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MTN Uganda reaches out to Muslim Community in Busoga ahead of Eid celebration

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By Our Reporter

MTN Uganda has handed over food and alms worth Ugx 20 million to the Muslim community in Jinja district through Busoga Kingdom. This is part of the ongoing Ramadan drive by the telecom to reach out to the Muslim community as they observe the holy month.

This support underscores the long standing relationship that the telecom giant has had with both the Kingdom of Busoga and the Muslim community at large. This year’s Ramadan however presents a different scenario as the fasting season has fallen at a time when the whole world is grappling with the COVID 19 pandemic which has paralysed the livelihoods of many.

While handing over the foodstuffs at the Busoga Kingdom headquarters in Jinja, Isaiah Ssemamuli the Jinja Regional Business manager of MTN Uganda congratulated the Muslim community for observing Ramadan amidst these challenging circumstances and encouraged them to keep the faith and continue to seek Allah during these unprecedented times.

He further said that, “Over the years MTN Uganda has stood with Muslim community within the region and this year has not been any different. With our humble donation, we believe that our Muslim brothers and sisters in Busoga will be able to have a decent meal for the fast approaching Eid celebration.”

The guest of honour at the handover, the Speaker of Parliament Rt. Hon Rebecca Kadaga commended MTN Uganda for the generosity they have always extended towards Busoga Kingdom over the years.

Hon. Kadaga also thanked the Muslim community in Busoga for persevering through these tough times and keeping the faith during Ramadan. She encouraged them to continue adhering to the government regulations of social distancing, hand washing and wearing of masks. She went ahead to advocate for transparency in the distribution of the consignment such that the food reaches its intended beneficiaries.

Besides the Ugx 20 million worth of food that was handed over to the Busoga Muslim community today, MTN Uganda has been distributing food and alms to the Muslim community in and around Kampala as part of the telecom company’s support to the Muslims during the holy month of Ramadan.

The handovers of food and alms worth Ugx 100million in Kampala and surrounding areas started at the onset of the fasting season and will end before Eid-el-Fitr that is expected to fall at the end of this week. Over 18 communities within Kampala, Entebbe and Mukono districts had packages delivered to them. These communities include; Mosques, Uganda Prisons, Uganda Police, orphanages and teacher training schools among others.

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CoronaVirus Uganda

UNICEF partners with Airtel Africa to support children and families affected by COVID-19

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Fayaz King, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director for Field Results and Innovation.

Fayaz King, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director for Field Results and Innovation.

By Our Reporter

UNICEF has partnered with Airtel Africa to provide children with access to remote learning and enable access to cash assistance for their families via mobile cash transfers.

Under this partnership, UNICEF and Airtel Africa will use mobile technology to benefit an estimated 133 million school age children currently affected by school closures in 13 countries across sub-Saharan Africa during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The adverse effects of school closures on children’s learning are well documented. Education experts warn that gains made in increasing access to learning in the previous decade are at risk of being lost, or even reversed completely. And for poor households around the world, the pandemic means a reduced or total loss of income due to the movement restrictions in place.

Remote learning, supported by digital tools, is a core part of UNICEF’s response to ensure continuity of learning for those children with access to technology at home. Airtel Africa will zero-rate select websites hosting educational content, which will provide children with remote access to digital content at no cost.

“COVID-19 is affecting access to information and education at an unprecedented scale,” said Fayaz King, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director for Field Results and Innovation. “Worldwide, most children are not in school, which we know can lead to a number of increased vulnerabilities and setbacks. UNICEF is partnering with Airtel Africa to deliver better outcomes for children and families affected by widespread closures.”

The partnership will also provide UNICEF with a means to facilitate vital cash assistance to alleviate financial barriers for some of the most vulnerable families across the region, including many affected by the growing socio-economic hardships resulting from suspension of income earning activities. This will help ensure families have additional resources to cope with the ongoing health and economic crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Some effective ways to cushion families from the effects of this crisis is through providing free Internet access to selected educational websites to help children keep up with their learning during the school closures and direct cash transfer programmes to reduce physical presence requirements for cash in hand exchanges,” said Raghunath Mandava, Airtel Africa Chief Executive Officer. “Alongside various other COVID-19 related initiatives and support that we are providing to Governments and the community, we are glad to also collaborate with UNICEF to support children.”

