Valter Adao: “Innovation will lead to cheaper and accessible healthcare”

Valter Adao: “Innovation will lead to cheaper and accessible healthcare”

Valter Adao “Innovation will lead to cheaper and more accessible healthcare.”

IT News Africa recently sat down with Valter Adao, the lead Director/Partner at Deloitte Digital Africa and Innovation leader for Deloitte, to speak about the latest trends in Healthcare innovation on the African continent.

Valter is also the firm wide Healthcare and Life Sciences industry leader for Deloitte in Africa and has held senior leadership positions in this sector. Healthcare innovation is one of Valter’s passions and his expertise in this field is solidified by the various speaking positions he has held at Healthcare conference such as the recent 2017 Healthcare Innovation Summit.

IT News Africa spoke to Valter about the biggest trends in the industry, the benefits to come from these trends, how innovation will help people in the rural areas of Africa, the role of government and the private sector and the impact of conferences such as the Healthcare Innovation Summit.

1) In your opinion what are some of the biggest trends in healthcare innovation?
Look healthcare innovation has a number of avenues which are currently very active. There is the traditional developing of new molecules, life-saving drugs etc… but the interesting ones are around the innovations which are challenging the traditional construct of healthcare, the healthcare business models, how we access healthcare and the affordability of it.

There are also some interesting technologies that are augmenting healthcare provisions. So very smart technologies that help doctors diagnose more accurately from a cognitive analytics perspective, interpretation of visuals to assist in diagnoses of disease, surgical robots, which are early in development, but could have a significant impact on how we look after people. Then the leveraging of Artificial Intelligence and Analytics to assist in the diagnostic of conditions with out the presence of a healthcare professional.

There is a lot of innovation taking place, but those last few I mentioned are the latest and probably most disruptive of all the trends.

2) What are the benefits of these trends?
The main benefit is perhaps easier accessibility and increased affordability of healthcare. If you can get access through a digital platform it is easier, you don’t have to get to a clinic or doctor, and it is also a lot cheaper. The additional trend I suppose would be around the improved accuracy of diagnoses and also improved outcomes as a result of leveraging these technologies. Perhaps what we would also see is instead of keeping patients for monitoring in an expensive brick and mortar setting they could do exactly the same in their homes through remote technologies. Innovation will lead to cheaper and more accessible healthcare in Africa.

3) From an African perspective, how important will it be to leverage these innovations, particularly in rural areas where there are access issues?
I think it is a game changer, just like we saw cell phones bridge the gap in communications we are going to see these technologies a similar sort of gap on the African continent. The significance of this is that simple technology like a cell phone has probably contributed the most to the elimination of poverty on the continent. If we take that same kind of thinking to technologies that are aiding and augmenting healthcare we will allow people who currently can’t afford and don’t have access to healthcare to finally have access.

4) Are African governments open to adopting these innovations?
There is an openness to talk about these innovations. I would, however, love to see the adoption become quicker. Perhaps there are two levers we need to pull. Number one, the regulations are not written for these new disruptive technologies, our regulations are dated and are not suited for the natural adoption of these technologies.

Secondly, I would like to see more collaboration and dialogue between government and the private sector. Innovation is not just about the technology but also the mindset. It is an unreasonable burden we place on the government to have to figure out the problem that needs to be solved, the technology which is needed to solve the problem, fund it, implement it and make sure it gets used properly.

The role of government should change to say let’s adopt a concept of open innovation. Their role would then be to create a platform on which everyone can innovate to solve that societies problem. Entrepreneurs, micro-enterprise or a global business could participate on that platform to solve the issues. Governments would then need to ensure that there is innovation taking place around these regulations that aid innovations and then aid in monitoring that these innovations and solutions are achieving the required goals within the tight price constraints.

5) How long do you think it will take for these innovations to have a real-world impact in Africa?
It really comes down to political and business will. The impact is immediate, there are solutions that could be deployed immediately that have been sidelined or been slow to adopt because we are not creating the right platform to take these innovations to market. Using drones for delivering medicine in rural areas, for example, the impact could be felt immediately. The technology is there, there are people who want to invest in these sectors. We just have to innovate around the regulations that are currently hindering the process around the adoption and the regulations which are currently protecting the old business models and business practices that are currently in those sectors.

