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Interactive network of focal points concerned with AU strategic partnerships established
December 19, 2017 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire
An interactive network of focal points concerned with African Union
(AU) strategic partnerships has been formed to build synergies that
would help galvanise all stakeholders at the continental, regional and
national horizons of the African continent.

The AU Commission and the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF)
are jointly hosting a three day conference titled: ‘Lets Talk’ to
establish interactive networks between the Partnerships Management and
Coordination Division (PMCD) at African Union Commission (AUC) and the
focal points concerned with AU strategic partnerships and
international cooperation at different levels.The conference is being
held in Harare, Zimbabwe on 18 to 20 December, 2017.

The stakeholders include Regional Economic Communities (RECs), AU
regional offices, AU organs and specialised agencies, the Economic
Social and Cultural Council (ECOSOCC) and other agencies.
The PMCD of the AUC has a mandate that centres on managing and
coordinating the activities relating to strategic partnerships between
the AU and its global partners.

The activities are aligned to Africa’s development and integration
agenda as pescribed in the AU’s Agenda 2063 and are particularly aimed
at addressing the needs of the African people.

The meeting being convened in Harare is expected to result in the
launch of the African Partnerships Coordination Platform (APCP),
development of the terms of reference for the platform, format for
harmonised views and coordinated plans and interaction with AU
external partners established, challenges and opportunities for
synergy and modalities for building interactions.

According to Dr Levi Madueke, Head of AU Strategic partnerships,
Bureau of the Chairperson, the AU views the engagement of the AU’s
partners as an activity of great strategic importance in the
continent’s plan to achieve integration and development.

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2018 economy: UBS optimistic on good investment For Emerging Markets
December 17, 2017 | 0 Comments
 as Africa’s technological development  materialise

‎By Yinka Ajayi

Optimistic about the year ahead, UBS Wealth Management’s Chief Investment Office (CIO) has forecasts 2018 to be positive as global economic growth continue at the high 3.8% rate witnessed in 2017.

In a statement signed by , Mark Haefele, Global Chief Investment Officer at UBS Wealth Management, stated: ‘Periods of high economic growth often sow the seeds of their demise. But there is little evidence today of an impending recession. Historically, recessions have been caused by one or more of: capacity constraints, oil price shocks, excessively tight monetary policy, contractions in government spending, or financial crises. None look likely to materialize in 2018. In this environment, we remain positive on equities relative to high-grade and government bonds.’

Overall, UBS expects emerging markets to be well prepared to weather gradual monetary tightening globally. In addition, few other regions are better positioned to benefit from growth in the technology sector.

Within Africa, political risks may in some limited cases overshadow investment opportunities. Depending on the outcome of ANC elections later this month, South Africa’s credit rating in particular might deteriorate further after S&P’s downgrade a few days ago, potentially discouraging foreign investment.

In the same vein, Ali Janoudi, Head of Wealth Management Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa, France and Benelux International at UBS Wealth Management, added : ‘ African economies supported by demographic trends will  continue to see significant potential and  technological progress. In the case of South Africa, such opportunities seem currently challenged by political risks in the short term.’

Central banks will tighten monetary policy and in some cases raise interest rates in 2018. In certain areas, especially financial services, this will bring opportunities, except in the unlikely event of significant hikes. But amid rising rates, investors will also need to prepare for higher volatility, higher dispersion of returns from individual stocks, and in some cases higher correlations between equities and bonds. Conversely, this may benefit alternative and other active asset managers.

Extreme political scenarios, principally a US-North Korea conflict, remain a low-probability risk for markets. However, politics may have a significant local impact. Investors can either hedge this by diversifying their portfolios globally or by treating it as an opportunity, particularly in the case of longer-term trends such as emerging market infrastructure development.

Likewise, extreme financial outcomes, principally a Chinese debt crisis, are unlikely to materialize in 2018 but worth monitoring. Total bank assets in China are 310% of GDP, nearly three times higher than the emerging market average. However, China’s high growth rate, powerful state, and closed capital account make it less susceptible to debt crises. Our base case is for 6.4% growth versus 6.8% in 2017.

Finally, social, environmental, and technological change continue to present both opportunities and risks. For the stock market, we see the most important long-term tech themes as digital data, automation and robotics, and smart mobility. Investors can also put capital to work in a variety of social and environmental fields across the growing field of sustainable investing, including multilateral development bank bonds and impact investing as well as listed equities.

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The winner of Kuwait’s Al-Sumait Prize for African Development for 2017 in the field of Education received their award at a special ceremony held in Kuwait City
December 16, 2017 | 0 Comments
His Highness Deputy Amir Crown Prince Nawaf Al Ahmed Al Sabah hands over Al-Sumait Prize to Executive Director of FAWE Africa Hendrina Doroba

His Highness Deputy Amir Crown Prince Nawaf Al Ahmed Al Sabah hands over Al-Sumait Prize to Executive Director of FAWE Africa Hendrina Doroba

KUWAIT CITY, Kuwait, December 14, 2017/ — His Highness Deputy Amir Crown Prince Nawaf Al Ahmed Al Sabah awarded the 2017 prize, which comprises of one million dollars, a gold medal and shield at a special ceremony yesterday morning in Kuwait.

The 2017 Al-Sumait Education category award went to the Forum of African Women Educationalists (FAWE) Kenya, for their sustained efforts towards the achievement across the African continent of equity and equality in education through targeted programs. FAWE Africa Executive Director Hendrina Doroba said, “We feel tremendously honoured by this award that will be used to support our efforts in promoting and developing equity and equality in education on the continent, particularly through our centres of excellence and partnerships with governments across Africa.”

