Monday, 31 March 2014

Disi Wins Silver in Carnaval Half Marathon

As he intensifies preparations for this year’s Commonwealth Games in Scotland, long distance runner Dieudonne Disi won a silver medal in the Carnaval half marathon in France.

Disi, who has been training at Kenya’s high altitude camp at Iten since January, finished second to Burundian Abraham Niyonkuru after clocking 1:4:43. Morocco’s Chakir Boujattaoui won bronze, while another Rwandan Gervais Hakizimana, who is based in France, finished fourth.

With his first race of the year, Disi is set to return to the rift valley to continue training alongside other Kenyan athletes in order to gain the competitive edge. Disi, who turns 34 years in November, has indicated his intention to win a medal in this year’s edition before he retires.

The Glasgow Games are likely to be his last major international championships and he hopes training from Kenya’s ‘home of champions’ will boost his chances of quitting the sport on a high. In an interview with Times Sport recently, Disi said, “I hope to win a medal in Glasgow. And Iten is the place that can put me in a winning shape, both mentally and physically.”

The former 10,000m national champion also said he plans to compete in different European marathon events between March and May before the Glasgow Games.

Burkina Faso Triumphs International Dialogue Basketball Cup

Burkina Faso has marked its presence as the overall winners of the International Basketball Dialogue Cup in Abuja, with Canada in second and Philippines in the third place.

The event witnessed the gracious presence of the Ambassador of Philippines who gave the trophy to Team Burkina Faso for its triumph and other high ranking officials of other countries that participated. This International Basketball Dialogue Cup is a yearly event organized by Ufuk Dialogue Foundation. Amazingly, this year's edition of the tournament, the maiden tournament was attended by seven countries residing in Nigeria namely, Burkina Faso, Canada, Indonesia, Philippines, USA, Turkey and Nigeria. The tournament is also an endeavor for uniting the world and bringing the participating countries together. The President of UFUK Dialogue Foundation also inspires other countries to participate in the next edition of the basketball tournament.

Algeria Proved its Mettle in Boxing Battle

Algeria is the new talk of town in the boxing world. On March 7, 2014 Algeria emerged as the overall winner of the 4th edition of the African boxing championship concluded in Yaounde. Every Algerian boxer excelled in all the boys, girls and junior category matches by winning a total of 12 medals i.e. seven in gold, three in silver and two in bronze. In a celebratory mood, the Algerian technical director, Mourad Mezine asserted, "It is a historic performance. The success demonstrates advances made by Algerian boxing. We came with 13 boxers and won 12 medals. I am very satisfied because that represents 95 per cent success.”

Meanwhile, Morocco dominated the event in the women category followed by Algerian in terms of medals won. Unfortunately, Cameroon the host country recorded a very disappointing performance on the continental scene but gradually reigned supreme in the Zone 3 regional competition by winning four medals.

The African championship took place from March 2 to March 7, 2014. It is the first competition to be organized by the boxing federation after the re-election of Bertrand Mendounga, in preparation for the upcoming African games in Botswana.

Nigeria Beats China at Costa Rica 2014 First Game

Nigeria's U17 Women football team defeated China 2-1 to begin their Costa Rica 2014 U17 Women's World Cup campaign on a bright note in Group D on March 17, 2014 in Alajuela. Nigeria started on front foot when in the 7th minute Chiwendu Ihezuo botched to connect with a ball across the face of goal and wasted another brilliant goal opportunity in the 14th minute.

At the 19th minute before converting 21st minute chance, Rasheedat Ajibade went on to miss a goal scoring opportunity. Goalkeeper Oyebubuchi Okeke made a brilliant save in the 28th minutes while at the other end Aminat Yakubu and Rasheedat Ajibade both wasted their chances to double the lead for Nigeria in the 37th and 45th minutes respectively.

Soon, the Asian side resumed the other half revitalized by putting the Nigerian goalkeeper Onyinye Okeke to test in the 48th minute only for Uchenna Kanu to head home Mary Ologbosere's cross at the 60th minute to double the lead for Nigeria.

Rasheedat Ajibade became Flamingoes first goal hero and Man-ofthe- match winner expressing gladness at grabbing the award and swore to perform better in succeeding games and make Nigerians proud.

After the match, head coach of the Nigeria U17 Women's team, Bala Nikyu appreciated the team work and resilience of his ladies to ensure victory against their opponents. Bala asserted, "I don't want to mention any player because they all did well, its team work. They played for themselves to win."

Friday, 28 March 2014

Kenyan Kings Back to Home After a Promising Performance

Kenyan victorious 2014 Africa Cross Country Championships team returned to their homeland after its stars promising performance at the tournament. Kenya flounced all eight gold medals in yet another commanding performance that left 25 other nations just to bow to the kings.

Soon after arrival, the squad of 24 runners and seven officials were treated to a luxurious luncheon in their honour. The squad put in its best efforts for their crowning achievement at the Kololo Ceremonial Grounds in March 2014. In a recurrence of their achievement at the 2010 World Cross and 2011 Africa Cross, the team won four individual and four team gold medals. The only defeat was at junior men bronze and junior women silver individual medals being eluded from their clinch.

The team beared the hopeful eyes of its fans having ascended to four world titles and two continental crowns as a junior, now the time was for two-time World Cross junior titleholder, Faith Chepng'etich and as always she bagged the top medal on her first foray as a senior in cross country. On victory, the 20-years-old Faith asserted, "I'm happy because I graduated well from junior to senior since it's not easy to go through all the stages from Youth to senior and win." She captained the senior women team told Capital Sport having won her race in 25:33.02 ahead of teammates Janet Kisa (25:41.30), Alice Aprot (25:46.48) and Edith Chelimo (26:02.48) who sealed the perfect ten.

Also, the former Winners' High School student is all geared up at medaling at the Scotland Commonwealth Games this summer having failed to scale the podium at the London 2012 Olympics and Moscow 2013 World Championships. She said, “I will give it my best and make sure I and Hellen Obiri, who won bronze at 2013 Moscow World Championships bring medals to our country if we will make it to the squad."
Kampala contingent also witnessed Moses Mukono and Agnes Jebet who won the men and women junior titles ensuring all national champions returned home with the top medal. Not to mention, Eritrea's Berhane Afewerki (22:56.45) was like a faint glow in a lost dark tunnel as he was the only individual among the Kenyans to nick individual bronze.

In the same vein, head coach David Letting commended his charges leaning them to form the core of future Kenya teams to international events such as World Youth and Youth Olympics Games scheduled for Nanjing, China in August. Though, Athletic Kenya (AK) President Isaiah Kiplagat, urged coaches and agents not to uncover young athletes to many races to avoid them burning out before they build careers. Kiplagat asserted, "Our athletes who won in Kampala are very young and this is their first ladder so I can comfortably say we have a team to depend on in future." He added, "I'm pleading to the coaches please don't destroy the athletes before they attain their potential to represent the country by taking them to many competitions since they have to be around for at least some time to survive in this sport.”

Africa Fashion Week London Soon To Get in Town of Nigeria

Africa Fashion Week is soon to get in town of Nigeria. The organizers of the fashion week are in an endeavor to bring fashion train to Nigeria to give talented Nigerian designers an innovative platform to flaunt their creativeness to global audience.

After three successful editions of Africa Fashion Week, it is all groomed to provide designers with an opportunity to gather national attention and awareness of their own. According to officials of fashion week, the imperative platform permits people to see what African fashion has in its kitty and what it can contribute to growth of fashion globally.