6) How important are events such as the Healthcare Innovation Summit in advancing developments in the African healthcare industry?
I think these summits are important. It is important because it gets the conversation going, but more importantly, conversations that challenge one another and when we challenge one another we do so with an open mindset that perhaps I don’t have all the answers but I certainly need to listen to something that challenges the paradigm which I have. So the role of the Healthcare Innovation Summit is to make sure we have the right debates, ask the right questions and come away from the summit with the right learnings.

By: Dean Workman
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New SAP Study Shows Growth Depends on Digital Skills Investment

New SAP Study Shows Growth Depends on Digital Skills Investment

New SAP Study Shows Growth Depends on Digital Skills Investment. (Image Source: pnrsoftsol.com)

According to new survey results released by SAP SE, business leaders who have completed digital transformation projects across their entire organisation report significant increases in employee engagement compared to those with more limited initiatives.

64 percent of executives with broad-ranging digital initiatives say their employees are more engaged, compared with 20 percent among organisations that have completed transformation projects in single business areas. Successful transformation depends on people, highlighting the importance of workforce investments in driving digital business performance.

4 Ways Leaders Set Themselves Apart,” a digital transformation executive study by the SAP Center for Business Insight group and Oxford Economics, surveyed over 3,100 global business decision makers to examine the priorities driving digital transformation projects. The results show stark differences between organisations that have completed transformation projects and those that have yet to adopt digital strategies:

  • 83 percent of digital transformation leaders expect digitalisation to change talent management over the next two years. That figure compared with only 37 percent of organisations that have yet to begin digital transformation.
  • Respondents who completed digital transformation projects across their business have a more crystalised vision of the potential benefit across their HR processes, with 71 percent saying digitalisation will make it easier to attract and retain the best talent, compared with 54 percent of other respondents.
  • About 52 percent of the businesses that have undergone digital transformation projects said they planned over the next two years to create new roles to reflect technological imperatives, compared with only 32 percent of companies that have yet to undertake digital transformation.

“Today’s leading businesses are putting their employees at the heart of their digital transformation strategies,” said Greg Tomb, president, SAP SuccessFactors. “This research shows successful digitalisation depends on people, with the most innovative and forward-looking companies committed to investing in their workforce to ensure they are properly equipped to meet the challenges of tomorrow.”

Other key findings from the report:

  • Over a third of global companies believe that talent management and development are key drivers of digital growth. Some 31 percent agree that investment in employees’ digital skills would be the most important factor in increasing revenue in the coming years.
  • The banking sector showed the greatest commitment to increasing investment in digital skills over the next two years. 48 percent listed it as the most important factor to driving profit growth, while 45 percent of the professional services sector rated improving employee engagement as the most important profit-driving factor.
  • Digital transformation has had a greater positive impact on talent retention and development on U.S.-based organisations than on those of many of their global counterparts. About 19 percent of American businesses surveyed said technology updates have completely or somewhat transformed their talent management processes, compared with only eight percent of UK businesses, seven percent of German organisations and five percent of Mexican businesses.
  • The study shows that a commitment to digital transformation pays off. Compared to other companies surveyed, digital leaders have stronger revenue growth and profitability today – and expect that advantage to continue over the next two years. In fact, digital leaders expect 23 percent higher revenue growth than all others in the next two years, and 80 percent of leaders say transformation efforts have increased profitability versus 53 percent of all others.

“Digital transformation is about more than investing in the latest technology,” said Edward Cone, technology practice lead, Oxford Economics. “People matter most – how they work, what they know, which skills they need in a changing workplace. Most companies have only begun to address these human factors, and those that fall behind may never catch up.”

Edited by Fundisiwe Maseko
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Deadline to enter the AppsAfrica Awards is fast approaching

Deadline to enter the AppsAfrica Awards is fast approaching

Deadline to enter the AppsAfrica Awards is fast approaching

The deadline for entries to the third annual AppsAfrica Awards, which celebrates the best in mobile and tech from across Africa is fast approaching, with nominations closing on September 11th, 2017.

From African start-ups to large corporates, AppsAfrica is seeking to uncover the industry’s best in class across the continent. Who is disrupting Africa? What is the best app or fintech solution? Which company is making a real social impact?

