Thursday, 30 April 2015

Togbe Afede XIV Becomes Member of World Trade Centre Board

Delegates from around the world have elected World Trade Centre Accra (WTC-Accra) Chairman Togbe Afede XIV to their international board, as one of the 23-member board.

With a voter turnout of 70% of the 331-member cities organization: “The election results affirm that Accra is a world-class city in the eyes of international business community who value our vision on how we can grow local business through international trade,” said Emmanuel Doni-Kwame, Managing Director of WTC-Accra.

“We only got certified last year and business leaders in Ghana and Togbe Afede XIV have already proven that we have a lot to offer the international business community.

“Since WTC Accra started full operation in 2011, we’ve been successful in providing premium office space through our partnership with SSNIT and promoted trade and investment through our outbound trade missions to Brazil, Italy and Qatar. This news confirms that the world has noticed.”

The elections results were announced during the WTCA General Assembly in Manila, Philippines. Up to 300 delegates from Anchorage to Beijing, from Mumbai to Sao Paulo, from Washington to Zurich and beyond were eligible to vote in the election. They represent some of the world’s finest business leaders, CEOs, property developers, economists, trade experts, and policy makers working to boost global trade and cooperation.

Togbe Afede XIV is the board chairman of the National Investment Bank, Accra Hearts of Oak and Africa World Airlines. “It is exciting to become part of the WTCA board, which I believe will help position Accra and Ghana as a key investment and trade destination,” Togbe said from Manila.

“I believe that the WTC network’s greatest strengths are not only what happens within the walls of each WTC, but also in the relationships and connections WTC staff create as we bring the world to the doorsteps of Winnipeg businesses one connection at a time.” Meanwhile, Accra has earned a seat at the table of the World Trade Centers Association (WTCA) board of directors as the only representative from Africa.

WTC Accra is a member of the World Trade Centers Association, the leading international trade network, representing more than 300 World Trade Centres in nearly 100 countries. WTC Accra provides trade services and office space to both local and international companies looking to grow their business and interested in doing business with Ghana and Africa.
Source: The Ghanaian Chronicle

Prez Inaugurates First Private Electricity Substation

President John Dramani Mahama has inaugurated the first private sector-owned substation in electricity supply to serve industries operating in the Tema Free Zones enclave.
The Enclave Power Company (EPC), which will produce 165 megawatts of power, is the largest substation in Ghana, in terms of capacity, and is the first of its size to be constructed and funded entirely from private sources. Construction works on the project started in September 2013 and completed within a record 15 months in December 2014, and is estimated at a cost of US$35 million.

President John Mahama noted that electricity distribution in the country has traditionally 
been the responsibility of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) and Northern Electricity Distribution Company (NEDCO), which handles supply to the northern part of Ghana.

He however debunked allegations that the government intends selling the ECG to a private company, saying, “Government has no intention of privatising ECG”, and that the ECG is still a 100% government-owned entity. “We will remain a 100% owned entity,” he assured.

Prez Mahama continued that nothing in their regulations stops them from adopting “Partner Private Partnership (PPP) in the distribution of power. He said the government will continue to partner the PPP sector to ensure that reliable power is supplied sustainably for the development of the country.

He pledged to fix the problems of power supply deficit, and ensure that such challenges will not occur anytime in the future.  He later visited the Volta Aluminum Company (VALCO) and Aluworks Ghana Limited, and also inspected on-going rehabilitation works on the Lashibi roads, which are progressing steadily.

He was accompanied by the some government officials including, Dr. Ekwow Spio Garbrah, Minister for Trade and Industry, and Dr. Kwabena Donkor, Minister for Power.
Source: The Ghanaian Chronicle

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Ivory trade: Kenya Wildlife Authorities in China

A six-member delegation of senior Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) officials, led by Minister Ole Tipis and the organization’s Director, General William Kiprono, is presently in China to engage with the Chinese government to enlist their support for reducing and eventually eliminating China’s hunger for ivory.

The KWS spokesperson, Paul Udoto, who met this correspondent last weekend and explained this important mission in greater details, just sent in a preliminary report after the group was received at the Kenyan Embassy in Beijing.

