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Thursday, October 27, 2005

Two decades of CS-DRMS

Features of the week:
Relevance of the Commonwealth Secretariats Debt Recording and Management Software (CS-DRMS) is increasingly gaining attention beyond member nations, as reported by REMMY NWEKE.

The Commonwealth Secretariat Debt Recording and Management Software (CS-DRMS) recently clocked 20 years of successful recording and evolving expertise in the management of debt-related crisis among its member nations and even beyond.

It was equally in the news that the CS-DRMS has its net across 56 countries globally, out of which, 44 are Commonwealth nations including some ‘dependent islands’ and Nigeria, whose debt was over N30 billion as at June 2005.

Countries and some dependent islands within Commonwealth using the software are Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Botswana, British Virgin Islands, Cameroon, Cayman Islands, Cook Islands, Cyprus, Dominica, Fiji Islands, The Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Guyana, India, Jamaica, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Montserrat, Mozambique, Namibia, Nauru, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent, Samoa, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Tonga, United Republic of Tanzania and Vanuatu.

Although the application of CS-DRMS is offered to all Commonwealth members as part of an integrated capacity building programme in debt management, it also includes training and advisory services, as said by the secretariat.

Presently CS-DRMS is available in English and French, enabling countries where it has been installed to enhance their tracking of debt, review options for restructuring, evaluate sources of borrowings and planning new loans.

In this way, assisting finance ministers and Central Bank governors in managing their nation’s debt more effectively, according to the Commonwealth Secretary-General, Mr. Don McKinnon.

He also pointed out that the software developed in 1980s due to avalanche of debt crisis then, which rocked Mexico and later spread to several developing nations, as well as Nigeria, saw Sri Lanka as the first to adopt the application.

Additionally, CS-DRMS, he said, records and manages different types of debt - domestic or external, short, medium and long-term. Even as it offers links to tools used for debt sustainability analysis, such as the World Bank’s Debt Sustainability model plus.

In his address to the two decade’s anniversary in London earlier this month, Mr. McKinnon said that CS-DRMS has become a tool that could help end poverty by means of better management of scarce resources, just as the “donor community is more likely to further assist countries who are able to track and demonstrate debt position very accurately”.

CS-DRMS, he noted, is a good example of partnership that works both within and outside the secretariat. Stressing its success led to the translation into French and implementation in 11 countries outside the Commonwealth, amidst 14 heavily indebted poor nations currently using the software.

Some of the non-member countries deploying this application include Benin, Bhutan, Bulgaria, Cape Verde, China, Guinea-Conakry, Laos, Mali, Nepal, Niger, Suriname and Thailand.

For the Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom (UK), Ms. Kshenuka Senewiratne, who was a special guest at the anniversary, her country’s Ministry of Finance was able to calculate effectively the nation’s overall debt servicing commitments for the year, saying, “… It’s a clear demonstration of the pragmatic contribution the secretariat has made towards increasing public sector efficiency and effectiveness.”

Also for the Executive Director of Crown Agents, distributor of the solution, Mr. David Phillips, "Countries which use the CS-DRMS have one of the most powerful reporting and analytical tools to help them ensure that the proceeds of loans and grants do what they are supposed to.

“That is to transform financial flows into real development needs and to prevent the portfolio from becoming unsustainable within the limits of factors they could control directly," he affirmed.

With the recent deal to continue the distribution signed by Mr. Phillips and the Commonwealth Deputy Secretary General, Mr. Winston Cox, the Crown Agent chief said, CS-DRMS is an important component of his company's suite of software for public financial management, which helps countries to improve their budget financing by increasing customs and tax receipts, creating more flexibility in filling the financing gap with loans and grants.

Although Nigeria set up her Debt Management Office (DMO) since 2000, it inherited lapses from multi-agency approach charged with the responsibilities for debt servicing up to seven different agencies and government departments.

The objectives of setting up DMO, according to its Director-General, Mr. Akin Arikawe, consist of maintaining a comprehensive inventory of loans together with forecast of debt service, provision of timely and accurate information on the country's debt to assist policy makers and publishing up-to-date debt statistics so as to improve transparency in debt management.

Other objectives were to effect debt service payments accurately and on time while managing the country's debt portfolio in order to minimize cost with an acceptable risk profile, conducting risk analysis and developing appropriate risk management policies, debt sustainability analysis to assess optimal borrowing levels, assessing lending terms from various sources and negotiating best possible terms for future borrowing, and helping to inform and craft the debt management strategy with appropriate linkage to fiscal and monetary policies and overall macroeconomic management.

It was gathered that the harmonization of debt management activities under DMO and usage of CS-DRMS was instrumental to the $18 billion debt relief granted Nigeria by her creditors. This also shows the efficacy of technology solutions toward guaranteeing accountability and sustenance.

Since the impacts of CS-DRMS are obvious, it is vital that Commonwealth nations who are not yet deploying this software should make haste while the sun shines, thereby not waiting until they are highly indebted recently.

Mostly, the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) should take advantage and heed the call to drastically reduce debt burden via concentrated management, in order to pave the way for poverty reduction and economic renaissance.

‘No nation succeeds without indigenous software’

Chairman, Trade and Events committee at the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), Mr. Chris Uwaje, has highlighted the critical nature of software to national prosperity and security, saying, no nation can succeed in the new economic order without indigenous software.

He stated in Lagos that from a modest beginning over 50 years ago, computer software has become a critical element of modern society with global reach and impact on virtually every aspect of human endeavour.

“Software is a key enabling technology in business, industry, government, defense and permeates products and services of all kinds,” he declared.

Mr. Uwaje, who was reacting to the recent United Nations’ study on ‘Software’s Critical Role Raises National Issues’ in a piece titled ‘The State of Software Delivery in Governance’ said, indeed, “Software is critical to national prosperity and security”.

He also said that new emerging facts now validate what stakeholders have known and propagated for several years and maintained that in this 21st century, “No nation can succeed in the new economy without the incubation, development and mastery of its indigenous software knowledge-based.”

Stressing that the UN study has shown there is need for accelerated involvement of government of most nations in the World Summit on the Information (WSIS) programme agenda.

He pointed out that nation’s dependence on software raises national issues and challenges that require coherent attention.

Some of these issues, he said, would center on the understanding the value that software adds to nation’s economy; ensuring national competitiveness in the global software market place; meeting public needs for trustworthiness in critical software systems and ensuring necessary degree of security and privacy in information systems among others.

