eBay opened up its U.S. platform to Africa through its partnership with MallforAfrica.com. Americans can now buy products on eBay from select vendors in six African countries, starting with merchandise categories of fashion, art, jewelry, and clothing.
For the new program, MallforAfrica selects the sellers and handles payments on its proprietary platform. DHL is the shipping partner. Online shoppers can browse the entire collection on eBay’s Mall for Africa Store.
The new online channel expands an existing relationship between the two e-commerce companies. In 2016, they launched the eBay Powered by MallforAfrica platform allowing U.S. vendors to sell in Africa.
The program taps goods from merchants in Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, South Africa, and Burundi. “We’ll be adding more sellers and more countries,” eBay’s Sylvie de Wever told TechCrunch in this feature.
Google launched new Africa initiatives, on the back of CEO Sundar Pichai’s recent Nigeria trip.
While visiting Lagos he announced the global internet services company’s plans to train 10 million Africans in digital skills over the next 5 years. Alphabet will also increase its funding to African startups, provide $20 million in grants to digital non-profits, and offer modified versions of products (such as YouTube) in Africa―where internet users can face costlier data plans and slower download speeds than other Google markets.
“A lot of what we’re doing is making it easier for the average person to take advantage of the web,” Bunmi Banjo, Google’s Growth Engine and Brand Lead for Sub-Saharan Africa, told TechCrunch.
Ghana’s first sattelite―GhanaSat-1―began its orbit recently, with a little help from some friends. The cubesat, built by a Ghanaian engineering team at All Nations University, was delivered to NASA’s International Space Station in June on a SpaceX rocket that took off from pad 39a at Kennedy Space Center, a NASA spokesperson.
Weeks later, GhanaSat-1 deployed into orbit from the Center and is now operational.
“This particular satellite has two missions,” Project Manager Damoah told TechCrunch. “It has cameras on board for detailed monitoring of the coastlines of Ghana. Then there’s an educational piece―we want to use it to integrate satellite technology into high school curriculum.”
The GhanaSat-1 deployment marks increased interest and activity in Africa toward space exploration.Nigeria’s first cubesat launched on the same SpaceX mission. Several nations, such as South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya and Ethiopia have space agencies. Angola announced its intention to launch a satellite over the coming year.
And the African Union announced its African Space Policy and Strategy initiative last year prompting AU members states “to realize an African Outer space Programme, as one of the flagship programs….of the AU Agenda.”
Could we see an African space station sometime in the future? It seems quite ambitious. But then again, not so many years sceptics doubted that Africa’s tech sector would ever attract big VC, blue chip IT companies, or produce unicorns. All those milestones have been passed.
WASHINGTON, DC – September 6, 2017– The U.S. African Development Foundation (USADF) is pleased to announce $375,000 in seed capital funding to 35 young African social entrepreneurs for social and community change in 20 sub-Saharan countries in Africa.
Winners were selected from the 2017 Mandela Washington Fellowship program, as part of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). By pairing seed capital with technical assistance, USADF is empowering young entrepreneurs who are leading the charge in investing in Africa’s economic growth. Each entrepreneur will receive up to $25,000 in start-up capital to strengthen systems that will support the growth of their enterprises – ranging from agribusiness and healthcare services, to renewable energy, waste management and technology. C.D. Glin, President & CEO of USADF says, “These young people represent the best and brightest of Africa’s future business leaders and social entrepreneurs.”
With USADF seed capital and technical assistance, these social entrepreneurs are creating jobs, training and employing other youth, and creating or expanding markets by providing goods and services. They are also working to find new and innovative ways to improve their communities and create economic growth opportunities.
Delia Diabangouaya, CEO of Chocotogo, says, “I am building my business to produce top-quality chocolate and support smallholder cocoa farmers. With this grant, I am hoping to have a lasting impact in my community.” Chocotogo is an artisan chocolate company based in Togo that sources cocoa from rural farmers. With USADF funding, Delia aims to transform the cocoa value chain to benefit over 100 local smallholder farmers and produce high-quality, artisan chocolates.
Entrepreneurs like Chioma Ukonu are finding new ways to manage waste and protect the environment in busy cities like Lagos, Nigeria. Ukonu’s enterprise, Recycle Points, uses a points-based incentive model to encourage recycling in Lagos. Her business hires youth to collect waste door-to-door from subscribers, who in turn receive points redeemable for household items and cash. Ukonu says, “I wanted to find a way to incentivize people to recycle, while also starting my own business. USADF believes in empowering local entrepreneurs to find solutions affecting their communities.”
As Mandela Washington Fellows, these young entrepreneurs have all demonstrated leadership in business, the ability to work cooperatively in diverse groups, and are strong communicators actively engaged in making a difference. They are the future leaders committed to catalyzing change in their communities, countries, and Africa’s growth. USADF’s goal is to catalyze young Africans ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit to launch and expand their social enterprises so every African may be a part of Africa’s growth story. Since 2014, USADF has awarded over $3M to over 150 young entrepreneurs in over 30 countries.
The U.S. African Development Foundation (USADF) is an independent U.S. Government agency established by Congress to support and invest in African owned and led enterprises which improve lives and livelihoods in poor and vulnerable communities in Africa. For more information, visit www.usadf.gov About the Mandela Washington Fellowship
The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, begun in 2014, is the flagship program of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) that empowers young people through academic coursework, leadership training, and networking. In 2017, the Fellowship provides 1,000 outstanding young leaders from Sub-Saharan Africa with the opportunity to hone their skills at a U.S. college or university with support for professional development after they return home. For more information, visit www.yali.state.gov/washington-fellowship.
Smallholder development projects, run in partnership with industry, academia, farmer organisations, civil society and enabled by national governments and international organizations, are crucial to achieving impact at scale
ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, September 6, 2017/ —
African market leader in agritech initiates stock-taking exercise with African partners
African Green Revolution Forum a “springboard” for forging more collaborations to reach more smallholders
A lead farmer checks his rice field in Senegal
In 2012, following the G8 in Camp David, USA, Syngenta (www.Syngenta.com) announced an ambitious ten-year growth plan for our African business. This year marks the midway point in our African growth journey. Syngenta wrote in the Wall Street Journal “the continent can be food-secure within a generation…a boon for business and humanity alike” (May 22, 2012). As we take stock, what have we achieved so far and where are the bottlenecks?
Tabitha Muthoni grows tomatoes in Utange, near Mombasa. There are more than 450 million smallholder farmers like her around the globe, most of whom have family farms of less than 2 hectares of land.
For farmers like Tabitha, increased productivity can make a big difference in their ability to support their families, send their children to school and continue investing in their fields.
Tabitha Mavuno Zaidi
Since 2016, Tabitha has been part of Mavuno Zaidi, a project by Syngenta and TechnoServe that tackles difficulties faced by potato and tomato farmers in Kenya, including access to inputs, training opportunities and post-harvest storage solutions. Farmers participating also get better linkages to local markets. “Before the program” Tabitha says, “I had tried out tomato farming but had little knowledge on the crop and its diseases, often visiting agrovets with picked leaves to explain the problems I was facing.” Now she makes $5,000 per season on her small tomato farm—an increase from $2,000—and has grown from 4 to 11 employees.
To date, Mavuno Zaidi, or “grow more” in Swahili, has helped Syngenta and TechnoServe reach over 25,000 farmers, returning an average productivity increase of 185% for those tomato farmers.
Reaching out to farmers like Tabitha is just one example of our Africa ambition.
Alexandra Brand, Syngenta’s Regional Director for Europe, Africa and Middle East, joining this week’s AGRF explains, “Our chief aim is supporting the inclusion of smallholder farmers into viable value-chains so that they produce more of what national and global markets want. We strive to transform farmer yields at scale and increase their profitability in a way that creates sustainable value.”
How does Syngenta do this exactly?
Alexandra summarizes: “Our expertise lays in bringing top-class technology and agronomic knowledge tailored to the needs of diverse growers. Recognizing that Syngenta cannot achieve these goals alone and that farmers require holistic solutions, we continue to invest in innovative partnerships. These collaborations must tackle such barriers faced by African farmers as access to inputs, inadequate financial solutions, limited produce aggregation, dysfunctional markets, skills and information gaps.”
But despite many collaborative efforts, progress is slow.
Moving Africa closer to the UN Sustainability Development Goal of “Zero Hunger” requires long-term commitment. Moreover, the food chain revolving around the smallholder remains too disjointed.
Alexandra elaborates: “We see AGRF as a springboard to build stronger partnerships with like-minded organizations who share our vision and who can complement our skills and expertise with their own.”
Smallholder development projects, run in partnership with industry, academia, farmer organisations, civil society and enabled by national governments and international organizations, are crucial to achieving impact at scale. We at Syngenta believe that only through creative and committed collaborations can farmers access the full suite of products and services they need to succeed.
Tabitha Mavuno Zaidi
Syngenta is a leading agriculture company helping to improve global food security by enabling millions of farmers to make better use of available resources. Through world class science and innovative crop solutions, our 28,000 people in over 90 countries are working to transform how crops are grown. We are committed to rescuing land from degradation, enhancing biodiversity and revitalizing rural communities.
Working across more than 50 countries in Africa and the Middle East with a team of over 3000 people, Syngenta is driving growth through local investment, capacity building and business development initiatives that aim to provide crop protection and seed technologies tailored to the specific needs of this territory’s vast potential. Our ambition is to increase large and small scale farmer’s ability to sustainably invest in agriculture, leading to dignified livelihoods and thriving rural communities.
CASABLANCA, Morocco, 7 September 2017, Africa50, the pan-African infrastructure investment platform, will hold its third Shareholders Meeting in Dakar on Tuesday, September 12, at 11:00 a.m. at the King Fahd Hotel.
Hosting the first such meeting in West Africa, his Excellency Macky Sall, President of the Republic of Senegal, will welcome the delegates. His Excellency Bruno Tshibala, Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo, will also attend. Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Africa50, will give a feature address, and Africa50 CEO Alain Ebobissé will provide updates on Africa50’s most recent investments and its growing investment pipeline, as well as announcing two new country shareholders. Africa50’s 23 shareholder governments will be represented by finance ministers, senior officials, and ambassadors. Distinguished members of the business community and the Senegalese government will also attend.
Delegates will review Africa50’s 2016 activities and approve its financial statements. Africa50’s Board of Directors will present the fund’s updated investment, fund-raising and capital increase strategies.
Following the event, the media is invited to a press conference with the principals at 12:30 p.m. at the hotel conference center.
Africa50 is an infrastructure investment platform that contributes to the continent’s growth by developing and investing in bankable projects, catalyzing public sector capital, and mobilizing private sector funding, with differentiated financial returns and impact.
Rwandan President Paul Kagame in a hand shake with Florie Liselle of the CCA
Kigali, Rwanda – September 5, 2017: The Africa Travel Association (ATA) hosted the 41st Annual World Tourism Conference in Kigali, Rwanda from August 28-31, 2017. The conference, which was developed to promote tourism as an engine for economic growth across Africa, was attended by H.E. Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda, who delivered the keynote address.
Hosted in collaboration with the Rwanda Development Board (RDB), The 41st Annual World Tourism Conference attracted a select group of more than 200 public and private stakeholders in the African tourism sector including ministers of tourism, senior officials of national tourism boards from across the continent, airlines, hotels, travel agents and tour operators, as well digital platforms and service providers in the tourism industry such as TripAdvisor, Expedia, MasterCard, Tastemakers Africa, Facebook, Uber, Afro Tourism, Tourvest, and Marriott International.
In addition to President Kagame, other notable guests included Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi, UNCTAD Secretary-General, Ms. Clare Akamanzi, CEO of RDB and the United States Ambassador to Rwanda, Amb. Erica Barks Ruggles.
“Rwanda, like other countries on the continent, is keen to convert our favourable demographics into economic growth and prosperity,” said President Kagame in his keynote address. “The services sector – in particular, tourism – provides some of the best opportunities.”
Tourism is already doing well in Rwanda and the country is a strong example of how tourism can boost economic growth. The tourism sector is the country’s largest foreign exchange earner and Rwanda has liberalized its visa policies, which has led to a huge growth in tourists especially from Africa. The government is also investing heavily in infrastructure including a new airport to support a growing number of tourists. President Kagame did note however, that more could still be done to grow Rwandan tourism especially by harnessing technology and the new opportunities technological innovation can bring.
“This conference is particularly important to us, because tourism plays a key role in Rwanda’s economy,” said Ms. Clare Akamanzi, CEO of RDB, who welcomed attendees to Rwanda. According to Ms. Akamanzi, Rwanda’s tourism receipts doubled between 2010 and 2016 to more than USD $400 million.
CCA President and CEO, Ms. Florie Liser focused on the unique role ATA and CCA will play in the sector’s development “Under CCA’s new vision and leadership, I would like to affirm our commitment to continuing the promotion of sustainable development of tourism to and within Africa through new initiatives,” said Ms. Liser. One of those initiatives, ATAcademy, is a platform to support capacity building and inclusive growth for tourism professionals on the continent. The second initiative, ATA Connex, will focus on increasing investments in tourism through facilitated business-to-business and business-to-government linkages.
As part of the ATAcademy initiative, ATA hosted a series of capacity building sessions at the conference. Travel agents and tour operators attended sessions focused on North American travelers and on the tourism market and sustainability. “The United States – we are pleased to say – accounts for the single largest source of tourism in Rwanda as well as the largest single bilateral foreign direct investment country,” said U.S. Ambassador Erica Barks Ruggles.
UNCTAD Secretary-General, Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi, shared highlights of the recent UNCTAD report on African tourism,Economic Development in Africa Report 2017: Tourism for Transformative and Inclusive Growth. “The most startling and interesting discovery in our study is that by far, the fastest growing tourism in Africa is intra-African tourism,” said Dr, Kituyi. “Intra-African tourism is 12 months a year.” Over the last 10 years, intra-African tourism has grown from 34 percent to 44 percent of total African tourism revenues and is projected to be more than 50 percent in the next 10 years. Dr. Kituyi also emphasized a need to change Africa’s image perception and the importance of peace and security for tourism to thrive.
In less than 15 years, Africa’s travel and hospitality industries have quadrupled in size, and the continent remains one of the world’s fastest-growing tourist destinations, second only to Southeast Asia. The 41st World Tourism Conference featured more than 20 in-depth plenaries and breakout sessions with industry experts and professionals to discuss the latest trends and insights in African tourism and how best to grow the continent’s market share.
This year was the first time ATA’s Tourism Conference was hosted in Rwanda. The conference aligned with Kwita Izina, Rwanda’s annual gorilla naming ceremony, a national celebration creating awareness of the country’s efforts to protect the jewel of Rwanda’s tourism crown: the mountain gorillas and their habitat.
About the Africa Travel Association
Established in 1975, The African Travel Association serves both the public and private sectors of the international travel and tourism industry. ATA membership comprises African governments, their tourism ministers, tourism bureaus and boards, airlines, cruise lines, hotels, resorts, front-line travel sellers and providers, tour operators and travel agents, and affiliate industries. ATA partners with the African Union Commission (AU) to promote the sustainable development of tourism to and across Africa.
About the Corporate Council on Africa
Corporate Council on Africa (CCA) is the leading U.S. business association focused solely on connecting U.S. and African business interests. CCA serves as a neutral, trusted intermediary connecting its member firms with the essential government and business leaders they need to do business and succeed in Africa.
Ethipian pop star Teddy Afro says police demand for permit ridiculous
Authorities in Ethiopia have stopped singer Tewodros Kassahun, popularly known as Teddy Afro, from launching his much-acclaimed album, Ethiopia.
A BBC reporter says federal police showed up at the hotel in Addis Ababa hours before the party and stopped Teddy’s sound team from setting up.
His manager told the BBC that they are yet to get official reasons why the launch party was cancelled.
Teddy’s 15-track album is the fastest-selling album in the country’s history.
Following its release in May this year the album topped the Billboard World Albums chart for weeks.
However, it was never formally launched in Ethiopia.
On his Facebook Page, Teddy Afro has termed the police demand for a permit as ridiculous.
His concert scheduled for the eve of Ethiopian New Year, which falls on 11 September, has also been cancelled in unclear circumstances.
Who is Teddy Afro?
By Emmanuel Igunza, BBC News, Addis Ababa
Teddy Afro is a huge figure in Ethiopia.
