27 November, 2014

Tigo Pesa returns TZS 3 Billion to customers as first quarterly payment !

The first mobile money service in the world to pay profit to its users

 Tigo announced today the first of its regular quarterly payments worth 3bn/- (US $ 1.8 million) to Tigo Pesa users.  

This payment comes three months after the company paid a staggering profit of TZS 14.25 billion (US $ 8.64 million) accumulated in the Tigo Pesa Trust Account to become the first mobile money service in the world to pay profit to its users. Tigo Pesa has a subscriber base of 3.6 million customers.

(Tigo Tanzania General Manager, Diego Gutierrez)
Tigo General Manager Diego Gutierrez said “This second round of profit disbursement shows the company’s continued commitment to benefit and improve the lives of Tanzanians. The payment goes to all Tigo Pesa users including super agents, retail agents and individual users of the service.”

“The first payment was bigger due to the fact that the profit had been accumulated over a period of three and a half years. This second payment is the profit accumulated from funds held in trust in commercial banks for three months in the quarter July to September 2014,” the General Manager said.

Mr Gutierrez explained that, as before, the average return to a customer will vary based on their average daily balance in their Tigo Pesa e-wallet. This applies to super-agents, retail agents and individual customers. 

The next installment for the quarter of October to December 2014 will be paid out in February 2015.  

I wonder if Safaricom will take a cue from its next door neighbor !

07 November, 2014

The Man Who Killed Osama Revealed -Ex Seal Robert O'Neil!

Only a handful of people knew the man who Killed  terrorist mastermind Osama Bin Laden.... until yesterday! The man now is an international figure and a motivational speaker seeking to cash in a little glory for having pumped the bullet into the head of the worlds most wanted figure. Ex Seal Robert O Neil is the man , his former colleagues in Seal Team Six are unhappy though, they prefer remaining anonymous  both in and out of the service as "Silent Professionals"(See Letter from from Force Master in Chief and Commander of the Naval Special Warfare community below)   but Robert O Neil couldn't let that moment of glory pass by! He alludes to the fact that a number of congressmen and media already knew his identity it was therefore a matter of time and to pre-empt a scheduled interview with Fox Tv , he went public !

The World is not safer with Osama now deep under  but accordng to Robert O'Neil -he says that has brought closure to the families of the victims of 9-11 World Trade Centre terrorist attacks. Question is will he now be the target of terrorist jihadist out to avenge the death of Osama? That's a risk he was  willing to  contend with by going public;Robert O Neil -The Man.I'm sure Hollywood will be on his tail chasing for exclusive movie rights!

04 November, 2014

Social Media Awards Africa (SMAA)

AMI and Development Diaries Announce Social Media Awards Jury and Advisory Board

 The African Media Initiative (AMI) is partnering with Development Diaries Ltd/GTE to present The Social Media Awards Africa (SMAA) – a premier continental initiative established to recognize and celebrate excellence, creativity and impact of social media.

Toby Daniels, Founder, Social Media Week; Fred Swaniker, African Leadership Academy Founder and Eric Chinje, Chief Executive Officer, African Media Initiative (AMI) are amongst eminent professionals announced as members of the Advisory Board and Jury respectively for the Social Media Awards Africa (SMAA).
Upon successful completion of the nomination phase, the planning team for the Social Media Awards Africa has formally announced the members of the Jury and Advisory Board. In a statement from the SMAA Secretariat, ‘We are really pleased with the overwhelming response and enthusiasm of organisations and individuals across the continent’.
Judging the 2014 edition of the awards are: Fred Swaniker, Founder & Executive Chairman, African Leadership Academy; Eric Chinje, Chief Executive Officer, African Media Institute; Ken Banks, Founder, kiwanja.net; Hetal Shah, Director Operations, Mara Group of Companies; Francis Ebuehi, Vice President, VAS, Airtel Nigeria; Dr.Kasirim Nwuke, Chief, New Technologies & Innovation, UNECA and Louis Onyango Otieno, Director, Legal & Corporate Affairs, Microsoft Africa.
Others include: Thebe Ikalafeng, Founder and Chairman, Brand Africa; Abubakar Suleiman, Executive Director, Strategy & Finance, Sterling Bank Plc.; Ryan Silberman, Chief Operating Officer, Popimedia, South Africa; Dele Fatunla, Communications Co-ordinator, Royal African Society, London; Obi Asika, Founder, Dragon Africa; Duncan Onyango, East Africa Director, Acumen; Odo Effiong, Special Adviser Communication Technology Development – Cross River State Government; Muyiwa Moyela, External Relations Lead, IBM West Africa, and UdoJude Ilo, Nigeria Director, Open Society Initiative for West Africa.
Members of the Advisory Board serving to oversee the entire process are: Abdul Tejan-Cole, Executive Director, Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA); Toby Daniels, Co-founder and CEO Crowdcentric; Ini Onuk, Lead Consultant/CEO, ThistlePraxis Consulting; Tunji Lardner, Executive Director, West African NGO Network and Prof. Francis Nyanmojoh, Head of Social Anthropology, University of Cape Town.
The Social Media Awards Africa initiative was unveiled at a closed event on Tuesday, September 30, 2014 to a cross section of media professionals and social media influencers in Lagos, Nigeria. Nomination into 4 categories opened on October 1, 2014 at www.smaafrica.com until midnight on October 27, 2014.
A total of 923 nominations were received during the nomination period as follows: Personality Based (468), Platform Specific (266), Institutional (115) and Indigenous (74). Also in the window period, over 5.5 Million Connections, at least 821,886 Retweets and 29 Million accounts were reached through all 22 social media platforms where the messages were promoted.
Winners will be announced and celebrated at the ‘Night of Virtual Wonders’ holding on December 6, 2014 in Lagos, Nigeria.
Each winner will take home a cash prize of $1,000 USD and SMAA Plaque. Other benefits such as: Social Media Training, Access to memberships and attendance of Social Media events, Publications on Social Media and Complimentary advertising on Social Media Africa Portal.

