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Time to Light Up: TECNO’s Upgraded SPARK 3 Series with AI Bright Camera goes on sale in Uganda

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The model will be presented in four stylish colors - Midnight Black, Champagne Gold, Bordeaux Red and Aqua Blue

TECNO SPARK 3 and SPARK 3 Pro, the third generation of the SPARK series, that were globally premiered on April 23rd have gone on sale in Uganda today, according to according to Gladys Liu, the TECNO Mobile Marketing Manager in Uganda.

Ms Liu was addressing the media at Kampala Sheraton Hotel, on Monday May, 6th  

In an earlier global statement by Stephen HA, Managing Director and GM of the Hong-kong based TECNO Mobile, said that the TECNO SPARK 3 series are equipped with the latest Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology that allow the phone to “take photography to a whole new level as it’s a by-product of rigorous research of massive human faces.”

“Come and try SPARK 3, the AI Beauty Mode will blow your mind,” he said, adding: “The SPARK 3 camera comes equipped with AI technologies and high configuration for brighter photos that results in high quality, bright and smooth pictures.”

“Capture More Beauty; SPARK 3 can give the most suitable level of “re-touch” and “lighting” automatically to your photos,” he said.

Some of the features include: 3D Face Fine-tuning, Mix Flash 2.0 and Smart Voice Assistant.

The SPARK 3 has 16GB RAM while the SPARK 3 PRO has 32GB RAM for speedy processing of data. The devices also come with the MTK 6761 processor and a 2.0GHz more powerful CPU that gives a more enjoyable experience when interacting with the device.

“The design of the SPARK 3 gives off a classy and trendy appearance. With a reduced visual thickness of 5.75mm, along with a composite back glass plate, the SPARK 3 is noticeably thinner and easier to grip. The model will be presented in four stylish colors – Midnight Black, Champagne Gold, Bordeaux Red and Aqua Blue,” said Ha.  

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Big Story

Dangote; Africa’s richest man named among greatest leaders on Earth

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Aliko Dangote GCON is a Nigerian business magnate, investor, and owner of the Dangote Group, which has interests in commodities in Nigeria and other African countries. As of March 2019, he had an estimated net worth of US$10.6 billion.

Philanthropist and richest man in Africa, Aliko Dangote has been rated 11th of the 50 World’ Greatest leaders for 2019.

The rating carried out by the Fortune Magazine, an American multinational business magazine headquartered in New York City, United States was released recently and focused mainly on the businesses run by the men and how they have used it to impact their society positively.

The time-tested magazine, whose first edition was published in February 1930, said the world’s greatest leaders both men and women are transforming the world and inspiring others to do so in business, government, philanthropy and the arts.

“These thinkers, speakers, and doers make bold choices and take big risks- and move others to do the same”, the magazine declared.

This is the first time Fortune magazine is recognizing and including Aliko Dangote in the annual ranking. Specifically, Dangote having popped up in the magazine’s radar earned nomination after being adjudged as having used business to acquire wealth and who is now converting his wealth into impactful philanthropy through his Aliko Dangote Foundation.

The top 10 greatest men and women, according to Fortune are: Bill and Melinda Gates, Jacinda Ardem (Prime Minister, New Zealand), Robert Mueller (Special Counsel, Department of Justice), Pony Ma (Founder and CEO, Tencent), Satya Nadella (CEO, Microsoft), Greta Thunberg (Student and climate activist, Sweden), Margrethe Vestager (Commissioner for Competition, European Union), Anna Nimiriano (Editor-in-Chief, Juba Monitor), Jose Andres (Chef/Founder, World Central Kitchen), and Dough Mcmillon and Lisa Woods (CEO; Senior Director, Strategy & Design for U.S. Benefits, Walmart).

The ranking of Dangote as one of the greatest business leaders has attracted comments by eminent persons around the world who described him as worthy of the nomination going by his business acumen and philanthropic gestures.

Global business giant and founder of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Mr. Bill Gate extolled the efforts of Dangote in making businesses play roles in provision of sound public health through his various interventions in health care issues especially in the fight against malnutrition and routine polio.

Gates, who himself was ranked along with Dangote, said “Aliko Dangote, through his leadership at the Aliko Dangote Foundation, is a key partner in the Polio eradication effort, strengthening routine immunisation and fighting malnutrition in Nigeria and across Africa. Aliko bridges the gap between private business and public health in a unique way and our shared belief that Nigeria will thrive when every Nigerian is able to thrive drives our partnership.”

