Bharti Airtel - Zain AfricaZAIN Zambia Plc, trading as Celtel Zambia, is set to suspend transactions on Lusaka Stcok Exchange (LuSE) as Bharti Airtel prepares to buy the 22 per cent of the publicly-listed stake in the company.

According to a note sent to investors and the public,“Zain Zambia shareholders and public are hereby advised that trading in Zain Zambia shares shall be suspended effective 22 July 2010 to facilitate an orderly process for establishing a record date of July 27 of the shareholders register for the purpose of the mandatory offer,”
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Pangaea Renaissance Securities Limited, the sponsoring broker for Zain Zambia Plc, stated that Bharti Airtel is expected to proceed to implement a mandatory offer to the minority shareholders of Zain Zambia in accordance with clause 56 (a) of the Securities – Takeovers and Mergers - rules.

“Subject to the terms and conditions of the Lusaka Stock Exchange Listing rules and Companies Act, Chapter 388 of the Laws of Zambia, trading shall resume upon completion of the mandatory offer.”

A mandatory offer to the minority shareholders might result in Bharti Airtel mopping the 22 per cent stake in Zain Zambia Plc that is publicly traded, a move that would automatically lead to the country’s biggest mobile phone company de-listing from the local bourse.

The takeover of Zain Zambia Plc follows Bharti Airtel's acquisition of Zain's African mobile services subsidiaries in Burkina Faso, Chad, Gabon, Cameroon, Congo Brazzaville, Congo DR, Kenya, Malawi, Niger, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Madagascar, Nigeria, Ghana and Zambia.

The Kuwait-based mobile phone is selling all its franchises in Africa except its operations in Sudan and its investments in Morocco, both of which are Arabic countries.

It is noted that among Zain operations in Africa, Zain Zambia Plc was the only publicly listed entity.

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MTN Uganda on Tuesday, 13th/July/2010 received an enhanced data network from Huawei Technologies to complement its existing infrastructure, aimed at increasing data connectivity in Uganda at lower prices.

At a ceremony held at the Serena Kampala International Conference Centre, MTN Uganda CEO Themba Khumalo and Huawei Technologies Managing Director Samuel Chen signed an acceptance agreement officially handing over the network over to MTN Uganda for use.

"MTN Investment in Network Technology to lower usage rates and offer high quality connectivity and speed."
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In October last year, MTN Uganda secured a landmark US$100million financing facility from eleven commercial banks in Uganda, which was used for no network investments which amounted to US$ 125 million. MTN Uganda has since inception invested US$680million towards its extensive network.
“This is of supreme significance to Uganda as a nation, and specifically to our customers. This network will complement the existing network to provide enhanced data services for our customers.

Khumalo said MTN had invested heavily across the continent in underwater cables for better data connectivity to benefit its customers all over Africa. MTN is utilising capacity on the TEAMS (The East African Marine System) cable, and has invested heavily in the EASSy (The East African Submarine Cable System).

“With this level of investment, MTN is well positioned to be the leading player in the data market and make data more affordable and accessible for the common man in Uganda”, he said.

Huawei Technologies Vice President David Duan said he was proud of having accomplished the handover in only seven months.

“At Huawei globally we pride ourselves on the quality of our work, and we are always proud to work with equally reputable partners such as MTN. Part of our deliverable was capacity transfer, which we believe we have achieved in working together with MTN here in Uganda,” he said.

The improved network will support better data speeds and connectivity and provide benefits to large, small and medium enterprises in Uganda.

Khumalo said providing the best possible data network was part of MTN Uganda’s responsibility as a good corporate citizen.

At the International Broadcasting Conference (IBC), Sept. 11–15 in Amsterdam, Microsoft Corp. will reveal new partner solutions built on Microsoft technology for the media and entertainment industry. In tandem with today’s announcements of U.S. and European customers deploying solutions for the broadcast industry based on the Microsoft platform, delivering consumer experiences across PC, TV and mobile, Microsoft will showcase the latest developments at the Microsoft exhibit in the Topaz Lounge, at the Amsterdam RAI Exhibition and Convention Centre.

