29 February, 2012

South Africa's INDABA 2012-Will You Be There?

It has been touted as one of the top three "must see events" in the World and Africa's largest tourism marketing event and this year the Indaba will be held on 12-15th May, 2012 at the Albert Luthuli Convention Centre (Durban ICC),South Africa. Will you be traveling to South Africa this year to witness one of Africa' s great tourism marketing event? then mark the diary on your electronic calender and you can get booking for affordable(meant to read 'cheap') flights to South Africa courtesy of the online portal Dialaflight.com

Why is this a premier event for tourism marketing in Africa?Well for example it is boasted that over:
11 205 people passed through the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre’s doors over the four exhibition days last year, with 1610 exhibitors and over 7210 exhibition personnel across all imaginable tourism-related business categories showcasing their products, and 661 local and international media registering to cover INDABA 2011
Those figures are astounding for an event which a decade ago was largely a domestic gathering( the term Indaba in Zulu and Xhosa basically meant a gathering or meeting for the principal men in the tribes)with less than or slightly more than a thousand international guests.For that figure to grow into the tens of thousands is surely a notable accomplishment thanks to the Witch & Wizard Creative (Pty) Ltd an event management company owned by South Africa Tourism.

It is practically amazing what the South African Tourism board has been able to achieve especially in branding the event and utilizing the opportunities that events such as the World Cup accorded them.It is my sincere hope that other African Tourism Boards especially Kenya Tourism Board do borrow a leaf from their South African Counterparts.

The Indaba 2012 promises to be areal treat for anyone interested in the African Tourism circuit as exhibitors from across the continent will be present.So will you be there? book a flight online now!

28 February, 2012

Nokia expands its Asha range with smarter feature phones that improve ways to work, learn and play

- Work - first Series 40 Asha phone to support Mail for Exchange
- Learn - new Nokia Life services provide key information to young, urban consumers, coupled with Nokia’s cloud-based browser for faster discovery of the online world while paying less
- Play - 40 free games available from EA worth EUR 75; plus preloaded Nokia
Social application that  enables a single sign-in to multiple communities
Barcelona, Spain - Accelerating its capability to connect the next billion people to the internet, Nokia today unveiled additional services and three more Asha feature phone models -- the Nokia Asha 202, Asha 203 and Asha 302 -- at Mobile World Congress.
Designed to deliver a variety of affordable mobile experiences, the new offerings target three dimensions: Work, with Mail for Exchange support for the Nokia Asha 302; Learn, bringing new information services for young, urban consumers, and a fast, cloud-based browser that reduces internet access costs; and Play, with free EA games available on the Nokia Asha 202 and Asha 203.
“Since outlining a new strategy a year ago, we’ve taken significant actions to deliver against it,” said Mary T. McDowell, Nokia’s executive vice president for Mobile Phones.  “We’ve been connecting the next billion people to the mobile world and its benefits through contemporary feature phones and internet services. Today, we are taking another step in that direction, with a compelling combination of smarter mobile devices packed with innovative services.”

