Category archives for: Transportation

Namibia:First Commercial Flight Lands On St Helena Via Windhoek

Windhoek — The first scheduled commercial airline service to the remote British island of St Helena in the south Atlantic touched down safely on Saturday, having made a stopover in Windhoek from Johannesburg, South Africa.

The virgin flight, an SA Airlink service from South Africa, ends the island’s long-standing reliance on a ship which sailed every three weeks, reports BBC.

It is hoped that the service, funded by the UK, will boost tourism and help make St Helena more self-sufficient.

But British media have dubbed it “the most useless airport in the world”.

Built with £285m ($380m) of funding from the UK Department for International Development (Dfid), the airport should have opened in 2016, but dangerous wind conditions delayed the launch, BBC further reports.

After further trials this summer, the weekly service between Johannesburg and St Helena was passed as safe.

St Helena had for decades been one of the world’s most inaccessible locations, served only by a rare ship service from South Africa.

It is chiefly known as the island to which French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte was exiled after his defeat in the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, and where he died.

The Embraer E190-100IGW aircraft took off from Johannesburg on Saturday morning, carrying 78 passengers. It reached St Helena in the afternoon after stopping in the Namibian capital, Windhoek.

“I for one am getting really excited about the new chapter in St Helena’s history,” BBC quoted St Helena governor Lisa Phillips as saying.

Previously travel to and from the tiny island, with its population of just 4,255, was only possible on the RMS St Helena, which took around six days to complete the journey from South Africa. The ship’s final voyage is scheduled for February.

St Helena relies on British aid of £52m a year and officials hope increased tourism will make it more self-sufficient.

“This is an important moment in St Helena’s route to self-sufficiency,” a Dfid spokeswoman said.

“It will boost its tourism industry, creating the opportunity to increase its revenues, and will bring other benefits such as quicker access to healthcare for those living on the island.”

Kenya:Number Two in the Ride Market, Start-Up Little Eyes 8-10 New African Markets

The large international start-ups like Jumia and Uber may attract the lion’s share of the investment but they’re not having it all their own way. Craft Silicon launched Kenyan start-up Little to compete with Uber. Russell Southwood talked to Kamal Budhabatti about his ambitions for Little and how it fits into the payment system ecosystem he is building with Craft Silicon.

Kamal Budhabatti launched Little because he thought he could do it better than Uber:”We saw there was an opportunity with the things that were happening on Uber. But the drivers didn’t always like what Uber was doing so we wanted to build a product that was appreciated by drivers. It would be an Uber for Africa. We ran a small pilot and it worked out well so we launched 8 months back”.

Little takes 15% from its drivers that is probably less than Uber is charging them:”Drivers can withdraw money from their Little wallet at any time. They go to the app and move money to their mobile money account.”

According to Tech Loy, it has also said in February 2017 that it will launch a mobile phone-based Savings and Credit Co-operative Society (Sacco). Known as Little Sacco, it would be the first virtual Sacco in Kenya, and on the continent, when launched, and will cover Little’s 5,000 drivers.

The Little app works in a very similar way to Uber’s but has several significant differences. It can be used on pretty much all phones as it’s not just a smartphone app but also can work with USSD by dialing a short code. The call to the short code generates a menu and the call uses adjacent cell towers to triangulate where the rider is. It also has a wallet that comes with the app and this means a rider can pay for a ride and send it to someone else. The rider can also use the app on Facebook Messenger and Little has got an IoT device that you can stick on a fridge and just press a button to get a cab.

Using this combination of smart, feature and basic phone users, it has got to the number two position behind Uber in Kenya. In doing so, it has attracted close to quarter of a million riders. There are two other ride apps in the market: Mondo Ride from the Middle East and Taxify from Estonia. Chinese billionaire Jack Ma has invested in Taxify Kenya’s parent company through a ride company he partly owns called Didi Chuxing.

Little’s parent company Craft Silicon is probably the second biggest payments processor in Kenya after Safaricom’s M-Pesa. Last year it handled US$4.4 billion in payments. It does between 1-1.5 million transactions a day and has 9-10 million active customers.

So how does Little as a start-up fit into this kind of payment processor play?:”We wanted to start building verticals. So we launched Little for rides. We’ve invested (US$0.5 million) in Eat Out Kenya for hospitality and we’ll be launching something in the healthcare space.” It also wants to roll out the Little as a fintech product as “a small bank that sits inside the wallet.”

Thus far Craft Silicon has self-funded these verticals but it is out in the market looking for US$100 million series B funding to expand Little across the continent. It’s already started in Nigeria where it’s carrying out tests and will do the same in Ghana before too long. It’s also looking at a couple of countries in both Southern Africa and Francophone Africa so that it will then have an 8-10 country presence by mid next year.

