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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)

Next Story

Kenya’s Deaf Rugby Team Dreams Big, Wishes to Match National Team’s Success

“In Kenya, the people who are hearing are the only ones who have a rugby team, so we thought let’s copy South Africa, let’s have a deaf rugby team,” he said

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deaf rugby team
Rugby is one of Kenya's most popular sports, and the country's national team has played in the World Cup. Inspired by the national team's success, members of Kenya's deaf community launched a deaf rugby team last year. Wikimedia

Rugby is one of Kenya’s most popular sports, and the country’s national team has played in the World Cup.

Inspired by the national team’s success, members of Kenya’s deaf community launched a deaf rugby team last year. The team, which is has been training for just more than a year now, has big dreams for the future.

Every Sunday, Martin Kasuivya begins his journey to the rugby pitch with a rush of excitement in his eyes. He had played football (soccer) as a child, but had never played rugby until a year ago, when officials of the newly formed Kenya Deaf Rugby Association came to his church.

Martin was born deaf and has largely remained within the deaf community in Kenya. For this story, he speaks to VOA through a sign language interpreter.

Sunday afternoon practice

“Before, when I was growing up, there was no deaf rugby, but people like to join new things so I decided let me go with a new thing,” he said.

At the pitch about an hour’s commute from his house, Martin joins 16 other players for practice. This has become the team’s weekly Sunday afternoon routine. Maurice Okwatch formed the team and the Kenya Deaf Rugby Association to support it. Speaking through a sign language interpreter, Okwatch explains his motivation.

“In Kenya, the people who are hearing are the only ones who have a rugby team, so we thought let’s copy South Africa, let’s have a deaf rugby team,” he said.

Funding hard to find

Deaf rugby is also played in Australia, Canada and England, and the sport is represented at the Deaf Olympics, which comes up next in 2021.

The players in Nairobi haven’t played a game yet and don’t have a sponsor. They make do with what they have: one ball and mismatched secondhand uniforms. Okwatch says the team is currently self-supporting.

“When I formed this group,” he said, “I tried to look for funding but it was very difficult and the committee ourselves we decided let’s chip in, so we bought a ball as a committee.”

deaf rugby team
“In Kenya, the people who are hearing are the only ones who have a rugby team, so we thought let’s copy South Africa, let’s have a deaf rugby team,” he said. VOA

Progress and big dreams

There’s no whistle here. The team’s coach, Brennan Rashid, communicates with players through sign language. In a professional deaf rugby match, the referee waves a white flag to draw the attention of the players.

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Unlike the players, Rashid is not deaf. He says that despite a lack of playing experience, the team is getting better.

“I have seen the progress, I have seen them step by step going places with it, getting a proper understanding of the game and that is the best thing I can give,” he said. Despite the various hardships, Kasuivya and the other players have big dreams, like competing in the Deaf Olympics. Kasuivya says his goal is to win the gold. (VOA)