 

Initiated in 2013 by His Highness The Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al- Sabah, the Al-Sumait Prize for African Development is designed to reward innovative and inspiring initiatives and research by individuals and organizations that address the challenges facing the African continent. The award recognizes and honours individuals or institutions that help advance economic and social development, human resources development and infrastructure in Africa.

Dr. Adnan Shihab-Eldin, Director General of the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS) (www.KFAS.org), which administers Kuwait’s Al-Sumait Prize (www.AlSumaitPrize.org) for African Development, told the audience that FAWE’s inclusive and strategic approach to tackling education inequality in particular between girls and boys education was truly inspiring.

The Al-Sumait Board of Trustees comprises prominent international personalities in the field of development in Africa and world-renowned philanthropists. The Board is chaired by H.E. Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Kuwait.

Other trustees include Mr. Bill Gates, Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Mr. Makhtar Diop, Vice President of the World Bank for Africa, Dr. Kwaku Aning, Former Deputy Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, and Mr. Abdulatif Al-Hamad, Director General and Chairman of the Board of the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development.

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flydubai touches down at Kilimanjaro International Airport
December 16, 2017 | 0 Comments
As part of the inaugural programme, flydubai showcased its new Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft which it unveiled for the first time at the Dubai Airshow in November 2017
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, December 15, 2017/ —

  • flydubai becomes first UAE airline to provide direct air links to Kilimanjaro
  • Dubai-based carrier expands network in Africa to twelve destinations with 14 flights a week
  • Kilimanjaro becomes third point in Tanzania

flydubai Inaugural flight to Kilimanjaro with new Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft on December 15, 2017 (Photo by APO Group)

flydubai Inaugural flight to Kilimanjaro with new Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft on December 15, 2017 (Photo by APO Group)

Dubai-based flydubai’s inaugural flight touched down today at Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) (https://www.flydubai.com), increasing capacity to Tanzania and further expanding its network in Africa to twelve destinations. flydubai will offer six flights a week to Kilimanjaro, three of which are via a stop in the capital, Dar es Salaam and will increase the total number of flights to Tanzania to 14 flights a week.

The aircraft touched down at 07:45 (Kilimanjaro local time) and on board the flight was a delegation led by Sudhir Sreedharan, Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations (GCC, Subcontinent and Africa) for flydubai. The delegation was met on arrival by Hon Prof Makame Mbarawa MB, Minister for Works, Transport and Communication, Mr Gregory George Teu, Chairman of the Board of Kilimanjaro Airports Development Company (KADCO), the Board of Directors of the KADCO, the Regional Commissioners for Kilimanjaro and Arusha, representatives of the District Commissioners, Members of Parliament, Tanzania Tourist Board, together with representatives of the local tourism industry.

As part of the inaugural programme, flydubai showcased its new Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft which it unveiled for the first time at the Dubai Airshow in November 2017.

The service to Kilimanjaro sees the total number of flydubai’s destinations in Tanzania increase to three, along with Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar. The carrier began operations to Tanzania in 2014 and has become increasingly popular among travellers from Dubai and the GCC as a tourist destination, and is seeing a steady growth in passenger numbers.

Kilimanjaro International Airport is located between the regions of Kilimanjaro and Arusha in Northern Tanzania. The airport is the major gateway to the Kilimanjaro region, a main international tourism destination that includes Mount Kilimanjaro, Arusha National Park, Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti National Park. Only a few international carriers operate to Kilimanjaro and flydubai will be the first airline to provide direct air links from the UAE.

Ghaith Al Ghaith, Chief Executive Officer of flydubai, commented on the inaugural: ”With our service to Kilimanjaro, we are responding to a growing demand for travel between the UAE and Tanzania. flydubai is the first UAE airline to offer direct air links to Kilimanjaro with the aim to connect this market to Dubai and beyond, and offer travellers more choice and flexibility. Passengers will have the opportunity to connect from Dubai onwards to more than 250 destinations.”

Sudhir Sreedharan, Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations (GCC, Subcontinent and Africa) for flydubai with Prof. Makame Mnyaa Mbarawa, Minister for Works, Transport and Communications of Tanzania on December 15, 2017 (Photo by APO Group)

Sudhir Sreedharan, Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations (GCC, Subcontinent and Africa) for flydubai with Prof. Makame Mnyaa Mbarawa, Minister for Works, Transport and Communications of Tanzania on December 15, 2017 (Photo by APO Group)

Hon Prof Makame MB, Minister for Works, Transport and Communication, said: “I’m very glad to welcome flydubai to our ‘Gateway to Africa’s Wildlife Heritage’. On behalf of the Government and the KADCO Management we would like to thank you for working tirelessly together to make this new service possible and no doubt this route will be a success.”

Sudhir Sreedharan, Senior Vice President Commercial (GCC, Subcontinent and Africa) at flydubai, who led flydubai’s inaugural delegation, said: “We are delighted to see our service to Kilimanjaro take off today, as it marks our twelfth destination in our network in Africa and the third point in Tanzania. Our service to Kilimanjaro follows an increase in passenger demand and reflects flydubai’s commitment to open up underserved markets. We look forward to offering six weekly flights on this route and to connecting travellers from across flydubai’s network with the Kilimanjaro region and vice versa.”

Emirates will codeshare on this route and as part of the Emirates flydubai partnership, passengers will have greater choice for onward travel from Dubai to hundreds of destinations across the world.

flydubai operates flights to twelve destinations in Africa, including Addis Ababa, Alexandria, Asmara, Djibouti, Entebbe, Hargeisa, Juba, Khartoum and Port Sudan, as well as Dar es Salaam, Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar.

Flight Details 

flydubai flights FZ673/FZ683 operate six times a week between Dubai International, Terminal 2 (DXB) and Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO).

