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KAMPALA, March 12 (Xinhua) -- Chinese technology giant Huawei has provided training to 241 young individuals in Uganda's northern district of Alebtong, equipping them with a range of digital skills.

Huawei said in a statement issued late Monday that the beneficiaries graduated on March 7 after a three-week training exercise.

Denis Obua, a senior official of the ruling party National Resistance Movement, hailed Huawei for implementing the DigiTruck program, which is in line with the country's development plan.

The DigiTruck, a truck transformed into a computer classroom, travels from one region to another, where instructors train people in e-commerce and online research. It is part of Huawei's TECH4ALL initiative to promote digital inclusion and sustainability globally.

"This is a clear manifestation that ICT (information and communications technology) is a very important aspect of our lives. With such skills you have attained, you can use them to transform Alebtong and beyond," Obua said, adding that the government would soon need people with ICT skills to fill jobs for the national census.

Gao Jian, Huawei Uganda's deputy managing director, said that through ICT skills, the beneficiaries have become architects of their own destiny. Gao encouraged them to use the skills they have acquired to better themselves and ultimately build a better Uganda.

This is the third DigiTruck training, after two sessions were launched in the eastern part of the country. The training attracted students, teachers, farmers, health workers and government officials. - Xinhua


Kenya has announced that the precious coltan mineral, which is used in the manufacture of cell phones, laptops and other communication gadgets has been found in the country.

Mining and Blue Economy Cabinet Secretary (CS) Salim Mvurya said on Wednesday that adequate deposits of coltan have been found in six counties.

The rare metallic mineral, mostly found in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), is mainly used for the production of electronic goods of mass consumption, such as mobile phones, laptops and videogame consoles, and its discovery in Kenya is set to raise the country's profile as a mineral exporter.

Embu is among the counties which have been established to have the precious metal.

Making the announcement at Embu county headquarters, Mr Mvurya said the government is now assessing the economic value of the mineral.

"It is now official. We have coltan deposits in the country and we want to see how we can inspire the investors," he said.

The CS said the government is determined to make mining industry more vibrant for the benefits of the country.

He said more workers will be employed to assist in exploration of the minerals which are spread across counties.

He revealed that so far 970 mineral occurrences have been noted across the country, adding that mining would kick off soon.

He said laboratories will be decentralised to counties for easier testing of minerals.

"We shall be setting up laboratories services in eight regions where we shall be testing samples and declaring the quality of minerals found in a particular region," he said.

Accompanied by Embu Governor Cecily Mbarire, the CS vowed to have illegal miners who have invaded the mining industry weeded out.

He lamented that illegal mining is rampant in the country and the vice must be eradicated.

"Some have been carrying out mining of precious minerals without licences, we shall weed out all those investors who don't follow the law, We want mining to be a business where investors comply with all aspects of the law," he said.

He said a special unit has been set up by the cabinet to enforce compliance.

Embu Governor said she was happy that 20 percent of the mineral proceeds will go to the county and 10 percent will benefit the locals.

She said her administration is partnering with the national government to make the mining of coltan in the region successful.

Mbeere South MP Nebart Muriuki advised residents to stop selling their parcels of land at throw away prices.

"A precious mineral has been found here and if you want to benefit you should not sell your land," he said. - BUSINESS DAILY


Tanzania, Rwanda and Somalia are among four countries selected as pilots of a new World Bank clean energy programme that is set to benefit at least 100 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa by 2030.

Sao Tome and Principe will also take part in the rollout of the Accelerating Sustainable and Clean Energy Access Transformation (Ascent) programme, which will be expanded to 20 countries in the region over the next seven years.

World Bank Group President Ajay Banga announced the $15 billion project during the International Development Association's (IDA) mid-term review meeting of its 20th financing round in Zanzibar.

According to Mr Banga, at least $5 billion of the funding requirement will be covered by IDA and the remaining will be from partners.

"We know it won't solve the problem of access to power for the entire continent since there are more than 600 million Africans facing the problem." he said. "But we see it as a start, and also a platform to draw more interest among IDA partners to also join the cause through similar investments."

The Bank describes the Ascent programme as a "game-changer in a region where only 48 percent of the overall population and just 26 percent in rural areas has access to electricity."

“The lack of energy access is the most significant challenge to development progress in the region today (as it) hinders economic recovery and faster progress toward poverty reduction," it says.


"It also results in significant food spoilage owing to lack of refrigeration, particularly in countries already plagued with food insecurity, and plays a role in poor health outcomes given that less than half of all hospitals in the region have reliable electricity access," the Bank said.

Victoria Kwakwa, the World Bank's vice-president for Eastern and Southern Africa, said IDA's $5 billion input will be "leveraged for an additional $10 billion" using resources from the Bank's other lending arms including the International Finance Corporation and Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency plus contributions from public and private sector partners.

She said the Ascent programme was designed to speed up efforts to achieve the clean energy transition on a global scale by pooling global and local knowledge with a "menu-based" approach to empowering selected countries to pursue energy access goals.”

"Women, who are often disproportionately burdened by lack of energy access, will benefit the most and will also be provided additional income-generating opportunities to unleash their economic potential," the Bank said.

The programme will involve three main components; developing regional and national platforms to enable economies of scale and cost reduction strategies, expanding grid electrification through investment and technical assistance, and financing strategies to improve energy access for households, enterprises, farmers, schools, health clinics and other social needs. - BOB KARASHANI, The EastAfrican

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