Start quote:
The six-member delegation is visiting China from April 21 to 30 to explore strategic partnership in wildlife protection, tourism and national park infrastructure development.

Mr Tipis said the Kenya China bilateral relations are focused on five thematic areas of economics, environment, tourism, culture and peace.

He noted that the trip focusing on environment and tourism was an important follow-up on the various agreements signed between Kenya and China as part of their bilateral cooperation.

“We passionately want to pursue the agreement areas and ensure that they are implemented as envisaged,” he said.

Mr Kiprono said the trip would discuss biodiversity collaboration between Kenya and China wildlife authorities as mandated by CITES, the bilateral agreements and KWS Strategic Plan. The delegation would also be meeting tour operators to explore ways of attracting more tourists from China to Kenya.

“We would like to have our share of the 100 million Chinese outward bound tourists and this visit is meant to prepare the ground for that,” Mr Kiprono said.

The trip marks a significant milestone in Kenya-China co-operation to boost conservation and tourism. The Kenya Wildlife Service is being hosted by the State Forestry Administration (SFA).

Kenya and China have forged a strategic collaboration to boost wildlife protection in the wake of human and environmental threat to this heritage.

Both Kenya and China are among the eight countries mandated by the Convention on International Trade on Endangered Species (CITES) to strengthen wildlife protection and combat wildlife crime.

Kenya has various joint programs with China to promote wildlife protection against a backdrop of poaching that remains a global problem. This partnership has realized profound successes.

Kenya recognizes and appreciates the recent action taken by the Chinese government to crush ivory and enhance law enforcement collaboration and intelligence sharing in tackling international wildlife criminal syndicates, particularly under the COBRA II operation.

Kenya and China last year won an award from CITES for spearheading the fight against poaching of iconic mammals.

In the past one year, poaching in Kenya has declined courtesy of a robust partnership with China and other international partners. Cooperation in key areas like intelligence sharing and technology exchange to boost the war against poaching has been strengthened.

Last year, Kenya passed a new wildlife law with punitive penalties and is keen on drawing lesson from China on its successful implementation of wildlife law, especially the protection of the panda. In 2014, KWS recruited 566 rangers and is currently recruiting 600 more rangers to beef up security. A wildlife forensic and genetics laboratory to be commissioned in the next two months is expected to help in prosecution of wildlife crimes.

Kenya recognizes China as a global leader in technology and expertise to promote conservation of habitats.

The visit to China by Kenyan wildlife officials, therefore, is part of a long-term engagement endorsed by leaders from both countries to strengthen the fight against wildlife crimes, climate change and habitat loss.

Kenyan President H.E Uhuru Kenyatta and his Chinese counterpart H.E Xi Jinping have endorsed collaborative partnership to promote environmental conservation, among other areas of mutual interest.

The Chinese Premier H.E Li Keqiang, during his visit to Kenya in May last year underscored the importance of bilateral cooperation in wildlife protection. The Chinese Premier toured Nairobi National Park, Kenya’s first national park to be created and the world’s wildlife capital.

Kenya and partners in China are also engaging Chinese celebrities to raise awareness against wildlife crime as a global problem. Kenya has previously hosted actress Li BingBing and retired basketball player Yao Ming for this purpose and is keen on hosting many such guests in future.

The delegation is confident that this visit will go along way in consolidating Kenya-China cooperation in environmental conservation and tourism.

The delegation includes Ms Lynette Muganda (Deputy Director Human Capital), Mr Edwin Wanyonyi (Deputy Director Strategy and Change), Dr Erustus Kanga (Senior Assistant Director Biodiversity), Paul Udoto (Corporate Communications Manager) and Idza Dzilla (Head Resource Mobilisation).
End quote

This level of direct engagement from official Kenyan sources aimed at hitting domestic demand for ivory in China is nearly unprecedented, and the underlying message surely is that as the world does not touch China’s prized Pandas so should China equally and reciprocally respect that Africa’s elephant and other game must also be left alone.

While the largest slaughter of elephant over the past years took place in neighboring Tanzania, Kenya has nevertheless had to deal with increased smuggling of ivory in transit and an increase in domestic poaching to levels which caused widespread alarm and prompted such reactions as President Kenyatta publicly burning several tons of blood ivory earlier this year.

