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ITRealms : The Director General and Chief Executive Officer, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Dr Isa Ali I...

Monday, May 31, 2010

Nigerian, 7 others eye AfriNIC board


A Nigerian expert in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector, Mr. Obinna Nweje and seven others from various African countries have been nominated into the league of candidates to battle for the board of directors in the African Network Information Center (AfriNIC) is the Regional Internet Registry (RIR) for Africa for this year.

The nomination for AfriNIC Board of Directors seats closed on May 14, this year.
Confirming this, the office of the chairperson, AfriNIC Nomination Committee (NomCom) 2010, in a press statement stated they have received a number of nominations for the board election to be held in Kigali on June 5th, 2010.

According to the list made available to ITRealms Online, North Africa region has two candidates namely Nezar Sami, and Khaled Koubaa; while the West Africa region has the highest candidates of six, viz, Mouhamet Diop, Katim S. Touray, Yen Choi, Alioune Badara Traore, Obinna Nweje and Ndeye Maimouna Diop Diagne.

AfriNIC is a non-governmental and not-for-profit membership based organisation, with main role being to serve African region as Regional Internet Registry, by spearheading Internet technology and policy development on the continent.

AfriNIC’s core values are to operate with transparency, professionalism and efficiency; committed to integrity in all that we do, always and everywhere; recognize and value individual contribution and teamwork; cultural and language diversity in our region; technology driven organization that encourages continuous learning and innovation; value collaboration and cooperation with related organizations.

The AfriNIC organizational structure is set to encourage a bottom-up self governance management model where policies and other organisational functions are determined by the community in general and members who elect representatives that seat on the Board of Directors.

The discussions are conducted via both public meetings and e-mail discussion lists, whereas there are no requirements or pre-requisites for any person or entity to participate.

AfriNIC has a general assembly which meets once a year even as Public Policy Meetings are organised twice a year one back-to-back with the General Assembly.

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Glo, NYSC partner on inter-school contest in Benin

Telecommunications giant, Globacom in partnership with the Edo State National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) have partnered on inter-secondary school dance contest in Benin City.

The contest with the theme, “Culture: The Pride of Nigeria”, was held at the Oba Akenzua Cultural Centre with 14 secondary schools competing to win the mouth watering first prize of a complete desktop computer with flat screen plus a 3-in-one colour printer.

The second prize was complete desk top computer while the third prize was a 3-in-one colour printer.

The students from Western Boys High School came top with their scintillating performance, while the second and third position went to Dominion City Academy and the Federal Government Girls College respectively.

In his remarks, the Edo State Director of NYSC, Mr. Peter Atilola, said that the idea behind the contest was to help discover the innate talents of the school pupils, stressing that experiences had shown that world stars were discovered at their tender ages.

He also applauded Globacom for supporting the corps in putting the event together, noting that Globacom had demonstrated that it’s truly a Nigerian company the way it identifies with anything that is Nigerian.

“We, at the NYSC are indeed grateful to the major sponsor of this contest, Globacom and we recommend that other corporate bodies should emulate Globacom, not only in what they are doing today but in the way the company has identified with anything that has to do with Nigeria in the areas of sports, entertainment, culture, deployment of world-class services and many other things”, he said.

Welcoming participants, Glo Business Director (GBD), Mid-West Territory, Mr. Augustine Mamuro, said that the telecoms firm decided to partner with the NYSC on the contest to bring out the potentials of the students and the participating schools.

“Globacom is the official sponsor of this event, the first of its kind among secondary schools in Edo State not just in fulfillment of our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), but to show that as a truly Nigerian company, we’re at all times willing and ready to identify with anything that celebrates the potentials of an average Nigerian. To us in Globacom, the contest is a celebration of our heritage as a people,” he said.

Other schools that participated in the contest were Baptist High School, Aideyan Memorial College, Word of Faith Group of Schools, Iyaro, Russel International School, Jacson Academy, Edokpolor Grammar School, Idia College, Edo College, Word of Faith Group of Schools, Iguodala and Edo Boys High School, Aduwawa Secondary School.

The event was witnessed by Glo Ambassadors, include Nonso Diobi, Monalisa Chinda and Chioma Chukwuka, while the Original Stereo man, Ekwe, also performed at the occasion.

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Survey rates women top in online payment trend

Research sponsored by Diebold Incorporated has rated women top in online payment survey conducted recently by a research centre on Consumer Billing and Payment Trends.

Diebold is known to offer a comprehensive line of self-service, security and service solutions, with successful line of Opteva ATMs, advanced teller-automation technology and remote teller systems, solutions are changing the way the world accesses cash and the way financial institutions interact with customers.

The 2010 survey showed that online banking, bill payment and e-bill usage have continued to grow, and that the online bill payment population has changed significantly during the last decade.

According to the survey, between 2000 and 2010, the number of households that use online banking increased more than six-fold, and the number that use online bill payment increased nearly eight-fold.

“Online bill payers now represent a wide cross-section of the United States population, and women have edged out men as the primary users of the service,” part of the survey outcome stated.

During the course of the Consumer Billing and Payment Trends survey, online bill payment has moved into the mainstream, which is currently, 72.5 million U.S. households, 80 percent of all households with Internet access, use online banking, while 36.4 million households, 40 percent of all households with Internet access, use online bill payment.

In 2002, men represented the majority of online bill payers, at 61 per cent, and they maintained the lead in usage of the service through 2009.

In 2010, the tables turned, with women edging ahead to represent 51 per cent of online bill payers.

The survey further indicated that nowadays, the age of online bill payers is also more representative of the entire U.S. population than when the study began.

In 2002, more than half of online bill payers were between the ages of 35 and 54. In 2010, consumers age 21-34 made up 28 percent of online bill payers, consumers age 35-54 made up 48 percent, and consumers over age 55 made up a sizeable 24 percent of all online bill payers, underscoring the fact that the service is not only for the young.

Consumers of all income levels, the report said, have embraced online bill payment as well. In 2002, middle income consumers dominated use of the service, whereas in 2010 more than a third of online bill payers had a yearly household income of less than $50,000. Usage among the highest income brackets has grown as well.

“The face of online bill payment has changed significantly over the last decade,” said Geoff Knapp, vice president, Online Banking and Consumer Insights, Fiserv.

“Early users were tech-savvy and tended to be young and male, as is typical with new technology. Now it’s moms and seniors and people at all income levels using the service. Online bill payment has become mainstream, and there’s still room to grow.”


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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Ghanaians yearn for Glo’s roll-out


•Plan 6-hr switch off protest tomorrow

Telecommunications subscribers and stakeholders in Ghana are yearning for the services of the Nigeria’s second national operator, Globacom, which obtained operational license in the country since 2008.

This is coming as Ghanaian subscribers are now warming up for a six-hour switch off of mobile phones to protest poor quality of service (QoS) tomorrow, countrywide, just as operators would lose an estimated $6 million, about N909m, owing to the demonstration.

Presently, out of the Nigeria-based three mobile telecom operators in the country that have licenses in Ghana, namely Glo, MTN, and Zain only Glo has not launched commercial services.

Some Ghanaian telecom stakeholders who spoke to ITRealms Online at the weekend in the city of Accra said that they are over-yearning for Globacom’s time to roll-out services.

They also acknowledged the fact that Glo 1 submarine cable landed in Accra, but wondered why the telecom operator has not deemed it fit to roll-out officially its services to benefit Ghana’s economy.

They expressed reservation over the delay in rolling out services by Globacom, close to two years after it obtained operational GSM license.

For a lady described as Ms Kathryn, who runs a travel agency, “As you can see, Glo symbols seem to be everywhere, mostly at the airport, but the company is yet to roll out.”

She pointed that Glo even has a very elaborate office bloc in the city, in addition to the cable that landed last year, yet, there is no service attached to it, as far as Ghanaians telecom consumers are concerned.

Another Ghanaian, a cab driver, Kwame, told ITRealms Online that every day they look forward to official roll-out of commercial services by Globacom, noting that long ago Globacom has decorated Kotoka International Airport, but to no avail as no one knows what exactly could be the company’s plans or problems.

“We are daily expecting to see their service and we are getting tired,” he declared, noting though that Glo service may not be very different from what is obtained now, but it could increase competition and then better services.

ITRealms Online recalls that during the week ending July 19, 2008, the National Communication Authority (NCA) of Ghana handed over a Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) to the management of Globacom led by its Group Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Mohamed Jameel.

Speaking then at the brief ceremony at NCA headquarters in Accra, its Chairman, Mr. Jude Kofi Arthur, expressed optimism that the telecom giant would deliver on innovative products and urged the mobile company to always consider all stakeholders in the industry including the government, fellow operators, the regulator and the public in all its endeavours.

“On behalf of the government of Ghana and the NCA, I present to Glo, the license to operate mobile cellular service in Ghana. This is the end of the licensing process but the beginning of the relationship with Glo,” Arthur said.

Reacting, Mr. Jameel had expressed gratitude to the government and people of Ghana, and particularly the NCA, for having confidence in Glo Mobile’s ability to operate quality cellular mobile service. Just as he promised Globacom would not let them down.

