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On the Prof. Chinua Achebe project, log on to www.Achebebooks.com
CNNInternational interview with Nigeria'sPresident Obasanjo and USAfricaonline.com Publisher Chido Nwangwu onDemocracyand Security Issues
Mobile phone prospects attract moreinvestements to Ghana
Special to USAfrica The Newspaper, Houston
USAfricaonline.com,CLASSmagazine, and The Black BusinessJournal
June 12, 2006: After two previous attempts to set up mobile phonebusiness in Ghana, MTN, Africa's biggest telecommunications providerhas finally entered the Ghanaian market through a merger withInvestcom, the parent company of Scancom Ghana Ltd. owners of Areeba,Ghana's biggest mobile phone provider.
According toavailable information, the MTN Group was acquiring the parent companyof Scancom Ghana Ltd in a deal worth $5.526 million, and notpurchasing just the Ghanaian subsidiary. This is the recommendedamount the MTN group will unload on the entire issued share ofInvestcom which is listed in the Dubai and London Exchanges.
By this deal the two mobile operators, the MTN Group and InvestcomLLC, may have achieved their dreams of running a mega mobileoperation in the emerging markets of Africa and the Middle East.
The merger will enable the companies to combine technologies andexpertise in the different territories in which they operate. MTNoperates in 11 countries in Africa, while Investcom operates in 10countries in Africa, the Middle East and Europe and had approximately4.9 million subscribers in Benin, Cyprus, Ghana, Guinea Bissau,Liberia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen by December 31, 2005.
One investment analyst said the deal is an excellent deal andwell-thought. "What's even more exciting is the fact that there is nooverlap in the terrain of both companies. The experience of Investcomin the Middle-East and Asia would be of tremendous help to MTN whohave been trying to enter the Middle East market for some timenow."
Mr. Andrew Johnson, General Manager, Network Technology Operationsat MTN last year (2005) dropped a hint during a media trainingprogramme at the South African Institute for International Affairs(SAIIA) that MNT was planning to invest in Ghana after twounsuccessful attempts when the company started expanding into Africain 1997.
Areeba has been expanding its services rapidly throughout Ghana.At the last count in 2005 Areeba had an impressive 955,000subscribers, far ahead of state-owned telecommunications provider,Ghana Telecom, which had 462000 subscribers. Mobitel, the oldest ofall the providers had 355,000 subscribers, while Kasapa, the smallesthad a market share of 60,000 subscribers. These figures have probablychanged following the aggressive marketing strategies and underpricing mobile companies are engaged in.
In a recent report on mobile phone use, the respected Economistnewspaper said the fastest growth rates of mobile phones in the worldare found in Africa, where subscriber base is rising by the day.
Not surprisingly, more and more people in Ghana are connecting tomobile phone. The primary obstacle to wider use of mobile phones isthe cost of the handsets. Little wonder that mobile phone snatchinghas become big business in Ghana and a matter of life and death.
The increase in mobile phone use in Ghana is a reflection of thegrowing trend of the industry in Africa, due to the fact many peopleare unable to obtain landlines because of corruption involved in theprocess.
A recent survey by the International Telecommunications Union(ITU) found that Africa has become the world's fastest mobile phonemarket. The report said over the last five years, the continent'smobile phone use increased at an annual rate of 65 percent, twice theglobal average. Africa gained more than 13 million new subscribers in2003 alone, bringing the total to more than 52 million.
The survey estimated that there would be 60 million mobile phoneusers in Africa by the end of 2004, more than double the 27 millionpeople who use landlines.
South Africa has invested heavily in Ghana'sexpanding economy in recent years.
In the mining sector, several South African miningcompanies are involved in exploration and extraction ventures.
The principal investor has been Anglogold, which recently sealed a$1.4 billion merger with Ashanti Gold to become Anglogold Ashanti,now the world's largest gold producer.
In the beverage sector, South Africa Breweries bought acontrolling stake in Accra Breweries Ltd, whose restructuring hasresulted in a turnaround in profit.
In addition, South Africa Airways started flights to Accra in1996. Since then, the airline has increased the number of flights tofour times a week owing to a growth in demand from the businesscommunity.
South Africa is no stranger in multimedia and telecommunicationssector in Ghana, where Multi Choice operates successfully with morethan 6,000 subscribers. MTN's investment and technology in Areebawould complement what Multi Choice is already doing in the telecomssector in Ghana. By Amos Safo/Ghanaweb
Many Nigerians still feel disappointed that a man (Obasanjo) whohad gained so much from Nigeria would cling so tightly to power, evenagainst the popular will of the people, moreso with age, energy andfresh ideas for a new era not on his side.
