Thursday, 30 January 2014

Bharti Airtel Africa Gets New CEO

Mr Christian de Faria has been appointed as the new managing director (MD) and chief executive officer (CEO) for Bharti Airtel Africa, with the responsibility to oversee the company’s operations in 17 countries in the continent.

Mr Faria previously served in various key positions at MTN South Africa between June 2011 and January 2013 before moving to Airtel Africa.

The 17 African countries include: Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Zambia, Uganda, Malawi, DRC, Rwanda, Niger, Burkina Faso, Gabon, Chad, Congo, Madagascar and Seychelles.

Meanwhile, former Bharti International MD and CEO, Mr Manoj Kohli will now take over as MD of Bharti Enterprises to lead the oversight of the group’s non-telecom businesses.

UN Women, Mara Foundation Announce Partnership

At the Africa Union Summit held in Ethiopia yesterday, 29 January, UN Women and Mara Foundation announced a partnership that will see the two bodies working together to provide mentoring, training and business tools designed to meet the individual needs of women entrepreneurs in Africa.

Among other initiatives, 'Mara Mentor', has been developed by Mara Online (mentor.mara.com) to help young entrepreneurs connect with their industry peers,  and gain access to valuable business advice, online networking opportunities and training materials.

The women entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to better connect with policymakers, researchers, teachers, students, civil society activists, investors, social change-makers; access resources and training for the development of business skills; and develop an understanding of how to overcome specific challenges to gender equality.

The Mara Group is a young and dynamic company synonymous with professionalism, integrity, innovation and entrepreneurial flair. We take pride in our energetic and long-term approach to relationships with employees, partners and clients.

IBM opens client centre in Johannesburg

In bid to further extend its tentacles in Africa, IBM’s South African subsidiary has opened a multimillion-dollar client centre in Johannesburg - becoming the second of such facility to be launched by IBM on the continent.

According to IBM, the centre will provide access to cloud computing resources, analytics and big data services, with access available to IBM clients and partners, as well as developers, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and academics.

Users of the facility will be able to participate in virtual and in-person training, test out new products, network with peers from around the world, and receive mentoring and guidance from IT and business experts, the company notes.

Facebook Team Visit Konga.com’s Headquarters As Konga Wins CEAN Awards

As one of the fastest emerging e-commerce powerhouse in Nigeria and Africa at large, a 12 member team of the social media giant, Facebook.com, paid a courtesy visit to Konga.com offices on the 28th January, 2014.
Facebook Team Visit Konga.com's Headquarters Konga Wins CEAN Awards

Leading the delegation of social media gurus, Nichola Mendelsohn; Head of Facebook, Europe, Middle East and Africa, met and addressed the Konga leadership and Marketing team, where she highlighted the role and importance of Konga as a success story with a reputation that has gone beyond local shores but quickly gaining traction around Africa despite having only being in existence for less than 2 years.

The team were really interested in how Konga has been able to stamp its footprint in Nigeria in such a short time with plenty of positive feedback coming from users on Facebook

Adding further, she also emphasized their admiration and satisfaction for the successful execution of Konga’s Black Friday/Cyber Friday-Fall Yakata and Konga’s Christmas Campaigns while expressing their desire to further strengthen Facebook’s relationship with the Konga brand with mutually beneficial partnerships that would help the brand and over 12 million active people using Facebook in Nigeria as a whole.

Nigeria Commence Open Data Initiative

The Ministry of Communications Technology has commenced the Open Data Development Initiative to support Federal Government’s objective of driving innovation, investment and economic growth.

The Open Data Development Initiative, which the World Bank supports, aims to highlight the potential efficiency, innovations and public value that can be achieved when government uses technology to open its data.
Mrs Omobola Johnson,
Minister of Communication Technology

The commencement of this process makes Nigeria the world’s first federal Open Data initiative to simultaneously launch inclusive and continuing consultations with both government and nongovernment communities on their Open Data priorities to develop the country’s national Open Data implementation plan.

‘’Data is becoming increasingly important in all aspects of our life. When analysed and presented in an intelligent format, data is essential to making informed decisions that produce value. The essence of publishing non-sensitive government data online is to deliver value-adding insights that benefit citizens’’

‘’ We would like to ensure that our Open Data initiative is driven by demand. We will be guided by the practical needs of Nigerians to ensure that Open Data fuels innovation and grows the Nigerian economy", the minister of Communication Technology, Mrs Omobola Johnson said in her remark.

Jumia Nigeria announce new CEOs

Putting an end to the speculation making the round on its appointment of new chief executive officer (CEO), e-commerce platform Jumia Nigeria has finally announced Nicolas Martin and Jérémy Doutté as CEOs.

The duo replaced former managing directors Tunde Kehinde and Raphael Afaedor who have decided to leave to start their own business.

Part of the statement released by Jumia, reads: "To prepare for his new tasks, Nicolas Martin joined Jumia Nigeria a few months ago. "Prior to this, he worked for seven years at McKinsey and Co and holds an MBA from INSEAD"

“Jérémy Doutté was previously co-managing director of Jumia Egypt. Before coming to Jumia in 2012, he was an associate at McKinsey and Co. Now he joins the dream team to hold Jumia high as the largest and No1 Retailer in Nigeria.”

Nike signs five-year deal with South African FA

South Africa national team (picture credit: getty images)
US sportswear firm Nike has agreed a five-year partnership with the South African Football Association to become the governing body’s new technical sponsor from February 1.

