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SPLM-IO’s committed, working towards sustainable peace in South Sudan– Dr. Machar
December 3, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Deng Machol

Dr. Riek Machar

Juba – The leader of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO), Dr. Riek Machar, says his group is committed to working towards building sustainable peace in the restive country.

SPLM-IO is currently holding its first-ever national conference in Juba, the 6th since the movement was formed under the theme, “building and sustaining peace through implementation of the revitalized peace agreement.” The conference runs through December 5, 2020.

The SPLM-IO was formed in April 2014 after a political disagreement among members of the ruling SPLM party led to the 2013 civil war.

Over 500 delegates comprising of politicians, military officers, and other representatives gathered in Juba for a five-day national conference of the SPLM-IO to deliberate on ways to “build and sustain peace through the implementation of the 2018 revitalized peace agreement”.

In his remarks, Dr. Machar, who is also the first vice president, stated the main opposition party is committed to silencing the guns.

“While SPLM/A IO remain steadfast and committed to the implementation of the agreement in letter and spirit, we expect the same commitment from our peace partner so that we can better manage together the challenges impeding the implementation process,” Machar said.

“The parties to the agreement are currently engaged in the process of implementation of R-ARCSS with the overarching objectives of achieving sustainable peace, security and transition democracy,” he added.

Former rebel leader also acknowledged the slow implementation of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan RARCSS and called on peace partners to jointly work to implement the agreement.

Dr. Machar cited some of the challenges includes limited resources, lack of political will, lack of political space, economic crises, Covid-19, unprecedented floods, widespread inter and intra-communal violence, political and administrative vacuum in states, violations of the agreement, and the hold-out groups.

Machar also said the agreement offers the best opportunity for the country to end civil wars and political instability as well as offer an opportunity for reconciliation, healing, and development.

 “On the implementation of R-ARCSS; establishment of a fund for the implementation of the agreement and to be independently managed, direct allocation of a fixed amount from the oil revenue for the fund and call for a donor conference to support the implementation,” Machar said. “Hold parties accountable for actions of defectors that join them, accelerate graduation of the Necessary Unified Forces and immediately commence phase 2 of the unification of forces, ensure the timely provision of the logistics to cantonment and training centers.”

Kiir’s side on ceasefire violations 

Dr. Machar further accused the president Kiir’s side of engaging in a series of ceasefire violations and creating a stalemate in the security sector reforms.

He believes President Kiir’s party is not discharging enough political will to implement parts of the revitalized peace deal, adding the SSPDF has been instigating and provoking violence in some parts of the country.

“We hold the SSPDF responsible for violations…of permanent ceasefire and cessation of hostilities in number of places namely, Maiwut and Maban counties in Upper Nile state, Wau County in Western Bahr El Ghazal state, Tombura County in Western Equatoria state, lately in Kajo-keji of central Equatoria state,” said Machar.

His comments comes follow last week’s report by the UN Panel of Experts on South Sudan that the political momentum has eroded after President Salva Kiir locked the opposition out of the government’s decision-making process.

According to the experts, this has contributed to political and security disputes within the peace presidency, stalling implementation of the 2018 peace agreement.

Dr. Machar revealed that consultations have not been happening as expected.

“In line of violations of the agreement, appointment without consultations, non-dissolution of ITGoNU and national legislatures, we see these as a violation,” Machar said. “These violations are clear demonstration of lack of political will in commitment to the implementation of transitional security arrangement.”

However, in response, the Kiir’s group says the president has the right to make appointments –where necessary.

The revitalized peace deal states that the new unity government is founded on the premise that there shall be collegial collaboration in decision-making and continuous consultations within the Presidency, to ensure effective governance during the transitional period.

It’s already two year on but the fragile peace deal is yet to end the bloodshed and put the world youngest nation into the path of democracy.

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African Energy Chamber Starts a Working Visit to Mozambique to Push for Natural Gas Adoption and Jobs Creation
December 3, 2020 | 0 Comments

The Chamber will be advocating for sound local content policies and development and a broader push for gas monetisation in order to fight energy poverty and create jobs.

The African Energy Chamber is in Mozambique this week on a working visit to meet with the country’s government authorities, representatives of the oil sector and local entrepreneurs and services providers. The Chamber will be advocating for sound local content policies and development and a broader push for gas monetisation in order to fight energy poverty and create jobs.

With the revised development plan for the Temane PSA now approved, and as Eni’s 3.4 mtpa Coral South FLNG and Total’s 12.88 mtpa Mozambique LNG projects move forward, Mozambique is set to become an African gas leader. While Mozambican gas exports are expected to benefit more than just South Africa moving forward, the monetisation of its gas at home is also set to unlock tremendous local value for Mozambicans.

The Chamber continues to firmly believe that gas monetisation stands to change the economic outlook of Mozambique and its people. Natural gas remains the best hope the country has to fight energy poverty, improve security and offer opportunities to young Mozambican women and men.

“The Chamber salute H.E. Filipe Nyusi, President of Mozambique, for providing an enabling environment for gas investors to make a play in Mozambique. The country has a unique opportunity to set new standards for the way Africans develop and monetise natural gas, and the Chamber will be once again expressing its support to all stakeholders for making this ambition a reality in the near future,” declared Nj Ayuk, Executive Chairman at the African Energy Chamber.

