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U.S. Embassy Pretoria Celebrates Mandela Day at Zola Community Health Center in Soweto
July 22, 2019 | 0 Comments

PRETORIA, South Africa, July 22, 2019,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/- To honor Nelson Mandela’s legacy of public service, a team of more than 30 volunteers from the U.S. Embassy in Pretoria spent Thursday at the Zola Community Health Center (CHC) in Soweto.  The team of American and South African Embassy staff rolled up their sleeves and spent about 67 minutes (plus a few more hours) painting a children’s playhouse, the patient admissions waiting area, and the antiretroviral treatment (ART) adherence club space, as well as planting flowers that will bloom for years to come.

Zola CHC provides quality health care services to the residents of Zola and surrounding areas in Soweto.  It is supported by the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) to provide lifesaving treatment to 7,500 people living with HIV, including diagnosing new infections, linking people to care, and ensuring people remain on their treatment through adherence clubs and other support groups.  The facility also offers HIV prevention services, such as voluntary medical male circumcisions, education and counseling.

Through PEPFAR’s DREAMS program, Zola CHC has expanded access to health services for adolescent girls and young women.  DREAMS stands for Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-free, Mentored, and Safe young women.  The facility also has a dedicated “youth zone,” with consolidated, comprehensive adolescent health services under one roof and maintains a post-violence care unit, which offers post-exposure prophylaxis and post-rape services for victims of gender-based and sexual violence.

Through PEPFAR, Americans have partnered with South Africans since 2004 and invested more than R80 billion to support South Africa’s HIV response and accelerate progress towards epidemic control through HIV prevention, care, and treatment.  The United States remains deeply committed to the people of South Africa through our PEPFAR support.

Like people across South Africa and the world, the U.S. Mission team continues to be inspired by Nelson Mandela’s legacy, on July 18 and every day.  We welcomed this opportunity to partner with the dedicated professionals at Zola CHC and residents of the Zola neighborhood to support such an important community resource.

Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of  U.S. Mission South Africa.

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Zimbabwe: Droughts leave millions food insecure, UN food agency scales up assistance
July 22, 2019 | 0 Comments

Severe drought has rendered more than a third of rural households in Zimbabwe – or around 3.5 million people – dangerously food insecure, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) revealed on Friday. 

NEW YORK, United States of America, July 22, 2019,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/- Citing the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee’s recently concluded Rural Livelihood Assessment, WFP Spokesperson Herve Verhoosel, said that the situation was likely to last from now until September with a further deterioration into December that will widen the impact to more than 4.7 million people. 

Moreover, WFP said that the hunger period will peak at the height of the lean season, from January through March 2020, when 59 per cent of rural households, or over 5.5 million people, will be food insecure. 

“Given the scale and scope of the food insecurity in Zimbabwe”, Mr. Verhoosel said “WFP is planning to scale up to assist over two million people” by the peak of the lean season during early next year. 

Until then, teams will continue providing food assistance to the most vulnerable populations, while also helping communities to build resilience to climate change and future shock impacts. 

Over the next nine months, he said that WFP urgently requires $173 million to meet these needs. 

The Committee is a consortium of government, UN agencies, non-governmental organizations and other international organizations, and the Rural Livelihood Assessment provides key information for government and development partners on rural livelihood programming in southern African nation. WFP plays a key role in contributing financially and technically to the assessment. 

Cyclones, drought push Mozambicans deep into food insecurity 

And apart from the deadly cyclones that hit both Mozambique and Zimbabwe earlier in the year, Mozambique’s population has also suffered a rise in food insecurity, fueled by other extreme weather events, Mr. Verhoosel said. 

In January, tropical storm Desmond flooded the central provinces of Sofala, Tete and Zambézia. And in March, Cyclone Idai destroyed unharvested crops. 

Six weeks later, Cyclone Kenneth slammed the province of Cabo Delgado in the north. Since that time the area has been suffering through irregular rainfall patterns and cereal crops have been hit by pest infestations. 

Assistance aims to reach 1.2 million people – 900,000 of whom live in areas affected by Idai, 100,000 in areas affected by Kenneth and 250,000 people in areas affected by the drought. 

Mr. Verhoosel referenced a WFP report pointing out that “1.6 million people already face acute food crisis” in 63 districts. The most recent revision of the Integrated Classification of Food Security Phase, highlights the “difficult situation” the country of more than 29 million inhabitants faces, until its next harvest. 