Although the financial terms were undisclosed, Nike will kit South Africa's national football teams (men and women). The partnership also provides SAFA with access to the Nike Football Training Centre in Soweto, Johannesburg, where the organisation’s technical team will have the opportunity to identify and nurture grassroots talent.

Puma terminated its contract as SAFA’s kit supplier last October amid match-fixing allegations concerning the national team from its friendly warm-up matches in preparation for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

“This partnership signifies Nike’s deep commitment to support and advance South African football at all levels of the game, from the national team to grassroots football. We look forward to providing innovative product technology to help players reach their full potential, and to helping shape the future success of South African football,” Nike Africa General Manager Laurent Payre said.

Terragon Set to Debut at the 2014 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona

Terragon Group, Africa’s leading New Media Company is billed to have an exhibition at the upcoming Global Systems Mobile Association (GSMA) Mobile World Congress holding in Barcelona, Spain from the 24th to the 27th of February 2013.

Managing Director of Terragon
Group, Mr. Elo Umeh
Terragon would be the only indigenously owned Nigerian company to exhibit at the conference, which attracts the biggest players in mobile telecommunications services from across the globe.

Speaking on this development, the Managing Director of Terragon Group, Mr. Elo Umeh said, “We are excited at this milestone of not only participating in the GSMA Mobile World Congress but also confident of the global competiveness of the business we have built over the last four years.

"Our bouquet of services will be attractive to the international audience who are increasingly seeking innovative services, consumer insights and excellent execution, all of which we offer and have an excellent track record of service delivery within Africa. Our participation is also a reflection of the development that is coming from within the industry in Africa and the Mobile World Congress is a great opportunity to tell the story of the unprecedented growth in the Mobile industry in Africa”.

56th Annual Grammy Awards Unites Music Fans With Record-Breaking Social Media Numbers

With statistics compiled by Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, and Twitter, The Recording Academy announced on Thursday that combined social media interactions surrounding the 56th Annual GRAMMY reached a record-breaking 34 million, making Music's Biggest Night, which aired Sunday, Jan. 26, on the CBS Television Network, television's biggest social event of the 2013 – 2014 season.

According to data compiled by Twitter and 87AM, the GRAMMY's garnered 15.7 million mentions on Twitter during the broadcast, the peak moment of which was during the Kendrick Lamar and Imagine Dragons performance with 171,593 tweets per minute.

According to Facebook data, 6.3 million people had more than 13.5 million Facebook interactions related to the 56th GRAMMYs, making it the No. 1 trending topic. Stats compiled by Union Metrics reveal that there were more than 100,000 GRAMMY-related posts created on Tumblr with more than 5.1 million reblogs and likes. Stats compiled by 87AM reveal that the top three most-talked about performances were, in order: Daft Punk, Beyoncé and Jay Z, and Lamar joined by Imagine Dragons. The most-talked about artists were: Lorde, Taylor Swift and Macklemore.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Picture: World Book Project visit to British Council in Rivers State

( L-R)  Line Manager, British Council, Port Harcourt, Ijeoma Arguba, and Project Director, Port Harcourt World Book Capital (PHWBC) 2014, Mrs. Koko Kalango during a courtesy visit by Port-Harcourt world Book Capital to British Council to announce its activities.

( L-R) Programmes Coordinator,  Port Harcourt World Book Capital (PHWBC), Wale Salami, Customer Service Officer, British Council Port-Harcourt,  Euphemie Jude- Brail,  Line Manager,  Ijeoma Arguba, and Project Director, Port-Harcourt World Book Capital Koko Kalango, Programme coordinator, Daniella Menezor and the Examination officer, Mary Onuagha during a courtesy visit.



Umbro begins search for Golaços

Roberto Carlos
Umbro has kicked off a global search for ‘golaços’, meaning great goals, with the launch of a new app, teaming up with Brazilian great Roberto Carlos - a player who became more famous for his swerving free-kick against France in 1997.

Inspired by this iconic goal, Umbro has teamed up with the Brazilian World Cup winner to find a new generation of golaços. The competition calls on football players across the world to capture and share their own goals via Umbro’s special Golaço app.

Roberto Carlos will select five winners who’ll get to enjoy the ultimate Brazilian football experience, including return flights to Brazil, exclusive football skills session with Roberto Carlos, a training session at Clube Atlético Paranaense and full professional training kit and boots from Umbro.


Roberto Carlos said: “I still get asked about that goal and how I scored it. People have tried to analyse it but there is no explanation. It shouldn’t have had that much swerve but I knew it was going in.

“That goal made history. It’s something I’ve spoken to Zidane and Beckham about many times… ‘How can we make history with a ball?’

Airtel partners Pepsi on multibillion naira promo

Demonstrating its network’s customer-centric culture of unveiling multi-faceted exciting packages and offerings, telecoms company Airtel Nigeria has partnered with Pepsi for a promotion in which airtime worth several billion naira will be won by subscribers.

The promotion will run for sixty days, starting on January 20 and ending on March 22.

Consumers who purchase any Pepsi, Mirinda, 7-Up, Teem or Mountain Dew carbonated drink can win instant Airtel free airtime. Under each crown is a PIN number, a consumer is required to dial the PIN number for instant recharge of one minute Airtel airtime for both on-net and off-net calls.

The airtime can also be transferred to friends and families and is redeemable within 30 days of the promo window closing.

Qualcomm Acquires Palm patents from HP

World leader in 3G, 4G and next-generation wireless communications technologies, Qualcomm Incorporated has acquired a patent portfolio from Hewlett-Packard Company, Hewlett-Packard Development Co LP and Palm Inc.

