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“World’s Best Service” Awarded To Crystal Cruises By Travel + Leisure

Posted on 18 May 2013 by Africa Business

Magazine Readers Vote Luxury Line #1 of All Large Ships

Waiters prepare the Crystal Dining Room for dinner. (PRNewsFoto/Crystal Cruises)

LOS ANGELES /PRNewswire/ – Travel + Leisure magazine readers have voted Crystal Cruises as having the “World’s Best Service” of all large size cruise ships for 2013. With a #1 score of 95.41, this is the second year in a row the luxury cruise specialist has won the esteemed guest service award in its ship size category. A complete list of all hotel, resort, airline, and cruise line service winners is published in the periodical’s June issue.

Crystal has maintained exceptionally high service scores throughout its history, even after including gratuities as part of its all-inclusive enhancements a little over a year ago.

“We’re so pleased with the incredibly high-quality execution of our all-inclusive experience. Readers’ service scores mirror the ratings we’ve received from our own guest surveys,” says Crystal President Gregg Michel . “Our crew thrives on delivering the best Crystal Experience possible, down to the smallest detail, so it’s incredibly gratifying to see sophisticated travelers recognize that.”

Crystal is continually refining the guest experience and has made numerous enhancements to its Six-Star service over the past year. Gratuities, fine wines and premium spirits are now all included. Certified Master Sommeliers, Cheese Sommeliers, and Mixologists are always on hand to recommend perfect pairings. New Boutique Adventures and Private options have expanded onshore choices. New associations with Hollywood‘s Magic Castle and USC‘s School of Cinematic Arts offer additional learning and entertainment opportunities. New Fast Track Check-In has eased embarkation hassle. New VIP Airport Services simplify airline travel to and from ships. Maiden calls and new itineraries, including more local overnights and shorter voyages, have increased travelers’ cruise options. And, thanks to a five-year, $100 million investment in extreme makeovers of Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity, guests always have a plethora of chic, yet comfortable, spaces in which to enjoy Crystal’s luxurious service.

Crystal’s passion for taking care of guests in an inviting environment of extraordinary space, quality and choices has earned the company more “World’s Best” awards than any other cruise line, resort, or hotel in history, including, over the past year, Travel + Leisure‘s World’s Best Large-Ship Cruise Line (17th consecutive year); Conde Nast Traveler‘s Best Mid-Sized Cruise Line (19th year) and Cruise Ships (#1 and 2); and eight Travel Weekly Magellan Awards.

The 922-guest Crystal Symphony and the 1,070-guest Crystal Serenity sail to all seven continents, with voyages of 5-108 days in the Mediterranean, Western Europe, British Isles, Scandinavia/Baltic & Russia, North Cape & Arctic Circle, Africa, Asia, Australia/New Zealand, South Pacific, South America, Antarctica, New England/Canada, Panama Canal, Caribbean, and a sumptuous annual World Cruise. Until June 28, all-inclusive, value-priced “Book Now” fares start at just $1,630/person.

For more information and Crystal reservations, contact a travel agent, call 888-799-4625, or visit www.crystalcruises.com.

SOURCE Crystal Cruises

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The Global Armored and Counter IED Vehicles Market 2013-2023 – Market Size and Drivers: Market Profile

Posted on 16 May 2013 by Africa Business

NEW YORK, May 16, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Reportlinker.com announces that a new market research report is available in its catalogue:

The Global Armored and Counter IED Vehicles Market 2013-2023 – Market Size and Drivers: Market Profile

http://www.reportlinker.com/p01182628/The-Global-Armored-and-Counter-IED-Vehicles–Market-2013-2023—Market-Size-and-Drivers-Market-Profile.html#utm_source=prnewswire&utm_medium=pr&utm_campaign=Aerospace_and_Defense

Synopsis

This report provides readers with a comprehensive analysis of the Armored and Counter IED Vehicles market through 2013-2023, including highlights of the demand drivers and growth stimulators for Armored and Counter IED Vehicles. It also provides an insight on the spending pattern and modernization pattern in different regions around the world.

Summary

The global armored and counter IED vehicles market valued US$23.4 billion in 2013, and will increase at a CAGR of 2% during the forecast period, to reach US$28.7 billion by 2023. The market consists of six categories: APCs, LMVs, IFVs, MRAPs, MBTs and Tactical Trucks. The IFV segment is expected to account for 34% of the global armored and counter IED vehicles market, followed by the MBT segment with a share of 26.2%.