Flight Number Route Departure Time Arrival Time
FZ673 DXB – JRO 02:40 07:45
FZ673 JRO – DXB  (via DAR) 08:45 17:45
FZ683 DXB – JRO (via DAR) 13:55 21:05
FZ683 JRO – DXB 22:05 04:50

Business Class return fares from Kilimanjaro to Dubai start at USD 1228 and are inclusive of all taxes and 40kg checked baggage. Economy Class return fares from Kilimanjaro to Dubai start at USD 339 and are inclusive of all taxes including 7kg of hand baggage.

Flights can be booked through flydubai’s website (https://www.flydubai.com), Contact Centre in Dubai on (+971) 600 54 44 45, the flydubai travel shops or through our travel partners.

Dubai-based flydubai strives to remove barriers to travel and enhance connectivity between different cultures across its ever-expanding network. Since launching its operations in 2009, flydubai:
• Created a network of more than 100 destinations in 46 countries.
• Opened up 67 new routes that did not previously have direct air links to Dubai or were not served by a UAE national carrier from Dubai.
• Operates a single fleet type of 61 Next-Generation Boeing aircraft
In addition, flydubai’s agility and flexibility as a young airline has enhanced Dubai’s economic development, in line with the Government of Dubai’s vision, by creating trade and tourism flows in previously underserved markets.

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Togo: The Orabank Group opens a trading room in Lomé
December 16, 2017 | 0 Comments
The Orabank Group wishes to be a key player in the UEMOA money market and to play a leading role in boosting the secondary market for government securities
LOME, Togo, December 15, 2017/ — The Orabank Group (www.Orabank.net), present in 12 countries and in four monetary zones in West and Central Africa, announces the opening of a regional and international trading room in Lomé, Togo. Ever since its formation, the Orabank Group has always had the will and ambition to support its customers (both individuals and businesses), to actively contribute to the financing of the private sector, to optimize the mobilization of local savings and to stimulate growth in African financial markets.

This new trading room provides a concrete answer to each of these four objectives. Indeed, it offers Oragroup a leading position as a financial intermediary that places the bank at the heart of financial exchanges in the countries where it operates, in order to best serve its private and institutional clients, both in Africa and internationally, as well as other regional banks.

In a market previously dominated by players operating from Europe and the United States, Oragroup now offers its clients a competitive and up-to-date offer in Africa, to intervene on the foreign exchange market in the monetary areas where its subsidiaries are established. The Orabank Group wishes to be a key player in the UEMOA money market and to play a leading role in boosting the secondary market for government securities.

The opening of this trading room is also intended to strengthen synergies within the Group, allowing significant economies of scale in foreign exchange hedging transactions between subsidiaries while increasing the share of cash net banking income. This new step is part of the “2016-2018 Strategy – Consolidation and Efficiency” plan, aimed at strengthening the Group’s financial strength.

“This new step illustrates the dynamic of our Group characterized by a strong performance in 2016 and an upward trajectory in 2017, combining profitability, commercial development and innovations, particularly in the deployment of digital solutions. In 2018, Oragroup is set to accentuate its growth along with its values ​​of humanity, commitment, and rigor in order to contribute to the development of the African financial sector as a central engine of our economies. That is our collective will”, says Binta Touré Ndoye, CEO of Oragroup.

Oragroup is present in 12 countries of West and Central Africa (Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Gabon, Guinea Conakry, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Chad, Togo) and in four monetary areas (WAEMU, CEMAC, Guinea Conakry, Mauritania). With 143 bank branches and 1,750 employees, Oragroup offers its 400,000 customers (large companies, both national and international, SMEs and individuals) a wide range of products and banking services based on proximity and efficiency.

Oragroup (www.Orabank.net) believes in financial inclusion through the deployment of innovative solutions and focuses on previously neglected segments of the population. This commitment is reflected in its CSR approach, which is an integral part of its strategy, focused on energy transition and environmental as well as social risk management, to the greater benefit of its employees and the public at large.

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Luambe National Park Now The World’s Most Carbon Neutral
December 16, 2017 | 0 Comments
The announcement comes just 18 months after the Lower Zambezi National Park – also in Zambia – became the world’s first to achieve carbon neutrality from operations
LUSAKA, Zambia, December 15, 2017/ — Luambe National Park in Zambia has achieved a conservation milestone this week as it became the most carbon neutral National Park in the world.

Luambe’s carbon neutral status is a result of the USAID-funded Community Forests Program (CFP) implemented by BioCarbon Partners (BCP) (http://BioCarbonPartners.com), in partnership with the Zambian Government. This world-first level of carbon neutrality means the emissions of all tourism and conservation management activities within with the park are offset, including all international tourist airline travel. Platinum is the highest possible carbon rating available from BCP.

The announcement comes just 18 months after the Lower Zambezi National Park – also in Zambia – became the world’s first to achieve carbon neutrality from operations. This latest announcement from Luambe secures Zambia’s recognition as a global leader in carbon offsetting.

“Luambe National Park’s carbon neutral status sets a great example for other protected areas in Zambia,” said USAID/Zambia Economic Development Office Director Jeremy Boley. “This status shows the world that Zambia takes emissions reduction seriously.”

Luambe Camp (http://Luambe.com) voluntarily funded the carbon neutrality from their own internal revenues, investing in renewable energy sources and purchasing Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) audited forest carbon offsets generated within Zambia. Luambe Camp began operations in June 2017, and are committed to establishing a new bar of environmental stewardship and sustainability. Mario Voss, Director of Luambe Camp, stated that “as a business that operates as a showcase and celebration of Luambe National Park’s unique beauty and biodiversity, it is crucial that we take responsibility for its conservation. We’re passionate environmentalists and it is important to the whole Luambe Camp team that we can offer our guests a truly eco-friendly experience.”