Nokia Life benefits 50 million users
Nokia also announced an evolution of Nokia Life Tools, Nokia Life, which provides life-enhancing information across the range of Nokia Series 30 and Series 40 products. Now with additional relevant services, social elements and fresher look, it’s available first on the Nokia Asha 202 and 203 phones. Since its 2009 launch in India, the SMS-based service has expanded to China, Indonesia and Nigeria. To date, more than 50 million people have experienced its benefits.
Nokia Life delivers content in the areas of parenting, life skills, education, health, entertainment and agriculture. For example, Nokia Life can help parents focus on children’s physical, emotional and social growth needs, from birth to adolescence. People can also learn English using basic SMS communications, and enjoy ringtones, sport news and trivia.
“Nokia Life services provide an entry to the world of digital content and an internet-like experience for many people who don’t yet have access to data plans” said Dieter May, Nokia’s senior vice president of Mobile Phone Services. “With today’s news, we’re enhancing our services to bring consumers an even more enjoyable experience on the new Asha phones, with content that matters to them in their daily lives, is fun and helps them progress.”
Nokia Asha family expands
The Nokia Asha family has expanded rapidly since its debut, just four months ago, with four devices presented at Nokia World 2011. It’s now available in more than 100 markets globally and will be complemented by three devices announced today.
Nokia’s Asha 202 and 203 phones stand out with the combination of a traditional keypad with a 2.4- inch touch screen, ideal for browsing, scrolling and opening applications. The Asha 202 features Dual SIM Easy Swap technology with dedicated SIM manager to personalize the phone and save up to five SIM cards with unique information. Both devices come with a 2-megapixel camera, music player, FM radio, Nokia Browser, and Bluetooth connectivity, and can handle memory cards up to 32GB. Estimated retail price for each is about EUR 60, excluding taxes and subsidies, and both are expected to start shipping in the second quarter of 2012.
Nokia and EA have teamed on innovative ways to bring games to the next billion. The Nokia Asha 202 and 203 will be the first Series 40 devices to offer EA games. As a 60-day promotion at Nokia Store, the EUR 75 separate cost of an EA 40-game pack - including popular titles such as Tetris, Need for Speed, The Run and Bejeweled – will be automatically waived for buyers of either new model.
        Description: Description: Nokia Asha 202
         Image: Nokia Asha 202

      Description: Nokia Asha 302-angle-PR
       Image: Nokia Asha 302
The Nokia Asha 302 is Nokia’s first Series 40 phone to support Mail for Exchange, giving people access to their emails, contacts and calendar on an exchange server. That and a stylish QWERTY keyboard make it ideal for young entrepreneurs and professionals seeking a beautifully designed phone. Additionally, the Nokia Asha connects to popular social networks and enables chatting through Whatsapp and other IM services. The Nokia Asha 302 is powered by a 1-GHz processor and supports 3.5G data speeds. It is available now for about EUR 95.
"With today's announcement, Nokia has accelerated the truly global opportunity for enterprise mobility," according to Nicholas McQuire, research director enterprise mobility strategies EMEA for IDC.
"By making Mail For Exchange available for the sub 100 euros mobile device market, Nokia has taken a significant step in helping businesses across the globe, including those from high growth economies, achieve the productivity and employee satisfaction benefits that greater mobility affords them."

Nokia Browser helps consumers and operators to significantly cut costs
All three new devices provide a fast and affordable internet experience via Nokia’s cloud-accelerated
Nokia Browser, which makes internet content easy to discover with its localized and personalized home page design and portal to thousands of web apps.  In addition to its speed, the browser compresses data traffic up to 90 percent, meaning cost reductions for consumers and operators, who can have better network utilization. Nokia Browser has been rapidly adopted, with almost four new users around the world activating it every second. It is available today in more than 200 markets.

Nokia expands Lumia experience to new price points and geographies

- New Nokia Lumia 610 provides a younger audience with the perfect introduction to the rich social, Web and entertainment experience of Windows Phone.
- The Nokia Lumia 900 brings high speed connectivity and a superior content experience to more countries around the world
Barcelona, Spain and Espoo, Finland - Nokia today announced the next stage in its plans to introduce unique Lumia experiences to more people around the world.
The new Nokia Lumia 610 is Nokia’s fourth and most affordable Lumia smartphone, designed as the perfect introduction to Windows Phone for a younger audience.  The Nokia Lumia 610 makes it easy to keep in touch with friends, providing instant access to social networks and bringing all mobile, email, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn contacts into one place.  It also makes it easier to browse the Web with Internet Explorer and to access games through Xbox Live. Available with Nokia Maps, Nokia Drive, Nokia Transport and Nokia Music, people can also choose from thousands of apps in the Windows Phone Marketplace to further personalize the experience.
                                Image: Nokia Lumia 610
With a distinctive profile and finely beveled metallic edges, the Nokia Lumia 610 is built to convey both quality and aspiration.  It comes in white, cyan, magenta and black, is priced at EUR189* and is expected to begin shipping in the second quarter of 2012.