While WFP had initially planned from July to October to help some 560,000 people each month in areas affected by cyclones and droughts, the rising need has sparked the agency to scale that number to 1.25 million beneficiaries per month. 

Based on current needs, including the response to drought and Cyclones Idai and Kenneth, WFP requires $102 million over the next six months to implement its recovery plan. 

To provide adequate and timely assistance, “resources must now be mobilized” in response to increased needs”, warned Mr. Verhoosel. 

Distibuted by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of the United Nations.

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Mozambique: Opposition candidate facing pre-election death threats and intimidation
July 19, 2019 | 0 Comments

GENEVA, Switzerland, July 19, 2019,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/- The main opposition candidate in a landmark election for the governorate position of Zambézia province in central Mozambique is facing death threats and intimidation ahead of the October vote, Amnesty International said today.

Manuel de Araújo is the candidate for the main opposition party Mozambique National Resistance’s (RENAMO); he is currently the mayor of Quelimane. The 15 October vote is contentious as it will be the first time that a governor is chosen by the electorate, previously the position was filled by presidential appointment.

“These pre-election intimidation tactics are a terrible reminder of what tends to happen during elections in Mozambique; death threats and intimidation. We have witnessed this grim pattern time and time again as political leaders are harassed and even killed for their critical views,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Southern Africa.

“Elections should never be deadly, because after all it’s a battle of ideas. Violence has no place.”

Araújo received the latest anonymous letter on 10 July. The letter reminded him that he had been previously warned not to stand for the opposition party. It said he should be careful because he would be killed for standing for election. The letter was sent to his office and later printed and posted in local markets. It was also circulated on social media.

Prior to the October 2018 municipal elections – in which Araújo won the position of Mayor of Queliminane – he also received several intimidating and anonymous messages discouraging him from running. Araújo has consistently spoken out against corruption at the provincial and national level, making him a target of political attacks. On 27 September 2016, during the previous administration, a member of the ruling Frente de Libertação de Moçambique (FRELIMO) party in the municipal assembly of Quelimane threatened him during a session, saying that “the mayor deserves a bullet in his head”.

Politics – a dangerous game in Mozambique

Araújo is not the first leader within the main opposition RENAMO party to receive death threats this year. In May, Paulo Vahanle, the mayor of Nampula, also received a message instructing him to leave his position as the mayor, or else he would lose his life. He was told that the position he was occupying had an “owner”.

Paulo himself won a by-election in Nampula in January 2018, held after the murder of the former mayor, Mahamudo Amurane, member of the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM) in October 2017.

Timeline of recent political murders and attempted murders

On 4 October 2017, an unidentified gunman assassinated the then Mayor of Nampula City, Mahamudo Amurane, at his home. Since his election as Mayor of Nampula in 2013, Mahamudo Amurane had embarked on a public quest to root out corruption in the city’s administration and revitalize public infrastructure.

On 8 October 2016, Jeremias Pondeca, a senior RENAMO member and part of the mediation team seeking to end the clashes between his party and the government, was shot dead in Maputo by unknown men, at least some of whom are suspected to be security officers.

On 16 January 2016, Manuel Bissopo, the then Secretary General of RENAMO, was shot and severely wounded by unknown assailants as he travelled in his car in Beira city, in Sofala province. His bodyguard died following the shooting. The incident took place hours after a news conference in which Bissopo had accused state security forces of abducting and killing members of his party.

Amnesty International is very concerned that the continued impunity for such crimes creates an environment of public fear and insecurity in which political opponents are dissuaded from participating in politics.

“Mozambican authorities must launch an independent and effective investigation into the allegations of death threats and intimidation and bring suspected perpetrators to justice,” said Deprose Muchena.

“Beyond that, authorities must guarantee the rights to freedom of association and expression ahead of the country’s general election in October, and beyond. Participation in the country’s politics should not expose anyone to the risk of death.”

Background

Mozambicans will vote in presidential and provincial elections scheduled for 15 October 2019. While provincial governors were previously appointed by the president, through a patronage system, it will be the first time that they are directly elected through elections this year.