Funds raised from REDD+ offset sales are reinvested into conservation and community development in buffer zone areas to national parks within Zambia. All countries on earth have now signed up to the Paris Climate Agreement, and there are more signals towards innovative carbon conscious milestones and action. With experts agreeing that Africa is likely to be the continent most vulnerable to climate change, the leadership of Zambian tourism businesses and the Zambian Government agrees to operate with carbon neutrality and set a positive example throughout the continent. Director of the Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW), Mr Paul Zyambo, stated that “We are happy to partner with another innovative carbon-conscious achievement in the conservation and tourism sector in Zambia with partners like Luambe Camp and BCP. Luambe forms a part of Zambia’s famous Luangwa Valley and we hope that this showcases how special this area is, and why it is worth a visit.”

Dr Hassan Sachedina, BCP’s CEO, added, “It is exciting that Zambia now has two of the world’s first carbon neutral parks, which are helping to conserve two of the most important biodiversity strongholds left in Africa. I am really proud to be partnering with these family-owned businesses raising the bar of what eco-tourism to include carbon offsetting.” We hope that this spurs more action globally to address climate change.”

Partner Lodge achieving Platinum Level Carbon Neutrality:

With Luambe National Park being located in a core area of Zambia’s Luangwa Valley, it forms a crucial part of its entire ecosystem. The main objective of Luambe Camp and its operating company Luambe Conservation Ltd. is to primarily conserve the habitat and biodiversity of the National Park by generating profit through sustainable safari tourism. These will be used by Luambe Conservation Ltd. to ensure the future protection of Luambe National

Park and the sustainable development of its surrounding communities.

Lower Zambezi REDD+ Project Implementing Partners:

BioCarbon Partners (BCP) (https://BioCarbonPartners.com) is a Zambian-based social enterprise, which develops and manages long term forest carbon projects in Zambia. The current focus of BCP is on implementing REDD+ projects in the greater Zambezi-Luangwa ecosystem in Zambia. BCP has certified Zambia’s first pilot REDD+ demonstration project known as the ‘Lower Zambezi REDD+ Project’ (LZRP) to CCBA triple gold standards (validation) and VCS verification; the first project in Africa with these certifications. In addition, BCP is proud to partner with USAID/ZAMBIA in the implementation of the Community Forests Program (CFP). This innovative program targets the verification of a minimum of 700,000 additional hectares (ha) across two Provinces in Zambia www.biocarbonpartners.com

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is an independent federal government agency advancing U.S. foreign policy objectives by supporting long-term and equitable economic growth, agriculture and trade, global health, democracy, conflict prevention and humanitarian assistance. www.usaid.gov

The Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) is mandated under the Zambian Wildlife Act No. 12 of 1998 to manage and conserve Zambia’s wildlife, its national parks and game management areas; which cover 31 percent of the country’s land mass. DNPW endeavors to integrate the wildlife policy with economic, environmental and social policies to ensure effective contribution to sustainable national development. BCP and DNPW collaborate closely in the implementation of REDD+ activities adjacent to protected areas. www.zambiatourism.com

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New Reports Highlight Salaries and Gender Gap Across Africa’s Fintech Industry
December 14, 2017 | 0 Comments

To better understand and address human talent gaps that exist in Africa’s Fintech landscape, the Digital Frontiers Institute (DFI) has released two new reports: the 2017 Fintech Talent Africa Leadership and Employee Engagement Report and the 2017 Fintech Talent Africa Compensation Report. The reports, the first of their kind, provide valuable data and insights for business leaders and entrepreneurs to help attract and retain the best people in Africa’s increasingly competitive financial technology industry.

“There is far too little Fintech talent in Africa, and companies in the industry are feeling the pinch,” said Gavin Krugel, CEO of the Digital Frontiers Institute. “This human capacity gap is leading to escalating human capital costs and hiring delays, stalling business progress within the Fintech industry. Through our research insights and work to develop Fintech management, we aim to help digital finance professionals worldwide cultivate the necessary capabilities and capacity to shape and contribute to more efficient, effective and inclusive financial services.”

With funding from Omidyar Network, this comprehensive report draws on data collected through a cross-sectoral survey of more than 400 leaders, managers and professionals across 69 organisations and 10 sub-Saharan African countries. Among the reports’ key findings:

  • Salary Comparisons by Country: countries such as Kenya and Nigeria consistently rank the highest when it comes to remuneration packages for staff across all levels of expertise, while more developed digital economies such as South Africa, with the largest pool of respondents, consistently rank in the middle and lower tiers of compensation packages.
  • Gender Gap: Similar to current trends in technology and finance industries globally, women are underrepresented at Fintech companies across Africa, both in leadership and operational roles. Of the more than 400 professionals who participated in the survey, only 12.5 percent were women, and on average, women made up 39 percent of teams in Fintech.

The reports also explore the reasons behind disparities and provide advice on what can be done to resolve challenges in recruiting and retaining talent. Ultimately, the reports can empower leaders and decision makers in the African Fintech industry to improve capacity planning, talent development, and remuneration and retention practices, maximizing their opportunities in one of the world’s fastest growing industries.

Both reports are free to download and share from the following link: https://digitalfrontiersinstitute.org/the-institute/2017/12/08/explore-africas-fintech-talent-landscape-digital-frontiers-institute/

About Digital Frontiers Institute

Digital Frontiers Institute (DFI) is a capacity building institute focused on digital finance. Our mission is to equip a new generation of FinTech professionals with the knowledge, skills, network & vision required to guide society towards inclusive digital financial solutions. DFI connects more than 1500 industry professionals representing public, private and development sectors in 60 countries through its online community, Switch. The organisation has trained more than 2 000 students in 90 countries.  DFI was founded by David Porteous, Gavin Krugel and Ignacio Mas, current funders include The Omidyar Network, FSD Africa, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and MasterCard Foundation.

