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Odyne Systems Showcased Unique New Walk-In Van Hybrid Power Application at the 2013 NTEA Work Truck Show

Posted on 10 March 2013 by Africa Business

U.S. Department of Energy Director of Vehicle Technologies Program Met with New GTA President, Joe Dalum, to Learn More About Odyne Plug-In Systems

Waukesha, WI, March 09, 2013 –(PR.com)– Pat Davis, Program Manager of the Vehicle Technologies Program at the U.S. Department of Energy and Ron Schoon, Executive Manager – Partnership Development, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) visited with Odyne Systems President and CEO, Joe Dalum, on Tuesday, March 5, during the Green Truck Summit. While visiting Odyne’s booth at the NTEA show, they got a closer look at the Odyne plug-in hybrid system that is reducing diesel fuel consumption up to 50%, depending on duty cycles, in work trucks. Davis noted there are a number of forces coming together to support expansion of alternative energy vehicles – a combination of improving technology, new capability to manufacture critical components, new product offerings, new policy incentives and continuing concern regarding our dependency on petroleum. In the area of improved technology, batteries are two to three times better than what they were just a few years ago and the costs for those improved batteries are coming down.

Odyne Systems, LLC, a leading manufacturer of hybrid systems for medium and heavy duty work trucks, showcased its advanced hybrid propulsion system in booth 5566 at the National Truck Equipment Association show March 6-8 in Indianapolis, IN, and had a unique new application in a walk-in van on display at the Ride & Drive event. The event also provided an introductory platform to showcase the new relationship between Allison Transmission and Odyne Systems. Allison and Odyne introduced a new co-marketing program for the Odyne hybrid system, including a new joint logo and brochure, and engineering collaboration to optimize the drivetrain.

Joe Dalum and Joe Pellissier, Process Improvement Manager at NV Energy, spoke at the GTA on “Measuring Duty Cycles and Making the Business Case for Hybrid Electric.”

About Odyne Systems, LLC
Odyne is a leader in hybrid drive systems for medium and heavy duty vehicles. Odyne’s advanced plug-in hybrid technology enables trucks over 14,000 pounds to have substantially lower fuel consumption, lower emissions, improved performance, quieter job site operation and reduced operating and maintenance costs. Odyne has fielded more plug-in hybrid trucks to fleets throughout the United States than any other supplier. The company sells its unique modular hybrid system direct to truck manufacturers and through a global distribution and service network. The name Odyne represents the combination of “O” for Optimal and “dyne” for power or force. Odyne’s hybrid system for medium and heavy duty trucks represents the best hybrid power solution for large trucks. For further information, visit us at www.odyne.com and follow us on Twitter @Odyne.

About Allison Transmission
Allison Transmission is the world’s largest manufacturer of fully-automatic transmissions for medium- and heavy-duty commercial vehicles, medium- and heavy-tactical U.S. military vehicles and hybrid-propulsion systems for transit buses. Allison transmissions are used in a variety of applications including on-highway trucks (distribution, refuse, construction, fire and emergency), buses (primarily school and transit), motor homes, off-highway vehicles and equipment (primarily energy and mining) and military vehicles (wheeled and tracked). Founded in 1915, the Allison business is headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.A. and employs approximately 2,800 people. Allison has manufacturing facilities and customization centers located in China, The Netherlands, Brazil, India and Hungary. With a global presence, serving customers in North America, Europe, Asia, Australia, South America, and Africa, Allison also has approximately 1,400 independent distributor and dealer locations worldwide. More information about Allison is available at www.allisontransmission.com.

Picture Caption: Joe Dalum, President, Odyne, discusses the Odyne system with (l-r) Ron Schoon, Executive Manager, NREL, Patrick Davis, Program Manager, Vehicle Technology at the Department of Energy, and Lee Styslinger III, Chairman and CEO, Altec, Inc.

Contact Information
Odyne Systems, LLC
Louise Hermsen
262-544-8405

www.odyne.com

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Standard Bank South Africa launches contactless card payment technology

Posted on 10 December 2012 by Africa Business

All Gold and Titanium Standard Bank-branded credit and cheque cards will now be issued with the tap-and-go payment method. This means that Standard Bank’s credit card holders in South Africa will not have to swipe or insert their cards into terminals.

Standard Bank South Africa is one of the largest issuers of credit and cheque cards in South Africa.

Sugendhree Reddy, Head of Personal Markets at Standard Bank South Africa, says: “The introduction of this new payment method forms part of Standard Bank’s consistent focus on providing customers with value in banking. There are evident trends internationally and locally driving consumer preference towards fast, convenient and secure payment methods.

“The new tap-and-go cards are linked to a customer’s bank account, allowing for funds to be deducted directly from their account. Unlike many systems currently available, customers don’t have to pre-load cards with money to use this method of payment.”

The cards carry the MasterCard PayPass logo and have antennas imbedded in them. The antenna allows cardholders to pay at point-of-sale devices displaying the same PayPass logo as their card by simply tapping the card on the terminal. Holders of these credit and cheque cards do not need to give the card to the cashier, enter a PIN or sign a slip for payments under R200. To ensure security, a PIN will be required for higher amounts.

This technology is ideal for quick payment environments, such as transit, fast foods, petrol stations, supermarkets and movie theatres.

