The GSM Association (GSMA) which represents the interests of the worldwide mobile communications industry has given tips to African countries on how to position their telecom sectors to grow their economies.
The Association advises African nations to eliminate short term taxation on mobile phones to increase affordability and drive medium terms gains in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and the total tax contribution by the sector. African nations were further advised to make available harmonised spectrum for mobile broadband as well as to support investment in land-based and undersea fibre optic cables by liberalising the international gateway.
For doing just this, Kenya received the GSMA,s 2010 Leadership Award at the just concluded GSM World Congress. Samuel Poghisio, Minister for Information and Communications for Kenya, was presented with the mobile industry's prestigious annual Government Leadership Award.
The Award recognises the leadership role played by Kenya in extending the benefits of mobile technology to more consumers by cutting tax on mobile phones and information communication technology (ICT) equipment and promoting the early roll-out of mobile broadband.
During 2009, Kenya eliminated both import duty and sales taxes on mobile phones and other ICT equipment, making access for consumers more affordable. The Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) has also demonstrated an established and ongoing programme of modernisation of the telecoms sector.
The CCK facilitated the landing of two fibre optic cables, TEAMs and SEACOM, heralding a new era of abundant broadband capacity for Kenya and the East African region. The CCK also enabled the development of a vibrant mobile broadband market by licensing new spectrum and by launching a number of ICT/mobile projects aimed at promoting education and health in rural communities. This programme of initiatives will boost the Kenyan economy and improve the well-being and future prosperity of its citizens.
"This award acknowledges the pioneering leadership of the Kenyan government and its determination to improve the lives of Kenyans by making access to mobile broadband and ICT more available and more affordable," said Rob Conway, CEO and Member of the Board of the GSMA. "Mobile broadband is a great enabler, and it is imperative that government and industry work together to realise its potential to positively transform society."
"I am delighted that the great efforts and progressive policies of the Kenyan Government have been recognised by the presentation of this award, which I accept on behalf of all those involved in our programme," said Samuel Poghisio, Minister for Information and Communications of Kenya. "Kenya is developing and investing in the mobile and ICT technology tools that we need to deliver modern and innovative social and economic improvements for all our citizens."
Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (BTC) Group will be hosting the South African Telecommunication Association (SATA) 10th SADC Telecom Operators’ Bilateral Meeting (STOBM) at the Gaborone International Convention Centre (GICC) from 23rd- 26th February.
The Meeting brings together SATA members and their stakeholders in one place to discuss and agree on bilateral issues on Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs).
This meeting creates an opportunity for operators to negotiate interconnect rates, network fraud and linkages and also agree on technical issues, including infrastructure connectivity as well as quality of service issues.
Quality of Service is a very important aspect in telecommunication business, especially as operators migrate from TDM based technology to packet based IP technology like Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). Most of the operators are already using Voice over IP for terminating regional and international voice traffic and there is need to make sure that the quality of service is acceptable by customers.
Sixty delegates from SADC and beyond have confirmed their attendance at this important event in the SATA calendar that will be officially opened by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Transport and Communications, Festina Bakwena.
“BTC Group is very proud to be hosting the 10th SADC STOBM meeting. The gathering provides a platform for experts in the ICT sector and practitioners in the field, to discuss and learn about pertinent issues. Our participation is a step towards providing leading technology to the public,” says BTC Group Acting CEO Keabetswe Segole.
Botswana, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Zambia, Angola, Namibia, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, Mauritius and Tanzania are represented in SATA.
Software maker Microsoft Corporation has introduced into the market a discounted promotional software - Microsoft Office 2007 Home and Student for Africa - targeting its expansive customer portfolio.
The release follows feedback from customers and partners to design a product suitable for the African consumer.
Retailing at Sh3,999, the software can be installed on three computers , this compared to the standard Microsoft Office license that lets you install the software on one computer plus a portable device for use by a single person. Commenting on the introduction of the new product into the market, Microsoft East and Southern Africa General Manager Louis Otieno said Microsoft was committed to ensuring everyone had access to genuine software and the skills needed to achieve their potential at an affordable price.
He emphasised that genuine software includes many features and enhancements that help to improve security and helps protect your computer from viruses and other malicious software as well as an improved automatic document recovery tool in cases of system failure.
