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2015 Ford Mustang to Debut in Africa

Iconic coupé to be introduced in South Africa and Sub Saharan Africa

Iconic coupé to be introduced in South Africa and Sub Saharan AfricaAuto

The Ford Motor Company has announced that the Ford Mustang, the world’s favorite pony car, will be on show at Ford’s inaugural Go Further event happening on the 17th of July in Sandton, Johannesburg.

The all-new Ford Mustang fastback and convertible models promise exceptional performance and refinement while embracing the Mustang’s half-century of heritage and status as a global icon. Notably, it will be the most modern Mustang to date, boasting independent rear suspension, a first for the vehicle that will transform the way it handles. Equipment levels will also be on par with what customers have come to expect of Ford’s smart vehicles, including technologies such as SYNC® 2, Blind spot Information System with Cross Traffic Alert, and other driver aid systems.

“Few other cars inspire passion like the Mustang,” says Mark Kaufman, vice president of marketing, sales and service, Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa (FMCSA). “The iconic design and visceral sound of Mustang resonate with people, even if they’ve never driven one. It is definitely more than just a car – it is the heart and soul of Ford.”

More than 9 million Mustangs have been sold since it was first launched in 1964. The world’s most-liked vehicle on Facebook*, Mustang has made thousands of appearances in film, television, music and video games, and is one of 17 new vehicles that Ford will launch in South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa by the end of 2015.

“With a formidable reputation, both on and off the track, as well as its iconic status as a symbol of freedom, Mustang’s reputation precedes it even in those parts of the world where the car has never been sold,” continues Kaufman. “It epitomises Ford’s aggressive product acceleration; technologically advanced and forward-looking, and embracing the heritage that has inspired Ford customers for generations.”

The new Mustang has been developed with impressive performance, driving dynamics and usability in mind – and includes a significant amount of advanced driver convenience and driver aid technologies.

“We’re proud to have Mustang back in South Africa – and this model is the best Mustang yet,” says Kaufman. “Longtime admirers will be able to see an icon return to South African roads, and we are confident the new Mustang will bring even more fans to the brand.”

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Ericsson fires employee over racist tweet

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Telecommunications company Ericsson South Africa has dismissed an employee over a racists tweet.

Ericsson employee Vivienne Catherine Basson vented her anger on Twitter yesterday, after being allegedly involved in a car accident with a taxi driver. In the rage-filled tweet she said, “Effing k**fir taxi. And once again I vote for the death penalty. These savages don’t deserve to live. But more importantly Daniel is alive and I am alive. They can rot in hell”

In South Africa, the word “Kaffir” is regarded as a deeply offensive racial slur, similar to “Nigger” in the United States.

After reviewing the message posted on Twitter, Ericsson South Africa dismissed Basson, stating that she contravened the company’s Code of Business Ethics.

As per our Ericsson Code of Business Ethics, we have a zero tolerance policy against all kinds of discrimination based on partiality or prejudice. In this case the Code has been breached, and as such the individual involved has been summarily dismissed,” they said in a statement.

In a number of follow-up tweets, Basson tried to justify her actions by explaining that she had previously been involved in two hit and run incidents with taxis and had been robbed and shot at in her home.

Do you now understand my anger. Walk in my shoes before you pontificate. I am not racist but I do know the difference between a good person and a savage,” she later tweeted.

She did apologize for her initial tweet, stating that she didn’t want to be “insensitive or derogatory.”

Law firm Legal Aid warns of the dangers of posting entries to social networks, as it could have long-lasting effects on the poster’s career.
Social media can be used to socialize and communicate and help do things, but you may not have thought about some of the problems it can cause for you. Think before you post – there may be negative consequences for you now as well as in the future as once it is out there it can be in many places you didn’t even think about. Remember friends can copy what you post and send it to people you don’t know who could then send it to even more people,” they explained.

 

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Samsung Galaxy Gear now compatible with Galaxy S4

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Samsung Electronics South Africa announced yesterday the local availability of Android 4.3 (Jelly Bean) software upgrade for Galaxy S4 3G. Galaxy S4 customers will now be able to enjoy compatibility with Galaxy GEAR, the perfect companion device that makes mobile communication easier and more enjoyable.

Samsung’s Galaxy Gear is the latest addition to the wearable technology category (Image source: Samsung)

“Extending Galaxy GEAR compatibility to more GALAXY devices reflects our deep commitment to deliver an enriched mobile experience to our consumers,” said Craige Fleischer, Director of Mobile Communications at Samsung Electronics South Africa.

“This upgrade will also offer new improvements and optimization capabilities and these enhancements will empower our users in their mobile lives and enable smart freedom with Galaxy Gear.”

