Latest News May 20, 2017
May 20, 2017
news From All Africa
- MainOne advocates need for greater investments to drive data explosion in Africa
Experts at the International Telecoms Week conference in Chicago have highlighted the need to accelerate investment in Africa to facilitate the continent’s broadband data explosion.
Based on the theme “Achieving A Connected Continent: Leading The Data Explosion Across Africa”, the expert panel session with participation from Google, Facebook, WIOCC, Liquid Telecom and Angola Cables discussed strategies for achieving improved broadband access across the continent. The session reviewed the state of broadband infrastructure and data traffic trajectories in different countries on the continent and made comparisons to other markets globally. This included areas in which investments had been made such as submarine cables, data centers, and access networks including 3G4G and FTTH networks as some of the elements that have accelerated the growth in data traffic on the continent. The consensus was that the data explosion will need to be driven by further investment in local networks to reach more end users rather than new submarine cables. The session revealed that while most African submarine cable systems had the capability to deliver 100 GBPS wavelengths, Africa has not utilized near enough capacity to saturate those systems. According to the panelists, for broadband to become more pervasive, there is need for continued investment and innovative business models to aid the rapid deployment of Access networks across the continent.
Facebook’s Regional Head, Africa for Express Wifi, Uche Ofodile shared the company’s experiences working with carriers to jointly make infrastructure investments and highlighted its initiatives in Uganda, where it is working with Airtel to deploy fiber backhaul, but noted that demand and favorable regulatory environments informed their decisions to invest. The need to go beyond mobile infrastructure was also highlighted by the CEO of Liquid Telecom, Nic Rudnick, whose company just completed its acquisition of South African operator, Neotel for $429million. “As consumers in Africa start to use the internet for content, TV and on-demand services, mobile will have its limitations, not just in terms of technology, but also in price. We need to look at other technologies to achieve cost effectiveness”.
The panelists’ assessment of data center growth in Africa also indicated that uptake is not as rapid as experienced in other parts of the world and that most of the content consumed in Africa is hosted in Europe. Data center operators, MainOne and Liquid shared their experience that initial demand on the continent has been driven by Enterprises and financial institutions as against other geographies where OTT players are the biggest data center players. “We do not see any of these OTTs hosting their services from Africa. We are not seeing meaningful investments coming into Africa (from OTT players) and with the sizeable population of the continent, we need to see them play a larger role in the African ecosystem”, the panel concluded.
For the sixth year in a row, MainOne raised Africa’s profile as a target for broadband investment at the recently concluded global telecoms conference, International Telecoms Week in Chicago, USA, where it hosted an over-subscribed Africa Panel Session. The session which was a gathering of major international and African carriers, data center operators, mobile network operators and content distribution companies, provided a platform for players to share perspectives on the opportunities and challenges across the region with a global audience. The discussions also focused on infrastructure challenges as well as regulatory and economic constraints that impede faster proliferation of broadband access across the continent.
Distributed by APO on behalf of MainOne.
- Image: L-R: Nic Rudnick, CEO, Liquid Telecoms; Uche Ofodile, Regional Head, Africa Express Wi-Fi, Facebook; Artur Mendes, CCO, Angola Cables; Funke Opeke, CEO, MainOne; Chris Wood, CEO, WIOCC and Chris George, Strategic Initiatives, Google, after the MainOne-hosted Africa Session themed “Achieving A Connected Continent: Leading The Data Explosion Across Africa” at the 2017 International Telecoms Week, held in Chicago… this week.
- Image: L-R: Funke Opeke, CEO, MainOne and panel Chair; Artur Mendes, CCO, Angola Cables; Uche Ofodile, Regional Head, Africa Express Wi-Fi, Facebook; Chris George, Strategic Initiatives, Google; Nic Rudnick, CEO, Liquid Telecoms and Chris Wood, CEO, WIOCC, during the MainOne-hosted Africa Session themed “Achieving A Connected Continent: Leading The Data Explosion Across Africa” at the 2017 International Telecoms Week, held in Chicago… this week.
- Gender Based Violence (GBV) Multi-sectoral Coordination in Libya
UNFPA, United Nation Fund for Population, IOM, the UN Migration Agency, and IFRC, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, have jointly organized a training on “Gender Based Violence Multi-Sectoral Coordination in Libya” during the period 14th to 18th of May 2017.