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CCA Leads U.S. Delegation to Sudan on Historic Trade Mission
December 14, 2017 | 0 Comments

Washington, DC – December 14, 2017 Corporate Council on Africa (CCA) led an historic trade mission to Khartoum, Sudan on December 3-7, 2017. This first trade mission to Sudan – less than two months after the U.S. government lifted economic sanctions in place for over 20 years – afforded U.S. companies an up close and hands on experience in Sudan to gain a deeper understanding of Sudan’s current investment climate and business opportunities.

CCA President and CEO, Ms. Florizelle Liser and the Director for Investment and Infrastructure, Mr. Biova Kabine, led the trade mission to Sudan. The 21-person delegation of CCA member and other companies represented sectors from infrastructure, oil and gas, mining, health and medical supplies, and financial services.  Participating companies included A&A Consultants, Inc, ACROW Bridge, All American Logistics, Caterpillar, Diamond Fields International, General Electric, Shell, The Boeing Company, Trade and Development Bank, US Best Medical, Varian Medical Systems and Visa. The trade mission was sponsored by Sudatel and Trade and Development Bank (TDB).

“We received a very warm welcome in Sudan, and we came away with the knowledge that the government and people of Sudan are eager and ready to engage with U.S. businesses” said Ms. Liser. “I am grateful to the major sponsors of the trade mission (including Sudatel and the Trade and Development Bank), the Sudanese Government, the U.S. State Department and embassy in Khartoum, and to the participating companies and trade mission delegates, who made this historic trade mission a reality.”

The delegation was welcomed by senior Sudanese government officials, including meetings with Sudan’s Prime Minister, H.E. Bakri Hassan Saleh as well as its Foreign Affairs Minister, H.E. Prof. Ibrahim Ahmed Abdulaziz Ghandour; and also explored investment opportunities and networked with key business leaders in a market that had been closed off to U.S. investors due to the sanctions.

The delegation started its meetings with a briefing by the U.S. Embassy Khartoum’s Country Team as well as one by the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the African Development Bank (AfDB) country representatives which provided companies with an overview of the political and economic environment in Sudan as well as forecasts for Sudan’s economic growth and business prospects. TDB President Admassu Tadesse provided valuable information to the delegates on how TDB can provide financing for projects, serving as a bridge mechanism while commercial banks are still considering when and how to move into the promising Sudanese market.

The trade mission featured a high-level business-to-government forum during which detailed presentations on various Sudanese sectors provided attending U.S. companies with the kinds of in-depth information needed to inform their business decisions. The forum was opened by H.E. Mubarak al Fadil al Mahdi, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Investment. The Ministers of Finance and Economic Planning, H.E. Dr. Mohamed Othman Al-Rikabi; Agriculture and Forestry, H.E. Dr. Abdulatif Ahmed Mohamed Al Igeimi; Petroleum and Gas, H.E. Dr. Abdulrahman Osman Abdulrahman; Water Resources, Irrigation and Electricity, H.E. Mutz Mousa Abdalla Salim; Transport, Roads and Bridges, H.E. Engineer Makawi Mohamed Awad; Health, H.E. Bahar Idris Abu Garda Abulgasim; Minerals, H.E. Professor Hashim Ali Mohamed Salim; and Environment, Natural Resources and Physical Development, H.E. Dr. Hassan Abdulgadir Hilal were also in attendance. CCA trade mission delegates then had the opportunity to hold one-on-one meetings with some ministers.

The delegation continued the mission with business-to-business meetings with more than fifty company representatives that are members of the Sudanese Businessmen and Employers Federation and the U.S. Sudan Business Council.  In a briefing by the Sudanese Central Bank, the Sudanese Bankers Association, and the Bank of Khartoum, the delegation heard from senior executives about the Sudanese financial services sector and discussed both the challenges and opportunities related to bank financing of business ventures and projects in Sudan.

The delegation also did several site visits including one to Sudatel’s Data Center – one of only two such centers in the region; and another to DAL Group facilities, which highlighted this premier Sudanese multinational’s multiple business lines and allowed the delegates to visit the DAL Milk Factory and its modern dairy farm.

Due to the trade mission, several delegates have identified new business opportunities and potential local partners, collected key market data and made substantial progress on large transactions.

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Ambassador Omar Arouna Appointed To Washington DC’s Mayor’s Commission On African Affairs
December 14, 2017 | 1 Comments

By Ajong Mbapndah L

 

Ambassador Omar Arouna has solid credentials for consistent advocacy for Africa

Ambassador Omar Arouna has solid credentials for consistent advocacy for Africa

Omar Arouna , immediate past Ambassador of  Benin  to the United States ,a 25 year Washington DC resident, and a well-known US Africa policy expert has been named by Mayor Muriel Bowser to the Washington, D.C., Mayor’s Commission on African Affairs.

The newly appointed commissioner, is a Managing Partner of the US-Africa Cybersecurity Group LLC. (https://usafcg.com); a District of Columbia legal liability collaborative organization designed to foster the development and implementation of cybersecurity strategies and initiatives in the public and private sectors in Africa and the Founder and CEO of Global Specialty LLC. (GSL) a District of Columbia leading international business development firm focused on developing business opportunities on the African continent.

Ambassador Arouna serves as Executive Vice President of Goodworks, International, a U.S. multi-national consulting firm founded by former U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young. The firm at its height had seven offices in Africa and three U.S. based offices focused on promoting business in Africa and the Caribbean. Clients have included AECOM, Chevron, Delta Airlines, General Electric, Motorola, and Sumitomo Corporation, MGI Management, and Verizon. In addition, he also assisted African governments in improving their relations with U.S. government agencies and, helped governments to reach out to Members of Congress and the White House.