While wildlife legislation against poaching and smuggling has been strengthened, it is now often brainless magistrates, or if rumors are anything to go bym magistrates who have been gotten to, who let suspects out on often laughably low bail and hand down equally laughable lenient sentences vis-a-vis fines with hardly any noticeable jail terms given. This has met with an avalanche of protests from wildlife activists and the conservation fraternity and is seen as undermining the war on poaching.

"If poachers are let out on bail, many times they just go back and continue poaching. If they only have to pay little fines and not go to jail for long periods, they just go back and continue poaching. It makes the work for KWS field staff and law enforcement very difficult and sends a message that it is almost ok to rob Kenya of her wildlife heritage. This is not acceptable. The rangers risk their lives to protect our wildlife, and too many courts have poured scorn over them with their ridiculous verdicts. I think magistrates need binding sentencing guidelines, and anyone coming in at the low end must be investigated immediately over suspected collusion or corruption. Only then can such elements be driven out of the judiciary and the full rule of law established and kept up," ranted a regular source from Nairobi when discussing the issue a few days ago.

One can only wish KWS well in their quest to take this message to China and hope that the Chinese authorities do more than just publicity stunts and begin to seriously crack down on smuggling, ivory processing and ivory possession. Only when these elements are criminalized and come with heavy fines and long prison terms, can there be hope for Africa’s dwindling elephant populations. As said earlier, no one in his true mind would aim to poach pandas for their fur or for trophies and equally does the world expect that China plays a more determined role from here on to reduce domestic demand for ivory and other wildlife products lest they become outcasts in a world more and more intent to safeguard the last great remaining wildlife heritage.
Source: Eturbo News

Giant land tortoise will lead Seychelles Carnaval International de Victoria

In 1972 a giant land tortoise paraded the streets of Victoria as part of the first carnival Seychelles ever organized. It has now been confirmed that in this 2015 edition of the Carnaval International de Victoria that it will be officially opened on Friday, April 24, again with a giant land tortoise that will lead the carnival parade in the streets of Victoria. It is Minister Alain St.Ange who had been liaising with the Seychelles Car Hire Association (SCHOA) and said that he congratulated Mr. Vincent Padayachy and his association for reviving “PER KOBE.”

"We were thrilled when the Car Hire Association agreed to bring back PER KOBE, one of our country's icons. The giant land tortoise will lead this year's carnival and will provide to everyone great photo opportunities. We simply say congratulations to the Car Hire Association and thank you for understanding that we all need to work together and not miss opportunities if we are to succeed with our tourism industry," Minister St.Ange said.
Source: Eturbo News

Seychelles Carnival: a platform to showcase cultures without shame & fear

The Carnaval International de Victoria is a platform for the world to be able to showcase their cultures without shame and fear.

These words were echoed by the Minister for Tourism and Culture Alain St Ange during the carnival’s press conference a day prior to the official launch of the fifth Carnaval International de Victoria.

Savoy Resort and Spa at Beau Vallon hosted the VIPs and international and local media representatives to the event at its Gecko Bar facing the ocean.

With the backdrop of the sunset, the press conference started at 6 o’clock in the evening. Princess Sikhanyiso of the Kingdom of Swaziland graced the event with her presence and was seated at the head table on stage.

Others at the head table were Minister St Ange, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Transport of Seychelles Joel Morgan, Ghanaian Minister for Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts Elizabeth Ofosu-Adjare, Secretary of State and Vice Minister for Tourism in Cambodia So Mara, the Chief Executive of the Seychelles Tourism Board Sherin Naiken, and Reunion Island Tourism (IRT) Board member Dominque Fournel.

Also present at the press conference were high officials from Seychelles and other countries and delegations from around the world coming to take part in the carnival parade and sponsors of the carnival.

Speaking at the event, Minister St.Ange said when we touch culture you are touching people.
He described the carnival as an event that brings people from around the globe together, regardless of their religious denominations or race.

“The Carnaval International de Victoria which is now celebrating its fifth anniversary is a big achievement for Seychelles. It brings the world together as one and promotes peace and harmony among nations,” he said.