“The cards improve customer convenience, with shorter payment times, and remove the need to withdraw cash. Security is also improved as a customer keeps their card with them rather than handing it to someone else,” says Ms Reddy.

The new cards will be rolled out automatically to new Standard Bank cheque and credit card customers. Current Standard Bank customers will also receive the new cards as and when their current cards are due for renewal. The annual fee for the contactless cards remains the same as for current cheque and credit cards. Paying via the tap and go method will count as an electronic transaction, the cost of which is bundled into banking packages offered by Standard Bank. The cards will also function in the usual manner by swiping or inserting. and are valid for five years.

“Standard Bank will also roll out this functionality on debit cards, and through VISA, in 2013,” says Ms Reddy. “Standard Bank anticipates that the wider availability of these cards in the South African market will drive the tap and go method as a more common system of payment locally.

The rollout of the transactional cards follows Standard Bank South Africa’s introduction of the Muvo transit card in eThekwini, which was piloted early this year and implemented broadly in 2012.

Commuters using People Mover and Durban Transport buses throughout eThekwini municipality in KwaZulu-Natal can use the card to pay their fare. In addition to this, the card replaces the traditional bus travel coupon which provides for preloaded and discounted trips as well as concessionary travel passes for students and pensioners. This is the only card and infrastructure system to fully comply with the requirements of the National Department of Transports public transport specifications. These cards are prefunded and reloadable, and can be used as a standard MasterCard, as well as in a contactless environment

Standard Bank South Africa has also implemented cashless payment systems at numerous festivals throughout South Africa, including the Easter Rugby festival in Gauteng and OppiKoppi in Limpopo this year. With the cashless payment system, festival-goers replaced cash with pre-loaded cards that were used via the tap and go method. In a three-second transaction, the card could be loaded by the user with money that could then be spent at the festival’s food and beverage, souvenir, or ticket stalls.

Source: StandardBank.com

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China to Emerge as the World’s Largest Market for Green Energy Transit Buses, Projects Frost & Sullivan

Posted on 03 December 2012 by Africa Business

Governments’ commitment toward green energy fuels hybrid and electric powered vehicles market

Rapid urbanization and the consequent rise in the demand for public transit systems could well make China the largest market for transit buses in the world. Being a largely state-driven market, it is expected to benefit the most from the upcoming hybridization and electrification programs. This provides global original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and suppliers with opportunities to develop strong and sustainable partnerships with Chinese OEMs and suppliers.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan (http://www.automotive.frost.com), Strategic Analysis of the Chinese Hybrid and Electric Transit Bus Market, finds that the total hybrid and electric transit bus sales in China are expected to reach over 12,000 units by 2018, from 3,374 units in 2011. By 2018, the hybrid and electric powertrain penetration in transit buses is anticipated to be more than 14 percent.

The total transit bus sales are likely to exceed 80,000 units by 2018, cementing China’s domination of the global transit bus market. This is compelling OEMs to develop innovative products, technologies, and supply chains that can help reduce the high upfront and lifecycle costs of these vehicles.

“The market for hybrid and electric transit buses is experiencing considerable momentum due to volatile energy prices, consumers’ awareness about fuel efficiency, and recent green incentives by the Chinese government aimed at promoting alternative powertrain technologies,” said Frost & Sullivan Industry Analyst Bharani Lakshminarasimhan. “Of all alternative powertrain technologies, hybrid technology places the least pressure on existing infrastructure.”

However, customers consider hybrid and electric buses prohibitively priced and their unproven reliability and duty cycle limitations discourage large-scale investment. Nascent battery technology and poor charging infrastructure along transit corridors are additional deterrents.

The price sensitivity of Chinese customers is accelerating the implementation of strategies aimed at reducing the upfront costs of the base vehicle, hybrid/electric drivetrain, or both. OEMs’ desire to differentiate themselves is impelling them to reduce operation costs and improve product quality. Key components such as modules and battery systems could become more expensive in the short term due to OEMs’ dependence on foreign suppliers.

In such a scenario, partnerships are the way forward. Collaborations with foreign suppliers will help local OEMs to develop cost-effective hybrid and electric components. The motor/generator manufacturing base will expand, as foreign and local suppliers establish their units, catering to both the local and export markets.

“Simultaneously, for western suppliers, partnering with local OEMs will help them gain access to many markets such as Africa, South America, Middle East, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN),” noted Lakshminarasimhan. “Localized production facilities and collaborations with transport authorities remain key differentiating factors for rapid market growth.”

If you are interested in more information on this research, please send an email to Zhenhua Chen, Corporate Communications, at zhenhua.chen@frost.com, with your full name, company name, job title, telephone number, company email address, company website, city, state and country.

Strategic Analysis of the Chinese Hybrid and Electric Transit Bus Market is part of the Automotive & Transportation Growth Partnership Services program, which also includes research in the following markets: North American Medium-Heavy Commercial Vehicle Market, Brazilian Commercial vehicle Market, and Global Low-cost Truck Market. All research services included in subscriptions provide detailed market opportunities and industry trends evaluated following extensive interviews with market participants.

