Featured post

NCC, FIRS joint revenue quality assurance committee for telecoms debuts

ITRealms : The Nigerian Communications Commission ( NCC ) and the Federal Inland Revenue Services ( FIRS ) recently set up a joint Reve...

Innjoo

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Beware! Bloggers on rampage

Features of the week:

A two-day conference of African bloggers ended recently in South Africa, REMMY NWEKE, who was there reports that all hopes were not lost as the continent prepares to take its place in the blogsphere.

Preamble
Of course, Grahamstown, city of the first-ever Digital Citizens (DC) Conference otherwise called Indaba, in local parlance was seemingly agog for the duration, which lasted for two days.

Held at the Fine Arts building, within the Africa Media Matrix (AMM) mansion, Rhodes University campus in Grahamstown, South Africa, the event was hosted by the New Media Lab as part of Highway Africa 2006.

For the event co-ordinator, Mr. Colin Daniels, it was a gathering of African citizens, bloggers, mobile bloggers (mobloggers), vloggers, podcasters, hacktivists and new media journalists, as such focusing basically on blogging.

What is blogging?
This could go for web-logging, another qualifier that has become an acronym for web-logging and those involved in this kind of activities are called bloggers.

According to San Francisco-based Online communicator, Mr. Mark Glaser, in a piece for Reporters Without Borders, noted that weblogs were borne out of the idea of an online journal and or a personal journal, hence most of the time weblogs do not reflect academic writing, like impersonal writing for a wire service.

A lot of other online experts have various views on weblogging including disagreeing with Glaser on the onus or methodologies of weblogs as companies nowadays have weblogs, even as it is moderated to an extent.

Also, experts on weblogs at globalvoicesonline.org described blogging as anything from a personal diary to a complicated website edited by multiple authors. The vast majority of weblogs resemble journals written by one person, usually for an audience of a family or friends.

But weblogs nowadays resemble newspaper opinion columns or magazines on specialty subjects and even read these days by hundreds of thousands of people all over the world.

As it were, one could be reading weblogs without knowing it because of the quality of information webpages have via weblogs, which take the sign of syndication feeds like the Really Simple Syndication (RSS), Atom or Extended Mark-up Language (XML); providing links for syndication of a site to know that a site is a weblog.

Therefore, blogs could be set up in matter of minutes depending invariably on the kind of bandwidth at an individual disposal and is largely a free hosting service that has been on the increase globally.

Digital Citizen Indaba
Obviously realising this evolution made with blogs, the organisers of DCI decided to gather what initially was a crème de la crème of African bloggers and despite the initial disappointments with the travelling arrangements, it eventually went off the ground on September 14, with registrations at AMM.

The goal of the Indaba as said by Daniels, was to provide a networking platform for fellow Africans that will hopefully promote further collaboration on the continent and build a strong, active online community.

Daniels in his address to the occasion lamented the lackadaisical state of Internet connectivity on the continent, which he said, has cost Africans not to feature prominently in the blogsphere statistics releases recently by Dave Sifry, whereas Technorati now tracks estimated 50 million blogs even as blogs are being created at every second, let alone families.

He pointed out that as technology savvy continents of the world speak of one blog per family, this largely remains a dream for many African media organisations.

And to reverse this trend, the event coordinator noted, that was the nucleus of the gathering and to deliberate further on issues bothering on blogging and new media precisely in 21st century.

He further described the Internet as “the power to challenge society’s injustices and allow ordinary citizens to question the actions and policies of their governments.” Stressing that blogging with its extended reach becomes an essential tool in ensuring, for instance, that the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) comes to fruition on the continent.

While congratulating participants to the Indaba as part of history on the first blogging conference in Africa, Mr. Daniels, enjoined them to make more use of the tools they have toward making the continent more democratic and journalism friendly society for all.

The Critique
Although the DCI has come and gone but the criticisms that surrounded it even during and after should not be taken for granted as already, plans are underway to root another Bloggers confab probably against next year.

Riding in a cab from Grahamstown to Port Elizabeth airport, the entire journey was dominated with lamentations of participants in the evening of the last day, September 15.

Most of all was the connectivity issues which almost kept some bloggers out of the venue at the Fine Arts building for the sake of having Internet access, coupled with the change of the wireless access to the participants after the main Highway Africa conference was over penultimate Wednesday.

All these no doubt created a kind of hullabaloo, according to some of the participants on how come there was no Internet access at the venue of supposed core Internet subject of the century, blogging.

In fact, this outcry literally required the organisers to endeavour to make up the following day, being the last and of course, it did not go round due to lack of information on the new wireless created that day by the technical department, thus enabling skeletal access at the Fine Arts building.

Above all, expectations were damped especially on the business modules for weblogs as most media practitioners, especially the new entrants into the world of weblogging looked forward to optimising this to cover up the handsome amounts they pay for Internet access on the continent, even with low bandwidth. This was apart from the initial criticism of the speakers being mainly ‘whites’.

African bloggers
And preceding debates on the outcome of DCI on Blogging, Mental Acrobatics, www.mentalacrobatics.com, in what the proponent, Mr. Ndesanjo Macha described as a practical suggestion; to create a truly African bloggers conference.

“Clearly, we have many African bloggers who have an opinion on what an African blogging conference should or should not have been, should or should not do. We have many African bloggers who have an opinion on how an African blogging conference should be run,” just as he had set up a Google email discussion group called “African Bloggers”.

This group, Macha said, has a simple task but it is a massive one; borne out of the desire to work towards organizing a conference for African bloggers come next year.

“Our discussions within this group will centre around but may not be limited to sponsorship, dates, venues, facilities, speakers, agenda. This group is open to anyone who has a blog,” he declared.

Consequently, industry watchers believed that despite the challenges of DCI organisers, it sounds prophetic of Daniels when he asserted that he would like participants to leave with the feeling of inspired and informed about blogging and its attendant potentials.

A new dawn
There is no doubt, therefore, that with the support of notable bloggers like Ethan Zuckerman, Emeka Okafor, Ory Okolloh, Alaa Abd El Fattah, Matthew Buckland, among others who came from within and outside the continent with Africa at heart; will enthrone a new dawn worthy of anchoring in the blogsphere.

Just as it would not be a bad idea if African Bloggers have sub-regional conferences and then come up with the continental version of the Best of Blogs awards.

And even nothing else, DCI and its organisers has inspired some Africans to rally round the likes of Macha for a truly renaissance as far as blogging is concerned and the history would be incomplete without DCI mention, at least for taking the initial step at Grahamstown in 2006.

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

Technology adaptation: Ghana compares with Nigeria

Remmy Nweke

Country Manager for West Africa at the American Power Conversion (APC), Mr. Charles Iyo, has thumped up Ghana as better positioned to adapt easily to technologies than Nigeria.

Speaking exclusively to our correspondent in Lagos, he said that this was evident in the methodology and long time it takes to accept and adapt to new technologies within the two major forces in the West African market.

He also alluded to this saying it was behind the elongated period of introduction of new products in the sub-region, and particularly in Nigeria.

In addition, Mr. Iyo said that an average Ghanaian businessman would prefer to adhere to the rules of the game while his Nigerian counterpart would opt to cut corners in order to increase profit.

As said by him, market experience by his firm in the sub-region also showed that in Nigeria there are lots of middlemen between the end-users and product manufacturers or even major dealers, which make it hard to implement some warranty.

According to him, instead of paying the start off fees, which he said is not much, to automatically authenticate warranty, average Nigerian businessmen, he said, would prefer to do it himself or worse still they are assured by their middlemen cum consultants that they would take care of the start off fees without living up to the billing.

“In fact, in Nigeria, they would want every thing for free,” he asserted.

But if it is in Ghana, the fellow, he said, would like to take the due process in order to be in the good books of the manufacturer and facilitate the product to serve him better.

This, therefore, places them (Ghana) better in understanding the technology of any kind easily and at the same time attracting investors to the country as well as to themselves.

Mr. Iyo also spoke on the firm’s core market offering of the moment, which is InfraStruXure, saying that it is still at the introductory stage.

Stressing that APC is gaining grounds in its marketing strategies in the sub-region, just as he called on businessmen in West Africa to always adhere to the rules of the game so as to optimise manufacturer’s warranty.

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

Ndukwe: Base station emissions under control

Remmy Nweke

APEX telecom regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said that base stations emission from the Global System for Mobile (GSM) communications platforms are under control.

Executive Vice Chairman, NCC, Dr. Ernest Ndukwe, who spoke through an official, Mr. Chris Agha while evaluating the studies conducted by the commission on Celtel installations at the south south and south east regions of the country, said emissions from base stations of GSM operators in the country are well below prescribed limits set by NCC and international organisations standards on emission restrictions.

Speaking in Enugu, Ndukwe also said, NCC intermittently tackles issues of public concern as well as commission studies to verify claims by operators.

It would be recalled that despite growing periodic public anxiety over the safety of GSM base stations emissions, studies by local and international experts including such organisations as the World Health Organisation (WHO), GSM Association, the International Commission for Non-ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), World Health Organisation International Electromagnetic Fields Project, United States-based Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Mobile manufacturers Forum and the International Agency for Research on Cancer, have stated that emissions associated with GSM BTS well within determined safe threshold for exposure to radio frequency energy.

The commission further observed that the complaint cannot be divorced from normal public uneasiness about emission and in some instances, the pursuit of economic compensation from operators.

Equally speaking, Head, Government Affairs at Celtel Nigeria, Mr. Osondu Nwokoro, enlightened that the telco’s adoption of NCC standard and international standards as benchmark is a testimony of its resolve to ensure the power emanating from its base stations remain too low to cause any negative health effect.


ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

Night browsers face uphill task

Remmy Nweke

School leaver and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) enthusiast, Ms Ifeoma Udaku, was keen in getting on with life beyond her immediate environment and becoming global citizen via the Internet.

She took up the opportunity provided by some Private Telecom Operators (PTO) who now showcase Internet service to gain more customers as part of their Value Added Service (VAS) offering.

Ifeoma soon got a job that keeps her very busy during the day and thus deprives her the chance of accessing the Internet during the day as she has to leave home before 7am; overcome the morning traffic and faces the same when she has to go home by 5.30pm.

So, she decided to go for night Internet service courtesy of PTOs, but an intriguing aspect of this offer has been that at night, customer care services among the PTOs are at zero as most of them now deploy Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems only with no specialist at hand to cater for the problems associated with the firms’ services.

This kind of treatment from PTOs left Ifeoma without any headway because she had some hiccups logging on to the Internet which she very much desired at home, since her work do not allow her access at the office let alone the time.

It could be recalled that most PTOs offer Internet services at intervals such as 6pm to 6am, 6am-10am, 10am to 6pm and 10pm to 6am as well as 24 hours, that is, if it is legacy Internet Service Providers (ISP).

Although those who have access between 7am to 9pm do have at hand a customer care, especially somebody to respond to subscribers’ direct inquiries, abandonment on the part of PTOs mostly at night is however raising some apprehension, that is to say, if it had not begun already, driving some to other competitor because of customer disenchantment and withdrawal from such networks afterwards.

Equally noteworthy is that though the avalanche of offers from the telecommunications sector, especially with the inclusion of the Internet services by the PTO have brought lots of options, and Nigerians seem to be enjoying the evolution in the industry, hence there is urgent need to address the 24/7 by 356 days customer care services.

Other than that, the customer services from the various operators may not be said to be of equal satisfaction to the end users, being that lots of operators in the industry, as was discovered by our market intelligence, have been operating customer care services on skeletal basis.

While some of the operators, according to investigations operate two shifts at their customer care sections; that is 7am to 2pm and 2pm to 9pm as well as some just one shift, that is 8am to 9pm, there is a vacuum being created afterwards as nobody or precisely customer care specialists at most PTOs including some Unified Licensed Operators, that would be handy for the customers towards the midnight till dawn when the specialists are expected to resume.

Then the issue of weekends, is a subject for another day, as most of them, pride themselves to inform you after 9pm that their customer care operate only Monday to Friday on week days whilst weekend is zero, yet some still offer a half day service till about 1pm.

Some of the reasons adduced by the operators as revealed by investigations was that the manpower is not there and the need to optimise the already engaged workforce.

This calls for looking inwards so as to assist subscribers attain the frequently claimed customer interest by these operators, only if they should, at least, restructure their customer care sections by placing even if it is one person on duty to help subscribers, like night browsers in order to keep the likes of Ifeoma growing with the network.


ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

AfriSIPA names BigDish regional carrier

Remmy Nweke

Mauritius-based satellite provider BigDish has been selected as the third carrier for the African Internet Service Providers Association (AfrISPA).

Disclosing this, Secretary General and General Manager of AfrISPA, Messrs Eric Osiakwan and Brian Longwe, informed that the choice of BigDish was in response to its request for service for data transportation between different ISP members of local Internet Exchange Points on the continent.

Big Dish Limited, Mr. Osiakwan said, is a new satellite provider incorporated in Mauritius, which has since joined the other two hitherto selected after a successful bidding process to provide an African Regional Internet Traffic solution.

He also said that the peering point design could be extended to allow additional Internet Exchanges to join the network with ease at any time in the future.

According to him, AfrISPA wanted to establish true inter-country connectivity within the continent so as to remove to remove the current dependence on overseas carriers, to promote the establishment and growth of African regional data carriers.

Explaining further, he said, the establishment of a network of Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) within Africa would also result in reduced costs, improved speeds and the improvement of the Internet backbone on the continent as a whole.

He pointed out that Big Dish has implemented a project that will revolutionise Internet access in Africa by breaking the current hypothesis of interconnection charges.

This, he said, could be achieved by buying substantial amounts of bandwidth where it is inexpensive, and delivering same via leased teleport and bulk space segment.

“This yields the capacity to deliver bandwidth via five satellites to any corner of Africa, using the Very Small Aperture Terminals (VSAT) and proprietary modems,” he declared.

Osiakwan equally informed that the deal with BigDish would assist ISPs on the continent in reducing the current high interconnection charges, even as Big Dish network becomes a regional transit and interconnection provider.

He pointed out that the project is being used to easily realize the dream of establishing a Pan African Virtual Internet Exchange (PAVIX) by selling transit at each IXP and offering interconnection between all African IXPs.

For the chief executive of Big Dish, Mr. Matthew Rudd, his firm intends to leverage on its inexpensive bandwidth to boost capabilities and thousands of square feet of rack space into a Point to Multipoint configuration.

“We can connect every national IXP to each other, and thus exceed the requirements of the original RFS,” he assured.

AfrISPA is a continental body of ISP associations with its objectives including to promote development of key Internet infrastructure on the continent.

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

VIA unveils PC initiative for Nigeria

Remmy Nweke

Taiwan-based leader in silicon chip technologies and Personal Computer (PC) platform solutions, VIA Technologies Incorporated, has announced plans to commence a nation-wide mass computerization scheme in collaboration with local software content providers in the country.

Business Development manager, VIA Technologies at Middle East and Africa, Mr. Werner Du Plessis, revealed this while chatting with newsmen in Abuja recently.

He said that the concept was borne out of VIA’s desire to offer Nigerians truly indigenous computers that are affordable.

Mr. Du Plessis informed that the company intends to deploy full stream its PC-1 initiative into the country with its complete range of pc-1 power saving computing devices.

“Our mission with the pc-1 initiative, is to create a process whereby the target of achieving computer access for the next one billion digital-have-nots will be actualized by the year 2015” he said, stressing, “and we are not opposed to every other avenue that can help achieve that target in a country like Nigeria”.

One of such avenues identified by Mr. Du Plessis include the kick-start of a mass computerization scheme in collaboration with the government, which will see pc-1 power saving computers made available to Nigerians bundled with low cost indigenous Linux open-source Operating System that supports multiple Nigerian local languages.

With the proposed scheme currently receiving the interest of the National IT Development Agency (NITDA), VIA is poised to use the new project to expand the success of the pc-1 initiative in the country. At the moment, the VIA pc-1 range of computing devices, which includes desktops, laptops and thin clients, are currently being supplied in Nigeria through Juniper Solutions limited, under the brand name GENIAC.

VIA Technologies, Inc is a company quoted at the Taiwan stock exchange and has been fabless supplier of market-leading core logic chipsets, low power x86 processors, advanced connectivity, multimedia, networking and storage silicon, and complete platform solutions that are driving system innovation in the PC and embedded markets.

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

Intel, Siemens collaborate on 2G VoIP

Remmy Nweke

Intel Corporation and Siemens Communications have established technology relationship to collaborate in creating an open unified communications solutions based on Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), based on Second Generation (2G).

The companies also agreed to jointly fund and cooperatively conduct research focused on secure wireless networks and real-time open unified communications in the short term as well as working together in a longer term through creating comprehensive vertical industry collaboration solutions to drive business process optimization for key market segments.

The firms equally said the collaboration would include telecommunications service provision, financial services and digital healthcare.

Components of the agreement that was sealed weekend in Munich, Germany, called for the two companies to establish joint market development efforts focused on the enterprise and service provider sectors.

The overall goal of the joint effort is to demonstrate real time communications solutions for business process optimization using Intel architecture such as Intel dual-core technology and carrier class Rack Mounted Servers (RMS) from Intel and the HiPath 8000 and OpenScape from Siemens.

A press statement made available to our correspondent and endorsed by the vice president sales and marketing group at Intel, Mr. Gordon Graylish, and President, Enterprise Systems at Siemens Communications, Mr. Thomas Zimmermann explained that the first step would be to demonstrate the OpenScape platform running applications such as personal portal, unified communications, video and voice conferencing and mobile clients.

In addition, Intel and Siemens expect to present findings and display the first wave of technology solutions developed at an Intel lab in the United States, to selected customers by the fourth quarter of 2006.

Mr. Graylish, who also is the general manager, Europe, Middle East and Africa noted, “Intel’s experience as the leading provider of silicon technology to the enterprise market world wide and established track record of industry collaboration puts it in a great position to shape the enterprise of the future. As a result of this collaboration, enterprise customers will be able to avail themselves of unified communications based on the industry’s highest performance and most cost effective architecture.”

On the other hand, Mr. Zimmermann said “Siemens has a strong commitment to this joint development effort and to ongoing collaboration with Intel to unlock the potential of our open unified communication enterprise solutions to a global ecosystem of third party independent software providers and systems integrators.”

He also said, that growth potential for the open unified communications market is significant and customer base for the HiPath 8000 solution has more than doubled since the first quarter of the year, stressing that Siemens is adding a new HiPath 8000 customer nearly every week.”

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

NITTA-06: Celebration of ICT success – Adaba

Remmy Nweke

Board of Trustees (BoT) of the Nigerian Information Technology and Telecom Awards (NITTA) 2006, has announced the opening of this year’s award entry, saying that it would herald another phase of success of Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

According to the BoT chairman, Dr. Tom Adaba, Nigeria has achieved so much in so short a time that unless the story is properly told, those who did not know might think the country has had these progress indices for over two decades.

Just five years into a revolution, he said, ICT in Nigeria is set to take stock and celebrate the gains of the period that has brought the country to global reckoning.

