Wednesday, April 3, 2024

ExxonMobil Foundation and JA Africa Launch $300,000 STEM Program Across Africa

The ExxonMobil Foundation, in collaboration with JA Africa, has unveiled the "ExxonMobil STEM Africa" initiative, a groundbreaking $300,000 program aimed at fostering science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) skills among approximately 3,000 African students spanning Nigeria, Namibia, Angola, and Mozambique.

The primary objective of the initiative is to equip middle and high school students with the necessary skills for future STEM careers through immersive quizzes and hands-on experiences at Innovation Camps. These camps, facilitated by JA Africa, will introduce innovative approaches to tackling STEM-related challenges.

"Enhancing students’ STEM proficiency is pivotal in nurturing the next generation of problem solvers across Africa," remarked Alvin Abraham, President of the ExxonMobil Foundation. "We are eager to witness how these young talents apply their newfound knowledge and skills through our program."

Participating teams with the most outstanding STEM solutions will have the opportunity to represent their respective countries at a prominent regional industry conference in Cape Town, South Africa. This platform will afford students invaluable cross-cultural exposure, insights into global energy dynamics, and the chance to present their ideas while networking with industry experts.

"In a world where technology and innovation drive economic progress, Africa's role in pioneering technological advancements is vital for maintaining competitiveness and fostering sustainable development," noted Simi Nwogugu, President and CEO of JA Africa. 

"We express gratitude to the ExxonMobil Foundation for this collaboration aimed at nurturing STEM competencies to shape the future of Africa."

To delve deeper into the program and its impact, interested parties can visit

Director of Safari Company Remanded in 326.9 Million Shilling Fraud Case

In a dramatic turn of events, Sheenah Ndamiya, the Director of Kadodi 256 Ndamiya Safaris Limited, found herself at the center of a legal storm as she faced charges of electronic fraud amounting to a staggering 326.9 million shillings.

The Buganda Road Chief Magistrates Court buzzed with anticipation as Ndamiya, also known as Namara, was brought before Grade One Magistrate Winnie Nankya Jatiko on Tuesday.

The courtroom hushed as the prosecution detailed Ndamiya's alleged misdeeds. It was revealed that between January 2018 and February 25th, 2018, in the heart of Kampala City, Ndamiya, using deception, orchestrated a fraudulent online transaction on Pegasus Technology Limited's payment platform, claiming it was payment for services rendered by Kadodo 256 Ndamiya Safari Limited to various Visa Card owners.

Adding to the gravity of the situation, Ndamiya was further charged with receiving stolen property, with prosecutors alleging that the ill-gotten funds were funneled through her account at Stanbic Bank Uganda Limited.

The prosecution, led by the formidable Allan Mucunguzi, wasted no time in asserting that investigations were thorough and complete, urging the court to set a hearing date. As tension mounted, Ndamiya was remanded to Luzira Women's Prison until April 8th, 2024.

The courtroom buzzed with murmurs as the case unfolded, reminiscent of a blockbuster legal drama. But this saga wasn't isolated; it was part of a larger narrative of cybercrime that had gripped the nation.

In 2020, the alarm was raised when Pegasus Technologies reported unauthorized access to its system, sending shockwaves through the telecommunications and banking sectors. MTN, Airtel, and Stanbic Bank were quick to acknowledge the breach in a joint statement, acknowledging the vulnerability of their aggregator's systems.

A Senior police detective at the Criminal Investigations Directorate –CID in Kibuli, speaking to Uganda Radio Network –URN, revealed a startling revelation: hackers had infiltrated Pegasus, an aggregator of major telecom and banking institutions, siphoning off funds totaling over 10 billion shillings to sim cards fraudulently registered in the name of a local company.

As the investigation unfolded, a web of suspects emerged, each playing a role in what became known as the Pegasus Fraud. 

The wheels of justice turned as those involved were brought to account, but the saga served as a stark reminder of the ever-present threat of cybercrime in the digital age.

