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Dangote Donates $20m To The African Center To Help Change Global Narratives About Africa.

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Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote donated $20 million to help change narratives about Africa in the world. The donation was made to The Africa Center in New York, towards reversing the trend of negative news on Africa. Funding is the greatest challenge for media startups in the Global South, and there is need for local and international donors to invest in sustaining and growing media organisations in their work.

Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote donated $20 million to The Africa Center based in New York, with the aim of reversing the trend of negative perception of Africa across the world. Dangote’s donation was made through the Aliko Dangote Foundation. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation supported Dangote’s vision by announcing a new $5 million grant at the Future Africa Forum.

According to the press release, “The Gates Foundation grant is directed to the Center’s capital campaign and for the development of its policy initiatives”.

The Africa Center is a non-profit institution focused on challenging historical stereotypes around the African continent and a hub for creating an intersection of African policy, business, and culture and recreating narratives about Africa’s economic and cultural significance today and into the future.

While this grant would play a major role, it is not yet certain if it would support African based digital media outlets, which also concern themselves with correcting the negative perception of Africa by the outside world, and addressing historical revisionism.

Dangote said, “the Africa Center is showcasing Africa in a contemporary, multifaceted manner as a center of innovation, growth, and limitless potential, which makes this project extremely important”.

The main hall at The Africa Center was named the Aliko Dangote Hall. “There is an opportunity to establish new narratives about Africa today, with its unrivaled mix of people, ideas, and resources, which are both its greatest strength and the basis for its tremendous, untapped promise. The connections The Africa Center will make between Africa, and the United States, and the rest of the world, including members of the Diaspora, are needed more now than ever before,” Dangote said.

A new report published this year from Columbia University by lecturer Anya Schiffrin called “Fighting for Survival: Media Startups in the Global South” revealed that funding is the greatest challenge for media startups in Global South. The report focused on journalists exposing corruption and holding power to account in the global south, and the media practitioners interviewed say financing their operations is the biggest challenge, much bigger even than physical safety or political risk. The report revealed that for many of the organisations interviewed, supporting independent journalism with revenue from readers and advertisers does not work as a sustainable business model, thus donor funding is needed to support the important work.

Schiffrin interviewed dozens of media startups in the global south over time, and  concluded that many media startup organisations are not financially viable without donor support. The report suggested that international donors should invest in sustaining and growing these organisations in their work of advocating for equality, fighting corruption, shedding light on stories of abuse of power that otherwise would go unreported.

Organisations such as This Is Africa which are currently facing funding issues continue doing the important work of telling Africa’s stories by Africans. More donor funding however seems to be given to organisations based outside Africa, while organisations on the continent struggle to remain sustainable. Journalists and startups need donors to step in to help to facilitate their work in various ways.

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Twellium Foundation Fulfils Its Promise To The People Of Dzabupko Community By Constructing A Six Classroom Block.

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In line with the ultimate goal of changing people’s lives with every bottle of Verna Mineral Water purchased. The story of Dzabukpo community in the Volta Region came to a climax when Twellium Foundation fulfilled its promised to the people.

Earlier this year, the subsidiary in charge of social change under the Twellium Industrial Company, Twellium Foundation embarked on a journey to bring light and hope to the people of Dzabukpo. Mainly by constructing a classroom block to help nurture and develop the minds of the young ones. 

After handing over a two-unit classroom block and washrooms to the people in July, Twellium Foundation further promised to construct a six classroom block for the community. 

One of the Classrooms presented to the people of Dzabukpo community

For every Verna Mineral Water purchased, a brick was laid. And with support from UN Youth, On The Road, celebrities including Fella Makafui, Nana Aba Anamoah, Victoria Lebene and most importantly, our consumers, the vision came to fruition on October 5, when the building was inaugurated. 

The six classroom block for the Dzabukpo community

According to a post by Nana Aba Anamoah, a renowned news anchor and tv presenter on her Instagram account, she wrote ‘Verna Mineral Water is changing the narrative one step at a time.’ 

Fella Makafui also posted on her Instagram to celebrate the purpose of life in relation to the inauguration on October 5. Which according to her is rooted in service to one another and most importantly reaching down to the less privileged and lifting them up.

Verna Mineral Water is still in the business of changing people’s lives. And Twellium Foundation can only to more when you drink more.

The All New Verna Water
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“Unused Mobile Data Should Not Expire. – Mrs. Ursula Owusu To Telcos

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The Ministry of Communications wants mobile network operators (MNO) in Ghana to desist from allowing all unused data and voice bundles purchased by subscribers from expiring.

In a new directive issued by the Ministry to the network operators, it said, "all unused data and voice bundles purchased by subscribers do not expire and must be rolled over with the next recharge."

The directive was contained in a letter dated October 9, 2019, signed by the Minister of Communications, Mrs Ursula Owusu Ekuful and addressed to the Director-General of the National Communications Authority (NCA), Mr Joe Anokye with a copy to the Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of MTN and Vodafone as well as the two Deputy Ministers of Communication, Mr George Nenyi Andah and Mr Vincent Sowah-Odotei.

The letter, a copy of which has been by Graphic Online states that the move was following a series of meetings held between the Ministry, NCA and the MNOs.

