Tizeti to tackle broadband underdevelopment in Cote d’Ívoire with Microsoft

ABIDJAN, Cote d’Ívoire, May 17, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Tizeti, a leading internet service provider in West Africa, announced an expanded collaboration with Microsoft to address the issue of broadband underdevelopment in Cote d’Ívoire and bring internet access to almost 5 million people.

The partnership aims to provide affordable and reliable high-speed internet access to underserved communities and people in the country, addressing the significant broadband gap that has hindered economic development and social progress in the region and empowering more Ivorians to participate in the digital economy.

Cote d’Ívoire is believed to have less than 40% internet penetration, with fixed internet around 2%. The fixed internet and broadband sectors remain underdeveloped in Cote dÍvoire, due to a legacy of poor international connectivity, which resulted in high wholesale prices, limited bandwidth, and a lack of access for alternative operators to international infrastructure. Operators such as MainOne, and Africa Coast to Europe have subsea infrastructure, with 2Africa expected to land in 2023. While the submarine cable vertical is more competitive, Cote d’Ívoire has limited last-mile providers who pull the internet capacity and distribute it to homes, offices, schools, hospitals, and other public institutions.

Tizeti will roll out high-speed internet infrastructure with Microsoft’s Airband Initiative, leveraging Tizeti’s low-cost wireless technologies. This will help make it easier and cheaper for people to access the internet and connect to the digital economy. These shared efforts are part of the Microsoft Airband Initiative’s commitment to bring internet access to 100 million Africans by the end of 2025, which aligns with Tizeti’s goal of connecting more people to the internet in a cost-efficient way.

“We are thrilled to partner with Microsoft to bring reliable and affordable high-speed internet access to underserved communities in Cote d’Ívoire,” said Kendall Ananyi, Chief Executive Officer of Tizeti. “Our mission at Tizeti is to bring affordable and reliable internet to more Africans outside the digital envelope, and this partnership is a significant step forward in achieving that goal. This work with Microsoft continues our joint efforts to deliver world-class internet connectivity to the people of Africa, starting with Nigeria and now Cote d’Ívoire.”

Microsoft’s Airband Initiative is focused on advancing digital equity—access to affordable internet, affordable devices, and digital skills—as a platform for empowerment and digital transformation across the world.

“Through our expanded partnership with Tizeti, we are committed to providing high-speed internet access to five million people in Cote d’Ivoire by the end of 2025,” said Vickie Robinson, General Manager of Microsoft’s Airband Initiative. “Partners such as Tizeti are vital to the Airband ecosystem, which relies on local expertise along with public and private organizations of every size to tailor regional solutions. The expansion to Cote d’Ivoire will help build sustainable infrastructure that strengthens local development and reduces barriers to connectivity.”

For many countries in Africa, there is still a huge digital divide. This boundary between connected and unconnected translates into clear consequences for employment, education, family and social life, and access to information. Collaborations such as this play a significant role in addressing the digital infrastructure deficits in emerging economies, leveraging innovative technology and capabilities, to improve development outcomes for millions of people.

About Tizeti

Tizeti is a fast-growing Wireless Internet service provider in Nigeria, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire delivering high-speed unlimited Wi-Fi Internet access to residential and business customers using wide-area Wi-Fi.

Contact: Temitope Osunrinde (press@tizeti.com)

GlobeNewswire Distribution ID 8840227

Sweegen’s Rebaudioside M receives full authorization for use in the United Kingdom

Bestevia Reb M expands sugar reduction solutions in the U.K.and is now available to food and beverage producers.

Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., May 17, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Global sweetness and flavor innovator, Sweegen has announced that its Bestevia® Rebaudioside M (Reb M) has been fully authorized for use in the United Kingdom (U.K.) This regulatory approval marks a significant milestone for Sweegen, as it becomes the first and only company to receive authorization for any steviol glycosides produced using alternative technologies in the U.K.

Reb M, a high-purity steviol glycoside derived from the stevia plant, is renowned for its clean and sugar-like taste profile. It offers a natural, zero-calorie sweetness solution, making it an ideal choice for food and beverage manufacturers seeking to reduce sugar content and provide healthier options to consumers. Sweegen’s nature-based sweeteners, including its Reb M, offer a scalable and cost-effective alternative to traditional sugar.

Brands in the U.K. have eagerly anticipated the authorization of Sweegen’s Bestevia Reb M during the initial formulation phase and tastings. They are actively collaborating with Sweegen’s food and beverage applications experts based at its EMEA U.K. Innovation Studio in Reading, England, to integrate this highly sought-after stevia ingredient, along with Sweegen’s outstanding taste modulation and unique sweeteners, into their formulations.

