Sunday, 22 February 2015

Caf announces Chan 2016 dates

Confederation of African Football (Caf) has announced the dates of the 2016 African Nations Championship (Chan) that will be hosted in Rwanda from January 16-February 7.

Rwanda Football Federation (Ferwafa) Chief Executive Officer Olivier Mulindahabi told Times Sport that, “We welcome this news and we are excited that we shall be hosting Chan next year. Preparations are going on according to plan. Caf will send a delegation to evaluate the preparations at a date they will communicate soon.”

Mulindahabi also said that the official website will be launched on March 15 as well as the advertising will go up on the same day across several platforms like billboards and social media. Ferwafa will send a delegation to South Africa, hosts of the 2014 edition to learn from their experience.

Morocco is expected to send a draft contract that will provide a working frame with Ferwafa, an agreement that will help Rwanda organize a remarkable tournament. The North Africans were set to host the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations until they pulled out following the Ebola outbreak.

The biennial event will attract 16 teams from Africa and games will played at four stadiums across the country including the Umuganda stadium in Rubavu, Huye stadium and the Amahoro stadium and Kigali regional stadium in Kigali.

This will be the biggest football tournament hosted by Rwanda which also hosted the 2009 African Youth Championships for U-20 players as well as the 2011 Africa U-17 championships, eventually qualifying the Junior Wasps to the 2011 Fifa U-17 World Cup in Mexico.

Athletes in preps for World Cross Country meet

With very less time, the national athletics team has started intensive preparations ahead of the IAAF World Cross Country Championships slated for March 28 in Guiyang, China.

The five-man team is camping at La Bonne Esperance, Kicukiro and holding daily training at Amahoro national stadium.

Thirty-one-year old Eric Sebahire will captain team Rwanda at the 41st edition of the biannual event. The last edition was staged in Bydgoszcz, Poland with Kenyans (5 gold medals) and Ethiopians (10 medals in total) dominating the show.

Sebahire, the two-time reigning national men’s 10,000m champion will be making his fifth consecutive appearance at the championships since his debut in 2009.

In a telephone interview Sebahire told Times Sport, “It’s really a great honor; I and my colleagues will do everything possible to represent the country well in the competition. We’re all doing well in training and I’m sure we will be ready in the next five weeks.”

Rwanda is yet to win a medal at this competition and will be hoping to grab one this time round. Sebahire was last year’s best finisher from Rwanda, claiming the 41st position out of over 200 contenders.

The APR Athletics Club runner holds a personal best of 28’02’ in 10,000m and 1’02’ in half-marathon (21km). Meanwhile, Uganda (Kampala) has been endorsed by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) to host the 42nd edition on March 23, 2017.

Full team:
Eric Sebahire, Felicien Muhitira, Syliaque Ndayikengurukiye, Pontien Ntawuyirushintege and Jean Marie Vianey Uwajeneza.

He's back! Asamaoh Gyan gets heroic welcome from Al Ain

Black Stars captain Asamoah Gyan led the senior national team of Ghana to place second in the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations.

The Ghana international who plays his professional football for Arabian Gulf League club Al Ain was given a massive welcome upon his return to the United Arab Emirates.

Asamoah Gyan, who has been smashing the goals for his Al Ain club was welcomed on the football pitch by his team mates with a huge cake.

The former Sunderland striker also received a bunch of flowers from his club coach Zlatko Dalic.

The 2014 Besr Foreign Player in Asia restored Ghana's hope with a late winner against Algeria in the second group game after missing the first against Senegal through illness.

The Black Stars of Ghana progressed in the 2015 edition of the Africa Cup of Nations to the final where they were beaten by Cote d'Ivoire in a penalty shootout.

Africa Fashion Week Nigeria ready to roll in May

Organizers of Africa Fashion Week Nigeria are working round the clock to ensure a classy and sassy fashion show on May 23rd and May 24th at Eko Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos. This year, AFW is also introducing education segment at the Fashion Week. Speaking at a press conference in Lagos, Ms Ronke Ademiluyi, founder Africa Fashion Week London and Africa Fashion Week Nigeria said, they intend to delve into education this year. “Most young designers don’t realize that there are so many different aspects to the fashion industry aside from the runway, red carpet or who wore the best. The educa tion in fashion seminar will be delivered by a Brand Management/ Retail Management outfit with over 20 years’ experience working in Europe and the USA.”

AFWL/AFWN is produced by Sola Oyebade of Mahogany Productions. Among the names of some designers for the 2015 fashion week are:

Adebayo Jones:The Londonbased designer, is celebrated for creating his own fabrics and presenting the most lavish and luxurious collection of gowns.

King Hakbal:King Hakbal as a brand was put together to cater to every king at heart who is simple, stylish and most importantly classy.

Marco Martinez:Marco Martinez, an urban life style brand was created in 2002 by creative designer, Paul Ade- Martins.

Souza Fashion:Souza is a budding Nigerian women’s wear brand established in 2010 by Accounting graduate Francisca Da- Souza. The designer creates designs to cater to try different styles for different women providing both ready to wear and haute couture pieces.

J Reason:Jreason is a brand that caters for both sexes, founded 3yrs ago by Jide Adedeji. The brand’s resolve is to design looks for the young and daring teenager with an appeal for trends, style and class.

À s à k é o g é:The couture collection usually features exotic African animals and scenery hand painted with jewel embellishments.

Anuba couture:Anuba Couture is a high profile fashion brand, which started 8years ago, with an aim to reinvent style as a whole.

Lines by Chaab:The Lines by Chaab label is known for sexy, classy and timeless pieces. LBC is dedicated to creating fashion trends. Its style ranges from youthful and free-spirited to mature and sophisticated.

Ovems fashion:Ovems fashion originated from Vovwe Omoko’s passion to make clothes that interpret aesthetics and speak class.

Omaemihe:OmaEmihe is the growing clothing line label of DAC signature brands. Their clothing appeals to the sophisticated and classy, the dramatic and edgy, the simple, the peppy, etc.

