In 2004, the National Transitional Government of Liberia (NTGL) embarked upon a great experiment: opening the telecommunications market to competition. The result has been an unmitigated success. We have gone from a landscape of only 5,000 lines when a public corporation called The Liberian Telecommunications Corporation (“Telecom” headquartered on Lynch Street) ruled the roost to a situation where there are almost 2 million GSM subscribers today. The cost to the national treasury has been zero, zilch, nada. But the treasury reaps millions of dollars each year from the GSM companies by way of tax revenue. It’s like belonging to a susu club, to which you contribute nothing but from which you receive thousands of dollars every month. A similar scenario can be brought into being with regard to electricity.According to the folks at Manitoba Hydro, the Canadian company that is managing LEC under a lucrative 5-year contract, financed by the Norwegian government, by which they will have pulled in $8 million in fees by the time their contract ends, the demand for electricity in Monrovia alone is 120MW. LEC is currently producing only 6MW, just 5 percent of the demand. The rest is coming through self-generation. We are producing our own electricity using everything from small Tiger generators to large Perkins and Caterpillar machines.And why is LEC only producing 6MW of power? Because many of its old generators have reached the end of their useful life. In fact, LEC is producing less electricity today than it did, say, 3-4 years ago. One clever wag has suggested that LEC changes its slogan from “Small Light Today, Big Light Tomorrow” to “Small Light Today, Even Smaller Light Tomorrow”. LEC simply does not have the resources to get the job done. To bring 120MW of current to Monrovia will cost several hundred million dollars. LEC does not have that kind of money. The Government of Liberia (GOL) operating on a shoestring budget of $500 million does not have the millions to capitalize LEC to level required for LEC to get the job done. And if we are waiting for GOL to come up with the money, we will be waiting another 100 years.Right now LEC is living on life support—-from donors. In addition to the $12 million that the Norwegian government has spent to finance the Manitoba Hydro contract, this same Norwegian government has shelled out an additional $29 million to enable LEC to expand its network. Well, you cannot build a sustainable business on the basis of handouts from donors. Donor programs typically are short-lived. So, what happens when the donor program comes to an end, as they inevitably will? You are left high and dry. If the Norwegians decide not to renew their aid program, LEC will collapse.So, what are the options for LEC? If LEC wishes to remain in business, it should either seek a long-term partner, a utility with bags of money and know-how, a partner which will inevitably demand a controlling interest in the entity. Or, LEC can simply become a landlord, leasing out its assets to another utility and collecting rent. Alternatively, it could simply sell its assets (and corresponding liabilities).But lest we allow ourselves to become too distracted with trying to solve LEC’s internal problems, let us return to our original premise: how can we apply the lessons we have learned from opening the telecommunications market to competition to electricity?The answer is quite simple: set aside the LEC monopoly and allow private companies to come to Liberia, set up shop and produce and sell electricity to us. This is precisely what an NGO that me and 25 other Liberian citizens established in December last year are advocating. Our NGO, “The Coalition to Bring Plenty Cheap Reliable Stable Electricity to Liberia” (“Brescelco” for short) has drafted a law, the “Act To Reform Liberia’s Electricity Sector” that was introduced into the Liberian Senate a few months ago under the sponsorship of Bong County Senator Jewel Howard Taylor, Montserrado Senator George Weah, Rivercess Senator Francis Paye, and Grand Bassa Senator Nyonblee Karnga Lawrence.We have mounted a vigorous public awareness campaign, visiting 60 communities to educate the public about the issues surrounding electricity. We have placed full page advertisements in newspapers, mounted banners and distributed tens of thousands of leaflets. We have collected 12, 000 signatures so far on a petition that will be presented to our law makers. The purpose of this grassroots initiative is to get the public involved in making representations to their elected officials to act so that our electricity problem can be solved.On Friday, the Senate energy committee will be holding hearings on this matter under the gavel of its learned chairman, Professor Albert Chie, one of the architects of Liberia’s national energy policy that was completed in 2009 but never implemented. The writer is a certified public accountant and a businessman. He can be reached at .Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
“Likejacking” Takes Off on FacebookGeorge W. Bush Has Joined FacebookThe Coming Data ExplosionThe Case Against LinksiPad: $1 Billion Later, What Do You Think of It Now?Google.com Gets A Photo – YoursMore coverage and analysis from ReadWriteWebThe Real-Time Web Summit, New York CityYou’re invited to join ReadWriteWeb for our third event and our first on the East Coast: the ReadWriteWeb Real-Time Web Summit, on June 11 at the Metropolitan Pavilion in New York City. This is our second Summit on the Real-Time Web, following on from our successful debut event in Mountain View last October. It will follow the same unconference format, which we have gotten a lot of great feedback on.The Real-Time Web is a set of technologies that impacts almost every service, activity and application on the Web. We were one of the first news outlets to analyze the Real-Time Web and we’ve since written extensively about it. Come to the summit to understand how it impacts you, your business and your next development.The ReadWriteWeb team is excited about our first New York event and we look forward to seeing you there! Click here to get a 30% discount on your registration.Real-Time Web A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… ReadWriteStart Our channel ReadWriteStart, sponsored by Microsoft BizSpark, is dedicated to profiling startups and entrepreneurs. RFID Hoaxes and HexesInternet of Things Business Models: Pachube Partners With Current CostTowards a Trillion Nodes: Crossbow SensorsMore Internet of Things coverageMobile WebSteve Jobs: Tablets will Usher in Post-PC EraDon’t Believe the Hype: Sprint “4G” Slower Than T-Mobile 3G, Report FindsPoll: Is AT&T Strangling the Future or Is Everything Going to Be OK?More Mobile Web coverageCheck Out The ReadWriteWeb iPhone App We recently launched the official ReadWriteWeb iPhone app. As well as enabling you to read ReadWriteWeb while on the go or lying on the couch, we’ve made it easy to share ReadWriteWeb posts directly from your iPhone, on Twitter and Facebook. You can also follow the RWW team on Twitter, directly from the app. We invite you to download it now from iTunes. Never Mind the Valley: Here’s Finland5 Basic Things to Consider Before Moving Your Startup to the CloudAnalytics for Your Startup: Building the Right MetricsReadWriteCloud Our channel ReadWriteCloud, sponsored by VMware and Intel, is dedicated to Virtualization and Cloud Computing. Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Survey: More Than 80% of Businesses Support the iPadWeekly Poll: Why Are Open APIs So Hot?Rackspace Cloud Grows to U.K. – Hosting VMware and Xen in HarmonyEnjoy your weekend everyone.Subscribe to Weekly Wrap-upYou can subscribe to the Weekly Wrap-up by RSS or by email below.RWW Weekly Wrap-up Email Subscription form: ReadWrite Sponsors YouTube Adds Real-Time Discussion Support with Google ModeratorOilaholic: Oil Spill Goes Real-TimeSpy-in-the-Sky as a Cloud ServiceMore Real-Time Web coverage. Don’t miss the next wave of opportunity on the Web supported by real-time technology! Get ReadWriteWeb’s report, The Real-Time Web and its Future.Augmented RealityAugmented Reality Get Its Own Standardized LogoHow Augmented Reality Helps Doctors Save Lives More Augmented Reality coverageAugmented Reality for Marketers and Developers: Our Newest Research Report We’re pleased to announce ReadWriteWeb’s latest premium report, Augmented Reality for Marketers and Developers: Analysis of the Leaders, the Challenges and the Future. This report will help you develop a sophisticated understanding of Augmented Reality (AR), the mobile and Web technology that places data on top of a user’s view of the physical world. The research included will help you decrease your AR development time to market by learning from the first wave of early adopters. AR offers a new marketing and product paradigm for a high impact, high value customer experience. More than 1,000 AR campaigns were kicked-off last year and we expect to see many more in 2010. In this report, we profile key AR development companies, their campaigns as well as development lessons learned. For more information or to buy the report, visit here.Internet of Things Related Posts Tags:#web#Weekly Wrap-ups While Facebook was once again the biggest story this week (“Likejacking” Takes Off on Facebook), our top stories range from the coming data explosion to an argument against linking. We also continued our exploration of the significant Internet trends of 2010: There are RFID hoaxes and hexes in the Internet of Things; a special logo for augmented reality; and the oil spill goes real time. Read on for more.Story of the Week Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market
On our website, an individual recently shared that their neighbor’s son stepped on an improvised explosive device (IED) while serving in Afghanistan and asked if we could provide information or support services.My initial reaction was heartfelt sympathy for those families struggling from the effects of war.Secondly, I wonder what advice can I offer an individual in this particular situation–who at this very moment is unaware that their role as family member, spouse, partner or friend is forever changing to the role as military caregiver.Caring for a service member who has suffered injuries from an IED blast can be overwhelming, as is caring for anyone injured in combat.According to the Department of Defense, Personnel and Military Casualty Statistics, IEDs have caused over 70% of all American combat casualties in Iraq and 50% of combat casualties in Afghanistan, both killed and wounded.Depending on your wounded warrior’s military branch (Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, National Guard, Navy) notification of your loved one wounded in combat differs, as does the specific military injury.Once you get the callWhile military spouses and family members hope never to receive a call that their service member has been wounded, it is important to be aware of the life-changing events that are about to unfold. To learn more about the notification process and tips to prepare you in the event your loved one is injured, check out “Once You Get the Call!”“Once You Get the Call!” not only includes information about the notifications process and tips but also includes contact information to the Department of the Army’s Wounded in Action Branch (DA WIA). The contact information will allow you to directly talk to a representative about the status of your wounded warrior IF he/she is in the Army. Also, if your military family member is in the Army, it may be helpful to contact his/her installation base’s Warrior in Transition Battalion (WTB). The WTB will aid in any information as it relates to injured service members and IED blasts.Connecting with caregiversWhen researching information about IEDs and caregiver support services, I truly believe the best place to start is to connect with caregivers who have already experienced this type of situation. While no wounded warrior experience is the same, utilizing veteran caregivers may be beneficial in receiving feedback on such topics as:Caregiver emotionsSpecific medical conditionsBenefitsAdditional resourcesFor specific caregiver contact information, I suggest contacting Denise Mettie (firstname.lastname@example.org). Denise is a veteran caregiver to her son Evan, who was injured in 2006 when his Humvee ran over an IED. Her son Evan, suffers from severe traumatic brain injury due to shrapnel from the IED blast. Denise can share an insight into her experiences that may help you during this time.In addition to contacting Denise, it may be helpful to follow Colleen Saffron, a Voice of Warriors columnist. The Voice of Warriors gives an insight into Colleen’s trials and tribulations as a military family caregiver and offers advice to caregivers in similar caregiving situations.Colleen’s husband was wounded in 2004 from an IED explosion as well. Colleen founded, “Operation Life Transformed,” a nonprofit group that trains families of wounded service members so they can work from home while caring for their loved ones. Colleen is very familiar with Veterans Affairs, the WTB and the Army Wounded Warrior Program. Also, she continues to be involved with advocacy and awareness for families of wounded service members. To learn more about Colleen’s story, see U.S. Army Face of Strength.