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Strategic Analysis of the Chinese Hybrid and Electric Transit Bus Market
NADC-18

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Zhenhua Chen
Corporate Communications – China
P: +86 21 5407 5780
M: +86 1381 6974 015
E: zhenhua.chen@frost.com

http://www.frost.com

SOURCE Frost & Sullivan

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The Systematic Emasculation of Africa’s Leadership-Part 1

Posted on 19 November 2012 by Africa Business

by Sophia Tesfamariam

The Systematic Emasculation of Africa’s Leadership-Part One (.pdf Acrobat Reader)

Time and again we have been told that Africa’s leaders were corrupt megalomaniacs that have contributed to the continent’s backwardness, conflict and strife. We tend to believe narratives that assault Africa’s leadership especially when they tell us that Africa’s leaders, who fought for their nation’s liberation were somehow not qualified to lead it when independence came. We believe so cinalled “intellectuals and professionals” who believe they are better poised to govern and lead Africa’s budding institutions. Yet we mourn great leaders such as Congo’s Patrice Lumumba (Congo), Ghana’s Kwame Nkurumah , Egypts’ Gamal Abdul Nasser, Algeria’s Ahmed Ben Bella and Ahmed Sekou Touré of Guinea, who fought to liberate their beloved nations from the yolks of colonialism, only to be eliminated shortly after with help from their own nationals, traitors who sold them out.

Sekou Touré proclaimed, “We prefer dignity in poverty to affluence in slavery”. They wanted to instill pride and confidence in the ability to shape their own destinies, to rely on their own resources, human and material, not to depend on handouts and stipends. They wanted to liberate their lands, but also their minds. They understood Africa’s worth, its vast resources and its potentials. Time and again we have seen great leaders brought to their knees. Sadly, Africa today finds itself in deep poverty, without dignity and with some leaders turned into slaves with affluence…emasculated.

The author traveled to New York in early October 2012 to listen to what was being said by the various leaders who had convened on Turtle Bay for the 67th session of the UN General Assembly. What struck me was the lack of respect shown by the host nation and others to the guests that had flown thousands of miles to present their Statements to the world body. At times, it seemed as if they were talking to themselves, as the Assembly Hall was virtually empty. It seemed the UN envoys showed up only to listen to those “like minded” leaders who shared their world view. While some leaders and their representatives were presenting, the others chose to spend their time in NY visiting high end shops and enjoying fine dining at the expense of their people. I sat in person to listen to some of the addresses, but followed almost all through the UN webcast.

On 1 October 2012, UN News Center[i] reported the following:

“…Eritrea’s Foreign Minister, Osman Saleh, said it is clear that the UN has not succeeded in its paramount purpose of saving humanity from the scourges of war and poverty, and now the threat of global climate change, in the 67 years since its creation…“What is particularly significant is the fact that in most of these wars, it is some of the big powers, who have been the main architects and actors in these wars – the same powers who by virtue of their position in the United Nations Security Council should have shouldered the biggest responsibility for the maintenance of peace and stability,” he said…“The United Nations system, as has been repeatedly pointed out, is indeed outdated. The General Assembly has been emasculated. The Security Council is dominated by one powerful permanent member and increasingly becoming paralyzed,” he added…”

Member states have been calling for reform of the United Nations and the UN Security Council for quite a long time, but because the status quo is preferred by those who wield the most power, reform has been slow in coming. Many have paid lip service to the idea of reforming the outdated Organization and much has been said about its inability to meet its international obligations in the 21st Century. Unfortunately, no concrete steps have been taken as yet. The UN’s credibility and integrity has been eroded and its reputation further undermined when the P-3 have opted to go against decisions taken by the UN General Assembly and the Security Council, and finding ways to evade them. The UN General Assembly is therefore rendered useless-emasculated by the veto wielding countries on the Security Council.

Can an entire nation be emasculated? History shows us that it is possible to emasculate individuals as well as entire populations.

So how does one go about emasculating an entire population?

Stanley Milgram carried out experiments in the 1960s to discover how the Nazis had managed to get ordinary people to take part in the mass murder of the Holocaust. The experiment was created to explain some of the concentration camp-horrors of the World War 2, where Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, Slavs and other enemies of the state were slaughtered by Nazis. The experiment showed that compliance to authority was the norm and not the exception.

In “Obedience to Authority: An Experimental View” Stanley Milgram writes:

· “…Obedience, because of its very ubiquitousness, is easily overlooked as a subject of inquiry in social psychology. But without an appreciation of its role in shaping human action, a wide range of significant behavior cannot be understood. For an act carried out under command is, psychologically, of a profoundly different character than action which is spontaneous…”

· “…The person who, with inner conviction, loathes stealing, killing, and assault may find himself performing these acts with relative ease when commanded by authority. Behavior that is unthinkable in an individual who is acting on his own may be executed without hesitation when carried out under orders…”

· “…It has been reliably established that from 1933 to 1945 millions of innocent people were systematically slaughtered on command. Gas chambers were built, death camps were guarded, daily quotas of corpses were produced with the same efficiency as the manufacture of appliances. These inhumane policies may have been originated in the mind of a single person, but they could only have been carried out on a massive scale if a very large number of people obeyed orders…”

The other factor that enables a legitimate authority to evoke destructive obedience, according to Milgram, is the shift of participants into a different experiential state –the “agentic state” that enables them to relinquish responsibility to the authority and therefore to follow his or her orders without regard to their morality.