Kwadwo Nkansah Lilwin joins top stars for Freedom Concert on March 6

Already described by many as the biggest musical concert to look out for in the first quarter of 2015, popular award winning Ghanaian comedian, actor and musician, Kwadwo Nkansah Lilwin is the new addition to the already packed line up of musicians to rock patrons of the Freedom Concert 15 scheduled for the 6th of March 2015 at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium in Kumasi.

Joining music heavyweights like Sarkodie, Samini, Stonebuoy, Kwabena Kwabena, Guru, Kaakie and Kofi Kinaata, Lilwin who has for the past few years remains the toast of many people promises an extraordinary show and a competition for the already established artists.

Freedom Concert 2015 is put together by Reflects Ghana Limited, a debt recovery company and it’s aimed at bringing back the euphoria surrounding Ghana’s Independence Day celebration as witnessed on March 6, 1957.

The event would see the reenactment of the independence speech delivered by Ghana’s first president, Dr Kwame Nkrumah, and many other interesting activities. Tickets are fast selling at GHC20, GHC40 and GHC60 for Regular, VIP and VVIP respectively.

Blaze of African music delights locals and tourists

The 12th edition of what has become Africa’s foremost festival of performing arts, Sauti Za Busara, kicked off the evening of 12th Feb with the venue, the Old Fort in the Stone Town, filled to capacity.

Artists from across Africa are once again performing and thrilling the crowds with the variety of their tunes. The opening night this year will see such accomplished artists like Bonaya Doti (Kenya), Culture Musical Club (Zanzibar), Tcheka (Cape Verde), Erik Aliana (Cameroun), Msafiri Zawose (Tz), Isabel Novella (Mozambique), Alikiba #popitin (Tz) and others, perform, all live of course, as “canned music” has little place here.

Other activities which await this year is the book signing by Haji Gora on February 14, titled “Twelve Poems by Haji Gora” at the Hurumzi Hotel at 1100 hours and the “Songs for Peace Awards” on closing night, February 15 at 2000 hours which is a cooperation of more than a dozen Tanzanian musicians to use music for the promotion of peace.

On Zanzibar at least, Sauti Za Busara will outrank the hype over Valentine’s Day as all eyes, and ears of course, will be trained on the stages where performances are given to the audiences at various venues during the day and at night.

KUTCH diaries

The largest district in Gujarat, Kutch is gradually growing as a favored tourist destination in Gujarat. The word ‘Kutch’ literally means something which becomes wet and dry. Most part of the district is a shallow wetland which submerges in water during the rainy season and becomes dry during summers. The district is surrounded by the Gulf of Kutch and the Arabian Sea in south and west and Great and Little Rann in the north and east. The district is famous for its uniqueness in terms of culture and traditions and is popular for famous crafts and embroidery works. Ninety-seven small rivers flow through Kutch and flow into the Arabian Sea, almost twenty major dams and numerous smaller dams are present in Kutch. Kutch has a spectacular wildlife population which can be seen in a number of wildlife sanctuaries and parks present in the district.
Where in Kutch...

The must visit list for Kutch is a long one, below are the few of the must visit places in Kutch.

Little Rann of Kutch Sanctuary:The largest sanctuary in the state of Gujarat, Little Rann of Kutch Sanctuary is spread over an area of 7505.22 sq. km. It is situated in the North-eastern part of Kutch and borders Pakistan. Some rare wild animals such as striend hyena, porcupine, fox, small Indian civet, Indian pangolin and star tortoise can be found in this sanctuary.

Kandla Port:Kandla port is a national port and is one of the 11 major ports in India. Managed by the Ministry of Commerce, Kandla is also the country’s free trade zone whose foundation was laid by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru.

Aina Mahal:As the name clearly suggest, Aina Mahal is a palace of mirrors built in the 18th century. It is also known as Madansinhji Museum. The hall of mirrors is the biggest attraction in the palace, which has marble walls adorned with mirrors and separated by gilded ornaments. Other attractions in the palace consists of a number of fountains, a pleasure pool and the art gallery which has pictures of Bhuj city and its rulers adorning the walls.

Bharatiya Sanskruti Darshan:It is a famous cultural center which comprises of rare collections of famous Kutchi folks and crafts. These crafts and folk materials are some of the rare artefacts from remote parts of the Kutch district and have been collected by forest officials while travelling around the district.

Prag Mahal:Located next to the Aina Mahal, Prag Mahal is another tourist attraction situated in the Kutch district. Built in the 19th century, the palace is built in Italian-Gothic style. The main attractions include the Main Hall, the Durbar Hall which houses broken chandeliers along with classical statues.

Indian Wild Ass Sanctuary:The largest wildlife sanctuary in India and spread over and area of 4954 sq. km, this sanctuary is the place where the endangered species of wild ass like Khur, as well as species of Asiatic wild ass like Onager could be found. The sanctuary was established in 1972, and also houses other animal species.

Theplas and Tea:
Most of the population in Kutch is vegetarian. Bajre (millet) da Rotla with buttermilk is the staple diet of most people in Kutch. Another famous relish is the ‘Khichhdi’, which is made of rice and pulses. Apart from this, dry theplas, sev and khakhras are made and stored for travel purposes.

Tea is a prominent part of the Kutchi cuisine and is loved by all. One can find tea stalls at every corner of the district. Other famous delicacies of the Kutchi cuisine includes, Khaman dhokla, Gathia, Undhia, Kachori etc.

Like most of India, sweet dishes make an important part of the Kutchi cuisine as well. Sweets like, Adadiya, Gulab Pak, Son Papdi, Gulab Jamun and Jalebi are enjoyed by the Kutchi people.

Rann Utsav:

Rann Utsav

Samsung inaugurates Smart School in Senegal

The Ministry of Education in Senegal and Samsung Electronics Africa have announced the launch of a mobile education solution, which aims to create positive change hence providing an advanced and interactive c l a s s r o o m experience for learners.

H a v i n g presence in Plan Jaxaay Secondary School, the Samsung Smart School initiative is an cohesive platform that includes m o n i t o r i n g and controlling feature – which enables teachers to keep track of educational content on their learners’ screens – a screen-sharing feature and a realtime questiona n d - a n s w e r feature.

