Computing News - In Brief


- A Kenyan software developer won the "Apps4Africa" competition sponsored by the US State Department on Wednesday. Charles Kithika received Sh400,000 (USD 5,000) and an Apple iPad for devising a voice-based, mobile application that enables farmers to keep track of their cows' breeding cycles. Mr Kithika's innovation, dubbed iCow, will "help farmers get the most of their cows and their farms," the State Department said when announcing the awards.

- The number of automatic teller machines (ATM) rose from 717 in 2008 to 995 in 2009, according to a "Bancaem Analise/2010" study presented in Luanda by the consulting and audit firm, Deloitte Angola.

- Mbulu district in Manyara region in Tanzania has allocated Sh. 300 million this financial year for computerisation in 15 secondary schools in the area.

- Next week, the Judiciary will be launching its Information Communication Technology (ICT) Strategic Policy and Plan for 2010-2015 in what is expected to take the administration of justice to another level in Kenya. Under this plan, the Judiciary is expected to adopt a concept known as digital justice in which a litigant or an accused person appears before a judicial official via a live video conference. Justice Philip Waki, the chairman of the Judiciary ICT policy, said the Judiciary was committed to improving the administration of justice by making the best use of all available resources, including appropriate information and communication technologies.

- Rwanda’s Government will soon start issuing electronic provisional passports commonly known as laissez passé to replace the ones in use for secure movement of people and proper record keeping. Also to be electronic is Economic Community of the Great Lakes Countries (CEPGL) provisional permits which are given to people travelling to CEPGL member states. CEPGL is comprised by Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

- Investors who had hoped to cash in on proximity to Kenya's first ICT park face building and trade restrictions as the government moves to protect the area from being encroached on by shanties. The park is expected to house companies undertaking business process outsourcing (BPO) services, software development, and computer assembly.The project is supposed to create 80,000 jobs between 2011 and 214.

- Less than half of South Africa's telemedicine sites - set up partly to bring medical services to remote parts of the country - are functional, a government review has found. Of 86 sites, just 32 were operational at the beginning of this year, according to the study, carried out by the country's department of health. According to Aaron Motsoaledi, South Africa's health minister, "weak ICT infrastructure; inadequate and unreliable connectivity; and problems with the coordination and management of work [have] added to the challenges”.

- Information, Communication and Technology firms constitute nearly one-third of the top 20 entrants in this year' small and medium enterprise survey, a reflection of the sector's growing influence in the economy of Kenya.