Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Nokia X family enters Ghanaian market

Nokia has announced the introduction of the Nokia X Smartphone onto the Ghanaian market a after it was launched to wide acclaim, at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.

The dual sim android compatible device comes with a fresh, tile-based user interface inspired by the Lumia family as well as Fastlane to simplify and enhance the consumer experience.

Addressing trade partners and the media at the launch ceremony in Accra, the Nick Imudia, the Vice President of Nokia West and Central Africa explained that the Nokia X device combines beautifully crafted design, quality hardware with access to the android app ecosystem to provide consumers with an affordable dual sim smartphone in a range of exciting colours.

“We believe this unique combination will resonate with consumers around the world and set a great precedent for the level of quality that can be achieved in the fast-growing, affordable Smartphone segment. Users will enjoy signature Nokia experiences including free Maps, with true offline maps and integrated turnby- turn navigation, Microsoft services such as Skype, One Drive and Outlook email as well as chat applications including BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) and WhatsApp” she said.

Speaking further, he noted that “The device comes with a 10.4mm slim, durable monobody design further enhanced by 4” scratchproof display and an exchangeable back cover that come in a variety of statement colours. The device runs on the Nokia X Software Platform and is powered by a 1 GHz dual core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor.”

Mr. Imudia stressed that Nokia has put in place the necessary measures to enable the company to take over the smartphone market and increase its market share in Ghana.

MTN Ghana launches affordable Social Media Bundle

Ghana's leading Telecoms Company MTN has announced it is offering a new data access bundle targeted at users of social media platforms Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp.

Explaining the rationale for introduction of Social Bundle, MTN Chief Marketing Officer Rahul De stated that MTN is seeking to brighten the lives of its customers by limiting the cost of data access required for use of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp.

MTN customers purchasing Social Bundle would be able to access the social media platforms at lower than normal data charges.

“Social media is now a powerful tool in Ghana and MTN is eager to give customers value for their money by providing affordable data access that allows them to freely connect with family and friends. The new GHâ‚μ5 Social Bundle seeks to do this by offering customers value-priced data access for 30 days,” De said.

He said customer wishing to purchase Social Bundle could dial *138*1# on their mobile phones and follow the “Social Bundle” prompts.

It would be recalled that sections of the media recently reported that all telcos, including MTN were planning to impose a compulsory tariff of GHC5 per month for the use of social media.

MTN said that report erroneously implied that it was charging for actual use of social media, but “that was inaccurate” [because] the charge is for data access.

“This offer is optional and provides MTN customers better value – customers on Social Bundle would be paying 1.25Gp per megabyte of data, which is way less that the 10Gp per megabyte default rate,” the telco said.

They also explained that customers can always bundle again immediately their Social Bundle runs out, adding however that “if you do not bundle, you will be returned to the default rate of 10Gp/MB.”

An MTN customer whose view was sampled said, “We are relieved to know there is a lower priced data access option for using social media. This actually feels better and makes life easier. This is a great relief.”

Kirloskars set up centre to service irrigation systems in Egypt

Engineering and infrastructure major Kirloskar Brothers has set up a giant facility in the Egyptian capital Cairo to provide services like energy audits and systems analysis, the company said.

"Kirloskar Brothers to provide energy audits and system analysis value-adds to Egypt’s irrigation and agriculture sectors. The company has set up a mammoth 10,000 sq metre facility in Cairo under its subsidiary SPP Pumps MENA LLC," a release said.

The Kirloskar group, which is present in Egypt for over half a century, has recently set up two major pumping stations on the banks of the river Nile, it added.

Apart from the value-added services, the new setup will provide pump testing, assembling and packaging facilities, which are crucial in irrigation and agriculture, the statement said.

It quoted Mostafa Abu Zeid, chairman, Mechanical and Electrical Department of Egypt's Irrigation Ministry, as saying: "Our government has been associated with Kirloskar Brothers for various irrigation projects. 

We are proud to use KBL’s expertise to develop engineering capabilities that will help agriculture in the region."

"This new state-of-the-art centre will help in developing the skill sets of the Egyptian engineers in the field of irrigation", said Navdeep Suri, India's Ambassador to Egypt.

This facility is the first establishment in Egypt to receive UL certification for assembly, testing and packaging of firefighting pumping units, which is the single-most accepted certification in the industry, Kirloskars said.

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Tanzania roads and highways get upgrades for better travel

It was learned that the road from the main gate to the rim of Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania is set to be paved, to ease movements of vehicles in particular during the rainy season.

The stretch inside the park has been known to be treacherous during heavy rains and the project to tarmac the 6 kilometers up to the rim have been broadly welcomed by safari operators, even though they have to use a detour at present in order to either leave the conservation area or else get into it.

A spokesperson for the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority was quoted as having given a price tag of some 2.8 billion Tanzania shillings for the paving of the road which is, while leading to the rim of the crater, also the main route for safari traffic from Arusha to the Serengeti National Park as well as part of the transit route for traffic through the park destined for such places as Musoma on Lake Victoria. The work, according to information received from Arusha, should be completed by June 1 or soon afterwards though that may delay as a result of adverse weather conditions. The source also confirmed that there were no plans to tarmac other sections of this route inside the protected areas and that this particular stretch was selected to improve road safety and ensure that the road remains open year round and through the rainy seasons.

Meanwhile, the long-awaited start of construction of the planned highway between Arusha, Tanzania, and Voi in Kenya is now finally due to start in June this year, a source based in Arusha has confirmed.

The project worth nearly US$235 million will be largely financed through the African Development Bank, with the two governments of Kenya and Tanzania contributing some US$28 million combined.

The road project will, when completed, greatly ease road transport between the port city of Mombasa to Arusha, supporting regional trade but also boosting the flow of tourists who can then visit the attractions of the area without being shaken to bits as is presently the case along the road section between Taveta and Mwatate on the Kenyan side, arguably one of the worst trunk roads anywhere in Kenya.

The road links Tsavo East National Park with Tsavo West National Park towards Lake Jipe, the Taita Hills Game Reserve and Lake Chala while on the Tanzanian side the Mkomanzi National Park and the Kilimanjaro National Park will be easier to access, especially as bypasses are planned around the town of Taveta.

A stretch from Arusha towards Moshi will be turned into a dual carriage highway covering some 14 kilometers in order to further ease traffic in and out of Arusha towards the Kilimanjaro International Airport. Construction is expected to last approximately 3 years before the entire new highway is complete.

Indian doctors in Mozambique to strengthen health service

Half a dozen Indian doctors arrived in Mozambique to help national health authorities increase health capacity, Maputo Central Hospital General Director Joao Fumane said. The Indian doctors are in Mozambique as part of a cooperation agreement signed between the government of Mozambique and the Apollo group from India, Xinhua cited the state news agency AIM as saying.

"As part of the agreement, doctors from the Apollo group will be able to provide assistance to Mozambican doctors. There will be exchanging of experience and they will come up with new approaches that will allow our doctors to better serve their patients," Fumane said.

The five-year renewable agreement between the two entities will also facilitate technology transfer and technical development of Mozambique in the health sector.

