-Top services based on transactions and advertising have potential. The mobile content war is only just beginning so watch out for more content that will really capture users’ imagination.

    The upcoming event Broadcast, Film and Music Africa will discuss many of the issues raised in this article. event to be held over 10-11 July 2012 at Oshwal Centre, Westlands, in Nairobi, Kenya will be the occasion to review what’s happening on the online music front in Africa. Among others, iROKING, Spinlet and Orange will send representatives

    To follow the exchanges about this 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:

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

    Alan Knott-Craig Jr, CEO, MXit on his African expansion plans

    Mark Kaigwa, Afrinnovator talking about monetization of mobile content at OIAS

    EyalCoppitt, SVP Sales MEA, Amos Spascecom on the launch of the Amos 5 satellite


    Shawkat Ahmed, COO, Yahsat talks about its new low cost satellite broadband product


    Jonah Fink, SVP, net2phone on the potential for VoIP in Africa


    Angus Hay, Chair of WACS on the impact of this new, international cable

    A special for Balancing Act readers:

    Sean Krepp, Uganda Country Director, Apps Lab
    on raising farmers income using community knowledge workers with smartphones

    Kobus Roux, CSIR Meraka Institute on getting rural schools connected using local micro-entrepreneurs and Wi-Fi mesh technology

    Two experts discuss the challenges of mobile operators as brands:

    Laine Barnard, Founder, 8Brand - Mobile outlets as "giant waiting rooms" for selling airtime

    Sammy Thuo, Director, Saracen Media on differentiating African mobile brands

telecoms

  • Jasco Networks has expanded its operations into Central Africa with the formation of Jasco Congo, a subsidiary company with dedicated presence and local shareholders in the region.

    Following this expansion, the newly-formed Jasco Congo subsidiary has signed a partnership agreement with Warid Congo to manage and maintain a carrier-neutral co-location data centre in Congo-Brazzaville.

    Mobile operator, Warid Congo is part of the multinational Warid Telecom and as the owners of the data centre infrastructure, it will share in the revenues generated by the data centre and benefit from skills transfer as a result of the partnership.

    Jasco Congo will, in turn, benefit from the ability to tap into local expertise, knowledge and market presence, the group said.

    “Data centres are one of the fastest growing segments of the IT industry, but the data centre built by Warid was not being used to full capacity. We were looking for a seasoned, highly experienced partner in the field to help us reposition our organisation to meet the needs of corporates around data centres and carrier neutral services. Jasco delivers on all of our requirements and are the ideal partner,” said Michel Elame, MD of Warid Congo.

    According to Jasco, market research conducted in Central Africa has revealed that the Internet market is still in its infancy, being very expensive and only accessible via satellite due to lack of infrastructure.

    However, users in the region are well aware of technological innovations and businesses are eager to embrace connectivity. This is becoming easier to achieve thanks to the recent landing of the WACS undersea cable connecting West Africa to the world, and growing investment into improving infrastructure.

    The group notes that local Internet in the region remains expensive as a result of a lack of local hosting and local Internet exchange.

    Jasco Congo has entered into a service partnership with Warid Congo, using its existing infrastructure and taking over the operational costs and maintenance of the data centre. Jasco will be designing and building an Internet switch exchange and providing local Internet hosting from the Warid Telecom data centre, helping to drive down the cost of Internet access. The company will also be hosting local telecommunications operators, providing a carrier neutral switching location for international traffic.

    “Our research indicated that the region was ripe with opportunities, which are being held back due to the expense of building infrastructure. The situation is reminiscent of the South African market several years ago, and our experience in South Africa puts us in an ideal position to not only harness these opportunities but to assist with growth and skills transfer in the Central African region,” it said.

    “The Jasco Congo operation, in partnership with Warid Telecom, enables us to expand our co-location solutions offering into Africa without the expense of physically investing in infrastructure, while creating local empowerment and business stimulation,” said Eckart Zollner, business development manager for Jasco Co-location Solutions.

    “Expansion into Africa is an important part of Jasco’s growth strategy, and this venture offered the perfect opportunity to launch into a new market. Congo Brazzaville is one of the more stable and economically active countries in Central Africa, the government is on an aggressive growth drive and a lot of investment is being injected into the economy.

    “Jasco Congo and our partnership with Warid Telecom will enable us to be a part of this development and to build relationships with local suppliers in this region. This in turn will provide a launch platform for future growth and expansion,” added Paul McKibbin, divisional managing director of Jasco Networks.

  • Nine hundred thousand Safaricom service subscribers may be cut off from the network in the next three months because they either have not registered their SIM cards or are using fake handsets.

    This follows an announcement on 26th June by the Information and Communications permanent secretary Bitange Ndemo that a three month campaign begins today to sensitize mobile phone users on the mandatory requirement to register their SIM cards and buy genuine phones. Ndemo said at the same time they will identify and lock out those with fake handsets without valid IMEI numbers for subsequent disconnection alongside all unregistered SIM cards.

    Peter Arina, General Manager, Safaricom's Consumer Business said three to five percent of their revenue will be affected by the termination of the services to the non compliant customers. He said the drive is motivated by the need for traceability of users involved in criminal activities using the ease of mobile phone communication to co-ordinate their activities. "It is even absolutely necessary now that we are seeing heightened political campaign to minimise propagation of hate speech," Ndemo said

    He was speaking at the launch of the latest Ideos mobile handset by Huawei in partnership with Safaricom. Huawei launched its Ideos Ascend Y-100 entry level smart phone, an upgrade of its locally popular IDEOS U8150 handset, which has been Safaricom's flagship handset selling an estimated 200,000 units. The Huawei Ideos handsets recorded the highest returns for Safaricom accounting for 18.5 per cent of the data number of data users, according to Peter Arina, the General Manager of Safaricom's Consumer Business Unit.

    The Huawei U8185 branded Ideos Ascend Y100 will retail at Sh 8,499, the same price its forerunner introduced at. The phone will be available in 3 colours, Black, White and Pink. Customers will also get a one off 1.5 GB data offer valid for 90 days, airtime worth Sh1000, 7 days unlimited SMS and a 2GB SD card. Several competing devices including Samsung models have have flooded the market threatening the runaway success registered by the Ideos in the recent past.

  • There are two types of Internet service: the spotty and the steady. “Bad” service is when a signal exists, but its strength is too weak to consistently access. “Good” service is a strong and steady signal. As mobile coverage increases and Internet/mobile penetration expands, users are demanding the latter. And understandably so – Internet/mobile coverage is great, but truly enjoying that coverage is much better.

    Regulators and operators alike are beginning to place on emphasis on quality instead of quantity. ARTP, Senegal’s telecommunications regulatory agency, understands the importance of quality of service, as evidenced by an interactive national campaign. From June 25th until July 25th, ARTP will field toll-free phone calls (around the clock) from Senegalese citizens who find telecoms services lacking in quality. The goal is to push operators to provide the best communication service possible.

    The campaign is quite progressive, but then again, mobile subscription rate is 77% and growing. Hopefully ARTP will be able to push the operators to address apparent weaknesses. For example, it could suggest for infrastructure to be laid in certain areas to fill in the gaps of service. Operators can upgrade systems. Resources can be allocated differently at different times of the day.

    Of course, this is not the first time a telecoms regulator or operator in Africa has honed in on QoS. Last November, Uganda’s cellcos were warned that quality of service will form the basis of license renewal applications. The Prime Minister of Rwanda recently told MTN, the nation’s largest mobile provider, to improve services so the population can fully access fair services.

    Not every nation is ready to devote the resources to a QoS audit. Many less-developed areas are glad to have mobile Internet coverage, period. And, even if every African telecoms regulator initiative a QoS campaign, results would no doubt be mixed. After all, it takes a strong regulator to ensure operators make necessary changes to boost the quality of service.

  • Hyperia Limited, an indigenous Internet Service Provider (ISP), and Yahsat, a satellite communications company, have rolled out a satellite-based broadband service in the country.

    Deputy Managing Director, Hyperia, George Opara, who spoke at the pre-service inauguration of the broadband service in Lagos, recently, said the solution would assist in reducing the high cost of broadband internet service in Nigeria.

    He said, "We have been working over two to three years to bring this solution into the market. Hyperia already has major VSAT product in the C-band and KU band. We have our hub in London and we service every part of Nigeria. When we saw the importance of this project and how it is going to help reduce the cost of Internet broadband, Hyperia Limited became very much interested. We have tested the C and KU bands and with emergence of KA band we have seen immense potential. This is a pre-service launch and we expect that the service will be up and running few weeks from now."

    He explained that the broadband service would compete favourably with WiMAX and Wi-Fi service in Nigeria, adding that the satellite-based broadband solution was totally independent of terrestrial infrastructure.

    According to him, the inauguration of the satellite service into Nigeria's telecommunications market would enable more Nigerians especially those in undeserved and unserved areas to have access to efficient and reasonably priced broadband service via satellite technology.

    This, according to him, would enable more Nigerians to enjoy broadband internet access without having to wait for terrestrial systems to roll out expensive fibre networks.

    Commenting on the satellite service, Chief Commercial Officer, Yahsat, Mr. Shawkat Ahmad, said the broadband solution would cover the entire country.

    He pointed out that the service would play a pivotal role in economic development by connecting rural and urban communities thereby creating informed societies.

    On the cost-effectiveness of the broadband solution, Ahmad said Nigerians could instantaneously connect to the internet using a small satellite dish and satellite modem wherever the satellite signal was received.

    While delivering a paper on broadband delivery through satellite communications, the President, Society of Satellite Professionals International, Andrew Aro, said the broadband service rode on the KA band which was undeniably suitable for the peculiarities of Nigeria's internet access market.

    With the satellite service, Aro explained that ISPs could expand the reach of their terrestrial broadband infrastructure network without need to invest in expensive infrastructure.

internet

  • An IT based-educational database for teachers and students has been launched in Abuja. The data base called Green Book system will provides a wide range of IT enhanced free learning tools for students and teachers in Nigerian schools.

    Initiator of the system, Victor Odiah, said the program provides a free and dedicated database for academic materials for teachers at both secondary and tertiary levels.

    With the new system "teachers can now upload their lecture notes and tutorials to their GreenBook workspace and their students can access these materials anytime and from anywhere. Their students will also be able to post questions, contributions or comments on the online discussion forums," he said.

    Odiah said "beyond the classrooms, students and their teachers can now stay connected on the class based online discussion forums. They can share ideas, discuss academics topics on a wider scale and build a valuable pool of academic discussions."

    The Green Book project started in 2008 at the University of East London, UK, following a research by Odiah, who was then a post-graduate student.

    He said that the program is designed in a user friendly, social networking structure, "where e-learning /academic document sharing application delivers its educational tools on a standard social networking environment making it easy for teachers and students to use."

    "One of the objectives of the Green book project is to make universities and colleges greener by reducing the amount of paper consumed within the institutions," he said.

    It also provides a database for O'level and UME/JAMB students, who can now have access to hundreds of short tutorials and also connect to other students writing the same exams. "These tutorials are contributed by selected teachers from all over Nigeria," Odiah said.

  • With the launch of Map Maker in Egypt, “anyone who cares about maps can lend their local expertise to create more detailed views of the places they know, such as their town, school, and more. Users can locate, draw, label and provide attributes for Egyptian map features for their area,” read the statement.

    “Users can add town details such as local coffee shops, restaurants and street directions, add details on the area surrounding historical locations like the Pyramids of Giza or the Valley of the Kings as well as detailed maps of buildings and public areas such as a detailed campus map for Cairo University with description of academic buildings, athletic facilities and walkways,” Google said.

    “This helps people best navigate the area, especially when it’s their first visit. The information is verified by the amount of similar information and a team of experts.”

    Before the update is uploaded and verified on Google maps, pending information is available online and users can contribute to it more or even verify the information. The system takes into consideration user contributions, identifies duplicates and detects potential spam. The final approval is made by regional experts and a small team of Google reviewers considering Egyptians submissions.

  • Online Arabic newspaper Hurriyat Sudan has reported that the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has blocked its website since June 25, following its coverage of protests in Khartoum and other towns.

    The protests over the last week have spread from university students to some members of the wider population. Activists are promoting Friday June 29 as large demonstration to mark the anniversary of current regime coming to power on June 30 1989.

    The press in Sudan has been restricted during the protests and journalists and activists arrested by the National Security and Intelligence Services (NISS).

    On Tuesday June 26, Sudan deported Bloomberg's correspondent in Khartoum, Salma El Wardany, and briefly detained Maha El Sanousi, a prominent Sudanese blogger.

    The two had been detained together for several hours on 21 June. While covering protests at the University of Khartoum on 19 June, Simon Martelli, an AFP journalist, was also detained for 12 hours. Martelli, who was AFP's reporter in Khartoum for the whole of 2011, has since left Khartoum as he was covering for the new AFP correspondent.

    In a press release, Hurriyat said that the site's readers in Sudan had informed them that from around 5.30pm local time on 25 June, the site was blocked. The National Telecommunications Commission usually uses its special filtering unit to block pornographic websites.

    Hurriyat Sudan's Chief Editor, Elhag Warrag said that blocking its website "is part of a systematic attempt by the Sudanese regime to stop news about anti-government demonstrations reaching the Sudanese people and the world at large."

    Sudan's ruling National Congress Party (NCP) has accused some websites of launching a campaign to distort the country's image in collaboration with opposition parties and the United States (US).

    In the press release Hurriyat encouraged readers to access Hurriyat through its facebook page and inside Sudan by downloading special software from the Ultrasurf website.

  • Internet services firm AccessKenya is seeking to ride on increased activity in real estate market to grow sales by connecting homes and offices to its fibre network during construction.

    “We will lay one single high speed fibre that other services will be connected to and it is cost-effective because it avoids multiple connections and hiring numerous providers,” said Jonathan Somen, adding AccessKenya is selling the idea to property developers.

    This system also allows for the control of services from a central location in what is dubbed Intelligent Properties.

    AccessKenya hopes the model will allow it to grow subscriber base when Kenya’s middle class is increasingly developing an appetite for home Internet.

    Property developers use Internet connecting as a value-add in the battle for home buyers.

    The bulk of connections come after construction and some building owners ask for payment to allow entry into their premises.

    AccessKenya is betting on the step to cut the dominance of rivals Kenya Data Networks and Wananchi whose market share stood at 33 per cent and 23 per cent respectively, according to the communication regulator, CCK.

computing

  • Madagascar has launched an online research network, the Research and Education Network for Academic Learning Activities (iRENALA), which aims to boost science, technology and education in the country, as well as internationalise its science.

