Category Archives: Technology

20 undergo Maxim Nyansa training in IT

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Twenty graduates have been enrolled onto this year’s Maxim Nyansa training programme.

In its second year, the annual training seeks to create career opportunities for young African graduates by equipping them with skills in the field of Information Technology (IT).

Last year, 10 young IT graduates were enrolled for the pilot programme.

The success of the programme in 2016 has seen the number of trainees doubled.

“They will be hosted for 50 days at our chosen temporal training campus. We are liaising with companies for industrial experience and mentorship for our students after training,” Stanley Dankyira, one of the brains of the programme said.

The trainees are expected to be trained on personal development and communications skills as well as project management, among others.

The programme was opened by the Dutch Ambassador, Ron Strikker, at the Ocean Green Beach Villas in Prampram, a suburb of Accra.

It is scheduled to end next month.

By Emmanuel Kwame Amoh||Ghana

Access to information & data key to nat’l dev’t – Akufo-Addo

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President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has stated that if African leaders are to succeed in improving the living standards of their peoples, a critical piece of the puzzle has to be the availability and use of information and data.

According to President Akufo-Addo, the rapid evolution of the advanced and emerging market economies have been made possible largely as a result of the employment of information and data.

“If we, in Africa, are to emulate them and be an integral part of the on-going data revolution, there is the need, firstly, for us to require the owners of data to make it publicly available, in ways that are useful to all potential users,” the President said.

He noted further that “we need to educate and improve the data literacy of our people, and thirdly, encourage innovations on how, when and what data are collected and shared so that they are up to date, disaggregated and relevant to the concerns of people and policy makers.”

President Akufo-Addo made this known when he delivered the keynote address at the 2017 Africa Open Data Conference, on Thursday, July 20, 2017, currently on-going at the Accra International Conference Centre.

On the measures put in place to ensure the ease of availability of data and information in Ghana, President Akufo-Addo stated that the nation has committed a budget to revamping the Ghana Open Data Initiative.

Through this initiative, President Akufo-Addo indicated the resolve of government to ensure that “government data is legally and technically open”, “data released from all Ministries, Departments and Agencies, and Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies are made available”, and “the use of open data is promoted within government and the open data ecosystem.”

These initiatives, President Akufo-Addo stressed, will enhance the opportunity for economic development and creation of jobs in the area of digital technology for young people, who will be assisted to develop open data mobile and web applications for business.

“It will also encourage citizens to hold government accountable and ensure greater transparency. Open data must work in Ghana for the benefit of the citizenry,” he added.

The President continued, “As part of promoting the availability of data, government, under the e-Transform Project, is working to create innovation hubs (iHubs) and mobile labs (mLabs). Government will establish an Open Data Institute to promote education, management and use of open data, especially for the development of mobile and web-based applications.”

Achieving SGD Goals

As co-Chair of the UN Sustainable Development Goals Advocacy Group of Eminent Personalities, President Akufo-Addo revealed that the availability and use of data have been at the heart of the discussions on the achievement of the SDGs by 2030.

“We recognise that open data can be used to assist in the realisation of the SDGs through a clear understanding of the goals of the SDGs, and through tracking and measuring of the SDGs, and tapping into the knowledge, tools and capacities of groups tracking SDGs,” he added.

For example, SDG 2 is aimed at ending hunger, achieving food security and improved nutrition and promoting sustainable agriculture. The Open Data Institute has reiterated that shared and interoperable meteorological data and soil quality data can contribute to better farming methods.

Again, the Institute, in proposing a solution to the implementation of SDG 7, which is to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all, believes that energy data can be used to understand energy consumption patterns, empower consumers, as well as support companies who are dependent on stable energy supply.

“Clearly, the role of open data in helping achieve all 16 SDG goals is critical… It is the intention of government also to ensure the long overdue passage of the Right to Information Bill by Parliament,” he said.


Businesses urged to use social media in telling their stories

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The Country Manager for Google Ghana, Ms Estelle Akofio-Sowah, has charged businesses to constantly make use of social media platforms to tell their stories instead of allowing others to use it to tarnish their image.

According to her, most Ghanaian businesses are not taking due advantage of social media to market their brands instead they sit unconcerned while other competitors or miscreants make good use of it to fabricate and publish negative stories about them that are indeed injurious to their survival.

