Etisalat Nigeria in talks over missed payment on US$1.2bn loan

Etisalat1The Nigeria affiliate of the Abu-Dhabi telecoms company Etisalat are in conversation with local banks to renegotiate the terms of a US$1.2bn loan that it took out in 2013 after missing a payment 

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Vodafone Business Solutions at the helm of digitally transforming businesses in Ghana

ghanapicVodafone Ghana is the country's second-largest operator offering a high level of customer experience and superior network quality


Vodafone Business Solutions is at the helm of digitally transforming businesses in Ghana; from SoHos (Small Office Home Office) to Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and multinational companies. “Ghana and Africa does not have to evolve like Europe did in terms of the evolution of technology, we can skip steps and leapfrog into the future," said Angela Mensah-Poku, director for enterprise and wholesale at Vodafone Ghana. "Technology is empowering businesses and people to develop at a rapid rate. My remit is to make sure our clients’ businesses run as efficiently as possible by using innovative solutions.”

A significant part of her team's work is helping SMEs to become more digitalised in their business operations. “SMEs make up more than 85 per cent of Ghana's GDP, but the majority of which are not yet digital. We have to look at ways we can get these businesses ready for the future. For example, teaching small business owners on how to act global and be proudly local just by using their mobile phone, Vodafone cash and social media. A dressmaker in Sakumono [a suburb near Accra’s coastal area] can market her clothes and designs worldwide. This is the power of connectivity, m-commerce and innovation.

Regarding local corporate firms, she helps businesses find out how they can introduce flexible working to boost productivity. “Work is what you do, not where you are,” explained Angela. “The use of tablets and access to our Vodafone SuperNet is vital for businesses to perform effectively and freely. Our larger clients – multinationals –expect the same level of service from us in Ghana as it is in the UK or anywhere where their offices are based across the world, and it’s my challenge to provide it to them,” said Angela. Innovation is vital for Vodafone Business Solutions and this is apparent by the rollout of Internet of Things (IOT) by Vodafone Ghana last year. Companies in Ghana are now monitoring fuel usage, fleet, and assets, even smart – metering of utilities is taking place here and now, all powered by Vodafone’s unique IOT solutions.

Mobile money

The company has launched Vodafone Cash, which works in a similar way to M-Pesa in Kenya. “We have seen a huge uptake in the number of people that are sending money through their mobile,” continues Mensah-Poku. “It allows everyone to become part of the m-commerce ecosystem. Vodafone Cash and the things you can do with it is a fantastic innovation that is taking over Ghana.” Vodafone Cash can be used to pay for university fees, utility bills and even pay workers. “We have been able to localise services and made it accessible to all. "In Kenya, customers use M-Pesa to give food vouchers to refugees to buy items. It economically empowers the most vulnerable in the society, which in turn, stimulates the economy, who wouldn’t want to be part of this movement."

e-learning

Mensah-Poku says Vodafone Foundation is seeking to make an impact on people's lives through providing mobility solutions. "We have done things like 'instant schools' in Ghana. We feel passionate about bringing a stop to children learning under trees. We, therefore, make it possible for children to use tablets and gain access either to a local or international teacher so they can be taught in a formal setting, and be able to download their lessons. It’s trailblazing. "Our business also supports digital healthcare, a remote doctor-patient interface, which is huge in Ghana and across the continent. It allows patients to see their doctors without leaving their home. "The world of technology is transforming the lives of communities, individuals and businesses in Ghana and the call to action is simple, think big, be creative and make an impact, it’s a fantastic time to be part of this technological movement taking place in Ghana."

*Angela Mensah-Poku is a speaker at the Tech in Ghana conference on Monday 27 February, organised by AB2020, the UK Ghana Chamber of Commerce (UKGCC) and TEDxAccra.

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Mastercard launch mobile marketplace for Africa's agricultural sectors

2kuze makes transacting much safer and simpler for all stakeholders in the agricultural supply chain the farmer the buyer and t 003Mastercard kaunched 2KUZE this week, a digital platform that connects smallholder farmers, agents, buyers and banks in East Africa


In Nairobi, Kenya, on 17 January, Mastercard launched 2KUZE, which is Swahili for "let's grow together." The marketplace will enable farmers to buy, sell and receive payments for agricultural goods via feature phones. The platform will bring together the benefits and security of mobile commerce and payments to famers in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. 

2KUZE was developed at the Mastercard Lab for Financial Inclusion in Nairobi, which was set up in 2015 to develop practical and cost-effective financial tools that expand access and help build stable futures for more than 100mn people globally. Through a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Lab is working with East African entrepreneurs, governments and other stakeholders to develop local products rooted in the company’s global knowhow. 

2KUZE is being launched in partnership with Cafédirect Producers Foundation, a non-profit organization working with 300,000 smallholder farmers globally. Currently, 2,000 small-scale farmers in Nandi Hills, Kenya are using the solution to sell their produce and working with farmer-friendly agents to ensure they reach the right buyers for the best price.

“Eighty percent of farmers in Africa are classified as smallholder farmers having less than 1-2 acres of farming land, making it extremely difficult to drive growth and prosperity within this community, ” said Daniel Monehin, division president for Sub-Saharan Africa and head of financial inclusion for International Markets at Mastercard.

“We believe that by using mobile, a technology that is so ubiquitous among farmers in Africa, we can improve financial access, bring in operational efficiency and facilitate faster payments. The collaboration between the Lab team and farmers in the market helped to deliver a solution that can be implemented and make an impact without any major changes to the day-to-day.”

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Facebook strives for safer internet with partners on Safer Internet Day 2017

facebook 257829 1280Facebook has launched a series of initiatives to help make the internet safer for people across Africa on Safer Internet Day (7 February) 2017

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Kudelski Security highlights cybersecurity approach at IoT World Forum 2016

network 782707 1280Kudelski Security presented its security solutions on the first day of The Internet of Things (IoT) World Forum that took place 29-30 November at the Millenium Gloucester hotel in London

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