• Zimbabwe Thetha Forum Highlights Key ICT Issues

    SANGONeT and E-Knowledge for Women in Southern Africa (EKOWISA) hosted the Zimbabwe Thetha Forum on 21 July 2009 in Harare.

    The event formed part of SANGONeT’s Regional Thetha ICT Project which covers five Southern African countries, namely Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia and Botswana.

    The objective is the project is to develop a comprehensive understanding of regional ICT4D issues through in-country research processes, stakeholder consultations, discussions of these findings on a country level through Thetha forums, and comparing the respective country lessons and experiences to identify and assess common ICT trends and issues facing the Southern African region.

    The Zimbabwe Thetha Forum was attended by more than 60 ICT stakeholders, including members of Parliament and representatives of various government ministries, ICT companies, regulatory bodies, NGOs and the media.

    Discussions were informed by the “Contextualizing ICT for Development in Zimbabwe” report that EKOWISA prepared in support of the event.

    The Thetha Forum was held at a very interesting time in the evolution of the Zimbabwe ICT Bill. Last week, the Minister of ICT, Nelson Chamisa, submitted a draft ICT Bill to Dr Misheck Sibanda, the Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet. If passed into law, it will see the Media, Information and Publicity and Transport ministers stripped of core functions and remaining as mere figureheads, which could have far reaching political implications.

    Engineer Sam Kundishora, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of ICT, was the keynote speaker and acknowledged the strategic importance of ICTs to the development of Zimbabwe. He also highlighted recent progress in the ICT arena, including the suspension of import duties on IT equipment and reduction in mobile charge rates.

    Some of the key ICT challenges highlighted by speakers and participants include:
    • Human capital development, with specific reference to the role of ICT skills development and the role of ICTs in education;
    • Role of the Universal Services Fund - need for accountability in the use of the funds, as well as to prioritise the development of ICT infrastructure in Zimbabwe and to prioritise the spread of ICTs in rural areas;
    • Low mobile and Internet penetration rates;
    • Cost of Internet access and connectivity in Zimbabwe;
    • Need to popularise the ICT Bill and make it available in local languages;
    • Attract the involvement of Zimbabweans in the Diaspora in the ICT4D process;
    • Integrate ICTs with agriculture (e-agriculture).
    EKOWISA will prepare a report about the event which will capture in more detail these issues, as well as highlight proposed follow-up actions to be considered by participants and other ICT stakeholders.

    The next regional Thetha forum will be held on 30 July 2009 in Mozambique, hosted in conjunction with the Centro de Informatica da Universidade Eduardo Mondlane (CIUEM), and will be followed by the Tanzania, Zambia and Botswana events in September and October 2009.
  • Cisco Warns Against Cyber Crime

    Networking giant Cisco has warned that cybercriminals are aping executives when it comes to sales, marketing and risk management in the world of online treachery.

    Cisco chief security researcher, Patrick Peterson says: "A lot of techniques they are using today are not new; it is really about how they may be doing some of the same old things."

    The company has also warned that online social networks are becoming popular ‘customer acquisition’ territory for cyber criminals.

    To read the article titled, “Cybercriminals do it big-business style: Cisco,” click here.

    <br /> IOL Technology
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  • ANC Website Hacked

    The ANC has distanced itself from adverts on its website offering free porn and penis enlargements.

    "The African National Congress (ANC) wishes to distance itself from a selection of embarrassing links placed on the organisation's website by someone who has hacked into the ANC site," said spokesman Brian Sokutu.

    Adverts on the party's home page on were offered free porn, penis enlargement, prefabrik, cortix, tarot, reverse mortgage, security system report, jet charter, APC battery, autism, a dating service and website promotion.

    To read the article titled, “ANC brings freedom - and free porn - to the people,” click here.
    <br /> IOL Technology
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  • Microsoft Bing Online Search Engine

    Microsoft has praised its freshly-launched Bing online search engine and says it is taking a long-term approach in its quest to break from third place behind Yahoo! and Google.

    The company says the number of people that used Bing in June for online searches was eight percent higher than the number that used its predecessor, MSN Live, in the same month in 2008.

    However, some analysts believe Bing is more likely to lure users away from Yahoo! than Google, which is woven into people's lives so thoroughly that the company's name is used as a verb to express the act of searching the Internet.

    To read the article titled, “Good feedback on Microsoft Bing,” click here.
    <br /> News24
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  • Confidential Web-based Survey

    Want to know what your grantees think about YOU?

    Umhlaba Development Services - conducts web based surveys that assists  organisations to establish the level of their staff satisfaction within the organisation, stakeholders services satisfaction or Grantees satisfaction levels wth their Donors.

    For detailed information

    Contact : Cyril (011) 482 6220


    Date published: 
    Umhlaba Development Services
  • Link Between GDP Growth and Broadband Access

    The World Bank has urged African countries should focus on lowering the cost of broadband access to help boost their economies.

    In its latest report, the bank found a strong link between gross domestic product (GDP) growth and broadband access, underlying the need for stimulus programmes in which governments have allocated billions of dollars to expand high-speed Internet access to fight recession.

    World Bank Group Director for Global Information Communication Technology (ICT), Mohsen Khalil, points out that, "If you look at dynamics and evolution, they are doing really well." Khalil said the typical monthly mobile bill was still US$10 to US$12 in Africa, while in Southeast Asia many operators run profitable operations with average bills of US$5 or less.

    To read the article titled, “Good ICT will lift Africa's rankings - World Bank,” click here.

    <br /> IOL Technology
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  • Betavine Social Exchange NGO Workshop - Cape Town

    Vodacom in hosting a workshop with NGOs on 16 July 2009 in Cape Town to discuss a new concept in mobile application development for social impact - the Betavine Social Exchange.

