Friday, 20 December 2019

Adidas will start selling a new collection designed with singer Beyonce on Jan. 18 in a relaunch of her Ivy Park brand that includes shoes, clothes and accessories, mostly in maroon, orange and cream.

Adidas described the collection, which features on the cover of January’s Elle magazine, as gender-neutral. It includes jumpsuits, cargo pants, hoodies and cycling shorts, mostly featuring signature Adidas triple-stripes.

The German sportswear brand announced it was teaming up with the singer in April to relaunch the Ivy Park brand Beyonce started in 2016 together with British fashion chain Topshop. The company did not give financial details.

The partnership comes as Adidas seeks to attract more female customers, an area where it has lagged bigger rival Nike and German competitor Puma, which saw its sales boosted by a collaboration with singer Rihanna that ended last year.

Adidas does not expect much of an immediate help to sales from the initial Beyonce collection, but it will ramp up over time, Chief Executive Kasper Rorsted told analysts in November.

“You’re going to see several launches coming up, but they have no substantial revenue impact and this has been part of the plan all the time. You will see that change throughout next year,” the CEO said.

Adidas has eroded Nike’s dominance of the U.S. market in recent years, helped by partnerships with celebrities like Kanye West and Pharrell Williams, but Nike has been growing faster in China and Europe, a trend that continued in the latest results.

Ivy Park said last year Beyonce had bought the fitness clothing brand from Topshop.

Published in Business

Nigeria’s digital lending platform, Carbon (formerly operating as Paylater) has announced its entry into the Kenyan fintech space as a new player.

The fintech company, which launched operations in Nigeria 4 years ago, made the new market entry announcement on Thursday, December 19, in a press release, expressing its excitement as it crosses the border to invest in East Africa.

Carbon will operate, in Kenya, its business model as its Nigerian footprint, lending, selling airtime and serving as a payment channel.

According to Carbon, the comapny will offer Kenyans instant loans from Ksh 500 to 50,000 which is equivalent to N1,800/$5 to N180,000/$496 in naira and dollars.

Perhaps, Carbon has been strategic enough to choose to launch around the festive period as more people tend to need finance to fund expenses.

Analysts are worried, however, as market review of the Kenyan fintech ecosystem reveals that Carbon is launching into a space where 49 other players are actively doing business. Critics are, therefore, asking: Is Carbon playing to risk or riches?

Published in Business
Friday, 20 December 2019 16:50

Ecobank moves into top five ranking

The 2019 Nigeria banking industry customer experience survey report recently published by KPMG Nigeria showed that Ecobank Nigeria recorded significant improvement in the SME segment of the survey.

According to the report, analysis of performance in the SME segment reveals dynamism in the 2019 ranking. Despite lower levels of overall satisfaction for SMEs, Fidelity Bank and Ecobank made the greatest improvements with both banks moving up more than four places into the top five banks. FCMB emerged 1st while Access Bank came 3rd.

In the retail segment, the top two performers have remained the same for the fourth consecutive year. GTBank replaced Zenith Bank as the top-rated bank in the 2019 ranking. Sterling Bank, First Bank and UBA are the biggest movers in 2019, coming in 3rd, 5th and 7th places respectively.

In the wholesale segment, Citi Bank and GTBank maintained top spots from previous year ranking while new entrants Standard Chartered and Access Bank make the top five positions at 3rd and 5th places, respectively.

KPMG Nigeria has conducted the research survey since 2007. The researchers have asked customers across financial market segments about their experience with their banks. Over the period, more than 200,000 customers were surveyed across the country.

The 2019 survey research was conducted through face-to-face and online survey methodology completed Q2 and Q3 2019. The survey covered 25,466 retail customers, 3,045 SMEs and 369 commercial/corporate organizations.

Published in Bank & Finance

The British parliament will vote on Boris Johnson’s deal to leave the EU on Friday, a move the prime minister described as delivering on his promise to “get the Brexit vote wrapped up for Christmas” after his landslide election victory.

After suffering several defeats in the previous parliament, Johnson now enjoys a large majority and should face little opposition in passing the bill to implement Britain’s biggest foreign and trade policy shift in more than 40 years.

More than three years since Britain voted to exit the EU in a 2016 referendum, the deep uncertainty over Brexit has now been replaced by the firm deadline of Jan. 31.