*SOURCE African Energy Chamber

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Attitude of adult supervision has to be left in the past- Kagame tells Europe
December 3, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Maniraguha Ferdinand

President Kagame said that good relations will not be achived while Europe still behaves as supervisor on Africa (Photo, Urugwiro Village)

President Paul Kagame of Rwanda has said that good relations between African and Europe will never be achieved while Africa is still considered as a fringe player in the partnership.

Kagame said  this on Wednesday, 2nd December, while addressing a virtual 5th meeting of the high-level group of personalities on Europe-Africa relations.

He said that as Africa and Europe strive for a better future together, their goals  will not be achieved while Europe is still behaving as supervisor in African matters.

“We also want to take the relationship to the next level in terms of a common understanding of governance. The attitude of ‘adult supervision’ has to be left in the past”, President Kagame said. “Examples of right or wrong conduct can be found everywhere. We must avoid the temptation to reduce Africa to the lowest common denominator, with blanket judgments and generalisations”, he added.

He emphasized that there cannot be  mutual respectful partnership “premised on the unspoken assumption that one party lacks values, or has defective values, while the other party is a fully-formed moral agent.”

For many times, Africa has been portrayed internationally as a continent of problems, bad leadership, ravaged by corruption and wars.

Though reach in terms of natural resources and it vibrant young population, African countries are still ranked  as the poorest in the world.

Kagame said that for Africa and Europe to overcome 21st century challenges, mutual respect is the key.

“It is about dialogue, respect, and a commitment to the more robust partnership which both Africa and Europe need in order to prevail over the challenges of the 21st century, together” he said

He urged Europe to see Africa as partner instead of an aid receiver.

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Cameroon: The Fisherman’s Diary Gets 9 Nominations at AMAA 2020
December 3, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Fresh from being nominated in fifteen (15) categories at the Golden Movie Awards in Ghana, Cameroonian movie The Fisherman’s Diary has received nine (9) nominations at the 2020 African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) in Nigeria.

Kang Quintus who was nominated as best actor in the Golden Movie Awards has been nominated as Best Actor at the AMAA 2020. The Fisherman’s Diary has been nominated for Best Film, while Enah Johnscot has been nominated for Best Director.

Ndamo Damarise has been nominated for Best Supporting Actress, with Cosson Chinepoh getting nominated for Best Supporting Actor. Faith Fidel, one of the most promising actresses in the Cameroonian movie scene at the moment was nominated for Most Promising Actor.

“We have had 61 festival selections so far in 29 countries internationally. Recently, we became the first film to win 6 awards at the Festiva Ecrans Noirs in Yaounde. It is a sign to say we have a product that does not only cut across Cameroonians but cuts across the national boundaries,” Kang Quintus told Pan African Visions shortly after the nominations at the Golden Movie Awards.

“We have made waves in 29 countries and 6 nominations in a festival like that with other great films in Africa and we dominating the entire festival is an honour for not just me but the entire country Cameroon. It tells us that the Cameroonian cinema is there and we are ready to compete with any other country and not just in Africa but the world at large.” “… It was a lot of time and talent that went into the project and this is just a reflection of hard work that went into the film.”

Full nominations

Best actor – Kang Quintus

Best Film – Fisherman’s Diary

Best Director – Enah Johnscot

Best Cinematographer – Rene Etta

Best Screenplay – Enah Johnscot and Buh Melvin “BABA PROX”

Best Supporting Actress – Ndamo Damarise

Best Supporting Actor – Cosson Chinepoh

Most Promising Actor – Faith Fidel

Best Sound Track – Ewube

What is The Fisherman’s Diary all about?

The movie directed by Enah Johnscott and produced by Kang Quintus is a storey of a 12-year-old Ekah (Faith Fidel) who got inspired by Malala Yousalzai, the youngest noble prize winner.

She is determined to go to school in a village of fishermen where it is considered as taboo. He drives to break this adage gets her embroiled with her father Solomon (Kang Quintus) experience with girl child education, critiqsite reported.

The film features other actors such as Ramses Nouah, Onyama Laura, Neba Godwill, Mayohchu and Daphne Njie.

The film has won best film in India and New York, picking up Best director, best film, best soundtrack and best production nominations at the prestigious PAMA in Paris, France.

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MEDIA ADVISORY : African Institute for Mathematical Sciences to Host Online Next Einstein Forum Global Gathering: 8-10 December 2020
December 3, 2020 | 0 Comments

KIGALI, Rwanda, December 3, 2020,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/- On behalf of the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS), we would like to invite you to participate in the first-ever  virtual edition  of the Next Einstein Forum Global Gathering (NEF-GG), Africa’s largest scientific gathering from 8-10 December 2020. Organized against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s event is themed “Building Africa’s resilience through education, research and innovation”.

WHAT: Next Einstein Forum Global Gathering (NEF-GG), Virtual Edition.

WHO: Organized by the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS), featuring interventions from high-level science, industry, policy, and government leaders from across the globe.

WHEN: 8-10 December 2020.

WHERE: Airmeet video conferencing platform. Register to attend. Program details.

The virtual NEF-GG will unveil advancements in science, alongside actionable plans to chart a pathway for a prosperous post-COVID-19 Africa. Following successful editions in Rwanda (2018) and Senegal (2016), NEF-GG 2020 was set to take place from 10-13 March in Nairobi, Kenya, with over 2500 delegates from 80 countries expected to attend; the event was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The virtual NEF-GG will bring together a diverse and renowned audience of academics, scientists, industry and policy leaders to reflect on Africa’s scientific future. At AIMS, we believe that Africa’s contributions to the global scientific community are critical for global progress. By connecting science, society and policy in Africa and the rest of the world, the NEF is leveraging science for human development. The biennial NEF Global Gatherings are the NEF’s marquee event. Far from an ordinary science forum, the NEF Global Gatherings position science at the centre of global development efforts. In the presence of scientists (Nobel Prize and Field Medal laureates), political and industry leaders, civil society and media, and with a strong focus on youth and women, the voices of global science leaders have the opportunity to be heard and to have a significant impact on Africa’s scientific future. 

Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA)on behalf of the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS).

Media Inquiries/Coverage

Meganne Boho

African Media Agency

Mb@amediaagency.com

AIMS Media Contact                                                           

Dr Layih Butake

Senior Outreach Manager & Acting Director of Communications, AIMS

Lbutake@nexteinstein.org

Source : African Media Agency (AMA)

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AIMS to host its first online Next Einstein Forum Global Gathering
December 3, 2020 | 0 Comments

KIGALI, Rwanda, December 3, 2020,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/-  The African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) will host the first-ever virtual edition of the Next Einstein Forum Global Gathering (NEF-GG), Africa’s largest scientific gathering from 8-10 December 2020. Organized against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, under the theme “Building Africa’s resilience through education, research and innovation”, this year’s event will take place through the  Airmeet video conferencing platform. 

“We are thrilled to be hosting the first-ever virtual Next Einstein Forum Global Gathering, which will bring together a diverse and renowned audience of academics, scientists, industry and policy leaders to reflect on Africa’s scientific future. Following successful editions held in Kigali (2018) and Dakar (2016), the NEF has become the ultimate destination for pertinent conversations around Africa’s path to becoming a global leader in science and technology. We had to postpone the March 2020 NEF GG slated for Nairobi, Kenya, due to the COVID-19 pandemic; nevertheless, while looking forward to a favourable context for an in-person conference, we are keeping the NEF-GG momentum, excited at the prospect of reaching a wider audience of delegates, especially Africa’s youth, who are at the heart of the AIMS ecosystem of transformation and innovation”, said Lydie Hakizimana, AIMS CEO.

With pre-events such as the  Gender Summit 18 and We Are AI, the virtual NEF-GG seeks to unveil advancements in science, alongside actionable plans to chart a pathway for a prosperous post-COVID-19 Africa. The event will feature interventions from high-level science, industry, policy, and government leaders from across the globe. At AIMS, we believe that Africa’s contributions to the global scientific community are critical for global progress. By connecting science, society and policy in Africa and the rest of the world, the NEF is leveraging science for human development. The biennial NEF Global Gatherings are the NEF’s marquee event. Far from an ordinary science forum, the NEF Global Gatherings position science at the centre of global development efforts. In the presence of scientists (Nobel Prize and Field Medal laureates), political and industry leaders, civil society and media, and with a strong focus on youth and women, the voices of global science leaders have the opportunity to be heard and to have a significant impact on Africa’s scientific future. 

Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of AIMS.

About AIMS

Founded in 2003, the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) is a pan-African network of centres of excellence for post-graduate training in mathematical sciences, research and public engagement in STEM. With centres in South Africa, Senegal, Ghana, Cameroon and Rwanda, AIMS is leading Africa’s socio-economic transformation through innovative scientific training, cutting-edge research, and public engagement. With expertly tailored academic and non-academic programs spanning through Centres of Excellence, Research Centres, the AIMS Industry Initiative and Gender-Responsive Teacher Training, AIMS equally created two critical initiatives: Quantum Leap Africa, which aspires to do leading-edge research in quantum science, and the Next Einstein Forum, which is positioning Africa to become an important player in global science. For more information, visit www.nexteinstein.org.

More at nef.org

Twitter: @NextEinsteinFor

Facebook: NextEinsteinForum

Media Contact

Dr Layih Butake

Senior Outreach Manager & Acting Director of Communications, AIMSLbutake@nexteinstein.org

Meganne Boho

African Media Agency

Mb@amediaagency.com

Source : African Media Agency (AMA)

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SAP becomes the perfect medicine for Kiara Health’s complexities and cost challenges
December 3, 2020 | 0 Comments

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, December 3, 2020 -/ African Media Agency(AMA)/- Companies wishing to transform their operations through digital technologies often face a hard choice: stay with a legacy system and make the best of a legacy investment, or transition to a new digital platform but risk causing disruption in the lives of customers, partners and employees.

For one African pharmaceutical company, neither option was suitable, and so an exemplary digital transformation project was initiated that would completely transform its systems without any disruption to the business or its customers.

Kiara Health (Pty) Ltd is an African pharmaceutical manufacturing and healthcare solutions company headquartered in Johannesburg. It serves as a the local, non-exclusive manufacturing partner for a global top five pharmaceutical company and as a commercial partner for several global pharmaceutical and medical technology companies.

The acquisition by Kiara Health of a multinational pharmaceutical manufacturing facility, sold to fulfil a need for transformation in the local pharmaceutical sector, sees the dawn of a new type of pharmaceutical company that offers an end-to-end solution along the patient journey. Kiara Health, a 100% black-owned company, purchased this plant together with twenty-five marketing authorisations.

Kiara Health’s leadership was left with a vital decision: keep to the highly-customised SAP ECC system of the outgoing multinational company (with cost-prohibitive separation terms), or invest in a standalone cloud-based digital platform to streamline operations. They chose a turn-key ERP system by SAP to support its operations.

