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The Minister of Communications, Haruna Iddrisu has entreated telecommunication companies in the country to respect the Gaming Law.
He said it is imperative for operators in the industry to adhere to the rules and stay away from any infraction that can cause any crisis in the industry.
He emphasised that “all telecom operators should respect Ghana’s Gaming Law, (Act 721, 2006) and that in undertaking your promotions, you should show utmost respect to the letter and spirit of that institution in order that we do not confuse your mandatory role of doing voice, video, data and now content.”
The Minister, who made the call during the launch of MTN Business at Alisa Hotel in Accra, encouraged the operators to “respect the approved guidelines of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Even as we become weary of the biological effect of electromagnetic field, we are particularly concerned about its physical hazards or implications to the Ghanaian people.”
MTN Business, which is a new unit within MTN Ghana, is focused on providing major organizations, mid-size and small businesses, wholesale customers and the public sector with a powerful resource that combines network and IT infrastructure with expertise in IT managed services, networking and communication solutions.
Some products and services on offer include: Leased Lines (National & International), Last Mile Access, Dedicated Internet, Shared / Dedicated IP Connect, VPN over Mobile. Others include Wi-Fi Hotspots, Co-Location Hosting Services, Convergence, Hosted Messaging & Collaboration and Cloud Computing & Virtualization.
The Acting Executive of MTN Business, Richard Densu stated at the launch that in today’s corporate world, businesses cannot survive without communications services and this is what MTN Business seeks to offer.
He said, “MTN Business is dedicated to the provision of end-to-end, diverse, reliable and cost-effective ICT solutions to the business community in Ghana.
These and many other initiatives are in line with MTN’s unrelenting effort to bring world-class telecommunications services to Ghanaians.”
He added that other infrastructure such as fiber optic and microwave networks across the country and beyond “gives us the opportunity to support the expansion and connectivity needs of your businesses.
We are also able to provide your business with dedicated and shared internet services virtually anywhere your business is located.”
In his address, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of MTN Ghana, Michael Ikpoki emphasized that “it is time for Ghana to leverage the growth prospects of this growing industry to speed up socio-economic development, explore the opportunities broadband brings and provide easy access to high-speed connection to the internet.”
Mr. Ikpoki said to support the core mission of MTN business in Ghana, MTN has invested $90 million in the 14,000km West African Cable System (WACS).
“The 5.12 terabites per second capacity cable will provide MTN subscribers in Ghana and across Africa with the much-needed bandwidth upon completion to support infrastructure in the coming months,” the CEO added.
The Minister of Trade and Industry, Hannah Tetteh was also present at the launch.
By Esther Awuah
Vice President John Dramani Mahama has praised the Chief Executive Officer of rLG Communications Limited, Roland Agambire, for taking a bold step to level the digital playing field in Ghana and asked other local Information and Communications Technology (ICT) firms to emulate his example.
rLG Communications is one of Ghana’s young, vibrant and innovative ICT companies which has commissioned the first-ever mobile phone and laptop assembly plant in Ghana and the entire African continent.
The Vice President, who commissioned the new ultra-modern assembly plant in Accra last Friday, cited Mr Agambire as an example of a successful entrepreneur under whose care the company had grown from strength to strength in recent months and urged the youth to take a cue from him.
“As young people, we must seek not only to be employees, but also to become employers employing other people. What makes successful entrepreneurs different from the rest of us is that they see opportunities and take advantage of it,” Mr Mahama stated.
The Vice President urged Ghanaians, especially the youth, who are aiming to set up their own business, to go beyond commerce and trading by using their hands and brains as instruments for a secure future.
He said the Better Ghana Agenda ICT Project could not be achieved without the support and participation of local IT companies and pledged government’s support for the development and growth of ICT in Ghana.
On his part, the Chief Executive Officer of rLG, Roland Agambire, noted that his outfit had a vision to empower the youth of Ghana and elsewhere in Africa, with the applied ICT skills needed to boost Africa’s economic emancipation.
