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Some information in this post has been updated.
Occasionally, in partnership with others, Ushahidi takes on projects that help test certain applications of the platform in order to improve the tool. Ushahidi will also take on projects on a consultancy basis from time to time; in the unique instance of Liberia, I will be acting as a consultant for Ushahidi, working with partner organizations on the ground to implement Ushahidi as each partner sees fit. Over the next six months, I’ll be checking in regularly on this blog to provide updates on how Ushahidi is being used in the Liberian context by local organizations and networks of early warning actors.
From roads to rivers: Liberia’s constantly changing landscape
In my first week back on Liberian soil, I’ve been (re)learning the complexity of this simple fact: Ushahidi is a tool. It’s a tool defined by versatility – a Swiss Army knife of sorts that can serve multiple purposes and offers many useful approaches to a range of challenges. But here’s the funny thing about tools – they only work in collaboration with others tools and in cooperation with their surroundings; a hammer, for example, is only effective if it has a nail, and that nail will only hold if it has a solid piece of wood or sturdy wall.
Now if we imagine that Ushahidi is the Swiss Army knife of communication and information sharing, one of the most important components of this ecosystem is trust. Who do you trust to deliver information, where do you go to share it, and what mechanisms (oral, written, SMS) of transmission do you rely upon? If any one of these links in the chain – the mechanism for transmission, the individual/institution delivering the information – isn’t trusted, the tools that enabled the info sharing will not fulfill their purpose – and may themselves become distrusted parts of the whole.
Last Wednesday morning, John Etherton (this project’s technical support manager) and I met with members of the Carter Center and IREX to discuss this delicate balance of trust, new technology and conflict mediation. Lofa County was our focal point, as new reports are now being published on the complex series of events that led to widespread violence last February. A recap: What began as the murder of a young girl led to an angry mob seeking vengeance, a mob that blamed the local imam with strong conviction and little evidence; with plans to storm the imam’s mosque, the crowd was deterred (Pakistani peacekeepers were nearby) and decided instead to call (that’s right, on the mobile) one of the mosque’s regular attendants to tell him, ‘we are burning down your mosque.’ The beginning of a rumor. Without verifying if this information was true (and it was not), the receiver of this call formed a retaliatory mob, that actually did burn down nearby churches and Christian businesses. In the process, several people were killed. Preexisting ethnic and religious tensions (the Lorma people are primarily Christian; the Mandingo, Muslim) cannot be underestimated as fuel for the fire. What we also agreed during our Wednesday meeting was that the use of mobile phones played a critical part in this information-sharing wildfire.
What we need, said one member of our meeting, is a counter-narrative; there has to be a trusted source of information that is providing factual information to counter the rumors. Who would this be, and how would they deliver their message? This is where Ushahidi could come in, using Frontline SMS to send messages to members of the community when conflict is brewing – the message containing either a statement from a local authority figure or instructions on where to look for accurate information. But we hit hurdle number 1: many of the citizens who live in these areas of Lofa County are illiterate. Okay, written SMS is out. Next up: what about a recorded voice message from the local chief? Hurdle number 2: is the local chief the most respected authority figure? Would an imam or priest be more likely to carry weight in these communities? The latter may be more relevant in the Lofa context, but because of religious divisions it would not fly in the Christian community to receive a voice recording on crisis information from an imam (hurdle number 3). Okay, we thought, what about joint voice recordings – both the imam and priest speaking together to the community, symbolizing harmony and cooperation? There were joint task forces and peace committees formed by imams and priests in some parts of Lofa in response to the violence, so this option is not unprecedented.*
But we were forgetting to ask one crucial question about the social environment – one that would surely affect how useful any tool would be: are religious or tribal elders the authority in these communities? Youth in Lofa were said to have kidnapped an imam and other traditional leaders during the bursts of violence; young people may not historically be authority figures, but power can be and often is usurped during periods of instability. Where do youth fall in the delivery of this counter-narrative and within the larger power structure?
The realities of using a tool out of the box often means elaborating on the clean order of its imagined purpose in the hot mess that is the changing context. In Liberia, there are multiple languages, limited literacy, spotty cell phone coverage, chronic ethnic tensions and religious divides, and an evolving tangle of traditional leaders, emerging authority figures and the ever-present usurpers of power. To work, Ushahidi will have to be a smart tool – in other words, one that learns (via its human operators) how to gain the trust of its users.
*What I’m sharing here about the Lofa incidents is admittedly a piecemeal version – one translation – of what happened; my sources have been many over the last several months and only now are documents being released detailing what actually took place. I will be attending a conference on the Lofa County conflict this week and intend to update any information I’ve written here that I later find to be inaccurate.
This post has been updated.
June 29, 2010
[Guest blog post: Ankit Sharma is a Masters student at the Information Systems and Innovation Group at the London School of Economics. He is currently interning with Ushahidi. His interests include studying the role of information and communication technologies in aggregating crisis information and managing crisis response.]
The blog post is about the deployment of the Ushahidi platform in Philippines by the Computer Professionals Union (CPU). The deployment named VoteReportPH was an effort to monitor the 2010 Philippines Elections by providing a tool for the collection and monitoring of the data about the electoral process. Additionally, it is expected that the collected data will serve as a starting point for future legal and political action.
This initiative was quite unique in terms of its overall implementation process. The VoteReportPH team in addition to providing a forum to collate election data also got involved in a voter education campaign in order to inform the voters about the voting process. In these elections it was the first time that an automated election system (AES) was used in the Philippines. Therefore, it was extremely important that the voters were made aware of the nature of the AES voting process. Additionally, VoteReportPH conducted trainings for the election monitors to instruct them about the manner in which they are expected to share information with the VoteReportPH platform. The VoteReportPH team had also setup their own blog to highlight the most urgent reports of the vote fraud. In appreciation of its comprehensive and novel implementation strategy, the Technology for Transparency Network praised the VoteReportPH team for the implementation of the Ushahidi platform.
VoteReportPH received almost three thousand SMS reports from election monitors spread across different parts of the Philippines during the elections. Initially, the reports were sent to their office in Julu, Philippines. Subsequently, the reports collected from the election monitors, most of whom were volunteers, were aggregated and visualized using the Ushahidi platform. Afterwards, the verified reports were then sent to Kontra Daya, an electoral watchdog which the Computer Professional Union (CPU) collaborated with during the elections for their VoteReportPH initiative. As part of the initiative, the application of Frontline SMS was also used to send out information to the election monitors working in the field during the elections. This helped in maintaining proper communication with the election monitors.
In spite of its apparent success, however, the implementers do acknowledge that the task of completely identifying the extent of fraud in the elections remains extremely challenging. We believe that to better ensure success of similar initiatives in the future it is important to garner support of the public & the government, and to further standardize the data collection & data aggregation process of the platform. If appropriate lessons are learned from VoteMonitorPH implementation,and other similar initiatives, we expect that the overall effectiveness and relevance of similar initiatives can be improved further thereby leading to a reliable electoral process. Hopefully, all these goals will be achieved in the near future!
June 29, 2010
One of the features we’re really excited about for the Ushahidi Platform 2.0 release is the plugin system. What exactly is a plugin system anyway? Well, let’s just use an analogy to answer that question.
Let’s pretend that the Ushahidi Platform is a house and adding any new stuff to that house would require electricity. Well, before the plugin system was in place, this house did not have any electrical outlets. Naturally, it could sometimes be a cumbersome process to add new stuff because you have to either bring your own generator or run an extension cord. With the addition of the plugin system, we’ve essentially added an electrical outlet to each room in the house. Structurally, the house hasn’t changed, but now you can easily add new stuff by “plugging-in” to whichever electrical outlet you please.
Jumping back to reality, we see the plugin system bringing several benefits:
- Expands Development Opportunities: Developers now have greater ease and flexibility in tapping into core platform. No more extension cords and generators!
- Less bugs in the core platform: Any time you build new functionality, you’re going to encounter bugs. The plugin system allows us to keep new functionality physically separate from the core platform and will thus reduce the amount of bugs that pop up in the platform.