May 2014 has been decided as the month of fashion for Nigeria with African Fashion Week scheduled for May 17 and May 18, 2014 at Intercontinental Hotel, Kofo Abayomi Street, Victoria Island, Lagos. The founder of AFW London, Ronke Ademiluyi said,“AFW Nigeria believes in emerging talents and our core aim is providing visibility platforms for new talents, who would otherwise not have the means to gather national attention and awareness of their own.”

The event is said to be graced by eminent personalities such as Chief Folusho Alakija, Abba Folawiwo, Chief Molade Okoya, Senator Daisy Danjuma, Hon. Abike Dabiri and many more. The African Fashion Week Nigeria is being organized in cooperation with Abiola Okoya of Mibod Global Resources and is produced by Sola Oyebade of Mahogany Productions and Toyin Lawani of Tiannah‘s styling academy.

New Fashion House Opens in Kimironko

Rwandan fashion designer Colombe Ndutiye Ituze has teamed up with Canadian born St. Louis Johanne to open a new fashion house.

Doda Fashion House located in Kimironko was officially launched in a colourful ceremony attended by Rwanda top fashion designers and models. Speaking during the event, Johanne said they also have plans to open a fashion school in the country.

Prominent fashion houses represented at the event included, Glo Creations of Gloria Kamanzi, Iola Fashion House of Hagana Efue, St. Louis Fashion owned by Johanne, Uzuri Fashion House of Kevine and Ysolde and Inkanda House of Patrick Muhire.

Colombe said Doda Fashion House is not only going to produce quality materials for Rwanda’s top fashion houses but will also train women to embrace skills in the burgeoning Rwanda fashion industry.

Colombe added that there has been tremendous growth of fashion industry over the last few years with more fashion houses springing up. “What we need now is skilled manpower and the proposed fashion school is going to provide that so that more women can come on board and be self-employed,” Colombe said.

Johanne said that when she arrived in Rwanda six years ago, there were just a handful of fashion houses but more have come up over the last few years.

“Rwanda is a beautiful country and her people love fashion. What is needed now is to harness the fashion industry so that more people can access quality products produced by Rwandans themselves,” added Johanne.

Efua Hagan of Iola Designs, a designer of handbags welcomed the new addition in fashion industry, saying that the opening of Doda Fashion House was a positive indication that Rwanda fashion industry is growing.

“In Africa, we still have a long way to go when it comes to the fashion industry. However, Rwanda has seen improvement of the industry with quality products being produced now.”

Bukola Anthony Takes Home The Pearl Look Nigeria 2014 Title

Pearl Look Nigeria 2014 got the audience by curiousness with a shoulder-to-shoulder competition among three very beautiful finalists in the first week of March in Lagos, Nigeria. The event was judged by Jane Celiers, Yvonne Nwosu and Reze Bonna and Bukola Anthony became the lucky winner who took home the title, subsequent to her predecessor Julia.

In March 2014, the Pearl Look modelling and fashion competition kicked off at the Lagos Oriental Hotel, Lekki Expressway, Lagos. Not to mention, the event is the brainchild of Nigerian supermodel Doyin Hastrup. Bukona was crowned with 2014 Pearl Look ‘Best Runway Model’, while Obi Blessing won the 2014 Pearl Look ‘Beauty Queen’.

Pearl Look Nigeria 2014 is yet another innovative endeavor in the African fashion industry providing the enthusiastic, new talent to come up and showcase what they have got.

Elizabeth Arden’s 1st African Brand Ambassador

Nigerian model Adeola Ariyo has been selected as the first ever African Ambassador for Beauty organization Elizabeth Arden. The 28 year old will be taking over the duties of the Elizabeth Arden South African Ambassador Lerato Moloi, whose supremacy centered only in South Africa. Adeola Ariyo has new job responsibilities in Elizabeth Arden’s campaigns for Visible Difference, Skin Illuminating and Perfectly Nude SPF15, all while she is under the mentorship of Lerato Moloi. Adeola, born in Lagos to a Nigerian mother and Ghanaian father, began her modelling career at the age of 13 and since then has been on the runway for various shows like the London Fashion Week, Johannesburg Fashion Week, Arise Fashion Week, and Cape Town Fashion Week. Also, she participated in the 2005 running of Face of Africa where she made her place in top 5 finalists and has featured in many magazines like Marie Claire and Glamour Magazine.

According to Managing Director of the brand, Corne Nel, the brand is committed to the credence that “To be beautiful is the birth right of every woman and as a company we want to celebrate each woman’s unique beauty through individuality, diversity and original expressions of beauty.” He added, “Adeola has all of these qualities and as a prestige beauty brand we wanted to choose a spokesperson that African women could identify with.”

After being selected as the brand Ambassador, Adeole asserted, “Being chosen as an Elizabeth Arden Brand Ambassador in Africa is an incredible honour.” She noted, “Elizabeth Arden herself was an entrepreneur, women’s advocate and a champion for holistic beauty, inspiring women all over the world. I am proud to be associated with a brand that embodies such important values.”

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

India Begins Here at Punjab

Punjab, a home to five rivers is bordered by the Indian states; Himachal Pradesh to the east, Haryana to the south and southeast, Rajasthan to the southwest as well as Pakistani province of Punjab to the west. Punjab is certainly a primarily agricultural state and enjoys the natural benefits of fertile soils and abundant waters.

Embroidered with a distinct blend of rural and urban flavours, the land of heritage, architecture and nature has a lot to offer to a tourist eye. The Government of Punjab, to enhance rural tourism, has identified a cluster of four villages on the banks of river Sutlej.

Punjab is widely famous for its spicy, enriched with love food and no other food can out-do cuisines of Punjab. It has an enormous variety of mouth-watering vegetarian as well as non-vegetarian delicacies. The spice content ranges from minimal to pleasant to high, depending on the persons taste. Punjabi dishes like Palak Paneer, Rajma Chawal, Chhole Bhature are all relished by people of all communities.

Aqsa Mosque, located in Qadian, is a huge attraction in terms Islamic community. It was built in 1876 and is the first ever Ahmadiyya mosque. It has only three walls with houses starting right next to it. Qadian is a blooming city full of shopping destinations even Bahishti Maqbarah also witnesses’ high tourist attractions.

It has a unique legacy with a host of Gurudwaras, forts, history of Sikhism. Also, the Government of Punjab has identified a cluster of four villages on the banks of river Sutlej, to enhance rural tourism and has come up with a plan to connect six historical cities by road; Mega Darbar Circuit. Even though, Punjabis account for less than 2.5% of the Indian population, they are one of the most prosperous races in India. Their per capita income is twice the national average. Amritsar, the capital is among the most cherished sites in the world. Amidst it stands variety of tourist destinations without which your trip cannot be over.


Sri Harminder Sahib, delineated as “Golden Temple” is the major pilgrimage destination around the world. The most sacred Sikh shrine is covered with real gold and is surrounded by a ‘holy tank’ consisting of ‘immortal nectar’. Midnight provides a stunning view of the temple with its reflection in the “Amrit Sarovar”. The four gates for entrance symbolize the openness of the Sikhs towards all people and religions. The main entrance has verses from the Guru Granth Sahib inscribed on the doorway; also the north entrance is under a Victorian clock tower known as the Darshani Deori. The Gurudwara is a two storey marble structure reached by a causeway known as Guru’s Bridge. The architecture of the Gurudwara is a blend of Hindu and Muslim art. Adjacent to the Gurudwara the Jallianwala Bagh came into being as a historic spot when a horrific shootout by a British General took place killing hundreds of innocent people and number of people jumped into a well to escape the firing. The place reminds one of the terror and insanity of East India Company and Punjab’s sacrifice to the struggle for freedom of India.

