Daily Archives: January 24, 2017

IMImobile adds new chatbot, push notification and digital customer engagement capabilities

LONDON, Jan. 24, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — IMImobile, a cloud communications software and solutions provider that helps companies use mobile and digital technologies to engage with customers, today announces that it has added new digital customer engagement capabilities to IMIdigital; its content management and service delivery platform.

This comes on the back of its recently renewed multi-year contract with MTN; the leading mobile telecommunications company in Africa, to support its digital lifestyle services. Under the agreement IMImobile is providing its cloud digital customer engagement software suite to help MTN take advantage of new digital technology trends, to optimise the customer experience for rich digital content services.

New product capabilities added to IMIdigital include the addition of social channels such as Facebook Messenger, push notifications and IMImobile’s chatbot solution, to enhance and automate the mobile content service discovery experience for consumers.

Herman Singh, Chief Digital Officer of MTN Group commented, “MTN is pleased to renew the contract with IMImobile and looks forward to accelerating the growth of its already successful Digital Lifestyle Services portfolio with new capabilities, products and services delivered under this agreement.”

Jay Patel, Chief Executive Officer of IMImobile added, “We are pleased to continue helping MTN to grow its digital services and look forward to developing the next generation of digital services for the African consumer.”

IMImobile has been a partner to MTN Group since 2009, supporting the mobile operator to run over 4,000 digital lifestyle services across 20 countries. Other leading mobile operator groups worldwide are also using IMImobile’s digital customer engagement solutions to enhance their customer experience strategy.

Notes to Editors

IMImobile is a cloud communications software and solutions provider that enables companies to use mobile and digital technologies to communicate and engage with their customers.

Organisations that trust us to deliver smarter digital customer engagement solutions include Vodafone Group, O2, Telefonica, Aircel, Airtel, EE, AT&T, MTN, Orange Group, Centrica, Universal Music, Tata, AA, BBC and major financial institutions.

IMImobile is headquartered in London with offices in Hyderabad, Atlanta, Dubai and Johannesburg and has over 800 employees worldwide. IMImobile is quoted on the London Stock Exchange’s AIM market with the TIDM code IMO.


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Secretary-General Highlights Asymmetric, Uneven Nature of Globalization in Remarks to General Assembly High-Level Dialogue on Building Sustainable Peace for All

Following are UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ remarks to the General Assembly high-level dialogue on Building Sustainable Peace for All: Synergies between the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Sustaining Peace, in New York today:

In recent decades, globalization and technological progress have generated unprecedented economic progress, with higher living standards for many and even a reduction in the number of people in extreme poverty. But these benefits are not enjoyed by everyone. Inequality is high and growing. According to recent figures, the eight richest people in the world have the same wealth as the 3.6 billion poorest. Children in sub-Saharan Africa are more than 14 times more likely to die before their fifth birthday than children in developed countries. Statistics like these drive discontent and erode trust in Governments and international organizations.

Globalization is also asymmetric. Money moves freely � many people think even too freely. Goods and services flow relatively unimpeded. But the movement of people remains severely restricted. Employers can chase the lowest wages but workers cannot chase the highest. The effects of climate change, population growth, rapid urbanization and environmental degradation are contributing to greater competition for resources, adding to tensions and instability.

We are now dealing with some serious failures of development. Whole communities, sectors of society and even countries feel forgotten and left behind. And there is a clear link between failing economies and the potential fragility of societies, institutions and even States. As a result, we see now devastating conflicts erupt, while old ones remain intractable. And this is why I have been stressing the need for a surge in diplomacy for peace, including mediation, negotiation and my own good offices, where appropriate. But this alone will not be enough. We need a global response that addresses the root causes of conflict, and integrates peace, sustainable development and human rights in a holistic way, from conception to execution.

Our priority is prevention � prevention of conflict, of the worst effects of natural disasters, and of other man-made threats to the cohesion and well-being of societies. The best means of prevention, and of sustaining peace, is inclusive and sustainable development. The universal nature of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and its pledge to leave no one behind, ties it to sustaining peace, in line with the General Assembly and Security Council resolutions, as the President of the General Assembly just outlined.