    The network, launched earlier this month (8 June), will promote discussions between worldwide researchers, students and policymakers, and facilitate access to digitised documents available in virtual libraries, according to Horace Gatien, president of Toamasina University. It will also encourage remote learning in the higher education sector, he said.

    According to a statement issued at a government cabinet meeting last month (30 May), the project aims to forge new links between Madagascar's six state universities, three higher institutes of technology, the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, and all national research centres.

    iRENALA will also connect Madagascar to a cluster of worldwide networks through GÉANT, an existing pan-European research and education network, which connects 40 million users in over 8,000 institutions worldwide.

    "Madagascar is one of five African countries ... [privileged] with such an opportunity", said Ny Hasina Andriamanjato, the Malagasy minister of post, telecommunications and new technologies.

    Andriamanjato added that the network is part of wider movement of digitising African universities, an idea launched by African researchers during a France-Africa summit held in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, in December 1996.

    The project stems from an agreement signed in December 2011 between the government and Telma, an Internet and mobile phone service provider, which functions via the high speed fibre optic cable running through the Eastern African Submarine Cable System.

    "Learning and research activities are destined to improve, despite the fact that Malagasy universities are poorly equipped with infrastructure and resources," the Malagasy prime minister, Jean Omer Beriziky, said at the launch. "We will produce many more experts capable of taking the country forward and ending poverty within 20 years."

    Patrick Pisal-Hamida, chief executive of Telma, said at the launch: "From today, a new era has begun for the higher education system in Madagascar. A fundamental stage has been reached, thanks to the digitalising of the universities and other institutions involved in research."

    Etienne Hilaire Razafindehibe, minister of higher education and scientific research, said the iRENALA association was created to ensure effective use of the network, but he added that users will have to pay to access the network.

  • Kenya is among the six nations earmarked for a multi-million project in six Sub Saharan African nations, for the launch of digital hubs under Badiliko project. The project which is being funded by the British Council and Microsoft Company will build 90 digital hubs in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Ghana and Nigeria.

    According to the British Council Director of Programmes Mutuku Nguli over the next two years, the BC and MS will each invest $1million in cash, plus staff and in kind resources to build the hubs. He said that the project is aimed at improving ICT use in innovative teaching practice, helping teachers hone skills and providing content to help educators increase their students' knowledge and ability to engage in a global environment.

    Speaking in Shujaa Mekatilili Secondary School in Magarini constituency during the launch of a digital hub, Nguli noted that Badiliko is expected to train more than 20, 000 school leaders and teachers across the Sub Saharan Africa and provide more than 100, 000 learners and communities with digital access, while promoting literacy. "We formed this partnership in November 2011 based on the complementary expertise in technology and internationalism in education. We seek to combine expertise in order to increase innovative teaching and learning practices and better prepare young people for life and work in the 21st century," he said.

    MS Academic Programmes Manager Alex Nyingi also pointed out that MS has committed nearly $500 million to help education systems in the world under its Partners in Learning Project. Nyingi said that since the project's inception in 2003, they have reached more than 196 million teachers and students in 114 countries. "Our main aim is to see that students, teachers and the community as a whole living in today's increasing digital and connected world have ICT skills," he said. The BC Kenya has five digital hubs functioning in Molo, Maralal, Siaya, and Malindi. Under the Badiliko, the BC and MS will set up 20 additional hubs in seven regions in the country.

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

  • Adlevo     Capital Managers, a private    equity    fund manager     focused on investments   
    into technology-enabled businesses in Sub-Saharan Africa last week announced that   
    it has completed an investment into the parent company of Pagatech Limited (“Paga”), a leading provider    of mobile money transfer services in Nigeria.   
     
    Co-investing with Adlevo Capital were Omidyar Network, Acumen Fund, Capricorn   
    Investment Group, and current investor, Goodwell West Africa Microfinance Development    Company.   
          
    This investment will    further stimulate Paga’s growth and enable it to expand its footprint across Nigeria.Nigeria presents one of the most attractive markets for transformative financial services in the region with a population of 160 million people, GDP in excess of $200 billion and a 70%    literacy rate.   
      
    Paga is leveraging the deep penetration of mobile telephony –    more than two-thirds of Nigerian adults use a mobile phone – to deliver innovative and universal access to financial services to both banked and un-banked customers.   

  • Vodacom’s Tanzanian operating subsidiary intends to expand coverage of its popular money transfer service M-PESA to even the most remote parts of the country, by dint of the TZS130 billion (USD83.8 million) network upgrade it is currently undertaking. Rene Meza, managing director of Vodacom Tanzania, says that the M-PESA service – launched in 2008 – is now taken by almost three million subscribers, helping to drive overall customer growth. Speaking in February this year, Meza said the sharp increase in subscribers was largely driven by people signing up to M-PESA, which has a claimed 85% share of total e-mobile commerce transactions in the country. It is clear that the money transfer service has made a significant contribution to the socio economic development of the country and ‘revolutionised’ the way many people do business there.

    Meza is now confident that, with the planned network upgrade, Vodacom will be able to open up some otherwise ‘uncovered’ areas to its products and services.

  • The Kenyan government has struck a deal with China for a Sh6.04 billion soft loan to fund the National Optic Fiber Backbone Infrastructure (NOFBI) and e-government expansion projects.

    Finance Permanent Secretary Joseph Kinyua said the two governments were currently putting together the details of the draft ahead of a formal signing by the end of July 2012.

    The NOFBI project will include the construction Fibre optic links (systems which provides a data connection between two given points) to connect the Larger Area Network (LAN) of 36 administrative District Centers across the country with the National Fibre optic, hence allow the locals to access faster internet services.

    Kinyua said this will facilitate implementation of various e-governance initiatives such as e-health, e-banking and e-education, thereby facilitating economic growth.

  • MTN Rwanda and Bank of Kigali (BK), have entered into partnership to extend financial services to the unbanked population through mobile banking.

    The partnership is tailored to boost mobile banking services, promote financial inclusion and enhance the country's policy towards a cashless economy.

    The new partnership allows MTN mobile money subscribers to receive and send money through any BK branch across the country. Traditionally, money is received at authorised MTN mobile money dealers.

    Lawson Naibo, Chief Operating Officer, Bank of Kigali, says that the partnership will also help the bank to roll out its services and reach out to those financially excluded.

    "This partnership is leveraging our efforts to meet our customers promise and we will be able to increase our footfall in our branches," Naibo said.

    MTN subscribers will also enjoy mobile money services like account opening, cash deposits, transfers and withdrawals free of charge.

    "Mobile money subscribers will be able to get into any of our branches and get served and be able to go to our ATM and transact using their virtual accounts at no extra cost," he said.

    The partners are eyeing to use the service and encourage people to open bank accounts and thus attracting many into the financial system. Currently, 22 per cent of the population has access to financial services and government targets to raise this to 80 per cent by 2017.

    Currently, 41 of 56 BK branches offer the service though the lender is committed to roll out the service to the remaining 13 branches by the end of the year.

    Naibo noted that since the mobile phone is the most ubiquitous distribution channel on the continent at the moment, the bank believes that the delivery of financial services through mobile telephony is where the real innovation and development is taking place in the retail market.

    MTN Rwanda's Chief Executive Office, Khaled Mikkawi said partnerships with financial institutions would widen access to their services.

    "The mobile money platform should not be seen as competition to consumer banking but instead as a catalyst to services offered by leading financial institutions like BK. Rwandans can only benefit from greater convergence between conventional banking services and the mobility that mobile telephony offers."

    Mikkawi said MTN Rwanda has a total of 500,000 subscribers on the mobile money platform since the service started two years ago and is targeting to have all the subscribers (3 million) on mobile money.

Telecoms, Rates, Offers and Coverage

  • Airtel Ghana has launched a new service dubbed “Airtel Smart Zone”, which offered customers discounts of up to 99% on on-net and off-net calls and SMS at different times of the day. A statement from the company quoted Marketing Director Oare Ojeikere as saying Airtel SmartZone was the only one of its kind, which allowed discounts to be applied to both on-net and off-net calls.

    “What that means is that subscribers can use their discounts on Airtel-to-Airtel calls as well as Airtel-to other network calls,” he explained.

    Airtel has over the past few weeks introduced a number of products unto the market, driven largely by consumer interests. These included Facebook Zero (where subscribers have free access to the text version of Facebook), Airtel Frndz (where subscribers can make discounted calls to 10 special friends), reduction on the prizes of modems from GHC 60 to GH49, Opera Mini on Airtel (where users can freely download one of the world’s most popular browsers for their handsets), etc.

Digital Content

  • The Ethiopian government has dismissed allegations that it has banned Skype and other use of Voice-over-Internet-Protocol (VoIP) services that offer audio and video related communications over the internet.

    Reporters Without Borders last week alleged that Ethiopia has endorsed a new law that bans the internet based services.

    The group accused the East African country of trying to "attack every means of information exchange" and criticised it of a new crackdown on Internet users.

    However, Ethiopia government spokesperson, Shimeles Kemal, said the draft proclamation presented to the parliament last week does not restrict users access to Skype or IP-related internet activities.

    According to Kemal the draft law intends to control the growing number of telecom related offences.

    "The draft law aims to restrict internet telephone activities, not between telecom activities from computer to computer, but it aims to restrict unlicensed service providers who use internet to provide telephone services from internet to telephone lines. The aim of the regulation is not aimed at restricting IP and cyber activities. Nor did it intend to restrict computer to computer services," said Kemal.

    The state owned Telcome has been accusing a number of internet service providers of permitting unlawful international calls in order to gain illegal revenue.

    Kemal said the primary purpose of the proclamation is to tackle illegal activities such as generating income by bypassing the domestic telecom service which, according to him, is causing substantial financial damage to the national service.

    Kemal said Ethiopia has lost more than US$50 million this year due to illegal internet-based activities by independent telephone operators.

    The Government Communication Affairs Office (GCAO) in a statement stressed that the draft law does not target personal users of the service, as was reported by Medias.

    "There is no prohibition of people calling abroad on Skype from internet cafes or elsewhere," said Kemal.

    Addis Ababa has long been under fire froma number of international press freedom groups of press censorship and endangering safety of journalists using controversial laws.

    According to Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) research, Ethiopia drove more journalists into exile than any other country, over the past decade. The country is also Africa's foremost jailer of journalists, after neighbouring Eritrea.

    In the RSF 2011-2012 press freedom index Ethiopia was 127 out of 179.

    Freedom House's 2011 report into internet freedom said "In Ethiopia and Cuba, for example, state-run telecommunications companies hold a monopoly on internet service, giving them unchecked control over users' ability to communicate with one another and the outside world".

    Freedom House also listed Ethiopia amongst the ten countries with greatest declines in a variety of freedoms during the 2010-2011 period.

  • A Kenyan developer has won Ksh1million for his mobile application “Skinswap” - which allows users to receive wallpapers easily and create a hybrid of animals and skins.

    With the application users can, for example, create a wallpaper of a lion with a zebra skin.

    “I’m extremely delighted to have won with Nokia. It’s a clear demonstration that Kenya’s mobile app developers, like me, have a great chance to place themselves on a global platform with locally relevant ideas,” said competition winner, Mike Kivuva.

    Other winners in the 48-hour challenge include Andrew Mutua who won Khs300 000 as the first runner up for his app “Mhasibu”, which helps users manage finances, expenses, bills and debt.

    “Quick Drums”, a beat creation app, developed by Jotham Nguri was the second runner up.

    “We are incredibly proud of the developers that won, as they rose to the challenge and pushed the envelope in developing applications that stood out with the judges,” said Peter Karimi, business development manager, EDX: Nokia East Africa.

    “The energy and enthusiasm that the developers brought to this challenge was amazing and we encourage them to keep up the momentum,” he added.

    The two-day event pitched developers against each other, in the search for rich, compelling apps for Nokia smartphones.

    Other notable mobile apps that were presented include Safety Plus, an app for road safety where user’s report and share incidents, iBudget which helps users with budgeting and calculation of daily and monthly expenses and Dashboard, which notifies drivers once they go over a certain speed limit.

  • Have you ever been in a situation where you’re in need to use the closest ATM within your location? Or perhaps you’re looking for a particular bank’s ATM within that location?

    A new mobile app called SeeAm wants to help you identify the closest ATM to your current location and provide turn-by-turn navigation to the location of that particular ATM.

    With a list of ATM locations and their bank addresses across Nigeria, the app helps you sort each ATM by bank and also shows the locations of the ATMs in a particular state. For each listing, you can choose to see its location on a map and view the route from where you are.

    SeeAm app claims to be the only app out there with extensive database coverage of ATM locations of all banks within Nigeria. The app is currently available for Android (download on Google Play) and BlackBerry devices (download on Blackberry App World).

    However, the current version of the app which only shows the ATM list is available for 7 days after download. Users would be required to get a paid upgrade for N350 to have access to the app’s full functionality including access to locations and turn-by-turn navigation.

    The SeeAm app was developed by Hinansho Green, a Nigerian-based application development group founded in March 2012 with focus on mobile apps development.

More

  • Orange launches second edition of the Orange African Social Venture Prize

    Armed with the success of the previous edition in 2011, Orange has launched the second edition of its Orange African Social Venture Prize. The goal is to promote social innovation that supports development through Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

    With this prize, Orange will provide a financial endowment as well as expert-support to young companies that put forward innovative projects with a significant social impact.

    Last year, more than 600 candidates responded to the call for projects, reflecting the strong entrepreneurial spirit and the high potential of telecommunications services in Africa. Of the 634 entries, 55 projects were from Kenyan entrepreneurs; representing close to 10% of the entries drawn from the 18 Orange affiliate in Africa. One of these 55, Kuza Doctor, an agriculture oriented project, was shortlisted as one of the final 10 projects.

    The three prize-winners of the first edition, announced at the AfricaCom Awards in Cape Town in November 2011, proposed the following projects:

    -          Horticultural Tele-Irrigation: a Nigerian project that puts mobile technology in the hands of horticulturalists;

    -          Agasha Business Network: a Ugandan community-based e-commerce platform that promotes small African businesses to the global market;

    -          Kachile: an Ivory Coast e-commerce start-up for African craft products.

    The Orange African Social Venture Prize will be awarded once again this year to three entrepreneurs or start-ups offering solutions that use ICT in innovative ways to meet the needs of populations on the African continent. Projects proposed during the first edition covered a variety of fields, such as healthcare, agriculture, banking services and education.