The Nokia Lumia 610 was made possible thanks to a new software release from Microsoft delivering enhanced capabilities to the Windows Phone 7.5 platform.  The software release, available from April optimizes Windows Phone to support lower memory and processor requirements, while still delivering the same great experience for more affordable products.  In addition, Windows Phone will now include the network and language requirements for China. As a result, Nokia announced plans to make a range of Lumia smartphones available in China, covering both CDMA and WCDMA technologies, in the coming months.

                   Image: Nokia Lumia 900
After launching the Nokia Lumia 900 as its first LTE smartphone, Nokia is also making the phone available around the world in a DC-HSPA variant, for high speed data connection (42Mbits download) in countries where LTE is not available.  The Nokia Lumia 900 features a 4.3 inch ClearBlack AMOLED display for a superior touch and viewing experience.  It also features Nokia’s highest capacity battery making it the perfect Lumia phone for enjoying media and entertainment on the move.  The primary camera on the Nokia Lumia 900 has exclusive Carl Zeiss optics, a large aperture for improved performance in low light conditions and wide angle focal length for capturing full 16:9 images.  It is also the first Lumia phone to feature a front-facing camera, with large aperture and wide-angle lens for sharp, bright images and video calling out of the box.
The Nokia Lumia 900 will be available in white, cyan and black, is priced at EUR 480* and also expected to begin shipping in the second quarter of 2012.

The Lumia range will also benefit from the launch of new signature Nokia experiences on the Windows Phone platform:
- Nokia Reading is the next milestone in Nokia’s strategy to offer a comprehensive entertainment experience on Lumia. Nokia Reading provides a single, integrated hub experience, leveraging a panorama design to make it easier and faster to enjoy news, ebooks and audio books, including the ability to access content offline and pin dynamic content to the start screen as a Live Tile.  With an emphasis on local language materials wherever it becomes available, Nokia Reading delivers a highly personalized and locally relevant service. Future updates will include the ability to build dynamic magazines from feeds for a single integrated view of favourite online content. With no sign-in or subscriptions, Nokia Reading will be available from April.

- Nokia Transport, coming to Lumia for the first time, provides convenient door-to-door, underground, tram, suburban train, and bus directions for over 500 cities across 46 countries.  With step-by-step directions to the nearest station as well as timetable information on when the next bus or train is arriving for more than
80 cities, Nokia Transport will be available to download from the Windows Phone Marketplace in March.
- A new update to
Nokia Drive, the free voice-guided, turn by turn navigation app that turns any Lumia smartphone into a personal navigation device will provide full offline use and features speed limit alerts. The update will also be available to download from the Windows Phone Marketplace in March.

Nokia 808 PureView ushers in a revolution in smartphone imaging

Nokia sets a new industry standard with the first in a range of high end experiences based on exclusive Nokia PureView imaging technologies.

Barcelona, Spain - Nokia today ushered in a new era in high-end smartphone imaging with the Nokia 808 PureView.  This is the first smartphone to feature Nokia PureView imaging technologies, bringing together high resolution sensors, exclusive Carl Zeiss optics and Nokia developed algorithms, which will support new high-end imaging experiences for future Nokia products. 