Reasons To Buy

“The Global Armored and Counter IED Vehicles Market 2013-2023 – Market Size and Drivers: Market Profile” allows you to:

- Gain insight into the Armored and Counter IED Vehicles market with current and forecast market values.- Understand the key drivers and attractiveness parameters of the global Armored and Counter IED Vehicles market.- Understand the various factors impacting the growth of the Armored and Counter IED Vehicles market.

Table of Contents 1 Introduction

1.1 What is this Report About?

1.2 Definitions

1.3 Summary Methodology

1.4 About Strategic Defence Intelligence

2 Global Armored and Counter IED Vehicles Market Size and Drivers

2.1 Armored and Counter IED Vehicles Market Size and Forecast 2013-2023

2.1.1 Global armored and Counter IED vehicles market expected to increase during the forecast period

2.2 Global Armored and Counter IED Vehicles Market – Regional Analysis

2.2.1 North America is expected to lead the global Armored and Counter IED vehicles market

2.2.2 New programs in armored vehicles in the US to support the global armored and counter IED vehicles market

2.2.3 Armored and counter IED vehicles market to be robust in Europe

2.2.4 Asia to be a lucrative market for armored and counter IED vehicles

2.2.5 Saudi Arabia and Israel expected to lead the armored and counter IED vehicles market in the Middle East

2.2.6 Demand for armored and counter IED vehicles in Africa is expected to reach US$910 million by 2023

2.2.7 Brazil to lead the armored and counter IED vehicles sector in the Latin American region

2.3 Armored and Counter IED vehicles Sub-Sector Market Size Composition

2.3.1 Infantry Fighting Vehicles and Main Battle Tanks to witness strong demand

2.3.2 IFVs to account for the highest expenditure in the global armored and counter IED vehicles market

2.3.3 Market size of Main Battle Tanks expected to grow at a CAGR of 4.1% during forecast period

2.3.4 Armored Personnel Carriers market to experience a marginal decline

2.3.5 Scheduled withdrawal of peacekeeping forces and integration of anti-mine armors on all vehicles to lower MRAP vehicle market

2.3.6 Light Multirole Vehicles market size is expected to decline during the forecast period

2.3.7 Tactical trucks market size expected to witness steady decrease in demand

2.4 Demand Drivers and Growth Stimulators

2.4.1 International peacekeeping missions expected to propel demand for armored and counter IED vehicles

2.4.2 Modernization initiatives will drive the demand for armored and counter IED vehicles

2.4.3 Internal and external security threats fuel the global demand for armored and counter IED vehicles

2.4.4 Increasing costs and capability of armored and counter IED vehicles result in demand for multirole vehicles

2.5 Defense Budget Spending Review

2.5.1 European capital expenditure expected to increase during the forecast period

2.5.2 Asian defense budgets expected to increase at a robust pace

2.5.3 North American defense expenditure projected to decline marginally during the forecast period

2.5.4 Modernization programs likely to drive defense expenditure in South American countries

2.5.5 Military budgets of African countries expected to increase during the forecast period

2.5.6 Defense budgets of Middle Eastern countries likely to increase during the forecast period

2.6 Defense Modernization Review

2.6.1 Debt crisis in Europe leading to postponement of modernization plans

2.6.2 Arms race in Asia reflected in modernization plans

2.6.3 North American modernization plans marginally affected by economic recession

2.6.4 Modernization programs in South America driven by replacement of obsolete armaments

2.6.5 African countries mainly spending on infantry weapons and surveillance and monitoring equipment to slow growing crime rate

2.6.6 Middle Eastern countries pursuing modernization of air force and air defense systems

3 Appendix

3.1 Methodology

3.2 About SDI

3.3 Disclaimer

List of Tables Table 1: Global Armored and Counter IED Vehicles Market Overview

Table 2: Global Armored and Counter IED Vehicles Market Overview

List of Figures Figure 1: Global Armored and Counter IED Vehicles Market (US$ Billion), 2013-2023

Figure 2: Armored and Counter IED Vehicles Market Breakdown by Region (%), 2013-2023

Figure 3: North American Armored and Counter IED Vehicles Market (US$ Billion), 2013-2023

Figure 4: European Armored and Counter IED Vehicles Market (US$ Million), 2013-2023

Figure 5: Asia-Pacific Armored and Counter IED Vehicles Market (US$ Million), 2013-2023

Figure 6: Middle East Armored and Counter IED Vehicles Market (US$ Million), 2013-2023

Figure 7: African Armored and Counter IED Vehicles Market (US$ Million), 2013-2023

Figure 8: Latin American Armored and Counter IED Vehicles Market (US$ Million), 2013-2023

Figure 9: Armored and Counter IED Vehicles Market Breakdown by Segment (%), 2013-2023