So, “at the prestigious NITTA-06, the awards ceremony which is the fifth in the series, has been scheduled for November 24, at the Musical Society of Nigeria (MUSON) Centre, Lagos,” he declared.

Dr. Adaba stressed that BoT along with the organisers, are proud of developments made so far in the country, especially in the ICT sector. Indeed, he said, awareness is key in telling the story of this revolution appropriately.

He noted that NITTA-06, therefore, would build on the successes of previous events and applaud the actors and operators in the sector who have done the nation proud through their products and services.

“NITTA-06 will build on the phenomenal success of previous editions and the commendable achievements of the entire ICT sector of the country to pave the way for even greater achievements for operators and professionals alike in the sector,” Dr. Adaba said.

The BoT chairman, who is a renowned broadcaster and administrator, explained that the thrust of this year’s event, which has the theme, “Celebrating the Gains of Nigeria’s ICT” is needed to encourage the ICT operators for the benefit of the populace.

Speaking at the end of the board’s meeting in Abuja, Dr. Adaba, said that this would lead to increased competition, quality of service delivery, innovation in products and services, enterprise and increased investment in the sector, hence the awards.

Also, he called on all stakeholders to rise in full support of the awards programme, because it would not only facilitate ICT growth in the country, but would revolutionize interaction and transactions among Nigerians on one hand and between Nigeria and the rest of the world, on the other.

This is coming as the newly appointed Communications Minister, Dr. Obafemi Anibaba has commended NITTA and its organisers, saying they have contributed in improving the atmosphere for competition.

Receiving the management of IT & Telecom Digest led by its editor-in-chief, Mr. Mkpe Abang in his office recently, the minister said he was glad to identify with NITTA and would gladly grace the occasion as it helps him in furthering the growth in the ICT sector.

The event, he said, has portrayed and will continue to show Nigeria in positive light both locally and internationally.

He informed the minister that his visit was to intimate him of activities towards NITTA 2006 and said the magazine has always taken the part of support for government’s positive actions and policies in the ICT sector so as to help bring access to the citizenry.

NITTA, he told the minister, was therefore the magazine’s effort at ensuring that awareness for government programmes is continuous while also rewarding actors and operators in the sector.

He emphasised that NITTA, was instituted in 2002 by IT & Telecom Digest, Africa’s foremost ICT magazine, as Nigeria’s benchmark for measuring quality of service delivery, promoting healthy competition and rewarding enterprise in the sector.

Coincidentally, while this year’s event will mark the 5th edition of NITTA, it is also five years of GSM operations in Nigeria, consequently it is tagged: “Celebrating Nigeria’s Achievements in ICT.”

Organised by Nigeria’s award winning ICT magazine, IT & Telecom Digest, this year’s edition will attract the cream of the ICT world and representatives of the International Telecommunication Union, the Economic Commission for Africa among others.

Even as there would be competitive categories to be advertised for corporate bodies and individuals to make entries and (or) nominations as the case may be.

These categories include individual and corporate bodies to enter or be nominated for the competitive segment namely for the best reporter of the year, print and electronic, best advert of the year, print and electronics, best telecom company of the year for fixed wireless and mobile, best customer-care company of the year and mobile company of the year.

In addition, there would be categories for best indigenous software company of the year, best Internet Service Provider (ISP) of the year and best prepaid phone card company of the year.

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

eTranzact gets new pay off line

Remmy Nweke

MOBILE commerce facilitator, eTranzact Nigeria has introduced a new pay off line, “your easier way to pay”.

Chief executive, eTranzact, Mr. Valentine Obi said the latest pay off line is a reinstatement of his firm’s mission of assisting Nigerians to get more benefits from the ever-growing information and communication technology services.

Speaking at the introduction of the new pay off line, he noted that Nigeria’s push to becoming one of the fastest growing economies propelled by mobile commerce (mcommerce) is on the right track.

He said the growth of eTranzact in the last four years is in line with the tremendous progress achieved and adoption of communication and information technology tools and services by most Nigerians.

This, he said, is the backbone of the mcommerce economy, “where a lot more is achieved by leveraging on services at our disposal to create more value from these services. From the comfort of your home, office, or anywhere there is connectivity and the tools to connect, such as the mobile phone or computer, you can use eTranzact’s platform to transfer money, top up your phone, pay for utilities, and a whole lot more.”

Mr. Obi further pointed out that Nigerians have effectively left behind the days when they had to pass through harrowing conditions to do any of these things.

“The service offering on the eTranzact platform has been expanded to include the educational sector, where many Nigerian universities are using the platform to ease the way students perform their obligations, such as registering for courses, paying school fees, and many others,” he said.

eTranzact platform, the chief executive explained, is connected to most of the banks in the country and as such facilitates several service offering, such as funds transfer, point of sale terminals, automated teller machines, payment for goods and services, and topping up the airtime of phones, revenue collection for state governments and other organisations.

“What we have done is to bring the best of technological advances in mobile commerce and made it suitable to meet the challenges we face everyday in Nigeria,” said Folake Olabiyi, of eTranzact Business Unit.

According to her, the solutions have been developed with a special focus on enhancing the way Nigerians do business and live, in order to make life better as they carry out their chores.

She also said, “A parent transferring money from his phone to his child’s bank account, even on a weekend, is a unique innovation meant to address the challenges students face in receiving money from their parents, and also the difficulty parents’ face in sending money to their kid s at school.”

Aside from Nigeria, eTranzact, www.etranzact.com, has presence in Ghana, United Kingdom (UK), and Zimbabwe, offering different modules of mobile commerce solutions that readily transforms to benefits of technologies to its users.

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

Clergy, 5 others receive Kia Picanto prizes @ Glo promo

Remmy Nweke

A clergy, Rev. Father Raymond Tumba Osa of St. Mary’s Catholic Church Kano, was among six subscribers of Globacom that were presented with Kia Picanto cars as winners of the ongoing Glo jumbo promotion of 180 cars in 180 days, at the weekend.

Whereas the Royal Father of Jos, His Royal Majesty, the Gbom Gwom Jos, Da Victor Pam, presented a KIA Picanto car to Rev Fr. Osa, and commercial telephone operator, Mr. Kwasu Yusuf Yashim in the Jos regional presentation, the Regional Manager, Ibadan Region 11 at Globacom, Mr. Alex Eremiokhale presented to four other winners at the second draw in the zone.

Speaking at the presentation, Gbom Gwom Jos, gave kudos to the second national operator, Globacom for the initiative, saying the programme is gradually taking away poverty from among Nigerians and its subscribers particularly.

“We are used to hearing about promotions in Lagos and Abuja by big companies, but this one is touching our people and our own environment. We are partakers of this Globacom goodwill and when a gesture like this spreads, poverty is chased away from among us,” he affirmed.

Earlier in his address, the Regional Manager of Jos Region, Mr. Chudi Nwoye, said Glo has delivered on its promises of making telephony available to the people of Plateau State.

“At the draw about two weeks ago, I made a promise to the people of Mangu, Shendam and Pankshin and today, I am proud to announce to you that Glo is live in these major towns of Plateau State. We’re not only live, we are giving the people a superior technology and a good bargain for their money. We are making our products affordable and well suited to the needs of our subscribers,” Mr. Nwoye reassured.

Emphasising that with the Glo’s blackberry package, for instance, the telco is reaching subscribers who are technologically savvy and who are on the move.

“With our Glo direct, we are reaching subscribers who are upwardly mobile and who want to keep abreast of latest events in the world. With the Glo Mobile internet, our subscribers notwithstanding their level can surf the internet through customized sights and with the per second billing which we championed, subscribers can reach their loved ones without paying through their nose,” he said.

In another development, Glo rewarded subscribers in the two regions in Ibadan who have remained loyal the network, which saw to the presentation of cars to four subscribers including a student of German Language at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Mr. Eric Asemudara, Ogun State-based pharmacist, Oamen Omorenuwa Sophia, and Zainab Bello who won in the Jos draw but was unable to claim her prize then, was also among those who drove a brand new Kia Picanto.

Reacting to the presentation, Mr. Asemudara, was full of gratitude to Globacom for making his dream come true.

“I was being careful of such fraud. As a student, I could not afford to be swindled as that had happened once. However, I have since discovered that this is real. Of course, I had hopes, like every other young Nigerian of riding a car someday but I never knew it would come this early in my life. Glo has made it possible,” he said.

For Sophia, who was thankful to Globacom for its commitment to poverty eradication in the country. “Glo promos are helping to eradicate poverty for a lot of Nigerians”, she opined.

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

Reltel, others join forces for NITTA-06

Remmy Nweke

Leading Information and Communications Technology (ICT) firms in the country, Reliance Telecommunications Limited (Reltel Wireless), and Direct-on-PC Limited, (DOPC), have began gathering support for this year’s edition of the Nigerian Information Technology and Telecom Awards (NITTA 2006).

The two firms in separate correspondents to the organisers, gave their respective green light for NITTA 2006 in recognition of the immense role the event has been involved in creating awareness for the ICT sector in the country and encouraging recognitions to quality of service delivery, innovation, enterprise and investment, as well as engendering healthy competition into the sector.

Managing Director, RelTel Wireless, Mr. Vinoo Goyal, in his letter endorsing the firm’s sponsorship, said the telco have watched keenly the interest of the organisers since NITTA pioneered the industry award in the country.

“The integrity of individuals and organisations involved in the programme and the fact that this event serves the ICT industry, not just in Nigeria, but in Africa and the world generally, by encouraging operators and experts to put in their best to uplift societies, and we believe it is an event we must identify with and support,” he said.

Mr. Goyal also enjoined all corporate bodies, individuals and governments who have ICT at heart, to give full support to NITTA.