Mozambican doctors will also have the possibility of benefiting from refreshment trainings and interacting with other professionals in India for one year.

"The main objective is to create capacity within Mozambique, so that patients can benefit from treatment locally and avoid seeking health care outside," said the head of the group of Indian doctors, Harinder Singh Sidhu.

The Maputo Central Hospital is the largest hospital in Mozambique. The ratio of doctors per patient remains low in the southeast African country.

SA tourist numbers break record

Nearly one million tourists visited South Africa in December 2013, with most of the tourists coming from the SADC region, Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) revealed on 15 April 2014. SA Government News Agency reported that a total of 937 792 tourists visited South Africa during December 2013, making it the highest ever recorded number of tourists in the country in any one month. According to Stats SA, this was an increase of 7.6% from the 871 774 tourists recorded in December 2012.

Statistician-General Pali Lehohla said that over two-thirds of all tourists to South Africa came from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region, followed by those from overseas at 28% and about 2% from other countries on the continent.

Tourists from the SADC region mainly came into the country by road, while those from overseas and other African countries came mainly by air.

Zimbabwe led the top 10 list of SADC countries’ tourists visiting South Africa at 30.3%, followed by Lesotho at 18.9% and Mozambique at 15.8%.

The United Kingdom, the US and Germany were among the 10 leading overseas countries visiting South Africa in December 2013.

Nigeria, Kenya and Ghana led the list of the top 10 African countries visiting South Africa.

Most of the tourists, who came to the country, were on holiday, while the report also found that most tourists were men, particularly from the overseas region.

The majority of tourists were aged between 15 and 64.

Statistician-General Pali Lehohla presented the findings of the Tourism and Migration Report for December 2013. The statistics of the report were derived from data routinely collected by immigration officers from the Department of Home Affairs. The data is collected at all the ports of entry/exit of the country.

“Partnership and leverage is the model for supporting the transformation of Africa,” says Donald Kaberuka

The African Development Bank (AfDB) and Africare signed a 5-year Memorandum of Understanding in Washington, D.C. on 12 April.

Speaking at the ceremony – within a Bank-funded Summit on ‘Creating Opportunity for Africa’ in the margins of the World Bank and IMF Spring Meetings – AfDB President Donald Kaberuka said: “Partnership and leverage is increasingly the model for supporting the transformation of Africa”.

“As the official champion of African development, one of our tasks in the Bank is to galvanise others. That is why we nurture partnerships such as these across the public sector, the private sector, and civil society.

“This partnership will strengthen the Bank’s capacity to use a community-focused lens while designing its programs and projects”, he added.

The AfDB values Africare’s 45-year and 36-country pedigree as the largest and oldest global NGO working exclusively on African development. The two organisations have worked together since 2003. They see special synergies in areas like supporting smallholder farmers in building resilience, and improving yields, incomes and nutrition practices to increase food security.

“There are many areas of overlap between ourselves and Africa’s premier development finance institution’, said Darius Mans, President of Africare. ‘For instance, the Bank’s focus on infrastructure can be reinforced by our community consultations and social impact assessments around infrastructure projects.”

The Bank and Africare also share extensive experience in developing solutions to the challenge of youth unemployment in Africa, and in operating in countries experiencing fragility.

Monday, 28 April 2014

Mount Kilimanjaro glaciers nowhere near extinction

The legendary glaciers, one of key tourist’s ecstasy, on Tanzania’s majestic Kilimanjaro Mountain, will not melt anytime soon after all, as it was earlier predicted.

America’s renowned climatologist, professor Lonnie Thompson in 2002 projected that the snow on the summit of Africa’s highest mountain would completely disappear between 2015 and 2020, thanks to global warming.

But 12 years down the lane now, local ecologists who have been monitoring the trend say the ice, in fact, remains steady and it is nowhere near extinction.

“There are ongoing several studies, but preliminary findings show that the ice is nowhere near melting,” said Mount Kilimanjaro National Park (KINAPA)’s Ecologist, Imani Kikoti.

Mr. Kikoti hints that sustainable rainfalls supply on Mount Kilimanjaro in recent years could be a factor behind the snow resilient.

“Much as we agree that the snow has declined over centuries, but we are comfortable that its total melt will not happen in the near future,” he stressed.

Sometimes in 2006, KINAPA installed three state-of-the-art automatic weather stations on mountain key areas of Shira 2, Mweka and Kibo huts to collect accurate data on weather trends.

Though scientifically, it takes up to 30 years to conclude on whether rainfalls are on increase or otherwise, but Mr. Kikoti says the data are encouraging.

Victor Manyanga, a tour guide with Congema tours and safaris with 13 years’ experience to lead tourists to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro says that the glacier is still plenty.

“With the current rate of glaciers melting, if any, I don’t see the ice vanishing say in twenty or thirty years to come. For naked eyes you can’t tell if there’s any changes on the ice quantity from what we’ve seen ten years ago” Mr. Manyanga noted.

He believes that the massive tree planting around the mount Kilimanjaro could have been mitigated the ripple effects of the global warming.

Alarmed by the Prof. Thompson study, way back in 2006, Tanzania President Jakaya Kikwete imposed a total ban on tree harvesting in Kilimanjaro region in a move aimed to halt catastrophic environmental degradation, including melting of ice on Mount Kilimanjaro.

As a result of the measures, the forest cover on the Mount Kilimanjaro is slowly, but surely becoming thick.

Experts say the forests on Kilimanjaro's lower slopes absorb moisture from the cloud hovering near the peak, and in turn nourish flora and fauna below

.The loss of snows on the 19,330-foot (5,892-meter) peak, which have existed for about 11,700 years, could have disastrous effects on the Tanzanian economy.

Eva Mallya, one of KINAPA’s tourism wardens says that Kilimanjaro’s glaciers have fascinated millions of explorers and scientists for centuries, leaving behind multi-million-dollars.

Indeed, American tourist, Mr. Kelvin Hurley says ice-capped summit is the most allure for long haul tourists.

Acting Chief Executive Secretary for Tanzania Association of tour operators, Sirili Akko cheered over the news, saying it is a sigh of relief for tour operators who were worried.

The so-called Roof of Africa yields over Tsh 80billion ($50 million) annually, ahead of Ngorongoro Crater which generates Tsh 53 billion ($33.13 million) and Serengeti National Park which garners Tsh 45 billion ($28.13 million).

All these tourism features are located in the Northern Circuit, which generates a large chunk of the $1.88 billion generated from tourism industry per annum.

Prof. Thompson verdict stunned millions of people all over the world whose lifetime dreams are to climb Mount Kilimanjaro to see the only permanent ice-capped summit near equator.

Described as ‘world’s highest free-standing mountain,’ Mt Kilimanjaro, is located just 200 miles south of the equator, rising more than three miles above the dry plains of northern Tanzania.

The Mountain comprises three separate volcanoes. The tallest of the three, Kibo, stretches 19,340 feet above sea level and wears a crown of glaciers.

When German geographer Hans Meyer made the first documented ascent of the peak in 1889, the glaciers dominated Kibo’s crest.