Figure 10: Global IFV Market Size (US$ Billion), 2013-2023

Figure 11: Global MBT Market Size (US$ Billion), 2013-2023

Figure 12: Global APC Market Size (US$ Billion), 2013-2023

Figure 13: Global MRAP Market Size (US$ Billion), 2013-2023

Figure 14: Global LMV Market Size (US$ Billion), 2013-2023

Figure 15: Global Tactical Truck Market Size (US$ Billion), 2013-2023

Figure 16: Defense Capital Expenditure of Top Three European Defense Spenders (US$ Billion), 2013-2023

Figure 17: Defense Capital Expenditure of Top Three Asian Defense Spenders (US$ Billion), 2013-2023

Figure 18: Defense Capital Expenditure of Top North American Defense Spenders (US$ Billion), 2013-2023

Figure 19: Defense Capital Expenditure of Top Three South American Defense Spenders (US$ Billion), 2013-2023

Figure 20: Defense Capital Expenditure of Top Three African Countries (US$ Billion), 2013-2023

Figure 21: Defense Capital Expenditure of Top Three Middle Eastern Defense Spenders (US$ Billion), 2013-2023

To order this report:Aerospace_and_Defense Industry: The Global Armored and Counter IED Vehicles Market 2013-2023 – Market Size and Drivers: Market Profile

Contact Clare: clare@reportlinker.com

US:(339) 368 6001

Intl:+1 339 368 6001

 

SOURCE Reportlinker

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Binghamton researcher studies oldest fossil hominin ear bones ever recovered

Posted on 15 May 2013 by Africa Business

Recently published paper indicates discovery could yield important clues on origins of humankind

 

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ – A new study, led by a Binghamton University anthropologist and published this week by the National Academy of Sciences, could shed new light on the earliest existence of humans. The study analyzed the tiny ear bones, the malleus, incus and stapes, from two species of early human ancestor in South Africa. The ear ossicles are the smallest bones in the human body and are among the rarest of human fossils recovered. Unlike other bones of the skeleton, the ossicles are already fully formed and adult-sized at birth. This indicates that their size and shape is under very strong genetic control and, despite their small size, they hold a wealth of evolutionary information.

The skull of Paranthropus robustus (SKW 18 SK 52) from the site of Swartkrans (South Africa). The specimen dates to approximately two million years ago and has yielded the oldest complete ossicular chain (malleus, incus and stapes) of a fossil hominin discovered to date. (PRNewsFoto/Binghamton University)

The study, led by Binghamton University anthropologist Rolf Quam , was carried out by an international team of researchers from institutions in the US, Italy and Spain. They analyzed several auditory ossicles representing the early hominin species Paranthropus robustus and Australopithecus africanus. The new study includes the oldest complete ossicular chain (i.e. all three ear bones) of a fossil hominin ever recovered. The bones date to around two million years ago and come from the well-known South African cave sites of Swartkrans and Sterkfontein, which have yielded abundant fossils of these early human ancestors.

The researchers report several significant findings from the study. The malleus is clearly human-like, and its size and shape can be easily distinguished from our closest living relatives, chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans. Many aspects of the skull, teeth and skeleton in these early human ancestors remain quite primitive and ape-like, but the malleus is one of the very few features of these early hominins that is similar to our own species, Homo sapiens. Since both the early hominin species share this human-like malleus, the anatomical changes in this bone must have occurred very early in our evolutionary history. Says Quam, “Bipedalism (walking on two feet) and a reduction in the size of the canine teeth have long been held up as the ‘hallmark of humanity’ since they seem to be present in the earliest human fossils recovered to date. Our study suggests that the list may need to be updated to include changes in the malleus as well.” More fossils from even earlier time periods are needed to corroborate this assertion, says Quam. In contrast to the malleus, the two other ear ossicles, the incus and stapes, appear more similar to chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans. The ossicles, then, show an interesting mixture of ape-like and human-like features.