He enjoys an almost cult-like following and his latest album – his fifth – has elevated him to legendary status.
The album is like a history lesson, with references to Emperor Tewodros II, seen as the father of modern-day Ethiopia, and it also calls for unity among Ethiopians.
Teddy is no stranger to controversy though.
In 2008, he was jailed for a hit-and-run accident. He has always maintained that the case against him was politically motivated.
He raised the ire of the authorities in 2005 when he released an album that was seen as critical of the authorities in the wake of disputed elections, but Teddy has tried to distance himself from politics.
He still enjoys a massive following among Ethiopians who adore and revere him.
Months after his album was released, his music is still being blasted out on public transport, in bars, local shops and homes.
Mikel, along with four other experienced heads, returned to the team from injury to help mastermind the trouncing of their cross-border rivals and believes it’s just a taste of what’s to come from Gernot Rohr’s side.
“The players are very intelligent players, they listen a lot and we all work together as a team,” he told journalists in the post-match press conference. “If we continue playing this way and do what we are doing now, we can beat anyone in Africa.”
The experienced Mikel, a veteran of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations triumph, added the Super Eagles’ second goal in Uyo after setting up Odion Ighalo for the opener, and demonstrated just what an influential role he plays in Rohr’s reshaped squad.
“We have a very young team. I feel I have a responsibility every time I step on the pitch to play,” he continued. “This team needs experience, this team needs guidance.
“The players are good players, quick players but sometimes they need someone who can direct them, to make sure we have balance and that’s what we did today.
“I will do my best, I will carry this team same as I did in the Olympics,” the Tianjin TEDA midfielder continued. “I want to make sure we go to the World Cup and qualify for the Nations Cup.”
Recovering from four months on the sidelines after knee surgery, Mikel said he worked hard to be ready for the game.
“I knew I had to come back as quickly as possible,” the former Chelsea man added. “I spoke to the coach even before we lost the game against South Africa.
“We are always in contact. I told him the injury was a bad injury. I told him I would do what I can to get myself ready for this game. All I needed to do was to put my head down and just ‘work work work’…and that’s exactly what I did.
“I’m still not hundred percent yet but I promised him I would be here for this game and that’s exactly what I did. We communicate very well and the team is great.”
With three more games to go, Nigeria are one of only two teams in CAF’s World Cup qualifying programme – along with Tunisia — with a hundred percent record, but Mikel has warned Eagles fans that their team aren’t over the line just yet.
“It’s not finished yet,” the Champions League winner cautioned. “We can go to Cameroon and get a good result — draw or a win — and that’s what we want to do.”
Launched in partnership with the Nigerian Football League, the Afro Millions Lotto will offer players and football fans the ability to win life changing jack pots, says James Leppard ,CEO of Ofertas 365,the British based company operating the Lotto.
Ofertas 365 helps football clubs and charities in emerging markets raise money through the lotto, says James Leppard who believes that the initiative could help grow the game in Nigeria and Africa.
“Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country; it offers the biggest possible audience and has the most advanced football league,” says Leppard in justification of the choice to launch Afro Millions there. The plan is to progressively move to other African counties ,Leppard said.
“In most African countries, sports clubs and charities have not started commercializing their supporter base. AfroMillionsLotto will serve to start this process, allowing people to compete for life-changing jackpot prizes whilst helping their chosen club or charity,” said Leppard.
Can you start by introducing your company Ofertas 365?
Ofertas365 Limited is a publicly traded company on the dcsx. It is a UK company with three directors, four board advisors (including three from Nigeria) and more than 120 shareholders.
Your company is launching the Afro Millions Lotto (www.afromillionslotto.com) with the football league in Nigeria, can you explain the logic behind this lottery and why the choice of Nigeria?
Lotto is a very popular way to raise funds in the UK – from football clubs such as Arsenal, Leicester City, Swansea City, WBA in the English Premier League; Glamorgan, Durham and Hampshire cricket clubs; Gloucester, Sale Sharks and Wasps rugby clubs, through to charities including the RSPCA and Cancer Research, all of whom raise money through their own lotto.
In most African countries, sports clubs and charities have not started commercializing their supporter base. AfroMillionsLotto will serve to start this process, allowing people to compete for life-changing jackpot prizes whilst helping their chosen club or charity.
Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country; it offers the biggest possible audience and has the most advanced football league, as well as being recognised as an international football power.
In what way do you think this lottery is going to help the growth of football in Nigeria?
Clubs get a share of the revenue from every ticket sold – people can only buy tickets from the clubs’ lotto website – so whoever wants to play (football fans or otherwise) has to buy a ticket from one of the NPFL clubs. Clubs will earn recurring revenue to enable them to spend money on player development, youth football and academies, stadium and pitch improvements, for example. AfroMillionsLotto also provides their fans and communities great entertainment value and additional engagement with the club.
Is Ofertas365 doing business in any other part of Africa at the moment or do you have plans to expand the lottery to other parts of Africa?
Nigeria is our first footprint in Africa, but we have ambitious plans to replicate the model throughout the continent, wherever we may operate under our license.
For countries or clubs interested in your services, what needs to be done, or is it Ofertas that makes the first move when it sees potential?
Clubs, leagues or federations are invited to contact us via www.afromillionslotto.com – we are already pitching to a number of other federations and charities.
Your company is based in London and the English league is one of the best, what can Africa learn from that league and what lotteries like yours can do to add fun and advance the game ?
The English Premier League is the benchmark. African clubs can certainly learn from the EPL how to commercialise their fan bases; be it merchandise, events, credit cards, loyalty cards or sports betting and lotto. The clubs in the UK are expert at generating extra revenue – beyond match day ticket sales – through their fans, most of whom are staunchly loyal to the clubs they support.
Any other plans that Ofertas has in the works for Africa ?
Following our launch with the NPFL, we would like to work with every football league in Africa as well as charities across the continent.
NASA Presidential aspirant Raila Odinga addressing the Press
Honourable Raila Omolo Odinga, the controversial and polarizing Kenyan opposition politician is a conflicted personality. He is a career politician and civil society political activist combined. These qualities make him unmistakably the Lakayana of Kenyan politics. While both qualities may on occasion advance his diverse political objectives, they often collide at critical moments in his political life making the attainment of his political ambition elusive.
These qualities make him complex; even mesmerizing. Those who love and adore him, do so passionately. Those who abhor and distrust him do so passionately in equal measure. He is unmistakably a polarizing personality in dire need of political power in a country in need of a uniting leader.
During the last election which earned Uhuru Kenyatta his first presidential mandate, Philip Ochieng, one of the most respected journalists in Kenya, wrote in the Sunday Nation that following on the footsteps of his father Jaramogi Odinga Odinga, Raila Omolo Odinga was his own worst enemy. All it needs to prove the validity of this assessment, is to provide Raila with a platform and crowd. Then he has no control over his speech, its consequences and its political cost. This quality was on display when he faced the press, his cheering supports and an anxious electorate after the delivery of the Supreme Judgment in his favour annulling the presidential elections in which President Uhuru Kenyatta was proclaimed the winner.
He was everything but presidential in his speech. Rather to take the opportunity of that rare election petition victory to calm a politically restive nation. He threatened, castigated, criticized, pontificated, and baited his perceived or real enemies. In short, he sounded more like a civil society political activist during his election petition victory speech than a presidential candidate who had just been granted another lease of life to contest a crucial election in two months. In the end, he failed to even appeal to the electorate to vote for him.
The hard fact is that, the decision of the Supreme Court of Kenya annulling the Presidential election result that favoured President Uhuru Kenyatta should be applauded not for its outcome, for like all judicial decisions it still has to undergo the rigours of informed scrutiny, but for the fact that at long last an African country, and Kenya for that matter, has proved that it has the capacity to deliver effective, efficient and independent justice. The International Criminal Court with the hypocritical approval of erstwhile colonial Western powers relied on this fallacy to violate the complementarity safeguards of the Rome treaty to inappropriately target Kenya and indeed Africa in its interventions from when it was established.
The constitution of Kenya that provided the constitutional guarantees of the separation of powers which was exercised in the full glare and satisfaction of the world at large in particular the Western world, in this election petition, was in place when Moreno Ocampo, urged on by the same Western actors and by Raila Odinga intervened in the 2007 election violence conflict in Kenya on the grounds that Kenya did not have an effective, efficient and independent Judiciary to investigate and punish the perpetrators of the 2007 election violence. With the present decision, the scales of prejudice have sudden fallen and the Kenya Judiciary is all praises from the patronizing erstwhile colonial West; not for the justice of the Supreme Court judgment that is still subject to judicial scrutiny, but for the fact that in context, it comes close to doing what they would have wanted done but for the fact that in this case, popular sovereignty as opposed to judiciary fiat may yet again determine the outcome of the elections in two months.
I must admit, and all respecters of the rule of law must, as President Uhuru Kenyatta did, that the Supreme Court of Kenya and indeed the lower courts before whom election petitions were brought, fulfilled their constitutional mandate effectively, efficiently and independently. For this, the Judiciary of Kenya merits praise. It always has. It is another thing if the outcome of judicial proceedings before the courts were acceptable or not. In this case, the ultimate arbiter, call it the supreme judge is not the judiciary, it is the sovereign people of Kenya in their exercise of its inalienable, unimpeachable right of popular sovereignty to elect its leaders.
If there was any lingering doubt therefore, about the falsity of the claims that Kenya did not have an independent, efficient and effective judiciary as alleged by Moreno Ocampo and his handlers, then the successful litigation of election petitions by Kenyan lower courts and ultimately, its Supreme Court has proved them wrong. However, the ghost of the ICC was visible in this election and will remain visible in the next round and future elections. In many ways, it will inhibit the ability of Raila Odinga to win the repeat elections.
Four judges overruled two others, believing there was enough uncertainty to undermine the election result
This may be discerned from the misplaced message conveyed through his Supreme Court election petition celebratory speech. His resolve to prosecute election officials instead of using the moment to celebrate in measured humility, reassure millions of voters who perceive him as vindictive, abrasive and dictatorial, may further alienate him from critical voters who value peace and unity of the nation over triumphalist display of person power.
During the last election which saw Uhuru Kenyatta win his first mandate, Raila squandered his best opportunity of ever becoming the President of Kenya by deconstructing a formidable alliance he formed with a youthful, ambitious, savvy and perhaps most skillful politician in Kenya Deputy Vice President William Ruto. He did so by offering him as a sacrificial lamb to Ocampo.
In his miscalculation, he perceived the ICC intervention as a means of depriving William Ruto of the possibility of sharing in the effervescence of his then rising political profile. He miscalculated, for Mr Ruto is a political product of the majority ordinary people of Kenya who see their image in him and consider him as one of theirs. The ordinary people of Kenya have long traced and refined his path to presidential power and this is obvious even to the jaundiced eye. He has merely been playing for his time to come to embark on the journey to fulfill his people’s will. A smart politician, he did not want to squander the opportunity when the potential path to the presidency in 2020 came calling. Raila Odinga’s political miscalculation and the ICC proceedings provided him that opportunity.
Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto are good students of history. The patronizing support given by Western countries to the ICC proceedings gave them the opportunity to position themselves as defenders of the sovereignty of Kenya and the liberating cause of new Africa. The humiliating campaign against the ability of the judicial institutions of Kenya to conduct post-election violence proceedings, the same institutions that are being hailed by the same erstwhile colonial Western countries, required genuine leaders to standup to the challenge and mobilize Kenyans to defend their national pride and their sovereignty. Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto offered this leadership while Raila Odinga largely portrayed himself through his own public pronouncements as a Western poodle in his unqualified support for the ICC proceedings. Whatever motivations he had for seeking political leadership while supporting proceedings which placed the sovereignty of his country under the ward of the ICC, in the political context of the proceedings, he was perceived as relying on the case as a means of settling internal political scores and eliminating his political opponents from contesting the elections against him.
The Supreme Court’s decision sparked celebrations by supporters of opposition candidate Raila Odinga
That backfired and he lost the elections. The credibility of the ICC came out seriously bruised in the process because its intervention was not perceived to be in the best interest of Kenya and the victims of the election violence. The overwhelming evidence of Western interference portrayed the Kenya ICC cases as politically motivated. At the end of his mandate as the Chief Prosecutor of the ICC, Moreno Ocampo in published newspaper and television interviews confirmed this fact.
During this election, an ICC official in the Prosecutor’s Office made a misguided statement in a conference in Arusha in neighbouring Tanzania linking the potential outcome of the Kenya election to a potential reviving of the ICC cases in the case the opposition candidate won. This admittedly uncoordinated statement nevertheless places the statement by Raila Odinga about prosecuting election commission members into the providential focus which Uhuru Kenyatta and Mr William Ruto may in addition to their largely positive development record, ride on to victory once again.
Why must Raila Odinga want to get election officials prosecuted when the Supreme Court did not make a finding of criminal conduct? Was this a forewarning that a result short of victory for him in the repeat elections will not be accepted by him? Was it a forewarning of another round of litigation to dissolve the election commission and compromise the organization of the election he may lose? Will this not lead to a constitutional crisis where this to happen? No matter from what perspective this attack and threat of prosecution may be perceived, it portrays Raila Odinga as a potentially vengeful politician who thrives on the politics on politics of bitterness.
Raila Odinga squandered his moment of glory in focusing on yet another prosecution rather than taking advantage of the glare and focus of the moment to mobilize his base and Kenyans in general to give him their votes in two months. He failed to appeal for peace, reconciliation and national healing after a very polarizing judicial experience. He failed to explain why he sought for the poll to be nullified to the electorate. He impressed professional judges of the Supreme Court about his reasons for seeking and obtaining an annulment of the elections in which he lost. He still must do a better job explaining to the electorate he will be facing in two months.
The case, its outcome and his celebratory rhetoric may energize the majority who voted against him to defend their franchise by voting against him in even greater numbers. The bane of Raila Odinga has always been his inability to reconcile Raila the civil society political activist from Raila the career politician. He has never understood that although bed partners, these attributes are on critical occasions strange bed fellows. The bull instant in political activism is at critical moments, the bane of career politicians. It may take an election petition victory and a repeat election to lose for Raila Odinga to finally come to terms with this reality.
In contrast, Uhuru Kenyatta was presidential and humble in his speech in which he disagreed with the outcome of the judgment but accepted the outcome nevertheless. Calling for peace to reign, he took the opportunity to relaunch his election campaign. He reminded the people of Kenya to whom he and his deputy have turned to since the ICC challenge, that the power to decide the destiny of Kenya belonged to them not to six individuals constituting a court of law.
That appeal succeeded and helped them to win the Presidential elections regarding the ICC proceedings. It may succeed once more with the Supreme Court Judgment acting as a tonic, call it a fig leaf of mobilization for a greater electoral victory come two months. Raila Odinga by promising Kenyans further court cases and prosecutions may have paved the way for the people to deny him that opportunity. He may have unwittingly placed the spotlight on the focus on the possibility of a revived ICC nightmare under a Raila Odinga presidency. He seems not to have learnt the painful lesson that his prior support for this nightmare among other reasons led to a majority of his people rejecting him in the last election.
Kenyans know that Raila did not challenge the election outcome which largely favoured his opponent. He challenged but the constitutionality and the legality of the conduct of the elections. His greatest challenge remains how to convince the majority that elected Uhuru and Ruto to switch over and vote for him. If he carefully reflected on the Supreme Court Judgment prior to making his celebratory speech, he should have known that that Judgement did not find any wrong doing against Uhuru Kenyatta based on which the electorate would have sanctioned him. On the contrary, the constitutional violations, illegalities and procedural inadequacies by the election commission deprived him of victory in an election whose outcome was neither in doubt nor contested by Raila in his petition. Raila in his celebratory speech inappropriately sought inappropriately to place blames for the failures of the election commission on his adversary where none was found by the Supreme Court. If his Supreme Court election speech is a template of his election performance in two months, then I regret, he may not prevail in the court of popular sovereignty.
There are several logistical and organizational odds that militate against his ability to conduct an effective campaign within just two months. He benefitted from a steady flow of international goodwill, tactical and strategic support during the annulled poll. It is inconceivable, considering the electoral map of Kenya, that this key constituency will again invest in a repeat election when the outcome of the annulled election was never challenged. The appeal for calm by President Uhuru Kenyatta apart, the calm that followed the Supreme Court Judgment may be an unmistakable exercise of confidence that in two months this silent majority may yet again reassert its sovereignty over its choice of leader. And Raila Odinga tacitly acknowledged the reality of that choice by not challenging the critical choice that was made in the annulled poll.