Mr. Uwaje also noted the need to have software industry and academic collaboration to improve the state of technology transition between these groups.

He insisted that software is the roadmap to Nigeria’s social and economic future, political stability and prosperity.

Stockholm collaborates with WSIS on ‘Project in Africa’

SWEDEN-based Stockholm Challenge award for Information and Communications Technology (ICT) on empowerment project is spurring interests as it collaborates with the Executive Secretariat of the World Summit on the Information Society ( WSIS), specifically on Africa.

Disclosing this to Champion Infotel, the Project Manager at Stockholm Challenge, Ulla Skiden, said the partnership gave birth to WSIS Challenge Award.

Although the project manager said this would be announced officially at the forthcoming summit in Tunis on Thursday, November 17, it is open to initiatives in Africa.

These initiatives, the manager said, must be one that uses ICT to enhance livelihood opportunities, improve living conditions and support economic development.

“Projects that are eligible to compete should show that they empower people and communities by using ICT in areas such as health, education, government, business, culture and environment,” Skiden said.

The WSIS Challenge Award is an initiative of the Stockholm Challenge, the world's leading ICT award since 1995. The Stockholm Challenge is an alliance between Sida, Ericsson, The Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) and the City of Stockholm. It is also sponsored by Sun Microsystems and SPIDER, the Swedish Programme for ICT in Developing Regions, based at KTH.

According to Skiden, the award is designed to support the United Nations (UN) Millennium goals of eradicating world poverty, with the objective to stimulate and energize the use of ICT for human and economic development in Africa, by finding and acknowledging the best ICT for Empowerment projects.

The winner will receive 10.000 Euro to be used for further development of the project’s activities, whereas the donation will be made by SPIDER whose mission it is to promote ICT as a powerful means for poverty alleviation and human resource development.

Though the award opens for entries upon its announcement at the ICT4All exhibition, on the Central Place, on November 17, the prize giving ceremony will take place in Stockholm on May 11, 2006 during the Stockholm Challenge final event.

All projects that wish to compete for the WSIS Challenge Award will be asked to enter the Stockholm Challenge Award, which will have a special file for African participants.

“To be noticed is, that projects from Africa, already in the Stockholm Challenge, are automatically also competing for the WSIS Challenge Award. An international experts' jury will select the winner,” the manager explained.

Internet Governance still burning issue @ WSIS-05


FOLLOWING the failure to reach a consensus at the third Preparatory Committee meeting (PrepCom-3) held in Geneva, last month, Internet Governance would still be a burning issue at the second phase of World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), just few weeks away.

The second phase is scheduled to hold in northern African country of Tunisia, between November 16 and 18 at the Kram PalExpo, Tunis.

This indication was given by the Communication Officer at the WSIS Executive Secretariat, Mr. Sanjay Acharya, saying that the summit would serve as the stage for key decisions on the future of Internet governance.

He stressed that negotiations are anticipated to resume prior to the opening of WSIS and are expected to be lively, “as pressure to finalise the summit output documents would bring the remaining contentious issues to a solution.

Conceived as a “Summit of Solutions” he said, the Declaration of Principles and 15-point Action Plan developed at the first phase would be translated into tangible strategies during the event.

These strategies, Mr. Acharya said, would be aimed at building a more equitable and inclusive Information Society (IS).

He also informed that the second phase is billed to host about 12,000 participants from the United Nations agencies, Organised Private Sector (OPS), Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) as well as leading media entities globally.

Mr. Acharya further said that some eminent personalities have confirmed attendance including the UN Secretary General, Mr. Kofi Annan.

“Final preparations are now underway for arrival of an expected 50 heads of state and government,” he said.

In addition, the Communication Officer said that the summit would feature about 250 parallel events at the three-day plenary sessions.

This, he said, would be focused on presentations and debates of relevant topics to the future development of Information Society.

Manchester scientists elucidate Quantum computers

A breakthrough has been made by scientists at The University of Manchester, United Kindgom (UK), which could herald a new type of high speed computer, known as ‘Quantum computers’.

Professor Richard Winpenny, of the School of Chemistry and his team made up of international researchers, announced the discovery of a new method which could hold the key to creating the first practical quantum computers.

If built, quantum computers would be the most powerful computers ever made, with speeds millions of times faster than the average PC for some calculations. These speeds would be valuable in factoring large numbers, and therefore extremely useful for encrypting information.

Prof. Winpenny and the research team was also reported to have for the first time demonstrated how qubit rings, pieces of quantum information, could be linked together.

A press statement from the Media Relations Officer of the institute, Mr. Simon Hunter, said the results were the outcome of three years research, opening up the possibility of being able to create quantum gates - a more advanced version of processors found in modern computers.

He quoted Prof. Winpenny as saying, "Linking these molecules not only gives us a much better understanding of how these molecules interact but it also gives us more control over how they interact, which is essential if we are to ever successfully implement quantum gates.

"This is the start rather than the finish in terms of the development of a quantum computer, but now that we have shown we can do this, it gives us clear targets."

Mr. Hunter also said that the full results of the research will be published in issue 40 of the Chemistry Journal Angewandte Chemie, and entitled: "Linking Rings through Diamines and Clusters: Exploring Synthetic Methods for Making Magnetic Quantum Gates."

The research was funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the Royal Society and the European Commission, and was carried out in association with The Italian National Institute for the Physics of Matter (Modena) and the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (Grenoble).

Key to the collaboration is European funded Network of Excellence MagmaNet - which recently was been founded to underpin research in molecular magnetism.

Starcomms begins universal SMS service

IN further repositioning, Starcomms Limited, a leading Private Telecom Operator (PTO), has began the offering of universal Short Messaging Service (SMS) for all subscribers currently on the network.

The scheme avails Starcomms’ subscribers the opportunity to send international SMS to accessible phones in all parts of the world as well as within the country.

Starcomms’ Marketing Director, Mr. Omar Lababidi, while disclosing said in a press statement made available to Champion Infotel, said this is just another pioneering effort of the company, designed to further increase value for customers.

“They can now enjoy unlimited SMS capability internationally. On the local scene however, we have, as of now reached very close to completing interconnection with 2 operators. We hope that the other networks will also come on board very soon,” he said.

Mr. Lababidi also declared that Starcomms would be charging a flat tariff of N15 for each SMS sent either locally or internationally.

“As a launch promotion, all texts would be free to any part of the world until Sunday, November 6, 2005,” he said.

