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May 2015

Airtel Uganda Awarded For Enhancing Financial Inclusion.

The Uganda Communications Commission, through their ACIA Awards, awarded Airtel Uganda the ICT for Development Award for their ground-breaking innovation ‘Airtel Weza’ at the recently concluded ACIA Awards Ceremony.

The Airtel Uganda team celebrates the award received for the 'Airtel Wez...

Established in 2010, the ACIA Awards purport to foster innovation through the recognition and reward of outstanding ICT innovations. They provide a platform upon which outstanding ICT innovations can be showcased and propelled to further success.

The Commission handed over a Cash award of 2,500 USD and an Implementation Grant of USD 7,500 to the telecommunications’ giant for the category entry “ICT for the rural disadvantaged” where they fronted the ‘Airtel Weza’ Innovation.

Airtel Weza, a ground-breaking innovation done in partnership with Grameen Foundation and Plan Uganda, is a mobile financial solution that permits Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLA) and other savings groups such as investment clubs to store their Group’s cash as mobile money.

Fitted with features such as Group accounts, Record Management & Mini statements as well as Mobile Banking, Airtel Weza guarantees security, accountability, easy auditing and convenience by ensuring that the groups’ money is controlled by 3 elected PIN holders who must approve of any transaction. The innovation also encourages leadership drives by empowering the 3 PIN holders to lead and offer financial advice to their group members, with support from the regional Airtel Sales Executives.

Speaking at the awards ceremony, Mr. Prasoon Lal, Airtel Uganda Marketing Director, talked about Airtel’s keenness to providing a safer and more convenient experience for all their customers-including the savings groups-as the inspiration behind ‘Airtel Weza’.

Currently, Airtel Weza is being used by 134 Groups with a total number of 4,020 members in the districts of Kamuli, Tororo and Luwero districts and Airtel Uganda plans to extend this innovation to 1,000 groups in order to bring financial inclusion to over 15,000 Ugandans across the country.

New ways to ease Internet connection.

World over, the telecommunications sector has proved to be a vital cog in advancing economic growth. From the introduction of mobile phones all through to M-Commerce, the telecom sector has become a conduit to creating a cashless and hustle-free eco system world over.

Case in point; in less than a decade, a mobile phone has rapidly evolved into a safe and secure money transfer tool, increasingly being used to conduct more complex transactions.

Today, there is hardly a company that can thrive without a telephone and other electronic forms of communications.

In Uganda where there’s a free-market economy, the need for reliable telecommunications services has never been more profound.

Availability and reliability of the telecommunications services is vital in facilitating the flow of information and establishment of a feedback cycle between geographically dispersed suppliers and their centrally located customers.

This year, Airtel Uganda has come out strongly to spur economic growth in the country rolling out innovative campaigns and products. Two cutting-edge campaigns; the “Happiness Continues” campaign and more recently, “The Smartphone Network” campaign have been launched since.

With the ‘Happiness Continues’ campaign, our aim was to reward all our customers for making Airtel one of the most loved brands in Uganda. As part of the rewards process, Airtel Uganda held mobile clinics to educate our subscribers on how to get the most out of our products and services.

The current “The Smartphone Network” campaign, aims to bring affordable and reliable smartphones to our subscribers. Our two cheapest offerings being the Airtel Red and the Airtel Smartphones.

Under the same campaign, Airtel Uganda has launched a new and enhanced internet value proposition named TUGABANE. This service allows an internet user to subscribe to a data bundle on one mobile line and is able to add up to four other mobile numbers to surf from the same bundle.

TUGABANE, the first innovation of its kind in the Ugandan Mobile Internet industry, has proved to be more powerful than WiFi hotspots whose coverage is limited. TUGABANE allows a group to access internet bundles from the ‘parent’ number irrespective of their geographical location and type of internet device used.

TUGABANE has not only had an influence on social behavior but also increased financial benefits as subscribers are able to optimally manage their data budgets.

This innovation is suitable for a country like Uganda, which is not only culturally rich and diverse but also has one shared trait; the spirit of sharing moments of happiness, collective fun and socializing.

The Emirates App now available on the world’s largest mobile platform.

On the heels of the successful launch of its Apple Watch app, Emirates announced today the debut of the Emirates App for Android, the world’s largest mobile platform. With more than one hundred thousand monthly users of its iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch apps, Emirates is ramping up its efforts to enhance its passengers’ travel experience through mobile technologies.