31 October, 2014

Chloride Exide Ltd -Sauti Sol's "Lipala" Dance 'Meme':Are Kenyan Corporates Catching up on Social Media Trends?

Music Videos are becoming a powerful tool in modern day business environment especially in the social media scene, ever heard of  viral video meme remakes of Psys Gangnam , Beyonce's " All The Single Ladies” Carly Rae Jepson’s “Call Me Maybe,” and now the" Sha Nay Nay"(made after the legendary Martin Lawrence character 'Sheneneh Jenkins')  dance trending in the USA. Well corporates and Ad Agencies in the West have discovered the powerful marketing effect available in such self made videos and have gone ahead to make renditions of the same shedding the all suit and tie perception and painting themselves as Social, Friendly, Caring, Engaging...

A Kenyan firm Chloride Exide Ltd with marked presence in the East African Region has caught up on the trend.Here is a video of the firms employees dancing the  MTV EMA best African Act Award 2014 winner " Sauti Sols"

Lipala Dance !The video has over 4,000 views as at 30 October, 2014 though it was published on 27 October, 2014.Will it go viral? talk about free advertisement !

21 October, 2014

General Electric bags two prestigious awards at coveted Africa Investor (Ai) Investment and Business Leader Awards 2014

•            GE Africa awarded Green Investment Initiative of the Year

•          GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt awarded Global Investment Personality of the Year

•          The Ai Investment and Business Leader Awards reward exceptional business practices, economic achievements and investments across Africa.

 WASHINGTON, October 21, 2014/ -- General Electric Company (GE: NYSE)picked up two awards at this year’s Africa Investor (Ai) Investment and Business Leader Awards. GE Africa was awarded Green Investment Initiative of the Year for the Power Africa initiative. In addition, GE’s global Chairman and CEO, Jeff Immelt was awarded Global Investment Personality of the Year. These awards are evidence of GE’s belief in the vast investment opportunities on the continent and the company’s commitment to the sustainable development of Africa. 

While congratulating the awardees, Hubert Danso, CEO and Vice Chairman of Africa investor, said he was pleased that with the awards Africa Investor is able to showcase African investment and business success stories. “We cannot emphasize enough the importance of the role these institutions play in improving the perception of Africa as an investment destination and we commend their contribution and commitment to this effort,” said Danso

GE Africa scooped the prestigious award in the Green Investment Initiative of the Year category. Some of the criteria used by the judges were evidence of efforts to support the sustainable growth of local markets as well as consistent involvement and commitment to financial transactions in Africa. The initiative that distinguished GE in this category was its Off-Grid Energy Challenge launched in 2013 in partnership with the US Africa Development Foundation (USADF) and the US Agency for International Development (USAID). This three-year challenge is part of Power Africa, President Obama’s initiative to increase access to reliable, affordable, cleaner and more sustainable power in Sub-Saharan Africa.  Power Africa is also helping ensure responsible, transparent and effective management of energy resources in Sub-Saharan Africa.  In its first year, 6 winners were drawn from Kenya and Nigeria whilst in 2014, 22 winners were drawn from Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Liberia. The winners all received $100,000 each, towards implementing or scaling up their renewable energy projects.

President and CEO for GE Africa, Jay Ireland emphasized that GE is in Africa for the long run and will continue working with various stakeholders in government and the private sector. He said, “GE is committed to continue partnering with Africa by broadening the innovation play, localizing our technological solutions and also investing in skills development. The award therefore is a clear testament that GE’s partnership based strategy for Africa is adding value to our stakeholders.”

Chairman and CEO, Jeff Immelt was also awarded Global Investment Personality of the Year during the ceremony. At the recent Africa Heads of State summit in Washington, GE announced plans to invest $2 billion in Africa by 2018 to boost infrastructure, worker skills and access to energy. Some of GE’s key projects across Africa are MOU signings with the governments of Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya to develop infrastructure projects including sustainable energy solutions, rail transportation, quality healthcare, training and capacity building.

