Thursday, February 22, 2024

Opera partners Safaricom to launch free data campaign in Ethiopia

Opera, the global web innovator, has announced the launch of its free data campaign in Ethiopia, in partnership with Safaricom. This move aligns with Opera’s strategy of increasing internet access across Africa.

Opera’s Africa First strategy prioritizes the development of mobile products and services for the African consumer, investing over USD 100 million in the region to provide faster and more reliable internet connections.

Through collaborations with local telcos, Opera has already enabled nearly 40 million people in five countries to benefit from up to 3 GB of free browsing each month. This initiative has facilitated business growth, educational opportunities, and improved connectivity with loved ones.

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The campaign in Ethiopia will offer Opera users on the Safaricom network up to 50 MB of free browsing daily, excluding video streaming and file downloads. The promotion is accessible through Opera Mini and Opera for Android, which have a combined user base of nearly 100 million people in Africa.

(AFRICA TECH)

AFD funds climate change adaptation, groundwater project in Ethiopia

French Development Agency (AFD) has pledged EUR one million to fund a project in Ethiopia aimed at adapting groundwater management to climate change. Rémi Maréchaux, the French Ambassador to Ethiopia, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on behalf of AFD to launch the initiative.

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The project will be implemented by the French public research institute BRGM in collaboration with the Ethiopian Ministry of Water and Energy. It aims to map the suitability for Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) and assess the feasibility of MAR as a solution to mitigate drought and water scarcity worsened by climate change.

Groundwater constitutes up to 80 percent of water usage in Ethiopia, making improved aquifer management crucial. The project aligns with France’s commitment to supporting climate change adaptation and resilient water access in Ethiopia.

The Ambassador emphasized France’s dedication to climate-resilient water access, not only through this project but also through ongoing collaborations with partners like Denmark. The AFD-funded project is expected to pave the way for larger investments in MAR infrastructure.

(Press release)

Ethiopian enhances its cargo service in Mexico

Ethiopian Cargo and Logistics Services, Africa’s largest cargo network operator, has shifted its operations from Mexico City Airport (MEX) to the new Felipe Ángeles International Airport (NLU) starting September 2, 2023.

The move brings new opportunities with a state-of-the-art cargo terminal equipped with cutting-edge technology and modern facilities. Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO Mesfin Tasew expressed pride in their service to the Mexican market for the past six years, building strong relationships and contributing to regional trade growth.

Ethiopian Airlines operates twice a week to Mexico City and will continue the same frequency at Felipe Ángeles International Airport. Using the B777F fleet with a capacity of 100 tons per flight, the Airlines plays a crucial role in establishing trade routes between Mexico and the world. The airlines modern freighter aircraft, the B777-200F, serves five cities in the Americas: Mexico City, Bogota, Santiago, Sao Paulo, and Miami.

Ethiopian Cargo and Logistics Services, a vital unit of Ethiopian Airlines Group, covers over 130 international destinations worldwide, utilizing both belly hold capacity and 67 dedicated Freighter services.

(AJOT)

Simprints wants second pair of eyes on its biometrics plans

Non-profit fingerprint recognition company, Simprints, is seeking a consultant’s assistance for Ethiopia’s digital healthcare ID program.

The company has called for tenders for research consulting services to assess ID verification needs for the Federal Ministry of Health (MoH) and other agencies.

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Simprints has been aiding Ethiopia in deploying a biometric digital ID system linking patients to digital records since 2019. The project, known as eCHIS, aims to enhance client tracking, referrals, and healthcare data reporting.

Currently, mobile applications developed under eCHIS are being utilized by community health service providers across 4,000 locations. The chosen consulting firm will also contribute to creating high-level proposal information for future fundraising.

Simprints, in collaboration with organizations like Gavi, Mercy Corps, and CIFF, has previously received its largest grant, enabling staff recruitment in Bangladesh for a vaccination coverage project. The company recently released a guide called the Responsible Biometric Deployment Handbook, focusing on ethical biometric technology utilization.