“This is the time when we move on and discard the old labels of ‘leave’ and ‘remain’ … now is the time to act together as one reinvigorated nation, one United Kingdom,” Johnson told parliament before the vote, expected at about 1430 GMT.

“Now is the moment to come together and write a new and exciting chapter in our national story, to forge a new partnership with our European friends, to stand tall in the world, to begin the healing for which the whole people of this country yearn.”

The final stages of ratification will take place after Christmas, with the lower house of parliament having until Jan. 9 to approve the legislation, giving it just over three weeks to then pass through the upper house and receive Royal Assent.

Johnson wants Friday’s vote to show his intent and prove he – unlike his predecessor Theresa May – can get his Brexit deal passed by lawmakers.

After leaving, Britain will need to secure new trading arrangements with the EU – a future friendship, the prime minister said, that would see the country agree a trade deal with no alignment with the bloc’s rules.

In a few changes to the so-called Withdrawal Agreement Bill, Johnson seeks to make sure that there can be no legal chance of extending those talks beyond the end of 2020.

But while Johnson has the support of his 365 Conservative lawmakers in the 650-seat parliament, some opposition lawmakers criticised him for removing the opportunity for parliament to have oversight over his negotiating priorities in the next phase of talks, and for getting rid of workers’ protections.

Opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn described it as “terrible” and said his party would not be supporting the bill.
“This deal does not bring certainty for communities or for business or for the workforce, in fact it does the opposite and hardwires the risk of a no-deal Brexit next year,” he said.

Just a week after he won the largest Conservative majority since Margaret Thatcher in 1987, Johnson has set out an ambitious government program, with securing Brexit at the top of his agenda to repay the trust of voters.

Hoping to satisfy the demands of voters in northern and central England who broke their tradition of backing the opposition Labour Party to support him, he has also pledged more funding to the state health service, education and policing.

“Today, we will deliver on the promise we made to the people and get the Brexit vote wrapped up for Christmas,” he said in comments before the vote.

“Next year will be a great year for our country.”

Published in World

South African police said on Thursday they had arrested a number of people, including two former senior managers of Eskom, on suspicion of involvement in fraud and corruption worth 745 million rand ($51 million) at the troubled state-run power firm.

The managers, as well as two business directors and seven companies, are expected to appear in court on Thursday to face the police allegations, which also included money laundering, South Africa’s elite police unit the Hawks and National Prosecuting Authority said in a joint statement.

The individuals, who were not named, were arrested earlier in the day following an investigation into the construction of large projects at two power stations, the statement said.

This revealed “gross manipulation” of contracts between contractors, Eskom employees and third parties at one of them, it continued.

“Eskom continues to work with law enforcement agencies … to root out corruption and malfeasance,” the power provider said in a statement, adding the names of the individuals could not be revealed until they appeared in court.

“We … will leave no stone unturned in ensuring that perpetrators … are brought to book,” it added.

The ailing utility, which provides 90% of South Africa’s power, has been struggling to keep the lights on amid serious financial problems in part stemming from years of mismanagement and alleged graft.

Last week, it had to implement some of the most far reaching planned blackouts in years and is regularly cited by ratings agencies as one of the main risks to South Africa’s economy.

“This is a great milestone in the fight against corruption in our country,” South Africa’s Special Investigating Unit, which was also looking into the allegations, said.

Eskom’s problems are a headache for President Cyril Ramaphosa, who has staked his reputation on fixing ailing state-owned firms and reviving South Africa’s flagging economy.

 

Reuters

Published in Engineering

All over the world, the internet has provided extraordinary socioeconomic opportunities to businesses, governments, and individuals. But less developed countries still face numerous obstacles to maximise its potential. The problems range from obsolete infrastructure, the nonavailability, non-accessibility, cost, power fluctuations, policies and regulation.

Many countries on the continent still have bandwidth as low as 64 kilobits. This is in contrast to the 270,000 megabits per second in the US. Data also shows that downloading a 5GB movie took 734 minutes in the Republic of Congo, 788 minutes in Sao Tome, 850 minutes in Ethiopia, 965 minutes in Niger and 1,342 minutes in Equatorial Guinea. Singapore is the fastest, taking about 11 minutes and 8 seconds to download a typical 5GB high-definition movie. In certain situations, bandwidths for the entire country is less than what is available to an individual residential subscriber in the US.