The overall objective of the training is to raise awareness of GBV in humanitarian settings in the region and specifically in Libya and to provide fundamental skills to formulate appropriate prevention, mitigation and response strategies and programme interventions, and strengthen coordination across all relevant sectors. The training is the outcome of the combined efforts of UNFPA, Ahfad University in Khartoum and the KAWTAR Center for Arab Women for Training and Research and a new partnership between IOM and UNFPA with regards to the protection of vulnerable women in Libya. The workshop is aiming to set a new structure to ensure the protection of the most at risk women and girls among displaced and conflict affected families including migrants.
Thirty participants from the Ministry of Social Affairs, Ministry of Health/ National Control Disease Center, Ministry of Interior and local CSOs/NGOs working on protection and GBV in Libya and Tunisia took part in the training. This synergy of efforts among the Libyan authorities and humanitarian actors is critical in order to provide seamless services to the most vulnerable efficiently.
“I salute the Libyan women, who is facing challenges inside and outside the house and who, we should guarantee their protection by providing psychosocial support, health services and legal counselling. This is only possible by close coordination with partners and a multi-sectorial approach on the ground with the line ministries and civil society actors” said Dr. Georges Makram GEORGI, UNFPA Libya Country Director.
“Partnership is an essential part to ensure women protection, it allows for more coordinated and cohesive approaches on Sexual and Gender based-violence” said Amelia MARZAL, IFRC Head of Country Cluster. “This training is a great example of coordination, led by UNFPA with its partners, to work together to achieve common goals. And from the International Federation together with the Libyan Red Crescent we are very glad to join efforts in this initiative.”
Maysa KHALIL, Programme Officer, IOM Libya, stated “IOM is ensuring that the protection of women and men is mainstreamed in all our Programmes though our strategic partners in Libya such as the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Social Affair and Ministry of Health. This workshop serves as a good opportunity to further enhance the coordination between UN agencies and partners inside Libya to better assist vulnerable populations”.
Distributed by APO on behalf of United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL).
- IMF Staff Completes Review Visit to Guinea-Bissau
IMF team reached a staff-level agreement with the authorities on the economic policies needed to complete the third review of the ECF which is subject to approval by the IMF Executive Board.
The rebound in economic activity that started in 2015 has continued and become more entrenched and growth has been supported by high cashew prices, increased construction activity, and continued improvements in the supply of electricity and water.
To maintain the positive economic trajectory, continued efforts will be needed to maintain and strengthen fiscal discipline and advance structural reforms.
An International Monetary Fund (IMF) team led by Tobias Rasmussen visited Guinea-Bissau from May 10 to 19, 2017, to conduct discussions on the third review of Guinea Bissau’s IMF-supported program under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF). 
At the end of the visit, Mr. Rasmussen issued the following statement:
“The IMF team reached a staff-level agreement with the authorities on the economic policies needed to complete the third review of the ECF. The staff-level agreement is subject to approval by the IMF Executive Board, which is slated to consider the third ECF review in mid-July 2017. Upon approval, drawings of SDR 3.030 million (about US$4.1 million) would become available to Guinea-Bissau.
“The authorities have reiterated their commitment to the ECF-supported program. Discussions focused on the key fiscal actions to maintain a disciplined path based on enhancing revenue mobilization and strengthening expenditure controls.
“The rebound in economic activity that started in 2015 has continued and become more entrenched. Growth has been supported by high cashew prices, increased construction activity, and continued improvements in the supply of electricity and water.
“The authorities have made significant progress in improving public financial management. The institutionalization of an operational treasury committee has enabled better expenditure control and, notably, the elimination since the start of this year of non-regularized spending. Moreover, improvements in tax and customs administration are helping boost revenue collection.
“To maintain the positive economic trajectory, continued efforts will be needed to maintain and strengthen fiscal discipline and advance structural reforms. Key measures include ensuring a firmly established budget approval process, enhancing debt management, addressing financial pressures stemming from the power sector, and allowing fluctuations of domestic fuel prices in line with international prices. Finally, it will be important to ensure a healthy competitive environment in the cashew sector by clearing out uncertainty about the regulatory regime for trading.”