MTN to Spend 311 Million Ghana Cedis to Improve Network Quality

Mobile operator, MTN is set to invest GH¢311 million to improve network quality and carry out some expansion works for this year. The plan was contained in MTN's Group’s financial performance for last year.

The result also showed that the operator still leads the industry with 12.9 million subscribers accounting for a little over 50 per cent of total mobile market. The recent surge in usage of internet data also appears to benefiting MTN greatly, as it contributed about 80 percent of the total revenue for the mobile operator for last year and also accounted for almost 5 million of their subscribers

The mobile network operator says "efficient execution of our extensive capital expenditure (capex) programme significantly improved network quality and capacity, and facilitated higher voice and data traffic."
Commenting on MTN Group results, Group President Sifiso Dagbenwa said, “MTN is focused on delivering a distinct customer experience by improving network quality and capacity as well as providing value-added products targeted at our different customer segments. We continue to transform our organisation through cost optimisation and increasing operational efficiency which will help the delivery of sustainable returns for all our stakeholders.”

He stated that MTN is committed to working towards its "vision to lead the delivery of a 'bold, new Digital World' to our customers and made good progress in the execution of our strategy in 2013."

"Over the medium term, our priorities are driving growth beyond voice, creating a distinct customer experience while ensuring that we optimise costs", he adds. Ag CEO Cynthia Lumor, commenting on Ghana's performance said, “as market leaders we are happy to see the sustained growth in our business. We are committed to the continuous improvement of the network and we will continue to partner with the relevant stakeholders to ensure we exceed the expectations of our customers."

First Refrigerator With “Power Cut Evercool” Technology Launched into Ghana Market

Accessing fresh foods has proven to be difficult for many households in Ghana as many have constantly had to throw away food from their refrigerators due to frequent power cuts. In a bid to salvage the situation, LG Electronics, a global leader in Consumer Electronics and Home Appliances has launched its new premium range of refrigerators with patented Power Cut Evercool technology unto the Ghanaian market. The event which was held at Coconut Groove Regency Hotel was aimed at meeting the needs of Ghanaian consumers suffering from long power cuts who feel the need to have fresher foods for healthy daily life. LG Evercool Refrigerator retains freshness and keeps food and vegetables fresh for 7 hours.

Evercool refrigerator has a Triple cooling system with 3 evaporators. The main evaporator works with power and other 2 evaporators works without power. During power cut, compressor stops compressing refrigerant and instead the 2 evaporators on the sides take over to keep circulating cool air. This circulation enables longest cooling even in fridge for 7 hours, based on third party test by Intertek. Intertek is the leading provider of quality, safety, testing, inspection and certification.

Announcing the launch of, the new range of refrigerators, Mr. C.H. Park, Branch Manager, LG Electronics Africa, said. LG Evercool refrigerator retains freshness in the refrigerator section, keeping food and vegetables cool for up to 7 hours even during long power cuts. It comes with Tower LED, Multi air flow, Convertible box for optimal temperature from -10C to 40C which is being controlled by exclusive cold air duct for a suitable condition for food. In addition to these, there is also a moist balance crisper box which controls the humidity level in the box in order for the vegetables and fruits to stay fresh for a long time.It also sports a high gloss finish creating an opulent glow that accentuates the d├ęcor of the consumers’ living space.”
“We manufacture products that fit the needs of Ghanaian consumers and this launch is another benchmark innovation based on customer’s insights.”

Also Speaking at the occasion, Mr. Pranab Mohanty, Vice President, Somotex Ghana Limited said: “With LG Ever cool Refrigerators we are sure that households will manage to keep their food fresh and healthy during power outages. This unique LG patented technology offers Cooling Retention up to 7 hours in the refrigerator and 10 hours in the freezer portion to keep food fresh and healthy.”

Major Telecom Operators To Serve in Africa and Middle East

Africa is booming and many major companies are eyeing the continent for investment and enhancement. According to sources, seven major telecom operators across Africa and Middle East, inclusive of Vodafone Group and Bharti Airtel would be sharing their network infrastructure with an aim to provide Internet to rural communities and decreasing the price of mobile services. Global telecom body GSM Association (GSMA) stated, “senior leaders from seven major mobile operator groups, serving 506 million customers across Africa and the Middle East, plan to cooperate on network infrastructure sharing initiatives."

The contributing seven operators comprise of Etisalat Group, Bharti Airtel, MTN Group, Orange, Vodafone Group, Ooredoo Group and Zain Group. GSMA Director General Anne Bouverot asserted, "Unique mobile subscriber penetration is only 40 percent in Africa and the Middle East, lower than the global average of 47 percent, so we need to work together to expand the reach of mobile."

Meanwhile, in 47 countries of Africa and the Middle East, where many of the unconnected population live in rural areas, the operators mutually manage 76 mobile network operations across it. Also, as stated by Bharti Enterprises MD and Chair of the Public Policy Committee of the GSMA board, Manoj Kohli, the cooperation validates that the industry is dedicated to revolutionizing in regard to serve the billions living in the rural areas."

Green Mobile Tower Solutions in Ghana

Vihaan Networks Ltd (VNL), an Indian telecom equipment-maker has stepped up to enhance and power a communications revolution in Africa especially targeting Africa’s villages and remote locations. VNL is ready for the initiative with its innovative, green mobile tower solutions to better-off the communications scenario.

Recently, a glitter has been added to the crown of VNL i.e. Ghana has joined the client list of the enterprise. Ghana chose VNL's solar-powered ‘WorldGSM’ mobile tower architecture, an environment- friendly and cost-effective mobile system which is believed to deliver affordable services in villages. According to Rajiv Mehrotra, founder chairman and CEO of VNL, “The plan is to promote access to electronic services including broadcasting, the Internet, multimedia service and basic telephony in unserved areas of rural Ghana.”

VNL has already spread its wings and marked its presence in Nigeria, Uganda and Benin, and is in talks with other African nations to position its economical and green telecom solutions. VNL has positioned its revolutionary network in Bolivia and Peru, Latin America.

Meanwhile, Mr. Mehrotra asserted that the solution offered to the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communication and Entel has been broadly tested in the country.

After a successful pilot project for demonstration of the capabilities of its mobile GSM solutions in rural areas of Alwar (Rajasthan) in 2011, VNL was awarded a completion certificate by India's Universal Service Obligatory Fund. Rajiv assured, “We will be a major player in expansion of telecom services in rural areas.”

Mali Begins Rebuilding Mausoleums From Timbuktu’s ‘Golden Age’

Local masons in Timbuktu started to lay down the first earthen bricks to reconstruct World Heritage mausoleums damaged when radical Islamists occupied the northern part of the country in 2012.

“The rehabilitation of the cultural heritage of Timbuktu is crucial for the people of Mali, for the city's residents and for the world,” said Irina Bokova, Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), marking the ceremony.

Timbuktu was an economic, intellectual and spiritual capital and a centre for the propagation of Islam throughout Africa during the city's golden age in the 15th and 16th centuries. According to UNESCO, the three mosques and the sixteen mausoleums comprising the property are part of the former great city of Timbuktu that once numbered 100,000 inhabitants.

The site was heavily destroyed by occupying extremists after fighting broke out in January 2012 between Government forces and Tuareg rebels.

The reconstruction of the mausoleums is being carried out by Malian masons under the supervision of Imam of Djingareyber. The reconstruction, financed by Malian authorities and UNESCO, with contributions from Andorra, the Kingdom of Bahrain, Croatia and Mauritius, as well as logistical support from the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), is expected to last one month.

“Today's start of the reconstruction of Timbuktu's mausoleums is important as they constitute an inalienable feature of the city's identity whose very purpose is to protect its inhabitants,” said Albert Gerard Koenders, the Special Representative of the Secretary- General and head of MINUSMA.