Dr Skhumbuzo Ngozwana, CEO and President of Kiara Health, says that the driving force behind the leadership team’s decision was to ensure that their customers do not suffer due to a transition to the new system. “We partnered with Seidor Westrocon and adopted SAP S/4HANA to simplify and automate our end-to-end processes, from product ordering through to production, packaging and distribution. We achieved go-live in four months, and within budget, with no disruption to our business. This implementation is potentially unprecedented in an organisation of similar size and type.”

This decision has proven to be a success story as the transition from the old multinational modified system to the implementation of an off-the-shelf SAP offering ensured that the production facility remained operational throughout the SARS-CoV-2 lockdown period. Without any teething problems that would halt manufacturing, no employee jobs were put at risk due to the lockdown.

“This decision was taken by an extremely agile and highly qualified team of experts within Kiara Health and fully supports President Cyril Ramaphosa’s South African Economic Recovery Plan to generate 800,000 jobs,” says Dr Ngozwana. “Kiara Health sees these executions as part of their mission to progress the health of all on the continent, underpinned by job creation and not ‘job saving’.”

The manufacturing site previously operated on a complex and expensive legacy enterprise resource planning system. However, with the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, local manufacturing capability became more important than ever for new owners, Kiara Health. The company needed a system that could increase throughput by streamlining processes across business areas, and which could place greater control in the hands of the leadership team.

“We consolidated our operations on a standalone cloud-based digital platform with SAP S/4HANA Cloud,” says Dr Ngozwana. “This off-the-shelf solution gave us a flexible yet standardised system that is adaptable to our needs, allowing us to maintain best-practice. It has also future-proofed the digital foundation of our business, and enables our Industry 4.0 aspirations for the future.”

The implementation involved all Kiara Health stakeholders that are currently still involved in ensuring world-class manufacturing from the site. These experts worked in close collaboration with implementation partner Seidor Westrocon to develop a deep understanding of each department’s responsibilities, and how the SAP processes can support them.

“The transition from working in multinational company silos to operating as a team has improved our internal responsiveness and enabled significant value creation across our supply chain, procurement and manufacturing processes,” says Moosa Areff, Kiara Health Chief Operating Officer.

The implementation team streamlined Kiara Health’s procure-to-pay processes to shorten the time between order placement and goods receipt. Following the implementation, the company has reduced its days to close from eight days to one, greatly improving cash planning.

“We have tightly integrated and simplified on-time delivery processes to enable our team to get through work faster and troubleshoot with full visibility,” says Dr Ngozwana. “Each team member can diagnose any challenge to understand what is impacting production or the release of the end-product. The improved usability and support has helped us reduce the total cost of ownership by 10%, while our on-time and in-full delivery performance has improved from 80-85% to 100% – an outstanding achievement.”

Following the implementation, Kiara Health has enjoyed higher settlement discounts and improved brand reputation thanks to direct payment cycles. Costs are also contained due to greater visibility and through leveraging economies-of-scale in the procurement process.

“Our business is now more responsive as our planning and production teams are connected to our warehouse,” says Conrad Strydom, Kiara Health Head of Site . “We are also enjoying greater end-user sourcing compliance and increased savings in sourcing, in both direct and indirect spend. As a whole, the implementation of SAP S/4HANA has empowered our teams to make better decisions and improve the total performance of our business, setting us up for a bright future.”

On Kiara Health’s role in the implementation, Martin Van Wyk, Managing Director of Seidor Westrocon says the collaboration was first class. “The Kiara Health and Seidor Westrocon teams worked unwaveringly during the COVID-19 lockdown in South Africa, and pulled off the project and go-live together. The contribution from the Kiara Health leadership team, with their deep understanding of their business operations, extensive process knowledge and SAP expertise, was a considerable game-changer, making this mammoth task achievable. A big thank you to this team.”

Cameron Beveridge, Regional Director for Southern Africa at SAP, says Kiara Health has reduced complexity in its environment through greater control across its operations. “By building its operations on the powerful S/4HANA digital platform, Kiara Health has achieved immediate business benefits while enabling greater future innovation and easing the process of integrating Industry 4.0 innovations. Transforming its total operations in a mere four months with no impact on product or service delivery is a great accomplishment by Kiara Health and its implementation partner Seidor Westrocon.”

Visit the SAP News Center. Follow SAP on Twitter at @SAPNews.

Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of SAP.

About SAP

SAP’s strategy is to help every business run as an intelligent enterprise. As the market leader in enterprise application software, we help companies of all sizes and in all industries run at their best: 77% of the world’s transaction revenue touches an SAP® system. Our machine learning, Internet of Things (IoT), and advanced analytics technologies help turn customers’ businesses into intelligent enterprises. SAP helps give people and organizations deep business insight and fosters collaboration that helps them stay ahead of their competition. We simplify technology for companies so they can consume our software the way they want – without disruption. Our end-to-end suite of applications and services enables business and public customers across 25 industries globally to operate profitably, adapt continuously, and make a difference. With a global network of customers, partners, employees, and thought leaders, SAP helps the world run better and improve people’s lives. For more information, visit www.sap.com

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Source : African Media Agency (AMA)

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UN Global Compact partners with African Media Agency (AMA) on Virtual SDG Summit
December 3, 2020 | 0 Comments

UN Global Compact will convene Africa’s private sector on 3 December to discuss achieving the Sustainable Development Goals for a better Africa
UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed will address African Business, Government and Civil Society leaders during the summit

ABIDJAN, Côte d’Ivoire, December 3, 2020,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/- The United Nations Global Compact has announced a collaboration with the African Media Agency (AMA) ahead of its upcoming virtual summit, Making Global Goals Local Business-Africa. Through this partnership, AMA will mobilize its network to ensure the private sector of the continent can take part in achieving the SDGs for a better Africa. 

