Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Rwanda's Competitive Mobile Telephony

One Of Tigo's killer adverts

Ali Balunywa in Kigali

Rwanda to date has 3 Mobile Telephony operators. The South African Giant: Mobile telephone Networks (MTN), the former government owned Rwandatel. Now owned by Libyans and the new boy on the block: TIGO. MTN is over 12 years on the scene, Rwandatel over 40 years, but GSM is under 2 years and TIGO barely 1 year.

Rwandatel has been edited out of the competition because as a company they have refused to openly compete with the rest. Even finding airtime for Rwandatel is a real problem. Vendors on the streets no longer sell it because there is no demand. It is only in established supermarkets and Rwandatel openings that you will find it. And finding it in big denominations is some sort of miracle. It is commonly available in units of Francs 500, equivalent to about 6 Euro cents.

To leave the technical details, I have been quite amused by the TIGO advertisements in the media. I was told before I came to Kigali, Tigo had promised its clients tickets to go watch the world cup finals. Unfortunately, MTN being a partner to the South African World Cup organization complained to the World Cup and Tigo was warned not to infringe on MTN's rights.

It seemed like an advantage for Tigo and they came up with a winner advert; (See a copy below).

"Because 'You know who' complained,

We are no longer able to provide you with

tickets to go 'you know where' to watch

the final of 'you know what'

that will happen 'you know when' "

I think they were warned not to use any words referring to South Africa or World cup. To me it has been the most creative advertisement I have ever seen. What is your take?

Metropolitan Kigali

Images of the new Kigali

Ali Balunywa in Kigali

10 years ago

10 years ago Kigali was very frustrating to a guy used to Kampala. Shops those good days used to close at lunchtime, in order for shopkeepers have lunch and take a siesta. Taxis too would not carry passengers during lunchtime. Whenever you tried to flag one down, he would point at his wristwatch and drive on. On Sundays there were so few taxis on the roads because it was resting day. Generally people used to respect rest times.

Kigali then had business centres under tree shades! They used old-fashioned typewriters to make word documents. It was very amusing to see men and women seriously typing away documents with carbon papers in between for making copies. Middle class homes were built using mud in the inner walls and plastered with cement. The roof used to slant only on one side. You found many of these on the hills of Kigali.

All shops were practically full of Uganda goods. Or re-imported from Uganda. Bars and restaurants served Ugandan drinks and eats. It was like an extension of Kampala!

Fast Forward 2010

Last week I was given a small cheque to cash at the bank. I was not looking forward given my last years experience! (I stood for so long in the line, and they sort of insulted me in Kinyarwanda language, which I understand). Being a Friday evening, I thought I would leave it at the reception of the hotel for safe custody. The receptionist asked me to go and cash it. I was surprised because it was already 8.00pm. She confirmed to me that banks were still open at that time!

The bank had the modern European lining system where you pick a number from the digital machine. When your turn comes, the computer announces your number and directs you which counter to go to. Whew! That was amazing in Rwanda. That was not the only surprise. Earlier in the week, most ATMs rejected my bankcards. At the hotel, I was told ECO Bank accepted them including Visa credit cards. Being a Sunday, I thought I would try the next day, but the guys convinced me that most banks work on Sunday too up to late!

From a nation that loved its rest times, Rwanda has become a nation that does not sleep. Gone are the days when shopkeepers closed during lunchtime, or at 5.00pm and were closed Sunday. Shops are now open every day up to late. Supermarkets are now the order of the day. With competition for passengers, no taxi driver takes an afternoon siesta.

The slanting roof houses are no more. They have been replaced with organized housing with tarmac roads and paved pedestrian walkways. Houses are not just built; they are designed, beautiful, orderly and smart. They are not different from what you find ion a high-end neighbourhood in Europe. The right hand, ramshackle Ugandan cars are no more. They have been replaced with latest Japanese and European models. They cruise on pothole free roads of Kigali. The change here in Kigali is revolutionary

When I asked to establish where the inspiration to transform comes from, many people happily told me it was the president. President Kagame is said to be a result-oriented leader. He has zero tolerance for corruption and does not brook incompetence. He enforces accountability with an iron hand, which has led Rwanda to shine in Africa as an example of a country where institutions are respected.

The whole Kigali is now a hot spot! Restaurants, Hotels and bars provide free Internet to their customers. Some supermarkets also provide a coffee/tea corner where a shopper can rest as he surfs free Internet! ICT is being promoted all over the country. Even rural villages are introduced to ICT through weekly Internet bus visits.