As Budhabatti told me, the biggest challenge has been going from a B2B business with Craft Silicon to B2C with the new start-ups:”These are market businesses, transacting directly with customers. So we’ve had to learn from the experience. You need enough money to promote the product in the right way.”

Kenya

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South Africa:’Train Surfers’ Risk Their Lives Without Fear

By Ricardo Afrika

Young men in Cape Town risk their lives by “train surfing”. Ricardo Afrika photographed and filmed train surfers by sticking his cell phone camera out of a broken window on Metrorail’s central line.

Train surfers stand outside a train, either on the side or on the top, while a train is moving. They perform stunts, such as dodging the overhead lines. It is extremely dangerous and illegal.

Most train surfing appears to take place between Mutual station and Khayelitsha. The images and videos here were filmed on 10 October at about 6:45pm between Philippi and Stock Road stations.

Surfing typically takes place during peak hours — between 7am to 8am and from 3pm to 7pm. Trains are often congested during these times. Commuters hang on doors, windows, between carriages and even on top of the trains. But train surfing means more than merely hanging on to the outside; it involves doing stunts too. There were about ten people surfing when these images and videos were shot.

Surfers range in age from school boys to blue collar workers. Primary and high school students typically do what is called “ukulathaza”: running next to the train on the platform until it is at high speed, and then they jump in. Some of the adults take it to the extreme of running on top of the train while it is in motion and ducking under cables and bridges, as in the videos below.

No one appears to make a serious effort to stop the surfers. There’s a lack of security and the trains are packed, with no authorities around to check on safety. If there are security personnel, they usually stand with the drivers on each end of the train, which means they can’t really see what happens when the train is in motion.

“Spiderman” is a blue collar worker who surfs. I asked him why he does it. He replied, “To us this is a sport. I mostly do it for adrenaline and the thrill can get addictive.”

South Africa

The Traditional Vegetable and Sweet Potato Research That’s Revolutionising the Way We Build Food and Nutrition Security in Africa

Research focusing on traditional crops that are often ignored and known as “orphan crops” shows they contain minerals… Read more »

Ethiopia:Ethiopian Airlines Mulling Flights to Hangzhou As 6th Chinese Destination

Addis Ababa — Ethiopia’s national air carrier Ethiopian Airlines (ET) is mulling flights to the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou.

Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang province, has in recent years been known as an emerging technology hub and home to e-commerce giant Alibaba.

Tewolde Gebremariam, CEO of ET, told Xinhua on Sunday the air carrier is mulling Hangzhou as its next destination as part of its plan to attract more Chinese tourists and business people.

Private investment from China to Ethiopia in 2017, up to September 5, has reached more than 680 million U.S. dollars, outpacing the entire 2016 figures of 560 million dollars.

China is the single largest source of foreign direct investment (FDI) to Ethiopia for the last several years, as Ethiopia bids to attract Chinese expertise and money for its industrialization ambitions.

Chinese tourists are also a rising demographics with the East African country attracting 41,660 Chinese tourists in 2015, a trend the Ethiopian government expects to grow in the coming years.

Ethiopia had earned 3.32 billion dollars from 886,897 tourists that visited the nation during the Ethiopian Fiscal Year 2016/17 that ended on July 8.

The country plans to earn 4.5 billion dollars from 1.2 million tourists during the 2017/18 Fiscal Year that started July 9.

Hangzhou however is not the only Chinese destination that Ethiopian Airlines is mulling starting flights to.

Gebremariam previously told Xinhua ET is considering flights to Shenzhen, a major innovation and entrepreneurship center, as another destination possibly bringing the number of flight destinations ET has to Chinese cities to seven in total.

Ethiopian Airlines currently flies to five destinations in China: Beijing, Chengdu, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Guangzhou.

Ethiopia

Ethiopian Airlines to Partner Tour Firms

Ethiopian Airlines is looking for tour and travel companies to partner in order to boost regional tourism and trade… Read more »

Nigeria:After Badoo Nightmare, Ikorodu Residents Face Trauma of Bad Road

By Oluwatosin Areo

Commuters plying the Ikorodu-Shagamu road are losing sleep over the worsening state of the road, which is not only affecting their health, but also their livelihoods.

To many Nigerians, it has become distant memory that the 25km Shagamu-Ogijo-Mosinmi-Ikorodu Road was the first major highway that linked Lagos State, the commercial nerve of the nation, to other states and West Africa countries.