Read More Microsoft will showcase four solution areas on the company booth and across 14 different partner demonstrations: digital content management, search and monetization, media business management, and digital content experiences.

“Working with the leading organizations in the broadcast and entertainment world, we aim to deliver insights and innovations through technology, making content immersive and experiential for the consumer while also more easily managed and produced behind the scenes. Consumers can now access this new world of entertainment via the PC, through the TV or on a mobile device, a choice that allows them to enjoy content in a way they never have before,” said Gabriele Di Piazza, senior director of the Media & Entertainment Business in the Communications Sector at Microsoft. “The evolution of Silverlight, Smooth Streaming and new partner solutions integrated with our new editorial collaboration framework ensure that we continue to work closely with customers like Blueprint Digital, which works with companies such as Tesco, to address their changing business needs.”

Digital Content Experiences: Growing Number of Customers Adopting Microsoft Platform

Several demonstrations highlight the growing number of customers including Tesco, Canal+, France 24, ESPN, NBC Sports, ProSieben, Sat.1 and TV2 that are using the Microsoft platform including Silverlight and Internet Information Services (IIS) Media Services 3.0 to enable rich and compelling consumer experiences globally.

Microsoft will also preview the latest media feature developments planned for Microsoft Silverlight 4, including native multicast support and support for offline digital rights management (DRM) powered by Microsoft PlayReady technology.

In three years, Microsoft Mediaroom has become the most deployed Internet Protocol TV (IPTV) software platform, according to data from Screen Digest, and with nearly 4 million of the total estimated 24 million IPTV subscriber households worldwide, that means approximately one in six IPTV subscribers is now connected via a Mediaroom-powered service. At the current growth rate, Microsoft expects Mediaroom households to pass the 4 million mark in October 2009.

Microsoft will also be showing a number of live Mediaroom services, giving visitors the opportunity to see how global operators are delivering compelling TV experiences on the Mediaroom IPTV and multimedia platform. In the 12 months since IBC in September 2008, Microsoft has seen the number of Mediaroom subscriber households more than double from 1.5 million to almost 4 million, of which nearly 2 million are in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region.

Delivering Global Digital Content Experiences

To enhance digital content experiences for customers, Microsoft has also developed a blueprint for online video services using Microsoft Silverlight, Microsoft PlayReady and Windows Server as key technologies. NBC.com is using this blueprint for its online broadcast of “Sunday Night Football.”

Furthermore, since May 2009, key broadcasters around the world have used beta versions of Live Smooth Streaming, a new feature of IIS Media Services 3.0, to successfully broadcast some of the world’s premier live events. These include the Tour de France and the Roland Garros 2009 International French Open Tennis Tournament on France Télévision; the IAAF Athletics World Championships and FINA Swimming World Championships on both France Télévision and RAI; and Champions League Soccer on BSkyB. In a combined effort with Microsoft, NBC Sports and other media partners, Wimbledon Live delivered over 6,500 minutes of live and on-demand Smooth Streaming video via a high-definition, interactive online video experience with personal video recorder (PVR) support.

Bringing TV to the Personal Computer
Microsoft is making Windows Media Center the best place to experience TV on a PC, regardless of broadcast network. Enhancements to Windows Media Center in Windows 7 include a new electronic program guide (EPG) that brings consumers Internet and broadcast TV all in one place. There is also additional broadcast network support enabling more consumers to turn their PC into a digital video recorder (DVR) and record broadcast TV, delivered securely through the Protected Broadcast Driver Architecture (PBDA). Windows 7 natively supports ATSC, DRI (US Cable), DVB-T, DVB-T2, DVB-S, DVB-S2, ISDB-S, ISDB-T and QAM. At IBC 2009 Microsoft’s hardware partners, including AVerMedia, Hauppauge, NXP Semiconductors and ViXS Systems, will announce Windows 7-ready product lines for additional digital formats, including DMB-TH in China, Premium DVB-C TV in China and Europe, and improved support for US Cable and Switched Digital Video (SDV).