Renowned activist and co-founder of ONE, Paul David Hewson, popularly called Mr. Bono said he was not surprised at Mr. Dangote’s feat globally, saying his vision is as big as the African continent.

Bono, a global campaigner on taking action to end extreme poverty especially in Africa said: “Aliko has a vision just the size of his continent, but with humility of somebody who has just started his first job. It’s no surprise to me that Fortune would recognise his leadership because we have seen first-hand, through his service on ONE’s Board, the benefits of his wise counsel and grace.”

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The CEO 100

LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON: Rajiv Ruparelia comes of age; consolidates grip on family business

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TWO GENERATIONS OF RUPARELIAS: Billionaire businessman and founder of the Ruparelia Group, Dr. Sudhir Ruparelia is slowly handing over the reigns to son, Rajiv Ruparelia (29). He is probably the youngest CEO of a multi million dollar empire.

On Sunday, 19th May 2019, the Ruparelia Group opened their iconic Kingdom Kampala Mall, but unlike in many other major Group milestones, there was one person missing- Dr Sudhir Ruparelia, the group’s founder and sharp-witted Chairman, since 1986.

Ordinarily, Sudhir, would have been on site and in control, putting everyone in order- but this time, he on 18th May 2019, chose to fly out to Europe for a holiday, to catch up with his buddies in London and then on to Yacht Club De Monaco in Monaco- a sovereign city-state on the French Riviera, also known as a “Billionaires Playground’ to catch up with the Monaco Grand Prix on May 22nd.

Instead, Rajiv Ruparelia, his son and apparent heir, was firmly in charge, ensuring that everything was moving like clockwork- from supervising the catering, to ensuring all the invited guests- many of whom included his father’s friends and business partners were well taken care of as well as addressing the press.

Mrs Jyostna Ruparelia a director of the Ruparelia Group and Mr Rajiv Ruparelia, Group Managing Director, together with friends and family cut the tape to officially launch the iconic Kingdom Kampala Mall. The construction project was overseen by Rajiv from start to finish!

When he did address the press, Rajiv easily spoke the real estate industry, the Ugandan economy and the future and neatly weaved in the role that the Ruparelia Group seeks to play in a fast-growing Kampala Metropolitan.

“We are glad to launch at this strategic time when Uganda is progressing in the oil and gas developments. We hope and believe the oil companies will reach the Final Investment Decision (FID) this year- that will stimulate extreme economic opportunities, in Uganda,” he told the media.  

Rajiv, also easily defended the Group’s development at a piece of land formerly occupied by Shimoni Demonstration Primary School, arguing that a modern city needs matching modern infrastructure to meet the needs of a fast growing population.  

 “Shimoni did its purpose; it is now time to develop the city into the modern metropolitan city that we all need,” he maintained, adding: “The city needs to grow and provide the necessary services for the people. As the middle class grows, they will need more and more office space and serviced apartments and other supporting infrastructure- we just need to develop our city,” said, a firm Rajiv, who looked at peace with the press.

Managing Director, Ruparelia Group

Born on January 2, 1990 Rajiv Ruparelia is only 29 years- but he has done it all.

Born in Uganda, he did his education in the United Kingdom at- Dragon School in Oxford and then Dean Close School.

Dr Sudhir Ruparelia and son, Rajiv Ruparelia arrive at the Commercial Court for a ruling in a case that the group brought against Sebalu & Lule Advocates, a city law firm. As Group Managing Director, Rajiv, has been key in group operations and strategy.

At the age of 17, in 2007, he chose business over education and opened his very first business- Club Sway, a youthful club on Kampala Road.

He would later close the club in 2010 to return to school, with some hard real-life lessons learnt.

He joined Regent’s University, London where he pursued a Bachelor’s of Business Administration, majoring in Financial Management. He graduated late 2013 and returned home.

In 2014, he joined the family business- but had to work his way up.  

This was not by accident- it is Sudhir’s way of doing things.

In a July 7, 2014 interview with CNN Money, Sudhir said that while it was important that family members join family-owned businesses to ensure continuity, it was always important that they get the appropriate mentorship first.

THE RUPARELIAS: A family group shot taken in August 2017, at Rajiv’s wedding in London, UK. 2017 was a double win for the young Rajiv; other than wedding his long-time sweetheart, Naiya Kaghram, Rajiv was also appointed Group Managing Director of the Ruparelia Group.