As Ambassador Omar Arouna helped in forging stronger ties between Benin and the USA

As Ambassador Omar Arouna helped in forging stronger ties between Benin and the USA

The Mayor’s commission on Africa Affairs is composed of fifteen (15) members appointed by the Mayor with consent of the Council.   Members of the Commission on African Affairs who have shown dedication to, and knowledge of the African community, are appointed with due consideration for representation from established public, nonprofit and volunteer community organizations concerned with the African community, and members of the public.

 

The functions of the Commission on African Affairs are to:

  • Serve as an advocate for African persons in the District;
  • Review and submit to the Mayor, the Council, and the Office, and make available to the public, an annual report that includes an analysis of the needs of the African community in the District;
  • Bring to the attention of the Mayor and the OAA cases of neglect, abuse and incidents of bias against members of the African community in the administration of District and federal laws;
  • Review and comment on proposed District and federal legislation, regulations, policies, and programs and make policy recommendations on issues affecting the health, safety, and welfare of the African community;

Ambassador Arouna  is expected to be sworn in on Saturday December 16,2017.

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Emerging Technologies: new revenue opportunities for African Telcos
December 14, 2017 | 0 Comments

By Mariam Abdullahi*

 

Mariam Abdullahi

Mariam Abdullahi

Although Africa’s largest telco operators are generally showing growth in their customer bases, it is public knowledge that revenue growth has somewhat stalled to as little as 1% year on year. This means that despite attracting an increased number of customers, the amount each of these customers spend, is decreasing. In the wake of digitally transforming economies, it is safe to assume that the traditional revenue models of voice, SMS and data revenues are eroding and may soon become irrelevant. Thanks to a combination of maturing technology, regulatory interventions, increasing levels of sophistication and discernment among consumers, the disruption brought by free or low-cost public wi-fi and Over The Top (OTT) powerhouses such as WhatsApp, traditional telco revenue streams are under severe threat.

WhatsApp and its more than 900 million active users around the world, leverage Telco infrastructure to send 30 billion messages per day at no cost. Google’s ever-expanding fibre network in the US is enabling an always-online lifestyle, while China’s WeChat not only connects its 600 million subscribers with instant messaging, but has also established itself as a digital platform providing services ranging from real-time traffic updates to mobile payments.

These OTT players have created loyal customer bases as they provide valuable services at low costs, all leveraging the infrastructure that Telcos built. So, with slowing revenue growth, do Telcos invest in their own OTT apps and products to start reclaiming some of the revenue and brand equity claimed by the likes of WhatsApp?

I would argue that a far better route to the continued success and growth of the African telco industry is not to look back at missed opportunities, but to rather look ahead to the emerging technologies that will shape the business and consumer landscape across the African continent. And there’s no bigger or better emerging opportunity than the Internet of Things.

The USD 60 trillion opportunity

With a projected 50 billion things connected by 2020, the Internet of Things is set to become one of the most significant technological innovations in history. General Electric estimates that investment into the Industrial Internet of Things will reach USD 60-trillion over the next 15 years, while McKinsey predicts the IoT market will attain a compound annual growth rate of 32.6% by 2020.

Within the next few decades, sensors will permeate every aspect of our lives. In this hyperconnected age, everything from cars to machines to livestock and crops will have a sensor. In a recent collaboration between Bosch and SAP, IoT was implemented to monitor asparagus farming operations to improve yield, while also providing farmers with key insights based on accurate data that helps make them more profitable.

The possibilities are endless: for example, a refrigerator provided by a cooldrink vendor with the purpose of storing their product can be remotely monitored to ensure it is indeed stocking the intended products and provide the vendor with real-time insights into the most popular products while alerting them automatically when stocks run low. All of this requires connectivity, and at a surface level IoT is a golden revenue opportunity for Telcos. With so many ‘things’ to connect, it makes sense that Telcos provide the baseline connectivity.

However, IoT works on narrowband connectivity, meaning it can operate without using telco infrastructure. It’s not enough for Telcos to simply provide the infrastructure. For the IoT opportunity to benefit Telcos, they need to develop a comprehensive innovation framework to take advantage of emerging opportunities and create new forms of value.

The building blocks of a reimagined telco business model

To meet the demands of a rapidly changing business and technology environment, many Telcos have bolstered their digital capabilities by appointing Chief Digital Officers. There is an inherent risk to this, however: if it is the prerogative of one person or line-of-business to manage and drive innovation, the telco is unlikely to reap the full benefits of an innovation programme. CEOs should encourage a culture of innovation by enabling all employees to contribute to the process, gaining input from all operational and enterprise teams to limit siloed thinking and do away with internal segregation.

Telcos should look specifically at implementing four key components to drive an effective innovation process, namely:
1) An innovation strategy that highlights how the telco wants to take advantage of emerging technologies such as IoT;
2) An understanding of the business models that would best support their customers’ objectives and approach to business;
3) An accurate and central system of records; and
4) A team of experts to ensure all components in the innovation engine work together seamlessly and effectively.

In one example, Zimabwe’s Econet works with trucking companies by leveraging IoT to collect information for insurance companies. A new business model in this context could include a partnership with the Zimbabwean government to feed data related to road conditions to the government to inform them of road issues and ensure adequate infrastructure maintenance is conducted.