Making Global Goals Local Business – Africa will be convened on 3 December by the UN Global Compact in collaboration with Global Compact Local Networks in South Africa, Kenya, Ghana, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, Tanzania, Morocco, plus the Indian Ocean and Mauritius Regional Network. 

The one-day online event is themed “Uniting Business for the Africa We Want: Decade of Action and Opportunities” and expected to attract dozens of journalists and more than 2,000 attendees, mainly from the private sector. Tickets are complimentary but registration is required

“Opportunities abound in Africa, particularly for investment, partnership and growth of local businesses,” explained Eloïne Barry, Founder and CEO, African Media Agency. “But it is crucial that the private sector in Africa joins the journey to meeting the SDGs. We need to see more commitment and action from businesses as they play an important role,” she added. 

This partnership forms part of the UN Global Compact’s mandate to support the global business community in advancing the Sustainable Development Goals and values through responsible corporate practices. AMA will, therefore, be playing a very vital role as a trusted and authoritative source of news on a pan-African scale.

“We’re pleased to partner with AMA to project locally-relevant information that is mindful of Africa’s unique business landscape. This will help in ensuring that we deliver meaningful impact,” said Dan Thomas, Chief of Communications and Strategic Events at the UN Global Compact.

The forum will evaluate actions, and learn from compelling evidence across the continent, presented by many of the most inspiring leaders, including the UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed. Other notable African executives in attendance include Vice President (Supply Chain), Unilever West Africa; Jane Karuku, CEO, EABL (Kenya); Brahim Benjelloun, Executive Director, Bank of Africa Group BMCE (Morocco). 

Marking the 20th anniversary of the UN Global Compact, which was founded by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, the event will feature top African executives, including Celestin Mukeba, CEO, Equity Bank Congo (DRC); Phyllis Wakiaga, CEO, Kenya Association of Manufacturers (Kenya); Siddarth Ramaswamy, Vice President (Supply Chain), Unilever West Africa; Jane Karuku, CEO, EABL (Kenya), Brahim Benjelloun, Executive Director, Bank of Africa Group BMCE (Morocco); Prosper Burnson, Executive Director, Green Carbon (Ghana); Richard Rushton, CEO, Distell (South Africa); Samuel Kimeu, Member of the Board, Africa Union Advisory Board Against Corruption; Bernard Muselet, CEO, Credit du Maroc (Morocco); Sanda Ojiambo, CEO and Executive Director, UN Global Compact, and many more. 

Sessions will explore many of the key issues African countries are confronting head-on to achieve progress to develop sustainably in the coming years, including the impact of COVID-19. For example, the African Decade of Action session will put the business community’s challenge in the context of reaching the SDGs by 2030, the target deadline for the Global Goals, which include ending poverty and hunger, improving health and wellbeing, clean water and sanitation, and industry, innovation, and infrastructure. The Youth and Innovation session will feature entrepreneurs and graduate students. Breakout sessions featuring business leaders like Ms. Karuku from EABL and Mr Muselet of Crédit du Maroc will tackle Climate Action: Anniversary of the Paris Agreement and the Role of Business, Gender Equality, and Water Resilience. 

For registration, list of speakers and the full agenda click here.

Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of AMA & UNGC.

About the UN Global Compact
As a special initiative of the UN Secretary-General, the United Nations Global Compact is a call to companies everywhere to align their operations and strategies with ten universal principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. Launched in 2000, the mandate of the UN Global Compact is to guide and support the global business community in advancing UN goals and values through responsible corporate practices. With more than 10,000 companies and 3,000 non-business signatories based in over 160 countries, and 69 Local Networks, it is the largest corporate sustainability initiative in the world. It is also organized in collaboration with Global Compact Local Networks South Africa, Kenya, Ghana, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Morocco, Making Global Goals Local Business. 

About African Media Agency (AMA)
African Media Agency specializes in helping companies grow their share of voice on a pan-African scale. Our deep knowledge and understanding of the continent helped us gain recognition and act as an authoritative source of news for the most influential media houses in every African country.

Our offices are located in New York (USA), Abidjan (Cote d’Ivoire) and Kampala (Uganda). We have local presence in Johannesburg (South Africa), Nairobi (Kenya), Lagos (Nigeria), Dakar (Senegal), Casablanca (Morocco) and Cairo (Egypt). Our team has over 15 years of experience across the Communications spectrum on a pan-African scale. We intimately understand the diversified and often complex business environment in each African country and guide our clients with best practice on every step of their African journey.

Source : African Media Agency (AMA)

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Over 3.3 million children vaccinated in Chad in large-scale polio campaign
December 3, 2020 | 0 Comments

GENEVA, Switzerland, December 03, 2020,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/-More than 3.3 million children have been vaccinated against polio in Chad in a just-concluded immunization drive – one of the largest of its kind in the African region this year as campaigns that were halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic resume.

While Africa was declared free of the wild poliovirus in August 2020, another form of polio continues to infect children: circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus, or cVDPV. This type of polio is rare and can only occur in areas where not enough children are immunized, which means that the only way to stop their spread is through immunizations. The current outbreak in Chad was first detected in February 2020, but immunizations were halted due to COVID-19, and the virus spread to 36 districts across the country, paralyzing more than 80 children and even leading to cases in neighbouring Sudan and the Central African Republic

“Viruses do not respect national borders,” said Dr Ndoutabé Modjirom, head of the polio Rapid Response Team at the World Health Organization (WHO) African Region. “Given Chad’s central geographic location and mobile populations, it was important to plan a large-scale campaign that targeted key populations and high-risk areas throughout the country.”