Also, USAfricaonline.com review of Nigeria's recent history show thatPresident Obasanjo seems to be moving rapidly into the zone ofill-repute of his former military colleagues who, like him, refusedto leave office when it was time to go. Gen. yakubu Gowon in 1975;Gen. Ibrahim Babangida in 1993; Gen. Sani Abacha in1995, 1996, 1997,1998.
More baffling many Nigerians we interviewed recall is the lessonsof the excesses of the late Gen. Abach who jailed Obasanjo while theformer schemed to remain in power.
For the special report by USAfrica multimedia networks' PublisherChido Nwangwu, click on 3rdterm.
Nigeria's Senate kills bill seeking to prolongObasanjo's tenure to unprecedented 3rd term.... Nigeriansenators voted on Tuesday May 16, 2006 to throw out a bill seeking toamend the country's constitution to give President Olusegun Obasanjothe chance to run for a third successive term in office next year. Amajority of lawmakers in the upper house agreed in a voice vote toscrap the bill, which has raised tensions in Africa's most populouscountry plagued by ethnic and religious violence. "By this result,the Senate has said clearly and eloquently that we should discontinuefurther proceedings on this amendment bill," Senate President KenNnamani announced to applause.
Obasanjo, who was on a visit to France as the lawmakers took thedecision, has never stated he wants to run again when his second,four-year term comes to an end in 2007. But he has hinted he wouldlike to complete economic and political reforms he has initiated.However, many Nigerians believe he is behind a powerful campaign byhis supporters to prolong his rule. Six months must now elapse beforethe bill can be re-presented to the Senate, if Obsanjo's third termsupporters wish to.
Obasanjo's current 2nd tenure (8 years in office) will end on May 29,2007. (IRIN)
Special to USAfrica The Newspaper, Houston
USAfricaonline.comand CLASSmagazine and The Black BusinessJournal
(First written on March 1, 2002, for USAfrica, updated for Prof.Achebe's 74th Birthday tribute on November 16, 2004, and published inCLASS magazine samemonth)
His globalist underpinnings and outlook are truly reflective ofthe true essence of his Igbo world-view, his Igbo upbringing anddisposition. Igbos and Jews share (with a few other other cultures)this pan-global disposition to issues of art, life, commerce,juridical pursuits, and quest to be republicanist in terms of thevitality of the individual/self. In Achebe's works, the centrality ofChi (God) attains an additional clarity in the Igbo cosmology... itis a world which prefers a quasi-capitalistic business attitude whiletaking due cognizance of the usefulness of the whole, the community.I've studied, lived and tried to better understand, essentially, therigor and towering moral certainties which Achebe have employed inmost of his works and his world. I know, among other reasons, becauseI share the same ancestry with him. Permit me to attempt a briefsentence, with that Achebean simplicty and clarity. Here,folks, what the world has known since 1958: Achebe is good! Eagle onthe Iroko, may your Lineage endure! There has never been one likeyou!
Ugo n'abo, chukwu gozie gi oo!
ChidoNwangwu, recipient of the Journalism Excellence award(1997), is Founder and Publisher of USAfricaonline.com (firstAfrican-owned U.S.-based professional newspaper to be published onthe internet), USAfrica The Newspaper,CLASS magazineand TheBlack Business Journal. He has served as an adviserto the Mayor of Houston on international business (Africa) andappears as an analyst on CNN, VOA, NPR, CBS News, NBC and ABC newsaffiliates.
This USAfricaonline.com commentary is copyrighted. Archivingon any other web site or newspaper is unauthorized except with aWritten Approval by USAfricaonline.comFounder.
CLASSis the social events, heritage excellence and style magazine forAfricans in north America, described by The New York Times as themagazine for affluent Africansin America. It is published byprofessional journalists and leading mulitmedia leaders andpioneers.
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Maduekwe, Nwachukwu clash over Obasanjo at World Igbo 2002 convention in Houston. USAfrica Special report
USAfrica The Newspaper voted the "Best Community Newspaper" in the 4th largest city in the U.S., Houston. It is in the Best of Houston special as chosen by the editors and readers of the Houston Press, reflecting their poll and annual rankings.
DEMOCRACY WATCH: Obasanjo raped Nigeria's constitution by suspending Plateau Assembly and Governor. Prof. By Prof. Ben Nwabueze, leading constitutional scholar in the Commonwealth for almost 45 years, former Nigerian federal minister and SAN.
OIL in NIGERIA: Liquid Gold or Petro-Dollars Curse?