The portfolio, comprising approximately 1,400 granted patents and pending patent applications from the US and approximately 1,000 granted patents and pending patent applications from other countries, covers technologies that include fundamental mobile operating system techniques.

The acquisition further enhances the strength and diversity of Qualcomm Incorporated’s industry-leading mobile patent portfolio and will enable the company to offer even more value to current and future licensees. The purchase price was not publicly disclosed.

Entries open for Cannes Lions, new Product Design category launched

The 61st Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, slated for June 15-21, is adding one more category to recognize outstanding product design. In general, record 35,765 works projects were submitted in 2013.

Entries can be submitted into 17 categories – Branded Content & Entertainment, Creative Effectiveness, Cyber, Design, Direct, Film, Film Craft, Innovation, Media, Mobile, Outdoor, PR, Press, Promo & Activation, Radio, Titanium and Integrated, and new category for 2014, Product Design.

The entries are to be submitted in four major sub-categories: Consumer Goods, Wellbeing and Environmental Impact, Solution (ergonomic functionality, day-to-day solutions provided through design), and Interface (visual impact, as well as its ease of navigation and ability to convey information).

Euronews to launch first Pan-African multilingual news channel in Congo Brazzaville

In 18 months time, Euronews (http://www.euronews.com) will have a sister channel in Africa. In partnership with the national television channel of the Republic of the Congo, Euronews will bring to Africa its unique know-how as a multi-lingual and multi-cultural news channel, broadcasting around the clock. 
 
Michael Peters, CEO of Euronews, and Jean Obambi, Managing Director of Télé Congo, signing on Saturday 25 January in Congo Brazzaville the cooperation agreement

Starting with English and French, and then adding other languages widely-spoken on the continent, Africanews aims to become the first Pan-African rolling news channel. The headquarters will be in Brazzaville and regional offices will be set up across the continent. Africanews will adhere to the same editorial charter as Euronews, guaranteeing its independence. The two networks will share their news, creating a synergy that will give Africa its rightful place in the world of news and give the world the latest news from the continent.

Michael Peters, CEO of Euronews S.A., and Jean Obambi, Managing Director of Télé Congo, signed on Saturday 25 January in Congo Brazzaville a cooperation agreement for the launch of a Pan-African news channel to be known as Africanews. 

Under the auspices of the President of the Republic of the Congo, Mr. Denis Sassou Nguesso, they formalised the partnership that will lead to the launch in the summer of 2015 of a bilingual news channel in French and English, to be followed by other major languages of the continent (Portuguese, Arabic, Swahili, etc.). The headquarters will be in Brazzaville and regional offices will be set up across the continent.

Konga makes bold statement at 'Alibaba Story' premiere

During the movie premiere (image source: Konga)
In a gathering of the Nigerian premiere of “Crocodile In The Yangtze(The Alibaba Story), Konga made reiterated its commitment to contribute its quarter to the economic development of Nigeria.

The premiere had in attendance Nigerian Tech and Business ecosystem - Startup founders, Investors, students and journalists at Ozone Cinemas, Lagos.

CEO of Konga.com, Sim Shagaya also spoke about why Konga organised the event, he said “We have a duty to our country, especially from the area of commerce. Sometimes it has been unholy, slavery, but we will use commerce to redeem this nation. Irrespective of tribe, religion and ethnicity, if we continue thinking about it like this, we will be fine”.

CEO of iROKOtv and Spark, Jason Njoku also gave a post movie roundup where he charged the Nigerian community to work together to build up the ecosystem and to tell their own stories more.

Google Apps: Move to ‘the cloud’, save costs on the ground

When times get tough, focusing on your core business is imperative. Cutting bottom-line costs to the business along with making operations run as efficiently and effectively as possible is one of the first steps towards shoring up your defences. In these tough economic times, ask any company if they could save money a year per employee and most likely they'd jump at the chance.

IT can be a big upfront cost and having to manage it on a daily basis can increase spend and distract you even further from your core focus - making money. Until now.

The business approach to IT is being redefined by the Internet. Email, documents, calendars and other business communication tools are increasingly being delivered and hosted online via a trend known as ‘cloud computing’. Cloud computing is a simple concept: applications and data are delivered over the Internet via a third party. It's a transformational, disruptive technology which is having a big impact on the way the world of IT works and the way businesses run IT.

Cloud computing has many key benefits, but two stand out – firstly, cost savings. Once you’re hooked up to the web, the cost of buying licenses, purchasing servers and maintaining them is reduced because it’s possible to effectively ‘rent’ business applications from a third party. From a budget perspective, it brings predictable costs for IT and dramatically reduces spend on traditional desktop software.

Heirs Holdings invests in Planet Labs revolutionary satellite technology

Tony O. Elumelu
The pan-African proprietary investment company has announced its investment in US start-up Planet Labs’ innovative satellite manufacturing technology

Heirs Holdings, the pan-African proprietary investment company founded by Tony O. Elumelu, CON, has announced its investment in US start-up Planet Labs’ innovative satellite manufacturing technology. Heirs Holdings is the only African investor in the project, which is based in San Francisco.

Planet Labs aims to transform the way imaging of the Earth is carried out, through the introduction of ultra-small satellites called “doves.” These “doves” circle the planet in low orbit and are significantly cheaper to produce and deploy than existing technology. Moreover, as they orbit closer to the Earth, they are able to take higher-resolution images than traditional satellites.