The road was constructed in 1962 by the Western Region government, before the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway was built but today, the same road, which is an alternative route to Lagos, besides the busy Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, remains a shadow of itself. The road is now littered with potholes and gullies, making residents and road users endure pain navigating through it, especially after any drop of rainfall.

The Shagamu-Ogijo-Mosinmi-Ikorodu road could be best described as a death trap, where many have died, property worth billions of naira destroyed and several man hours wasted in traumatic traffic, all due to its deplorable state. A larger part of the road is generally overtaken with flood due to its poor drainage system.

Those who spoke with The Guardian described it as death trap saying: “The distance between Ita-oluwo to Ikorodu should not be more than 15 minutes but for the bad roads, one has to travel about one hour. On many occasions, we resort to taking motorcycle, thereby risking our lives in the midst of traffic jams mainly caused by the failed portions of the road.”

Nonso Chibuzo, is one of those motorists that has a share of the bitter tale experience on the road. He said: “I ply the Ikorodu-Ogijo road daily for daily upkeep but I usually spend the money I realise on repairing my Okada daily. We carry people for N250 during rush hour and N500 when it rains heavily. But when the rain falls, the road becomes almost impassable. I have fallen into the gutter before when I sustained some injury on the leg with the passenger I carried that day. If the road is fixed, it will ease our business for us.

He added that commuters usually complain bitterly about hike in fare but there is little we can do about that. The touts also have a fair share of the money we realise too. Pain relieve drugs is the only thing that help me sleep at night because of how bad the road is.

The road plays host to some federal and state institutions, which include the 174 Battalion Army Barracks, Lagos State Polytechnic, Federal Road Safety Corp (FRSC), Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), Vehicle Inspection Office (VIO), Lagos State Farm Estate, Lagos Waste to Wealth Fertilizer Company, Larfarge Cement Company, and Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) among others.

Private companies like PZ Cussons, Monarch Steel, Super Engineering, Spintex Mill, Phoenix, amongst others are also located on the route, which explains the density of human and vehicular movement on the road.

Describing another portion of the road, which a commuter referred to as ‘the most dreadful part’, is the steep between Sawmill and Lagos State Polytechnic, a commercial bus driver, Adewole Ishola, said: “This portion of the road is known to be a death trap especially for heavy duty vehicles, which sometimes somersault to the roadside or abruptly stop while going up the hill. These vehicles sometimes reverse and collide with oncoming vehicles. We see accidents on this part of the road weekly; something must be done quickly to avert further loss of lives and goods”.

Tanzania:Prayer Houses Lined Up for Demolition in Road Project

By Jackline Masinde

Dar es Salaam — At least 24 houses of prayers are expected to be demolished today by the Tanzania Roads Agency (Tanroads) to pave the way for expansion of the Kimara-Kiluvya section of Morogoro Road.

The demolitions are a continuation of the removal of about 1,300 buildings, which had been built within the road reserve, measuring 121.5 metres from the centre of the key infrastructure.

So far, over 1,000 houses have been demolished, a situation that has forced some residents to spend the night in the cold.

Confirming the demolition to The Citizen, the man in charge of supervising the Tanroads exercise, Mr Jonson Rutechula, said: “We have notified leaders of the affected mosques and churches to remove their valuables from the buildings by tomorrow (today) as we are coming to tear them down. We are set to demolish 14 churches and 10 mosques in the stretch that covers Kimara to Kiluvya. We will start demolishing them in the morning,” said Mr Rutechula.

He added that the demolition of biulding marked with an ‘X’ had by a big percentage been completed, leaving only houses of prayer.

“As you can see the demolition exercise for residential houses is complete. Only houses of prayer are yet to be removed,” he said.

At St Maria Church, Kimara Parish, this writer found some believers removing properties from the house of worship but the leaders of the church declined to comment when asked about the exercise.

“We are not spokespersons. So, if you want to gather news, please come tomorrow with your camera to cover the event. You also need to find the Father of the Parish as he will be in a good position to tell you what is going on,” said one of the faithful.

Tanzania

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Zimbabwe:Truckers Block Beitbridgebeit bridge Border Post Border Post

By Thupeyo Muleya Beitbridge Bureau

There was chaos at Beitbridge Border Post on Saturday after haulage truck drivers blocked the exit gate on the arrivals commercial section in protest against what they called poor service delivery by the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra), although officials were blaming truckers who do not want their cargo sealed.

For the better part of the day, traffic –mainly trucks — clogged the commercial arrivals section. It is reported that all truck drivers, both carrying goods in transit and for the local market, united to force Zimra officials to improve on efficiency and service delivery.

In separate interviews, the truckers said they were not happy with the manner in which traffic was managed, especially those carrying transit cargo.