- Allows us to integrate other online tools without “reinventing the spoon”: Third party tools services can now be easily integrated without heavy customization of the core platform.
Anyway, a few weeks ago, David and I had skype video call to go over the plugin system and answer a few questions the Ushahidi Developer Community sent in. Please check it out to get more of the details.
We’ve already built a few plugins to get things rolling. Check out the growing list here: http://apps.ushahidi.com.
To learn more, check out the documentation on our wiki.
You can download the latest code on Github.
We’re really excited to see what folks can create using the new plugin system!
June 29, 2010
Ushahidi is the name of both the organization (Ushahidi Inc) and the software. This sometimes leads to confusion. So lets elaborate on both.
Ushahidi Inc. is a non-profit tech company. We’ve always been a non-profit tech company. We are not a humanitarian, human rights, media or development organization. Please see our “About” page. The word Ushahidi is Swahili for “witness” or “testimony.” This was the name of the mapping platform we launched to document human rights abuses during the 2007/2008 post election violence in Kenya. We chose to keep this name for future versions of the software and adopted the same name for the company when we incorporated.
Ushahidi Inc.’s core mission is to continue developing the free and open source mapping platform so that it becomes a world class piece of software. To this end, we do not take the lead in deployments since this is not our comparative advantage—as recently demonstrated in Haiti. I launched the Ushahidi platform at The Fletcher School (where I am a PhD candidate) and where many graduate students (not Ushahidi employees) created a “live” map of the disaster. Yes, the Ushahidi tech team provided invaluable support around the clock during that time but it was a partnership led by The Fletcher team.
So while we occasionally partner on select projects, we do not take the lead in said projects. Why partner at all? Because it’s important for sustainability and allows us to gain better insights into the needs and challenges that end users face when they deploy the software. But what is this software all about in the first place?
The Ushahidi software is a platform used to map information. To this end, the software is obviously not a methodology for information collection. The methodology that users choose to collect the information they map has nothing to do with the Ushahidi platform. These methodologies can include representative sampling, non-probability sampling such as crowdsourcing, etc. In other words, the information mapped on Ushahidi is not always collected using crowdsourcing. Nor is Ushahidi restricted to mapping crisis information. A wide range of events can be mapped using the platform. Non-events can also be mapped, such as football stadiums, etc.
Here’s an analogy: Microsoft Word won’t tell me what methodology to use if I want to write a paper on the future of technology. That is up to me, the author, to decide. If I don’t have any training in research methods and design, then I need to get up to speed myself. MS Word obviously won’t provide me with insights on research methods. MS Word is just the platform. Coming back to the Ushahidi platform, if an organization does not have adequate expertise, staff, capacity, time and resources to deploy Ushahidi, that is obviously not the fault of the software. In many ways, the use of Ushahidi platform will only be as good as the organization or persons using the tool.
June 28, 2010
I’ll say here what I said there yesterday. Ushahidi’s blog is an extension of the community. Many of the blog posts here are written both by our team and by those who use Ushahidi all over the world. A lot of time is spent writing and coming up with the blog posts to educate and share the experiences of how to better crowdsource information in very trying times.
The list of winners from the different languages and categories was stunning. I had a chance to speak with a couple of the other winners and was struck with just how fortunate we were to win this award, as any one of them could have as well.
A big thank you to Deutsche Welle for putting this event on and honoring us with this award. An even bigger thank you to the Ushahidi community that earned this award with us.
By Erik Hersman
June 23, 2010
How do we know when an Ushahidi deployment is successful? The answer to this question is no different than with any other project. If a given project has achieved the organization’s (or person’s) clearly stated goal and objectives, then the project is considered successful. If an organization does not specify a goal and set of objectives, then the project cannot be evaluated—or worse, critics will define these themselves and publicly label the project a failure.
This is why it is important for organizations deploying Ushahidi platforms to publicly define their goal and objectives, along with associated outputs and activities. The goal is achieved by accomplishing a number of objectives; objectives are achieved by producing a set of outputs; and outputs are produced by implementing a series of activities—concrete events or services.
Lets define our terms. When it comes to monitoring and evaluation, I often draw on the work by my colleague Cheyanne Church who is a recognized expert in this field. Much of this post borrows from her work. The goal is the broadest change in the environment that the deployment hopes to achieve. Project objectives describe the types of change that are perquisites to achieving the goal. Activities are the concrete events or services that program staff members and participants implement. The immediate deliverables or products from activities, which are often tangible, are called outputs.
Organizations deploy Ushahidi platforms to affect some kind of change. They may hope to change relationships, behavior, circumstance, functioning, attitude, knowledge, skills, maintenance, prevention, process and/or structure. This list, modified from Cheyanne’s book, is not exhaustive but a good place to start. Examples for some types of change are listed below:
• Relationship: from disconnectedness to solidarity
• Behavior: from disrespecting immigrants to respecting them
• Circumstance: from politically marginalized to able to vote
• Functioning: from nontransparent to transparency
• Attitude: from apathy to hope
Organizations may seek to affect more than one type of change. Either way, these changes are what necessarily inform the project’s goal, objectives, outputs and activities.
That’s why it is ridiculous to focus exclusively on metrics like number of reports and criticize organizations when their Ushahidi deployments do not garner some (completely) arbitrary number. Yes, the number of reports may be an output produced from a given activity to meet a certain objective, but that number need not necessarily be in the hundreds or thousands to achieve a stated objective. It all depends on what the objectives are!
When I was consulting for the Conflict Early Warning and Response Network (CEWARN) in the Horn of Africa, dedicated field monitors were documenting incidents of violence in the region’s cross border areas using a basic web-based platform. Ushahidi could also be used for this purpose. In any case, one of the objectives of CEWARN was to catalyze more collaboration and communication between governments in the Horn and thereby build trust at the intergovernmental level. Meeting this objective had little to do with the number of reports submitted to CEWARN.
In sum, it is really important for organizations to clearly articulate their goal, objectives, outputs and activities. In fact, I highly recommend they do so in the “About” tab of their Ushahidi deployment before going live. Otherwise, critics will have a field day tarnishing all the efforts that an organization has put into their Ushahidi project by unilaterally labeling the initiative a failure even if the project was in fact successful.
June 17, 2010
Yesterday we held our very first SwiftRiver 101 which saw an audience of between fifty and sixty people descende upon the iHub to find out the basics of the SwiftRiver platform, as well as technical details like installation, core code and information about Swift APIs and the plugin framework. This included representatives from Google, Datadyne, NDI, Open Street Map and a number of other organizations.
Director/System Architect Jon Gosier and Lead Developer/Technical Architect Matthew Griffiths, lead the days presentations. Please videos below…
Presentation 1 – Platform Overview
An explanation of the whole SwiftRiver ecosystem by Jon Gosier.
Presentation 2 – Swift Web Services
Detailed explanations of the Swift Web Services: RiverID, SiLCC, SULSa, Reverberations, and SiCDS by Jon Gosier.
Technical Breakout Panel
Detailed explanations of SwiftRiver’s code, redundant data abstraction layers and API by Matthew Griffiths.
By Jon Gosier
June 17, 2010
Following the recent Swift River ‘crash course’ at the iHub, we are planning a similar event for developers interested in getting involved in contributing to Ushahidi. This is the second Ushahidi 101 session the first having primarily focused on Ushahidi from a deployment point of view, this one will focus more on developing the application and contributing to the code base.
To date Ushahidi prides itself in it’s origin as an African innovation (though now applied to varied situations across the globe and developed by programmers from different continents) and we place great value on local developers and their contribution to the project. We would love to see even more developers involved as we seek not only to grow the project but also pull up the cadre of local developers through involvement in such Open Source projects as Ushahidi and SwiftRiver.
If you will be in Nairobi on the 23rd of June (Wednesday) feel free to pass by iHub between 5.30 and 7.30 PM. To help us figure out how many pizzas to order, please register on this link.