These prestigious Ai Awards are the longest standing international investment awards that reward exceptional business practices, economic achievements and investments across Africa, and recognize the institutions and individuals improving the continent’s investment climate.

13 October, 2014

Energy sector is key to powering prosperity in sub-Saharan Africa - Report

 IEA World Energy Outlook Special Report finds that action in the energy sector could unleash an extra decade of growth

LONDON, United-Kingdom, October 13, 2014/ -- Increasing access to modern forms of energy is crucial to unlocking faster economic and social development in sub Saharan Africa, according to the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) Africa Energy Outlook a Special Report in the 2014 World Energy Outlook series. More than 620 million people in the region (two-thirds of the population) live without electricity, and nearly 730 million people rely on dangerous, inefficient forms of cooking. The use of solid biomass (mainly fuelwood and charcoal) outweighs that of all other fuels combined, and average electricity consumption per capita is not enough to power a single 50-watt light bulb continuously.

A better functioning energy sector is vital to ensuring that the citizens of sub-Saharan Africa can fulfil their aspirations,” said IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven. “The energy sector is acting as a brake on development, but this can be overcome and the benefits of success are huge.”

In the IEA’s first comprehensive analysis of sub-Saharan Africa, it finds that the region’s energy resources are more than sufficient to meet the needs of its population, but that they are largely under-developed. The region accounted for almost 30% of global oil and gas discoveries made over the last five years, and it is already home to several major energy producers, including Nigeria, South Africa and Angola. It is also endowed with huge renewable energy resources, including excellent and widespread solar and hydro potential, as well as wind and geothermal.

The report finds that investment in sub-Saharan energy supply has been growing, but that two-thirds of the total since 2000 has been aimed at developing resources for export. Grid-based power generation capacity continues to fall very far short of what is needed, and half of it is located in just one country (South Africa). Insufficient and unreliable supply has resulted in large-scale ownership of costly back up generators. In the report’s central scenario, the sub-Saharan economy quadruples in size by 2040, the population nearly doubles (to over 1.75 billion) and energy demand grows by around 80%. Power generation capacity also quadruples: renewables grow strongly to account for nearly 45% of total sub-Saharan capacity, varying in scale from large hydropower dams to smaller mini- and off-grid solutions, while there is a greater use of natural gas in gas-producing countries.

Natural gas production reaches 230 billion cubic metres (bcm) in 2040, led by Nigeria (which continues to be the largest producer), and increasing output from Mozambique, Tanzania and Angola. LNG exports onto the global market triple to around 95 bcm. Oil production exceeds 6 million barrels per day (mb/d) in 2020 before falling back to 5.3 mb/d in 2040. Nigeria and Angola continue to be the largest oil producers by far, but with a host of other producers supplying smaller volumes. Sub-Saharan demand for oil products doubles to 4 mb/d in 2040, squeezing the region’s net contribution to the global oil balance. Coal supply grows by 50%, and continues to be focused on South Africa, but it is joined increasingly by Mozambique and others.

The capacity and efficiency of the sub-Saharan energy system increases, but so do the demands placed upon it, and many of the existing energy challenges are only partly overcome. In 2040, energy consumption per capita remains very low, and the widespread use of fuelwood and charcoal persists. The outlook for providing access to electricity is bittersweet: nearly one billion people gain access to electricity by 2040 but, because of rapid population growth, more than half a billion people remain without it. Sub-Saharan Africa also stands on the front line when it comes to the impacts of climate change, even though it continues to make only a small contribution to global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions.

“Economic and social development in sub-Saharan Africa hinges critically on fixing the energy sector,” said IEA Chief Economist Fatih Birol. “The payoff can be huge; with each additional dollar invested in the power sector boosting the overall economy by $15.”
In an “African Century Case”, the IEA report shows that three actions could boost the sub-Saharan economy by a further 30% in 2040, and deliver an extra decade’s worth of growth in per-capita incomes by 2040. These actions are:

•         An additional $450 billion in power sector investment, reducing power outages by half and achieving universal electricity access in urban areas.

•         Deeper regional co-operation and integration, facilitating new large-scale generation and transmission projects and enabling a further expansion in cross-border trade.

•         Better management of energy resources and revenues, adopting robust and transparent processes that allow for more effective use of oil and gas revenues.

As well as boosting economic growth, these actions bring electricity to an additional 230 million people by 2040. They result in more oil and gas projects going ahead and a higher share of the resulting government revenues being reinvested in key infrastructure. More regional electricity supply and transmission projects also advance, helping to keep down the average cost of supply. But the report warns that these actions must be accompanied by broad governance reforms if they are to put sub Saharan Africa on a more rapid path to a modern, integrated energy system for all.

10 October, 2014

CMA Approves Uchumi Right Issue

Nairobi: October 10, 2014: Uchumi Rights Issue enters the penultimate stage following approval by the Capital Markets Authority (CMA).