Developed in-house, the Emirates App for Android is a true personal journey planner, enabling users to:

  • Book flights and review travel itineraries
  • Manage every aspect of a booking, from seat selection to on-board menu and what’s on ice
  • Download their boarding pass directly to Google Now or send it to a phone via SMS or email
  • Receive quick updates on flight boarding and gate changes
  • Get notifications about our Chauffeur-drive service
  • Verify the status of a flight and sign up for alerts to know when it has departed or arrived
  • Manage all the details of their Skywards account such as favourite destinations, aisle or window seats, and preferred newspaper

“Our passengers are mobile and increasingly reliant on mobile devices to stay connected, no matter where they are in the world,” said Alex Knigge, Emirates’ Senior Vice President – Digital. “We believe the right mobile technology can significantly improve our customers’ experience. As a result, Emirates’ mobile strategy is aggressive and a key element of our digital roadmap. We aim to be trail blazers in the airline industry when it comes to mobile technologies.”

During the development of the Android app, Emirates conducted testing with employees and Skywards members. Feedback from these users was instrumental in fine tuning the overall experience.

“With the popularity of Emirates’ first app for iPhone, many customers have asked for the Emirates App for Android. In fact, half of all users who access our website via mobile devices are on the Android platform,” commented Alex Knigge, Emirates’ Senior Vice President – Digital. “Not only does this meet the needs of many of our customers while they’re on the move, it also paves the way for innovation on other devices that use the Android platform.”

Emirates continues to enhance its existing apps and develop new technologies that will benefit customers using a variety of mobile devices. For customers on-the-go who do not have iPhones, iPads or Android devices, Emirates also offers mobile.emirates.com as a mobile solution.

Customers can download the free app from the Android Market. To download the app, please visit https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.emirates.ek.android

For more information, please visit http://www.emirates.com/english/flying/emirates-app/index.aspx

Microsoft’s #MakeItHappenEA campaign comes to an end.

(L-R)Uganda's Onekalit Uhuru Microsoft Mobile Device EA General Manager Mariam Abdullahi Tanzania's Richard Mtango and Kenya's Philip Mwaura

Microsoft Mobile Devices has awarded three winners from Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, who took part in the just concluded #MakeItHappenEA campaign to an amazing three day Cape Town Experience.

The winners- Richard Edward Mtango from Tanzania, Isaac Kinyera from Uganda and Kenya’s Philip Mwaura will enjoy an all-expense paid trip to the “Mother City” of Cape Town in South Africa next week.

Speaking at the sendoff party, Microsoft Mobile Devices East Africa General Manager, Mariam Abdullahi said “Microsoft continues to accelerate innovation across the breadth and depth of its Lumia portfolio. We have continued to see significant interest in both the consumer and business space due in large part, because Microsoft is delivering a consistently high end capabilities and user experiences across multi price points and device form factors. #MakeItHappen Campaign provided a great opportunity for our users to learn and interact with the available range in a fun manner.

Kenya’s Philip Mwaura, a CPA student and the overall Kenya winner, is perhaps the luckiest of as his dream shared during the campaign was to travel to South Africa. “I am so thrilled that I get to live my dream this early. I made a wild shot to participate in the campaign and am happy that Lumia has turned my dream to reality,” said Mwaura.

The winners travel to Cape Town with a friend each where they will tour the Table Mountains by cable car, Malay Quarter, the Castle of Good Hope and Diamond Works. In addition, they will get to experience the Milnerton Lighthouse, do a Cape point excursion and a wonderful opportunity to utilize their various photography apps the Table Mountain from across Table Bay which is the penultimate favorite for Cape Town visitors.

Other than the winners to South Africa, the campaign also awarded nine winners across Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya. The first Kenya winner – Allan Ojango, whose life-long dream was to become a photographer saw his dream come to life after he was awarded a professional camera to begin his shot at it.

Ojago Justine from Uganda had always wanted to pursue music and after participating in the campaign, won a musical instrument to start him off. Heading to Tanzania, James Lizungu’s dream was to expand his money transfer business with an additional location. It’s for this reason that he decided to try his luck in the #MakeItHappenEA Campaign. James now has a new site in Mwanza.

“We are very impressed with the reception we received across the three markets for these campaign and Microsoft Mobile Devices East Africa team is pleased with the impact the campaign has made in the region”, added Abdullahi.