Bringing Multichannel Content to Consumers

On Sept. 9, Microsoft and Tesco, one of the world’s leading retailers, announced a collaboration to launch the next generation of home video viewing. The new service, built on Microsoft Silverlight technology, will deliver a similar level of quality as consumers have come to expect from DVD and Blu-ray, but with advanced Web-based interactivity and a viewing experience that goes beyond other digital playback products in the marketplace.

Media Business Management: Editorial Collaboration Solution Framework Based on 2007 Microsoft Office System

Demonstrated at IBC for the first time, the Microsoft solution framework for editorial collaboration supports journalists and editors in topic planning, event calendaring and coverage planning, resource allocation, content gathering and sharing, and output planning in news production for broadcasting, publishing, and media and entertainment industry partners. Similar solutions based on Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 have been recently deployed by customers including The Associated Press, and Stuttgarter Zeitung.

The solution framework for editorial collaboration is designed to improve the efficiency of editorial work and enable effective multichannel publishing. It is based on the 2007 Microsoft Office system and integrates with Microsoft unified communications and Microsoft Office Mobile to make editorial communication and team collaboration more effective and enable mobile users such as reporters and journalists to stay in touch with their editorial team while on the road. The solution framework is designed to integrate with vertical industry solutions including those from Avid Technology Inc., ANNOVA Systems GmbH, Solutions for Media (S4M) GmbH and DAVID Systems GmbH.

Additional partner solutions in this area announced at IBC include a new version of S4M Dynamics Media, an end-to-end broadcast business management solution, and S4M S4 AdSales, a media sales solution recently deployed at RTL Nederland; Ness Content Office (NCO), integrated with Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007; a content sales solution based on Microsoft Dynamics CRM developed by CRM Resultants and deployed at Endemol; and a Web analytics solution developed by pmONE for Der Standard, a leading newspaper in Austria, based on Microsoft Business Intelligence.

Digital Content Management
At the Microsoft stand, TechPath will be showcasing its expertise in integrating complex media workflow solutions leveraging core Microsoft technologies based on the Microsoft Blueprint for Digital Content Management solutions. The blueprint allows companies to leverage their existing IT investments as well as giving controllable access to customers and partners along the media value chain.

S4M will present its Video Production Management System (VPMS), integrated with S4M’s Dynamics Media broadcast business management solution, and also integrated with Microsoft Office SharePoint Server.

Also demonstrating integration of its DAM solution with Microsoft Office SharePoint to allow Web-based content sharing and a wide range of collaboration functionality will be DAVID Systems, which recently deployed a solution at P4 in Norway.

With S4M’s VPMS and DAVID Systems’ DigaSystem now being integrated with SharePoint, this ensures that wherever journalists work on their story, they can access audio and video content directly through SharePoint Web parts, facilitating collaboration and bridging the formerly separate worlds of digital asset management and business productivity solutions.

A number of leading media companies have recently deployed the above digital content management solutions based on the Microsoft platform: ESPN Brazil, VMMA Belgium and TVN Poland with partner Blue Order, NDR Germany with partner S4M, P4 in Norway with partner DAVID Systems, and Discovery in the U.S. with partner TransMedia Dynamics.

 

IBMJust a week after buying Datacap, IBM announced the purchase of Unica, a marketing and analytics company based in Waltham, MA. According to the company release, IBM paid $21 a share or a total of $480 million for Unica--chump change for a company like IBM.

With Unica, and its purchase of web analytics vendor Coremetrics this past June, IBM is making a concerted and clear effort to engage in web content management marketing. Read More These two tools when combined with other IBM web content management products should logically lead to a coherent web content management for marketers strategy

According to the General Manager for IBM Industry Solutions Craig Hayman
"Unica was a clear choice for IBM based on its power to automate a broad set of marketing capabilities and its established reputation for delivering customer success in marketing to organizations around the world."

The government, in partnership with some leading multi-national technology companies and non-governmental organisations, will in the next two years role out a computer-based teaching programme in public schools to help bridge the shortfall of 85,000 teachers.

Titled Tanzania Beyond Tomorrow, the initiative is intended to supplement the long-term government recruitment of teachers to curb the huge shortage of the personnel in primary and secondary schools.