“It is on record that Reltel won the Best Telephone Company of the Year at NITTA 2002; that award helped to position our company in very good light and we have continued to tap from that goodwill. So, if Reltel through our quality service, can enjoy such good corporate image through NITTA recognition, we believe the entire industry will be the best for it by being a part of NITTA 2006,” he declared.

It would be recalled that Reltel made history by becoming the first company to win the Best Telephone Company of the Year at the first NITTA programme in 2002. The company was given the recognition by beating all comers having been adjudged the first private telephone company in Nigeria to hit the 30,000 subscriber mark and having coverage in three cities – Lagos, Port Harcourt and Onitsha – within one year.

Also the Managing Director of DOPC, Mr. Munish Sharma, in his letter of support to the organisers, described NITTA as the benchmark for knowing highflying performers and for setting agenda in the highly dynamic and robust ICT industry in Nigeria.

“So, for us at DOPC, NITTA has become a natural recourse to know who are the real authentic companies to do business with and who are the leading achievers in the sector, year-in year-out,” he asserted.

Pointing out that the organisers, IT & Telecom Digest, has become a magazine reputed for the best integrity and the highest respect in Africa.

“So, the magazine is more than well positioned to organise such a high-profile awards programme. That is why we are glad that we have been given the privilege to be a sponsor for this year’s NITTA,” Mr. Sharma.

Noteworthy is that DOPC, which commenced operations as an Internet Service Provider in Nigeria in 2002, won the Best ISP of the year for three consecutive years – 2003, 2004 and 2005, just as the firm has operations spread nationwide and into the sub-region with four hubs scatter in the country and United States.

Commenting on the sponsorships by the two companies, elated editor-in-chief of IT & Telecom Digest, Mr. Mkpe Abang, said that Reltel and DOPC are award-winning organisations and have come to understand what integrity means in business as well as what quality of service is and the ingredients for making the growth in the nation’s ICT sector.

“So, certainly their support is well appreciated and commendable” he said, urging other corporate organisations to emulate these two.

Noting that the responses so far, indicated that NITTA 2006 will cap the phenomenal growth of previous events overwhelmingly. He further said NITTA 2006, scheduled to hold at the Muson Centre, Lagos, on Friday, November 24, “will bring together the cream of the nation’s society, including those involved in the ICT sector as well as others, private and public.”

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

CelTel unveils expansion strategies

Remmy Nweke

The latest entrant into the nation’s telecommunications market, CelTel has unveiled its strategies for expansion in the country, which the telco said would bring about reduced tariff in the Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) sub-sector.

Giving this indication recently in Abuja, Chief Operations Officer (COO), Mr. Lars Stork, said that its strategies would pave the way for lowering of cost of services, stressing that huge operational cost of operators, is one of the key source of cost of service.

The COO also said that the basic route to lower tariff is reduced cost of operation, describing it as “a factor, generally regarded as the major impediment to lower tariff regime of GSM service.”

Dwelling on “Commercial Strategies for Cooperation and Expansion” a paper he deliver at the just ended 5th International Nigeria telecommunications Summit held at the International Conference Centre Abuja, Mr. Stork noted that another factor capable of transforming the operating cost is the public and private partnership, especially in the provision of key requirement for successful GSM operation.

He emphasised that increased local service is realizable through government and industry support for Nigerian suppliers in open and transparent tenders to compete for supply of cost effective solutions plus sharing of expertise across the networks for synergy and greater efficiency.

He further listed speeding up of local research aimed at building capacity and reducing dependence on offshore supplies, sharing co-location infrastructure among operators where technically and commercially viable and optimising the economy of scale of operators with big buying power.

Mr. Stork went on to say that Celtel would continue to be a vital driver for development as demonstrated by the company’s experience across 15 African countries.

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

Telecom in Nigeria: A role in the call for launch

Ozioma Akubueze

A book detailing developments in tele- communication services in Nigeria and the positive effect the sector has created in the economic activities in the country titled; “Telecom in Nigeria: A role in the call” will be launched on Monday, October 30, at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), in Lagos.

The work, more of a book project is the brain child of Mr. Gbenga Adebayo, the General Manager of VGC Communications Limited, Lagos, an expert who has contributed much to the management of information technology in the country.

The book which had already been published in the United Kingdom by Alden Oxford, has eight chapters and captures an overview of the industry in Nigeria, its development, challenges as well as the transformation of the Nigeria telecommunication landscape from a mere 500,000 lines to over 20 million lines in a space of five years.

The book project which the author said touches “virtually all facets of our national life” as it concerns telephone which “has become the primary means of contact for an increasing number of Nigerians, irrespective of trade and status.”

He also said, that an increasing number of economic activities now depend on telecommunication services to thrive.

The book also provides an insight into the “associated difficulties with service provision, network roll-out and maintenance of network infrastructure” in Nigeria.

Mr. Adebayo equally said that the book will be a handbook for service providers, professionals in IT, associated business as well as users of telecom even as he contended that it would widen the scope of IT knowledge of Nigerians.

He further implored interested persons to visit www.telecominnigeria.com, while comments could be sent to author@telecominnigeria.com.

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

Mugasha tasks LDCs to embrace technology

Remmy Nweke

Deputy Secretary-General at the Commonwealth Secretariat, Mrs Florence Mugasha, has tasked the Least Developing Countries (LDCs) of the world to embrace technology.

Addressing participants at the just concluded United Nations High-Level Meeting, Ms Mugasha said that 15 out of the 53-member of Commonwealth are LDCs, noting that in order to successfully compete in the global marketplace and eradicate poverty, the affected nations needed to take technology very seriously.

“To assist LDCs and other developing member countries, it was important to empower citizens with information and communication technology (ICT),” she said, underlining that for this to be attained, LDCs need to be fully equipped.

She explained that this is being implemented through the 1.1 million euro Commonwealth Connects programme of the Commonwealth Secretariat to bridge the digital divide among member states, Mrs Mugasha told the Mid-term Comprehensive Global Review of the Programme of Action for Least Developed Countries for the decade 2001-2010.

“This initiative will spark projects to develop the ICT capacities of our members. The aim is to share Commonwealth best practice across key areas. This includes building policy and regulatory capacity; modernising education and skills development; encouraging entrepreneurship for wealth creation and poverty reduction; promoting local access and connectivity; and enhancing regional networks, local content and knowledge,” she stated.

In a related development, also addressing the UN High-Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development, Mrs Mugasha highlighted the essence to improve the understanding and implementation of existing legal instruments on migration to make the process mutually beneficial to countries and migrants.

Pointing out the importance of developing better indicators to measure the impact of migration on development, and how it would contribute towards attaining the Millennium Development Goals and reduce poverty globally.

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

DoPC unlocks 4th hub, gears up for West African market

Remmy Nweke

Direct on PC (DOPC), a broadband Internet Service Provider (ISP), has unlocked its fourth Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) hub hosted in Washington, United States, even as the firm, reinforces strategies for its market share in the sub-region.

Managing Director of DoPC, Mr. Munish Sharma, said the new hub would avail customers in Nigeria and West African market the chance of obtaining its services on prepaid basis.

Mr. Sharma in a press statement made available to ITRealms Online, said that the new hub would also amount to revolutionising the internet market in West Africa, just as the new hub is the second time “we are creating a revolution in Nigeria.”

He disclosed that the hub, based on Hughes Network Systems (HNS) technology, is the most advanced platform Digital Video Broadcasting-Standard 2 (DVB/S2), a pioneer of VSAT technology with a global market share of 60 per cent.

Expressing happiness of the journey so far, Mr. Sharma noted that the launch of the hub positions DOPC as truly a pioneer of Ku-band VSAT, pointing that that HNS is reputed as the pioneers of VSAT technology and have a major market share of over 60 per cent worldwide.

He explained that DVB/S2 technology is the most recent technology that has just got introduced in Europe and United States, “And we’re bringing the same in Africa, thus, ensuring that Nigeria is at par with any leading nations.”

According to him, DVB/S2 technology will give DoPC high bandwidth efficiency by approximately 30 per cent, which the company intends to avail to its customers so as to provide them with high Internet bandwidths at low price.

The new platform, he further said, which comes with the Associated Computer Machinery (ACM) enabled KU band, that withstands rains.

‘All existing KU band VSAT’s will cut off and loose it’s link while ACM available with, DVBS-2 adjusts the VSAT during rain, so as to speed up slow connectivity and keep the link alive,” he asserted.

Pointing out that this is a huge advantage over any KU band VSAT platform in the world, just as turbo page software on the new technology with DVBS-2 will afford customers a super fast web browsing experience.

HNS VSAT modem, Mr. Sharma said, would be able to support uplink speed up to 1.6 Mega bites per second (Mbps) and download speed capacity of 45 Mbps. Uptimes will be higher since the new hub will be managed in USA under supervision of professional staff.

The new VSAT modem HN-700 is vertical, slim and easy to transport and consumes less power for equivalent bandwidth. The VSAT is much intelligent with built in features for Security, quality of service (QoS) and much more.

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

New interconnect regime takes off

Remmy Nweke

Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), has announced new interconnect regime as recently approved by its board with effect from September 22, 2006, with subscribers at heart.

Disclosing this development, Head, Public Affairs at NCC, Mr. Dave Imoko, informed that telecom operators are expected to adhere strictly with the new interconnect regime which the commission said is ideal.

‘Ideally interconnect rates should be cost based and the new rates were arrived at following months of cost study and consultations with the industry,” he said.

Mr. Imoko said NCC anticipates that the new interconnect rates would translate to substantial reduction in mobile retail tariffs in the country, while the fixed tariffs will experience some increase.

According to him, the result of the industry cost study revealed that the major fixed services operator, the Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL), which has the largest number of fixed lines in the country, despite that it may have been providing services below cost.