Chief Charles A. Taku is an international lawyer writing from The Hague The Netherlands.
Alessandria, Italy (August 23, 2017) – Originally from Senegal, Abdul Adan arrived in Italy in 2015 after taking a clandestine boat from Italy. Adan started training at Bee My Job, a project to help migrants and refugees in Italy, in late 2016. Today he is one of their most succesful beekeepers and helps show other migrants and refugees how to do the work. In Italy, beekeepers and honey producers say there are a shortage of workers availalbe in the industry, so this training program benefits their business.
A group in Italy is training migrants — mostly from sub-Saharan Africa — as beekeepers, then pairing them with honey producers who need employees. Aid groups say new efforts by European leaders to stem the flow of migrants from Africa ignores the fact that Europe needs these workers. According to Oxfam, Italy alone will need 1.6 million migrants over the next 10 years.
Back in his native Senegal, the only interaction Abdul Adan ever had with bees was when one stung his mouth while he was eating fresh honey. That day, his mouth was so swollen that he didn’t leave his home in Senegal’s Casamance region. Years later as a migrant worker in Alessandria, Italy, Adan is so comfortable with the insects that he does not even use gloves as he handles their hives and inspects their progress.
“I’m looking to see if the queen is here or not,” he said, as he uses his bare hands to look for the yellow dot that indicates the queen he placed in the hive a week before. “If there was the queen, she would have started laying eggs, but I don’t see any eggs.”
Adan is part of a project called Bee My Job, in which the Italian Cambalache Association trains migrants and refugees as beekeepers and finds work for them in Italy’s agribusiness industry. The association’s president, Mara Alacqua, says they have hosted and trained 107 people — mostly from Sub-Saharan Africa — since launching in 2014.
A queen bee, marked in yellow, moves among the worker bees in Alessandria, Italy, Aug. 22, 2017.
“Our beds are always full,” she said. “Every time a person leaves the project, and so we have a spare place, that place is covered straight away just within two days’ time.”
The migrants also take language classes as part of the program. Today, Adan is fluent in Italian and, despite his initial fears, he has become one of the most successful trainees.
“The first day that Mara asked me to do the work, I couldn’t sleep,” he said. “I said I have never done bee work, I was really scared that the bees would sting me and people would laugh and look at me, but afterward I figured and said I will learn, and maybe one day I can do it in my country.”
Nearly 95,000 migrants and refugees have arrived in Italy this year, though in the past two months, numbers have dropped by more than 50 percent compared to last year. Experts attribute the decrease to a more aggressive approach by the Libyan coast guard to turn boats back — and Libya’s increased support from the European Union. While in Libya, Adan says he was held hostage and tortured, and then forced into slave labor before escaping on a boat to Italy.
Abdul Adan shows Elele Okbe and Kobir Hossin how to tend to beehives in Alessandria, Italy, Aug. 22, 2017.
“To do work with bees, it’s not a work that is hard,” Adan said. “I already passed through stages that are harder than working with bees. If I tell you the Libyans who took us for work, you know how much we had to eat? One piece of bread a day. And we worked hard.”
A need for migrants
Amid ongoing efforts to stem the flow, Oxfam says European leaders are ignoring the need for migrants. According to the UK-based aid group, Italy alone will need an estimated 1.6 million workers over the next decade to sustain its welfare and pension plans.
Francesco Panella, a beekeeper for more than 40 years and president of Bee Life EU, agrees that migrant workers are good for Italy.
“In reality, we have a problem in our country,” he said. “On one side, there is a huge problem with unemployment; but the other issue, it’s not at all easy to find workers for agriculture. So, in reality, Italian agriculture is based on the work of foreigners. The world changes. It’s a world of movement, movement of people.”
Ismael Soumarhoro works with bees in Tassarolo, Italy, Aug. 22, 2017. Soumahoro, originally from Guinea in West Africa, was trained in beekeeping by Italian NGO Bee My Job.
In a room filled with crates used to harvest honey, Panella is quick to philosophize about migration, human compassion and more. He adds that both his children are immigrants. One works in the U.S. and the other in the U.K., and his grandfather contemplated migrating to Argentina after World War II in search of opportunities. He said he keeps all these things in mind when employing migrant workers, such as Isamel Soumarhoro, from Guinea.
Soumarhoro has worked in Panella’s beekeeping operations since 2015.
“What makes me happy is the moment when I take out the honey to take back to the house, because it’s a work that is a little difficult. You see, in 2015 when I arrived, there was more honey and the employees were happy,” Soumarhoro said.
According to Panella, one of the main threats to the program is the negative impact climate change and pesticides are having on honey production. Italy’s honey production this year is down 70 percent from normal harvests, he said. Most of the migrants hope the work continues, though they struggle being so far from home.
Every morning, Abdul Adan takes a 20-minute train ride to Alessandria, Italy, where he works with bee hives and in an organic garden to sell produce, Aug. 22, 2017. “I feel very lonely, very very,” he says.
“I feel very lonely, very very,” Adan said. “Sometimes when I think of my family, it makes me want to go back home, but that’s the story of immigration. I am looking for some means. Maybe one day I go back to my country, or one day I can bring my family. No one knows what the future holds.”
For the migrants, they hope the honey business can make tomorrow at least a bit sweeter.
For Lindi Gillespie, connecting the right people to opportunities in the market place and creating viable and strategic partnerships is her passion. Leveraging her vast networks and experience garnered over a twenty year period in diverse marketing and business roles, Lindi Gillespie founded Atlas Africa, an investment and brokerage company with operational base from South Africa. The firm offers clients the opportunity to expand business prospects on a broad range of sectors across Africa and on the global stage.
As CEO of Atlas Africa, Lindi, a Graduate of the University of Cape Town has surrounded herself with a solid team of talented associates who pride themselves in providing tailor made investment brokerage services and the delivery of first class returns to their clients.
“We do our best to understand our client’s business needs and long term plans when putting together a marketing strategy for bringing their services and products into the African markets,” says Lindi, who was recently ranked amongst Africa’s top 25 Women in Leadership by Amazon Watch Magazine.
With the goal of building long term professional relationships based on honesty, integrity, and sustainable revenue generation, Atlas Africa has steadily grown its business portfolio across Africa and beyond. In addition to South Africa and the SADC sub region, Atlas has excelled in West and East Africa, and Lindi says there are a growing number of hotel deals going through in the Maldives and Europe.
“Our clients stick with us because we work hard for them and always do our very best to find the best solutions to their needs by using our International network,” says Lindi as she expresses the ambition to further grow and sustain the strong reputation of Atlas Africa when it comes to investing in the continent.
Ms Gillespie, thanks so much for accepting to grant this interview , you are CEO of Atlas Africa Group, could you start by introducing the Group for us, what does it do, and when was it created?
Atlas Africa Group was formed in December 2015 when I attended the Global African Investment Summit in London. The Atlas Africa Group finds financing for renewable energy projects internationally; but predominantly in Africa. I raise these funds from individual investors; pensions fund; renewable energy funds and private equity funds. We also focus on Projects that are property related. We are very involved in development of hotels and also the buying and selling of hotels in Africa and its surrounding islands. Other sectors of the economies in Africa are covered as well.
What motivated you to create the Group, what skill set did you have, may we also have an idea of the staff strength and profile of those who make up the Group?
The motivation to start the Group was the dire need for infrastructure development; electricity; urbanisation development and especially agriculture to feed the people of Africa. Sustainability in Africa was my core motivation – to assist with this process. My skills are mainly in marketing and in introducing people where synchronicity exists to make things happen around the continent. For example I work closely with the Swiss who have foundations to help the poor and also various funds that have budgets to help the underprivileged people in our communities. The kind of people I choose to work with are professionals who are experts in all the fields that I can’t fill! Such as accounting and office administration. I prefer face to face contact with clients; travelling for work related projects and marketing our pipeline of projects.
Lindi Gillespie and her talented associates at Atlas Africa pride themselves on offering tailor made, investment brokerage services and delivering first class returns to their clients
Let’s talk about the success stories, are there concrete examples of successful projects that have been carried out by the Atlas Group? Potential clients may be interested in knowing something about the track record of Atlas
Our success stories are mainly in renewable energy and infrastructure development. At the moment deals are being processed in the Ivory Coast and Mali. These deals are private and public projects. We also have a number of hotel deals going through in the Maldives and Europe. These deals involve International hotel brands and private equity firms. We are processing low cost housing projects in two areas of Namibia where building of houses will begin within the next few weeks.
For people interested in using the services of Atlas, what do they need to do and what additional guarantees does the Group have to assure clients of positive results?
For positive result with new clients, it is a question of what stage the project is based. For instance we have investors of Greenfield renewable energy projects but projects with all licences and a PPA is where most of the clients invest. When it comes to PPPs, countries that offer sovereign guarantees or some form of guarantees make the project more attractive to investors. For projects needing funds Atlas Africa is always open to consider these projects.
What other parts of Africa is the Group operating in besides South Africa where it is based?
Atlas Africa focuses mainly on countries of good governance. We focus on areas where is safe for workforce to complete projects. Our presence is mainly in the SADC region and various countries in East and West Africa.
How will you describe the business climate first in South Africa and on other parts of the continent where you do business?
With the downgrading of South Africa’s economic sector; there are challenges in all parts of the economy including private and public business. I focus most of Atlas Africa Group’s growth outside of South Africa. I have a number of property interests however in South Africa. Our press in South Africa is bullish which helps with addressing the corruption in the country. The corruption has affected growth in all areas of the economy and many people are taking their money out of the country; emigrating or disinvesting.
Lindi Gillespie was recently profiled as one of Africa’s Top 25 Women in Leadership by Amazon Watch Magazine, what did this mean for you?
Being chosen as one of the 25 most influential women in Africa was a huge achievement for me. It showed that the work I do in Africa counts and that I have a voice on the continent. I would like to become more involved with positive movements and change.
With Former President Thabo Mbeki and Zanele Mbeki in Johannesburg
To young Africans especially the women who see in you a role model, and will want to emulate your example, what are some secrets of success that you have for them?
The secret of success for young women is to have a specific focus. The best choice is to align yourself with positive people who will support your ideas and your business growth. If you are an entrepreneur like myself ,you need to expect difficulties and challenges. This will keep you up at night but you need faith to keep going. So many deals fall through but it’s all part of being in the game of business. Try and secure finance so that you can get through the hard times when deals are taking years to come through!!
We end with a last word on the future of the Atlas Group, what next after growing it to where it is, any big plans in the years ahead to grow and improve the client base?
Our big plans and ambitions are to grow and sustain our strong reputation when it comes to investing in Africa. Our clients stick with us because we work hard for them and always do our very best to find the best solutions to their needs by using our International network.
right Dr.Amany Asfour Charperson of CBC,middle Ms Florizele Liser ,President and CEO of Corporate Council on Africa,a US business association focusing on connecting USA and AFrican business interests,and on the leFt Ms Sandra Uwera CBC,CEO.Photo Pierre Afadhali
The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa(COMESA) has unveiled a toursim and wildlife heritage guide to market the region’s tourism sector , in one of largest regional economic integration on the continent to the world as a single destination.
The Tourism and wildlife Heritage Handbook launched by COMESA Business Concil (CBC), a business member organization and private sector institution of the economic block at the ongoing Annual World Toursim Conference in Kigali,Rwanda will be used by hospitality players to sell 19 -country region as a single toursim destination to the global market.
The guide is launched as business leaders and policymakers from Africa are discussing ways to unlock the continent’s tourism potential amid increasing travel and visa access hurdles that are hindering the growth of tourism on the continent .
“This is in the spirit of promoting cross- border tourism,” said Ms. Sandra Uwera, CEO of CBC at the guide launch.
The guide is expected to help COMESA member countries tap into its tourism ressources , attract investors in hospitality sector,sell the block as a one destination.
“ This is about wildlife that we are trying to conserve” said Dr. Amany Asfour ,CBC Chairperson adding “toursim is our roadmap to growth and prosperity,”
She further noted the guide would bring about socio-economic transformation.”It’s not the book we are launching today,it is the whole tourism sector,”
COMESA hopes to create sustainable toursim marketing strategy, incorporate sustainable tourism elements and promote the region as single destination ,develop a database and COMESA online portal and participate in trade fairs as a region to boost the region marketing .
The book contains facts for every member state on population,languages ,religion,currency and tourist arrivals , highlits key wildlife and heritage attractions .
COMESA officials said the tourism handbook will be a guide to all tour operators in the region, domestic and international tourists.
Dr. Amany hopes it will fast track economic integration in tourism sector .
According to estimates COMESA market has 492,5 million people and the GDP of $ 657.4 billion ,with the area of 12 million square kilometers,a tourism potential with countless attractions that could increase the region’s toursim receipts .
Meanwhile the regional block is pushing for one single tourist visa that would allow tourists to visit the whole region without visa access challenge that has been cited as a key hindrance to the growing intra-africa .
Introducing international trends on the continent is certainly not a clear-cut process – it involves understanding where trends come from and how they fit into the unique lifestyles and cultures of African consumers, who are increasingly influenced by globalisation. This often leaves local retailers and designers questioning whether the local market is ready for something ‘different’, or indeed, whether retailers are capable of delivering it to market.
Understanding the relevance of global trends to the African consumer market formed the basis of a stimulating and introspective dialogue, the AFI Masterclass, hosted as part of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Joburg.
Dave Nemeth, owner at Trend Forward and one of SA’s top creative influencers and an analyst of current and future trends opened the conversation around the theme of Africa Trending, and was joined by trend analyst, cultural strategist and proud ‘Africanist’, Nicola Cooper. Cooper shared her take on trends, the ‘glocalisation’ movement, and the demands of Generation Z, based on her experience working with some of the world’s biggest brands.
“Without a doubt, Africa and South Africa are ready for everything, but the difficulty lies in taking it to market,” says Nemeth. “Instead of replicating what international players are doing, we need to be adapting those trends for local consumers. We need to have a better understanding of who the African consumer is, and what they want.”
“African consumers are in a state of brand boredom, and brands must find ways to reach out to them without copy-pasting what’s happening internationally,” says Cooper. “At the same time, local players are competing for consumers’ attention and it’s vital that brands understand that consumers want to be seen and served in their own right.”
African consumers are increasingly on the look-out for opportunities to celebrate and support locally-made products and services, but they’re not following trends blindly.
“It’s a far cry from ‘local is lekker’, where consumers may be expected to buy a local product even though it is perhaps of inferior quality, just because it was made here,” says Cooper. “Our circumstances are unique to the rest of the world, but many African brands make the mistake of waiting for international trendsetters to dictate how we should feel, instead of adapting offerings to suit local demand.”
Nemeth adds that consumers around the world are suffering from retail and design burnout, and are numb to the trends and products being pushed in their direction.
“It’s an issue that consumers experience on a global scale, not just in South Africa and Africa,” he says. “We’re looking at international models and replicating, instead of finding ways to make them our own. Why aren’t we innovating?”
There’s no such thing as ‘brand loyalty’ anymore, adds Nemeth, and brands need to constantly entice their audiences with fresh, exciting and customised offerings.
Disruption is everywhere – and it’s okay
“We live in an app world – our lives are ruled by apps – and customers expect that level of speed and efficiency when interacting with brands,” says Nemeth. “Retailers need to understand that customers will likely drop a basket full of shopping and walk out of the store at the sight of a long queue.”
According to a 2017 Harvard Business Review study, 86% of business leaders believe that customer experience is a vital component on the road to business success. As such, brands need to create innovative retail spaces by integrating digital with physical for a more efficient, enjoyable shopping experience.
Cooper adds that retailers need to be aware of self-service as a growing trend in the retail space, giving customers alternative payment options and platforms to make the payment process a lot smoother.
“Automation, which involves the use of smart data for customised shopping experiences, is also a growing trend in the integrated retail space,” says Nemeth. “It’s also vital that brands pay attention to the element of entertainment in stores in order to engage customers in exciting, interactive ways.”
People are increasingly placing value on experiences over ‘things’, and this is where retailers can use tech to their advantage in-store.
Give us authenticity
Local consumers are consuming more international content than we realise, thanks to technology that provides wider access to what’s going in the rest of the world. As a result, people have come to expect nothing less than authentic, real experiences and products, leaving no room for brands trying to be something they’re not.