Samsung Galaxy Gear

Galaxy GEAR will enable Galaxy S4 users to make and answer calls and view incoming alerts and notifications with just a glance. For a closer look at more important messages, users can simply pick up their master device and the Smart Relay feature instantly reveals the full content. Users can also find major social apps on Samsung Apps to maintain connections to their social networks via Galaxy GEAR.

With a 1.9 Megapixel camera, users can snap a visual memo by simply tapping GALAXY GEAR’s screen. Photos are then easily and automatically saved in the master device’s gallery. Users can enjoy a built-in Pedometer app and use Galaxy GEAR to control the music played on their master devices. Of course the device also functions like a watch, with the option to change the face with 10 different clock options and even more options available via Samsung Apps.

The update will be available for Galaxy S4 via KIES as the preferred method, FOTA (Firmware Over The Air) or users can visit their nearest Samsung Smart Care Service Centre where representatives can assist with the upgrade.

“We work closely with local operators before releasing operating system updates to ensure a positive user experience. Therefore, we would like to urge users of other Samsung handsets to be patient for more information on official launch dates for upgrades, which will be communicated as it becomes available. We would also like to caution users to be aware that rooting a device will impact the validity of the warranty,” concludes Fleischer.

PS4 sells 1-million units in 24-hours

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Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. (SCE) over the weekend announced that the highly anticipated launch of the PlayStation 4 (PS4) console resulted in 1 million units sold during the first 24 hours after it became available on November 15, 2013 in the United States and Canada.

“PS4 was designed with an unwavering commitment to gamers, and we are thrilled that consumer reaction has been so phenomenal,” said Andrew House, President and Group CEO, Sony Computer Entertainment, Inc.

“Sales remain very strong in North America, and we expect continued enthusiasm as we launch the PlayStation 4 in Europe and Latin America on November 29. We are extremely grateful for the passion of PlayStation fans and thank them for their continued support.”

While the PlayStation 4 launched in the US and Canada last week, the gaming console will only be made available in South Africa on 6 December 2013.

Mario Dos Santos, Chief Executive Officer of Ster Kinekor Entertainment, is confident that the unit will arrive in South Africa before Christmas. “South Africa will be releasing the PS4 prior to Christmas, we are planned to go on the 6th of December 2013 due to the logistics of getting the stock to our shores,” he said in August.

No price has been specified yet. “The price point, although not officially set due to the uncertainty around the Rand exchange rate, is currently planned at an RRP of R 6299 including VAT and it will not be beyond this for launch,” he added.

The PlayStation 3 was launched in South Africa on 22 March 2007, but released to the rest of the world in November of the previous year.

Overcoming the payments hurdle for Nigerian e-commerce

Nigeria is not “business as usual” for new entrants to the market – but, according to Robin Philip of payment services provider PayGate, for global eCommerce providers there are many opportunities if you have the right supporting network of partners and suppliers.

Philip says setting up in Nigeria has proven to be extremely challenging for online retailers in particular. “As in most African markets, Nigeria has a complex and atypical payments environment. Credit cards are rare, and there is a wide range of branded and proprietary debit cards and payment methods available on different networks which must be brought together cohesively.”

To make matters more complicated, says Philip, “there is no unified payment switch or local equivalent of South Africa’s Bankserv where online payments can be cleared. Anybody setting up to take online payments has to configure their payment offering from scratch and make multiple links and integrations to different networks.”

Philip says this creates an opportunity for payment services providers like PayGate to play an important facilitating role. “Online retailers from outside the continent will find that going direct for their payments is extremely expensive, time-consuming and difficult to manage.  It makes sense for us, as a payment services provider, to knit those multiple integrations and relationships together into a single package that works.”

The task is challenging, says Philip, but by no means impossible: “The Nigerian environment on the whole is challenging, and visiting Lagos (the New York of Africa) is an interesting experience, not for the fainthearted — but when it comes to business, there’s a difference. Once the personal contact has been made and there’s an agreement to do business together, things move fast. They are very driven.”

With 170m connected consumers, says Philip, it makes the extra effort worthwhile. “Lagos and Nigeria are really starting to take off as a global business destination. We believe there’s a window period of three to four years to establish a strong presence in the Nigerian market”.

Gennii Games, Efiwe Mobile Application Emerge Winners of Etisalat Pan-African Prize for Innovation

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Genii Games and Efiwe Mobile Application have emerged winners of the second edition of the ‘Etisalat Pan-African Prize for Innovation’ organized by Nigeria’s most innovative telecommunications company, Etisalat. This award which is aimed at encouraging and celebrating valuable innovation in the African market was presented at the Africa Com awards Gala Dinner held at the Waterfront Lookout, Cape Town South Africa, on the 13th of November 2013 as part of the Africa Com 2013 Conference.