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

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The END Fund – Making everyday a Mandela Day
July 18, 2019 | 0 Comments

DRC2 (1)JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, July 18th 2019,-/African Media Agency/- 2018 was a true landmark year for the END Fund. We saw more treatments delivered than any year prior and surpassed US $1 billion worth of treatments across Africa since our founding in 2012. In South Africa, we helped elevate Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) to the global stage in celebration of Nelson Mandela’s legacy at the Global Citizen event. In Kenya, together with our partners we rolled out a groundbreaking triple-drug therapy to treat elephantiasis (also known as lymphatic filariasis). Almost 750,000 health workers were trained to deliver treatments and educate communities on prevention in 23 African countries.We also took part in commencing an ambitious project to completely eliminate river blindness and elephantiasis from six African countries which include Chad, Ethiopia, Senegal, Mali, Niger and a key cross-border area in South Sudan.

We celebrate this Mandela Day in honour of the great man Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela who went beyond being a citizen of one country to being a global citizen. In making everyday a Mandela Day at the END Fund, our view is that coordination of NTD activities on the continent is key to Africa’s success because disease transmission is not limited and can spread beyond geographical boundaries if unmanaged. In any given mass drug administration that we conduct with local implementing partners, you will see real people, with real lives and families affected by diseases that should have been long since eliminated. Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are a group of parasitic and bacterial infectious diseases that affect more than 1.5 billion of the world’s most impoverished people, including 836 million children. Over 40% of the global NTD burden is concentrated in sub-Saharan Africa, where the END Fund focuses the majority of our work. There is no excuse for not picking up the baton and playing our part when in fact, fifty cents (USD) per person per treatment, on average, is the cost to treat and prevent the most common NTDs. That knowledge is what drives us to continue on the movement to End Neglected Tropical Diseases. For any program to succeed, it requires strong community participation and contribution. Join us on the movement to End Neglected Tropical Diseases.

Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) On behalf The END Fund.

About the END Fund
The END Fund is the only private philanthropic initiative solely dedicated to ending the five most common neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), which affect more than 1.5 billion people globally. It efficiently puts private capital to work, advocating for NTD programs that are innovative, integrated, and cost-effective. It facilitates strong partnerships with the private sector and aims to support national disease control programs in over 29 countries. 
Since its founding in 2012, with its partners, the END Fund has provided over 500 million donated treatments worth almost $933 million, over 11,400 surgeries for people suffering from the effects of the advanced stages of elephantiasis and trachoma, and trained more than 1.1 million people in NTD control and elimination efforts.
 

For more information on how to partner with the END Fund in Africa, contact Joy at jruwodo@endfund.org

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Innovation leaders gather in Nairobi to unpack Intelligent Enterprise opportunities at SAP Innovation Day.
July 18, 2019 | 0 Comments

Keynote speaker, Professor Bitange Ndemo, Chairman of Kenya's Blockchain and AI Taskforce

Keynote speaker, Professor Bitange Ndemo, Chairman of Kenya’s Blockchain and AI Taskforce

NAIROBI, Kenya , July 18, 2019 -/African Media Agency (AMA)/- About 600 East African business, innovation and technology leaders gathered in Nairobi today to discuss innovation opportunities for corporate and public sector organisations in the digital economy. The SAP Kenya Innovation Day featured a line-up of local and global SAP experts who hosted interactive sessions focused on key business and technology trends that are shaping the East African innovation landscape.

According to Pedro Guerreiro, Managing Director: Central Africa at SAP Africa, public and private sector interest in building Intelligent Enterprise capabilities is at an all-time high. “Public and private sector organisations are reconsidering how they offer products and services to citizens and customers to meet high demands for quality, convenience and personalisation. As the pace of change in the digital economy continues to accelerate, leading organisations are increasingly adopting Intelligent Enterprise capabilities that will help them build the agility, capacity and speed to remain successful. Based on the quality of today’s discussions, organisations in the region are rising to the challenge, with potentially game-changing opportunities for businesses and communities.”

In 2008, the Kenyan government launched its Vision 2030, an ambitious development plan that aims to establish Kenya as an industrialising middle-income country that provides a high quality of life to its citizens. Current President, Uhuru Kenyatta, introduced the country’s Big Four Agenda, which aims to accelerate economic growth and inclusion, in 2017. It includes an expansion of the manufacturing sector, affordable housing, healthcare, and food security.