Samba Guisse, IT Advisor, Human Resources Department at the Ministry of National Education in Senegal, stated that: “The future of education is about accessing information and collaborating locally and globally. Teaching and learning has become social; this has become possible with the emergence of initiatives such as the Samsung Smart School.”

According to Samsung, they always support the development in education with the view of impacting society and the economy. Samsung believes that access to technology can create new learning possibilities for students, paving their way towards lifelong learning and personal development in order to acquire the knowledge and skills needed in today’s society.

With the launch of the initiative in the country in partnership with Millennium Connect Africa, Samsung’s Smart Schools are part of the company’s far-reaching African citizenship programme, designed to improve the lives of Africans. Smart Schools have also been installed in countries like Mali, South Africa, Kenya, Rwanda, DR Congo and Sudan.

WeChat Africa sets to invest in micro-jobbing platform M4JAM

WeChat Africa, a joint venture between Naspers and Tencent, set to invest in South African microjobbing platform M4JAM (Money for Jam). According to WeChat Africa, the decision for investment was made after the success of the platform’s launched on WeChat back in August 2014.

Brett Loubser, Head of WeChat Africa stated that: “Its disruptive business model has turned ‘business as usual’ on its head from both the end consumer and the brand’s perspective, resulting in a rapid and overwhelming demand from both users and companies to be on the M4JAM platform.”

“M4JAM challenges the status quo enabling companies to rapidly gather data, perform mystery shopping, manage merchandising audits, improve product education and promote brand activation whilst soliciting real consumer insights at a fraction of the cost of traditional methods,” says Andre Hugo, co-founder and chief jammer at M4JAM. “With the opportunity to earn extra cash and supplement their incomes, our jobbers are strongly invested in the platform, providing more authentic information than ever before and begging the question of other brands – can we afford not to be on-board?”

WeChat’s investment will allow M4JAM to speed up the business locally and spread it globally, positioning M4JAM as a digital game-changer for consumer brand engagement, creating real time business solutions whilst solving real world problems. Of the investment Hugo says, “WeChat’s investment allows us to focus on building our business while they provide the community that helps enable our success. We launched M4JAM on WeChat because the social communications app offers a fast and easy deployment platform.”

“M4JAM is part of the social conversation, which is good news for WeChat users as they will have access to the service without having to download another app. It also benefits M4JAM as we are able to tap into an existing user base, which will be a huge benefit when moving into new markets where WeChat already has a strong presence,” says Hugo

“WeChat is on a path to deliver value for users via multiple Official Accounts like M4JAM. We’re supporting their growth to demonstrate that through the right partnerships, WeChat can deliver value, not only for users but for brands as well. We have several other start-ups launching on the platform this year that will help us show the true power of an integrated mobile social platform,” Loubser concludes.

Rwanda private sector to benefit from Rwf128b EIB, PTA Bank credit facility

Rwanda’s private sector is set to benefit from a new €160 million (about Rwf128.4 billion) credit facility from the European Investment Bank (EIB), Europe’s long-term lending institution, and regional development bank, PTA Bank.

The EIB will provide €80 million loan for the new initiative, while PTA Bank will also raise the same amount, a development that represents the largest single private sector lending scheme ever backed by the EIB in Africa, the two institutions said in press statement.

Rwanda will be one of the 12 countries in the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) to benefit from the credit facility that targets agribusiness, energy, manufacturing and service sector projects, which will access loans for up to 15 years (euros or dollars), and seven years for local currency.

The new lending programme was announced by Admassu Tadesse, the PTA Bank president, and Pat Walsh, EIB director responsible for lending outside Europe, at PTA Bank regional office Nairobi, Kenya. PTA Bank is a development bank for Comesa. The funding will be a big boost for Rwanda’s SMEs which still face many challenges in accessing long-term credit from local commercial banks.

“Unlike recent private sector lending by the European Investment Bank in the region, the new facility will not only target small-and-medium enterprises (SMEs), but will also focus on supporting specific investment needs of larger firms,” the statement indicated.

“We are delighted to join forces with the EIB to give a much-needed boost to increased investment in Comesa economies, which is key to job-creation and economic transformation of the bloc,” Tadesse said.

Pim van Ballekom, the EIB vice-president, said the funding will help firms in the Comesa region to explore new business opportunities and create more jobs. According to the statement, the facility will be supported by a €2 million technical assistance programme to strengthen environmental, social and money-laundering assessment skills of PTA staff, and to improve assessment of the economic impact of projects financed through the scheme.

Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Egypt, Ethiopia, Zambia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Seychelles, Mauritius, Malawi and Mozambique make up the Comesa bloc.

RwandAir to start direct flights to Lusaka next month

Rwandair will next month begin direct flights to Lusaka, Zambia, John Mirenge, the Chief Executive Officer, has said. Mirenge said the national carrier will launch its inaugural flight on March 27. The airline will have three weekly flights from Kigali to Lusaka on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Mirenge said the flights have been incorporated into the Johannesburg route, and the airline will depart Lusaka on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

They will all be operated by our Boeing 737-800 Next Generation dual class aircraft with guaranteed safety and comfort, Mirenge said.

“We are delighted that the continent’s airspace is being opened for African carriers to take advantage of the opportunities therein. The Lusaka route will offer convenience and affordable flights to the passengers who will also take advantage of connections to sixteen other destinations in Africa and in the Middle East,” Mirenge said.

RwandAir launched direct flights on the Entebbe-Nairobi route a fortnight ago after acquiring the fifth freedom in Nairobi.

The airline is also expecting the delivery of a second brand new dual class Bombardier Q400 Next Generation aircraft.

Recently the airline was ranked one of the safest across the globe after passing the International Air Transport Association (IATA) operational safety audit.

3 Nigerian women win international agricultural award

– AWARD announces winners of 2015 fellowships —

Out of the 70 winners of this year’s fellowship, 10 had prior experience within the AWARD Fellowship as junior mentees to AWARD Fellows, with four having applied for the fellowship at least once before:

Ngozi Edoh, a Research Scientist at the National Root Crops Research Institute Umudike in Ghana is currently focused on biosafety research and genetic improvement of root and tuber crops.