The mission met with President José Mário Vaz, Prime Minister Umaro Sissoco Embaló, Attorney General António Sedja Mam, Minister of Finance João Fadia, Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO) National Director Helena Nosolini Embaló, other high level officials, as well as representatives of civil society, the private sector, and the donor community.
The IMF team wishes to express its gratitude to the authorities for the constructive discussions and for their hospitality.
Distributed by APO on behalf of International Monetary Fund (IMF).
 The ECF is a lending arrangement that provides sustained program engagement over the medium to long-term in case of protracted balance of payments problems. The arrangement for Guinea-Bissau, in an amount equivalent to SDR 17.04 million (about US$23.5 million, or 60 percent of quota) was approved on July 10, 2015 (see Press Release No.15/331).
End-of-Mission press releases include statements of IMF staff teams that convey preliminary findings after a visit to a country. The views expressed in this statement are those of the IMF staff and do not necessarily represent the views of the IMF’s Executive Board. Based on the preliminary findings of this mission, staff will prepare a report that, subject to management approval, will be presented to the IMF's Executive Board for discussion and decision.
- AU Hosts 2017 “Girls in ICT” Day
On Girls in ICT Day, marked annually on the fourth Thursday in April, the African Union Commission jointly with the United Nations International Telecommunication Union (ITU) – Regional Office for Africa, UN Women, the UNDP Regional Office and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa hosted more than 200 high schools Girls from Addis Ababa and 10 high schools Girls from Tanzania at the AU Headquarters.
The girls spent the Day at the premises of the AUC where they had access to computers connected to Internet and took a quiz on ICT and Information technologies, interacted with speakers on ICT careers, entrepreneurship and innovation, social media and social skills, as well as taking part of a dance competition.
A panel discussion was also organized with six inspirational African women where each panelist member spoke on their life experiences, successes and how they use ICT in their day-to-day business activities. The panel was composed of Mrs. Mahawa Kaba Wheeler the Director of Women, Gender & Development at the AUC, Mrs. Rekia Mahamoudou Head of Division, Administration & Human Resources Management Directorate/ AUC, Mrs. Mekdes Mintesenot Abayneh a senior Director from Ethiotelecom, Ms. Yetnebersh Nigussie Human Rights Activist, and Ms. Selome Tadesse Social Activist and Entrepreneur. The panel was moderated by Ms. Letty Chiwara from UNWOMEN who encouraged the young girls to seize the opportunity to ask questions about the ICT sector and to benefit from the experiences of the four inspirational Women who spoke to them in the panel discussion
The official event was preceded by an SMS competition among Girls.
The official segments of the program started with opening remarks from Mr. Andrew Rugege, Regional Director ITU who recalled the importance of ICT as a driver for change to improve people’s lives especially in Africa for a better education, communication and health systems as ICT is considered a cross cutting and powerful tool. For her part, the representative of the Ministry of ICT of the Federal Republic of Ethiopia Ms. Bekala Ibrahim, International Relation & Cooperation Director, highlighted the high importance given by the Government of Ethiopia for the development of the ICT sector and the efforts to attract and promote more women in this very innovative sector as an enabler for women empowerment and economic development of the country.
Mr. Cheikh Bedda Director for Infrastructure and Energy at the AUC speaking on behalf of Dr. Amani Abou-Zeid, African Union Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, reiterated the critical role played by women and youth in the development of Africa as per the aspirations of the agenda 2063 and the importance of the Day recalling the AU theme of the year on harnessing the demographic dividend through investment in youth. He noted “this event provides us the opportunity to highlight the importance of science and technology and their critical role in promoting innovation, entrepreneurship and skills development, in order to equip youth and particularly young women to participate fully in the digital economy and in all aspects of the society.”
The officials present at the event including the representatives of the Ministry of ICT and Ministry of Women and Children Affairs of Ethiopia as well as Mr. Cheikh Bedda from the AUC, Mr. Andrew Rugege from ITU and H.E the Ambassador of Tanzania in Addis Ababa presented the prizes to the winners.