Applications are welcome across the following 12 categories;

  • Disruptive Innovation Award
  • Best Social & Messaging Award
  • Best African App Award
  • Enterprise Solution Award
  • News & Entertainment Award
  • Educational Award
  • Fintech Award
  • Social Impact Award
  • Brand Campaign Award
  • mCommerce Award
  • Changing Africa Award

Entries will be judged by an independent panel of African experts including tech editors, entrepreneurs and investors. The shortlisted finalists will be showcased in front of an international audience of industry leaders and media at the third Awards party in Cape Town, November 6th on the eve of AfricaCom. Winners receive a prestigious Award, global media exposure across multiple media channels and a host of other benefits.

The deadline for entries is September 11th, with the shortlisted finalists announced at the end of September 2017.
To find out more or enter now visit

Staff Writer

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43 Percent of Manufactures Embrace IIoT: Study

43 Percent of Manufactures Embrace IIoT: Study

The move toward IIoT enables real-time visibility and decision making across the supply chain. (image source: pixabay.com)

A study conducted by Zebra Technologies Corporation has revealed that nearly two-thirds of manufacturers are embracing smart technologies to achieve a fully connected factory by 2022.

According to the Manufacturing Vision Study, 43 percent of manufacturers embrace smart technologies. The manufacturers are adopting the industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) to enhance visibility and improve quality. Smart manufacturing is a new reality that manufacturers face and those that don’t integrate automation and smart technologies over the next few years risk becoming irrelevant.

The move toward smart technologies, sometimes referred to as the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), enables real-time visibility and decision making across the supply chain.

The study indicates that 62 percent of manufacturers use pen and paper to track vital manufacturing steps, putting companies at risk for error. Ultimately, this number is expected to drop to one in five by 2022.

At the heart of IIoT is the way companies capture and share data. The ability to have data immediately available in the cloud offers unheard-of visibility that heightens operational performance. However, few manufacturers are harnessing the power of their data. Zebra’s study found only 27 percent are currently collecting data from production, supply chain and workers.

Having instant access to data is essential to making real-time adjustments that ensure that the production process operates smoothly. It gives suppliers the ability to react to the changing needs of their customers while also keeping less inventory on hand and eliminating points of failure. In fact, 50 percent of manufacturers stated that improving their ability to adjust to fluctuating market demands is one of their top business growth strategies.

In addition to data, the shift toward a more automated environment is also putting technologies like voice solutions and RFID at the forefront. According to Zebra’s study, 51 percent of manufacturers are planning to expand the use of voice technology in the next five years, while 60 percent will expand the use of real-time location tracking to drive greater visibility and growth across their operations.

The smart factory of the future will be here before we know it. Now is the time for manufacturers to start integrating visibility solutions into the plant floor to increase quality, expedite production and reduce costs.

Edited by Fundisiwe Maseko
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Twenty years of DDoS attacks – looking back, looking forward

Twenty years of DDoS attacks – looking back, looking forward

Arbor Network’s territory manager for Sub-Saharan Africa, Bryan Hamman.

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks are more popular and dangerous today than at any time in history. In 20 years, DDoS attacks have gone from being a novelty to a nuisance, and finally today they represent a serious threat against the availability and functionality of websites, online services and applications.

This is according to Arbor Network’s territory manager for Sub-Saharan Africa, Bryan Hamman, who says, “Easy-to-use tools and cheap attack services have widened the potential net that DDoS attacks can cast. Today, anyone with a grievance and an Internet connection can launch an attack. If we take a look back about 20 years or so, historic news headlines and the increasing size of attacks through the years indicate that this problem isn’t going to go away.”