Today, they cover less than 1 square mile, about a tenth the area they covered in Meyer’s time. Some glaciologists predict they will disappear entirely in the next 10 to 15 years, and Thompson says it could even happen sooner.

In 2002, Thompson and 10 of his colleagues published an article in the journal Science. The paper confirmed what many already knew: that Kilimanjaro’s famous cap of glacial ice is shrinking rapidly, with nearly 80 percent having disappeared between 1912 and 2000.

What stunned readers, as well as the Tanzanian government, was that the article gave the glaciers an expiration date.

Based on six ice cores drilled to bedrock and a comparison of aerial photos of the summit dating back to the early 20th century, Thompson and his colleagues concluded “the disappearance of Kilimanjaro’s ice fields, expected between 2015 and 2020, will be unprecedented for the Holocene.”

In other words, not since the birth of the glaciers almost 12 millennia ago have the glaciers been in danger of disappearing — until the 21 century.

Friday, 25 April 2014

Meghalaya – Mesmerizing The Abode Of Clouds

Meghalaya literally the 'Abode of Clouds’ describes the climatic phenomenon that brings rain to its mountainous region. Meghalaya is a state of great scenic beauty with undulating rivers, waterfalls, sparkling mountain streams, emerald-green lakes, gorges, precipitous ravines and panoramic views from hilltops. It is inhabited by mainly three tribes: the Khasis, the Jaintias and the Garos. Weaving, pottery, stone carving, metal work and basketry are traditional village work. As with most of the North Eastern states, Meghalaya is diversely multi-cultural, multi ethnic and multi religious, with an amazing mix of traditional and modern lifestyle.

High above the hazy valleys and fizzing rivers, concealed in the rolling clouds and hanging on a headland, lies Cherrapunji, 4,500 ft above the sea level. Cherrapunji, the wettest place in the world, is 56 km southwest of Shillong in the East Khasi Hills District of Meghalaya.

During monsoons, one gets to see a very exciting sport in Meghalaya, fishing! Well, with so many rivers flowing through these pristine mountains, it makes logic that locals do fish a lot for food. Meghalaya is blessed with rich wildlife. The dense forests of Meghalaya are inhabited by many rare species of birds and animals including elephants, tigers, golden cats, monkeys and birds like hornbills, partridges, teals, snipes and quails. Meghalaya is dotted with numerous tourist spots.


Shillong, the capital city of Meghalaya has many beautiful sites such as Lady Hydari Park, Elephant falls, Ward's lake, Shillong peak, and the golf course, one of the best in the country. Enthralling waterfalls, crystal clear lakes and striking mountains make up the city of Shillong.

The beautiful city is encompassed by pine trees. By dint of it resting on the high altitude, the region offers a comforting relief from the burning heat. The deity Shyllong or Lei Shyllong is the famous reason as to why the place holds the name. It also is a proud possessor of the best golf course in the country. Tourism in Shillong is clearly great and is termed as “Scotland of the East".

Shillong was born in the laps of nature, the amazing series of waterfalls, the mystic mountain peaks, crystal clear water lakes, breathtakingly beautiful golf courses, museums and zoo proves the fact. Shillong has a different façade for everyone. Behdienkhlam, one of the famous and recreational festivals of Meghalaya is held in the Jowai Town every year during the months of June and July.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Janet Amponsah Blazes to Fastest 200m time by a Ghanaian Female Sprinter in Past 7yrs!!!

Ghana's Janet Amponsah wrote her name into the history books after producing a massive 200m outdoor personal best running 23.05 secs (+1.0) to win the WTAMU Open in Texas, 12th April to extend her #1 African ranking in the event.

Amponsah, who is currently schooling at Western Texas College on a Ghana Athletics Association sourced academic scholarship, blitzed to her personal new best followed by Strickland Libby of West Texas A&M with 23.7 and Marissa Western Texas College in a time of 24.35.
The last time a Ghanaian woman ran faster than Janet's time was in 2006. Sprinter Vida Nsiah holds the current national 200m record of 22.80 (+0.9 m/s) which she set at a meet in Clemson, USA on 17th May, 1997.

Meanwhile, Janet followed her dominant display in the 200m event by running an equally fast of 11.31secs (+2.1) to win the 100m.

The former Kumasi Girls Secondary School student has been in top form this season, having set a new PB of 23. 36 secs in March when winning the 200m event at the US JUCO Championships earlier this year.

She leads Ghana’s qualifiers to the 2014 Commonwealth Games and the African Athletics Championships.

It will be recalled that Janet was part of the six young athletes who won seven gold medals and national titles, five silver medals, and one bronze medal at the prestigious JUCO Championships that ended on Saturday, 8th March, 2014.

She won gold in the women’s 200m race in a new national indoor record of 23.81secs after, having secured a silver medal in the 60m final, where she ran the same time as the winner, but lost out on the photo-finish. She claimed a third medal as part of her school’s 4x400m silver medal team.

Amponsah’s time of 23.81 secs broke Monica Twum’s 13-year old record set as a student at Texas Christian University.

22yr old track cyclist represents Ghana at 2014 Commonwealth Games

Scotland will be hosting the 20th Commonwealth games from 23 July to August 3 2014 in Glasgow. Jedidiah Amoako-Ackah will be representing Ghana as the first track cyclist from that country. One of the big names from Africa today in track cycling is Bernard Pierre Esterhuizen of South Africa.

Jedidiah who prefers to be called Jeddie says Gregory Bauge, Chris Hoy and Francisco Pervis are track cyclist that have been a great inspiration to him in his quest to represent Ghana at the Commonwealth games in this rather untraditional sporting discipline for a west African. Born in Asamankesse Ghana, the 22 year old Ghanaian track cyclist is currently in his final year of studies at the University of Chichester, England where he is majoring in Sports Therapy.

Jeddie is absolutely passionate about cycling and says his fascination for bicycles begun in Molopolole, a small town in Botswana where he lived with his family for several years prior to relocation to the United Kingdom.

In 2001, the young cyclist and his family arrived in Scotland from Botswana. While in Scotland he spent almost a decade honing his skills as a cyclist until a local businessman suggested he considers representing Ghana at the Commonwealth games as it was going to happen right under his nose. In September 2013 he acted on the suggestion and started training at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome.

He says, “I thought about it for a while and reflected on the story of the Jamaican bobsled team’s debut as underdogs who became favorites in the 1988 Winter Olympic Games in Calgary, Alberta and thought to myself, impossible is nothing so why not go out there and see what might be in this for me”

“Like Albert Einstein once said: life is like riding a bicycle. In order to keep your balance, you must keep moving. To me cycling is the metaphor for life” Jeddie philosophizes.

