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Archive for March 31st, 2011

Kenyan lands prestigious Gorbachev award

Posted by Administrator on March 31, 2011

A Kenyan entrepreneur, Evans Wadongo, has made history again after he is named one of three winners of the inaugural Gorbachev awards March 30, 2011. FILE

A Kenyan entrepreneur has made history again after he was named one of three winners of the inaugural Gorbachev awards.

Mr Evans Wadongo, who is also a CNN 2010 Hero, joined the founder of CNN Ted Turner and Timothy Berners-Lee, credited with inventing the World Wide Web in receiving the award at a gala event in London Wednesday.

The three were personally selected by Mikhail Gorbachev, the former leader of the Soviet Union, and honoured during the event to celebrate his 80th birthday at the Royal Albert Hall.

“These three people have each, in their own way, changed the world for their fellow men and women in ways which affect all our lives,” Gorbachev said in a news release.

Mr Wadongo used a solar-powered lantern to transform the lives of thousands of rural-based Africans, who have no access to electricity.

The lamp has become a clean, healthy alternative to wood fires as a source of light.

His desire to provide sustainable energy to communities was borne while studying Electrical Engineering at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology.

The awards have been organised into three categories reflecting reforms Gorbachev undertook as the Soviet leader, CNN reported.

Berners-Lee was given the award for perestroika, or reform, for inventing the World Wide Web in 1989, changing the way the world shares information.

The award for glasnost, or openness, was given to Turner, who helped transform the world’s media with his 24-hour global news operation.

Mr Wadongo, 25, won the award for contributions to modern science and technology, or uskoreniye.

“Each and every one possesses the ability to make a difference and the Gorbachev Awards have been established to those people who achieve this and to provide inspiration to all of us to try,” said the former Russian president and Nobel Peace Prize Winner.

Source: http://www.nation.co.ke/News/-/1056/1136190/-/10yymvdz/-/index.html


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Mobile Money Transfers to M-PESA Subscribers in Kenya Now Available from Western Union Locations

Posted by Administrator on March 31, 2011

Western Union (NYSE: WU) today announced that consumers can now send money directly to the mobile “wallets” of Safaricom M-PESA subscribers in Kenya from 45 countries and territories – the first service of its kind in the world.

The expansion of the service to more than 80,000 Western Union Agent locations worldwide follows the successful debut of the offering from Western Union Agent locations and the westernunion.com website in the U.K.

The service rides on Western Union’s worldwide network and trusted global “hub” for processing cross-border remittances. It also builds on the unprecedented success of M-PESA, a domestic mobile money transfer service in Kenya offered by Safaricom that has attracted more than 13.5 million customers since its launch in 2007.

“We are pleased to extend our service with Safaricom, and we look forward to adding additional functionality for M-PESA users in the near future,” said David Yates, Executive Vice President and President, Business Development and Innovation, Western Union.

The service will allow people to visit one of more than 80,000 Western Union Agent locations in 45 countries and territories across the globe, including the U.S., Canada, Italy and the U.K., and send funds directly to the mobile “wallets” of M-PESA’s 13.5 million subscribers. Funds are delivered generally in minutes.

The service will likely be welcomed by thousands of Kenyans working abroad. According to the Central Bank of Kenya, Kenyans living outside their home country sent US$642 million home in 2010 – up from the US$609 million sent home in 2009.

Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore said, “Our customers are very proud of the revolutionary M-PESA service, and this partnership sees us pushing new boundaries to continue to keep Kenya at the forefront of the mobile world. Through this partnership, our customers and their friends and families will benefit from affordable, faster and more convenient international remittances, and the money is available to use straightaway for any M-PESA transaction, or can be withdrawn as cash at any of our 24,000 Safaricom agents.”

Western Union offers the Mobile Money Transfer Service in the Philippines with Smart Communications and Globe Telecom; in Malaysia with Maxis; and in Canada with EnStream. Western Union also has agreements with other mobile operators and banks to introduce the service in the future.