Elumelu, who is Chairman of Heirs Holdings, commented, “As the only African investor in Planet Labs’ project, we are incredibly proud to have supported such an innovative and dynamic company, which has already achieved significant success. As part of our business philosophy of Afri-capitalism, we are committed to supporting entrepreneurs and start-ups to enable them to bring scale to their projects and we look forward to following Planet Labs’ achievements over the coming years.”

Etisalat Flags-Off Nigerian Idol 4 Auditions in Benin

The much anticipated Nigerian Idol season 4 held its first round of auditions on Saturday, January 25th in Benin City, the Edo state capital. The competition which is sponsored by most innovative telecommunications company, Etisalat, recorded a large pool of talented youths who came out to take their shot at musical stardom.

Auditions began at the Excalibur Hotel, G.R.A Benin, after the state’s environmental sanitation exercise. Nigerian Idol hopefuls gathered from different locations in the state and its environs for a chance to secure a spot in the next round of the competition. Each with their different interpretation of music, stage names and regalia were in high spirits as they waited in line for their turn to impress the selectors.
From Left: Manager, Sponsorship, Etisalat Nigeria, Orah Egwu; Head, Events & Sponsorship, Etisalat Nigeria, Modupe Thani; Winner, Nigerian Idol season 2, Mercy Chinwo; and Head, Youth Segment, Etisalat Nigeria, Elvis Daniel at the Benin auditions of season 4 of the Etisalat-sponsored Nigerian Idol competition at the Excalibur Hotel, G.R.A Benin on Saturday, January 25th

One of such contestants, Oghenero Ayavoro a.k.a Voysless from Warri in Delta said it was his first time auditioning for the competition and was grateful for the opportunity to showcase his talent. He was positive of the result of his audition because according to him, he got good comments from the selectors. Another contestant, Melody Gabriel said she aspired to have a successful singing career. For her, the Nigerian Idol competition was all she needed to take her music career to the next level.

Speaking at the Benin auditions, Head, Youth Segment, Etisalat Nigeria, Elvis Daniel said he was impressed with the number and quality of people who turned up for the audition. “We are excited to be here in Benin in our search for the voice of tomorrow. Already, the crowd here today shows that the brand is aligning with the youth segment which is one of our core targets and we are very pleased with that.” He said.

Arsenal signs lucrative kit deal with Puma

After 20 years with the US sportswear giant Nike, the Premier League leaders Arsenal on Monday announced the "most lucrative deal in Puma and the north London team history". The  agreement with Puma is reported to worth more than £30 million ($49.5 million) a year.
Emirates Stadium

The deal will come in effect from the end of the 2013-14 season and run for five years.

Bjoern Gulden, chief executive officer for PUMA said: "Arsenal have been a key strategic target for PUMA for a number of years now. Through a clear commercial vision, a well-defined sports marketing strategy and a relentless enthusiasm within the PUMA organisation, we're proud to have signed this partnership with a truly global football club.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

DHL’s Focus on Africa Pays Off

World's leading international express delivery, DHL has reinforced its claim to be “The International Specialists” with external recognition in all continents in 2013 across a broad range of functional disciplines.

The latest recognition, the Frost & Sullivan award for Market Penetration in Sub-Saharan Africa brings the total number of external honors won by DHL Express since January 2013 to over 20. Of these, awards have been won across numerous functions – from superior customer service, great operational quality to our marketing efforts and social impact in local communities. 

“I love my people and the great work that they do. These awards are testimonial to their passion, speed, can-do attitude and team-work,” said Charles Brewer, Managing Director for DHL Express Sub-Saharan Africa. “An award in Mozambique, Uganda or Gabon is not just significant for that particular market. We hope that this sends out a message to our customers about our commitment to Africa and the service excellence that we have built over the last 35 years.”

Maltina Clinches Most Trusted Brand Award

Barely three months after winning two awards at the Advertisers Association of Nigeria (ADVAN) Awards for Marketing Excellence held at the Federal Palace Hotel and Casino, Lagos, Maltina, a premium malt brand from the stable of Nigerian Breweries Plc, has won yet another award.

The brand was picked as the “Most Trusted Brand” for 2013 by Brandhealth, a research agency dedicated to brands and their bonding with consumers. The research which cut across many sectors was carried out to determine the brands that bond most with consumers in terms of usage, awareness, loyalty, relevance, esteem and availability for consumption.

Instituted in 2010, the “Most Trusted Brand” award is an innovative mechanism of opening up channels of dialogue between consumers and the brands in the Nigerian marketplace. It is arrived at solely through research and surveys.

Unveiling the results of the survey, Mr. Emmanuel Udowima, CEO Brandhealth said the essence of the awards is “to track the strength of brands relationships with their consumers. It is expected that results from the tracking would enable an environment of continual learning, continual improvement and innovation for the brand owners. It is expected that it would stimulate a new way to think- seeing the customer’s input in this survey and the award as a gift - and new knowledge that can be used to better brand planning and achieve competitive advantage. The results serve as a reminder for the brand owners to build on-going relationships by keeping their promises and building trust.”

Pictures of the Week: Launch of Etisalat Easyflex New Bundles

Telecommunication service provider, Etisalat on Wednesday, January 22 added 3 new bundles to its Easyflex package to celebrate its 17 million subscribers.


(from left): Director, Consumer Segments, Etisalat Nigeria, Mr. Oluwole Rawa; Etisalat Easyflex Ambassadors, Genevieve Nnaji and Hakeem Kae-Kazim, and Acting Chief Executive Officer, Etisalat Nigeria, Matthew Willsher at the Launch of Etisalat Easyflex new bundles, held at Wheatbaker hotel, Ikoyi, Lagos, on Wednesday, 22nd January.