The #MakeItHappenEA campaign begun in January 2015 and was centered on empowerment through technology with an aim of encouraging Lumia users to share their life-long desires for a chance to turn their dreams into reality.

Emirates to sponsor documentary; ‘The Last Wilderness of the UAE’

Emirates, a global connector of people, places and passions, has signed up to sponsor ‘The Last Wilderness of the UAE’, a documentary series that will feature the United Arab Emirates’ remarkably rich biodiversity. It will also provide insight into the natural adaptations that have enabled many species to survive in the Arabian Peninsula’s harsh and ever-changing habitats as well as showcase some of the most important conservation accomplishments over recent years.

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The three part documentary will be divided to focus on the ecosystems of the mountains and wadis, the deserts, and the seas of the UAE.

Patrick Brannelly, Divisional Vice President Customer Experience for In-Flight Entertainment and Connectivity, commented on Emirates’ support of the documentary: “As a global airline with our base in Dubai, Emirates is committed to providing support for innovative projects that highlight the unknown incredible stories within the vibrant UAE ecosystem. Through supporting the creation of this documentary and then letting our passengers view it onboard our flights, we hope to engage millions of our customers around the world and raise awareness about the abundant natural beauty found in the UAE’s terrestrial and marine ecosystems.”

Jonathan Ali Khan, the Producer and Director of ‘The Last Wilderness of the UAE’ said: “As a natural history filmmaker, I have dived, filmed and explored all of the seas, deserts and mountains across the Arabian Peninsula over the last 27 years. After seeing so many changes to our natural world and the wildlife in this region, I wanted to turn our focus more specifically towards our own home here in the United Arab Emirates. Thanks to the support of Emirates, these films will feature the wildlife and ecology that is found in our mountains and wadis, the plains and deserts, as well as coastal wetlands and offshore islands, exploring the reefs and all the other underwater habitats, too.”

CRESTED-Tern---Paul-Brough

Ali Khan added: “We will document and showcase the true and often surprising biodiversity of a region that most people just think of as being dry without much wildlife at all. We intend to show just how far from the truth that really is. Each film will feature the natural history of many wildlife species, right up through the food chain on land and under the seas; as well as reveal both delicate and resilient cycles of life that keep the natural order of this amazing land in balance, albeit – a delicate balance. Having the series air on board ice is really exciting as it has the potential to reach millions of passengers beyond the TV reach, providing a long term home for the content for years to come.”

‘The Last Wilderness of the UAE’ will feature three 60 minute long films that capture the natural behavior of a wide selection of terrestrial and marine wildlife including invertebrates, mammals, fish, reptiles and birds – studying their behavior and survival mechanisms in the unforgiving surroundings of the UAE. It will also tell the formidable, powerful stories of these species, underscored by new knowledge of their fragile existence and their life-or -death quest for survival in a harsh environment.

Underwater-corals_-Warren-Baverstock

One such example is the Arabian Oryx, which has demonstrated some of the most remarkable natural adaptations to its arid surroundings. The Arabian Oryx (locally known as Al Maha in Arabic) is one of only four Oryx species, and the only antelope outside Africa.

The Arabian Oryx can go without ever drinking water, taking the moisture it needs from the plants it consumes as it only needs water equivalent to 2-4% of its body weight. Another adaptation is its white coat that helps protect it from the glare of the sun. Perhaps the most amazing acclimatization of them all is its ability to lower its blood temperature by seven degrees during the hottest periods of the day. This amazing desert survivor was brought back from extinction in the wild due to one of the most successfully recorded rescue attempts, which was facilitated in the UAE.

Filming around the desert ecosystem and its wildlife will soon be commencing at the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve supported by Al Maha Desert Resort, owned by Emirates.

Additionally, the stories of the wildlife featured in the films will be linked to the local knowledge of Bedouin and coastal inhabitants of the UAE, merging local artisanal and instinctive knowledge with academic research methods and conservation practices.

Arabian-gecko

The series is set to premiere on the Discovery Channel in the fall of 2016 initially in English with Arabic subtitles, airing in the Middle East and North Africa. An Arabic edition is also being produced to be aired after that and the documentary series will eventually be aired in other territories, such as Central and Eastern Europe and Africa. It will also simultaneously air on ice, Emirates award winning in-flight entertainment system.

In addition to the three part 60 minute documentaries, content will also be produced for twelve 5 minute mini-documentary videos for podcasts and across a spectrum of social media channels, among other online platforms. DVD sets will be produced and distributed regionally to retail outlets and DVDs will also be distributed free-of-cost to schools and universities to educate them about the UAE’s diverse ecosystem.