Rwandans are now proud to be Rwandans. My respects, Raisi Kagame!

Images of the new Kigali

GOOD WIVES...............

......Since the wife was eight months into her Pregnancy, the
husband had to sleep on the floor to avoid any regrettable mistake, which might happen pretty easily, for he had been desperate for quite a while.

Just before lying down on the bed, she glances at him and sees the poor guy curls up on the floor; eyes stare widely into the empty air, filled with hopeless desire...

Feeling sorry for her husband, she opens the top drawer of the
cabinet, takes out 500 bucks, and gives it to him. "Here, take this and go to the woman next door, she will let you sleep with her tonight.... and remember that this happens only once... ok? Don’t think about it again" she said.

The husband rolls his eyes in disbelief, but afraid that she may
change her mind, grabs the money and leaves quickly..

A few minutes later, he returns, and hands the money back to his wife and says with much disappointment: She said this is not enough. She wants one thousand.....

The wife's face slowly turns red with anger. "Damn that bitch... when she was pregnant and her husband came over here...I charged him only five hundred..." The guy collapsed!!!

Think THRICE when your wife is over Generous

Luganda in Kigali?

The New Times Newsroom in Kigali

When I visited the newsroom of the New Times newspaper in Kigali, I was taken aback when almost all reporters were communicating in luganda! At first I thought I was in Uganda, but I remembered the lingua franca of Uganda mews rooms is English given the diversity of languages.

When I listened further, most computers had on soft Ugandan music. I asked an editor why luganda is the language of communication and he responded that there were 3 Ugandan journalists working for the New Times. However, he also added that most of the journalists either lived in Uganda during their formative years or studied from there.

He further explained that luganda is still widely used down town and in most car garages in Kigali. I was surprised that so many years after the invasion of Rwanda from Uganda, Uganda’s influence is still being felt, even when at leadership level, there is no more love lost between both parties.

It reminded me of a few years after the present government took power; Ugandans managed all sectors of the society in Rwanda. For example; Taxis drivers, touts, teachers, road workers, security, and even prostitutes. The cars had Uganda number plates, right hand driven and Uganda currency was an acceptable mode of payment for goods and services.

Today it is slightly different, but a Ugandan of course feels at home in this land of 1000 hills.

Suspected murderer helps Papa

An old man lived alone near Kampala. He wanted to dig his potato garden, but it was very hard work. His only son, John, who used too help him, was in Luzira Prison accused of murder. The old man wrote a letter to his son and described his predicament.

"Dear John,

I am feeling pretty bad because it looks like I won't be able to plant my potato garden this year. I'm just getting too old to be digging up a garden plot. If you were here, all my troubles would be over. I know you would dig the plot for me.



A few days later he received a letter from his son.

"Dear Papa,

For heaven's sake, Papa, don't dig up that garden, that's where I Buried the BODIES.

Love, John"

At 4 A.M. the next morning, the Rapid Response Unit from Kireka, Special Forces, Military Intelligence, Police, army and other security agencies showed up and dug up the entire area but didn't any bodies.

They apologized to the old man and left. That same day the old man received another letter from his son.

"Dear Papa,

Go ahead and plant the potatoes now. That's the best I could do under the circumstances.

Love John."

Monday, June 28, 2010

First Solar-Powered Rural Internet Kiosk Installed in Kenya

The first solar-powered Rural Internet Kiosk, aimed at empowering rural African youth through Internet access, has been installed in Kenya, according to a release from Voices of Africa for Sustainable Development.

The Rural Internet Kiosk (RIK) is a completely self-contained self-service solution for providing access to computers and the Internet, and the RIK project is working to bring the kiosks to rural people throughout Sub-Saharan Africa.

The community-based organization Voices of Diani will own and operate the Rural Internet Kiosk, with training, support and volunteers from Voices of Africa. The Rural Internet Kiosk is a product of Intersat Africa Ltd., which is providing the first year of bandwidth at no cost. The funding for this project was provided by the Internet Society through their Community Grants initiative.

Program Summary

Rural Internet Kiosks (RIK) is a Kenyan-based organisation that manufactures and distributes movable, recyclable, cost-effective kiosks that operate with satellite connectivity and solar energy to enable rural communities to access the internet. The initiative uses software provided by Userful and internet connectivity provided by InterSat Africa. The internet kiosks are being distributed in Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, and Zambia providing rural communities with access to information on agriculture, health, the environment, and e-governance.