“This was indeed responsible for some of the financial problems that have been associated with NITEL over the years,” he noted.

He said that the commission, after due consideration of the possible fallout of the new interconnect rates, was satisfied that the introduction of the new rates will be to the overall benefit of subscribers and the industry.

“Today, about 95 per cent of telephone users in the country are on mobile lines which implies that only a small percentage use fixed lines, most of which are in offices and in a few homes of high net-worth individuals,” he asserted.

Pointing out that a substantial drop in mobile rates therefore would have the effect of impacting on more subscribers and the bulk of users of telecom services in the country.

Hence, NCC believes it is important that efforts be made to make the mobile call rates continue to drop to enable more Nigerians enjoy the benefits of the growing subscriber base in the country.

This is already happening with recent publications of rate cuts by certain mobile networks. The Commission also believes that the coming weeks will witness tariff adjustments that will be to the overall interest of the subscribers.


ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

PMO announces prices for CANi Pcs

Remmy Nweke

The Project Management Office (PMO) of the Computer for All Nigeria Initiative (CANi), has announced the prices of its offering under the programme, just as the federal government has purchased N1.3 billion worth of PCs from the initiative.

Programme Director at PMO, Mr. Soji Romi, made this known at a media parley in Lagos on Monday, saying that the prices for CANi-branded PCs and laptops come in various formats such as Desktop Ultra Value, Desktop Value and Desktop Mainstream as well as laptops.

He said that Desktop Ultra Value sales for N45,000, the Desktop value, for N68,000 while the laptop go for N118,000 where as the Mainstream version goes for N128,000.

The Project Management Office (PMO) of the Computer for All Nigeria Initiative (CANi), has announced the prices of its offering under the programme, just as the federal government has purchased N1.3 billion worth of PCs from the initiative.

Mr. Soji also said that the main thrust of the programme is not a mere provision of PCs to the citizenry but to instill Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in their daily existence.

The FG purchase of 14,500 CANi-branded computers, he said, was the first investment, worth N1.27 billion about $10 million, meant for the civil servants usage.

In what he called progress report of CANi since its launch on July 6, this year by President Olusegun Obasanjo, Mr. Soji said they are poised to impact on the lives of ordinary Nigerians.
“The goal is not mere provision of PCS but the development of an ICT culture within the society,” he said.

He pointed out that the project has received impressive acceptance by the broad spectrum of the nation, especially following the purchase of 14,500 Pc units by the government.

He emphasizing that the purchase of 14,500 was made possible through the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) as each beneficiary of the PCs would enjoy a subsidy of N20,000 of the actual cost.

He further said that all orders for CANi computers have to be routed through the PMO, which clearance must be obtained. Whereas on the delivery, he said partners would be responsible for that even as the financing has already attracted three core banking institutions in the country, namely UBA, Fidelity and Skye Bank.

These banks, he said, have an estimated 100 sales outlet for CANi where customers can assess soft loans and get their computers.

Mr. Soji also said that the main thrust of the programme is not a mere provision of PCs to the citizenry but to instill Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in their daily existence.

The FG purchase of 14,500 CANi-branded computers, he said, was the first investment, worth N1.27 billion about $10 million, meant for the civil servants usage.

In what he called progress report of CANi since its launch on July 6, this year by President Olusegun Obasanjo, Mr. Soji said they are poised to impact on the lives of ordinary Nigerians.

“The goal is not mere provision of PCS but the development of an ICT culture within the society,” he said.

Pointing out that the project has received impressive acceptance by the broad spectrum of the nation, especially following the purchase of 14,500 Pc units by the government.

He emphasizing that the purchase of 14,500 was made possible through the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) as each beneficiary of the PCs would enjoy a subsidy of N20,000 of the actual cost.

He further said that all orders for CANi computers have to be routed through the PMO, which clearance must be obtained. Whereas on the delivery, he said partners would be responsible for that even as the financing has already attracted three core banking institutions in the country, namely UBA, Fidelity and Skye Bank.

These banks, he said, have an estimated 100 sales outlet for CANi where customers can assess soft loans and get their computers.

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Highway Africa-06: A plus for West Africa

Features of the week:

This year’s Highway Africa have ended, but emerging facts show West African media has been consistent in its improved reportage of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), as made evident by the two-fold African media awards held at the event, reports REMMY NWEKE.

THE 10th Highway Africa (HA) 2006, held at the Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa, ended at the weekend with West Africa and precisely Nigeria, having lots to celebrate.

HA-06 with the theme "Celebrations, reflections and future directions" is an annual gathering of African media practitioners biased for Information and Communications Technologies (ICT), which is organised under the Rhodes University School of Journalism and Media Studies.

Welcoming participants at the event, Head, School of Journalism and Media Studies, Prof. Guy Berger, said that the very year that HA turned 10, its founding body, Rhodes University School of Journalism and Media Studies, moved into its new premises, known as the African Media Matrix (AMM). As such, there is a link between the two developments.

According to him, the first link has been that the new building, AMM, was named to show the impact this conference has had on the character of the school.

"More than merely paying lipservice to Africa, we have built a new home that is deliberately rooted in the continent. It’s a matrix, a coming together of specifically African media issues," he asserted.

For the second link, Prof. Berger noted that HA has influenced AMM, which is more on in how technology is integrated into the edifice. In addition, he said, the conference is reputed for encouraging journalists to capitalise on new technology so as to play a bigger and better role.

At this instance, AMM also encourages its learners to make full use of vast information feeds, experiment on what he described as "dizzy-making digital gear" stressing that the media laboratories encircled in AMM were set up to give confidence to convergence, a collaboration he said, is across diverse media platforms and skills.

"Just as the AMM enables students to graduate with high-expanded capacities, so too does Highway Africa facilitate the rich growth of knowledge and skill amongst its participants," he asserted.

Prof Berger also hopes that these two resources would give participants strong sense of reflection and celebration during and after the HA-06, even as he invited more African media to take advantage offered by HA and AMM before the 20th anniversary of HA, which comes up in 2016.

The recently appointed vice chancellor of Rhodes University, Dr. Saleem Badat in his welcome speech, recollected the importance of the media in the struggle for enthronement of democracy and demystification of independence for South Africa as well as Africa in general.

"The power of the media to contribute to positive change is well known to the Rhodes School of Journalism and Media Studies, and also familiar to most participants at this conference," he entoned.

An indication he said, came out of the collective deliberations by Africans to take journalism to a greater height, emphasizing that HA presents the kind of community engagement initiative for which Rhodes University is widely known for its role as university engaged in the teaching and research expected of an institution of its calibre.

"Together, these roles reinforce each other and make for maximum contribution in a democratic society with a vibrant civil society," Prof. Badat said.

Equally for the Director, HA, Mr. Chris Kabwato, 10 years could be a long time and a short time too. Welcoming participants on the occasion, he enjoined participants and journalists to continue the crusade in deploying new media technologies in promotion of the continent.

He recalled that in 1997 when a small group of academics and journalists met under the auspices of the Rhodes University New Media Lab, then directed by the father of Highway Africa, Mr. Roland Stanbridge, with questions raised on the impact of the internet on journalism and media as a whole, no one had envisaged what they were setting in motion then.

The irony of Highway Africa growth, he noted, lies that it was largely unplanned and attributed this growth to the zeal of people like Prof. Berger and colleagues to sustain the tempo.

Also, he said, HA secretariat has invested in more permanent structure to improve upon the annual conference. This includes human capital and employment of permanent staff, pointing out that all these could not have materialised without the generous support of various partners of HA, namely OSISA, NiZA, SDC, KAS, OSF, MTN, ABSA, Telkom, SAA, Siemens, Multichoice, JohnnicCom.

He did not forget the unwavering support of the South African Department of Communications (DoC) as well as the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC).

However, some of the topics treated during the workshop sessions at HA included using the internet as a weapon against corruption, quality in journalism and media, peace journalism, ICT and digital commons, teaching the basics of investigative journalism, online resources for African journalists and doing journalism education across Africa; the Addis Ababa model among others.

Obviously, the most interesting aspect for media practitioners seems to be the award presentation angle, which saw West Africa gleaming with smiles, from Nigeria to Cameroon down to Ghana and Benin; all had cause to celebrate.

Although Nigeria for a second year running, swooped the African media awards on Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) at Highway Africa (HA) confab, getting away six out of the 22 awards.

It is remarkable to note that at the 2005 edition, Nigeria won more than six awards at HA, especially through the African Information Society Initiative (AISI). The awards came in two-fold namely the SABC-Highway Africa Awards for Innovative Use of New Media in Africa and AISI.

Whereas the HA awards were organised by Journalism Department of Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa, in partnership with the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) in recognition and promotion of creative, innovative and appropriate use of new media technology on the continent, AISI was put together by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) based in Ethiopia.

Both awards were presented simultaneously at a ceremony at the Guy Berger Auditorium, Grahamstown.

At the HA-06, the Senior Reporter on ICT with Daily Champion Group of Newspapers, Lagos-Nigeria and pioneer member of the Highway Africa News Agency (HANA) editorial team, Mr. Remmy Nweke, took the cap as the HANA Journalist of the Year 2006.

Equally, five other Nigerians, namely Mr. Don Pedro Aganbi of ICT Africa on the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA network), Mr. Emmanuel Okwuke of New Age and Ms. Evelyn Tagbo, as well as Mr. Chima Akwaja of Financial Standards, Mr. Segun Oruame of ITEdge, all emerged as first and second category winners in the AISI awards respectively.