    All NGOs - or those working in the development sector - are invited to join Vodacom to find out more about the Betavine Social Exchange, and to contribute to its development and deployment in South Africa.

    Betavine was created to encourage developers to cross over from other types of software development to mobile. Betavine provides a space to learn about mobile development and to participate in it by uploading applications which are then accessible to people directly on their mobile phones via

    The Betavine Social Exchange is aimed at creating mobile solutions to solve social problems in a way that helps them to be sustainable.

    For more information about the Betavine Social Exchange, click here.

    Workshop Agenda:

    10h00: Start
    • Betavine overview;
    • Betavine Social Exchange Concept overview;
    • Link to Vodacom.
    Session 1:
    • Discussion around the concept.
    • Details of the Betavine Social Exchange;

    Session 2:
    • Walkthrough design and detailed feedback;
    • Sign-up for trial;
    • Next steps.
    RSVP: Siehaam Khan at Vodacom on to confirm your participation.
    Event start date: 
    Event end date: 
    Event venue: 
    Breakwater Lodge, WaterFront, Cape Town<br />
    Event type: 
    Contact person(s): 
  • Google SMS Service for Africa

    Google has unveiled a new service designed to provide information via SMS to cellphone users in Africa, where mobile handsets are prevalent but Internet penetration is low.

    In a blog post, the company points out that, "At Google we seek to serve a broad base of people - not only those who can afford to access the Internet from the convenience of their workplace or with a computer at home."

    The company also launched a service called Google Trader, an SMS-based application that helps bring together buyers and sellers of product or services, from used cars to livestock to jobs. It also launched Google SMS Tips, a service that allows mobile phone users to have a Web search-like experience. With the latter service, a user can enter a text query and Google return relevant answers after searching a database.

    To read the article titled, “Google brings SMS service to Africa,” click here.

    IOL Technology
  • Reducing the Cost of ICTs for Kenyan NGOs

    In response to this situation, the Southern African NGO Network (SANGONeT), in conjunction with the Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN) in Kenya, is very pleased to announce the launch of TechSoup Kenya, an online technology donation portal aimed at the Kenya NGO sector.
    There are approximately 4 000 non-profit organisations operating in Kenya today. These organisations make a significant contribution in response to the development and service delivery challenges facing the country.

    The strengthening of NGOs’ capacity for service delivery increasingly requires that attention be given to their ability to manage, implement and integrate information communication technologies (ICTs) into their work. However, the issue of affordability remains one of the biggest barriers to increased investment by NGOs in their technology infrastructure and capacity. In an environment where the challenge of long-term financial sustainability continues to dominate internal NGO decision-making, the cost associated with technology investment impacts on the importance attached to building NGOs’ technology infrastructure and strengthening their work accordingly.

    In response to this situation, the Southern African NGO Network (SANGONeT), in conjunction with the Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN) in Kenya, is very pleased to announce the launch of TechSoup Kenya, an online technology donation portal aimed at the Kenya NGO sector.

    TechSoup Kenya aims to assist NGOs by providing software and hardware for very low or discounted fees in conjunction with ICT donor partners, as well as by supporting NGOs to maximise their ICT purchases and infrastructure. It will present Kenya NGOs with an opportunity to access software and other ICT solutions at discounts of up to 95% of the retail value.

    According to David Barnard, SANGONeT’s Executive Director, “The introduction of this programme in South Africa and Botswana has already made an important contribution to the local NGO sector, and we are very excited about its potential impact in Kenya.”

    TechSoup Kenya is a partnership between SANGONeT and TechSoup Global, a San Francisco-based non-profit technology capacity building organisation. TechSoup Global started in 2002 in the United States and currently operates its product donation programmes in 23 countries across the world with a network of local partner NGOs. With 35 donor partners currently, TechSoup Global has provided approximately 4.7 million donated technology products since programme inception to NGOs around the world. The retail price of these donations is roughly equivalent to $1.4 billion.

    “We’ve grown the TechSoup Global Network by partnering with organisations that share our commitment to providing NGOs with critical technology resources,” said Rebecca Masisak, Co-CEO of TechSoup Global. “Both ALIN and SANGONeT have a track record of outstanding service to the NGO community. Their collaboration to bring technology donations and education to Kenya is a shining example of the power of our network.”

    ALIN will be responsible for the implementation of TechSoup Kenya. According to James Nguo, ALIN’s Regional Director, “With a wide network among grassroots NGOs and focus on ICT4D, we hope to avail affordable technology to the people who deserve them most”.

    The first TechSoup Kenya donation partner is Microsoft. Most of the Microsoft range of software will be available to Kenya NGOs at approximately 4% of the retail value. The products include operating system software, productivity software such as Microsoft Office, publishing software and server products.

    For more information about TechSoup Kenya, please contact:

    James Nguo, Regional Director, Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN)
    Tel: (+254) (20) 273-1557 / Cell: (+254) (73) 388-8164 / E-mail:

    David Barnard, Executive Director, SANGONeT
    Tel: (+27) (11) 403-4935 / Cell: (+27) (82) 870 8968 / E-mail:
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  • Iran Blocks Cellphones, Websites

    Correspondents say the main mobile telephone network in Iran’s capital Tehran was cut while popular Internet websites Facebook and YouTube also appeared to be blocked.

    They say the communication cuts came after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won a landslide re-election victory, sparking rioting in the streets by opposition supporters who claimed the result had been rigged.

    According to witnesses, mobile phone network stopped working just before Ahmadinejad went on television to declare the election a "great victory" and even as baton-wielding police were clashing with protestors in the streets of Tehran.

    To read the article titled, “Cellphones, websites blocked,” click here.

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