The fighting also destroyed parts of the Djingareyber Mosque, one of three madrassas comprising the University of Timbuktu. It is believed to have been built around 1327, mostly out of straw and wood with some limestone reinforcements. The emblematic El Farouk independence monument in the shape of a horse at the entrance to the city was also razed.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

South African Airways Takes Delivery of Fourth New A320 Aircraft

Africa’s leading airline South African Airways (SAA) has taken delivery of two new Airbus A320 aircraft, bringing to six the number of narrowbodied planes added to the SAA fleet in 2014.

Commenting on the development SAA’s Country Manager for Australasia Tim Clyde-Smith said the new aircraft would greatly boost the airline’s capabilities on shorter routes within Africa while adding significantly to the quality of its product and service. They will also be more energy-efficient aircraft, reducing impact on the environment.

“Our fleet renewal program forms a key plank of our new strategy, Gaining Altitude. Our fleet replacement program for SAA’s narrow-bodied fleet includes the acquisition of twenty A320 aircraft to replace our Boeing 737-800 aircraft and enhances our fleet to support SAA’s route expansion plans into Africa,” Tim said.

“These latest new arrivals will give our customers the added pleasure of flying on brand new aircraft. Besides the improved on-board offering, customers can enjoy their flying experience knowing they are travelling on a more fuelefficient aircraft, underscoring SAA’s commitment to being an environmentally responsible airline,” he said.

“The latest two A320s arrived earlier in March, with another A320 (number five) expected in June, aircraft six and seven are expected to arrive in the third quarter and aircraft eight in the fourth quarter.”

Tim said that in keeping with SAA’s initiatives towards weight reduction, products and material on the new A320’s are all made of lightweight materials adding to the airlines key strategy of being as environmentally-sustainable as possible.

“We have also put a lot of work into making both business class and economy cabins attractive and super comfortable for customers. These aircraft now offer a refreshed on-board experience through a number of special features.”

"This includes South Africanthemed interior designed-cabins, generous configuration and better in-flight entertainment and facilities that make using and charging laptop computers and tablets easier. The new aircraft configuration is 24 business class and 114 economy class seats with a pitch of 39 inches in business and 31 inches in economy. Our business class are 2X2 abreast with each seat having a leg rest, adjustable headrest and recline of 7 inches allowing the seat to fold out into a cradle position. This gives superb comfort on up to four hour long regional trips with plenty of storage on both sides providing extra width.”

“Our economy class seats have shared USB and PC power points and an adjustable headrest. With leather upholstery throughout the cabin. Colours used are dark beige and anthracite grey with touches of red and blue in our corporate colours.”

"All seats (except for the first row) have an innovative special feature: the back shell has space to stow a PC tablet, with a USB power point that keeps a tablet powered during the flight, and PC power points in the centre console for additional laptop computer power.

"In an environment where aircraft fuel has become our single biggest cost factor, the A320 has become the aircraft of choice for airlines looking to reduce their fuel bills. Newer aircraft embody the latest technologies, are more reliable, more productive and require less down-time for maintenance and repairs. Lower fuel burn means fewer carbon emissions and with the A320's low noise footprint, it's a good neighbour as well," Tim concluded.

Experts Call For More Investment in Research To Boost Coffee Quality

More investment in scientific research, innovations and market outlets is needed if the country’s coffee industry is to thrive amid tight market competition, coffee experts have said.

The experts made the remarks, at the opening of a twoday coffee research symposium in Kigali organised by the National Agriculture Export Board (NAEB). The symposium drew participants from the US, UK, South Korea, South Africa, Kenya, Burundi, Uganda, among others.

Experts said limited scientific research, poor agronomic practices and rudimentary technological approaches in processing coffee are responsible for low prices fetched by local coffee on the international markets. NAEB head of coffee production unit, Celestine Gatarayiha, said pests and diseases, as well as poor soil fertility, are responsible for less production of coffee in the country.

Susan Jackles, a professor of chemistry, food and nutrition at Seattle University, said: “You have to ensure that farmers are sensitised on good farming practices, prevailing market conditions in terms of demand and supply to produce good quality coffee.” Maraio Serracin, a coffee farmer and an agronomist at the US Rogers Family Company based in Africa, said ensuring quality coffee should be a collective responsibility of producers, suppliers and buyers. Agriculture minister Agnes Kalibata called on stakeholders in the value chain to invest more in finding solutions to the challenges threatening the sector.

NAEB director-general George William Kayonga said they are currently designing a definitive approach to tackle the challenges.

“We are engaging all stakeholders both at the grassroots and research level to come up with sustainable solutions for the sector. These will include more coffee washing plants, investing in field schools and equipping agronomists with tools to address poor farming practices,” Kayonga said.
Coffee contributes 17 per cent of Rwanda’s total exports, but the exports dropped with receipts of $50 million in the first 11 months of 2013.

This means the crop will decline by 9 per cent from $61m in 2012 (only December statistics are yet to be released). Currently, more than 400,000 smallholder farmers produce coffee and depend on the international market. About 42,000 hectares of land in Rwanda is cultivated with coffee.

Rwanda: Top African Destination for Retailers

Rwanda is the top destination for global goods and services suppliers, thanks to its focus on reforming the business climate and seeking to attract foreign investment, a new report shows. The 2014 African Retail Development Index developed by AT Kearney, a global consultancy, launched recently, indicates that although Rwanda is geographically small, it has a highly fragmented and increasingly more attractive market than African countries with larger economies.

Nigeria, Namibia, Tanzania and Gabon are the other nations making the top five places of the inaugural index, which is acclaimed as a useful framework for retailers because it offers them attractive destinations for their business expansion.

“With one of Africa’s fastest growing economies–an annual GDP growth of more than 8 per cent–Rwanda leads the ranking. Although small in land area and just 20 years since the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, Rwanda has an efficient government and strong macroeconomic indicators that opportunities for international retailers can offer basic packaged goods,” the report says.

“Specifically, infrastructure reforms have focused on developing an efficient transport and road network and turning Rwanda into a regional logistics hub. With a low income per capita, most consumers base their shopping decisions on price and affordability, and are reluctant to change brands.”

A handful of foreign enterprises operate in Rwanda at the moment, the largest being Kenyan retailer Nakumatt, but the report indicates that global retailers such as Wal- Mart and Carrefour are also eying the country’s market. The report further earmarks sub-Saharan Africa as “the next big thing” in retail business, with seven countries in the region making the top 10.

It also paints a rosy picture of East Africa, citing its global attractiveness due to rapid population growth, urbanization and stable economies.

“As retailers tiptoe into Africa, figuring out where to enter and how to begin is a daunting task. While Africa is becoming a serious investment option for retailers, questions on how to succeed there linger. It is with this in mind that AT Kearney embarked on its first African Retail Development Index,” Mirko Warschun, AT Kearney partner and co-author of the report, said.

The report measured 48 countries in the sub-Saharan region and used data of 2012. The report shows that formal retail business in malls and shopping centres are still in early stages in most sub-Saharan African countries–with the exception of South Africa–limited to a handful of urban areas.

It also indicates that although the majority of Africa, including Rwanda, Tanzania, Gabon and Ethiopia, have promising markets, their major retail markets remain small and informal. Botswana, Namibia and South Africa have Africa’s most advanced local and international retail presence, offering a wide range of products that target the middle class population.

The report predicts that by 2020, nearly half of all Africans will be living in cities and their spending on consumer products will grow to almost $1 trillion.