Damian Bellusci, Vice President of Sales EMEA/APAC at Sweegen, expressed his excitement about the authorization, stating, “We are extremely proud to be the pioneers in securing full authorization for Bestevia Reb M in the U.K. This milestone reaffirms Sweegen’s commitment to providing innovative, nature-based, and sustainable sweetening solutions to the industry. Reb M offers food and beverage manufacturers an exceptional tool to meet consumer demands for healthier products without compromising taste.”

The decision to authorize the bioconversion manufacturing method for steviol glycosides, including Reb M, was made by the Minister for Primary Care and Public Health in relation to England, the Welsh Ministers in relation to Wales, and the Minister for Public Health, Women’s Health and Sport in relation to Scotland. The authorization is per Article 10(1) of retained Regulation 1333/2008, fulfilling the requirements.

The authorized manufacturing method allows for using steviol glycosides, including Reb M, in the Great Britain (GB) market. The Regulations provide updated terms of authorization for using this method in GB, with the terms being similar to those in the European Union (EU) and Northern Ireland. For the latest information, referring to the relevant EU Regulations on the EUR-Lex website is recommended.

Casey McCormick, Vice President of Global Innovation at Sweegen, emphasized the significance of Reb M in driving product innovation. “The approval of Bestevia Reb M in the UK represents a very positive step forward for brands looking to improve the nutrition profile of their products. The clean, sweet taste of our Bestevia Reb M enables new approaches to reduce and eliminate sugar in a way that exceeds consumers’ expectations  and supports public health objectives to reduce sugar consumption.”

Hadi Omrani, Vice President of Technical and Regulatory Affairs at Sweegen, highlighted the rigorous safety and compliance standards behind Bestevia Reb M’s authorization. Omrani stated, “At Sweegen, we prioritize safety, quality, and regulatory compliance. Obtaining full authorization for Bestevia Reb M in the U.K. required thorough scientific evaluations and stringent assessments to ensure its safety for consumption. This achievement reflects our commitment to delivering superior products that meet the highest industry standards.”

Sweegen is dedicated to revolutionizing the sweetener market with innovative solutions that promote healthier choices without compromising taste. The full authorization of Bestevia Reb M in the U.K. reinforces Sweegen’s leadership in the nature-based sweetener space and positions the company as a trusted partner for food and beverage manufacturers worldwide.

Sweegen recently attained FEMA GRAS status for sweet proteins brazzein and thaumatin II, complementing steviol glycosides in food and beverage production. With the addition of brazzein and thaumatin II, Sweegen continues to expand its portfolio of safe and effective taste-modulating flavors that can help food and beverage manufacturers meet the demand for healthier and delicious products to align with consumers’ holistic approaches to wellness. Brazzein is the star ingredient in Sweegen’s newly launched Sweetensify flavors for taste modulation, an ideal flavors tool for brands seeking to create sugar-like tastes in food and beverages.

About Sweegen

Sweegen provides sweet-taste solutions for food and beverage manufacturers around the world.
We are on a mission to reduce sugar and artificial sweeteners in the global diet. Partnering with customers, we create delicious zero-sugar products that consumers love. With the best modern sweeteners in our portfolio, such as Bestevia® Rebs B, D, E, I, M, and N, and sweet proteins brazzein and thaumatin, along with our deep knowledge of flavor modulators and texturants, Sweegen delivers market-leading solutions that customers want, and consumers prefer. Well. Into the Future.

Forward-Looking Statements
This press release includes “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the “safe harbor” provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1996. Sweegen’s actual results may differ from the estimates, assumptions, and other illustrative material contained herein, and consequently, a reader should not rely on these forward-looking statements as predictions of future events. These forward-looking statements include, without limitation, illustrative information regarding Sweegen’s bottom-up assumed market potential, assumed hit rate, and the resulting revenue based on these model inputs. These forward-looking statements involve significant risks and uncertainties that could cause the actual results to differ materially from the expected results.

Industry, Market, and Other Data
In this press release, we rely on and refer to information and statistics regarding market participants in the sectors in which Sweegen competes and other data. We obtained this information and statistics from our own internal estimates and third-party sources, including reports by market research firms and company filings. We do not expressly refer to these sources. All of this information involves a number of assumptions and limitations, and the sources of such information cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of such information. The industry in which Sweegen operates is subject to a high degree of uncertainty and risk due to a variety of important factors, any of which could cause results to differ materially from those expressed in the estimates made by Sweegen or third parties.