Cameroonians also took home four out of the total awards on offer, just as the SABC-HA award on individual/student category went to David Kezio-Musoke, a HANA journalist from Uganda, while the non-profit category was grabbed by Jo’s Toolkit, a website created for student and grassroots media created by two fourth-year new media students, Carly Riz and Gregor Rohrig, even as the corporate award went to Andnetwork (African News Dimension’s Network).

Nigeria further took the first categories in the AISI-GTZ Media awards on promoting the Information Society (IS) on TV, AISI-IDRC award on Reporting on ICT policy and AISI-OSIWA reporting on ICTs and rural communities, even as Nigeria also grabbed second categories AISI-IICD award on local content and local content applications in that order.

Cameroon, on the other hand, went home with the first prize AISI-GTZ awards on promoting the Information Society, through Ms Marie Noelle Guichi and Ms Bapidi-Mbom Didier Parfait on print and radio respectively. Mr. Roger Taakam and Ms Jeanine Fankam were to emerged first in the local content as well as reporting on research and innovation categories in that order.

Uganda, nevertheless, got two award winners in the first and second categories of AISI-OSIWA best female reporter and reporting on research and innovation through Ms Ester Nakkazi and Mr. David Muwanga respectively.

Other countries that won in the single categories at the AISI awards included Ghanaian Jacob Kofi Mensah who took second category on Promoting IS for print, Kenyan Eric Ombok also second category on radio.

Equally, Algerian Laid Zaghlami came first in the local content applications, Malian Salif Sanogo came second on promoting IS on Tv, with Mr. Guedegbe Gerard of Benin coming second category in Reporting on ICTs and rural communities and Zambian Timothy Kasonde Kasolo also coming second in Reporting on ICT policy.

Apart from having about 500 participants from 42 countries in the continent, Highway Africa served as a ground to launch the first-ever Digital Citizen Indaba, which took place at the Fine Arts building, attracting over 200 attendees, a recognition that Africans are really embracing the digital citizen journalism, otherwise known as bloggers, participants were divide on whether bloggers should remain bloggers and journalists, journalists instead of some description like ‘citizen journalist’.

As the celebration continues, even beyond Rhodes Grahamstown environs, West African has shown that her media are yielding to the beckon to embrace new media technologies via understanding it and coverage as well.

Just as one observer said, let the baton of leadership provided by West Africa and Nigeria precisely on media scope as far as ICT information and disseminations are concerned, continue with the celebration, reflection and taking of new decisions that will further improve the face of African media.

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

Anibaba to connect rural communities Africa-06

Remmy Nweke

Nigerian newly appointed Minister of Communications, Dr. Obafemi Anibaba, has been confirmed as a special guest of honour to declare open this year’s Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO), tagged “Connecting Rural Communities Africa 2006”.

It would be recalled that few weeks back, Dr. Anibaba who was formerly Minister of Works swapped position with the Chief Cornelius Adebayo, following a cabinet reshuffle by President Olusegun Obasanjo.

Scheduled to hold between October 10 and 12 at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja, the event to be hosted by Nigerian Ministry of Communications, CTO said that the event is dedicated to sustainable Information and Communications Technology (ICT) development in the rural areas in Africa.

CTO informed Highway Africa News Agency (HANA) informed that an array of speakers drawn from various sectors of the telecommunications industry which have been lined up for the event.
According to officials of CTO, this was achieved with the assistance of the Nigerian Ministry of Communications.

CTO also expressed hope that the event intends to advance strategies and practical approaches to connecting the over 80 per cent of Africa’s population which lives in rural the areas.

The organisers of the event further promised that with the kind of sponsorship being enjoyed already by CTO, such as Nokia and Ericsson, participants are expected to continue to contribute to the development of ICT in the region.

Focusing on selected key areas, the Abuja CTO-06 would see speakers and stakeholders deliberating on government case studies and projects, mobile and satellite communication development, universal service funds, best practice regulatory perspectives.

Equally, the event would feature speakers from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Uganda Communications Commission (UCC), Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority, Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL), Celtel Africa and the African Development Bank (ADB) among others.

CTO was created in 1901 as an international development partnership between Commonwealth and non-Commonwealth governments, business and civil society organisations, providing effective channels towards bridging the digital divide and enthroning socio-economic development, especially to developing countries.

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

Ogunfemi tasks lecturers on ICT literacy

... As UNILAG gears to complete centre

Remmy Nweke

University of Lagos (UNILAG) would complete the construction of its Centre for Information Systems in the next few days to come, according to the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Ibidapo Obe.

Speaking through the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academics and Research, Prof. Olushoga Sofola, the VC said this at the opening of train-the-trainers workshop at the Computer Laboratory to kick-off the Digital Bridge Institute (DBI) programme to empower federal institute lecturers nationwide.

Welcoming participants to the occasion, the VC expressed excitement over the choice of UNILAG as one of the centres for the train-the-trainer programme, stressing that in one week or two, the main centre would be fully ready for commissioning.

Chief executive, DBI, Dr. Olu Ogunfemi, said the programme came out of the need to make lecturers’ job easier, noting that lots of students nowadays, are self-taught via online and thus no longer afraid of Personal Computers (PCs), which he said, have been helpful in these students being computer literates.

DBI, he said, was set up to train people initially in the telecommunication sector, but the need to scale the hurdle of convergence, motivated the institute with the support of the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC), to incorporate other relevant areas like core Information Technology (IT).

He urged the participants to embrace ICT as tools to improve their work, saying that those who fail to catch up would face great consequences of being left out in the near future.

He recalled that the evolution of ICT in the country began with the coming of Global System for Mobile communications (GSM).

"In every thing, you now require ICT as a tool and you cannot teach telecom without IT and that’s why DBI emerged," he told participants.

Teachers, he also said, in some other parts of the world, now give and receive lecture.

He said the programme got its financial support from the World Bank, whose educational team visited DBI and informed that there is fund to train federal institution lecturers on ICT.

"With this programme, there is no excuse of lack of fund by any federal institution in training their lecturers," he said.

Dr. Ogunfemi also warned that the concept must originate from the request from interested institutions.

He further pointed out that knowledge acquired thereafter would not be transferred to anybody, even as certificates would be given to participants.

The DBI boss, implored them to embrace ICT, saying, it is here, otherwise, they would be left on a roadside.

"ICT makes things faster and provides speed and accuracy," he declared.

Earlier, the Director, Centre for Information Technology Systems at UNILAG, Prof. Charles Uwadia, had noted that the training is a workshop flagging off the initiative in the zone and attendees would be required to keep up the pace at the respectively institutions.

Participants came from UNILAG, YabaTech, Lagos City Poly, Moshod Abialo Poly, Grace Poly, UNILAG, Babacock University, Redeemer University among others.

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

MTN unveils Xtra ordinary bundle VAS

Remmy Nweke


LEADING Global System for Mobile communications (GSM), MTN Nigeria Communication has unveiled what the telco called an extra ordinary bundle of value added services (VAS) on the network, just as it slashes call tariffs and offers free calls to service centers.

This, the company said, is part of the new package lined up for the renewed commitment to “Move our customers ahead with the best values and the most exciting experiences in this market.”

Chief executive, MTN Nigeria, Mr. Ahmad Farroukh, said that the new package is practical expression to the commitment hitherto by the firm, through a value proposition that is unparalleled in the sector, even as it guarantees “Pleasures of life in full measure”.

He also said that the package which offers families the ‘MTN Xtra connect’ with the features to make calls at peak hours within its network at the rate of N30 per minute and 50 kobo per second, while the off peak on the network.

Mr. Farroukh also said that 50 per cent discount awaits friends and family members who are upto three on the off-peak platform, thus reducing the cost to N12.50k and 21 kobo per cent.

Equally, MTN has lowered the rates of Short Messaging Service (SMS) and they would benefit on the Connect4life to the MTN network as well as 1 free Multimedia Service (MMS) per month.

This is in addition, to call me messages to let other people know when they want them to call such a person at no cost to anybody.

He further said that MTN has a package for the young at heart with its “MTN Xtra cool”.
MTN, in addition, introduced Xtra profit for commercial telephone operators, describing it as unmatchable on-net rates at N17 per minute and 28 kobo per second, that is MTN to MTN, with lower access fee of N9000 per month, stressing that this was down from the N10,500 charged previously.

Mr. Farroukh noted that as part of the deal to move customers ahead, MTN would from October this year, began free of charge on its customer care lines, especially for prepaid subscribers.

“Our prepaid customer service help line, 180, will be now free of charge from October,” he said, just as the 181 which offers multi-language self-service with responses in Igbo, Yoruba, Hausa, Pidgin and English.

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

Nigeria has improved software quality – NCS boss

Remmy Nweke


Standards of software being developed locally have been improved with increased participation, says the President, Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), Dr. Chris Nwannenna.

He made this known at the recently held third Software Developers Summit (SDS), held in Lagos, while giving his address, asserting that apart from this, participation in the summit has also garnered momentum.

"Nigeria Computer Society has noted with a lot of satisfaction that the number and quality of participation in this event has been on the increase, a clear indication that our campaign in this direction is genuine and succeeding," he said.

NCS, he noted, though may be celebrating the third edition of the Software Developers’ Summit, an event that has continued to emphasize the need for priority attention to the issue of indigenous software development.

This year’s summit, he said held under the theme "Indigenous Software Development: Multiple Technologies" aimed at focusing on emerging paradigms for development and deployment of applications software in a number of areas not always too obvious to most of us.

"Demand for applications that incorporate such technologies like biometric, geographic information systems (GIS), mobile systems and so on, are on the increase and need to attract our attention," he said.

Software development, Dr. Nwannenna, who also is the chief executive, Condata Systems, noted is a sector that the nation would not overemphasize.