(BIOMETRIC UPDATE)

Ban Ki-moon: Africa, Middle East can raise $10bn towards hunger

Former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon introduced the ‘Africa and Middle East Safe Initiative’ at the Africa Climate Summit.

The initiative aims to foster collaboration between the two regions and focus on climate-resilient agriculture, food systems transformation, and economic development.

Moon emphasized the potential to raise USD 10 billion through public-private partnerships, benefiting millions of people. The initiative aligns with global priorities such as SDG2 zero hunger and the COP28 presidency.

It comprises two frameworks: the Technical Assistance Fund (TAF) and Investment Platform (IP), which will support climate-resilient economies. The initiative seeks to irrigate two million hectares of African farmland, enhance climate resilience for 10 million smallholder farmers (especially women and youth), and address food security.

It also aims to generate two million green jobs, improve livelihoods, and export two million metric tons of food crops worth around Sh292 billion to the Middle East.

President William Ruto emphasized the importance of dialogue and seizing economic opportunities through green growth for Africa and the world.

(The STAR)

East Africa leaders extend regional troop mandate in DR Congo

East African leaders have agreed to extend the mandate of a regional military force in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to curb violence in the troubled east. At a summit in Nairobi, the heads of state decided to extend the force’s mandate until December 8, pending an evaluation report.

President Felix Tshisekedi of the DRC had criticized the force, but it was decided in June to keep the troops in place for an additional three months.

The M23 resurfaced in late 2021 and has seized territory in North Kivu province. The EAC force, although taking over some areas previously controlled by the M23, has been unsuccessful in ending the conflict.

The EAC deployment and the UN peacekeeping mission in the DRC have faced criticism, leading to violent demonstrations in Goma.

Last week, security forces’ crackdown on a protest resulted in the deaths of 56 people. The DRC has accused Rwanda, an EAC member, of supporting the rebels, a claim denied by Rwanda. Tshisekedi has accused Rwanda of seeking to exploit the DRC’s mineral-rich land, urging international condemnation.

 (Aljazeera)

Ministers, businesses call for 40% increase in regional trade

East African Community (EAC) ministers and the business community have called for a 40 percent increase in regional trade over the next five years.

The resolution was made at the second East African Business and Investment Summit and Expo in Kampala, attended by over 500 delegates. The summit aimed to address trade challenges and identify policy reforms to boost intra-African trade and investment.

In 2022, intra-EAC trade grew by 11.2 percetn to USD 10.9 billion, while total regional trade increased by 13.4 percent to USD 74.1 billion. The leaders and business representatives agreed to prioritize harmonization of trade and investment regulations within the EAC, establish a fund for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), and address the high cost of air travel through open skies implementation.

They also called for robust legal frameworks, investor protection measures, increased manufacturing capacity, diversified production, and development of competitive sectors. The ministers emphasized dialogue with the private sector on domestic taxes and investing in research and development for industrialization and increased productivity.

 (New Times)

STIHL to launch battery-powered products in response to energy needs

STIHL East Africa has announced plans to introduce battery-powered tools to meet the demand for sustainable energy sources. The move comes amidst global climate change challenges.

The battery-operated tools, including chainsaws, brushcutters, and lawn mowers, are more sustainable, produce no carbon emissions, and are less noisy.

STIHL emphasizes that these tools require less maintenance and have a positive impact on the environment by reducing carbon emissions.

STIHL Group, which produces the tools, battery packs, and chargers, has been continuously developing its battery technology. The range now includes over 50 battery-operated tools for consumers and professionals.

The latest innovation is the powerful STIHL MSA 300 professional chainsaw, supported by the AP 500 S battery pack, offering high performance and increased battery life span.

The Group has announced plans to establish a new battery-operated tool production facility at its headquarters in Germany, reflecting the company’s commitment to the battery market’s growth.

Since its launch in August 2022, STIHL East Africa has secured over 30 dealers in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and Rwanda, with plans to expand into other Eastern African markets.

(Africa Tech)

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