1. Kenya mobile phone users enjoy near free calls
NAIROBI, July 28 (Xinhua) -- Mobile phone users in Kenya are enjoying near free calls, which are enabling people to talk more thus deepening mobile phone usage in the East African nation.
Several telecommunication companies in Kenya have come up with tariffs that allow users to call almost for free after paying a minimal fee.
The move, occasioned by stiffer competition and battle to increase subscribers, has made many Kenyans enjoy cheaper tariffs and extended talk time.
Thus, as mobile phone subscribers in other African countries grapple with high charges, Kenya, as with mobile money, is scoring another first with the near free calls tariffs. Kenyans call the entire day after paying as little as 0.05 U.S. dollars.
The near free bundles are slowly edging out per second and per minute tariffs that have been in use since mobile phone companies set up business in Kenya.
Kenya has four mobile companies namely Yu, Airtel, Safaricom and Orange. Data from Communication Commission of Kenya (CCK) indicates that as at March, Safaricom had a market share of 65.3 percent, Airtel 15.3, Orange 10.6 and Yu 8.7.
However, leading in provision of near free call tariffs is Yu, operated by Essar Telecom. The operator has given its rivals a run for their money with the cheaper bundle, which made the company attract the largest number of subscribers in the last quarter ending March this year, according to CCK.
In terms of subscribers, Yu has over 2.6 million subscribers, having gained 14.5 percent subscriptions in the period January to March.
On the other hand, Safaricom has 19.1 million subscribers having gained 2.1 percent subscriptions during the period. Airtel has 4.5 million subscribers having gained 4.9 percent while Orange 3.1 million subscribers after gaining 7.2 percent.
"The tremendous growth in new subscriptions by Essar Telecom could be attributed to increased promotional and special offers targeting the youth that were offered during the period," noted CCK in the report released last month.
Yu subscribers pay a fee of 0.05 dollars a day to make unlimited (free) calls on the network from 6am to 6pm local time (0300-1500GMT). The company, on the other hand, charges 0.03 dollars for off-net calls.
Joining Yu in offering near free call bundles to subscribers are Orange and Airtel. Orange has a tariff that allows subscribers to call specific numbers all day and night within its network after paying just 0.11 dollars.
The tariff named Holla was started in April and is targeting mainly the youth, who besides making free calls also enjoy free Facebook access.
The pre-paid customers further enjoy free on-net SMSs, 20 free off-net SMSs and 10 free MB of mobile data daily.(Xinhua)
2. German Bank provides Mozambique 13 million USD for environmental protection
MAPUTO, July 28 (Xinhua) -- The German bank, KFW, on Friday provided Mozambique with 13 million U.S. dollars for environmental protection of the central port city of Beira, the Mozambican Television (TVM) reported Saturday.
The money is to be used in the fight against erosion, climate change and the protection of the Beira coastal line.
Beira's City Council chairman Daviz Simango told the TVM that the cash is also to go to sanitation, drenage system, among other environmental activities.
"We are also going to educate the people on how to protect environment," Simango was quoted as saying.
According to him, the city council is also negotiating with the World Bank and the Arab Development Bank in order to secure money for environmental protection of Mozambique's second largest city.
The Beira City Council has also received money from Australia and Denmark for its environmental protection. (Xinhua)
3. Mozambican gov't mobilizes funds for food production
MAPUTO, July 28 (Xinhua) -- The Mozambican government said it is about to conclude an investment plan in the agriculture sector aimed at increasing agricultural production and productivity.
According to Saturday's issue of the Maputo main newspaper, Noticias, the plan consists of mobilizing more Money from the public and private sector, as well as from international partners to use it in the program.
The scheme is also in line with the government's five-year program to fight hunger and poverty in the Southern African nation.
Soon after his victory in the Presidential election in 2009, President Armando Guebuza launched what he termed as "Green Revolution" to combat hunger and poverty in his country.
"In this month of July, we are going to conclude the investment plan in the agriculture sector, following the recent approval of the Agricultural Development Strategic Plan," agriculture minister, Jose Pacheco, told the paper.
Pacheco also told Noticias that through the plan, the government will be in good condition to continue with the mobilization of funds to invest in the agricultural sector.
"The plan will give more priority to train the communities, youth and women, who are the majority force in the rural areas so that they can be commercial farmers." (Xinhua)
4. Spain gives Niger 1.55 mln euros to prevent food crisis
NIAMEY, July 28 (Xinhua) -- Spain on Thursday gave Niger 1.55 million euros as part of the common fund from donors, which is meant to support the national program to prevent and manage the food crisis and catastrophes, that was set up by authorities in Niamey.
The agreement for the disbursement of the funds was signed in Niamey by the director in the office of Niger's prime minister Seydou Sidibe and Spain's secretary of state for cooperation, Jesus Gracia Aldaz.
Sidibe thanked the Spanish government "for the highly appreciated donation, despite the economic difficulties that are currently being experienced in Europe, and especially in Spain."
He however asked the Spanish official to support the agricultural program (Nigeriens Feeding Nigeriens) of president Mahamadou Issofou, which is meant to guarantee permanent food security for the Nigerien population.
The Spanish secretary of state for cooperation expressed his desire to see the partnership between the two countries improve and diversified for the development of Niger. (Xinhua)
5. Zambia requires 100, 000 tons of fish to meet demand
LUSAKA, July 28 (Xinhua) -- Zambia needs to start producing about 101, 397 tons of fish in order to meet the country's annual demand, state-run news agency reported on Saturday.
The Zambia News and Information Service (ZANIS) quoted Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Livestock Lackson Kazabu as saying that the fisheries sub-sector has the potential to grow and be able to satisfy the national fish requirements.
In remarks made during a graduation ceremony of students at a fisheries training institute in Kafue district, a few kilometers south of Lusaka, the Zambian minister said there is urgent need for the government to invest more resources in the fisheries sub- sector to meet the country's annual requirement for fish.
The government, he said, is aiming to develop the fisheries sub- sector by encouraging both commercial and smallholder fisheries production through the use of sustainable fisheries management practices. The Zambian minister further stressed the importance of the fisheries sub-sector in contributing to food security as well as increasing income for local people, ZANIS said. (Xinhua)