Belinda Kaninga, a soil scientist from Zambia on the other hand is developing appropriate soil fertility technologies in order to improve agricultural production and income for smallscale farmers.

Kaninga is an Agricultural Research Officer at the Zambia Agriculture Research institute.

Crop scientist Catherine Nwokwu is currently a post-graduate student at Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki. Her vision for agricultural research and development is to develop at least five high yielding and drought tolerant rice varieties.Juliana Amaka Ugwu, an entomologist, is also a former AWARD junior mentee. She is on a mission to develop ecological and environmentally friendly approaches to sustainable production of fruits and vegetables in Nigeria. Ugwu is currently a lecturer at the Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria.

AfDB awards US$1 million emergency relief assistance for drought victims in Somalia

The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) has awarded US $1 million emergency relief assistance to Somalia where over one million people affected by drought and famine are in dire need of humanitarian assistance.

The Emergency Humanitarian Relief Assistance to Victims of Drought in the country approved by the AfDB Board of Directors on Monday, February 9, 2015 will support the efforts being made by the Federal Government of Somalia in conjunction with the United Nations to provide urgent food aid distributions and food deliveries to drought-affected families in several parts of the country.

The grant has been mobilised from the Bank’s Special Relief Fund (SRF) and will be used to purchase food items, finance costs of transportation and distribution of food rations to the beneficiaries as well as administrative charges.

The assistance will be channeled through targeted food distribution to households affected by the drought, mainly vulnerable groups (like widows, orphans, female- and elderly-headed households) without alternative means of survival. Due to the imminent shortfalls, local and regional purchases, which have the added benefit of supporting the national and regional agricultural economies, will be made. The World Food Programme (WFP), which has a well-established network in the country for food relief assistance and a strong procurement system and infrastructure in place that could be readily used to quickly procure goods and services needed, has been selected to implement the Bank’s relief operation. According to United Nations statistics, some 9 to 10 million people in the Horn of Africa are in need of humanitarian assistance as a result of a severe drought, whose effects have been worsened by poor rains, conflict, trade disruptions and reduced humanitarian assistance in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Djibouti. Continued deterioration as a result of severe droughts in 2010 and 2011, coupled with poor humanitarian access and inadequate humanitarian assistance, culminated in the declaration of famine in southern Somalia in 2011, with more than 250,000 people, mainly women and children dying from hunger and decease.

A recent food security analysis led by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) indicates that over 1 million people need urgent humanitarian assistance in Somalia, a 20% increase in six months. And a further 2 million people face significant food security stress.

Humanitarian supplies, mainly food stocks from donor countries have been delivered to affected areas such as Gedo and Bay Regions; Middle Shabelle and Hiraan; Warsheikh and Bulo Burto by the government, with logistical support from the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).

The humanitarian request from the Federal Government of Somalia fulfills three criteria required to qualify for Bank Group assistance: (i) the emergency situation is of a scale, which is clearly beyond the capacity of the Somali Government to handle alone; (ii) the proposed activities can be carried out expeditiously and effectively within the required time frame; and (iii) the emergency relief assistance aims at restoring a degree of normalcy in both the social and economic life of the affected populations as quickly as possible.

WTM Africa 2015 welcomes an array of new South African exhibitors

WTM Africa 2015, the leading business-tobusiness tourism event in Africa, has added an array of new exhibitors from host country South Africa, including some of its major hotels names.

The new faces at WTM Africa – which will take place at the Cape Town International Convention Centre from April 15-17, represent an A-Z of tourism businesses, ranging from marketing representation company Axis Marketing to Zulu Nyala, a game reserve.

Sun International, Fairmount Zimbali Resort and Tsogo Sun are three of the many major hotel names that are new exhibitors for WTM Africa 2015, which will be a three-day event for the first time after last year’s inaugural two-day show.

Sun International, Group Marketing Manager, Alison McKie, said the five-star hotel and casino resorts is exhibiting at WTM Africa for the first time due to the overwhelming success of the inaugural event.

“Sun International is delighted to confirm our participation in World Travel Market Africa 2015,” McKie said.

“The event created a significant impact within the African business and leisure travel markets and we are confident it is the right platform for our properties to build business and business opportunities throughout 2015 and 2016.”

Another new name from the upmarket hotel sector is Fairmont Zimbali Resort, just half an hour from Durban; while the conference market also has a new exhibitor: The Sandton Indaba.

Tsogo Sun, which claims to be Africa’s leading hotel group with 90 properties in several market segments, is yet another new exhibitor from the region for 2015.

Reflecting southern Africa’s diverse wildlife attractions are new exhibitors from game reserves and safari camps, such as Classic Safari Camps of Africa – an association of independent lodges and camps – and Kilima Private Game Reserve and Spa, in Limpopo Province, close to the Kruger National Park. A more quirky animal attraction is the Highgate Ostrich Show Farm.

There are two new exhibitors offering coach services – Mega Coach and Protours Coach Charter – while City Sightseeing, which offers hop-on-hop-off bus tours of Johannesburg, Cape Town and Soweto, has signed up too.

Catering for those who want to sleep under canvas is Tentco, and also making its debut is the South African Youth Travel Confederation, a consortium of backpacker hostels, safaris, tours, transport services, adventure activities, language centers and volunteer projects.

Thebe Reed Exhibitions, Managing Director, Carol Weaving, said: “It’s great to see such a wide range of new exhibitors from such different tourism businesses, and it’s a result of the buzz WTM Africa created last year.

“The success of the inaugural event means it has grown from two to three days, and the exhibition floor space will be 50% bigger, thanks to increased interest from companies around the world.

“WTM Africa 2014 saw almost 4,000 industry professionals negotiate deals worth $314 million (£189 million) – and the sheer diversity of the new exhibitors joining us this time around gives me great confidence that those figures will easily be surpassed.

“As well as the host of new names from South Africa, we also have fresh faces from other parts of Africa, as well as other continents.”

World Travel Market Africa takes place at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC), as part of Africa Travel Week which includes fellow Reed Travel Exhibitions’ events IBTM Africa and ILTM Africa, and will run from April 15-17. The 2015 event has been expanded by one day to three-days, following the success of the inaugural two-day show.