The ‘industrial’ look, for example, has become a popular design trend around the world, with many people adopting the rustic, bare-brick look in home, office and event spaces. However, Nemeth points out how misplaced and contrived the trend has become, especially considering that it started out at similar times in both in Europe and the US as a practical way of making use of a building’s existing structure and features.
Authenticity is also gauged through brands opening up and telling their story, which needs to be crafted and disseminated strategically in order to win consumer’s interest. Cooper talked about the merits of using platforms like Instagram for story-telling and not just to push product, in order to engage more authentically with audiences. She offered these tips for businesses wanting to tell their stories in authentic ways:
Story-telling and story-selling
Social media platforms like Instagram should be an extension of the overall brand experience for customers, but it’s not enough to simply post images and information about the products and services you offer. As Nemeth says, “product is not social”. Instead, use Instagram to tell interesting and meaningful stories about your brand and what it represents, with strategic product placement, in order to grow and maintain engagement with your audience.
Drop a line about drops
One of the biggest challenges for businesses in a digital world is finding effective ways to spread awareness about their products without alienating customers, who are constantly bombarded with product and service-focused noise from a multitude of other brands. A great approach to incorporating digital into your marketing plan is to include product drops and countdowns to product release dates, which creates excitement around a new product and brings attention and following to your brand’s social media pages.
The newest generation of consumers, Generation Z – or ‘Gen-ZA’ as they’re known in South Africa – are an interesting group. Not only are they easily distracted, forcing brands to find innovative ways to catch and keep their attention, but they’re also fiercely supportive of social causes. Gen-Z consumers tend to support brands and businesses that make an effort to contribute towards making the world a better place. Brands would do well to partner with non-profit organisations that engage in philanthropic work. Remember that authenticity also matters, so be sure to choose a cause that aligns with your business.
Retail in Africa is by no means a static industry, but evolves according to ever-changing consumer demand and expectations. While we’re all scared of failure, embracing the changing tide is vital for future-proofing African retail and creating an immersive, exciting environment for consumers.
African Fashion International (AFI) was established to market African talents and ignite local and international attention towards the African fashion industry. The company led the way by introducing desperately needed international platforms to showcase authentic African brands through its portfolio of ventures including AFI Fashion Week Cape Town, AFI Fashion Week Joburg, Fastrack™, Nextgen™, AFI Masterclass, and AFI Privé.
Within its development strategy, AFI’s Fastrack™ initiative identifies and invests in the best of the continent’s young designers, by providing them with direct access to: mentorships, media exposure and business acumen, through yearlong programmes that prepare them in navigating the fashion landscape. Over the past six years, AFI’s Fastrack™ incubator programme has so far assisted in developing the careers of 75 new talents.
The Constituency for Africa (CFA) Hosted President Hage Geingob of Namibia During the 2016 Ronald H. Brown African Affairs Series
WASHINGTON, DC (August 29, 2017) – The Constituency for Africa (CFA) announces the Co-chairs for its 2017 Ronald H. Brown African Affairs Series. This year’s series will be held from September 18th through September 22nd in Washington, DC. The schedule of events and registration information are available at www.ronaldbrownseries.org.
“The theme of the 2017 Ronald H. Brown African Affairs Series is Mobilizing the Diaspora in Support of the U.S.-Africa Agenda,” stated Mr. Melvin P. Foote, CFA’s President & CEO. “We are extremely fortunate to have such distinguished Co-chairs, representing government, industry, civil society, academia, and the media. As CFA stakeholders, our Co-chairs enable us to broadly engage and mobilize our constituency in the U.S., Africa, and throughout the African Diaspora.”
The Co-chairs of the 2017 Ronald H. Brown African Affairs Series include:
Honorable Arikana Chihombori, African Union Ambassador to the U.S.;
Ambassador Andrew J. Young, Chairman of the Andrew J. Young Foundation;
Honorable Karen Bass, Member of the U.S. House of Representatives and Ranking Member of the House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations;
Ambassador Rueben Brigety, Dean of the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University;
Ambassador Bonnie Jenkins, Joint Visiting Fellow, University of Pennsylvania Perry World House and Brookings Institution;
Honorable Jendayi Frazer, Adjunct Senior Fellow for African Studies, Council on Foreign Relations;
Dr. John Nkengasong, Director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control;
Mr. Roger Nkodo Dang, President of the Pan African Parliament;
Mr. John Momoh, Founder & CEO, Channels TV Nigeria;
Ms. Mimi Alemayehou, Managing Director at the Black Rhino Group;
Mr. Raymond Dabney, CEO of the Cannabis Science Research Foundation;
Mr. Renato Almeida, International Government Affairs Manager at Chevron;
Mr. Mahtar Ba, Founder and Executive Chairman of AllAfrica Global Media;
Professor Akin Abayomi, Principal Investigator, Global Emerging Pathogens Treatment Consortium (GET Africa);
Dr. Wilfred Ngwa, Global Health Catalyst Director at Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center;
Honorable Pamela Bridgewater, President & CEO, The Africa Society of the National Summit on Africa;
Honorable Lauri Fitz-Pegado, Partner, The Livingston Group, LLC;
Mr. Forrest Branch, Managing Director & Partner, EMH Prescient Investment Management (Namibia);
Mr. Michael Sudarkasa, CEO of Africa Business Group (South Africa); and
Ms. Jeannine Scott, Founder & Principal of America to Africa Consulting.
The purpose of the 2017 Ronald H. Brown African Affairs Series will be to bring together stakeholders from the U.S., Africa, and throughout the Diaspora to assess the U.S. Administration’s Africa policy, and to identify challenges and opportunities in a number of key areas, including Healthcare Infrastructure, Democracy & Governance, Trade & Investment, Next Generation Leadership, Agriculture, and Diaspora Engagement. CFA and its partners will produce a Diaspora strategy to include policy recommendations for the U.S. Administration and the African Union. This year’s series is being organized by CFA, in cooperation with the African Union Mission in Washington, DC.
CFA also announces the appointment of Ambassador Bonnie Jenkins to its Board of Directors. “We are excited to have Ambassador Bonnie Jenkins join CFA’s Board of Directors. She will lend her considerable experience and expertise to our current team, and help position CFA for the years to come,” stated Mr. Foote. Before her recent position as a Joint Visiting Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania Perry World House and Brookings Institution, Ambassador Jenkins served as Ambassador at the U.S. Department of State and was the Coordinator for Threat Reduction Programs in the Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation. Also during her time as Coordinator, Ambassador Jenkins worked on the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA), which is an international effort with over 55 countries to reduce infectious disease threats such as Ebola and Zika.
On the CFA Board of Directors, Ambassador Jenkins joins Dr. Roscoe M. Moore, Jr., Interim Chairman and former Assistant U.S. Surgeon General and Rear Admiral, U.S. Public Health Service (retired); and Board Members Honorable Stanley L. Straughter, Chairman of the UNESCO Center for Global Education; Mr. Raymond C. Dabney, President, CEO, and Co-founder of Cannabis Science, Inc.; Mr. John Momoh, Chairman of Channels Media Group; and Ms. Jeannine B. Scott, Founder and Principal of American to Africa Consulting.
About the Constituency for Africa:
For over 26 years, CFA has established itself as one of the leading, non-partisan organizations focused on educating and mobilizing the American public and the African Diaspora in the U.S. on U.S.-Africa policy. As a result, CFA has helped to increase the level of cooperation and coordination among a broad-based coalition of individuals and organizations committed to the progress, development, and empowerment of Africa and African people worldwide.
Africa is endowed with abundant largely unexploited natural resources and raw materials yet the continent is afflicted by poverty, diseases and violent conflicts in the midst of plenty. Unfortunately, these resources when exploited are often not done so for the benefit of the people of Africa.
The availability and abundance of these resources present Africa with great investment opportunities. The paucity of a credible continental legal and economic framework defining Africa’s investment needs has led to a scramble for Africa’s resources by the leading nations of the world, from West to the East. This scramble has in turn generated an economic cold war that affects all sectors of Africa’s economic, political and social life.
Investing in Africa under the prevailing economic, judicial and political condition breeds significant challenges and invites critical questions that require answers. Significant among these is the question whether a credible independent judicial mechanism exists within Africa that regulates investment contracts in Africa that benefits Africa. Do African countries possess independent judiciaries capable of guaranteeing the security of investments in the continent through fair trial processes? Who negotiates the terms of the investments? Are the terms of negotiated investments favorable to Africa? Do investment contracts in Africa contain transfer of technology clauses aimed at transforming African economies from markets of cheap raw materials to markets for processed finished products? Is Africa endowed with an enabling legal environment for negotiating, drafting, interpreting and adjudicating investment conflicts? What are the opportunities and challenges that investors face in Africa? How can these challenges be surmounted? The answers to these questions and more are the subject of this paper.
The Universal Foundations of the Independence of the Judiciary
Among the founding objectives of the United Nations enshrined in the preamble of the UN Charter was a reaffirmation of “ … faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity of nations large and small, and the establishment of conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and sources of international law can be maintained, to promote social and better standards of life in freedom; and to employ international machinery for the promotion of the economic and social advancement of all peoples”.
These universal conditions for the administration of justice significantly inspired and informed the founding of the United Nations in 1945. Justice for all was therefore, conceived and proclaimed a critical instrument for the promotion and protection of peace, and “the economic and social advancement of all peoples”.
In furtherance of this objective, the UN multilateral human rights treaty regime adopted provisions that guarantee the independence and impartiality of the Judiciary and recommended that they be enshrined in the laws of state parties to the respective conventions. To safeguard, protect and promote the independence of the judiciary within the international and national justice systems, the United Nations adopted the “Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary”.
The preamble of these basic principles emphasizes that the organization and administration of justice in every country, member state of the United Nations must be inspired by the principles. It states that efforts must be undertaken to translate these principles fully into reality. And that the rules concerning the exercise of judicial office should aim at enabling judges to act in accordance with the principles, because “judges are charged with the ultimate decision over life, freedoms, rights, duties and property of citizens”.
There is therefore no gainsaying that the United Nations Charter foundation of universal tenets of Justice as the underlying principles for the attainment of world peace, security, economic well-being and prosperity of nations big and small, is well settled in customary international law. It is on this basis that these principles are enshrined in the Constitutions of member states.
It cannot reasonably be disputed that at the founding of the United Nations in 1945, Africa was not a subject of international law. Africa and peoples of Africa descent were not contemplated by the founding fathers of the United Nations when they made the justice, economic, human rights and security pledges as the salvific tenets of a new world order and civilization. The so-called big and small nations that came under the protections afforded in the UN Charter did not include Africa and peoples of African descent. They were then invariably considered as chattel, European possessions, colonies by any other name but nations or states. Emerging from the humiliation of its World War defeat and occupation by Germany, France for example, led a genocidal campaign in its French Africa possessions orchestrating the extermination of millions of pro-independence nationalists and armless civilians in French Cameroun and Algeria.
Without the protections afforded by the United Nations Charter Africa was deprived on the economic sovereignty over its vast natural resources. Africa could not exercise judicial independence over commerce, industry and investments in the continent. There was therefore no investment charter for the benefits of African European colonies or possessions. Investments benefitted the colonial masters and their national economies. Africans were valued as slave labour and nothing more.
Decrying this situation in 1949 Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe ( Zik of Africa) in an Address delivered at the Plenary Session of the British Peace Congress powerfully submitted “There is gold in Nigeria. Coal, lignite, tin, columbite, tantalite, lead, diamonite, thorium, (uranium-133), and tungsten in Nigeria, rubber, cocoa, groundnuts, benniseeds, coton, palm oil, and palm kernels. Timber of different kinds is found in many areas of this Africa fairyland. Yet despite these natural resources which indicate potential wealth, the great majority of Nigerians live in want”. Dr Azikiwe speaking for all Africans stated emphatically, “therefore, we are compelled to denounce imperialism as a crime against humanity, because it destroys human dignity and is a constant cause of wars”.
Invoking the human carnage and devastation of the just ended World War 2 in which Africans were drafted to combat not as free people fighting for the interests of Africa and African Peoples, but as mere tools or instruments of warfare deployed to protect the economic and security interests of their colonial masters, Dr Azikiwe made the following proclamation amongst others: “We shall no longer be dragooned to act as cannon fodder in the military juggernaut of hypocrites who dangle before our people misleading slogans in order to involve humanity in carnage and destruction”.
The conscience awakening alarm raised by Zik of Africa in the threshold of the founding of the United Nations with lofty principles underpinning justice and economic empowerment as the salvation credo for a peaceful, prosperous world which ignored the situation of Africa and black peoples the world over, endures to this day. It endures because the cosmetic independence that was granted to many African states did not alter the European economic and political vassal possessions status that was imposed on them by European colonial treaties.
Due to the enduring effects of these injustices against Africa, it is safe to submit that the supposed tenets of universal justice, that includes the independence of the judiciary are elusive in Africa making the security of investments in the continent attainable but elusive.
Identifying the Investment and Justice Needs for Africa
The submission that the attainment of the goals of fair, credible and independent justice for Africa faces serious though surmountable obstacles may better be articulated through the following address credited to His Excellency President Jakaya Kwikete to the United Nations in New York in 2008.
Addressing the United Nations as Chairman of the African Union, President Kikwete reminded the world body that Africa rejected war, HIV Aids and Poverty as templates on which to anchor a just world security and economic order. He warned that highlighting the adoption of the UN political declaration on African development needs must not obfuscate the fact that poverty and the need to establish economic growth to overcome it was the continent’s greatest challenge. He pointed out that some so-called Millennium Development Goals were inadequate in addressing the serious shortfall in resources to meet African development needs. President Kikwete stated that “In trade, Africa’s prospects remained bleak as the Doha Round was stalled. New negative trends included climate change and soaring fuel and food prices”. 
In the face of this bleak picture of the African condition, there is an urgent need for investments in Africa must aim at attenuating poverty, Africa energy self-sufficiency and production industries for the processing and transformation of raw materials into finished products. There is an urgent need for the establishment of efficient healthcare, food security, science and technology and communication industries in Africa by Africans. Foreign investors are invited to invest in Africa but the investments must aim at and relevant to the attainment of Africa economic and investment goals. Investments in Africa that not include aim at the transfer of technology for the transformation of Africa’s raw materials and natural resources to finished products for the universal market are deemed not to benefit Africa.
To satisfy Africa’s investment needs, stable, credible, efficient and effective legal frameworks capable of attracting foreign and national investments must be established. Do the existing legal institutions in Africa provide adequate security for foreign and national investments that aim at promoting growth and the economic prosperity of the continent and its people? I hesitate at this point in time to answer this question in the positive. This is not for the lack of capital building capacity by African investors, economic operators, capable independent judiciaries or competent professional lawyers who can manage the continent’s investment portfolio. The critical obstacle to attaining these goals is the ghost of Africa’s colonial past which is still lingering within the continent and manipulating the soul of the continent at all levels of constitutional governance; making profitable investments that benefit Africa and its people difficult.
The Constitutional Guarantee of the Independence of the Judiciary
When most of Africa gained independence in the early 1960’s, the newly independent countries became member states of the United Nations. By their membership of the UN, they pledged allegiance to the United Nations Charter and thereafter ratified or adhered to many conventions in the UN Economic and Human Rights regime.
The constitutions of almost all independent African countries have provisions on separation of powers with the judiciary being an independent arm of government. The constitutions of these African countries guarantee the independence of the judiciary. Despite of the provision of article 26 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights guaranteeing through constitutional protections the independence of the judiciary, the effective independence of the judiciary as a constitutional arm of government remains illusory in many African countries. The enabling legislation regulating the administration of justice in many African countries contradicts the intendment of the constitutional guarantees of independence of the judiciary; compromising its independence.
A decision of African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights in a case brought by the Southern Cameroons against the Republic of Cameroon, better explains this point succinctly. In that case the African Commission decided that Cameroon lacked independence of the judiciary despite the existence of a constitutional provision guaranteeing the independence of the judiciary and separation or powers. In that decision, the African Commission found that the lack of independence of the Cameroon judiciary violated article 26 of the Africa Charter.