In 1998-2000, at the height of the Eritrea Ethiopia border conflict, Meles Zenawi’s minority TPLF regime in Ethiopia decided that it was going to deport Eritreans and Ethiopians of Eritrean origin because Zenawi decided that he did not like “the color of their eyes”. Young and old, men women and children were taken from their homes and thrown onto buses that dumped them at the mine infested borders. Handicapped persons, the sick and the elderly, nuns, priests and others were forcibly removed from cities across Ethiopia. Breastfeeding infants were snatched from their mothers and left abandoned. Ethiopian responding to orders from the minority regime committed untold crimes against Eritreans living in Ethiopia. Their hard earned belongings were confiscated by Tigrayan cadres loyal to the minority regime. Were Ethiopians put in an “agentic state” by the regime? Was it hate or fear that prompted the ill-treatment of Eritreans? Was it hate or fear that prompted the regime’s forces to destroy the cemeteries of Eritrea’s beloved martyrs? 12 years later, many questions remain unanswered…

As the line between hate and fear intercross in modern Ethiopia, the world witnessed another spectacle in Ethiopia. This time it was the death of Meles Zenawi. While the secrecy surrounding his death remains; it was the orchestrated mourning that garnered the most attention. Those close to the TPLF regime say that Ethiopians were ordered to mourn Meles Zenawi, a leader responsible for the many internal and external conflicts raging in today’s Ethiopia. They were told to mourn for a leader that had massacred their children. Was it an attempt to defect attention away from the domestic upheavals that seemed to be imploding or were Ethiopians genuinely mourning their leader? It is hard to tell as the regime has lied throughout its reign and has lost the trust of the people.

Who was Meles Zenawi and what did he do to warrant such a send off? Much has been said and written about the Tigrayan leader to date. Jean Shaoul sums up Meles Zenawi’s rule quite accurately in the 4 September 2012 article:

“…Meles engineered one-party rule in Ethiopia, over which he dominated, favouring some ethnic groups and regions at the expense of others, clamping down on dissent, forcing oppositionists into exile, and riding roughshod over human rights. Ethiopia is considered one of Africa’s most repressive governments…The 2005 elections were subject to widespread rigging and saw the opposition winning just 23 seats, sparking mass protests. Meles’s regime responded by launching the biggest crackdown seen in Africa since South Africa’s 1986 state of emergency, killing 200 protesters and beating up and jailing some 50,000 oppositionists, a number of whom were tried for treason…He staged-managed the 2010 elections so effectively that his EPRDF coalition won 99.6 percent of the vote, leading to further protests. He arrested more than 100 oppositionists and charged more than 10 journalists under a 2009 anti-terror law. He appointed around himself a small corrupt clique, took all the important decisions, and refused to allow a successor to emerge…”

When the news about the death of Meles Zenawi made the headlines in July 2012, the propaganda machinery in the Ethiopian capital went into full swing. The Information Minister told the people that the Prime Minister was on vacation of sorts, and that he would be back at work in September 2012. Others came out to spin similar stories in what turned out to be a blatant lie, a bid to buy time. When it became impossible to hide the truth, his death was finally announced. The same individuals that had no qualms lying to the people of Ethiopia were back on Ethiopian television telling the people he was in fact dead. Lying outright and without shame has been the norm with the current TPLF leadership in Ethiopia. It is the way they conduct their domestic affairs and it is also the way they conduct their international affairs.

Reminiscent of the public mourning held when South Korean leader Kim Jong-il died, Ethiopians were forced to participate in staged mourning events throughout the country, complete with posters and scarves. It should be recalled that similar staged events were orchestrated when Stalin, Zhou Enlai, and Pol Pot died and in each case, it is safe to say that the people participated out of fear. Not only did Meles Zenawi’s cadres orchestrate a two week long “mourning” throughout the country, they put together an elaborate funeral programme whose remnants are still visible around the capital, Addis Ababa. There were posters (probably done by mass printing) distributed to all neighborhoods. They told the foreign press that it was a spontaneous reaction of the people…That the people went out and made these posters themselves….

What was awful to watch was the sea of Ethiopians waving a white handkerchief as if on cue. The regime wants us to believe that the people of Ethiopia all went out and bought the handkerchiefs themselves…in a spontaneous act of grief! A white handkerchief as far as I know is a sign of surrender. In some religious cults, waving of the white handkerchief is a plea to God to extend His mercy. In Spanish football, white handkerchiefs are waved as a sign of disgust. Elsewhere in the world, waving a white handkerchief is a sign that someone was surrendering or giving up. So what were the Ethiopian people telling us by waving those handkerchiefs?

For some odd reason, other than a few officials in the government, ordinary Ethiopians did not speak at the funeral. That was reserved for external mourners, like Susan E. Rice, the US Ambassador to the United Nations and other invited guests. Only leadership that harbored deep seethed hatred and contempt for its own people, a leadership that feared its population would orchestrate such a shameful spectacle and attempt to pass it off as a spontaneous response by the people.