Communication StrategiesRural Internet Kiosks produces kiosks that are independent, freestanding booths functioning on solar power and other forms of renewable energy. Each kiosk houses three energy-efficient personal computers. The kiosks are modelled on user-friendly software and hardware, and are manufactured and assembled in a ‘knock-down’ format, enabling them to be easily transported and set up in even very rugged regions.

The kiosks have been designed to give access to all users, including children and the disabled. According to RIK, they are also working on ways to use portable USB pen screen readers and accessible websites, which will help the visually impaired access information. Screen readers could also help people who can understand, but not necessarily read, English.

The kiosks are designed to promote entrepreneurship and electronic service delivery within rural and urban settings, and in turn help in e-commerce, e-education, e-health, and e-governance. The organisers say that the kiosks have helped farmers obtain regular updates on weather patterns and produce prices, thereby expanding their revenue. Business start-ups have been able to exploit digital multimedia advertising.

The Internet kiosks are helping government agencies to create awareness concerning health and environment and reach out to local communities. Through the use of multi-media information outlets, communities can also access information about infectious diseases such as malaria, polio, HIV/AIDS, and tuberculosis. The kiosks also create platforms for the promotion of tele-medicine, which is still in its infancy in most African countries.

The kiosks use the open-source Ubuntu Linux operating system, as well as other open-source software. They utilise virtualisation technology, which allows for up to 10 uses to share a single PC.

-Good News Africa/Lisa Johnson



Saturday, June 26, 2010

Cinnamon and Honey

Honey is the only food on the planet that will not spoil or rot. It will do what some call turning to sugar. In reality honey is always honey. However, when left in a cool dark place for a long time it will do what I rather call "crystallizing". When this happens loosen the lid, boil some water, and sit the honey container in the hot water, turn off the heat and let it liquefy. It is then as good as it ever was. Never boil honey or put it in a microwave. To do so will kill the enzymes in the honey.

Cinnamon and Honey

Bet the drug companies won't like this one getting> around. Facts on Honey and Cinnamon: It is found that a mixture of honey and Cinnamon cures most diseases. Honey is produced in most of the countries of the world. Scientists of today also accept honey as a 'Ram

Ban' (very effective) medicine for all kinds of diseases. Honey can be used without any side effects for any kind of diseases.

Today's science says that even though honey is sweet, if taken in the right dosage as a medicine, it does not harm diabetic patients. Weekly World News, a magazine in Canada , in its issue dated 17January,1995 has given the following list of diseases that can be cured by honey and cinnamon as researched by western scientists:


Make a paste of honey and cinnamon powder, apply on bread, instead of jelly and jam, and eat it regularly for breakfast. It reduces the cholesterol in the arteries and saves the patient from heart attack. Also, those who have already had an attack, if they do this process daily, they are kept miles away from the next attack. Regular use of the above process relieves loss of breath and strengthens the heartbeat. In America and Canada , various nursing homes have treated patients successfully and have found that as you age, the arteries and veins lose their flexibility and get clogged; honey and cinnamon revitalize the arteries and veins.


Arthritis patients may take daily, morning and night, one cup of hot water with two spoons of honey and one small teaspoon of cinnamon powder. If taken regularly even chronic arthritis can be cured. In a recent research conducted at the Copenhagen University, it was found that when the doctors treated their patients with a mixture of one tablespoon Honey and half teaspoon Cinnamon powder before breakfast, they found that within a week, out of the 200 people so treated, practically 73 patients were totally relieved of pain, and within a month, mostly all the patients who could not walk or move around because of arthritis started walking without pain.


Take two tablespoons of cinnamon powder and one teaspoon of honey in a glass of lukewarm water and drink it. It destroys the germs in the bladder.


Two tablespoons of honey and three teaspoons of Cinnamon Powder mixed in 16 ounces of tea water, given to a cholesterol patient, was found to reduce the level of cholesterol in the blood by 10 percent within two hours. As mentioned for arthritic patients, if taken three times a day, any chronic cholesterol is cured. According to information received in the said Journal, pure honey taken with food daily relieves complaints of cholesterol.


Those suffering from common or severe colds should take one tablespoon lukewarm honey with 1/4 spoon cinnamon powder daily for three days. This process will cure most chronic cough, cold, and clear the sinuses.


Honey taken with cinnamon powder cures stomach ache and also clears stomach ulcers from the root.


According to the studies done in India and Japan , it is revealed that if Honey is taken with cinnamon powder the stomach is relieved of gas.


Daily use of honey and cinnamon powder strengthens the immune system and protects the body from bacteria and viral attacks. Scientists have found that honey has various vitamins and iron in large amounts. Constant use of Honey strengthens the white blood corpuscles to fight bacterial and viral diseases.