He said although Ghana was endowed with numerous resources, these resources had failed to provide the country the needed geometric growth to economic prosperity, because of its weak technological base.
“We are very much aware of the enormous responsibilities on us as a business when we decided to venture into the assembling of mobile phones in Ghana here because that area has been a preserve of the Whiteman for years.
However, for us in rLG, we believe that the youth must be at forefront in projecting the positive image of Ghana to the rest of the world,” he noted, stating that the time had come for Ghanaians to patronise locally-made products.
Mr. Agambire said rLG Communications Limited has planned to set up an ultra-modern manufacturing plant by 2012, using the by-products of the down-stream oil industry as the main input to fabricate all its hardware components.
Other plans, he noted, were the establishment of a first-class technological research center to train and export technological expertise to the rest of the world, employ 30,000 youth under the ICT Module of the National Youth Employment Programme as well as listing on the Ghana Stock Exchange by 2011.
About 30,000 youth were trained by rLG under the NYEP ICT module. To support the realization of this dream, the company has fashioned out an integrated and robust exit strategy for the beneficiary youth under the module.
The beneficiaries, Mr. Agambire noted, would be engaged as instructors in the ever-expanding rLG Institute of Technology, employed as technicians and factory hands on the plant. He added that beneficiaries would also be set up at independent sales and service centers in demarcated territories.
rLG Communications was established in March 2001 as a private entity and has so far spread its tentacles to The Gambia and Nigeria. The company is the first in sub-saharan Africa to assemble mobile handsets. rLG Communications also trains the youth in mobile phone repairs and maintenance as well as the sale and servicing of mobile phones nationwide.
With its head office at Osu –Accra, rLG Communications has branch offices in all the ten regions in Ghana which undertake youth training in mobile phone repairs and the sale and repair of mobile phones. Additionally, each branch has a minimum of eight and a maximum of 16 sales and service centers which are all managed by trainees of the regional training institutions.
The company is currently running a project with the Ministry of Manpower Youth and Employment under the National Youth Employment programme (NYEP), with support from MASLOC.
rLG Communications is the sole implementer of the ICT Module of the NYEP. This project is aimed at training the youth in mobile phone repairs and servicing. The key objective of the project is to equip the unemployed youth with employable skills in mobile phone repairs, managerial and marketing skills that will guarantee financial freedom. This training programme has since 2008 passed out 1,000 trainees in Greater Accra and Ashanti Regions alone.
As part of the training programme, trainees are set up or employed in the company’s sales and service centers on a permanent basis. The sales and service centers of the company are business centers run by grandaunts of the training institutions, with the main task of undertaking sales and repairs of mobile phones and phone spare parts.
From Business Desk
An old African story teaches that the size of the elephant is no guarantee that it is safe from the machinations of small and lesser known animals in the forest.
So the tiny ant could find its way into the elephant’s nose, and the elephant would spend days begging the little ant to stop bitting.
The United States is the elephant of the international community, while the diminutive Australian man, Julian Assange, is the ant bitting deep into the nose of the American government and its numerous officials.
So he is Julian Assange, of no-fixed-address.
Using the incredible power of the Internet, Julian Assange’s whistle blowing website, Wikileaks, is publishing thousand of pages of classified communication between the US State Department and its embassies and consulates around the world.
The site, according to Assange, has come under some attack in the last few days, but he is not worried because he shared the information with the world’s media; namely, the Guardian of London, New York Times, the French newspaper Le Monde, the Spanish paper El Pais and Der Spiegel of Germany.
The damning contents in the leak suggests ordinary people around the world would have no chance of knowing about it for possibly decades, if ever.
Julian Assange and his collaborators simply say the United States is afraid of being held accountable for its actions. The US government on the other hand says Assange and his supporters are irresponsible and reckless, endangering numerous lives at home and abroad.
Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton has gone as far as saying the publication of classified diplomatic cables constitutes an attack on the international community.