Cautionary Statement Concerning Forward-Looking Statements
This press release contains forward-looking statements, including, among other statements, statements regarding the future prospects for Reb M stevia leaf sweetener, brazzein, and thaumatin. These statements are based on current expectations but are subject to certain risks and uncertainties, many of which are difficult to predict and beyond Sweegen’s control.

Relevant risks and uncertainties could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in or implied by the forward-looking statements and, therefore, should be carefully considered. Sweegen assumes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements as a result of new information or future events or developments.


Ana Arakelian

GlobeNewswire Distribution ID 8841398

Angola increases number of health units

The National Health System has recorded, over the last five years, an increase of 163 new modern health units, the minister of State for Social Affairs, Dalva Ringote Allen, disclosed the data.

The minister, who was speaking at the 75th anniversary of the World Health Organisation (WHO), said with the new structures equipped with modern technology, the health system now has 13,426 more beds.

Among the main hospital units built over the last five years are the Specialised Treatment Centre for Endemic Diseases and Pandemics, Cardinal Dom Alexandre do Nascimento Cardiopulmonary Disease Hospital Complex, the Dra. Victória do Espírito Santo Paediatric Haematological Institute, Azancot Menezes Maternal and Child Hospital and Bié General Hospital.

Ringote Allen said that the analysis of the actions undertaken by the government is positive, given the change in the distribution of spending in the social sector, including health, of around 45.1 percent between 2022 and 2023 and an increase in total spending from 4.8 percent to 6.7 percent.

The Human Resources sector, the minister said, has also seen an increase over the last five years, with the hiring of 33,093 professionals, making up 35 percent of the total workforce.

“The majority of health technicians are young people. The investment made shows the increase of staff at the health posts, which rose from 25 percent in 2017 to 70 percent in 2022,” Allen said.

For the Minister of State, the growth of public health interventions regarding children and adolescents has made it possible to reduce under-five year mortality, with access to comprehensive child care that rose from 25 percent in 2017 to 93 percent in 2022.

The official explained that the coverage of the cost of the 14 main vaccines for children has reached 64 percent for routine vaccination coverage, as well as an increase in antiretroviral drugs in HIV-positive pregnant women from 25 percent in 2017 to 73 percent in 2021, with a reduction of HIV/AIDS transmission from mother to child from 28 percent to 15 percent.

According to Dalva Ringote, the Born Free to Shine campaign has increased the access of pregnant women to HIV/AIDS diagnosis in prenatal consultations.

In turn, WHO representative in Angola, Djamila Cabral, said the organisation is convinced that by strengthening primary health care, including community health, it is possible to tackle persistent health challenges in a more integrated way, accelerate progress and significantly improve the health of the Angolan population.

“We reiterate our commitment to work with the Government and other partners to reposition primary health care and ensure that equity of access to health services, especially for the most vulnerable such as women, children and the elderly, is accelerated and the country can move swiftly towards achieving health for all,” Cabral said.

The opening ceremony of the WHO 75th anniversary celebrations, to run until April 7, 2024, was attended by members of the Government, representatives of United Nations agencies, diplomatic corps accredited in Angola, key health partners, among others.

Source: Angola Press News Agency (APNA)

Eye specialist recommends comprehensive eye screening for Sawla-Tuna Kalba district

Dr. Zakarea Al-hasan Balure, the Manager of Bliss Eye Care, a private eye clinic in Wa, has recommended a comprehensive eye screening for the people of the Sawla-Tuna-Kalba (STK) District in the Savannah Region. He said had become necessary following the number of eye infection cases recorded from a free eye screening exercise organised for people within Jindabuo and its enclave in the district. Speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) at Jindabuo after the screening exercise, Dr. Balure observed that if care was not taken they would end up having blind communities in the district considering the number of eye infections recorded. The Bliss Eye Care organised the screening exercise which benefited 736 people in the area, out of which 532 had issues relating to medication, 16 had refractive errors, 29 people had Cataract and Glaucoma, and one person had Trachoma. People within the STK district could only access eye care services either from Wa or Bole which discouraged many people from accessing those critical services. All the people who went through the screening and needed eyeglasses were provided while those who required medication were also offered at no cost to the beneficiaries. Dr. Balure said those who were diagnosed with conditions that required surgery would also be offered for free. ‘Maybe we have to see how well we can make this often. If we don’t, we may end up having a needless blind community’, he observed. The eye specialist appealed to benevolent individuals in the district as well as the Member of Parliament for the STK Constituency to support his outfit to organise the exercise and surgeries for the entire district. He said there could be many people in the district who needed timely intervention to save their sights hence the need to extend the services to their doorstep since some communities were distant from conventional eye care centres. Mr Braima Abass, the Assembly Member of the Jindabuo West Electoral Area, said the people in the area were prone to eye infections due to the hazardous works they do for a living, including farming and charcoal burning without recourse to the impact of those works on their eyes. He said the long-distance that people in the area had to travel to Wa or Bole before accessing the services, coupled with the harsh financial situation they found themselves in prevented them from accessing the service. Some beneficiaries of the screening exercise expressed gratitude to Bliss Eye Care and its partners for the intervention. Madam Faustina Tendau, a beneficiary who received a reading glass, thanked Bliss Eye Care for the support saying, ‘At first I could not see to read, some of the words were always tiny, but with the glasses I can read well.’