Champion Infotel recalls that this is the first of its kind by a PTO in Nigeria, and is another value added service enabled by Starcomms’ CDMA 2000 1X Intelligent Network, which facilitated the provision of a broad range of communications products and services that cater to the needs of both their corporate and individual subscribers.

The telco has consistently maintained dominance of the PTO sector in the country through the deployment of a quality network, the introduction of innovative services, and excellent customer service delivery.

The company, recently announced the attainment of the 200,000 subscriber mark, offers voice, fax and high-speed internet services on its network.

Whereas its services are presently available in Lagos, Kano, Maiduguri and Port Harcourt, all of which have a combined capacity of over 500,000 lines, just as it’s embarking on an aggressive roll-out programme that would see it going live in, at least, six additional states over the next few months.

ICT4All expo to attract 40,000 participants

A five-day Information and Communication Technology (ICT) trade fair, also known as ‘ICT4All’ for 2005, would attract over 40,000 participants including chief executive officers of private organizations, according to United Nations official.

ICT4All exhibition is organized along with the main World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS).

This year’s edition, holding in Tunis as part of the WSIS second phase is due to start on November 15, a day earlier before the official opening of the summit at Kram Pla Expo and to end on Saturday, November 19.

Mr. Edoardo Bellando of the United Nations Department of Public Information, said that companies from developed and developing countries would showcase innovative ideas and practical solutions, meet and forge new partnerships.

“Some 40,000 visitors are expected to attend ICT-for-All’,” he said.

He also said that corporate partners of the Tunisian Organising Committee for WSIS-05 include Alcatel, Ericsson, Huawei, Microsoft, Nokia, Samsung and ZTE.

Mr. Bellando recalled that in 2003 at the first phase of WSIS, 175 countries adopted a Declaration of Principles, outlining a common vision of the Information Society and a Plan of Action, which sets targets on how to improve connectivity and access in using ICT.

He noted that the main goal of the event would be to seek avenues of providing better access to developing nations to the internet among other ICTs.

According to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the 942 million people living in the world's developed economies enjoy five times better access to fixed and mobile phone services, nine times better access to Internet services, and own 13 times more personal computers than the 85 per cent of the world's population living in low and lower-middle income countries.

ITU also estimates that 800,000 villages still lack connection by telephone line, the Internet or any other modern ICT.

Virtual University online debate takes off

The United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO)-organised Virtual University online debate took off Monday, on Open Educational Resources (OER) and would last till Friday, December 2.

The debate being coordinated by the International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP) an auspices of UNESCO, heralds a six-week forum on "OER: Open Content for Higher Education," which is expected to involve over 400
individuals from over 80 countries.

Information available to ITREALMS, indicated that the initial five-day session would serve as an overview focusing on the importance and benefits of using OER in higher education around the world; identification of some issues, problems and barriers that confront the further development and expanded use of OER.

First session of the debate to be moderated by Dr. Sally Johnstone of the Western Cooperative for Educational Telecommunications in the United States, set the stage for an anticipated in-depth discussions.

The discuss would have a weekly topics to be introduced and is scheduled to provide some in roads into the current state of operations, acceptance as well as the way forward for virtual university as envisioned by UNESCO under IIEP, mostly in developing countries by the time it would come to a close.

IIEP's mission is to strengthen the capacity of countries to plan and manage their education systems so as to achieve the goal of education for all by forming training partners and managers in skills to analyze and plan, manage and implement, monitor and evaluate.

It would also support institutions and improving administrative routines, organization, leadership skills, while fostering an enabling environment through policy forums, international co-operation and networking.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

HDTV, future viewers’ choice


Features of the week:

on technology is being introduced by manufacturers for the electronic consumers globally, reports REMMY NWEKE.

High Definition Television (HDTV) is gradually gaining grounds in the lives of electronic consumers nowadays.

This is more rampant in developed countries especially Europe and some parts of Asia Pacific, known for their electronic prowess.

HDTV has the ability to receive signals with a higher resolution than the traditional formats like the America’s National Television System Committee (NTSC) and the Phase-Alternating Line (PAL) or Sequential Couleur Avec Memorie - Sequential colour with memory – (SECAM), could allow, mostly in television broadcasting.

NTSC is responsible for setting television and video standards in the United States, while in Europe and the rest of the world, the dominant television standards are PAL and SECAM.

Popularly refer to as broadcast done digitally; HDTV introduction coincided with that of digital television, DTV. Although this term, HDTV, was used as far back as 1930s to connote the replacement of the early experiment systems, which difference depends on the module of broadcasting.

Broadcasting, therefore, as the distribution of audio and video signals – TV, is known as programmes to a number of recipients, identified as viewers, according to Wikipedia.

TV is a telecommunication system for broadcasting by way of receiving moving pictures and sound over a distance. The HDTV context stipulates that the formats of broadcasts be referred to using a notation description. That is, the number of lines in display resolution, progressive frames or interlaced fields and number of frames or fields per second.

And when compared with Standard Definition Television (SDTV), HDTV has at least, twice the resolution of SDTV, which allows it to show more detail pictures compared to an analog - non-digital television or even the regular Digital Video Displays (DVDs).

This is additional to the technical standards for broadcasting HDTV, which further have shown increased effect in its contents’ resolution. Thus it has four times resolution than SDTV according to experts.

With the aforesaid values, it was not surprising that manufacturers of electronic consumers’ products, like LG Electronics, Philips, Grundig, Samsung, are now battling at Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) exhibitions and conferences to showcase their latest HDTV modules.

As at April this year, Samsung Electronics has concluded plans with Microsoft Corporation to infuse what was described as a revolutionary HDTV alliance by the Senior Vice President, Consumer Electronics at Samsung Electronics America Inc, Mr. Peter Weedfald.

The alliance would see Samsung exclusively marketing Microsoft’s next generation Xbox high definition gaming platform.

LG Electronics on the other hand is dazzling consumers with its high definition Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) and Plasma Digital Panel TVs, as the firm continues to dish out its 102-inch models which the company said boosts of full level HD and in essence doubling the existing level of HD of 1 million pixel – 1,365,768.

Chief executive of Philips Consumer Electronics, Mr. Rudy Provoost, told newsmen at this year’s Internationale Funkausstellung (IFA-05) held in Berlin recently, that research has shown the public is tired of not being able to record a programme on TV, and spending hours reading instruction manual.

