SAN DIEGO–In the 136-year history of the franchise, the Giants had never been shut out twice in a row to start a season.History was nearly made at Petco Park on Friday, and the Giants were oh-so-close to being on the wrong side of it.After 17 scoreless innings to open the season, third baseman Evan Longoria finally put the team on the board in 2019 with a solo home run to left field in the top of the ninth. Longoria’s homer was much-needed for a discouraged Giants’ offense, but it was a rare …
Cisco warns that change won’t happen overnight, however, with only some of the 300-plus contenders being in a position to manage their own networks, due to their ability to raise the necessary capital. “But the market has been anticipating this change, and numerous small, semi-legal networks have sprung up around the country in the past year,” Goldstuck said. “Many of these should emerge above the radar with their new licences, along with new entrants into the market.” “We believe these changes will lead to sufficient levels of competition, increase access to internet usage and, in turn, increase global competitiveness and economic diversity,” Cisco Internet Business Solutions senior manager Reshaad Ahmed said, adding that the evolution and changes in the local telecoms industry could not have come at a better time. Seacom cable Restrictive regulator environment ‘Death of dial-up’ At the same time, the market as a whole has seen a continued dramatic shift from dial-up connections to broadband, with growth in both ADSL and 3G at more than 50%. “South Africa could, potentially, go from five major service providers to more than 300 overnight,” said Ahmed. “The combination of new licensees, policy directions, and municipality networks has set the stage for a highly competitive telecommunications marketplace, with consumers and businesses leading the charge toward choice, competition, and fair market value.” Goldstuck describes the minister’s decision as a pivotal moment, but one that should have occurred four years ago: “In that time we saw growth slow to a near standstill, and the possibility of bringing access to underserviced area becoming ever more remote. Goldstuck said that one could see the emergence of a broadband culture in South Africa, held back only by the restrictions still placed on data capacity – which should start becoming a non-issue by the middle of 2009, when a new undersea fibre-optic cable enters operation. South Africa’s internet user base has seen its highest rate of growth since 2001, increasing by 12.5% to 4.5-million over the past year, according to the Internet Access in South Africa 2008 study by local internet research firm World Wide Worx. But it is only one of a series of new cables in the works, which will make the connectivity landscape completely unrecognisable for both South Africa and the rest of the continent by 2013. “At that point, dial-up will effectively be dead as a connectivity option – it is more expensive, and utterly inappropriate to the changing nature of the internet,” he said. “Once everyone who is connected is on broadband or high-speed networks, the internet will come into its own as an environment for business collaboration and personal interaction.” 8 December 2008 Encouraging new services SAinfo reporter “We are therefore pleased with the findings, as they indicate a positive trend for economic growth – we belive that pervasive broadband at the right price is a key enabler for economic prosperity,” Ahmed said. The Internet Access in SA 2008 report shows that growth has come largely on the back of dramatic take-up of broadband offerings by small businesses, which alone accounted for half of the growth in the market, mainly through connecting office staff to their ADSL links. The Seacom undersea cable, commissioned mainly by new market entrant Neotel, will increase South Africa’s international bandwidth 40-fold, and will mark the beginning of what World Wide Worx describes as a seismic shift in the internet landscape in Africa. Those that do take up the challenge will need to spend a significant amount of time building a business model that will be sustainable, innovative, and takes advantage of the strategic position with which a contender is faced, while employing the capabilities of existing service providers. “It spells the birth of an entirely new industry, and we are already seeing the market champing at the bit to become part of that industry,” Goldstuck said. The study was backed by US-based Cisco Systems, and the findings were released during the Networkers at Cisco Live! conference in Johannesburg last week. Delegates at the conference heard that one of the obstacles was a highly restrictive regulatory environment, with the Minister of Communications only deciding late in the year not to oppose a court ruling allowing all network operators to supply their own telecommunication infrastructure. “The increase comes on the eve of the biggest shake-up in South African internet access we’ve seen since the dawn of the commercial internet in 1994,” World Wide Worx MD Arthur Goldstuck said in a statement last week. SMEs go broadband “It is imperative for all relevant stakeholders to drive broadband to encourage new services: skills, education, business interaction, and lowering the cost of doing business.” “It is only the beginning of a dramatic turnaround, and is occurring despite numerous obstacles in the way of growth.” Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo material
The global accident rate for commercial jets ticked up in 2016 but the chances of being in an air crash remained miniscule.The accident rate for jetliners increased to 0.39 hull losses (where the plane is destroyed) per million flights last year from 0.32 in 2015 and was also above the five-year average of 0.36 losses per million flights.But this translated to just one major accident for every 2.56 million flights to see aviation retain its mantle as the safest way to travel. By comparison, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration puts the odds of being struck by lightning in any one year at about one in a million.Regions to see increases in the jet accident rate included Europe, North America, Latin America and the Caribbean and the Middle East/North Africa.Those recording a fall were the Asia-Pacific, Africa and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). North Asia recorded its second consecutive year of no hull losses.The accident rate for all commercial aircraft was 1.61 accidents per million flights, an improvement on 1.79 in 2015, according to figures released Friday by the International Air Transport Association.The world turboprop hull loss rate improved to 1.15 per million flights from 1.18 in 2015 and remained well below the five-year average of 2.85. Every region except the CIS recorded an improvement.There were 10 fatal accidents and 268 fatalities among the 3.8 billion travellers taking 40.4 million flights. This was less than the average of 13.4 fatal accidents and 371 fatalities per year across the previous five years.For IATA’s 256 member airlines, the jet hull loss rate of 0.35 was better than the global average but a deterioration of the 0.22 figure achieved in 2015.