The letter explained that the directive was coming as a result of the increase in the Communication Service Tax (CST) from 6% to 9% and the subsequent decision by the MNOs to pass the entire burden of CST to subscribers contrary to a previous arrangement.

"We must emphasise that the fact that CST was increased from the existing rate of 6% to 9% effective 4th September 2019. The tax has been in existence since 2008 and was increased to provide revenue for cybersecurity initiatives to protect the digital infrastructure and policies being used by both the public and private sector."

The letter stated that, "At the series of meetings held between the Ministry of Communications, Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and the NCA on 7th and 8th October, 2019, we were informed that prior to 4th September 2019, MNOs had not been passing on the CST to subscribers but had decided to take advantage of the 3% increase to pass on the entire tax to subscribers. This has effectively increased their profit margin at the expense of subscribers."

It said all efforts to get them [MNOs) to revert to the September 2019 situation has failed as they "literally exact their pound of flesh from their consumers."

The Ministry explained that to help minimise the negative impact of the current mode of deduction of the CST, it has therefore directed that "CST should be treated the same way VAT, NHIL, GETFund levy and all other taxes and levies imposed on entities doing business in Ghana are treated."

It said the "extraordinary upfront deduction of CST and notification of same to subscribers must stop with immediate effect."

"All unused data and voice bundles purchased by subscribers do not expire and must be rolled over with the next recharge."

"MNOs will be subjected to strict compliance with existing Quality of Service (QoS) standard to ensure value for the subscribers' money in accordance with their license obligations," it added.

The letter indicated that the directives were to take immediate effect.

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Google Might Announce A 5G Pixel 4 Next Week.

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Google appears to be working on a 5G version of the Pixel 4, and it’s possible the phone will be shown as early as next week, according to Nikkei. The standard versions of the Pixel 4, which will be announced at an event next Tuesday, will only support LTE. But Nikkei says that Google has begun “test production” on a model of the phone that includes 5G, too.

It’s not clear when the 5G model will be previewed or released, though. Nikkei says it could be shown next week, but its sources said the announcement could also be held until spring to appear alongside a new budget phone, a successor to the Pixel 3A.

If the phone is revealed on Tuesday, it’s likely that it would just be a teaser for a launch later on. It sounds as though development isn’t finished, and devices aren’t ready to go into production yet. Such an early tease seems somewhat unlikely: Pixel 3 sales were slow at launch last year, and Google would risk slowing sales of this year’s model by previewing a higher-end version that no one can buy yet.

Either way, the goal seems to be getting a 5G phone on the market within the next year, ahead of a 5G iPhone that’s expected next September. 5G networks are still in their infancy, and for consumers, there’s still not a lot of reason to get one of these phones. But being early to 5G could still help Google get some attention for its phone line.

Nikkei reports that Google might also unveil a new smartwatch and a laptop at Tuesday’s event. A new version of the Pixelbook has already been rumored, but a smartwatch isn’t something we’ve heard about. Google hasn’t had much luck with smartwatches in the past (and Android smartwatches aren’t in a particularly great place right now), but given how many are on the market, it doesn’t seem like it’d be all that hard for Google to put one together if it really wanted to.

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Volvo’s First EV Will Run Native Android.

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Volvo is one week away from unveiling the first EV under its own brand, an all-electric version of the company’s popular XC40 SUV. On Wednesday, the Swedish automaker said the car will mark another first, too: it will be the first Volvo car with an infotainment system built on Google’s new embedded Android Automotive software.

That means the new electric XC40 will come with features and apps like Google Assistant and Google Maps built in, with no need for an Android smartphone. The SUV’s infotainment system will also have access to the Play Store, allowing owners to download apps that Google’s approved for automotive use. Built-in maps, assistant, and Play Store — no phone required

We’ve known for more than two years that Volvo was working on integrating Android into its cars. In fact, Google showed off an early version of the software running on a gas-powered XC40 at its 2018 I/O conference. Now, this won’t necessarily be the first car with embedded Android, nor will it be the first all-electric in the wider Volvo Group. Volvo’s performance sub-brand Polestar has claimed both of those titles with its Polestar 2 EV, which is slated to go on sale in 2020. But Volvo’s XC40 is a more affordable, higher-volume car that will reach more customers.

a car on the phone

The deep integration of Android will allow drivers and passengers to use Google Assistant to change things like climate settings, and it will also enable over-the-air updates that can add new features or address some maintenance issues, according to Volvo. And yes, Google and Volvo’s system will allow people to plug their iPhones in and use Apple CarPlay.

While all of this added functionality will make for a different experience compared to what is currently available inside a Volvo car, the new infotainment system will still look familiar to anyone who’s used the automaker’s existing Sensus software.

That’s one of the main goals of this whole partnership model Google’s pursuing. The tech giant provides a reliable software backbone, which each automaker gets to develop and brand to their liking. Beyond Volvo, Google’s also signed up big names like General Motors and the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance. It’s a far cry from a few years ago when automakers were so hesitant to let tech companies take over any small slice of the in-car experience that many slow-rolled their initial adoptions of Android Auto and CarPlay.

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