    Orange is committed to financially supporting and offering its expertise to the management of the growing small and midsize companies who are awarded this prize. In addition to receiving an endowment of 10,000 to 25,000 Euros, the three prize-winners will receive six months of support from entrepreneurial and ICT experts. In addition, a “favourite project”, selected by visitors of the Orange Group’s web portal will be highlighted before the jury responsible for selecting the winning projects.

    Any entrepreneur or legal entity that has been in existence for less than three years at the time of the competition, may participate at no cost and with no restriction on nationality. Submitted projects must be designed to be deployed in at least one of the African countries in which Orange operates and must use Information and Communication Technology in an innovative way to help improve the living conditions of the populations in these countries.

    Applications will be accepted from May 22, 2012 to September 21, 2012 on Orange’s pan-African web portal.

    Orange operates in 18 African countries and has a total of 70 million customers. To contribute to the social and economic development of these countries, the Group has put together the “Orange for Development” programme, which is based on three central themes:

        The development of its networks to maximize the number of people who are able to benefit from digital services;
        Innovation to meet the needs of populations through value-added services in essential fields such as healthcare, education, agriculture and banking services; and
        Contributing to the local development of ICT markets and innovation ecosystems.

    The Orange African Social Venture Prize was launched therefore to help the Group meet this last goal, which is aligned with both its innovation strategy as well as its Corporate Social Responsibility policy.

    The Rules have also been placed online on the Website of the Competition here.

Issue no 185 28 juin 2012

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Editorial

  • Le ministre des Postes, Télécommunications et Nouvelles Technologies de l'Information et de la Communication, a lancé officiellement la vente de la Licence de la Troisième génération, dite 3G. C'était mardi 26 juin, à l'issue de la rencontre qu'il a eue dans son cabinet de travail avec les représentants des opérateurs des sociétés de téléphonie mobile. A savoir : Airtel, Vodacom, Tigo, Africell.

    Le président de l'ARPTC (Autorité de régulation de la poste et des télécommunications du Congo), Oscar Manikunda Musata, a également participé à cet entretien. L'objet de cette rencontre était l'annonce par le ministre des PT-NTIC du lancement officiel de la vente de la Licence 3G. Cette technologie moderne de télécommunications était vivement attendue.

    En ce qui concerne le prix, la licence 3G est vendue par le gouvernement à 15.000.000 $US (quinze millions de dollars américains). Le président de l'Arptc a été arrêté par le ministre, à ce sujet, de préparer les documents ad hoc et de les mettre à la disposition des opérateurs concernés pour paiement à la DGRAD.

    Le ministre Tryphon Kin-Kiey Mulumba a renseigné que ce prix a été entendu de commun accord, de longue date, entre l'Etat congolais et les opérateurs du secteur des télécommunications. Il s'agit là, pour lui, une façon de jouer la carte de la transparence pour mettre un terme à toutes les spéculations ayant entouré la question.

    En outre, Tryphon Kin-Kiey Mulumba a fait remarquer qu'au regard des assignations budgétaires relevant de son ministère, la vente de la licence 3G ne pouvait que démarrer du fait que le projet de budget 2012 a été déclaré recevable par l'Assemblée nationale. « Le ministère n'avait plus alors le choix que de se mettre en marche dès le lendemain pour mobiliser les recettes de son secteur et renflouer les caisses de l'Etat », a-t-il expliqué.

    Réagissant à l'annonce du ministre, les opérateurs de la téléphonie mobile en RD Congo se sont réjouis de la diligence dont le nouveau ministre a fait montre dans le traitement du dossier. Ils ont aussi exprimé leur satisfaction pour le maintien par le gouvernement du prix de vente tel qu'il a été fixé de commun accord, après négociations, par un arrêté interministériel.

    Avant de prendre l'engagement de se mettre en ordre le plus rapidement possible avec l'autorité de régulation. Après la réunion, les hôtes du ministre Kin-Kiey ont visité le vaste chantier de la rénovation du bâtiment abritant son cabinet. Par là, le ministre veut donner un contenu réel à la révolution de la modernité dans son secteur.

    C'était l'occasion pour le ministre rappeler ce qu'il a toujours déclaré, à savoir : les télécoms et les NTIC constituent actuellement un secteur mobilisateur des recettes, un véritable créateur d'emplois et porteur de croissance. La licence 3G offre de nombreuses opportunités en termes de fiabilité d'appel, et de divers services tel que l'internet à haut débit et transfert des données.

    Le Phare
  • Afin de protéger le fournisseur télécom qui lui appartient, le gouvernement éthiopien a déposé une législation qui fera de l'utilisation d'outils de communication en ligne comme Skype un délit passible de 15 ans de prison, selon ce que rapportent le Comité pour la protection des journalistes (CPJ), l'Institut international de la presse (IIP) et Reporters sans frontières (RSF).

    La nouvelle loi, adoptée le 24 mai, criminalise l'utilisation sur Internet d'outils de communication indépendants comme Skype, Viber et GTalk, dit l'IIP.

    Bien que le gouvernement ait déclaré que la loi a été déposée afin d'empêcher l'unique fournisseur de télécom du pays, Éthio Télécom, qui est administré par l'État, de perdre de l'argent au profit de concurrents en ligne low-cost, le CPJ soutient que l'interdiction de la technologie de communication en ligne empêchera également les journalistes et les dissidents de s'entretenir à peu de frais et de manière sécuritaire avec des sources à l'étranger - mettant effectivement un terme à leur aptitude à offrir du journalisme indépendant.

    La loi rend également illégal d'importer, de vendre ou de posséder de l'équipement de télécom , dit le CPJ. Toute personne surprise en train de tenter de contourner la loi risque d'être accusée d'un certain nombre de délits, tels que « obstruction ou ingérence » dans le réseau, délit passible de 15 ans de prison, ou encore « distribution de messages de terreur », délit passible de huit ans de prison et d'une amende de 500 $US.

    La loi antiterroriste criminalise déjà le journalisme favorable aux groupes et aux causes de l'opposition, qui reste interdite, dit le CPJ.

    Le groupe note également que le gouvernement tente depuis quelques années de contrôler les communications sur Internet, et cite des rapports selon lesquels les cafés Internet qui offrent des services comme Skype sont tenus de conserver en dossier les noms et adresses de leurs clients.

    En même temps, le gouvernement éthiopien a installé en ligne des filtres sophistiqués afin de fermer tout accès détourné à l'Internet. RSF, l'IIP et l'Initiative OpenNet, un groupe qui enquête et met à nu les pratiques de filtrage et de surveillance de l'Internet, rapportent que Éthio Télécom avait bloqué l'accès au réseau Tor, un outil en ligne qui permet aux utilisateurs de naviguer sur Internet de manière anonyme.

    Pour se livrer à ce type de blocage sélectif, dit RSF, Éthio Télécom doit utiliser « Deep Packet Inspection », une méthode avancée de filtrage de réseau, généralement utilisée par des pays répressifs comme la Chine et l'Iran. RSF s'inquiète que cette démarche indique que les autorités éthiopiennes n'hésitent pas à s'abaisser de nouveau et pourrait constituer un signe avant-coureur de l'interception des courriels, des messages sur les médias sociaux et des conversations en ligne.

    « Nous craignons que Deep Packet Inspection ne soit utilisé à mauvais escient à des fins de surveillance par un gouvernement qui soumet déjà l'opposition politique et les médias privés à beaucoup de harcèlement », dit RSF.

    Les mesures prises pour criminaliser la dissidence en ligne sont les dernières en date utilisées dans une nouvelle vague de répression dirigée contre les journalistes et les médias indépendants. Le journaliste Eskinder Nega et plusieurs activistes sont accusés d'incitation au terrorisme et sont passibles de la peine de mort. Un verdict dans leur affaire est prévu le 21 juin.

    Selon le CPJ, un reporter américain qui travaille à la Voix de l'Amérique et son traducteur éthiopien ont également été détenus récemment , et la radiodiffusion en araméen de la Voix de l'Amérique a été brouillée et son site web bloqué, tandis que « The Reporter », un hebdomadaire privé, informait RSF que son site web était censuré.

    De toute évidence, les autorités se sentent profondément menacées par quelque source que ce soit d'information indépendante, depuis le journalisme critique jusqu'au partage de l'information en ligne », dit le CPJ.

  • Le régulateur demande à Mtn et Orange de baisser les prix en diminuant leurs marges.

    La minute d'appel sur les réseaux de téléphonie mobile coûte encore assez cher, de l'avis des Camerounais. Une situation que l'Agence de régulation des télécommunications (ART) veut visiblement renverser. En tout cas, c'est ce qui ressort du communiqué rendu public jeudi par Jean-Louis Beh Mengue, directeur général de l'ART. Dans ce document, le gendarme du secteur rejette les offres techniques et tarifaires d'interconnexion de deux opérateurs que sont la Mobile Telephone Networks Cameroon Limited (Mtn Cameroon) et Orange Cameroun SA. Motif, ces derniers n'ont pas tenu compte des recommandations de l'ART parmi lesquelles la baisse des tarifs d'interconnexion et des tarifs des SMS.

    Faut-il le rappeler, l'interconnexion est le processus qui permet de communiquer d'un opérateur à l'autre. « Dans d'autres pays, cela n'est pas possible. Les consommateurs ne peuvent communiquer qu'entre clients d'un même opérateur », explique une source à l'ART, et d'ajouter qu'au Cameroun, « Camtel est la passerelle entre Orange et Mtn et chacun des opérateurs doit lui reverser quelque chose chaque fois que l'usager d'un opérateur passe par ce carrefour pour atteindre l'autre opérateur ». Actuellement, les coûts hors taxes de cette interconnexion sont situés entre 33 et 37 F chez Orange et entre 33 F et 38 F chez Mtn. Quant aux SMS, ils coûtent 10,5 F chez Orange et 11,5 F chez Mtn. Mais l'ART veut que ces deux services, très demandés, reviennent respectivement à 28 F la minute d'appel et 10 F le SMS pour tout le monde.

    Le rejet de ces catalogues implique donc que les deux opérateurs doivent faire d'autres propositions au régulateur. Surtout que selon certaines indiscrétions, les membres du duopole téléphonique gagneraient à faire valider ces différents catalogues. « Sans cette validation, aucun d'eux ne peut percevoir les compensations de l'autre, liées à l'interconnexion », explique notre source. En effet, chacun reçoit une compensation en fonction des appels en direction de l'autre opérateur. Une affaire de gros sous. Et plus, entraîenant à faire valider leurs catalogues, moins grosse sera l'enveloppe, car le régulateur affirme que l'adoption des nouveaux plans tarifaires sera rétroactive. Donc avec effet dès le début de l'année 2012.

    Les recommandations de l'ART s'appuient entre autres sur une simulation informatique de la Banque mondiale qui a permis d'établir le juste prix en 2010 à 32 F. En attendant que les « bonnes » décisions soient prises, c'est le consommateur qui n'arrête pas de consulter son crédit à la fin de chaque appel pour savoir s'il lui en reste assez pour le prochain...ou pour un bip.

  • e go des examens d'Etat pour les finalistes des écoles secondaires a été donné hier, lundi 25 juin 2012 sur toute l'étendue du territoire national.

    Ces épreuves dureront 4 jours, soit du 25 au 28 juin. Les candidats sont soumis à l'épreuve pour défendre le bagage intellectuel obtenu au cours de leur cursus scolaire. Pour mieux passer cette épreuve, les candidats doivent observer strictement des règles et directives édictées par l'autorité.

    « Ils ne doivent pas accéder dans la salle d'examen munis de leur téléphone portable. Les récalcitrants pourront être exclus. Cette décision a été prise, le week-end dernier, par le Ministre de l'Intérieur, décentralisation et affaires coutumières, Richard Muyej. Une décision saluée par le Ministre de tutelle, Maker Mwangu Famba qui a également exhorté les candidats aux exéats à l'observance stricte de cette disposition sous peine d'être exclu de la salle des examens. Selon des sources concordantes, les autorités se sont rendues compte que, grâce aux portables, avec l'ouverture des salles de jeu Maman le A en croire plusieurs sources concordantes, les finalistes aux exetats se servent de leur téléphone portable, usant des nouvelles technologies de l'information et de la communication, pour se communiquer des réponses. Une véritable tricherie organisée.

    Pour sa part, le Ministre de l'Enseignement primaire, secondaire et professionnel, Maker Mwangu Famba a salué cette décision. Il a saisi cette occasion pour lancer un appel vibrant à tous les candidats de bien vouloir respecter ladite décision sous peine d'être exclu de la salle d'examens.

    Par ailleurs, il leur a souhaité une bonne chance. Les examens d'Etat constituant la clé de voûte pour embrasser les études universitaires, le Ministre de l'EPSP a invité les candidats à une maîtrise de soi afin de bien affronter touts les épreuves. Il a fait savoir, en outre, que toute tentative de tricherie fera l'objet de l'annulation de l'examen de l'élève, même du centre dans son ensemble. Quant aux chefs des centres, il les a invités à ne pas brutaliser les élèves durant le déroulement des épreuves.

    Bien avant le début de ces épreuves, les élèves rencontrés au collège Mafema à Ngaliema ont déclaré que leur morale était au zénith pour affronter ces épreuves. « Nous sommes prêts à affronter ces épreuves quel que soit le moment. Nous avons appris à travers les médias la décision du Ministre de l'intérieur portant interdiction d'accéder dans les salles d'examen avec les téléphones. C'est une bonne décision pour nous pousser à compter sur nous-même. Nous avons passé de bons moments avec les amis dans le maquis pour affronter ces examens. Nous avons peur de rien. Certains de nos amis pensent que la décision du Ministre est prise seulement dans l'idée de nous empêcher à collaborer avec nos camarades alors qu'elle est prise dans l'objectif de nous protéger contre les mauvaises nouvelles qui arrivent brusquement.

    Car, il arrive de fois pendant l'examen que l'on reçoit un appel qui vous annonce la mort d'un frère ou d'un ami. Cela aura des répercussions négatives sur les résultats des épreuves », a laissé entendre, Guy Kandolo, élève du collège Mafema de Ngaliema. Il sied de noter que le Premier Ministre Matata Ponyo, le Ministre de l'enseignement primaire, secondaire et professionnel, Maker Mwangu Famba et le Gouverneur de la ville de Kinshasa, André Kimbuta, ont fait le déplacement de quelques centres pour se rendre personnellement compte du déroulement de l'examen d'Etat.

    La Prospérité
  • Le premier ministre gabonais, Raymond Ndong Sima, a présidé lundi à Libreville, les travaux du 13ème Forum sur la régulation des Télécommunications TIC et le Partenariat en Afrique.