Pedro Guerreiro, Managing Director, Central Africa at SAP Africa

Pedro Guerreiro, Managing Director, Central Africa at SAP Africa

Keynote speaker, Professor Bitange Ndemo, Chairman of Kenya’s Blockchain and AI Taskforce, said the digital economy presents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reshape the economy and accelerate the socio-economic development of the East African region. “Business and government leaders are taking notice and introducing much-needed reforms and interventions to connect people and businesses to the benefits of the digital economy. Kenya’s recently announced National Integrated Identity Management System – or Huduma Namba – is an example of this, one that will create a foundation for the rollout of blockchain-based government services designed to improve service delivery and enhance trust in government.”
Based on recent data, this drive to build intelligent enterprise capabilities in the private and public sectors is bearing fruit: Kenya improved its ranking on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index from 135 in 2015 to 61 this year. It was also identified as one of the three most innovative countries in Africa in the most recent Global Innovation Index (GII) ranking published annually by Cornell University, INSEAD and the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) and GII Knowledge Partners, behind South Africa and Mauritius.

S. Iyer, CEO of iMark Technologies, an SAP partner and key player in the digital transformation of organisations in the East African region, said: “It has been very exciting for us to see how organisations in the region are realising the promise of digital transformation by leveraging SAP technologies and solutions to effect transformational change. Many of these have gone on to successfully implement award-winning projects: in fact, iMark has been a winner at the SAP Quality Awards for five successive years.”

Innovation leaders gather in Nairobi to unpack Intelligent Enterprise opportunities at SAP Innovation Day.

Innovation leaders gather in Nairobi to unpack Intelligent Enterprise opportunities at SAP Innovation Day.

Sessions at this year’s Kenya Innovation Day included discussions over experience management powered by the Intelligent Enterprise, placing people at the heart of the intelligent enterprise transformation, and the intelligent supply chain.

“Kenyan organisations are on the move and ready to take advantage of Intelligent Enterprise benefits in the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” says Guerreiro. “SAP will remain committed to helping customers in the region run better and build the agility and intelligence needed to succeed in the digital age.”

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

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

About SAP
As the cloud company powered by SAP HANA®, SAP is the market leader in enterprise application software, helping companies of all sizes and in all industries run at their best: 77% of the world’s transaction revenue touches an SAP® system. Our machine learning, Internet of Things (IoT), and advanced analytics technologies help turn customers’ businesses into intelligent enterprises. SAP helps give people and organizations deep business insight and fosters collaboration that helps them stay ahead of their competition. We simplify technology for companies so they can consume our software the way they want – without disruption. Our end-to-end suite of applications and services enables more than 437,000 business and public customers to operate profitably, adapt continuously, and make a difference. With a global network of customers, partners, employees, and thought leaders, SAP helps the world run better and improve people’s lives. For more information, visit www.sap.com.

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South Sudan: Authorities crackdown on critics in cross-border campaign of intimidation
July 18, 2019 | 0 Comments

GENEVA, Switzerland, July 18, 2019,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/- The South Sudanese authorities have in recent months escalated their crackdown on peaceful dissent by conducting a cross-border campaign of harassment, intimidation and attacks against critics to prevent a series of global protests on the country’s leadership from taking place, reveals a new briefing by Amnesty International.

The protests organized by the Red Card Movement (RCM), a nascent South Sudanese youth movement open to any individual who embraces non-violence, were planned to take place on 16 May in the South Sudanese capital Juba, and other locations around the world. The protests did not take place in Juba.

“It is a shame that the authorities fail to appreciate the pivotal role that respecting, protecting and promoting human rights plays in the country’s growth and development,” said Joan Nyanyuki, Amnesty International’s Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

“The Government of South Sudan must publicly denounce the escalating harassment, intimidation and attacks on people simply for exercising their rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association and stop attacks on critics both at home and abroad.”

Government threats

Just prior to the 16 May protests, senior members of South Sudan’s government made thinly veiled threats against organizers and protestors.

On 7 May, Information Minister Michael Makuei Lueth, threatened protesters with deadly consequences if they took part in the planned protests. “Those who want to protest are welcome but let them be ready to face consequences. We know those who are spearheading the attempts. We don’t want youth to die again,” he told South Sudan’s Radio Tamazuj.

This was followed a door-to-door search of people’s homes day and night, targeting suspected members and supporters of the RCM that was carried out by officers from the National Security Services (NSS) and the army. The authorities also deployed large number of troops in Juba and closed public spaces.

Garang Aher, 30, was arrested by three NSS agents at his home on 19 May for alleged links with the movement after his phone number was found in a RCM WhatsApp group conversation leaked to the security agents. He was released on 23 May.