The campaign consisted of two vaccination rounds targeting children in 91 districts located in 16 of Chad’s 23 provinces. The first round was between 13 and 15 November and the second from 27 to 29 November.

After mass polio vaccination campaigns were stopped across Africa due to COVID-19 restrictions, they resumed in July 2020. Altogether, more than 40 million children in 16 countries have now been vaccinated. The response to date in the region overall, and in Chad in particular, demonstrates the commitment by Global Polio Eradication Initiative partners and the countries to stop the virus in the most challenging areas in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The number of children reached since polio campaigns have resumed is extremely encouraging,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa. “This large-scale campaign in Chad during COVID-19 is a reflection of the region’s commitment and ability to face multiple difficult health challenges and protect the health of all children.”

During the pause in mass polio vaccinations due to COVID-19, Chad’s team of national and international polio experts worked with the Rapid Response Team to track the virus, conduct a risk assessment, and plan an outbreak response campaign to take place as soon as it was safe to do so, taking into account the timelines in the outbreak response standards of practice. Consultations were also held with the national COVID-19 task force to ensure that best practices in infection prevention and control would be followed. The commitment and efforts of the Ministry of Health and of other key national and regional health leaders and partners, including UNICEF, were instrumental in launching the campaign.

“With increased immunizations and the continued commitment of health leaders and partners, we are confident that we will soon see the end of this outbreak and the end of all forms of polio in Africa,” said Dr Jean Bosco Ndihokubwayo, WHO representative for Chad.

Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of World Health Organization.

Source : African Media Agency (AMA)

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How the world’s highest HIV-prevalence country turned around, and in record time
December 3, 2020 | 0 Comments

GENEVA, Switzerland, December 03, 2020,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/-Because her government aggressively pursued treatment as prevention for people living with HIV, Thembi Dlamini and several women in her support group have been able to counsel each other, give family advice and run an artisanal business. In other words, their government gave them a life together.

Without the availability of the drugs for free, “we would have died,” she says.

It is that pivotal decision and several other critical supporting moves that have enabled Eswatini to become the first country in Africa to achieve the United Nations HIV target: 95% of people living with HIV know their status, 95% of them are on life-saving antiretroviral treatment, and 95% of those on treatment have a suppressed viral load. The country that once had the world’s highest HIV prevalence did so 10 years ahead of the 2030 goal.

After detecting the first case of HIV in 1986, the country experienced an explosion of HIV cases. Following several waves of new HIV infections and deaths, the government declared HIV a national emergency in 1997 and committed that by 2022 it must no longer be a public health threat.

Propelling concerted action

The government’s decision galvanized a multisector response, considered the foundational success factor. The National Emergency Response Council on HIV/AIDS (NERCHA) was established in 2001 to coordinate activities from government to communities, including training for traditional leaders. Housed within the Prime Minister’s Office and funded by the government, NERCHA steered the agenda and programmes towards the goal.

The government’s commitment meant providing free antiretroviral (ART) drugs for HIV patients “We were the first country to say we need to look closely at treatment,” says NERCHA Director Khanya Mabuza. In 2016, the commitment expanded to cover the provision of drugs as soon as someone tested positive.

To ensure uninterrupted treatment programmes, the government procured 80% of antiretroviral drugs, whilst international partners covered the gap, says Dr Vusi Magagula, Director of Health Services.

The government also provided laboratory technologies for CD4 and viral load monitoring. Another critical part of the strategy has been improving patients access to these monitoring and treatment services. Access improved for HIV clients through the implementation of game-changing nurse-led ART policy, where nurses were trained to initiate treatment under the mentorship of doctors from nearby hospitals, with regular oversight provided by PEPFAR partners.

The HIV services at the community primary health care clinics were linked with HIV prevention activities as well as prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV, tuberculosis and non-communicable disease services. HIV testing services are routinely provided at all health facilities, and the age of consent for HIV testing was reduced to 12 years.

Early on, in 2009, the government opted to give patients with a stable record of high adherence to their treatment three months’ refill of their medication. Recently and due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the government accelerated the plan to dispense six months’ refill supplies.

In response to the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on continuity of services, the government expanded its community service delivery to take HIV testing, prevention and treatment services (including ART drug distribution) to people through outreach programmes that rely on rural health motivators and HIV treatment adherence support initiatives.  The effect of all these initiatives helped to maintain uninterrupted regimes and to connect with key and vulnerable populations.

Other innovative community approaches common across Eswatini are peer-to-peer support for people living with HIV, mentor-mothers and community adherence treatment supporters for adolescents and young people.

Thembi Dlamini helped start one of the peer-support groups in her Mayiwane community in the northern Hhohho region, which she says includes HIV-negative members. “We do this so that those who have not tested yet can see we all live normal lives. There’s no need for discrimination,” she explains, after describing how she was shunned when she first started living with HIV. “Many people thought I had been bewitched.”

“The community mobilization and HIV communication programmes have influenced change in behaviours on stigma and discrimination and improved HIV service uptake in communities,” says Dr Nomthandazo Lukhele, the World Health Organization (WHO) HIV/TB Officer in Eswatini.

