News in Brief 4 September 2013

Africa: Android Application - JUMIA has launched its mobile application in Nigeria, Morocco, Cote d'Ivoire and Kenya, available for all Android phones. The app will offer international known brands and product assortment, fast and intuitive navigation, simple, flexible and secure online payment, push notifications for exclusive updates on new arrivals and special sales, a statement form the company said.

Algeria: Permanent posts - ITC minister Moussa Benhamadi has said that Algerie Telecom and Algerie Poste will now offer staff who were recruited through social inclusion schemes posts with job security. Agence Ecofin reported the development when the minister made an inspection visit in Ain Defla. All staff previously on short-term contracts will benefit.

Benin: Scandal scented - A number of arrests have been made of Benin Telecoms executives in connection with a financial scandal the ActuBenin Website reported. Six people who hold posts in the Kanakoo Directorate are reported to be involved, although the paper opted not to name them.

Benin: Ministerial meanderings - The new Minister of Communication, Komi Koutche has made a number of visits within days of his appointment. Agence Ecofin reports the Minister as visiting Benin Telecoms SA, the Office of Radio and Television of Benin (Ortb), Libercom SA and the National Printing Office and Release (ONIP). Koutche has replaced Max Ahouèkè as Minister of Communication.

Burkina Faso: Personnel person - Regulator ARCEP has named Abdoulaye Mambone as its first Director of Human Resources, with effect from 29 August 2013.

Kenya: Transfers thriving - The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) has reported that mobile money transactions reached USD 10.02 billion in the first half of 2013. BusinessGhana noted that this was up some USD 1.67 billion on the same period in 2012, from USD 8.35 billion dollars. Safaricom accounted for 90 percent of the transactions, with over 17 million subscribers to its M-PESA service. M-PESA charges increased by 10 percent in February following a rise in excise duty. The number of mobile money subscribers rose to 23.8 million at the end of June, up from 22.3 million in March.

Kenya Mobile Money Transactions Jan - Jun 2013

Source: Central Bank of Kenya c. Blycroft 2013

Liberia: Public posturing - Following a report by the General Auditing Commission (GAC) that a number of Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA) officials had spent funds without authorisation, LTA said it was concerned about the GAC report but did not intend to enter into a public debate over the matter. It did, however, suggest that the LTA had been 'mischaracterised'. The Heritage newspaper reported it saying in a press statement of 26 August 2013 that it took exception to the nature of the GAC press statement which is 'conspicuously bereft of the LTA's legitimate responses to the findings and observations of the GAC'.

Mauritania: Incendiary incident - A fire has affected Mauritel's network gear in Nouakchott on 27 August 2013 at 3:00 p.m. According to regulator ARE the majority of services Nouakchott and surrounding areas were affected. ARE inspectors found services still affected, with restored services of degraded quality. A similar fire occurred in the same complex on 11 September 2011. Mauritel has been directed to restore all services by 30 August 2013.

Mauritius: New numbers - The Information and Communication Technologies Authority (ICTA) has noted the launch of the new mobile network numbering plan with effect from 1 September 2013. Now subscribers must add the prefix 5 to the previous 7-digit domestic numbers of numbers they are calling.

Niger: Farming facilitated - Orange is reporting success for its Agri VAS service. A pilot was launched early in 2013 by Réseau National des Chambres d?Agriculture du Niger (RECA) and Orange Niger to vocalise Labaroun Kassoua?s services using IVR (Interactive Voice Response protocol). Labaroun Kassoua is a mobile agricultural value added service providing continuously updated market prices of agricultural produce in over 70 markets in Niger.

South Africa: IP imminent - Telkom's IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) core is now live as part of its migration to its next-generation network. It will invest some ZAR 10 billion (USD 976.7 million) in the next two years on rolling out an all IP network, which it will fund from cash flow. ITWeb reports the switch-on follows its June announcement that it has cut in over 240 multi-service access node (MSAN) units; the first unit was activated in March 2012. Chinese-vendor Huawei took just six months to complete the build.

South Africa: Payment proceedings - Vodacom has initiated legal proceedings against voice and bulk SMS carrier Telfree, seeking an amount of ZAR 54 million in unpaid fees for carrying messages across its network, ITWeb reported. MTN has also started arbitration proceedings with Telfree, although the group did not comment on the amount it is seeking. Telfree is a privately owned group of companies headquartered in Switzerland.

South Africa: Regulatory reshuffle - Andrew Barendse, head of Telkom?s regulatory affairs division, is stepping down. TechCentral reports he is joining Vodacom?s regulatory affairs division. It will be recalled that newly appointed Telkom group CEO Sipho Maseko recently met with, and apologised to, the full council of the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) for the operator?s past approach to the regulator.

Tanzania: Termination tested - Vodacom Tanzania is required to deposit TZS 77 million (USD 46,451) in court in a case concerning seven former employees who are claiming illegal termination of their services. The Daily News reports that the former employees petitioned the Commission for Mediation and Arbitration (CMA) to challenge their employment termination, alleging that the process was not followed. They have also claimed damages from injuries they received during the course of their employment.

Zimbabwe: Cut-off cometh - Telecel's Communications and Branding Director Obert Mandimika has urged unregistered subscribers to register to avoid being cut-off on 31 August.