Pune’s prominent museums have decided to exhibit their artefacts and antiquities under one roof to mark International Museum Day on May 18 and revive the sagging culture of museum watching in the city.The three-day exhibition will be held at the Symbiosis Society’s Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Museum and Memorial. Twelve of the 36 museums in the city, including the renowned Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum, will take part in the exhibition.“It is unfortunate that in a culturally vibrant hub like Pune many locals aren’t aware that the city is home to many museums of diverse intellectual hues. Many foreigners wanting to soak a whiff of the city’s much-hallowed heritage and history are at a loss owing to the lack of awareness,” said Sanjivani Mujumdar, director, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Museum and Memorial. The International Museum Day is an initiative of the International Council of Museums, the apex body of museums across the world, and is celebrated to raise awareness of the importance of museums. The city’s Mahatma Phule Museum with its impressive display of engineering tools, geology, natural history and armoury will participate along with the two museums of the Deccan College: The Maratha History Museum and the Archaeology Museum.Established in 1939, the Archaeology Museum hosts the finest collection of stone tools from prehistoric period and from different parts of peninsular India – some of which will be on display during the exhibition. But the exhibition boasts other treats like Joshi’s Museum of Miniature Railways, which charts the history of railways through painstaking miniature models, and Blades of Glory, which boasts the world’s largest collection of cricketing memorabilia.“Today, museums have to compete and cope with distractions and entertainments like malls and multiplexes,” says Sudhanva Ranade, member secretary, Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum. “Despite the affordable entry prices in India, it is unfortunately not an experience treasured or preferred by audiences and the museum visit, instead of being a source of pride, is usually slashed in favour of a mall outing,” says Mr. Ranade.The eminent Raja Dinkar Kelkar museum, which hosts 21,000 artefacts, sees an average footfall of 1.3 lakh visitors a year. Yet, despite being one of the most anticipated and prominent tourist to-do’s in Pune, lack of funds has hampered conservation efforts and upgradation, with the museum lacking basic audio guides to navigate its byzantine collection.“By this initiative, through posters, DVDs and other media, we hope to effect a dramatic change in the psyche of museum experience in Pune and Maharashtra,” says Mr. Ranade.The museum boom in Europe where each city thrives on a unique cultural structure or collection, is not matched in India, says Mr. Ranade, observing trenchantly that the prohibitive costs to The Louvre in France or The Metropolitan Museum in New York has not impaired the passion of visitors thronging to see these places.“In the West, passionate individuals retain their hobby throughout their lifetime. Yet in India, for most, the hobby stops once formal schooling ends,” says Dr. Ravi Joshi of ‘Joshi’s Museum of Miniature Railways’ noting that the average age of most visitors to train museums in the West was 35.To this end, the museums in Pune eventually hope to register with the ICOM, not only for the purposes of funding, but as a vehicle for disseminating information.Museums offer children an education antithetical to the one encountered by rote learning from textbooks at school, says Rohan Pate, who set up ‘Blades of Glory’ in the city’s Sahakarnagar area.“In a country where cricketing is a religion, most would jump at the chance at seeing Tendulkar’s shirt or Geoffrey Boycott’s boot. So these are the inspired moments which make a visit to the museum moments to be savoured. And we hope to communicate this through this novel venture,” says Mr. Pate.The exhibition is open from May 18 to 20 between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. Entry is free
INS Gomti changes coloursIndian Navy warships are shedding their trademark dark grey colours – which they have sported for nearly a half-century – for a new paler NATO-like light grey.Naval brass say the paler paint helps blend in with the sea. The navy, whose six months at sea since the,INS Gomti changes coloursIndian Navy warships are shedding their trademark dark grey colours – which they have sported for nearly a half-century – for a new paler NATO-like light grey.Naval brass say the paler paint helps blend in with the sea. The navy, whose six months at sea since the attack on Parliament was the longest operational deployment, discovered that while its dark grey warships melted into the night, they stood out during day.Now all warships going in for refits are being given new coats of paint. The navl submarines, of course, remain black.The colour doesn’t matter underwater.