It is important to recognize that the links between the 2030 Agenda and sustaining peace are found not only in Goal 16, on strong institutions and inclusive societies, but across all 17 Goals. Development is an end in itself, and a central part of our work. But while sustaining peace is not the only aim of the 2030 Agenda, implementing all the Sustainable Development Goals will make an enormous contribution to sustaining peace.

Investing in basic services, and in societies that can manage shocks without falling into crisis is investing in sustaining peace. Bringing humanitarian and development agencies together to work towards common goals is investing in sustaining peace. Disaster risk reduction, from sustainable agriculture to flood defences, will mitigate the effects of climate change, make societies more resilient and help to meet our goal of ending extreme poverty and hunger by 2030.

Building more effective and accountable institutions, and protecting human rights, including civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, is investing in sustaining peace. The Human Rights Up Front initiative recognizes this and we must build on it. Promoting social cohesion, so that diversity is seen as a benefit rather than a threat, is investing in sustaining peace. As societies become more multicultural, multi-ethnic and multireligious, people must feel that their identities are valued, even as they feel a sense of belonging to the larger community.

Ensuring the meaningful participation of women and girls in all areas of society, including conflict resolution, is investing in sustaining peace. Gender equality yields greater economic growth and higher standards of living; women’s participation in peacebuilding helps prevent relapse into conflict. Moving to sustainable energy, so that everyone has access to clean energy by 2030, is investing in sustaining peace. Renewable energy offers reliable power to millions in Africa and South-East Asia � the two regions most severely impacted by climate change.

Let me stress two overriding challenges.

First, education; education is a prerequisite for both peace and economic development. Good, quality education systems can help transform societies, especially those affected by conflict. Equality, respect and tolerance learned in the classroom have an impact throughout society, while schools are powerful symbols of investment in people.

Second, youth unemployment deprives millions of young people of the opportunity to fulfil their potential, and plays a part in violent conflict and the rise of global terrorism. Productive employment and decent work are essential for stable, safe societies. Education, training and job creation are part of the solution. Each year of education for boys increases their earning potential, while reducing the risk of their involvement in conflict. Educating girls is essential for gender equality and significantly improves their employment and life chances.

Mesdames et Messieurs les Representants,

Afin d’accompagner les A�tats Membres dans le cadre de cet agenda, l’organisation des Nations Unies doit, elle aussi, A�tre prA�te A� se reformer. J’ai ainsi identifie trois grands domaines de reforme.

Tout d’abord, notre strategie et notre dispositif en faveur de la paix. Les missions de maintien de la paix consomment environ 70% du budget ordinaire de l’Organisation, mais beaucoup d’entre elles sont deployees lA� oA� il n’y a aucune paix A� maintenir.

Nous devons prioriser la prevention des conflits violents et la perennisation de la paix. Ma ConseillAre principale en matiAre de politiques est chargee de recenser les differents moyens de prevention dont dispose le systAme des Nations Unies, et de concevoir une plateforme qui les integrera.

Ensuite, il nous faut reformer le systAme des Nations Unies pour le developpement afin de servir au mieux les A�tats Membres. Il faut pour cela ameliorer la coordination et la responsabilisation des actions menees.

Nous devons pouvoir compter sur un leadership renforce des Nations Unies au niveau national, capable de diriger les efforts deployes A� l’echelle du systAme. Nous devons mettre l’accent sur la poursuite de resultats collectifs et favoriser des dispositifs de financement qui privilegient l’integration et la coherence plutAt que la concurrence entre agences. Je presenterai dans les grandes lignes ma vision du systAme des Nations Unies pour le developpement d’accord avec les decisions de l’Assemblee generale d’ici juin.

Enfin, nous devons proceder A� une reforme de notre administration. Nous butons trop souvent contre nos propres rAgles. Nous n’avons pas mis au point les mecanismes et les procedures dont nous avons besoin.