WTM Africa is part of the WTM Portfolio which also includes World Travel Market, Arabian Travel Market and WTM Latin America.

ETurboNews is a media partner for World Travel Market (WTM).

Hellocash Mobile Money Service Goes Live in Ethiopia

Lion International Bank and Somali Micro Finance in partnership with BelCash Technology Solution PLC launched the official pilot of the HelloCash mobile money services.

BelCash Technology Solution PLC is an Ethiopian based technology service provider for financial industry.

The HelloCash mobile money platform will provide financial services to all Ethiopians. The HelloCash service enables existing and potential customers of Lion International Bank and Somali Micro Finance to carry out transactions in four key areas of financial transactions: Deposit, Withdraw, Transfer and make payments. The HelloCash mobile money service is provided in compliance with National Bank of Ethiopia's directives on mobile money.

The pilot of HelloCash mobile money service is underway in three part of the country with locations consisting of a mix of agent outlets and branches.

HelloCash Mobile Money would make financial services available to more Ethiopian, especially at the grassroots in order to drive financial inclusion in the country.

One of the uniqueness of HelloCash mobile money services is its interoperability and shared infrastructure features. The system is designed for multi banks and MFI's to be interconnected and offer the mobile money service to their respective customers, therefore, partnering financial institutions are able to share each other's agent and branch network to serve each other's customers.

This allow any customers of any partnering bank to visit any agent or branches to conduct financial services regardless of which bank customers belongs too. The sharing of agent network allows partnering banks to optimize their investment as well as increase national wide service coverage.

CEO of BelCash International, Mountaga Vince Diop mentioned that this is only the beginning of what seems to be an irreversible step to reinforce Financial Inclusion in the country.

BelCash Technology Solutions PLC provides the Banks and the Micro Finances, Go-to-Market turn-key mobile money solutions (including capacity building, business and operational models, hardware, disaster recovery and Call center facilities) and facilitate the penetration of Mobile and Agent Banking in the Ethiopian Financial landscape.

The Financial Institutions providing HelloCash in Ethiopia are confident to build a unique network of more than 20.000 agents across all Ethiopia within the 3 coming years.

Jonathan projected to defeat Buhari – Ex US envoy to Nigeria

The former US Ambassador to Nigeria, John Campbell has said that despite the strength of the opposition, President Jonathan may emerge the winner of the March 28 polls.

He said this in a report titled “Nigeria’s 2015 Presidential Election: Contingency Planning Memorandum Update,”

A parts of the report read: “The APC is stronger than its predecessors (Action Congress of Nigeria and Congress for Progressives Change) and reflects a splintering of the political classes.”

“The government’s inability to defeat Boko Haram, the economic hardships brought on by falling oil prices, and a growing public perception that the Jonathan administration is weak has fuelled support for the All Progressives Congress. Though the APC’s voter base is in the North, it enjoys support all over the country, unlike the opposition in 2011.

“It is uncertain whether any provisions will be made for voters in the three northern states placed under a state of emergency because of Boko Haram, as well as the estimated one million people displaced by the insurgency.

“These displaced voters would likely support Buhari and the APC; their exclusion would benefit Jonathan and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). Thus despite the strength of the opposition, Jonathan remains the likely winner.”

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

RCA to train 5000 more cricketers

The newly re-elected Rwanda Cricket Association president, Charles Haba has pledged to put more effort in developing the sport across the country.

The 38-year-old former Right Guards CC player, was returned an opposed as head of RCA, a position he has held since 2000. According to the RCA constitution, the term of office is two years. After his re-election, Haba said that in the previous years, focus was mainly on creating awareness about cricket in the country.

“It is now time to develop the game beyond Kigali. When we started RCA in 2000, cricket had just been introduced here, but today, the number has increased to 5000 cricketers,” he said, adding that their target is to double that number in the next one year.

In addition to Haba, all the other executive committee members including vice president Srinath Vardhineni, Secretary General Emmanuel Byiringiro and Treasurer, Steven Musaale, retained their posts. Meanwhile, a new position of head of women cricket was also created and will be headed by Sonia Uwimana.

Akufo-Addo Congratulates Stars

This is to congratulate the senior national football team, the Black Stars, for their impressive display in the just ended Africa Cup of Nations, where they emerged as silver medalists.

Despite being written off by football pundits prior to the commencement of the tournament and coupled with the difficult beginning they had in their first group game against Senegal, they rallied together, showed character and determination, and gave a good account of themselves right down to the last kick of the tournament. The nation is proud of them.

We all hoped they were going to bring back the cup after we last tasted victory some 33 years ago, but it was not to be. I am, however, confident of the future of the Black Stars, who can look forward to years of unparalleled success.

We have a solid base of good players who will emerge victorious in the next AFCON tournament in 2017, and make Ghana proud in future continental and global competitions. Congratulations once again!

Ferwafa to help Rayon Sports clear Shungu’s arrears

Rwanda Football Association (Ferwafa) has agreed to lend money to Rayon sports so that they pay their former coach Raoul Shungu salary arrears totaling $18,943 (Rwf13m) including accumulated fines.

Rayon Sport Spokesperson Emmanuel Niyomusabye praised the football body for bailing out the club that risks Fifa penalties including relegation to the second division if they don’t clear the outstanding debt before 1st March.

“It is true that Ferwafa will meet all the payments to Raoul Shungu and we pay back the money later. We found it the last option to borrow money to avoid Fifa punishing us,” Rayon spokesperson Niyomusabye told Times sport.

The arrears accumulated during Shungu’s second stint at the club in 2008 when he agreed with club officials to use his own money to bring in players like Honore Kabongo, Bokota Labama, Jean Lomami and Jimmy Kidega.

Shungu is also said to have used his own money to buy logistics like balls, nets and training kit.

The Nyanza based side were facing financial problems at the time and agreed to pay back Shungu but never did so, failing to also pay one month’s salary to the former Amavubi coach. The Congolese coach was earning $2500 at the time.

Shungu left Rayon Sports in May 2009 after falling out with his assistant Jean Baptiste Kayiranga and the club’s leadership. Kayiranga would later take over as head coach.