The Nokia 808 PureView features a large, high-resolution 41 megapixel sensor with high-performance Carl Zeiss optics and new pixel oversampling technology.  At standard resolutions (2/3, 5 and 8 megapixels) this means the ability to zoom without loss of clarity and capture seven pixels of information, condensing into one pixel for the sharpest images imaginable.  At high-resolution (38 megapixel maximum) it means the ability to capture an image, then zoom, reframe, crop and resize afterwards to expose previously unseen levels of details. With superior low-light performance and the ability to save in compact file sizes for sharing in email, MMS, and on social networks, the Nokia 808 PureView makes it possible for anyone to capture professional looking images in any conditions.
                  Image: Nokia 808 PureView
In addition to superior still imaging technology, the Nokia 808 PureView, also includes full HD 1080p video recording and playback with 4X lossless zoom and the world’s first use of Nokia Rich Recording.  Rich Recording enables audio recording at CD-like levels of quality, previously only possible with external microphones.  The Nokia 808 PureView also features exclusive Dolby Headphone technology, transforming stereo content into a personal surround sound experience over any headphones and Dolby Digital Plus for 5.1 channel surround sound playback.

“Nokia PureView imaging technology sets a new industry standard by whatever measure you use,” said Jo Harlow, executive vice president of Nokia Smart Devices.  “People will inevitably focus on the 41 megapixel sensor, but the real quantum leap is how the pixels are used to deliver breath-taking image quality at any resolution and the freedom it provides to choose the story you want to tell.”

27 February, 2012

Best African Blog at The World Media Awards

I am  happy to announce that this blog has just been voted as the "Best African Blog" in the World Media Awards website on Saturday 25 February 2012.This especially so due to the post on Nairobi Nights featuring a Kenyan Prostitute that was recently featured on Al Jazeera and other international media outlets.

Among other blog that's won awards at the World Media Awards include:

 It is quite an honor to be reckoned among the Worlds Greatest bloggers by a panel of Jurists from different Countries and this just goes to indicate that the African blogosphere has matured and is a source of credible, informative ,inspiring ,captivating, resourceful ,entertaining ,and newsworthy content! I count the recognition not only as a win and an honour to this blog but to all the creative African bloggers out there and their readership.Continue informing,engaging and influencing your online readership.Thank you all for keeping it locked on this blog!

Travel Wild Medical Tours Partners with Benzy Healthcare for Medical Tourism

I have just received this press release but before i post it,my mind juggled on the idea: "Medical Tourism" by definition the word tourism conjures up the idea commercialization,leisure and relaxation .So can there be anything as medical tourism???The press release however highlights some truth about the high costs of medical treatment in Kenya as compared to India and other Countries and so the article may prove useful...but i find the idea of medical tourism disturbing, just my two cents....

Travel Wild Medical Tours Partners with Benzy Healthcare for Medical Tourism
Providing an end-to-end solution for medical patients going to India for treatment, with reduced costs and peace of mind for patients.

Travel Wild Medical Tours and Benzy Healthcare have teamed up to provide ultimate solution for patients looking to travel to India for medical treatment.  Travel Wild Medical Tours has begun working with doctors in Nairobi, allowing their patients to choose from a number of treatment options in India.  With a network of over 200 hospitals and more than 10,000 doctors in India, Kenyan patients can select a treatment plan within their budget.  Treatments are available for heart diseases, respiratory ailments, bone treatment, cosmetic surgery, dental treatment, general health check-ups and more.

With Travel Wild Medical Tours, every patient is taken care of from the time they leave their home until the time they return.  Patients are picked up from their homes and transported to the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.  Upon arrival in India they are met by a Benzy Healthcare representative and transported either directly to their pre-selected hospital or to their pre-arranged accommodation in India.  Return flight, visa acquisition, medical treatment, accommodation in India, and all transfers are covered so that every patient has peace of mind when travelling abroad for their medical treatment.

Travel Wild Medical Tours has also worked in cooperation with Kenya Airways to develop a new ‘Medical Package’ that will greatly reduce the cost of flights for patients.

“We are filling a desperate need for patients in Kenya.  I have heard countless stories of patients travelling to India without knowing which hospital to go to, which doctors to see, or even where to get a hotel room,” stated Adam Rector, Marketing Manager for Travel Wild Medical Tours.  “Now patients have the full support of staff in Kenya and India to help them throughout the treatment process and patients will know all of the costs involved before they leave Kenya.”