“I think it is important that when you have an ongoing business, you create a very good team of professional managers, and then at the same time, train your family to work with them, and then see how they can manage and move on,” he said at the time.

So, young Rajiv was deployed to the numerous group construction sites where he managed labourers and materials.  

Later on, he would pick keen interest and be mentored in design, planning, feasibility, and implementation of full developments for hotels, schools, retail, commercial and residential real estate.  

Between 2014 and 2017, Rajiv worked hard to deliver some major building projects such as Kampala Boulevard, Hardware City and Electrical Plaza Nakasero- all on time and on cost. He also, with some hand-holding from his father, kick-started other major projects such as Speke Apartments, Wampewo and at Kitante as well as the recently commissioned Kingdom Kampala Mall.

An artist’s impression of Bukoto Living- a residential real estate project being developed by Rajiv and his sister, Sheena Ruparelia from their own individual funds. The project is scheduled for completion in July 2020. The entire 27 apartments are for sale

Having proved the Ruparelia in him, he in 2017, at the age of 27, his father appointed him the Group Managing Director, Ruparelia Group to oversee the group’s 28 different businesses- ranging from financial services, real estate, education services, hospitality, agriculture and media/broadcasting.

In the same year, in August, he married his long-time fiancé Naiya Khagram in a lavish wedding in London, United Kingdom and Madrid, Spain; completing the transition from a boy, to a real man.

At 29 today, Rajiv is the youngest Managing Director, but possibly among the top 10 CEOs with the biggest portfolios last estimated by Forbes to be over $880 million in 2015.

Like father, like son

In true Ruparelia fashion, Rajiv is a businessman of his own, in every sense.

In 2018, he was instrumental in the setting up of Premier Recruitment- a private external labour recruitment company, to tap into the $1.24 billion (UGX4.5 trillion) industry.

He is the founder Chief Executive Officer.

PAPA BEAR AND HIS CUB: Dr Sudhir Ruparelia, introduces a young Rajiv to his friends and associates at one of the group’s events.

Just a few months after set up, he has already secured a number of employment contracts in the Middle East and on 19th January, 2019 the company sent their first batch of Ugandan girls to work in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on a two year contract.

On why he joined an industry that is outside the typical group stable of businesses, Rajiv told this reporter that the new labour externalization industry is about managing people, something he already is good at- since the group has over 8,000 employees.

He also argues that the sector is a vital source of livelihood for both the employees and their families and a major pillar of the economy that ought to be protected by all the stakeholders and bad apples weeded out.

Child artist, Fresh Kid, alias Patrick Ssenyonjo, poses with staff of Kampala Parents School and Naiya Ruparelia. Fresh Kid has earned himself a full education scholarship from Rajiv, through the Ruparelia Foundation.

“Uganda has a competitive advantage over a number of African countries because of our good English that we need to leverage just like our neighbours in Kenya. According to the World Bank and IMF Balance of Payments as well as Bank of Uganda data, personal remittances to Uganda have grown by 174.6% from $451.6 million (UGX1.66 trillion) in 2007 to $1.24billion (UGX4.5 trillion) in 2017, but our neighbours, Kenya raked in $1.962 billion (UGX7.2 trillion) in 2017 and $2.5 billion (UGX9.2 trillion) in 2018,” noted Rajiv, adding: “Diaspora remittances to Uganda are equivalent to 30% of Uganda’s traditional export earnings- $3.4bn (UGX12.5 trillion) in 2017 and $3.6bn (UGX13.2 trillion) in 2018 and almost 3 times bigger than coffee export receipts- $555.4m (UGX2 trillion) in 2017 and $436.4m (UGX1.6 trillion) in 2018. Protecting and harnessing more value from this vital sector should be the responsibility of everyone.”

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree

Like his father, he has also maintained love for real estate.

He, together with his sister, Sheena Ruparelia, also a director in the Group are developing their own very first private residential real estate project- Bukoto Living.

Bukoto Living is a multimillion dollar project, consisting of 9 floors of 27 two, three, four and five bedroom units- all for sale.

WORK HARD, PLAY HARDER: Rajiv and wife Naiya (left) pose for a photo with Dr Sudhir Ruparelia on the occasion of unveiling Ruparelia Rally (RR) Team. Young Rajiv has jumped into motor rallying with a Volkswagen Polo WRC Proto Car

Located at the confluence of Bukoto, Naguru and Ntinda and only 150 meters from the main road, the units will be delivered by July 2020.