Saturday, March 30, 2024

From Detention to Innovation: Nabilatuk District Transforms Former Holding Center into Digital Learning Oasis

In a symbolic transformation that echoes the resilience and adaptability of communities, authorities in Nabilatuk district have breathed new life into a former detention facility, repurposing it into a vibrant youth center dedicated to digital literacy and education.

Based within Nabilatuk Town Council, the facility, once synonymous with law enforcement, now stands as a beacon of learning and opportunity.

Collaborating with Tocau Karamoja, a dynamic youth-led organization committed to empowering the region, the district received a generous donation from MTN Uganda under its transformative MTN Changer Makers Initiative.

Valued at 20 million shillings, the fully equipped computer library bestowed upon the district has heralded a new era of technological advancement and knowledge acquisition.

The metamorphosed facility now exudes modernity, boasting state-of-the-art amenities including sleek furniture, a cutting-edge computer lab, and seamless internet connectivity. 

Kyeyune Ssenyonjo, the Nabilatuk Resident District Commissioner, lauded the visionary partnership that birthed this educational haven, recognizing its pivotal role in steering youth towards a brighter future.

Acknowledging the facility's storied past as a bastion against criminal elements, Ssenyonjo emphasized the district's commitment to safeguarding its newfound purpose, ensuring its sustained maintenance and security.

Kizito Tebanyang, the founder of Tocau Karamoja, illuminated the transformative potential of the center. With a steadfast dedication to nurturing computer literacy among youth, Tebanyang envisioned the facility as a sanctuary of learning, offering free guidance and educational services to eager minds yearning to embrace the digital age.

Simon Peter Loteng, the Nabilatuk District Senior Education Officer, echoed Tebanyang's sentiments, heralding the center as a catalyst for bridging the digital divide within the education sector. With optimism coursing through his words, Loteng envisioned a future where the facility inspires a generation of technologically savvy youth, enriching the fabric of their education and igniting pathways to success.

Dr. Charles Nuwagaba, the Chief Community Officer for MTN Uganda in the Karamoja region, and proprietor of Tiffan Enterprises, underscored MTN's unwavering commitment to digital inclusion and youth empowerment through education. 

With a resolute pledge to continue supporting the local community, Nuwagaba heralded the dawn of a digital revolution, fueled by collaboration, innovation, and a shared vision of a brighter tomorrow.

African Geo-Scientists Trained to Harness Continent's Mineral Wealth

 In a bid to bolster Africa's capacity to harness its mineral resources, twenty-five geo-scientists from eleven African nations underwent intensive training in geo-scientific survey techniques and mapping. 

The four-week program, held in Entebbe and Kabale, was spearheaded by the Uganda Geological Survey Department and facilitated by experts from the Czech Republic. This initiative, funded by Europe, aimed to empower African countries to generate their own knowledge and expertise in mineral exploration and exploitation.

Part of a broader four-year program, the training also aimed to facilitate knowledge exchange and networking among experts in the field, thereby enhancing their career prospects. Participants, competitively selected from Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan, Zambia, Angola, Malawi, Botswana, Mozambique, and Egypt, represented a diverse pool of young and mid-career practitioners.

The closing ceremony of the training, held at Lake Victoria Hotel, was graced by outgoing Minister of State for Mineral Development, Peter Lokeris, who emphasized the importance of fostering innovation, collaboration, and research to drive Africa's growth and development.

Lokeris highlighted the role of geo-scientific skills in unlocking Africa's vast mineral potential, urging participants to leverage their newfound expertise for the continent's benefit.

Eng. Irene Batebe, the Permanent Secretary for Energy, underscored the timeliness of the training amid increased mineral and energy exploration activities in Africa. She emphasized the need to develop human capital capable of maximizing Africa's resource wealth, echoing a presidential directive to add value to minerals before export.

Batebe emphasized the importance of translating Africa's mineral potential into tangible projects that attract investment, urging trainees to apply their skills effectively. She also called for sustained networking and knowledge-sharing among practitioners, advocating for the establishment of a centralized African geo-science portal.

Dr. Fred Tugume, Acting Commissioner for Geological Surveys, lauded Uganda's selection as the training host, acknowledging the government's commitment to capacity-building in the region.

