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Latest News April 25, 2017

April 25, 2017

news From All Africa

  • Côte d’Ivoire joins the growing list of ATI’s new member countries

    The African Trade Insurance Agency (ATI) (www.ATI-ACA.org) announced today that Côte d’Ivoire has joined a growing list of African countries who are members of the institution.

    ATI is a multilateral investment insurer whose specialised investment and commercial risk insurance products are expected to help attract up to USD2 billion worth of inward investments and trade into the country, and to potentially help lower its sovereign borrowing costs by up to 1% annually.

    The pan-African institution now insures investments equal to approximately 0.6 to 1.4 percent of GDP annually in a majority of its member states and includes support of strategic deals such as cover on African Development Bank’s USD159 million loan to fund Ethiopian Airline’s fleet expansion. Côte d’Ivoire’s membership in ATI is seen as an integral part of the government’s strategy to attract more investments and to diversify the economy through increased trade and investment opportunities.

    “Our country membership in ATI will contribute to creating the economic conditions that will enable us to reach emerging country status by 2020,” commented Mr Adama Kone, Minister of Economic and Finance of Côte d’Ivoire.

    Côte d'Ivoire becomes the third country to join ATI in the last six months following Ethiopia and Zimbabwe, which became members in late 2016. Rapid membership growth, particularly in significant African economies, is core to ATI’s medium-term plan to broaden its reach and impact and to better distribute risk across more countries in Africa.

    ATI’s membership push is supported by the African Development Bank (AfDB), which to date has provided a combined USD30 million in soft loans for the membership subscription of Ethiopia, Côte d'Ivoire and Zimbabwe as well as an increase in the capital subscription of Benin. Reflecting its catalytic role in African economies, ATI expects to leverage Côte d'Ivoire’s initial share capital investment by up to 60 times in terms of supported investments into the country on an annual basis, as ATI does in other member states..

    In the next two years, ATI will continue to target other ECOWAS and large African economies for membership. Increased membership by these countries elevates ATI’s impact in Africa’s economic development, where the company increasingly participates in priority projects targeting sectors such as energy, water, road and rail construction and rehabilitation, building construction, agriculture and telecommunications.

    ATI provides medium to long term credit risk mitigation products to support investors, banks, businesses, governments and government agencies in Africa. For banks for instance, ATI offers protection against non-payment risks that allow lenders to expand their loan portfolios. For governments, ATI’s products can be used as a substitute for guarantees, which helps sovereigns to lower their debt ceiling.

    “ATI’s entry into the Ivorian market is a real leverage for us to attract more foreign investments and to boost trade both regionally and internationally,” notes Mr. Guy M’Bengue, CEO of Côte d’Ivoire’s Export Promotion Agency (APEX-CI) and a Board member of the Private Sector Employer’s Association (CGECI).

    “Our focus this year and beyond continues to be membership growth, particularly in West Africa. We see this region as an important part of our pan African mandate and Côte d’Ivoire is poised to be an important West African market for ATI’s products. In partnership with other international players, ATI is now in a position to support strategic projects in West African member states in order to benefit the region,” notes George Otieno, ATI’s Chief Executive Officer. 

    Distributed by APO on behalf of African Trade Insurance Agency (ATI).

    Press Contact: 
    Sherry.Kennedy@ATI-ACA.org   
    +254 714 606 787    

    About The African Trade Insurance Agency: 
    ATI (www.ATI-ACA.org) was founded in 2001 by African States to cover the trade and investment risks of companies doing business in Africa. ATI provides Political Risk, Surety Bonds, Trade Credit Insurance and Political Violence and Terrorism & Sabotage cover. As of 2016, ATI had supported over US$25 billion in trade and investments across Africa in multiple sectors. ATI is one of the most trusted institutions in Africa with an ‘A/negative’ rating for Financial Strength and Counterparty Credit by S&P.

  • Kaspersky Lab Introduces New Partner Program in Africa to Drive Business Growth for Managed Security Services Providers

    Kaspersky Lab (www.Kaspersky.co.za) has launched a new partner program in Africa, aimed at managed service providers (MSPs) that already offer security services or would like to add them to their current portfolio. The program helps MSPs to address the growing demand for IT security services and enables them to attract new customers in the SMB markets, while satisfying existing customers looking to outsource all IT functions, including security, to a trusted third-party.

    Riaan Badenhorst, Managing Director, Kaspersky Lab Africa says: “Kaspersky Lab’s MSP Program was created specifically to meet the needs of partners who want to grow their managed service offerings in cybersecurity – without additional administrative overheads or resources. The program is based on the world’s most tested, most awarded multi-layered security solutions. It allows MSP partners to secure the complete customer infrastructure, from mobile devices and desktops to physical and virtual servers, with our comprehensive portfolio that can be delivered both on-premises or from the cloud.”