In a statement CMA said the Authority was satisfied that the disclosures submitted by the company complied with regulatory requirements for public offers and listings.

“Submission by Uchumi is sufficient and contained information that will enable investors make an informed decision on the Rights Issue,” the statement reads in part.

Uchumi’s Chief Executive Officer Dr. Jonathan Ciano said: “We are delighted by the seal of approval by the CMA and the NSE, I would now call upon our shareholders to exercise their Rights as we enter this new and exciting phase of our growth plans.”

The retail chain is seeking additional capital to finance its regional growth and expansion programme as it seeks to consolidate its position in regional markets.  The funds will be used to open new branches as well as refurbish local branches.

“We plan to open more branches across East Africa in a bid to competitively position our business and this requires substantial capital expenditure. We also want to be able to adequately finance working capital for our subsidiaries with a consequent growth in market share and sales volumes,” Dr. Ciano said.

The company has picked Faida Investment Bank as lead transaction adviser, Equity Bank as sponsoring broker, Hamilton Harris & Matthew Advocates as legal adviser, Ernst &Young (auditor), ICDC as the share registrar, and Hill + Knowlton Strategies as public relations and advertising consultant.

The issue opens on 10th November, 2014 and closes on 28th November, 2014.       

07 October, 2014

Kenya Ferry Explains Service disruptions

Mombasa- October 7th, 2014: Yesterday’s delays in service ferry services between Mombasa Island and the mainland were caused by unexpected rise in water tide, Kenya Ferry Services has disclosed.

“This is a natural phenomenon,” said Kenya Ferry Services Managing Director Musa Hassan Musa. “We sorry that this incidence caused some disruptions of our ferry service on the evening of Monday, Dec. 6 at about 6.00pm. It was difficult boarding since ferries floated too high. We would like to report that there were no casualties and the two ferries are back in operations.”

The incidence lead which occurred at the Likoni channel led the grounding of MV Kwale and MV Kilindini ferries at the ramp causing an interruption of services.
“This in addition to the huge number of pedestrians during this peak time jostling to cross over from Mombasa Island side to the mainland side led to delays.  We highly regret any inconvenience caused to our esteemed customers,” the MD said.

About 300,000 people and 6,000 vehicles are ferried between the island and the south coast mainland every day.

Kenya Ferry Services was established in 1989 by the Government and has played a pivotal role in linking the island to the mainland south of Mombasa. Unlike the northern side of Mombasa that is linked by bridges at Nyali, Mtwapa Kilifi and Sabaki the south coast depends solely on the ferries.
The service is operated freely for passengers as a government social obligation and motorists pay a minimal charge.

24 September, 2014

National Bank Donates Computers to TSC

Nairobi: September 24th, 2014: National bank has donated 15 desktop and 5 laptop computers value at Ksh1.7 million to the Teachers Service Commission to assist computerize the commission. 

Handing over the computers to TSC Secretary Gabriel Lengoiboni, National Bank Managing Director and CEO Munir Sheikh Ahmed said the donation underlines the bank’s full commitment to promoting capacity development as a pillar of its corporate social responsibility.  

“We’re happy to donate these computers to the Teachers Service Commission. The Commission serves hundreds of thousands of teachers annually, and this donation will improve the technology that is available to the commission in undertaking its duties towards teachers across the country,” said Mr. Ahmed.

He added: “At National Bank, we believe that a part of our responsibility as corporate citizens is to give back to the community. To underline our deep commitment to making a difference in people’s lives, we are guided by an existing policy and the Bank commits a substantial budgetary allocation each year to CSR initiatives with focus on education, health, environment, sports and vulnerable group.”

Receiving the computers, Mr Lengoiboni thanked the bank for the donation and pledged to use the computers judiciously

The Commission has been integrating technology in its service delivery to over 250,000 teachers. We are grateful to National Bank as this donation will go a long way in helping the commission achieve the goal of automating its systems sooner,” Mr Lengoiboni he said.
National Bank is a fully fledged Commercial Bank established in 1968 to provide Kenyans access to finance. It has since grown to be one of the largest commercial banks in the country with staff of 1800, a growing network of 75 branch outlets across the country, 140 ATMs and electronic channels of Mobile and Internet Banking. 

23 September, 2014

University Of Florida Swahili Students Dancing @diamondplatnumz "My Number One Song"

Diamond Platnumz
 Tanzanian Bongo Singer @DiamondPlatnumz fans will certainly find this dance video beautiful but hilarious! Apparently University of Florida 2014  African Language Initiative(AFLi) Elementary Swahili students made an impressive dance video of the popular "Ngololo dance " tune and its generating quite a buzz online.You just have to appreciate the effort as Swahili is not their native tongue and attempting the rhythmic dance was clearly  a gargantuan task for them !

Reminds me of the film of the typical stereotype ad lib  "Whitemen Cant Dance(they even made a Movie)"! But surely the University of Florida Class deserve a pat on the back for the effort.Apart from the dance video they also created a tutorial video with the class engaged in a make believe Swahili conversation video.