Genevieve Nnaji and Darey at the Launch of Etisalat Easyflex new bundles, held at Wheatbaker hotel, Ikoyi, Lagos

(from left): From Left: Director, Brands and Communications, Etisalat Nigeria, Enitan Denloye; Acting Chief Executive Officer, Etisalat Nigeria, Matthew Willsher; Etisalat Ambassadors, Genevieve Nnaji, Hakeem Kae-Kazim, Olamide Adedeji and Director, Consumer Segments, Etisalat Nigeria, Mr. Oluwole Rawa. at the event

BATN, Others Laud Lagos State House of Assembly Over Passage Of Public Place Smoking Law

The recent passage into Law of the Lagos State Public Place Smoking Bill has drawn commendation from British American Tobacco Nigeria and sundry stakeholders who described the Law as balanced.

They praised the new Law for accommodating the views of all stakeholders whilst also maintaining its responsibility to protect the citizens of Lagos State from the effects of second hand smoking.

The Public Place Smoking Law which was passed by the Lagos State House Assembly on Monday the 20th of January 2014, has been sent to the Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Raji Fashola for assent.

Addressing the new Law, the Head of Regulatory Affairs of British American Tobacco, Mr. Sola Dosunmu, welcomed the passage of this Law which he says expressly seeks to protect the non-smoking public from tobacco smoke and also guarantees the adult cigarette smokers’ right to continue to enjoy the smoking of a legal product in private places, open places and in other designated smoking areas in Hotels, Bars, Nightclubs and tertiary institutions.

Real Madrid maintian top position, Bayern dislodges United in Money League

Spanish Liga club Real Madrid has maintained its top position while English Premier League club Manchester United has dropped out of the top three in the rankings for the first time in Deloitte’s annual Football Money League.

Real’s turnover increased by 1.2 per cent to €519m ($704m) for the 2012-13 campaign despite lack of a major trophy win. Its major La Liga rival Barcelona revenue remained flat at €483m.

German Bundesliga club Bayern Munich which bagged several trophies in 2013 (€431.2m), dislodged Manchester United that slipped to fourth despite increasing turnover by 13 per cent to €424m.

Qatari-owned Paris St Germain (PSG), where former England captain David Beckham ended his career last year, underlined its emergence as a soccer power with an 81 percent rise in revenue to almost 400 million euros to claim fifth spot.

Etisalat Prize for Literature Shortlist Announced

Innovative Telecommunications Company in Nigeria, Etisalat, today announced the 2013 shortlist for the Etisalat Prize for Literature.

On the shortlist are Bom Boy by Yewande Omotoso, Finding Soutbek by Karen Jennings and We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo.

In its inaugural year, the Etisalat Prize for Literature is the first Pan-African literary prize created to recognize and reward debut fiction writers in Africa. The winner will be presented with a cheque of £15,000, an engraved Montblanc Meisterstück and will attend The Etisalat Fellowship at the prestigious University of East Anglia, mentored by Professor Giles Foden, author of the Last King of Scotland.

The shortlist was decided after a retreat in Morocco where the judges met to discuss at length the nine longlisted books.  Pumla Gqola, Chair of the Judges said “We discussed each of the books on the long list in quite some detail, although considerably more time was dedicated to those books that were ranked differently by the judges. We are quite pleased to have reached yet another important milestone in the young life of the Prize. “

Huawei and Arsenal become global partners

One of the world's leading information and communications technology (ICT) solutions provider, Huawei and English Premier League club Arsenal Football Club have announced a new partnership that will see the telecommunications specialist become the official smartphone partner of the north London club on a global basis.
Mesut, Aaron & Lukas welcome Huawei as the Official Smartphone Partner of Arsenal Football Club (picture credit: www.arsenal.com

The partnership will see global collaboration between the two brands, with Arsenal’s officials and players taking part in Huawei's communication and promotional activities both in the UK and overseas. The partnership will also include exclusive offers, content and brand presence during Arsenal matches, as well as through the Club's digital and social media platforms.

Arsenal and Huawei announced the deal, which lasts until the end of the 2015/16 season, at the Arsenal Training Centre in Colney, Hertfordshire, with members of the first team including Aaron Ramsey, Lukas Podolski and Mesut Ozil along with manager Arsène Wenger. The partnership will be officially unveiled to supporters at Emirates Stadium before the Premier League clash with Fulham on Saturday.

Emirates Celebrates 10 Years of Connecting Nigeria to the World

Emirates, a global connector of people and places, celebrates ten years of successful operations in Nigeria this month, during which time it has carried more than 2.6 million customers on the route, becoming the airline of choice for many in the country.

Emirates started operations to Nigeria on 2 January 2004, with four flights per week from Dubai to Lagos linked with Accra in Ghana, using an A330-200 aircraft. Lagos became Emirates 73rd destination in its network and its 10th in Africa. Today, Emirates flies to over 140 destinations across six continents, 25 of which are in Africa.
An Emirates Boeing 777-300 ER which is used on the Lagos-Dubai service.

In 2005, just over a year after Emirates’ launch in Nigeria, it increased services from four to six flights a week, and following steady growth and demand, it became a daily operation in October 2005. On 1 January 2006, Lagos was delinked from Accra and became a direct service to Dubai. On 1 February 2009, a second daily service was introduced, and today each flight is served with a Boeing 777-300 ER. The Boeing 777-300ER is the backbone of the Emirates fleet, efficient to operate and popular amongst customers.