The ‘Etisalat Prize for Innovation’ was awarded in 2 categories: The first prize of $25, 000 for the most innovative product or service was presented to Genii Games (Asa), a growing collection of interactive culture teaching mobile app for African children, and a second prize of $10,000 for the most innovative idea presented to Efiwe Mobile application, a social education network that provides a simulated learning environment with in-depth resources in every field of study and subject of study.

Speaking on the success of the second edition of the competition which witnessed an impressive array of entries for the two award categories, Acting Chief Executive Officer, Etisalat Nigeria, Matthew Willsher, explained that the competition was instituted to provide the opportunity for ingenious people to present innovative and relevant mobile broadband products/services and ideas.

He said, “We are delighted at the creativity shown by all the entries and this is a clear indication of the importance of broadband in Africa. Innovative broadband projects, products and services have improved the way we live and work and so we launched this award last year because we realise the importance of broadband in the industry. Innovation is core to our business strategy at Etisalat Nigeria and we see ourselves as a young and innovative business setting the pace for others in the Nigerian telecommunications industry”.

The Etisalat Pan-African Prize for Innovation featured a high-level judging panel representing business, telecommunications, entrepreneurship and network development reviewed the entries and established a final shortlist of 4 nominees in the two categories.

The 6th annual Africa Com Awards provided an evening of entertainment that attendees described as the best yet.

SAP Africa Launches Urban Matters Initiative to Enhance the Lives of Citizens, Promote Efficiencies in African Cities

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SAP Africa today announced the kick-off of its SAP® Urban Matters initiative at the Africa Urban Matters, Cities of the Future event being hosted in Cape Town. The event focuses on how innovative technology can be leveraged to make cities and municipalities more effective – and improve the lives of citizens.

Drawing attendees from across Africa and Europe and with representatives from cities in Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Kenya, South Africa and the United Kingdom, the event will feature an opening address by Patricia de Lille, Mayor of the City of Cape Town, a keynote address on ‘Connected Cities’ by Nirvesh Sooful, CEO at African Ideas, and a presentation by Andre Stelzner, CIO, City of Cape Town. Stelzner will be sharing his experience on what it takes to be an ‘integrated city.’ In addition, participants from cities across Africa will contribute their perspectives to help shape the discussion around the future of cities in Africa.

This event is the African chapter of a series of international SAP events that have been hosted in Singapore, New York City (United States of America), Puebla (Mexico), London (United Kingdom), Auckland (New Zealand), Berlin (Germany), Delhi (India) and Bogota (Colombia). The events showcase best practices of cities around the world, and provide an interactive forum to address local-specific issues.

Glyn Evans, Former Director of Birmingham’s Transformation Programme, will be presenting a case study on City Transformation. He will not only discuss how ICT solutions helped Birmingham build a better city, but also share the lessons learned while new processes were being implemented. Also presenting at the event is is Jak Koseff, Director of Social Assistance from the City of Johannesburg, who will be talking about cities’ social responsibilities.

In 2010, Africa’s urban population was approximately 36%, but this number is projected to rapidly increase to 50% and 60% by 2030 and 2050, respectively. According to the South African Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR), the proportion of South Africans living in urban areas increased from 52% in 1990 to 62% in 2012. As Africa is becoming increasingly urbanised with millions of people migrating to all major hubs, there is clearly a pressing need for governments and municipalities to efficiently deal with this enormous influx and all other related issues.

“The need of the hour is to rapidly accelerate the benefits of ICT-enabled change through transformation of the public sector and the wider economy. In order to flourish, African cities must equip themselves with the best possible technical tools to directly tackle environmental and social challenges, underpinned by proven budgeting and management processes,” said Nirvesh Sooful, CEO at African Ideas. “Governments need to consider partnering with companies like SAP, giving them access to best practices and innovative ways of solving the myriad of complex problems that face cities today.”

 

SAP Urban Matters

Having worked with numerous city and urban governments across the world — from Brisbane to Boston, Berlin to Bogota, London to Singapore, Paris to Mumbai — SAP has developed a deep understanding of the challenges and opportunities associated with urban development.

The SAP Urban Matters initiative focuses on helping urban governments deliver the citizen-centric services and efficiencies needed to be best-run cities. This primarily involves three over-arching themes

  1. Helping improve urban liveability and create an inclusive, safer, greener and cleaner city.
  2. Transforming city governments so they are open, high performing, effective and efficient
  3. Driving economic prosperity in cities, through better management of city finances, improving tax collection, helping small businesses to grow and making the city more attractive for investment, skills development and innovation.
  4. SAP takes a holistic approach to urban sustainability, incorporating crucial pillars like governance, public security, the environment as well as citizen engagement.