Dr. Veronica Sierra from the Czech Republic, a facilitator of the training, stressed the significance of equipping participants with the knowledge to leverage their countries' mineral wealth. She emphasized that unless Africa possesses the requisite expertise, its mineral resources remain untapped potential.

The training program signifies a pivotal step towards empowering African nations to harness their mineral wealth, positioning the continent for sustainable development and prosperity.

UPDF Partners with Makerere University to Introduce Arabic and Chinese Language Courses for Soldiers

The Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) has taken a significant step towards enhancing its global communication capabilities by launching Arabic and Chinese language courses.

These courses, initiated at the Military Intelligence School in Nakasongola district, aim to equip soldiers with the linguistic skills necessary to effectively engage with counterparts from countries where these languages are spoken.

Under the leadership of Maj Gen Charles Birungi, commander of the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI), the courses were inaugurated in collaboration with Makerere University School of Languages, marking a pivotal moment for both the UPDF and the country at large.

Maj Gen Birungi emphasized the importance of effective communication skills in the contemporary global landscape, characterized by globalization and technological advancements. He underscored the significance of avoiding misunderstandings in multicultural partnerships, highlighting the need for proficiency in diverse languages such as Arabic and Chinese.

Addressing the trainees, Maj Gen Birungi urged them to approach the courses with focus and positivity, recognizing the potential for these linguistic skills to enhance their roles within the UPDF. He emphasized the importance of becoming certified linguists, capable of interpretation, translation, and serving as subject matter experts on cultural matters.

Col James Muhumuza, Commandant of the School, outlined the objectives of the courses, emphasizing the development of comprehensive language skills encompassing reading, listening, writing, speaking, and translation.

Drawing on the historical power of language as a unifying force, Col Muhumuza highlighted the broader significance of linguistic proficiency in fostering unity and cooperation.

Gilbert Gumoshabe, Director of the Confucius Institute at Makerere University, expressed gratitude for the opportunity to contribute to the formation of the new language curriculum. He emphasized the importance of diversifying linguistic knowledge beyond English, aligning with the evolving global landscape.

The event, held at Kaweweta, was attended by senior military officers and Chinese officials, including Brig Gen Bonny Wolimbwa, Brig Gen Tom Kabuye, Brig Gen Kenneth Shillingi, Asaba Charles, and Dr. Zhong Jianghua, the Chinese Director of the Confucius Institute at Makerere University.

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Ibrahim Musana Slapped with Charges for Insulting Buganda Kingdom Royalty

The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (CID) has slapped four charges against Ibrahim Musana, a 27-year-old TikTok sensation from Kauga, Mukono district, accused of hurling abuses at the Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II and the Katikiro Charles Peter Mayiga of Buganda Kingdom.

In a swift crackdown orchestrated by the Directorate of Crime Intelligence, Musana found himself ensnared over the weekend as detectives pounced on him, following the viral dissemination of his venomous video clips across social media platforms. 

Fred Enanga, the police spokesperson, revealed that Musana's missteps had landed him in the confines of the Criminal Investigations Directorate in Kibuli, where a litany of charges awaits him: misuse of social media, hate speech, offensive communication, and incitement to violence.

Musana's reckless antics reverberated across the digital media, particularly on TikTok and Twitter, drawing widespread anger from the population. Enanga noted that a wave of discontent  swept through Buganda, ignited by these repugnant diatribes, deemed disrespectful and embarrassing.   "Our laws stand firm against such transgressions," Enanga said. 

Emphasizing the gravity of the situation, Enanga vowed relentless pursuit of individuals peddling toxic ideologies, whether directed at the Kabaka of Buganda or any Ugandan and visitors to the country.  He said they will not stand idly by as the societal fabric is torn down. All offenders will be prosecuted, be they homegrown or foreign, Enanga declared with resolve.

In a swift response to Musana, the Buganda Kingdom's Minister of Information, Israel Kazibwe, issued a stern warning, signaling unequivocally that Buganda will not entertain insolence or disdain towards the Kabaka and the institution he represents - Buganda Kingdom.