"It has the importance and potential for generating income for this country," he said. NCS members, he further said, have as a result committed themselves to developing International Standard Organisation (ISO) quality based software that will enhance the acceptance of our products and services.

In addition to the cooperation NCS has with NITDA in this direction, the group, he said, will soon appoint a technical partner and consultant to enhance these efforts.

"We also hope that development partners will assist us with both technical and financial support," Dr. Nwannenna enthused.

And that was why the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) was represented at the event and NCS look forward to the organization working with the authorities to achieve overall objective.

Equally, he pointed out that the issue of "convergence" has become a key parameter to shape government policies in information technology, telecommunications, and broadcasting in the very near future.

"NCS is very pleased to be part and parcel of this development and will provide very professional counsel that will help the government remove all the impediments that have stunted the growth of the IT sector in the country," he declared.

The NCS president also commended some of its members for their support in ensuring that SDS is held annually, noting that recently Infographics Nig. Ltd, bagged the Regional Winner Award for 2006 at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference in Boston, USA for its work on Project eServe, the e-government initiative of the Federal Capital Territory Abuja.

Also he congratulated Zinox Technologies Ltd who received ISO 90001 certification of quality from the Standard Organisation of Nigeria.

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

Swift Networks secures funds, deploys WiMax in Lagos

Remmy Nweke

SWift Networks Limited has secured funding from the Capital Alliance Private Equity (CAPE) for the deployment of a citywide WiMAX in Lagos.

This development is coming as the firm has announced the appointment of Dick Kramer as its chairman, Board of Directors.The funding came from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), European Investment Bank, Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC) and The Netherlands Development Finance company (FMO).

Chief executive, Swift Networks Limited, Mr. Charles Anudu, said that his firm, known for a high-speed Wireless Broadband Access services provider, has concluded the transaction with CAPE II, the private equity fund managed by the African Capital Alliance (ACA), to accelerate the rollout of a portable, plug-and-play WiMAX-class broadband access network based on the WiMAX (IEEE 802.16e) standard.

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

MTC tops telecom awards @ CommsMEA-06

Remmy Nweke


PARENT company of the Celtel International, owners of Celtel Nigeria, the Mobile Telecommunications Company (MTC) Group, has been recognised with four industry awards.

These included Best Middle East Mobile Operator of the Year, at the first annual CommsMEA as well as the Best Telecom Deal of the Year and Best New Non-Voice Service awards even as chairman of Celtel Africa, Dr Mo Ibrahim, bagged the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Hosted by CommsMEA, the leading telecommunications magazine for the Middle East and Africa, at the Fairmont Hotel, Dubai, and the judging panel comprised international telecom professionals and regional industry peers.

Citation for MTC read at the presentation stated that the firm won "Best Middle East Mobile Operator of the Year" and that the award was in recognition of the company not only being the leading Middle Eastern mobile operator but also a technology leader with a strong focus on customer service.

The award also recognised MTC’s rapid transition from a mobile operator in Kuwait with 600,000 customers in 2003 to a major telecom conglomerate in the Middle East and Africa, serving over 23 million customers in 20 countries.

Thus, MTC has become the world’s fifth largest mobile operator in terms of geographic presence.

Also, the second award, "Best Telecom Deal for 2005", was in recognition of the acquisition by MTC of Celtel International in May 2005. Celtel International, a pan-African mobile operator was acquired at a total consideration of $3.4 billion.

MTC subsidiary Fastlink, which operates in the Jordanian market, won the third award for "Best new non-voice service" for its novel Fastlink BLOG! Service. This provides an online interactive community where users can set up their own Blog and publish articles and thoughts by using web, Multimedia Services (MMS) and Short Messaging Service (SMS).

The life-long dedication to the telecoms industry and to Africa has made Dr Mohamed Ibrahim, founder and chairman of Celtel International, one of the most respected African business leaders who understood the importance of the telecoms for the people of Africa before any one else did.

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

MTN explains investment in fibre optics

Remmy Nweke


MTN Nigeria Communications, has adduced reasons for its investing in the fibre optic transmission network.
Chief executive, MTN Nigeria, Mr. Ahmad Farroukh, who gave these reasons, while speaking on the successful completion of the first phase recently, said, it is a commitment to move the most populous black nation ahead.
"MTN’s commitment to investing in Fibre Optic transmission is in line with its resolve to move Nigeria and Nigerians forward in all their endeavours. Communications is a key component to development and Nigerians need communications to move ahead in life," he said.
The ring which is from Lagos-Benin-Asaba-Port Harcourt-Enugu-Abuja-Ibadan-Lagos has been completed and is already carrying live traffic
This development, he also said, enables MTN subscribers to enjoy improved network quality and services as a result of the company’s new fibre optic transmission network.
"This cutting-edge technology is the best transmission backbone in the industry with the ability to handle more than 5 million simultaneous calls, data and multimedia transmissions at once," he asserted.
Additionally, he informed that it is the largest capacity network deployed in Africa. The completion of the first phase brings the total fibre connectivity up to 2 500kms, in a fully redundant ring design.
Acting Chief Technical Officer (CTO) at MTN Nigeria, Mr. John Unterhorst, explained that the national fibre optic project will ultimately cover an area in excess of 3 500km and will span the length and breadth of Nigeria.
Unterhorst further said, that a dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM) system allows for an almost unlimited capacity, "this is the system we have deployed to connect the already completed 2 500kms of fibre. The DWDM system can be expanded to 40 lamda’s (colour coded light waves). This equates to 400Gbits or five million simultaneous calls between each and all switching centres" the CTO said.
He said, that the fibre optic network is recognised globally as a progressive innovation in telecommunications technology that provides enormous bandwidth and low error rate output. It is recognised industry wide as superior to other conventional forms of communications media. Its key selling point is its unbeatable network-enhancing service quality and the fact that it ensures stable voice and data transmission services.
Just as he explained that any environment without communication is static, "but Nigerians all over the world have proven to be dynamic and they certainly require a dynamic network such as MTN to move them forward everywhere they go."
Equally, Mr. Farroukh said that MTN’s latest investment in fibre optic transmission "signifies the company’s strong belief in the Nigerian economy".
According to him, "the size and scope of the project strengthens MTN’s position as the leading provider of mobile telecommunication services in Nigeria, and signifies our resolve to move farther ahead of the pack as the leader in the industry."
With the first phase completed, MTN continues to deliver on its commitment to moving Nigerians ahead in all their positive endeavours in life.
The next phase of the Fibre optic project will connect Abuja, Kaduna and Kano with the South and East.


ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

Starcomms introduces PSB, unveils XTR card

Remmy Nweke


UNIFIED Licensed Operator, (ULO) Starcomms Limited, has introduced Per Second Billing (PSB) in its Lifestyle package.

Disclosing this, the Public Relations Manager at Starcomms, Ms Laura Johnson, said the Lifestyle Per Second Billing package is a prepaid tariff plan that is billed by the second, and enables subscribers to pay for exact talk time utilized.

According to her, all new subscribers would now be activated by default on the PSB platform, while existing subscribers could migrate to the Lifestyle PSB by visiting any Starcomms Shop or Starpoint nationwide, fill a migration form and within three working days the migration will be completed.

Ms Johnson also said that subscribers have a final period of 15 days to check out the new Lifestyle PSB plan, which could be reverted to per minute billing (PMB), free of charge.

This innovative service from the company, she said, still avails subscribers the access to all the products and services from the Value Added Services (VAS) bouquet together with the Fun Box feature.
Commercial Director, Starcomms, Mr. Prakash Pantham, noted that the Lifestyle PSB plan was introduced to increase the service options available to esteemed subscribers, "to meet the needs of their different profiles as well as to enhance market competition in the Telecoms sector"

Mr. Pantham also said that the new product permits subscribers to pay for just the talk time spent, "thereby making it flexible, cost effective, convenient and above all enhancing market competition in the industry."

Explaining further, he said that Starcomms’ Lifestyle PSB tariff is significantly low, just as calls to Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) cost as low as 58 kobo per sec., while calls on Starcomms to Starcomms go for N16 kobo per sec.

"This is a milestone for the nation’s largest Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) 3G mobile operator.

For the chief executive officer, Mr. Maher Qubain it was a fulfillment of a promise, stressing that with the network’s "400,000 subscribers and a solid financial backing from International investors, the sky is surely our limit."

Meanwhile, Starcomms has unveiled Super Turbo Xtra (STX) card, saying it was in line with its celebrated customer-friendly disposition, and has introduced yet another sensational product known Super Turbo Xtra card.

"The card comes in three different denominations: N2,500, N5,000 and N9,000 as well as gives the subscribers various benefits in tariff," he said.

The STX card has attractive tariff plan, he said, which facilitates subscribers’ calls at very low rates.

As said by him, N2,500 credit offers seven days validity period while N9,000 offers 30 days validity period.

STX cards subscribers can make calls for as low as 30 kobo per sec on GSM and 8 kobo per sec on Starcomms to Starcomms, while GSM calls go for only 34 kobo per sec and 10 kobo per sec on Starcomms to Starcomms with a N5,000 (30 days validity period) STX card.


ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

Continental prize for ICT Africa

Remmy Nweke

Information and Communications Technologies (ICT Africa) television programme on the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) has bagged a continental award at this year’s Highway Africa conference as it clinched the first prize of the African Information Society Initiative (AISI) award on Promoting the Information Society, Tv category.

The award presented at the Guy Berger Auditorium, Grahamstown, South Africa, penultimate Tuesday, saw participants drawn from the 42 countries across the continent.

In a letter conveying the award message and endorsed by the officer in charge of Development Information Services Division (DISD) at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), Ms Aida Opaku Mensah, said, that ICT Africa won the prize with a documentary on “Impact of ICTs on the Social Economic Development of Rural Nigeria.”