The brief overview will cover:
- Setting up a development environment
- Introduction to MVC and the Kohana (PHP) framework
- Working with GIT
- Overview of the Ushahidi database schema
- Editing the code
- Working the Bug/Issue list
June 17, 2010
Are you using the SwiftRiver alpha release? If so, you may find the latest Getting Started video useful.
By Jon Gosier
June 15, 2010
About The Ushahidi Blog
Ushahidi, which means ”testimony” in Swahili, is a website that was developed to map reports of violence in Kenya after the post-election fallout at the beginning of 2008. We’re working to build a new platform that can be used anywhere in the world, and this blog tells some of that story. more →
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A talk on venture capital (VC) was given by Vincent Kouwenhoven and Brian Hirman of the eVA (eVentures Africa Fund BV) at the iHub in Nairobi. They both have about 15 years experience in VC and enumerated the criteria the fund uses for investments including that target companies in Africa should have profitable track records (not start-up’s) to qualify for VC investments of between 25,000 and 250,000 Euros (~Kshs 2.5 million to Kshs 25 million).
The fund was launched in January 2010, and in the ½ year they have invested in 5-6 companies. The founders are seasoned travelers in Africa and their interest was piqued by observations they made over the last three years including;
1. Chinese investment interest in Ghana and Kenya
2. Arrival of fibre optic cables
3. More African returnees returning from the Diaspora who were setting up their own companies (it’s a good sign). They have been exposed to Kenya for many years and sense that entreprenual spirit in Nairobi is very good as are competence levels in high technology sectors.
– All their investment are active in the digital scene – whether mobile, internet, communication platforms – and include a leading internet company in Ghana, while in Kenya, they have Jumuika, Ratio Magazine, and the latest deal signed today is for an investment in Verviant (w/ Liko Agosta better known for Pesapal)
– They invest growth funding in companies and try and cultivate a healthy portfolio, unlike other VC’s who make several weak investments in the hope that one or two will payoff and offset the failures. Their investment clearly spells out the use of proceeds/funds which can vary, but ideally should not be for increased salaries or other debt repayment (unless to retire expensive debt). They also mentioned that their investment criteria is a guide, not cast in stone (e.g. Jumuika was a startup)
– They get involved in the operations of the company; whether marketing, technology, financial, entrepreneurship, HR policies. They act as a sounding board and advise owners (use skype a lot) on how to scale up e.g. when they get traction, how to set up customer care capacity
– They seek out committed entrepreneurs – not part timers, or people with one good idea they have not developed, or people with a dozen ideas (not focused). They want to invest in people with the gut and belief to start a business and are willing to eat bread & water to hack it put (not one who relies luck) – and who also enjoy what they are doing. Other “no no’s” include people who ask for too much money that dilutes their equity (EVA want founders to retain at least 51% at all timea), or which enables them to run the business without risk for two years (i.e. with the VC’s funding)
– On exit strategy their preferred rout is a buyout of the company within 3 to 7 years by multi-national or larger company. In cases where an investor may not be ready to sell, the VC can sell their stake to another VC.
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Friday, June 25, 2010
On Monday June 28 at the iHub in Nairobi there will be a talk on venture capital, in continuation of a series of events that bring together local financiers and entrepreneurs.
In preparation for that, we had a chat with Eline Blaauboer of TBL Mirror Fund which is a Dutch venture capital fund that has made four investments in Kenya and are also branching around East Africa.
The Fund invests a minimum of EUR 100,000(~Kshs 10 million) taking minority stakes in companies that show fast growth and the potential to be market leaders. They look for well-managed ambitious and visionary SME’s and TBL invests in all sectors particularly where the partners have extensive industry knowledge, as a VC focused on a specific sector is not sustainable here yet. It’s interesting to note that, while it is said in local banking that women are not ambitious enough to dream big and attract large funding, ½ of their investee are women-led companies
– TBN are hiring both an investment manager and an investment analyst.
– On Monday June 28 at the iHub in Nairobi there will be a VC 101 event with a talk on venture capital given by Vincent Kouwenhoven of the EVA Fund
– Recap of recent VC activity in the region by Ratio-Magazine.
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Thursday, June 24, 2010
The World Cup is on going in South Africa and helpful guides for price comparison have been provided for comparison. Also the Kenya budget speech for 2010-2011 was read by Uhuru Kenyatta the Finance Minister and has been trumpeted as a trillion shilling budget despite a deficit of resources.
In reaction to some changes noted here, Kenya’s Parliament on June passed a price control bill that seeks to regulate the retail price of among other things – maize flour, sugar, rice, wheat flour, kerosene, diesel, petrol, and cooking fat.
Staple Food: Maize flour, which is used to make Ugali that is eaten by a majority of Kenyans daily. A 2 kg. Unga pack at Uchumi today costs Kshs. 71, which is 15% cheaper than Kshs 84 in March and 92 a year ago [a 2.5kg pack in South Africa is ~kshs. 111]
About the same
Communications: priceshave remained about the same despite it being an eventful few weeks;
– Safaricom had another exemplary year of profits and performance – returning a turnover of $1.05 billion (Kshs 84 billion) and will pay their shareholders dividend of $100 million (Kshs 8 billion). They are the exception in the sector where their rivals loss making – Zain (Africa) was acquired by Bharti Airtel and will undergo its fourth brand change in eight years, while Orange averted a messy divorce with the Kenya Government by way of a sweetheart deal that may shake up the sector. They and newcomer Yu will all benefit from a government decision to lower the cost of a 3G communications license from $25 million to $10 million.
– Communications costs remain about the same for voice and SMS (who can keep up with Yu and Zain’s promotions) and the big push has been in the area of data. Safaricom latest push is for 10MB for 8 shillings ($0.10) and continues a recent trend that pushes down the cost of data with cheaper phones (Nokia E63 is now 15,000 (about $187 down) from 23,500 a year ago) and hardware, financing (Loans for laptops).
– Unfortunately Safaricom has rubbed some local developers the wrong way entering into a Mxit partnership and again with an innovation forum that has caused some controversy.
Utilities – Electricity: Latest bill is Kshs 1450 ($18) which is down from 1,700 (~$22) in March and about the same as 1,550 a year ago. Heavy rains at the end of the last quarter have seen Kenya dams fill and a power generation shift from diesel back to hydro – the Government says this will result in reduced power bills at the end of the year, but the rains have slackened of late. In the bill, consumption is kshs 500 with a fuel levy cost of 400, while a year ago consumption was also 600 with fuel levy cost of 500
Other food item: Sugar (2 kg. Mumias pack) is at 200, and no change in the last few month. COMESA liberalization is set to happen in 2011, and is expected to expose the market to unrestricted imports from the region, bring down the retail price of sugar in urban areas, but leaving sugar farmers from western Kenya with high input costs at a disadvantage. The middlemen men still run this sector and around the period of Uhuru’s budget speech was being read, there was no sugar (from any company) on the shelves at Uchumi. [2.5kg in SA is Kshs 191].
Beer/Entertainment: A bottle of Tusker beer (at local pub) is Kshs. 160 ($2) most up from 150 in March at most places I know and 130 from a year ago. There was an immediate price hike effected by dominant brewer East African Breweries (EABL) when the Minister read his speech in early June; however some bar owners complain that this should have computed at 5 shillings per bottle (beer retails in ½ litre), but EABL passed on an additional 5 shilling increase to customers under cover of the tax hike. The price of coca cola has also gone up as the excise tax on carbonated soft drinks, wines and spirits was also pushed up 8%.
Fuel: A Litre of petrol fuel (at local petrol station) is now Kshs 90.9 per litre (~$5.1 per gallon) , 7% up compared to Kshs 84.9 in March and 25% higher than it was (72.5) in June 2009.
Foreign Exchange: 1 US$ equals Kshs 80.6 compared to Kshs. 76.6 in March and 77.94 a year ago as the Kenya government has indicated that it will not (can it afford to) intervene to support the shillings from sliding.