Tanzania and Burundi Sign Separate Railway Deal

Tanzania and Burundi signed a Memorandum of Understanding under which a direct rail link will be constructed to connect Tanzania’s central rail line to Bujumbura.Prior to the diplomatic spat between Tanzania and Rwanda, caused by flippant remarks made by President Kikwete that Rwanda should sit down with the FDLR killer militias and negotiate a peace deal – impossible considering that the FDLR is sworn to destroy the new Rwanda and bring back the policies of genocide – Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi had been on the same wavelength to expand a railway line from Tanzania’s Isaka to Kigali and on to Bujumbura. That well-intentioned project, even though funding had already been lined up, has gone silent when in a new spirit of active and determined cooperation Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda signed various agreements to build a standard gauge railway from the port of Mombasa via Nairobi to Uganda’s capital of Kampala and on to Rwanda’s capital of Kigali.

It, however, appears that this latest deal of the two East African Community member states, which are now often called the ‘Coalition of the Unwilling’ was launched to counter the railway plans of the other three member states, in either a snub or else serving notice that the two can go it alone should need arise.

The new proposed railway line, which reportedly is due to cost over a trillion Tanzania Shillings, will connect Tanzania’s Uvinza with Burundi’s Msongati and it is further understood that the option to expand the new line into the Congo DR has been left open, as Tanzania is playing her political cards of forming her own transport corridor. This is seen to be done with the intent to compete with the northern transport axis from Kenya via Uganda and beyond, which includes also options to add on South Sudan, Eastern Congo and of course Rwanda, which is part and parcel of the standard gauge railway project.

With the flurry of railway projects – a similar deal Tanzania signed to link the proposed new port near Tanga with a railway line to an equally new port in Musoma, Lake Victoria, and then connect by rail ferry to Uganda has also gone silent since the deck of cards in East Africa were reshuffled last year – it is now the question which ones will find willing financiers as, should all of them be built, the financial returns in the near and medium future, would be nowhere near to justify the expense, so here, as everywhere in East Africa, it is wait and see who and which project will in the end carry the day.

Dar es Salaam Airport Welcomes New Aircraft at Its Hub

Air Tanzania has made good of announcements made earlier in the year of an impending fleet upgrade when the airline last weekend presented their newly-leased Bombardier CRJ200 regional jet, registered as 5Y-WWA, to the public at their Dar es Salaam hub. The single class (all economy) 50-seater jet was reportedly leased from Kenyan company DAC Aviation which is based at Wilson Airport and was manufactured in October 1999 before entering commercial service with Air Nostrum. DAC then acquired the aircraft according to information received in December 2012.

The 14½-year-old jet is the first of overall three additional aircraft Air Tanzania proposes to add by mid this year. Prior to the arrival of the new jet did the airline operate an owned Bombardier Q300 aircraft on a limited domestic route network and a wet leased B737-200 which is reportedly due to be returned to the lessors when two CRJ700 aircraft are due to join the fleet in a few weeks’ time. These additional Bombardier jets will also be configured in a single class (all economy) cabin and offer 78 seats.

Acting CEO Capt. Milton Lazaro was quoted to have said, when welcoming the airline’s new aircraft: “This aircraft received today is part of three aircraft we planned to acquire this year. The other two are expected to arrive between April and May this year. The addition of this aircraft to our fleet will enable us to open new frontiers and add more routes. With the expansion of our fleet our passengers will enjoy daily flights from Dar es Salaam to Mwanza. We will be going to Mbeya four times a week on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. To Moroni, Comoros, we will fly on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday,

Air Tanzania is also working to launch additional domestic destinations, offering flights to among other towns Tabora, Kigoma and Mtwara.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Taj Mahal A Tribute To A Beautiful Wife

The Taj Mahal is extensively wellthought- out as one of the utmost stunning structures ever created. The beautiful marble building in Agra, India, is a tomb, an enduring monument to the love of a husband for his favorite wife. The epitome of Mughal art and the most famous monument in the world, Taj Mahal was built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. It took 17 years for the monument complex to be completed in 1648. The mausoleum is located on the right bank of the river Yamuna, at the point where it takes a sharp turn. It is the finest example of style that combines elements from Islamic, Persian, Ottoman Turkish and Indian architectural styles.

Lovers from across the world, comes to see the monument of love and romance to admire its radiant beauty. The best view of Taj Mahal is said to be under the light of full moon, shimmering like a fairytale castle.

As a tribute to a beautiful woman and as a memorial for enduring love, the Taj Mahal exposes its delicacies when one visits it without being in a hurry. The rectangular base of Taj Mahal is in itself emblematic of the different sides from which to view.

The dome is made of white marble, but the tomb is set against the plain across the river and it is this background that works its magic of colours that, through their reflection, change the view of the Taj. The colours change at different hours of the day and during different seasons. Like a jewel, the Taj sparkles in moonlight when the semi-precious stones inlaid into the white marble on the main mausoleum catch the glow of the moon. The Taj is pinkish in the morning, milky white in the evening and golden when the moon shines. These variations, they say, depict the different moods of woman.

Different people have different views of the Taj Mahal but it would be enough to say that the Taj has a life of its own that leaps out of marble, provided you appreciate that it is a monument of love. As an architectural masterpiece, nothing could be added or subtracted from it. The Taj Mahal remains closed on every Friday!

How to Get There

The city of Agra is accessible by bus, train, and (limited) air service and has a wide range of tourist amenities. Access to the Taj Mahal complex is on foot

When to Visit

The Taj Mahal is a year round magnetism and every so often busy, though new ticketing systems have thinned visitors at peak times. Visitors in search of more seclusion might try approaching early or late in the day. One time not to visit this beauty is on Friday, when the Taj Mahal is closed.

How to Visit

The tomb’s inner is a prominent space that craves some easygoing exploration. But a good part of any visit to the Taj Mahal will be spent watching at the building from the outside.


Day 2 brought with it enlightening session and fruitful B2B meetings. The day was packed with enormous discussions on enhancing relationships between India and Africa. We can say Day 2 was the day of Corporates. In huge numbers, delegations and exhibitors visited the various stalls at the exhibition during the Conclave making the event successful. The members at the respective stalls showcased and exhibited their expertise and quality services to the visiting exhibitors.

It was a very conducive and productive environment all and all. The exchange of thoughts during the B2B meetings presented an excellent opportunity to know more about the opportunities accessible in Africa. Various sessions took place on assorted themes like “Industrialisation in Africa : Role of Indian Private Sector”, “Bridging the Indian Ocean: Africa-India Investment Panel”, “Indian Lines of Credit to East Africa : Enabling Development Transformation” and “Innovative Financing Architecture for Africa” to name a few. Esteemed Minister from Uganda, Republic of Congo and Lesotho addressed the delegates and articulated their valuable thoughts during the sessions.

Day 2 ended on a very musical note with cultural dances performances by troops and it was truly a cultural night.

South Africa Graeme Smith Calls Time on International Career

South African Graeme Smith, international cricket’s longest-serving captain, sprang a shock as he announced he would retire from all international cricket after the current third Test against Australia at Newlands. The 33-year-old - whose long-time team-mate Jacques Kallis retired from test cricket in December though he wants to remain part of the one day side - had said that he still had things to achieve in international cricket.

However, after another batting failure in the present series, he made just five in the first innings on Monday he decided it was time to call it a day and told his team-mates of his decision.

“This has been the most difficult decision I have ever had to make in my life.”It's a decision that I have been considering since my ankle surgery in April last year. "I have a young family to consider, and I felt that retiring at Newlands would be the best way to end it because I have called this place home since I was 18 years old.”