Glasgow 2014 presents a great opportunity for Jeddie to, in his own words, “raise the interest of the Ghana cycling federation and all concerned to invest in the sport of track cycling with development programs and infrastructure such as The Accra Velodrome Project”. Find out more about Jeddie at

Winning is not all what this is about, this is mainly about putting Ghana and Africa out there on the global stage, it is also an opportunity to increase interest in the development of track cycling through. As part of giving to society, Jeddie has a charitable organization called Gift-A-Bike- Foundation that aims to provide bicycles for school children with no means of transportation.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Cote D’Ivoire takes FIFA fans by surprise

FIFA World Cup is on the way to make you leave everything and hold your breath for that one final goal your favourite team might be scoring during the event. But recently, West African country, Cote D’Ivoire has got everyone by surprise with its new ranking at 21 globally according to world soccer body. Cote D’Ivoire topped up two places in the latest FIFIA rankings with 620 points while Nigeria moved to 45th position from 47th of the previous month’s positioning.

While in African Football, Cape Verde cemented itself at 5th position, Ghana at 4th, Algeria at 3rd and Egypt at 2nd. The Elephants of Ivory Coast still maintains their number one position in African football.
Not to mention, Europe inhabits the top three places on the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking after Portugal mounted third place behind leaders Spain and Germany.

The top three teams are followed by four South American sides with Colombia at 4th, Uruguay at 5th. Also, Argentina got down three places occupying sixth position whereas World Cup host country, Brazil moved up three places sharing the place with Argentina.

Presently, according to the recent ranking list of African football, the top ten countries are Ivory Coast, Egypt, Algeria, Ghana, Cape Verde, Nigeria, Tunisia, Cameroon, Guinea, and Mali.

Mvuyekure shines in Pyongyang marathon

Rwanda’s Jean Pierre Mvuyekure bagged a silver medal in the Mangyongdae Prize International Marathon staged in North Korea’s capital Pyongyang.

The IAAF Bronze Label Road Race was won by local hero Pak Song-Chol, who was also the champion in 2007 and 2008 respectively.

Chol took more than a minute off his previous best of 2:13:49 set when he finished fifth in the same race last year.

Mvuyekure, third in Pyongyang 12 months ago, finished second in a time of 2:13:20, a frustrating one second outside his personal best, while Ukraine’s Ivan Babryka, the 2010 winner, took third place in 2:14:24.

Mvuyekure will be part of a strong Rwanda national team lined up for Commonwealth Games due in Glasgow, Scotland from July 23 to August 3.

The 29-year-old Mvuyekure will compete in the marathon event alongside Dieudonne Disi, while Epiphanie Nyirabarame will compete in the women’s race. 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 will boost his chances of quitting the sport on a high. Last month, Disi won silver in the Carnaval half marathon where he clocked one hour, four minutes and 43 seconds, 13 seconds behind Burundian Abraham Niyonkuru who won the race.

Umurerwa nominated for African Canadian model awards

Canada-based Rwandan model Happy Jacqueline Umurerwa has been nominated for the 1st annual African Canadian model awards.

Umurerwa claimed the spot after beating off stiff competitions from renowned models such as Aloud Anei, Berlange, Everline Aboka and Kimone Berwise.

The African Canadian model awards is organised by African Fashion Canada to celebrate and recognise outstanding achievement in modeling that represents the forefront of aesthetic, critical and advertising standards in today’s modeling industry.

The 2014 awards ceremony will take place on August 10 in Canada.

“This really means a lot to me,” Umurerwa says. “I am proud of myself and happy to know that someone out there is watching and appreciating my work. It is an eye opener for me and is just the beginning I still have a long way to go.”

From aspiring newcomers just starting out, to experienced models, the awards recognize the brightest talent in modeling with awards in different categories. In addition, winners receive international exposure, often resulting in professional modeling assignments and representation contracts.

Umurerwa began her career as a fashion model in 2010, when she was discovered by Ford models and has never looked back since then. She is currently represented by NEXT models and has graced several fashion shows around Europe and Africa.

India to open warehouse in Nigeria for medicine export

In what is expected to give a major boost to the presence of Indian pharmaceutical companies in Africa, a new warehousing facility will be opened in Nigeria for exporting medicines from India to that West African country.

The Pharmaceutical Export Promotion Council of India (Pharmexcil), in accociation with with Sankil Pharmaceutical, a local pharmacutical business agency in Nigeria, will open the new warehouse, according to statement issued by Pharmexcil.

Raghuvir Kini, executive director of Pharmexcil, Raghuveer Kini said in the statement that about about 40 Indian pharmaceutical companies have shown interest in utilising the warehousing facility in Nigeria which is expected to start operations within the next two to three months.

At a council meeting in Mumbai in February, Kini said that Sankil Pharma, which has its presence in Nigeria for the past 22 years, "will help assist Pharmexcil to establish the warehousing facility in the country".

"This company (Sankil Pharma) also has vast experience of working with Indian pharma players who are members of the Pharmaceutical Promotion Council of India," Kini said.

He said, the proposed premises where the warehousing facility will be set up has already been approved by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration Control (NAFDAC) of Nigeria and it is well suited for storing active pharmaceutical ingredients or APIs and chemicals. "The council is also expecting similar approval from NAFDAC to even store the pharmaceutical formulations or any other pharma-related material at the facility," Kini said.

He said that under its Marker Access Initiative (MAI) scheme, the government of India was also willing to give financial assistance to Indian pharmaceutical companies willing to take storage space at the facility.

"Under this scheme, the rentals for each company will cost less than 50 percent than the market rate," he said. Sankil Pharma will act as a custodian of the goods stored in the warehousing facility. The company will assist the members in all aspects and will arrange for releasing the consignments from customs, store in the warehouse, and dispatch to customers according to instructions of the companies using the facility.

Additional facilities like cold storage and extra space will be taken care of by Sankil Pharma and the company will also assist the members in getting their products registered with NAFDAC, if required.

In order to assure Indian exporters, officials of Sankil Pharma have given the assurance that "the situation in Nigeria has improved a lot compared to 15-20 years back and there is no need to worry about robberies/thefts etc".

Monday, 21 April 2014

Samsung offers best TV experience this Easter with the UHDTV series

Samsung Electronics West Africa (SEWA) is giving Ghanaians an opportunity to have the best TV experience ever this Easter season with their latest range of Ultra High Definition (UHD) smart television series in their Easter campaign dubbed, Gifts 4 All Season.

The new UHDTV series come with unprecedented features including the Soccer mode which has enhance picture and surround sound which make viewers feel like they are in the stadium. With this mode the viewer can also open up social media window at the corner of the screen and interact with fans and friends watching the game. There is also a cinema mode that transforms any living room into a cinema with unmatched clarity and sound.

According to Mr. Richard Nunekpeku, Marketing Manager for Consumer Electronics at SEWA, the Samsung UHDTV Series provides the best viewing experience for all UHD materials. “With most television and movie contents being produced in HD, we at Samsung want our customers to have a seamless HD television experience by offering them a world class innovative smart UHDTV this festive season” he said.

The usual sources for HD contents are Bluray players, 3D movies and HDTV transmissions. In Samsung’s quest to bring this wonderful experience to consumers, their Gift-4-All-Season promotion will reward customers who purchase selected models of their UHDTV series with a fully installed DStv Explorer with 1month HD Premium subscription, allowing the buyer to enjoy all the fantastic HD channels the TV offers this festive season. Other rewards for the promotion include a free sleek Samsung Chat222 Dual SIM phone which comes with the purchase of the new Samsung Triangle split Airconditioner and a free Microwave Oven for customers who buy selected Samsung Refrigerator models. The Gift-4-All-Season promotion runs till April 30, 2014 and is giving away several selected ranges of Samsung products.