In September 2009, Shungu wrote to Ferwafa asking for their intervention as Rayon Sports dragged their feet over payment of his money but the football governing body didn’t do much.

He then took the matter to Fifa in 2011 and in 2012 Fifa wrote to Rayon Sports asking them to pay the money or risk severe punishment. Towards the end of last year, Fifa again warned Rayon Sports that if they fail to pay before march 1, then they will be relegated to the second division and pay double the money they owe Shungu.

Dawn in the Creeks Enters Second Season

Dawn in the Creeks (DITC), the Jeta Amata-led initiative aimed at promoting peace in the country’s Niger Delta region has kicked off its second season in Lagos, Nigeria.

At the official launch attended by Friends and Partners of DITC as well as members of the Press, Board member, Dawn in the Creeks, Andre Blaze Henshaw said the second season would leverage on the awareness and excitement generated by its debut season and highlight the gains made so far and the challenges facing the project.

“In our first season, we mobilized the youth of the area to become change agents in a Niger Delta that was, for too long, perceived as a cauldron of degradation, restiveness and mayhem”, Henshaw reminded.

And while these issues have not been totally eradicated, we can literally see a dawn of peace and hope on the horizon”.

Season two follows the 21 young men and women who had enrolled in the Nollywood Academy as they juggle their studies with their roles as peace ambassadors to their communities as well as leaders among their peers.

“Now things really get interesting because our fledgling film makers are starting to realize that the path of peace comes with its own peculiar issues”, -Henshaw explained.

“The crusade for a more peaceful and prosperous Niger Delta will not be embraced immediately by all but they would have to keep at the vision that only is it possible but has become necessary for their communities to be freed from a past riddled with poverty and despair”.

Among the friends and partners present at the launch was, the US Consular General in Nigeria, Ambassador Jerry Hawkins, who was full of praise for the Initiative and pledged the continued support of the American Government. “The U.S. Mission partnered with a distinguished group of Nigerian leaders to give the people of the Niger Delta platforms like the Dawn in the Creeks reality TV show and weekly radio programs, to share non-violent solutions to problems with their fellow Nigerians as well as with local, state, and national authorities”, he said.

Jerry hinted that “Improving the relationship and accountability between the government and its citizens will go a long way to ensuring the future remains promising for the region. Today, Dawn in the Creeks is a social enterprise run by a competent board of advisors from the world of business, civil society and entertainment. We are looking for corporate partners who share our vision of a better future for our youth.”

As in its maiden season, DITC2 will feature notable figures from the Nigerian entertainment seasons serving as mentors and facilitators for the Change Agents and is scheduled to air on select TV stations across the country.

Terah AM performs “Wish you well” acoustic version

Hip hop artist, rapper, songwriter and producer Terah AM has performed an acoustic version of ‘Wish you well’ with the Yoyo crew on Ginger tinz.

Terah whose main goal is to spread urban rap music influence in 3rd and 2nd cycle institution in Ghana believes his music is not for everybody, but only for the openminded and young at heart.

Terah AM hails from Gbawe- Accra and is 1/3 of Metro District, an independent music group based in Accra comprising of talented artists and producers (JumpOFF & No Drrumz).

Terah AM is driven by his love for words and Images, and this has churned him out to be an excellent story teller.

He is able to draw inspiration from his experiences to create beautiful music, hence leading to the release of his two songs (How Halo Won & Wish You Well).

“Wish You Well” reflects the experience one goes through when a love partner decides to leave the other with the reason that the love is fading out. Terah AM who has gained exposure online and on major tertiary campuses used his “Wish You Will” song to tell a story by wishing anyone who goes through such situation well in spite of the challenges in finding another person like him or her.

He has released 2 joint EPs (Pushing Envelopes and Three) and has also feature singles.

Terah AM is scheduled to release his debut mixtape later on this year.

The Beautiful Face of Africa Fashion Week London

Beautiful and stunning model Maggie Smith has fashioned and sketched her way to a landslide victory in the race to become the face of Africa Fashion Week London. The 20-year-old received 1947 votes - over 200 more than her nearest rival.

Maggie, who is a receptionist, will get to see her face on posters, websites and the catwalk when she fronts the Africa Fashion Week London in August. Subsequent to her enormous success over more than 20 other contestants Maggie, born in Uganda but now living in Airdrie with mum Joanne said: “I am absolutely over the moon as this will be an amazing opportunity.

“I am very excited about being the face of Africa Fashion Week London and I will have to try and contain myself as I still have to get up for work in the morning in the meantime. I finished just over 200 votes ahead of the runner-up, which is incredible. I can’t thank the Advertiser and its readers and everyone who voted enough.

“I have relatives in Southampton, Uganda and Australia who all showed their support while all my friends in Airdrie and colleagues at work have been brilliant. “There were people I have never met in my life who voted for me and I will never forget the opportunity they have afforded me.

“I am an emotional person as it is but I was really touched by seeing how kind people can be. “The Africa Fashion Week London doesn’t take place until August but I am travelling to London for a photoshoot at the end of February." Maggie continued saying: “These publicity shots will be to use on the face of the fashion week campaign. The images used are going to be very editorial, with a lot of colour, and I am really looking forward to seeing the finished product.

“My face will feature on ticket passes, website promotion and on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram during the fashion week. There will also be a backdrop of an image of my face on the catwalk for the fashion shows, which is very exciting to think about” she said.

“I will be based in London for the full week, at least, and the contacts I will hopefully make would be really helpful. “Winning still hasn’t fully sunk in yet. I think it will start to when I go down for my photo-shoot. I cannot wait to get off and running,” she said.

The City That Never Sleeps!:MUMBAI

Mumbai is what we lovingly call - the 'City of Dreams'. This marvellous metropolis is not only the financial capital of India that aids as the center of all trade and investments, but also a cultural center.

It is a place where you can enjoy the most eminent stylish labels and merchandises from various fashion houses that overflow the eventful malls. A place where allure is not a rare word and is imitated brazenly in the Bollywood film industry.