In 38 series of two matches or more he has had 22 series wins and seven losses, with nine drawn. South Africa have not been beaten in a series since Australia beat them in 2008/09 – although they are in danger of defeat in the current third Test in a series which is tied at one-all. His record includes two away series wins against both England and Australia – a feat achieved by no other captain. By his own admission it took time for him to mature as captain after being one of the youngest players in the squad when he was appointed. When he was offered the captaincy his father, Graham, tried to dissuade him, arguing that he would be better qualified for the job when he had gained more experience. Smith, though, had no hesitation in accepting.

"I had wanted the job since I was 13 and I honestly believed I could do it," he said soon after his appointment. "It’s been an incredibly special ride," he said last season on the eve of his 100th test as captain. "It hasn’t always been easy. There have been some incredibly tough times. I’ve had to grow to come through those times and to start to enjoy success and to feel comfortable in the position and in myself." Smith said it had been a privilege to lead his country for so long.

KBC Coach Eager to End Espoir’s Dominance

Kigali basketball club (KBC) over the weekend demonstrated their credentials as league title favourites after registering two wins against UR-College of Arts and Social Sciences and UR-College of Education respectively. Cyrille Karima’s team beat UR- College of Arts and Social Sciences96-48 on Saturday before turning the table over UR-College of Education 104- 48 on Sunday at Kimisagara youth sports centre court. KBC’s Ally Kubwimana scored a game high 27 points and he was ably supported by Pacifique Habyarimana and Sankara Uwimana, who contributed 25 and 24 points respectively. It was the third consecutive win of the new season for KCB, who beat United Generation Basketball club (UGB) 68-52 in the first game on the opening weekend. “We are happy to start the new campaign with three consecutive big wins.

We want to be the best team in the league despite using only homegrown players,” said Karima, who also doubles as the national junior team head coach. He added, “KBC”s target is to win the league title. It’s going to be a long and difficult race between now and end of the season but we are ready to wrestle the title away from Espoir.” KBC are the only local team that has beaten reigning league and playoffs champions Espoir in the last two seasons.

They won 61-59 in Game Three of last year’s play-offs finals in November. Meanwhile, Espoir beat archrivals APR 44-36 in a low-scoring game played at Kimisagara with forward Oliveir Shyaka scoring the game high 18 points, while Bienvenue Ngandu and Lionnel Hakizimana added 12 and 8 points respectively for Jean Bahufite’s team.

Monday, 10 March 2014

Impressive Start For Rayon Sports in V-Ball League

New league entrants Rayon Sports made an impressive start in the national volleyball league with two wins against Lycee de Nyanza and Christ Roi de Nyanza.

Coach Fidele Nyirimana’s team won both matches in straight sets (3-0) played at Lycee de Nyanza courts. In the same pool (four), Christ Roi de Nyanza beat the hosts 3-0.

After the opening weekend of the new season, Nyirimana, who won last season’s title with the National University of Rwanda (currently UR-Huye), said, “We are targeting to win as many matches as possible, which will help us in our bid to win the (league) title.” In Pool One, champions UR-Huye started the defence of their title with two back to back losses against St Joseph and Kirehe 3-0 and 3-1 respectively, while St Joseph saw off Kirehe 3-0.

In Pool Two, former league winners APR beat Rusumo High School and debutants Ngororero 3-0 respectively, while RHS beat Ngororero 3-0.

A New Address For Shopping In Uganda

The fashion lovers of Kampala, the largest city and capital of Uganda, have got a new address to revise for shopping. African prints, stitched together in tie & die, flora, drafts, patterns and urban wear made out of jersey, and other fabrics has been presented during the grand opening of the very-new Bold Shop at Acacia Mall. The shop embracing about 100sqms of space is anticipated to house about twenty two brands. Bold shop will be showcasing works of many designers such as Kwesh fashion house, Gloria Wavamuno, Eguana, Martha Jabo, Definition Africa, Solome Katongole, Claire Tendo fashion house, Qmark, Zanaa, Husi, Qulture, Catherine & sons, Kunda, Kona and Namia Couture.

Ngyenzi Mugyenyi, one of the three ladies behind the initiative “Bold” asserted that since Bold is about supporting and promoting local talent, there was a need to reach out to a big pool of talent, which they could not do in their old shop at Krsna Mart mall. She quoted that they will keep going upwards and forward in promoting African talent, with the hope that Ugandans will continue to support this talent at all levels as they have from beginning.

Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Makes ‘March’ Fashionable for South Africa

The forthcoming edition of Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Joburg (MBFWJ) is to be held in Johannesburg, South Africa. Under the theme,” Creative Freedom: Under the Pillars of Fashion, Art and Design’, the event is going to celebrate the 20th anniversary of South Africa’s democracy. The show is said to witness more than 15 catwalk shows, staging of collections from over 34 young and seasoned South African brands.

The fashion event is scheduled to be held from March 20 to 22, 2014, the evening would be displaying Autumn/ Winter 2014 women wear collections from the country’s foremost names like Leigh Schubert, Marianne Fassler, Thula Sindi, Stefania Morland and David Tlale.

Furthermore, South African labels like Morphe , Abigail Betz and Avant Apparel from Johannesburg; Shana, Selfi and Tart from Cape Town; together with Irmgard and Tsotetsi KL from Pretoria are anticipated to showcase their latest designs at the show.

At an outset, the show will also feature menswear creations from 10 male fashion designers, including the renowned ones like Augustine, Fabiani, Laduma, Ruald Rheeder and Viyella, amongst the emerging talents from the African Fashion International (AFI) Next Generation incubation programme.

The event will be jointly organized by African Fashion International (AFI) and Mercedes-Benz in an endeavor to establish Johannesburg as a world-class fashion and shopping destination.

Kenya Gets Boost For ITB 2014 as Lupita Wins Oscar

The timelines on the social media exploded when Lupita won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role in ’12 Years a Slave’.

Kenya has in the past featured in Oscar winning movies, shot on location like ‘Out of Africa’ but never before has a Kenyan actress or actor won the film world’s most coveted prize.

Struggling as a destination for the past 18 months this momentous occasion will no doubt give a huge confidence boost to the country and the Kenyan team presently en route to promote the country at the world’s largest tourism trade fair, the ITB in Berlin.

Many in fact will land in the morning in Europe, connecting to Berlin, and find out that Lupita had indeed won, missing that glorious moment as they were still airborne. ‘I hope our KTB team will be able to get a big poster of Lupita and use it on the stand for all to see and to ride the high waves of positive publicity we have now received’ said a source on the phone while preparing to fly out of Nairobi later this morning, also enroute to Berlin.

In the past it was Olympic and World Champions from the Kenya Athletics team on whose fame and popularity Kenya Tourism could bank but this latest publicity for the country, Lupita and Kenya are now mentioned all over the world in news broadcasts and in the social media time lines, will hopefully give the Kenyan’s in Berlin a second wind as they seek to regain their position as East Africa’s number one destination.

Samsung Unveils Galaxy Grand 2

Samsung's latest premium device, the Galaxy Grand 2, dubbed 'Larger than Life', has been unveiled in Ghana. It is expected to provide Smartphone lovers the opportunity to use a premium device at an affordable pricing.

This device which offers a premium Smartphone experience for users has a uniquely hand crafted leather-like back and a 5.25-inch screen with 16:9 HD ratio.

These features take the Samsung Multi Window feature to the next level by maximizing the benefits of the device's large screen, enabling users to simultaneously run one application in two windows. As a complete business companion; the Galaxy Grand 2 comes with Dual SIM support, which allows you to separate work from personal matters no matter where you are.

The large screen also offers a great viewing experience when accessing business documents. It also has a 3G internet connectivity which allows fast internet browsing as well as using Social Media apps like Chat On, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Whatsapp.