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Thursday, June 17, 2010
From focusing on money transfer in Kenya, where there has been a lot of development and competition especialy in the area of mobile money transfers, it now moves on to what about across Africa? From country to country?
Today in Nairobi Ecobank formally launched their Rapidtransfer which was rolled out in October 2009 is now available in Kenya. With Rapidtransfer one can send money to families members e.g. school fees, pay for goods, send cash to another account in another country, and have the funds available instantly in local currency
An illustration used was for how one can now transfer money from Mombasa Kenya to Dakar Senegal – and with Rapidtransfer, an individual can send a maximum of $10,000 per day (~Kshs 800,000)between the two points on opposite sides of the continent instantly! It is also open to non-account holders and can be used for intra-country transfers as well. The product works only within the Ecobank network, which now covers about 30 countries. They get around the foreign currency restrictions in some countries by making and receiving payments in local currency (no forex exposure to customer) and all at a competitive rate compared to Western Union or Moneygram.
Rapidtransfer was was launched by Kenya’s Central Bank Governor who chided the media for wanting too much from the product already. On whether Rapidtransfer will be on mobile phone, he gave tales about trying to buy a car in 1992 when money would take a week to be transferred from a Nairobi account to a Mombasa account (it was then faster to send money hidden in an Akamba Bus package) and this was also at a time when branches were not linked and one could only transact at a particular branch.
Rapidtransfer is unique in that many because banks don’t talk to each other across border e.g. a bank in Kenya and a bank in Uganda may share the same parent or name but customers who cross borders are not able to transact (except using visa). However, Ecobank customers are also able to use their ATM bank card in all the 30 countries they are present to fully transact across borders.
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On June 16 at the iHub in Nairobi, a talk was given by Jon Gosier the director of Swift River which I first heard of Swift River following its use with Ushahidi following the Haiti earthquake early in 2010 when crisis rescue & response teams faced a challenges of processing 200,000 SMS messages a day. So the question was how do you filter that information to get help to the people (i.e. earthquake victim) who need it?
Jon said Swift River is an open source platform that uses algorithms and crowd sourcing to filter and validate information. He gave a quote from the book the ‘The Long Tail about with such vast amounts of data in the world, there is need for filters to filter. Swift River helps by pulling out data and he mentioned some of the tools used. In his guide titled Swift River in plain English Jon lists the arms of Swift River which include:
• SiLCC pulls keywords from any Text (including SMS and Twitter) and automatically sorts related text ( a natural language processor)
• SULSa automatically detects location of incoming content/reports
• SiCDS automatically filters out duplicate content (re-tweets, blogs, text messages)
• Reverberations detects how influential/popular content is online
• RiverID allows Swift users to carry their Swift score and reputation with them across the web
All these enable an organization facing a challenge of too much data to among other things, pick out what’s important, save time, suppress noise, filter & curate the information. This is more so at time of urgency or crisis
Swift River can also be used by newsroom to manage & curate very large information in a crisis, for online brand monitoring, or for election monitoring. It runs on a free and open source platform. It’s still in development, with more features & improvements being added to the beta (now at Version 0.2.1 Batuque) over the rest of the year by the development team who are based in Uganda.
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|Marketing & media news|
|Keep the flag flying for 30 more days
A national campaign – to keep up the high spirits by continuing the wave the flag for 30 more days after the end of the 2010 FIFA World Cup – was launched by Draftfcb South Africa on Friday, 2 July 2010.
|World cup in Sony 3D: turning point in sports broadcasting
[Issa Sikiti da Silva] Sports broadcasting will never be the same again, thanks to the dawn of 3D TV technology, which Sony – an official FIFA partner for the 2010 FIFA World Cup – is showcasing at this year’s tournament through the production of 25 games and promotional football trailers being shown in 4000 retail stores across the globe.
|ProJourn condemns ‘chequebook journalism’
The Professional Journalists’ Association of South Africa (ProJourn) on Friday, 02 July 2010, released a statement to the association’s facebook page condemning the actions of Ashley Smith who admitted to having accepted secret payments and having acted as a covertly paid media strategist and advisor to Ebrahim Rasool during the bitter internecine struggle between two factions of the ANC for control of the party in the region, while he was employed as a political reporter at the Cape Argus.
|Media summit for SA
What is reportedly the first media summit for South Africa will be held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) on 11 November 2010. The objectives are to discuss and debate the challenges facing today’s rapidly evolving magazine landscape and obtain a comprehensive understanding of what advertising over the next decade will look like and the implications for magazines.
[Gill Moodie: @grubstreetZA] Let me count the ways that we can compare Naspers and Avusa: the bull and the bear; the quick and the dead; diamonds and dogs. The two media companies released their annual results – for the year to March 31 2010 – in the past week, prompting many a smarty-pants media writer such as myself to group the two companies together. 30 Jun 2010 09:49
Why did SA perform so badly at Cannes?
[Chris Moerdyk: @chrismoerdyk] Like Bafana Bafana and the cricketing Proteas, who do really well at every competition except world cups, South Africa’s ad industry has not lived up anywhere near expectation at the world cup of advertising at Cannes. [poll] [twitterfall] [blog] 29 Jun 2010 11:29
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CANNES, FRANCE: Ogilvy Johannesburg scooped South Africa’s first Gold Film Lion in 11 years on Saturday night, 26 June 2010, at the fourth and last awards ceremony at the 57th Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival, for its “highly emotive” campaign for HIV/Aids relief organisation The Topsy Foundation, produced by Egg Films Cape Town. Bronze also went to King James Cape Town and Black River FC Johannesburg. [twitterfall] [blog] 28 Jun 2010 11:13
Cannes Lions: SA makes Friday shortlists
CANNES, FRANCE: South Africa has made the Film Lions and Film Craft Lions shortlists but not Titanium and Integrated. We also have one contender for the newly established Grand Prix for Good. These last shortlists were released this morning, Friday, 25 June 2010. [twitterfall] [blog] 25 Jun 2010 11:50
Is world cup sponsorship worth it?