    La rencontre de Libreville est axée autour du thème « La migration de la télévision analogique vers la télévision numérique : parage d'expériences, stratégies de migration et dividende numérique ».

    « S'agissant du thème qui sera débattu, il convient de relever que depuis plusieurs années, le passage de la télévision analogique à la télévision numérique avec le dividende numérique qui en résulte, constitue un enjeu pour l'économie numérique en Afrique », a déclaré Raymond Ndong Sima.

    Le forum va permettre aux régulateurs des pays africains, aux fournisseurs et fabricants de matériels de télécommunications du monde entier, d'échanger afin de réussir cette migration, tout en optimisant l'usage de nouveaux services grâce au redéploiement des bandes de fréquences issues du dividende numérique.

    Cette réunion permettra aux délégués entre autre, de partager leurs expériences respectives pour d'une part, réussir la migration de la télévision analogique à la télévision numérique terrestre dans les délais prescrit par l'UIT et, d'autre part, d'optimiser l'usage des nouveaux services grâce au redéploiement des bandes de fréquences issues du dividende numérique.

    « Les récentes évolutions technologiques permettent désormais de rationaliser et d'optimiser l'utilisation des bandes de fréquences étant donné que la diffusion numérique est moins consommatrice en bandes de fréquences que la diffusion analogique », a affirmé Lin Mombo, directeur ARCEP. Lors d'une précédente conférence de l'UIT, l'arrêt complet de la télévision analogique terrestre a été fixé en juin 2015 dans certaines régions du monde y compris les pays africains dont le Gabon.

    Africa Info
  • Un système de surveillance à grande échelle d'Internet a été discrètement mis en place en Ethiopie, utilisant une technologie qui permet d'espionner l'ensemble des communications Web du pays, révèle le quotidien La Croix.

    A la mi-mai, les responsables du projet Tor, un logiciel de contournement de la censure, notent que le nombre d'utilisateurs de leur programme chute brutalement. Après étude de ce trafic anormal, les responsables du projet ont conclu que le pays avait mis en place un système de Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) : cette technologie consiste à 'scanner' les données circulant sur un réseau, sans les intercepter directement. Schématiquement, c'est un peu l'équivalent de lire le contenu d'une lettre en exposant son enveloppe à la lumière : le courrier n'est pas ouvert, mais son contenu a été lu... Régulièrement visée par les organisations de défense des droits de l'Homme (PDF), l'Ethiopie a connu, ces trois dernières années, un impressionnant renforcement de son arsenal législatif limitant la liberté d'expression, note l'organisation Reporters sans Frontières.
     
    Le gouvernement a notamment rendu les imprimeurs conjointement responsables de ce que publient les journaux, et tente d'imposer la mise en place de contrats d'impression qui donneraient un pouvoir de censeurs de fait aux imprimeurs - le principal étant contrôlé par l'État. Le gouvernement a également banni l'utilisation de services de téléphonie par Internet (VOIP), évoquant des raisons de sûreté nationale et la protection de son monopole d'Etat. L'utilisation d'un service comme Skype est théoriquement puni de quinze ans de prison. Si des cas de blocage de sites Web ont déjà été signalés en Ethiopie, ils sont jusqu'à présent restés rares - vraisemblablement en raison du faible taux d'accès à Internet dans le pays.

  • Plus de 800 millions de personnes dans le monde utilisent Face book. En Afrique, l'Egypte et l'Afrique du Sud sont les deux pays où les gens utilisent le plus ces outils d'information.

    Le Sénégal se situe à la 10éme place avec une moyenne de 650 000 personnes qui en font usage, soit un taux de 4.69 % d'utilisateurs de face book par rapport à sa population globale. Le Twitter est le deuxième outil le plus utilisé dans le monde.

    Mais les résultats d'une étude ont révélé que l'utilisation de Twitter n'est pas assez répandue au Sénégal. Mathilde Piard, une experte américaine des médias sociaux l'a du reste rappelé hier mardi à l'atelier de renforcement des capacités des journalistes de la presse nationale à se servir des médias dits sociaux.

    Les médias sociaux dont Face Book, Twitter, You tube, Google+ et autres outils d'internet sont de plus en plus utilisés à travers le monde soit pour s'informer ou pour communiquer. L'utilisation de ces outils n'épargne pratiquement aucun pays africain.

    D'ailleurs, dans certains pays notamment au Maghreb, avec le printemps arabe, le peuple égyptien s'est beaucoup appuyé sur ces médias pour faire tomber le régime du président Moubarak.

    Au Sénégal, l'utilisation de ces réseaux sociaux a également beaucoup contribué à la réalisation de la seconde alternance politique.

    Ainsi pour outiller les journalistes sénégalais à mieux se servir de ces technologies, l'ambassade des Usa à Dakar a organisé hier lunid un atelier pour édifier les journalistes sur les opportunités de ces moteurs d'internautes.

    A l'occasion, Mathilde Piard a indiqué que les médias sociaux constituent un outil puissant de documentation pour les sources.

    Elles permettent des recherches avancées et de trouver des photos et vidéos pouvant être très utiles aux journalistes dans leurs productions.

    Elle a laissé entendre que parmi ces médias sociaux Face Book est le plus utilisé à travers le monde suivi du twitter de You tube et de Google+

    Elle a révélé que le Sénégal dont 14 % de sa population utilisent Internet, occupe la 10ème place au plan africain et la 91ème place au plan mondial des pays qui utilisent l'outil Face Book, selon les résultats d'une enquête menée dernièrement sur la question.

    La même enquête indique que les 70 % de la population surfant sur Face book sont la population jeune et les 37 % d'utilisateurs ont entre 18 et 24 ans.

    Seuls les 29 % de ces utilisateurs sont estimés entre 25 et 34 ans. Ceux qui sont âgés entre 16 et 17 ans constituent 10 % des utilisateurs alors que la tranche d'âge des 35 et 44 ans est à 9 %.

    Les jeunes de 13 à 15 ans utilisant Face Book sont estimés à 7 ¨%. Mais les personnes âgées entre 45 et 55 ans qui utilisent ces médias sociaux sont de l'ordre de 3 % par rapport aux effectifs globaux d'utilisateurs de Face Book au Sénégal.

    Les mêmes études révèlent en outre que 67 % des hommes dans notre pays utilisent Face Book alors que chez les femmes seules 33 % d'entre elles s'en servent.

    Les spécialistes du Web s'inquiètent cependant de la baisse ces derniers jours de l'utilisation du Facebook au Sénégal. Si auparavant plus de 800 mille Sénégalais se servaient de cet outil, ce nombre réduit à 600 mille inquiète.

    Ce qui découlerait de la fermeture du service gratuit de Orange pour ceux qui avaient sa puce leur permettant de surfer sur Face book.

    Par rapport à Twiter qui est le deuxième outil le plus visité du monde et dans 20 pays d'Afrique, le Sénégal accuse un sérieux retard.

    Toutefois, pendant l'élection présidentielle, seuls 12 000 twitter ont été localisés dans le pays, soit l'équivalent de la connection de la Namibie qui se positionne en 13ème place au niveau africain.

    Sud Quotidien
  • Sur initiative de l'Autorité de régulation des communications électroniques, et des postes (ARCEP), se tient du 25 au 28 juin 2012 à Ouagadougou, un séminaire de formation sur la gestion des ressources internet et la migration vers IPv6. Poser les bases de la réflexion pour l'élaboration de la stratégie de passage de IPv4 à IPv6, c'est l'objectif poursuivi par l'organisation de ce séminaire.

    « La croissance exponentielle de la demande d'adresse IP a fait de l'internet une victime de son propre succès. C'est pourquoi, il est très urgent de songer au futur en programmant le passage à la nouvelle norme IP version 6 ». C'est en ces termes que Youma Zerbo, secrétaire général du premier ministre, a justifié l'intérêt que le gouvernement burkinabè accorde à ce séminaire. Que sont IPv4 et IPv6 ?

    Selon Alain Aina, chef de projet, représentant de AfriNIC, ce sont des versions de protocole internet. « Internet fonctionne avec des numéros que nous appelons des adresses IP qui sont des identifiants. Chaque noeud qui est sur Internet doit avoir cet identifiant qui est unique.

    Alors que Internet a démarré avec une version de protocole qui était limitée à 4 milliards d'adresses dans les années 60-70, aujourd'hui, avec la croissance d'Internet, on manque d'adresse IP.

    C'est pourquoi on a décidé de migrer vers un nouveau protocole qui offre plus d'adresses et plus de fonctionnalité », a expliqué le représentant de AfriNIC.

    Pour Yacouba Koussoubé, président du comité d'organisation, l'objectif visé par l'Autorité de régulation des communications électroniques et des postes (ARCEP) en organisant ce séminaire est de poser les bases de la réflexion pour l'élaboration de la stratégie de passage de IPv4 à IPv6.

    La présente session de formation organisée avec la collaboration de l'Organisation internationale de la francophonie, de AfriNIC et de l'ICANN, l'organisme international en charge de la gestion des ressources internet, permettra à chaque structure participante de tirer les enseignements de son expérience et de celle des autres, et d'accroître aussi ses capacités.

    La rupture prochaine du pool central IPv4 au niveau de l'ICANN et son impact sur la région Afrique étant inévitable, selon Youma Zerbo, « les adresses IP doivent être gérées avec rigueur et prévoyance », dira Yacouba Koussoubé.

    « C'est ce qui justifie en partie l'implication de l'Autorité de régulation dans la conduite du processus d'élaboration de la stratégie », a-t-il indiqué. Fort heureusement que beaucoup d'appareils sont d'ores et déjà compatibles à IPv6.

    Selon Alain Aina, représentant de l'AfriNIC, activer la migration de IPv4 à IPv6 permettra à l'utilisateur lambda d'avoir un meilleur internet qui répond à ses besoins. Et pour que internet puisse répondre à tous ses besoins, il faut qu'il migre vers ce nouveau protocole qui permettra d'avoir un internet plus grand et plus performant.

    Le secrétaire général du Premier ministre a rappelé que, d'après les estimations des Nations unies, la population d'internautes atteindra 3,4 milliards d'ici à 2016, soit environ 45% de la population mondiale qui sera connectée à Internet. La cérémonie d'ouverture a connu la présence de Mathurin Bako, président de l'ARCEP.

    Selon Alain Aina, le représentatn de l’AFRINIC:

    « Internet de demain se fera sur IPv6 »

    « La migration en question, c'est le fait de la coexistence entre les deux IPv4 - IPv6. On ne va pas le faire comme on le fait pour le téléphone.

    Ici on a décidé de faire cohabiter les deux jusqu'à ce que, progressivement, on puisse aller vers IPv6. Mais Internet IPv6, personne ne peut vous dire quand cela va avoir lieu. On va, peut-être, avoir internet avec IPv4-IPv6 pendant longtemps. Mais l'Internet de demain se fera sur IPv6 ».

    Le Pays
  • La Douane sénégalaise, à travers le système Gainde 2000, a été à l'honneur au siège des Nations-Unies à New York. Elle a remporté le premier prix des Nations-Unies pour le service public.

    Le trophée a été remis par le sous-secrétaire général chargé des Affaires économiques et sociales, Sha Zukang, en présence d'une forte délégation conduite par le ministre de l'Economie et des Finances, Amadou Kane, et le directeur général des Douanes, Mouhamadou Makhtar Cissé.

    Les efforts déployés par l'administration douanière pour rendre plus performantes les opérations de dédouanement au Sénégal viennent d'être couronnés par la reconnaissance des Nations unies.

    Retenu parmi les 44 lauréats des Nations unies pour cet événement consacré au service public, le système de Gestion automatisée des informations douanières et des échanges, plus connu sous le nom de Guinde 2000, mis en œuvre par l'administration douanière du Sénégal depuis 2004 et dont la version dématérialisation est entrée en production depuis 2011, a été primé, hier, à New York, du premier prix des Nations unies dans la catégorie 2 consacrée à l'amélioration des prestations de services.

    Une première dans la gestion des affaires administratives au Sénégal et en particulier pour la Douane. Le ministre de l'Economie et des Finances, Amadou Kane, à la tête de la délégation sénégalaise à l'occasion de la remise du prix au siège de l'Onu, aux côtés du directeur général des douanes, Mouhamadou Makhtar Cissé, et l'administrateur général du Gie Gainde 2000, Ibrahima Nour Eddine Diagne, a saisi l'occasion pour exprimer toute la satisfaction du gouvernement pour cette reconnaissance que viennent d'accorder les Nations unies à l'administration douanière sénégalaise.

    « En décernant ce prix à l'administration douanière de notre pays, le Sénégal vient de franchir un seuil nouveau dans la gouvernance mondiale » a déclaré M. Kane.

    Il estime que ce prix doit constituer pour la Douane une source d'émulation afin de rendre plus performant son système d'information et son action sur le terrain.

    Le ministre de l'Economie et des Finances a également exhorté les autorités de la Douane à faire en sorte que le système Gainde 2000 puisse profiter aux Douanes de la sous-région, en particulier celles de l'Uemoa et de la Cedeao.

    Un défi que le directeur général des Douanes et l'administrateur général du Gie Gainde 2000 comptent relever ensemble. Mouhamadou Makhtar Cissé n'a pas manqué de souligner l'attention particulière que certains pays de la sous-région commencent à accorder au système Gainde.

    Il cite des pays comme le Burkina Faso et le Togo qui, selon M. Cissé, ont manifesté leur volonté de s'inspirer du modèle sénégalais.

    « Le système est en train de faire tache d'huile car, aujourd'hui, la dématérialisation a fini de faire ses preuves dans les plus grands ports et aéroports du monde », a déclaré M. Cissé.

    C'est aussi l'avis de l'administrateur général du Gie Gainde 2000. Selon M. Diagne, il s'agit de s'investir dans cette dynamique en parfaite synergie avec l'administration des Douanes pour ouvrir de nouveaux chantiers en terme d'amélioration du service public.

    La cérémonie de remise des prix des Nations unies pour le service public présidée par le sous-secrétaire général Sha Zukang, hier, au siège de l'organisation, à New York, a été une occasion pour les plus hautes autorités du système onusien de réitérer leur engagement à oeuvrer pour l'amélioration de la gouvernance locale et des prestations dans le service public.

    Sha Zukang, qui présidait la cérémonie au nom du secrétaire général, Ban Ki-Moon, a exhorté les nations à rendre plus performante la gestion des affaires dans le service public.

    Dans son introduction, M. Zukang a non seulement insisté sur la lutte contre la corruption mais a également demandé aux Etats membres d’œuvrer dans le sens de mettre l'excellence et l'esprit d'innovation en avant dans toutes les prestations de leurs administrations.