The anatomical differences from humans found in the ossicles, along with other differences in the outer, middle and inner ear, are consistent with different hearing capacities in these early hominin taxa compared to modern humans. Although the current study does not demonstrate this conclusively, the team plans on studying the functional aspects of the ear in these early hominins relying on 3D virtual reconstructions based on high resolution CT scans. The team has already applied this approach previously to the 500,000 year-old human fossils from the Sierra de Atapuerca in northern Spain. The fossils from this site represent the ancestors of the Neandertals, but the results suggested their hearing pattern already resembled Homo sapiens. Extending this type of analysis to Australopithecus and Paranthropus should provide new insight into when our modern human pattern of hearing may have evolved. The study has just been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

SOURCE Binghamton University

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GSMA Establishes Office In Nairobi To Support Burgeoning African Telecoms Market

Posted on 15 May 2013 by Africa Business

Mobile Connections in Sub-Saharan Africa Increase 20 Per Cent to 500 Million in 2013 and Are Expected to Increase by an Additional 50 Per Cent by 2018

iHub is Nairobi‘s Innovation Hub for the technology community, which is an open space for the technologists, investors, tech companies and hackers in the area. This space is a tech community facility with a focus on young entrepreneurs, web and mobile phone programmers, designers and researchers. It is part open community workspace (co-working), part vector for investors and VCs and part incubator. More information can be found here: http://www.ihub.co.ke/about

About the GSMA
The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide. Spanning more than 220 countries, the GSMA unites nearly 800 of the world’s mobile operators with more than 230 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset makers, software companies, equipment providers and Internet companies, as well as organisations in industry sectors such as financial services, healthcare, media, transport and utilities. The GSMA also produces industry-leading events such as the Mobile World Congress and Mobile Asia Expo.


NAIROBI, Kenya, May 15, 2013 /PRNewswire/ – The GSMA today announced that it has opened a permanent office in Nairobi, Kenya. The office will be based in the heart of Nairobi‘s Innovation Hub (iHub) for the technology community and will enable the GSMA to work even more closely with its members and other industry stakeholders to extend the reach and socio-economic benefits of mobile throughout Africa.

“It is an exciting time to launch our new office in Africa, as the region is an increasingly vibrant and critical market for the mobile industry, representing over 10 per cent of the global market,” said Anne Bouverot , Director General, GSMA. “The rapid pace of mobile adoption has delivered an explosion of innovation and huge economic benefits in the region, directly contributing US$ 32 billion to the Sub-Saharan African economy, or 4.4 per cent of GDP. With necessary spectrum allocations and transparent regulation, the mobile industry could also fuel the creation of 14.9 million new jobs in the region between 2015 and 2020.”

According to the latest GSMA’s Wireless Intelligence data, total mobile connections in Sub-Saharan Africa passed the 500 million mark in Q1 2013, increasing by about 20 per cent year-on-year. Connections are expected to grow by a further 50 per cent, or 250 million connections, over the next five years which requires greater regulatory certainty to foster investment and release of additional harmonised spectrum for mobile.

The region currently accounts for about two-thirds of connections in Africa but the amount of spectrum allocated to mobile services in Africa is among the lowest worldwide. Governments in Sub-Saharan Africa risk undermining their broadband and development goals unless more spectrum is made available. In particular, the release of the Digital Dividend spectrum – which has the ideal characteristics for delivering mobile broadband, particularly to rural populations – should be a priority.

The region also has some of the highest levels of mobile internet usage globally. In Zimbabwe and Nigeria, mobile accounts for over half of all web traffic at 58.1 per cent and 57.9 per cent respectively, compared to a 10 per cent global average. 3G penetration levels are forecast to reach a quarter of the population in Sub-Saharan Africa by 2017 (from six per cent in 2012) as the use of mobile-specific services develops.

However, despite the high number of connections, rapid growth and mobile internet usage, mobile penetration among individuals remains relatively low. Fewer than 250 million people had subscribed to a mobile service in the region, putting unique subscriber penetration at 30 per cent, meaning that more than two-thirds of the population have yet to acquire their first mobile phone. Clearly, there is an important opportunity for the mobile industry to bring connectivity, access to information and services to the people in this region.

The mobile industry contributes approximately 3.5 million full-time jobs in the region. This has also spurred a wave of technology and content innovation with more than 50 ‘innovation hubs’ created to develop local skills and content in the field of ICT services, including the Limbe Labs in Cameroon, the iHub in Kenya and Hive Colab in Uganda.

Of particular note is the role of Kenya as the global leader in mobile money transfer services via M-PESA, a service launched by the country’s largest mobile operator Safaricom in 2007. What started as a simple way to extend banking services to the unbanked citizens of Kenya has now evolved into a mobile payment system based on accounts held by the operator, with transactions authorised and recorded in real time using secure SMS. Since its launch, M-PESA has grown to reach 15 million registered users and contributes 18 per cent of Safaricom’s total revenue.

To support this huge increase in innovation, the mobile industry has invested around US$ 16.5 billion over the past five years (US$ 2.8 billion in 2011 alone) across the five key countries in the region, mainly directed towards the expansion of network capacity. At the same time, given the exponential growth, Sub-Saharan Africa faces a looming ‘capacity and coverage crunch’ in terms of available mobile spectrum and the GSMA is working with operators and governments to address this critical issue.

