iBorders Advance Passenger Processing used to control World Cup visitors

South Africa’s Department of Home Affairs today celebrated the success of Advance Passenger Processing (APP), the border management solution from air transport IT specialist SITA, during the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The system, which was implemented in just nine months, successfully kept “undesirables” from entering the country during the tournament.

More than 1.5 million passengers were processed in June and July using SITA’s technology, 350 were subjected to extra examination while more than 60 people were stopped from entering because their names appeared on South Africa’s Visa and Entry Stop List or watch lists provided by Interpol and soccer’s governing body FIFA.

SITA’s solution, iBorders APP, effectively moves the country’s borders to the point of departure. It allows airlines and governments to transfer passport details in an interactive and real-time manner enabling instructions to be sent as passengers check-in, to prevent those who would be denied entry to the country from boarding the aircraft. As it eliminates fines associated with the transportation of inadmissible travellers, airlines flying to South Africa are expected to save millions of dollars in processing and repatriation fees.

via SITA helps secure South Africa’s borders | SITA.aero.

Ethiopian commodity marketing system attracts interest

Kenya is one of three countries that are eyeing software developed by the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange (ECX) to market and sell agricultural products through an internet portal. The others are Zimbabwe and Tanzania who believe the tool that can improve farmer’s earnings. This was announced by ECX chief executive Dr Eleni Gadri-Madhini said at the seventh African Fine Coffee Conference and Exhibition held in Mombasa last week.

The software serves farmers, traders, processors, exporters and consumers. It provides a secure and reliable system of handling, grading, and storing commodities, matching offers and bids for commodity transactions, and a risk-free payment and goods delivery system. Once adopted, farmers will have increased access to market information and be able to trade coffee directly.

e-Extension officers for Ghana districts

Dr Kwame Amezah, the National Director of Extension of the Ministry Of Food and Agriculture, has said the sector would introduce Electronic (e) Extension Services by April. The e-extension service, which the World Bank will support, would be piloted in 50 districts.

Dr Amezah said this at the opening of a two-day Agricultural Extension Performance Review Workshop for 25 District Extension officers in the Western Region at Apowa on Tuesday. He said the e-extension would promote knowledge in the dissemination of information, store data and update information in the sector through the use of mobile phones. He said it was important for extension officers to update themselves on commodities and practices that are common in the area where they operate. “You have to move away from face to face interaction for farmers to group and community campaigns that would help the sector to grow”, he said.

via Ghana News Agency, 20 Jan 2010

Rwanda recognises need for labour database

“If we can bring together all the categories of data we have on labour, it would be easy to analyze them and ascertain available skills that are not being utilized. This would help us create jobs in line with the skills available.” This according to Rwandan Minister of Public Service and Labour, Anastase Murekezi, talking at a strategic planning meeting that brought together officials from his ministry and development partners. During the meeting it was reported that the ministry lacks a systematic employment tracking and assessment scheme to help it keep abreast with the labour market patterns. The minister added that it is not only about collecting the data, but also setting initiatives of making it useful in order to create big employment promotion programmes in the country.

via Charles Kwizera at The New Times on allAfrica.com, 22 Jan 2010

Inventory of agricultural information systems

The Inventory of Innovative Farmer Advisory Services using ICTs, from the excellent Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa, was published in February 2009, but I have just discovered it. It lists sixty systems dedicated to improving the technical and business information available to small farmers in Africa.

Its foreword provides a progressive view of the new discipline of  “e-Agriculture”:

The e‐Agriculture concept  goes beyond technology, to the integration of
knowledge and culture, aimed at improving communication and learning processes
among relevant actors in agriculture at different levels i.e. locally, regionally and

Zimbabwe jobs site targets diaspora

Zimbabwe Human Capital is a jobs website that aims to attract Zimbabwean professionals in the diaspora back to their country. It has been initiated by the newly formed Taskforce on Human Skills Identification, Deployment, and Retention (THSIDR) and funded by the International Office of Migration.

The site will provide information on job opportunities in the country with a view to link the demand and source of labour; will report on  investment opportunities in the country that professionals in the diaspora may take advantage of; and maintain a database to capture the profiles of Zimbabweans in the diaspora who are interested in participating in various initiatives where their skills would be required.

Uganda to expand rural information system

The International Institute for Communication and Development (IICD) and the Ugandan government have signed an agreement to expand a programme that helps rural farmers increase their income through ICT-enabled crop marketing services. The Rural Information System (RIS) programme enables farmers to send and receive production and market information through 26 information centres in isolated areas throughout the country. The information helps farmers sell their produce at better prices. The Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Industry (MTTI) will build ten new centres.

The new phase in the programme will begin in early 2010. The involvement of MTTI significantly improves the sustainability of the RIS programme. Together with the Uganda Commodity Exchange, MTTI will drive the programme and work with existing farmer cooperatives to set up new centres. IICD will act as project advisor, sharing its experience in rolling out the existing centres and its expertise in monitoring and evaluation.

Accommodation database for 2010 World Cup

South Africa is banking on its upgraded contact centre and the internet to help solve accommodation and other issues related to visitors who will attend the 2010 Soccer World Cup. At a press briefing yesterday, Sindiswa Nhlumayo, deputy director for tourism at the Department of Tourism, said the Web address for the accommodation and listing portal will be www.rooms4u.travel. It will serve as a tool to service providers to get their stock on the market.

She said there will be no charge for the portal’s services, but “a small fee will be levied for every successful transaction”. It will also be an easy to use point of service for local and international travellers to locate and book accommodation in SA. Information for the booking portal will be provided by a database that was created as a result of an audit that used information gathered from all the provinces, the Federated Hospitality Association of SA and the Tourism Business Council of SA. Nhlumayo said this had determined there were 202 712 rooms and 405 424 beds available for the event.

The contact centre, which will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, is an upgrade of the existing SA Tourism call centre, which is currently run by CCN. “We now call it a contact centre and not a call centre because it has been significantly upgraded to use various communications technologies, and it is now able to offer English, French, German, Dutch, Italian, Portuguese and, by next year February, Spanish,” Nhlumayo said.

via Paul Vecchiatto on ITWeb, 9 Dec 2009