This excerpt from one of the US Embassy cables illustrates the regime’s contempt. It said:

“…Hailemariam Desalegn, chairman of the Southern Ethiopia People’s Democratic Movement (SEPDM), has argued to Post that due to poor education and illiteracy the Ethiopian public is too underdeveloped to make a well reasoned, informed decision, and so Revolutionary Democracy is the political bridge by which the “enlightened leaders” can lead the people to democracy…”

Judging from the spectacle in Ethiopia over the summer, it is obvious that the frightened minority regime in Ethiopia, like Adolf Hitler and the Nazi’s, has mastered the art of fear to garner obedience from the otherwise proud people of Ethiopia. An emasculated regime whose members suffer from debilitating inferiority complex and crab mentality used the only tools it has at its disposal- fear and lies- to garner obedience.

Let us move on…

Are all leaders of nations great and small, rich and poor, the same? Do western leaders view African leaders as equals? The record shows that they are neither viewed as equals, nor treated as such. Judging from the info found in the Wikileaked American Embassy cables, American and European leaders are placed on a different platform than African or Asian counterparts. States have been calling for equal treatment at the United Nations and at other multilateral forums, but to no avail. The rich countries are content in maintaining the status quo and don’t seem to be regarding that as being a problem and sometimes, even the cause of the many international conflicts.

For this sitting, the author will endeavor to present the fundamental causes of Africa’s economic retardation and never ending religious and ethnic conflicts, and the emasculation of the continent and its population. For brevity’s sake, the author will address issues in the Horn of Africa and the role of the leaders in the region. With the exception of the few, for the most part, Horn leaders have betrayed the trust of their people, and by providing critical national security information to US and other western governments have in fact grossly undermined the independence and sovereignty of their nations and governments.

No continent has witnessed the emasculation and humiliation of its leaders more than Africa. Who is to blame for the systematic emasculation of Africa’s leadership? The underlining causes remain varied and there is enough blame to go around.

How many African Ambassadors, or their political officers, in the United States get the opportunity to walk into the White House and chat with the sitting US President on demand? When was the last time that the Djiboutian, Ethiopian, Kenyan, Ugandan and Somali Ambassadors in Washington had an audience with President Barrack Obama?

How many African Ambassadors in Europe get to walk into European State Houses to chat with European Presidents and Prime Ministers on demand?

How often, if they do at all, do Americans and European officials brief African Ambassadors about meetings held by their chief national security and intelligence officers? When was the last time that the Djiboutian, Ethiopian, Kenyan, Ugandan and Somali Ambassadors in Washington were briefed by the FBI, CIA, Pentagon and the White House on issues relating to US national security, the same briefing given to a sitting US President?

How often, if they do at all, do US officials from the White House, Congress and the Pentagon provide African Ambassadors with information and minutes of their official meetings? When was the last time that the Djiboutian, Ethiopian, Kenyan, Ugandan and Somali Ambassadors in Washington were provided with documents related to confidential official US government activities?

How often, if they do at all, do European officials provide regular briefings to African Ambassadors about meetings taking place at the European Commission, European Parliament and in their own State houses?

When was the last time that an African Ambassador or the Djiboutian, Ethiopian, Kenyan, Ugandan and Somali Ambassadors in Washington called to the White House to discuss the Presidents/Prime Ministers of Canada, Mexico, Columbia, Brazil, Venezuela etc. etc.?

When was the last time that an African Ambassador was summoned to the State Houses in Europe, so that European leaders could share their personal attitudes towards other European leaders or to back stab one of their own?

Would American or European officials (State, military, intelligence etc. etc.) discuss the overthrow or assassination attempts of their leaders (Prime Ministers and Presidents) with African Ambassadors serving in their capitals?

While some African leaders contributed to Africa’s economic malaise by engaging in corrupt behaviors and robbing the nation of its resources. There are also those that seek to advance western interests in Africa instead of strengthening Africa’s sovereignty and independence, believing it would somehow elevate their stature in international politics.

According to the recently released American Embassy cables, from providing critical national security information to providing reports and minutes from the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and meetings held by heads of states at the African Union, the leaders of Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia have divulged critical information their own citizens are deprived from having. They have wittingly or unwittingly, compromised the credibility, integrity and independence of the regional and continental organizations and reduced them to becoming foreign policy tools of the external powers.

The Wikileak cables are replete with evidence of African Presidents and state officials, head of regional and continental wide organizations, academics and intellectuals, who have succumbed to western ideology and are found shamelessly sharing sensitive and critical information with western Ambassadors and low level Embassy staff serving in African capitals.

More on the emasculation of Africa’s leadership in Part Two…

[i] http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=43176&Cr=general+debate&Cr1=#.UJUDQm-unSg accessed 22 October 2012

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Rwanda Urban Infrastructure and City Management Project

Posted on 24 September 2012 by Africa Business

 

The Rwanda Experience

Urban Infrastructure and City Management Tools

Overview

Since 2006, the International Development Association (IDA) support has enabled the Rwandan cities of Kigali, Huye and Musanze to improve service provision to their citizens. For example, in Kigali and Huye, 535,580 people have gained access to paved roads. In Musanze, 70,258 people have gained access to an improved health center, school and multipurpose hall facilities. By 2009, 15-27 percent of municipal budgets were allocated to infrastructure and facilities maintenance, from a baseline in 2006 of 2.5 percent in Kigali City, 2 percent in Huye district and 7 percent in Musanze district. This increase demonstrates the improved ability of these cities to continue to deliver and maintain services to their inhabitants.