GSMA research has found that by releasing the Digital Dividend and 2.6GHz spectrum by 2015, the governments of Sub-Saharan Africa could increase annual GDP by US$82 billion by 2025 and annual government tax revenues by US$18 billion and add up to 27 million jobs by 2025. In many Sub-Saharan African countries, mobile broadband is the only possible route to deliver the Internet to citizens and the current spectrum allocations across the region generally lag behind those of other countries.

“A positive and supportive regulatory environment and sufficient spectrum allocation is critical to the further growth of mobile in Africa,” continued Ms. Bouverot. “I am confident that now that we have a physical presence in Africa, we will be able to work together with our members to put the conditions in place that will facilitate the expansion of mobile, bringing important connectivity and services to all in the region.”

For more information, please visit the GSMA corporate website at www.gsma.com or Mobile World Live, the online portal for the mobile communications industry, at www.mobileworldlive.com.

SOURCE GSMA

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MTN UGANDA FOUNDATION ENDORSES ALL SAINTS COMMUNITY INITIATIVES

Posted on 15 May 2013 by Africa Business

All Saints Cathedral Cheque Hand Over

MTN Uganda Foundation has joined All Saints Cathedral in a drive to raise money to support the cathedral’s community initiatives as well as build the new church building.

Speaking during a courtesy call on the New Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, the MTN Uganda CEO Mazen Mroué said that MTN is heartened by the noble community activities the church is involved in, saying they resonate with the telecommunication giant’s philosophies on Corporate Social Responsibility

All Saints Cathedral is one of the oldest churches in Uganda, and is involved in community activities such as Compassion and Hospitality for street kids, orphans and the destitute, counseling and health/healing (HIV/AIDS initiatives), education, Stewardship, Leadership development and a host of other youth programs.

“We are motivated by what All Saints Cathedral stands for because it’s in line with what our MTN foundation believes in. There are many people out there that need a compassionate hand. At MTN, we are not involved in such activities directly, but we are very glad to lend a helping hand to such institutions that drive such noble causes,” said Mazen Mroué’ CEO MTN Uganda.

During the same visit, MTN Uganda contributed shs10 million towards the construction of the new cathedral building, which is intended to create more room for the barging Christian community that throng the church all week. The new building will also create more capacity for it to do more community activities.

The current church was build many years ago with a plan to accommodate 600 people, but this has become very small. The new building is planned to take up to 4500 people.

Mazen called upon every individual and institution to make a contribution towards such causes, whether financially or physically.

“AT MTN, we know the importance of giving back to the communities in which we operate. By this contribution, we hope that we have re-ignited the drive for more people to come and be a part of this support great initiative,” Mroué said.

The Archbishop of the church of Uganda, Stanley Ntagali said that MTN’s support is very timely as the activities of the church are financially demanding and yet there is always need for more.

“The church depends on contributions of its members as well as well-intentioned companies like MTN Uganda. We would like to encourage more people to borrow a leaf from MTN and come in to support the church,” he said.

The MTN Uganda Foundation is a not-for-profit legal entity that was inaugurated in July 2007 as a vehicle through which MTN Uganda implements its’ Corporate Social Investments (CSI). The Foundation strives to improve the quality of life in communities where MTN Uganda operates in a sustainable way. Over the past five years since its launch, the MTN Foundation has supported a number of initiatives in the areas of Education, Health, Arts and Culture, Environment, Community Development and Low cost housing.

The MTN Uganda Foundation partners with both public and non-profit credible organizations to execute sustainable projects in each of the chosen focus areas. The Foundation is committed to ensuring that the selection and approval of its projects are conducted in a manner that is transparent, systematic, efficient, and effective while promoting its mission.

In 2013 and onwards, the MTN Foundation will focus on three key areas so as to leverage scale to achieve significant development impact. The three sectors will be Education, Health and National Priority Areas.

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Airtel reiterates commitment to customers in Uganda

Posted on 15 May 2013 by Chancy Namadzunda

Bharti Airtel (“Airtel”), a leading global telecommunications services provider with operations in 20 countries across Asia and Africa, today reiterated its commitment to Uganda and said it will “continue to make investments and offer world-class and affordable services to customers in the country”.

Airtel’s proposed acquisition of Warid Telecom has received approvals from the Uganda Communications Commission. With this, Airtel will further consolidate its position as the second largest mobile operator in Uganda with a combined customer base of over 7.2 million and market share of over 39%.