“We’ll leave no stone unturned in our bid to provide world class and innovative telecommunication service for the people. We thank you for the transparent international bidding process,” he said.

Restating that Glo would not hesitate in its determination to execute the vision of the board to build Africa’s biggest and best telecommunication network, assuring that Glo “shall be a disciplined operator and we need the support of NCA.”

According to Jameel, Glo would cooperate with all the other operators, saying that the firm is challenged by the confidence the NCA and the public have reposed on them based on its continental pedigree.

“We wish to assure you that we shall, with your collective support and goodwill, meet your expectation and yearning for quality and affordable telecoms products and services,” he said.

He assured that based on the antecedent of Glo Mobile, both in Nigeria and Benin Republic, the network would deploy robust telecommunication infrastructure and services in Ghana with the government and people as the biggest beneficiaries.

By securing the GSM license in Ghana, Glo became the sixth mobile operator to be licensed in that country.

Although anticipation was that by April 2009, that is, over a year ago, the Ghana operation of Glo Mobile should have gone commercial.

Efforts to reach Glo’s spokesman, Mr. Bode Opesietan, was not successful as he could not respond to either calls, text message and email sent to him as at press time.

But a source close to Globacom, however, informed ITRealms Online that there are some issues challenges causing the delay, including getting permissions for right of way for erection of its masts and vandalization of infrastructure already on ground.

Meanwhile, the Consumer Protection Agency (CPA) of Ghana has announced its resolve to protest against all the telecommunications operators in the country over poor quality of service.


The protest being spearheaded by CPA has been scheduled to hold tomorrow, Thursday, May 27, this year, according to public announcement on the Ghana TV3 and Ghana News Agency (GNA), at the weekend.

The announcement quoted the Chief Executive Officer, CPA, Mr. Kofi Kapito as saying that the demonstration would also present a petition to the Minister of Communications, to express the discontentment of Ghanaians over the poor quality of services provided by telecom operators.

“The CPA is calling on Ghanaians to switch off their mobile phones from 6:00 am to 12:00 noon on May 27 as a protest to signal to the telecommunication companies that without consumers, they do not exist,” part of the statement read.

Further, it said that the ‘six-hour phone off’ protest, would cost the telecommunication companies about six million dollars which would enable them to respect the right of consumers.

Additionally, CPA said the physical demonstration would start from Kwame Nkumah Circle at 9 am and end at 2pm, through High Street, to Rawlings Park, Kojo Thompson road, Kinbu Lane to Ministry of Communications, and proceed through Osu and end at Danquah Circle after a press conference, even as the agency urged all telecom consumer in Ghana to heed the call.
“We invite all consumers to join the demonstration” part of the press statement read.

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ICT: Experts canvass practical liberalisation

A one-day workshop on impacts of liberalisation of Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) trade services, was held in Lagos, recently. REMMY NWEKE who participated, reports on the need for African countries to enthrone policies that could engender economics beyond immediate shoreslines by walking the talk.

Despite the level of growth recorded in the past 10 years of the Global System for Mobile communication (GSM), which invariably gave rise to the recognition of the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector, experts are of the opinion that more legal frameworks are needed to further strengthen the market.

This is mostly in the area of engendering liberalization of ICT beyond the shores of individual countries on the continent, particularly in West Africa where there are a mixture of both Anglophone and Francophone nations with seemingly language barrier.

These were some of the opinions highlighted at the recently held one-day workshop on ‘The impact of Liberalization on trade in ICT goods and services’ organized by the Faculty of Social sciences, University of Lagos and led by the trio of Prof. Tayo Fakiyesi of department of Economics, Prof. Ike Mowete of Engineering and Prof. Peter Fogam of department of commercial law, all of the University of Lagos (UNILAG); as part of efforts at disseminating their finds under LICOM’s Nigeria project.

The workshop, which witnessed a good number of stakeholders, mostly from the academia, saw experts urging telecommunication companies in the country to challenge the academia by endowing chairs on technological research across the nation’s higher institutions.

All those who presented papers during the workshop were of the opinions that the sector needs to be improved to fast track economic development of the nation towards stimulating means to encourage inter-country commerce.

Introducing the project in an overview, Prof. Mowete said that it was initiated by Dakar-based Panos Institute of West Africa (PIWA) under the sponsorship of the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Canada, with focus on the impact of international liberalization of trade in ICT services, the implications of implementation for public policies in West Africa.

According to him, the studies on this project covered Benin, Ghana, Nigeria and Senegal, noting that in Nigeria, a UNILAG team executed the project, which included three professors, stressing that the objectives of the scheme includes to contribute to a better and informed understanding of the challenges of liberalization of trade in ICT services in the sub-region.

The study, Mowete said, was situated within the framework of the World Trade Organisation (WTO)’s General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) as basic policy implementation strategies. He also listed some specific objectives to include the identification and analyzing key legal provisions, deduce the perception of sector stakeholders about risks and challenges, characterize the ICT sector with particular reference to the services sub-sector, estimate the costs and assess the merits claimed by liberalization as well as recommendations and disseminate, accordingly.

Specifically, he said that four separate investigations were carried out beginning with a critique of the legal provisions as they concerned trade in ICT services, followed by a survey of ICT services sector in Lagos, which is the hub of ICT market in the country. This attempt came on the heels of the questionnaire survey to obtain perception of players and finally, a cost-benefit analysis.

He disclosed that the purpose of the workshop was to present the outcomes of the studies across the three professors covering the key three sectors to drive trade liberalization beyond any given shores, pointing out that Prof. Fogam would provide the legal provisions, himself would take on the characterization and perception, Prof. Fakiyesi would dwell on costs and benefits.

In his paper, Prof. Peter Fogam noted that despite the rapid development recorded in ICT in the country, the sector is still bedeviled with a high level of inconsistency on ICT policy. Underscoring the fact that total application of ICT in most developing countries are hindered by the lack of comprehensive legal and regulatory frame work. He said that, though, Nigeria has taken a bold leap forward by legal and regulatory measures on ground, but there is need to improve on it.

He also said that the ever changing nature of ICT industry is such that it’s difficult to imagine the challenges that these measures may face in future, therefore, much are yet to be done to meet these challenges.

“Nevertheless, what exist today by way of national communication policy and Communications Act 2003, underscores the facts that a sustainable ICT industry in Nigeria needs an environment of trust created through legal and regulatory apparatus,” he declared.

Fogam equally said that the opportunity brought about by ICT needs a strict legal and regulatory environment for proper coordination, noting that the present ICT status in the country, have been influenced by policies and statutes.

ICTs, the professor of law said, have led to the convergence between the media and the telecommunications in such a way that today, it is possible for one to read newspapers online and listen to radio stations across the globe from different websites through multimedia connectivity.

He stressed the importance of ICT in the affairs of any nation, saying that it cannot be overemphasized, because ICT enhances economic growth through competition, and consistently increases trades and investments. Maintaining that ICT enables the modernization of private sector through improved market access, sales, trade and facilitation of research and development, asserting, “ICT has a very broad range of application that span across various sectors of health, education, agriculture, e-government and e-economic.”

In his contribution at the workshop, an economist, Prof. Fakiyesi reflected on the fact that ICT in the country has raised the level of employment opportunities, but solicited for strict regulatory measures that would check some fraudulent practices associated with it.

According to him, the growth of ICT in the country has its negative effects, including the use of these technologies to commit crimes and fraudulent practices, warning that the negative side has assumed publicity because it has been exploited by some Nigerian youths.

However, against the aforementioned demerit, Fakiyesi said ICT sector has lifted the nation’s economy and there is need for stakeholders to work towards improving the sector for more financially viable growth and development, pointing out that “ICT has raised employment and investment in the country and it has come to stay. It has reduced cost of trade and increased productivity.”

The economist further decried that apart from the improvement on the economy, ICT has also enhanced falsehood, dissemination of harmful information, as well as fraudulent activities in the transaction of businesses.

ICT, he said accounts for about 1.62 per cent of the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP), with over 50.90 per cent growth, just as ICT has substantially contributed to the nation’s growth, especially since 2000 when the sector was practically liberalized.

On the benefit drivable to Nigerians, Fakiyesi said that the increased development has to match with level of service provided, stressing that benefits outweigh demerits in terms of services, but services must improve.

Prof. Fakiyesi pointed out that why academic communities seem not to be involved in the research leading to ICT innovations was due to lack of professional endowed chair in the nation’s tertiary institutions by operators in the sector, which has not been helpful.

He decried the absence of political will by those in government to give the academia the opportunity to research on ICT, but prefer expatriates to supply all that is needed in the sector.

"The environment is not conducive, the political will has not given us the opportunity to work towards research, not that we cannot do good jobs but the political will is not there. The essence of this workshop is to create more ICT businesses in Nigeria and we’re ready to work towards the improvement of ICT sector,” he said.

Universities and some professionals, he said, needed to be consulted when policies on ICTs are being formulated, especially from the tertiary institutions, alleging that some of the people who are making policies on ICT today are not professionals.