The decision was predicated on an admission by Cameroon that it did not have an independent judicial service commission and that the President of the Republic was the Chairman of the Higher Judicial Council while the Minister of Justice the Vice President of the Council. The said council has a mandate for the administration and guaranteeing the independence of the judiciary. The African Commission found that by subjugating the judiciary to the executive arm of government, Cameroon was in violation of its treaty obligations by violating article 26 of the African Charter. The Commission asked Cameroon to provide an effective remedy by making its judiciary genuinely independent, a decision Cameroon has failed to implement.
A melting pot of competing conflicting investment interests
An anxious look at foreign and national investment policies in Africa against available investments opportunities and the investment needs of the continent, there is justification in characterizing Africa as a melting pot of competing conflicting investment interests. Foreign investment in Africa has a checkered history and a tortious purpose. Like a chameleon, it assumes different colours while remaining in substance, the same.
Prior to independence, foreign trade policies of African European colonies were imposed rather than negotiated. African economies were rudimentary and mainly aimed at producing and supplying raw materials for the European industrial and commercial markets. The huge mineral deposits and agricultural potential which Dr Azikiwe talked about in his 1949 address referred to earlier in this paper, although belonging to Nigeria and Nigerians, as a matter of colonial and imperial policy, in reality belonged to Her Majesty the Queen of England’s Government.
The colonial institutions at independence contained imposed military, monetary, economic, educational, social and cultural cooperation treaties that subjugated the economic sovereignty of the colonies to the erstwhile colonial powers. In former French Africa colonies, France imposed pre and post-independence cooperation agreements imposed that subjugated their economic, monetary and defense sovereignty to the control of France.
The subsistence of these treaties and colonial policies in Independent African countries renders an effective exercise of sovereignty over constitutional institutions among them independent judiciaries illusory. This state of affairs led Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah to conclude that “any form of economic union negotiated singly between the fully industrialized states of Europe and the newly emergent countries of Africa is bound to retard the industrialization, and therefore the prosperity and general economic and cultural development, of these countries. For it will mean that those African states which may be inveighed into joining this union will continue to serve as protected markets for the manufactured goods of their industrialized partners, and sources of cheap raw materials”. The existence of these colonial and neo-colonial economic treaties have retained Africa in what Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe characterized as “a perennial source of war”.
In seeking to safeguard and enforce these subsisting colonial and neo-colonial imposed preferential economic and investment treaties, the erstwhile colonial powers and the economic blocs in which they belong have resorted to using coercive methods to impose unfavourable terms of trade and investment terms that auction away African mineral resources and raw materials at prices and conditions intended to recolonize supposed independent states. These includes, economic sabotage, political instability, coups, military intervention and the manipulation of international institutions to discredit, subvert and isolate governments and peoples who dare turn their backs on colonial and neo-colonial puppetry.
In attempts to render the resource endowed countries of Africa ungovernable, alternative sources of power control are funded among the civil society, national and international Non-Governmental Organizations, the Military and the political class. With the use of weapons and funds supplied to these organizations, violent political activism triumphs over laudable civil society activism whose primary purpose ought to have been protecting and promoting the social, economic, political and civic rights of the citizenry.
The sources of instability arising from political and socio-economic factors are easily traced to the desire to control the natural resources and raw materials of African countries. The militarization of the political and economic life of the continent aimed at destabilizing many resource endowed African countries can be traced to this factor. Examples abound, but suffice to cite the failed recent violent regime change attempts in Burundi, Central Africa Republic, South Sudan, Angola and Libya.
According to Adekeye Adebajo and Kaye Whiteman, “the EU willingness to find ways of being militarily involved in Africa has been encouraged by France (seeking ways to justify its own continued military presence in Africa). The problem with the ambitious mission of the EU to support peace and security initiatives as outlined in the EU Common Position on the Prevention, Management and Resolution of Violent Conflicts in Africa is that in conceptual terms, the EU initiative seems good. But it conflates and conceals the colonial and neo-colonial treaties entered into by individual erstwhile colonial powers like France and Belgium in significant regards.
These colonial treaties and policies fuel and sustain the instability that the EU aims to prevent or redress. The erstwhile colonial powers habouring economic and political ambitions to control and micromanage the economic and political life of their former African colonies targeted by the EU initiative are not faithful participants in the EU initiative. There is overwhelming evidence establishing that they are the sources of instability in Africa. These former colonial powers have consistently used their EU members to attempt to railroad the EU initiative to attain their neo-colonial agenda.
The mitigated result of the EU initiative in Central Africa Republic even with the presence in the territory of French troops who have maintained a military base there since independence is an alarming example of this policy of duplicity on the part of France. Mineral resources Burundi has consistently accused Belgium which recently accepted responsibility and apologized for the assassination of Patrice Lumumba plunging the Democratic Republic of Congo into a blood bath that endures till date, for supporting a rebellion within its national territory aimed at effecting a regime change and controlling its natural resources.
The failed belligerent EU policy towards Burundi demonstrated by an overwhelming objection of an EU resolution submitted to the 33rd Session of the Joint EU-ACP Parliamentary Conference on 19 June 2017 arises from this policy. For the EU initiative to attain its objective, the EU must call on its member states to rescind with immediate all colonial and neo-colonial treaties or so-called cooperation agreements that undermine the sovereignty of African states and constitute a “perennial source of war”, violence, instability, impunity and criminality. These perennial sources of war have subverted the rule of law and sound constitutional governance.
Africa does not manufacture weapons but the investment in arms through legal and illegal channels fuels internecine armed conflict on the continent. For this to occur, the mineral resources and raw material of African countries are carted away to support materialistic and capitalist cartels in foreign in other continents. These colonial and neo-colonial treaties are not subject to legal challenges before the judiciary of the African countries concerned depriving the citizens of those countries the opportunity to test their validity and legality before independent judges. This keeps significant areas of the African investment and commercial sectors out of independent judicial scrutiny. The Neocolonial economic cartels have also concluded treaties keeping the judicial scrutiny before national courts, key public and private investment sectors in the defense industry, the oil industry, the energy industry and some strategic mineral contracts. With this, corruption is institutionalized at the expense of the people’s sovereignty over their resources, their economic well-being and prosperity.
Owning African investment dilemma and its Judicial quagmire
For Africa to attract valuable national and international investments that meets African prosperity needs, they must aim at attaining economic sovereignty over its natural resources. Africa must put in place valuable judicial institutions that are competent, independent and reliable.
Investment contracts are quite often negotiated by non-professional bureaucrats and politicians without the assistance of lawyers and professionals in the varying sectors of the economy in which the investment is taking place. This often results in unfavorable terms in the investment contracts with adjudication clauses that defer the interpretation of the contracts and conflict resolutions to foreign arbitration and adjudication bodies outside the continent. African lawyers and the judiciary are often not even contemplated as key actors in the negotiation of investment contracts and the adjudication of investment disputes in case of conflict. This leaves investments in Key sectors of African economies in the hands of expatriates and foreign agents whose agenda is to stultify the much desired growth of Africa economies.
It has hardly been contemplated nor desired that a transfer of technology clause if inserted into foreign investment contracts could lead to the rapid transformation of Africa from a continent of perpetual slave labour to a continent that processes and transforms its raw materials for the national and universal markets. Africa must own its problems and accept to conceive and apply some dose of painful remedy to this complex life threatening ailment.
Since President Kikwete raised the alarm that placed the required focus on “poverty and the need to establish economic growth to overcome the continent’s challenges” citing Africa’s prospects as remaining bleak with the Doha Round stalling’, and new negative trends that included climate change and soaring fuel and food prices”, Africa has made frantic judicial and continental level efforts towards addressing these problems. The AU has made some adjustments in its focus towards seeking solutions to the continent’s security, economic, health, technological research, energy, mineral exploitation, communication, inter-African and Pan African justice needs. The efforts deployed so far though commendable are still insufficient or not commensurate to the magnitude of the problems.
The AU significantly made giant steps towards establishing an African Criminal Court to try crimes committed in Africa, relieving the continent of the humiliating focus of the international criminal court which gives the perception that Africans may be inherently criminal. The Malabo Protocol granting the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights have more than any international court in history criminalized crimes which from Nuremburg and Tokyo World War Tribunals no other international court has criminalized.
The Protocol targets a wide variety of crimes perpetrated on the continent including economic crimes. The criminalization of the crimes of illicit exploitation of resources, trafficking in hazardous wastes, terrorism, money laundering, unconstitutional change of government, piracy and the crime of aggression have at long last awaken the enduring effects of the hitherto unpunished historic crimes of slavery, imperialism, colonialism and neo-colonialism from which colonial cooperation agreements and treaties drew legitimacy for eternal banishment from the continent of Africa. In other words, criminalizing these crimes at long last will target and slay the beast of colonial crimes and its offspring allowing room for Africa to develop and prosper in peace.
The African Union needs to conceive and proclaim an African Investment and economic Charter for the continent. The AU needs to summon as a matter of urgency, an Africa business forum in which governments and business operators in Africa will set in motion a mechanism and frame work for investment in Africa. The African Union lacks a clearing house for informing African investors and entrepreneurs the business potential of each African country. The Proposed investment and business Charter should aim at the AU working on harmonization business and investment law in Africa to enable African and foreign investors to invest in the continent. Presently, colonial and neo-colonial treaties favour foreign investors, particularly those from former colonial powers.
There is no reason why investment contracts in specific areas or sectors of the African economies should not prioritize national and African investors making foreign investors come in as partners only. Africa has to start training its own road investor contractors. African banks have to start providing loans to support African investments in key areas of the African economy.
African lawyers must mobilize to intervene and settle African conflicts of a political and economic nature. There is no reason why the AU cannot establish a Pan African institution for the settlement of investments disputes on the continent. There is no reason why the AU with the support of the African Bar Association cannot establish a Pan African Board of Arbitration to which different arbitration bodies in the continent will be affiliated. Such an arbitration board will keep a roaster of arbitrators from which arbitrators will be to meet the arbitration needs of investors in Africa.
There is no reason why the AU cannot make article 26 of the African Charter more functional by establishing a more robust mechanism within the AU aimed at encouraging and protecting the independence of the judiciary in member states. In this regard, for a member of the judiciary of a state party to be eligible for appointment to a high judicial organ within the AU institutional framework or within an international judicial or quasi-judicial institution requiring AU support, the constitutional and institutional arrangement in the state party must guarantee independence of the judiciary. A failure to set standards in this regard, led to two Judges from the Cameroon Judiciary which the African Commission on Human found in the Ngwang Gumne v Cameroon (The Southern Cameroons Case) not to be independent to be elected to the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights and to the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights making a total mockery of its decision indicting the Cameroon judiciary for not being independent.
The Assembly of African leaders, lawyers, businessmen, professionals from all walks of life, the press and millions alive and unborn will look at this occasion with pride. With pride because African lawyers under the banner of the African Bar Association have risen to the occasion and the challenge to summon all of us here to make an informed pledge to lay down an enduring framework of investment, economic sovereignty and prosperity for Africa.
There is general agreement that investing in Africa will provide a much desired panacea for the dire economic situation facing our continent. The security of these investments needs be guaranteed by competent professional lawyers and an independent judiciary. Africa has significant investment opportunities, competent professional lawyers and independent judges. However, the ability of these key actors to manage Africa’s investment portfolio in ways that benefit Africa and the investors is hampered by powerful extraneous actors and factors.
There is a compelling need for all judicial actors in Africa and the judiciary to organize, assert and prove their expertise, proficiency and relevance in playing the role of key actors in managing the investment portfolio of Africa with unblemished expertise and uncontested independence. This conference on investment in Africa is critical and timely. The next conference on the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law complement must be organized to complement the results of this conference.
I respectfully submit that the proceedings of this conference and all the very rich conference papers presented here be delivered to the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, the UN Economic Commission for Africa, all African leaders and universities in Africa to help refocus the desired attention on investments in Africa.
*Chief Charles A. Taku is Executive Council of the AFBA, Member for Life; Vice-President of the ICCBA, Member of the Executive and Defence Committee of the ICCBA; Vice-President of ADAD; and Lead-Counsel at the ICC.The paper was presented at the conference of the African Bar Association in Port Harcourt from 7 to 10 August 2017
 Preamble, Charter of the United Nations, 24 October 1945.
 Articles 8 and 10, UN General Assembly, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 10 December 1948. Article 14, UN General Assembly, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 16 December 1966, United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 999, p. 171.
 Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary Adopted by the Seventh United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders held at Milan from 26 August to 6 September 1985 and endorsed by General Assembly resolutions 40/32 of 29 November 1985 and 40/146 of 13 December 1985.
 The French campaign in French Cameroun commenced in 1948, the same year the UN Declaration on Human Rights was proclaimed against the Union des Population du Cameroun UPC founded by Um Nyobe Mpodol and continued this campaign directly or by proxy until 1971 when the last nationalist leader of the UPC Ernest Ouandie was assassinated.
 From an address delivered at the Second Annual Conference of the Congress of Peoples Against Imperialism on “Colonies and War” Poplar, London, on October 9, 1949 quoted in Wilfred Cartey and Martin Kilson: The Africa Reader: Independent Africa Rabdom House New York 1970 pp 74 and 75.
 President Jakaya Kikwete, AU Chairman Address to the United Nations in New York 23 September 2008.
 Article 26 of the African Charter states that “State Parties to the present Charter shall have the duty to guarantee the independence of the Courts and shall allow the establishment and improvement of appropriate national institutions entrusted with the promotion and protection of the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the present Charter”.
Communication No. 266/2003, 27 May 2009, African Commission for Human Rights, Ngwang Gumne v Cameroon para. 132.
 Cooperation Agreement signed between Ahmadou Ahidjo and France dated December 12, 1959. Cameroon attained independence on January 1, 1960 .The cooperation agreement in its articles 1-6 reserve the authority to 1) determine Cameroon’s economic, political, and socio-cultural orientations to France.2) France shall manufacture currency for Cameroon called the CFA.3) France shall guide the determination of educational programs at all levels.4) The French national treasury shall have a portfolio named operations account to cover 100% of Cameroon’s foreign exchange. After a series of revisions, the percentage stands at 50% today. 5) France shall have strategic priority in the exploitation of Cameroon’s raw materials.6) On 10th November 1961, shortly Cameroon annexed and colonized the Southern Cameroons in the evening of September 30, 1961, President Ahidjo signed a military cooperation agreement with France in which the French army may be invited by the Cameroon President or the French Ambassador in Cameroon to send French troops to suppress an internal rebellion or insurrection or any threats to the regime in place. The Southern Cameroon had voted in a UN sponsored plebiscite to attain independence by joining the independent Republic of Cameroon upon terms to be worked out prior to independence. The independence was attained leading the way for the termination of the trusteeship over the Southern Cameroons but the sovereignty to negotiate a union treaty was subverted by the annexation and military occupation of the territory.
 Osafgyfo Dr Kwame Nkrumah: Neocolonialism in Africa in Africa Must Unite, (New York, 1964 cited in The Africa Reader: Independent Africa edited by Wilfred Cartey and Martin Kilson Random House New York, 1970 p. 220.
 Adekeye Adebajo and Kaye Whiteman: The EU and Africa: From EuroAfrique to Afro-Europa, 2012, Hurst and Company, London, p.17.
 Malabo Protocol Granting Criminal Jurisdiction to the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Adopted in Malabo Equatorial Guinea in June 2014) Articles 28 D, 28 E, 28 F, 28 F, 28 I, 28,Ibis, 28 J, 28 J, 28 L, 28 L Bis, 28 M. In addition to the crimes punishable under the Statute of Ad Hoc Tribunals and the ICC, the Malabo Protocol criminalizes and punishes the crimes unconstitutional change of government, piracy, terrorism, mercenarism, corruption, money laundering, trafficking in persons, trafficking in hazardous wastes, and illicit exploitation of resources.
Power Africa, a U.S. Government-led initiative to double access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa, has released its annual report. The initiative consists of more than 150 public and private sector partners, which have collectively committed more than $54 billion towards achieving Power Africa’s goals. It is among the world’s largest public-private partnerships in development history.
The 2017 report highlights how Power Africa continues to lay the foundation for sustainable economic growth in Africa while creating opportunities for American businesses as it makes progress towards its goals of increasing installed generation capacity by 30,000 megawatts (MW) and adding 60 million new electricity connections by 2030.
