Month: February 2014
By Tersoo Achineku
While the Samsung S5 remains under wraps for a few more hours, the real headline-grabber at the Mobile World Congress is a cheap-as-chips phone that may prove a real game-changer. And it is the work of a company recently described as on the ropes: Nokia.
The new Nokia X is fast, smooth, gorgeously designed and it runs on Android software.
Over the last few years, Google’s free mobile phone software has become dominant, featured on handsets by Samsung, HTC, LG, Sony, Motorola and just about anyone, but Nokia pinned its flag to Microsoft’s rival Windows Phone system.
This was something which some of the Finnish company’s shareholders weren’t mad about. One told CEO Stephen Elop that the path to Hell was paved with good intentions, and would he please take another road.
After all, Nokia, with its exceptional and strikingly different industrial design could surely make a superior Android phone, couldn’t it? But the Android market is a difficult place to stand out.
Nokia’s solution is to make something unique: the Nokia X range uses a heavily customized version of Android designed to look almost like Windows Phone.
It features Nokia specialties such as free downloadable maps and a music compilation app, though only limited camera functions (one model has a 3MP camera, another 5MP).
The idea is to provide an affordable phone loaded with Microsoft and Nokia goodies so when it’s time to upgrade, the move to a Nokia Lumia Smartphone will seem logical and look familiar.
The downside, some will feel, is that you don’t have access to the comprehensive Google Play Store with its million apps.
Instead, you’re guided to a Nokia app store, curated so you know that every app’s been approved to work.
Other app stores are available, geared to growing markets in Russia and Asia, for instance, which is the Nokia’s prime focus for the X, though the range will be available in the UK.
The resulting phone is a potential winner. It feels great and much classier than its price suggests, even if the display is no match for high-resolution rivals. The customized software is easy to use and intuitive. And the apps that are there look just as they do on other Android phones.
If you’re missing some favorites, and you’re techy enough, you can load almost any Android app to the X by cable, but Nokia stresses that the phone is designed to work with Microsoft’s One Drive cloud services and Nokia’s Here Maps, rather than Google’s services. The X series is certainly a gamble, but nobody can accuse Nokia of taking the easy road. However it’s paved.
Richard Jonah, the son of business magnate Sir Sam Jonah, has died in London on a business trip.
An entrepreneur himself, Richard, 38, died suddenly in his hotel room on Saturday, February 22, 2014 in what family sources suspect to be a cardiac arrest.
As an international businessman, Richard was the co-founder and the executive director of Jonah Capital with mining interest in some Southern African countries like DR Congo.
His death comes on the back of the unexpected demise of another rising star of Ghana, Komla Dumor who died in London on January 18 and was buried only yesterday.
Richard Jonah also founded Mobus Property Holdings Limited, a privately-held Ghanaian property investment, development and management company focus on commercial and residential property development
Richard Jonah was an entrepreneur with over ten years of professional experience, primarily in private equity and investment management in Africa.
He served on the boards of many private and AIM and JSE listed companies in a variety of sectors from IT, financial services, green and brown field mining projects.
Richard was a co-founder and executive director of Jonah Capital. He co-founded Jonah Capital in 2003 as a Pan African Investment Company to invest across Africa in key sectors that include mining, financial services, agro processing, infrastructure and recently founded Mobus Property Developments, a Ghanaian commercial and residential property development company.
Richard was born in the mining town of Obuasi, Ghana and worked and traveled extensively across Africa. He was educated in Ghana, the United Kingdom and America. After graduating from Haverford in Philadelphia, he joined Goldman Sachs on Wall Street as an analyst in their fixed income division.
He then joined the African investment banking team of N.M. Rothschild in London, where he focused on investment opportunities in the resource sector in Africa before settling in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2002.
Richard received a Bachelors in Economics from Haverford College, Philadelphia; an MBA from Gordon Institute of Business Science, University of Pretoria. Richard has a diverse sector experience of working across Africa and has an extensive network of business and political contacts on the continent.
Richard served on the Boards of Jonah Capital, Metropolitan Insurance Ghana, Jonah Mining Zambia, Mobus Property Holdings and Cape Concentrate.
The President of Uganda on Monday signed a bill bringing into law harsh measures against gay and lesbian people, the BBC reports.
Homosexuality is already prohibited by law in Uganda, but the new law signed by President Yoweri Museveni goes further by criminalizing positive talk of homosexuality, and failing to report gay people to authorities. Lesbians are included in the new prohibitions for the first time.