“… We want simplicity in our relationship with technology … technology that gets the job done rather than drawing attention to itself” he asserted.

Noting that there is three fundamental huddles to cross before a product could meet this demand, namely designed around the user’s needs; two, it must be easy to experience and three, advanced and innovative.

All this he found in Philips’ HDTV anticipated to hit market before the year ends. He summed it up as a metamorphosis of the whole consumer electronics value chain that brings added benefits to consumers and forcing manufacturers to rethink.

“It forces our industry, broadcasters and content providers, operators, retailers and customers and even policy makers and regulators to wake up and see the wave of transformation it will bring,” Mr. Provoost declared.

Nonetheless, foreseen problem here centers on the readiness of developing nations like Nigeria and regulators of telecommunications and precisely those charged with core broadcasting; to wake up like Mr. Provoost pointed out, and rethink, because this would constitute another form of digital divide in the globalization drive, else such countries become a dumping ground for outdated electronics.

Nigeria needs data, telecom network policies – Odinma

LEADING Nigerian telecommunications expert, Prof. Augustine Odinma has said the nation needs data and fail-over telecom network policies that must be all-inclusive.

Prof. Odinma, stated this in an address to this year’s International Conference and Exhibition on Power and Telecommunications (ICEPT 2005), organized by the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE’s) Electrical Division, as a special guest of honour in Ikeja-Lagos.

The three-day conference coincided with the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Electrical Division, has the theme: “Building Sustainable Capacities, Standards and Regulations in Power and Telecommunications Industries”.

He said that the data link policy should link all the ministries, parastatals and agencies in the first phase.

On the second phase, Prof. Odinma who is based in the United Kingdom (UK), said it would include the state governments.

This, he said, would become an avenue for revenue for the federal government, as the states would be expected to pay some royalties on a yearly bases for the maintenance of the networks.

“Most of the networks’ various arm of the government is constructing must of necessity be hosted by the federal government’s networks,” he said.

He condemned the policy of each ministry having its own networks segments that are not interconnected, saying it is not adequate.

Other initiatives such as e-government, tourism sites, he said, must be hosted on the Federal Government networks, stressing that all-inclusive network cannot be avoided, but a task that must be accomplished.

He also said that the government should commence plan towards the deployment of the network in a phased approach.

Prof. Odinma recommended that Ministry of Science and Technology (MST) or Ministry of Communications (MOC) should own the Government Data Intranet networks.

On the other hand, government, he said, should start to plan for a fail-over telecom network policy, which he explained should not wait until there is a major disaster in the telecom industry.

He further bemoaned the attitude that anybody could design a telecom network in the country. Pointing out that has been the reason some GSM networks have cross-talks most of the times.

“It is for this reason that you find GSM networks having cross-talks in most major cities. You can only expect substandard networks or network performance if you use non-telecom expert engineers to plan networks,” he asserted.

Warning that state cannot be entirely dependent on the private network operators for all its communication needs, thus it is risky, dangerous and disastrous.

“For the government not to have some form of Fail-Over Telecom Network,” he expert said.

The network, according to him, would be a secret network and owned by the States Security ‘Secret’ Service (SSS) and must be designed by indigenous telecom network experts.

LGE unwraps DMB Phone

This year’s Korea Electronics Show (KES) ended with LG Electronics unwrapping its time machine satellite Digital Mobile Broadcasting (DMB) phone.

The expo held at KINTEX in Goyang City between October 11 and 15, saw the Timemachine satellite unveiled, which affords users to continuously watch television (TV) even while speaking over the phone.

The phone’s technology stores broadcasts in the memory that have been received while one is speaking on the phone and then replays them after speaking, thereby allowing for continuous viewing, as said by the chief executive of LG Electronics, Mr. S.S. Kim.

He also said that the phone supports up to 60 minutes of Timemachine function and provides a multi-tasking function that allows users to send and receive short text messages while speaking over the phone or watching TV.

The Timemachine Phone, Mr. Kim believes supports virtual 5.1-channel and delivers third dimension (3D) quality stereo sounds.

The chief executive said that DMB phone equipped with the picture clarity enhancement chip Mobile-XD engine is based on its world-class digital TV technology; a 2.2-inch Quarter Video Graphics Array (QVGA) in 320X240 Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) and a home digital TV-level high-definition feature.

Additionally, the Timemachine Phone features a rotational T-style LCD backed by LG Electronics cutting-edge mobile phone technology, permit users to hold it with one hand and watch the DMB content in the horizontal slide-out mode.

Multi-channel mobile subscribers to benefit from TBS, ROK deal

Turner Broadcasting System (TBS) Europe Limited and United Kingdom-based ROK TV, has announced a deal that would benefit subscribers to ROK TV’s new multi-channel mobile TV service to watch CNN and Cartoon Network on their mobile phones.

Cartoon Network Mobile TV is Turner Broadcasting System’s service for mobile devices, which this year commenced to offer content based on its shows and characters. Cartoon Network, the all-animation channel is available in 22 languages across 25 separate feeds in 160 countries in 180 million homes worldwide.

CNN Mobile launched in 1999 as the first mobile telephone news and information service to be available globally.

Public Relations Manager at Pan & CEE Turner Entertainment Networks International Limited, Natalie Pritchard, said ROK TV, a British entity would this week as the world’s first independent multi-channel TV service provider for 2.5G and 3G mobile phones, offers a new way of delivering mobile television content in Europe.

Pritchard said that for Cartoon fans, subscribers will be able to watch two hour of constantly streamed hit shows from Cartoon Network including The Powerpuff Girls, Johnny Bravo, Dexter’s Laboratory, Ed, Edd and Eddy, Cow and Chicken and Courage the Cowardly Dog to name but a few.

A live stream of CNN International would also be available on the ROK TV service, delivering the world’s leading international news network direct to mobile handsets with the latest news headlines and reporting from around the world.

General Manager of Interactive, Wireless and Commercial Distribution Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) at TBS, Casey Harwood, said the frim is committed to extending the reach of our channels on as many platforms as possible.

“This is a great opportunity to reach out to even more mobile users interested in making the most of the emerging opportunities arising with mobile television, ” he said.

Mr. Harwood also said "This launch highlights the rapid expansion of mobile television in the international marketplace. We are excited to extend Turner's channels to ROK TV subscribers and hope this will allow us to give viewers a simple and intuitive way to watch CNN and Cartoon Network on the go, anytime, anyplace."