Since its inception, Power Africa has facilitated the financial close of power transactions expected to generate more than 7,200 MW of power in sub-Saharan Africa. The 80 Power Africa transactions that have concluded financing agreements are valued at more than $14.5 billion, and Power Africa projects have generated more than $500 million in U.S. exports. In addition, Power Africa has facilitated more than 10 million electrical connections, which have brought electricity to more than 50 million people for the first time.
The report also highlights the role of women in Africa’s power sector, by chronicling the contributions of select members of Power Africa’s Women in African Power (WiAP) network. It includes an executive letter from the Honorable Irene Muloni, Minister for Energy and Minerals in Uganda, as well as profiles of women whose drive is strengthening Africa’s power sector.
Over the next year, Power Africa will work with more than 100 U.S. companies, African partners, other donors, and the private sector to harness the technology, ingenuity, and political will necessary to bring the benefits of modern energy to even remote parts of Africa while promoting economic growth. The initiative will also expand beyond its initial focus on solar lanterns and renewable energy to support more on-grid power projects in natural gas and other sources.
Tristate Heart and Vascular Centre in Nigeria. Photo: Tristate Heart and Vascular Centre
In the 2017 World Happiness Report by Gallup, African countries score poorly. Of the 150 countries on the list, the Central African Republic, Tanzania and Burundi rank as the unhappiest countries in the world.
Some of the factors driving unhappiness are the poor state of the continent’s health care systems, the persistence of HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, and the growth of lifestyle diseases such as hypertension, heart disease and diabetes.
Few African countries make significant investments in the health sector—the median cost of health care in sub-Saharan Africa is $109 per person per year, according to Gallup. Some countries, such as the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Madagascar and Niger, spend just half of that per person annually.
In 2010 only 23 countries were spending more than $44 per capita on health care, according to the World Health Organization. These countries got funding from several sources, including government, donors, employers, non-governmental organisations and households.
Private investment is now critical to meet the considerable shortfall in public-sector investment, say experts.
While many international organisations, such as UNICEF and the International Committee of the Red Cross, continue to support Africa’s health care system, private entities and individuals are also increasingly making contributions. For example, Africa’s richest person, Aliko Dangote, and the world’s second richest person, Bill Gates, have formed a partnership to address some of Africa’s key health needs.
In 2014 the Nigerian-born cement magnate made global headlines after donating $1.2 billion to Dangote Foundation, which used the money to buy equipment to donate to hospitals in Nigeria and set up mobile clinics in Côte d’Ivoire.
A philanthropist himself, Mr. Gates wrote of Mr. Dangote in Time magazine: “I know him best as a leader constantly in search of ways to bridge the gap between private business and health.”
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation focuses, among other projects, on strengthening Africa’s health care resources. According to the Gates Foundation, as of May 2013 it had earmarked $9 billion to fight diseases in Africa over 15 years. In 2016 the foundation pledged to give an additional $5 billion over a five-year period, two-thirds to be used to fight HIV/AIDS on the continent.
While acknowledging the Gates’ generosity, locals noted that for many years the Foundation had invested in the oil companies that have contributed in making health outcomes extremely poor in some areas of Nigeria. These companies include Eni, Royal Dutch Shell, ExxonMobil, Chevron and Total.
Facing a backlash, the Gates Foundation sold off some 87% of its investments in major coal, oil and gas companies, leaving approximately $200 million in these stocks as of 2016. Groups such as Leave It in the Ground, a non-profit organization advocating for a global moratorium on fossil exploration, are pushing for divestment.
“The link between saving lives, a lower birth rate and ending poverty was the most important early lesson Melinda and I learned about global health,” said Mr. Gates recently. The Gates Foundation supports reducing childhood mortality by supplying hospitals with necessary equipment and hiring qualified local practitioners to take care of patients and their children.
In 2016, the Dangote Foundation and the Gates Foundation formed a philanthropic dream team when they announced a $100 million plan to fight malnutrition in Nigeria. The new scheme will fund programmes to 2020 and beyond, using local groups in the northwest and northeast Nigeria. The northeast has for the past seven years been ravaged by the Boko Haram’s Islamic militant insurgency, affecting all health care projects in the region.
Malnutrition affects 11 million children in northern Nigeria alone, and Mr. Dangote said the partnership would address the problem.
The Foundations had already signed a deal to work together to foster immunization programmes in three northern states: Kaduna, Kano and Sokoto.
The Gates Foundation states on its website, “Contributions towards the costs of the program by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Dangote Foundation, and state governments will be staggered across three years: 30% in year one, 50% in year two, and 70% in year three, with the respective states taking progressive responsibility for financing immunization services.”
The future of about 44% of Nigeria’s 170 million people would be “greatly damaged if we don’t solve malnutrition,” said Mr. Gates, at a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari.
Despite the many international and local efforts, cultural and religious factors often impede efforts to address Africa’s weak health infrastructure. For example, in 2007, religious leaders in northern Nigeria organized against aid workers administering polio vaccinations after rumours started circulating that the vaccines were adulterated and would cause infertility and HIV/AIDS.
In 2014, during the Ebola crisis, villagers chased and stoned Red Cross workers in Womey village in Guinea, accusing them of bringing “a strange disease”.
The big players may be Mr. Dangote and Mr. Gates, but others less well known are also making important contributions to Africa’s health care. After the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa, for example, which resulted in the loss of about 11,300 lives, private companies in the three most affected countries—Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone—partnered with the government to fight the virus.
The Sierra Leone Brewery, for example, helped in constructing facilities for Ebola treatment. Individuals, such as Patrick Lansana, a Sierra Leonean communications expert, also volunteered their services for the Ebola fight. He said: “I joined the fight against Ebola because I wanted to help my country. My efforts, and those of others, made a difference. It would have been difficult for the government and international partners to combat the virus alone.”
Private and public sectors need to collaborate to help Africa’s health care system from collapse, notes a report by UK-based PricewaterHouseCoopers consultancy firm. The report states that public-private partnerships, or PPPs, when fully synergised can bring about quality health care. Under a PPP in the health sector, for example, a government can contribute by providing the health care infrastructure, while private entities can be involved in the operations.
In a widely published joint opinion piece last April, Mr. Dangote and Mr. Gates stated that improving health care in Africa depends on a “successful partnership between government, communities, religious and business leaders, volunteers, and NGOs. This ensures that everyone is rowing in the same direction.”
Henri Konan Bédié Bridge linking the north and south of Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. Photo: Bouygues Construction
The construction of a liquefied natural gas terminal in Ghana to support power generation in the Kpone Power Enclave in the port city of Tema, near Accra, is reawakening hopes of an end to the energy crisis that has plagued the country in recent years.
Power outages have led to a rationing schedule that involves cutting power for 24 hours every two days. Businesses have been forced to connect standby power sources such as generators, incurring extra costs. Some have had to lay off workers.
The $600 million project, being implemented under a public-private partnership (PPP) between Quantum Power Ghana Gas and the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, is expected to provide the West African nation with a reliable and efficient power supply.
The plant will add about 220 megawatts of electricity to Ghana’s national grid. The country now has 2,900 megawatts of generation capacity, not enough to meet the growing demand, which the National Energy Policy of 2010 estimated would be about 5,000 megawatts by 2016.
“We hope the project will address the dumsor once and for all,” says Nancy Osabutey, a resident of Accra. Dumsor (“on-off”) is a Ghanaian term commonly used to describe the erratic power availability in the country.
A recent report by the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research, a Ghanaian-based think tank, estimates that the economy has lost $24 billion as a result of the energy crisis since 2010.
Like many African countries, Ghana is facing an infrastructure financing gap. Policy makers are starting to realise that PPPs can help fill such gaps.
“Africa has been growing over the last few years. It will be challenging to achieve economic growth without addressing the huge infrastructure financing and access gap in energy generation and transmission, roads and ports,” says Tilahun Temesgen, the chief regional economist at the Eastern Africa Resource Centre of the African Development Bank (AfDB).
The AfDB maintains that the continent needs about $100 billion per year for infrastructure investment, yet the total spending on infrastructure by African countries is just about half that, leaving a financing gap of about $50 billion.
“This difference should come from somewhere. Tapping into private-sector investment by unleashing the potential of PPPs is one innovative way of attracting financing for infrastructure in Africa, as this has a very high development and poverty reduction impact in Africa,” states Mr. Temesgen.
He adds, “Governments and development partners cannot fully close the current huge infrastructure financing gap. It is therefore vital to mobilise private-sector financing to support infrastructure developments.”
Private-sector financing is succeeding in different parts of the continent, just as it soon may in Ghana through the Kpone power plant.
In Côte d’Ivoire, the Henri Konan Bédié bridge in the capital, Abidjan, is considered one of the most successful PPP-funded projects in the post-conflict country.
The $265 million bridge, opened in 2014, connects two of Abidjan’s major districts—Riviera in the north and Marcory in the south—and has done away with over 10 kilometres of traffic congestion. About a hundred thousand vehicles use the bridge each day.
“This facility enables us to enjoy the benefits of better traffic conditions. We now take less time in traffic, meaning more time for productivity at work. A while ago we would spend more than three hours in traffic,” says Abraham Kone, a resident of Abidjan.
The bridge has also opened up the neighbouring hinterland, simplifying freight transportation to the Port of Abidjan, the largest port on Africa’s west coast.
Public-private partnership is also diversifying the country’s energy sector. The expansion of the Azito thermal energy plant involving the construction of two 144-megawatt power plants will save $4 million in energy costs each year and will enable Côte d’Ivoire to move from being a net importer of electricity to being a net exporter.
With the expansion, the energy plant, located six kilometres west of the port of Abidjan, is producing over 30% of electricity generated in Côte d’Ivoire, with some of it going to neighbouring countries, including Ghana.
Partnering with the private sector to promote sustainable development is something the government is talking a lot about.
According to Albert Toikeusse Mabri Abdallah, the Ivorian minister for planning and development, “Public-private partnership is in line with Côte d’Ivoire’s National Development Plan, which outlines building and renovating the country’s infrastructure to accelerate development.” The minister adds that “such collaboration will also ensure job creation and poverty alleviation.”
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) envisage that PPPs can promote sustainable development in Africa. A key priority of the UN-founded SDG Fund is to bring together public and private entities to jointly address development challenges.
However, many African countries, according to an AfDB report, are still in the initial stages of PPP implementation “because their use of PPP schemes is still uncommon and PPPs are complex to implement.”
The report indicates that PPPs have historically been scarcer in sub-Saharan Africa than in the rest of the world. Telecoms transactions account form the bulk of PPPs on the continent, but energy PPPs have recently started growing significantly.
“PPPs are not easy. They need a number of issues to be successful. Above all, a stable macroeconomic environment is necessary,” explains Mr. Temesgen.
However, an environment characterised by inadequate regulatory frameworks, unclear rules and procedures and lack of political commitment inhibits growth of PPPs.
Uganda is one of the countries with a solid PPP programme. According to the AfDB document, this is the result of many factors, including support from the presidency and the ministry of finance, an earlier successful privatisation programme and a well-designed framework.
At a meeting in South Korea last November, Ajedra Gabriel Gadison Aridru, Uganda’s state minister for finance, planning and economic development, cited the PPP Act enacted in 2015 as a major enabler of the country’s PPPs. The law spells out the specific engagements of private partners in such partnerships. It also regulates the roles and responsibilities of government bodies during the development and implementation of PPP projects.
Concerns have been raised about severe environmental hazards following PPPs. Ghana Gas Company, for example, has been accused of failing to act as areas such as Atuabo, in western Ghana, continue to suffer the effects of oil and gas exploration that have led to widespread air and water pollution.
Because of concerns like this, governments are being urged to disclose information on risk assessments, including potential environmental and social impacts, of such mega-projects. Institutions such as the Bretton Woods Project would like to see more informed consultations, broader civil society involvement and closer monitoring of PPPs by all stakeholders.
BMW South Africa announces the production of its one-millionth BMW 3 Series sedan at its manufacturing plant in Rosslyn, Pretoria in South Africa. Photo: BMW Group
When travelling abroad for work and looking for accommodation, Joe Eyango, a Cameroonian living in the US, considers two factors: convenient transportation from the airport and around the city and reliable Internet access. He is a university professor and wants to be able to jet in, hit the ground running, make his presentation and zoom off to another destination in a day or two.
Mr. Eyango has been to various countries in Africa for business and work but has reasons for preferring South Africa.
“South Africa has a lot to offer compared with other African countries. The road system is good, there is adequate electricity and reliable Internet connection, which is necessary for work and business,” Mr. Eyango told Africa Renewal in an interview.
Recently, having been invited to present a conference paper on a tight schedule, Mr. Eyango flew into Johannesburg from Amsterdam, spent less than 30 minutes in customs at the O. R. Tambo International Airport, took a taxi and was at his hotel in less than an hour since arrival.
South Africa attracts many professionals and big multinationals. It’s currently home to more than 75% of all top global companies in Africa.
“Where these big companies choose to invest depends on whether the environment is right for business. Investors are interested in relatively stable countries, good infrastructure, reliable communication, electricity and labour,” says Dr. John Mbaku, a researcher at Africa Growth Initiative at the Brookings Institution and also a professor of economics at Weber State University, US.
Some of the global companies with a presence in South Africa include luxury car manufacturers BMW, the Standard Bank Group, Barclays Bank, Vodafone (one of the world’s largest communication companies), Volkswagen, and General Electric. There is also FirstRand, Sasol, Sanlam, and MTN Group.
In an earlier interview with South African officials on why they’d chosen the country as an investment destination, Sam Ahmed, then the managing director of Britannia Industries, an India-based manufacturer of biscuits, snacks and confectionery, said his organization had been looking for a country that would give it access to the entire African market while keeping its costs low.
“In South Africa you have first-world infrastructure and third-world cost,” Mr. Ahmed said. The company’s production costs in South Africa were much lower than in Southeast Asia, the company headquarters.
Big businesses are also attracted to countries where the legal system works, so they can be assured of justice should legal issues arise. South Africa’s judiciary has been hailed for its sound judgements and independence from political machinations relative to other African countries.
Another attraction for big businesses is human resources. The efficiency and smooth operation of these large companies depend on the calibre of its labour force. Despite many years of apartheid, according to Mr. Mbaku, South Africa provides its citizens with relatively good quality education the multinationals are looking for in their labour force.
However, despite its successes, South Africa continues to grapple with a high crime rate (especially in urban areas), graft accusations and the political uncertainty that businesses loathe.
Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi, the secretary-general of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the UN body that deals with trade, investment and development issues, acknowledges that South Africa has the oldest and most developed market economy in the whole of Africa for historical reasons: the market grew out of a strong mining and industrial base and the financial industry.
However, according to Mr. Kituyi, things are now changing and other African countries are also attracting big investors.
“It’s true South Africa has had a head start, but in net terms, there is faster growth in alternative centres for both manufacturing and service delivery than in South Africa. Today, the financial services industry is growing faster in Morocco than in South Africa,” Mr. Kituyi told Africa Renewal in an interview.
He notes that some multinational enterprises operating out of South Africa have relocated substantially. “We recently saw the opening of the Volvo truck-manufacturing plant in Mombasa. And similarly, we have seen many other services, particularly IT-based services and telecommunications, growing in new nodes like Nigeria, Kenya and Rwanda.”
So why should African governments want to encourage global companies to set up shop in their countries?
Driven by insufficient funds, African governments are increasingly turning to private-sector companies for a much-needed boost. Foreign investments provide capital to finance industries, boost infrastructure and productivity, provide social amenities and create jobs, all of which can help a country reach its economic potential. And as countries rush to implement the Sustainable Development Goals, funding is key.
In Africa, governments and industry are gradually forming public-private partnerships (PPPs) in which companies provide capital while governments ensure an environment conducive to business. In the last 10 years, the continent has welcomed PPPs for projects in infrastructure, electricity, health and telecommunications.
Lenders like the African Development Bank are urging African countries to improve business environments by “creating the necessary legal and regulatory framework for PPPs, and to facilitate networking and sharing of experience among regulatory agencies and other similar organizations.”
However, even as PPPs begin to change the face of Africa, there is need for countries to tread carefully and to learn from failed PPPs when signing up for such partnerships.
“Ask yourselves, does the state have the capacity to forge ahead with these partnerships? This is necessary to avoid bad debt,” says Mr. Kituyi, adding that governments should not let private companies drive the agenda.