The use of capital punishment for homosexual acts was originally put forward but withdrawn after a global outcry; yet the new laws still threaten those convicted for the first time with a 14-year prison sentence along with life sentences for any acts of “aggravated homosexuality.”
Yoweri Museveni stated openly a week ago that he would approve the legislation despite warnings from U.S. President Barack Obama that it would “complicate” America’s relationship with Uganda.
Museveni initially put the legislation on hold claiming he was waiting for advice from American scientists about whether homosexual tendencies are rooted in ‘nature’ or ‘nurture.’ However a Ugandan government spokesman claimed that he signed the legislation so as to declare “Uganda’s independence in the face of Western pressure.”
Archbishop Desmond Tutu was among those who condemned the legislation, claiming that there was “no scientific justification for prejudice and discrimination.
Read more: Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni Signs Anti-Gay Bill | TIME.com http://world.time.com/2014/02/24/ugandan-president-signs-anti-gay-bill/#ixzz2uFSEdD3D
It’s amazing how a little encounter with someone who has a preconceived notion of how you are supposed to be can make you feel… Here be a rant. Excuse the language and the questionable science.
KISSING MY ASS
Hello, I am a forty-year old man. And I am a pussy. Not a simple pussy. I am a complex pussy. I am a raging, hormone-driven, slightly-trimmed pussy who is nevertheless indispensable to the world, to our future, to everything that we have built and hope to build: I am Modern Man, and you need to hear what I have to say.
Men. Are we men? Has a woman ever accused you of not being a man in the traditional sense of the word? Has a woman ever put you down for what you like, why you like it, for being something other than a high school dropout blue collar handyman…
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Ukraine made an urgent call on Monday for $35 billion in foreign assistance over the next two years, following the overthrow of President Viktor Yanukovych on Saturday.
The finance ministry issued a statement on Monday suggesting an international donor conference attended by representatives from the U.S., E.U. and the International Monetary Fund. It said it needed the first aid in the next week or two, reports Reuters.
Acting President Oleksander Turchinov, who was appointed interim leader after Yanukovych was stripped of his powers by parliament, said on Sunday that the country was near default and that the economy “is heading into the abyss.”
On Friday, ratings agency Standard & Poor downgraded Ukraine’s credit status to two levels above default. “We now believe it is likely Ukraine will default in the absence of significantly favorable changes in circumstances, which we do not anticipate,” said the agency.
Ukraine spiralled into crisis in…
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The oldest survivor of the Holocaust passed away on Sunday aged 110, the BBC reports.
Alice Herz-Sommer, born in 1903 in Prague, was detained in the concentration camp Terezin for two years during WWII. Although her 73-year-old mother was sent to the extermination camp Treblinka, Herz-Sommer and her son Stephen were among the fewer than 20,000 people set free during the liberation of the camps by Soviet forces in 1945.
In the years after her release she became a successful pianist and music teacher at the Jerusalem Conservatory, before relocating to London in 1986. Her love of music was said to have sustained her and her fellow inmates while in the camp, where they would occasionally manage to organize concerts. A film about her life entitled The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life has been nominated for an award in the category of Best Short Documentary in next…
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Outgoing Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, has declared that if he were to be taken back in time and re-appointed as boss of the country’s apex bank armed with a foreknowledge of the future outcomes of his actions, he would still take the exact same steps for which he has often been criticized. He said this yesterday after receiving the Man of the Year Award at the annual Hallmark Newspaper Nigerians of the Year 2013 Awards which held at Civic Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos.
Sanusi, 52, who was appointed in 2009 and whose retirement was due in June of this year, was suspended, Thursday, in a surprise move by President Goodluck Jonathan on allegations of “financial recklessness and misconduct” according to a statement released by Presidential Spokesman, Dr. Reuben Abati.
He has since debunked the accusations and riposted that the Nigerian President may have suspended him but cannot suspend the truth. His statement comes against the backdrop of having been suspended following claims he made over a gross mismanagement of funds by the nation’s oil company, the NNPC. This has led many Nigerians to question the timing of the President’s decision and not a few regard the executive action as witch-hunting of the foremost banker for his candour.
While addressing guests at the occasion on behalf of all the awardees, Sanusi averred that he had turned up at the awards, against expectation, because it was “extremely important at these times, that we stand up and honour those who want to honour us.”
“When he (Emeka Obasi) spoke to me yesterday and, I think I was still in Niger, and he was almost in tears when he heard the news, and then he asked, ‘Are you coming for the awards?’ I answered, ‘I don’t think so.’ I thought he knew that I would come because Sanusi never hides,” he affirmed.