Challenge

The urban sector in Rwanda faces multiple challenges stemming from a mismatch between infrastructure development/service delivery and high levels and growth rates of the urban population. The urbanization rate had reached 20 percent in 2004, up from 6 percent in 1991, with a particularly high population growth rate in Kigali, representing a threefold increase in population between 1994 and 2002. The level of infrastructure in Kigali was intended to accommodate about 450,000 people, whereas the population had reached over 800,000 inhabitants. Secondary cities registered a twofold increase in population over the same period. Rapid urbanization had resulted in unplanned and squalid settlements, urban sprawl, and increasing urban poverty. More than 80 percent of the population of Kigali and 85 to 90 percent of the population of secondary cities lived in informal neighborhoods, often in areas considered precarious or unsafe.

 

Approach

The Rwanda Urban Infrastructure and City Management Project (RUICMP), was designed to improve the provision of priority infrastructure and services in the cities of Kigali (about 800,000 inhabitants in 2006), Huye (about 100,000 inhabitants) and Musanze (about 100,000 inhabitants). This project built on the idea of the City Contract, a document signed between the city and the central government, detailing performance targets and commitments on both sides. The targets were based on audits (urban, financial, and organizational) carried out during the project preparation phase to identify physical and institutional priorities. The audits built on existing local development plans, and involved the participation of the local government and communities, ensuring ownership of the process and continuity of the approach. In addition, in a context where the government is keen to keep both central and local government departments lean with a minimum of permanent staff, the use of a delegated contract management agency for civil works (Association d’exécution des travaux d’intéret public, or ASSETIP) was introduced to deliver timely and quality investments.

 

Results

Approximately 535,580 people in Kigali and Huye, and 70,258 people in Musanze are benefitting from the following improvements completed by project closing in December 2009:

  • Construction of 22.6 kilometers of asphalt and stone paved roads in Kigali and Huye ensuring access in slums and poor neighborhoods, better circulation, and inter-connection of districts (leading to a reduction in transport costs by up to 60 percent, and reduction in prices of staple foods by 18 percent in neighborhoods surveyed due to improved accessibility of vendors).
  • Improved social infrastructure including the construction of: (a) three primary schools (two in Kigali and one in Musanze), resulting in a decrease in the number of children per class from 60 to 46, and an increase in the pass rate from 28 to 93 percent in the schools surveyed; (b) a health care center in Musanze, resulting in a tenfold increase in family planning consultations, an increase in assisted births in health care units from 466 in 2008 to 5,130 in 2009, and a reduction by 50 percent in the number of non-assisted home births; and (c) a youth center in a poor neighborhood benefitting 500 youths on a daily basis.
  • Improved economic infrastructure through the construction in Kigali of the Kimironko and Kicukiro bus terminals, which have facilitated inter-district movement within the city and improved linkages with the neighboring areas. The Kimironko terminal is currently generating about US$40,000 in revenue per year.

Technical assistance in the hands-on use of tools such as City Contracts, urban audits, street addressing, and financial ratios (revenues vs. investments and maintenance), have enabled improved city management:

  • Financial resources have increased 30 percent on average.
  • By 2009, the percent of municipal budgets allocated to infrastructure and facilities maintenance had increased to 15-27 percent, from a baseline in 2006 of 2.5 percent in Kigali City, 2 percent in Huye district and 7 percent in Musanze district.

 

Bank Contribution

Out of a total project cost of US$ 30 million, IDA provided a US$20.7 million grant in 2006.

 

Partners

The project was designed jointly and co-funded by IDA (US$20.7 million), government of Rwanda (US$2.64 million) and the Nordic Development Fund or NDF (US$7.13 million). The NDF credit was earmarked for storm water drainage and erosion control improvements. In addition, Cities Alliance funded about US$243,000 for the Financial Management Modernization and Development Strategy for Kigali and its districts.

 

Voices

 

We had no bus station here. Yet, our district is busy and growing. Our people had to walk quite long distances to take buses to town where those who are travelling upcountry would connect with upcountry buses. So, this is a great achievement. 

— Mayor of Kicukiro

 

Toward the Future

An action plan was developed prior to the closing of the project to transfer capacities and institutionalize the use of project tools by the involved parties. The project acted as a catalyst, bringing together multiple actors in the sector and facilitating the establishment, by the Ministry of Infrastructure (MININFRA), of the Rwanda Urban and Housing Authority (RHA) as a single organizational unit to implement the government’s policies in the sector. Most of the urban management tools developed under the project have been mainstreamed into national programs by MININFRA (to be implemented by RHA) and by districts. These include urban audits and City Contracts, street addressing, and slum upgrading. Financial management tools have been transferred to the Ministry of Local Administration. Anticipated support from other donors for road investments and urban management in Kigali will carry forward some elements of the urban development strategy, while some of the policy reform elements will be addressed in the Poverty Reduction Support Grant series supported by IDA.

 

Source: WorldBank.org

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Standard Bank South Africa’s Muvo card brings cutting edge technology to bus system

Posted on 22 July 2012 by AfricaBusiness.com

 

The introduction of the MasterCard Muvo card in Durban will herald the beginning of the end of carrying cash for bus fare in South Africa.