The Event was officially closed by Ms. Souhila Amazouz, Senior ICT officer at the Department of Infrastructure and Energy of the AUC. She congratulated the girls for their active participation and thanked the ITU Regional Office for Africa and all the partners who have contributed to make the day a success and looked forward to receiving more Girls from the Continent at the celebration of the 2018 Girls in ICT Day.
The International Girls in ICT Day aims to create a global environment that empowers and encourages girls and young women to consider careers in the growing field of ICTs and enable a greater female participation in the ICT sector.it is an initiative backed by all ITU Member States in ITU Plenipotentiary Resolution 70 (Rev. Busan, 2014) and celebrated every year on the fourth Thursday of April.
Distributed by APO on behalf of African Union Commission (AUC).
- African Ambassadors Urge Support for Dr Tedros Adhanom, the African Union-Endorsed Candidate for World Health Organization Director-General
African ambassadors to the United Nations in Geneva today reiterated their support for Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to become the next Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), and urged other regional country groups and WHO Member States to support his candidacy. Dr Tedros has been endorsed by the African Union as the most qualified candidate in next week’s election, which marks the first time a new WHO leader will be selected by a vote of all UN Member States.
Dr Tedros is the former Minister of Health and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, and if elected WHO Director-General would be the first chief of the agency to come from Africa and also the first who has led both a national health ministry and foreign affairs ministry. As Minister of Health of Ethiopia, Dr Tedros systematically transformed the country’s health system to improve public health and strengthen the response to disease outbreaks.
“Dr Tedros is the best candidate for the next WHO Director-General because he is the only one who has designed, implemented and led the reform of an entire health system and in addition to his transformative leadership, he is a man of integrity and humility who is most loved and respected by the people and the communities he serves’’ said Jean-Marie Ehouzou, Ambassador of the African Union to the United Nations. “WHO is at a crossroads and requires a determined reformer. We are calling on all WHO Member States and regional country groups to support and vote for Dr Tedros.”
Mr Pedro Afonso Comissário, the Ambassador of Mozambique to the United Nations, said: “With the growing global consensus on advancing universal health coverage for sustainable development, Dr Tedros’ unmatched diplomatic, political and technical skills and experience will be crucial for leading WHO.”
Dr François Xavier Ngarambe, Ambassador of Rwanda to the United Nations in Geneva said: “Africans are united fully behind Dr Tedros because he is the best candidate with a track record of results and impact. We are proud to say Dr Tedros is the right candidate to lead WHO not just on behalf of the African continent but on behalf of the entire world.”
Under Dr Tedros’ leadership of the Ethiopia Ministry of Health from 2005 to 2012, child mortality declined by two-thirds, meeting the Millennium Development Goal target two years early. At the same time, HIV infections declined by 90%, malaria mortality by 75% and mortality from tuberculosis by 64%.
In addition to being endorsed by the African Union, Dr Tedros has also been endorsed by the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States.
Distributed by APO on behalf of African Union Commission (AUC).
- Africa Visa Openness Index notes that Africans were able to travel more freely across the continent in 2016 compared to 2015
The African Development Bank in collaboration with the African Union Commission and the World Economic Forum has launched the second edition of the Africa Visa Openness Index.
The Index analyses the visa regime in Africa and how open countries are in terms of relaxation or elimination of visa requirements for citizens from other African countries traveling to their countries. The report examines which countries are facilitating travel for citizens of other countries and whether they allow people to travel to their country without a visa, with the provision of visa-on-arrival or whether visitors need to get a visa before travel.
Overall, Africans were able to travel more freely across the continent in 2016, as the visa openness levels improved compared to 2015. However challenges still remain. The second edition highlights pervasive regional differences in visa openness performance. For example, 75% of countries in the top 20 most visa-open countries, are either in East or West Africa, while 20% are in Southern Africa. Of the top 20 countries, only one country, Mauritania, is from the Northern region, while none is from Central Africa. “Despite the size of our group, I need 38 visas to move around Africa” says Aliko Dangote, President and CEO of Dangote Group.
Continent-wide, Ghana made the most progress in 2016 in opening up its borders to African travelers, moving into sixth place in the Index, up sixteen places from 2015. Senegal also moved into the top 20 most visa-open countries, up 9 places from 2015 and Tunisia moved 13 places from 2015. Seychelles continues to lead the index and remains the only African country on the continent to offer visa-free access for all Africans. “Our leaders have to bring down the walls that separate us, from East Africa to Central Africa to North Africa to West Africa. We need a wider open market” says Akinwumi A. Adesina, President of the African Development Group.