Well that's a start and its pretty impressive one especially  considering it takes extra effort when one undertakes the task of learning a new language that they are not exposed to and hardly listen to it on a day to day basis ! I am sure the instructors are pleased  and had a good time while at it .Kudos Messrs  Filipo Lubua, John Munyui and Brenda Wawire!

18 September, 2014

Nigerian Blogger Linda Ikeji:When Blogging Pays Up Massively !

She has all the reasons to smile after putting her hand to event planning,modelling,book writing and blogging. Blogging paid off.On Tuesday she put up a blogpost flaunting her new 24 Million Naira Range Rover  and since then many Nigerians have turned to blogging to see whether fortune can come knocking her way.

Linda Ikeji with three new Cars
We are yet to see a Kenyan make so much for blogging but the truth is we are heading there.Blogging is so influential case in point is Bizokulu post on being denied a Visa that earned him a second chance with the British Ambassador Christian Turner. However we are yet to see blogging translate into "serious cash" for a Kenyan Blogger. Most get by paltry handouts, tech gadget on loans, petty freebies and events. A few are having engagements with corporates that ends up with lump some payments and hardly a contractual engagement.Some have had to leverage blog associations with intent to generate collective influence, exposure and perhaps then get to the money.

Its true many will say money is not the motivation.But question is wouldn't it be nice  if blogging itself could pay as much as it has done for  Perezhilton, Huffington Post and the Linda Ekeji's of this World ...and if not can it at least self sustain the blog and the blogger? For that to happen however question is are people willing to engage you financially due to the content you write.That can be a ready telling fact.

But that is not really it with the case of Linda Ikeji, she operates a freemium blogger platform , has massive traffic  and a global rank 2,077. What is perhaps telling is that majority of her traffic is Nigerian.It therefore is an indicator that perhaps muchof what she is making is coming from Nigerian based company's or global company's that have an interest of reaching the Nigerian Market.
Point being is that if Kenyan bloggers are to make it rich  then they have to have locally appealing content ,get steady readership and develop influence value that can be sale able to the corporates.

Now if you think you can make money from blogging in Kenya such as Linda Ikeji has please note that it has been a long time coming for her(actually around 7 years), it took hard work, the right kind of content and perseverance.  The best advice really would be keep blogging, write relevant content, be authoritative and not just a rabble rouser and keep at it. You will find it rewarding in many senses(cents)!

17 September, 2014

Lupita Nyongo's Elmo Sesame Street Video

Lupita Nyongo finally appeared on Sesame Street talking to Emo about skin. She looks happy confident and vibrant talking about her brown skin.Apparently its not her acting prowess that is at feature in the episode but her skin colour ! That is raising eyebrows dependent on how one wants to look at it.But for most its hilarious and fun how confidently she goes about little Elmo's questions.

Sincerely there s a lot to learn about skin and the diverse shades of colour it comes in,but in the final analysis "Skin is Skin" !

16 September, 2014

Emirates in 50% Companion Fare Offer to Kenyan Travellers

NAIROBI, KENYA, - 16 September 2014 - Emirates, a global connector of people and places, is offering its Business Class customers flying out of Nairobi, big savings when travelling with a companion to over 30 destinations around the world. The companion fare offer is valid for two passengers travelling together for the entire journey, confirmed on the same booking.

The special fares will apply when booked between September 15th and October 15th 2014 for travel between 15th September 2014 and 31st March 2015, and is available to Business Class passengers travelling from Nairobi to any of the more than 140 Emirates destinations across the globe.
“At Emirates, we are always seeking opportunities to enhance the experiences of our customers and the companion offer is one such initiative. It enables two people, whether friends, colleagues, family members or couples, to enjoy together Emirates award winning hospitality and onboard comfort, making the journey even more special,” said Anita Kongson, Emirates Country Manager for Kenya.
“This special companion fare provides a great opportunity for Emirates’ business and leisure customers to experience the world renowned luxury of Emirates Business Class,” she added.
Passengers on Emirates’ flights from Nairobi can enjoy the award-winning ice inflight entertainment system, which features an unrivalled choice of up to 1,800 channels of the latest blockbuster movies, TV programmes and music from around the world, gourmet cuisine, generous baggage allowance of 40 kg, and the hospitality and service from our multi-national cabin crew .
In addition, Business Class customers also have access to Emirates’ chauffeur drive service at certain airports when booked in advance, a dedicated priority check-in desk, generous and access to our airport lounges. Their Skywards account will also be credited with the full amount of miles with this offer.
The fare quoted will be on a return basis, with a maximum stay of four months. Blackout dates from 11-30 October 2014 apply for travel to Hong Kong and Guangzhou.  Blackout dates also apply for travels between 13-25 December 2014 and 1-15 January 2015. Customers must book this offer through the link www.emirates.com/ke/companionoffer. When booking through a travel agent or local Emirates travel office, the offer must be mentioned at the time of booking.
Emirates operates double daily flights between Nairobi and Dubai and onward to more than 140 destinations in 81 countries across six continents, and it’s the world’s largest operator of Boeing 777 and A380 aircraft.

