Every business is created to make money. That is the primary motivation but along with that is the human face that covers many well meaning businesses that are making very useful contributions towards Liberia’s rebuilding.Some businesses choose to call their contribution ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’ and it is geared towards the most important issues that help ease difficult problems. In the sports arena, and particularly football, it is Cellcom GSM that has brought significance to the development of the national football team and even the national league.True, Cellcom-GSM is here to make money, and like to let the sporting populace knows that it is also here to help improve what brings a lot of unity to this country.The euphoria that welcomed the national team’s recent triumph against Guinea Bissau away is a clear sign of the enduring benefit that sports can have on a nation.Perhaps due to a remarkable sixth sense, Cellcom GSM chose to become the official and primary sponsor of the national team. And sponsoring the national team has meant for Cellcom GSM to provide some of its profits to support the national cause. And so with what has happened so far, it is true that Cellcom GSM has been right on the money. The national team’s next assignment, and the most challenging one, is the forthcoming encounter against The Elephants of Ivory Coast. This final two-leg encounter would determine many things, one of which would be for the team to go on to play in the group stages for the 2018 Russia World Cup. So there is work to do, and how prepared we are ready for the game would be determined, I dare say to a large extent, in the outcome of the first leg in Monrovia. While it does not help the situation for anyone to dabble in pessimism, it makes sense to point out that all of us must do what we can do to make sure that we make the journey less burdensome.We cannot forget to mention the incredible performance of striker William Jebor and his team-mates for ending the away goal drought that the national team was afflicted. It also means we must gain over the difficulty that the national team faces that at times makes it difficult to deliver the goods before home fans. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf during the national team’s courtesy call at her Foreign Ministry office commended the players, calling them heroes for their united effort that brought GuineaBissau down on their knees in their own backyard.President Sirleaf then committed the government to provide necessary support for all future competitions. With the government’s promised support, it would be to the team’s advantage if they can maintain their winning record against any opponent, beginning with The Elephants to serve as an appreciation for Cellcom-GSM’s support to the national cause.I am encouraged of Cellcom GSM’s farsightedness to identify with the national objective to promote football’s endurance strength to unite Liberians as such a crucial period in the country.As President Sirleaf mentioned about the strength of sports’ excellent way of uniting Liberians despite the things that divide us, Cellcom GSM must be congratulated for first realizing and utilizing the most effective means for Liberia’s internal cohesion: football.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
The country – and the rest of the continent – has the potential to be a disruptor, by using ICT and the size of the African market. To do so, it needs to be innovative and produce its own technology.ICT has the potential to build Africa’s innovation economy. (Image: ITU)Sulaiman PhilipOver the next 20 years the working population of Africa will increase to more than a billion. By 2025, Africa’s internet related services economy could be worth be worth $315-billion (R4.3-trillion) and be a major employer of Africa’s young population if the continent worked to create the technology rather than simply was a passive user.For this reason South Africa again attended the annual ITU (International Telecomunications Union) Telecom World convention in Busan, South Korea. Governments and industry players attend the event, which showcases innovations and best practice. The sector, in the words of Telecommunications Minister Siyabonga Cwele, allowed the world to connect.“That is why it is so vitally important for us to come together at an event like this to discuss how we can innovate, disrupt and transform our industry to better serve an increasingly digital African population while still protecting our most vulnerable.”While the ITU Telecom World is an industry initiative, there is a strong focus on soci-economic development using information and communications technology. Among the sessions that attracted large audiences were Internet for all: financing models for ICT connectivity infrastructure, and AI in smart cities: power, potential, ethics and education.ITU (International Telecomunications Union) Telecom World convention was a place for the world to connect. (Image: ITU)The former, organised by the World Economic Forum, covered challenges faced by governments, civil society and business in financing ICT infrastructure projects. This session held special interest for South African officials who are in the middle of the country’s Internet For All rollout. Officals could agree with the assertion that funding for “last mile connections”, which often showed no profitability but guaranteed universal connectivity, remained the most important challenge.Cwele said that the fast-developing ICT sector presented South Africa, and Africa, with an opportunity to leapfrog developed economies and design the technology and set the standards that best work for the continent.The size of the African market could, if leveraged properly, change the sector into one that put African needs ahead of other economies. This could be hastened if Africa produced its own technology and took it to other parts of the world.In making this happen, Africa faced one major challenge: a shortage of skills. The minister has said that building a skilled workforce, including re-skilling employees, was an important project for the government. A sustainable future would be built on research, technological development and the adoption of digital tools.“ICTs have the power to help reduce borders and to help enable business and human interaction from anywhere to everywhere. By engaging in the digital economy we can show the rest of the world the wealth of knowledge and innovation in South Africa.”The ICT sector has the power to help remove borders. (Image: ITU)Emerging marketsThis year’s convention had a strong focus on emerging markets and the vibrant technology sectors that existed in countries such as South Africa, Nigeria, Azerbijan and the Republic of Korea. Houlin Zhao, ITU secretary-general, said it offered governments and industry leaders the best environment to discuss challenges and explore the potential benefits of telecom technologies. “Smart technology is the future, interconnecting all industry sectors and societies, changing how we live, work and do business, and it’s a future brimming with potential.”Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.
A group of environmental activists of Odisha’s Berhampur are engaged in retrieving national flags made of paper and plastic that have been thrown all around the city after the Republic Day celebrations.They are members of Berhampur Sabuja Bahini. “We were hurt to see our national flag thrown in garbage dumps, drains and on the roadside,” said BSB president Sibaram Panigrahy. “Many people buy paper and polythene flags to express nationalistic fervour on Republic Day. However, after a few hours, they have no hesitation in disposing of these flags in a derogatory manner,” said BSB member P. Aravind Kumar.In its bid to create awareness among the people to respect the Tricolour, the BSB started its drive to salvage the discarded flags on January 27. During the drive, which continued on Monday, the activists told the residents that the national flag is like a picture of deities and it should not be disposed of unceremoniously. The Tricolours salvaged by this group are being cleaned up and stored. “We will reuse them in future events,” said BSB secretary M. Dilip Kumar. The members of the group said they were happy to see that the use of polythene flags had gone down drastically in Berhampur in comparison to the Independence Day celebrations last year.