The Hand Held Manager of Samsung Ghana, Tetteh Akornor said the Galaxy Grand 2, which is the successor to Samsung's popular Galaxy Grand, is powered by a 1.2GHz quad-core processor. It runs on Android 4.3 Jelly Bean OS. He noted that the phone has 1.5GB of RAM, an internal memory of 8GB, and also supports external memory capacity of up to 64GB.

The Hand Held Manager of Samsung added that the Smartphone has an 8 megapixel rear camera with an LED flash and a 1.9 megapixel front camera.

"The dual-SIM mobile phone is packed with a 2,600mAh battery which can to offer up to 10 hours of playback and 17 hours of calls. The Samsung Galaxy Grand 2 is available in White and Black colours" he observed. Mr. Tetteh Akornor said the new Galaxy Grand 2 comes with a FREE 2.5GB internet data every month for 3 months from MTN and an unprecedented 24-month warranty on the phone through their convenient and easy-toaccess E-warranty platform.

He urged everyone especially Samsung customers to endeavor to have the Galaxy Grand 2 experience.


With the endeavor to develop initiatives and enhance relations between India and Africa, Day 1 of 10th CII Conclave 2014 came to an end. The day was packed with enlightening sessions, fruitful discussions, and spark with the charisma of delegates from Asia and Africa. It was truly an excellent opportunity for the delegates and other participants to have an open discussion and boost their business linkages.

It seems an episode of yesterday when 1st Conclave was held on 1st March, 2005 and today is the day of 10th CII Exim Bank Conclave with prime focus on fortifying the relations between India and Africa. The venue for this event is Taj Palace, New Delhi, India. A glimpse of the past conclaves was provided by the Chair. Likewise, other committee members highlighted different issues pertaining to both the economies.

The main highlight of Day 1 was the gracious presence of Rt. Hon. Dr Motsoahae Thomas Thabane, The Prime Minister, The Kingdom of Lesotho and Shri Anand Sharma, Hon’ble Minster of Commerce and Industry. An enlightening speech were was delivered by both the esteemed guests during the conference. Dr. Motsoache articulated that cooperation in education is the key to development in Africa and Conclave presents an outstanding platform to showcase their strengths and beneficial business opportunities accessible in Lesotho. Adding to him, Mr Anand Sharma while remembering the history made by both the economies when Shri Mahatma Gandhi went to South Africa as a barrister paid a tribute to Late Nelson Mandela and conveyed that he was truly a hero and inspiration for all of us who loved and had always fought for freedom.

Later on, several MoU’s were signed. To mention, MoU’s were signed between International Trade Centre & Confederation of Indian Industry, International Trade Centre & UK Department for International Development and EXIM Bank & Government of Republic of Congo.With this the first day ended on a successful note.

Looking forward to the next 2 fruitful days!!

Gates Reclaims Forbes Title of World’s Richest Billionaire

Microsoft's founder Gates was propelled to the top spot primarily because of a rally in the software company's stock, said Forbes, which published its annual list of the world's richest billionaires on Monday. Gates is now valued at $76 billion, compared to $67 billion last year, when he was No. 2 on the list.

Slim built the bulk of his $72 billion fortune from his controlling interest in telecom company America Movil (AMX) which dominates the landline and mobile phone networks in Mexico. But he lost his four-year status as the world's richest billionaire because shares in his mining company Minera Frisco plunged more than 50% last year in tandem with prices of gold and copper, said Forbes. He is the only the billionaire in the top 10 to have lost money.

Gates and Slim are followed by Spanish retail mogul Amancio Ortega, worth $64 billion, Berkshire Hathaway CEO and renowned investor Warren Buffett, at $58.2 billion, and Oracle founder Larry Ellison, $48 billion.

The list goes on and on this year, because there are more billionaires than ever, according to Forbes. There are 1,645 billionaires, which is 268 more than the previous year. This is the largest annual increase of billionaires.

There were also 42 new women billionaires, a record, for a total of 172. Facebook's COO and author of feminist manifesto “Lean In,” Sheryl Sandberg, joined the billionaire's club for the first time.

The richest woman in the world is Christy Walton, a member of WalMart royalty with $36.7 billion. Her wealth got a substantial boost from last year's surge in First Solar (FSLR) stock which she inherited from her husband, John Walton, who died in a crash in 2005, according to Forbes. She occupies the ninth spot on the list, just ahead of another WalMart honcho, Jim Walton.

Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg made the biggest dollar gain on the list, gaining $15.2 billion from the prior year to reach $28.5 billion, propelled by a Facebook rally. Now he inhabits No. 21 on the list.

The closely-watched rich list ran into some drama last year, when Saudi prince Alwaleed Bin Tala Alsaud dropped out of the top 20 ranking of billionaires. The chairman of investment services company Kingdom Holding disputed his No. 26 ranking, saying that he would sever all ties with the “false and inaccurate” Forbes list. The wealth of the Saudi prince edged up this year, to $20.4 billion from $20 billion. But his rank on the list slipped still further, to No. 30.

This is because wealth, generally speaking, has been growing for the richest people on the planet. Altogether, the world's billionaires are worth $6.4 trillion, compared to a total of $5.4 trillion the year before, according to Forbes.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Biggest solar project in Africa to add 155 megawatts to Ghana’s power in 2015

The country would by the middle of next year add 155 megawatts of power to the national grid in a bid to improve Ghana's energy stock.
It will be the biggest solar project in Africa when completed. This was disclosed by managers of a solar facility, Mere Power Nzema, at a workshop in Accra, Friday.

The Mere Power Nzema with its parent company in UK, Blue Energy are to begin the construction of the solar plant from September this year. The completion of the project would come as a great relief to Ghanaians especially at a time when the country is going through some energy crisis.

Developers of the project are hoping to provide solar power to over 100 thousand homes. Director at Mere Power Nzema, Doug Coleman told Joy Business' George Wiafe they were encouraged to invest in Ghana because of the regulatory environment.

"Investing in Ghana is an interesting opportunity primarily because government has shown ready support for the growth of renewable energy.

"The put laws and procedures in place to support it. There is an open and transparent regulatory regime which investors can understand and recognise," he said. Blue Energy a UK based renewable company say they are hoping to spend 350 million dollars on the project. According to the company this would be the biggest solar project in Africa.

Raphael Kuuchi IATA's New Vice President for Africa

Mr. Raphael Kuuchi has taken up the position as Vice President for Africa with the International Air Transport Association (IATA). This followed IATA's announcement of Mr. Kuuchi's appointment last November. He was previously the Director of Commercial, Corporate & Industry Affairs with the African Airlines Association in Nairobi, Kenya.

Mr. Kuuchi reports to Hussein Dabbas, Regional Vice President for Africa & the Middle East region and leads a team of 23 air transport professionals located in IATA's four sub-Saharan offices. Mr. Kuuchi will divide his time between those offices in Johannesburg, Nairobi, Lagos and Dakar.

"Air transport in Africa has the potential to transform the economic fortunes of the continent and its citizens. But it also faces fundamental challenges, not least of which is improving safety throughout the region.

Connectivity within Africa and with foreign destinations and new markets remains a challenge in light of the regulatory barriers to markets and the caps on foreign investment in African airlines which limits carriers' ability to compete and grow. Similarly, the imposition of taxes and disproportionate charges on air transport are a disincentive to trade and economic growth. IATA, in collaboration with AFRAA, is addressing these issues on behalf of its members and their customers. Raphael, with his considerable experience and expertise in engaging with governments and stakeholders across Africa, will play a leading role in these outreach initiatives," explained Tony Tyler, IATA's Director General and CEO.