Commuters using People Mover and Durban Transport buses throughout Ethekwini municipality in KwaZulu-Natal province will use the card to pay their fare. The card is powered by Standard Bank South Africa and introduced through its innovation arm Beyond Payments and transport IT specialistAlmex.

The card is an anonymous debit MasterCard that is coupled with the National Department of Transport’s specified ticketing solution. It is also prefunded and reloadable, and can be used as a standard EMV MasterCard, as well as in a contactless environment enabled though the MasterCard PayPass™ contactless technology.

The launch follows the successful pilot phase of the MasterCard Muvo card on the inner city fleet of People Movers, in which buses were fitted out with electronic ticketing devices and the contactless payment cards were issued to commuters. Kiosks were set up along Durban’s inner city bus route, where funds could be loaded onto the cards. Commuters then either paid for their bus trips by tapping their card against the electronic ticketing device installed on the buses, or presented payment for their ticket in the same manner as before.

The ticketing devices are now being installed in all buses in Ethekwini and 50 000 MasterCard Muvo cards will be issued to commuters, free of charge, over the next two months. Commuters can load funds into their cards at 20 fixed sales points located in the city, or they can do so in one of 14 Muvo vans that will operate along the various routes.

This is believed to be the first time that transit tickets are hosted inside a banking application on an EMV contactless card, and the first time that a card of this nature has been deployed in South Africa in full compliance with the National Department of Transport’s regulations. This combination of card and service platforms currently offers services across a multiplicity of transit fleet operators with more than 200 differenttravel product options.

This solution differs to payment cards that are used to purchase tickets for each trip in that it stores tickets of different types, such as scholar or pensioner tickets, or tickets for different routes and journeys.

National Department of Transport compliance also allows for the system, developed by Beyond Payments, MasterCard and Almex, to be adopted by any municipality. “The integration of a fare management system on the card is key and takes banks into a new space in value added services,” says Mike Hughes, Business Development Manager of Beyond Payments.

“Many of Beyond Payments’ products offer alternative payment mechanisms designed to relieve consumers of the need to carry cash. The MasterCard Muvo card is a particularly practical solution.”

“The card also allows for employers and parents to load their employees’ and children’s cards remotely. In addition, the light FICA limits mean that even though the cards are anonymous, there are solutions in place to replace cards in the event of theft or loss,” he added.
Security features incorporated into the MasterCard Muvo card are in-line with international standards. The contactless functionality, for example, eliminates the need for a magnetic stripe, which helps prevent card cloning. Fraudulent transactions facilitated by these techniques are estimated to run into the hundreds of millions of rands annually. The system also complies with Payment Association of South Africa (PASA) requirements, which govern inter-bank transfers.

According to Hughes, the most significant achievement of the MasterCard Muvo card is that it is an entry into the banking environment forSouth Africa’s unbanked population. With no monthly charges, the card offers a new level of security and convenience for citizens who choose to use it as their primary carrier for banking services.

The fact that the card can be accepted by merchants displaying the MasterCard or the MasterCard PayPass™ logos extends this financial inclusion further, as cardholders are able to make purchases with the card beyond the transit and contactless environments.

Up to R3 000 can be loaded onto The MasterCard Muvo card in one month, and it can carry a maximum balance of R1 500. The maximum payment per transaction is R200. These are referred to as Exemption 15 limits in terms of the Financial Intelligence Centre Act (FICA) and allow for the cards to be issued anonymously.

Commenting on MasterCard’s involvement in theeThekwini project, Dries Zietsman, country manager, South Africa, MasterCard Worldwide, says: “MasterCard is currently leading the introduction of contactless payments in the transit and retail environments in South Africa, using MasterCard PayPass™, the technology behind the MasterCard Cash brand that will appear on the Muvo cards.”

MasterCard PayPass™ technology is ideal for quick payment environments where speed is essential, such as transit, quick serve restaurants, petrol stations, supermarkets and movie theatres. Consumers can simply tap their MasterCard PayPass™-enabled card or device on a transit or retail MasterCard PayPass™ terminal, and the transaction is completed.

“The developments of the MasterCard Muvo card reinforces Standard Bank’s position as the leader in relevant banking innovation in Africa,” said Hughes, “coming on the back of Standard Bank’s highly successful prepaid voucher-based money transfersolutions (including Instant Money), Nigerian mobile payments license, the Lagos Petty Trader SME banking solution, its 10 000 bank shop rollout, and advances in operating the world first cashless powered rock festival at Oppikoppi last year,” says Hughes.

“These solutions have helped deliver solidly practical, simple, and compelling customer value propositions to drive financial Inclusion on the continent, and have often been world firsts,” he says.

Source: StandardBank.com

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EarthSearch Executes $1 Million Master Distributor Agreement with Asonics Live Interlink LTD Kenya

Posted on 09 March 2012 by AfricaBusiness.com

East Coast Diversified Corporation (OTC.BB: ECDC – News), through its subsidiary EarthSearch Communications, Inc., announces the execution of Master Distributor agreement with Asonics Live Interlink Kenya for $350,000 in equipment and services purchased each year under the three year licensing agreement.