Looking back at some of the attacks down the years

  • 1996: Internet service provider (ISP) PANIX is struck by a sustained DDoS attack, affecting businesses that use Panix as their ISP.
  • 1996: CERT/ CC – the Computer Emergency Response Team/ Coordination Center, a government-funded research and development centre based at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh – releases an advisory on the growing phenomenon of TCP SYN floods using spoofed source IP addresses.
  • 1997: The world sees the arrival of early DDoS tools, such as Trinoo, Tribe Flood Network, TFN2K, Shaft, and others, often coded by their authors. Primitive DDoS networks emerge, using IRC and Eggdrop or the Sub7 Trojan.
  • 1998: The document RFC 2267 is published, which details how network administrators can defeat DDoS attacks via anti-spoofing measures. This document eventually becomes a best current practice adopted by many networking vendors.
  • 1998: The Smurf Amplifier Registry is launched to help discover and disable “Smurf” amplifiers, which are abused in DDoS attacks. Smurf Attacks use a spoofed broadcast ICMP ping to then reflect back to a victim to create the attack traffic. By 2012 over 193,000 networks have been found and fixed.
  • 1998: Michael Calce, aka 15-year-old ‘Mafiaboy’, launches sustained DDoS attacks on multiple major eCommerce sites including Amazon, CNN, Dell, E*Trade, eBay, and Yahoo!. At the time, Yahoo! was the biggest search engine in the world. He is investigated by the FBI. The Montreal Youth Court sentenced him on September 12, 2001, to eight months of “open custody”, one year of probation, restricted use of the Internet, and a small fine.
  • 2002: Significant “Smurf” attacks strike the root DNS servers and cause some outages for some sites. The attacks are eventually repelled. Total traffic eventually hits 900 Mbps.
  • 2007: The former Soviet republic of Estonia is hit with sustained DDoS attacks following diplomatic tensions with Russia. The issues arise after Estonia moves a statue honouring Soviet forces who served in World War II against Nazi Germany.
  • 2008: Russia is accused of attacking Georgian government websites in a cyber war to accompany its military bombardment, weeks before the invasion of the disputed territory of South Ossetia by Russian troops.
  • 2008: Project Chanology is launched by members of “Anonymous”, a leaderless Internet-based group, in response to the Church of Scientology trying to remove an infamous Tom Cruise interview video from the Internet. Project Chanology used DDoS as part of its measures to try to disrupt the Church of Scientology’s operations.
  • 2011: Members of Anonymous launch attacks against the sites of PayPal, Visa, and MasterCard in 2011 after the payment service providers refused to process financial donations intended for WikiLeaks.
  • 2011: A DDoS attack on Sony is proportedly used to block the detection of a data breach that leads to the extraction of millions of customer records for PlayStation Network users.
  • 2011 to 2012: Between December 2011 and March 2012, against a background of political tension in Russia including presidential elections, which were fraught with political demonstrations, DDoS attacks enter the political landscape, with DDoS attacks on both opposition as well as pro-government sites. The world sees Russian cybercriminal methods being used for political ends.
  • 2012: Similarly, although arguably not so widely, DDoS attacks are used for political reasons when Canada’s New Democrat Party sees its leadership election negatively affected by a DDoS attack that delays voting and reduced turnout.
  • 2012: Unknown groups hit various US and UK government-related websites in protest at these governments’ Wikileaks position.
  • 2013: FBI says more cooperation with banks is key in probing cyberattacks.
  • 2013: Largest attack reaches 300Gbps – Dutch anti-spam website Spamhaus is targeted for naming and blacklisting cybercrime hosting enterprises, spam and botnet operations.
  • 2014: PlayStation Network and Xbox Live are attacked on Christmas Day.
  • 2014: In Hong Kong, a huge attack is carried out against the territory’s pro-democracy websites. While many assumed that the culprit would have been the Chinese government, this is not necessarily certain. The attacker could, however, be someone who is not sympathetic with the Hong Kong democracy movement, or someone trying to make the Chinese government look bad.
  • 2015: The Turkish Internet is hit with a massive DDoS attack, which came in the wake of Turkey shooting down a Russian military aircraft.
  • 2015: British phone and broadband provider, TalkTalk, which has over four million UK customers, is hit by a DDoS attack, which is used as a smokescreen while customers’ personal information is stolen.
  • 2015: On New Year’s Eve of 2015, the BBC’s entire domain, including its on-demand television and radio player, is down for three hours and continues to have issues for the rest of the day. The attack is claimed by a group called the “New World Hackers”.
  • 2016: An IoT botnet targets a major international event with sophisticated, large-scale DDoS attacks sustaining 500 gb/sec in attack traffic for the duration of the event.
  • 2016: The Mirai IoT botnet launches 1Tbps multi vector DDoS attack against DNS infrastructure, taking many of the world’s most popular websites offline.

Looking forward – where to from here?
Hamman says, “We can see clearly, when we look at the timeline of some of the most prominent DDoS attacks over the past two decades, that perpetrators launch these attacks for a variety of reasons. They can be hackers who want to make a statement, as in the case of Mafiaboy; governments of countries at war using cyberwarfare tactics as part of their general arsenal; and criminals trying to blackmail online businesses.

“There are also examples when cyber activists show displeasure against their targets, such as the 2011 attacks by members of Anonymous against the sites of PayPal, Visa and MasterCard, and the 2013 attacks against Spamhaus. The online gaming industry has also been targeted, with the blame generally going to disgruntled players or even competitors. We’ve also seen instances when DDoS attacks are used as a smokescreen to camouflage or draw attention away from other criminal activity an attacker might be doing, such as stealing data from the victim’s network, as in the 2015 example of the UK telecom TalkTalk last year.