“This year we have new partners who have come on board for this carnival and more countries are taking part in our Carnaval International de Victoria.”

Altogether 29 countries have taken the call to bring their cultures to be showcased in Seychelles.

Those present at the press conference were given an avant-goût of what is expected for the carnival parade on Saturday afternoon.

Minister Morgan congratulated his colleague minister for staging an event such as the carnival.

He added that tourism and transport go hand in hand together.

Minister Morgan said the carnival is a plus for Seychelles as it gives our islands great visibility.

Two announcements were made by Minister Morgan at the press conference. Air Seychelles’ direct flight to Paris as from July was the first announcement made. This is being done in collaboration with Air France, as the airline company that will provide Air Seychelles with a wider network throughout Europe. The second was the start of direct flight from two cities in China as from July this year.

After the speeches and official announcements, journalists present had the chance to ask questions.

The mistresses of ceremony for the press conference were three beauty queens – Miss Seychelles…another world 2014 Camila Estico, Miss United States of America Elizabeth Safrit, and Miss Australia Courtney Thorpe.
Source: Eturbo News

Hunt begins for 2015 Miss Tourism Uganda

Culture diversity will feature prominently in this year’s Miss Tourism 2015 whose preparations started in Karamoja and West Nile recently.

Karamoja and West Nile tourism clusters are the latest additions to the 9 regional clusters (Buganda, Busoga, Bunyoro, Tooro, Northern, Teso, Ankole, Eastern/Bugisu, and Kigezi) that competed for the prestigious title last year.

Young women between 18 and 27 who understand their respective cultural values have expressed interest from both Kampala and upcountry to represent their regions.

This year’s theme is “Celebrating Uganda’s Cultural Diversity”.

According to Ayishar Nagudi, the Miss Tourism Uganda Public Relations Officer, every regional cluster in the competition will send three girls to the National boot camp in August.
“It is time to showcase Uganda’s diverse culture and promote it as a tourism product,” said Nagudi.

“The young women will not only be addressed as beauty Queens but will also become Ambassadors of Uganda Tourism at international, regional and local tourism events,” she added.

Miss Tourism is an annual pageant that was revived recently by Uganda’s Tourism Minister Maria Mutagamba to promote Uganda’s tourism by engaging Ugandan ladies to showcase Uganda’s attractions.

The Overall Miss Uganda Tourism winner represents Uganda at the Annual Miss Tourism International held in Malaysia on 31st December each year. Miss Tourism Uganda 2013 made Uganda proud by winning the Miss Friendship International award in Miss in December 2013.

Eric Ntalo, the Media Coordinator of the Association of Uganda Tour Operators acknowledged the theme driven towards cultural tourism. He said cultural tourists make up the least composition of visitors to Uganda but are some of biggest spenders in the tourism economy.

The Miss Tourism pageant was revived in 2013 after a 6-year absence as a key social event. The Tourism ministry is taking the lead role in organizing the pageant working in collaboration with other sector agencies and the private sector.

The development of the domestic portfolio is as important as that of the international portfolio for the growth of tourism in Uganda. Despite its importance, domestic tourism has remained low key in Uganda in comparison with other countries in the region like Kenya and Rwanda. Competing for Miss Tourism is one of the ways that can promote local tourism and hence a drive for domestic tourism.

“Whereas international tourist arrivals and contribution to GDP increased in 2013 up to 1,206,334 arrivals from 1,196,000 from 2012, the number of Uganda citizens visiting National Parks and other tourism sites has not significantly increased.

“In that regard, the objective of the Miss Tourism Pageant is to identify individuals who will support national efforts to build the domestic tourism portfolio through motivating fellow citizens to act in the interest of promoting a tourism culture,” said Ntalo. According to the Economic and Statistical Analysis of Tourism in Uganda, cultural tourists spend 30 to 100% more per every visit than other tourists.
Source: Eturbo News

MTN Rwanda, Safaricom to interlink mobile money services

MTN Rwanda subscribers will soon be able to make cross-border mobile money transactions, thanks to a deal MTN Group signed with Vodafone Group.