The partnership with Airtel Africa supports UNICEF’s Global Agenda for Action for Children. The plan outlines global actions which private and public sector partners can take to keep millions of girls and boys – including those who have been uprooted by conflict, children living with disabilities, and girls at risk of violence – healthy, safe and learning.

UNICEF and Airtel Africa’s partnership aims to benefit children and families in 13 countries in sub-Saharan Africa: Chad, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

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Chairman of the United Bank for Africa Tony Elumelu says Covid-19 Presents Opportunity to Reset Africa

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By Reporter

The Chairman of the United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, Tony Elumelu, has stated that the Coronavirus Pandemic currently ravaging the world presents an opportunity to reset the African continent so that Africans can be empowered to become more productive and self reliant. He said this today at the high-level Roundtable discussions made up of African leaders including Dr. Ngozi Okonjo – Iweala, the Special Envoy of the African Union on Covid-19 and Tidjane Thiam who is also a Covid-19 Special Envoy responsible for mobilising international economic support for Africa.

During the session titled ‘Resilient World: An African call for a new world order’, Elumelu stated “I see this pandemic as an opportunity to reset Africa.’ Whilst pointing out that Africa as a continent has all it takes to emerge into a strong digital economy, the UBA Group Chairman advocated a martial plan that will galvanise the entire continent and make Africa less dependent on the ‘circularity of debt’ from developed nations, which according to him, has been a major setback for decades.

 He said, “I feel that as we engage the rest of the world in providing relief, we need to look for a more fundamental solution to Africa’s challenges. I have often argued for a martial plan overtime. We need to mobilise everyone. If we have a martial plan that mobilises resources to address particular issues, then we can mitigate against this constant begging for assistance.”

Explaining further, Elumelu pointedly said, “The truth is that we have resources to help mobilise people. As the founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, we committed to endow $100m to support young African entrepreneurs and we have been seeing the positive results this has yielded so far. It is evident that if we can fix access to electricity, ensure stability of the macro-economic environment, ensure prioritisation of the youth, empower our small and medium scale enterprises and fix youth migration, then we are in for a better and more resilient economy’. “There is the urgent need to prioritise our youths and empower our SMEs. The people who work hard need to be encouraged,” Elumelu noted passionately.

 Tidjane Thiam who supported what Elumelu had proposed, said that rather than depend on international assistance at every point, there is the need for governments and institutions to invest in activities that will prioritise the youths and create a better enabling environment. 

“I totally agree with Tony Elumelu. The major challenge is that we do not see enough entrepreneurs. Similar to what obtains in Asia and Europe, there is the need to promote a class of Entrepreneurs to drive the African economy.  we need to groom more Tony Elumelus’ from Africa’ he said. Tidjane continued, ‘We know what needs to be done. We need government and multinational institutions to bring in capital so that there will be investment in health, infrastructure and the like. We do need to get rid of this debt cycle because constant rescheduling and begging for relief for debts is not good for us as a continent,” Thiam said.

Okonjo-Iweala, on her part, called for a system where youths and women will be empowered to create and produce more to boost the African economy.

Whilst calling on private and government parastatals to engage in meaningful partnerships that will help to galvanise job creation and entrepreneurship among youths in Africa, she said, “As Tony pointed out, we can see this pandemic as an opportunity for the continent. We have the African Free Trade Agreement, and we have to make it real. 

“We have to specialise our countries to manufacture the things we need so we can trade with others. We need to produce good jobs for our young people. We need to empower our women and youths and put them at the centre. It is said that Africa would have the largest number of youths in the world by 2050, so we need to fix this,” she noted.

The round-table which was organised by the New York Forum Institute, also had in attendance African Heads of States including President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger; President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya; President Alassane Ouattara of Cote d’Ivoire; President Macky Sall of Senegal and President Julius Bio of Sierra Leone;

 

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Local Business

Lake Gas announces big discounts on gas cylinders

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Lake Gas, cooking gas distributors in Uganda.

By Our Reporter 

In response to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Lake Gas, one of the cooking gas distributors in Uganda has announced a huge discount on their gas cylinder packages.

Speaking at a Zoom Meeting, the Lake Gas spokesperson, Natasha Mbaziira confirmed that the company decided to reduce the 10kg and 15kg Gas Cylinder prices from 300k to 250k and 350k to 280k respectively for the full sets which comprise of hose pipe and regulators.