It is an attack on the alliances and partnerships, the conversations and negotiations that safeguard global security and advance economic prosperity.
I am confident that the partnerships that the Obama administration has worked so hard to build, will withstand this challenge, said Clinton.
Taking the criticism to another level, Clinton said Every country, including the United States, must be able to have candid conversations about the people and nations with whom they deal. And every country, including the United States, must be able to have honest, private dialogue with other countries about issues of common concern.
Julian Assange and his supporters disagree. They say the disclosures are purely an exercise in democracy, which is partly understood to include embarrassing government officials and exposing what is seen as hypocrisy in national and international politics.
Assange’s Wikileaks has reportedly released more classified documents than the rest of the world press combined.
The result for Assange is that he is increasingly becoming an unlovable figure in governmental circles but his investigative skills are recognised and even celebrated by others.
Only last year, he won the 2009 Amnesty International Media Award for exposing extrajudicial assassinations in Kenya. He is even a leading contender in the poll for Time magazine’s 2010 person of the year.
Assange’s activities means he is forced to live a nomadic life, constantly on the move, and finding refuge in airports around the world.
He has lived, for undisclosed periods in Australia, Kenya and Tanzania. Last week, he was answering questions via video from an undisclosed location.
So he is Julian Assange, of no-fixed-address.
The Australian Attorney-General, Robert McClelland has said Australia will launch an inquiry into WikiLeaks and Assange’s activities. He said from Australia’s point of view, we think there are potentially a number of criminal laws that could have been breached by the release of this information. The Australian Federal Police are looking at that.
The Attorney General will also not rule out the possibility of having Assange’s passport cancelled.
On the other side of the world is a south American country called Ecuador, which has offered Assange residency through Deputy Foreign Minister Kintto Lucas with no conditions so he can freely present the information he possesses and all the documentation, not just over the Internet but in a variety of public forums.
For good, or for bad, or anywhere in-between, Assange/Wikileaks has, within four years, become a global force, totally rewriting the script for governments, the media, and for ordinary people.
An Information and Communication Technology (ICT) centre that will provide e-learning for the children and the general community of Asunafo North has been innaugurated at Mim in the Brong-Ahafo region.
The GH¢ 30,000 e-learning centre was initiated by the Member of Parliament for Asunafo North, Mr Robert Sarfo-Mensah, with funding from the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund).
centre was set up by e-toys & more, a member of the Digital Education Group and the leader in educational skills and development, providing technological solutions to the educational needs of children, schools and communities.
The components of the centre include; 10 HP computers, an HP server, wireless networking, a wide range of multimedia educational Software which covers pre-school to senior high school.
It also includes a digital library comprising the latest versions of Encarta Encyclopaedia and digital dictionaries, as well as an Internet facility.
Each of the computers has multimedia headsets and the centre caters for all the different learning styles, including kinaesthetic, visual and auditory learners.
The e-learning centre will serve about 1,000 students in the Mim community cluster of schools within the constituency.
Mr Sarfo-Mensah expressed delight that the schoolchildren in his constituency could now use ICT to enhance their learning and develop problem-solving skills.
He indicated that plans were underway to replicate the e-learning centre in other communities within the constituency.
The Executive President of e-toys, Mr George Sackey Jnr., said education was becoming completely technology-driven throughout the world where modern forms of delivery were being employed to replace the traditional ones.
He said through his company’s mission of providing technological solutions for the educational needs of children, they were spear-heading the move to bridge the technological gap between their part of the world and that of developed nations.
Mr Sackey presented a certificate to Mrs Sarfo-Mensah in appreciation of her immense contribution to the development of ICT education in Ghana.
The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of Nigeria, has appealed to governments in the sub-region to devise means of sharing information on the movement and activities of cybercriminals in the region.