    Il a profité de l'occasion pour réitérer l'engagement des Nations unies à appuyer les initiatives allant dans ce sens. C'est dans cette dynamique que s'inscrit l'octroi de ces prix, a déclaré M. Sha Zukang.

    Outre le Sénégal, l'Ile Maurice et l'Afrique du Sud ont aussi été primées dans diverses catégories pour les performances notées dans l'amélioration du service public en Afrique.

    Elimination des séquences papiers, minimisation de la saisie de données : Grande amélioration de la qualité du service

    Reconnu pour avoir contribué à améliorer la croissance et la richesse dans le système douanier au Sénégal, Gainde 2000 constitue aujourd'hui un atout majeur dans la gestion des affaires au Sénégal.

    Selon son administrateur général, Ibrahima Nour Eddine Diagne, le guichet unique Orbus Intégral institué par la Douane sénégalaise a facilité les traitements des formalités du commerce extérieur dans notre pays.

    De décembre 2010 à mai 2011, c'est un total de 72.606 documents qui ont été livrés à travers le système, a indiqué M. Diagne, hier, à New York.

    « La qualité du service offert aux importateurs et exportateurs s'est grandement améliorée comme en témoignent l'élimination des séquences papiers, la minimisation de la saisie de données, la réduction de possibilités d'erreurs et d'inefficacité ainsi que la fourniture de services intelligents basée sur une bonne gestion des processus métiers et des délais et coûts de traitement », a-t-il ajouté.

    Le système Gainde 2000 a eu également un impact positif dans la transparence et dans la flexibilité des processus de traitements, a reconnu le directeur général de la société Cotecna, Valdiodio Cissé, venu prendre part à la cérémonie de remise des prix aux Nations unies.

    Le Soleil
  • Le ministre des Télécommunications et Technologies d'Informations, José Carvalho da Rocha a inauguré vendredi, à Luanda, le premier Centre National de Données Technologiques d'Angola.

    Ce centre, indique-t-on, est doté de nouvelles technologies du réseau de données une structure sans fil qui fonctionnera comme support informatique du processus de gouvernance électronique de l'Angola.

    Le gouvernant a souligné que le projet maximiserait l'efficacité et la productivité des services administratives et assurer la haute vitesse et grande qualité de communications, ajoutant que.

    l'Exécutif angolais veut encourager la culture scientifique et technologique, créer et renforcer un système national de science et technologie.

    Notons que le Centre National de Données Technologiques d'Angola dont les travaux de construction et d'équipement sont estimés à 43, 7 millions de dollars américains, qui résultent d'un financement des gouvernements angolais et sud-coréen, dans le cadre de Fonds de Développement Économique et de Coopération de ce pays.

    ANGOP
  • Suite à la signature, hier, d'une convention portant sur un don de 205 mille dollars US de l'Agence américaine de développement international au profit du gouvernement tunisien, le ministre auprès du chef du gouvernement, chargé de la Réforme administrative, Mohamed Abbou, a tenu une conférence de presse conjointement avec l'ambassadeur des Etats-Unis d'Amérique, M. Gordon Gray.

    M. Abbou a précisé que ce don est destiné au financement d'un portail internet gouvernemental moderne.

    «L'objectif du lancement de ce portail est d'améliorer la relation entre l'administration et le citoyen en instaurant de nouvelles méthodes de communication. Ce portail est destiné à la réception des pétitions, des doléances et des propositions des citoyens soit via l'internet ou la messagerie téléphonique, vu l'importance de cette dernière dans le mode de communication de nos jours. Cela, sans négliger le travail des bureaux des relations avec les citoyens implantés partout dans les régions afin de faciliter cette communication, et que le gouvernement essaye d'améliorer davantage», a-t-il ajouté. D'autre part, M. Abbou a affirmé que son entretien avec l'ambassadeur américain a porté également sur d'autres sujets sans aucune autre précision.

    Pour sa part, M. Gordon Gray a souligné l'intérêt que portent les Etats-Unies au soutien qu'il apporte à la Tunisie dans le processus démocratique dans les divers secteurs, réaffirmant leur soutien matériel et logistique dans ce sens. «Nous sommes heureux de nous associer au ministère et à son équipe dans un projet d'e-gouvernement. Nous considérons que cet effort est essentiel pour recueillir les pétitions des citoyens. Cette méthode aidera à avoir une meilleure communication entre le gouvernement et le citoyen», a-t-il ajouté.

    Promouvoir la bonne gouvernance

    Le ministre chargé de la Réforme administrative a précisé, de son côté, que ce projet fait partie des efforts fournis par le gouvernement afin de moderniser l'administration tunisienne. Il a, dans ce sens, rappelé qu'un congrès national se tiendra les 26 et 27 juin à Tunis sur la modernisation de la Fonction publique avec la participation d'éminents experts en gestion, en droit, ainsi que d'administrateurs et de syndicalistes de tout bord.

    Selon lui, le nouveau portail national e-pétition permettra de révéler tout dépassement ainsi que de suivre les pétitions portant sur des dossiers de corruption.

    La réalisation de ce portail durera 7 mois et demi à partir du 2 juillet, date du lancement de ce projet qui sera réalisé par le Centre national d'informatique. Ce projet fait partie des réformes structurelles du gouvernement et qui visent à promouvoir la bonne gouvernance dans l'administration tunisienne.

    Par ailleurs, M. Abbou a affirmé que le gouvernement travaille d'arrache-pied pour résoudre les problèmes fonciers afin de récupérer certains sièges de l'ancien parti RCD qui seront transformés en pôles de services.

    Le nombre de sièges est de l'ordre de 43 et ils seront transformés en groupements de services administratifs et sociaux dont, notamment, ceux des caisses nationales : Cnam, Cnss et Cnrps, outre les services municipaux, et ce, dans les régions qui en sont dépourvues, notamment celles du Nord-Ouest et du Sud-Ouest. Dix-sept parmi ces pôles seront fonctionnels dans trois mois.

    La Presse
  • Une équipe de négociation menée par le Bureau du Représentant des États-Unis pour le commerce extérieur (USTR) a conclu un accord avec l'île Maurice sur un ensemble de principes commerciaux non contraignants concernant les services de technologie de l'information et de la communication (TIC). Les États-Unis et l'île Maurice vont conjointement promouvoir l'adoption de ces principes par d'autres pays.

    « Je suis heureux d'annoncer une autre étape importante dans nos relations économiques avec l'île Maurice », a annoncé le Représentant des États-Unis pour le commerce extérieur, Ron Kirk. « Cet ensemble de principes élaborés conjointement pour le secteur des services de technologie de l'information et de communication est le premier du genre conclu entre les États-Unis et un pays africain et il entraînera des échanges commerciaux et des investissements accrus entre les États-Unis et Maurice, ainsi que des créations d'emplois dans les deux pays. »

    Le Bureau du Représentant des États-Unis pour le commerce extérieur a annoncé que s'ils étaient largement adoptés, ces principes appuieraient le développement mondial des services de TIC, y compris Internet et d'autres applications basées sur Internet, ce qui est essentiel pour un e-commerce innovant, les recherches et la publicité sur Internet, le stockage des données et d'autres services.

    Ces principes concernent la transparence de la législation et de la réglementation, l'accès ouvert aux réseaux et aux applications, la libre circulation d'information d'un pays à l'autre, les investissements étrangers dans les secteurs de TIC, des prestations de services transfrontaliers plus aisées, l'efficacité de l'affectation du spectre, l'indépendance des autorités de régulation, l'octroi de licences d'exploitation, l'interconnexion entre les fournisseurs de services de télécommunication publics de base, et la coopération internationale.

    Le secteur des services de TIC occupe une place grandissante dans les infrastructures d'une série d'industries et de secteurs, selon le Bureau du Représentant des États-Unis pour le commerce extérieur. La mise en oeuvre de la déclaration de principes devrait renforcer les échanges commerciaux et les investissements entre les États-Unis et l'île Maurice mais aussi stimuler le développement mondial de services qui renforcent la productivité de la main d'oeuvre, réduisent les coûts d'exploitation, favorisent l'essor de nouvelles industries, revitalisent des industries plus anciennes et améliorent la vie des consommateurs.

    La pertinence des nouveaux principes entre les États-Unis et Maurice, indique le bureau de l'USTR, est mise en lumière par les récentes décisions de gouvernements étrangers de limiter l'accès aux services de TIC ; ils ont notamment restreint l'accès au spectre, limité le nombre de licences de télécommunications accessibles aux prestataires de service étrangers, bloqué les appels téléphoniques VOIP (voix sur protocole Internet) et exigé l'emploi d'infrastructures et de serveurs du réseau local pour la prestation de services dont la fourniture peut se faire de manière transfrontalière.

  • Mascom, premier opérateur de réseau mobile au Botswana, est en train de réaliser un centre d'innovation dont le coût est estimé à 25 millions de dollars. Cette infrastructure, de l'avis de Tebogo Lebotse, responsable de la communication et des relations publiques de la société, va fortement améliorer la connectivité et la pénétration Internet dans les zones rurales.

    «Le centre d'innovation de Mascom est le premier du genre au Botswana et intègre de nombreuses fonctionnalités, avec un bâtiment respectueux de l'environnement et des équipements technologiquement avancés», a-t-il déclaré.

    L'inauguration du centre est prévue au début du mois de juillet 2012, en présence du vice-président du Botswana, Mompati Merafhe. L'opérateur conduit actuellement des tests sur la 4G.

    Ecofin
  • Afin de corriger le paradoxe qui empêche le secteur de la microfinance d'atteindre ses objectifs de lutte contre la pauvreté en milieu rural, la direction de la microfinance au Sénégal a décidé d'investir le créneau du mobile banking associé aux guichets mobiles.

    Ce sont entre autres les solutions annoncées par les responsables de la direction de la microfinance. C'était à l'occasion d'une conférence tenue jeudi sur le thème « la microfinance, solution à la crise », une manifestation qui s'inscrit dans la poursuite du programme Tribune de la microfinance.

    Les services de la microfinance n'ont qu'un faible taux de pénétration en milieu rural, à en croire Abdoulaye Seck de la faculté de sciences économiques et de gestion de l'Université Cheikh Anta Diop.

    Le taux de pénétration en milieu rural dépasse difficilement les 11% alors même que l'objectif initial est surtout centré sur la lutte contre la pauvreté en milieu rural et féminin.

    Mais aujourd'hui, constate M.Seck, « la microfinance ne s'intéresse pas aux plus pauvres et elle n'est pas présente dans le milieu rural alors que c'est là-bas que se trouve véritablement la pauvreté. En d'autres termes, la microfinance n'est pas là où elle doit être. »

    Pire, sa contribution en matière de lutte contre la pauvreté est, pour l'heure, en deçà de ce qu'elle devrait être. Une des raisons de ce paradoxe qui limite la portée de la microfinance se trouve, selon M. Seck dans « le conflit entre la profitabilité et l'objectif de réduction de la pauvreté. »

    Ce paradoxe est souligné par Clément Waly Faye qui constate une « concentration sur le littoral de plus de 60% des institutions de microfinance entre Dakar et Thiès. »

    Cette forte concentration, d'après le responsable du suivi évaluation de la lettre de politique sectorielle de la microfinance, s'explique par les nombreuses difficultés et contraintes liées à la microfinance rurale.

    Ces difficultés et contraintes tiennent généralement à la faiblesse des bases de production et des densités humaines en milieu rural.

    A cela s'ajoute un manque criard d'infrastructures. Ces difficiles conditions et les coûts élevés des transactions font que les institutions hésitent à s'y installer. C'est pourquoi d'ailleurs la microfinance au Sénégal, qui est née dans le bassin arachidier, tend à se replier en milieu urbain.

    C'est pour corriger ces défaillances que la direction de la microfinance avec le soutien des partenaires dans le cadre de la mise en oeuvre de la lettre de politique sectorielle accompagne l'installation des institutions dans le monde rural, notamment dans les régions de Fatick, Diourbel, Tambacounda et dans le département de Mbour. Une initiative qui s'inscrit dans le cadre du projet AESOR (Amélioration de l'encadrement du secteur de la microfinance et de l'offre de service en milieu rural) Dans ce cadre, des mesures incitatives sont prises, il s'agit entre autres de l'appui en ressources financières, de la construction et de l'équipement d'agences, de la mise à disposition de systèmes d'information et de gestion, du matériel de transport et d'un accompagnement aux institutions financières afin de leur permettre d'adapter leurs produits et services ;

    Mais toujours dans le cadre de cette politique d'extension, la direction met l'accent sur des solutions à portée de main pour faciliter l'accès aux produits de la microfinance dans le monde rural.

    C'est dans cette dynamique qu'elle inscrit les innovations sur les guichets mobiles et mobile banking afin d'atteindre les zones enclavées, mais aussi de faire le tour les marchés hébdomaires.

    Ce projet est soutenu par la coopération allemande avec un montant de 6 milliards de FCfa. L'utilisation du mobile banking permet d'amoindrir les coûts élevés de la présence physique des institutions de microfinance grâce à des solutions adaptées.

    Mais là, il y a l'équation du faible taux d'alphabétisation qui risque de plomber l'opération. C'est pour cela, assure Clément Waly Faye, « que le projet prévoit un volet éducation financière.

    Cette éducation financière a comme objectif de pousser les populations à faire confiance à cette technologie pour faire leurs opérations d'épargne, de remboursement ou de réception de crédit. »

    Elle se fonde sur des syntaxes assez simples comme celles utilisées par des produits comme Wari ou Orange Money, avec une option multi-opérateurs.

    « Le programme est déjà en oeuvre dans les régions de Kaolack, Tambacounda, Thiès, Louga et Saint-Louis », soutient le chargé du suivi évaluation.

    Sud Quotidien
  • * 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

  • L’ICANN aura un nouveau président et directeur à partir du 1er juillet 2012. Selon un communiqué de presse publié le 22 juin 2012 par l'organisme mondial de gestion technique de l'Internet, Fadi Chehadé remplacera à la tête de l'organisation Rod Beckstrom qui ne souhaite pas renouveler son mandat de trois ans arrivé à son terme.