The Samsung UHDTV series are available in all Samsung experience stores across the country and they all come with an unprecedented 24-month warranty.

Delegation from 19 countries witness Delhi polls

A 30-member delegation from 19 countries, including many from Africa, visited some polling stations in the nation capital to observe the Indian democracy at work, said a senior poll panel official.

The delegation included representatives from Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana and Lebanon. "The representatives were also briefed about the elaborate arrangements made by the Election Commission to make the elections successful. They saw the voting process and the security arrangements made to ensure fair and safe elections," the official told IANS.

"The delegation visited the polling stations in New Delhi and south Delhi constituencies," the official added.

The official added that the delegation was also informed about the special arrangements that were undertaken this time for the disabled to ensure that they don't face any problems when they vote.

The Election Commission of India (ECI) and UNDP have a memorandum to jointly promote exchange of visits and sharing of experiences and skills in the field of electoral management with developing countries.

Tata Power building wind power plants in South Africa

Leading generator and distributor Tata Power has said it is executing projects that would increase the company’s overall generation capacity by nearly 850 MW.

"Tata Power is in the process of executing a number of power plant projects which, upon completion, are expected to increase the company’s overall generation capacity by 849.2 MW," it said in a statement.

"Tata Power has a gross installed capacity of approximately 8,560 MW through thermal, green energy and waste gases of which, as on Feb 28 this year, 7,647 MW comes from thermal power sources and 912 MW from green energy sources," it added.

Among the projects under execution are two wind energy plants in South Africa. The 94.8 MW Tsitsikamma and 134.4 MW Amakhala Emoyeni wind projects in South Africa are expected to be commissioned in fiscal year 2017," Tata Power said.

Both projects are being developed by a 50:50 joint venture between Tata Power and Exxaro Resources, called Cennergi.

Tata Power also said it holds 26 percent stake in the Dagachhu Hydroelectric Power Project in Bhutan that is proposed to have an installed capacity of 126 MW.

Burkina Faso Singapore Business Forum 2014

The Government of Burkina Faso with support from the World Bank is organizing a very high level investment forum titled Burkina Faso Singapore Business Forum 2014. The Forum is scheduled to take place on Thursday April 24, 2014, in the Ball Room of the Conrad Centennial Hotel, Singapore.

The priority projects of the Burkinabe government which will award an opening for investment will be exhibited in this forum. No doubt, it will prove to be a brilliant opportunity to interact with the Burkinabe High Authorities to debate about these projects.

In an exclusive interview to Indo Africa Times, Ambassador of Burkina Faso to India, H.E. Mr. Idriss Raoua OUEDRAOGO said, “some of the major projects that will be showcased are: the Growth Pole at Bagré which was designated to be the primary source of growth because of its high potential for agribusiness, horticulture, animal husbandry, fish farming and production of staple crops, Hydroelectric and irrigation projects, development of a multimodal dry port at Ouagadougou, establishment of a pharmaceutical plant, milling unit and tomato and mango processing plant.

From the land of Honest People, H.E. Mr. Blaise COMPAORE himself will be leading the event. Accompanying him on this very senior delegation will be many senior Ministers of the Cabinet.

The Singapore Business Federation (SBF) is the apex business chamber that champs the interests of the Singapore business community in trade, investment and industrial relations.

It epitomizes 21,000 companies, as well as key local and foreign business chambers, that put up meaningfully to the Singapore economy.

NSS Boss Recieves Award

The Executive Director of the Ghana National Service Scheme (GNSS), Alhaji Alhassan Imoro, has received a prestigious Nobles International Award of honour, integrity and accountability from the West Africa Nobles Forum (WANF) at its 19th conference held in Accra.

It was under the chairmanship of Prof Kofi Oduro-Afriyie, the Vice Chancellor of Wisconsin International University College.

Alhaji Imoro was one of 29 selected individuals from public and private institutions in Ghana and Nigeria who were the recipients of the prestigious awards. The award comprised of a citation, a certificate, a Golden Award plaque, and an automatic membership of the forum.

The West Africa Nobles Forum, a group of eminent West Africans, is a non-governmental, nonreligious and non-profit making organization with its headquarters in Accra and a membership of over 1,000.

In a brief citation, the Forum recognized Alhaji Alhassan Imoro as a distinguished hard-working personality, having worked with the Ghana National Service Scheme (GNSS) for the past 24 years and is the first permanent staff of the Scheme to rise from the post of a District Director through the ranks to become the Executive Director.

It said Alhaji Imoro was promoted and appointed the Northern Regional Director of the Scheme, a position he held until 2003 when he was again promoted and transferred to the Head Office as the Director, Policy Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation and Posting (PPME&P). He was subsequently appointed the Deputy Executive Director (Finance and Administration) before being appointed the Acting Executive Director of the Scheme in April, 2013 and confirmed the substantive Executive Director in March, 2014.

Alhaji Imoro holds a Master of Arts (MA) Degree in Human Resource Planning and Development from Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, New Delhi, India and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Development Planning from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi.

Among other things, Alhaji Imoro developed policy proposals for the establishment of the National Service Voluntary Service Programme; a policy proposal for the Graduate Entrepreneurial Skills Development for National Service Personnel and a programme implementation framework for the implementation of the government's Youth in Agriculture Programme in National Service currently manifested in the National Service Scheme's Agricultural Projects.

In a brief interview after receiving the award, Alhajia Imoro thanked the Forum for recognizing his efforts, and dedicated the award to the hard working staff of the Ghana National Service Scheme and gallant national service persons who are providing essential services to the people of Ghana in all the 10 regions of the country.

Tetteh Quarshie-Madina highway to be completed in 3 months

The 4.6-kilometre Tetteh- Quarshie – Atomic Junction highway in Accra is scheduled to be completed in the next three months. The highway which was supposed to have been completed a couple of years ago, had to be delayed for several months due to inadequate funding among other factors. It is, however, reassuring to hear that the project would be completed in the next three months to further ease traffic congestion on the road.

This was revealed when the President, John Mahama inspected on-going works.

According to him, government is committed to maintain and construct new roads that would become strategic throughout the country.

He said his administration had prioritized roads in his development agenda, and would also work on all feeder roads that would facilitate the movement of goods and foodstuff from farming communities to the marketing centres.

President Mahama said apart from easing traffic congestion, the expansion and construction of roads also facilitate the movement of foodstuff that had rippling effects on the prices of such commodities in the markets.
He announced that the road which was one of 'the gang of six' roads in the capital, would soon be completed, and urged the contractors working on the GIMPA- Agbogba road to expedite action to completely rid the roads of heavy and unnecessary traffic.

On foot bridges, President Mahama appealed to the contractors to come out with ones that were friendly and easy to use, in order to avoid spending heavily on long foot bridges that would not be utilized at the end.
The President appealed to drivers and pedestrians to be cautious in their movements to avoid accidents, 'since in most cases good roads bring about over speeding and in some cases carelessness and reckless driving'.