Protecting the success in the pandemic

A critical part of the drug-adherence monitoring has been keeping a close eye on drug resistance. In 2016, the Ministry of Health and PEPFAR carried out two HIV drug resistance surveys, which led to a shift to a new drug in the ART regimen, in line with WHO guidelines.

The combined gravitas of all the interventions led to a 66% decline in new HIV infections between 2010 and 2019, with AIDS-related deaths declining by 49%.

“Eswatini is a small country with a population of just over a million people. Hence, its achievement of the 95-95-95 should be an inspiration to many other countries, as we have shown that it can be done,” says Minister of Health Lizzie Nkosi in an interview.

The country is also showing how to overcome the threat to success that the COVID-19 pandemic has presented. When the lockdown led to declines in immunization, HIV and TB services, the government went into catch-up mode and continues to invest in the capacity, availability and well-being of the health workforce at all levels of the health system.

Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of World Health Organization.

Source : African Media Agency (AMA)

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World’s governments must wind down fossil fuel production by 6% per year to limit catastrophic warming
December 3, 2020 | 0 Comments

NAIROBI, Kenya, December 03, 2020,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/-A special issue of the Production Gap Report – from leading research organizations and the UN – finds that the COVID-19 recovery marks a potential turning point, where countries must change course to avoid locking in levels of coal, oil, and gas production far higher than consistent with a 1.5°C limit.

Countries plan to increase their fossil fuel production over the next decade, even as research shows that the world needs to decrease production by 6% per year to limit global warming to 1.5°C, according to the 2020 Production Gap Report.

The report, first launched in 2019, measures the gap between Paris Agreement goals and countries’ planned production of coal, oil, and gas. It finds that the “production gap” remains large: countries plan to produce more than double the amount of fossil fuels in 2030 than would be consistent with a 1.5°C temperature limit.

This year’s special issue looks at the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic – and governments’ stimulus and recovery measures – on coal, oil, and gas production. It comes at a potential turning point, as the pandemic prompts unprecedented government action – and as major economies, including China, Japan, and South Korea, have pledged to reach net-zero emissions.

“This year’s devastating forest fires, floods, and droughts and other unfolding extreme weather events serve as powerful reminders for why we must succeed in tackling the climate crisis. As we seek to reboot economies following the COVID-19 pandemic, investing in low-carbon energy and infrastructure will be good for jobs, for economies, for health, and for clean air,” said Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). “Governments must seize the opportunity to direct their economies and energy systems away from fossil fuels, and build back better towards a more just, sustainable, and resilient future.”

The report was produced by the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), the Overseas Development Institute, E3G, and UNEP. Dozens of researchers contributed to the analysis and review, spanning numerous universities and additional research organizations.

“The research is abundantly clear that we face severe climate disruption if countries continue to produce fossil fuels at current levels, let alone at their planned increases,” said Michael
Lazarus, a lead author on the report and the director of SEI’s US Center. “The research is similarly clear on the solution: government policies that decrease both the demand and supply for fossil fuels and support communities currently dependent on them. This report offers steps that governments can take today for a just and equitable transition away from fossil fuels.”

The report’s main findings include:

  • To follow a 1.5°C-consistent pathway, the world will need to decrease fossil fuel production by roughly 6% per year between 2020 and 2030. Countries are instead planning and projecting an average annual increase of 2%, which by 2030 would result in more than double the production consistent with the 1.5°C limit.
  • Between 2020 and 2030, global coal, oil, and gas production would have to decline annually by 11%, 4%, and 3%, respectively, to be consistent with the 1.5°C pathway.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic – and the “lockdown” measures to halt its spread – have led to short-term drops in coal, oil, and gas production in 2020. But pre-COVID plans and post-COVID stimulus measures point to a continuation of the growing global fossil fuel production gap, risking severe climate disruption.
  • To date, G20 governments have committed over US$230 billion in COVID-19 measures to sectors responsible for fossil fuel production and consumption, far more than to clean energy (roughly US$150 billion). Policymakers must reverse this trend to meet climate goals.

“The pandemic-driven demand shock and the plunge of oil prices this year has once again demonstrated the vulnerability of many fossil-fuel-dependent regions and communities. The only way out of this trap is diversification of these economies beyond fossil fuels. Alas, in 2020 we saw many governments doubling down on fossil fuels and entrenching these vulnerabilities even more,” said Ivetta Gerasimchuk, a lead author of the report and the lead for sustainable energy supplies at IISD. “Instead, governments should direct recovery funds towards economic diversification and a transition to clean energy that offers better long-term economic and employment potential. This may be one of the most challenging undertakings of the 21st century, but it’s necessary and achievable.”

The report also delves into how the world can equitably transition away from fossil fuels, with the most rapid wind-down needed from countries that have higher financial and institutional capacity and are less dependent on fossil fuel production. Some of the largest fossil fuel producers in this group, including Australia, Canada and the US, are currently among those pursuing major expansions in fossil fuel supply.

Countries highly dependent on fossil fuels and with limited capacity will need international support to transition equitably, and the report explores ways to facilitate that cooperation.
“Winding down fossil fuel production at a rate in line with Paris goals requires both international cooperation and support,” said SEI Research Fellow Cleo Verkuijl, who is a lead author on the report. “As countries communicate more ambitious climate commitments to the
UN climate process ahead of the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, they have the opportunity to incorporate targets and measures to decrease fossil fuel production into these plans, or NDCs.”