“The number of total accidents, fatal accidents and fatalities all declined versus the five-year average, showing that aviation continues to become safer,’’ IATA director general Alexandre de Juniac said. “ We did take a step back on some key parameters from the exceptional performance of 2015; however, flying is still the safest form of long distance travel. And safety remains the top priority of all involved in aviation. The goal is for every flight to depart and arrive without incident. And every accident redoubles our efforts to achieve that.” Aviation authorities have worked hard to reduce the accident rate over recent decades to keep a lid on the number of accidents. They are aware that even if they manage to keep the rate stable the steady increase in the number of flights will see the number of accidents rise.Initiatives to reduce the rate included requiring all member airlines to take a standardised global audit called IOSA and programs targeting accident black spots such as Africa and the CIS, both of which enjoyed an accident-free year for jets in 2016.The overall accident rate for Africa was 2.3 per million departures compared to 9.73 for the previous five years with continuing improvement in turboprop safety. The accident rate for IOSA members, 1.25 hull losses per million flights, was nearly twice as good as for non-IOSA airlines and three times better than over the previous five years. IATA said the industry was continuing to target areas such as loss of control in flight, controlled flight into terrain and runway excursions that data show will have the biggest impact on reducing accident risks.
M-Pesa, the world’s largest mobile money network, has enabled millions of Africans to gain access to safe and secure banking solutions. The idea has become a pioneering innovation for the continent, and is now used as a model for similar systems around the world.Mobile money markets are hugely popular in Africa, offering easy, secure methods of payment and transfer of funds using simple text-based mobile technology. M-Pesa, a leader in the industry, celebrates 10 years of dominance in countries such as Kenya and Uganda. (Image: Flickr)CD AndersonLaunched by telecommunications group Vodafone/Safaricom in 2007, M-Pesa (“pesa” is Swahili for “money”) has become a way of life for 30 million Africans in 10 countries. More than 80% of Kenyans use the service. The network also enjoys market dominance in Tanzania and Uganda.The ingeniously simple method of money transfers made via cellphone messaging (SMS) has connected many to formal banking systems and enabled opportunities for small business and informal commerce, as well as played a part in helping to eradicate poverty, particularly in rural areas.The system uses simple, text-based technology available on older cellular phones. While more sophisticated mobile banking is the norm around the world, the simplicity of M-Pesa is that customers do not need bank accounts to use the network.The adoption and rise in popularity of mobile money networks in Africa has been steady. M-Pesa and its various competitor networks now not only include money transfers and other standard banking procedures, but also healthcare provision, access to international money markets and long-term lending.Tracking the growth of the mobile money market in Africa over the last 10 years. (Infographic: CNN)In 2016, according to Vodafone, M-Pesa was used in six billion transactions. Additionally, research by Digital Frontiers found a 22% drop in female-headed households living in poverty in areas with access to M-Pesa. The same study noted that the source of income for almost 200,000 women in rural areas shifted from the low-income, labour intensive agricultural sector to more prosperous small business creation. The research also showed an increase in saving and investing money through using the M-Pesa network.M-Pesa transactions are expected to surpass $1.3-billion (R17-billion) in the next three years, according to research by consulting firm Frost & Sullivan.Tracking the growth of the mobile money market in Africa over the last 10 years. (Infographic: CNN)The future of mobile money markets presents both growth opportunities and challenges. Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore told CNN that the network wanted to focus on developing a better user experience, with an eye on increasing the use of smart device technology in Africa compared to standard text-based mobile technology.As with any innovative product, a focus on developing more ground-breaking mobile financial services is also a key objective. “One of the big problems has been the relative clumsiness of using M-Pesa,” Collymore said, adding that new, simpler solutions would work hand-in-hand with better technology, such as the “tap and pay” method and EMV smart chip cards.Another focus is breaking into new markets, the rest of Africa primarily, but also increasing its presence in Asia, Eastern Europe (M-Pesa is used in Romania and Albania, which has a large informal economy, often operating without bank accounts) and the Middle East.M-Pesa was introduced in South Africa in 2010, gaining more than a million users. It aimed to conquer a market of 13 million economically active people who did not use bank accounts. However, because of stricter banking regulations in South Africa, as well as the development of more tech-savvy banking products, the system found little foothold in the country.Tracking the growth of the mobile money market in Africa over the last 10 years. (Infographic: CNN)While more and more competing mobile and smart phone banking systems are aiming to provide services for larger transactions, M-Pesa aims to keep the focus on what made it the dominant, most longstanding player in the market, namely safe, convenient micro-banking (M-Pesa does not transact anything larger than $675 (R8,000).“The banking sector across the world has always ignored the so-called base of the pyramid. We haven’t because we understand that the base of the pyramid needs to be served and there’s also commercial viability in doing that.”Source: CNN, AFKInsiderWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.