Airtel Uganda Launches their 2015 Internship Programme.

Airtel Uganda’s smartphone network, has launched its 2015 Internship Programme to enable students to apply for internship opportunities at no cost.  The Programme will run for three months from 1st June 2015 to 31st August 2015.

Tom Gutjahr

“We at Airtel Uganda are excited to offer an opportunity to students to nurture their talent, preparing them for success in the workforce of tomorrow,” said Flavia Ntambi, Human Resources Director.

“Airtel offers excellent career opportunities for talented and motivated individuals in the departments of Customer Service, Administration, Human Resources, Marketing, Networks, IT, Legal & Regulatory, Finance, Mobile Money,  Enterprise, Sales& Distribution and the  Supply Chain Management function”, she further said.

To support the application, Airtel has developed a dedicated Internship page

All interested students can now visit the Airtel Website www.airtel.com ,

  • select Uganda,
  • Internship,
  • log in with LinkedIn, fill in your details and follow the prompts.

Jose Chameleone, Maurice Kirya, Keko and Juliana to represent Uganda in Coke Studio Africa 3.

Following the success of Coke Studio Africa Season 2, The Coca-Cola Company, in partnership with Kenya Airways, is happy to announce the return of its flagship African music show for a 3rd season.

The show, which unlike other music programmes that focus on the emergence of a winner, is a non-competitive format which seeks to bring together and showcase the diversity of African musical talent. It also gives upcoming artists the opportunity to work with some of the best local and international music and production talent.

The new season will feature artists from Nigeria, Mozambique, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania and for the first time these artists will collaborate in a unique format of mash-ups – the latest trend in the global music industry. “A celebration of African music” being its core element, Coke Studio Africa’s new season will feature performances and collaborations from popular artists who have made a mark on their local music scene and the up and rising stars.

Under the partnership, Kenya Airways will fly in all the Coke Studio Africa artistes and producers. The alignment of values between the two major brands’ core beliefs and principles is the strategic foundation for the partnership

Speaking about Coke Studio Africa Season 3, Coca-Cola Uganda Brand Manager, Rodney Nzioka stated, “Our objective is to reinvent the way music captures the imagination and heart of our continent. Coke Studio Season 3 will not only celebrate our local African grown music talent but also create unique collaborations that we believe our consumers and our audience want to hear.”

Mr. Nzioka further stated that this season of Coke Studio Africa promises to be bigger and better and will have something for everyone. Some of the acts to be featured this season are Dr. Jose Chameleone, AVRIL, Wangeci, The Unstoppable Elani and Juacali for Kenya. Artists like Yemi Alade and Vanessa Mdee will be returning and for the first time, African queen crooner 2Face Idibia will be joining the star studded lineup. Other acts set for this season include Ali Kiba, Neyma and Dama Do Bling from Mozambique.

Kenya Airways Head of Marketing Africa Jacquie Muhati said the partnership will give the artistes an opportunity to experience and celebrate Africa through KQ’s great product offering and warm African hospitality. “This is a great opportunity to showcase Africa in our new fleet which is the youngest in the continent. We are keen to grow young African talent.”

Ms. Muhati added that the partnership was a confirmation of the airlines support for the championing of the music industry in Africa and its desire to be part of talent nurturing and career growth for African artists.

Grammy Award winning musician and producer Zwai Bala, of ground-breaking South African Kwaito group TKZee, will be the show’s music director. Brett Lotriet, a renowned International TV director and producer will be working as the Coke Studio Season 3 series producer.

The musicians along with the highly talented house band will present new tracks each week which will be produced by both local and international producers. Some of the producers include Jaaz Odongo, Eric Musyoka and Kevin Provoke from Kenya, Cobhams Asuquo, Masterkraft and Chopstix from Nigeria, Owour Arunga from USA, Nahreel from Tanzania and Silvastone from the UK. With this pool of music geniuses this show will take music production on the continent to a whole new level. .

Isaiah Katumwa and Hugh Masekela: A night of Jazz.

The sold-out concert that attracted the city’s elite, was highlighted by two Kings of the African Jazz movement; Uganda’s Jazz Maestro Isaiah Katumwa and South African trumpeter Hugh Masekela.