    First Distribution (www.FirstDistribution.com), operating across Africa, with offices in South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria, announced the news about joining Kaspersky Lab’s program, at their First for Cloud Roadshow in Johannesburg, South Africa, which was attended by over 100 partners, resellers and vendors. Debbie Abrahall, Managing Director, First Distribution, commented; “With Kaspersky Lab’s new program we see great opportunities for resellers and MSPs. We believe that with this, everybody in the market, including SMB clients, will benefit from the high-quality cybersecurity proposals that allow remote management and make IT security more affordable”.

    The specialised program is designed for MSP partners that want to enhance and grow their reputation and expertise, achieve maximum margin at minimum risk, and ensure that their customers’ data and infrastructure are kept safe. Kaspersky Lab’s offering includes products and technologies that will enable MSP partners to provide new security services to their customers, such as remote security monitoring, managed security, virtualization security and mobile device security and management.

    Participation in the program also guarantees special privileges and benefits for the MSPs themselves, including:

    • exclusive access to volume based pricing with a separate MSP price list;
    • monthly licensing;
    • product and security training and certification;
    • standard and premium technical support[1];
    • extended sales and marketing materials.

    Managed service providers will have the opportunity to choose between cloud and on-premises models, to provide greater flexibility of IT security services for their customers. Kaspersky Endpoint Security Cloud, suitable for smaller MSP businesses, allows MSP partners to manage customer infrastructure from the cloud using a multi-tenant cloud console. Kaspersky Endpoint Security for Business Basic and Kaspersky Security for Virtualization add the ability to use a multi-tenant on-premises solution managed by Kaspersky Security Center — for larger businesses with up to 10,000 managed nodes. Kaspersky Security for Mail Server and Managed Service Agreement are also part of the MSP offering. Managed service providers can offer clients of any size a full range of services to protect all types of corporate devices and appliances.

    Partners who want to join the program need to meet several requirements, including being a provider of managed services, purchasing licenses from a distributor affiliated with Kaspersky Lab, and providing first line support to customers.

    To join the program, MSP partners can register on the partner portal (http://APO.af/2CqkhF). Successful applicants will then be able to choose a distributor, complete sales and technical training, and have access to a wealth of relevant marketing materials.

    [1] Five premium support incidents are included depending on the total number of customer nodes.

    Distributed by APO on behalf of Kaspersky.

    Media contact:
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    Orange Ink (http://OrangeInk.co.za)  
    Cell: +27 76 544 6703
    Tel: +27 11 465 4075; +27 11 465 4030
    Princess@OrangeInk.co.za  

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    About Kaspersky Lab:
    Kaspersky Lab (www.Kaspersky.co.za) is a global cybersecurity company founded in 1997. Kaspersky Lab’s deep threat intelligence and security expertise is constantly transforming into security solutions and services to protect businesses, critical infrastructure, governments and consumers around the globe. The company’s comprehensive security portfolio includes leading endpoint protection and a number of specialized security solutions and services to fight sophisticated and evolving digital threats. Over 400 million users are protected by Kaspersky Lab technologies and we help 270,000 corporate clients protect what matters most to them. Learn more at www.Kaspersky.co.za. 

  • UK Travel Advice Update

    The British Government will, today, remove the travel advisory against all but essential travel to the Eastleigh area of Nairobi.

    In addition, we will also make changes to the language and format of UK travel advice around the world, including, but not limited to, travel advice for Kenya. Following public consultation in the UK, the British Government is amending the language used to describe the terrorist threat in countries and territories, to make it clearer, consistent and more specific. These changes are simply to format and language, there is no change in the UK government’s assessment of the level of threat from terrorism in Kenya.

    UK nationals remain free to make their own decisions regarding travel based on the information available.

    The UK’s full travel advice for Kenya is available here.

    Distributed by APO on behalf of British High Commission Nairobi.