  • Rédacteur web / Référenceur

    ype de contrat : Prestation de services

    Lieu de travail : Dakar

    Mission:
    Rattaché(e) au service technique, vous rédigerez des articles optimisés pour le SEO et serez chargé de la promotion de sites web par le référencement.
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Issue no 185 28 juin 2012

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Editorial

  • Le ministre des Postes, Télécommunications et Nouvelles Technologies de l'Information et de la Communication, a lancé officiellement la vente de la Licence de la Troisième génération, dite 3G. C'était mardi 26 juin, à l'issue de la rencontre qu'il a eue dans son cabinet de travail avec les représentants des opérateurs des sociétés de téléphonie mobile. A savoir : Airtel, Vodacom, Tigo, Africell.

    Le président de l'ARPTC (Autorité de régulation de la poste et des télécommunications du Congo), Oscar Manikunda Musata, a également participé à cet entretien. L'objet de cette rencontre était l'annonce par le ministre des PT-NTIC du lancement officiel de la vente de la Licence 3G. Cette technologie moderne de télécommunications était vivement attendue.

    En ce qui concerne le prix, la licence 3G est vendue par le gouvernement à 15.000.000 $US (quinze millions de dollars américains). Le président de l'Arptc a été arrêté par le ministre, à ce sujet, de préparer les documents ad hoc et de les mettre à la disposition des opérateurs concernés pour paiement à la DGRAD.

    Le ministre Tryphon Kin-Kiey Mulumba a renseigné que ce prix a été entendu de commun accord, de longue date, entre l'Etat congolais et les opérateurs du secteur des télécommunications. Il s'agit là, pour lui, une façon de jouer la carte de la transparence pour mettre un terme à toutes les spéculations ayant entouré la question.

    En outre, Tryphon Kin-Kiey Mulumba a fait remarquer qu'au regard des assignations budgétaires relevant de son ministère, la vente de la licence 3G ne pouvait que démarrer du fait que le projet de budget 2012 a été déclaré recevable par l'Assemblée nationale. « Le ministère n'avait plus alors le choix que de se mettre en marche dès le lendemain pour mobiliser les recettes de son secteur et renflouer les caisses de l'Etat », a-t-il expliqué.

    Réagissant à l'annonce du ministre, les opérateurs de la téléphonie mobile en RD Congo se sont réjouis de la diligence dont le nouveau ministre a fait montre dans le traitement du dossier. Ils ont aussi exprimé leur satisfaction pour le maintien par le gouvernement du prix de vente tel qu'il a été fixé de commun accord, après négociations, par un arrêté interministériel.

    Avant de prendre l'engagement de se mettre en ordre le plus rapidement possible avec l'autorité de régulation. Après la réunion, les hôtes du ministre Kin-Kiey ont visité le vaste chantier de la rénovation du bâtiment abritant son cabinet. Par là, le ministre veut donner un contenu réel à la révolution de la modernité dans son secteur.

    C'était l'occasion pour le ministre rappeler ce qu'il a toujours déclaré, à savoir : les télécoms et les NTIC constituent actuellement un secteur mobilisateur des recettes, un véritable créateur d'emplois et porteur de croissance. La licence 3G offre de nombreuses opportunités en termes de fiabilité d'appel, et de divers services tel que l'internet à haut débit et transfert des données.

    Le Phare
  • Afin de protéger le fournisseur télécom qui lui appartient, le gouvernement éthiopien a déposé une législation qui fera de l'utilisation d'outils de communication en ligne comme Skype un délit passible de 15 ans de prison, selon ce que rapportent le Comité pour la protection des journalistes (CPJ), l'Institut international de la presse (IIP) et Reporters sans frontières (RSF).

    La nouvelle loi, adoptée le 24 mai, criminalise l'utilisation sur Internet d'outils de communication indépendants comme Skype, Viber et GTalk, dit l'IIP.

    Bien que le gouvernement ait déclaré que la loi a été déposée afin d'empêcher l'unique fournisseur de télécom du pays, Éthio Télécom, qui est administré par l'État, de perdre de l'argent au profit de concurrents en ligne low-cost, le CPJ soutient que l'interdiction de la technologie de communication en ligne empêchera également les journalistes et les dissidents de s'entretenir à peu de frais et de manière sécuritaire avec des sources à l'étranger - mettant effectivement un terme à leur aptitude à offrir du journalisme indépendant.

    La loi rend également illégal d'importer, de vendre ou de posséder de l'équipement de télécom , dit le CPJ. Toute personne surprise en train de tenter de contourner la loi risque d'être accusée d'un certain nombre de délits, tels que « obstruction ou ingérence » dans le réseau, délit passible de 15 ans de prison, ou encore « distribution de messages de terreur », délit passible de huit ans de prison et d'une amende de 500 $US.

    La loi antiterroriste criminalise déjà le journalisme favorable aux groupes et aux causes de l'opposition, qui reste interdite, dit le CPJ.

    Le groupe note également que le gouvernement tente depuis quelques années de contrôler les communications sur Internet, et cite des rapports selon lesquels les cafés Internet qui offrent des services comme Skype sont tenus de conserver en dossier les noms et adresses de leurs clients.

    En même temps, le gouvernement éthiopien a installé en ligne des filtres sophistiqués afin de fermer tout accès détourné à l'Internet. RSF, l'IIP et l'Initiative OpenNet, un groupe qui enquête et met à nu les pratiques de filtrage et de surveillance de l'Internet, rapportent que Éthio Télécom avait bloqué l'accès au réseau Tor, un outil en ligne qui permet aux utilisateurs de naviguer sur Internet de manière anonyme.

    Pour se livrer à ce type de blocage sélectif, dit RSF, Éthio Télécom doit utiliser « Deep Packet Inspection », une méthode avancée de filtrage de réseau, généralement utilisée par des pays répressifs comme la Chine et l'Iran. RSF s'inquiète que cette démarche indique que les autorités éthiopiennes n'hésitent pas à s'abaisser de nouveau et pourrait constituer un signe avant-coureur de l'interception des courriels, des messages sur les médias sociaux et des conversations en ligne.

    « Nous craignons que Deep Packet Inspection ne soit utilisé à mauvais escient à des fins de surveillance par un gouvernement qui soumet déjà l'opposition politique et les médias privés à beaucoup de harcèlement », dit RSF.

    Les mesures prises pour criminaliser la dissidence en ligne sont les dernières en date utilisées dans une nouvelle vague de répression dirigée contre les journalistes et les médias indépendants. Le journaliste Eskinder Nega et plusieurs activistes sont accusés d'incitation au terrorisme et sont passibles de la peine de mort. Un verdict dans leur affaire est prévu le 21 juin.

    Selon le CPJ, un reporter américain qui travaille à la Voix de l'Amérique et son traducteur éthiopien ont également été détenus récemment , et la radiodiffusion en araméen de la Voix de l'Amérique a été brouillée et son site web bloqué, tandis que « The Reporter », un hebdomadaire privé, informait RSF que son site web était censuré.

    De toute évidence, les autorités se sentent profondément menacées par quelque source que ce soit d'information indépendante, depuis le journalisme critique jusqu'au partage de l'information en ligne », dit le CPJ.

  • Le régulateur demande à Mtn et Orange de baisser les prix en diminuant leurs marges.

    La minute d'appel sur les réseaux de téléphonie mobile coûte encore assez cher, de l'avis des Camerounais. Une situation que l'Agence de régulation des télécommunications (ART) veut visiblement renverser. En tout cas, c'est ce qui ressort du communiqué rendu public jeudi par Jean-Louis Beh Mengue, directeur général de l'ART. Dans ce document, le gendarme du secteur rejette les offres techniques et tarifaires d'interconnexion de deux opérateurs que sont la Mobile Telephone Networks Cameroon Limited (Mtn Cameroon) et Orange Cameroun SA. Motif, ces derniers n'ont pas tenu compte des recommandations de l'ART parmi lesquelles la baisse des tarifs d'interconnexion et des tarifs des SMS.

    Faut-il le rappeler, l'interconnexion est le processus qui permet de communiquer d'un opérateur à l'autre. « Dans d'autres pays, cela n'est pas possible. Les consommateurs ne peuvent communiquer qu'entre clients d'un même opérateur », explique une source à l'ART, et d'ajouter qu'au Cameroun, « Camtel est la passerelle entre Orange et Mtn et chacun des opérateurs doit lui reverser quelque chose chaque fois que l'usager d'un opérateur passe par ce carrefour pour atteindre l'autre opérateur ». Actuellement, les coûts hors taxes de cette interconnexion sont situés entre 33 et 37 F chez Orange et entre 33 F et 38 F chez Mtn. Quant aux SMS, ils coûtent 10,5 F chez Orange et 11,5 F chez Mtn. Mais l'ART veut que ces deux services, très demandés, reviennent respectivement à 28 F la minute d'appel et 10 F le SMS pour tout le monde.

    Le rejet de ces catalogues implique donc que les deux opérateurs doivent faire d'autres propositions au régulateur. Surtout que selon certaines indiscrétions, les membres du duopole téléphonique gagneraient à faire valider ces différents catalogues. « Sans cette validation, aucun d'eux ne peut percevoir les compensations de l'autre, liées à l'interconnexion », explique notre source. En effet, chacun reçoit une compensation en fonction des appels en direction de l'autre opérateur. Une affaire de gros sous. Et plus, entraîenant à faire valider leurs catalogues, moins grosse sera l'enveloppe, car le régulateur affirme que l'adoption des nouveaux plans tarifaires sera rétroactive. Donc avec effet dès le début de l'année 2012.

    Les recommandations de l'ART s'appuient entre autres sur une simulation informatique de la Banque mondiale qui a permis d'établir le juste prix en 2010 à 32 F. En attendant que les « bonnes » décisions soient prises, c'est le consommateur qui n'arrête pas de consulter son crédit à la fin de chaque appel pour savoir s'il lui en reste assez pour le prochain...ou pour un bip.

  • e go des examens d'Etat pour les finalistes des écoles secondaires a été donné hier, lundi 25 juin 2012 sur toute l'étendue du territoire national.

    Ces épreuves dureront 4 jours, soit du 25 au 28 juin. Les candidats sont soumis à l'épreuve pour défendre le bagage intellectuel obtenu au cours de leur cursus scolaire. Pour mieux passer cette épreuve, les candidats doivent observer strictement des règles et directives édictées par l'autorité.

    « Ils ne doivent pas accéder dans la salle d'examen munis de leur téléphone portable. Les récalcitrants pourront être exclus. Cette décision a été prise, le week-end dernier, par le Ministre de l'Intérieur, décentralisation et affaires coutumières, Richard Muyej. Une décision saluée par le Ministre de tutelle, Maker Mwangu Famba qui a également exhorté les candidats aux exéats à l'observance stricte de cette disposition sous peine d'être exclu de la salle des examens. Selon des sources concordantes, les autorités se sont rendues compte que, grâce aux portables, avec l'ouverture des salles de jeu Maman le A en croire plusieurs sources concordantes, les finalistes aux exetats se servent de leur téléphone portable, usant des nouvelles technologies de l'information et de la communication, pour se communiquer des réponses. Une véritable tricherie organisée.

    Pour sa part, le Ministre de l'Enseignement primaire, secondaire et professionnel, Maker Mwangu Famba a salué cette décision. Il a saisi cette occasion pour lancer un appel vibrant à tous les candidats de bien vouloir respecter ladite décision sous peine d'être exclu de la salle d'examens.

    Par ailleurs, il leur a souhaité une bonne chance. Les examens d'Etat constituant la clé de voûte pour embrasser les études universitaires, le Ministre de l'EPSP a invité les candidats à une maîtrise de soi afin de bien affronter touts les épreuves. Il a fait savoir, en outre, que toute tentative de tricherie fera l'objet de l'annulation de l'examen de l'élève, même du centre dans son ensemble. Quant aux chefs des centres, il les a invités à ne pas brutaliser les élèves durant le déroulement des épreuves.

    Bien avant le début de ces épreuves, les élèves rencontrés au collège Mafema à Ngaliema ont déclaré que leur morale était au zénith pour affronter ces épreuves. « Nous sommes prêts à affronter ces épreuves quel que soit le moment. Nous avons appris à travers les médias la décision du Ministre de l'intérieur portant interdiction d'accéder dans les salles d'examen avec les téléphones. C'est une bonne décision pour nous pousser à compter sur nous-même. Nous avons passé de bons moments avec les amis dans le maquis pour affronter ces examens. Nous avons peur de rien. Certains de nos amis pensent que la décision du Ministre est prise seulement dans l'idée de nous empêcher à collaborer avec nos camarades alors qu'elle est prise dans l'objectif de nous protéger contre les mauvaises nouvelles qui arrivent brusquement.

    Car, il arrive de fois pendant l'examen que l'on reçoit un appel qui vous annonce la mort d'un frère ou d'un ami. Cela aura des répercussions négatives sur les résultats des épreuves », a laissé entendre, Guy Kandolo, élève du collège Mafema de Ngaliema. Il sied de noter que le Premier Ministre Matata Ponyo, le Ministre de l'enseignement primaire, secondaire et professionnel, Maker Mwangu Famba et le Gouverneur de la ville de Kinshasa, André Kimbuta, ont fait le déplacement de quelques centres pour se rendre personnellement compte du déroulement de l'examen d'Etat.

    La Prospérité
  • Le premier ministre gabonais, Raymond Ndong Sima, a présidé lundi à Libreville, les travaux du 13ème Forum sur la régulation des Télécommunications TIC et le Partenariat en Afrique.

    La rencontre de Libreville est axée autour du thème « La migration de la télévision analogique vers la télévision numérique : parage d'expériences, stratégies de migration et dividende numérique ».

    « S'agissant du thème qui sera débattu, il convient de relever que depuis plusieurs années, le passage de la télévision analogique à la télévision numérique avec le dividende numérique qui en résulte, constitue un enjeu pour l'économie numérique en Afrique », a déclaré Raymond Ndong Sima.

    Le forum va permettre aux régulateurs des pays africains, aux fournisseurs et fabricants de matériels de télécommunications du monde entier, d'échanger afin de réussir cette migration, tout en optimisant l'usage de nouveaux services grâce au redéploiement des bandes de fréquences issues du dividende numérique.

    Cette réunion permettra aux délégués entre autre, de partager leurs expériences respectives pour d'une part, réussir la migration de la télévision analogique à la télévision numérique terrestre dans les délais prescrit par l'UIT et, d'autre part, d'optimiser l'usage des nouveaux services grâce au redéploiement des bandes de fréquences issues du dividende numérique.

    « Les récentes évolutions technologiques permettent désormais de rationaliser et d'optimiser l'utilisation des bandes de fréquences étant donné que la diffusion numérique est moins consommatrice en bandes de fréquences que la diffusion analogique », a affirmé Lin Mombo, directeur ARCEP. Lors d'une précédente conférence de l'UIT, l'arrêt complet de la télévision analogique terrestre a été fixé en juin 2015 dans certaines régions du monde y compris les pays africains dont le Gabon.