And cited an instance with the United Kingdom and American telecommunication companies who go around the universities endowing chairs for research on how to improve their services, insisting that the network providers, should be able to identify their needs and get to the universities to research on these areas.

"In United Kingdom ICT companies go around to universities to establish chairs for research. MTN, Glo and Zain should come to us for research, they should tell us what they want and guide us on how they want it, we’re ready to do research, but these people are not ready to encourage research work in the country. The research should be under their guidance, and the findings should be theirs,’’ he said.

However, deductible from the above workshop is that there is still a long way to go, but if every other country in the sub-region could improve on their policies, definitely the economic activities in the region would increase to provide a better lifestyle to the populace, despite the negative aspects.

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Nwakanma retains seat @ FOSSFA till 2012

Nigerian-born Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) consultant based in Cote D’Ivoire, Ms Nnenna Nwakanma, has retained her seat to preside over the Free and Open Source Software Foundation for Africa (FOSSFA) for the next two years.

Her election came unopposed at the just concluded five-day Idlelo 4 conference and Annual General Meeting (AGM) of FOSSFA, which held at the Kofi Annan Indian Centre of Excellence in ICT, Accra-Ghana, at the weekend.

Also elected in the new FOSSFA Executive Council following the nomination of 21 council members from all regions on the continent of Africa, who constituted the electoral-college for the Exco to emerge, based on the group’s constitution.

These include Gambian Katim Touray as vice chairman, while Egyptian Samer Azmy of Geek2Live was elected secretary general, and Ugandan Milton Aineruhanga emerged Treasurer.

Nwakanma, who is the chief executive officer of nnenna.org, is a reputed consultant on Africa with expertise in development and communications, leading a team of cutting edge specialists on ICT, rapporteurs, researchers, trainers and language facilitators among others.

She was nominated by a council member Mr. Fred and seconded by Mrs. Dorothy Gordon. She would lead FOSSFA till Idlelo 5 in 2012.

The council also agreed to amend its constitution, especially in increasing the number of the exco members to accommodate the post of assistant secretary general and publicity secretary in the next election.

FOSSFA has its origin in the ICT Policy and Civil Society workshop held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in November 2002, which was convened by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, on the mandate of the Bamako Bureau established by the African Council of ICT ministers in the continent’s preparation towards the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), where it was unanimously resolved to create an interim civil society task force on open source tagged “Open Source Task Force for Africa (OSTA).”

The task force has since transformed into FOSSFA with the consent of its members to advocate for the use and implementation of open source solutions at the regional, national and local levels; urge donor governments that have already embraced open source at national levels such as Germany, Sweden, Norway and France to support Africa in this regard.

In addition, FOSSFA has the mandate to create a clearinghouse or knowledge factory - resources, database of local expertise on ‘Who is doing What’, website, CD-ROM, brochures among others and then define minimum standards, guidelines and advisory parameters for the foundation; building localized cum African capacity to work on software development; ensuring a discourse on open source during the National Information and Communication Infrastructure (NICI) policy processes and addendum for the NICI processes that have already been completed.

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Rotary Club commends Etisalat on ethics

Acclaimed most innovative mobile operator in the country, Etisalat, has been commended for promoting ethical standards in community service, business and the professions by the Rotary Club.

Making this commendation, recently was the Governor, Rotary Club international District 9110, Rotarian Emmanuel Tayo Alabi, at the club’s district conference sponsored by Etisalat in Abeokuta, Ogun state between the 12th and 15th of May.

Alabi noted that the 4-day event had been made possible through the support provided by the telecommunication company.

This partnership, he said, was brokered in recognition of Etisalat’s understanding of the objectives of Rotary on the heels of the club’s quest for a major sponsorship of the District 9110 conference in Abeokuta.

Corroborating this fact, the Governor, the Rotary Club conference chairperson, Rotarian Ibikunle Ogunbayo pointed out that Rotary values and what it stands for comprised integrity, high ethical standards, and service to humanity to name a few.

These values, Ogunbayo said, have been a major attraction to the telecoms giant.
“It is hoped that this partnership with Etisalat will go beyond Abeokuta 2010. The partnership will be of direct benefit to Rotary projects and will also provide some exclusive products to Rotarians and their families,” Ogunbayo said.

The Director Brands and Communications, Etisalat Nigeria, Mr. Yinka Akande, said that the telco and Rotary International share a lot of commonalities in values.

“By associating with the Rotary Club, we are telling Nigerians that we have a strong humanistic streak in our company DNA. We recognise Rotary as a body of business and professional leaders with the objectives of providing humanitarian services, encouraging high ethical standards and building goodwill and peace,” he said.

Emphasising that these are in perfect sync with what Etisalat represent and as a global leadership brand, believes that Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) means creating sustainable value for the society through innovative and sustainable products and services, while minimising environmental impact as well as ensuring best ethical standards in dealing with our stakeholders.

Rotary International is the world’s first service club organization, with more than 1.2million members worldwide. The clubs works to combat hunger, improve health and sanitation, provide education and joint training, promote peace and eradicate polio, under the motto: service above self.

Currently standing at the 140th position among Financial Times’ top 500 corporations in the world, Etisalat is the largest provider of telecommunications services in Africa and the Middle East and serves an ever-increasing subscriber base of 100 million people across Africa, Middle East and Asia.

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Omatek offers special discount for Children’s Day

Omatek Computer plc, has announced a special discount for the 2010 Children’s Day celebration in the country, running for 27 days.

Disclosing this in Lagos, Tuesday, Head of Marketing, Omatek, Mr. Kayode Yeku, said that as a household name in computers and home entertainment products, the company introduced this discount in fulfillment of its promised to make this year’s Children’s Day celebrations a memorable one.

He also said that Omatek Computers is participating at the 2010 Splash For Joy Children’s Carnival, scheduled to kick-off at Parkview Estate, Ikoyi and terminates at the Cricket Pitch, Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos on Thursday, May 27, 2010.

Mr. Yeku, Omatek would be offering a special discount of 27 per cent, which would be applicable to all 8” and 10” smartbooks purchased within 27 days from May 27, 2010.

“All children who visit the Omatek stand during the carnival will also have the opportunity to benefit from a free computer training programme as well as a unique hands-on experience at the Omatek factory during long vacation,” he said.

According to him, the special Children’s Day offer is hinged on the firm’s e-learning platform which provides students with the opportunity to own their personal computers as a catch-them-young initiative to empower the youths.

He explained that the Omatek 8” and 10” smartbooks are specially designed for students and educational sector.

“They are portable and come in various attractive colours. They are equally equipped with robust Wireless Fidelity (Wi-Fi) coverage of over 50 meters, 160 Gega Bytes (GB) hard disk space,1GB Random Access Memory (RAM), current Encarta package, Little Finger Educational Game and so on,” he declared.

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Coscharis partners Kobian on Mercury products

Coscharis Technologies Limited has been appointed by Kobian Pte Limited as the sole distributor of her mercury products in the country.

Disclosing this at the end of the 2010 Computer, Technology and Office Equipment exhibitions and conference in Lagos, the General Manager, Coscharis Technologies, Mr. George Opara said an exclusive agreement was signed by the representatives of both companies made up of himself and Director of Sales, Kobian Pte Limited, Mr. Sajid Shaikh on behalf of their respective organizations.

Opara also said that the signing of the deal was the climax of over 15 years of relationship between two companies on various brands of Mercury products.

Coscharis Technologies, he noted, started business with Kobian in order to develop the market resulting to the deal.

The exclusivity, he said, would be of greater advantage to customers and resellers of mercury products in the country, stressing that the huge branch network available to Coscharis Technologies would assist the company in making the Mercury products the choice nationwide.

Some of the products, he listed to include Mercury motherboard, casings, Uninterrupted power supply (UPS) of various specifications, keyboard and mouse, Mercury TFT Monitors of 15”, 17”, 19”, Mercury Scanners, Inverters of 1KVS, 2Kva, 3.5Kva, 5Kva, Mercury AVRs of various specs, Mercury online UPS, Counting Machines, Mercury Surveillance Cameras and Close Circuit Television.

Coscharis Technologies is also an authorized distributor for Microsoft, Lenovo, APC by Scheider Electric.

Expressing delight over the deal, Opara described it as a vote of confidence bestowed on Coscharis Technologies.

In his remarks, Mr. Shaikh said that his company’s 15-year relationship with Coscharis Technologies was based on trust and mutual respect, and challenged Coscharis Technologies’ team to strive in making the product a house hold name in the country.

Coscharis Technologies Limited, was incorporated in March, 1993 as an integrated Information Technology firm and has since grown into a significant member of the Coscharis Group, an indigenous conglomerate with a mission to become the leading player in the nation’s IT industry in the provision of a wide range of quality choices to network of dealers and resellers, offering unbeatable technical and financial support to them without compromising on quality of products and speed of delivery.

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MTN ends 21-day Y’ello care in style

LEADING Global System for Mobile (GSM) communications operator, MTN Nigeria, has ended its 21-day Y’ello care, last weekend, reports CHARLES OKOH.