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  • Award-winning Australian filmmaker Rachel Perkins in Accra
    The Australian High Commission in Ghana is delighted to welcome award-winning Australian filmmaker Rachel Perkins to Accra from 25-27 April 2017.  
    Following in the footsteps of her activist father, Charles Perkins, Rachel Perkins’ filmmaking over more than 25 years has been concerned with the history and stories of her people, the Aboriginal people of Australia.  
    In 1992 Rachel established Australia’s first independent Aboriginal film and television production company, Blackfella Films, which she continues to lead as a successful business. Radiance (2008), Bran Nue Dae (2010) and the biopic of historic lands right activist Mabo (2012) are among her top Australian box office films. 
    While in Accra, Ms Perkins will hold workshops and discussions on story-telling, film-making and rights and activism with Ghanaian film producers, and students of the National Film and Television Institute and Lincoln Community School. She will also showcase some of her productions in partnership with Accra[dot]Alt and the African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF). 
    On Wednesday 26 April, Ms Perkins will premiere her most recent documentary Black Panther Woman at the AWDF offices (East Legon) from 14.30 and an episode of the award-winning series Redfern Now at Brazil House (Jamestown) from 18.00.    
    The films, free to the public, have been selected to provide a window into the identity and character of contemporary Australia with themes including migration, Indigenous issues, humour and drama.  
    This is Rachel’s first opportunity to travel in Africa and she is delighted to be sharing some of the highlights of Aboriginal cinema with audiences in Ghana. 
    High Commissioner Andrew Barnes commented “We are very proud to have Rachel Perkins for the first time in Ghana. It’s a wonderful opportunity for Ghanaians to see a unique selection of films that showcase the diversity of Australia’s people and landscape.” 

    Distributed by APO on behalf of Australian High Commission in Ghana.

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  • Partnership between PARIS&Co and MEST

    On Friday, April 21, PARIS&Co and Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST), signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in the presence of HE François Pujolas, the Ambassador of France to Ghana.  

    France recognizes Ghana's potential in new technologies and supports its ecosystem for start-ups.

    The Ghanaian entrepreneurial ecosystem is now in full development. Dynamic, innovative and pragmatic, Ghanaian entrepreneurs are the result of this new technological generation, which is evolving in a society in profound change. Accra is thus part of these dynamic, innovative cities, hosting many start-ups and incubators. The MEST, incubator and entrepreneurial school tech, is part of the MeltWater group. It is the flagship of the Ghanaian tech ecosystem.

    The purpose of this MoU is to establish a mutually beneficial relationship which fosters the growth of each of the parties' ecosystem by facilitating the circulation of startups between the two cities and also facilitating the circulation of information between the two parties.

    It also shows the interest aroused by the Ghanaian entrepreneurial ecosystem and its qualities of innovation with French digital operators already present in Africa within the French Tech hubs of Abidjan and Cape Town.

    France plays an increasing role in the digitisation in Africa

    The signing of this agreement comes as France hosts the largest incubator in the world: 'Station F', a symbol of France’s role as a forerunner in the field of new technologies.

    PARIS&Co is the economic development and innovation agency of Paris, which prospects and provides support for foreign direct investments, promotes the international attractiveness of Paris abroad, and fosters the Parisian innovation ecosystem through the incubation of startups, the experiment of new solutions, the organization of events and the cooperation between startups and global players.

    This agreement, which is the first in our bilateral relations, shows the increasing role of France in the digitisation of Africa. In the case of Ghana, young entrepreneurs have been and will be invited to France in order to support innovation”, said the French Ambassador on the occasion of the signing of the MoU between MEST Ghana and PARIS&Co.

    Soon in Ghana, an initiative to bring together Ghanaian tech and French digital industry

    As part of the 'France & Ghana 1957-2017: moving forward together' initiative, from 1st to 9th June, the French embassy and its network of partner institutions are organizing several digital events in Ghana dubbed 'The French Digital June': a French language hackaton and digital innovation, a two-day forum regarding the ‘’Ghanaian Tech’’ and the ‘’French digital’’, which will be closed with an exhibition at Alliance Française Accra.

    Distributed by APO on behalf of Embassy of France to Ghana.

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  • Ghana, Kenya and Malawi to take part in WHO malaria vaccine pilot programme

    The World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa (WHO/AFRO) announced today that Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi will take part in a WHO-coordinated malaria vaccine implementation programme (MVIP) that will make the world’s first malaria vaccine available in selected areas, beginning in 2018. 
     

    The injectable vaccine, RTS,S, was developed to protect young children from the most deadly form of malaria caused by Plasmodium falciparum. RTS,S will be assessed in the pilot programme as a complementary malaria control tool that could potentially be added to the core package of WHO-recommended measures for malaria prevention.
     
    “The prospect of a malaria vaccine is great news. Information gathered in the pilot programme will help us make decisions on the wider use of this vaccine, said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa. “Combined with existing malaria interventions, such a vaccine would have the potential to save tens of thousands of lives in Africa,” she added.
     