[Chris Moerdyk: @chrismoerdyk] While the really big global consumer brands such as Coca-Cola, Visa and Sony may well benefit from sponsoring the 2010 FIFA World Cup, I am not convinced that any of the regional or lesser sponsors actually get a reasonable return on investment. Because far too many competitors to official sponsors are able to market themselves with vigour in the world cup environment without breaking any rules. [poll] 23 Jun 2010 13:17
Cannes Lions: Monday night winners, Tuesday shortlists
CANNES, FRANCE: There were no Gold Lions for South Africa last night, Monday, 21 June 2010, only one Silver for JWT Cape Town and two Bronzes, for Joe Public Johannesburg and Ireland/Davenport respectively – all three in Direct. SA has, however, made the Design shortlist but, no surprise, not the Cyber one. Both shortlists were released this morning, Tuesday 22 June. [twitterfall] [blog] 22 Jun 2010 11:05
News | from Biz Company Press Offices
Nearly 400 stories have already been made available for publication through the Twenty Ten media project, with at least a dozen more – including photo, text, audio and multimedia features – still to come by the final whistle on 11 July. 5 Jul 2010 11:25
Rocket Creative relaunches – Rocket Creative
After 12 years in the industry, design and display company, Rocket Creative, took the opportunity of the 2010 upswing to launch their new generation corporate identity. The new logo and colour scheme combines the originality of the existing rocket logo with a new tattoo-style design. 2 Jul 2010 16:45
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Many South Africans find themselves destitute with no other alternative than to bravely face the bitter cold outside. You can make a difference by making a donation, to help keep someone warmer this winter with East Coast Radio’s Winter Warmth 2010 campaign. 2 Jul 2010 16:13
Clicks signs on to sponsor 2010 Look & Feel Good Expo – Biz Events
The Look & Feel Good Expo has announced that health and beauty brand Clicks has come on board as a sponsor for this year’s twin events in Johannesburg and Cape Town. 2 Jul 2010 15:48
Citilites light up Zimbabwe! – Continental Outdoor
The highly successful Citilite range, first introduced from France and patented in South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa by Continental Outdoor in 2003, has now been launched in Zimbabwe with the erection of numerous structures in Harare. 2 Jul 2010 14:34
Insight Exchange delivers an assault on the senses – McCann Worldgroup
Branding needs to break out from its current 2D approach to advertising and embrace the host of exciting, new sensory marketing tools that are key to getting the attention of the 21st Century consumer. This from the 5th McCann Insight Exchange focusing on consumer experience and the trend towards more multi-dimensional marketing concepts. 2 Jul 2010 12:46
Red hot July Sex issue for Men’s Health and Women’s Health – Men’s Health
Men’s Health and Women’s Health collaborated this month to launch their annual Sex issues. Both magazines ran the same online sex survey on their respective websites, soliciting titillating answers from both male and female readers. 2 Jul 2010 12:10
To demonstrate the diversity and usefulness of its listings, New Zealand’s Yellow Pages held a competition tasking people to come up with ideas for designing, making and marketing a ‘yellow tasting’ chocolate bar. 5 Jul 2010 10:51
- JPEG display ads lead the way in the States – UNITED STATES
- Brits ashamed to be English – UNITED KINGDOM
- Call analytics for advertising available in Finland for the first time – FINLAND
- UK opens up TV; radio product placement – UNITED KINGDOM
More international news…
The winners of the Telkom Highway Africa New Media Awards 2010 were announced last night, Sunday, 4 July at the Highway Africa Conference opening dinner held at the Nelson Mandela Dining Hall in Grahamstown, South Africa. 5 Jul 2010 12:02
- Highway Africa kicks off today AFRICA
- Business briefing runs alongside SAITEX AFRICA
- Malawi: WB launches Access to Information Policy MALAWI
- New appointment to APO’s IAB AFRICA
More Africa news…
Posted by: acbnews on: June 9, 2010
16th June 2010
Posted: 03 Jun 2010 12:23 AM by AANM.FFP
The annual general meeting of Total Kenya was held on June 2 at KICC Nairobi. (Excerpts from shareholder Q&A) Hot Button issue was the Low Divided – Board said DPS of 1/= ($0.12) per share down from traditional 2.50/= ($0.03) per share is the best they can do – Why are you not paying dividend as high as rival Kenol? If rival Kenol is paying more, it is because they have not invested like Total
Posted by: acbnews on: June 2, 2010
posted June 9th 2010
Luvaha Charles Luvaga,Abambika Afrika
In order to derive maximum benefits from trade liberalisation processes, the competitiveness of African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries’ private sector is crucial. This paper from ECDPM and the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU (CTA) analyses the successful experience of the Integrated Development Programme for the Caribbean Rum Sector – from its inception and design to its concrete management and implementation – as an example of how Aid for Trade driven by the private sector can best support ACP development. It is meant to inform ACP private sector pla yers who are facing similar challenges of restructuring and competitiveness in the face of trade liberalisation, donors who want to provide adjustment support, as well as policymakers at the interface of these two groups of stakeholders.
Visit also our Programme home pages
Development Policy and International Relations programme – Economic and Trade Cooperation programme – Governance programme
European Think-Tanks Group publishes policy brief on EEAS
Four leading European Think-Tanks have published a new policy note titled ‘Development-proofing the EEAS’ in response to the new blueprint on the European External Action Service (EEAS) agreed by the EU General Affairs Council. The document elaborates on the four key priorities set out by heads of the four organisations: Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE), Overseas Development Institute (ODI), Fundación para las Relaciones Internacionales y el Diálogo Exterior (FRIDE) and ECDPM – in their Open Letter of 5 May. Noting that speed is of the essence in implementing the agreement, the paper offers further guidance on some of the ‘how’ questions in the implementation phase.
What’s needed for a new, operative aid effectiveness agenda?
In this blog post, Owen Barder of Development Initiatives’ reflects a recent exchange on the future of aid effectiveness with the ‘Donors’ Assistance Group’ in Ethiopia (the country heads of 26 aid age ncies working in the country). While there was little dispute that it is difficult to make progress in aid effectiveness as currently conceived, says Barder, scepticism was expressed on the likelihood of achieving sufficient changes in the existing incentive structure to sufficiently change donor/recipient behaviour patterns.
Using budget support to foster good governance
This draft paper by Rachel Hayman of the Centre of African Studies, University of Edinburgh argues that aid conditionality under budget support is becoming more politicised, but that there is little evidence to suggest that it can be used as an instrument for influencing political processes and bringing about democratic change. The paper focuses on the approaches of the United Kingdom and the European Commission in Uganda, Ethiopia, Nicaragua, Honduras and Rwanda.
Mid-term Evaluation of the EU’s GSP
This report from The Centre for the Analysis of Regional Integration at Sussex (CARIS) for the European Commission (see also annexes) finds that the European Union’s Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) regime can be effective in increasing Least Developing Countries (LDC) exports and welfare. However, the generally low level of ‘EU Most Favoured Nation’ tariffs and the structure of LDC trade inevitably constrain the regime’s effectiveness. Policy conclusions focus on improving product coverage and rules of origin.
We Don’t Know How to Solve Global Poverty and ‘That&rsq uo;s a Good Thing’
The influential economist William Easterly argues that so far, no one has managed to find any combination of policies that promises a good rate of economic growth. The lesson from history is that moments of certainty about ‘solutions to global poverty’ have had quite the opposite effect, with harmful consequences for the world’s poor in the long-run. Easterly argues that sceptical criticism is a creative force that redirects attention and effort away from centrally-directed expert solutions towards effective decentralised problem-solving and is, therefore, a more useful approach.
Hiding Relations: The Irony of Effective Aid
This article by Rosalind Eybena of the University of Sussex in the European Journal of Development Research explores the ‘managing for development results’ approach and argues that it is an expression of a historically dominant mode of thought in international aid – ‘substantialism’ – which sees the world primarily in terms of ‘entities’ such as ‘poverty’, ‘basic needs’, ‘rights’, ‘women’ or ‘results’. Another important mode of thought, ‘relationalism’ – in association more generally with ideas of process and complexity – appears to be absent in the thinking of aid institutions. The paper stresses that relationships between actors matter, and actors themselves change and evolve through their interaction with each other. At their best, aid workers surf the unpredictable realities of national politics, spotting opportunities, supporting interesting new initiatives, acting like entrepreneurs or searchers, rat her than planners.
The EU-Africa partnership at a strategic crossroads
This paper from the Fundación para las Relaciones Internacionales y el Diálogo Exterior (FRIDE) calls on the EU and Africa to lay the foundation for a more mature strategic partnership. It suggests that the success of the peace and security partnership, which was built on agreed core expectations, provides a model for effective collaboration. The paper further calls on the EU to create a pan-African envelope specifically to support the Joint Strategy and for African countries to align their positions around shared continental agendas.
Latest issue of Capacity.org published
The May 2010 issue of Capacity.org journal explores the role that the capacity development professional’s personal behaviour and attitudes plays in change relationships. It is time to subject this often-elusive quality to the same kind of scrutiny as we do knowledge, skills, and tools and methods for capacity development. In particular: “What aspects of behaviour are relevant in CD practice? Is it possible to change behaviour? And if so, how?”
Agricultural Trade Adjustments: Lessons from SADC experiences
Agriculture remains essential to many SADC economies, but changing market conditions call for new strategies. These may include moving up the value chain, diversification and developing new export markets. Noting that well targeted government policies and donor support are crucial, this paper from ECDPM and the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU (CTA) highlights the lessons that can be drawn from aid for trade (AfT) experiences in agriculture in supporting agricultural transformation in Southern African countries. The key messages are meant to foster debate on how ongoing policy processes can best shape aid for trade strategies in accordance with the needs of the agriculture sector.