Cinnamon powder sprinkled on two tablespoons of honey taken before food relieves acidity and digests the heaviest of meals.


A scientist in Spain has proved that honey contains a natural ‘Ingredient’, which kills the influenza germs and saves the patient from flu.


Tea made with honey and cinnamon powder, when taken regularly, arrests the ravages of old age. Take four spoons of honey, one spoon of cinnamon powder, and three cups of water and boil to make like tea. Drink 1/4 cup, three to four times a day. It keeps the skin fresh and soft and arrests old age. Life spans also increase and even a 100-year-old, starts performing the chores of a 20-year-old. .


Take Three tablespoons of honey and one teaspoon of cinnamon powder paste. Apply this paste on the pimples before sleeping and wash it next morning with warm water. If done daily for two weeks, it removes pimples from the root.


Applying honey and cinnamon powder in equal parts on the affected parts cures eczema, ringworm and all types of skin infections.


Daily in the morning one half hour before breakfast on an empty stomach, and at night before sleeping, drink honey and cinnamon powder boiled in one cup of water. If taken regularly, it reduces the weight of even the most obese person. Also, drinking this mixture regularly does not allow the fat to accumulate in the body even though the person may eat a high calorie diet.


Recent research in Japan and Australia has revealed that advanced cancer of the stomach and bones have been cured successfully. Patients suffering from these kinds of cancer should daily take one tablespoon of honey with one teaspoon of cinnamon powder for one month three times a day.


Recent studies have shown that the sugar content of honey is more helpful rather than being detrimental to the strength of the body. Senior citizens, who take honey and cinnamon powder in equal parts, are more alert and flexible. Dr. Milton, who has done research, says that a half-tablespoon of honey taken in a glass of water and sprinkled with cinnamon powder, taken daily after brushing and in the afternoon at about 3:00 P.M. when the vitality of the body starts to decrease, increases the vitality of the body within a week.


People of South America, first thing in the morning, gargle with one teaspoon of honey and cinnamon powder mixed in hot water, so their breath stays fresh throughout the day.


Daily morning and night honey and cinnamon powder, taken in equal parts restore hearing. Remember when we were kids? We had toast with real butter and cinnamon sprinkled on it!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Who do you want to live with??

Judge to child: Do you want to live with your mother?
Child: No
Judge: Why?
Child: She beats me.
Judge: Okay, so you want to live with dad?
Child: No
Judge: Why not?
Child: He beats me too.
Judge: So who do you want to live with?
Child: Uganda Cranes
Judge: WHY??
Child: They never beat anyone!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

An Easily Understandable Explanation of Derivative Markets

Heidi is the proprietor of a bar in Detroit. She realizes that virtually all of her customers are unemployed alcoholics and, as such,
can no longer afford to patronize her bar. To solve this problem, she comes
up with a new marketing plan that allows her customers to drink
now, but pay later. She keeps track of the drinks consumed in a ledger
(thereby granting the customers loans).

Word gets around about Heidi's "drink now, pay later"
marketing strategy and, as a result, increasing numbers of customers flood into Heidi's bar.
Soon she has the largest sales volume for any bar in Detroit. By providing her customers freedom from immediate payment demands, Heidi gets no
resistance when, at regular intervals, she substantially increases her prices for wine and beer, the most consumed beverages.
Consequently, Heidi's
gross sales volume increases massively.

A young and dynamic Vice President at the local bank recognizes that these customer debts constitute valuable future assets, and increases
Heidi's borrowing limit. He sees no reason for any undue concern, since he has the debts
(of the unemployed alcoholics) as collateral.

At the bank's corporate headquarters, expert traders transform these customer loans into DRINKBONDS, ALKIBONDS and PUKEBONDS. These securities are then bundled and traded on
international security markets. Naive investors don't really understand that the securities being sold to them as AAA secured bonds are really the debts of unemployed alcoholics. Nevertheless, the bond prices continuously climb, and the securities soon become the hottest-selling items for some of the nation's leading brokerage houses.

One day, even though the bond prices are still climbing, a
risk manager at the original local bank decides that the time has come to demand payment
the debts incurred by the drinkers at Heidi's bar. He so informs Heidi.
Heidi then demands payment from her alcoholic patrons, but being unemployed alcoholics they cannot pay back their drinking debts. Since Heidi cannot fulfill her loan obligations, she is forced into bankruptcy. The bar closes and the eleven employees lose their jobs.