    Africa bears the greatest burden of malaria worldwide. Global efforts in the last 15 years have led to a 62 percent reduction in malaria deaths between 2000 and 2015, yet approximately 429,000 people died of the disease in 2015, the majority of them young children in Africa.
     
    The WHO pilot programme will assess whether the vaccine’s protective effect in children aged 5 – 17 months old during Phase 3 testing can be replicated in real-life. Specifically, the pilot programme will assess the feasibility of delivering the required four doses of RTS,S, the vaccine’s potential role in reducing childhood deaths, and its safety in the context of routine use.

    WHO recommendations and RTS,S
    RTS,S was developed by GSK and is the first malaria vaccine to have successfully completed a Phase 3 clinical trial. The trial was conducted between 2009 and 2014 through a partnership involving GSK, the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative (with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation), and a network of African research sites in seven African countries—including Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi.
    RTS,S is also the first malaria vaccine to have obtained a positive scientific opinion from a stringent medicines regulatory authority, the European Medicines Agency (EMA). The opinion indicated that, in EMA’s assessment, the quality of the vaccine and its risk-benefit profile was favorable from a regulatory perspective.
    In October 2015, two independent WHO advisory groups, comprised of the world’s foremost experts on vaccines and malaria, recommended pilot implementation of RTS,S in three to five settings in sub-Saharan Africa. The recommendation came from the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on Immunization and the Malaria Policy Advisory Committee (MPAC), following a joint review of all available evidence on the vaccine’s safety and efficacy. WHO formally adopted the recommendation in January 2016.

    Pilot implementation
    The three countries were selected to participate in the pilot programme based on the following criteria: high coverage of long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs); well-functioning malaria and immunisation programmes, a high malaria burden even after scale-up of LLINs, and participation in the Phase 3 RTS,S malaria vaccine trial. Each of the three countries will decide on the districts and regions to be included in the pilots. High malaria burden areas will be prioritized, as this is where the benefit of the vaccine is predicted to be highest. Information garnered from the pilot will help to inform later decisions about potential wider use of the vaccine.
    The malaria vaccine will be administered via intramuscular injection and delivered through the routine national immunization programmes.  WHO is working with the three countries to facilitate regulatory authorization of the vaccine for use in the pilots through the African Vaccine Regulatory Forum (AVAREF).  Regulatory support will also include measures to enable the appropriate safety monitoring of the vaccine and rigorous evaluation for eventual large scale use.
     
    Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and UNITAID, are partnering to provide US$49.2 million for the first phase of the pilot programme (2017-2020) which will be complemented by in-kind contributions from WHO and GSK.  

    Distributed by APO on behalf of World Health Organization (WHO).

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  • Promoting U.S.-Egypt Collaboration in Science and Technology

    Meeting in Cairo April 23-24, the Board of Directors of the U.S.-Egypt Science and Technology Joint Fund continued a long tradition of U.S.-Egypt cooperation on high-impact research between Egyptian and American scientists by approving 15 joint projects in the fields of agriculture, energy, health, and water. The board also agreed to continue to dedicate a portion of its funding toward innovation-related activities.

    The Joint Fund has provided grants for more than 500 collaborative projects involving Egyptian and U.S. scientists in a wide variety of fields, including agriculture, engineering, health, renewable energy, and water. Targeting areas that help promote health and prosperity, recent research has contributed to vaccines for the H5N1 Avian Influenza virus, developed highly efficient solar cells, and improved wheat and citrus production while reducing the use of chemical fertilizers. The Joint Fund also continues to increase the role of science, innovation, and technology commercialization in promoting economic growth.

    “The U.S.-Egypt Science and Technology Joint Fund is a superb example of the way bilateral cooperation can help make the world a healthier place for all of us,” Ambassador Beecroft said. “Since 1995, the Joint Fund has promoted science collaboration to address development challenges and promote economic growth. It has a direct and positive impact on people’s lives.” 

    Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, Jonathan Margolis, led the U.S. delegation at the Joint Fund board meeting.  The delegation included board members from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the U.S. Geological Survey, and the National Science Foundation.

    For more information on the U.S.-Egypt Science and Technology Joint Fund and its activities, please see http://sites.nationalacademies.org/pga/egypt/index.htm or https://eg.usembassy.gov/education-culture/joint-science-technology-fund.

    Distributed by APO on behalf of U.S. Embassy – Cairo.

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  • European Union (EU) Delegation hands over control of its social media accounts to Plan International Ghana child rights activists

    To celebrate the launch of the revised European Union (EU) Guidelines on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of the Child, Plan International is partnering with the European External Action Service to organize a global youth takeover of EU Delegation social media accounts.