The report outlines six areas of action, arming policymakers with options to start winding down fossil fuels as they enact COVID-19 recovery plans. Among other things, they can reduce existing government support for fossil fuels, introduce restrictions on production, and ensure stimulus funds go to green investments (while tying any high-carbon support with conditions that promote long-term alignment with climate goals).

“This report shines a light on how government action, in many cases, risks locking us into fossil-fueled pathways. And it lays out the alternative, with solutions and examples for moving beyond coal, oil, and gas production,” said SEI’s Executive Director, Måns Nilsson. “It’s time to imagine, and plan for, a better future.”

Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of the UN Environment Programme.

NOTES TO EDITORS

Reactions to the Production Gap Report

“This report shows without a doubt that the production and use of coal, oil, and gas needs to decrease quickly if we are to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change. This is vital to ensure both a climate-safe future and strong, sustainable economies for all countries – including those most affected by the shift from grey to green. Governments must work on diversifying their economies and supporting workers, including through COVID-19 recovery plans that do not lock in unsustainable fossil fuel pathways but instead share the benefits of green and sustainable recoveries. We can and must recover better together.” – UN Secretary-General António Guterres

“COVID-19 has shaken up energy markets and, if we seize this moment, we can make change happen by design. But whilst some countries are showing leadership by removing fossil fuel subsidies and limiting new exploration and extraction, we need to see much more if we are to close the gap between planned fossil fuel production and climate commitments made under the Paris Climate Agreement. Working together, governments, companies and investors can bring forward a managed decline of the fossil fuel industry in a way that minimises disruption and ensures a just transition for workers and communities.”– Mary Robinson, Former President of Ireland and Chair of the Elders

“The science is clear that fossil fuel production has to reduce drastically to meet climate goals. This needs to happen in a managed, just, and globally equitable way. Governments must initiate social dialogue processes with workers and their unions, and with affected communities to implement Just Transition plans that minimize adverse impacts and maximize the benefits of the clean energy transition.” – Ayuba Wabba, President of the International Trade Union Confederation

About the Production Gap Report
Modelled after the UNEP’s Emissions Gap Report series — and conceived as a complementary analysis — this report conveys the large discrepancy between countries’ planned fossil fuel production and the global production levels necessary to limit warming to 1.5°C and 2°C.

About the Stockholm Environment Institute
Stockholm Environment Institute is an independent, international research institute that has been engaged in environment and development issues at local, national, regional and global policy levels for more than a quarter of a century. SEI supports decision making for sustainable development by bridging science and policy.

About UNEP
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is the leading global voice on the environment. It provides leadership and encourages partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations.
 

About the International Institute for Sustainable Development 
The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) is an award-winning, independent think tank championing research-driven solutions to the world’s greatest environmental challenges. Our vision is a balanced world where people and the planet thrive; our mission is to accelerate the global transition to clean water, fair economies and a stable climate. With offices in Winnipeg, Geneva, Ottawa and Toronto, our work impacts lives in nearly 100 countries. 

About ODI
ODI is an independent, global think tank, working for a sustainable and peaceful world in which every person thrives. We harness the power of evidence and ideas through research and partnership to confront challenges, develop solutions, and create change.

About E3G
E3G is an independent European climate change think tank with a global outlook. We are world leading strategists on the political economy of climate change, dedicated to achieving a safe climate for all. We work on the frontier of the climate landscape tackling the barriers and advancing the solutions to a safe climate. Our goal is to translate climate politics, economics and policies into action.

For more information please contact:

Emily Yehle, Senior Communications Officer, Stockholm Environment Institute
News and Media unit, United Nations Environment Programme

Source : African Media Agency (AMA)

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Gruesome Boko Haram Killings in Northeast Nigeria
December 3, 2020 | 0 Comments

Authorities Should Prioritize Civilian Protection

NEW YORK, USA, December 03, 2020,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/-Suspected Boko Haram insurgents reportedly killed at least 70 civilians this weekend, many of them farmers working on a rice field. The attackers tied up many of the victims before slitting their throats, according to media reports. This latest gruesome attack took place in Jere, not far from Maiduguri, the Borno state capital and epicenter of the decades-long conflict in northeastern Nigeria.

The UN has described the incident as the most violent direct attack against civilians this year, and called for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.

Boko Haram and its splinter faction, Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), have continued to attack civilian, humanitarian, and military targets this year, reportedly killing at least 363 civilians between January and September. It is increasingly difficult to protect civilians, even in government-controlled areas. In June, three rocket-propelled explosives fired from outside Maiduguri killed four people and injured three others in the city, an area previously considered relatively safe given the strong Nigerian army presence.

Yet despite ongoing safety concerns, authorities in Borno state announced plans in August to encourage nearly two million internally displaced people (IDPs) in Maiduguri and other areas to return to their communities.

Sixteen days after IDPs were returned to Kukawa Local Government Area on August 18, Boko Haram insurgents attacked the community and abducted at least 100 people. Boko Haram also launched a deadly attack against Borno state governor Babagana Zulum’s convoy on September 27, as he returned from escorting the IDPs for resettlement. While the governor survived, at least 18 people, including four civilians, were killed. The attack came two days after the governor survived another attack while traveling near Lake Chad, and a previous ambush by insurgents in July.

The incessant attacks against civilians in the northeast have led to calls for President Muhammadu Buhari to dismiss his army chiefs and put in place a more effective security structure to save lives. 

The Nigerian authorities should prioritize civilian protection, and also stop forcing people to return to areas where they risk further harm. Too many civilians are dying, and it’s time the Nigerian state worked harder to protect them.

Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of Human Rights Watch.

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