The initiative saw about 1,379 MTN staff participating in over 60 activities aimed at touching lives of the less privileged and donating to public institutions.

Speaking during the commissioning of a renovated wing of the Military Hospital on Awolowo Road, Ikoyi-Lagos, the General Manager, Corporate Communications, MTN Nigeria, Mrs. Funmi Omogbenigun, said for four years now, MTN staff volunteers across the 21 operating units in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East used the platform to impact on the lives of the people in their immediate environments.

She also said that this year, efforts were directed at educating the people and galvanizing them to eradicate malaria and that the event presented a unique opportunity to rally against this mass killer of the people.

“It is estimated that one million people, about 90 per cent of whom are children, are killed by malaria every year. This explains why MTN has joined forces with two global campaigns; United Against Malaria and One Goal: Education for all, both of which aim to eradicate disease and poverty from Africa,” she said.

Welcoming participants, the Commanding Officer, Administration, Military Hospital, Ikoyi, Colonel Onaolapo Oladiran, said the initiative by MTN was worthy of emulation to inculcate the spirit of selfless giving and volunteerism.

“When we were notified of the intention of MTN staff to take up the renovation of a wing of this hospital, we did not quite know what to make of it, and even wondered if there would be any cost implications to the hospital. We feel blessed and we are very grateful that our great hospital was selected to be a beneficiary of this wonderful programme,” he said.

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Cloud computing saves money - ITU

The Director for Telecommunication Standardization Bureau at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Mr. Malcolm Johnson, has said that cloud computing saves costs for servers and storage.

He also said that cloud computing offers speed and streamlines application deployment without upfront capital, stressing that for this reason alone, many enterprises, governments and network cum service providers are now considering adaptation of cloud computing to provide more efficient and cost effective network services.

Mr. Johnson who spoke at the end of ITU-T Focus Group on Cloud Computing meeting in Geneva, last weekend, pointed out that cloud is an exciting area of Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) where there are a lot of protocols to be designed and standards to be adopted to allow people to best manage their digital assets.

“Our new Focus Group aims to provide some much needed clarity in the area,” he said.
Commenting also, the Vice President, Research at Yankee Group, Camille Mendler, said that cloud computing deployments are being announced on an almost daily basis, pointing out that interoperability, is a challenge.

“Cloud computing is the future of ICTs. It’s urgent to address interoperability issues which could stall global diffusion of new services. Collaboration between private and public sectors is required, and ITU is ideally suited to facilitate productive dialogue,” Mendler said.

Chairman, ITU Focus Group on Cloud Computing, Vladimir Belenkovich, said that the group would investigate requirements for standardization in cloud computing and suggest future study paths for ITU.

“Specifically, we will identify potential impacts in standards development in other fields such as Next Generation Networks (NGN), transport layer technologies, ICTs and climate change, and media coding,” he said.

As outlined the first brief exploratory phase, he said, will determine standardization requirements and suggest how these may be addressed within ITU study groups and work will then begin on developing the standards necessary to support the global rollout of fully interoperable cloud computing solutions.

A recently published ITU-T Technology Watch Report titled ‘Distributed Computing: Utilities, Grids and Clouds’ describes the advent of clouds and grids, the applications they enable, and their potential impact on future standardization.

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Indian delegation for WAFRITEL

A delegation of Indian telecommunications companies are expected to grace the 10th West African International Telecommunications and Information Communications Technology exhibition (W.Afri.Tel 2010), which commences in Lagos on Tuesday, next week.
The delegation is coming under the auspices of Telecom Export Promotion Council (TEPC)of India, with the support of the Indian government.

Already, ITRealms Online, gathered that the delegation has secured prime spots at the three-day W.Afri.Tel exhibition at the New Eko Expo Hall, Eko Hotel, Victoria Island.

According to the organizers, a press statement from the Indian High Commission in the country and signed by the Head, Chancery, Mr. Raj Kumar, underscored the importance of the delegation’s visit which depicts Nigeria as high-profile in telecommunications market.

“We are pleased to inform you that Telecom Equipment and Services Export Promotion Council, Government of India will be bringing a high-level telecom trade delegation for exclusively promoting telecommunications and related services from India to Lagos from 1st to 3rd June, 2010,” he said, stressing that the delegation would be participating in the 10th West African International Telecommunications Exhibition and Conference.

“This delegation represents a very major area of focus of our bilateral trade and economic relations which will eventually lead to a mutual beneficial cooperation,” Mr. Kumar said.

Validating this development, the Editor-in-Chief of IT & Telecom Digest, sole Nigeria agent for the show, Mr. Mkpe Abang, said the delegation has since booked several a very impressive and sizeable space, which will serve as a pavilion specifically for their members to exhibit during the expo.

“I am pleased to confirm that the TEPC of India, has indeed booked a very impressive space to exhibit at this year’s W.Afri.Tel; and it is quite clear that the Indians mean business by making this visit at such an opportune moment, to exhibit in West Africa’s premier ICT show,” Abang declared.

Noting that this is coming at a time when Bharti recently consummated the deal to purchasing Zain’s Africa operations, of which Zain Nigeria is the largest of this operation, the Indian trade mission’s visit and exhibition at W.Afri.Tel 2010 is a clear demonstration and testimony to the fact that any investment made in the Nigerian telecom industry is high-income yielding both in the short and long term.


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ICANN invites comments on ‘Meetings for the Next Decade’

Global internet coordinating organisation, the Internet for Corporation and Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has announced the review of its ‘Meetings for the Next Decade’.

ICANN in a press statement made available to ITRealms Online, last weekend, said the time is right to look at the meetings ICANN holds each year from a holistic and truly bottom-up perspective, so as to ensure that such meetings optimally serve the community in the most cost-effective and stakeholder-focused ways possible.

For this reason, ICANN said it’s announcing the beginning of stage one of the “Meetings for the Next Decade” consultation process.

The consultation, ITRealms Online learnt would comprise a detailed survey in six languages, which would be made available online, as the exercise would last till July 5, 2010.

ICANN also advised respondents to send comments via the traditional email-based comment forum where they believe that the survey misses a point that could be important, or where they wish to convey the views of a group or organisation with respect to the questions the survey addresses.

“The survey does allow for a response to be made on behalf of an organisation, as well as by community members speaking in their individual capacity,” part of the statement read.

ITRealms Online recalled that the consultation is part of the programme of the ICANN board’s Public Participation Committee (PPC) and at the staff level is a joint effort of the ICANN meetings department and the Senior Director for Participation and Engagement.

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Abuja to host ITEC-10 in August

Arrangements have been advanced for the hosting of a five-day Information and Communications Technology (ITEC) exhibition at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, in August, this year.

Disclosing this, the Managing Director of the organising company, Medalion Marketing Limited, Mr. Fidel Ikenna Ndubisi, said that ITEC would hold between August 16 and 21, at the Ladi Kwali Hall of the prestigious Sheraton Hotel and Towers in Abuja.

He also said that the forthcoming exhibition and conference would hold on the theme “The role of ICT in improving competitiveness,” and is expected to attract over 150 companies from the ICT sector and 300 professionals and operators.

According to him, the Minister of Information and Communications, Prof. (Mrs) Dora Akunyili, Governor of Anambra, Mr. Peter Obi, and the Acting Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) Mr. Stephen Bello, as well as chairman Senate committee on Communications, Senator Sylvester Anyanwu, would be the special guests to deliver keynote addresses at the event.

Ndubisi further said that the event is being organised in partnership with the Federal Ministry of Communications, NCC, Federal Ministry of Science & Technology, National Information Development Agency (NITDA), Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), Nigeria Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines & Agriculture (NACCIMA) among others.

As said by him, ITEC 2010 would be a showcase for Information and Communication Technology products and services, therefore, all stakeholders are invited to the event.

Stressing that telecommunication service providers, mobile phone operators, resellers of hardware and software, accessories as well as system integrators, he said, are expected to grace the five-day exhibition and conference.

He pointed out that the objectives of ITEC would be is to sensitize key policy and decision makers on the potentials of ICT as key drivers for rapid economic and sustainable growth; to provide platform to the professionals to demonstrate and share their experiences and facilitate exchange of ideas, in addition to increasing ICT awareness, while exposing participants to new and emerging trends, products and services in Information Technology (IT).

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Cybercrime trend on the rise – Symantec

Symantec latest Internet Security Threat Report (volume XV) has revealed upward trends in cybercrime from Jan.1, 2009 to Dec. 31, 2009.

In a two very prominent cyber attacks – Conficker in the opening months of the year and Hydraq at the very end, the report otherwise known as the ‘Corps’ highlighted continued growth in both volume and sophistication of the attacks.

Regional Director, Africa at Symantec, Gordon Love said that attacks have evolved from simple scams to highly sophisticated espionage campaigns targeting some of the world’s largest corporations and government entities.

“The scale of these attacks and the fact that they originate from across the world, make it a truly international problem requiring the cooperation of both the private sector and world governments,” Love said.

