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Archive for February 22nd, 2011

Nation’s Technopolis Dream Gets a Boost From European, Asian Firms

Posted by Administrator on February 22, 2011

At least six firms have expressed interest in competing for contracts to build Kenya’s multi-billion Shilling dream ICT park on a 5,000-acre site south of Nairobi.

Winners of the contracts will become master builders of the $10 billion (Sh800 billion) project, whose construction begins next month at a ground-breaking ceremony to be presided over by President Kibaki.

In the list of contenders are India’s Mahindra, Tata Infrastructure, Leasing and Financial Services, Wipro from America and global technology firm IBM.

Swedish, South Korean and American firms – whose names could not be immediately verified – are also eyeing infrastructure projects at the park.

Construction of the technopolis is hinged on a model that puts third parties at the centre of its execution with the owners – the government – offering the land, legal backing and architectural plans.

Winners of the master builder tender are expected to develop property on location and upon conclusion lease it out (for 99 years) or sell it to interested buyers, the master plan crafted by the Ministry of Information says.

A separate group of bidders will build the city’s infrastructure and levy service charges under the build, operate and transfer (BoT) model.

Lease periods will be hinged on the length of time it takes them to recoup costs without imposing a heavy cost burden on users.

People familiar with the bidders’ plans said a Swedish company is gunning for the tender to construct and manage the technopolis’ sewerage system while the Korean firm wants to build the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) park.

Infrastructure development at the park situated 41 kilometres South of Nairobi begins next month paving the way for invitation of the initial tenders worth $3.8 billion (Sh304 billion).

“The official launch should make it possible for the government to actively market the project to potential investors throughout the world,” said Dr Bitange Ndemo, the Information permanent secretary.

Prime minister Raila Odinga is expected to lead a team of top government and private sector personalities who will leave the country in April for a road show in New York.

Service providers, including a leading hospital, an international school and an investment group have expressed interest in putting up units at the park, Mr Ndemo said.

Next month’s launch of infrastructure development projects will also see the grounds zoned for planned activities such as IT, hospitality, education, health and finance.

The ICT park is expected to create 80,000 new jobs in the first four years as part of the government’s Vision 2030 development blueprint.

Last Friday, the parliamentary accounts committee team led by Gichugu MP Martha Karua, Nairobi Metropolitan and Ministry of Information officials toured the site to ascertain whether the public had got value for the Sh1 billion that has so far been pumped into the project.

Kenya intends to use the facility to promote conference tourism and is preparing a bid for the 2018 GSMA World Congress.

The annual meeting brings together 800 of the world’s mobile operators, more than 200 technology companies and about 50,000 IT executives.

Successful execution will make Konza technology city Eastern Africa’s first and only technopolis – a city built specifically for technology firms.

It will host Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) ventures, a science park, a convention centre, shopping malls, hotels, international schools and health facilities.

Similar cities already exist in Malaysia (PutraJaya), Panama (Pacifico), the Philippines (Subic-Clark) and China (Shenzhen).

Mr Mugo Kibati, the director general of Vision 2030 said execution of the plan is hinged on the allocation of money in the next budget to kick-start the initial phase.

“We are now packaging the project ready for show casing to potential investors,” he said.

The technopolis has faced numerous hurdles, including encroachment on its land by private developers, since its inception in 2008.

There is also fear that implementation of the project may be mired in politics as the Kenya moves into the next general election.

“This is the worst time to implement a project of this magnitude as politicians can go promising investors anything to get campaign money in exchange,” Dr Ndemo said.

The ICT park was initially embroiled in a fierce disagreement between shareholders of Malili Ranch, its directors and area politicians.

Shareholders of the ranch accused brokers of cheating them out of their land and threatened to block the project unless they were paid more.

The Ministry of Information, entered into an agreement with the directors of Malili Ranch on June 17 last year to purchase 5,000 acres of land at a price of Sh200,000 per acre and made a down-payment of Sh400 million.

The Sh600 million balance was paid in January paving the way for work to begin.

Malili Ranch belonged to 606 farmers who owned 7.8 acres each and were paid Sh1.56 million each for their shares.

Mr Mugo advised land owners in the area to stop subdividing it because they could end up getting more value for consolidated units in mega projects around the technopolis.

Source:

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World Bank selects Kenyan for new fellowship

Posted by Administrator on February 22, 2011

The World Bank has chosen Kenyan national, Michael Joseph, as its first fellow following the launch on Tuesday in Nairobi of a new global fellowship program to tap new expertise into its development work and strengthen its knowledge network.

The Fellowship program will enable the Bank to attract global technical and policy experts for three months to a year to provide new perspectives on policy, performance and implementation.

Fellows will also contribute to policy analysis, advise governments, promote knowledge sharing, and bring cutting-edge solutions to countries.

The first fellow under the program, Michael Joseph, will advise the Bank and governments on spreading the use of mobile phone banking, drawing on his knowledge and experience at the helm of Kenya’s largest telecommunications service provider.

“I am really deeply honoured to have been selected as the first fellow by the World Bank to share my knowledge and experience in mobile innovations,” said Michael Joseph, former Chief Executive Officer of Safaricom- Kenya’s giant mobile telephony and most profitable company in East Africa.

Joseph, who remains on the Board of Safaricom, has been credited with the success of the internationally renowned M-pesa, the mobile money platform that enables subscribers to make payments and move cash at a low cost, cutting out intermediaries.