Alienware and Valve Revolutionise PC Gaming with Alienware Steam Machine

Alienware, a pioneer in specialty high-performance PC gaming systems, is once again driving innovation in PC gaming. Alienware and Valve, the developers of the world's largest online gaming platform and the creators of the Half-Life franchise, have been collaborating on designing the first dedicated Alienware Steam Machine gaming console.

Alienware designed its upcoming Steam Machine to deliver the benefits of PC gaming in an incredibly small footprint, providing the best balance between size, performance and aesthetics for the living room gaming experience. Its sleek design is both distinctively Alienware yet unobtrusive in a media cabinet. The Alienware Steam Machine echoes the build quality and advanced engineering that are the hallmarks of the brand including a custom-built chassis to provide optimal thermal and acoustic management for a gaming console destined for the living room.

"With the introduction of the X51 system nearly two years ago, Alienware kicked off an evolution of small form factor PC gaming systems designed for every living area,"  said Frank Azor, Co-Founder and General Manager of Alienware. "When Valve and Alienware began collaborating on our vision for a PC gaming console several years ago we could clearly see we were on to revolutionising PC Gaming forever." 

Olivier Thiry to succeed Keith Richards as Managing Director of Promasidor

A succession process that will culminate in Chief Keith Richards becoming a non- executive Chairman of Promasidor Nigeria Limited and Mr. Olivier Thiry becoming the Managing Director has begun.
It would be recalled that Chief Richards a few months ago clocked sixty years.
Chief Keith Richards

In a statement by the company, the current Chairman, Mr. Mark Rose said, “Keith Richards has done an outstanding job as Managing Director since he started in November 2007.  His tenure will be recognized, not just for our results but also for the development of our brand portfolio and our organization.  Under his leadership PNG has become respected throughout Nigeria for our brands, our people, our innovative spirit and our corporate responsibility.

“Keith had always signalled he would like to move on once he turned 60 but I am delighted that he has agreed to stay on as Chairman.  In this part-time role we will be able to take advantage of his understanding of the Nigerian regulatory, social and political environment.  He will be remaining in Nigeria and available to advise and support the board as well as be a mentor to the incoming Managing Director.

The incoming Managing Director, Olivier began his career with the Promasidor group in 2002 in Algeria. Originally head of the supply chain function, he assumed the office of Deputy Managing director in 2004, and became the substantive Managing Director in 2005. Under his leadership, Promasidor became the market leader in the powdered dairy and beverage industries in Algeria. He left Algeria in 2009 and assumed the position of Managing Director for Ghana in January 2010 where he has been hugely successful for four years.

Etisalat-sponsored Nigerian Idol 4 Kicks-off with Auditions in 5 Cities

All is set for the nation-wide search for the brightest music talents to grace the stage of one of the biggest reality music competitions, the Nigerian Idol. The fourth season of the Etisalat–sponsored Nigerian Idol show will hold auditions in the cities of Lagos, Port-Harcourt, Benin, Calabar and for the first time Makurdi from January 25th till February 23rd 2014.

The audition train will move from the ancient city of Benin at the Excalibur Hotel on January 25th to Port-Harcourt at the Presidential Hotel on February 1st. Monty Suites will be the location in Calabar on February 8th, while Makurdi will play host on February 15th at Smileview Hotel Extension. The final stage of the auditions will hold in Lagos at Dream Studios, Omole on the 22nd and 23rd of February.

Speaking on the start of the auditions, Etisalat's Director of Brands and Communications, Enitan Denloye said the company was excited to be a part of the show for the fourth time running. According to him, Etisalat has identified the competition as a platform that recognizes and celebrates music talent among the youth. "The Nigerian youth community is dynamic. However, music still remains a huge part of their culture. At Etisalat, the youth segment is one of our major markets, and that is why we are continuing our sponsorship of the Nigerian Idol competition to connect with them in a way they can easily relate with," he said.

TwinPine Partners MTN Business on Mobile Content Advertising

TwinPine Limited, operators of Africa’s first indigenous premium mobile advertising network and MTN Nigeria’s leading provider of mobile telecommunications services have come together to provide advertisers the opportunity to serve their advertising content on MTN’s mobile portal ‘MTN Play’.

The agreement which is exclusive to TwinPine will take advantage of the tremendous traffic which ‘MTN Play’ currently controls to give advertisers and brand owners the opportunity to reach their target market via this unique platform.

Speaking on the partnership, the Managing Director of TwinPine, Mr. Elo Umeh said, “We are pleased to be partnering with MTN on this innovative platform. Being an indigenous mobile advertising network, we have the advantage in that we understand the local market and can better help brands reach their target audiences. We also have the technological capacity to meet the needs of advertisers however large”.

According to Umeh, the agreement not only covers mobile advertising, but also extends to mobile content purchased on the ‘MTN Play’  platform via the Mobile Advertising Service. With this deal, Twinpine enables mobile content providers’ bill MTN users for digital content driven by mobile advertising via SMS channels.

Friday, 17 January 2014

Recording academy to host Special merit awards ceremony

Wilshire Ebell Theatre, 4401 West 8th St. Los Angeles, will play host to the Special Merit Awards Ceremony of The Recording Academy on Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014.