To witness some of God's astonishing wonders- the splendid sunsets over the Arabian Sea, do take a look at the beaches in Mumbai, which is a dream-like vision. In Mumbai, night is when the day truly arises, which is why Mumbai is also talk about as the 'city that never sleeps'. Once a cluster of seven islands, Mumbai was offered to King Charles II in 1661 as part of the dowry when he married Princess Catherine de Braganza of Portugal.

City of Dreams: Vivacious, thriving, on the move, energetic, amusing - this is Mumbai or as it is still often denoted as - Bombay. The most contemporary city in India, it catches the essence of the shifting pace set by liberalization and modernisation.

Lip-Smacking Choices: It is the capital of Maharashtra state, and its official language is Marathi though English and Hindi are broadly spoken and understood. The fastpaced life has given rise to packs of "fast-food outlets" on more or less every road, proposing lip-smacking choices of Mumbai's very own: Pau Bhaji, Bhel Puri and Kababs. There is no shortage, yet, of multi-culinary delicacies dished out in high-class restaurants by master chefs.

Shopper's Delight: Mumbai is a shopper's delight with inexpensive buys, élite boutiques, cultural markets and mini bazaars. This eventful city is also the centre of a blossoming cultural life, with an endless stream of concerts in music, dance and drama.

Bindaas Bollywood: Next to Hollywood, Mumbai is world's largest production centre for films. The Film City: 'Bollywood', as it is called, produces the second most number of films in the world every year.

Mumbai for All: Mumbai gratifies to the audacious and the idealistic through its boasting activities, nightclubs, pubs, theatres, beaches and restaurants.

Old and new, rich and poor, classical and modern- it’s all here for you to smell and relish!


Gateway of India:This 26m-high edifice has four turrets and intricate latticework engraved into the yellow basalt stone. Local people as well as the foreign tourists come down to this place in the evening and take a cool rest from day's tiring work schedules.

Haji Ali:Haji Ali Dargah is one of India’s most famed and prominent landmarks. The impressive Haji Ali is both a mosque and tomb. The Dargah is situated on a small island and is reachable through a narrow walking lane.

Marine Drive:It is the place where people hang out to cool down a while from the muggy hurried and busied life. As street lamps systematically line up on the edge of the beach, it is also known as called Queen's Necklace. Stalls on the beach, selling Bhelpuri, Kulfi and Paan make the chowpatty reviving.

Juhu Beach:Juhu is one of the most popular and posh beaches of India. Tourists can enjoy horse and donkey rides, dancing monkeys, acrobats, cricket matches, toy sellers etc. here.

Essel World: Essel World offers over 40 exciting rides, games, and attractions. The Water Kingdom is said to be the largest of its kind in Asia. It is a perfect destination for a one-day holiday.

Siddhivinayak Temple:The temple has a Kalash, which is a pointed dome of 12 feet high Gabhara (sanctum sanctorum) weighing 1500 kg and plated in gold. So, it expedites the 'Darshan' of Sri Siddhivinayak from either the area surrounding the Gabhara or the stage (Sabha Mandap) constructed to conduct pujas and festivities.A

Telkom considering sale of mobile phone towers in South Africa

According to a report by Bloomberg, South African telecommunications provider Telkom, is looking to cut costs on its mobile service offering by selling off a section of mobile phone towers – in South Africa. B l o o m b e r g cited that individuals with knowledge on the matter made the reveal. According to Bloomberg’s source, who wished to remain a n o n y m o u s according to Bloomberg, the sale could fetch as much as $500 million to $1 billion. The source revealed that Telkom is allegedly working with consulting firm Accenture PLC on the sale, which may attract tower operators such as IHS Holding Ltd. of Nigeria and Helios Towers Africa, the people said. No final decision has been made and talks may still falter, they said.

Bloomberg continued the report by stating that carriers in emerging markets including the Middle East and Africa are offloading towers. They cost more to run in such regions than in other parts of the world because of the need for backup generators and batteries to guard against power failures.

Kuwait’s largest wireless carrier, known as Zain, is working with Citigroup Inc. on the possible sale of towers in two Gulf countries, people familiar with the matter said last month. IT News Africa has reached out to Telkom regarding the matter; however, no comment has yet been obtained from Telkom. Update: According to a spokesperson at Telkom: “The report is speculative; however, Telkom has stated many times in the past (most recently at the Company’s interim results), that Telkom is continuing its review of all properties, assets and infrastructure within the company’s portfolio. This review is considering a wide range from potential options. The primary focus of the review is to optimise the use of our facilities and assets while also considering any potential commercial opportunities.”

KPMG Global Africa Practice launches App to streamline business in Africa

The KPMG Global Africa Practice has launched their new Africa Business App – a first for the industry. The dynamic new platform will provide businesses and investors with seamless access to the very latest Africa information about doing business across the continent.

“With the KPMG Africa Business App, we are not just delivering the most up-to-date information on country profiles, fiscal information and keen insights into operating in some of these countries – we are providing businesses with a unique, highly interactive and bespoke user experience,” explains Bryan Leith, Chief Operating Officer of KPMG Africa.

Through the application users will have access to content that includes the latest African country profiles with the most recent country information – everything from fiscal guides to business climate and more – and at no additional charge for utilising the App beyond their service providers data charges. Users will also have full access to KPMG’s insights into doing business in Africa – from latest surveys and reports across industries. What’s more, the firm has included a unique and first to market service via this App. Appropriately named and trademarked, the KPMG ClientTalkTM functionality gives users easy access to the firm’s subject experts across markets and sectors by providing quick-links as to who to contact at the firm should users have any questions or are looking for advice about investing, expanding or entering the continent.

Additionally, has been brought on board as the official news aggregator – providing up-to-date news and stories from across each region, as well as Pan- African and global news of relevance to Africa and as the news breaks. Founder of, Morell Maison, says: “Accessibility of news is paramount to decision making. Our news aggregation saves time and ensures the most relevant news is available to decision makers and visitors to Africa, when it’s needed. Our aim has always been to facilitate the flow of information, not just within pan-Africa, but pan-diaspora. And this partnership with KPMG aligns perfectly with our strategy and philosophy.”