President Salva Kiir publicly reiterated deadly consequences for protestors on 21 May: “Those who are telling you to go before the government and protest, don’t they know that anything could happen, and people may die? If the government closes its mind and decides to use automatic weapons, why do you want to die for nothing?”

Men in Black

While protests organized outside South Sudan embassies in Australia, Washington DC, USA and Sudan took place unhindered, the intimidation and harassment of RCM members witnessed in South Sudan was replicated in Ethiopia and Kenya.

Two cameramen covering a peaceful RCM demonstration at the South Sudan embassy in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa were physically assaulted.

“I saw the embassy staff member slapping the video man and another man shoving violently another cameraman, who was badly beaten in his face,” an eyewitness told Amnesty International.

In Kenya, RCM members were threatened with arrest and deportation back to Juba, from where they would be forcibly disappeared. One of them told Amnesty International the threats were unnervingly blatant.

Other South Sudanese people they believed to be informants of the national security agency accused them of “want[ing] to create a bad image about South Sudan like Dong and Aggrey; see, now they are dead. If you want to go that route, the consequences will come.”

They also told Amnesty International they were followed by men in black suits. “Anonymous people are following us. When we stop, they stop. When we show up somewhere, they also show up. We are at risk and on the run.”

This intimidation and harassment continued after the aborted 16 May protests. On 9 July, South Sudan’s Independence Day, members and supporters of the movement staged a peaceful protest in front of the South Sudan embassy in Nairobi.

They were dispersed by Kenyan police despite complying with the legal requirement to notify the police about the planned protest. Three of them were arrested and charged for unlawful assembly. They were released on bail the next day and told Amnesty International they had been beaten by police officers.

“The South Sudanese people must be able to enjoy their human rights, including the rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association. People should be free to criticize their government and its policies without fear of reprisals,” said Joan Nyanyuki.

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

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U.S. Universities Offer $7.5m in Scholarships to Nigerian Students
July 18, 2019 | 0 Comments

LAGOS, Nigeria, July 18, 2019,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/- More than 303 Nigerian students from the 17 states of southern Nigeria have received no less than $7.5 million in full or partial scholarships from 225 American universities and colleges to study in the United States for the 2019-2020 academic session.

Acting United States Consul General Osman Tat disclosed this in Lagos on Tuesday during the 2019 EducationUSA pre-departure orientation for students who have received offers of admission and scholarships to attend U.S. colleges and universities this fall.

Noting that the U.S. remains a top destination for international students, Acting Consul General Tat explained that the list of acceptances for Nigerian students for the upcoming academic year has been quite impressive, cutting across many of the 50 U.S. states.

“I congratulate each one of you on your tremendous success. This is a very important step in your life. I encourage you to make the most out of your time in the United States to acquire the requisite skills and knowledge needed to support Nigeria’s development,” Tat told the group of U.S.-bound students.

The students have been accepted for undergraduate and graduate degree programs at top-notch U.S. institutions ranging from Ivy League universities, liberal arts colleges, women’s colleges, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), to community colleges.

They include Stanford University, The George Washington University, Johns Hopkins University, Purdue University, Tufts University, Boston University, Emory University, and Howard University, among many others.

The pre-departure orientation is intended to assist students to prepare for their move from Nigeria to attend a college or university in the United States.  The event included interactive sessions on topics such as travel planning, adjusting to life in America, safety on campus, and F-1 visa rules for international students.

Participants also had the opportunity to meet with students currently studying in the United States who offered tips on how to prepare for the U.S. academic, social, and cultural environment.

Among the departing students are 13 EducationUSA Opportunity Fund grantees 10 undergraduate and 3 graduate students, with full scholarships — who received financial aid to cover the up-front cost of obtaining admission.

Annually, through the Opportunity Fund Program, the U.S. Consulate’s EducationUSA Advising Centre assists talented low-income students who are good candidates for admission to U.S. colleges and universities, by funding their application process.

According to the latest Open Doors Report, published annually by the Institute of International Education, Nigeria is the 13th highest sending country of international students to the U.S., with about 12, 693 Nigerians currently studying in the United States.

Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of the U.S Mission in Nigeria.

About EducationUSA
EducationUSA is a U.S. Department of State network of over 425 international student-advising centers in more than 175 countries that promotes U.S. higher education to students around the world. It offers accurate, comprehensive, and current information about opportunities to study at one of the 4,700+ accredited postsecondary institutions in the United States.