Important questions will be discussed in Kigali, Rwanda this week, as the World Economic Forum on Africa gathers under the theme “Connecting Africa’s Resources through Digital Transformation”. We take a look at the meeting’s main sub-themes.WEF Africa is taking place in Rwanda’s capital of Kigali. (Image: Government of Rwanda, Twitter)There is widespread agreement that Africa needs to craft new approaches to trigger structural transformation. According to the Africa Competitiveness Report 2015, services are playing an increasingly important role in African economies, yet the share and value of services in regional and global trade are very low.In today’s increasingly connected world, with internet penetration at 26%, an integrated digital transformation strategy for Africa is imperative.For these and other reasons, the 26th World Economic Forum on Africa will address the following main sub-themes.Governance and institutionsMany countries in Africa have fully liberalised their ICT markets and are reaping the benefits in increased investments and use.How will ICT drive Africa’s digital transformation? Informal employment forms the largest proportion of employment opportunities, about 77% in 2012, despite inadequate working conditions and social protection regimes.How is e-government transforming service delivery in the informal sector? Regional trade agreements are becoming more complex, particularly in light of negotiations of new mega-regional trade agreements that could lead to a $2.7-billion loss of Africa’s exports.What is the future of regional trade agreements in the world trading system? More than 500-million smallholder farmers in Africa are still dependent on rain-fed agriculture.How can climate-smart food systems transform their lives? In 2015 only 11 African countries offer liberal visa access to all African citizens.What visa innovations can facilitate the movement of people within the continent?Foreign direct investment flows into Africa have remained stable at $54-billion, while they fell 16% globally.How can Africa’s leaders reduce the risk perception and attract higher investment? Finance and growthAbout 20% of African households have access to formal or semi-formal finance.How is technology transforming Africa’s financial services industry? Africa is home to nine of the world’s 15 fastest growing economies and is an increasingly attractive environment for global business investments.How will the continent continue to grow in the face of a slowing global economy? By 2040, renewables could provide more than 40% of all power-generation capacity in the region.How can smart grid solutions enhance investments in renewable energy? External sources of financing have increased from $5-billion in 2003 to $30-billion a year in 2012, leaving a financing gap of $50-billion to fill.How can innovative partnerships bridge mega infrastructure financing gaps? Smart mining, the integration of ICT solutions in the entire supply chain of the mining industry, is projected to reach $13-billion by 2020, up from $5.12-billion in 2013.What technologies are transforming the mining industry in Africa? Factory activity accounted for 10% of Africa’s GDP over the past decade. Manufacturing is widely considered to be the ideal industry to drive Africa’s development due to the labour-intensive, export-focused nature of the business.How is distributed manufacturing transforming production and competitiveness? Human development and entrepreneurshipEducation policy can accelerate literacy and digital skills training in primary, secondary and tertiary education.What digital platforms are accelerating skills development? Africa has one of the highest mobile phone penetrations in the world.How are mobile health technologies transforming healthcare? According to United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, global creative services are growing significantly, yet Africa contributes only about 1%.How is the wireless revolution transforming Africa’s creative industries? The potential annual economic losses due to gender gaps in labour participation are estimated at $255-billion in sub-Saharan Africa.What innovations are bridging the science gender gap? Young consumers are driving offline sales through online traffic. This potential will increase as Africa’s middle-class consumers grow from about 355-million people to 1.1-billion over the next three decades.How is digital disruption changing the retail landscape in Africa? About 40% of Africans live in urban settlements, leading to increased traffic congestion and dwindling access to water and sanitation.How can smart cities improve water and transport management? South Africa will be sending a delegation to Kigali for the conference. Follow them on Twitter using #SAinKigali.