23 April, 2012

MasterCard Invests in Middle East & Africa

Investment Reinforces MasterCard’s Commitment to Growing and Innovating the Payments Business
Singapore – April 19, 2012 – In a move spurred by continuous economic development, steady population growth, stable outlook and large pool of young consumers entering the workplace each year,  MasterCard, http://newsroom.mastercard.com/ (NYSE:MA) today announced a new structure for the Middle East and Africa business.

The MEA business will comprise three divisions, Middle East & North Africa (MENA), Sub Sahara Africa and South Africa, clustering a total of 69 markets stretching from Afghanistan to South Africa and from Morocco to Pakistan. This change will enable MasterCard to get closer to its customer banks, merchants and consumers in the markets. A new team has been established to support the MEA business reporting to Michael Miebach, president, Middle East and Africa, MasterCard Worldwide.

Mr. Miebach said: “Our new organizational structure and appointments are part of our strategic decision to invest expertise, resources and know-how in this part of the world, which continues to register strong economic growth.  This new structure will help us streamline our investments in areas that drive accelerated growth while helping MasterCard get even closer to our customers.”

The Sub-Sahara Africa division led by Mr. Daniel Monehin, division president, now incorporates East, West and Southern Africa (excluding South Africa). Mr. Monehin will drive strategic development and forge closer business alliances with key stakeholders within these regions. He will also be responsible for developing and promoting MasterCard products and services.

Mr. Monehin said: “This development is a testament to MasterCard’s commitment in supporting our wide network of customers across the Sub-Sahara Africa markets. The move will also help us bring our international expertise and resources much closer to these emerging markets. Our local in-country structure will strengthen our collaboration and communications with all our stakeholders from customer banks, merchants and consumers, to better serve these markets and invest in their growth.”

Global Voices Summit 2012-Coming to Nairobi

The Global Voices Summit  will this year be held in Nairobi(The City Under The Sun)-Kenya on the 2nd July and 3rd July 2012.The  event convenes bloggers, activists and technologists for public discussions and workshops about the rise of online citizen media movements worldwide and will feature both local and international GlobalVoicesOnline contributors,editors and authors.The last event was held in Santiago Chile in the year 2010

The twitter handle for this years event is: #gv2012.The fact that the event is being held in Kenya goes to highlight the rise,prolific nature and development  of the Kenya Internet,technology and Communications(ICT) sector and its global appeal. It is my sincere hope that the Kenya ICT board will take advantage of such forums to highlight Kenya's gains in developing ,promoting and enhancing internet connectivity which makes it possible for the utilization of social media platforms by a wider majority of the population and the creation of local content and expression of diverse opinions.

The Global Voices Citizen Media Summit 2012 is being sponsored by: Google, HivosMacArthur Foundation, the Open Society Foundations, Adessium FoundationKnight Foundation, Omidyar Network, and Yahoo!.

As a Kenyan author i will be privileged to attend the conference and will keep the readers of this blog informed about some of the interesting and insightful snippets that will be discussed at the workshops.

17 April, 2012

Kenyan Lilian Ikal Angelei Wins Environmental Goldman Prize 2012

Lilian Ikal Angelei is probably little known in her backyard Kenya however for the people of Turkana she is an acclaimed  recusant fighting for the rights and the voice of the voiceless community against formidable financial institutions and Governments that have little or no regard for the welfare of the people dependent on Lake Turkana for their livelihood So who is Lilian Ikal Angelei one of the the recipients of the 2012 Goldman Environmental Prize : the worlds largest prize honoring grassroots environmental activist?
Who is She?
For one she is the founder and a Director of Friends of Lake Turkana  a non profit engaged in the conservation of the Lake Turkana especially against the recent proposed development and Construction by the Ethiopian  Government of the Gibe 3 Dam along the River Ormo, the source of 90 percent of Lake Turkana’s water. The Gibe 3 Dam, if completed, would be the largest hydroelectric plant in Africa, and the fourth largest in the world and it is expected to cause the lake’s water level to drop by as much as 23 to 33 feet within the first five years, depleting fish stocks and depriving communities of a critical source of potable water in this desert environment.

This development is likely to heighten resource conflicts and poverty between the communities largely dependent on the lake for their livelihood.

What She Has Accomplished So Far !

Apart from winning this prestigious award and recognition, Lilian Ikal Angelei has been true to her cause helping the marginalized communities living in the Turkana region to stem the ominous tide heading their way by successfully convincing major banks, including the World Bank, the European Investment Bank and the African Development Bank, to withdraw their considerations for financing of the Gibe 3 Dam. The Dam is almost 40 percent complete at present and her gallant efforts have necessitated the Ethiopian government to seek additional funding elsewhere.