According to Mrs Farida Waziri, it was easier to solicit and share information on cybercrimes and other criminal activities from security agencies in developed countries than in West Africa and Africa as a whole.
woman behind the crack-down on corrupt public officials in Nigeria, many of whom are serving prison terms, said “there is the need for free-flow of information and intelligence from all security agencies in order to combat crime effectively on the continent”.
“Currently, we do not even know who to contact for information when the need arises. This is serious because the criminals are getting smarter, sophisticated and proactive,” Mrs Waziri said in an exclusive interview with the Daily Graphic in Abuja, Nigeria.
She said criminals were getting more sophisticated each day and were collaborating with each other to commit more sophisticated crimes, and stressed the need for collaboration to fight them back.
She suggested the formation of a forum where information on criminal activities would be shared on a daily basis to protect the region from criminals.
“If we sit inactive, we would be taken by events. It is important we do not sit, wait and take action only after the criminals strike. We must strike first,” Mrs Waziri emphasised.
Touching on the EFCC’s fight against crime, she said the Commission had made tremendous progress in the fight against corruption to the extent that most suspects had either been convicted or were currently standing trial.
She also disclosed that some foreign companies operating in Nigeria were currently being investigated for allegedly paying bribes to public officials in order to secure contracts.
The EFCC, in conjunction with Microsoft, is currently organising a West African Cyber Crime Summit on the theme: ‘The Fight Against Cyber Crime: Towards Innovative and Sustainable Economic Development.”
More than 300 delegates, mainly law enforcement personnel from 10 West African countries, are attending the three-day summit.
The objectives of WACCS are to position the fight against cyber crime as a national priority to help the economic development of the region, provide a platform to develop capacity building with scalable and sustainable solutions, strengthen trust by developing partnerships among various stakeholders at the national and international level, and showcase best practices and case studies of partner organisations in combating cyber crime.
The other organisers of the summit are the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) with the Council of Europe, International Police Organisation (INTERPOL) and Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) in attendance.
The European Commission has launched an investigation into Google after other search engines complained that the firm had abused its dominant position.
The body said it would look into whether the world’s largest search engine lowered the ranking of competing services in its results.
probe follows complaints by firms including price comparison site Foundem and legal search engine ejustice.fr.
Google said it would work with the Commission to ‘address any concerns’. Earlier this year, the attorney general of Texas launched a similar investigation following complaints from firms including Foundem.
The objections in both cases are from competitors which allege that Google manipulates its search results. ‘The European Commission has decided to open an antitrust investigation into allegations that Google has abused a dominant position in online search,’ the body said in a statement.
It said the action followed ‘complaints by search service providers about unfavourable treatment of their services in Google’s unpaid and sponsored search results coupled with an alleged preferential placement of Google’s own services’.
It probably was inevitable that Google would get into trouble with competition authorities.
If you are as big as Google, you are bound to tread on people’s toes, regardless of whether you move carefully or morph into a corporate monster.
The European Commission’s competition watchdog has quite a track record with tech companies: Microsoft and Intel both received bloody noses and had to pay massive fines.
This case, though, will be a tricky one, because to determine the outcome the Commission will have to look closely at Google’s all-important search algorithm, the rules that determine whether your company shows up high or low in Google’s search results.
Google regularly tweaks this algorithm, and as it changes the ranking it can make or break companies.
To pin down the US search giant, the Commission will have to find a smoking gun, either in the algorithm itself, or in Google’s e-mail trail.
The Commission’s investigation does not imply any wrongdoing by Google.
December 02, 2010
Accra, Dec. 2, GNA – Mr Haruna Iddrisu, Minister of Communications, has reiterated that Government has no reasons to sabotage Nigerian businesses from operating in the country.
He was reacting to a report that Government was stopping Nigerian businessmen from operating in the country.
Mr Iddrisu was addressing an awards night dubbed “Medase” and organised by Technology Distributions Limited (TD), an Information Technology firm in Accra on Thursday.
The ceremony was in recognition and appreciation of some partner companies in the development of Information Communication Technology (ICT) in the country.