The agreement would allow Asonics to be our exclusive representative in Kenya. Other partners in the market will now source products and support locally from Asonics which will be able to secure its own local distributors and partners to offer a variety of logistics solution provided by EarthSearch. EarthSearch technology provides complex logistics solution through its LogiBoxx device, the GATIS platform for monitoring fixed assets and cargo in transit. Solutions provided by EarthSearch includes Oil Tanker monitoring, Workforce management, Tool tracking, Electronic locks for cargo, Warehouse management and access control solutions using EarthSearch proprietary wireless communication between GPS and RFID.

“We have been working to establish strong presence in this region for some time now. It is a vibrant and fast growing market with significant need for cargo and asset security using advanced logistics application. I am looking forward to working with Thaddeus, Joyce and Jeff and all the other executives at Asonics,” said Kayode Aladesuyi, CEO of ECDC

Asonics has been testing and piloting the EarthSearch LogiBoxx device and RFID solutions over the last several months and recently committed to become a master distributor with minimum annual commitment allocated for the Kenya market. Asonics will also be able to sell on a non exclusive basis to other markets in the region.

“There is a significant need for EarthSearch technology and the solutions it provides in our country as well as in other markets in the region, the movement of cargo between countries in east Africa is now more vital than ever before. The recent launching of the Lamu port by Kenyan government which will link it with Ethiopia and Sudan in the effort to harness trade among African countries is a testament to the need for this solution,” said Mr Thaddeus Mailumunguti, CEO Asonics Live Interlink.

About East Coast Diversified Corporation

East Coast Diversified Corporation (OTC.BB: ECDC.OB) is a holding corporation with a diversified group of technology companies. Its business portfolio includes businesses offering technology for logistics and asset management, media entertainment technology, transportation safety and class attendance monitoring system and social media applications.

EarthSearch offers solutions using the world’s first wireless communication between GPS and RFID. EarthSearch delivers solutions relevant to the operations of businesses and governments across the globe, providing efficiency, cost saving, continuous visibility of assets and cargo in transit, with real time visibility across the entire supply chain. Solutions delivered include warehouse operation, movement of secured cargo, oil tankers, pipeline and other fixed assets management solutions. EarthSearch solutions integrate sensor technology for fuel monitoring, temperature sensor, weight sensors, door sensor and a variety of other custom applications.

StudentConnect also utilizes our proprietary wireless communication between GPS and RFID to provide transportation safety and class attendance monitoring solutions to schools, alerting parents and schools of safe departure and arrival of students riding on school buses and providing an automated class attendance monitoring system that engages parents with information about student behavior at school, including providing real time notification regarding truancy and skip class behavior. StudentConnect uses wireless technology integrated with GPS/RFID to gather and combine parental behavior, student behavior at school and academic data to create predictive analytics for school administrators that help with improving education.

Rogue Paper’s award-winning social media technology. TV Tune-In, developed by Rogue Paper, is a real-time, companion viewing and mobile app development platform for media companies to help drive viewership, conversation and interactions for television shows and content. TV Tune-In’s CMS allows media companies to develop branded iPhone and iPad apps for television shows and channels. Powering such category leading applications as MTV’s WatchWith and VH1′s Co-Star iPhone and iPad applications, users can actively comment along with their favorite show (live or time-shifted).

WetWinds, a new social media division scheduled to launch in summer 2012 will deliver interactive social media experience to audiences and users across the globe. Register to be part of the first one million global beta users at: www.wetwinds.us

For more information on East Coast Diversified Corporation and its group of companies please visit the company’s website at www.eastcoastdiversified.com.

“SAFE HARBOR” STATEMENT UNDER THE PRIVATE SECURITIES LITIGATION REFORM ACT OF 1995: The statements contained in this release which are not historical facts are forward-looking statements that are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those set forth in or implied by forward-looking statements. These risks and uncertainties include the Company’s entry into new commercial businesses, the risk of obtaining financing, recruiting and retaining qualified personnel, and other risks described in the Company’s Securities and Exchange Commission filings. The forward-looking statements in this press release speak only as of the date hereof, and the Company disclaims any obligation to provide updates, revisions or amendments to any forward-looking statement to reflect changes in the Company’s expectations or future events.

Editorial Contact
Glenn Davis
East Coast Diversified Corporation
+1 770-953-4184
866-503-9316
investorrelations@eastcoastdiversified.com

SOURCE East Coast Diversified Corporation

http://www.wetwinds.us

http://www.eastcoastdiversified.com

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Catalog: buses, trucks, ambulances, trailers, tank etc.

Posted on 09 February 2012 by AfricaBusiness.com

****************************************************************

Origin Ukraine

Please download catalog:

price ab10

Please contact VARBUSINESS @ GMAIL.COM

*****************************************************************

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Updated Catalog Of Buses, Trucks, Ambulance, Tanks, Trailers and other transports.

Posted on 29 January 2012 by AfricaBusiness.com

Updated Catalog Of Buses, Trucks, Ambulance and other transports

Please download .xls file with 3 pages. There you can see model’s range and prices. Transports from Ukraine/ 2011 year production/.

http://www.africabusiness.com/d_price_transports.xls

If you are interested please contact VARBUSINESS @ GMAIL.COM

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