The organisers will present  Lifetime Achievement Award, honoring lifelong artistic contributions to the recording medium, to the Beatles, Clifton Chenier, the Isley Brothers, Kraftwerk, Kris Kristofferson, Armando Manzanero, and Maud Powell; theTrustees Award, which recognizes outstanding contributions to the industry in areas other than performance, to Rick Hall, Jim Marshall and Ennio Morricone; and the Technical GRAMMY Award, honoring an individual's and/or corporation's outstanding contributions of technical significance to the recording field, to Emile Berliner and Lexicon.

In its inaugural year, The Recording Academy and the GRAMMY Foundation will present the Music Educator Award to Kent Knappenberger. The Music Educator Award was established to recognize current educators (kindergarten through college, public and private schools) who have made a significant and lasting contribution to the field of music education and who demonstrate a commitment to the broader cause of maintaining music education in the schools.

Football legend Pelé Becomes Emirates’ Global Ambassador

Emirates airline, an Official FIFA Worldwide Partner, has announced Brazilian football legend Pelé as one of its Global Ambassadors.

Coinciding with the highly-anticipated FIFA World Cup™, hosted this summer in Brazil, Emirates has partnered with Pelé on its global campaign to showcase the connections that Emirates creates between people, places and passions around the world - through its sponsorship of sports, as well as its operations as an airline.



Pelé and some official of Emirates
The partnership was announced at a media conference in Dubai, which brought Pelé to the home of Emirates airline.  As part of the agreement the two parties will work together on a number of initiatives over the coming months.  This announcement marks the second time the airline has worked with a Global Ambassador to complement its FIFA World Cup™ campaign, the first being Franz Beckenbauer during the 2006 tournament in Germany.  Partnering with such prominent sports figures, like Pelé, allows Emirates amplify and bring to life the many ways sports inspires and unites people and ideas around the world.

HH Sheikh Majid Al Mualla, Divisional Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations, Emirates Airline said: “Pelé is a global icon. He is recognised, respected, and an inspiration to people around the world. He represents the best values of ‘the beautiful game’ of football, not only because he was a great player, but also because he uses the power of sports to connect people – with each other, with communities, and with opportunities. In many ways, Pelé stands for the same values that Emirates does. He is the ideal choice for our Global Ambassador and we are thrilled that we will be partnering with him.”

Nigeria: No more analogue TVs, transmitters to be imported

The Federal Government of Nigeria has banned all importation of analogue TVs and transmitters from 17 June 2014.
An analogue TV (Image credit: crunchdot)

According to Business News reports, the move is aimed at phasing out analogue technologies in line with the Federal Government’s digitisation agenda.

"When the digital switchover happens, there won’t be importation of analogue sets, that is, the second-hand  or Tokunbo  TVs and analogue transmitters anymore. Certain TV sets will not work again.

People using digitally-enabled sets with digital tuners may not need decoders because signals can be picked from the air; but antennas will be needed”, the report quoted Director-General, NBC, Mr. Emeka Mba as saying.

Ribena, Tetra Pak Donate Recycled Furniture To Schools

(L-R, standing) Apostle Jesse Dele, the Head Teacher of Lion of Judah Nursery and Primary School; Mr Wale Opesanwo of Oliver Adams, the Recycler; Ms Itunu Ogundepo, The Tetra Pak West Africa Environment Manager; Mr Olawale Akanbi of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), makers of Ribena; Ms Tolulope Sangosanya of Lots Charity Foundation; and Mr William Ilaya of Chriswill Nursery and Primary School with some of the students during the handover ceremony at Chriswill Nursery and Primary School, Dustbin Estate, Ajegunle, Lagos recently.
Ribena in partnership with Tetra Pak West Africa recently handed over 80 desk and chair units made from recycled empty packs of Ribena to the LOTS Foundation in Dustbin Estate in Ajegunle area of Lagos State.  This was done as they concluded the “Drink it, Flatten it and Bin it” recycling campaign with twenty schools in Lagos State.  The Foundation in turn handed the donated furniture over to different primary schools in the dumpsite area.

Speaking at the handover event, Mr Olawale Akanbi of GlaxoSmithKline, makers of Ribena, said, “The recycle project with primary school children has proven a worthy effort for us as an organisation whose corporate vision is to help people everywhere, do more, feel better and live longer. The furniture we are donating is made from Ribena packs which ordinarily would have been lying somewhere constituting environmental hazards in the drainage system or landfill.”

The Ribena Tetra Pak “Drink it, Flatten it and Bin it” recycling campaign, was strategically executed through children in select primary schools in Lagos State. According to the Ribena Brand Manager, “The project which has a ‘catch them young’ undertone, was designed to help children learn and imbibe the simple habit of taking care of the environment by disposing their waste items properly and also by turning their waste into useful items through recycling. We believe the lessons from the project will stay with the children as they grow into adults.”

Guinness MD loses mum

Mrs. Adetu
Chief (Mrs.) Felicia Olawunmi Adetu, mother of Seni Adetu, Managing Director of Guinness Nigeria Plc peacefully passed on to eternal glory on Wednesday January 15, 2014.

Chief Adetu aged 88 was an industrious, very caring and fantastic mum and grand mum to many children and grand children and the matriarch of the Adetu family.

Final rites will be announced shortly by the family.

86th Oscars Nominations Announced

Nominations for the 86th Academy Awards were yesterday at a news conference at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills by Actor Chris Hemsworth and Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs.