Investigating Marc Rich and his deals with Nigeria's Oil
Through an elaborate network of carrots and sticks and a willing army of Nigeria's soldiers and some civilians, controversial global dealer and billionaire Marc Rich, literally and practically, made deals and steals; yes, laughed his way to the banks from crude oil contracts, unpaid millions in oil royalties and false declarations of quantities of crude lifted and exported from Nigeria for almost 25 years. Worse, he lifted Nigeria's oil and shipped same to then embargoed apartheid regime in South Africa. Read Chido Nwangwu's NEWS INVESTIGATION REPORT for PetroGasWorks.com
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Bush's position on Africa is "ill-advised." The position stated by Republican presidential aspirant and Governor of Texas, George Bush where he said that "Africa will not be an area of priority" in his presidency has been questioned by USAfricaonline.com Publisher Chido Nwangwu. He added that Bush's "pre-election position was neither validated by the economic exchanges nor geo-strategic interests of our two continents." These views were stated during an interview CNN's anchor Bernard Shaw and senior analyst Jeff Greenfield had with Mr. Nwangwu on Saturday November 18, 2000 during a special edition of 'Inside Politics 2000.' Nwangwu, adviser to the Mayor of Houston (the 4th largest city in the U.S., and immigrant home to thousands of Africans) argued further that "the issues of the heritage interests of 35 million African-Americans in Africa, the volume and value of oil business between between the U.S and Nigeria and the horrendous AIDS crisis in Africa do not lend any basis for Governor Bush's ill-advised position which removes Africa from fair consideration" were he to be elected president. By Al Johnson
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CNN International debate on Nigeria's democracy was livecast on February 19, 2002. It involved Nigeria's Information Minister Prof. Jerry Gana, Prof. Salih Booker and USAfricaonline.com Publisher Chido Nwangwu. Transcripts are available on the CNN International site.
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SPORTS: Tiger Woods makes more history with another golf Masters win. He shot 12-under-par 276 and a final round 71 at Georgia's Augusta National Golf Club event and collected $1,008,000, on Sunday April 14, 2002. With it, the world's golf phenom added another green jacket to his array of championships and titles, placing him, in this instance, in the same respected Masters' league as Nicklaus (winner 1965 and 1966) and Nick Faldo (1989 and 1990). The three are the only men to win back-to-back Masters. At 26, Woods has since become the youngest golfer to win his seventh professional major championship. He was joined by his parents and his 22 year-old Swedish model girlfriend, Elin Nordegren.
Impeachment process shows Nigerian democracy "is alive... being tested." Nigeria's president retired Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo has said that the impeachment process shows that "democracy is alive, is being tested, and being tried.... What they (the legislators) have tried to do in the democratic way, which is not easy, would probably have been done by taking arms or by -- with bullets. So, but with democracy, of course, some people feel that this is the way this should be, and then I have an opportunity to defend myself. There is discussion. There is dialogue. There is a decision. There is fairness." He made these comments when he appeared on Tuesday September 17, 2002 on CNN International to discuss the issues of impeachment facing him, the allegations of corruption, abuse of the constitution and deployment of soldiers ina civilian environment which led to the "massacre of civilians" in Odi (Bayelsa) and Zaki Biam (Benue). On the charges by international human rights organizations and Nigerian media that his government has been involved in actions which have led to the deaths of thousands of Nigerians, the retired General gave a surprising answer. He was asked that "as many as 10,000 people, it's being reported, have been killed in Nigeria (in) communal rivalries, and the number is believed to be increasing. And people are saying that although President Obasanjo has done a lot of good for Nigeria, you're accused of not -- accused of failing to halt that spiraling violence."
Obasanjo: Let me say this to you, when you put the question of 10,000 -- 10,000 people dying in Nigeria, of course, for a population of over 120 million people...." But USAfricaonline.com Founder and recipient of the Journalism Excellence award (1997), Chido Nwangwu, who appeared on the same program as as a CNN International analyst (Africa) pointed out that "when (President Obasanjo) answered that in a country of 100 million that 10,000 people are said to have died, as if that was a small number, that in itself reflects a disconnect with the concerns of Nigerians. The second one is that when the risk is civil disagreement, the police are required to intervene in the country. And the deployment of the armed forces of Nigeria requires at least some consultation, however modest, with the parliament." Nwangwu, former member of the editorial board of Nigeria's Daily Times continued that "the third factor that is equally important to underscore is that the armed forces of Nigeria moved in for a punitive action rather than just containing a civil disagreement." He noted in USAfricaonline.com backgrounder "it was revealing and interesting interesting discussing Nigeria's issues with its leader - under the current circumstances of an increasingly out-of-schedule elections and the gathering storm of an impeachment process by a majority of the members of the National Assembly, predominantly by Obasanjo's party members." See rush transcript of the CNN International news program.
Steve Jobs and Apple represent the future of digital living. By Chido Nwangwu
The coup in Cote d'Ivoire and its implications for democracy in Africa. By Chido Nwangwu
(Related commentary) Coup in Cote d'Ivoire has been in the waiting. By Tom Kamara