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DR Congo Ebola outbreak now a Public Health Emergency, UN health agency declares
July 18, 2019 | 0 Comments

The second worst Ebola outbreak of all time, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), was officially declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on Wednesday, with the head of the World Health Organization calling for countries to ‘take notice and redouble our efforts”.

NEW YORK, United States of America, July 18, 2019,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/- With the first anniversary of the complex outbreak in the volatile eastern part of the country looming, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that it was time to “work together in solidarity with the DRC to end this outbreak and build a better health system”, for its people.

So far, there have been more than 2,500 cases of infection, and nearly 1,670 have died in the provinces of Ituri and North Kivu, where multiple armed groups and lack of local trust have hampered efforts to get the outbreak under control.

“Extraordinary work has been done for almost a year under the most difficult circumstances”, said Mr. Tedros, following the fourth meeting of the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee assessing the outbreak, at the UN in Geneva. “We all owe it to these responders – coming from not just WHO but also Government, partners and communities – to shoulder more of the burden”, he added.

What does the emergency declaration mean?

According to WHO’s International Health Regulations, which constitute a binding legal agreement involving 196 countries across the globe, a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) is defined as, “an extraordinary event which is determined to constitute a public health risk to other States through the international spread of disease and to potentially require a coordinated international response”.

This definition implies a situation that is:

  • Serious, sudden, unusual or unexpected.
  • Carries implications for public health beyond the affected State’s national border.
  • May require immediate international action.

According to a WHO statement, the Committee “cited recent developments in the outbreak in making its recommendation, including the first confirmed case in Goma, a city of almost two million people on the border with Rwanda, and the gateway to the rest of DRC and the world.”

The Committee also issued specific conclusions and advice to affected countries, their neighbours, and for all States, in terms of how the outbreak needs to be dealt with moving forward.

Protect livelihoods and keep trades routes open

The Committee also said it was disappointing that there had been recent delays in securing more international funds to fight the disease, which had constrained the response.

Members also reinforced the need to protect livelihoods of the people most affected by the outbreak by keeping transport routes and borders open. The experts said it was “essential to avoid the punitive economic consequences of travel and trade restrictions, on affected communities.”

“It is important that the world follows these recommendations. It is also crucial that states do not use (the declaration) as an excuse to impose trade or travel restrictions, which would have a negative impact on the response and on the lives and livelihoods of people in the region,” said Professor Robert Steffen, chair of the Committee.

On Monday, UN relief chief Mark Lowcock, who heads the humanitarian affairs coordination office (OCHA), said that the outbreak would not be properly contained without a “big scale-up in the response”. Last month, the first cases appeared in neighbouring Uganda, although the infected family had travelled across the border from DRC.

Since it was declared almost a year ago the outbreak has been classified as a level 3 emergency – the most serious – by WHO, triggering the highest level of mobilization. The UN overall has also recognized the seriousness of the emergency by activating the “Humanitarian System-wide Scale-Up” to support the Ebola response.

Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of the United Nations.

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DHL partners with Teach For Uganda to create greater employability among youth
July 17, 2019 | 0 Comments
· This marks the logistics group’s first partnership in Africa with the Teach For All network
· DHL volunteers will equip students with skills and experiences needed to enter the working world
 
KAMPALA, Uganda, July 17th, 2019, -/African Media Agency (AMA)/- DHL Express, DHL Global Forwarding and DHL Supply Chain, part of the Deutsche Post DHL Group (DPDHL Group), launched a partnership today with Teach For Uganda, a network partner of Teach For All, to eradicate education inequity, raise a nation of true leaders and promote educational opportunities and employability for young people in Uganda. This marks DPDHL Group’s 18th partnership with Teach For All under the new strategic framework(1), a focus to nurture employability and life skills of young people from difficult socio-economic backgrounds around the world, and its first partnership in Africa.
 
From L-R: Fatma Abubakar, Country Manager, DHL Express Uganda; Paul Erongot, Country Manager, DHL Global Forwarding Uganda; Zachary Mukwaya, General Manager, DHL Supply Chain Uganda; James Kassaga Arinaitwe, Co-founder and CEO, Teach for Uganda; Sheila Kangwagye, Board Member, Teach for Uganda.