The Oscars, produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron will be televised live in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide. Nominations voting in the Oscars’ 24 categories closed January 8 and final voting begins February 14, with ballots due back February 25 at 5 PM PT. 
The full list of the nominees:
Best animated feature film of the year:
  •  The Croods Chris Sanders, Kirk DeMicco and Kristine Belson
  •  Despicable Me 2 Chris Renaud, Pierre Coffin and Chris Meledandri
  •  Ernest & Celestine Benjamin Renner and Didier Brunner
  •  Frozen Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee and Peter Del Vecho
  •  The Wind Rises Hayao Miyazaki and Toshio Suzuki
Best animated short film:
  •  Feral Daniel Sousa and Dan Golden
  •  Get a Horse! Lauren MacMullan and Dorothy McKim
  •  Mr. Hublot Laurent Witz and Alexandre Espigares
  •  Possessions Shuhei Morita
  •  Room on the Broom Max Lang and Jan Lachauer

British Airways Throws Open ‘Man vs Plane’ Challenge Against New A380

Leading global airline, British Airways has thrown open a challenge to anyone who thinks they can win a race against its newly acquired Airbus A380. The challenge comes after South African rugby legend, Bryan Habana’s sprint against the aircraft grabbed global attention to become one of the top 10 most-watched YouTube videos of 2013.

Anyone, anywhere in the world can enter the #Man vs Plane challenge. Five winners will be selected to fly to Durban in February and get the chance to pit their physical prowess against British Airways’ largest and most modern aircraft.

The runner with the quickest time will win two return tickets in Club World (business class) on one of British Airways’ A380 services. Johannesburg to London is just the third of these services to be announced. The other two are London/ Los Angeles and London/ Hong Kong.

“Last year I accepted the challenge to race the A380 and won, but it wasn’t easy,” says Bryan Habana, the Springbok winger and top try scorer. “To take this on you will have to be physically fit and have plenty of strength, stamina and speed.”

To see Bryan’s insights on racing the A380 see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QCufB8As64k and to accept the challenge, visit www.ba.com/ManVsPlane and to accept the challenge, visit www.ba.com/ManVsPlane between Monday 13 and Monday 20 January and meet the entry requirements.

Etisalat FC Barcelona U-17: Keke High School Returns with Victory

Players, officials and parents of Keke Senior High School, Ifako-Ijaiye has returned to Lagos, Nigeria after beating Al Yasmina School, Abu Dhabi 2-0 in an international friendly match put together by Etisalat and played in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The victorious Keke Senior High School players and their parents returned with the trophy won at the end of the match and were received at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja by officials of Etisalat Nigeria Limited and their relatives.
Keke High School students with the trophy

The trip was  part of the packages put in place by the company for the school as winners of last year’s Etisalat/FC Barcelona U-17 School Cup competition apart from the monetary largesse given to the team after winning the competition last year in Lagos.

Meanwhile, the team has expressed appreciation to the management of Etisalat Nigeria for the all-expense paid trip to the UAE.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

MasterCard, Ecobank Partner To Accelerate Electronic Payments In Africa

L-R: Patrick Akinwuntan, Ecobank Group Executive Director, Domestic Banking receives a congratulatory certificate from Daniel Monehin, MasterCard Division President, SSA to mark the licensing of 28 African Ecobank subsidiaries by MasterCard. The partnership is expected to accelerate the adoption of electronic payments across Africa
Ecobank Transnational Inc. (Ecobank) and MasterCard, has announced a multi-country licensing agreement which will provide access to MasterCard’s payment solutions for Ecobank’s customers in a further 23 African countries.The agreement is the culmination of a Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”)originally signed in November 2011.

Ecobank subsidiaries in 28 countries across Sub-Saharan Africa are now licensed to issue and accept MasterCard prepaid, debit and credit cards. Through this partnership, Ecobank’s customers in this fast growing region will have access to MasterCard’s credit, debit and prepaid card products, whilst MasterCard will leverage Ecobank’s unrivalled pan-African footprint to provide its electronic payments solutions to a wider customer base.

“The provision of convenient, reliable and accessible financial products and services forms the bedrock of Ecobank’s Pan African strategy,” said Patrick Akinwuntan, Ecobank's Group Executive Director responsible for Domestic Banking.“We also recognize that partnerships with leading global players such as MasterCard are key to accelerating the migration of our customers to a ‘cashless society’ throughout Africa.”

Commenting on this partnership, Ecobank’s Group Chief Executive Officer, Thierry Tanoh said: “This agreement demonstrates Ecobank’s vision which is to provide our customers with convenient, accessible and reliable financial products and services as part of our commitment to build a world class pan-African bank and contribute to the economic development and financial integration of Africa.”

Coca-Cola Honours Brazil 2014 World Cup With Special Edition Mini Bottles

As Brazil FIFA 2014 World Cup beacons, world's leading beverage brand Coca-Cola has released its commemorative mini-bottles for the football biggest tournament.
Brazil 2014 World Cup Special Edition Mini Bottles (Picture credit: creativity-online.com)

The 18 numbered models are decorated with flags of former World Cup host companies, including Argentina, France, Italy, Germany, Mexico, Japan, as well as upcoming host nations Brazil, Russia and Qatar. The bottles were presented in special mini-cases and along with an accompanying promo campaign featuring print and broadcast, out of J. Walter Thompson.

They feature different images like a happy sun, the Brazilian flag, and others featuring a riot of colors no doubt meant to evoke the country's rich and colorful culture. The bottles follow the brand's release of special bottles featuring the Brazilian flag, created to support that country during the FIFA Confederations Cup.

On top of the fun design, the bottles are also interactive. Through Facebook or iPhone and Android apps, fans can create special messages and avatars that can be delivered to any mini-bottle owner. The bottles serve as augmented reality markers that can activate the animations when they're held up to a camera smartphone.