As a World Bank Fellow, Joseph will provide strategic advice to the World Bank and governments beyond Africa on policy and regulatory issues to promote development of mobile banking and mobile payments.

According to World Bank Country Director for Kenya Johannes Zutt, “sharing knowledge on telecommunications innovations, including mobile money, can make an important contribution to Africa’s reform and development.”

“The global sharing of knowledge and innovation will boost growth opportunities for African countries, contributing to better equity and poverty reduction,” said the World Bank.

Mobile phones are now the leading means of voice communications and internet access, connecting communities and expanding opportunities for economic development.

According to World Bank, in 2010, the world reached 5.3 billion mobile subscriptions, with more than three billion of them in developing countries. These include 450 million in Africa, representing a penetration of 43 percent.

Source: http://www.apanews.net/apa.php?page=show_article_eng&id_article=141163

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Kibaki withdraws list of nominees

Posted by Administrator on February 22, 2011

President Kibaki addresses the media at the at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre, Nairobi February 22, 2011 where he announced that he had withdrawn his nominations to four constitutional offices. STEPHEN MUDIARI

President Kibaki addresses the media at the at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre, Nairobi February 22, 2011 where he announced that he had withdrawn his nominations to four constitutional offices. STEPHEN MUDIARI

President Kibaki has withdrawn his nominations to four constitutional offices.

The President said that whereas he acted within his constitutional mandate in making the nominations, the matter was of great national importance.

“Following extensive consultations with a large section of Members of Parliament in order to ensure that national interest remains paramount, I reiterate that both the Legal and Justice Committee of Parliament as well as the Committee on Finance and Trade concluded that I have acted within my constitutional mandate in the execution of the nominations,” he said at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre, Nairobi.

“However, considering the importance of the office of the Chief Justice as the head of the Judicial Arm of the Government, I have considered all the concerns expressed in regard to this nomination and I have concluded that it is beneficial that the nomination to fill this office, during the transition period, is also done through the Judicial Service Commission,” said President Kibaki.

“In regard to nomination of the Attorney General, I have invited the Prime Minister for further consultations.

“I have also decided that the positions of Director of Public Prosecutions and Controller of Budget should be advertised through the Public Service Commission,” he said.

President Kibaki said the move will “enable us to move forward with the implementation process of the Constitution”.

Country

He appealed to Kenyans to remain united as we the country forges ahead with process of implementing the constitution.

Gichugu MP Martha Karua said on Twitter: “Katiba (Constitution) wins round one as Kibaki withdraws the controversial four nominees.”

On Monday, Attorney General Amos Wako told a court that the nominations were improper.

A senior state counsel, Ms Wanjiku Mbiyu, said the Judicial Service Commission was ignored when the President nominated Justice Alnashir Visram to succeed outgoing Chief Justice Evan Gicheru.

“The Attorney General’s position is and has been JSC was not involved in the appointment as required under the Constitution,” Ms Mbiyu told a three-judge bench.

Last week, House Speaker Kenneth Marende declared the nominations illegal and referred the matter back to the principals to restart the process.

Consult

Mr Marende said President Kibaki did not follow the law in nominating Mr Justice Alnashir Visram to be Chief Justice, Prof Githu Muigai (Attorney General), lawyer Kioko Kilukumi (Director of Public Prosecutions) and William Kirwa as Controller of Budget.

He said the President did not consult the Prime Minister as envisaged by the constitution and the National Accord.

On Friday, President Kibaki, however, said he had acted within his “constitutional mandate” in making the nominations.

“In my actions as your President, I have at all times acted in accordance with the Constitution and the Laws of Kenya, he said.

The President said he will await the decision of the constitutional court over the matter.

But Mr Odinga praised Mr Marende’s ruling saying the Speaker had upheld the Constitution when making his ruling.

“The Speaker made that ruling in line with the Constitution and in that (ruling), there is no winner or loser. The winner is Kenya. Nobody should brag that I won and they lost. Kenya won,” the PM said.

A three judge bench comprising of Justices Kalpana Rawal, George Dulu and Luka Kimaru adjourned the hearing of the case to March 2.

Pro-Kibaki MPs vow to overturn Mr Marende’s ruling saying he was biased failed to materialise in Parliament.

Source: http://www.nation.co.ke/News/politics/-/1064/1112564/-/7oxru4/-/index.html

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Stop the sterotype…unlock the potential

Posted by Administrator on February 22, 2011

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Voice of America website hacked by Iranian group

Posted by Administrator on February 22, 2011

By Antony Karanja-Jambonewspot.com

A visit to the Voice of America’s (VOA) website was met by a message purpotedly coming from a group calling itself “Iranian Cyber Army.” The hacked VOA website showed a banner bearing an Iranian flag and an image of an AK-47 assault rifle.

The “Cyber Army” defaced the website with a message “we have proven that we can.”

The hackers listed 93 domain names owned by the Voice of America that it had apparent hacked into.

The group also posted a message for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the face of the website. The message read “Mrs Clinton Do you want to hear the voice of the oppressed nations will from heart of USA? Islamic countries doesnt believe USA trickery. We call on you to stop interfering in Islamic countries.”

A copy of the VOA website after it was hacked by a group calling itself the Iranian Cyber Army.

A copy of the VOA website after it was hacked by a group calling itself the Iranian Cyber Army.

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