Warid customers will be able to retain their existing mobile numbers and continue to enjoy benefits such as remaining balances in their SIM and existing services. In addition, Warid customers will benefit from Airtel’s ‘One Network’ across 20 countries and get access to innovative products and roaming benefits on successful completion of integration.

Airtel Uganda Managing Director Mr. V.G. Somasekhar said, “We welcome Warid customers to the Airtel global network and assure them of a world-class experience. This acquisition will create a superior and wider network and we will invest more in key areas such as technological innovation and customer service.

“Further, the existing Warid customer will also be enjoying all Airtel services such as the widest 3G coverage, Blackberry services and superior roaming serviceson successful completion of integration. During this transition, I want to reassure Warid customers of our commitment to providing world-class, affordable services to customers in Uganda. They should also be assured of the security and continuity of Warid Pesa services during this period”.

He added: “After the successful completion of integration, Warid customers will begin to enjoy benefits of the 0ne network with lower roaming rates across Africa and South Asia that other Airtel Customers have been enjoying. It’s a great beginning to a journey with our loyal Uganda customers and for the economy as a whole.”

With presence across 17 African countries, Airtel is the largest telecom service provider across the Continent in terms of geographical reach and had over 62 million customers at the end of quarter ended December 31, 2012. Globally, Airtel is ranked as the 4th largest mobile services provider in terms of customer base.

Bharti Airtel Limited is a leading global telecommunications company with operations in 20 countries across Asia and Africa. Headquartered in New Delhi, India, the company ranks amongst the top 4 mobile service providers globally in terms of subscribers.

In India, the company’s product offerings include 2G, 3G and 4G wireless services, mobile commerce, fixed line services, high speed DSL broadband, IPTV, DTH, enterprise services including national & international long distance services to carriers. In the rest of the geographies, it offers 2G, 3G wireless services and mobile commerce. Bharti Airtel had over 271 million customers across its operations at the end of March 2013.

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IFC Promotes Mobile Financial Services in Cote d’Ivoire to Encourage Inclusive Development

Posted on 14 May 2013 by Africa Business

ABIDJAN, Côte d’Ivoire, May 14, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and The MasterCard Foundation today convened key financial industry players to build further momentum for mobile financial services in Cote d’Ivoire. The event recognized the market’s enormous potential, especially for increasing access to finance for low income households, small scale businesses and in hard-to-reach areas.

 

Mobile phone penetration in Cote d’Ivoire is more than 90 percent, while only 14 percent of Ivoirians have access to financial services. Mobile network operators have registered more than two million mobile financial services customers in the past three years. The Ivorian market for mobile financial services is the largest and the most dynamic in the West African Economic and Monetary Union region.

 

Cassandra Colbert, IFC Resident Representative in Cote d’Ivoire,

said,”Improving access to finance is important for supporting shared prosperity in Cote d’Ivoire. IFC and The MasterCard Foundation want to help local financial institutions realize the opportunity in Cote d’Ivoire for the development of agent banking and mobile financial services that will accelerate the reach of financial services to those currently without banking services.”

 

At the seminar in Abidjan, IFC highlighted the business case for engaging in mobile financial services in Cote d’Ivoire. The workshop marked the beginning of the implementation of a four year program by IFC and The MasterCard Foundation to contribute to the development and expansion of mobile financial services in the country.

 

IFC and The MasterCard Foundation consider access to financial services a key tool in poverty alleviation that can dramatically change the lives of the economically marginalized.

 

About The Partnership for Financial Inclusion In January 2012 IFC and The MasterCard Foundation launched the $37.4 million Partnership for Financial Inclusion to bring financial services to an estimated 5.3 million previously unbanked people in Sub-Saharan Africa in five years. The program aims to develop sustainable microfinance business models that can deliver large-scale low-cost banking services, and provides technical assistance to mobile network operators, banks and payments systems providers in order to accelerate the development of low-cost mobile financial services.

 

About IFC

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. We help developing countries achieve sustainable growth by financing investment, mobilizing capital in international financial markets, and providing advisory services to businesses and governments. In FY12, our investments reached an all-time high of more than $20 billion, leveraging the power of the private sector to create jobs, spark innovation, and tackle the world’s most pressing development challenges. For more information, visit http://www.ifc.org

 

SOURCE

International Finance Corporation (IFC) – The World Bank

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Mobile Technologies to Fast Track Financial Transactions for the Unbanked in Asia

Posted on 14 May 2013 by Africa Business

4th Annual Summit on Mobile Payments & Banking Greater Mekong/ Emerging Markets will be taking place in Phnom Penh, Cambodia from 12-13 June 2013.