EK 719 departs Dubai International Airport every day at 1045hrs and arrives at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) at 1445hrs. The return flight, EK720, leaves JKIA at 1640hrs and lands in Dubai at 1040hrs.  Second flight EK 721 departs Dubai International Airport every day at 1505hrs and arrives at JKIA at 1905hrs. The return flight, EK722, leaves JKIA at 2250hrs and lands in Dubai at 0450hrs.

15 September, 2014

APO Announces Finalists for the 2014 APO Media Award

APO Media Award celebrates brilliant and inspiring stories about Africa

DAKAR, Senegal, September 15, 2014/ -- Ten African journalists, including three in Kenya, two in Ethiopia, two in South Africa, one  in Burkina Faso, one in Ghana, and one in Rwanda, have been selected as finalists in the 2014 APO Media Award (#APOMediaAward) 

2014 APO Media Award Finalists are:

Aimable Twahirwa (@atwahirwa) - Rwanda
"Tech Entrepreneur Encourages Rwanda’s Young Women to Venture into ICT" (http://bit.ly/1ogmYkJ)

Andualem Sisay Gessesse (@andualemsisay ) - Ethiopia
"The new face of agriculture in arid Ethiopia?" (http://bit.ly/1pALjMX

Claire Muthinji (@cmuthinji) - Kenya
"Maintaining a strong saving culture in Africa" (http://bit.ly/Wpv6mE)

Elias Gebreselassie Woldegebriel (@EliasGebre) - Ethiopia
"For Ethiopia, wildlife protection makes economic and climate sense" (http://tmsnrt.rs/ZcpUEK)

Félix Dela Klutse (@felixklutse) - Ghana
"Unlocking the potential of agribusiness in Africa" (http://bit.ly/1pAM60f)

Inoussa Maiga (@MaigaInou) - Burkina Faso
"La révolution mobile au Sahel" (http://bit.ly/1AiJRF2)

Kristia Van Heerden (@k_r_isis) - South Africa
"How the poor can make you rich" (http://bit.ly/ZcqRgm)

Peter Kahare (@PeterKahare) - Kenya
"In Saving a Forest, Kenyans Find a Better Quality of Life " (http://bit.ly/1qp3PJh)

Pius Sawa (@kharunda) - Kenya
"Cheap, green solar bottles light up Kenyan slum" (http://tmsnrt.rs/1rNAlco)

Sumitra Nydoo (@sumitranydoo) - South Africa
"South Africa's Wonderbag Revolutionizes Cooking" (http://bit.ly/1qvB9SW)

The three winners will be announced on 29 September 2014.

The first-place winner will be presented with $500 a month for one year, one laptop and one intercontinental flight ticket to a destination of his or her choice as well as one year of access to over 600 airport VIP lounges worldwide.

The second-place winner will be awarded $300 a month for one year.

The third-place winner will receive $200 a month for one year.

08 September, 2014

WIN an Invitation to AfricaCom 2014, Africa’s Leading Telecoms Event

CAPE-TOWN, South-Africa, September 8, 2014/ -- APO will offer transport, accommodation and perdiem for one African journalist to attend the AfricaCom 2014, Africa’s leading telecoms event , held in Cape Town, South Africa, on 11–13 November 2014.

AfricaCom 2014 will bring together individuals and companies to debate on how to embrace innovation in Africa’s telecoms, media and ICT markets.

The deadline for entry is midnight on October 17, 2014.

Winner will be announced on October 23, 2014.

APPLY to win the invitation: http://www.apo-opa.com/application_twitter.php?L=E&vc=WIN

More information about AfricaCom 2014: http://africa.comworldseries.com

13 August, 2014

DHL shares Insight on How They Made It In Africa

51 countries, 60 direct reports, 60,000 customers, 4,000 employees, 14 aircraft, 2 young children and 2 dogs! Charles Brewer is the MD who loves leading all of that

CAPE-TOWN, South-Africa, August 13, 2014/ -- DHL Express, who has been in sub-Saharan Africa for more than 36 years, is the ‘Most International Company in the World’ and has a significant operation in Africa, moving thousands of shipments every day.

At the helm of this business is Managing Director Charles Brewer, who has been with DHL for more than 30 years, has worked in all regions of the world and found himself in Africa for the first time three years ago.
Charles Brewer, managing director for sub-Saharan Africa at DHL Express)
“Like many who haven’t actually been to Africa, the perceptions I had were found to be very different in reality,” Brewer says. “Simplistically, Africa is the last frontier. It is the most beautiful, dynamic and exciting region I have had the pleasure to live and work in, and despite the very obvious challenges and occasional risk, I love being part of this exciting journey.”

His role, as MD, is to “motivate and excite my employees to deliver unbelievable and unparalleled service levels and to help our customers grow and be successful” and it is clear that customer centricity is at the very core of Brewer’s DNA.