Source: Ghana News Agency

Dr Augustine Tawiah, only Western North NDC MP to lose primary

Dr Augustine Tawiah, the incumbent Member of Parliament (MP) for Bia in the Western North Region, has lost the seat to his two-time contender. Mr Amadu Mustapha Tanko polled 935 as against 452 by the Incumbent to win the primary. Dr Tawiah becomes the only sitting MP to have lost the primaries in the Region. The branch elected eight parliamentary candidates from the nine constituencies in the Region as the Akontombra Constituency is one of the constituencies whose elections has been put on hold. Mr George Ofori Dankwa, the Regional Secretary, who spoke to the Ghana News Agency (GNA), said for the presidential primaries, Mr John Dramani Mahama had 9,618 votes out of 9,702 valid votes cast, while Mr Kojo Bonsu had 84 votes, with 105 rejected ballots. He expressed satisfaction with the conduct of the election and commended the party faithful for their comportment before, during and after the polls. He took the opportunity to advise them to respect the decision of the delegates in the parliamentary primaries and support the candidates-elect to win more parliamentary seats for the NDC in the Region. At the Bibiani Anhwiaso Bekwai constituency, Bright Asamoah Brefo emerged the winner after polling 824 votes as against 644 votes gained by Stephen Kingsley Bennie and 170 by Kwame Obeng Adjina. For the Wiawso Constituency, Kofi Benteh defeated Sam Jerome, the Regional Communication Officer. Incumbent member of Parliament for Aowin, Mr Oscar Ofori Larbi, was maintained after polling 1,029 votes as against 474 votes gained by his contender, Dr Joseph Yensu. Mr Richard Acheampong, MP for Bia East, Mr Kwabena Mintah Akando, Juaboso MP, Mr Sampson Ahi, Sefwi-Bodi MP, and Mr Smith Ackah, Suaman MP, all went unopposed.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Veep inspects Wa Youth Resource Centre

Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia Wednesday urged Management of the youth resource centres to efficiently utilise the resources at their disposal and maintain the facilities to derive the maximum benefits. Inspecting ongoing construction works at the Wa Youth Resource Centre on Wednesday, Dr Bawumia expressed satisfaction with the progress of work and challenged the contractor to meet the deadline for completion. Phase one of the project is complete, the contractor said, while phase two is 98 per cent complete. The Wa Youth Resource Centre is one of 10 centres on which construction works began in the then 10 regions before the creation of six additional ones. The multi-purpose centres will have football pitches and stands among other facilities for youth development and training to help them to acquire skills in the diverse sporting disciplines. The Vice President said this year’s Independence Day Celebration was held at the Resource Centre at Adaklu in the Volta Region and emphasised that Government was committed to ensuring the completion of the other centres. ‘I am very impressed so far by what I have seen. I have been told by the contractor that in a couple of months, the work will be completed,’ he said. ‘This facility is very important for Ghana, especially the people of the Upper West Region and Wa. It is a multi-purpose facility, so hopefully, it will help unearth talents in the many sporting disciplines and provide opportunities for their development. It will also help channel youthful energies to good use.’ ‘This is a promise we have delivered, and we will continue to deliver on our promises.’ Dr Bawumia, who was on a day’s visit to the region, was accompanied by the Regional Minister, Mr Hafiz Bin Salih, and other government officials.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Yaounde: thief beaten to death by population

A thief has been beaten to death this May 17 at the Amour Mezam, Tongolo branch neighborhood in Yaounde, center region of Cameroon.

According to eye witnesses, the alleged thief attempted to steal a lady’s bag and phone when the agency guard intervened but was quickly stabbed in his neck and side by the robber.