The risk of a DIY mindset

Telcos have traditionally excelled at partnering with handset providers and some OTT players. Notwithstanding, there is an undeniable occasional tendency to take a “we-can-do-it-all” approach. In the context of the emerging technologies such as IoT, partnering strategically is essential to success. A Telco need not be a sensor manufacturer to benefit from IoT. Strategic partnerships with giants like Huawei and Samsung would make more sense. There is emerging a niche, nimble set of players that are competing with these established players in the sensor business. The world of IT is now transformed into a Sense-Compute-Actuate phenomenon. In this context Telcos should focus on their biggest asset – data – whilst forging strategic partnerships with hardware and software leaders to increase the pace of innovation.

By analysing customer data effectively, Telcos can help develop new business models that are tailor-made to the needs of the modern business environment. Companies such as GE Healthcare offer a glimpse at the possibilities: for every machine they connect in a rural hospital, GE Healthcare provides hospital management with connectivity and data on bed occupancy, day-to-day usage trends, and more, giving the hospital vital insights into its operations and creating opportunities for greater efficiency.

Telcos should work with software players as well – and this is where SAP offers immense value. Software companies have already made huge investments on practical, proven solutions to collect, analyse and process huge volumes of data. They can be considered as natural co-innovators in opportunities leading to new business models or revenue streams. SAP’s analysis shows that almost 76% of the world’s transactions touch our very own software systems deployed by clients globally. We see the digitization era bringing in a new set of opportunities to bring our vision of making the world run better and simpler a reality.

However, it is critical that Telcos move fast: major global tech firms such as Google, Facebook and Microsoft are all investing in new connectivity solutions for emerging markets. If they work, the Telcos will become even less essential to the success of these companies or the needs of their customers. If Telcos don’t invest in finding innovative ways of supporting these companies, they will simply do it themselves. The opportunity cost could run into trillions of dollars.

While African Telcos have been helped by the slow pace of smartphone adoption on the continent, this is likely to change as low-cost smartphones permeate the market. The availability of exponential technologies, increasing levels of customer sophistication, and the growing availability of broadband and alternative connectivity options are all putting pressure on Telco revenues. After 20 years of relatively manageable business conditions, Telcos are facing a far more competitive and disruptive business environment.

Right now, Telcos have the luxury of investing in innovation and reinventing their business models. The first gold rush is over. But there are more gold seams – from IoT to lifestyle services and more – offering greater revenue opportunities than ever before. It is critical that they heed the warning signs and find new ways of delivering value to businesses and consumers.

*  The author is Telco Industry Lead at SAP Africa

About SAP
As market leader in enterprise application software, SAP (NYSE: SAP) helps companies of all sizes and industries run better. From back office to boardroom, warehouse to storefront, desktop to mobile device – SAP empowers people and organizations to work together more efficiently and use business insight more effectively to stay ahead of the competition. SAP applications and services enable more than 345,000 business and public sector customers to operate profitably, adapt continuously, and grow sustainably.
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New Partnership to Fight Schistosomiasis in Ethiopia
December 14, 2017 | 0 Comments
* Partnership with NALA Foundation and the Ethiopian Federal Ministry of Health

* Three-year health education pilot project targets population of approximately 266,000 children 

* Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, focuses on supporting integrated approaches to control and eliminate schistosomiasis.

Diamond Bilingual School in Yaounde.
Schistosomiasis photography field trip, Cameroon 2017.
Photo: Marcus Perkins for Merck
Single model release form available for the whole school, signed for by the headmistress.

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, December 13, -/African Media Agency (AMA)/- Merck, a leading science and technology company, today officially signed a three-year partnership with the NALA Foundation to create greater awareness of schistosomiasis in Ethiopia. The NALA Foundation, a non-governmental organization fighting against the root causes of Neglected Tropical Diseases, will support the Ethiopian Federal Ministry of Health by applying a community participatory approach. With this newly launched project, Merck is expanding its schistosomiasis-related health education and awareness activities in Africa.

With the Merck Praziquantel Donation Program, which marked its ten-year anniversary in 2017, more than 19 million tablets to treat the disease have been made available to Ethiopia. This makes the country the second largest recipient of the medicine and has permitted treatment of around 7 million school-aged children. “Providing treatment is an important first step to reduce the intensity of infection. However, children currently need to be treated again every year. Therefore, we need to look beyond donations and actively fight the high risk of reinfection,” said Johannes Waltz, Head of the Merck Praziquantel Donation Program.

The new pilot project is aimed at preventing children from becoming reinfected with the severe tropical worm disease. Besides creating greater awareness of schistosomiasis, it is crucial to trigger behavioral change at a young age to reduce both the risks of contamination of people and recontamination of water. The project will start in the Bench Maji zone, located in southwest Ethiopia, in the district called Mizan Aman. More than 80% of school-aged children there are affected by schistosomiasis. By applying a community-based approach, the educational tools and materials will be tailored to local customs and deliver easy-to-understand messages that match specific community needs and the living environment. The pilot will give insights into best practices and apply the lessons learned across the Bench Maji zone. “Community empowerment and mobilization are central to prevent and control schistosomiasis,” said Zvi Bentwich, President and Founder of the NALA Foundation.

The objective is to support the implementation of a holistic approach to attain sustainable impact, particularly in highly endemic areas, and lower the prevalence of the disease through control and elimination. “In addition to treatments, our strategic national focus is to integrate health education and water, sanitation and hygiene to make behavioral change possible,” said Biruck Kebede Negash, Director of the Disease Prevention and Control Department of the Ethiopian Federal Ministry of Health.