Speaking at a panel discussion on the topic ‘Corporate Organizations and Social Media in Ghana’ at the just ended 2017 Social Media 360 Summit, Ms. Akofio-Sowah  stressed the need for  businesses to be loud not only in using the social media platforms as a tool to reaching out to their customers with messages on their brands but also use it to clear any negative publication(s) targeting to tarnish their company’s image.

“One of the key things you need to do is your story is told louder than the person that is saying something negative about you online. So you’ve got to tell your story yourself and it’s one of the things we don’t do enough of”.

The advent of the social media, a component of new media, has brought lots of prospects to both businesses and the youth alike but its disadvantages far outweighs the advantages, which is of grave concern to all.

But digressing on how to deal with the issue of fake news broadcasting through social media platforms, a phenomenon which is a major threat to businesses, Ms. Estelle Akofio-Sowah disclosed that her outfit including Facebook, Twitter and other organizations are doing enough at curbing the menace but unfortunately not being recognized by the public.

“Often we sit back and think organizations are not doing enough but there’s a huge amount of effort and resources constantly looking at how we can respond but it’s almost as if [it is] happening faster than everyone and so the fake news thing is a big problem”.

Ms. Akofio-Sowah has therefore urged all and sundry to desist from rebroadcasting  any information they receive through social media without double checking online to verify its authenticity.

“When you chance upon any information via social media, don’t just be in a hurry to broadcast it but make sure you search online and see if anyone you trust is also saying the same thing, if necessary, call someone to verify,” she stressed.

Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer of Innovare C.K Bruce has called on all businesses to put in place proper strategies to deal with threats that are likely to come up with the use of social media as a way of mitigating risks.

The 2017 Social Media 360 summit was held at the Kempinski Hotel in Accra on July 12-13 on the theme ‘Creating Digital Ideas, Building Your Business’.

It  brought together participants from business organizations including corporate affairs executives, communications and marketing directors, marketing and business development staff, social media administrators, social entrepreneurs, Small & Medium Enterprises(SMEs) and Human Resources executives.

The summit was aimed at providing corporate organizations and social entrepreneurs with the knowledge on how to harness social media  as a tool to promote their brands including how to measure and also setup effective governance structures.

Some of the key speakers who graced the summit include Managing Director of the Graphic Communications Group, Kenneth Ashigbey, Executive Director of the Data Protection Commission, Teki Akuetteh Falconer, Country Manager for Google Ghana, Estelle Akofio-Sowah, CEO of Innovare C.K Bruce and Prof. Robert Ebo Hinson, UGBS, University of Ghana.

By Joseph Kobla Wemakor|Accra, Ghana


Ghana needs new policy regime on space engineering – ANU Chancellor Oti Boateng

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The development team behind the satellite

Chancellor of the All Nations University has called for a new policy focus to harness the potential of Ghana’s new global brand in space engineering for economic development in the areas of security, education and capacity building.

Daasebre Prof. (Emeritus) Oti Boateng, who is also the Omanhene of New Juaben Traditional Area, says Ghana has now joined the elite group of nations with space science programmes, following a global historic milestone in launching its first satellite into space.

The country will participate fully in next year’s meeting marking the 50th Anniversary of the first UN Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space.

Daasebre Oti Boateng says whilst the successful deployment of Ghana’s first satellite into space from the International Space Station has placed Ghana on the global pedestal, the remarkable feat must be the starting point for a new national policy regime to develop and fully utilize the benefits of space science for national development as a new global player.

“GhanaSat1 will beef up and strengthen our national security by taking pictures with on-board cameras to monitor Ghana’s coastal regions. It will also stimulate and promote science, technology; engineering and mathematics (STEM) related skills by demonstrating the unique power of broadcasting songs from outer space to invigorate the learning process,” he said in a statement.

He is confident this will particularly encourage girls to be more interested in and responsive to STEM related disciplines which will continue to be in high demand and a major pathway to bridging the gender gap in the development process.

The successful deployment of Ghana’s first satellite, GhanaSat1, into space followed a three-phase process with the initial major milestone accomplished on June 3, when GhanaSat1 was successfully launched aboard SpaceX-Falcon 9 CRS11 spacecraft from the Kennedy Space Center making a steady progress on its trajectory towards the International Space Station (ISS).