He expressed his satisfaction at the quality of work he had done as well as the decisions he took as the nation’s first banker, asserting that he had no regrets whatsoever: “As I said yesterday, I leave this job proud of the people I worked with, proud to have served this country, proud of what we have achieved. I have absolutely no regrets; absolutely no apologies to anyone. And, if you were to give me this job again and take me back, and I see the things that I saw, I would do exactly what I have done.”
“It has been five wonderful years serving this country and I am very proud. I am very happy with what we’ve done with the help of colleagues in the Bankers’ Committee and the Central Bank,” Sanusi acknowledged.
He proceeded to recount his accomplishments in the nation’s top banking job: “We were told to deliver single-digit inflation and we have delivered it for 13 to 14 consecutive months. We were told to keep the Naira stable; we have kept it stable for three years. We were told to preserve reserves; we have built them to over forty billion. We were there to protect depositors’ funds and I am proud to say that from the day I became governor till this day, not a single person has lost a deposit. No one has lost a single kobo in the Nigerian market. At the end of the day, that’s all that matters.”
Earlier, during his introductory remarks, he had commended his designated successor, Zenith Bank Plc. Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, who was nominated by President Jonathan to replace him when his tenure ends in June.
Addressing Mr. Emefiele’s representatives who were picking up Zenith Bank’s award as Brand of the Year, Sanusi said, “Zenith Bank has just produced the next Governor of the Central Bank, also a fine gentleman; I was hoping I’d meet Godwin here – I have also congratulated him. I’d like to, through his representatives, again send my deepest and my most profound congratulations to Zenith Bank for producing the Governor.”
Revealing that Emefiele chaired the sub-committee on the CBN’s $50 million Banking Industry Biometric Solutions Project, Sanusi assured, “I am sure he will do extremely well. He’s been a very competent and hardworking member of the Bankers’ Committee.”
He afterwards explained the workings of the biometric project which he referred to as the first of its type in the world in terms of the use to which it is being put. He explained, “If you commit a fraud in a microfinance bank in Damaturu, and you try to transact business with a bank in Lagos, you will be picked up, because as soon as you put your finger on, you will be flagged from the database. If you borrow from one bank in Yenagoa and try to borrow from another bank in Sokoto; if you were a bad debtor, once you place your finger on, you’ll be flagged.”
Awarded alongside other distinguished Nigerians like Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola of Lagos State (Governor of the Year), Senate Leader, Senator Victor Ndoma Egba (Lawmaker of the Year) and Police Service Commission Chairman, Sir Mike Mbama Okiro (Distinguished Public Service Award) amongst others, Sanusi had words of praise for the Lagos State Governor.
He opined, “Obviously, it is difficult to overlook Governor Fashola when you are thinking of who to choose as Governor of the Year. He’s done so much and the good people of Lagos have been lucky to have his Excellency as Governor of their state. And I am sure that we are always proud to see him as an example of what leadership is – delivering service to the people and remaining focused, no matter what the costs are. So again Emeka, thanks on behalf of Tunde, for this honour.”
Meanwhile, Justice Ibrahim N. Buba of the Federal High Court in Lagos, had earlier, on Friday, issued an order barring the Nigerian Police Force and the State Security Service, SSS, from arresting the outgoing CBN Governor whose passport had reportedly been seized on arrival to the country, on Thursday, by the SSS.
The order restrained “the Respondents, their privies, agents, representatives, or any other law enforcement agencies of the Government of the Federation from violating, interfering with, or imposing any restriction on the enjoyment of the Applicant’s right to personal liberty and freedom of movement pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice.”
FULL TEXT OF SANUSI LAMIDO SANUSI’S SPEECH AT THE HALLMARK ‘NIGERIANS OF THE YEAR AWARDS’ ON FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 21ST, 2014
I thank Emeka Obasi for not suspending this award. When he spoke to me yesterday and, I think I was still in Niger, and he was almost in tears when he heard the news, and then he said, “Are you coming for the awards?” And I answered, “I don’t think so.” I thought he knew that I would come because Sanusi never hides. And it’s extremely important at these times that we stand up and honour those who want to honour us.
I have been given the task of speaking on behalf of other recipients and obviously since my leader, the Senate Leader [Senator Victor Ndoma Egba] is there and there’s a former IG [Sir Mike Okiro], I have to make politically correct statements that represent all their views. And so, I am not going to make a long speech.