He said government would continue to provide an enabling environment for all business operations in the country, adding that it was also committed to partnering the private sector in the development of the ICT industry.
“The country is happy to deepen the co-existence between Ghana and its Nigerian counterparts,” he said.
The Minister said the country would establish a strategic intelligence ICT centre that would be the hub of information in the country.
Mr Iddrisu said an e-school project would be launched for schools nation- wide.
He congratulated the award winners on their achievement and asked them to continue to uphold the competence in the ICT sector.
Mrs Chioma Ekeh, Managing Director of TD, said the awards were the first of it kind in Ghana for players in the ICT industry.
She said it was also to encourage the companies to explore the opportunities in the sector to the development of all.
Mrs Ekeh noted that the ICT trends in the country were encouraging with the establishment of ICT centres and broadband facilities.
She said that Africans had to operate as one entity in the national and continental development.
Mrs Ekeh expressed the hope that there would be more partnership in the coming years that would promote an African digital Agenda.
She cautioned parents to regulate the level at which their children operated on the social networks.
In all, four companies were awarded in the TD silver and gold categories. The companies were IPMC Ghana Limited, GDS Limited, Sam Box Limited and TD Raising Stars.
Technology Distributions Limited is an IT firm that deals in hardware, software and other computer accessories with branches in Ghana, Nigeria, Zambia and the Netherlands.
December 02, 2010
Accra, Dec. 2, GNA – Mr Haruna Iddrisu, the Minister of Communications, on Thursday reiterated the government’s support for the establishment of Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) parks at selected places in the country to create jobs.
He said the IT-enabled Services Directorate of the Ministry had been instructed to provide support services for the project and had also begun promoting Ghana’s Technology Park in major international Technology Park forums.
“If Ghana is to make any progress in developing a high-tech export industry, a lot of effort will need to be directed at investing more into Research and Development activities,” he added.
Mr Iddrisu made this known at the Second Cape Coast ICT Park Stakeholders Forum, a platform that enabled IT experts to dialogue on financing such a facility.
The Minister said a technical team from the Smart Village of Egypt would be in the country this month to assist with the feasibility, development and marketing of the park as a modern technology centre for Research and Development that would deliver high-end ICT services to the Tourism and Services sectors as well as provide well-paying employment opportunities.
Mr Iddrisu said the government also aimed at making Ghana a Business Process Outsourcing destination where major ICT projects like making call-cards among other things could be done.
Explaining why Cape Coast was chosen as one of the centres the Minister said, he said the city was the educational hub of Ghana and therefore had a lot of human resource potential for the Park.
Dr Ekow Spio-Garbrah, former Chief Executive Officer of the Commonwealth Telecommunication Organization, said the project would adopt Public/Private people’s partnerships to ensure that everyone became part of it.
He said while the government and international organizations did their part, it was important that private businessmen and the citizens of Cape Coast also contributed to make the project a success.
Mr Christian Bansah, the Acting Chief Executive Officer of the Cape Coast ICT Park Company Limited, said the park would host state of the art facilities where people could easily access ICT services.
He said the ICT Park could create about 2,000 jobs for the youth in Cape Coast and also had the potential of attracting large national and international companies to invest in the city.
Will Africa be the next global success story in innovation? This is the question over 200 selected leaders from 25 countries across the world who have gathered in Kenya’s Rift Valley are pondering over and seeking answers to.
The first-ever Open Innovation Africa Summit (OIAS), organized by Nokia was aimed at stimulating critical thinking about the role of innovation in sustainable socio-economic development and creating a conducive environment for innovative entrepreneurial activities in Africa.
Summit delegates, who were made up of public policy specialists, researchers, entrepreneurs, Information Communication Technology (ICT) experts and financiers, identified a number of key issues for in-depth discussion including the need to create sustainable systems in the knowledge economy, heighten focus on research and development capacity building and the role of broader local, regional and international partnerships among all stakeholders as basic steps to catalyze new, demand-driven innovations to improve the standard of living in Africa.