The second milestone was achieved with the successful rendezvous of the spacecraft with the ISS on June 5 while the final phase was achieved with the successful deployment of GhanaSat1 from ISS into orbit at an estimated altitude of 400km above the earth atmosphere via the Japan/Kibo Deployment System.

The scientific data and earth observation images taken by GhanaSat1 will be shared with both government and non-governmental institutions to promote capability building and the utilization of satellite-based information to solve relevant and pertinent problems in the country.

Daasebre noted “this emerging global brand pioneered by the young scientists from the All Nations University, Koforidua in the Eastern Region, remains a source of pride for all Ghanaians and a remarkable inspiration for the youth to adopt and embrace a globally competitive spirit to make a difference in this era of globalization”.

He commended the young scientists and applauded the cooperation of all stakeholders, particularly authorities at the All Nations University, for providing the requisite investment and extensive collaboration with leading universities and institutions worldwide to make this achievement possible.

By Kofi Adu Domfeh||Ghana

Breakthrough! KNUST invents and builds solar-powered 4X4 vehicle

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The Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), in partnership with the Technical University of Munich, has constructed a solar-powered 4×4 vehicle.

The environmentally friendly vehicle, meant to carry passengers and goods, was inaugurated by the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, at the 51st congregation of the KNUST in Kumasi, on Saturday.

It was developed by the Departments of Mechanical Engineering and Physics, and comes as a breakthrough as the nation searches for ways to build a more robust automobile industry.

Professor Kwasi Obiri-Danso, Vice-Chancellor of the KNUST, said the invention was the University’s response to living up to its core mandate of spearheading development of innovative technologies.

The solar-powered vehicle, he said, was still being tested and tried over some period with the hope of fine-tuning it in order to bring it to standard.

When completed it could become the first solar-powered 4×4 vehicle to be manufactured on the African continent.

Prof Obiri-Danso hinted that the University’s College of Engineering, had in recent times invented an open-space fire detector, solar-powered traffic lights and drones to support the nation’s development processes.

He called for adequate funding of research activities of the University to enable it come out with cutting-edge technologies for the benefit of the nation.

Otumfuo Osei Tutu, who is also Chancellor of the KNUST, lauded the team of researchers who worked on the project, and expressed the hope that it would encourage the government to be more interested in resourcing the University for more of such innovations.

A total of 9, 160 post and under-graduate students passed out of this year’s congregation from the six colleges of the University.

This comprised the College of Science, College of Health Sciences, College of Engineering, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Art and Built Environment, as well as the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Source GNA

Ghana launches its first satellite

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The development team behind the satellite

Ghana has successfully launched its first satellite into space.

GhanaSat-1, which was developed by students at All Nations University in Koforidua, was sent into orbit from the International Space Centre.

Cheers erupted as 400 people, including the engineers, gathered in the southern Ghanaian city to watch live pictures of the launch. The first signal was received shortly afterwards.

It is the culmination of a two-year project, costing $50,000 (£40,000).

It received support from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

The satellite will be used to monitor Ghana’s coastline for mapping purposes, and to build capacity in space science and technology.

Project coordinator Dr Richard Damoah said it marked a new beginning for the country.

“It has opened the door for us to do a lot of activities from space,” he told the BBC.

He said it would “also help us train the upcoming generation on how to apply satellites in different activities around our region.

“For instance, [monitoring] illegal mining is one of the things we are looking to accomplish.”

Source BBC

Paul Adom-Otchere among new NCA board members sworn in

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Paul Adom-Otchere (M) is host of Metro TV’s Good Evening Ghana

Broadcaster Paul Adom-Otchere has been sworn in as a member of the National Communications Authority (NCA).

Mr Adom-Otchere was appointed as NCA board member by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in a letter written on his behalf by Chief of Staff Akosua Frema Osei-Opare.

The appointment is in pursuant to National Communication Authority Act, 2008, Act 769.

The nine-member board was inaugurated on Thursday by Minister of Communications Ursula Owusu-Ekuful.

Chairman of the board will be Kwaku Sakyi Addo, a renowned journalist.

Among other members aside the host of Metro TV’s Good Evening Ghana are Joe Anokye, Kwabena Adu-Boahene, Bernard Aidoo-Forson, David Gyewu, Phillip Asare, Kwame Ayesu and Susan-Barbara Adjorkor Boye Kumapley.