    Africa Info
  • Un système de surveillance à grande échelle d'Internet a été discrètement mis en place en Ethiopie, utilisant une technologie qui permet d'espionner l'ensemble des communications Web du pays, révèle le quotidien La Croix.

    A la mi-mai, les responsables du projet Tor, un logiciel de contournement de la censure, notent que le nombre d'utilisateurs de leur programme chute brutalement. Après étude de ce trafic anormal, les responsables du projet ont conclu que le pays avait mis en place un système de Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) : cette technologie consiste à 'scanner' les données circulant sur un réseau, sans les intercepter directement. Schématiquement, c'est un peu l'équivalent de lire le contenu d'une lettre en exposant son enveloppe à la lumière : le courrier n'est pas ouvert, mais son contenu a été lu... Régulièrement visée par les organisations de défense des droits de l'Homme (PDF), l'Ethiopie a connu, ces trois dernières années, un impressionnant renforcement de son arsenal législatif limitant la liberté d'expression, note l'organisation Reporters sans Frontières.
     
    Le gouvernement a notamment rendu les imprimeurs conjointement responsables de ce que publient les journaux, et tente d'imposer la mise en place de contrats d'impression qui donneraient un pouvoir de censeurs de fait aux imprimeurs - le principal étant contrôlé par l'État. Le gouvernement a également banni l'utilisation de services de téléphonie par Internet (VOIP), évoquant des raisons de sûreté nationale et la protection de son monopole d'Etat. L'utilisation d'un service comme Skype est théoriquement puni de quinze ans de prison. Si des cas de blocage de sites Web ont déjà été signalés en Ethiopie, ils sont jusqu'à présent restés rares - vraisemblablement en raison du faible taux d'accès à Internet dans le pays.

  • Plus de 800 millions de personnes dans le monde utilisent Face book. En Afrique, l'Egypte et l'Afrique du Sud sont les deux pays où les gens utilisent le plus ces outils d'information.

    Le Sénégal se situe à la 10éme place avec une moyenne de 650 000 personnes qui en font usage, soit un taux de 4.69 % d'utilisateurs de face book par rapport à sa population globale. Le Twitter est le deuxième outil le plus utilisé dans le monde.

    Mais les résultats d'une étude ont révélé que l'utilisation de Twitter n'est pas assez répandue au Sénégal. Mathilde Piard, une experte américaine des médias sociaux l'a du reste rappelé hier mardi à l'atelier de renforcement des capacités des journalistes de la presse nationale à se servir des médias dits sociaux.

    Les médias sociaux dont Face Book, Twitter, You tube, Google+ et autres outils d'internet sont de plus en plus utilisés à travers le monde soit pour s'informer ou pour communiquer. L'utilisation de ces outils n'épargne pratiquement aucun pays africain.

    D'ailleurs, dans certains pays notamment au Maghreb, avec le printemps arabe, le peuple égyptien s'est beaucoup appuyé sur ces médias pour faire tomber le régime du président Moubarak.

    Au Sénégal, l'utilisation de ces réseaux sociaux a également beaucoup contribué à la réalisation de la seconde alternance politique.

    Ainsi pour outiller les journalistes sénégalais à mieux se servir de ces technologies, l'ambassade des Usa à Dakar a organisé hier lunid un atelier pour édifier les journalistes sur les opportunités de ces moteurs d'internautes.

    A l'occasion, Mathilde Piard a indiqué que les médias sociaux constituent un outil puissant de documentation pour les sources.

    Elles permettent des recherches avancées et de trouver des photos et vidéos pouvant être très utiles aux journalistes dans leurs productions.

    Elle a laissé entendre que parmi ces médias sociaux Face Book est le plus utilisé à travers le monde suivi du twitter de You tube et de Google+

    Elle a révélé que le Sénégal dont 14 % de sa population utilisent Internet, occupe la 10ème place au plan africain et la 91ème place au plan mondial des pays qui utilisent l'outil Face Book, selon les résultats d'une enquête menée dernièrement sur la question.

    La même enquête indique que les 70 % de la population surfant sur Face book sont la population jeune et les 37 % d'utilisateurs ont entre 18 et 24 ans.

    Seuls les 29 % de ces utilisateurs sont estimés entre 25 et 34 ans. Ceux qui sont âgés entre 16 et 17 ans constituent 10 % des utilisateurs alors que la tranche d'âge des 35 et 44 ans est à 9 %.

    Les jeunes de 13 à 15 ans utilisant Face Book sont estimés à 7 ¨%. Mais les personnes âgées entre 45 et 55 ans qui utilisent ces médias sociaux sont de l'ordre de 3 % par rapport aux effectifs globaux d'utilisateurs de Face Book au Sénégal.

    Les mêmes études révèlent en outre que 67 % des hommes dans notre pays utilisent Face Book alors que chez les femmes seules 33 % d'entre elles s'en servent.

    Les spécialistes du Web s'inquiètent cependant de la baisse ces derniers jours de l'utilisation du Facebook au Sénégal. Si auparavant plus de 800 mille Sénégalais se servaient de cet outil, ce nombre réduit à 600 mille inquiète.

    Ce qui découlerait de la fermeture du service gratuit de Orange pour ceux qui avaient sa puce leur permettant de surfer sur Face book.

    Par rapport à Twiter qui est le deuxième outil le plus visité du monde et dans 20 pays d'Afrique, le Sénégal accuse un sérieux retard.

    Toutefois, pendant l'élection présidentielle, seuls 12 000 twitter ont été localisés dans le pays, soit l'équivalent de la connection de la Namibie qui se positionne en 13ème place au niveau africain.

    Sud Quotidien
  • Sur initiative de l'Autorité de régulation des communications électroniques, et des postes (ARCEP), se tient du 25 au 28 juin 2012 à Ouagadougou, un séminaire de formation sur la gestion des ressources internet et la migration vers IPv6. Poser les bases de la réflexion pour l'élaboration de la stratégie de passage de IPv4 à IPv6, c'est l'objectif poursuivi par l'organisation de ce séminaire.

    « La croissance exponentielle de la demande d'adresse IP a fait de l'internet une victime de son propre succès. C'est pourquoi, il est très urgent de songer au futur en programmant le passage à la nouvelle norme IP version 6 ». C'est en ces termes que Youma Zerbo, secrétaire général du premier ministre, a justifié l'intérêt que le gouvernement burkinabè accorde à ce séminaire. Que sont IPv4 et IPv6 ?

    Selon Alain Aina, chef de projet, représentant de AfriNIC, ce sont des versions de protocole internet. « Internet fonctionne avec des numéros que nous appelons des adresses IP qui sont des identifiants. Chaque noeud qui est sur Internet doit avoir cet identifiant qui est unique.

    Alors que Internet a démarré avec une version de protocole qui était limitée à 4 milliards d'adresses dans les années 60-70, aujourd'hui, avec la croissance d'Internet, on manque d'adresse IP.

    C'est pourquoi on a décidé de migrer vers un nouveau protocole qui offre plus d'adresses et plus de fonctionnalité », a expliqué le représentant de AfriNIC.

    Pour Yacouba Koussoubé, président du comité d'organisation, l'objectif visé par l'Autorité de régulation des communications électroniques et des postes (ARCEP) en organisant ce séminaire est de poser les bases de la réflexion pour l'élaboration de la stratégie de passage de IPv4 à IPv6.

    La présente session de formation organisée avec la collaboration de l'Organisation internationale de la francophonie, de AfriNIC et de l'ICANN, l'organisme international en charge de la gestion des ressources internet, permettra à chaque structure participante de tirer les enseignements de son expérience et de celle des autres, et d'accroître aussi ses capacités.

    La rupture prochaine du pool central IPv4 au niveau de l'ICANN et son impact sur la région Afrique étant inévitable, selon Youma Zerbo, « les adresses IP doivent être gérées avec rigueur et prévoyance », dira Yacouba Koussoubé.

    « C'est ce qui justifie en partie l'implication de l'Autorité de régulation dans la conduite du processus d'élaboration de la stratégie », a-t-il indiqué. Fort heureusement que beaucoup d'appareils sont d'ores et déjà compatibles à IPv6.

    Selon Alain Aina, représentant de l'AfriNIC, activer la migration de IPv4 à IPv6 permettra à l'utilisateur lambda d'avoir un meilleur internet qui répond à ses besoins. Et pour que internet puisse répondre à tous ses besoins, il faut qu'il migre vers ce nouveau protocole qui permettra d'avoir un internet plus grand et plus performant.

    Le secrétaire général du Premier ministre a rappelé que, d'après les estimations des Nations unies, la population d'internautes atteindra 3,4 milliards d'ici à 2016, soit environ 45% de la population mondiale qui sera connectée à Internet. La cérémonie d'ouverture a connu la présence de Mathurin Bako, président de l'ARCEP.

    Selon Alain Aina, le représentatn de l’AFRINIC:

    « Internet de demain se fera sur IPv6 »

    « La migration en question, c'est le fait de la coexistence entre les deux IPv4 - IPv6. On ne va pas le faire comme on le fait pour le téléphone.

    Ici on a décidé de faire cohabiter les deux jusqu'à ce que, progressivement, on puisse aller vers IPv6. Mais Internet IPv6, personne ne peut vous dire quand cela va avoir lieu. On va, peut-être, avoir internet avec IPv4-IPv6 pendant longtemps. Mais l'Internet de demain se fera sur IPv6 ».

    Le Pays
  • La Douane sénégalaise, à travers le système Gainde 2000, a été à l'honneur au siège des Nations-Unies à New York. Elle a remporté le premier prix des Nations-Unies pour le service public.

    Le trophée a été remis par le sous-secrétaire général chargé des Affaires économiques et sociales, Sha Zukang, en présence d'une forte délégation conduite par le ministre de l'Economie et des Finances, Amadou Kane, et le directeur général des Douanes, Mouhamadou Makhtar Cissé.

    Les efforts déployés par l'administration douanière pour rendre plus performantes les opérations de dédouanement au Sénégal viennent d'être couronnés par la reconnaissance des Nations unies.

    Retenu parmi les 44 lauréats des Nations unies pour cet événement consacré au service public, le système de Gestion automatisée des informations douanières et des échanges, plus connu sous le nom de Guinde 2000, mis en œuvre par l'administration douanière du Sénégal depuis 2004 et dont la version dématérialisation est entrée en production depuis 2011, a été primé, hier, à New York, du premier prix des Nations unies dans la catégorie 2 consacrée à l'amélioration des prestations de services.

    Une première dans la gestion des affaires administratives au Sénégal et en particulier pour la Douane. Le ministre de l'Economie et des Finances, Amadou Kane, à la tête de la délégation sénégalaise à l'occasion de la remise du prix au siège de l'Onu, aux côtés du directeur général des douanes, Mouhamadou Makhtar Cissé, et l'administrateur général du Gie Gainde 2000, Ibrahima Nour Eddine Diagne, a saisi l'occasion pour exprimer toute la satisfaction du gouvernement pour cette reconnaissance que viennent d'accorder les Nations unies à l'administration douanière sénégalaise.

    « En décernant ce prix à l'administration douanière de notre pays, le Sénégal vient de franchir un seuil nouveau dans la gouvernance mondiale » a déclaré M. Kane.

    Il estime que ce prix doit constituer pour la Douane une source d'émulation afin de rendre plus performant son système d'information et son action sur le terrain.

    Le ministre de l'Economie et des Finances a également exhorté les autorités de la Douane à faire en sorte que le système Gainde 2000 puisse profiter aux Douanes de la sous-région, en particulier celles de l'Uemoa et de la Cedeao.

    Un défi que le directeur général des Douanes et l'administrateur général du Gie Gainde 2000 comptent relever ensemble. Mouhamadou Makhtar Cissé n'a pas manqué de souligner l'attention particulière que certains pays de la sous-région commencent à accorder au système Gainde.

    Il cite des pays comme le Burkina Faso et le Togo qui, selon M. Cissé, ont manifesté leur volonté de s'inspirer du modèle sénégalais.

    « Le système est en train de faire tache d'huile car, aujourd'hui, la dématérialisation a fini de faire ses preuves dans les plus grands ports et aéroports du monde », a déclaré M. Cissé.

    C'est aussi l'avis de l'administrateur général du Gie Gainde 2000. Selon M. Diagne, il s'agit de s'investir dans cette dynamique en parfaite synergie avec l'administration des Douanes pour ouvrir de nouveaux chantiers en terme d'amélioration du service public.

    La cérémonie de remise des prix des Nations unies pour le service public présidée par le sous-secrétaire général Sha Zukang, hier, au siège de l'organisation, à New York, a été une occasion pour les plus hautes autorités du système onusien de réitérer leur engagement à oeuvrer pour l'amélioration de la gouvernance locale et des prestations dans le service public.

    Sha Zukang, qui présidait la cérémonie au nom du secrétaire général, Ban Ki-Moon, a exhorté les nations à rendre plus performante la gestion des affaires dans le service public.

    Dans son introduction, M. Zukang a non seulement insisté sur la lutte contre la corruption mais a également demandé aux Etats membres d’œuvrer dans le sens de mettre l'excellence et l'esprit d'innovation en avant dans toutes les prestations de leurs administrations.

    Il a profité de l'occasion pour réitérer l'engagement des Nations unies à appuyer les initiatives allant dans ce sens. C'est dans cette dynamique que s'inscrit l'octroi de ces prix, a déclaré M. Sha Zukang.

    Outre le Sénégal, l'Ile Maurice et l'Afrique du Sud ont aussi été primées dans diverses catégories pour les performances notées dans l'amélioration du service public en Afrique.

    Elimination des séquences papiers, minimisation de la saisie de données : Grande amélioration de la qualité du service

    Reconnu pour avoir contribué à améliorer la croissance et la richesse dans le système douanier au Sénégal, Gainde 2000 constitue aujourd'hui un atout majeur dans la gestion des affaires au Sénégal.

    Selon son administrateur général, Ibrahima Nour Eddine Diagne, le guichet unique Orbus Intégral institué par la Douane sénégalaise a facilité les traitements des formalités du commerce extérieur dans notre pays.

    De décembre 2010 à mai 2011, c'est un total de 72.606 documents qui ont été livrés à travers le système, a indiqué M. Diagne, hier, à New York.

    « La qualité du service offert aux importateurs et exportateurs s'est grandement améliorée comme en témoignent l'élimination des séquences papiers, la minimisation de la saisie de données, la réduction de possibilités d'erreurs et d'inefficacité ainsi que la fourniture de services intelligents basée sur une bonne gestion des processus métiers et des délais et coûts de traitement », a-t-il ajouté.