Overnight, DRINKBONDS, ALKIBONDS and PUKEBONDS drop in price b 90%. The collapsed bond asset value destroys the bank
s liquidity and prevents it from issuing new loans, thus freezing credit and economic activity in the community.

The suppliers of Heidi's bar had granted her generous payment extensions and
had invested their firms' pension funds in the various BOND securities.
They find they are now faced with not only having to write off her bad debt but also with losing over 90% of the presumed value of the bonds. Her wine
supplier claims bankruptcy, closing the doors on a family business that had
endured for three generations, and her beer supplier is taken over by a
competitor, who immediately closes the local plant and lays off 150 workers.

Fortunately though, the bank, the brokerage houses and their respective executives are saved and bailed out by a multi-billion dollar, no-strings
- attached cash infusion from their cronies in Government. The funds required for this bailout are obtained by new taxes levied on employed, middle-class, non-drinkers who have never been in Heidi's bar.

That is Economics made easy! Now, do you understand???

Some jokes to brighten your day:


A married couple having their first baby were invited to make use of a new
machine that would transfer a portion of the mother's
labour pains to the
Baby's biological father wherever he may be. Both were
happy to try it.
The pain transfer was set to 10 percent but the husband
felt nothing So
the doctor increased it to 20 percent. The father said he
still felt Fine
and his blood pressure was normal. He invited the doctor to
kick it up to
50 percent. Still no reaction.
The doctor was amazed and slowly transferred all the pain
until the Wife
delivered a healthy baby with virtually no pain.
She and her husband and the doctor were ecstatic. When they
got home, the
gardener was lying dead at the gate, from the Labour
Avoid other people's wives by all means, please.

Michelle Obamas men

True story from the Japanese Embassy in US
Prime Minister Mori was given some Basic English
training before he visits
Washington and meets president
The instructor told Mori Prime Minister, "When you
shake hands with
President Obama, please say 'how are you'. Then Mr.
Obama should say,
'I am fine, and you?' Now, you should say 'me
too'. Afterwards we,
translators, will do the work for you.'
It looks quite simple, but the truth is...
When Mori met Obama , he mistakenly said 'Who are
you?' (Instead of
'How are you?'.)
Mr. Obama was a bit shocked but still managed to react with
'Well, I'm Michelle's husband....'
Then Mori replied 'me too.'
Then there was a long silence in the meeting room.


An illiterate woman boarded a plane from Enugu to
Abuja in Nigeria
She was booked for an
economy class seat... Just after the
plane took-off, the woman stood up and went to sit in the
first class cabin.
The flight attendant went to ask her to go back and sit in
economy class because that's where the ticket allowed
her to sit but she refused.
She had paid and wanted the best seat. Then the attendant
informed the Jnr. pilot. The Jnr. pilot went and spoke with
the lady and she still refused. Then the Jnr. pilot went to
inform the chief pilot. The chief pilot said I am married to
an illiterate; I'll go and talk to her. The chief went
and whispered some words to the woman and she peacefully
stood-up and went to her economy class seat. The attendant
and Jnr. pilot surprisingly asked, sir what did you tell
her? The chief pilot said: Easy guys, I just told her that
first class is not going to Abuja, only economy class

A Little Girl... A Dog...A Saudi and A

A man is taking a walk in Central park in New York.
Suddenly he sees a little girl being attacked by a pit bull
dog .He runs over and starts fighting with the dog. He
succeeds in killing the dog and saving the girl's
A policeman who was watching the scene walks over and
says: "You are a hero, tomorrow you can read it in all
the newspapers: "Brave New Yorker saves the life of
little girl" The man says: - "But I am not a New

"Oh, then it will say in newspapers in the morning:
'Brave American saves life of little girl'" the
policeman answers. "But I am not an American!"
says the man. "Oh, what are you then?" The man
says: - "I am a Saudi!"
The next day the newspaper says: "Islamic
extremist kills innocent American dog".


An airplane was flying over the United States one
night. Then the pilot said: "
Ladies and Gentlemen, the
plane is losing altitude and all the baggage must be thrown
out". A little later, the pilot said "We're
still losing altitude, we must throw anything out that is in
the cabin". The plane continued to descend despite more
things being thrown out.
Pilot: "Still going down - we must throw out some
people". There was a big gasp from the
passengers! Pilot: "But to make this fair, passenger will be
thrown out in alphabetical order. So...A... any Africans on board?" No one
"B... any Blacks on board?" No one
"C... any Coloureds on board?" Still, no one
"D... any Darkies?" Then a little black boy
- asked his dad:
"Dad what are we?
Dad: "Tonight son, we are Zulus!"


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