 So far only ICBC, a large commercial bank from China, has approved a $500 million loan for the dam’s equipment . Ikal has held the bank to account for its destructive project in the international media, and continues to do so. Even in China, ICBC’s decision is now being considered a case of lacking corporate social responsibility. A few weeks ago, the Chinese government directed its banks to align overseas projects with “international best practices” on social and environmental risks.

She is at present lobbying the Kenyan Government to pull out of the project as Kenya was slotted to purchase one-third of the electricity generated by the dam.For this she is to be lauded as a heroine with much foresight.Indeed while the desire to generate and increase the capacity of the Ethiopian Government to provide electricity is a beneficial venture, it must be done in an Eco friendly and sustainable manner taking into consideration the needs of the communities dependent on the Lake Turkana for their livelihood.

Congratulations Ikal Angelei continue voicing the voices of the voiceless  majority!

Yahsat set to exhibit at the 7th Annual East Africa Com Expo

Description: Yahsat logo files

Yahsat to showcase the benefits of satellite broadband in underserved areas

Monday 16 April, Nairobi, Kenya: Yahsat, a satellite communications company offering multipurpose (Government and Commercial) broadband satellite services in Africa, Middle East and South West Asia, will be showcasing its latest offerings at this year’s East Africa Com Exhibition.

Running from 17- 18 of April and held at Safari Park Hotel, Nairobi, the East Africa Com Exhibition aims to give delegates an overview of all the latest “need to know” topics on the world’s foremost technology and solution providers.

Exhibiting at stand no: 6, 7, 8 from 9am-5.30pm on both days, representatives from Yahsat will be on hand to discuss YahClick; its latest offering and solution to receiving satellite broadband in underserved areas.  Proven to be more affordable, widely accessible and with a minimal set up process than its competitors YahClick will be operational later this year once Yahsat’s Y1B satellite is launched from Kazakhstan later this month.

Representing Yahsat at the East Africa Com Expo, Shawkat Ahmed, Chief Commercial Officer said: “East Africa Com is a great platform for organizations like Yahsat to showcase groundbreaking technological inventions.
“Our “YahClick” offering is the end service product through which customers will receive their broadband service transmitted through the Y1B satellite. Its core advantage over any other satellite broadband service is that it provides connectivity to remote and underserved areas, bringing affordable, high bandwidth and easily accessible broadband services which take minimal time to set up to its markets. 

“We are working closely with key African Telco providers to ensure the successful roll out of “YahClick” across the region.  In Kenya and Uganda, we are working with Simbanet, whilst in Tanzania we are working jointly with Simbanet and Raha. These are reputable companies that understand the local market and can effectively install and support the “YahClick” service for customers.

“On behalf of Yahsat we are extremely proud to be part of this year’s East Africa Com Expo and look forward to sharing news and updates of our new offerings with our peers and delegates.”

Yahsat’s YIB satellite will be launched on 24th April this year. It will provide South Africa and 27 other countries with Satellite broadband services through the “YahClick” offering.

Focused on pioneering emerging satellite technologies in the Africa, Middle East and South West Asia, Yahsat’s business strategy is to provide the complete range of satellite services to the region becoming the crucial link in the virtuoso circle between business and consumers.

11 April, 2012

Project Inspire: 5 Minutes to Change the World-Launch !

MasterCard Worldwide and the Singapore National Committee for UN Women Launch Second Edition of Project Inspire: 5 Minutes to Change the World 

Ready to change the world? Project Inspire 2012 is here!

Project Inspire: 5 Minutes to Change the World is a joint initiative by the Singapore Committee for UN Women and MasterCard Worldwide to present 18-35 year old changemakers with a 5-minute platform to pitch their inspired story to the world.
Kenyan and East African NGO’s and NPO’s are encouraged to submit their entry through www.5minutestochangetheworld.org  for a chance to win a Women’s Empowerment Grant for their particular program.

The winning entry receives a USD 25,000 grant to go towards creating a sustainable impact in the lives of disadvantaged women and girls in Asia/Pacific, Middle East or Africa

Why Women?
o   Women are less likely to have access to land, credit, decent jobs even though a growing body of research shows that the achievement of gender equality has enormous socio-economic ramifications. Occupational segregation and gender wage gaps continue to persist in all parts of the world.
o   Empowered women and girls have a truly transformative role to play in their communities but they are rarely afforded the opportunities that will allow them to fulfill their enormous potential.
o   Various fields such as entrepreneurship, community health, agriculture and technology provide potential opportunities to empower women
To qualify for the USD 25,000 Women’s Empowerment grant, any Kenyan project must meet the following requirements:
o   The program must enable disadvantaged women and girls to attain sustained livelihood through entrepreneurship
o   Beneficiaries must be women or girls in Asia/Pacific, Middle East or Africa
o   Must be an existing women’s empowerment program
o   Submissions can take form of a 5-minute video or 1-page written proposal
o   Participants can be men and women from anywhere in the world


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