From L-R: Fatma Abubakar, Country Manager, DHL Express Uganda; Paul Erongot, Country Manager, DHL Global Forwarding Uganda; Zachary Mukwaya, General Manager, DHL Supply Chain Uganda; James Kassaga Arinaitwe, Co-founder and CEO, Teach for Uganda; Sheila Kangwagye, Board Member, Teach for Uganda.

 

James Kassaga Arinaitwe, Founder and CEO of Teach For Uganda, said, “We believe in the potential of all children to thrive and become better leaders in their various communities. The partnership with DHL Uganda will accelerate our momentum and help us improve the lives of the children through excellent and practical education and develop our fellows as effective teachers and leaders in their communities and nation.”

Along with providing financial support, this partnership will also see employees from DHL Express, DHL Global Forwarding and DHL Supply Chain volunteer to support over 36 Teach For Uganda Fellows who will in turn make a positive impact in the lives of at least 15,000 students across Uganda.

“According to Uganda Census data, over half of Uganda’s population comprises youth under the age of 29 and it is estimated that 86% of those are unemployed, underemployed or at the level of becoming employable.(2) While we understand there is much to be done in order to close the gap, we hope that the engagement our volunteers will have with Ugandan youth will help improve these numbers,” said Fatma Abubakar, Country Manager, DHL Express Uganda.

Paul Erongot, Country Manager, DHL Global Forwarding Uganda added, “Globally DHL is committed to improving the communities in which we operate. Having been in Uganda for over 30 years, we want to be able to create a positive impact within the local community. We hope our volunteers’ interactions with these youth will help provide them with an understanding of

what the demands of the real working world are, and the skills they need to tackle these challenges head on.”

Zachary Mukwaya, General Manager, Country Operations Uganda, DHL Supply Chain continued, “We are looking at giving the youth exposure and access to business leaders as well as skills-based training. Over time as the interactions grow between DHL volunteers and the Teach for Uganda students, we hope to nurture a cohort of youth who are more confident, focused and own the skills needed to move forward in their careers.”

Teach For Uganda recruits exceptional Ugandan graduates from diverse fields of study, who are trained to become teachers, known as Teach for Uganda Fellows, then placed in underserved schools and communities around the country as Teach For Uganda participants. These teacher-leaders would commit two years as teachers and mentors to their students.

In addition to giving their time to Teach for Uganda, DHL volunteers will continue to support SOS Children’s Villages Uganda with whom it has had a partnership since 2013.

Deutsche Post DHL Group’s corporate responsibility program “Living Responsibility” is comprised of three programs focused on environmental protection (GoGreen), disaster management (GoHelp) and education (GoTeach). Under the GoTeach program, Deutsche Post DHL Group provides support to Teach For All as well as 18 other network partners in Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East.

(1) https://teachforall.org/news/education-and-employability-young-people-new-phase-deutsche-post-dhl-group-and-teach-all

 
Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of DHL.
 
DHL – The logistics company for the world

DHL is the leading global brand in the logistics industry. Our DHL family of divisions offer an unrivalled portfolio of logistics services ranging from national and international parcel delivery, e-commerce shipping and fulfillment solutions, international express, road, air and ocean transport to industrial supply chain management. With about 380,000 employees in more than 220 countries and territories worldwide, DHL connects people and businesses securely and reliably, enabling global trade flows. With specialized solutions for growth markets and industries including technology, life sciences and healthcare, energy, automotive and retail, a proven commitment to corporate responsibility and an unrivalled presence in developing markets, DHL is decisively positioned as “The logistics company for the world”.

DHL is part of Deutsche Post DHL Group. The Group generated revenues of more than 61 billion euros in 2018.

About Teach For Uganda

Teach For Uganda (TFU) is a local NGO that is championing a new education innovation in Uganda to leverage the power of brilliant recent university graduates to unleash the learning and life outcomes of underprivileged children in rural Uganda through a two-year teaching as leadership fellowship program. The graduates who become fellows teach Mathematics, English and life skills in rural government-aided primary schools to provide a strong educational foundation to low-income children and put them on a path to expanded opportunities. Post fellowship, the fellows leverage their two-year experience as part of an alumni leadership network where they are coached to become lifelong advocates for education equity in Uganda’s public and private institutions.