Hamman says the IoT brings new demands and requirements to DDoS protection. He adds, “The Mirai IoT botnet reminds us that manufacturers and vendors also have a growing responsibility with respect to their technology and how it will be applied in diverse environments. They need to test for and consider the potential for exploitation. Ideally, all devices should be assessed for risk at the manufacturer and then again by those who are responsible for selling/ implementing them in enterprises.”

Hamman concludes, “Previously, it used to be that only certain types of business would be likely targets for a DDoS attack, with finance, gaming and e-commerce at the top of the list. Today, any business, for any reason, can become a target of a DDoS attack. A number of DDoS-for-hire services, for example, will take down a competitor’s website for any business that wants to hire them.

“The only answer, therefore, is to ensure you are protected. Arbor provides the industry’s most comprehensive suite of DDoS attack protection products and services for the enterprise, cloud/ hosting and service provider markets, with the required deployment model, scalability and pricing flexibility to meet the DDoS protection needs of any organisation operating online today.”

Edited by Fundisiwe Maseko
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A Vision for Digital Health at the Healthcare Innovation Summit Africa 2017

A Vision for Digital Health at the Healthcare Innovation Summit Africa 2017

Nivashini Narsiah, Technology Consulting Principal Director for Health and Public Sector at Accenture in South Africa. (Photography by Darryl Linington)/

We live in an unprecedented era of technological innovation. Digital breakthroughs are empowering healthcare organisations to improve labour productivity, clinical outcomes and human experience. How we adapt technology to the people who use it – patients, health insurers and providers – is going to define the future of health.

Among the factors set to remake the digital healthcare ecosystem is Artificial Intelligence (AI). AI is changing from a back-end tool for healthcare organisations to being at the forefront of both consumer and clinician experience. AI-powered technologies can suggest relevant options based on user behaviour as well as guide patients and doctors toward optimal outcomes.

Data curation and orchestration also fall within AI’s widening ambit, meaning that AI will partner increasingly with clinicians, helping to support diagnoses without substituting for clinical judgement. By equipping healthcare providers with information at speed, the use of AI will come to mean that more time can be spent on activities that add value to patient experience – human-human interactions machines cannot replace.

To this point, the deployment of tech within the healthcare space necessitates a human-centric approach. Designing technology to account for human experience benefits consumers, clinicians and administrators.

Moreover, technology’s increasing abilities mean that healthcare organisations have an unprecedented opportunity to transform their relationships with all stakeholders. Human-focused tech also provides consumers with a better opportunity to access care and information in a way and at a time that they want to.

Critically, currently fragmented healthcare players will need to find ways to work together to meet rising expectations within this new technology-enabled ecosystem. Historically, healthcare service providers including hospitals, pharmacies and insurers focused purely on the functions within their control. Now, these players are beginning to understand the ways in which they depend on and will need to work with others who provide patient care either before or after they do.

For healthcare enterprises, integrating core functions with digital platforms is set to make it easier to plug into and play within the broader ecosystem. Collaboration between players also has the potential to improve clinical outcomes, lower costs, improve market share and maximise productivity.

Healthcare is the sum of many parts, including systems that pay for, coordinate and deliver care. There are also systems that help people self-manage a lifestyle goal or specific medical condition. Platforms can provide the connected infrastructure that enables service providers and consumers to exchange the necessary value and data.

To enable their future business ecosystems, healthcare enterprises will need to develop a robust portfolio of digital partners. The healthcare ecosystem of the future is complex, set to extend beyond technology, connecting the capabilities, expertise and services that affect healthcare organisations, consumers and clinicians.

Many healthcare organisations have already begun to integrate their core business functionalities with third parties and their platforms. In order to deliver optimal patient outcomes in a changing world, healthcare leaders will need leverage these relationships and tools intelligently.

By Nivashini Narsiah, Technology Consulting Principal Director for Health and Public Sector at Accenture in South Africa

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Twitter meltdown as NSFAS mistakenly pays student R14 million

Twitter meltdown as NSFAS mistakenly pays student R14 million

Twitter reacts to student mistakenly receiving R14 million from NSFAS.