The deal will see MTN users in Rwanda transfer cash to Kenya or Tanzania through Safaricom and Tanzania’s Vodacom M-Pesa platform “within weeks,” according to Norman Munyampundu, the head of mobile money at MTN Rwanda.

UK-based Vodafone owns controlling stakes in Kenya’s Safaricom and Vodacom.

Munyampundu said they are already conducting technical tests for the service, as well as working on country specific contracts to conclude the deal.

“We are still testing the service with Safaricom’s M-Pesa...However, we will launch mobile money transactions between MTN Rwanda and Vodacom in the coming weeks after finalising the paperwork,” he explained.

Munyampundu said the initiative is part of the firm’s wider plan to facilitate cross-border mobile money transfers in the region and ease the cost of doing business.

Under the memorandum of understanding signed by MTN Group and Vodafone Group, the two firms agreed to “share best practices and work together to define the rules and standards of mobile-based remittances in Africa”.

Last week, MTN Group signed a collaboration agreement that will allow MTN mobile money users in Uganda, Rwanda and Zambia to make international remittances with M-Pesa customers in Kenya, Tanzania, the DR Congo, Mozambique, and vice versa.

MTN and Bharti Airtel announced plans to start cross-border mobile money transfers between the Northern Corridor states – Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda – in November last year.

However, the telecoms say the service launch was postponed following regulatory delays by Kenyan and Ugandan communications agencies.

Munyampundu is optimistic the service will be launched soon to facilitate payments given the platform’s growing usage in the region.

Vodafone director for mobile money Michael Joseph said the agreement with MTN to connect the firm’s mobile money wallets in East Africa “is a fantastic example of co-operation and interoperability between competing mobile operators.”

“By working together, we will deliver cheaper, faster money transfers, improving the lives of many people living in the seven countries involved,” Joseph told Business Daily.
Source: New Times

PSF, Ethiopian chamber of commerce sign partnership deal

The Private Sector Federation (PSF) has signed a partnership agreement with the Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce to promote trade and economic relations between Rwanda and Ethiopia. 

Geoffrey Kamanzi, the head of trade facilitation and negotiations at PSF, said the key areas of co-operation will include technology transfer and technical assistance, capacity building to strengthen bilateral and business relations between the two countries.

“The two parties also agreed to exchange information, especially on taxation, investment opportunities and trade policies of their respective countries,” Kamanzi told The New Times in an interview.

He noted that the agreement, signed in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia last week, was witnessed by over 47 Rwandan and 200 Ethiopian business-people from the agriculture, manufacturing, energy, transport, infrastructure and real estate sectors.

Kamanzi is optimistic that the deal will unlock many opportunities for local businesses and exporters and, hence, spur trade between Rwanda and Ethiopia.

More about the deal
Both Rwanda and Ethiopia will establish a framework for co-operation and the implementation of a sustainable strategy on a variety of areas of common interest.

Ato Gashaw Debebe, the secretary general of the Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce, said the deal also provides mechanisms for dispute resolution among members of both organisations.

Muhammad Mazimpaka, the chairman of Chamber of Commerce at PSF, urged local businesses to take advantage of co-operation and look for new markets for their products.

Mazimpaka explained that the main objective of the arrangement is to facilitate, strengthen, diversify and expand trade between the two countries.

Last year, Rwanda and Ethiopia signed a trade co-operation agreement to facilitate trade between the two countries.
Source: New Times

MTN pays Rwf8.25m tuition for Bugesera school dropouts

More disadvantaged children in Bugesera District will be able to access quality education, thanks to a donation of Rwf8.25 million from MTN Rwanda to support students who had dropped out of school due to lack of fees.

The grant, which was received by Bugesera District mayor Louis Rwagaju at the district head offices on Friday, will benefit 20 students for a period of three years.

“I wish to thank MTN Rwanda for supporting initiatives that help improve lives of Rwandans, including investing in access to education,” Rwagaju said.

“When private sector companies leverage their resources to support initiatives like this, the entire society benefits.”

While speaking during the grant handover ceremony, Mary Asiimwe, the telecom’s general manager for human resources and corporate affairs, said the donation was part of MTN’s ongoing commitment to invest in education for all.