One of the key themes of the summit was ‘Technology Platforms: leveraging technology to deliver public and private services to the underserved.’
Three thematic areas, which delegates discussed, were African Innovation Ecosystem; Enabling innovation for sustainable socio-economic development; Emerging Business Models for Serving the Poor; Building African success stories; Human Capital â Education for All; developing skills using technology.
In his address, Erkki Ormala, Vice President, Business Environment of Nokia, said considering the fact that Africa has the highest penetration growth rate for mobile phones in the world, the role of mobile technology in building an information ecosystem cannot be over emphasized.
He noted that innovation entrepreneurship in Africa can flourish if there is emphasis on monitoring, evaluation and learning and the roles of the various players are recognised.
‘Thus African governments have a role to play in creating an enabling environment to foster innovation, ensuring continuity and predictability at the public institution level for continued knowledge development,’ Mr. Ormala emphasized.
Currently, many countries in Africa are witnessing improved economic growth with some countries achieving as much as 12% GDP growth annually.
There is increased investment and an increasingly attractive business environment.
The completion of many submarine fibre optic cables linking Africa to the rest of the world has made more bandwidth available at significantly reduced prices making information more accessible to many more people.
This also presents a valuable opportunity for young people to be heard and participate in development through information and idea-sharing and entrepreneurship.
However, some key considerations remain in order to achieve a robust information society and knowledge economy.
Ensuring an enabling environment is pivotal in harnessing the power of innovations and developing a culture of technological entrepreneurship.
At the end of the summit, delegates put forward proposals on making it easy for innovators to get into the ecosystem and sustainable market enterprises that offer social solutions.
From Esther Awuah, Kenya
Whistle-blowing website Wikileaks has been forced to change its web address after the company providing its domain name cut off service.
EveryDNS.net said it had terminated services because Wikileaks.org
had come under massive cyber attacks.
But Wikileaks has already reappeared using a Swiss web address.
Wikileaks has also used micro-blogging site Twitter to urge its fans to redistribute its “raw” net address so it can be viewed at any time.
This numerical internet protocol (IP) address remains live and accessible even when web domains – the normal “www” addresses used to access most sites – are unavailable.
Experts say it is likely that Wikileaks has done deals with lots of web hosting companies, although many are likely to back away from dealing with the controversial site in the light of recent web attacks.
There is also a published list of mirror sites, which Wikileaks hopes will provide constant access to the site.
In a post on Twitter, Wikileaks acknowledged that its domain had been “killed” by EveryDNS.net.
It was not clear how long disruption to the wikileaks.org site would last.
In a statement on its website, EveryDNS.net said it had issued a 24-hour termination notice to Wikileaks which ended at 0300 GMT on 2 December.
It said the domain wikileaks.org had become the target of “multiple distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks”.
“These attacks have, and future attacks would, threaten the stability of the EveryDNS.net infrastructure, which enables access to almost 500,000 other websites,” it said.
“Any downtime of the wikileaks.org website has resulted from its failure to use another hosted DNS service provider,” it added.
Websites use web hosting firms such as EveryDNS.net to translate their raw IP addresses to a more memorable web address such as Wikileaks.org.
But the IP address of a website will also direct users to the site.
One web expert explained that Wikileaks had managed to re-establish web access via a different address.
“Users visiting the www.wikileaks.ch website appear to be directed via a Swedish website on to a server in France which is now hosting their main website,” explained Sebastien Lahtinen, director of web hosting firm NetConnex.
Hosting a web address in multiple locations at the same time is complicated, but there are specialists – such as DNS hosting providers and Content Distribution Networks (CDNs) – who stream major sporting events for high-profile sites.
“Wikileaks appears to be making its website available on multiple domain names/web addresses instead at present,” said Mr Lahtinen.
The Wikileaks situation is challenging the balance between free speech, commercial and technical pressures and the laws in different jurisdictions around the world. Continued