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East Africa - Glitches reported, 1/1/00
1/1/2000, CORRESPONDENT REPORT, EAST AFRICA Y-2-K, NUMBER 2-257691, BYLINE=CHALLISS MCDONOUGH, DATELINE=NAIROBI
Many people feared computers around the world would malfunction as the year rolled over to 2000. Analysts were not sure what would happen in Africa, where most countries got a late start in addressing the so-called Y-two-K problem, but are also far less dependant upon computers than many other parts of the world. V-O-A's Challiss McDonough has the details from our East Africa bureau.
TEXT: The year 2000 arrived in Africa without any immediate signs of computer-induced mayhem. There have been no reports of significant Y-two-K-related problems, despite earlier concerns that some countries had not done enough to prepare for the date change.
Most African countries have been saying for weeks there would be no major service disruptions as the new year arrived. And so far, they have been right. Michael Karanja is the national Year 2000 coordinator for Kenya.
/// KARANJA ACT ///
Most of the sectors, critical sectors, have declared Y-two-K compliance.
/// END ACT ///
Officials throughout Africa say those key sectors are all functioning normally after the date change. Several nations have issued statements saying basically that the lights are still on, the phones are still working, and so far it is business as usual.
Tanzania's transport and communications minister (Salim Msoma) says the trouble-free date change is a testament to the hundreds of people who worked hard on national Y-two-K preparedness over the last two years.
There are some sectors that did not enter the new year fully prepared, but even those have reported no major date-related problems so far. Alan Mordue is the Y-two-K coordinator for Kenya's health sector.
/// MORDUE ACT ///
The hospitals are fine. There is still some equipment in public hospitals which is not Y-two-K compliant. However, that equipment, they know exactly where it is, they know how it will work, and they know that it will not affect patient care or the health of certainly anybody in the country. So we are not expecting any problems in the hospitals at all.
/// END ACT ///
He says Britain has promised to replace the non-compliant equipment, and the new systems should be in place early this month.
/// Opt /// Transport officials have reported no major incidents so far in the new year. Nairobi's main airport remained open throughout the night on New Year's Eve, and airport officials say everything there is working normally. British Airways had the first scheduled departure of the new year. The airline says the plane took off on time at about half-past midnight, and arrived in London without incident.
/// End Opt ///
Y-two-K monitors throughout Africa say they are not done checking for possible date-related problems. Kenya, for example, is in the middle of a four-day national holiday. So officials here say the next big test comes Tuesday, when private companies, banks and factories re-open for business.
Mr. Karanja says the Kenyan Y-two-K committee will keep monitoring the country's status throughout the first week of the new year.
/// KARANJA ACT /// We may have to suspend it much earlier than that if things turn out that there are no issues. But we are prepared to do the monitoring and the follow-up up to the (January) 7th. We will be visiting the centers physically, and then on Tuesday when the businesses open, we will do the same. So it is an ongoing process.
/// END ACT ///
But the year-change in Africa did not go off completely free of glitches. Officials in Uganda say there were brief power outages in two parts of the capital, Kampala, just after midnight. But a government spokesman (Peter Odongo) told V-O-A the problems did not appear to have anything to do with the Y-two-K bug. He said things overall went very smoothly. (
01-Jan-2000 09:38 AM EDT (01-Jan-2000 1438 UTC) NNNN
Source: Voice of America
Federation of American Scientists website - Millenia Monitor
-- Lee Maloney (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 29, 2000