The SAP Urban Matters solution portfolio offers a broad range of solutions for improving transportation, governance and to make the city safer and more secure. Other than the City of Cape Town, several other municipalities in South Africa are already successfully running SAP solutions like SAP® ERP Human Capital Management and SAP® Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) Integration for Utilities software.

“With the global focus on Africa, governments across the continent are relying on innovative technology to help them prepare for issues associated with rapid urbanisation,” commented Pfungwa Serima, CEO SAP Africa. “We have been working with city, state and local governments in Africa and many other cities across the world to transform and innovate since the nineties, SAP®  Urban Matters intensifies our the importance of our urban focus and defines how we will support best run cities in the future.”

“Spotify not coming to Africa soon” – Spotify

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Music streaming services have become very popular over the last couple of years and aside from the likes of Pandora and iHeartRadio, Swedish offering Spotify has probably been the most prominent and popular.

However users in Africa should not hold their breath for the service to be made available on the continent. The Company’s Head of New Markets, Axel Bringeus said that they will only launch in new territories once a number of factors are in place.

“It is important for us to go global as fast as we can, but we don’t do it for bragging rights as localisation is very important to us. We won’t go live until we can offer the same user experience as other countries and have a strong catalogue, we won’t go live until an economically viable price point has been reached and partner with companies, such as Coke,” he said.

Relating specifically to the African market, Bringeus said that there is no time-frame for when the service will launch on the continent. “There are a number of challenges in Africa that are the same as with global regions. Price and catalogue is very important, which requires preparation and we’ll wait till all that is in place.”

While the service is not yet available in any African country, users have signed up to be notified about any developments, which Bringeus says is very encouraging. “We do see people accessing the service from Africa, with a significant number that have signed up for waiting list on news,” he concluded.

 

Etisalat-sponsored Africa’s Next Top Model Season One debuts November 10th

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Etisalat Nigeria has been announced as sponsor of the first-of-its-kind reality model show in Africa, Africa’s Next Top Model as plans are being concluded for the premiere of season one starting from Sunday, November 10th, 2013. The show will air on Africa Magic Entertainment Channel 151 on DSTV at 18:00 WAT (19:00 CAT/20:00 EAT).

Africa’s Next Top Model is a television franchise format of America’s Next Top Model, created by American Supermodel, Tyra Banks, and will be hosted by international supermodel, Oluchi. Set in Cape Town, South Africa, the show features 12 girls from different parts of Africa competing for a chance to win the grand prize of a 1-year modeling contract with New York-based modeling agency, DNA, a product endorsement deal and a cash prize of $50,000.

Director, Brands and Communication at Etisalat Nigeria, Enitan Denloye while speaking on the company’s participation in the show said it was a delight for Etisalat to be a part of a competition that promotes African beauty on an international platform. “The Africa’s Next Top Model reality search competition is uniquely different, in that it beams its searchlight on eight countries in Africa, giving an opportunity to a lot of young African supermodel hopefuls. We believe that this competition will discover and groom these girls that will enable them compete with their international counterparts,” he said.

On Etisalat’s role in the competition and general proposition to the youth market, Thani said that Etisalat is keeping true to its commitment of nurturing and celebrating talents. “At Etisalat we are distinguished by our innovative and unique approach to our business. We believe that our growth in the last five years is a testament to this. We will continually delight our customers with our world class standard products and services as well as our support of laudable initiatives such as the ANTM,” he said.

The show features Aamito (Uganda), Cheandre (South Africa), Joyce (Nigeria), Marwa (Tunisia), Michaela (Angola), Michelle (South Africa), Omowunmi (Nigeria), Opeyemi (Nigeria), Rhulani (South Africa), Roselyn (Ghana), Safira (Mozambique) and Steffi (Kenya) as they strive to prove they have what it takes to make it in the world of modeling.

Organisations mobilising to virtually protect Africa’s children

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There have been a number of global incidents reported lately that involve the abuse of technology to instigate or perpetuate behavior that is considered immoral, unethical and/or socially unacceptable. Issues like child pornography, cyber bullying, sexting, grooming by predators, scams and hate-speech have authorities concerned over what users are exposed to on the Net, via mobile applications and devices, and on social networks – particularly children. Africa, it would seem, is not immune to the problem.