“The number of patients coming into India increases each year because of our excellent facilities and doctors.  The cost savings compared to the USA, the UK, and South Africa are tremendous.  We wanted to create a hassle-free way for Kenyans to travel to India for medical treatment and we have achieved that goal with this partnership,” stated Vasco Noronha, Head of Inbound Operations for Benzy Healthcare.

Medical tourism into India has become increasingly popular in the last decade.  Worldwide, the medical tourism industry has grown from $40 billion in 2004 to over $100 billion today.  It is estimated that the medical tourism industry in India alone will account for $2.2 billion in 2012. According to a recent study, treatment costs in India were on average 80% less than costs in the United States, 74% less than costs in the UK, and 20% less than costs in Singapore.

08 February, 2012

Resurgent Clashes in Parts of Kenya(Editorial)

It is clearly disturbing to see pockets of clashes erupting in certain parts of the Country such as Moyale and Baringo especially now as the Country heads towards an election period.Equally disturbing is the fact that the current coalition Government was established with an express mandate to address "the recurrent" and "deep seated and longstanding conflicts" amongst the Kenyan people(See the Preamble of the National Accord and Reconciliation Act text).

Interestingly ,the collective Kenyan conscience/populace often treats the media reports with little or no concern so long as a relative or friend is not involved and so long as the flares happen in a part of the Country that one is not acquainted and least bothered with.But if 2008 is anything to go by these small flares should be treated with utmost seriousness as they depict a psyche among the populace that needs to be changed and addressed.

The Government fails in that it can instigate a war against the Al Shabaab and channel its machinery and resources to that war when a few foreigners are abducted whereas on a daily basis  the media reports of Kenyans loosing their life over conflict on resources and politically instigated boundary issues. It stands to reason that the real threat against Kenyans is domestic-Kenyans themselves and the Government ought not to entertain even at the least bit such altercations and the persons provoking ,arming and financing the different tribesmen involved in those clashes. That is not a request but is essentially the reason for the existence of the current Government;to the extent that they are unable to quickly and effectively resolve this issue to that extent they fail!

This year it should not be business as usual -the Government should not only exhibit the power to stem this occurrences but also demonstrate to all and sundry its will to do so.On the other hand the Citizens also have the primary obligation to demonstrate that they are beyond politics of violence, racism and tribalism and they are not simply pushed by every wind and whim of influence to do the bidding of selfish leaders who lack hindsight ,foresight and basic wisdom!
(see news items 1. 3. 4 )

07 February, 2012

Roshene Singh named an Internationalist

South African Tourism’s chief marketing officer joins highly exclusive group that shows outstanding thinking in global brand communications

SOUTH AFRICAN TOURISM was delighted to learn recently that chief marketing officer, Roshene Singh, has been named an Internationalist for her leadership in global destination marketing work that shows ‘outstanding thinking in brand communications’.

The honour was bestowed by The Internationalist, a global publication based in New York that explores the best of global branding and marketing, creating a resource for marketing and communication professionals; celebrating pockets of excellence; and stimulating fresh thinking and application in a world that is truly a global village.

Singh finds herself in the company of a small number of global marketers of excellence who have been awarded the honour. She is only the second South African to have the accolade bestowed on her, and also only the second destination marketing executive to be so honoured. Others who have been named Internationalists include former marketing Council of South Africa CEO, Yvonne Johnston and executives from global companies and brands such as MasterCard, the Boeing Company, Coca-Cola, Proctor and Gamble and Century Fox International.

In reacting to the news, Singh said she was honoured to be named a member of what has become an exclusive club of marketing professionals who are as dedicated to the art and science of marketing as they are to the brands they champion. “However,” she said, “I do not do my work alone. I work with an inspired and hard-working team at South African Tourism whose dedication to the brand and to the destination is the envy, I’m sure, of destination marketing organisations the world over. Credit also needs to go to the larger South African Tourism industry. As important stakeholders, they make it easy for us to promise an amazing experience in South Africa where the people are warm, friendly and welcoming where we connect with our visitors, and give them more than just a fantastic holiday... we give them the emotional gift of new friends and a yearning to return to South Africa.