Singapore, Singapore –(PR.com)– 1. Mobile technology is fast becoming the first choice for many consumers to access financial services especially among the economies of the unbanked population. At the 4th Annual Summit on Mobile Payments & Banking Greater Mekong/ Emerging Markets which will be taking place in Phnom Penh in Cambodia on 12 – 13 June 2013, key industry stakeholders from the financial institutions, mobile operators and solution providers will congregate to discuss the latest developments in mobile payments in the growing affluent economies of South East Asia, South Asia, East Asia, Central Asia, Eurasia, Middle East and Oceania.

2. This year summit’s will have a special focus on emerging economies of Fiji, Indonesia, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar. Key issues include an assessment of the growing opportunities in the region, success stories on how to design, establish and operationalize mobile payments solutions, evaluation of the various technology and challenges, discussion on IT strategies to drive revenue opportunities, cost efficiencies and the future transformation of the customer retail banking experience.

3. Companies expected to speak at the summit include: National Bank of Cambodia, Department of Finance, (Philippines), VeriFone, Rural Bankers Association of the Philippines, Quezon Capital Rural Bank, Hattha Kaksekar, ACLEDA Bank Plc, Viettel Telecom, Globe Telecom Inc / G-Xchange Inc, BICS Asia, Maybank, Chunghwa Telecom, Western Union, Standard Chartered Bank, Alpha Payments Cloud, Bank Mandiri, Etisalat, ControlCase, EPIC Lanka Group, Ayeryarwady Bank, Vodafone, FINTEL Fiji, Bank of the Lao PDR, Bank of Ayudhya and more.

4. EPIC Lanka Group, a world class software solutions provider in its core technology areas of Secure Electronic Payments and Information Systems Security is the summit’s Associate Sponsor.

5. Exhibitors at the summit include SecureMetric, the fastest growing digital security technology company and ControlCase, a United States based company with headquarters in McLean, Virginia and PCI center of excellence in Mumbai, India.

6. The CEO of the conference organizing company, Magenta Global Pte Ltd, Singapore, Ms Maggie Tan, said: “A new report from Juniper Research finds that over 1 billion phone users will have made use of their mobile devices for banking purposes by the end of 2017, compared to just over 590 million this year. The emerging economies in this region are likely to see a huge increase in mobile subscribers who are mostly unbanked. Banks must implement at least one mobile banking offering either via messaging, mobile browser or an- app based service. Some banks are already doing so with larger banks deploying two or more of these technologies. This Summit has been specially convened to take the industry forward.” She invites all telco operators, financial institutions and technology service providers to join this Summit and contribute to the greater development of the banking and financial services sector in this region.

7. The event will be held at the NagaWorld Hotel.

Notes for Editor

About Magenta Global – Organizer

Magenta Global Pte Ltd is a premier independent business media company that provides pragmatic and relevant information to government & business executives and professionals worldwide. The organization provides the opportunity to share thought-provoking insights, exchange ideas on the latest industry trends and technological developments with thought leaders and business peers. With a strong focus in emerging economies especially in Africa, Middle East & Central Asia, Magenta Global works in partnership with both the public and private sectors.

About EPIC Lanka Group – Associate Sponsor

Established in 1998, Epic is a trendsetter and renowned for innovative software solutions in the region. The company has successfully implemented pioneering mobile banking solutions in Sri Lanka, Malaysia and several other countries winning an unprecedented number of national and international accolades in the recent past including APICTA Gold Award for Asia pacific’s best banking solution. Time and again Epic has proved their technological dominance, product supremacy and entrepreneurial excellence at Asia Pacific level.

About SecureMetric – Exhibitor

SecureMetric is one of the fastest growing digital security technology company. Our products and solutions have been successfully shipped and implemented in more than 35 countries worldwide. As a multinational company, SecureMetric’s technical team consist of top security experts from China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Middle East, Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam and United Kingdom. Cross region and cross culture exposure has made SecureMetric a company that is always ahead. With our innovative products and services, we are poised to help our customers to be the best in their industry.

About ControlCase – Exhibitor

ControlCase provide solutions that address all aspects of IT-GRCM (Governance, Risk Management and Compliance Management). ControlCase is pioneer and largest provider of Managed Compliance Services and Compliance as a Service and a leading provider of Payment Card Industry related compliance services globally.
Magenta Global
Merilynn Choo
65 6391 2549
Contact

http://www.magenta-global.com.sg/GreaterMekongMobilePayments2013/

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Denmark to launch new development programme for Zimbabwe

Posted on 14 May 2013 by Wallace Mawire

Denmark is planning to launch a new development programme in mid 2013 with substantial increase in budget  support for Zimbabwe, according to State Secretary of the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr L.B.Petersen who recently visited the southern African country.