The African Union Commission Deputy Chairperson Dr. Kwesi Quartey observes that much progress has been achieved despite the numerous challenges. In July 2016, the African Union launched the African Union Passport that has since been issued to Heads of State and Government, the First Ladies, Ministers of Foreign Affairs, the Chairpersons of the Regional Economic Communities, the Permanent Representatives Committee of the African Union as well as some business persons. “The African Union is supporting Member States in rolling out the African Union passport to all its citizens, granting them visa-free access to explore the Continent for business, pleasure, leisure and tourism,” he adds.
Going forward, focus is to continue the positive trend of Africa’s visa openness regime and deliver on the African Union’s decision for African countries to issue visas-on-arrival to all Africans as it seeks to achieve seamless borders. Greater visa openness in Africa would help create a people-centered African integration that offers the much needed free movement of persons, intra-African trade, tourism, study and job opportunities as well as people-to-people exchanges for all Africans.
The website of the Visa Openness Index is accessible at www.visaopenness.org.
Distributed by APO on behalf of African Union Commission (AUC).
- AU welcomes EU External Investment Plan, calls on innovative ways of mobilising resources
The African Union Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, Dr. Amani Abou-Zeid has welcomed the European Commission's External Investment Plan, which aims to improve investment in Africa and the EU neighborhood, in order to promote decent job creation, sustainable development and root out some of the causes of migration.
“I welcome the commitment by the European Commission in support of building an appropriate environment and capacity for sustainable mobilization of funds from various internal and external sources and wisely channelling those resources to improve investments in areas and societies that are most disadvantaged in order to enable them to maintain and enjoy quality lives at home,” said Commissioner Abou-Zeid during her keynote address at the Briefing on the European External Investment Plan (EEIP) at the African Union Commission.
Speaking to top EU and AU Officials gathered to discuss their positions on the EU’s much anticipated External Investment Plan, the Commissioner welcomed the fact that infrastructure is a priority on the EEIP and highlighted some of AU’s initiatives such as the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) and exchanged views on how to make the Plan work effectively in mobilizing the various stakeholders especially the private sector to invest in infrastructure in Africa.
On his part, Mr. Roberto Ridolfi, Director for Sustainable Growth and Development at the European Commission announced during the Briefing that the European External Investment Plan (EEIP) is expected to leverage more that EUR 44 billion of investments until 2020.
“The Plan includes a new European Fund for Sustainable Development which combines the EU's existing blending facilities with a new EUR 1.5 billion guarantee backed by the EU budget. The Fund will aim to leverage additional private investment by addressing bottlenecks and other obstacles to investment,” Mr. Ridolfo explained.
Both the African Union and the European Commission considered this moment as a useful chance of dialogue and seize the EEIP’s opportunities and useful elements. During the discussions that ensued, both parties agreed to involve both public and private sectors, without underestimating no-profit organisations’ role.
Over the ten past years, the EU and Africa had already forged a more political partnership based on shared values and interests, enshrined in the Joint Africa-EU Strategy adopted in 2007. A series of events in 2017 – from the G7 and G20 Summits in May and June respectively to the 5th Africa-EU Summit on 28-29 November – have placed Africa high on the international agenda. The 5th Africa EU Summit provides a critical opportunity for African and European leaders to reshape and deepen their relationship in response to the evolving context.
Distributed by APO on behalf of African Union Commission (AUC).
- A collaboration between the Department of Trade & Industry, Woolworths and the IDC sees doors opening for black women entrepreneurs
Today, the Department of Trade & Industry (dti), Woolworths and the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) officially opened the doors of K9 Pet Foods’ new 3 600 m² factory premises in the Western Cape. This opening is testament to the entrepreneurial spirit of a team of black women who put to test the intent of the Black Industrialist Programme initiated by the dti and Woolworths’ commitment in contributing meaningfully to socio-economic transformation in South Africa.