The Director, also revealed that Nigeria ranked number 43 in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and 70 in the world in 2009 for malicious activity.

“In comparison to the previous year, South Africa climbed seven places from 50 to 43 globally,” he said.

In the EMEA region in 2009, 49 per cent of the volumes of top 50 potential infections were classified as worms; which shows an increase from 30 per cent in 2008.

“More specifically, Egypt was the top-ranked country for viruses while Saudi Arabia was the top-ranked country for worms,” Love said.

Worms are malicious programs that replicate themselves from system to system without the use of a host file. This contrasts with viruses, which requires the spreading of an infected host file.

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Ghanaians yearn for Glo’s roll-out

•Plan 6-hr switch off protest tomorrow

Telecommunications subscribers and stakeholders in Ghana are yearning for the services of the Nigeria’s second national operator, Globacom, which obtained operational license in the country since 2008.

This is coming as Ghanaian subscribers are now warming up for a six-hour switch off of mobile phones to protest poor quality of service (QoS) tomorrow, countrywide, just as operators would lose an estimated $6 million, about N909m, owing to the demonstration.

Presently, out of the Nigeria-based three mobile telecom operators in the country that have licenses in Ghana, namely Glo, MTN, and Zain only Glo has not launched commercial services.

Some Ghanaian telecom stakeholders who spoke to ITRealms Online at the weekend in the city of Accra said that they are over-yearning for Globacom’s time to roll-out services.

They also acknowledged the fact that Glo 1 submarine cable landed in Accra, but wondered why the telecom operator has not deemed it fit to roll-out officially its services to benefit Ghana’s economy.

They expressed reservation over the delay in rolling out services by Globacom, close to two years after it obtained operational GSM license.

For a lady described as Ms Kathryn, who runs a travel agency, “As you can see, Glo symbols seem to be everywhere, mostly at the airport, but the company is yet to roll out.”

She pointed that Glo even has a very elaborate office bloc in the city, in addition to the cable that landed last year, yet, there is no service attached to it, as far as Ghanaians telecom consumers are concerned.

Another Ghanaian, a cab driver, Kwame, told ITRealms Online that every day they look forward to official roll-out of commercial services by Globacom, noting that long ago Globacom has decorated Kotoka International Airport, but to no avail as no one knows what exactly could be the company’s plans or problems.

“We are daily expecting to see their service and we are getting tired,” he declared, noting though that Glo service may not be very different from what is obtained now, but it could increase competition and then better services.

ITRealms Online recalls that during the week ending July 19, 2008, the National Communication Authority (NCA) of Ghana handed over a Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) to the management of Globacom led by its Group Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Mohamed Jameel.

Speaking then at the brief ceremony at NCA headquarters in Accra, its Chairman, Mr. Jude Kofi Arthur, expressed optimism that the telecom giant would deliver on innovative products and urged the mobile company to always consider all stakeholders in the industry including the government, fellow operators, the regulator and the public in all its endeavours.

“On behalf of the government of Ghana and the NCA, I present to Glo, the license to operate mobile cellular service in Ghana. This is the end of the licensing process but the beginning of the relationship with Glo,” Arthur said.

Reacting, Mr. Jameel had expressed gratitude to the government and people of Ghana, and particularly the NCA, for having confidence in Glo Mobile’s ability to operate quality cellular mobile service. Just as he promised Globacom would not let them down.

“We’ll leave no stone unturned in our bid to provide world class and innovative
telecommunication service for the people. We thank you for the transparent international bidding process,” he said.

Restating that Glo would not hesitate in its determination to execute the vision of the board to build Africa’s biggest and best telecommunication network, assuring that Glo “shall be a disciplined operator and we need the support of NCA.”

According to Jameel, Glo would cooperate with all the other operators, saying that the firm is challenged by the confidence the NCA and the public have reposed on them based on its continental pedigree.

“We wish to assure you that we shall, with your collective support and goodwill, meet your expectation and yearning for quality and affordable telecoms products and services,” he said.

He assured that based on the antecedent of Glo Mobile, both in Nigeria and Benin Republic, the network would deploy robust telecommunication infrastructure and services in Ghana with the government and people as the biggest beneficiaries.

By securing the GSM license in Ghana, Glo became the sixth mobile operator to be licensed in that country.

Although anticipation was that by April 2009, that is, over a year ago, the Ghana operation of Glo Mobile should have gone commercial.

Efforts to reach Glo’s spokesman, Mr. Bode Opesietan, was not successful as he could not respond to either calls, text message and email sent to him as at press time.

But a source close to Globacom, however, informed ITRealms Online that there are some issues challenges causing the delay, including getting permissions for right of way for erection of its masts and vandalization of infrastructure already on ground.

Meanwhile, the Consumer Protection Agency (CPA) of Ghana has announced its resolve to protest against all the telecommunications operators in the country over poor quality of service.

The protest being spearheaded by CPA has been scheduled to hold tomorrow, Thursday, May 27, this year, according to public announcement on the Ghana TV3 and Ghana News Agency (GNA), at the weekend.

The announcement quoted the Chief Executive Officer, CPA, Mr. Kofi Kapito as saying that the demonstration would also present a petition to the Minister of Communications, to express the discontentment of Ghanaians over the poor quality of services provided by telecom operators.

“The CPA is calling on Ghanaians to switch off their mobile phones from 6:00 am to 12:00 noon on May 27 as a protest to signal to the telecommunication companies that without consumers, they do not exist,” part of the statement read.

Further, it said that the ‘six-hour phone off’ protest, would cost the telecommunication companies about six million dollars which would enable them to respect the right of consumers.

Additionally, CPA said the physical demonstration would start from Kwame Nkumah Circle at 9 am and end at 2pm, through High Street, to Rawlings Park, Kojo Thompson road, Kinbu Lane to Ministry of Communications, and proceed through Osu and end at Danquah Circle after a press conference, even as the agency urged all telecom consumer in Ghana to heed the call.

“We invite all consumers to join the demonstration” part of the press statement read.

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Monday, May 24, 2010

Global iBurst gets NCC’s nod on mobile broadband

Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has granted Global iBurst Nigeria Limited to offer mobile broadband services in the country, just as the company plans to roll out before the end of 2010.

Global iBurst Nigeria Limited is a subsidiary of Mauritius-based PoP Broadband Limited, while the latest license would enable the company to deploy, launch and operate its network nationwide and provide fast, affordable and reliable internet connectivity to millions of citizens.

Disclosing this, the Group Chief Executive Officer, POP Broadband Ltd, Mr. Osmo Korri, said that the roll-out would come phases beginning with in phase 1 in Lagos and the Federal Capital of Abuja.

“I am very proud to announce this important milestone. I can now confidently say that Global iBurst will change the lives of millions for the better” Korri declared in press statement made available to ITRealms Online.

He also said that Global iBurst intends to offer highly affordable, reliable, fast internet service to millions of Nigerians.

“Global iBurst’s services will cater for the needs of corporate institutions, small medium enterprises (SMEs), business people and most importantly individual home users who have been yearning for internet connectivity due to the high cost of existing offerings.

The iBurst technology, he said, has been successfully deployed in countries like Ghana, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and South Africa, and affords Global iBurst Nigeria to offer all of its customers’ reliable and mobile high-speed internet connectivity.

Describing his firm’s offer as coming with very affordable modems and prepaid airtime, Korri, promised that services would be available in Global iBurst outlets and selected distribution partners soon to be announced.

Also speaking, the Group Chief Operating Officer of POP Broadband Ltd, Mr. Petteri Paasila assured that getting connected on Global iBurst is very simple.

“There are no complex installations and no contract fees, just buy your modem and pre-paid airtime and enjoy high speed internet. This will be a great advantage to our customers,” he said.

He pointed out that POP Broadband Ltd, is a Mauritius-based company with existing broadband operations in three African countries.

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Starcomms introduces music-on-demand

Telecom company, Starcomms Plc, has introduced Music-on-demand and music dedication on its network.

Unveiling this service in Lagos, the Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) Starcomms, Mr. Tushar Maheshwari said that it would avail the telco subscribers to enjoy, a two-in-one service of music on demand otherwise referred to as ‘Say-it-with-a-song’ and music dedication on all Starcomms’ phones.

He said that ‘Say-it-with-a-song’ for instance, allow subscribers to link Starcomms through a short code - 56060 and demand to listen to their preferred music for 10 minutes nonstop on their Starcomms telephone.

He explained that after enjoying their favourite tunes, the subscriber can also ask for it to be dedicated to a loved one who equally is a user of Starcomms phone.

“The sender can accompany the dedicated music with a voice message which he would have pre-recorded,” he said.

The CCO explained that the mechanics of the music dedication service permits the subscriber of music-on-demand to draw from the diverse collections of music in the Starcomms system and send to others they love on the network.

As said by him, for Starcomms subscribers who have the taste for good music and find it uncomfortable to move around with large music collections, the telco’s music-on-demand is ideal as it enables subscriber to create his jute box within the Starcomms system from where he can always access his favourite tracks, but that is after the first registration.