Kind request to assist us in surveying ECDPM’s information products & knowledge sharing activities
We kindly invite you to share your views on the relevance and quality of ECDPM information products and knowledge-sharing activities. By these, we mean our publications, websites and newsletters, and our dialogue activities and advisory work. Your survey responses will help us to further improve our services to you. They will also provi de valuable insights for ECDPM’s forthcoming external evaluation, which takes place in late 2010. Click here to access the survey. We look forward to your feedback and thank you in advance.
Posted by: acbnews on: June 2, 2010
Posted: 31 May 2010 04:53 AM PDT
guest post in Swahili, submitted by Uchumi Wetu of NMB – a Tanzanian Bank WANAHISA wa Benki ya NMB watapata gawio la jumla ya Shilingi 15.7 bilioni kwa mwaka 2009(dividend payout of ~$11 million), ikiwa ni ongezeko la asilimia 4.7 ikilinganishwa na mwaka uliotangulia. Mwenyekiti wa Bodi ya Wakurugenzi ya NMB, Misheck Ngatunga, amesema mgawo wa kila hisa kwa mwaka utakuwa Shilingi 31.40,
Posted by: acbnews on: June 2, 2010
Luvaha Luvaga,Abambika Afrika
You are welcome to takepart in themost complete sme affair in Africa at the KICC grounds from june 3rd to 5th 2010.Loads of business savvy advice.
Posted by: acbnews on: May 20, 2010
Compact and stylish, full touch
Champ offers rich feature set and intuitive interface
at a reasonable price
Wednesday,May 26, 2010,
Luvaha Charles Luvaga,Abambika Afrika
SEOUL, Korea, – Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., a leading mobile phone provider, today announced the Samsung Champ (model: GT-C3300K) designed for mobile users in developing regions who want an immersive touch screen phone with value-added features at an affordable price. The device will be launched globally in Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, Asia and Europe starting in June. CHAMP WILL BE AVAILABLE IN KENYA FROM JULY AND WILL BE RETAILING AT BTWN ksh 7000/- and 7500/-
The Samsung Champ is designed for young individuals who seek innovative and productive ways of using their mobile phones. With a stylish and ultra compact design, the Samsung Champ is a portable solution for users who will no longer need to sacrifice design for rich features. The device also has a curved form factor and comfortable grip and consumers can choose from a variety of colors: deep black, espresso brown, sweet pink or chic white.
Touch Screen Experience
Users can enjoy the Samsung Champ’s 2.4” full touch display and the integrative and intuitive experience that it enables. The Champ’s simple and intuitive menu format is designed to fit its compact size and is optimized for a small screen. The main screen features an extended 3×3 widget menu format with options for clock, calendar, shortcuts, and my buddies. The touch screen is also ideal for SMS with friends, downloading apps from Samsung Apps, or playing Java-based video games.
Rich Feature Set
Users will be pleased to learn that despite its affordable price point, the Samsung Champ offers a rich feature set. The Samsung Champ enables an immersive music experience with a built-in radio, 3D sound effects and a dual speaker. With its long battery life, consumers won’t have to sacrifice portability and can enjoy hours of multimedia use. Users can download java applications from Samsung Apps and enjoy embedded java apps. The Samsung Champ also offers Bluetooth, a micro SD card with up to 8GB of memory and comes with a headset and travel adapter.
“With the launch of the Samsung Champ, we will strengthen our leadership within the overall touch screen handset category. The Champ is a perfect option for mobile users who want to snap up a full touch phone for the first time. We expect that the Samsung Champ will follow the success of the Star (model: GT-S5230) which achieved high sales volume at an affordable price point over the past year,” said Younghee Lee, Vice President of Mobile Marketing, Samsung Electronics.
|Network||GSM, EDGE Rx(850/900/1800/1900)|
|Display||2.4” QVGA 262K TFT LCD (240×320)|
|Video||H.263, MPEG4, QCIF@ 15fps|
|Audio||MP3 Player, Stereo FM Intenna Radio|
|Value-added Features||TouchWiz Lite, Embedded Stylus Pen|
|SNS Link, Image Editor|
|Fake Call, Mobile Tracker, SOS Message|
|Connectivity||Bluetooth 2.1, USB v2.0 (Full speed)|
|Memory||Internal memory: 30MB / External memory: MicroSD (up to 8GB)|
|Size||96.3 x 53.8 x 12.97mm, 80g|
|Battery||1000 mAhTalk time: up to 722 mins
Standby time: up to 666 hrs
* Product specifications are subject to change without notice.
About Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.
Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. is a global leader in semiconductor, telecommunication, digital media and digital convergence technologies with 2009 consolidated sales of US$116.8 billion. Employing approximately 188,000 people in 185 offices across 65 countries, the company consists of eight independently operated business units: Visual Display, Mobile Communications, Telecommunication Systems, Digital Appliances, IT Solutions, Digital Imaging, Semiconductor and LCD. Recognized as one of the fastest growing global brands, Samsung Electronics is a leading producer of digital TVs, memory chips, mobile phones and TFT-LCDs. For more information, please visit www.samsung.com.
contact : firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted by: acbnews on: May 17, 2010
Wednesday, 26th May,2010.
by Luvaha Charles Luvaga
The 5th Millward Brown Optimor BrandZ Top 100 Most valuable brands, released late last week, indicates that strong brands have proved their resilience to recession, as they are worth over US$2 trillion, showing a 40% growth over five years, 4% over last year and outperforming the stock.
Taking the Top 100 as a portfolio and comparing it to the S&P 500 over the last five years reveals thatUS $1000 invested in this portfolio in 2006 would now be worth US$1185 compared to US$885 invested in the S&P 500, proving that strong brands outperform the stock market.
Brands such as Samsung, the highest riser with an 80% growth in brand value and Starbucks with an increase of 17% are evidence that businesses with strong brands are able to recover from adversity faster.
Posted by: acbnews on: May 14, 2010
The United Nations is implementing a “risk management action plan” to prevent aid sent to Somalia from being diverted to Islamist militants. In a report was sent to the UN Security Council, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that internal controls over cash transfer systems within Somalia have been reviewed. He added a database has been created for the proper screening of all UN service providers and contractors in the country. In March a UN report suggested that up to half the food aid sent to Somalia was being diverted to Islamist militants and corrupt contractors. Meanwhile, the WFP warned on Wednesday that a lack of funding will force it to reduce food aid to refugees in Ethiopia in June as the country expects a further 25,000 Somalis to cross the border by the end of 2010.
Infectious diseases such as pneumonia, diarrhoea and malaria were the leading cause of death among children under five years of age in 2008, researchers have found. They caused 68 per cent of the estimated 8.8 million child deaths worldwide in 2008, according to a new study funded by the World Health Organisation and UNICEF. The researchers found that almost half of the total number of child deaths occurred in only five countries: India, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Pakistan, and China. The medical journal The Lancet published the findings, which contain up-to-date statistics on child mortality around the world, on Wednesday. The researchers believe the figures will help focus national programmes and donor assistance regarding maternal, newborn, and child health interventions.
Fifteen of Mongolia’s 21 provinces have been declared as disaster zones by the government as the country reels from its worst winter in five decades. The United Nations warned on Wednesday that a drought, which has devastated the country during the severe cold weather, could last for another year. Speaking to donors in Geneva, the UN interim humanitarian coordinator in Mongolia, Rana Flowers, asked for 18.1 million US dollars to assist around 800,000 Mongolians affected by the natural disaster. So far more than eight million of the 41 million cattle in the country have died. Thirty per cent of the country’s population depends on cattle for income and heating, Flowers said. The death toll is twice as high as the one recorded at the beginning of the 2000s during Mongolia’s last major “dzud”, the local term for a combination of a dry summer followed by a severe winter. A further four provinces are expected to be declared disaster zones soon.
A record 4.25 billion US dollars was pledged to the world’s largest public green fund by 30 donor countries on Wednesday. The Global Environment Facility (GEF) was created in 1991 to help developing countries tackle climate change. It has been topped up four times since, in 1994, 1998, 2002 and 2006. Yesterday’s pledge is a 52 per cent increase on the sum raised in 2006. The fund’s chief executive, Monique Barbut, said that around 1.35 billion US dollars of the total pledge would be used to tackle climate change. The rest of the money will be directed at improving and expanding protected and endangered areas, reducing pollutants in land and water, expanding and protecting the world’s forests and improving the management of trans-boundary water systems, Barbut said.