“This means that documents are safe from hackers who may want to collect private data. With the advent of online banking and other forms of payment through e-commerce, it pays to operate on a secure platform with built-in malware, firewall and online updates direct to your PC especially when banking from home or ordering goods and services online like courses and holidays,” Mr Otieno said.
The introduction of the lowly priced software could also be one way of discouraging rising cases of software piracy that has cost the corporation huge losses. Statistics from the International Data Corporation (IDC) indicate that Piracy of software on personal computers (PC) in Africa stands at 80 percent with industry losses, due to software piracy, in Africa estimated at over $95 million (Sh7.3 billion).
Robert Allela from Comztech, a Microsoft distribution partner said that with the recent Information, Communication & Technology (ICT) explosion in the country and landing of the fibre optic cable, Microsoft Office Home & Student 2007 product launch was overdue.
“Microsoft had come to the distributors’ aid in driving up the sale of genuine software in the country.Now everyone who desires the benefits of genuine software can afford to with the new Microsoft Office Home & Student for Africa,” said Allela.
An IDC study indicates that Kenya’s IT sector will generate more than 4,000 new jobs by 2011 and account for the creation of more than 100 new IT companies. According to the study, over the next four years, Kenya’s IT industry will drive Sh2.7 billion in new tax revenues and contribute new revenues of Sh7.7 billion to GDP.
From Capital FM Kenya
China plays an active role in the information and communication Technologies (ICT) sector, where its experience should be shared, the secretary general of the International Telecommunication Union (UIT), Hamadoun Toure, told Xinhua in an interview on Monday.
The UIT chief made these remarks on the sidelines of the 14th summit of the African Union (AU), which is being held from Jan. 31 to Feb. 2 in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, with a theme of "ICT in Africa : Challenges and Opportunities for Development."
"China has been a very important partner in ICT sector and there are good lessons that we can learn from the Chinese experience," Toure noted.
He affirmed that there are "three big companies including Huawei, ZTE and ChinaMobile which have shown good examples not only to the African continent, but to the entire world in the ICT matters."
He went ahead to express his satisfaction with the fact that China is willing to cooperate with developing countries in the domain.
Regarding the ICT development in Africa, the UIT head said it was satisfactory since the rate of mobile telephone penetration in Africa was now standing at 40 percent, and this, he noted, was the highest growth in the world.
"There are still challenges to overcome in the area of Internet usage," he said, but he was quick to add that these are challenges which should be turned into opportunities.
He congratulated African countries for having made commitments on the development of ICT, making reference to the theme of this summit, which is devoted to discussions on the issue by heads of state and governments and representatives of AU member countries.
Toure said the new services created by the ICT could come to the aid of other sectors like education, commerce, health and governance through the digital technology, which will speed up the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.
He was optimistic that the summit will end up with positive results.
UIT is a UN institution specialized in the information and communication technologies. Being a center for global convergence where public and private sectors meet, UIT helps the world to communicate in three main areas: radio communication, normalization and development.
UIT, headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, has 191 member states with more than 700 associations in the industry.
The Corporate Council on Africa (CCA), with the support of leading U.S. and African corporations, and senior level representatives from American and African government agencies, will host its 4th U.S. – Africa Infrastructure Conference at the JW Marriott in Washington, D.C., April 27 – 29, 2010.
Themed “Building Dynamic Growth in Africa,” this year’s conference will focus on key sectors ripe for U.S. investment, including information and communication technology, alternative energy, and human security. The effects of climate change on Africa will also be a focus. Another primary focus will be project financing. During the conference, company representatives will have the opportunity to interact with funding entities, and learn about available instruments for project finance in the specially designed “Deal Room.”
“CCA’s U.S. – Africa Infrastructure Conference has an exceptional record of attracting key decision makers and featuring informative and thought-provoking sessions,” said Stephen Hayes, president and CEO of CCA. “This year’s conference will provide global business and government leaders with the latest blueprint on infrastructure investment return with some of Africa’s most promising sectors.”
Immediately following the World Bank spring meetings, the three-day conference will include industry-specific sessions, networking opportunities, and a special dinner in honor of the African ministers of finance and central bank governors. The sessions will be led by U.S. and African business and government leaders whose expertise stems from their own successful engagements and ongoing ventures in Africa.
Parties interested in more information on the conference should visit www.africacncl.org.