IN BRIEF:

Computing

- Microsoft has launched software piracy awareness campaign in Cameroon which has a 84% piracy rate, coming second in Africa just behind Zimbabwe according to the Business Software Alliance. Local IT companies which gathered at the meeting organised by Serge Patrick Ntamack, head of intellectual property at Microsoft raised their concerns regarding Microsoft’s agreement with the rights company “la Société civile des droits de la littérature et des arts dramatiques (Sociladra)” which collects copyrights royalties from local vendors of Microsoft software.

- Four public universities in Uganda have received Euros 5.7m (about sh13.4b) for strengthening information and communication technology training and research. The Netherlands Organisation for International Cooperation in Higher Education donated the money to Makerere, Kyambogo, Mbarara and Gulu universities.

- The Central Statistical Office of Mauritius has reported that ICT imports have reached Rs 13,6 billion (US$456 million) in 2006 against Rs 3.4 billion (US$133 million) in 2002. On the other hand, ICT exports have reached Rs 11.4 billion (US$380 million) in 2006. On the overall the ICT sector has grown by 11.2% in 2006.

- Abuja Securities and Commodity Exchange (ASCE) has concluded arrangements to install e-trading software next month as part of moves to meet with world's globalisation. This would ensure smooth business activities, allow buyers and sellers gain access to the Exchange's trading system by keying in their membership codes, representative codes and passwords.

- The Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia on Wednesday asked all banks to link their ATMs and Point of Sale (POS) device to the National Switch, the E-ZWICH by March 31, 2008. The E-ZWICH, a brand name for the National Switch, under the new Universal Electronic Payments (UEPS) technology is to ensure that all commercial banks, rural banks and savings and loans institutions implemented a common payment platform and biometric Smartcard.