This word of caution is echoed by the Brookings Institution’s Mr. Mbaku, who is advising African governments to ensure that PPPs work to their advantage: “If you have a weak or corrupt leadership, you may not have the power or the skills required to negotiate a favourable partnership. You will end up with a PPP that is not really a partnership.”
Mr. Mbaku gives the example of oil companies that have been operating in Africa for more than 20 years yet still depend on expatriate labour instead of employing locals. Such companies are reluctant to transfer skills, knowledge and technology to the locals.
Another problem with PPPs is the imbalance of power. “If you are a government engaged in a PPP on a development project, there is inequality in power. The multinational has capital, skilled manpower and [an] external market. The government has no power over these,” says Mr. Mbaku.
Despite the challenges, however, PPPs will continue playing a major role in the development of poor countries. For African countries to attract multinationals and other big investors to partner with, their governments need to put their house in order—improve infrastructure, communication, security and the legal system, and fight corruption.
Silicon Valley-based university continues to expand global program offerings with new partnership with De Beers Group
STANFORD, California, August 18, 2017/ — Stanford Graduate School of Business(www.GSB.stanford.edu) (Stanford GSB) today announced a USD $3 million, three-year partnership with De Beers Group to empower young, budding entrepreneurs and owners of established businesses in Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa through two new educational programs launching in 2018.
Seed Transformation Program, a one-year program of intensive sessions on topics such as leadership, strategy, business ethics, accounting, marketing, and value chain innovations. Skilled facilitators assist participants in applying classroom insights, developing leadership teams, and formulating a detailed plan for organizational transformation and growth. Seed facilitators also work with participants in carefully constructed leadership peer groups, offering networking opportunities, resources, and ideas to help implement the participants’ transformation plans. The mission of the program is to enable business owners to lead their regions to greater prosperity through the growth of their companies and job creation. The program will be open to owners of established businesses in Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa. Applications will be accepted 17 August through 6 October, 2017.
Stanford Go-to-Market Program, an intensive, one-week entrepreneurship bootcamp, taught by Stanford GSB faculty, held in cities around the globe. Through a combination of lectures, case studies, and small-group discussions, the program helps budding entrepreneurs gain the confidence and skills to commercialize their business ideas and accelerate their route to market. While Botswana will host the first Stanford Go-to-Market program in Africa, the bootcamp may expand to include participants from other Southern African countries once fully established. Applications for the Stanford Go-to-Market program in Botswana will be accepted this fall and the cohort will convene in March 2018.
These new programs exemplify Stanford GSB’s commitment to creating lasting global impact by bringing the Stanford experience to new regions, engaging promising business leaders globally, transferring knowledge, and building relationships. Through these new programs, Stanford GSB has an opportunity to share insights through hands-on management education for students, while also gaining a better understanding of the business climate and unique economic attributes of Southern Africa.
“We are excited to work with the young and established entrepreneurs in the Southern African region. As with our experiences in East and West Africa, we are coming to learn as much as we are to teach,” said Jesper Sørensen, professor of organizational behavior at Stanford GSB and faculty director of Stanford Seed, a Stanford University initiative led by the Stanford GSB. “If the business and job growth that follows matches what we are seeing in our other locations, I anticipate this collaboration will be a very impactful initiative.”
The Seed Transformation Program launched in West Africa in 2013 and expanded to East Africa in 2016, and will open a third location in India later this month. Faculty, staff, and coaches have trained more than 500 business leaders with the goal of promoting prosperity in these regions.
Both the Seed Transformation Program and Stanford Go-to-Market program will be headquartered at the Botswana Innovation Hub, a science and technology park in Gaborone, Botswana. The initiative will be supported by a range of government entities in Botswana, including the Botswana Innovation Hub, the Botswana Ministry of Tertiary Education, and the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport & Culture Development.
Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, Stanford University is known for its entrepreneurial spirit and leadership in research and learning. Stanford’s faculty and students work to improve the health and wellbeing of people around the world through the discovery and application of knowledge. Breakthroughs at Stanford include the first successful heart-lung transplant, the debut of the computer mouse, and the development of digital music. Stanford’s areas of excellence span a wide range of fields across seven schools, including the Stanford GSB.
Eritrean-born priest Don Mussie Zeraj says better leadership is needed in Africa
A Catholic priest under investigation for people smuggling has told the BBC that politicians are trying to criminalise people helping refugees.
Don Mussie Zerai has lived in Italy for more than 25 years, since fleeing Eritrea as a teenager.
He says he regularly receives calls from distressed migrants making the crossing from Africa to Italy.
Mr Zerai was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2015 for helping save lives by simply answering his phone.
But the prosecutor’s office in the Sicilian town of Trapani is investigating him, along with others, over allegations of aiding and abetting illegal immigration.
He denies the allegation.
“When I receive a distress call [from people coming to Europe] I collect information and I pass the information to the Italian coastguard (which takes the lead in co-ordinating rescues) so the authorities can intervene,” he told BBC Newsday.
Mr Zerai, 40, says he sends the same information to various non-governmental organisations, including Medecins Sans Frontieres and Migrant Offshore Aid Station.
But he denies he has been working with German NGO Jugend Rettet, which is accused of having direct contact with traffickers in Libya.
The Iuventa, a boat operated by Jugend Rettet, was impounded on the Italian island of Lampedusa earlier this month.
“The newspapers claim that [I] have secret chat, all this parallel communication – all this is false. My communication is clear, open and legal,” Mr Zerai told the BBC.
He believes the accusations are part of a political campaign drawn up by Italian authorities, who have accused many charities of working with smugglers to act as a taxi service for refugees and migrants.
“If some NGOs are involved and do something illegal, it is correct to ask them for accountability but politicians are using campaigns to criminalise others. The consequence of this is, those who pay the price are the people who are in need.”
Organisations involved in rescue operations have rejected accusations of collusion, saying their only concern is to save lives.
Italy is the main route for refugees and migrants trying to reach Europe due to its proximity to Libya, with many fleeing war, poverty or persecution.
Over the years the number of people coming to Italy due to the migration crisis has increased, and so has the public hostility.
Mr Zerai says he makes this clear to those back home.
“I tell them stay at home and that the atmosphere in Europe is not good, you are not welcome here at this time because of the economic crisis and discrimination.
“They say yes we know, but what’s the alternative?”
Almost 1,000 people are thought to have drowned in waters between Libya and Italy this year, according to the UN refugee agency.
Mr Zerai believes the key to tackling the crisis is better leadership across Africa.
“It’s not easy to say stay at home if no-one gives them a chance for a better life and a dignified life, so we need to invest resources and money to create these conditions,” he says.
His comments echo those of Italy’s ambassador to the European Union, Maurizio Massari, who told the BBC that the only way to tackle the crisis is to have stable African countries.
But Mr Zerai said this could take more than 30 years.
As a refugee, he cannot return to Eritrea because it is a “dictatorship”, he said.
“I have denounced it many times so I’m at risk. But not all Eritreans have the same problem,” Mr Zeria added.
A defining objective of the African Union is to promote sustainable development at the economic, social and cultural levels as well as the integration of African economies. This noble mandate, enshrined in Article 3, of the Constitutive Acts of the AU, actually predates the AU, and was a principal goal of the Organization of African Unity, OAU, the predecessor body of the AU.
Emeke E Iweriebor
Economic integration also provided a fundamental impetus in the formation of the various Regional Economic Communities, RECs, and monetary zones in Africa – viz. ECOWAS, UMOA, CEMAC, CEEAC, EAC, AMU, CEN-SAD, SADC, COMESA, IGAD, etc. Together, these RECs have striven to promote and co-ordinate social, political and economic integration in the continent.Interestingly, some countries are even members of up two or three RECs. This is a testament to the overarching criticality of economic integration in the vision, plans and activities of African states.
In this treatise, I will focus on the integration of financial services in Africa, an unheralded field, but where remarkable results are being recorded. A Payment System is a facilitator of monetary transactions, and a veritable integrative node. In the UEMOA zone, in West Africa, the Groupement Interbancaire Monétique de I’UnionEconomique et MonétaireOuestAfricaine, more widely known by its French acronym, GIM-UEMOA, set up by BCEAO, the Central Bank of West African States in 2003, in striving to create a cashless region, has grown to become a regional platform for cards, electronic payments, and clearing of interbank transactions. With over 100 banks, financial and postal institutions as members; cardholders in the GIM network,pay relatively low transaction fees.
Also, the Central African equivalent, GIMAC,created in 2013, under the guidance of the Central Bank of Central African States, BEAC, is working with Banks to integrate the electronic payments system in the region, and ensure inter-operability and acceptance of GIMAC cards, for ATMs, POS, etc, by banks and for international payments,and reduce transaction and cash handling costs, while facilitating e-commerce.
The East African Payment System, EAPS, provides a platform for the real time settlement of cross border payments in the region. Driven by the Central Banks in the region, and piloted in 2013, the payment system took off immediately in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and subsequently, Rwanda. More remarkable is that EAPS is based on direct convertibility, and the use of the currencies of participating countries for transactions and settlement, without the intermediary facilitation of any OECD currency. For instance, transactions initiated in Tanzania shillings can be directly settled in Uganda shillings or Kenya shillings.
In Southern Africa, the SADC Integrated Regional Electronic Settlement System (SIRESS),and the Regional Payment and Settlement System, REPSS, launched separately in 2014, are two integrative payments systems worth referencing. Through SIRESS, funds can be wired, real time, to beneficiaries with accounts in SIRESS commercial banks. REPSS, with a clearing house in Zimbabwe, and the Central Bank of Mauritius as its Settlement Bank, utilizes an electronic platform for cross-border payments and settlement.
Quite positively, these initiatives, operationalized under the auspices of Central Banks, and with the active participation of commercial Banks are technologically advanced, rapid, and secure. While leveraging on the real-time gross settlement systems of the countries, they seek to enhance efficiency, reduce settlement time, lower transaction costs and generally facilitate intra-African trade, and economic integration in the continent.
In tandem, the banking sector, in Africa, has expanded exponentially in the last decade, in asset size and profitability; geography -distribution channels and network; product sophistication- digital banking, cards, mobile payments; and, financial inclusion. Access to financial services continues to improve across the continent. Furthermore, leveraging on enhanced capacity, pan-African banks are increasingly able to collaboratively finance large ticket and transformational infrastructural projects through syndications and risk sharing. Currently, the top 20 pan-African Banks have assets over $800b, with over 11,000 branches. Beyond banking, we are also witnesses to the birth and growth of pan-African insurance, micro finance, and other financial service companies across the continent that offer greater diversity and depth of products and solutions. All these have led to the increase in the range, frequency, and diversity in the classes of risks that Banks, and other financial institutions, face. Concomitantly, risk management, regulatory compliance and corporate governance have become more stringent, and with onerous application, as they remain important variables for assessing the health of Banks, in the drive towards overall sector viability and sustainability.
Imperceptibly, but surely, the regulatory environment of the financial services sector, is also being integrated. The Association of African Central Banks, headquartered in Dakar, brings together 39 regional and country Central Banks in Africa. In line with its statutes, and practices, its Assembly of Governors, usually meets yearly, to deliberate on financial system stability, monetary and payment system integration, the African Central Bank initiative, etc.Another critical arm is the Community of African Banking Supervisors (CABS) which works to strengthen banking regulatory and supervisory frameworks.In the last decade, I have observed, first hand, this increased collaboration between African Central Banks,with MOUs being signed, to facilitate cross border supervision, exchange of ideas and information sharing between host and home regulators. Also, the College of Supervisors set up by the Central Bank of Nigeria, as a forum that brings together host regulators of Banks, with headquarters in Nigeria, but with operations in other jurisdictions,to strengthen governance practices, and ensure soundness in the banking sector, is also a positive development.
An evolving trend in the African banking space, is the initiative to connect Africa, andenablecustomers of a bank to conveniently access their accounts, deposit cash and make cheque withdrawals in any branch, in different countries across Africa, where the bank operates, outside the primary country holding the account. This has the distinct capability to alter the face and operation of banking in the continent as it will open up and facilitate easy movement of goods, services capital, and people. I also look forward to the day, soon enough, for instance, when a Moroccan manufacturer of fertilizer visiting Zambia to negotiate a contract; agrees payment terms, issues a paymentinstrument right away to a Zambian exporter of high quality packaging materials and gets value immediately, using simple electronic payment instruments.
On the whole, these emerging trends contribute significantly to the on-going African-led processes of creating a powerful, vibrant pan-African financial infrastructure, to further undergird and deepen Pan African economic, commercial, business and social interactions through access to personal and business finance across Africa. Together with the various similar initiatives in different spheres by African economic communities identified above, these initiatives will serve as a powerful signal of the march of African economic advancement through financial facilitation to build a fully integrated financial system that enhances financial inclusion, and serves the people.
Work remains. To accelerate financial integration, existing regional mechanisms and frameworks, including those highlighted above, must now begin to coalesce and fuse into larger pan-African systems, Central Banking, common currency, payments and collections; intra-African trade facilitation; etc. In spite of existing differences, but given the importance and fluidity of finance to agriculture, infrastructure, industry and economic development, the largest economies in each region showered as regional anchors, within a defined framework of the Assembly of the African Union.
*Emeka is Executive Director; CEO Africa- Francophone at UBA Group.Piece culled from linkedin page.
The 60-year-old Nigerian cement tycoon aims to move into these territories for the first time in 2020 after completing almost $5 billion of agricultural projects and an $11 billion oil refinery in his home country, he said in an interview with Bloomberg Markets Magazine this month.
“Beginning in 2020, 60 percent of our future investments will be outside Africa, so we can have a balance,” said Dangote, who’s worth $11.1 billion, according to Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index. Dangote Group will consider investments in Asia and Mexico, but will focus mainly on the U.S. and Europe, he said. “I think renewables is the way to go forward, and the future. We are looking at petrochemicals but can also invest in other companies.”
Dangote has diversified rapidly in the last five years, both geographically and into new industries. He’s expanded Dangote Cement Plc, which accounts for almost 80 percent of his wealth, into nine African countries aside from Nigeria. In 2015, he began building a 650,000 barrel-a-day refinery near Lagos, Nigeria’s main commercial hub, and he’s constructing gas pipelines to the city from Nigeria’s oil region with U.S. private equity firms Carlyle Group LP and Blackstone Group LP. He said in July he’d invest $4.6 billion in the next three years in sugar, rice and dairy production.
Shares in Dangote Cement rose 2.7 percent to 219.80 naira in Lagos Thursday, extending their advance this year to 26 percent.
“When you look at it — not just in Nigeria but in the rest of Africa — the majority of countries here depend on imported food,” he said. “There is no way you can have a population of 320 million in West Africa and no self-sufficiency. So the first thing to do is food security. I believe Dangote Group is in the right position to drive this trajectory.”
Dangote, who mostly lives in Lagos and counts Bill Gates among his friends, said he was a passionate industrialist and ruled out moving into newer sectors such as telecommunications or technology.
“When I look at telecoms, for instance, I think that would be very tough for us,” he said. “Some players have been in this market for 17 years already. There’s no way you can go and jump over somebody after 17 years of their hard work. So I think we would pass when it comes to telecoms today. There are other businesses that we understand better.”
Dangote also said he has no plans to enter Nigerian politics.
Washington DC – August 17, 2017: The opportunities tourism brings to African economies will be highlighted when African leaders, international investors, and travel professionals meet for the 41st Annual World Tourism Conference, in Rwanda from August 28 – 31.
Hosted by the Africa Travel Association (ATA), a division of the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA), and the Rwanda Development Board (RDB), the conference will highlight the economic and job opportunities being fuelled by the sector’s continued growth.
In less than 15 years Africa’s travel and hospitality industries have quadrupled in size, and the continent remains one of the world’s fastest-growing tourist destinations, second only to Southeast Asia.
President and CEO of the Corporate Council of Africa, Florizelle Liser, says CCA aims to use the conference to encourage investments and policies that contribute to the sector’s growth.
“The tourism conference will highlight opportunities in the tourism sector and intersecting sectors such as infrastructure, ICT, health, real estate development, and finance. Through strategic partnerships, we will also offer capacity building workshops for travel professionals of all levels,” she said.
Adding: “I look forward to working with [RDB CEO] Ms. Akamanzi and her team at RDB to showcase what Rwanda has to offer.”
