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India launches India-Africa ICT Expo 2015 in Kenya

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Nairobi: Ahead of the India Africa Forum Summit in New Delhi in October, India launched the first India-Africa ICT Expo here in the Kenyan capital under the theme of ‘India: Your Partner for Technology Next’.

The event, on September 28-29, was launched in conjunction with Information Technology Authority of Kenya, Telecom Export Promotion Council (TEPC) of India, and National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM).

The event, inaugurated by Najib Balala, Cabinet Secretary of Kenya and Rakesh Garg, Secretary Telecom of India, was attended by various officials and business leaders from India, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Sudan.

“We have got a lot of experience in policies, networks/technology, skill development and innovative solutions using ICT to share with Africa,” said Garg.

“We see opportunities for cooperation and our government is keen to encourage business activities between India and Africa,” Garg said.

Over 300 technology companies from India and Africa are showing their latest products and solutions at this expo-cum-conference. The cost of the event is one crore, partially sponsored by Indian government.

“Africa is one of the fastest growing ICT market and we see opportunity to build high-capacity and resilient broadband network infrastructure along with innovative IT solutions,” Sanjay Nayak, vice chairman of TEPC and MD Tejas Networks, said.

“Indian companies have an advantage in African markets, since they already have the experience of successfully tackling similar business challenges, competitive pressures and harsh operating environment in India,” Nayak said.

The expo is a platform to build synergy among India and African countries to showcase innovative and diversified products and services. It is a platform to discuss solutions to regulatory business, according to Akansha Tete, director of global trade development at NASSCOM India.

“As digitalisation and mobility continue to transform business operations and everyday life, the expo presents the latest technologies that help companies to evolve and maintain a competitive edge in the communication and digital world,” she said.

This cements the relationship between India and Africa in the development of ICT, Julius Torach, deputy director of ICT ministry Uganda, said.

“For example, we have had telecommunications project from Tele Medicine and Tele Education implemented in Uganda. We have had delegations going to India on business process outsourcing (BPO) linkages. This kind of environment gives us an opportunity to promote trade relations between India and Africa,” Torach said.

“We are much closer to India not only geographically but in terms of challenges as well and we need to enhance our relationship in terms of ICT. We need relevant Indian solutions for our development,” Hassen Mashinda, PhD, director general of Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology, said.

“As India and Africa witness exponential growth in the telecommunication and information technology segments, trade partnership is bound to gain in the field of ICT,” he added.

The organisers are planning to make the Indo-Africa ICT Expo an annual programme by hosting it in different parts of Africa and India.

(By Hadra Ahmad, IANS)

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Team Lioness Aims to Fight Poachers in Amboseli National Park in Kenya

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Team Lioness
Members of Team Lioness are members are seen in traditional garb on a day off from work. (Courtesy - Patrick Papatiti, Commander of the Olgululului Community. VOA

By Lenny Ruvaga

Kenya’s Amboseli National Park is home to herds of elephants that have been the target of poachers trafficking in the illicit trade in ivory. Now a program that has brought women on board in the fight against poaching is gaining traction.

At the start of another day at the Olgulului-Ololarashi Group Ranch, 23-year-old park ranger Purity Amleset, the leader of this all female ranger unit, sets out the day’s plan with her team, ensuring that each member has her orders correct.

Today’s task: locating an elephant and her newborn calf.

Team Lioness

Dubbed “Team Lioness,” the ranger unit is made up of eight women whose core duties involve protecting wildlife within the 1,230 square kilometer stretch of parkland that surrounds Amboseli National Park.

They are chosen for their academic achievements, physical stamina, integrity and discipline.

Amleset says joining an all-female ranger unit has been beneficial to the traditionally patriarchal Maasai community.

She says her community held the view that women and girls were the weaker sex and that girls could only do menial jobs and housework, which included only raising a family. However over the course of time, the female rangers have been showing and telling them the importance of being a ranger just like the menfolk.

Team Lioness
Female rangers of the TeamL Lioness at the Olgulului-Ololarashi Group Ranch pose for a group photo with their male colleagues. VOA

Gateway for poachers

The Olgulului-Ololarashi Group Ranch’s proximity to the Amboseli park makes it a likely gateway for poachers who may seek entry into the national park to hunt illegally.

Patrick Papatiti, the commander of the Olgululului Community Wildlife Rangers has about 76 rangers under his charge. He says integrating women has not been easy.

“We have the same mentality even within the male ranger unit, the same mentality that ladies cannot do it. But surprisingly we have the best young women who can run, who can move faster than these guys, who can go long(er) distances than these guys,” he sad. “So from that, working together helped us to clear the norm that these are the same ladies the same girls that you see in the village.”

Despite the challenges, in the end James Isiche — the regional director for East Africa from the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) — says starting an all-female ranger unit was a risk worth taking.

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“Communities in Kenya are male-dominated, but this particular one is extremely male-dominated,” he said. “So getting young ladies to engage in what is seen as a man’s job is a huge success and what we (are) seeing is that it’s encouraging other girls to step up and say that ‘when I finish school I also want to join the female lionesses.’” (VOA)