India and Brazil filed complaints to the World Trade Organization (WTO) on Wednesday against the seizure of generic drugs by the European Union. The two countries claim that the seizures have harmed healthcare in the developing world and disrupt legitimate international trade. India’s ambassador to the WTO, Ujal Singh Bhatia, accused the EU of seizing legal generic drugs in transit to developing countries to strengthen the current intellectual property rights regime and prevent people in poor nations from getting the affordable drugs. Brazilian ambassador Roberto Azevedo said the seizures harmed legitimate trade between Brazil and India and affected national healthcare in the developing countries. EU authorities justified the seizures with concerns over counterfeit drugs and patent rights issues.
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Reported news by Luvaha C. LUVAGA
powered by abambika afrika new media ffp
Posted by: acbnews on: May 11, 2010
Wednesday ,12th May
Luvaha Charles Luvaga,Group Chief Editor
BANK SUPERVISION ANNUAL REPORT 2009
Nairobi, Kenya (7 May 2010) – The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) has today released the Bank Supervision Annual Report for 2009. The report which can be downloaded from http://www.centralbank.go.ke reviews the performance of the banking sector in 2009 and also highlights other significant developments. Releasing the report, the Governor of the Central Bank of Kenya, Professor Njuguna Ndung’u noted that, “The banking sector demonstrated its’ resilience with a commendable performance in 2009. The asset base of the sector increased by 14 percent from Ksh. 1.18 trillion in December 2008 to Ksh. 1.35 trillion in December 2009. The sector also registered an increase in pre-tax profit by 13 percent to stand at Ksh. 48.9 billion in 2009. This performance was registered in the midst of global and local shocks. On the global scene, the after effects of the global financial crisis that escalated in 2008 washed up on the Kenyan shore. On the domestic arena, a crippling drought and power rationing in the second half of the year dampened the growth prospects for the Kenyan economy.’’ The resilient performance is largely attributable to the enabling legal and regulatory environment put in place by the Central Bank and the Government and robust risk management frameworks adopted by banks. The report also highlights other notable developments in the legal and regulatory framework in 2009. These include the operationalization of Banking (Credit Reference Bureau) Regulations, enactment of the Proceeds of Crime and Money Laundering Act and the introduction of agent banking through the Finance Act of 2009. The Credit Reference Bureau regulations will facilitate the creation of information capital for more Kenyans to access affordable credit. Conversely, the Anti Money Laundering Act will reduce the vulnerability of Kenya’s financial sector to potential abuse. On the financial inclusion front, the introduction of the agent banking model will enhance financial reach and depth of the Kenyan banking sector. The National Financial Access Survey of 2009 indicated that the sector only currently serves 23% of the bankable population. There is therefore considerable scope for the sector to increase its’ outreach through cost effective delivery channels such as the use of third party agents. The licensing of the first deposit taking microfinance institution in May 2009 is also noteworthy in the quest for increased financial inclusion for Kenyans. Deposit Taking Microfinance Institutions regulated by CBK are expected to target the financially underserved and unserved Kenyans particularly in rural and peri-urban areas.
Commenting on the sector’s outlook for 2010, the Governor indicated that, ‘’the sector is expected to regain its’ growth momentum on the back of economic recovery. New opportunities are also expected to emerge with the coming into effect
of the East African Common Market Protocol in July 2010. The protocol will facilitate the expansion of Kenyan banks into the region. Accordingly, banks are expected to source for additional capital to tap these regional opportunities. Locally, competition is expected to intensify as banks downstream and well established Pan African and international banking brands establish their presence in Kenya. These market dynamics could see a move towards mergers and strategic alliances.’’ The Central Bank remains committed to working with the Government and market players to create an enabling environment for the banking sector to play its’ mandate of financing the country’s development aspirations. Vision 2030 envisages the banking sector playing a pivotal role in financing the various initiatives that are key to Kenya graduating to a middle income country.
For more information please contact: Communications Manager, Central Bank of Kenya
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 286 1371/3940
Posted by: acbnews on: May 6, 2010
Wednesday, May 05, 2010
In two years since this blog post comparing Access Kenya and Scangroup which debuted at the Nairobi Stock Exchange (NSE) at about the same time. They are both back in the news this week for diverse reasons along with a third ‘new media’ company Safaricom, which debuted later in 2008 on the NSE.
Scangroup: has just announced plans to buy stakes of 51% in Ogilvy & Mather Africa and 50% of Ogilvy East Africa. (statement here) – two companies are both subsidiaries of UK’s WPP Group who own 27% of Scangroup.
The investor at the Scangroup notes that group has recorded growing ads in TV and radio but declining in print media. In 2009, the communications sector was their largest customers with 29% followed by finance at 15%. Scangroup has 61% of advertising market in Kenya followed by Access Leo Burnett with 13% and then Ogilvy & Mather with 10% – while their plans going forward are to do more online adverting and take the Ogilvy as their main brand across Africa
a version of this Safaricom by Squad digital, a Scangroup venture appears in the NY Times pages
Access Kenya: are in the news (details here) following their postponed by another three months of the annual general meeting that was to have taken place yesterday May 4 and payment of their divided. The company has not commented beyond a press statement.
From the blogs: On AK – a year ago, they were very very liquid while as recently as two months ago, they were hailed as a must buy stock.
from Twitter @bankelele not a shareholder, but as a concerned proxy lack of info is bad. AK should issue a profit warning or cautionary statement on restructuring
@mainaT I figure if AccessK is struggling now when internet is a growth sector, its got issues & a cash flow problem that won’t go a way 4 a while…but, Centum did the same in late 08 early 09 when it was having Cflow issues that meant it couldn’t pay a dividend
@roomthinker: Access Kenya customers, used to their speeds were not surprised to learn their AGM would be late
@coldtusker Y announce a dividend if u have CF shyte? For AK to say, ‘no div coz expanding’ is easy & plausible. Or pay only 5 cents like safcom…I think this is a bigger issue… Sold off at 22 so dont really care but I think they are in play. AK cud always delay div after AGM…I think less of cashflow issue. More of a acquisition/takeover/sale matter http://bit.ly/aJVCMm [#nairumours]
Finally we have Safaricom who initiated a spat with the government [statement here] after the Minister for Information (gazetted new rules for the sector including a fair competition one (draft here) and accusing the government regulator, Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) of seeking to curtail safaricom’s growth through price controls and to allow competitors to increase their market share.
The next day the three other mobile companies, Yu, Orange and Zain replied in joint statement applauding the new rules and saying they were not targeted at anyone (read Safaricom) but anyone who abuses of a dominant position in the market CCK had adopted international practices to bring real competition to the mobile sector.
This is new ground for Safaricom – when Orange raised a fuss about the uncompetitive Kenyan market, it looked like GoK would side with large taxpaying Safaricom, but now that all the small (unprofitable, they admit) new mobile entrants have teamed up, some token measures are likely to be brought to rein in Safaricom which is estimated to control at least 80% of the mobile sector by most measures. How do you bring down Safaricom from 80% to 60%?
Posted by acbnews at 9:05 AM
@coldtuskers view on the Access AGM postponement is quite interesting and I get view point. However, i think regulators have left a loop-hole regarding when dividends should be paid out to shareholders and listed firms are capitalizing on it.
Scangroup/Ogilvy buy-out’s seemingly to help penetrate West African market which almost proved a hard nut to crack when Scanad tried buy-outs around 2007/8. Again, what else do you expect when they have such billings? Buy-outs aplenty and doesn’t stop anytime soon…
Usually I side with the underdogs (read Zain & Co.) but in this case I’m in Safaricom’s corner. MJ is right, CCK wants to punish success. The truth is that Safaricom got where it is through a brilliant marketing strategy which whipped the pants off the market leader at that time, Zain.