Petersen’s visit which marked the highest ranking visit from Denmark in years was meant to facilitate high-level consultations covering a range of issues.  “The visit is also an opportunity to launch the first case of direct support from a traditional donor to the government of Zimbabwe.Denmark will on a pilot basis launch direct support to the Judicial Service Commission in their rehabilitation of magistrates courts,” Petersen said.

Denmark is one of the major bilateral donors in Zimbabwe with a long history in the country going way back to the Nordic solidarity during the struggle for independence.

Petersen said that his government plans to spend approximately $40 million a year to support the government of Zimbabwe in various areas.

“We are currently in the process of formulating a new Denmark-Zimbabwe partnership programme for 2013-2015. The increased size and budget of the new partnership programme is a testament of our continued support to development in this country,” he said.

He added that a key priority in the programme is to contribute to the reduction of gender based violence in Zimbabwe.

“We do this through support to projects and programmes which address specific needs and concerns of women exposed to gender based violence,” Petersen said.

Some of the support will be channeled towards the agricultural smallholder sector,employment creation,value chain creation,promotion of good governance,rule of law and support to civil society.

According to Petersen, the Danish government has previously supported the government of Zimbabwe with $15,2 million for infrastructure rehabilitation under the Zimbabwe Multi-Donor Trust Fund (ZMDTF).

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ZIMFUND launches first phase of Zimbabwe’s water supply and sanitation rehab project

Posted on 14 May 2013 by Wallace Mawire

by Wallace Mawire

The Zimbabwe Multi-Donor Trust Fund (ZimFund) urgent Water Supply and Sanitation Rehabilitation Project phase one expected to increase the reliability, quality and availability of water, restore wastewater treatment capacity and reduce the incidence of cholera and other water related diseases has been launched, according to the Zimfund Manager,  Engineer Emmanuel Nzabanita.

The ZimFund Manager reports that Zimfund has handed-over the site of Mutare water and sanitation works to the contractor. This project, valued at  $9.04 million, is the first to be implemented under the Fund’s overall $29.65 million Urgent Water Supply and Sanitation Rehabilitation Project (UWSSRP), which will also see developments in the municipalities of Chegutu, Chitungwiza, Harare, Kwekwe and Masvingo.


The UWSSR project has been designed to improve the health and social well-being of the residents of the beneficiary cities, through the equitable provision of adequate water supply and sanitation services.

The ZimFund grant will enable the provision of urgent support for the restoration and stabilization of water supply and sanitation services in the six municipalities, by undertaking emergency rehabilitation to the systems and reducing pollution of the water sources.

In Mutare, the project comprises of  the partial rehabilitation of Odzani Water Treatment works, the completion of the Chikanga Reservoir, the completion of the Mutare Trunk Sewer, the rehabilitation of Gimboki Sewerage Treatment Works and  the supply of laboratory and other equipment for maintenance.

ZimFund Manager, Eng. Emmanuel Nzabanita said, “I am delighted that this project that is expected to have a major impact on the people living in Mutare has commenced.”

The rehabilitation of Chikanga Water Reservoir, the Gimboki BNR Sewage treatment plant and the pipeline for the outfall sewer is expected to improve the water and sanitation services considerably.

The restoration of some wastewater treatment capacity in the project areas will reduce pollution to the fresh water sources and the immediate environment.

In addition to the water and sanitation projects, ZimFund is also supporting the Emergency Power Infrastructure Rehabilitation Project (EPIRP) to the tune of $35 million, benefitting the electricity consuming public in Zimbabwe – especially the poor.

The second project is expected to help rehabilitate the Ash Plant at Hwange Power Station (HPS), in addition to sub-transmission and distribution facilities in Atlanta (Murehwa), Criterion (Bulawayo), Gweru, Kadoma, Marvel (Bulawayo), Mazowe, Mpopoma (Bulawayo), Norton, Pomona (Harare), Redcliff, Sherwood (Kwe Kwe), Victoria Falls, Zisco (Redcliff), Zvishavane and electricity distribution facilities throughout the country.

Once complete, these refurbishments and reinforcements of the sub-transmission and distribution networks are expected to  improve system reliability and allow the restoration of supply services to about 22,000 customers in various neighbourhoods across the country that presently have no access to electricity services.

The EPIR Project is linked to UWSSR Project, in that it will also improve the electricity supply to the water treatment plant of the Harare city water supply as well as the other five urban water supply systems, with a possible contribution to the reduction in the incidence of cholera and other water related diseases, according to the Zimfund Mamager.

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