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Obasanjo may okay e-Voting

THE usage of the proposed electronic voting (e-voting) may have received some green light from the presidency, as the President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo said weekend, that digitalising the ballot system would help minimise short comings associated with past elections.

The president said this in Abuja, just as Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Prof. Maurice Iwu, declared in Kano that those kicking against e-voting
were those who have for years been holding Nigeria to ransom through election rigging.

Iwu also denied saying he was happy with what is happening in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Receiving in audience members of the Imo State Council of Traditional Rulers at the State House, Abuja President Obasanjo stated that electronic voting would help reduce human errors and other types of vices that usually threaten the credibility of election results.

"The more we are able to take human error, either by omission or comission, away from the electoral porcess, the more our electoral process and the results will be less controvertible and controversial," Obasanjo said.

Besides, President Obasanjo maintained that the country could not afford to lag behind in revolutionalising the electoral process in this modern age especially "in these days when everybody is going digital and everything is going ditigal."
(SOURCE: Daily Champion)

Friday, October 14, 2005

MTN named 'Brand of the year'

MTN Nigeria has been adjudged the best brand in the telecom category by the National Institute of Marketing, a professional body for the Marketing profession in Nigeria.

Corporate Services Executive at MTN Nigeria, Mrs. Amina Oyagbola, disclosing this in a press statement made available to ITRealms, and said “we are humbled by this significant endorsement of confidence in our operations by these reputable institutions, considering that MTN is just a little over four years in Nigeria”.

She also said, the award recognizes the commitment to excellence and innovation and long-term contribution to the development of Nigeria’s economy.

“It also challenges us to continue to provide the best levels of service everywhere you go” she declared.

Mrs. Oyagbola noted that this endorsement by the apex marketing body is the fourth time MTN would receive from different institutions in Nigeria and it confirms the company’s leadership status in the Nigerian telecommunications industry.

It would be recalled that last weekend, MTN Nigeria was also pronounced the second “Nigeria’s Most Respected Company” in an award ceremony organized by PricewaterhouseCoopers and BusinessDay Newspapers at an event held at the Eko Hotel & Suites, Lagos.

This award is a global initiative instituted by PricewaterhouseCoopers and this is the first time it is being organized in the country.

Managing Partner of PricewaterhouseCoopers, Mr. Ken Igbokwe, said MTN met the parameters for selection, which included, “good corporate citizenship, social responsibility and adherence to high ethical standards; unique and excellent leadership style coupled with strong management principles and structure.”

He also said that the most respected company is “a visionary and revolutionary company with strong focus, an innovative company, with good corporate governance practice, high shareholder interest and value, with an excellent/creative marketing programme and customer service/focus.”

Mrs. Oyagbola further pointed out that MTN has won a number of awards from inception including, THISDAY Newspaper award of “Brand of the Year”, 2002 and 2004.

This, she said, has been sustained by the winning of the position of “Brand of the Year” at the 2005 Nigerian Telecoms award and the City People Award for Excellence.

MTN also won a Gold Award for creativity and Quality of Service delivery at the Nigerian Information Technology & Telecom Awards NITTA 2002 and a Microsoft awards for doing the most to drive up the standards of IT services delivery in Nigeria.

She recalled that in 2004, MTN was voted the “Best Voice Calling Marketer of the Year at the Marketing Leaders Awards, and a “Leadership Awards 2004” from Card Technology Africa.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Expert hails www.champion-newspapers.com

Champion Newspapers website, www.champion-newspapers.com, has passed an assessment of the site by the global number one media analyzer based in Hamburg-Germany.

According to the Project Manager, Media Analyzer, Mr. Sebastian Grandt, while evaluating the company’s website ‘unofficially’ at a session with members of the third Multimedia and Online course for international journalists in Hamburg, the website is attractive.

He lauded the white spaces in between the categories in the website’s home page and news display, saying it makes champion-newspapers.com online attractive.

“I don’t have quarrels with the white spaces,” he declared in response to students’ enquiry.

The course is organized by the International Institute for Journalism based in Berlin, Germany.

Addressing the students who paid a visit to Media Analyzer’s Hamburg office, Mr. Grandt said, he does not have any problem with the white spaces used in fashioning the website.

This was due to some critic’s view that the white spaces were indication of lack of content.

Although he was uncomfortable with three animations on the website, namely on the motto of the company, stock exchange reports and underlined invitation urging visitors to visit again.

The expert also said these animations should have been reduced to one, especially on the stock report and referring to the one on the motto and underlining invitation as ‘compounding animation’.

However, the Media Analyzer’s expert further said websites must be kept simple with big headline points to attract readers to leading page stories, even as images have become imperative in media analysis due to impact it has on readers.

Mr. Grandt pointed out that his organization is concerned with visibility and usability of media online contents.

He warned of media houses allowing the online version to be over-loaded with adverts or contents, pointing out that opening every media website, readers are faced with some questions such as ‘which website is this, what can I do here and what’s the interest’.

“The bigger the image the more time people are attracted to the subject aside,” he declared.

Presently, Mr. Grandt noted that Media Analyzer’s top customers include Siemens, Yahoo, The Economists, T-Mobile among others.

He further disclosed that online readers spend approximated 10 to 25 seconds per media website, stressing that in the actual sense, online visitors to media website do not read immediately, but scan over the page contents first before deciding on what to read.

Media Analyzer, he said, has offices in Hamburg, United States among other offices, while its operations have been divided into sales, software and project management.

Mobile growth rises to 374m in Latin America

FIFTH regional International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Telecom Americas and weekend with revealation that mobile growth in the region has grown from 128 million subscribers to 374 million, within the last five years.

ITU said that the evetn held at the Bahia Convention Center in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil with theme: “Moving to a Latin Beat’, was broad and pan-regional on focus and commitment.

Indicator released at the conclusion of the event by ITU showed that the growth of mobile telecommunication has been very impressive, especially in the last half a decade.

“From 1999 to 2004, the number of mobile subscribers have grown from 128 million to 374m, a more than three fold increase in five years,” according to ITU indicator for the region released during the event.

It also stated that demand for other services is equally strong — especially in the area of broadband, which is emerging as a key element of new digital solutions such as Voice over IP (VoIP).

ITU noted that while most mobile growth has so far been due to prepaid voice services, advanced mobile data solutions such as Triple Play and mobile multimedia are ready to further spur uptake of new services, as converged technologies become a reality.