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

OSC Launches GreSIS Digital Platform to Democratize Access to Knowledge Across the Global South

The Secretary-General of the Organisation of Southern Cooperation (OSC), Sheikh Manssour Bin Mussallam, inaugurated the Greater South Information System (GreSIS) digital platform today at a ceremony hosted at the Ethiopian Science Museum in Addis Ababa.

This momentous event marked a significant step forward in making knowledge more accessible across the Global South. 

Dr Bayissa Bedada, the State Minister of the Ministry of Innovation and Technology of Ethiopia, along with officials from Member States, representatives of the Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Ambassadors of Member States of the OSC, educational institutions, civil society organisations, development agencies, intergovernmental agencies, researchers, instructors, and students, graced the occasion.

GreSIS represents a pioneering digital platform, designed to serve as an open-access repository of academic and indigenous knowledge. Developed by the Organisation of Southern Cooperation (OSC), GreSIS aims to democratise access to knowledge in the Global South, fostering collaboration among educational institutions, researchers, instructors, students, government officials, and Indigenous peoples' organisations.

The launch event provided an opportunity to introduce the GreSIS platform to Member States, Associate Members, and other stakeholders. A demonstration session highlighted the platform's features, capabilities, and benefits, showcasing its extensive collection of publications from various sources, including academic, non-academic, and indigenous knowledge. 

With plans for exponential growth, GreSIS will soon host hundreds of thousands of publications, accessible to subscribed individuals, institutions, and entities.

Established on 29 January 2020 during the International Summit on Balanced and Inclusive Education in the Republic of Djibouti, the Organisation of Southern Cooperation (OSC) serves as an intergovernmental body representing and supporting the Global South.

As a proponent of the "Third Way of Development," the OSC fosters intellectual, technical, and financial cooperation and solidarity among its Member States and Associate Members.

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Stablecoins: Africa's Preferred Choice for Secure and Cost-Effective Digital Transactions

As Africa advances towards widespread adoption of digital assets, there's a growing demand for exchanges to provide more cost-effective methods for buying, selling, and transferring digital assets.

Stablecoins, particularly, have emerged as a preferred choice for investors, remitters, and those engaging in cross-border transactions due to their pegged value to major fiat currencies like the dollar.

Yellow Card, the largest licensed stablecoin on/off ramp in Africa, is poised to introduce USDC, a digital stablecoin on the Stellar network. This move aims to revolutionize cross-border payments, remittances, and treasury management globally.

Yellow Card, renowned for its user-friendly platform and expansive presence across 20 African countries, is set to enhance user experience by integrating USDC on the Stellar network.

This integration combines the robust features of the Stellar network, such as low transaction fees and lightning-fast transactions, with the rapid growth of USDC, offering users a seamless, near-instant, and cost-effective solution for financial transactions. With this integration, Yellow Card users can now send USDC on the Stellar network directly from the Yellow Card app.

Chris Maurice, CEO of Yellow Card, expressed enthusiasm about the integration, highlighting its potential to simplify global payments and make digital dollars more accessible worldwide. The partnership leverages the Stellar blockchain's speed, scalability, and sustainability, catering to everyday financial products and services.

One of the key benefits of the Yellow Card-Stellar integration is the ability for consumers to instantly send and receive digital dollars globally, even without a traditional bank account. This addresses a major challenge in Africa where hidden charges often diminish the value of cross-border payments.

Yellow Card users stand to benefit significantly from this collaboration as transferring USDC to other USDC-supported exchanges on the Stellar network incurs lower fees compared to other blockchain networks.

This partnership further solidifies Yellow Card's position as a facilitator for fintechs and exchanges seeking to leverage the efficiency and speed of the Stellar network for various use cases, from remittances to real-time payments.

To incentivize users, Yellow Card plans to award $5 USDC to customers who send at least $3 USDC using the Stellar network on the app, introducing them to the network's fast transaction speeds.

This initiative not only promotes the adoption of USDC on Stellar but also enhances user engagement and experience on the Yellow Card platform.