Similarly, African countries are listed among those with the lowest internet speed yet with the most expensive communication and internet cost in the world.

Africa is on record to have had the fastest growing mobile telecommunication market over the years. But the continent still has the lowest mobile penetration. And developments in Africa’s telecommunications sector happen in cities and urban centres. Service providers argue that it’s not economically feasible to roll out a network to cover an entire country .

But various advanced technologies are emerging to reduce the cost of internet provision and to increase accessibility. They also offer the possibility of developing communication networks in a way that does less harm to the environment.

The approach is called resource virtualisation, where multiple telecommunication services can be provided by less physical infrastructure. Since the chunk of the cost transferred to the end-user comes from the cost of power and infrastructural management, this approach can reduce the operational cost, improve accessibility and cut the cost to the end user.

Rethinking how masts are sited

Like every architectural work, telecommunication masts must meet specific constructional requirements, including choice of location and risk analysis. But unregulated construction is typical in many parts of Africa. Even where regulatory bodies exist, many media and communication masts are sited within very short distances and hilly grounds in big cities.

This is true in Ghana too where in an urban environment it’s possible to see 10 masts within close proximity to one another. This does not necessarily guarantee quality service. In addition, it poses a severe environmental and physical risk.

IMG WA. Clement Prince Adu

Masts are also expensive to put up.

It stands to reason, therefore, that having fewer masts, hence using less energy and doing less damage to the environment would be the optimal way forward.

I have been involved in developing a framework along with other colleagues that can help policymakers demarcate, and zone major cities – or the whole country into zones. Each zone takes only one mast, owned by an infrastructure provider and shared by multiple service providers.

I focused on telecommunications, but the principle can be applied to TV and radio signal towers too.

Proposed mast deployment. Clement Prince Addo

My proposal involves a three-level architecture that includes a provider who owns and manages the infrastructure.

At the upper level is a Cloud-RAN macro-base station. A provider like the state regulator, can own and manage the data from the base station.

The macro base station is responsible for managing the system’s energy, bandwidth allocation, and flow management, including the handover in intra and inter mast zones. At the middle level, service providers focus on providing tailored and quality of service to their users. The service providers will not have to spend their resources on managing the infrastructure they only have to deal with how to satisfy users. The user on the third level has to only deal with the service providers.

Association between service providers and users. Clement Prince Addo

This framework will bring an end to uncontrolled mast deployment seen in many African countries. It would allow for power and bandwidth sharing among multiple service providers and would reduce the need for multiple masts. Traffic would be scheduled over limited masts or access points that reduce the system energy consumption and improve efficiency. The general impact on the environment would also be reduced.

Service providers could then focus on end-users and not on infrastructures.The Conversation

 

Clement Prince Addo, PhD Researcher, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Published in Telecoms

The competition watchdog has approved the planned merger of Airtel Kenya and Telkom Kenya.

In a notice published in the Kenya Gazette last Friday Friday, the Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) gave its greenlight for the deal while setting out a raft of conditions including ensuring it retains a number of its employees.

"The merged entity shall ensure that at least three hundred and forty nine (349) of the six hundred and seventy four (674) employees of the target are retained as follows —

(a) 120 employees by the merged entity for a period of two years from the date of the implementation of the merger

(b) 114 employees by Telkom Kenya Limited for a period of two (2) years from the date of the implementation of the merger; and

(c) 115 employees to be absorbed by the network partners of the merged entity," CAK boss Wang'ombe Kariuki said.

The company, which will be called Airtel-Telkom, is also required to honour all existing government contracts.

The merged entity will not be allowed to sell or transfer some of its operating and frequency spectrum licences until their duration expires.

"Upon expiry of the term of the merged entities' operating license, the spectrum in the 900MHZ and 1800MHZ acquired from Telkom shall revert back to the Government of Kenya (GoK)," the notice says.

The companies had earlier said that Telkom Kenya’s real estate portfolio and specific government services would not form part of the combined entity under the deal.

Airtel-Telkom will also not be allowed to enter into any other sale deal in the next five years as part of conditions for the merger's approval.

"However, in the event of any indication of a failing firm within the period, the Communications Authority shall conduct a forensic audit at the cost of the merged entity," the regulator said.

 

Credit: Daily Nation

Published in Telecoms
  1. Opinions and Analysis

Calender

« December 2019 »
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
            1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31