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Archive for June, 2010

Kato Mivule

With Bharti facing fierce competition in Asia, it is no doubt that he is desperate to take a huge chunk of the African I.T market. However, Africans should play hard ball too, for they have leverage and Africa’s Telecom sector is one of the fastest growing and lucrative markets in the world.

Museveni meets telecom investors – Daily Monitor
President Museveni has urged investors to exploit opportunities in the agro-processing industry in Uganda including engaging in the production of fertilizers, phosphates and the steel industry. Mr Museveni was on Tuesday speaking at a meeting with investors from India and Singapore.

According a State House press statement, the investors were led by Mr Sinil Bharti Mittal chairman and Group CEO of Bharti Enterprises based in New Delhi, India and Ms Chua Sock Koong, the Group CEO of Singapore Telecommunications limited.
Mr Sunil Bharti Mittal an Indian telecom mogul, is the founder and managing director of Bharti Enterprises.

Uganda's President Meets Bharti, Image Source: Daily Monitor

The $7.2 billion turn over company, according to reports, runs India’s largest GSM – based mobile phone service while Singapore Telecommunications Limited (SingTel) is a telecommunications company that provides mobile phone and fixed line telephone operations.

Zain acquisition
Bharti Airtel recently concluded the acquisition of Zain Group’s mobile operations in 15 countries across Africa for an enterprise valuation of $10.7 billion.
The meeting was also attended by Mr James Mulwana, the chairman of the Zain-Uganda board of directors and Mr Yessi Oenga the managing director of Zain Uganda.

Details on how Zain Uganda will be affected by Bharti’s takeover are likely to be revealed at a press conference that is slated to be held in Kampala tomorrow.

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Kato Mivule | June 8, 2010
With the World Cup fever high, ZDNET published an article showing an increase in cybercrime activities surrounding the World Cup festivities.

Protection tips for the upcoming FIFA World Cup themed cybercrime campaigns – ZDNET
“…With just four days until the FIFA World Cup begins, cybercriminals have already started showing their interest in taking advantage of the event, by launching targeted malicious PDFs/malware serving campaigns, blackhat SEO and fraudulent propositions, followed by lottery winning notifications/letters of claim themed scams. Considering that, these threats and exploitation tactics are prone to intensify throughout the entire event, let’s review some of the most commonly used attack vectors, and discuss the risk mitigation strategies for each and every one of them…”

Spam Volume Prior To World Cup. Image Source: ZDNET

Yet this underscores a major problem in Africa’s I.T Infrastructure, which most of it is insecure not because of a lack of sophistication to handle such cyber threats but a lack of priority.

Most Telecom companies for example do have state of the art technologies that could be channeled to address cybercrime yet none of these resources are utilized in a proactive way.

South Africa as a nation is exceptional in this approach as they have had a considerable investment in research when it comes to Information Privacy and Security.

However, with the exponential growth of the Telecom Sector, and amazing increase in the numbers of youngsters who are signing up for Online Social Networks such as Facebook, Twitter, etc, Privacy and Security can no longer be ignored.

Yet even documented incidences of Africa’s PCs being used as Transits for worms, Trojan horses, and all other cybercriminals need to comprehensively addressed, not forgetting the stereotypical “Nigerian Email” scam.

Yet in a clandestine fashion, African Governments have been known to employ primitive data mining techniques to spy on their citizens to check on all who are criticizing the ‘Village Chief’…

However, Information Privacy and Security should aim at empowering the locals rather than empowering the ‘powers that be’, this can be used to hold the ‘Village Chief’ accountable.

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Bharti’s profit driven ambitions have them close a deal to take over Zain and perhaps a large portion of Africa’s Telecome market. However, is this a good thing for the African Customer? Time will tell but Bharti’s ambitions seek a $5 Billion Profit…

Bharti closes $9 billion Zain Africa deal -Reuters
“…Bharti aims to have 100 million subscribers and $5 billion a year in revenue in Africa by 2012/13, Manoj Kohli, chief executive of its international unit, said on Tuesday. Currently Zain Africa has 42 million subscribers and an annual revenue of $3.6 billion. Zain said in a statement on Tuesday it has received $7.87 billion from Bharti and will receive a further $400 million within 12 months after completing other formal requirements. It will also receive another $700 million after one year of the deal closing, as agreed in March. In return Bharti gets the Kuwaiti company’s mobile operations in 15 African countries, making it India’s second biggest overseas acquisition after Tata Steel’s (TISC.BO) $13 billion buy of Corus in 2007. The Indian telecoms market leader is facing ferocious competition at home and betting on opportunities in Africa are worth the risks of operating there, analysts say, even though some regard the deal’s total enterprise value of $10.7 billion including the assumption of $1.7 billion debt as a full price…”

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