In addition, fixed-line network growth, the global regulatory body said, has remained virtually flat across the region, creating an important impediment to bridging the Digital Divide in the area of online connectivity.

Even continued spectacular growth in mobile will not solve this problem until wireless networks are able to provide reliable broadband services.

The regulator further said that average annual growth rate of fixed-line was just 0.7 per cent from 2000-2004.

Deputy Secretary-General of the ITU, Mr. Roberto Blois, said in an address to the occasion that TELECOM AMERICAS 2005 has served to frame the critical issues that needed to be addressed to reach the next level of growth in the region.

"… We have seen the coming together of regulatory, standardization and product development discussions concerning broadband, mobile, multimedia, and other emerging technologies. The industry is poised for new growth, but this will need to be well-coordinated in order to ensure true digital inclusion throughout the Americas,” he asserted.

Obviously referring to the advent of fast-moving technologies such as third generation (3G), Internet Protoco TV (IPTV) and Triple Play, Mr. Blois declared, "Powerful technologies such as these require interoperable standards and an enabling regulatory environment, so they could be brought to market successfully."

The high-level executives and officials from across the region, including regulators from Brazil, Ecuador, El Salvador, Germany, Guatemala, Honduras, Jordan, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Tanzania, Trinidad & Tobago and Venezuela attended the convention and were led by President of Anatel, the National Regulatory Agency of Brazil, Mr Elifas Gurgel do Amaral.

Iyanam returns to Globacom as COO, New Markets

*As Ndukwe lauds promo

PIONEER top marketing executive of the Second National Carrier (SNO), Globacom, Mr. Okon Iyanam, has returned to the telecom company as Chief Operating Officer (COO), New Markets and Special Assignments.

This came as the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Ernest Ndukwe has lauded Globacom on its Double Slam promotion.

ITrealms recalls that Mr. Iyanam last weekend, resigned his appointment with Vmobile Nigeria as the Chief Marketing Officer.

The return of Mr. Iyanam, who has served previously at various capacities at Globacom before leaving in 2003, was described as a home coming by the Public Relations Manager of Globacom, Mr. Bode Opesietan.

According to the SNO’s Executive Director, Human Resources, Mr. Adewale Sangowawa, Mr. Iyanam, who has since assumed duties would take charge of emerging business opportunities and other special responsibilities assigned by the management of the company.

In a move regarded as home coming, Iyanam resigned from Vmobile a couple of days back as the Chief Marketing Officer to re-join Globacom, a company he served in various capacities as pioneer staff before he left in 2003.

Mr. Sangowawa also noted that Globacom since inception commercially on August 29, 2003, has been an equal-opportunity company, giving thousands of bright, young Nigerians an enabling environment to reach their fullest potentials.

Meanwhile, the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Dr. Ndukwe, and Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Media, Ms. Abike Dabiri, have urged other corporate organizations to emulate Globacom’s on-going double slam promotion.

They spoke at the first Abuja draw of the promotion held last week and commended the development of promotions in the telecommunications sector.

“This is very interesting. It is not always that operators put up events of this magnitude to reward subscribers. Globacom, therefore, deserves to be commended and I want to thank them for recognizing and rewarding their subscribers,” said Ndukwe.

Dr. Ndukwe who was special guest of honour at the draw also urged Globacom to extend its services to other African countries, noting that the Second National Operator had the capability to accomplish this.

“The network has the capacity and the muscle to extend its services beyond the shores of Nigeria. It has done well in the country and should look beyond Nigeria,” Ndukwe said.

For Ms Dabiri, who drew one of the winning numbers, 0805-5957584, belonging to a 26-year-old Mobile Police Constable, Mr. Sunday Atulukwu, winning one of the four cars on offer, a Kia Sorento jeep, “This is the grand father of all promotions”.

She pointed out that Globacom has shown that it is really a Nigerian company that has lived up to its social responsibility role.

“It is commendable and I hope others will emulate Glo,” Dabiri stated.

Other winning numbers were 0805-4645126 which won a Kia Picanto car, 0805-3027119 (Honda City) and 0805-8548727 (Mercedes Benz E240).

The draw is the fifth Globacom has held so far. Two have been held in Lagos and one each in Enugu and Kano.

The draws have produced winners of twenty cars, five Mercedes E240, five Kia Sorento jeeps, five Honda City and five Kia Picanto cars.

HR managers to meet @ CTO-05

COMMONWEALTH Telecommunication Organisation (CTO), has finalized plans to host Human Resources managers to a three-day conference on Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in Toronto, Canada.

This is the first time in the history of CTO that such a specialized meeting is being organized for Human Resources experts.

Slated to hold in November, CTO said, over 40 HR experts globally have confirmed participation.

CTO’s Bharma Kerai, said participants are expected from Europe, Carribbean, Africa and to deliberate on best practices in the HR industry in relation to ICT.

The organizers said despite the rapid innovation and adoption of new technologies in HR management, the need for efficient HR management strategies and best practice in the ICT sector in emerging and deregulating markets, particularly in the telecom sector has remained largely unanswered.

Operators in these increasingly competitive markets, CTO noted, must rapidly migrate to more efficient profiling, recruitment, development retention techniques in order to remain competitive.

Director, Business Development at CTO, Mr. Nick Cabrera was quoted as saying, “With the rapid projected development of Human Resources there has never been a more crucial time to learn new adapting HR strategies within the changing ICT industry than now.”

He explained that even though there is extensive expertise available, “many businesses are still faced with the challenge of sometimes long transition periods from a deep legacy of HR practice in non-competitive environments to quickly adapt and respond to new technologies and competition”.

He stressed that CTO is convinced that this event would be an eye-opener to every one interested in discovering from others or sharing their experience or advice.

The organizers said that the event titled ‘HR for ICT’ is the must-attend event for any HR professional involved in the ICT industry globally, just as it would feature presentations and case studies from high-level industry gurus.

CTO also pledge in-depth panel discussions as the agenda cover several topics essential to enhancing understanding of the critical issues and how HR professionals could expand their company’s HR strategies.

CTO is an international development partnership between Commonwealth and non-commonwealth governments, businesses and civil society organizations focused on ICT.

tagesschau.de survives on E16m without adverts

The online edition of the Germany public-owned television, tagesschau.de, depends annually on about 16 million Euro subvention generated from the nation’s radio and television tax fund.

