Connectivity across the continent is indeed getting better, and African countries are making some of the biggest leaps in terms of mobile and Internet penetration. But growth is easier when you’re starting from a low base — of the 157 countries surveyed in ITU’s ICT Development Index, the worst-ranking 22 are all African.
But Ethiopia in particular is lagging behind. Ethio Telecom, the sole telecommunications provider in the country, is owned by the government, which has no plans to open up the sector to private competition. The country came in 40th out of the 46 African nations included in the ITU report and has an Internet penetration rate of less than 2 percent, despite being home to the continent’s second-largest population, the biggest economy in East and Central Africa, and a fast-developing capital city that hosts the African Union and a number of international summits.
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Prudential’s Tidjane Thiam has become the first chief executive of a FTSE 100 company to be censured by the Financial Services Authority, for misconduct during the insurer’s failed takeover of AIA in 2010.
The City regulator said Prudential had failed to tell the watchdog it planned to launch a $35.5bn (£23.4bn) bid for its Asian rival.
Along with the censure, Prudential was fined £30m because it “failed to deal with the FSA in an open and co-operative manner”.
The first the regulator heard about the deal was when it was leaked to the media on 27 February 2010. Prudential had been working on it since October 2009, and contacted the chief executive of AIG, AIA’s owner, in December of that year. The FSA said Prudential ignored advice from its adviser, Credit Suisse, to inform the regulator.
Britons saved the most for 15 years in 2012 amid worries over an uncertain jobs market, official figures showed yesterday.
Experts put the rise in the household saving ratio to 7.1 per cent, the highest since 1997, down to higher precautionary savings by families. “Households clearly remained in a cautious mood throughout the year,” Markit’s chief economist, Chris Williamson, said.
The UK’s financial standing with the rest of the world is also deteriorating as a stubbornly large trade gap pushed the current account deficit to £57.7bn in 2012. As a share of GDP, 3.7 per cent, it is the highest since 1989.
Peter Jones, the star of the BBC’s Dragons’ Den series, is to relaunch the camera specialist Jessops on the high street today after buying its brand and assets out of administration in January.
The Dragon, who will be chairman and chief executive, will reopen the flagship store on Oxford Street in London and five other former shops in Manchester, Birmingham, High Wycombe, St Albans and Aberdeen. He is also relaunching the website.
A further 30 shops will reopen in April. But Mr Jones, who has invested £5m in the business, does not plan to have more than 50 shops: “I am not seeking to build this into an enormous business.”