So what does it take to oversee this many people and territories?

“We worry a great deal less about formal qualifications and focus far more on emotional qualities, experiences and abilities” – not surprising when you consider that he spends huge amounts of time on the front line and considers himself the Chief Energy Officer.

Every week you will find Charles in a different country in Africa – he could be with a courier in Rwanda this week, selling with a sales executive in Senegal the next, to sitting side-by-side with a Customer Service Agent in Lagos the week after. “If you want to know what your customers or employees really think about your product or your company, get to where the action is as often as you possibly can.”

A few years ago, just after Brewer arrived in Africa, he took the bold decision to completely de-layer the management structure, with an aim to bring everyone closer to the “sharp-end” and to significantly improve communication and speed of decision making.

“Africa is so dynamic and I just felt that we were too far removed and operating far too slowly”. All 51 countries now report directly to Brewer and the new structure has proven to be really successful.

“The new structure is very different and demands a very open, rapid and engaging leadership style but it is working really well, with quicker decision making, simpler communication lines and a significantly improved employee engagement level”. As an example, the couriers, who are key to the DHL service delivery promise, are never more than four levels away from Brewer and five from the Global CEO.

Think global, act local and TRUST!

One of the key lessons learned over the past three years and specifically as DHL went through the structural change, was the importance of trust. “With so many countries, all with different opportunities and challenges, you have to trust the teams on the ground”. What that means is using the global processes and procedures, but allowing a high degree of input on how best to execute locally.

To illustrate his point, Brewer describes a recent example were DHL was running a retail point of sale promotion to attract new customers to its ever-growing retail points. The typical approach would be to offer discounts and/or corporate give-aways to incentivise walk-in customers. The country manager in Ethiopia however suggested a much better idea – giving customers a chicken as part of the Easter celebration.

“When the Country Manager first suggested ‘chickens’, I had to laugh and genuinely thought she was joking, but she was serious and right – the promotion was hugely successful”.

It is big, but do-able!

DHL’s sub-Saharan regional headquarters is based in Cape Town, but Brewer spends a considerable amount of time visiting the company’s operations across the rest of the continent. “You have to be very visible”.

In a region as large as Africa, this is however easier said than done. Unlike Europe where one would struggle to fly a stretch of more than four hours, travelling across Africa can be gruelling. Just visiting each of the countries in West Africa can easily take two to three weeks.

“It has its challenges in terms of flight schedules and being away from one’s family, but it makes for an interesting experience and I’m still having lots of fun. Playing a small role in the African growth story is an incredible privilege and one that I am very proud of,” says Brewer.

As we leave his office I hear him call out to his assistant, “which lucky country am I going to next week?!”

12 August, 2014

Swala Oil and Gas (Tanzania) Plc Debut on the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange

The first public owned Oil and Gas Company in East Africa
DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania, August 12, 2014/ -- Swala Oil & Gas (Tanzania) Plc (“Swala” or “the Company”) today listed on the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange (“DSE”) becoming the first public owned Oil and Gas Company in East Africa.  The company is the 20th to list on the DSE and the 2nd to list under the Enterprise Growth Market (“EGM”), an equity market specifically intended for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and start-ups.

The company listed on the EGM with 99 million shares after a very successful Initial Public Offer  which raised 6,650,000,000 Billion TZS. This IPO was oversubscribed by nearly 4 million shares and has raised nearly 2 billion TZS more than the maximum subscription of 4.8 billion TZS.

The momentous event took place at the DSE offices and was graced by His Excellency the former President of the United Republic of Tanzania, Ali Hassan Mwinyi who rang the bell at 10:30 am EAT to officiate the event, the traditional symbol signifying the opening of Swala’s first trading day.

(His Excellency the former president of the United Republic of Tanzania, Alhaji Ali Hassan Mwinyi, rings the bell officiating the first trading day of Swala Oil & Gas Tanzania Plc on the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange (DSE). With him Swala CEO, Mr. David Mestres Ridge (L) and Swala Chairman, Mr. Ernest Massawe (R)
Former president Mwinyi asserted that Swala’s oversubscription shows a great investment appetite amongst Tanzanians in investing in their country’s economy and a growing confidence in the national Stock Exchange.

Mr. Moremi Marwa, CEO of the DSE remarked, “In October of 2013, the DSE introduced the EGM segment at the Exchange whose main objective is to enable Small and Medium Sized business access to the capital market. Swala is the second company to list on EGM within a year of its launching. Listing on DSE comes with transparency, good corporate practices and proper disclosures. Swala has made the right decision to join the family of companies aiming at being open and transparent to their shareholders, the public and the world at large”.

Chairman of Swala, Mr. Ernest Massawe further added, “Today’s listing on the EGM marks a new chapter for our company and another step forward in realizing our ambition to achieve a successful venture based on private and public partnership. We wish to extend our thanks to all those who have made this possible: the regulators, our advisors and, most importantly, our new investors. The company is now ready to commence its 2014 seismic programme and we look forward to fruitful results. I am confident that Swala, as a public company, will be able to capitalize on its achievements to date and continue to deliver for all its stakeholders”.