    Throughout April, young people across Africa, Asia and the Americas will share their views on the challenges children in their country face, and what more needs to be done to ensure every child’s rights are realized, directly from the Twitter and Facebook accounts of participating EU Delegations. In Ghana, the Youth Takeover will take place on Wednesday, April 26th, from 10am – 2pm.

    The revised Guidelines set the EU’s overarching strategy to defend and promote children’s rights in the world. They set out the actions that EU officials should take, and outline the principles underpinning EU action, the priorities for EU engagement and the tools which can be used.

    “Every child should have the ability to achieve their fullest potential, this means they should learn, lead, decide and thrive in order to create a just world in which all children’s rights are realized. This cannot be achieved if children do not participate in their own decision making,” Madam Fadimata Alainchar, Country Director of Plan International Ghana.

    “The European Union has identified the need for the promotion and protection of child rights in Ghana as part of the EU Country Human Rights Strategy. The EU Country Human Rights strategy is written after extensive consultations with Human Rights Defenders in Ghana including the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice, with EU Member States also involved”, William Hanna, Head of the European Union Delegation to Ghana.

    “The EU Delegation in 2012 and 2013 pooled funds and launched a call for proposal focused on the promotion and protection of children from abuse, exploitation and exposure to harm. These calls are targeted at civil society organizations as well as state institutions such as the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice to work with state agencies such as the local authorities and also communities to implement specific activities aimed at ensuring the protection of children from the violation of their rights” he stated.

    Mr. Hanna observed that the EU delegation has launched another call in 2017 to promote and protect child rights in Ghana. This call aims at supporting civil society organizations to work with relevant stakeholders in ensuring the protection of children from violence, exploitation, abuse and neglect. In the reviewed Human Rights Country strategy for Ghana the issue of Child Rights remains a priority. The EU and Member States will work with other organizations and agencies such as civil society organizations, UN agencies, the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice, the Ministry for Gender, Children and Social protection to ensure the protection of children.

    “It is important to consider the views of young people as they understand the issues that affect them better.” Harriet Ndanu, a youth Ambassador of Plan International Ghana stated.

    Follow the takeover on Twitter (@WilliamHannaEU, @EuropeInGhana) and Facebook (www.Facebook.com/EuDelegationToGhana) or using hashtags #YouthTakeover and EU4Children.

    Distributed by APO on behalf of Delegation of the European Union to Ghana.

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  • Three Months, Still No Word on Disappeared South Sudanese Men

    Three months, 90 days, more than two thousand hours without news of Dong Samuel Luak, a well-known South Sudanese activist, and Aggrey Idris, an opposition official, who disappeared off the streets of Nairobi on January 23 and 24.
     

    The men are believed to have been abducted by or at the request of South Sudanese officials and taken illegally to South Sudan, where they are likely to have been abused as so many other detainees before them. Human Rights Watch has documented clear patterns of arbitrary detentions, abuse, and torture by military and national security actors in South Sudan.

    Neither the Kenyan or South Sudanese authorities have responded to questions about the two men’s fate. A group of nongovernmental organizations in Kenya filed a habeas corpus petition for the release of the two activists, but the court found on February 22 that there was insufficient evidence to establish the Kenyan government was liable for their forcible disappearance. Days earlier, the South Sudanese minister of information, Michael Makuei, denied that they were in the custody of South Sudanese security forces.

    Yet, credible sources told Human Rights Watch and others that both Luak and Idris were detained in the Juba headquarters of South Sudan’s National Security Service (NSS) on January 26, two days after they were forcibly disappeared from Nairobi and a day before the High Court of Kenya ruled against their deportation. Sources said the two men were held in the NSS headquarters in Juba for a few nights and then transferred elsewhere. Their current whereabouts remain unknown.

    Since the war began in 2013, we have documented cases of enforced disappearances, defined as the detention and subsequent denial of detention by authorities, especially in the Equatoria and Western Bahr el-Ghazal regions where the South Sudan government has been pursuing abusive counterinsurgency campaigns, including against people presumed to support the opposition.

    This case has the added dimension of involving the enforced disappearance of people in another country, and potential collusion between South Sudanese and Kenyan actors in a crime.

    Luak and Idris’ forcible disappearance shows that South Sudanese actors are willing to cross borders to silence critics. This is an especially worrying development considering how many human rights activists and civil society leaders have had to flee South Sudan since the war started.

    International actors, including the African Union and Kenya, should insist South Sudan’s government immediately investigate the case, produce and release the disappeared men, and investigate and hold to account those responsible. Three months on, every additional second is too long.

    Distributed by APO on behalf of Human Rights Watch (HRW).

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