This year will be the first time ATA’s Tourism Conference will be hosted in Rwanda, one of East Africa’s premier tourism destinations and one whose sector continues to grow. According to the RDB, Rwanda’s tourism sector generated US$303 million in revenue, in 2014 up three percent in the previous year.
On the sidelines of what is expected to be a packed agenda, ATA is working with Facebook to deliver training to SMEs in Kigali. The ‘Boost Your Business’ is a training initiative, developed by Facebook and facilitated by Digify Africa, designed to train and upskill small business owners on how to leverage digital tools to grow their businesses. The training will be held on August 26 at the Kigali Serena Hotel.
The conference also aligns with Kwita Izina, Rwanda’s annual gorilla naming ceremony, a national celebration creating awareness of the country’s efforts to protect the jewel of Rwanda’s tourism crown: the mountain gorillas and their habit.
The 41st Annual World Tourism Conference will be held in Kigali, Rwanda, on August 28-31, 2017.
Established in 1975, The African Travel Association serves both the public and private sectors of the international travel and tourism industry. ATA membership comprises African governments, their tourism ministers, tourism bureaus and boards, airlines, cruise lines, hotels, resorts, front-line travel sellers and providers, tour operators and travel agents, and affiliate industries. ATA partners with the African Union Commission (AU) to promote the sustainable development of tourism to and across Africa.
Corporate Council on Africa (CCA) is the leading U.S. business association focused solely on connecting U.S. and African business interests. CCA serves as a neutral, trusted intermediary connecting its member firms with the essential government and business leaders they need to do business and succeed in Africa.
“The future of Africa’s youth does not lie in migration to Europe; it should not be at the bottom of the Mediterranean; it lies in a prosperous Africa. We must create greater economic opportunities for our youth right at home in Africa.” – Akinwumi Adesina to G7 leaders
Current statistics put Africa’s overall unemployment rate at 8%, while the youth unemployment rate hovers around 13%.
Sixty per cent of unemployed people are young women and men. Of the young people who are employed, many are trapped in low-productivity work in the informal sector. Providing young African people with the education, skills and capacities for gainful employment is considered an urgent priority.
Thanks to the African Development Bank (AfDB), a new crop of highly inspired young Africans are gradually emerging. AfDB’s initiatives in this area are seen as model of how the continent’s young population could become a development asset for a new Africa.
To enable them contribute to the economy and to achieve an improved quality of life, a growing number of youths are embracing small, medium and large agriculture-based industries nudged on by the AfDB.
They are taking hold of their destiny. They can be also found in education, health, ICT and other facets of entrepreneurship.
Indeed, latest statistics reveal that many young Africans are not only exploring their inner potential, they are taking advantage of innovation platforms, inspired by the African Development Bank.
With 200 million Africans recorded to be between the ages of 15 and 29, youth unemployment and underemployment are high. Investing in skills through technical and vocational education will be essential to enabling young people to find jobs and business opportunities.
“We will keep Africa’s youth in Africa by expanding economic opportunities. This will help Africa to turn its demographic asset into an economic dividend,” Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank Group, said.
At the African Union Summit in January, the African Union (AU) adopted the theme for 2017 as “Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through Investments in Youth.”
AU Heads of States and Governments recognized a country-level demographic dividend as central to the continent’s economic transformation in the context of AU Agenda 2063 – its global strategy for socioeconomic transformation within the next 50 years.
Given Africa’s current demographic structure with a high youthful population, the regional body sees a substantial potential for economic transformation.
AfDB is showing that this is doable and is already leading the way.
For instance, through its Jobs for Youth in Africa initiative, AfDB has taken a comprehensive and integrated approach to equipping young people for work and enterprise.
Over the next decade, Jobs for Youth in Africa projects to generate 25 million jobs and impact 50 million youths.
In the agriculture sector, the AfDB is focusing on Empowering Novel Agri-Business-Led Employment (ENABLE) Youth programs, developing small and medium enterprises and creating jobs in agriculture. ENABLE Youth is a programme for young African people (18-35 years old) wanting to start a business in the agricultural sector. It works to promote, enhance, and modernize agricultural entrepreneurship in Africa.
The stories from the ENABLE Youth participants are resounding.
In Uganda (the second largest producer of bananas in the world), Sam Turyatunga saw an opportunity in producing his own brand of banana juice. As a college student, Sam produced the juice in his own dormitory. Supported by AfDB, Turyatunga now produces 1,500 litres of banana juice daily and sells its product in three other countries in East Africa. His firm also supports 500 banana farmers.
At the African University of Science and Technology in Abuja, Nigeria, young scientists and researchers are being trained to enhance industrial innovation, competitiveness and sustainable development across the continent.
“We are integrating a youth employment component into new Bank projects, and are working closely with regional member countries to develop policies that promote youth employment,” said Adesina.
The Bank believes that harnessing the labour, energy and enterprise of young women and men is critical to driving economic growth and reducing poverty.
The Bank is assisting its regional member countries to develop national youth employment policies, supporting innovative work on best practices to help young people become entrepreneurs, and making investments that catalyze the private sector to increase employment opportunities.
There is a consensus that the 2017 theme on Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through Investments in Youth, has the potential to have far-reaching implications that would address all the key issues that Governments have had to contend with, and change the development trajectory of Africa.
“We must create wealth and restore happiness to our nation. We can only do this when we have an educated and skilled population that is capable of competing in the global economy. We must expand our horizons and embrace science and technology as critical tools for our development,” said Nana Akufo-Addo, President of Ghana.
“The good economic prospects of our country must first profit our youth, because they are our greatest strength and our greatest wealth,” said Alassane Ouattara, President of Côte d’Ivoire.
AfDB’s leadership in this area is considered a viable example, which countries can tap into.
Photo taken on April 20, 2017 shows an aerial view of Johannesburg Town, SouthAfrica. The City of Johannesburg Local Municipality is situated in the northeastern part of South Africa with a population of around 4 million. Being the largest city and economic center of South Africa, it has a reputation for its man-made forest of about 10 million trees. (Xinhua/Zhai Jianlan)
JOHANNESBURG, Aug. 12 (Xinhua) — The African Regional Centre of the New Development Bank (NDB) will be launched by the South African President Jacob Zuma on August 17 in Johannesburg.
This was revealed by the National Treasury in a statement on Friday. The African Regional Center will allow countries in the continent to have access to the bank.
“The launch of the African Regional Center will showcase the NDB’s service offering, highlighting the Bank’s potential role in the area of infrastructure and sustainable development in emerging and developing countries,” said the Treasury in the statement.
The NDB is an institution to solve the infrastructural development and funding problems for BRICS and developing countries particularly in Africa. The BRICS Summit in Brazil signed an agreement to establish the bank in 2014.
“Another key resolution taken at the 2014 Summit was to establish regional offices that would perform the important function of identifying and preparing proposals for viable projects that the bank could fund in the respective regions,” said the treasury.
The NDB headquarters were officially opened in Shanghai, China in February 2016. The NDB is expected to complement the work done by the Breton Woods institutions but not have strings loans like the latter.
The feature goes live, elevating Truecaller as a one-stop suite for voice, text, Flash messaging and video calls
LAGOS, Nigeria, 10 August 2017,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/-Expanding its feature set, Truecaller announced its integration with Google Duo, allowing users to make video calls directly through the Truecaller app on Android and iOS platforms.
The new feature will now make high quality video calling available to its 250 million plus users globally. This update enables users to launch a Duo video call with a single tap within the Truecaller app, and switches between WiFi and cellular data for uninterrupted conversation on-the-go. Truecaller integration with Google Duo is available for Android and iOS users as a permission-based service, by which users will be able to opt in and out at any time. Google Duo has also been rated as the highest quality video calling app recently by an NDTV Gadgets 360 study.
Elaborating upon Truecaller’s end-to-end communication platform, the integration of Google Duo offers yet another way for users to connect. Following the launch of Flash Messaging in April, the Google Duo-Truecaller integration will now enable video-first users with the communication mode of their choice.
Commenting on the launch, Rishit Jhunjhunwala, VP of Product, Truecaller, said, “Sometimes voice and text just aren’t enough and nothing beats the experience of communicating face to face. We’re very excited to announce the next step in delivering a one-stop communication platform for Truecaller users globally. By having a fantastic partner like Google, we can provide a high-quality video experience to millions of users using Google Duo”
“Video calling should work for everybody, regardless of what platform they are on. Our aim is to make video calling simple, fast, and available to everyone,” said Amit Fulay, Head of Duo at Google. “With this Truecaller integration, we’re able to bring a better video calling experience to millions of new users.”
People use Truecaller to stay ahead. It helps them know who’s getting in touch, filter out unwanted and focus on what really matters. The company provides a suite of unique services such as a dialler that offers caller ID, spam detection, messaging and more. Truecaller’s mission is to build trust everywhere by making communication safe and efficient. Headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, the company was founded in 2009 by Alan Mamedi and Nami Zarringhalam. Investors include Sequoia Capital, Atomico and Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers.
A few years back, I wrote an article titled, “Universities/Varsity Curricula Must be Practical” that was published in, The Herald, Zimbabwe’s most popular and biggest Newspaper, and was as well republished in various other Newspapers and Magazines in other African countries.
In that article, I argued that, theory based and powered curricula as administered in most African universities, cannot spur a critical mass of skilled graduates needed to transform African economies and called, for its total overhaul.
In the same article, I called upon, African governments to step up funding to their universities and compel them to overhaul cramming based learning and adopt research powered learning.
Research powered learning especially in the experimental sciences curricula, makes students, to gain knowledge of producing inventions, innovations, and ground breaking technologies, which if backed by supportive conducive governments’ policies, can be a catalyst, in spurring industrial and entrepreneurial development in African countries. It also enables the students from social sciences and humanities field, to gain interdisciplinary knowledge, that in turn makes them, critical thinkers, capable of objectively analyzing public policies and other issues at hand, and provide remedies where inadequacies exists.
Africa’s skyrocketing unemployment problem, especially youth unemployment that is affecting millions of youth on the continent, is a manifestation, of the failure of governments and universities, to harmonize their visions, into one complimentary vision of finding solutions to the challenges facing the continent.
Universities are supposed to be the center of knowledge production and dissemination where learners are equipped with relevant knowledge and skills that makes them capable of solving societal problems and meeting societal needs. Are African universities serving this purpose fully?
Globally, research is a chief driver of new knowledge and innovation crucial for spurring sustainable industrial and entrepreneurial development, but how much of the research have African universities done or are doing that have translated or are translating into industrial commercial usable products? Why is it that, African industries are majorly powered by imported technologies despite the fact that we have engineering and technology faculties at our universities?
In the medical field, why is that all the health complications that requires specialized surgeries are mainly done outside Africa with those unable to afford it dying miserably despite us having medical schools/faculties at our universities? Still in medical sector, why is that the few molecular biologists in our countries are unable to use computerized technologies to read and analyze the genomes of viruses and only do so after being subjected to re-training by experts trained from abroad?
African governments are supposed to apportion a good percentage of their national budgets for research development, if research, is to result into implementable policies and industrial usable products. But wait a minute! Looking at countries’ national Budgets, how much money percentage wise does African countries allocate to their institutions for research development?
Governments are also supposed to create robust favorable environment and opportunities for its employable citizens not only at national level, but also at international level, by incorporating in their foreign policies and international relations, the issue of systematically and legally transporting their employable labor to other countries where it is needed through bilateral relations, like what Cuba, Russia, China, and India have done and are doing. What are African countries doing in this regard?
For example, on realizing that, it cannot employ, all its trained Doctors, Cuba, decided to integrate medicine as a fundamental element in its foreign policy and international relations, as thus, eighty percent of Doctors and health professionals in Venezuela, are Cubans, send there by the Cuban government, on bilateral arrangement with Venezuelan government, where by Cuba, supplies medical workers in return for oil and gas supplies from Venezuelan government. Cuba also has hundreds of Doctors working on bilateral arrangement in other Latin American and African countries. Russia, India, and China, who produces, highest number of technology specialists and professionals in life and experimental sciences also does the same.
To the Chinese government, where there is Chinese capital and trade, there should be Chinese labor. Many people keep on wondering, why there is large presence of Chinese engineers, technicians, and traders, especially allover in African countries and other developing nations, forgetting that, transportation of labor to foreign countries, is a cardinal part of Chinese foreign policy and international relations. In fact, all the major infrastructural development projects in Africa, like major road high ways, Dams, buildings and industries construction, have been and are being executed by Chinese supported companies and labor
To overcome, the waves of rural- urban migration tied unemployment, and curb horrible unemployment figures among its science and technology specialists, the Chinese government, developed an economic diversification policy aligned, to urbanization, industrialization, and transformation of rural locations, into production centers, which involved relocating major industries from already congested industrial centers to rural areas, thus expanding industrial base and creating new towns and employment in the process, Wuxi and Nantong for example, owe their transformation from rural to major industrial centers to this policy.
In sum, universities’ curricula must be research derived and interdisciplinary powered, for the graduates to translate the acquired knowledge and skills, into industrial usable products and attaining critical thinking skills, capable of finding solutions to the societal challenges and needs and African governments must ably fund their varsities for this to happen in addition to putting in place, the implementable policies that stimulate entire spectrum
Moses Hategeka is a Ugandan based Independent Governance Researcher, Public Affairs Analyst, and Writer
Leading global rating agency Fitch Ratings has affirmed the African Development Bank’s (AfDB) Long-Term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at ‘AAA’ with a Stable Outlook and its Short-Term IDR at ‘F1+’ (best quality grade, indicating exceptionally strong capacity to meet its financial commitments).
In a statement released on 4 August, the agency said the ‘AAA’ rating primarily reflects extraordinary support from AfDB’s shareholders which provides a three-notch uplift over the Bank’s intrinsic rating.
“AfDB enjoys strong support from its 80 member states, which include 26 non-African countries with high average ratings. Callable capital subscribed by member states rated ‘AAA’, the largest of which are the US, Germany and Canada, accounts for 21% of the total. This fully covered the Bank’s net debt at end-2016, underpinning the ‘aaa’ assessment of shareholders’ capacity to support,” the statement said.
The report underscores the strong propensity of member states to support the Bank in case of need as illustrated by previous capital increases and the Bank’s important role in the region’s financing.
In the assessment, Fitch maintains that fast growth in AfDB’s lending in the last two years has translated into a rapid increase in its indebtedness, noting that the Bank’s Management has indicated that if there is no clear evidence of a capital increase within the next two years, it will have no choice but to curb lending growth to preserve the Bank’s solvency metrics. The report added that if no capital increase is approved by 2019, debt will not be fully covered by callable capital from ‘AAA’ rated countries, adding that this would place substantial pressure on Fitch’s assessment of extraordinary support and, hence on AfDB’s IDR.
Fitch asserts that the relatively high risk profile of borrowers is mitigated by the preferred creditor status (PCS) that the Bank enjoys on its sovereign exposures.
Fitch assesses AfDB’s liquidity at ‘aaa’, which reflects excellent coverage of short-term debt by liquid assets (2.9x). However, Fitch notes that the share of the portfolio invested in securities or bank placements rated ‘AA-‘ or above (83% in 2016) is declining, although their quality is still assessed at excellent. Fitch understands that management intends to rebalance the treasury assets portfolio in order to increase the proportion of assets rated ‘AA-‘ or above. This would help underpin Fitch’s assessment of the strength of extraordinary support, given the relevance of liquid assets’ quality to the net debt calculation.
“The -1 notch adjustment to AfDB’s solvency stemming from our assessment of its business environment reflects the high risk operating environment in which the bank operates,” the report says, noting that the majority of African countries are classified as low income by the World Bank. The average income per capita and average rating of member states are the lowest of all regional MDBs, and they are subject to an overall high level of political risk.
Commenting on the rating, AfDB Acting Vice-President for Finance, Hassatou Diop N’Sele, said, “We welcome the confirmation of the AfDB’s AAA rating by Fitch, with a stable outlook. The Bank is dedicated to doing the most to make a marked positive difference in the lives of hundreds of millions of Africans, while at the same time preserving its financial integrity. Our High 5agenda is our response to the need to accelerate and scale up Africa’s development to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals of the continent. The High 5 agenda, reflecting five identified priority areas (namely energy, agriculture, industrialization, integration and human capital development), enjoys strong support from our shareholders. The AfDB will continue to maintain a careful balance between maximizing its development effectiveness and assuring complete preservation of the interests of its stakeholders.”