“We spend more than three days here with Zimra saying they have run out of electronic seals for our cargo. Currently they are putting us in batches of 30 trucks, which they then escort to the next port of exit using one vehicle. This is a frustrating process considering that they release the escort vehicle once per day,” said a driver who chose anonymity.

He said the idea of escorting vehicles in batches created unnecessary delays adding that any such delay was eating into their salaries.

“Most of us are paid salaries based on the trips we make per month and a delay of three or four days is not good at all. We are calling on the government to urgently look into the issues around the customs clearance of transit cargo, ” he added.

He said they were concerned with the continued breakdown of the automated system for customs data (Asycuda World plus).

The new Statutory Instrument No 113 on control of transit cargo, makes it mandatory that no cargo shall depart any port of entry before all the details are captured into the electronic clearance system.

A Beitbridge based transporter, Mr Osbert Shumba said vehicles started moving at around 2am yesterday when the Asycuda system had been fixed.

“This is not good for business, we need to engage the customs authority and government, so that we may arrive at a solution. It seems we are having a system of people working on saving their jobs rather than serving the nation. Many transporters are contemplating abandoning the Zimbabwe route, while some have already done so due to the situation here (Beitbridge). Such a development is not good for international trade,” said Mr Shumba.

Zimra’s head of communications, Mr Canisio Mudzimu could not be reached through his mobile phone yesterday. However, some border authorities said the chaos was being fueled by a few transporters who do not want to comply with the new cargo tracking system.

“We have enough seals, it’s just that there are few individuals who want to cause unnecessary confusion,” said the official.

A total of 300 transit trucks pas through Beitbridge border post daily, while 600 are destined for the local market. Government this year introduced electronic cargo seals to deal with issues of transit fraud which is rife.

Transit fraud resulted in situations where importers declare that goods are in transit (removal in transit -RIT) to neighbouring countries yet the cargo is offloaded in Zimbabwe.

As a result of such activities the country was losing a lot of potential revenue to the criminals. Under the customs laws specified goods attract excise duty during importation into the country.

Zimbabwe:Truckers Block Beitbridgebeit Bridge Border Post

By Thupeyo Muleya, Beitbridge Bureau

There was chaos at Beitbridge Border Post on Saturday after haulage truck drivers blocked the exit gate on the arrivals commercial section in protest against what they called poor service delivery by the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra), although officials were blaming truckers who do not want their cargo sealed.

For the better part of the day, traffic –mainly trucks — clogged the commercial arrivals section. It is reported that all truck drivers, both carrying goods in transit and for the local market, united to force Zimra officials to improve on efficiency and service delivery.

In separate interviews, the truckers said they were not happy with the manner in which traffic was managed, especially those carrying transit cargo.

“We spend more than three days here with Zimra saying they have run out of electronic seals for our cargo. Currently they are putting us in batches of 30 trucks, which they then escort to the next port of exit using one vehicle. This is a frustrating process considering that they release the escort vehicle once per day,” said a driver who chose anonymity.

He said the idea of escorting vehicles in batches created unnecessary delays adding that any such delay was eating into their salaries.

“Most of us are paid salaries based on the trips we make per month and a delay of three or four days is not good at all. We are calling on the government to urgently look into the issues around the customs clearance of transit cargo, ” he added.

He said they were concerned with the continued breakdown of the automated system for customs data (Asycuda World plus).

The new Statutory Instrument No 113 on control of transit cargo, makes it mandatory that no cargo shall depart any port of entry before all the details are captured into the electronic clearance system.

A Beitbridge based transporter, Mr Osbert Shumba said vehicles started moving at around 2am yesterday when the Asycuda system had been fixed.

“This is not good for business, we need to engage the customs authority and government, so that we may arrive at a solution. It seems we are having a system of people working on saving their jobs rather than serving the nation. Many transporters are contemplating abandoning the Zimbabwe route, while some have already done so due to the situation here (Beitbridge). Such a development is not good for international trade,” said Mr Shumba.

Zimra’s head of communications, Mr Canisio Mudzimu could not be reached through his mobile phone yesterday. However, some border authorities said the chaos was being fueled by a few transporters who do not want to comply with the new cargo tracking system.

“We have enough seals, it’s just that there are few individuals who want to cause unnecessary confusion,” said the official.

A total of 300 transit trucks pas through Beitbridge border post daily, while 600 are destined for the local market. Government this year introduced electronic cargo seals to deal with issues of transit fraud which is rife.

Transit fraud resulted in situations where importers declare that goods are in transit (removal in transit -RIT) to neighbouring countries yet the cargo is offloaded in Zimbabwe.