After working in pet food production for 20 years, aspiring entrepreneur, Fazielah Allie, the Managing Director of K9, purchased a small and struggling business specialising in frozen pet food in 2014. Having worked with Woolworths before, Fazielah then approached Woolworths in the hopes of turning around her new business by securing a partnership agreement.
“Our priority was to leverage on a pet food opportunity to advance our import replacement strategy that seeks to replace providers of imported products and services with local black suppliers. Knowing Fazielah’s experience and entrepreneurial spirit, we recognised that there was an opportunity to partner with her with the aim of establishing a South African produced supply of our Woolworths branded canned and pouched pet food,” says Zinzi Mgolodela, Head of Transformation at Woolworths.
With three black women at the helm, K9 Pet Foods was an ideal fit for the Woolworths Enterprise & Supplier Development programme which matches potential black-owned businesses to opportunities in the Woolworths supplier base. Various customised interventions including both financial and advisory support help the entrepreneurs in the programme to grow their businesses and create new jobs. Over the past three years, K9 has grown from 11 to 32 employees.
Thanks to the partnership agreement to supply Woolworths, Fazielah was able to secure much-needed funding from the dti’s Black Industrialist’s Incentive Scheme to the value of
R20 million, and then an additional R31 million from the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC). This funding has been used to expand their operation and purchase the latest, state-of-the-art machinery so that they can meet Woolworths’ production requirements.
“The funding of this project not only assists in achieving the IDC’s objectives of facilitating job creation and import replacement, but is also an opportunity for K9 to facilitate innovative technology which they have specifically designed for Woolworths,” says Lizo Ntlhoko, Regional Manager for the IDC in the Western Cape.
The Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies has commended the company’s Managing Director, Ms Fazielah Allie, Financial Director, Ms Candice Stewart and Operations Director, Ms Shireen Davids as shining examples of the transformation that government can achieve through the Black Industrialists programme with the support of the private sector and the country’s development finance institutions.
Minister Davies said the supply of the K9 Pet Foods range to Woolworths stores is one of the positive examples of how inclusive growth and localisation of industry should work in South Africa.
“Industrialisation is vital to the South African economy and Africa and through the many legislative and policy levers; there is a need to shift structures, systems and institutions that result in a more inclusive economy. Also one of the key focus areas for the economy in being competitive locally and globally requires that we build on the existing capacity and capabilities and processes to enhance the manufacturing efficiency within the various sectors of the economy,” added Minister Davies.
The Black Industrialist Scheme is one of the incentive programmes, an initiative designed to benefit black industrialists with more than 50% shareholding and management control in the targeted sectors, of which the agro-processing sector is one.
“We are very proud of Fazielah – she has embraced the principles of partnering in the Woolworths supplier base, delivered product ahead of schedule and lives our brand values. She is a dedicated businesswoman committed to producing innovative and quality products. These are attributes that we value and are at the core of our business as we strive to meet our customers’ expectations,” adds Zinzi Mgolodela, Head of Transformation at Woolworths.
“The official opening of our factory is a huge milestone for us,” confirms Fazielah Allie, “We are grateful that the dti, IDC and Woolworths believed in us. We are determined to forge ahead, continue to grow the company and make a meaningful contribution in growing the country’s economy and creating jobs. We have grown from producing 25 000 units/month to 40 000 units with the first Woolworths order and we project to further increase considerably by the end of this year.”
With the opening of their new K9 pet food production facility in Montague Gardens, the trio of determined Cape Town women have set themselves on the entrepreneurial path to success in one the world’s top growth industries.
Distributed by APO on behalf of The Department of Trade and Industry, South Africa.
- Minister Joe McHugh welcomes free Africa Day 2017 events
- National flagship Event celebrating Ireland-Africa links set to attract 30,000 visitors in Farmleigh, Dublin on Sunday, 21st May
- Events will also take place in Cork, Kilkenny, Kildare, Limerick and Galway
The Minister of State for the Diaspora and International Development, Joe McHugh T.D., has welcomed Africa Day 2017 celebrations which are taking place on Sunday, 21st May at Farmleigh Estate in the Phoenix Park, Dublin, with events also taking place this weekend and next in Cork, Kilkenny, Kildare, Limerick and Galway.
More than 30,000 people are expected at the free family-friendly event at Farmleigh.