High on Mr. Kuuchi's agenda is the African Union's implementation of the Abuja Declaration of 2012.
"AU member states have committed to the Abuja Declaration with its ambitious, but achievable, goal of a world-class safety record by next year," said Mr. Kuuchi.

"Encouraging governments to liberalise the regulatory frameworks that currently restrict growth and connectivity, investment in appropriate infrastructure and the creation of more business-friendly tax regimes are issues critical to Africa's development and which we will be actively pursuing," he added.

Mr. Kuuchi is a Ghanaian national. He began his career with Ghana Airways in 1991 before joining AFRAA in 2005. As IATA's new Vice President for Africa, Mr. Kuuchi succeeds Mike Higgins who was reassigned as the Regional Head of Airport, Cargo and Passenger Services for Europe.

Kagame Gets Silverbird Award of Distinction

President Paul Kagame received the prestigious Silver Award of Distinction given in recognition of good service. The President was recognized for his leadership in peace building, reconciliation, development, good governance, promotion of human rights, women empowerment, and advancement of education and communication technology. The award was given during an annual event, the Silverbird Man of the Year, in Lagos, Nigeria, to celebrate the continent’s achievers. The President was represented by Joseph Habineza, Rwanda’s High Commissioner to Nigeria. President Ernest Bia Koroma of Sierra Leone was also honoured for his contributions in the rebuilding of his country. The 2013 Silver Award was organised by Silverbird Group. Rwanda, officially the Republic of Rwanda, is a sovereign state in central and east Africa. Positioned a few degrees south of the Equator, Rwanda is bordered by Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Euromoney Names Rwanda’s Eurobond As Deal of The Year 2013

When Euromoney, one of the world’s leading finance magazines, recently named Rwanda’s first ever Eurobond as “2013 Deal of the Year” only those who failed in the past to observe the Phoenix rise from the ashes could have been truly surprised, that the US$400 million bond issue was not just subscribed to at a fast pace but got such accolades from Europe’s leading financial pundits.

Tourism and aviation are two of the main beneficiaries of the funds raised, and the presence of Rwanda’s Minister for Finance Claver Gatete yesterday at the Kigali International Airport, witnessing the arrival of RwandAir’s latest acquisition, a brand new Bombardier Q400 NextGen, showed the continued close interest of the Rwandan government in supporting this venture as a strategic investment. “This is a proud moment,” he said when being introduced to this correspondent by RwandAir’s CEO John Mirenge at the airport’s Pearl Lounge and when he was shown the interior of the new 67-seater, dual-class aircraft he was visible certain that it was money well spent and that the airline could be sure of the government’s continued support.

350 million overall of the Eurobond funds are in fact being spent on both RwandAir and the ongoing construction of the Kigali International Convention Centre, and the adjoining 5 star hotel while the balance will be invested in a new hydro-electric power plant to address the sharp growth in electricity connections and consumption by newly established industries, the business sector at large and by domestic consumers. While questions have been asked if Kigali does need another 5 star hotel and a large convention Centre, the answer of many in the country’s tourism industry is a resounding Yes as the sector has in past years grown in leaps and bounds, largely based on the global pull Rwanda has as an A-grade gorilla tracking destination.

Visitors to Kigali, the capital city, in fact constantly remark how clean, well-organized and safe the city is, and while traffic jams too are now part of daily life, drivers remain disciplined unlike in other regional capitals, perhaps encouraged by the omnipresence of traffic police at literally every intersection. The signboard at the airport, when leaving the car park that Rwanda is a “corruption-free zone” also leaves an imprint on visitor’s minds, especially as they can see in their encounters with government officials that this is indeed the case.

As the country moves towards the commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the genocide in early April it is evident that indeed the Phoenix has risen from the ashes and continues to fly high, a place with a bright future and for certain a place to watch in coming years.

Air Mauritius Airline Returns To Profitability

A significant turnaround is now visible for the Air Mauritius as the airline’s austerity and cost saving program has taken root, showing a pretax profit of over 5.2 million euros for the first 9 months of the 2013/14 financial year. For the same corresponding period in 2012/13 the airline was still in the red to the tune of over 3.1 million Euros.
Newly introduced flights to China have yielded more or less instant results while the cutting of other destinations resulted in major savings for the airline.

CEO Andre Viljoen was quoted to have said as the figures were presented: “L'objectif central du plan de transformation que nous avions lance il y a deux ans etait de restaurer la profi tabilite de la compagnie. Air Mauritius est donc sur la bonne voie” or roughly translated into English “A key objective of the transformation plan launched two years ago was to return the airline to profitability. Air Mauritius is now on the right track.”

The increase in available seats resulted in a rise in passenger numbers by about 4 percent compared to a year ago but also slightly depressed the fleet average load factor from 80.7 percent to 79.2 percent in spite of increased competition which saw Emirates introduce a daily Airbus A380 flight which now operates in addition to a B777 daily frequency.

As reported here more recently has Air Mauritius renewed a partnership agreement with Air France/KLM (Air France is an equity partner in Air Mauritius) amid speculation of a potential future link up with global airline alliance SkyTeam.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014


A Japanese automotive manufacturer handling huge manpower of nearly 3,33,498 employees, Toyota plans to invest 1 billion rand ($90 million) in the manufacturing of its Corolla model in South Africa, giving encouragement to the domestic auto sector after strikes that held last year. BMW expressed that wage related strikes in 2013 hindered expansion plans in the country. On the other hand, Toyota emphasized on investment as a part of an expansion plan that was initiated in 2012. Commenting on the investment, Toyota expressed, “The investment is the second to be announced in the current phase of capital expansion that started with the 363 million rand new parts distribution centre in Gauteng in 2012.”


The “Prince Charming” of Indian Cricket team can truly be defined as an important pillar of Indian batting. Yuvraj Singh Bhandal is an esteemed part of the team since the year 2000 and has made his strong presence felt at regular intervals. Be it the Cricket World Cup of 2011 when he was honoured with the name of the "Man of the Tournament" or being the first batsman to hit six sixes in an over in Twenty20 internationals and the fourth in senior cricket.

Yuvi, as he is called by his teammates, is an all-rounder cricketer while his bowling style reflects the orthodox pattern of the slow left arm bowlers. The Punjabi Tiger of cricket was born on December 12, 1981 and made his international debut for India against New Zealand in the year 2003.

If described insanely, this lefthanded batsman is the face of Indian youth who always weaponize his anger to amalgamate with his hunger for victory in a match. The dark phase came for the ostentatious sportsman of India when he was diagnosed and cancer but, the Punjabi boy fought, survived and came back with a bang to international cricket.

Today, Yuvraj Singh becomes most expensive signing at IPL 7 auction as Royal Challengers Bangalore buys him for Rs 14cr. He turned to be a great hit or we can say, the fact that IPL auctioneer Richard Madley missed Kolkata’s bid got Yuvi sold for a handsome amount.

On the same vein RCB owner Vijay Mallya having the last laugh asserted, “We are very, very happy to have Yuvraj. We have to keep on bidding because our captain was very keen on him. That extra Rs.14crore was a bit unfortunate, but the auctioneer has the sole discretion. Everybody saw him look around the room before the hammer fell but he chose to continue. So life goes on.”

Hopefully, after continuous breakdown this auction will boost this handsome with his far-leftbehind flamboyant, true Punjabi characteristics and prove to be a miracle in his career allowing him to start from the scratch.

Erstwhile, this player had this continuous share of predicaments from being dropped, rested, ignorned or had to sit out due to injury concerns. He has come out with flying colors proving his victory to the world.