After having promised a sensational and memorable performance, Isaiah Katumwa delivered exactly that. He came onto the stage and the crowd immediately got into rhythm to the melodies of his Saxophone. Playing songs from some of his past albums such as African Smoothy, Celebrate Africa, Coming Home and We Three Kings, he unveiled the true beauty of Jazz music.

Sensational female saxophonist, Moroots was also among the performers. In an electric performance alongside Isaiah, she showed how Jazz music has grown in Uganda.

The audience was later treated to a Hugh Masekela performance they will forever remember. With songs from some of his albums like; Phola, Revival, Still Grazing and Playing at Work, he served the best of Jazz performances to ever come to town. He later had a combined performance with Isaiah where they showcased some of their latest collaborations.

Lupita Nyongo was in attendance

Among the attendees were; Oscar winning actress Lupita Nyongo, Maria Kiwanuka, Olara Otunnu, Bob Kabonero, Mondo Kagonyero, Juliana Kanyomozi, Iryn Namubiru, Bebe Cool, Myko Ouma among others.

Juliana Kanyomozi and Iryn Namubiru were in attendance

Airtel Uganda Marketing Director, Mr. Prasoon Lal who was in attendance had this to say; “We are happy to have been part of such a great show. We hope we can continue working with musicians to build the music industry in the country.”

Emirates Group records second highest-ever profit. USD1.5 billion

Emirates, a global connector of people and places, today announced their annual revenues. It is its 27th consecutive year of profit and steady growth across the company, ending the year in a strong position despite the many global and operational challenges during this period. The financial year ending 31 March 2015 also marked the achievement of new capacity milestones at both Emirates and dnata, as the Group continued to expand its global footprint, and strengthen its business through strategic investments.

The group has recorded the second highest profit ever with USD 1.5 billion. A Steady revenue and business growth in line with capacity increases, significant investment in the business at USD 5.5 billion.

Emirates-Boeing-777-300ER-_2_

Emirates further declared a dividend of USD 700 million to the Investment Corporation of Dubai. Emirates makes a profit of USD 1.2 billion, as revenue increases by7% to USD 24.2 billion. The capacity crossed 50 billion ATKM (Available Tonne Kilometres) for the first time in the airline’s history.

Additionally, dnata, one of the largest suppliers of combined air services in the world offering aircraft ground handling, cargo, travel, and flight catering has made profits worth USD 247 million, recording its highest-ever in 56 years. With a revenue of USD 2.8 billion exceeds AED 10 billion for the first time.

Emirates’ international business now accounts for over 60% of revenue.

“2014-15 was a turbulent year for aviation. The fall in oil prices provided cost relief in the second half of our financial year, however it did not offset the hit to our profitability caused by significant currency fluctuations, nor the hit to our revenue from operational adjustments in addressing the Ebola outbreak, armed conflicts in several regions, and the 80-day runway upgrading works at Dubai International airport (DXB). Achieving our 27th consecutive year of profit and one of our best performances to date, is testimony to the strength of our brands and business fundamentals, as well as the dedication and talent of our workforce,” said His Highness (H.H.) Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Airline and Group.

An air hostess serves Passengers onboard an Emirates flight.

The strong rise of the US dollar against currencies in many of Emirates’ and dnata’s key markets had a US$ 412 million impact to the Group’s bottom line, while the 80-day disruption at DXB had an estimated impact of US$ 467 million on Group revenue.

“Every year brings a new set of challenges. In addressing these, we are always guided by the best interest of our people, our customers, and our long-term goals. As a Group, we keep a close eye on our top and bottom lines, but we never take our foot off the gas pedal when it comes to investing to enhance our business performance, and looking after our people.  In 2014-15, the Group collectively invested over US$ 5.5 billion in new aircraft and equipment, modern facilities, the latest technologies, and staff initiatives. This was the second highest amount ever in one financial year after last year’s record investment.”

The Group’s employee base across its more than 80 subsidiaries and companies increased by 11% to over 84,000-strong representing over 160 different nationalities.

“Looking ahead, the ongoing uncertainty for many currencies and economic markets around the world will continue to pose a challenge, as will the looming threat of protectionism in some countries. However, we move into the new financial year with confidence, and a strong foundation for continued profitability with our strong balance sheet, solid track record, diverse global portfolio, and international talent pool,” said Sheikh Ahmed. “We will continue on our journey of steady and rational growth, and work even harder to meet and exceed our customers’ expectations.”

In line with the overall profit increase, the Group declared a dividend of US$ 700 million to the Investment Corporation of Dubai.

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