    Le système Gainde 2000 a eu également un impact positif dans la transparence et dans la flexibilité des processus de traitements, a reconnu le directeur général de la société Cotecna, Valdiodio Cissé, venu prendre part à la cérémonie de remise des prix aux Nations unies.

    Le Soleil
  • Le ministre des Télécommunications et Technologies d'Informations, José Carvalho da Rocha a inauguré vendredi, à Luanda, le premier Centre National de Données Technologiques d'Angola.

    Ce centre, indique-t-on, est doté de nouvelles technologies du réseau de données une structure sans fil qui fonctionnera comme support informatique du processus de gouvernance électronique de l'Angola.

    Le gouvernant a souligné que le projet maximiserait l'efficacité et la productivité des services administratives et assurer la haute vitesse et grande qualité de communications, ajoutant que.

    l'Exécutif angolais veut encourager la culture scientifique et technologique, créer et renforcer un système national de science et technologie.

    Notons que le Centre National de Données Technologiques d'Angola dont les travaux de construction et d'équipement sont estimés à 43, 7 millions de dollars américains, qui résultent d'un financement des gouvernements angolais et sud-coréen, dans le cadre de Fonds de Développement Économique et de Coopération de ce pays.

    ANGOP
  • Suite à la signature, hier, d'une convention portant sur un don de 205 mille dollars US de l'Agence américaine de développement international au profit du gouvernement tunisien, le ministre auprès du chef du gouvernement, chargé de la Réforme administrative, Mohamed Abbou, a tenu une conférence de presse conjointement avec l'ambassadeur des Etats-Unis d'Amérique, M. Gordon Gray.

    M. Abbou a précisé que ce don est destiné au financement d'un portail internet gouvernemental moderne.

    «L'objectif du lancement de ce portail est d'améliorer la relation entre l'administration et le citoyen en instaurant de nouvelles méthodes de communication. Ce portail est destiné à la réception des pétitions, des doléances et des propositions des citoyens soit via l'internet ou la messagerie téléphonique, vu l'importance de cette dernière dans le mode de communication de nos jours. Cela, sans négliger le travail des bureaux des relations avec les citoyens implantés partout dans les régions afin de faciliter cette communication, et que le gouvernement essaye d'améliorer davantage», a-t-il ajouté. D'autre part, M. Abbou a affirmé que son entretien avec l'ambassadeur américain a porté également sur d'autres sujets sans aucune autre précision.

    Pour sa part, M. Gordon Gray a souligné l'intérêt que portent les Etats-Unies au soutien qu'il apporte à la Tunisie dans le processus démocratique dans les divers secteurs, réaffirmant leur soutien matériel et logistique dans ce sens. «Nous sommes heureux de nous associer au ministère et à son équipe dans un projet d'e-gouvernement. Nous considérons que cet effort est essentiel pour recueillir les pétitions des citoyens. Cette méthode aidera à avoir une meilleure communication entre le gouvernement et le citoyen», a-t-il ajouté.

    Promouvoir la bonne gouvernance

    Le ministre chargé de la Réforme administrative a précisé, de son côté, que ce projet fait partie des efforts fournis par le gouvernement afin de moderniser l'administration tunisienne. Il a, dans ce sens, rappelé qu'un congrès national se tiendra les 26 et 27 juin à Tunis sur la modernisation de la Fonction publique avec la participation d'éminents experts en gestion, en droit, ainsi que d'administrateurs et de syndicalistes de tout bord.

    Selon lui, le nouveau portail national e-pétition permettra de révéler tout dépassement ainsi que de suivre les pétitions portant sur des dossiers de corruption.

    La réalisation de ce portail durera 7 mois et demi à partir du 2 juillet, date du lancement de ce projet qui sera réalisé par le Centre national d'informatique. Ce projet fait partie des réformes structurelles du gouvernement et qui visent à promouvoir la bonne gouvernance dans l'administration tunisienne.

    Par ailleurs, M. Abbou a affirmé que le gouvernement travaille d'arrache-pied pour résoudre les problèmes fonciers afin de récupérer certains sièges de l'ancien parti RCD qui seront transformés en pôles de services.

    Le nombre de sièges est de l'ordre de 43 et ils seront transformés en groupements de services administratifs et sociaux dont, notamment, ceux des caisses nationales : Cnam, Cnss et Cnrps, outre les services municipaux, et ce, dans les régions qui en sont dépourvues, notamment celles du Nord-Ouest et du Sud-Ouest. Dix-sept parmi ces pôles seront fonctionnels dans trois mois.

    La Presse
  • Une équipe de négociation menée par le Bureau du Représentant des États-Unis pour le commerce extérieur (USTR) a conclu un accord avec l'île Maurice sur un ensemble de principes commerciaux non contraignants concernant les services de technologie de l'information et de la communication (TIC). Les États-Unis et l'île Maurice vont conjointement promouvoir l'adoption de ces principes par d'autres pays.

    « Je suis heureux d'annoncer une autre étape importante dans nos relations économiques avec l'île Maurice », a annoncé le Représentant des États-Unis pour le commerce extérieur, Ron Kirk. « Cet ensemble de principes élaborés conjointement pour le secteur des services de technologie de l'information et de communication est le premier du genre conclu entre les États-Unis et un pays africain et il entraînera des échanges commerciaux et des investissements accrus entre les États-Unis et Maurice, ainsi que des créations d'emplois dans les deux pays. »

    Le Bureau du Représentant des États-Unis pour le commerce extérieur a annoncé que s'ils étaient largement adoptés, ces principes appuieraient le développement mondial des services de TIC, y compris Internet et d'autres applications basées sur Internet, ce qui est essentiel pour un e-commerce innovant, les recherches et la publicité sur Internet, le stockage des données et d'autres services.

    Ces principes concernent la transparence de la législation et de la réglementation, l'accès ouvert aux réseaux et aux applications, la libre circulation d'information d'un pays à l'autre, les investissements étrangers dans les secteurs de TIC, des prestations de services transfrontaliers plus aisées, l'efficacité de l'affectation du spectre, l'indépendance des autorités de régulation, l'octroi de licences d'exploitation, l'interconnexion entre les fournisseurs de services de télécommunication publics de base, et la coopération internationale.

    Le secteur des services de TIC occupe une place grandissante dans les infrastructures d'une série d'industries et de secteurs, selon le Bureau du Représentant des États-Unis pour le commerce extérieur. La mise en oeuvre de la déclaration de principes devrait renforcer les échanges commerciaux et les investissements entre les États-Unis et l'île Maurice mais aussi stimuler le développement mondial de services qui renforcent la productivité de la main d'oeuvre, réduisent les coûts d'exploitation, favorisent l'essor de nouvelles industries, revitalisent des industries plus anciennes et améliorent la vie des consommateurs.

    La pertinence des nouveaux principes entre les États-Unis et Maurice, indique le bureau de l'USTR, est mise en lumière par les récentes décisions de gouvernements étrangers de limiter l'accès aux services de TIC ; ils ont notamment restreint l'accès au spectre, limité le nombre de licences de télécommunications accessibles aux prestataires de service étrangers, bloqué les appels téléphoniques VOIP (voix sur protocole Internet) et exigé l'emploi d'infrastructures et de serveurs du réseau local pour la prestation de services dont la fourniture peut se faire de manière transfrontalière.

  • Mascom, premier opérateur de réseau mobile au Botswana, est en train de réaliser un centre d'innovation dont le coût est estimé à 25 millions de dollars. Cette infrastructure, de l'avis de Tebogo Lebotse, responsable de la communication et des relations publiques de la société, va fortement améliorer la connectivité et la pénétration Internet dans les zones rurales.

    «Le centre d'innovation de Mascom est le premier du genre au Botswana et intègre de nombreuses fonctionnalités, avec un bâtiment respectueux de l'environnement et des équipements technologiquement avancés», a-t-il déclaré.

    L'inauguration du centre est prévue au début du mois de juillet 2012, en présence du vice-président du Botswana, Mompati Merafhe. L'opérateur conduit actuellement des tests sur la 4G.

    Ecofin
  • Afin de corriger le paradoxe qui empêche le secteur de la microfinance d'atteindre ses objectifs de lutte contre la pauvreté en milieu rural, la direction de la microfinance au Sénégal a décidé d'investir le créneau du mobile banking associé aux guichets mobiles.

    Ce sont entre autres les solutions annoncées par les responsables de la direction de la microfinance. C'était à l'occasion d'une conférence tenue jeudi sur le thème « la microfinance, solution à la crise », une manifestation qui s'inscrit dans la poursuite du programme Tribune de la microfinance.

    Les services de la microfinance n'ont qu'un faible taux de pénétration en milieu rural, à en croire Abdoulaye Seck de la faculté de sciences économiques et de gestion de l'Université Cheikh Anta Diop.

    Le taux de pénétration en milieu rural dépasse difficilement les 11% alors même que l'objectif initial est surtout centré sur la lutte contre la pauvreté en milieu rural et féminin.

    Mais aujourd'hui, constate M.Seck, « la microfinance ne s'intéresse pas aux plus pauvres et elle n'est pas présente dans le milieu rural alors que c'est là-bas que se trouve véritablement la pauvreté. En d'autres termes, la microfinance n'est pas là où elle doit être. »

    Pire, sa contribution en matière de lutte contre la pauvreté est, pour l'heure, en deçà de ce qu'elle devrait être. Une des raisons de ce paradoxe qui limite la portée de la microfinance se trouve, selon M. Seck dans « le conflit entre la profitabilité et l'objectif de réduction de la pauvreté. »

    Ce paradoxe est souligné par Clément Waly Faye qui constate une « concentration sur le littoral de plus de 60% des institutions de microfinance entre Dakar et Thiès. »

    Cette forte concentration, d'après le responsable du suivi évaluation de la lettre de politique sectorielle de la microfinance, s'explique par les nombreuses difficultés et contraintes liées à la microfinance rurale.

    Ces difficultés et contraintes tiennent généralement à la faiblesse des bases de production et des densités humaines en milieu rural.

    A cela s'ajoute un manque criard d'infrastructures. Ces difficiles conditions et les coûts élevés des transactions font que les institutions hésitent à s'y installer. C'est pourquoi d'ailleurs la microfinance au Sénégal, qui est née dans le bassin arachidier, tend à se replier en milieu urbain.

    C'est pour corriger ces défaillances que la direction de la microfinance avec le soutien des partenaires dans le cadre de la mise en oeuvre de la lettre de politique sectorielle accompagne l'installation des institutions dans le monde rural, notamment dans les régions de Fatick, Diourbel, Tambacounda et dans le département de Mbour. Une initiative qui s'inscrit dans le cadre du projet AESOR (Amélioration de l'encadrement du secteur de la microfinance et de l'offre de service en milieu rural) Dans ce cadre, des mesures incitatives sont prises, il s'agit entre autres de l'appui en ressources financières, de la construction et de l'équipement d'agences, de la mise à disposition de systèmes d'information et de gestion, du matériel de transport et d'un accompagnement aux institutions financières afin de leur permettre d'adapter leurs produits et services ;

    Mais toujours dans le cadre de cette politique d'extension, la direction met l'accent sur des solutions à portée de main pour faciliter l'accès aux produits de la microfinance dans le monde rural.

    C'est dans cette dynamique qu'elle inscrit les innovations sur les guichets mobiles et mobile banking afin d'atteindre les zones enclavées, mais aussi de faire le tour les marchés hébdomaires.

    Ce projet est soutenu par la coopération allemande avec un montant de 6 milliards de FCfa. L'utilisation du mobile banking permet d'amoindrir les coûts élevés de la présence physique des institutions de microfinance grâce à des solutions adaptées.

    Mais là, il y a l'équation du faible taux d'alphabétisation qui risque de plomber l'opération. C'est pour cela, assure Clément Waly Faye, « que le projet prévoit un volet éducation financière.

    Cette éducation financière a comme objectif de pousser les populations à faire confiance à cette technologie pour faire leurs opérations d'épargne, de remboursement ou de réception de crédit. »

    Elle se fonde sur des syntaxes assez simples comme celles utilisées par des produits comme Wari ou Orange Money, avec une option multi-opérateurs.

    « Le programme est déjà en oeuvre dans les régions de Kaolack, Tambacounda, Thiès, Louga et Saint-Louis », soutient le chargé du suivi évaluation.

    Sud Quotidien
  • * 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

  • L’ICANN aura un nouveau président et directeur à partir du 1er juillet 2012. Selon un communiqué de presse publié le 22 juin 2012 par l'organisme mondial de gestion technique de l'Internet, Fadi Chehadé remplacera à la tête de l'organisation Rod Beckstrom qui ne souhaite pas renouveler son mandat de trois ans arrivé à son terme.

  • Rédacteur web / Référenceur

    ype de contrat : Prestation de services

    Lieu de travail : Dakar

    Mission:
    Rattaché(e) au service technique, vous rédigerez des articles optimisés pour le SEO et serez chargé de la promotion de sites web par le référencement.
    Dans le cadre de vos fonctions, vous serez appelé(e) à vous occuper des missions suivantes :

    - Rédiger des articles tous les jours (1 à 2 / jour), Style web direct et concis allant à l'essentiel
    - Gérer le référencement dans sa globalité (annuaires, blogging, blogs, forums, communiqués de presse, publication d'articles, guest blogging)
    - Gérer un back-office pour la publication d'articles

    Profil :
    De formation Bac+2 ou + / Webmastering ou autodidacte, vous justifiez d’une expérience PROFESSIONNELLE dans le domaine de la rédaction web et du référencement.
    Vous bénéficiez impérativement d’une expérience dans le netlinking et l'administration de blogs et maîtrisez bien le HTML, CSS et RSS.

    Sont indispensables pour cette mission :

    - Une parfaite maîtrise du langage web et des logiciels et outils: Photoshop, Dreamweaver, CSS, RSS
    - Une bonne connaissance des moteurs de recherches, annuaires, forums et techniques de promotion d'un site et des produits web
    - Une bonne connaissance des outils PHP, WordPress et les CMS seront un plus,
    - De l’autonomie, de l’organisation et de la méthode,
    - Une aisance relationnelle.

    Références:
    Le choix du profil dépendra de vos expériences sur la rédaction et vos aptitudes techniques en termes de netlinking.
    Disponibilité immédiate.
    Envoyez votre profil/CV, vos compétences.
    Pour plus d’infos ou pour poser votre candidature cliquez ici

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