“We want children, who dropped out due to lack of fees and other challenges, to resume their studies. Making a difference in the lives of such students is critical to the success of our youth and guarantees the nation’s future,” Asiimwe said.

Asiimwe explained that the long-term goal is to build partnerships with schools and government to improve the level of education to achieve education for all.

She added that the gesture was also part of the firm’s corporate social responsibility that aims at strengthening its relationship with communities and clients.

Bugesera is one of the three districts to benefit from the programme. Others are Kicukiro and Nyarugenge districts, according to Asiimwe.

The beneficiary students are enrolled at four secondary schools; Ecole Technique Officielle (ETO) in Nyamata and Lycee de la Sainte Trinite in Bugesera and IPRS East in Ngoma District, while others are at ES Mutovu in Nyamagabe District.

The money will be channelled into schools accounts by the district through mobile money service. While giving the representatives of the schools the first installment of the students’ tuition fees and mobile money-enabled SIM cards, mayor Rwagaju challenged them to provide high quality education.

In 2014, MTN staff contributed over $30,000 (about Rwf21.8 million) to support underprivileged pupils and also supported 20 schools during its annual ‘21 Days of Y’ello care’.

The activity saw schools receive desks, books and sports equipment for childhood development. Over 500 learners and 200 high school teachers were also equipped with basic ICT skills by MTN staff in collaboration with the Rwanda Education Board.
Source: New Times

Monday, 27 April 2015

Airtel Ghana Upgrades Product Offering

Airtel Ghana has raised the bar in the voice and data space in Ghana’s telecommunication industry with the upgrade of the Airtel “Too Much” product offering. With as little as GHc1, Airtel customers can get a package with 200 minutes for Airtel to Airtel calls, 7 minutes for Airtel to other network calls, 100 SMS and 50 megabyte of data for browsing.

The packages range from daily, weekly to monthly depending on the amount of usage and the customer’s lifestyle. ‘Too much’ currently provides the most superior voice and data packs on the market. The Marketing Director at Airtel Ghana, Manu Rajan explained: “The goal of the ‘Too Much’ value proposition is to promote cost efficiency as demand for voice and data services grow on the telecoms market and redefine customers conversations on the network.”

He added that it is another customer oriented product which gives customers value for money, options to choose a bundle that suits their lifestyle and most importantly helps consumers to monitor their voice and data usage. Subscription will cost as per offer and is valid for the number of days subscribed to – 1 day, 7 days or 30 days. Offers can be accessed by dialing *202# for free.

‘Too Much’ was first introduced on Airtel two years ago with offerings that included discounted local voice, international voice, SMS and data packages targeted at customers across all value segments. Airtel currently boasts of the second largest coverage in the country as well as enjoy its super-fast internet connectivity at very attractive prices.
Source: The Ghanaian Chronicle

World Bank Projects $33bn Remittances to Africa

Growth of remittances to the Sub-Saharan Africa region is projected to slow to 0.9 percent in 2015, amounting to $33 billion, according World Bank’s latest Migration and Development Brief.

It said Nigeria alone accounts for around two-thirds of total remittance inflows to the region, but its remittances are estimated to have remained flat in 2014, at roughly $21 billion. The regional growth in remittances in 2014 largely reflected strong growth in Kenya (10.7 percent), South Africa (7.1 percent) and Uganda (6.8 percent). The level of remittance dependency varies across countries.

Remittances in the Gambia, Lesotho, Liberia and Comoros equal about 20 percent of GDP in 2013, the latest available data. Remittance flows to the region are expected to pick up to $34 billion in 2016 and $36 billion in 2017. In Somalia, concerns are rising about the impact on remittances due to “de-risking”– the closing of bank accounts of money transfer operators by correspondent banks fearing risks of money laundering and financial crime, the brief stated.

In line with the expected global economic recovery next year, the global flows of remittances are expected to accelerate by 4.1 percent in 2016, to reach an estimated $610 billion, rising to $636 billion in 2017. Remittance flows to developing countries are expected to recover in 2016 to reach $459 billion, rising to $479 billion in 2017.