Alhaji Amidu Sulemena, Minister for Roads and Highways, explained that the road was strictly financed by the Government of Ghana, hence the delays, and gave the assurance that it would be completed in the coming weeks. He said apart from the major highway, his Ministry was also completing other roads that would help ease the perennial road congestions in the capital, and appealed to all road users to bear with the current inconvenience, which he promised would be temporary.

Alhaji Sulemena said the Community 18-Burma road was also on track, and would soon be completed and opened to the public.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Sweden’s representation at the Seychelles carnival

The 2014 edition of the Carnaval International de Victoria which is being jointly co-hosted by Seychelles, La Reunion, Madagascar, Mayotte and South Africa KwaZulu Natal will see the participation of Sweden for the first time.

The request for the SAMI People to be present in Seychelles for the carnival was made by Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture when he was in Umea on the occasion of that Swedish City being awarded the title of the Cultural Capital of Europe.

Hon. Minister St.Ange said that he was impressed by the singing of the SAMI People as they entertained the invited delegates at the Governor's Residence in Umea in the presence of Sweden's Princess Royal on the occasion of the Official Ceremonies in Umea.

Lennart Swenson, the Seychelles Honorary Consul in Sweden accompanied Minister Alain St.Ange at the different bilateral meetings he held in Sweden including when he lodged his request for a representation of the SAMI PEOPLE to be in Seychelles for the 2014 edition of the Carnaval International de Victoria.

The SAMI PEOPLE primarily rear and hunt Rain Deers in the mountains of Sweden and neighbouring Countries. They have a very distinct culture which was until recently not recognized by Sweden.

Confirmation has now been received that two people from the SAMI PEOPLE will be in Seychelles for the 2014 edition of the carnival. Mr. Jörgen Stenberg is a musician from the mountain 'tribe'. He will be accompanied by Ms. Lii Andersson in their traditional clothes and they will be performing at the opening ceremony of the carnival as well as parade in the carnival parade on the Saturday.

The Swedish delegation will be headed by Mrs. Alenskär who will be representing the Government of Sweden. An "official program" for Mrs. Alenskär is being prepared to enable her to follow-up on the different cooperation programs existing between Sweden and Seychelles.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Land Of Intense Maharashtra

It is the state with rich cultural heritage and is a land of intense spirituality and religious faith. Maharashtra has many great landmarks and pilgrimage centers in the evolution of Indian Temple Architecture. Nestled close to the Arabian Sea, the state of Maharashtra is located on the western side of India and is known for its coolness and exceptional beauty.

It is the second most populous state after Uttar Pradesh, third largest state by area in India and is the wealthiest state in India. Maharashtra can proudly term itself to be the richest state in India, owing gratitude to the stupendous industrial activity in the region.

Mumbai, the city that never sleeps, pulsating, alive, on the move, vibrant, funthis is Mumbai or sometimes still referred as Bombay. The most modern city in India is also known as country’s financial powerhouse. It is the capital of Maharashtra state, and its official language is Marathi.

Shirdi Sai temple is a beautiful shrine that was built over the Samadhi of Shri Sai Baba. Sai Baba of Shirdi is popularly known as the 'Child of God'. Sai Baba preached tolerance towards all religions and the message of universal brotherhood. Saibaba found shelter in Khandoba temple, where a villager Mahalsapathi addressed him as Sai or Saint Sai baba. Devotees start queuing up in the early hours of dawn to catch a glimpse and seek the blessings of the life-size statue of Sai Baba. Thursday is marked by special pujasand darshan of the Sai Baba statue.

Ajanta and Ellora Caves

Ajanta and Ellora are the pride of Maharashtra. The rock-cut caves of both these sites are world famous and illustrate the degree of skill and artistry that Indian craftsmen had achieved several hundred years ago.


The caves attained the name from a nearby village named Ajanta located at about 12 km. The caves, famous for its murals, are the finest surviving examples of Indian art, particularly painting. These caves are excavated in horse– shoe shaped bend of rock surface nearly 76 m in height overlooking a narrow stream known as Waghora.


The name Ellora itself inspires everyone as it represents one of the largest rock-hewn monastic-temple complexes in the entire world. The Ellora caves, locally known as ‘Verul Leni’ is located on the Aurangabad- Chalisgaon road at a distance of 30 km northnorthwest. Ellora occupies a relatively flat region of the Western Ghats, and ancient volcanic activities in this area created many layered basalt formations known as Deccan Traps.

Mayweather wins over $75,000 on basketball bet

Floyd Mayweather celebrated winning over $75,000 on an NCAA college basketball bet with a relaxing rub down in front of the fire. The undefeated boxing star took to Instagram to show off his luxurious lifestyle as he received a massage from a blonde beauty before posting the message: 'This is my actuality'.

Mayweather added a few more pennies to his bank account after cashing in on the Connecticut Huskies to win the college basketball tournament.

Gamble: Floyd Mayweather took to Twitter to celebrate winning over $75,000 on college basketball

Undefeated: Mayweather is preparing to fight Marcos Maidana on May 3

The 37-year-old tweeted a picture of winning betting slips following Connecticut's win over Kentucky in front of 80,000 fans in Arlington, Texas.

Mayweather tweeted with the caption: 'I bet on the underdogs @ uconnhuskies twice within the last three days. $75,636'.

The 37-year-old is preparing to take on Marcos Maidana in Las Vegas on May 3.

Winners: Shabazz Napier celebrates Connecticut Huskies' 60-54 win against the Kentucky Wildcats

Connecticut, meanwhile, prevailed in the NCAA final with a 60-54 win over the Kentucky Wildcats at the Dallas Cowboys' home stadium in Arlington. The tournament, also known as 'March Madness' sees 68 college basketball teams face each other in a single-game knockout format with the winner crowned national champions.

Tagoe set to sign for Malaysian side Kelantan

Ghana striker Prince Tagoe is set to sign for Malaysian Super League side Kelantan, Africanfootball. com can exclusively reveal. The 27-year-old has been available on a free transfer after terminating his contract with Tunisian giants Club Africain.

The former Hearts of Oak player will be signing for his ninth foreign club since leaving for Saudi Arabian side Al Ittihad in 2006. Kelantan president Annuar Musa recently uploaded a picture of him and the former TSG Hoffenheim player on his Facebook fan page.

The Red Warriors are looking to replace their foreign players, after a string of disappointing results that culminated in their early exit from the 2014 AFC Cup. Kelantan are fifth on the 12-team table with the second half of the season just underway.

Tagoe has previously played for UAE's Al Shabab, Saudi side Ettifaq, Partizan Belgrade and Turkish top-flight side Bursaspor. He played at the 2010 FIFA World Cup finals in South Africa and has made 36 appearances for the Ghana national team.

Brazil 2014: We Are On Course

Ghana Football Association (GFA) president Kwesi Nyantakyi says his outfit is on course regarding preparations for the Brazil 2014 World Cup. His declaration allays fears of many who have tagged the Black Stars preparations for the Brazil 2014 World Cup as wishy-washy. The GFA boss revealed that preparations were far advanced and that Ghanaians should remain hopeful in the team for an impressive performance at this year's Mundial.