Sibongile Mani, a student attending the Walter Sisulu University (WSU), accidentally received a payment of a whopping R14 million from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) and has already spent roughly half a million of it, the university confirmed on Tuesday, 30 August 2017.

A university spokesperson, Yonela Tukwayo, speaking about the error said that ”I can confirm that she received R14m into her Intellicard account. I can also confirm that the student is liable for every cent.”

Tukwayo highlighted that the company responsible for the student payments should have picked up the error immediately after it was made earlier this year.

Tukwayo said Sibongile Mani had reported it to the university, but she had allegedly spent R500 000 of it over the past five months. Sibongile Mani, who took to social media to defend herself in a post, admitted to receiving the money and that it had been subsequently reversed.

”The answer is simple, NSFAS made a mistake and allocated more money to the wrong account and that account happened to be mine. So I am not denying anything, the money was indeed loaded on the 1st of June 2017 and then reversed on the 13th August 2017.”

Sibongile Mani has questioned why the issue has been made public and defended her actions stating that ”As a responsible person and a member of Pasma, I went straight to the SRC to report this matter.”

My Side of the Story #SibongileMani#NSFAS pic.twitter.com/WHw61e9I3P

— Sibongile Mani (@ManiSibongile) August 30, 2017

NSFAS looked to distance themselves from the matter and have shifted the blame to IntelliMali, the company that runs the Intellicard system which pays and administers student funds.

pic.twitter.com/9xyT5wYMAE

— NSFAS (@myNSFAS) August 30, 2017

The story has caught the imagination of the South African public who took to twitter to share their thoughts on the R14 million NSFAS saga.

Here are some of the best reactions:

The sad truth #NSFAS pic.twitter.com/IGvXxq0JDk

— Thabane Sibisi (@thabanesibisi) August 31, 2017

Student queuing for #NSFAS funds this morning. Who wouldn’t thou pic.twitter.com/P58vd922jl

— Mabefo Eric (@nonyana_mabefo) August 31, 2017

#NSFAS why are they expecting her to pay back the money,she did what everyone would have done if they got 14million by accident

— MR Van Peeblez (@van_peeblez) August 31, 2017

Thousands of our Brothers & Sisters rejected by #NSFAS kanti 14m is in someone’s card
I wonder how much money the officials have in theirs

— A King Now (@ntlahla_mcetywa) August 30, 2017

#NSFAS so if it was sent by mistake to her account, where was it supposed to go! pic.twitter.com/h3e2PleMAZ

— Lehare La Minora (@LehareLaMinora) August 30, 2017

#NSFAS keeps telling students they don’t have money but they have R14million lying around that they accidentally deposit & don’t even notice pic.twitter.com/BxRG0aZCty

— Karabo Mokgoko 🦄 (@Karabo_Mokgoko) August 30, 2017

Possibly the scariest thing about the #NSFAS payment is that no one missed R14mil for 5 MONTHS! How does that even happen?

— Kirsty Blair (@kirstblair) August 30, 2017

#Khweshin: How do you not notice a 14 MILLION rand overpayment … MOOONTHS LATER 🤔 #NSFAS

— DJ Fresh (Big Dawg) (@DJFreshSA) August 30, 2017

Her surname just HAD TO be Manihey… What a mess 🤦‍♂️! #NSFAS pic.twitter.com/W4GdeQ7JXJ

— AJ• (@JonaAndile_7) August 29, 2017

I’m tired of playing Lotto and not winning so I’m now gonna enter the #NSFAS multimillionaire draw instead.

— Eusebius McKaiser (@Eusebius) August 30, 2017

By: Dean Workman
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Microsoft appoints new Country Manager for WCA

Microsoft appoints new Country Manager for WCA

Yacine Barro has been appointed as Country Manager for West Africa West and Central Africa (WCA).

Microsoft has appointed Yacine Barro as Country Manager for West and Central Africa (WCA). Barro, who returns to Microsoft after serving as Business Development Manager for Microsoft WCA between 2004 and 2006, will be based in Dakar, Senegal.

“We have the utmost confidence in Yacine and we are certain that under her leadership, the team will continue to accelerate the organisation’s cloud drive on the continent, increase digital transformation and maintain our customer focused culture across countries in the region,” said Amr Kamel, General Manager for Microsoft West, East, Central Africa and Indian Ocean Islands.

After graduating from the Institut Supérieur de Commerce et de Gestion (INSEEC) in Paris in 1997, Barro worked as a sales manager at CISCO Systems in France, before returning to her native Senegal in 2004 to work at Microsoft for 3 years.