“We were at the agency at about 4:30 AM and passengers who arrived were waiting for their families to come and pick them. The guy walked up to the lady with a long knife on his hand and demanded for her bag and phone. This alerted the guard who was conscious that he had to protect passengers. In an attempt to stop the thief, the thief stabbed the guard more than three times, on the neck and the side. It was on the shouting of the guard that the population was alerted and they started beating him,” a witness stated.

He was said to have a chain on the leg that was supposedly preventing him from feeling any pains or dying at first.

“He was even having a chain on his leg but no one noticed it at first. He was beaten severely from 4:30 am till about 9 am but he did not die. It was a random little girl who indicated to the population that they should cut off the chain on his leg. Immediately after they did, the thief died about 5 minutes after,” the witness indicated.

“I am a mother and will never want my child to end this way. There are several things youths can do instead of stealing, it is bad. You may end up losing your life and life continues here on earth,” a shocked woman stated.

“I am a bike rider and I left the house this morning at 4:30am and as of now I have already made F CFA 3500 and by the end of the day I would have had more. So why steal when you can do something good with your life to earn a leaving?” another witness wondered.

The Guard who was stabbed is said to be receiving treatment at a hospital in the Emana neighborhood.

The population acknowledged that theft in this neighborhood is very frequent as passengers and citizens are harassed frequently.

It is worthy of note that the said thief is said to have just come out of Prison after serving a two-year jail term.

Source: Cameroon News Agency

Government to complete 560 rural telephony sites by end of year – Communications Minister

The Government will, by the end of this year, complete the construction of some 560 rural telephony sites under the Rural Telephony and Digital Inclusion Project to extend basic voice and data connectivity to underserved and unserved communities across Ghana. Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, the Minister of Communications and Digitalisation, who made this known, said 1,008 rural sites, under the project, had already been constructed nationwide between 2020 and 2022. The government, she added, hoped to complete the remaining projects as soon as practicable. ‘We are optimistic that out of the one thousand and eight (1,008) remaining sites to be completed, five hundred and sixty (560) rural sites will be completed by the end of this year,’ she said. The Minister said this in a speech read on her behalf by Madam Ama Pomaa Boateng, the Deputy Minister of Communications and Digitalisation, at the celebration of the 2023 World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD) on Wednesday, organised by the Ministry and the National Communication Authority (NCA). The WTISD is to help raise awareness of the benefits citizens and economies could derive from the use of the Internet and other information and communication technologies (ICTs) to bridge the digital divide. The global theme for this year is: ‘Empowering the Least Developed Countries through Information and Communication Technologies,’ with the local theme being: ‘Public-Private Partnership for Connectivity.’ Mrs Owusu-Ekuful said investment in ICT was crucial in bridging the technology usage gap, hence the Government had undertaken numerous projects, including the National Roaming Policy, to address challenges of network coverage. ‘It is a step towards ensuring that all citizens, regardless of their location, have access to reliable telecommunication services,’ she said. The Government had committed $2.6 million to support innovation centres to train 3,000 people by 2024. ‘The Ministry also has an agreement with the Smart Africa Alliance, through the Smart Africa Digital Academy, to train up to 22,000 people by 2023,’ she added. Professor Ezer Osei Yeboah-Boateng, the Deputy Director General of Technical Operations at NCA, said over the years, the Government, through the Ministry of Communications and Digitalisation, had been pushing the digital agenda to bridge the digital divide and improving literacy and access to connectivity. ‘Projects such as the Rural Telephony, UMTS900, Girls-in-ICT, Community Information Centres, National Roaming amongst others, have all been implemented by the Ministry and its agencies and are steadily running and being monitored to improve connectivity,’ he added. At the beginning of this year, there were over 22.8 million internet subscriptions in Ghana with a penetration rate of 71.94 per cent, he said, which signified a major increase in connectivity as compared to previous years. Despite that, Prof Yeboah-Boateng said the country needed to implement firm initiatives and collaborations to ensure sustainability, emphasising public-private partnership as key to the attainment of that goal. ‘We have made progress, however, there is still room for improvement as we seek and have pledged to empower Least Developed Countries to connect to the rest of the world.’ ‘Government cannot do this single-handedly and this is the rationale behind the Government’s creation of an enabling environment for investment and for the private sector to thrive.’ Mr Abdourahamane Diallo, the Country Representative of UNESCO, assured of the UN’s continuous support to the Government to help bridge the ICT in Ghana.

Source: Ghana News Agency