I’d like to, on behalf of all of us, thank you Emeka for this honour and congratulate you for how far your paper has come. We take this as encouragement to continue doing exactly what we’ve done that has brought us this far.
A few of us have long retired. Sir Okiro, I remember, I met, when he was IG and I went to market to him, looking for deposits from the Police Force. I had just been appointed MD of First Bank – midnight meetings – trying to beg him to move the account of the police to us. I am happy to see you looking even younger and healthier in retirement where we will soon join you.
I am honoured to be on the same platform as my leader, Senator Victor Ndoma Egba, whom we all know, is not just a brilliant lawyer, but a very fine, cultured and gentleman. Obviously, I belong to many states in Nigeria. Officially, I think, I am supposed to be from Kano. By census, my entire family is registered in Lagos. And, if you want to find me every December, I am in Calabar at the Carnival. So, each of those states, I am happy to say, has adopted me as a true citizen. And so, my leader [Senator Victor Ndoma Egba] is also a brother of mine from my state.
Obviously, it is difficult to overlook Governor Fashola, when you are thinking who to choose as Governor of the Year. He’s done so much and the good people of Lagos have been lucky to have his Excellency as Governor of their state. And I am sure that we are always proud to see him as an example of what leadership is – delivering service to the people and remaining focused, no matter what the costs are. So again Emeka, thanks on behalf of Tunde, for this honour.
Now, I have not met the Businessman of the Year, Chief Alex Okafor, who is here represented. I have listened to his citation and I’d like to thank you on his behalf; and I hope I’ll get to meet him and have a better understanding of him and his businesses.
Zenith Bank has just produced the next Governor of the Central Bank, also a fine gentleman; I was hoping I’d meet Godwin here – I have also congratulated him. I’d like to, through his representatives, again send my deepest and my most profound congratulations to Zenith Bank for producing the Governor. I am sure he will do extremely well. He’s been a very competent and hardworking member of the Bankers’ Committee.
And as you know, Godwin chaired the sub-committee on the biometric project. As I keep telling people, that biometric project, is the first of its type in the world – not the technology; but the use to which it is put. There’s nowhere else in the world apart from Nigeria where you would go and register with one bank and your biometric details are available to every other financial institution in the country. You don’t have to register twice.
And, I have said, when you think through the tremendous opportunity that opens up unto us – if you commit a fraud in a microfinance bank in Damaturu, and you try to transact business with a bank in Lagos, you will be picked up, because as soon as you put your finger on, you will be flagged from the database. If you borrow from one bank in Yenagoa and try to borrow from another bank in Sokoto; if you were a bad debtor, once you place your finger on, you’ll be flagged.
So, imagine what that does to culture – to the way of transacting business. People who are used to borrowing from banks and running away and going to the next bank; people who commit fraud here and got to take the money elsewhere – but also imagine what it does to the very poor and uneducated people who don’t speak English, who don’t know how to sign and can’t remember their PIN numbers – just go with your finger in your village and collect money transferred to you grandchild working in the city. That was the internet project that the Central Bank is going to finance, hopefully. It will transform radically, the way financial transactions are done.
So, I am happy that Godwin, whose sub-committee chaired the latest of our initiatives in the Bankers’ Committee, is the one who is going to go in and take it forward. So, congratulations Zenith Bank.
Now, for me obviously, there isn’t much to say. It has been five wonderful years serving this country and I am very proud. I am very happy with what we’ve done with the help of colleagues in the Bankers’ Committee and the Central Bank. The results are there. We were told to deliver single-digit inflation and we have delivered it for 13 to 14 consecutive months. We were told to keep the Naira stable; we have kept it stable for three years. We were told to preserve reserves; we have built them to over forty billion. We were there to protect depositors’ funds and I am proud to say that from the day I became governor till this day, not a single person has lost a deposit. No one has lost a single kobo in the Nigerian market. At the end of the day, that’s all that matters. As for the rest, it’s history.
As I said yesterday, I leave this job proud of the people I worked with, proud to have served this country, proud of what we have achieved. I have absolutely no regrets; absolutely no apologies to anyone. And, if you were to give me this job again and take me back, and I see the things that I saw, I would do exactly what I have done. We all know there are consequences for what we do and we will take those consequences. We pray that at the end of the day, our little contributions will move this country forward. That the change that we want would come from us and that we would recognise that if we don’t make that change, there would not be a country.
So, this is obviously on behalf of everybody and I thank you Emeka and I appreciate this and I look forward to seeing you very soon. Thank you.