The top five migrant destination countries continue to be the United States, Saudi Arabia, Germany, Russia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The top five remittance recipient countries, in terms of value of remittances, continue to be India, China, Philippines, Mexico and Nigeria.

The global average cost of sending $200 held steady at 8 percent of the value of the transaction, as of the last quarter of 2014. Despite its potential to lower costs, the use of mobile technology in cross-border transactions remains limited, due to the regulatory burden related to combating money laundering and terrorism financing, says the Brief. International remittances sent via mobile technology accounted for less than 2 percent of remittance flows in 2013, according to the latest available data.

“Total remittances in 2014 reached $583 billion. This is more than double the ODA in the world. India received $70 billion, China $64 billion, the Philippines $28 billion. With new thinking these mega flows can be leveraged to finance development and infrastructure projects,” said Kaushik Basu, World Bank Chief Economist and Senior Vice President.

He pointed out, “Israel and India have shown how macro liquidity crises can be managed by tapping into the wealth of diaspora communities. Mexican migrants have boosted the construction sector. Tajikistan manages to nearly double its consumption by using remittance money. Migrants and remittances are clearly major players in today’s global economy.”

“The moderation in the growth of remittances will be hard on many poor people. The affected countries may have to consider creative ways of smoothing the shock. Fortunately, migration and remittances can be leveraged for innovative financing,” said Dilip Ratha, Lead Economist, Migration and Remittances, at the World Bank’s Development Prospects Group and Head of the Global Knowledge Partnership on Migration and Development (KNOMAD).
“As to long-term financing needs for the Post-2015 Development Goals, I would love to see a bullet train system in India, an international airport in Nigeria, another Suez Canal in Egypt, a hydro-project in Pakistan, a community development program in the Philippines, all financed by mobilizing the power of remittances and diaspora savings.”

Commenting on the brief, Alix Murphy, Senior Mobile Analyst at WorldRemit, a leading online service that lets people send money to friends and family in other countries told Itnewsgha that“Mobile Money will play a pivotal role in global remittances, helping to reduce fees, improve speed and convenience for users.

Most importantly, Mobile Money is a key enabler of financial inclusion. There are currently two and a half billion unbanked people in the world i.e. without a bank account. One billion of these people already have access to a mobile phone and so a potential means of accessing financial services.

“Make no mistake – for many people in the world, Mobile Money will be their main or only means of accessing financial services. That’s why WorldRemit has worked hard to connect to more Mobile Money services than any other money transfer firm.”
Source: The Ghanaian Chronicle

Philips Hue, Apple Watch Integration Deliver Personalized Lighting Experiences

Royal Philips, the global leader in lighting, has announced that its ‘Philips Hue’ can now be controlled through Apple Watch.

Easy and intuitive to use, Philips Hue can now be instantly accessed and controlled by a device you wear all day every day making certain that light personal to you is always at hand.

“We know that light is at the heart of the digital home,” said Eric Rondolat, chief executive officer at Philips Lighting. “With Apple Watch you can instantly adapt Philips Hue lighting to suit every moment and occasion. Together we are making personalized lighting simpler and more accessible through the convenience of Apple Watch.”

Apple Watch uses the widgets from the Philips Hue app to control the lights in your home and activate your favorite light scenes, ensuring you have the light that you want wherever you are in the house.

If you have geofencing activated on your iPhone, you will get a notification on your Apple Watch to inform you that the lights are on as you arrive home, meaning you no longer need to look for the switch in the dark.

Also through Apple Watch, precise personalization of your lighting is possible within the same room. Whether preparing dinner, working or reading a book, new lighting zones can be created thanks to Philips Hue and Apple Watch.

As a part of a seamless ecosystem covering bulbs, lamps and controls, as well as integration with the Apple HomeKit; Philips Hue offers new lighting experiences that are personal to you.

From functional white light recipes that help you to relax or concentrate to creating your own light scene using a favorite photo to syncing your lights to your TV via one of over 230 third-party apps – with Philips Hue, the possibilities are endless.

The Philips Hue starter kit, comprising of three Hue bulbs and a bridge, will get you going.
Source: NigeriaCommunications Week