'We are on course as far as the World Cup is concerned. We have lined up a series of international friendlies intended to sharpen the edges in the team ahead of the competition,' said the FA boss at the GFA Secretariat.

He added, 'We will be playing the Dutch national soccer side on May 31 and later play a team or two on June 1 in the United States of America. Our technical team are also in the UK to put their house in order before the World Cup.'

Ghana coach Kwasi Appiah is expected to name his 30-man provisional squad in mid-May and later prune it down to 23, who will represent the nation in South America. Ghana is pitted against soccer big boys Portugal, Germany and USA in Group G of the World Cup.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Chelsea: The return of Eto’o to Inter becomes clearer

The Italian press had announced in February the return of Samuel Eto'o to Inter Milan, his former club. Well, things become clearer. This is what say Mirror that indicates that the agent of the Cameroonian superstar, Claudio Vigorelli , has recently made a contact with leaders of Inter Milan to decide on a possible contract.

For over a month, the rumor about a possible return of Samuel Eto'o to Inter Milan is whispered everywhere. At first, Tuttosport revealed the desire of the Italian club to retrieve their former striker. A few weeks later, the Chelsea striker, qualified for the semi -finals of the Champions League, in return opened the door for a return to Serie A in the Gazzetta dello Sport .

Eto'o has left his mark in Serie A after passing between 2009 and 2011. In particular he was one of the great architects of the historic treble Scudetto, Coppa Italia and Champions League realized by the Nerazzurri in 2010.

Big Brother stars Pokello and Elikem become Ambassadors for Africa Fashion Week Nigeria

The organizers of the much awaited Africa Fashion Week Nigeria (AFWN) whose core aim is to provide visibility platforms for new talents and help gather international attention and awareness, has announced its new ambassadors.

The event which is to held in the month of May17th and 18th we have announced Pokello Nare and Elikem Kumordzie, the soon-to-be couple as ambassadors of the Africa Fashion Week Nigeria, who were big brother housemates 2013 (TheChase).

Elikem, a fashion designer who has a collection of designs is now a part of the AFWN and so also is Pokello. The Africa Fashion Week Nigeria is giving equal opportunities to emerging and top fashion designers to create a platform that will promote the African fashion and richness and make it embraced all over.

The two day event will be graced by Grand patrons Chief Molade Okoya-Thomas & Senator Daisy Danjuma, and Patron Hon. Abike Dabiri, with Special Guests of honor Mrs. Folorunsho Alakija and Chief Oprah Benson supporting the emerging designers. Fashion lovers, Media houses, celebrities, textile manufacturers, models, make-up artists, fashion photographers, retail buyers, potential designers and business of fashion people will grace the event.

This platform which celebrates and supports African creativity was created in London in 2011 Africa Fashion Week London (AFWL) and has showcased over 200 UK and non UK bases African designers. Africa Fashion Week London is a sister event to much anticipated Africa Fashion Week Nigeria which will wrap-up with a gala fashion show with veteran fashion designer Hajia Abba Folawiyo closing the show.

According to Ronke Ademiluyi, the organiser and founder of AFWL & AFWN, “the event is to bind emerging talents in the fashion industry, connect them to the right people, showcase them to their customers and potential ones, unleash the creativity in them, support them, give them an opportunity and platform to grow and create awareness.”

Designers in their hundreds have already signified their intention to participate by visit the organizers’ website. Registration and opportunities still abound for designers and exhibitors interested in participating by visiting www. africafashionweeknigeria or call 07088800866.

The event is billed to have over 5000 visitors, celebrities, upwardly-mobile and fashion enthusiasts.

Millicom driving digital revolution in Rwanda

Africa’s telecoms giant Millicom recently announced the inauguration of a tech incubator in Rwanda’s capital city, Kigali. The aim behind establishment of tech incubator is to develop new digital solutions for Rwanda. The company anticipates to select “a small number of high potential entrepreneurs” from the incubator.

Not to mention, Millicom named the incubator “Think” as in a procedure to be handled by the company’s African subsidiary, Tigo.

This act of Millicom can prove to be a boon for Rwandans as the highflyers who make it through the selection procedure will be given access to Tigo technical resources for product testing and trials, seed financing, and support, structured training and coaching programmes in how to connect with customers and investors. Furthermore, Millicom offering a range of digital services to its customers under the Tigo brand intends to use the project to further enhance its great presence in Africa.

According to Millicom, “The objective is to develop innovative and scalable businesses in which Millicom will take an equity stake.” According to President and CEO of Millicom, Hans-Holger Albrecht, “We are looking forward to driving the digital revolution with talented youth in all our Tigo operations in Africa.”

Stanbic Bank affirms support for extractive industry

The Executive of Mining, Energy and Infrastructure Finance at Stanbic Bank Ghana, Ms Celiwe Ntuli has reiterated the Banks support for the extractive industry in the face of global challenges facing the sector. Gold prices on the world market have been on the decline leading to a slowdown in mining activities and staff layoffs among other challenges globally.

Speaking at the Electra Mining West Africa conference, Ms. Ntuli, said the mining sector would for a long time remain a key foreign exchange earner for the country and that the challenges facing the sector in recent times can best be described as temporary.

She said Standard Bank Group, parent company of Stanbic Bank Ghana, remains the continents largest supporter of mining and the sustainable exploitation of the continents natural resources and this support will be sustained irrespective of the challenges facing the extractive industry.

Ms. Ntuli said the Bank over the years had consistently supported the mining sector and noted that the most important objective of the bank is to be able to confront the challenges faced by clients in the sector.

More regional interactions and collaborations are important across borders. One of the biggest value additions is to be able to solve energy problems, rail transportation, shipping of commodities, logistics, and finding solutions to problems facing the mining sector to help the industry grow, she added.

She indicated that Stanbic Bank Ghana and the Standard Bank Group have a deep specialization in natural resources financing, listing Mining and Metals, Oil and Gas, Power and Infrastructure, and Renewables as core areas of concentration.

The Banks aim is to raise capabilities in structuring and executing transactions in their regions of focus, and West Africa is a growth region for the Bank. We are Africas leading Bank in terms of assets and a great partner in natural resources finance, in particular. We have the right personnel who understand the processes and principles required to adequately manage the sector, she said.

Ghana's mining industry accounts for 5 per cent of the country's GDP, and minerals make up 37 per cent of total exports, of which gold contributes over 90 per cent of the total mineral exports. This makes financing a key instrument in the generation of feasible revenue in the mining sector.

Electra Mining West Africa 2014 conference offered a platform for industry players to promote investment and knowledge sharing for the enrichment of West Africas mining sector. It also sought to deepen partnerships for sustainable development of mineral and energy resources in the region.

Delegates included financiers, investors, mining professionals and West African government delegations vested in developing business interest, promoting new mining exploration opportunities and repositioning Ghana as an attractive gateway for investment in West Africa.

The content focused on the potential opportunities, lessons learned and the creation of new business partnerships to facilitate and strengthen the economic development of Ghana.