Further, he explained that the recipient of the service receives the dedicated music as a phone call and listens without paying, however, it is the sender that pays for this unique service.

“This service is one of the efforts of Starcomms at bridging the gap between work and play,” he said, stressing that they want customers to have access to their favourite music without the need of car radio or Media Player (MP3) or their stereo sets at home.

“The music-on-demand can be a motivating device at work or during physical exercise while the music dedication can lift the spirit of a loved one wherever they may be,” he said.


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eWorld partners AIT,KHM on healthy-tech workshop

Industry-based entity, eWorld is partnering the African Independent Television (AIT) InfoTech Network, and KnowHow Media on a one-day workshop on “ICT and the Nigerian Environment 2010: Appropriate Taxation and Promotion of Healthy Environmentally Friendly Technologies.”

A joint press statement from the organized and endorsed by the Chief executive of eWorld, Mr. Aaron Ukodie and his counterpart at AIT Infotech Network, Bayero Agabi, noted that the trio organizations would be rallying stakeholders who have various roles to play in ensuring that the Nigerian environment is free from pollution from Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) tools and infrastructure to a meeting that would shape developments and policies in various areas.

Precisely, Mr. Ukodie said that the collaboration is in pursuit of greener and healthier environment which is a topical issue in the global arena and no effort is too much to ensure the right awareness is created and effective and efficient policies are articulated to achieve the objective.

He also said that the conference, slated for July 30 at Sheraton Lagos, would focus on how to promote the deployment, usage and management of environmentally friendly technologies and appropriate taxation in the sector.

According to him, the underlining call for the conference is that ICT applications, power and transportation are some of three main areas which contribute to the bulk of environmental emissions.

He cited an instance with the fact that in Nigeria, the growth of ICT and its infrastructure are beginning to pose a challenge to the environment as it relates to safety, health and economic growth.

“This is evident in the indiscriminate deployment of telecoms masts and antennas - local and foreign manufactured and assembled,” he said, stressing that this is coupled with the arbitrary disposal of non-environmentally friendly computers, and other ICT applications.

Pointing out that Nigeria, over the years has reportedly become a dumping ground for these various ICT tools and products and government’s efforts to control these activities so as to ensure a cleaner and healthier environment as well as largely uncoordinated aspect.

Equally, Mr. Agabi was quoted as saying that in the global arena, various agencies and governments are taking concerted efforts aimed at nipping the situation in the bud and ensuring that structures and policies are put in place to address the issues of greener and friendlier environment, hence this workshop is appropriate.

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Experts task ITU on standardizing cloud computing

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has been tasked with the standardization of cloud computing by members and leading chief technology officers (CTOs) in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

This called was made by a set of experts in the newly constituted ITU-T Focus Group on Cloud Computing in Geneva, which was formed to assist a global cloud computing ecosystem where interoperability facilitates secure information exchange across platforms.

ITRealms Online gathered that the group would also take a global view of standards activity in the field and define a future path for greatest efficiency, creating new standards where necessary while taking into account the work of others and proposing them for international standardization.

Whereas assuring worldwide interoperability, these experts said standardization of cloud computing is critical to reaping the benefits.

Director, ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, Mr. Malcolm Johnson, noted that cloud computing speeds and streamlines application deployment without upfront capital costs for servers and storage, stressing that for this reason alone, many enterprises, governments and network cum service providers are now considering adopting cloud computing to provide more efficient and cost effective network services.

“Cloud is an exciting area of ICTs where there are a lot of protocols to be designed and standards to be adopted that will allow people to best manage their digital assets. Our new Focus Group aims to provide some much needed clarity in the area,” he said.

Commenting also, the Vice President, Research at Yankee Group, Camille Mendler, said that cloud computing deployments are being announced on an almost daily basis, pointing out that interoperability, is a challenges. “Cloud computing is the future of ICTs. It's urgent to address interoperability issues which could stall global diffusion of new services. Collaboration between private and public sectors is required, and ITU is ideally suited to facilitate productive dialogue,” Mendler said.

Chairman, ITU Focus Group on Cloud Computing, Vladimir Belenkovich, said that the group would investigate requirements for standardization in cloud computing and suggest future study paths for ITU.

“Specifically, we will identify potential impacts in standards development in other fields such as Next Generation Networks (NGN), transport layer technologies, ICTs and climate change, and media coding,” he said.

As outlined the first brief exploratory phase, he said, will determine standardization requirements and suggest how these may be addressed within ITU study groups and work will then begin on developing the standards necessary to support the global rollout of fully interoperable cloud computing solutions.

A recently published ITU-T Technology Watch Report titled ‘Distributed Computing: Utilities, Grids and Clouds’ describes the advent of clouds and grids, the applications they enable, and their potential impact on future standardization.

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Remmy Nweke bags Deutsche Welle, FOSSFA Reporter award 2010



Lead Content Strategist at ITRealms Online and Senior Reporter and Head of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) desk at Champion Newspapers Limited, Lagos-Nigeria,Remmy Nweke, has bagged the first-ever African Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) Reporter award.

The award which was the first of its kind by the Free and Open Source Foundation for Africa (FOSSFA) and Deutsche Welle (DW) under FOSSWAY project, was presented to Mr. Nweke in Accra, Tuesday night by the Director, Deutsche Welle Online, Mr. Thomas Bastian in company of FOSSFA chairperson, Ms Nnenna Nwakanma, as part of the weeklong fourth Idlelo conference organized at the State House, Banquet Hall, Accra.

Speaking at the ceremony, chairperson, FOSSFA, Ms Nwakanma noted that the award was open to Africans living on the continent, authors of articles or broadcasts that were published or aired in the last two years and were also made available both in the traditional media and new media.

Winning entries, she pointed out was an article described as valuable to an African audience, which showed clarity in communication and significantly explaining, interpreting and reporting the impact of FOSS on the development of Africa and recognizing newsworthiness thereof.

Therefore, she said that Mr. Nweke’s piece on ‘Open Source as business solution’ met the aforementioned criterion based on the voices reflected and juries declaration, therefore, it was pronounced the best.

She also promised that FOSSFA would continue to support African media practitioners, even as she solicited for more reportage on the activities of group on the continent.

Also speaking, Mr. Bastian of DW said that they are partnering on the media award project because Africa is very important continent to them, disclosing that the winning article was well articulated and would be serialized in one of their projects in Latin America and particularly Brazil to showcase the kind of efforts Africans are making in FOSS adaptation.

He equally congratulated Mr. Nweke accompanied by his wife and a professional journalist, Nkemdilim, for coming up with the award winning piece and urged him to keep up the touch.

The Chief executive, Mandriva West Africa, Mr. Dele Ajisomo, in his congratulatory message, said that Nigeria is proud of Mr. Nweke’s achievements on the continent and asked him to remain steadfast.

Mr. Nweke is not new to professional prizes as he had in the past won the Siemens African Profile Award for 2004 and 2005; thus becoming the first Nigerian to win such awards on excellence in science and technology reporting twice in addition to a merit awarded him in 2008.

In addition, he is a pioneer Nigerian editorial board member of the Highway Africa News Agency (HANA) based at Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa, and won the second prize in Local Content Application category at the African Information Society Initiative (AISI) awards in 2005 organized by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

In 2006, Mr. Nweke was honour with the Hewlett Packard (HP) Nigeria’s top prize for Nigerian ICT journalists in technology reporting, whereas he was the first runner up in the Nigerian IT & Telecom Awards print category.

Currently, a Master of Arts student of University of Malta in Contemporary Diplomacy, Nweke was at the Global Knowledge Partnership (GKP-07) in Malaysia, where he took the second prize in ICT Research and Innovations category of AISI.

While at the 10th Highway Africa conference-06, he was adjudged the SABC-HANA Journalist of the Year in recognition and promotion of creative, innovative and appropriate use of new media technology on the continent, even as he emerged the Publicity Secretary, Nigeria Internet Group (NIG) a not-profit organisation.

A founding member of the Joint Action Committee on ICT Awareness (JACITAD) and focal point for the African ICTMedia for Nigeria, Mr. Nweke, and last year was nominated into the International WHO'S WHO of Professionals in 2009 Edition.

The ceremony was graced by the Director, ICT at ECOWAS secretariat Abuja, Dr. Sola Afolabi who also represented the Ghanaian Minister of Communications, Mr. Haruna Idrisu as chairman of the occasion, former Microsoft Country Manager for West Africa, Mr. Chinenye Mba-Uzoukwu, Developers Team Leader, Microsoft West Africa, Mr. Ken Spann, one of the fathers of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) in Latin America, Mr. Jon Hall, General Manager, Zain Ghana, Director-General Kofi Annan Indian Centre of Excellence in ICT, Ms Dorothy Gordon among FOSSFA council and members across the continent and partners.


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Conficker worm latest:7m computers infected worldwide – Working group


An estimated seven million personal computers worldwide may have been infected by the Conficker worm, according to a report by the Conficker Working Group (CWG) at the weekend.

CWG also said it’s maintaining visual timeline and chronology of Conficker to track historical, current and future events.