Speaking ahead of the Dublin event, which he will officially open, Minister McHugh said:
“I hope as many people as possible will join us for this year’s Africa Day celebration at Farmleigh and in the other five locations around the country.
“Ireland’s connections with Africa have developed in many exciting ways over recent years. Africa Day gives us the opportunity to highlight these connections, as well as the vibrant African diaspora here in Ireland and the contribution that they make to Irish society. It is wonderful to have all the African Embassies at Farmleigh again this year and I am delighted that we will be joined by the Sudanese Embassy for the first time.
“I am delighted that Irish Aid, the Government’s programme for overseas development, is centrally involved in the organisation of Africa Day. In addition to highlighting the cultural and economic potential of the continent, Africa Day also raises awareness of the progress that is being achieved through working with Irish Aid partners.
“I am particularly pleased to see that, as well as our flagship event in Dublin, Africa Day events will take place in Cork, Galway, Kildare, Kilkenny and Limerick over the next two weeks.
“Wherever you are celebrating Africa Day, it promises to be a great day out for everyone.”
The national flagship event in Farmleigh, Dublin will have a jam-packed schedule of live music, as well as children’s entertainment, food, dance, drumming and sports. Three music stages will feature international and home-grown acts, such as Kíla, K.O.G. & THE ZONGO BRIGADE, the Discovery Gospel Choir, BARQ, and Aik J. There will also be an area for dancing, drumming workshops and storytelling.
One of the focal points of the Africa Day Dublin event will be the outdoor African bazaar, called ‘Marrakech’. It will feature stalls from different African countries, offering food, drumming, dance, hair-braiding, henna hand-painting, traditional fashion designs, and lots more. In addition to African community groups, a range of development NGOs will be present in the bazaar, offering fun activities, while the African embassies in Ireland will also be represented at the event.
A special children’s area, called ‘Mount Kiddimanjaro’, will include fun fair rides, drumming workshops, zorbing and face-painting.
In Dublin, the festival will run from 11am to 6pm and all are welcome to attend. Reflecting Irish Aid’s commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, attendees are encouraged to leave their cars at home and instead take public transport, walk or cycle to Farmleigh. To support this, Irish Aid will be providing bicycle racks at Farmleigh and Dublin Bus will provide a free shuttle-bus service from the Heuston Bridge / Parkgate Street bus stop into the Phoenix Park.
In Cork, a public outdoor event will be held in Fitzgerald’s Park on Saturday, 27th May from 12noon to 6pm. The family focussed event will have plenty of activities for children, drumming workshops, hair braiding, face painting, balloons, bouncy castles and cultural games with prizes.
In Kilkenny, a public lecture on entrepreneurship at Maynooth University, Kilkenny Campus on Friday, 2nd June will be followed by a Mini Trade and Business Fair at MacDonagh Junction on Saturday, 3rd June, where African entrepreneurs and business owners in Ireland will be invited to advertise/showcase their products, services and ideas. Africa Day celebrations will conclude on Sunday, 4th June with performances by African, Irish and ethnic minority cultural groups; a fashion show; a comedy show and a special area to taste African cuisine at The Parade.
The Kildare “Taste of Africa” Festival Day is taking place in Newbridge Town Hall on Saturday 20th May. The event will showcase the diversity of African Culture and will be a magical day of celebrating African food, dance and music.
“Beyond Africa” is the theme for the 2017 Africa Day celebrations in Limerick. On Thursday 25th May, there will be a symposium of talks held in the Strand Hotel in an interactive World Café style. The final event will be a family fun day in the Milk Market on Sunday 28th May. Activities will include music, dance, crafts, children’s entertainment and food. A volunteer recognition event will be held in City Hall afterwards with the Mayor presenting the certificates to all the volunteers involved in this year’s programme.
In Galway, a number of Africa Day festivities will run from 17th – 25th May. It will include an interactive music workshop at the United Methodist Presbyterian Church, Victoria Place, a football event at the Westside Astro facility featuring eight Galway primary schools and the 10th Galway African Film Festival will take place from 19th -21st in the Mick Lally Theatre (Druid). A special Africa Day event will also take place in Doughiska, Galway’s most multicultural suburb.
Distributed by APO on behalf of Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Ireland.
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