“The effects of Covid19 have slowed down many a business, and as such, many businesses have had to lay off employees, and some have even closed. As the pandemic-induced situation becomes dire, the majority of the citizens have been resigned to acquiring only the essentials. And food is the most essential commodity, which means that cooking it has got to be affordable. It is for this very reason that we have dropped prices of our two highest priced gas cylinders, to enable every Ugandan to cook,” Mbaziira, the Lake Gas spokesperson said.

Asked on whether Lake Gas had the capacity to handle the overwhelming possibility of orders from all over the country, Mbaziira stated that Lake Gas is equipped to handle all volumes of orders.

“We have over 70 distribution points across the country, and are indeed equipped to handle any form of volume. We can distribute anywhere, and have since opened up affordable delivery channels in order to serve people because of the lockdown,” she added.

The 10kg gas cylinder is a composite cylinder model with a wide array of advantages like being able to track your gas, being non rust and safe in the sense that it is non-combustible, while the 15kgs Cylinder is a normal metallic cylinder.

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BigEye Money

Western Union Pays Tribute to First Responders & Essential Workers Globally

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By Staff Writer

Western Union provides fee reduction for frontline and essential workers as a part of company’s ongoing efforts to provide essential money transfers and payments services amid the COVID-19 pandemic


Western Union , a leader in cross-border, cross-currency money movement and payments, today announced a 50 percent fee reduction1 for front-line responders and essential workers sending money globally via any of the company’s digital channels for the next two weeks. The promotion is a small tribute by the company to these customers for their endless commitment to their local communities and dedication to maintain the infrastructure and resources necessary to keep local economies afloat. 

More than 65 percent of global citizens working and living across the world occupy roles as first responders or in essential service industries, according to Western Union’s business intelligence. These global citizens indexed high in such roles across major countries: 63 percent in the U.S.; 67 percent in the U.K; 68 percent in France; 70 percent in Germany; 62 percent in Australia; 58 percent in the UAE and 71 percent in Saudi Arabia. 

“Many of the world’s frontline or essential workers are global citizens who regularly send money to loved ones back home,” said Western Union President and CEO Hikmet Ersek. “At Western Union, our inspiration comes from our customers who trust us with their hard-earned money. We want to acknowledge their dedication to keeping remittances moving to the communities and economies around the world that depend on them the most and support them as they continue promoting the health and safety of the communities around them.”

In Uganda, remittances play an extremely important part of the economy – for the community here, remittances are often a lifeline,” said Jason Nass, Regional Director, East Africa Western Union. “The reduction in fees for frontline and essential workers around the world should help receivers locally in Uganda as they face the current pandemic.”

The fee reduction, valid with transfer code THANKS2020, applies to any transaction initiated in the majority of Western Union’s digital-enabled countries at westernunion.com or via the Western Union app, and received anywhere Western Union’s Global Network reaches: via bank account or wallet payout in more than 100 countries, as well as retail Agent locations in 200 countries and territories. The fee reduction will run from now until May 20, 2020 and is available to first responders representing medical, police, and fire department professionals as well as essential workers across food, transport, utility, and other essential industries, including manufacturing and construction.

Last month, Western Union announced the expansion of its digital money transfer services, the fastest-growing part of its business in 2019, to more than 75 countries. The end-to-end coverage ensures that these safe, convenient digital services are available to millions of the world’s most active money movers, especially during COVID-19. The company also last month announced, “Digital Location”, a phone-based concierge service meant to help customers complete digital transactions from the safety of their homes as well as home-delivery of remittance funds in some markets. 

Western Union and the Western Union Foundation, along with partners, have pledged more than US$1.0 million in the fight against COVID-19. The foundation is prioritizing initiatives that include strengthening healthcare systems around the globe, serving vulnerable populations, including refugees and migrants. Additionally, the Foundation will continue to support local and global nonprofit organizations providing access to essential services, including hunger relief, medical training, education, supplies and equipment for frontline healthcare workers.

In addition, Western Union Business Solutions’ WU® NGO GlobalPay platform has enabled NGOs to focus on the vital work at hand delivering critical international operations to support communities in need. Since 2012, more than 2,000 NGOs have sent nearly $8 billion around the world in 132 currencies to more than 200 countries, through the platform.

All of Western Union’s responses and initiatives related to COVID-19 may be accessed via our dedicated Resource Center here.

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