The Conficker infection rate, the report also said, has remained high for B and C variants but has been on declining curve for C and E, noting that as at October 2009 snapshot by the Shadowserver Foundation, which estimated that the number of systems infected with Conficker rated as A, B, C variants were placed at approximately seven million.

The Conficker Working Group (CWG)-led by the global coordinating body for cyberspace, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and a number of concerned entities, including Microsoft, Verisign among others, finally released the summary of its joint counter-measures to battle the dreaded worm that hit cyberspace over two years ago.

The Conficker Working Group, thus, resolved to maintain visual timeline and chronology of Conficker “to track historical, current and future events,” stressing that activities to detect Conficker variants and remediate Conficker-infected hosts would undoubtedly continue for some time, but they would relent.

“This is inevitable given the millions of infected computers and historically marginal success in remediating malware,” part of the report read.

Lessons learned during the Conficker containment period, which began since the last quarter of 2008, according to a copy of the review summary made available to ITRealms Online by the Senior Security Technologist at ICANN, Mr. Dave Piscitello, indicated that this report provides a chronology of events related to the containment of the Conficker worm.

He also said that Security and Domain Name System (DNS) communities are working to devise long-term and sustainable approaches for dealing with not only Conficker, but also future, similar threats.

On the importance of roles in Conficker Working Group, he said, that all the actions related to mitigating the Conficker worm were not directly nor entirely within the remit of any individual CWG participant, but throughout the chronology of Conficker events, all the collaborating parties performed roles that were appropriate to their organizations’ core competencies, namely the malware researchers, reverse engineered the dropper cum installer, traffic analysis engineers identified the loci of infestations.

ICANN, he said for instance, facilitated communications between registries and parties who compiled the domain lists, and registry operators blocked registrations of Conficker domains.

The collaborating parties tried to adhere to the best practices of public disclosure of security incidents and events by maintaining a low profile, protecting sensitive information, and sharing only information that the ad hoc partnership agreed to share.

Several CWG members, he said, publicly expressed their surprise and gratitude for member willingness to engage in the Conficker containment, noting that many security and registry organizations had not encountered circumstances such as those Conficker posed and thus did not have communications channels in place to coordinate containment efforts.

But members indicated that ICANN’s ability to facilitate and expedite communications with Top Level Domain (TLD) registries accelerated processes that would under other circumstances have challenging if not impossible to obtain during the windows of opportunity Conficker afforded them.

“It provides an introduction and brief description of the worm and its evolution, but its primary focus is to piece together the post-discovery and -analysis events, describe the containment measures chronologically, and describe the collaborative effort to contain the spread of the worm,” he said.

According to him, the authors tried to capture lessons learned during a containment period spanning nearly a year and described recent activities that attempt to apply the lessons learned so that the security and Domain Name Systems (DNS) communities could be better prepared for future attacks that exploit the global DNS.

He noted that members of the team includes ICANN's Security and Stability Advisory Committee (SSAC), individual security researchers, and some ICANN registries who were invited to comment or review the report.

Noting that the Conficker worm first appeared in October 2008 and quickly earned as much notoriety as Code l, Red1, Blaster 2, Sasser 3 and , SQL Slammer 4.

The infection was found in both home and business networks, including large multi-national enterprise networks and attempts to estimate the populations of Conficker infected hosts at any given time have varied widely, but all estimates exceed millions of personal computers.

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ATCON: How Omo-Ettu emerged president


The Association of Telecom Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) recently held its Annual General Meeting cum election in Lagos. REMMY NWEKE who was there reports on how the winners emerged.

A few weeks ago, the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) held its Annual General Meeting and National Executive Council (NEC) election for 2010.

Announcing the readiness, the Executive Secretary, Mr. Ajibola Olude, said that they looked forward to welcoming both old and new members among others, stressing that the chairman of the electoral committee would be appointed on that day, maintaining that ATCON strongly believes that for Nigerian telecommunications market to remain vibrant and relevant.

The association, he said, plans to keep on advocating for some fundamentals like good quality service and zero tolerance on multiple taxation to name a few. Hence the election of the national executive council has become imperative to underscore ATCON’s needs for credible, pro-active, intelligent and good resources managers to steer its leadership in the next two years to the next level.

“We look forward to welcoming both old and new members, media partners and other colleagues to this interactive and exciting association’s event. As an added measure to see that you get notified on time so you can adjust your schedules accordingly, we have attached a soft copy of the invitation which you can take as a firm invitation to attend the event,” he said.

As proposed, on April 30 at the Golden Gate Restaurant, Ikoyi-Lagos, members of ATCON and interested stakeholders took over the second floor of the restaurant with the welcome address read by the immediate past president, Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem.

Ekuwem’s stewardship at AGM:
According to him, high point of the AGM was the election of new officers into the ATCON’s NEC, as well as rendering of his report of stewardship, after completion of his second term in office as National President of ATCON on Friday, April 30, 2010, recalling that he was first voted into office on April 21, 2006 and re-elected in April 2008.

Though the constitution of ATCON allows for a maximum of three terms of two years each, Ekuwem had long indicated that he would not go for a third term, based on the reasons he proffered including that other professionals in the industry have one idea or the other to offer towards the growth of the ATCON in addition to the development of the Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) sector in the country, and so, others should be given an opportunities to contribute their quota equally.

It was also on record that ATCON presided over by Ekuwem performed upto expectation, mostly initiating some good works and activities that in deed enhanced the accelerated expansion of the ICT frontiers in Nigeria, since April 2006 and 2010, hosted about seven industry-based roundtables including Telecom Investment & Finance Forum, Telecom Franchise & Virtual Operations, Stakeholders’ Summit on Energy & Power Crisis, Nigerian Content Development Summit, ComBIT African Expo, Nigerian ICT Education Summit among others.

He also highlighted that the Telecom Investment & Finance Forum, it was designed to address the challenges of the absence of long term funding from banks and non-banks financial institutions for telecom projects in Nigeria.

Held in 2006, he said that Telecom Investment & Finance Forum, encouraged the recapitalized banks in Nigeria to consider lending to the information and communication technologies (ICT) sector, as ATCON also secured the participation of regional and international finance and funding institutions as well as solicited their assistance in facilitation of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the Nigeria ICT sector.

On the Telecom Franchise & Virtual Operations, which held in 2007, he said, was to stimulate further expansion of ICT service to underserved and unserved areas in the country.

This forum, according to him, discussed opportunities in telecom franchising and virtual operations, stressing that also looked at the policy and regulatory framework that would create an enabling environment for small and medium scale investors to participate gainfully in the provisioning of ICT services especially in rural Nigeria where big operators do not consider economically viable to invest in.

Participants, he noted, called on the Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF) to empower local entrepreneurs who show interest in taking up franchise of big operators to remote Nigeria so that the rural population would also benefit from the boom in Nigeria’s ICT market.

Stakeholders’ Summit on Energy & Power Crisis, Ekuwem pointed out, addressed the failure of Nigeria’s energy and power sector to provide energy and power on a constant basis to support industrial and other economic activities in Nigeria.
ATCON, he said, considered it a national shame that industries were folding up in Nigeria due to the failure of the energy and power sector to live up to its billings.

Above all, participants lamented that ICT operators have had to provide services at great costs as they also had to generate power when they should have been concentrating efforts at improving service quality, even as experts suggested investments in alternative power sources, including biofuels, as a way out of the challenging situation.

ATCON, he noted, raised alarm over hawking of SIM Pack in the country and called for accreditation and registration, recalling he urged for SIM packs accreditation and registration at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of ATCON held in April 2008.

Additionally, he took the gospel of SIM pack accreditation and registration to every ICT forum he attended in Nigeria, until the Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC) bought into the vision as well as national security agencies.

The NCC, in its usual proactive and professional manner, took the idea seriously and set up an industry working group, which eventually led to the implementation of the SIM registration exercise slated for March, 2010. There is no doubt that the system will help in checking security risks posed by anonymous callers who issue threats to innocent and unsuspecting persons in our society.

How they new exco emerged:

After his address, the Electoral Committee was set up with Dr. Godwin Bakare of Godwin Engineers as chairman and includes Mr. Godwin Morgan formerly an executive secretary, ATCON, publisher, e-Businesslife magazine, Mrs. Ufuoma Daro and Chief Commercial Officer, IHS, Mr. Gbenga Onakomaiya.

At the end of the election keenly contested, the managing partner of Telecom Answers Associates (TAA), Mr. Titi Omo-Ettu, emerged the president, Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) with a total of 23 votes against his opponent and former Vice President, ATCON and chief executive, DisCom Limited, Mr. Bayo Banjo, who scored 17 votes.

Speaking after the election, the chairman of the committee, Dr. Godwin Bakare tasked the new officers to ensure they deliver to the organisation and fill the remaining vacant offices.

Omo-Ettu took over from Dr. Ekuwem, who is the Executive Vice Chairman, Teledom International Group and was in the office for two terms of two years each.