Editorial Manager at tagesschau.de online, Mr. Jorg Sadrozinski, disclosed this to newsmen from 11 countries on tour to the station, under the InWent’s Capacity Building Development for media, the International Institute for Journalism (IIJ), who were in Hamburg at the weekend.

He said the total sum is part of the E17 monthly tax paid by users of radio and television in the country.

This, he explained, was the reason behind non-advertisement in the media especially the online edition.

“We’re financed by licensing fees of about E17 monthly paid by the citizens of Germany,” he said.

Mr. Sadrozinski also noted that this amount collected by the revenue authorities and remitted to the organization is enough for the annual sustenance of the media outfit.

The medium which has bureaus at various parts of the world including Africa, he said, offers its services free.

Emphasizing that his office deployed a content management system that enables it to offer Short Messaging Service (SMS), Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) based Value Added Service (VAS) to the citizens.

In offering this VAS, he said, tagesschua.de is partnering with Vodafone and e-plus among other telecom operators in the country to ensure the popularity of the services continue to grow.

He later showed the visitors round the premises of the organisation’s newsroom and how they source and provide editorial contents mostly for those who wish to subscribe specifically for particular interest.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Understanding in-flight GSM solution

Features of the week:

Plans are rift to introduce in-flight Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) solution worldwide. REMMY NWEKE examines some of the technologies behind the innovation.

'Dying to use your mobile phone while air bound, don’t worry your ‘miracle’ is just around the corner, if the tinkering of telecommunications equipment manufacturers is anything to go by'.

SHUTTLING for business between major cities of the country, namely Kaduna, Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt, through aircrafts could make life easy for a Kaduna-based political contractor, Malam Mohammed Taiwo. This is because he could connect all of these cities within a day, especially now the hassle for 2007 is gearing up.
But then, he always feel headaches any time he is onboard and aircraft attendants announce that all Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) or any other system like laptops be switched off until the flight gets to its destination.

This is cumbersome, because Malam Taiwo operates to the best of his knowledge a mobile office, and when he has to connect about four flights in a day, it means that approximated six hours would be lost mid-air due to what he understand as civil aviation regulation to switch off his mobile gadgets while air bound.
Imagine how elated Malam Taiwo was when recently he read in Champion Infotel, ‘Siemens, Airbus in joint GSM solution for aircraft,’ while on his way to Enugu in eastern part of Nigeria.
He ensured that the copy never get out of sight until he returned to base in Kaduna, and reached out to the writer through the company to enable him understand the concept better.
Innovative concept
Although the innovative concept of developing a GSM solution for aircrafts have began in earnest, it did not start with Siemens and Airbus deal and the stages of business development varies from one mobile communication technology equipment company to another.
But not without a trace to Airbus or its subsidiary, OnAir, which is a joint venture with SITA Inc and lately Tenzing, a software company based in Seattle, as approved by the European Union Commission for Competition.
Whereas the deal between Siemens and Airbus is to develop a solution to enable the use of in-flight communications via GSM, Siemens said it would provide the technology while Airbus, leading aircraft manufacturer, would see to its integration in existing electronics systems, marketing to airlines and maintenance, according to President, Mobile Networks at Siemens Communications, Mr. Christoph Caselitz.
He also said the solution will be anchored on Siemens-nano-GSM/General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) base station on the airplane to be attached behind the ceiling panel so as to allow reception for a mobile phone, Personal computer or organisers among other devices from any seat on the plane.
Describing this base station as the smallest and lightest globally, Mr. Caselitz said it would be based on Internet Protocol (IP) and linked to terrestrial GSM mobile network with the aid of a satellite technology.
Prerequisite to implementing the solution, the mobile network boss explained, is the integration of channel selector technology, preventing devices from establishing contact or interfering on aviation terrestrial networks referred to as avionics.
“It therefore ensures that radio communication from the airplane is conducted solely via satellite,” he assured, adding that the solution is expandable to accommodate more GSM capacity apart from the technology such as the wired or wireless Local Area Network (WLAN).
He explained that with this integration, airline passengers of all categories, like Taiwo will in near future be able to use their own mobile devices for in-flight phone calls or internet surfing, even as it would open new revenue sources for airlines.
Ericsson focuses on operators
While Siemens date for commercial launch is planned for 2006, Ericsson, another communication equipment manufacturer, said it has reached the cruising altitude with own version of technology, RBS 2708, which is telecom operators’ focused.
This would be available for installation before the year ends, as said by vice president, Product Management for GSM at Ericsson, Ulf Ewaldsson.
This came as ARINC Incorporated Maryland and Telenor of Norway, recently demonstrated joint in-flight solution under Aeromobile using Inmarsat Swift 64 kilobytes per second (kbps) and Swift Broadband 432 kbps on aeronautical satellite services.
Vice President, Mobile Connectivity at Telenor, Mr. Bernt Fanghol anticipated that mobile data would become essential part of in-flight communications in no distant future.
The ARINC director, Aircraft Mobility Connectivity, Mr. David Coiley, noted that research has already shown that Short Messaging Service (SMS) is likely to top list of in-flight communications with e-mail close behind by 2009.
Hence, Aeromobile’s mission centered on ‘Pico cell’ is bent on getting right solution for all passengers’ needs. And for director, Market Manager at Inmarsat, Mr. Robert Johnson, it would enable travellers toplace and receive mobile calls and messages wherever they fly.
Therefore, “the days of missing calls and important messages while in the air will soon beover”.
KLM on pulpit, modify’s IFE
And all things being equal, OnAir, has since March began in-flight SMS and email for KLM long-haul passengers enroute New York, San Francisco, Sao Paulo, Cape Town, Dubai, Tokyo to name a few, says the Product Strategy manager at KLM, Mr. Frank Vink.
This was the outcome of successful trials, causing KLM to modify its In-Flight Entertainment (IFE) system on10 Boeing 777s, while six new Airbus A330s flying majorly to Middle East and Africa have been completed since August to facilitate the offer for both short and long haul passengers. It’s anticipated that all KLM aircraft would have this service before end of April 2006.
Air bound through in-flight GSM solution on any platform as currently envisaged would require mobile telephone users to use the international roaming service of their home mobile operators, Laptop user on the other hand will connect to onboard server either via a wireless link such as Wireless Fidelity (Wi Fi) or wired connection, using Universal Serial Bus (USB) port or RJ45 plug generally located in the arm rest ofthe seat.
The server in turn would be connected to a ground infrastructure via an air-to-ground communications link, with the ground infrastructure further connected to the public networks, which could be mobile or fixed network operators. Usage would however, not be allowed during take-off or landing, and when aircraft is below 3,000 meters.
Tariff as determinant
One thing worth known is that this Value Added Service (VAS) aboard flights are not free as the airlines getready to smile to the banks, passengers like our dear Taiwo, should be ready also to pay for the cost which some experts say would be another determinant to acceptance.
For instance, tariffs onboard are expected to assume an international roaming rate on the ground on Aeromobile subscription.
Passengers on KLM would haveto pay $2.50 about N332.50k, for each message received or sent; even as incoming messages are only paid for if the passenger decides to open them, which is most likely; after viewing the subject and the sender’s name.
Generally, it would not be less than 50 cents, about N93.10k per message according to OnAir projection. On the other hand, Internet access charges will be inline with that which business travellers incur at hotels and remote access locations.
OnAir also said that recommended price for all airlines using Swift 64is $9.95 for webmail/chat access on an entire flight including unlimited text messages. Attachments, however, attract extra cost per kilobyte, and there is no charge for viewing an in box, thus enabling passengers to decide whether to read their emails before paying for the service.
As Malam Taiwo and friends wait for the introduction of this offering at short and long haul; domestic cum regional and international routes respectively, aclear challenge lies in the licensing of the spectrum for this kind of services, mostly at the international levels and no doubt, requires the co-operation of aviation and communication regulatory authorities, without leaving out the mobile operators in the country and specifically in Africa as well as globally.
Achieving this would not only offer the passengers and many Taiwos, a fulfilled dream but a sense of belonging in a world of Information and Communications Technology.