She therefore congratulated Mr. Don Pedro Aganbi, the anchorman at ICT Africa for the success.

It would be recalled that Mr. Aganbi through his ICT Africa programmes, has won several other industry awards locally, leading with the Nigerian Information Technology and Telecommunication Award (NITTA).

Noteworthy is that in year 2000 and 2001 ICT Africa emerged the ‘Best IT programme of the year” courtesy of the Computer Association of Nigeria (COAN) but now Nigeria Computer Society (NCS).

Also, it got an award for excellence for contribution in promoting IT awareness in Nigeria presented by Compaq West Africa, now Hewlett Packard (HP) in 2002 and Nigerian Teen’s Favourite IT programme of the year - Electronic 2003 courtesy, Teens International Foundations.

And between 2004 and 2005, ICT Africa has consistently won the best IT programme of the year at NITTA organised by IT and Telecom Digest and the Nigerian Telecom Awards.

ICT Africa, a multiple award winning TV programme according to the producer, Mr. Aganbi, was designed specifically to report issues, trend and developments in the global ICT Industry.


ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

SML named MSN/Hotmail rep in Nigeria

Remmy Nweke


Leading electronic mail portal, MSN/hotmail, has named a Lagos-based Seed Media Limited, as its online sales representative in West Africa.
Corporate Communications Officer at SML, Ms Marian Oliomogbe, said the appointment became imperative with the increasing demands by Nigerian businesses to showcase their products and services on the international market.
She quoted the Director MSN/Hotmail for Africa, Mr. Adrian Hewlett, saying, “The Nigerian market is a very vital market in the world and increasingly there have been demands by local firms to advertise on our platform."
Now, through SML, he said, Nigerian companies now have the opportunity to increase their brand share globally by displaying their products and services on the platform.
Pointing out that MSN network of Internet services attracts more than 350 million unique users worldwide every month, which is available in 39 markets and 18 languages.
MSN, he further said, is the world’s largest online communication provider in delivering web services to target consumers and online advertising solutions to marketing clients.
"As a leading web portal, MSN attracts both a large mainstream audience and several targeted niche audiences in Africa. These give it the superior edge that will provide Nigerian brands with the required local and international visibility and market penetration," Mr. Hewlett said.
Chief Executive, Seed Media Limited, Mr. Dominic Essien, informed that in Nigeria, hotmail is among the top three portals with an average of 300,000 unique users every month.
"MSN/hotmail is the only web service in the world that provides advertising based on targeting such as age or sex. In Nigeria, a total of over 5 million impressions are created," he said.

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

CA boss assures DCC on world class delivery

Remmy Nweke


COUNTRY Manager, Computer Associates (CA), Mr. Gary Lawrence, has assured a Computer Warehouse subsidiary, the DCC Satellite and Networks Limited of the firm’s support to ensure the delivery of world-class services on management software tools.
Mr. Lawrence, gave this assurance in Lagos at a recent signing of a partnership deal.
Giving highlights of the deal, Mr. Lawrence said, DCC would provide the local support by providing the local market all the expertise needed.
"And would be supporting DCC to deliver a world class offering," he declared, stressing that the partnership is not exclusive.
On what attracted CA to DCC, Mr. Lawrence also said that his firm was looking out for a company that best suit CA’s clientele base and this was found in DCC.
He expressed optimism that the deal would brighten the future of the two firms, even as he predicted CA becoming a household name in the country in the near future.
Group Managing Director, Computer Warehouse Group (CWG), Mr. Austin Okere, said, he was hopeful that the partnership would translate to enhanced service delivery to CWG customers and precisely the DCC.
He reiterated DCC resolve to deliver as the vital human capital has been put in place, even as CWG is very much concerned in placing human capital top on the group’s agenda.
This, he noted, would in the long run evolve into DCC becoming train-the-trainer firm, for a class of customers.
He also expressed belief in the efforts being made by the Nigerian Software Development Initiative (NSDI) led by Mr. Jim Ovia, emphasizing that the nation needs crawling before running with regard to software development.Executive Director, CWG, Mr. Phillip Obiorah, recollected that before now, the group had a subtle partnership with CA.

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

CA boss assures DCC on world class delivery

Remmy Nweke

COUNTRY Manager, Computer Associates (CA), Mr. Gary Lawrence, has assured a Computer Warehouse subsidiary, the DCC Satellite and Networks Limited of the firm’s support to ensure the delivery of world-class services on management software tools.

Mr. Lawrence, gave this assurance in Lagos at a recent signing of a partnership deal.
Giving highlights of the deal, Mr. Lawrence said, DCC would provide the local support by providing the local market all the expertise needed.

"And would be supporting DCC to deliver a world class offering," he declared, stressing that the partnership is not exclusive.

On what attracted CA to DCC, Mr. Lawrence also said that his firm was looking out for a company that best suit CA’s clientele base and this was found in DCC.

He expressed optimism that the deal would brighten the future of the two firms, even as he predicted CA becoming a household name in the country in the near future.

Group Managing Director, Computer Warehouse Group (CWG), Mr. Austin Okere, said, he was hopeful that the partnership would translate to enhanced service delivery to CWG customers and precisely the DCC.

He reiterated DCC resolve to deliver as the vital human capital has been put in place, even as CWG is very much concerned in placing human capital top on the group’s agenda.

This, he noted, would in the long run evolve into DCC becoming train-the-trainer firm, for a class of customers.

He also expressed belief in the efforts being made by the Nigerian Software Development Initiative (NSDI) led by Mr. Jim Ovia, emphasizing that the nation needs crawling before running with regard to software development.

Executive Director, CWG, Mr. Phillip Obiorah, recollected that before now, the group had a subtle partnership with CA.

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

NIGERIA AGAIN SWOOP AWARDS AT HIGHWAY AFRICA-06


Remmy Nweke in Grahamstown, South Africa

Nigeria has this year swoop for the second time the African media awards on Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) at the 10th Highway Africa (HA) conference held in Grahamstown , South Africa , carting away six out of the 22 total awards.

It would be recalled that last year, Nigeria got over six awards at HA, especially through the African Information Society Initiative (AISI).

The awards which came in two folds included the SABC-Highway Africa Awards for Innovative Use of New Media in Africa and AISI.

While the HA awards were organised by Journalism Department of Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa in partnership with the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) in recognition and promotion of creative, innovative and appropriate use of new media technology on the continent, AISI was put together by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) based in Ethiopia.

Both awards were presented simultaneously at a ceremony well-attended at the Guy Berger Auditorium, Grahamstown, Tuesday night.

Leading the pack in this year’s awards at HA-06 is the Editor, ITRealms Online and Senior Reporter on ICT with Daily Champion Group of Newspapers Lagos-Nigeria and pioneer member of the Highway Africa News Agency (HANA) editorial team, Mr. Remmy Nweke, who took the cap as the HANA Journalist of the Year and was presented with Fujitsu/Siemens laptop and a souvenir.

It would be recalled that Mr. Nweke, who has won several international media awards was nominated as the first Nigerian in the HANA team since 2003 and has been consistent and a boost to the agency, which specialises in ICT information dissemination for the purpose of African renaissance through the media, according to the Executive Director, Highway Africa, Mr. Chris Kabwato.

This is coming as 2006 is the first time HA instituted the best staff award to further boost ICT reportage on the continent.

Also, five other Nigerians, namely Mr. Don Pedro Aganbi of the ICT Africa on the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA network), Mr. Emmanual Okwuke of New Age and Ms. Evelyn Tagbo, as well as Mr. Chima Akwaja of Financial Standards, Mr. Segun Oruame of ITEdge, equally emerged first and second category winners in the AISI awards.

However, Cameroon got four out of the total awards for grab at HA-06.

In addition, the SABC-HA award on individual/student category went to David Kezio-Musoke a HANA journalist from Uganda, while the non-profit category was grabbed by Jo’s Toolkit, a website created for student and grassroots media created by two fourth-year new media students, Carly Riz and Gregor Rohrig, even as the corporate award went to Andnetwork (African News Dimension’s Network).

In addition, the SABC-HA award on individual/student category went to David Kezio-Musoke a HANA journalist from Uganda, while the non-profit category was grabbed by Jo’s Toolkit, a website created for student and grassroots media created by two fourth-year new media students, Carly Riz and Gregor Rohrig, even as the corporate award went to Andnetwork (African News Dimension’s Network).

While Nigeria took the first categories in the AISI-GTZ Media awards on promoting the Information Society (IS) on TV, AISI-IDRC award on Reporting on ICT policy and AISI-OSIWA reporting on ICTs and Rural communities, Nigeria also got the second categories AISI-IICD award on local content and local content applications in that order.

Cameroon, on the other hand, went home with the first prize AISI-GTZ awards on promoting the Information Society, through Ms Marie Noelle Guichi and Ms Bapidi-Mbom Didier Parfait on print and radio respectively.

While also Mr Roger Taakam and Ms Jeanine Fankam emerged first in the local content as well as reporting on research and innovation categories in that order.

Uganda, nevertheless, got two winners in the first and second categories of AISI-OSIWA best female reporter and reporting on research and innovation through Ms Ester Nakkazi and Mr. David Muwanga respectively.

Other countries that won in the single categories at the AISI awards include Ghanaian Jacob Kofi Mensah who took second category on Promoting IS for print, Kenyan Eric Ombok also on second category on radio. Equally, Algerian Laid Zaghlami came first in the local content applications, Malian Salif Sanogo came second on promoting IS on Tv, with Mr. Guedegbe Gerard of Benin coming second category in Reporting on ICTs and rural communities and Zambian Timothy Kasonde Kasolo also coming second in Reporting on ICT policy.

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D