Comedy Giant Robin Williams Is Dead !

Shocking as it is the king of comedy Robin Williams is dead  due to suspected suicide according to the HolyWood Reporter internet site. Robin Williams has entertained Millions perhaps billions of us through his witty comedic antics in several blockbuster Hollywood movies such as Mrs DoubtFire ,Aladin, Patch Adams , Jumanji.

He was such a funny guy, uniquely talented and could get a laugh out of anyone. The World will surely miss him.

Its especially tragic to note that he died not due to natural causes but suicide after a bout of depression.That is just so sad and illustrates the reality that being a superstar or famous does not automatically translate to being happy.Value your life as it is.Our sincere condolences to the family.

08 August, 2014

Gemalto to acquire SafeNet, the worldwide leader in data and software protection

DUBAI, UAE, August 8, 2014/ -- Gemalto (Euronext NL0000400653 - GTO) ), the world leader in digital security, today announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire 100% of the share capital of SafeNet, a worldwide leader in data protection and software monetization, from Vector Capital for US$890 million on a debt free/cash free basis. 

Headquartered in Belcamp, Maryland, USA, and presently located in 27 countries, SafeNet is one of the largest dedicated digital information security companies in the world, trusted to protect, control the access to, and manage the world’s most sensitive data and high value software applications. As an example, SafeNet technology protects over 80% of world’s intra-bank fund transfers and its 1,500+ employees, including 550 cryptographic engineers, serve more than 25,000 customers, both corporations and government agencies, in over 100 countries. Customers utilizing SafeNet solutions include Banamex, Bank of America, Cisco, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Kaiser Permanente, Netflix, Starbucks and many more of the world’s best known companies. In 2013, SafeNet recorded revenues of US$337 million and profit from operations of US$35 million and expects revenues of US$370 million and profit from operations of US$51 million for 2014.

As Gemalto enters into its 2014-2017 multi-year development plan, the digital world enters a period in which proper control over sensitive information is paramount. Nearly 400 million digital data records have been lost or stolen already in 2014, prompting a significant rise in global awareness regarding the effective protection of data. With this acquisition, Gemalto and SafeNet combine the best technologies, expertise and services available for securing a complete infrastructure: network, users, data, software, at the core and at the edge.

SafeNet provides an extensive portfolio of data protection solutions including HSM1 advanced cryptographic key management systems, encryption technologies for civilian applications, authentication servers and authentication as a service, as well as sophisticated software license management and monetization solutions. As an example, HSMs are the essential cloud-based secure elements generating and protecting the fundamental cryptographic keys and processing units used by digital authentication, encryption and signature mechanisms within computer networks and the Internet. All of these will perfectly complement Gemalto’s offering of embedded software and portable secure elements, which are used globally at the other end of the network security chain, i.e. in the users’ pockets and inside the network-connected terminals.

Once the acquisition is completed, SafeNet will significantly reinforce Gemalto’s Identity and Access Management business. It will become part of Gemalto’s Payment & Identity segment, and its Platforms & Services activity, that account respectively for €1,329 million and €715 million of the 2013 pro forma revenue.

The purchase price of US$890 million is self-funded with US$440 million from available cash, and US$450 million drawn from existing long-term credit facilities. Depending on market conditions, Gemalto may refinance the credit facilities through a bond issuance or other means at a later date. The closing of the transaction is expected to occur in Q4 2014, after approval from the relevant regulatory and antitrust authorities. After the acquisition is completed, Gemalto will retain a strong financial structure with a net debt/EBITDA ratio < 1. The transaction will be accretive to adjusted EPS (Earnings Per Share) before purchase price allocation upon completion.

As a result of the acquired business’s anticipated profitability, growth and synergies, Gemalto expects to surpass its 2017 profit from operations2 objective of €600 million by approximately +10%.

“The opportunity to acquire SafeNet has come at exactly the right time, as we have just entered into our new multi-year development plan and there is a perfect fit between Gemalto’s “security at the edge” and SafeNet’s “security at the core” capabilities. This will enable us to further accelerate the deployment of strong security solutions in the Enterprise sector, and expand our technologies and growth opportunities in protecting online access. Overall, our global leadership in digital security will be reinforced”, said Olivier Piou, Gemalto CEO.

“We are very excited for the opportunity to join Gemalto, which is recognized internationally for leadership in the digital security domain. Our products and routes to market are perfectly complementary and our visions for the future naturally intertwined,” said Prakash Panjwani, SafeNet President and Chief Executive Officer. “The combination of our portfolios will allow customers to have access to world’s leading security products for mobile and cloud, delivering best-in-class protection of data and identities. This transaction will accelerate the delivery of Gemalto’s security solutions to the Enterprise while also making SafeNet’s data protection solutions accessible to the Banking and Telecom sectors – truly a win-win for everyone involved.”


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