As part of its corporate responsibility strategy, Merck is supporting the World Health Organization (WHO) in the fight against the worm disease schistosomiasis in Africa. Since the start of the Merck Praziquantel Donation Program in 2007, more than 150 million patients, primarily school children, have been treated. To this end, Merck has donated nearly 700 million praziquantel tablets – a gold standard of treatment – to WHO. The substance is well tolerated and the most effective treatment to date for schistosomiasis. Merck also develops schistosomiasis therapies for very young children, performs early research on new drugs, diagnostics and transmission control. Furthermore, the company supports educational and awareness programs in Africa and cooperates with partners in the Global Schistosomiasis Alliance.

Schistosomiasis is a chronic condition and one of the most common and most devastating parasitic diseases in tropical countries. It is estimated that more than 200 million people are infected worldwide and that around 280,000 die from it each year. Flatworms transmit the disease. It is widespread in tropical and subtropical regions where large sections of the populations have no access to clean water and sanitary installations. People become infected with the parasite via contact with freshwater, for example while working, swimming, fishing or washing their clothes. The miniscule larvae penetrate human skin, enter the blood vessels and attack internal organs. The infection rate is particularly high among school-aged children. Praziquantel is the only active ingredient with which all forms of schistosomiasis can be treated. WHO has therefore deemed praziquantel, the most cost-efficient solution for the health of patients in need, as the drug of choice.

Merck initiated the Praziquantel Donation Program in cooperation with WHO back in 2007. Since then, nearly 700 million tablets have been donated and over 150 million patients treated, mainly school children. Merck has committed itself to maintaining its efforts in the fight against the tropical disease until schistosomiasis has been eliminated. To this end, each year Merck is donating up to 250 million tablets to WHO. The planned annual donation has a value of US$ 27.5 million. In addition, Merck is supporting awareness programs at schools in Africa in order to educate children about the causes of schistosomiasis and ways to prevent it. Furthermore, as part of a public-private partnership, the company is researching a new formulation of praziquantel that can also be administered to very young children. To date, the tablets are only suitable for children older than six.

Since 2008, NALA (NTD Advocacy, Learning, Action) has worked to eliminate Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) in Ethiopia. To date, NALA’s work has led to a drastic reduction in disease prevalence of schistosomiasis and intestinal worms in project areas. Their holistic model achieves sustainable and measurable results in NTD elimination by complementing mass drug administration with intensive health education, community mobilization, and community-led improvements to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH). NALA’s health education and community campaigns focus on school children and women as the primary messengers of change in health practices for the family. NALA also trains and supports local partners, stakeholders, and community volunteers to lead and continue these efforts.

Merck is a leading science and technology company in healthcare, life science and performance materials. Around 50,000 employees work to further develop technologies that improve and enhance life – from biopharmaceutical therapies to treat cancer or multiple sclerosis, cutting-edge systems for scientific research and production, to liquid crystals for smartphones and LCD televisions. In 2016, Merck generated sales of € 15.0 billion in 66 countries.
Founded in 1668, Merck is the world’s oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company. The founding family remains the majority owner of the publicly listed corporate group. Merck holds the global rights to the Merck name and brand. The only exceptions are the United States and Canada, where the company operates as EMD Serono, MilliporeSigma and EMD Performance Materials.

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AFC & Harith launch power giant: Anergi Holdings Limited
December 14, 2017 | 0 Comments

 Africa Finance Corporation (“AFC“) and Harith General Partners (“Harith“), acting on behalf of its portfolio company Aldwych Holdings Limited, are pleased to announce final close of the merger of their respective electricity generation assets into a new operating company, Anergi Holdings Limited (“Anergi” or the “Company“). Following a transaction initially signed in June 2016, all Conditions Precedent to the implementation of the merger have now been met, and the inaugural board meeting of the Company was held on 5 December, 2017.

Anergi is a holding company owning equity interests in seven (7) generation assets with a total of 1,786MW (gross) and 554MW (net) generation capacity across five (5) African countries. Anergi also holds near-term investment rights from its founding shareholders, to invest or acquire interests in new projects under development with a further 500MW capacity.

As of December 2017, Anergi owns long-term economic interests in a portfolio of assets diversified by geography and fuel type. These are the 350MW Kpone IPP tri-fuel power plant (Ghana), the 310MW Lake Turkana Wind Farm (Kenya), the 26MW Cabeolica Wind Farm (Cape Verde), the 90MW Rabai Heavy Fuel Oil power plant (Kenya), the 200MW Amandi Gas-fired power plant (Ghana), the 450MW Azura Gas-fired power plant (Nigeria) and the 300MW Kelvin IPP (South Africa). The future equity investment rights held by Anergi relate to other projects at advanced stages of development in Cote d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Nigeria and Mozambique.

Anergi’s sponsors intend for it to operate as a consolidated energy business focused on acquiring, owning and managing controlling interests in African electricity sector assets, commencing with the initially merged assets. The Company will also seek to consolidate its ownership interests in these assets, through mutually beneficial transactions with its existing co-shareholders. Anergi will commence work immediately towards securing a stock market listing on an international exchange at the earliest feasible date. From inception, Anergi will be the leading diversified electricity business operating in Africa.

At its inaugural board meeting, Andrew Alli (President and CEO of Africa Finance Corporation) was appointed Chairman of the Board of Directors of Anergi Holdings Limited, which is incorporated and domiciled in Mauritius. Other board members appointed include Tshepo Mahloele, Oliver Andrews, Alwyn Wessels, Sipho Makhubela and Fola Fagbule.

Andrew Alli said: “we are pleased that the Anergi transaction has come to a final close, and I look forward to working with the board and management to implement the strategy and achieve the operational goals of the business over the next few years”.

Tshepo Mahloele, Chairman of Aldwych Holdings Limited said: “we are excited about this merger and the next phase of growth for our African energy business. As we continue to implement our strategy of creating valuable and permanent operating platforms with significant technical and financial capabilities, Anergi Holdings Limited will be an important part of our future”.

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