Also, the former second vice president and chief executive of Voicewaves Networks Limited, Mr. Gerry Ekesiani was elevated into the office of the first vice president with a total of 22 votes against his counterpart from Kinten Telecom Limited, Mr. Olusola Teniola. Others who scaled through the election were Barrister Adewale Jones as second vice president, David Roberts, national secretary, Ms Maureen Egbuna, publicity secretary, Mr. Myke Ofili, treasurer, while Messrs Tony Nwosu was returned as the Co-coordinator, Auxiliary Service Providers, even as Mac Danielles Ighedosa of Diyeem Global Concept and Akinlabi Akinbo from AAA Infotek were retained as Coordinator of Enhanced Services and Consulting Group in that order.

Presently, Omo-Ettu is the National Vice president, Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN), since last year and has over three decades of active participation in the Nigerian telecommunications industry growth after retiring from the services of Nigerian Telecommunications Plc (NITEL) in 1991 and presently consulting and training younger engineers with focus on developmental processes.

Equally, his Lagos-based Cyberschuul specialises on telecommunications training, and is a fellow of several professional organisation including the Nigeria Society of Engineers (NSE), Telecom Executive Management Institute, Canada; memberships of Association of Consulting Engineers, Nigeria; and Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM) among others.

In his acceptance speech, Omo-Ettu on behalf of other newly elected executive, said that his game plan would be anchored on communications with members, consumers on behalf of ATCON members, with the regulator and the government.

Additionally, he said that members should be ready to support the initiative for a powerful database of who they are, where they are and what they do, just as care for their fair market performance would form part of his cardinal points to ensure membership availability and contribution to the association always.

His plan would be a proactive communications strategic to make certain that both the government and regulator are kept on their toes, assuring that he would run an open door policy that is democratic in nature backed up with an updated, proficient secretariat with continuously trained personnel.

For him, it is only those who pay peer nuts that get monkeys as personnel, hence his administration tends to reward excellence and motivate staff as well the executive members, expressing the believe that exco members would be entrenched in the leadership that they can adequately speak on behalf of the organization.

As said by him, succession plan must start as soon as his administration settles down, because time is of the essence and plan must be advanced for implement of projects to make money for ATCON through provision of services to members and make them pay for such services.

ATCON goes into inclusive talk:
The umbrella body of the telecommunications firms in the country under the aegis of Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) has embarked on an inclusive talk process according to the newly elected national president, Mr. Titi Omo-Ettu.

A letter from ATCON’s presidency, soon after, expressed the gratitude of the new executive council committee of ATCON and said that they the process has become necessary following the end of the inaugural meeting of the12-man Executive Committee member, where it was decided that ATCON should advance its immediate plans and focus.

“We will embark on an inclusive talk-process with our members, the regulator, governments, consumers, and other stakeholders to build lasting processes and institutions that will not only secure what we have built thus far, but move us on to other frontiers,” he said, emphasizing that the concept of reaching out would accommodate views and feelings of telecommunications firms who may not even be presently members, but “who as players in the industry, we are determined to take seriously in our plans.”

He pointed out that the objective would be to secure an industry fit for the purpose where all stakeholders could effectively play their respective roles, noting that the pace of development in the industry globally is frenetic and ATCON cannot afford not to keep up, asserting “The ball is firmly in our court.”

ATCON, Omo-Ettu said, would embark on a consultative programme in the coming weeks to canvass ideas from its members, which would form the foundation of the plans to be discussed at the Executive Committee and considered for implementation, disclosing that ATCON relationship with the media, as always, would remain robust, open and reciprocal.

“Our association will, whenever the need arises, study industry developments and issue statements only when we have completed our consultation processes. Our focus will be to publish the truth all the time so as to destroy rumour for all times,” he said, maintaining that his administration would be open and elude reactions to issues considered undeserving of reaction, just as he promised not join issues beyond stating the facts and the truth.

“At this moment, our consultation process is in progress regarding specific issues of industry management such as SIM card registration, sale of NITEL, Number Portability, industry restructuring, tariff management, Quality of Service (QoS), dominance to mention a few,” he said, even as relevant public statements would be issued on completion of the aforementioned consultations.

As the new NEC at ATCON settles down, stakeholders expect a vibrant tenure with the kind of people that eventually emerged at the election, but not without industry analysts observation that one thing that could not save Banjo during the reading of manifesto was the declaration of ‘war’ almost on every other person who may not be in the same page with the association instead of dialogue.

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FOSSFA commends Omatek, urges African patronage

The Free and Open Source Foundation for Africa (FOSSFA) has commended the management of Omatek Computer Plc for its effort in building capacity for the citizens of the continent.

Speaking after leading participants at the ongoing Idlelo Four conference of FOSSFA and Digital Common at the Kofi Annan Centre for Excellence in Information and Communications Technologies (ICT), the chairperson of FOSSFA Council, Ms Nnenna Nwakanma, said they are proud of Omatek and their products.

She also urged Africans, especially the government on the continent to look inward by patronizing the likes of Omatek who provide employment for the citizens of Africa and to help the continent to grow economically.

She advised Africans to forego the mentality of thinking that Africa and Africans because the only nation that can strive in this century are those who have something upstairs.

Nwakanma further made an exclusive appeal to African women and youths to tap into the advantages offered by open source and get exposed in Information Technology (IT), because according to her, it is only those who have knowledge that would survive in the coming centuries.

Welcoming FOSSFA members to the Omatek Factory in Accra, Ghana, the General Manager, Mr. Nana Benneh, expressed delight for the opportunity by FOSSFA members to know what the company is doing and where the two could partner in advancing the African course in ICT.

Taking the group round the factory, the Production Manager, Omatek Ghana, Mr. Saied Onifade, revealed that they currently assemble about 200 Personal Computers (PCs) per day and has plans to delve into solar inverter in Accra, even as they do commercial assembling for people or companies who wish to have branded that are different from Omatek.

He explained that Omatek computers are tropically made to comply with the weather situation in this part of the world.

This, he said, stands Omatek out among the foreign brands which do not conform to these additional features, stressing that every PC after being assembled is sent into the burning room for several hours followed by a system report that would show the composition so as to ensure that every system complies with the Omatek standards.

He pointed out that Omatek originated from Nigeria and has been in the market for over 20 years, although it has just been in Accra for about three years, noting that the Accra factory was set up to serve the Ghana market and other West Africa states.

Onifade further said that Omatek usually load both Microsoft and Open Source (OS) operating systems in every PC so as to give customers the choice.

He went on to disclose that Omatek has partnership with Madriva, an Open Source distributor to load its elearning package in some of the PCs meant for educational institutions in the bid to bridge the gap between the cities and rural communities in Africa.

Equally speaking, a member of FOSSFA council and director-general, Kofi Annan Centre for Excellence in ICT, Ms Dorothy Gordon, applauded participants for creating the time to visit Omatek.

She called for the evaluation of FOSSFA members on the continent and to encourage new membership and grow awareness.

“We need to find out where the user groups are in Africa and who are their contact points and keep in touch with them to drive the open source home,” she asserted.

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DiploFoundation unveils eDiplomat, offers training in Accra

An international non-governmental organisation with offices in Geneva and Malta, Diplo Foundation, has unveiled a new course called eDiplomat, trains over 20 Africans in Accra on Policy and Internet Governance.

Director, DiploFoundation, Dr. Jovan Kurbalija, made this known, weekend, to ITRealms Online recently, saying that the launch events for the e-Diplomacy Initiative, would lead-up to discussion towards the International Conference on E-Diplomacy, to be held in Geneva and Vienna.

The use of e-tools, he said, for diplomatic or international relations activities, would contribute much to making these events lively, interesting and useful for all participants.

As said by him, the Geneva phase would hold today, May 19, 2010 at the World Meteorological Organisation Building, while that of Vienna, has been slated for May 25, 2010, at the Diplomatic Academy – Vienna.

Participants, he said, could register either via e-mail at: edipinfo@diplomacy.edu or on the website: http://edip.diplomacy.edu/regevents.

He also said that his organisation, a non-profit organisation is determined to assist all countries, particularly those with limited resources to participate meaningfully in international relations, hence promoting a multistakeholder approach, involving the participation of international organisation, civil society and other actors in international affairs.

In keeping with Diplo objectives, he said that the organisation through its educational programmes to introduce eDiplomat.

Meanwhile, Diplo Foundation, last weekend, completed capacity building programme for over 20 Africans under its Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Policy and Internet Governance for Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP).

The Accra training was conducted as one of the pre-conference exercises in partnership with Free Open Source Software for Africa (FOSSFA) and Open Source Institute for West Africa (OSIWA), which lasted for three days at the Kofi Annan Centre for Excellence in ICT.

ITRealms Online, gathered that presently, over 300 ACP officials and other specialists of various professional backgrounds including engineering, economy, law, social sciences, languages and culture, media have been lined up for training under the project.

The ACP-ICT programme is financed by the European Development Fund (EDF) with the aim of assisting ACP governments and institutions to design, implement and evaluate their national and regional ICT cum internet policies in addition to addressing intra-ACP needs in developing good practices in ICT policies as well as promoting greater stakeholder awareness.


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