The partners to work on the project with the Tanzanian Government through the Ministry of Education are the world’s leading high technology companies, Accenture, Intel, Microsoft and Cisco. Read More
Other partners include the NGOs NetHope, Plan International, Amref, and World Vision.In the past five years alone, the government has put up 34 new teacher training colleges, adding to the previous 22, while the private sector has established another 44 colleges in the past four years.

Speaking to The Citizen during a tour by the World Economic Forum (WEF) delegates of Mbezi e-learning demonstration centre, on the outskirts of Dar es Salaam, project coordinator Jessica Long said the programme would cover over 4,000 secondary schools with over 1.5 million students.

The Tanzania Beyond Tomorrow project aims at using ICT to enable a single teacher to simultaneously run several classes by relaying a lesson by computer.

“A teacher can be based in Dar es Salaam but be able to reach several classrooms, which are connected to the national electricity grid and the Internet across the country,” said Ms Long.

The connectivity would enable remote learning and increased collaboration among students and teachers.

Schools, which are off the electricity grid and not connected to the Internet, she said, would first have to be provided with a local source of power such as solar or wind, to be able to become part of and fully benefit from the initiative.

Ms Long said that by June, the project would involve six schools in a pilot study that would last for three months.

Explaining the current situation in secondary schools, Mr Trey Long, also of the Tanzania Beyond Tomorrow project management team, said though over 300 secondary schools had been built by communities to supplement government efforts, a shortfall of over 25,000 teachers had been created.

Mr Long said that as a consequence of this shortcoming, only 30 per cent of the students enrolled in secondary schools managed to pass their exams.

The high failure rate was also attributed to a shortage of learning materials, which limited students’ opportunities.

“Up to 20 students share a textbook and reference books in some schools. Labs, teaching and learning aids are extremely in short supply, while the curriculum was last updated in 2005,” a document issued by the Ministry of Education on Tanzania Beyond Tomorrow initiative says in part.

Another factor that leads to massive failure is overcrowded classrooms, which create a challenging teaching environment.

“The average student to classroom ratio is 60, but ratios of up to 100 students per classroom are common in the country. In this kind of situation interactive learning and individual attention from teachers is impossible due to class sizes,” the document adds.

Speaking to The Citizen after the tour, a Zanzibari politician, Dr Gharib Bilal, said the initiative was the best way to ensure that secondary school students have teachers at all times.

“This technology will also enable students of a similar grade in the rural areas to have similar competitiveness with those from the towns, as a teacher can be based in Dar es Salaam but be able to deliver the same lecture to students in Dodoma and elsewhere,” said Dr Bilal.

The programme is intended to transform the current traditional model where teachers use limited or outdated materials to the use of digitised content and interactive and self-paced learning through information technology.

The project will also eliminate the situation where teachers must cover multiple courses in overcrowded classrooms.

The Minister for Education, Prof Jumanne Maghembe, said the project was aimed at improving learning to eventually create more employment opportunities for the youth of Tanzania.

“It also aims at complementing teacher training with innovative use of technology to improve access to quality education,” the minister added.

Meanwhile, Africa has been advised to embrace and increase the use of information and communication technology “because that is where the continent’s bright future lies”.

Speaking during the second day of the WEF at the Mlimani City Conference Centre, five panelists said the use of ICT would help to transform a number of sectors in Africa.

Stressing the importance of ICT in development, one of the panelists, Mr Dietlof Mare, who is the Vodacom Tanzania Limited managing director, called for the prices of mobile communication gadgets to be lowered.

“The challenge in scaling up the use of mobile devices does not lie in the tariffs, as many people might think. The challenge lies in the cost of the devices,” Mr Mare said.

For his part, Mr Ajai Chowdhry, the founder, CEO and chairman of India’s HCL Infosystems, said ICT, in terms of Internet broadband, was directly linked to a country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

“The poor are still poor because they pack information, which can be distributed easily through ICT, which has the potential to transform virtually all sectors,” he added.

“Why don’t we make access to information a fundamental right of everybody? France has done it. Give people information and they can do he rest themselves,” he concluded.
Source: THE CITIZEN

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