Adeniran urges Germany to support Nigeria on technology

Professor Tunde Adeniran, Nigerian ambassador to the republic of Germany, has urged German government to suport Nigeria current reform with technology.

The ambassador made this call while giving his independence message at a party in his residence, to mark Nigeria's 45th anniversary in Berlin.

While appealing to advanced nations of the world to support current reform in Nigeria, Prof. Adeniran singled out Germany for commendation based on previous assistance.

He also urged that Germany, for instance, should help developing nations like Nigeria particularly through technology.
According to him, there are ways to assist developing countries, more especially Nigeria via technology deployment, which could be based on manpower development in the sector.

“There’re many ways to help Nigeria, by the world at large, particularly, Germany with their technologies,” he said.

This, he also said, has become necessary in order to facilitate true consolidation of democracy in the country and eradicate poverty.

He prayed for peace in Nigeria and world at large as well as saying the Nigerian government would not relent in soliciting for support and understanding of other nations especially Germany.

“We hope we can continue to count on your support and we’re inviting you like to look into Nigeria, find how and where to invest,” he said.
Nigeria, Prof. Adeniran pointed out, is not only the largest African concentration but has the capacity to shape the future world economy.

He thanked the guests at the occasion for honouring the invitation to rejoice with Nigeria at 45 and successes as recorded by Nigeria for the betterment of the people.

Starcomms explains partnership with AHRLC

LEADING Private Telecom Operator (PTO), Starcomms has explained its recent partnership with the Ibadan-based African Heritage Research Library and Cultural Centere (AHRLC), saying it is in line with the firm’s corporate social responsibility.

The partnership is focused on the sponsoring of the official commissioning of the centre in Ibadan, Oyo State.

The centre is known as the first rural community-based African studies research library on the continent.

Director Marketing, Starcomms, Mr. Omar Lababidi, said the company’s decision to sponsor the event was borne out of the need to further project Starcomms as a lifestyle brand that is committed to improving the lives of Nigerians in very meaningful ways.

Mr. Lababidi said Starcomms as much as provident prevails, would continue to identify with projects that promote and protect not just Nigeria cultural heritage, but that of Africa in general.

He noted that in recent times, Starcomms has been consistent in sponsoring corporate and social events in the country, including the second edition of the Surulere Trade Fair held at the National Stadium, Surulere Lagos.

The commissioning was performed by the governor of Oyo State, Chief Rasheed Adewolu Ladoja, and attracted visitors and well wishers from within the country, continent and Europe as well as Asia Pacific.

The PTO also prouds itself as the first Nigerian to have crossed the 100,000 subscriber line and currently has over 180,000 subscribers, even as its concluding plans to take services to Port Harcourt and Abuja.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Amoako bows out, Janneh takes over


by Remmy Nweke

Dr. Ken Y. Amoako of Ghana has finally bowed out of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia after a 10-year stinct. Just as Mr. Abdoulie Janneh of Gambia has replaced him as the Executive Secretary of ECA.

ECA in a press statement made availab to ITRealms said that Mr. Amoako complete his term last Friday, September 30, 2005.

He has been succeeded by Mr Abdoulie Janneh who joined ECA after a 26-year career with the United Nations Development Programme, most recently as Assistant Secretary-General and Director of the UNDP Regional Bureau for Africa in New York., since October 1.

Amoako has been leading the continental think-thank since 1995 in fashioning out developmental needs, describing his stay at ECA as most professionally rewarding.

“My work at ECA has been the most professionally rewarding of my career, and we have worked closely with African policy makers and leaders to sharpen economic and social policy and I’m proud of what we have achieved,” he said delightfully.

He also said that the commission’s work to build partnerships between African governments and international donors, have worked with others to move Africa’s development challenges to the top of the global agenda through such venues as the Commission for Africa, the G8, the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the World Summit and others attracting focus on continent’s problems.

Speaking at the exit of Amoako, the Vice-President of the Canadian International Development Agency, Mr. Paul Hunt, said his vision, wisdom and dedication to the eradication of poverty have been inspirational, mostly on the commission’s contribution to the development of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) during his era.

Corroborating Hunt was the Deputy Director General of the International Organisation of Migration, Mme Ndioro Ndiaye, who said “If Africa is still a focus of the world's attention, it is in no small part, thanks to the quality of his contribution.”

Richard Carey of the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee praised Amoako’s “immense personal contribution to the new ideas, processes and statements of principle and policy that are transforming the African scene.”

Dr. Amoako joined ECA in 1995 and during his tenure served on the UK’s Commission for Africa, the Commission on Capital Flows to Africa and the World Health Organisation’s Commission on Macroeconomics and Health. He first studied economics at the University of Legon, Ghana, before going on to do his MA and PhD in economics at the University of California, Berkeley.

He went on to work for two decades in various roles at the World Bank, including positions as resident representative in Zambia and as division chief and department director in Washington.