France plans ban on petrol cars by 2040

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Renault’s relatively low-cost electric car is a popular choice among electric buyers

France is set to ban the sale of any car that uses petrol or diesel fuel by 2040, in what the ecology minister called a “revolution”.

Nicolas Hulot announced the planned ban on fossil fuel vehicles as part of a renewed commitment to the Paris climate deal.

He said France planned to become carbon neutral by 2050.

Hybrid cars make up about 3.5% of the French market, with pure electric vehicles accounting for just 1.2%.

It is not yet clear what will happen to existing fossil fuel vehicles still in use in 2040.

Mr Hulot, a veteran environmental campaigner, was appointed by new French President Emmanuel Macron. Mr Macron has openly criticised US environmental policy, urging Donald Trump to “make our planet great again”.

President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris agreement in June was explicitly named as a factor in France’s new vehicle plan.

“France has decided to become carbon neutral by 2050 following the US decision,” Mr Hulot said, adding that the government would have to make investments to meet that target.

Poorer households will receive financial assistance to replace older, more polluting vehicles with cleaner ones, he said.

Earlier this week, car manufacturer Volvo said all of its cars would be at least partly electric from 2019, an announcement referenced by Mr Hulot.

He said he believes French car manufacturers – including brands such as Peugeot-Citreon and Renault – would meet the challenge, although he acknowledged it would be difficult. Renault’s “Zoe” electric vehicle range is one of the most popular in Europe.

However, traditional fossil fuel vehicles account for about 95% of the European market.

Other targets set in the French environmental plan include ending coal power plants by 2022, reducing nuclear power to 50% of total output by 2025, and ending the issuance of new oil and gas exploration licences.

Several French cities struggle with high levels of air pollution, including Paris, which saw several days of peak pollution in March.

The capital has implemented a range of measures to cut down on cars, but air pollution is also a problem in picturesque mountain regions.

Last month, a woman took the French state to court over what she said was a failure to protect her health from the effects of air pollution in Paris.

Norway, which is the leader in the use of electric cars in Europe, wants to move to electric-only vehicles by 2025, as does the Netherlands. Both Germany and India have proposed similar measures with a target of 2030.

Source: BBC

Dutch ambassador to open special IT training workshop for young graduates

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Dutch Ambassador Ron Strikker will be the Special Guest of Honour

Dutch Ambassador Ron Strikker will be at the Ocean Green Villas in Prampram in the Greater Accra Region on Sunday to open this year’s training programme for graduates of information technology (IT).

The 7-week intensive training begins with 20 graduates of various universities in Ghana.

They will be subjected to training from IT professionals from Ghana, Canada and the Netherlands.

The training will involve camping at Ocean Green Villas and a month’s internship and specialization.

“They will be well prepared for the IT job market,” organizers Maxim Nyansa-Ghana said in a press release.

The programme is scheduled to end on August 25.

Among important elements for the programme are personal development and communication skills, project management and programming boot camp.

By Emmanuel Kwame Amoh||Ghana

Facebook deletes 66,000 hate posts; gets tough on offensive content

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It’s removed 66,000 posts a week so far, which is about 288,000 a month globally

Facebook has recently been flooded with disturbing videos and other hate filled content, but the firm has revealed it is making great strides to combat these offensive ideas.

The social media giant has staffed 4,500 human workers with the task of reviewing posts on the site, which has resulted in the removal of about 66,000 posts a week.

Although Facebook is working on other methods, it understands that they are ‘a long way from being able to rely on machine learning and AI to handle the process’.

‘As more and more communication takes place in digital form, the full range of public conversations are moving online — in groups and broadcasts, in text and video, even with emoji,’ Richard Allan, VP EMEA public policy, shared in a blog post on Tuesday.

‘These discussions reflect the diversity of human experience: some are enlightening and informative, others are humorous and entertaining, and others still are political or religious.

‘Some can also be hateful and ugly.

‘Most responsible communications platforms and systems are now working hard to restrict this kind of hateful content.’

‘Facebook is no exception.’

The firm has defined hate speech as attacks on people based on their race, sexual orientation and other ‘protected characteristics.’

And it mostly relies on its nearly two billion users to report any hateful posts they see.

Source Mailonline