Je pense que nous avons tout A� gagner A� adopter un dispositif simplifie, decentralise et souple, ancre dans une culture de transparence et de respect du principe de responsabilite. Ceci doit viser precisement A� ameliorer notre capacite A� soutenir les A�tats Membres sur le terrain.

Together with these reforms, it is crucial to build a new generation of partnerships, with Governments, civil society, regional organizations, international financial institutions, academia and the business community. In particular, there is a striking alignment between the interests of many companies and the strategic goals of the international community.

This is already clear in the explosion of the Green Economy. But more broadly, recent research estimates that the total economic benefit from implementing the 2030 Agenda runs to tens of trillions of dollars in business savings and revenue. This represents an enormous investment opportunity for the corporate sector, whose contribution will be vital for innovation, improved skills, job creation, and developing new markets, products and services.

And the final part of the equation is funding. We must implement the Addis Ababa Action Agenda � but we must go further. Developing countries need access to new technologies and markets � and they need the developed world to meet long-standing aid commitments. Global efforts should support countries’ own funding mechanisms, including improved and reformed taxation systems, and should reduce illicit financial flows.

International financial institutions should be able to leverage resources and support countries in gaining access to financial markets and to foreign direct investment. Official development assistance, like humanitarian aid, should be allocated strategically according to clearly identified risks and needs. We need a global recognition that countries at greatest risk should get the most support.

The 2030 Agenda and the Sustaining Peace resolutions are our road map to a safer, more resilient and sustainable world. Here at the General Assembly, we have a unique and equalizing space to build consensus towards a better future for all. With your trust and support, I believe we can make progress for the people of the world.

Thank you very much.

Source: United Nations

Defence commemorates Armed Forces Day, 21 Feb

Armed Forces Day celebrations and the centenary commemoration of the sinking of the SS Mendi in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal

In 2012, the President of the Republic of South Africa (RSA) and Commander-in�Chief of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) proclaimed that 21 February each year will be observed and commemorated as Armed Forces Day (AFD). President Jacob Zuma will officiate in this 6th segment of Armed Forces Day celebrations.

As the main functionary, he will take the salute from the South African National Defence Force during the military parade. It is a day on which the South African population honours men and women of the South African National Defence Force by affirming its support and gratitude to them for upholding the constitution of the Republic and defending the territorial integrity of the Republic and protecting its people.

The Chief of the South Africa National Defence Force (C SANDF), General Solly Shoke has authorised the hosting of the Armed Forces Day Celebration 2017 and the Centenary commemoration of the sinking of the SS Mendi to be held concurrently on Tuesday, 21 February 2017 at Moses Mabhida Stadium in eThekwini, KwaZulu-Natal Province and the English Channel in England respectively. The proceedings are scheduled to commence at 10h00.

The Armed Forces Day was implemented to achieve several objectives which are as follows:

To unite all South Africans behind the SANDF.

To allow the SANDF an opportunity to interact with communities.

To expand public understanding of the military’s role and its purpose to society.

To showcase the latest military equipment and technologies used to protect the Republic and its Citizens.

To demonstrate the military combat readiness against threats and as well as to support government during peace time.

During the AFD 2017 parade and the centenary commemoration of the sinking of the SS Mendi on 21 February 1917, the President will lay a wreath in honour of the fallen heroes of the South African Native Labour Corps (SANLC) who perished on the morning of Saturday, 21 February 1917.

Among the black Africans lost were some prominent men such as the Pondoland chiefs Henry Bokleni, Dokoda Richard Ndamase, Mxonywa Bangani, Mongameli and the Reverend Isaac Wauchope Dyobha.

The wreath laying ceremony will be followed by a medal parade wherein the Commander-in-Chief will bestow various military medals to deserving SANDF members including the awarding of a 40 Years Service medal to the Chief of the SANDF, General Solly Shoke.

Various other supporting activities have been planned as part of the celebrations and these activities include the following:

Media Launch � 8 February 2017

N.B: The venue and other related arrangements will be communicated in due course.

Arrival of Mechanized Columns – 14 February 2017

A convoy of the various types of military vehicles and support elements will arrive in Durban in preparation for the main events and other supporting activities. The convoy will use N3 highway from Pietermaritzburg and drive through the City Centre.