In 2006, Yacine joined the headquarters of the Celtel Group (now Bharti) in Amsterdam to launch the corporate segment of the mobile phone operator in 21 African countries.

In 2008, Yacine co-founded and served as Executive Director for Africa24, which at the time, was the only pan-African information channel to be available 24/7.

The experience she gained from these previous positions helped her accrue versatility in strategy, business development and project management.

“It’s a great honour for me to join Microsoft and particularly to lead the WCA Team. I strongly believe that Microsoft is one of best companies in the world, in the way it empowers people and enables us to make a difference. West and Central Africa has enormous potential and we have the exciting challenge to help grow the region through technology, increasing what it can offer the rest of the world. I feel truly thrilled to be part of it,” concluded Barro.

Edited by Fundisiwe Maseko
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South Africa urged to partner with Mozambique

South Africa urged to partner with Mozambique

South Africa urged to partner with Mozambique.

South African businesses and their staff have been urged to reach out to their Mozambican counterparts and establish partnerships that will enable them to access trade and investment opportunities in the neighbouring country.

In a speech delivered during the official opening of the South African Pavillion at the international exhibition, FACIM in Maputo on 30 Agust 2017, the Board Advisor of the Mozambique Investment and Export Promotion Agency (APIEX), Dr Gil Bires said partnerships would be a perfect vehicle for exploring opportunities in Mozambique to the benefit of SA and Mozambique.

“As a national investment and export promotion agency we are delighted to see the South African business people showing interest in our country and coming over to seek opportunities here. We view the participation of the South African companies in FACIM as an indication of our neighbour’s commitment to enhancing bilateral economic trade relations and increasing trade and investment relations between the two sister countries,” said Bires.

He singled out oil and gas as one of Mozambique’s natural resources that present a plethora of business opportunities for local and foreign companies.

“I am encouraging you to establish partnerships with your Mozambican counterparts for the exploitation of these and other opportunities that are available in the Mozambican economy. I want to assure you that the business environment in Mozambique remains stable despite a number of challenges. There are ongoing efforts at all levels to address these challenges in order to make the environment more conducive and attractive for trade and investment,” added Bires.

He further explained that his organisation, which was created by the Mozambican government in October 2016, was working hard to woo investors to the country.

FACIM is an international multi-sectoral trade fair held annually to showcase Mozambique as an attractive destination for trade and investment. Almost 2 000 companies from more than 30 countries are participating in the trade fair.

Edited By: Darryl Linington
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Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle releases on Nintendo Switch

Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle releases on Nintendo Switch

Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle releases on Nintendo Switch.

Ubisoft has announced that Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle is now available, exclusively on the Nintendo Switch system. Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle follows the most iconic video game character, Mario, and the irreverent Rabbids, on an unexpected journey to save the Mushroom Kingdom, in a new turn-based combat adventure.

“Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle is truly a passion project from the development team and we can’t wait for players to get their hands on the game,” said Tony Key, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Consumer Experience, Ubisoft. “The response from fans has been tremendous and we believe the game is a must-have for Nintendo Switch owners.”

Developed by Ubisoft Milan and Ubisoft Paris, Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle features Mario, Princess Peach, Yoshi, Luigi and four Rabbid heroes taking on combat, puzzles and exploration across four iconic worlds. In the campaign, players will form a team of three heroes from a roster of eight diverse characters, each with their own unique personalities and skill sets, ensuring that battles play out differently with each team combination. Using strategic vision and a collection of more than 250 weapons with unique characteristics, players have multiple ways to secure victory.

The game’s additional local co-op challenges, available in two levels of difficulty, allows players to join forces with a friend and take on new challenges with a team of four heroes. Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle takes full advantage of the play anywhere, anytime ability of the Nintendo Switch, with battles playable on-the-go or at home. In addition, players will be able to unlock new in-game features with their amiibo figures.

Collect all of the Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle figurines! Designed by Ubicollectibles, and inspired by the game’s characters, these figurines bring the Rabbids to a whole new universe.  Each figurine comes in 8cm or 16cm sizes, and showcase the Rabbids as their Mario universe counterparts. Collect all four Rabbids Heroes: Rabbids Mario, Rabbids Luigi, Rabbids Peach, and Rabbids Yoshi.  All figurines are available now for purchase at selected retailers.

Edited By: Darryl Linington
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