A 2 bedroom apartment with 160sqm of space goes for $168,000 while a 3 bedroom apartment with 200sqm of space goes for $210,000. A 4-bedroom apartment measuring 215sqm goes for $330,750 while a 5-bedroom apartment measuring 345sqm goes for $352,250.

Rajiv, also like father, has a warm heart and has participated in several charity causes- both as an individual and through the Ruparelia Foundation, the family’s charity arm.

The latest beneficiary of the group’s benevolence is child artist, Fresh Kid, alias Patrick Ssenyonjo, who will have his education catered for by Rajiv.

“I’m a true believer that people and systems drive a successful business,” he says of his management philosophy, on his LinkedIn profile.

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Government Agencies

BoU-COSASE PROBE: Parliament did its work, Executive should act on our recommendations- Kadaga

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Kadaga, says there is need for the executive arm to both expedite the supply of the relevant laws to parliament and act on parliament's recommendations

The Speaker of Parliament, Rt Hon. Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga has implored the executive arm of government to expedite bills to reform several aspects governing the banking industry and the running of Bank of Uganda, as recommended by Parliament’s committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE).

In an exclusive interview with CEO East Africa Magazine, Rt Hon Kadaga said that Parliament had done its job of investigation and making recommendations and it was now up to the executive to introduce the necessary amendments to the existing laws.

“Most of the recommendations/resolutions passed are advisory, so the Executive has the obligation to implement them. For instance the probe on Bank of Uganda, most of the recommendations require amendments to the current Act (s). The Executive has to expedite this process for most of these recommendations to be put into action,” Kadaga told this reporter.

LEFT -RIGHT: AG John Muwanga, BoU Deputy Governor Louis Kasekenda and Speaker Rebecca Kadaga. The Speaker has said that following a satisfactory job on probing BoU, it was now up to the Executive to introduce the relevant bills to Parliament to bring alive the recommendations.

Kadaga’s comments come on the heels of a recent statement by the Inspector General of Government (IGG), Mrs Irene Mulyagonja Kakooza, that her office would not investigate the named officials in the COSASE probe, as Parliament had not explicitly asked her office to do so. 

Kadaga, also expressed dissatisfaction and frustration at the executive’s speed in responding to Parliament’s recommendations especially in dealing with accountability issues.

“I think there is a gap because if we investigate and make recommendations, we cannot direct them (IGG); it is the government to say we are going to do A,B,C and D, that is why I was saying that they (executive) are supposed to come back in six months to say that on recommendation this, we have sacked so and so and on this recommendation, we are prosecuting so and so; on this one we have got a conviction and they have not done that,” she said.

“Parliament cannot be prosecutors and also the judge, so that is where the limitation is; it is very frustrating for us,” she said.

Amend Financial Institutions and Bank of Uganda Acts

The COSASE probe into the irregular closures of seven (7) defunct banks made a number of significant recommendations covering the management of troubled financial institutions as well as governance at Bank of Uganda.

Over and above recommending that the named BoU officials be held liable for their respective negligent acts, COSASE also recommended that article 161 (4), that provides that the Governor and deputy Governor shall be Chairperson and Vice Chairperson of the BoU Board respectively, be amended.

“Good corporate governance principles would require that the position of Chairperson and vice Chairperson of the Board is separated from the position of Chief Executive Officer and his Deputy,” said the COSASE MPs, arguing that this was necessary to “protect objectivity of the Board and its independence from management.”

“Separation of these two positions is generally regarded as good practice, as it can help to achieve an appropriate balance of power, increase accountability and improve the Board’s capacity for decision making independent of management. It is the recommendation of this committee therefore, that article 161 (4) be reviewed to separate the offices of the leadership of the Board and top management of BoU,” read the COSASE report.

The MPs also recommended for a specific amendment of the Financial Institutions Act, 2004 to “make a specific provision for the timelines of undertaking all the activities related to and connected with resolution of financial institutions.”

Relatedly, they also said that the BoU board, “in consultation with the Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development should by statutory instrument, in not more than six months issue procedures and guidelines under FIA, 2004 on the resolution of financial institutions in distress.”

They also recommended that the role of resolving of financial institutions in distress be moved from the BoU supervision department, to another department.

“It is recommended that the mandate of resolving financial institutions in distress be independent of the bank supervision function. This would mitigate the risk of conflict of interest,” observed and recommended the MPs.

“We are waiting for action from the executive,” Kadaga said.

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