Fan Park grand opening – 16 Feb 2017

(Durban Old Drive Inn @ corner Sandile Thusi & Sylvester Ntuli Streets)

The Fan Park is open to public until 21 Feb 2017 and will provide live-link to view adjacent events on television big screens. Opening daily from 9h00 – 18h00.

Live Capability Demonstration – 18 Feb 17

(The New Beach – next to Addington Hospital).

Open to public. The demonstration will commence at 14h00 and last for 1 hour.

Armed Forces Day Gala Music Concert – 18 February 2017 at Durban City Hall (Dr Prixley KaSeme Street or old West Street).

The public is advised to get their free admission tickets at Durban City Hall Information Counter as well as Lords Army Military Unit in City Centre. Gates open at 17h00 and the event starts at 18h30.

CISM Fun Walk / Run – 19 February 2017 (Beach Front)

The event will start at Blue Lagoon at 6h00 and end at uShaka Marine. The event is open to the public who wish to participate.

Night Shooting Capability – 20 February 2017 (Blue Lagoon (Durban North).

The demonstration will commence at 19h00 and last for up to 45 minutes. It is open to the public, guests. Attending members of the public to be seated by 18h30

Armed Forces Day Parade – 21 February 2017 (M4 road – podium at the back-end of Moses Mabida Stadium).

Members of the public are invited. The parade will commence at 10h00.

Grand Closure – Capability Demonstration – 21 February 2017 at Blue Lagoon (Durban North) directly after the parade

The public is allowed to come and view the demonstration. Those who can’t make it to the parade and/or capability demo will have an opportunity to view all proceedings at the Fan Park through big screens projection (live-feed).

Like so many other military disasters, the story of the SS Mendi is a story of supreme courage in the face of death and valour shown between brothers toward each other in dire circumstances. The courage displayed by these men has remained a legend in South African military history.

Members of the media are invited and encouraged to submit their names to Colonel Ronald Maseko for accreditation purposes in order to gain access to cover the AFD 2017 celebrations activities. The names should include the following details:

Full Name and Surname

Country of Origin

Identification Number

Type of Identification (ID / Passport /)

Media House (employer)

Area of Residence and Employment (Durban / Pretoria etc)

Specify occupation title (e.g. Journalist / Photographer / Editor etc)

Contact Detail (Office and Mobile numbers)

These details should reach Colonel Ronald Maseko no later than Friday, 27 January 2017. Accreditation centres will be opened from Thursday, 02 February 2017 until 21 February 2017 in Durban (Natal Mounted Rifles) and Pretoria (Air Force Base Waterkloof). Please note that no member of the media will be assisted at these centres without prior vetting of the required information as specified herein above.

Source: Government of South Africa

Alternate Foreign Minister G. Katrougalos participating in informal GAC (Valletta, 23 January 2017)

Alternate Foreign Minister G. Katrougalos is in Valletta to participate in the informal meeting of the EU General Affairs Council (GAC) being held in Malta (23-24 January), within the framework of Malta’s Presidency of the Council of the EU in the first half of 2017.

Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Hellenic Republic


The South African National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) has approved the funding applications of almost 120,000 university and Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) college students for the 2017 academic year.

According to the figures provided by NSFAS, the scheme approved 15,349 applications for new students and 74 376 for returning students at the 21 country’s universities.

The scheme has also approved 28,530 applications for returning students at 18 TVET colleges.

The numbers are not final and will keep increasing as we approve many more students on a daily basis, the scheme said in a statement on Monday.

NSFAS said recently that it has already started communicating application results for the first phase and will continue to do so via SMS and email.

For those who submitted applications from Jan 9 (second phase), the outcome of applications will be communicated from Feb 1.

Students who are receiving social grants and have applied to NSFAS for financial assistance in 2017 will not be means tested like other applicants.

They will qualify to receive funding because they have already been means tested by the Department of Social Development.

According to the Department of Basic Education, more than 600,000 full-time learners registered to write the recent National Senior Certificate exams. Of these, 188,758 are social grant beneficiaries.