“It’s always been a group effort. Our destination is successful because we work as a team. Together, we win awards, hearts, minds and an ever growing share of the global travel market.”

Singh has served as chief marketing officer at South African Tourism for four years. Under her leadership the destination brand has grown to become instantly recognisable in 16 key markets around the world. She has worked to entrench marketing partnerships with the world’s premier global media (some of which have won coveted international awards) and has worked to make South Africa one of the top five most prominent destinations on global social media platforms. The strategy for destination marketing is a consumer-focussed (rather than a product-focussed) one that has seen South Africa keep pace and sometimes exceed growth in the global travel industry in spite of challenging world economic conditions.

In commenting on the 18 winners of the ward this year, The Internationalist says: “Without their extraordinary efforts, inspiration and energy in today's ‘always on’ world with increased emphasis on accountability and responsibility, many marketing programs simply would not have gotten off the ground. The Internationalists represent a variety of industries, locations and number of years in the profession, but all take the role of brand champion to heart.

“There may never have been a more exciting time to be a marketing leader, despite today's complexities. The global overlay of regulations, carbon footprints, CSR, cultures, languages, political environments and a myriad of differing perspectives all contribute to describing one of the world's most challenging occupations – played on a very public stage fraught with immediate customer reaction that directly affects a brand's potential for success.”

02 February, 2012

MasterCard Opens East African Regional Headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya

Global payments and technology company announces official presence across the region

Charlton Goredema
Nairobi, Kenya, 2nd February 2012 – MasterCard Worldwide, a global payments and technology company, today launched its official East African regional headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. This development brings the number of MasterCard offices across the African continent to five, with other offices operational in Cairo, Casablanca, Lagos, Johannesburg and now Nairobi.

The Right Honorable Raila Odinga, Prime Minister, Republic of Kenya welcomed MasterCard’s announcement. “We are pleased to welcome MasterCard to East Africa and in particular to Kenya, as we see the region’s growth path continue. MasterCard’s products will see the benefits of inclusion into the financial system extend to many more East Africans, giving them the opportunity to transact electronically with people and companies and so keep their precious money safe and secure, helping to build prosperity for their future.”

“Nairobi’s reputation as an African commerce, trade and development hub made it a strategically sound location for MasterCard to establish its regional headquarters. We believe it is a natural recognition of Kenya’s role as the financial heart of the East Africa region,” says Daniel Monehin, Area Head, East & West Africa and Indian Ocean Islands, MasterCard Worldwide.

The Nairobi office will act as MasterCard’s liaison office for customer banks, business associates and consumers in its main markets of Kenya, Tanzania, Mauritius, Ethiopia and Uganda, as well as across the rest of the East African region, bringing the organisation’s knowledge of electronic payments best practice to these markets.

This will include a significant emphasis in the areas of card knowledge and skills development, advising on development of card acceptance infrastructure, new products, and developing partnerships with 'technology enablers,' as well as retailer education and best acceptance practice.

“We are establishing the new Nairobi office as a gateway through which MasterCard will liaise with its existing customers across the East African region. It will also be a launch pad for further expansion across the region, by providing advice to support MasterCard’s ongoing quest to shift consumers from traditional cash payments to non-cash payment systems, so that they can avoid the costs, risks and inefficiencies associated with cash,” comments Monehin.

Bringing the benefits of electronic payments to people across the African continent is a primary focus for MasterCard. “East Africa, and indeed Africa as a whole, has always been heavily reliant on cash – both in the consumer and corporate sectors,” says Charlton Goredema, Vice President and Market Manager for East Africa and Indian Ocean Islands for MasterCard Worldwide. “This dependence is costly – the costs of printing notes and keeping them secure are significant – and cash payments restrict an individual or company’s economic activity to their immediate geographic area.”