“Africa is a complex and diverse continent – but it is also home to many companies that boast remarkable talent, a great track record and a more-than-promising future. Naturally, investors from elsewhere would like to partner with them and share in their growth potential. Within our Global Africa Practice, we find ourselves devoting an ever increasing amount of time and resources to “matchmaking” – introducing investors to suitable African partners – and in roughly 90% of cases a successful “marriage” results. The waters can be difficult to navigate but we are committed to helping clients and potential clients capture business opportunities available in the African market, understand the landscape and mitigate the risks – and the App is just another channel that allows us to do exactly that,” concludes Seyi Bickersteth, Chairman, KPMG Africa.

Orange and Ecobank launch money transfer service

Orange and pan-African banking group Ecobank have rolled out a service that will enable Orange Money subscribers who also have bank accounts with Ecobank to transfer money between their respective accounts. The service has already been launched in Mali and will be rolled-out in several other African countries, including Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea Conakry, Niger, Senegal and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, during the first half of 2015. The partnership aims to facilitate money transfers for both Ecobank and Orange customers by offering them the possibility of topping up their Orange Money e-wallet from their bank account, and vice versa.

The two companies have launched the service following the signature of a memorandum of understanding. The partnership comes as part of a joint strategy to enhance mobile financial services and to increase access to banking services across Africa.

In sub-Saharan Africa, where less than 24 percent of the population has a bank account and over 60 percent have a mobile phone, Orange Money offers easyto- use mobile financial services that allow transactions to be made remotely and securely, avoiding the need to carry money around. With Orange Money, customers can transfer money from their mobile phones to any other customer in the country and, in some countries, internationally. They can also pay their water, electricity and television bills and top up their telephone airtime remotely. Depending on the country, they may also benefit from savings and insurance solutions. Laurent Paillassot, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Orange in charge of Customer Experience and Mobile Banking, said: “This partnership between Orange and Ecobank will further enrich customer experience. By facilitating exchanges between Ecobank and Orange Money accounts, our customers will be able to conduct financial transactions quickly and in complete security, bringing them the best of both worlds. We want to offer this service wherever it makes sense.”

Patrick Akinwuntan, Ecobank’s Group Executive in charge of Domestic Banking, said “This roll-out further demonstrates Ecobank’s commitment to make branchless banking a reality by activating multiple service channels in every country in which we operate. Our unique pan-African footprint also enables us to be at the forefront of efforts to develop the market for crossborder mobile financial services in Africa.”

IFC set to grow Mobile Money usage in Uganda

A new coffee policy that seeks to increase coffee production and strengthen extension services in coffee farming is in the offing. Gerardine Mukeshimana, the Minister for Agriculture, said the policy would replace the coffee policy of 1998, paving way for new strategies that will help streamline Rwanda’s coffee industry. It is, however, awaiting Cabinet approval.

“Coffee is an important cash crop and a source of income, which makes it essential to have clear and strong policies, regulations and strategies if we are to improve the livelihoods of over 400,000 farmers who depend on coffee farming,” she said.

Mukeshimana was speaking during the Rwanda coffee conference organised by the National Agriculture Export Board (Naeb) and the International Growth Centre (IGC) in Kigali.

She noted that, often, the role of policies and regulations is overlooked, which creates shaky systems. She added that without strong and industry-supportive policies, there can never be confidence among stakeholders, a situation that affects growth of the sector.

“It’s important to know that right policies create a fair ground for all sector players to compete,” the minister emphasised.

George William Kayonga, the Naeb Chief Executive Officer, said the new policy will guide the various activities in the coffee sector, and ensure quality along the value chain.

He said there is a need to improve extension services and put in place effective mechanisms to boost research, as well as develop technologies that can help increase coffee production,” he said.

According to Dr Celestin Gatarayiha, the head of the coffee chain division at NAEB, the policy is in line with the international coffee agreement which was ratified in 2012.

Rwanda’s coffee strategy expired in 2012, he added.

“The new policy also provides a framework on how to improve and respond to demand for coffee on the international market through more enhanced processing and marketing strategies by the private sector.”

It also seeks to empower coffee washing stations to increase production in their zones of operations but also ensuring that these stations are fully operational and profitable, he added.

The policy also seeks to put in place strong regulations and conducive working environment that will help intensify farmers field schools, knowledge and technical knowhow.

There are currently 229 coffee washing stations across the country and the number could be increased once the new policy is implemented.

According to Gatarayiha, the new policy will promote the domestic consumption of coffee throughestablishing locally developed roasting capacities.

Dr Rocco Mac Chiavello, an economic expert and consultant based in Italy, said undercapacity utilisation, market failures, especially in sourcing and access to finance, still remain major challenges in the coffee industry.

“There is need for a policy not only to regulate, but also help deal with market stability through more strengthened relationship between farmers and coffee washing stations,” Chiavello added.

Jean Jacques Mmbonigaba, the director general Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB), said the policy will be key to improve and expand the fully-washed coffee market.

InfiNet Wireless set to improve internet connectivity

InfiNet Wireless, a broadband connectivity company, has revealed their success in improving connectivity across the Nigerian region. According to the company, TruNorth, one of InfiNet’s resellers, has been working within the region in line with InfiNet’s overall strategy to expand its presence in Africa and bring wireless connectivity to all corners of the continent.

According to the company, the Nigerian region has been identified as having low internet speeds and poor connectivity. The company also revealed that telecom providers are not providing sufficient internet speeds that meet the demands of the growing market.

Kamal Mokrani, Global Vice President of InfiNet Wireless, stated that: “Nigeria is a key developing market for us and we are working with TruNorth, an experienced telecom service provider in the region, to provide reliable and state of the art networks for high capacity connectivity.”

“TruNorth believe that Nigeria offers the largest telecom market in Africa and shows consistent growth year after year. The market demand in Nigeria outweighs both the service offerings and the availability of infrastructure needed to meet these demands which make it a key focus for Wireless providers such as InifNet Wireless. InfiNet provides high capacity solutions and very fast deliveries, which is exactly what is required in Nigeria today.” concluded Abdallah Fawaz, Managing Director of TruNorth.