Payzone wins Best Technology Initiative of the Year Award in Africa

Ghana once again affirmed its supremacy in technology as a local company outshined a number of well-known and respected global brands to annex the coveted Best Technology Initiative Award in Africa for the year 2013.

It was all joy in the South African city of Sandton at the 2014 Card & ePayment Africa Awards, an annual event to recognise and reward excellence and cutting– edge innovation in the card and electronic payment market in Africa as a definitive platform to celebrate unparalleled excellence and outstanding achievements in the industry across Africa.

It was attended by an array of dignitaries representing renowned brands and technology driven blue chip businesses across the continent and beyond. The awards ceremony was organised by the Card & e-payment Africa Awards Secretariat in South Africa.

The Ghanaian IT company, Innovative EPS Ltd operating the PAYZONE brand, which has been in existence for only three years, beat high profile companies including British banking giant, Barclays Bank and Access Bank Plc with its much hailed PayZone e-payment platform.

For a company to qualify for the annual award, it must first be nominated by public voting and verified later by a highly renowned panel of judges. Briefing journalists after the awards ceremony, the Chief Operations Officer of Innovative EPS, Mr. Bernard Anyan-Mensah said “the honour will definitely spur us on to higher heights”.

The Executive Chairman of the company, Mr George Boateng predicted high economic boom should the government take advantage of the numerous opportunities offered by technology in various economic fields.
He told a section of South African media that technology is the only solution to Africa's economic woes and therefore asked governments on the continent to pay greater attention to that sector.

“The PAYZONE platform alone is more than capable of becoming the single largest fund mobiliser for central government aside the huge potential to generate jobs for between 500,000 and 1 million people in Africa within the next 5 to 10 years”, says Mr Boateng who led a three-member Innovation EPS delegation to the awards ceremony in South Africa.

He likened the platform to google, whatsapp, facebook and other ICT companies, stressing on their ability to accelerate economic transformation within the shortest period. Innovative EPS Ltd has been working on developing virtual business transaction payment systems, using its PayZone payment platform, all in their bid to help create a cashless society.

Even though PayZone is yet to be officially launched, many patrons have lauded the convenience and proximity advantages the platform provides for its growing customers.

The PayZone platformwhich currently hosts all the telecommunication networks in Ghana, facilitatesthe purchase of direct airtime top-ups on its Self–Service payment kiosk and are currently deployed at various locations in the Greater Accra Region (e.g. 37 military hospital, GHAPOHA, Accra Mall, University Campuses, etc.).

The company is currently holding discussions to enrol Electricity Bill Payment (Post & Pre-paid), Ghana Water Bill Payment, hosting of Internet Service Providers Payment, Lotteries, Mobile Banking, Mobile Payments, Tax payment, Banking & Finance, Micro Finance & Insurance, Airline and Event Ticketing, among others. The platform is capable of hosting 1,600 services concurrently. It currently has a growing patronage of about 80,000 to 100,000 per month and in the next 5 years, Innovative EPS hopes to expand to other African countries”.

Senegal is satisfied with the volume of the AfDB project portfolio but appeals for faster audits

The overall situation of the portfolio of projects initiated by the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group in Senegal has greatly improved, the nation’s Minister of Economy and Finance, Amadou Bâ, announced on March 12, 2014 in Dakar. But he believed that “efforts are still needed, especially in terms of audits.”

Chairing the opening of the 10th joint annual review of the cooperation program between the AfDB and Senegal, along with the official launch of the 2013 Development Effectiveness Review for Senegal, Amadou Bâ explained that “the continued improvement in the performance of the AfDB project portfolio is an ongoing concern for the Senegalese government.”

The ultimate goal is for the Senegalese country allocation to be raised appropriately, he explained.
This ambition, however, risks being hampered by “long delays in conducting audits, which are very often the reason for the suspension of financing payments.”

Bâ therefore appealed for a concerted effort among actors in the project audit chain in order to put forward suitable solutions. He reasserted Senegal’s determination “to increase positive cooperation” with the AfDB. This cooperation began in 1972 and over four decades has developed considerably in terms of both financing and the number of projects carried out.

This cooperation has so far made it possible to transfer 913 billion CFA francs to finance about 60 projects in priority sectors such as health, education, transport infrastructure, and rural development. On February 28, 2014, the AfDB’s Senegal portfolio of public and private payments reached 374.2 million Units of Account, or nearly 274.8 billion CFA francs.

Bâ welcomed the participation of the AfDB Group at the Consultative Group meeting in Paris (February 24 and 25, 2014). This meeting involved Senegal’s main financial banks, and the AfDB Group stood out by announcing 400 million CFA francs worth of funding to contribute to the implementation of the Plan Sénégal Emergent (PSE –Senegal Emergence Plan).

The Senegalese Government aims to use the PSE to lead the country toward emergence by 2035, with an annual growth rate of 7 per cent from 2017.

The AfDB’s Resident Representative to Senegal, Mamadou Lamine N’Dongo, also welcomed the “excellent” results achieved by Senegal during the Paris meeting. He gave his assurance that the AfDB would continue to provide extensive support to Senegal. According to N’Dongo, this desire stems from the priorities of the Senegalese authorities in the PSE and the orientations of the Bank Group’s Long Term Strategy (2013-2022).

“The main challenge now is to stay on course and relentlessly pursue the progress accomplished in the management of our operations,” announced N’Dongo.

Two major actions are essential for this, he noted. These relate to the systematization of performance contracts for all projects, as well as the systematization of the implementation of an efficient follow-up and evaluation mechanism during projects. N’Dongo also highlighted the coinciding of the joint annual review of the cooperation program between the AfDB and Senegal, and the official launch of the 2013 Development Effectiveness Review for Senegal.

The Development Effectiveness Review, the first of its kind on Senegal, describes how AfDB activities have contributed to results in the country in terms of development for five years. The 54-page document was presented to a large audience that had come to hear the discussions chaired by Richard Schiere, Chief Results Officer in the AfDB’s Quality Assurance and Results Department. Schiere concentrated above all on the results achieved in Senegal in terms of development, especially in facilitating investment in the private sector.

In his presentation, Schiere revealed that Senegal is at the top in terms of developing public-private partnerships in the infrastructure sector. Publicprivate partnerships have created new financing opportunities for structural transformation needs in Senegal, the report stated. As the second publication of its kind focusing on a country and edited by the AfDB’s Quality Assurance and Results Department, the 2013 Development Effectiveness Review for Senegal shows how the AfDB has contributed to structural transformation and inclusive growth in the country. In 2012, Rwanda was the focus of the first country-specific review.

The 2013 Development Effectiveness Review for Senegal describes several of the AfDB’s innovative actions in the country. It presents the outcome of the Results Measurement Framework, which contains 71 indicators divided into four sections, each corresponding to a chapter in the document.

The first chapter describes some of the difficulties faced in Senegal in terms of development and progress made over the last few years to resolve those issues.

The second chapter presents the AfDB portfolio for Senegal and the accumulated results of operations in the past five years. The third chapter studies the state of the AfDB country portfolio, and the fourth considers the Bank’s ability to manage its own operations in Senegal.