MasterCard has already been active in the Kenyan market working with banks and other business organisations to advise on developing payment solutions that are best suited for Kenyans. Most recently, in collaboration with Airtel & Standard Chartered Bank, the world's first virtual card that operates off a mobile wallet was launched in Kenya.

“PayOnline is a unique virtual card payment solution, developed specifically to address the needs of consumers in Kenya. At the Mobile World Congress 2011 this product was awarded top honours as the Best Mobile Money Product or Solution. PayOnline makes it possible for Kenyan Airtel clients to shop online, even if they do not have a bank account,” says Goredema. “This is just one way that MasterCard products are working to extend financial inclusion to all through the development of solutions that take into account the unique attributes of each local market.”

“MasterCard products make it simple and safe to process electronic payments anywhere in the world,” Goredema points out. “Consumers using electronic payment systems don’t have to worry whether the cash they are carrying is sufficient for their intended purchase, and they do not have to fear for their security, as is common when carrying a large amount of cash on their person.”

In addition, the electronic payments solutions brought to market by MasterCard facilitate transparency in banking, through innovation and security that provide clear transaction records at every step, allowing protection from fraudulent activities. Goredema believes that these solutions are key to the continued success of East Africa’s rapid economic growth.

“MasterCard’s products include debit, prepaid, mobile and credit card payment solutions, which can be used to avoid the pitfalls of cash,” says Goredema. “We have already used these products in a variety of revolutionary applications on the African continent, including prepaid solutions for transport, and the secure disbursement of citizens’ social security payments.”

MasterCard’s global payments expertise will be very relevant across East Africa and particularly in Kenya, as the country evolves to implement the National Payments Systems Bill, passed by the country’s government during 2011.

“We believe that the Bill is a recognition that efficient payment mechanisms are essential to the development of the Kenyan economy, and we look forward to working with policymakers to bring electronic payment solutions to this market,” says Goredema. “We have worked on similar projects across the globe, where we have responded to local needs with products that offer the best of MasterCard’s global experience.”

MasterCard will also be offering the services of MasterCard Advisors into the East African region, helping to ensure that best-practice principles are implemented across the payments network. MasterCard Advisors is the professional services arm of MasterCard that provides payments consulting, information, analytics, and customised services to financial institutions, governments and retailers worldwide.

“We have invested significant resources into understanding East Africa, its business dynamics, how its consumers operate and the unique conditions that make this region one of the most exciting places to do business,” says Goredema. “We realise that there is no one-size-fits-all strategy and each market has its own unique challenges, opportunities and needs. MasterCard has invested extensively in research both on the African continent, and globally, and we are equipped to offer advice on payment industry best practice at every level.

“For MasterCard, the opportunities Africa brings forth will push the payments frontier faster and further than ever before and we continue our vision to realise a world beyond cash, bringing greater efficiencies to the payments system,” concludes Goredema. “We look forward to now working even more closely with our customer financial institutions, businesses and consumers across East Africa to leverage new technologies and innovative payment methods to enable safe, simple and convenient ways for consumers to pay.”

01 February, 2012

Airtel Money launched in Uganda !

Airtel Money launched in Uganda, providing access to over 3,800 locations to the unbanked

·         Airtel Money will enable Ugandans withdraw funds directly from ATMs for the first time
·         New facility enables consumers top up air time on their phones directly
·         Service will extend innovative mobile financial solutions to both the banked and unbanked across the country
Airtel Uganda has today launched its mobile money platform aptly named Airtel Money. The service provides consumers with convenient access to affordable and innovative financial services through their mobile phones. The platform allows consumers to top up their phones with air time, send and receive money, pay their critical utility bills, access their bank accounts and withdraw Airtel money across all interswitch ATMs countrywide.