About Western Union

The Western Union Company (NYSE: WU) is a leader in global payment services. Together with its Vigo, Orlandi Valuta, Pago Facil and Western Union Business Solutions-branded payment services, Western Union provides consumers and businesses with fast, reliable and convenient ways to send and receive money around the world, to send payments and to purchase money orders. The Western Union, Vigo and Orlandi Valuta-branded services are offered through a combined network of 445,000 Agent locations in 200 countries and territories. In 2010, The Western Union Company completed 214 million consumer-to-consumer transactions worldwide, moving $76 billion of principal between consumers, and 405 million business payments. For more information, visit www.westernunion.com.

About Safaricom’s M-PESA

The M-PESA service, the first of its kind in the world, was launched in March 2007. As at 31st October, 2010, the service had over 13.5 million customers and over 22,000 Agent outlets countrywide. Over 600 organisations are now accepting Bill Payment via M-PESA.

The service does not require users to have a bank account; an important aspect in Kenya, where millions of people do not operate bank accounts. With M-PESA, account holders can buy electronic funds at an M-PESA agent and send the electronic value to any other mobile phone user in the country, who can then redeem it for conventional cash at any M-PESA agent.

M-PESA customers can hold up to KShs100,000 in their M-PESA account at any one time, and can do transactions of up to KShs140,000 in a day. Between KShs 50 and KShs70,000 can be deposited, sent or withdrawn per transaction.

Source: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20110331005098/en/Mobile-Money-Transfers-M-PESA-Subscribers-Kenya-Western

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Karua tells Ocampo Six to go “quietly”

Posted by Administrator on March 31, 2011

Gichugu MP Martha Karua has asked the Ocampo Six summoned to The Hague to “go there quietly” rather than create a furore around it March 30, 2011. FILE

Gichugu MP Martha Karua has asked the Ocampo Six summoned to The Hague to “go there quietly” rather than create a furore around it March 30, 2011. FILE

Gichugu MP Martha Karua has asked the Ocampo Six summoned to The Hague to “go there quietly” rather than create a furore around it.

Ms Karua took on Finance minister Uhuru Kenyatta in Parliament Wednesday, where he was presenting the Supplementary Budget estimates for approval.

Standing across from where Mr Kenyatta sat, Ms Karua said an additional Sh5 billion allocated for “enhanced security” should not be used in the provision of security for rallies organised by the Ocampo Six.

“We need security, but not for security for the big boys. There are more Kenyans than the Ocampo Six,” she charged.

She said the government would have better spent the money on the resettlement of Internally Displaced Persons and food for those affected by drought.

Ms Karua and Mr Kenyatta are perceived as political opponents and have supported different candidates in recent by-elections.

Ms Karua said MPs had voted for The Hague option in refusing to approve a Bill she had prepared for the creation of a special tribunal to try the post-election violence suspects when she was Justice minister.

“Lest I am accused of celebrating that people are going to The Hague, let me remind you that I came here and pleaded with you to establish a Special Tribunal. I was told, ‘Don’t be vague, let’s go to The Hague’,” she said.

“Now The Hague has come, take The Hague quietly.”

Ms Karua asked those destined for the International Criminal Court to ask their associates what option they voted for at that time, and what their current stand is.

She said coalition principals President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga tried to convince the MPs to approve the formation of the tribunal when they signed a commitment to either have it in place within 60 days or have the cases handled by the ICC.

Ms Karua also accused the government of a tendency to cater for the needs of the rich at the expense of the poor, who are already saddled with the high cost of living.

“This is a big boys’ club, never mind the ages of the big boys,” she said.

Mr Kenyatta has been summoned to The Hague along with Head of Civil Service Francis Muthaura, former police chief Hussein Ali, Eldoret North MP William Ruto, Tinderet MP Henry Kosgey and radio presenter Joshua arap Sang for an initial appearance on April 7 and 8.

Source: http://www.nation.co.ke/News/politics/-/1064/1135726/-/7q902o/-/index.html

Posted in Kenya | 22 Comments »

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