Over the past two months, several media reports have surfaced detailing issues that involve technology on some level, whether to document and disseminate material, or as a central tool through which to conduct the actual activity. Below are just a few examples:

More recently, an article titled How Sweetie caught 1000 pedophiles spoke of how a Dutch children’s rights group created a computer generated 10-year-old character and used it to identify over 1000 pedophile globally. The report detailed how the pedophiles had been willing to pay for sexual acts performed in front of a webcam in a new, disturbing trend known as webcam child sex tourism.

In South Africa, the safety of minors was brought into question after news of an apparent case of sexual grooming broke at Hyde ParkHigh School in Johannesburg in September. A teacher was reported to have been eventually suspended for allegedly sending pornographic material to a 16-year-old pupil.

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) South Africa says that The Centre for Justice and Crime Prevention (CJCP) recently published the 2012 edition of the National School Violence Study, which included a specific section on online violence.

Approximately 6000 children from all nine provinces in the country responded to the survey. The findings show that around 20 per cent of children said that they had experiences some form of online violence or aggressions in the past year. The most common of these were online fights, where angry or rude language was exchanged in a chatroom or a social networking site.

Less common were experiences of receiving messages or being posted about with the intention of damaging their reputation (3.7%), being threatened or intimidated online (2.5%) or having someone send sexually explicit images/messages of the respondent by phone or computer (2.3%).

“As part of National School Violence Study, UNICEF has partnered with CJCP to conduct focus group discussions to get a better idea of how and why young people engage in risky behaviour online – and how they deal with negative experiences and build resilience. The Study will be published at the end of November 2013,” the Organisation states.

Professor Basie von Solms, Director of the University of Johannesburg’s (UJ) Centre for Cyber Security, has said that with developments such as extra broadband, a growing number of mobile applications and the establishment of numerous technology hubs, South African cyber space will become increasingly attractive to offenders, unless the threat is substantially diminished.

“It is clear that traditional, reactive approaches to information security are not enough anymore, and more aggressive methods must be designed to go out there, identify attackers and their motives,” he added.

In Africa

According to UNICEF representatives it is difficult to make a comparison with other countries on the continent because there is a lack of data on the prevalence of the issue in other countries. Where data has been collected, usually the research methodologies and sampling are different, so a strict comparison is not possible. The organisation is working on the issue of online safety is a number of countries worldwide, including Zambia and Kenya – and there is some recent data available.

A soon-to-be published exploratory study of digital use among 500 Zambian children and youth showed that on average 17% of girls surveyed have been asked by someone to send a photo of themselves in which they are not fully dressed, and 18 % of respondents said that they themselves had sent an offensive or mean photo or message to someone else via mobile phone or computer. The most commonly reported type of negative experience was receiving messages on their mobile phone which were nasty and hurt their feelings.

To help quantify the situation and gain perspective, the Organisation points to a comprehensive study conducted in Europe, called EU Kids Online Study, which outlines three ways of looking at- and classifying online risks for children. This is based on whether the child is a participant, receiver or actor – all of which require different interventions.

With an increasing number of reports surfacing of incidents across Africa, it is not surprising that the situation has caught the attention of high profile industry groups.

Under the Chile Online Protection (COP) Initiative, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has established an international collaborative network for action to promote the online protection of children worldwide by providing guidance on safe online behaviour in conjunction with other UN organizations and partners.

As part of this endeavour, ITU is partnering with the African Child Online Protection Education & Awareness Centre (ACOPEA) to run a pilot exercise in training community activists and others in key safety messages and tools.

The ACOPEA programmes and educational resources, in line with the scope and objective of the COP Initiative, will promote smart, safe and responsible use of digital technologies.

In particular, one of the expected outcomes of the project is to conduct awareness and training sessions in 25 schools in partnership with educators/teachers.

Facebook is supporting this pilot initiative financially, in partnership with ITU and ACOPEA. All three parties have a strong interest in digital empowerment and in ensuring a safe and secure online experience for children and young people in Africa.

The pilot will principally focus on Ethiopia, although the parties have ambitions for it to lead to the development of Africa-wide education and awareness activities on the importance of child online safety.

The project should enable ITU and its international partners to reach out to all stakeholders, to better understand the issues and mobilise support for sustainable pan-African Child Online Protection.

Unicef representatives have stated, “For parents and caregivers can adopt a number of measures or strategies to minimize their children’s exposure to online risk, but the appropriateness and effectiveness of these all depend on the age and capacity of the child. Technological measures, like filters, are usually less effective with older children who, or are unlikely to address the problem if this one of online bullying or harassment. Good communication about a child’s online activities can have a positive impact – the National School Violence Study found that children who regularly spoke with their parents or caregivers about the people they met online were significantly more likely to tell their parents when they were making plans to meet with online-only friends offline.”