As a result of such activities the country was losing a lot of potential revenue to the criminals. Under the customs laws specified goods attract excise duty during importation into the country.

Zimbabwe:Truckers Block Beitbridge Border Post

By Thupeyo Muleya, Beitbridge Bureau

There was chaos at Beitbridge Border Post on Saturday after haulage truck drivers blocked the exit gate on the arrivals commercial section in protest against what they called poor service delivery by the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra), although officials were blaming truckers who do not want their cargo sealed.

For the better part of the day, traffic –mainly trucks — clogged the commercial arrivals section. It is reported that all truck drivers, both carrying goods in transit and for the local market, united to force Zimra officials to improve on efficiency and service delivery.

In separate interviews, the truckers said they were not happy with the manner in which traffic was managed, especially those carrying transit cargo.

“We spend more than three days here with Zimra saying they have run out of electronic seals for our cargo. Currently they are putting us in batches of 30 trucks, which they then escort to the next port of exit using one vehicle. This is a frustrating process considering that they release the escort vehicle once per day,” said a driver who chose anonymity.

He said the idea of escorting vehicles in batches created unnecessary delays adding that any such delay was eating into their salaries.

“Most of us are paid salaries based on the trips we make per month and a delay of three or four days is not good at all. We are calling on the government to urgently look into the issues around the customs clearance of transit cargo, ” he added.

He said they were concerned with the continued breakdown of the automated system for customs data (Asycuda World plus).

The new Statutory Instrument No 113 on control of transit cargo, makes it mandatory that no cargo shall depart any port of entry before all the details are captured into the electronic clearance system.

A Beitbridge based transporter, Mr Osbert Shumba said vehicles started moving at around 2am yesterday when the Asycuda system had been fixed.

“This is not good for business, we need to engage the customs authority and government, so that we may arrive at a solution. It seems we are having a system of people working on saving their jobs rather than serving the nation. Many transporters are contemplating abandoning the Zimbabwe route, while some have already done so due to the situation here (Beitbridge). Such a development is not good for international trade,” said Mr Shumba.

Zimra’s head of communications, Mr Canisio Mudzimu could not be reached through his mobile phone yesterday. However, some border authorities said the chaos was being fueled by a few transporters who do not want to comply with the new cargo tracking system.

“We have enough seals, it’s just that there are few individuals who want to cause unnecessary confusion,” said the official.

A total of 300 transit trucks pas through Beitbridge border post daily, while 600 are destined for the local market. Government this year introduced electronic cargo seals to deal with issues of transit fraud which is rife.

Transit fraud resulted in situations where importers declare that goods are in transit (removal in transit -RIT) to neighbouring countries yet the cargo is offloaded in Zimbabwe.

As a result of such activities the country was losing a lot of potential revenue to the criminals. Under the customs laws specified goods attract excise duty during importation into the country.

Zimbabwe:Mbare Musika Faces Temporary Closure

By Nyemudzai Kakore

Harare City Council will today and tomorrow temporarily shut down part of Mbare Musika Bus Terminus to allow for the upgrading of the station to ease congestion as well as restore order in the CBD, a council official said.

Harare corporate communications manager Mr Michael Chideme said Coventry Holding Bay has now been turned into a bus terminus to pick-up and drop-off passengers from Western suburbs. Mr Chideme said the programme code named “Operation Sunshine City” will witness three new bus terminuses being established. The terminuses will be put in place opposite Rhodesville Police Station and at Coca-Cola Corner where ablution facilities were being put in place since yesterday.

“Mbare Musika Bus Terminus will be under- going renovations beginning tomorrow (today) .The renovations include resurfacing, putting new sheds and fencing of the terminus to make sure that council is able to collect its revenue and to get rid of touts. In the meantime, buses will be using only sections of the areas where we would have completed renovations to pick-up and drop-off passengers. It will be a parallel process. However, we are still looking for more convenient bus terminuses to ease congestion. Rhodesville bus terminus will be ferrying people to places such as Mutare and Marondera while Coca-Cola corner will ferry people to places such as Murehwa and Mutoko,” he said.

The move by council to remove vendors from undesignated sites as well as establish new bus terminuses comes after President Mugabe last week bemoaned the vendor menace and lack of order in the CBD, saying Harare should be the smartest city in the country as it is the capital.

Mr Chideme said council had banned all illegal taxis and commuter omnibuses operating at undesignated places around the city. He said shuttle bus services will be providing passengers with relief transport by dropping them closer to bus terminuses. Questioned on how council will incorporate vendors, Mr Chideme said: “Most vendors will now be relocated to the newly-established bus terminuses so that they will be able to sell their wares to customers boarding buses to different destinations.”

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