Airtel has partnered with leading international and regional banks to provide customers with access to deposit and withdraw cash, money transfers, banking services and pay bills. These include Standard Chartered Bank, Post Bank, Pride Micro Finance, Centenary Rural Development Bank, Equity Bank, Diamond Trust Bank, United Bank of Africa, Kenya Commercial Bank, Baroda, Eco Bank and Finance Trust Bank.

Mr. V.G. Somasekhar, Airtel Managing Director who addressed guests at the launch said that: “Mobile commerce has the ability to assist a large segment of the population due to its distribution network. Airtel Money’s new platform will provide consumers with a useful offering of products that cuts across Mobile banking including ATM transactions, utility bill payments, Airtime top ups and Money Transfer services” he said.

Somasekhar also noted that the rural populations have inadvertently been left out of the financial system due to cost and distance from urban centres. The Airtel Money Agent network throughout Uganda enables customers to transact money anywhere. There are more than three thousand eight hundred Airtel Money agents, ensuring the widest availability of Airtel Money throughout Uganda.”

Hon. Nyombi Thembo , Minister of State for ICT in his speech stated that, ICTs are increasingly in demand to meet the Millennium Development Goals. In the rural context, ICTs provide enhanced opportunities to generate income and combat poverty, hunger, ill health and illiteracy. ‘We congratulate Airtel and believe that through its Airtel money initiatives, consumers and communities even in the deepest rural areas of Uganda will take maximum advantage and reap the benefits of mobile commerce and other innovative services from Airtel”, he said.

Right Hon. Amama Mbabazi Prime Minister of the Republic of Uganda on his part commended Airtel Uganda for partnering with the Government in positively impacting the ICT industry and the country at large. “During their entry into the Ugandan Market, Airtel announced an investment of up to $ 100M into the market and part of this would be allocated towards the provision of innovative Mobile services in Uganda. I am very pleased to see how mobile services are complementing the banking sector”.

“We believe that the Airtel Money services will be a catalyst to support economic activities such as agriculture, mining, fishing and ultimately contribute to the economic growth of our country, especially within the rural sector. ” he concluded.

According to Airtel Uganda’s M-commerce National Sales Manager, Mr. Nuhu Kanyike, Airtel Money will be available to all Airtel customers, both Prepaid and Postpaid and registration is free at all Airtel Centers and Airtel Money outlets countrywide.

Nokia consumers to enjoy extended warranty across East Africa

Nairobi, Kenya, February 1, 2012: Nokia, the global mobile phone manufacturer, has announced the launch of a new 12-month warranty program which allows consumers who purchase phones in East Africa, access to after-sales support across the region.
 The new warranty programme, covering Kenya, Uganda or Tanzania, avails a combination of online, 24-hour care exchange and repair services to customers across East African borders.  “Customers can now benefit from expanded care support at any of our care centres in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, and can expect support from Nokia specially-trained technicians. What’s more, only genuine parts are used in the repair of devices”, said Brenda Okwiri, Head of Care Channels, Nokia East Africa.
 She added: “A passion for innovation and customer care underpins Nokia’s offering to the market. To cater for rural markets, Nokia has signed up over 50 collection points across Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, where one can drop off devices for repair. If within the warranty period, Nokia also offers to cover courier costs. We believe this new East Africa wide warranty will benefit our valued consumers across the region.”
In July 2011, Nokia launched the first Business to Business (B2B) and VIP care centre in Nairobi, which enables business partners to drop off their devices for service within a shorter period of time to facilitate business continuity in their operations.  
 Nokia care centres across East Africa also serve as collection points for old phones and accessories that consumers may want to dispose of responsibly. 
 Nokia currently operates the world’s largest voluntary mobile device recycling scheme with drop-off points in over 5,000 Nokia care points around the world. In November 2011, Nokia launched a sustainability awareness campaign in Kenya in which the importance of reducing e-waste was emphasised. In Kenya, Nokia care centres are also equipped with services to help customers determine whether their phone is a genuine Nokia device. The SMS Warranty check service will soon also be available in Uganda and Tanzania.


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