Links to this post
Posted by: acbnews on: May 5, 2010
|more Angus Robinson articles|
|more Brandsh Media articles|
There are 63 million mobile subscribers in Nigeria out of a population of 149.2 million, 44 million in South Africa, and 15.3 million in Kenya, Brandsh Media founder Angus Robinson revealed yesterday, 30 March 2010, highlighting the need to turn these numbers into business opportunities and improve lives.
“Is there any opportunity in mobile? And what do we do about these big numbers and how do we apply the principles of mobile marketing to turn these numbers into opportunities in SA and in the rest of Africa – that is the big question,” he said, speaking at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Sandton, Johannesburg.
Focus on the masses
African mobile providers should focus on the masses, and start designing programmes that interact best with their users in order to effectively integrate their brands, Robinson said, adding that there is a need to provide social applications that could improve African livelihoods.
Ghana (11.9m), Uganda (8.2m), Angola (6m), Mozambique (4.8m), Zambia (3.8m), Botswana (1.6m) and Namibia (1.2m) complete Brandsh Media’s list of Africa’s top 10 countries in mobile subscription.
Africa’s mobile industry has grown by a massive 1370% in the past nine years, research shows.
However, many analysts continue to be outraged about the high cost of cellphone devices in Africa, a continent still plagued by state corruption, political intolerance, war, dictatorship and where close to 60% of the world’s poor live.
There are only 65.9m internet users in Africa (6.7%), and it is believed less than 1% of the SA population uses smart phones.
“Smart phones are difficult to get in Africa and I believe that they should be funded by donors, including corporates, to help people improve their social well-being,” Robinson said, adding that Africa must get to the point where phones become cheap and easy just like the market itself.
Empowering the youth
Furthermore, he said: “We need to embrace all the mavericks of this world and give them funding or employ them.
“In many parts of the developed world, most innovation came from young people and we must empower ours by all means.”
Brandsh Media strategic director Gabrielle Rosario urged Africans to become more educated consumers of news and learn what to trust and what they cannot trust.
Rosario has recently returned from Austin in Texas (US) from the SXSW conference attended by some 15 000 people, and was part of SA’s 25-member delegation.
She said citizen journalism’s intermediary models are not established yet despite its rise, with one example being that most of the youth in the US, for instance, continue to choose mainstream media (linking out/fan-pages statistics) as a preferred source of trusted information.
Rosario’s learnings presentation was meant for African media, ad agencies, strategic partners and key clients.
Social relationship management
“The people own social media and when they use it they expect their problems to be heard and solved.
“The “illusion of control,” for example blocking platforms, needs to be addressed, the entire company needs an outward focus. Social media is forcing change in business from the bottom-up.
“Everything starts with listening and research, but when it comes to monitoring social media, knowing what you want to measure means everything.
“I have my own audience too, and if I don’t think you are authentic, I’ll call you out,” she said, adding that customer relationship management has now become social relationship management.”
In my last post, I attempted to provide a play-by-play of the violent incidents in Liberia’s Lofa County. I’ve since attended a roundtable discussion with chiefs, government officials, the UN and NGOs operating in Lofa who presented other sides to the story. Below are a few corrections based on this discussion, and additional points of interest about the events in Lofa:
Starting with a quote from my last post: “A recap: What began as the murder of a young girl led to an angry mob seeking vengeance, a mob that blamed the local imam with strong conviction and little evidence; with plans to storm the imam’s mosque, the crowd was deterred (Pakistani peacekeepers were nearby) and decided instead to call (that’s right, on the mobile) one of the mosque’s regular attendants to tell him, ‘we are burning down your mosque.’ The beginning of a rumor.”
Let’s stop here to update. The “young girl” – or, as I’d also heard her described, “school girl” – I’ve since discovered was a 22 year-old woman, Korpo, who was also in eleventh grade at a high school in ZorZor (outside of Lofa’s capital, Voinjama). The mob that formed in response to Korpo’s disappearance was in fact a group of students from her school who initially gathered to protest the local authorities’ inertia regarding the case. After Korpo went missing, her mother (a member of the Lorma tribe) consulted a “sassy-wood player” (a local prophet of sorts) to locate her daughter; interestingly, the man consulted was an Imam of the Mandingo (i.e. opposing) tribe. It was Korpo’s mother, in fact, who blamed the sassy-wood player for her daughter’s death when, after a few days, the man said he was unable to find Korpo.
Who, then, initiated the first outlash that eventually led to the burning of churches? On the third day of searching, Korpo’s body was found and the still-protesting students went to Korpo’s mother to learn who had promised to find her (as the local authorities remained ineffective). Her mother pointed to the Imam, and immediately the group of student protesters descended on his mosque, throwing stones at the Imam locked inside. It was at this point in time that the leap in the violence’s scope and involved actors took place, made possible by the mobile phone. The Imam’s son left the scene and called relatives in Voinjama – and his message was frantic: “The Lorma people have killed our father and burned the mosque.” As the Carter Center report suggests, “This appears to be the source of the information that led to mob action in Voinjama.”
It’s becoming clear that what I assumed was fact was indeed a string of rumors – and that the facts (if we can call these written reports factual) are just as complex, winding this way and that. Theoretically, if Ushahidi had been deployed in Lofa during this crescendo of conflict, would it have been possible to discern fact from rumor? Here we are getting into muddy waters; however, because Ushahidi is a tool and not an inherently analytical instrument, perhaps its strength lies in the ability to report actions taken (such as an agitated crowd forming, a storming on the mosque, the mosque is left intact) and to encourage caution regarding those messages from the field that indicate what MIGHT happen.
But as we saw, the Imam’s son made a call, stating what he believed to be true and what turned out to be false information; how would organizations using Ushahidi know the difference in this case? I’m tempted to employ a new approach to rumors that have not been adopted by most researchers, historians, or current media: don’t ignore them – map them. Now this is tricky – what if people looking at the map think that, because these reports have been approved and are visible as points on the Liberian landscape, they are true. But what if these instances that were not verified could belong to their own “Rumors” category during a crisis. Ushahidi is, after all, incredibly useful for archiving data collated during crises, and provides a unique view back at history as it was unfolding.
I would argue that rumors tell us a great deal about why certain events took place – for instance, without knowing the contents of the phone call placed to Voinjama, it would be very unclear why the violence spread from an outlying town to the county’s capital. Rumors may not be factual, but perhaps Western perceptions of what information is valid or invalid do not recognize the importance of what Stephen Ellis calls “pavement radio” – transmissions within communities that point to an undercurrent of fear and unanswered frustrations. If Ushahidi were to document these rumors (again, classified clearly as rumor and not as verified information), it would be the first tool I know of that demonstrates not only the series of events that led to violence but also the invisible threads of social fears and suspicions that prompted these events.
There are plenty of dangers in mapping rumors, one being that anything that appears on the map may be considered verified despite its categorization as otherwise. And if viewers consider the rumors validated, the mere presence of rumors on the map could indeed lead to acts of retribution stemming from the Ushahidi instance rather than the rumor on the ground. These are plenty of good reasons to be cautious.
I’m left, however, with a thorn in my side – and one that has to do with the issue of trust I raised in the previous post: if Ushahidi follows in the footsteps of other information sources and does not report rumors, will this repository for critical information also be deemed by Liberians as less-than-trustworthy because it reports a certain kind of information? In the example of Voinjama, the young woman’s murderer has still not been found; this unresolved loss remains an open wound for several communities – and increases the likelihood that rumors will continue to circulate in the place of factual information that may again lead to violence. But what if these rumors were tracked, documented in near-real time? Would we then have a new list of indicators for increased risk of violence and could these indicators be the early warnings that crisis mappers have been waiting for? The revolution that has yet to take place is one where rumors are considered valuable information, and not simply invalid weapons of the uneducated or irrational. Ushahidi may not be the one to lead this revolution, but for a deeper understanding of what information has real currency among many populations, rumors cannot be ignored for much longer.
July 3, 2010