About Teach For All

Teach For All is a global network of 50 independent, locally led and governed partner organizations and a global organization that works to accelerate the progress of the network. Each network partner recruits and develops promising future leaders to teach in their nations’ under-resourced schools and communities and, with this foundation, to work with others, inside and outside of education, to ensure all children are able to fulfill their potential. Teach For All’s global organization works to increase the network’s impact by capturing and spreading learning, facilitating connections among partners, accessing global resources, and fostering the leadership development of partner staff, teachers, and alumni.

For more information, visit www.teachforall.org

Media Contact:

DHL Asia Pacific & EEMEA

Corporate Communications and Responsibility

Belinda Tan

Tel: +65 6879 8330 E-mail: apeemeamediarelations@dhl.com

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Nexign Partners with Giza Systems to Accelerate African Telcos’ Digital Transformation
July 17, 2019 | 0 Comments

Global leader in business support systems (BSS) solutions joins forces with one of the leading systems integrators in the African region, to equip regional operators with the tools they need to satisfy fluctuating subscriber demands.

JOHANNESBURG, July 17th, 2019,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/- Nexign, (а part of LLC ICS Holding) a leading Business Support Systems (BSS) and Internet of Things (IoT) platform provider, today announced it has signed a value-added reseller (VAR) agreement with a Cairo-based, leading systems integrator in the MEA region, Giza Systems.

The partnership is designed to bolster the abilities of both companies to deliver scalable, agile network solutions, to communications service providers (CSPs) across the Africa region. Together, Nexign and Giza Systems will work with organisations to accelerate their journey from CSPs to digital service providers (DSPs). A 2017 survey by Ernst & Young on Digital transformation for 2020 and beyond revealed 71% of telecom operators worldwide to be placing their transformation from CSP to DSP at the top of the corporate agenda.

Covering East and North Africa, Giza Systems will resell Nexign products and provide professional services – such as implementation and support – as well as core systems-integration services. Offerings already in the pipeline, that will be delivered by Giza Systems and Nexign to regional customers, include a data-collection, mediation and settlement solution; revenue assurance and fraud-management; billing systems; number portability clearing house and gateway; number-management systems; order-fulfilment and service activation; and product lifecycle management.

“Partnering with Nexign will allow us to help our customers replace their legacy BSS solutions to decrease operational costs, reduce time-to-market and improve customer experience,” said Waleed Darwish, General Manager of the Enterprise Business Solutions Line of Business at Giza Systems. “Our own capabilities, fused with that of our partners in the areas of automated systems, communication solutions and metering infrastructure, enable us to develop integrated solutions that can work with, and build on, evolving technologies, as well as adapt to the changing needs of our customers looking to achieve digital transformation.”

Nexign’s differentiators are found in the company’s future-proof portfolio of products and services, and its track record of 120 successful projects with more than 50 CSPs around the world, including a Tier 1 telecom operator with a 75-million-strong subscriber base. Nexign also brings its transformation experience to Africa, with strong field sales and technical support teams based in the Middle East. Through the VAR partnership, Giza Systems will be able to package Nexign’s flagship product – Nexign Digital BSS – as part of a market-leading network-solutions portfolio, delivering to customers the ability to transform at will, and serve an increasingly mercurial market. 

 

Ahmad Sayed, Regional Head and VP of Sales, Middle East and Africa at Nexign

Ahmad Sayed, Regional Head and VP of Sales, Middle East and Africa at Nexign

 
“Systems integrators are integral to the transition stories we are witnessing daily across the region, where telecom providers are making the change from CSPs to DSPs,” said Ahmad Sayed, Regional Head and VP of Sales, Middle East and Africa at Nexign. “The flexibility to cater to fluctuating consumer demands is appreciable, once an organisation has made the transition. We are extremely delighted to have Giza Systems as our partners; the company has been well-established in the MEA region for more than 45 years and has accrued a wealth of experience, in BSS, as a systems integrator. This coupled with the work they are already doing with several regional Tier 1 and Tier 2 telecom operators, makes them an important partner for us as we continue to expand in the key Africa markets.”
 
Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of Nexign.
 
About Nexign
Nexign, a part of the limited liability company Intellectual Computer Systems Holding (LLC ICS Holding) and a leading Business Support System (BSS) and Internet of Things (IoT) platform provider, has been delivering pragmatic, value-driven solutions focused on customers’ total cost of ownership since 1992. As communications service providers become digital service providers, Nexign accelerates their transformation through engineering excellence and agile products and services that facilitate revenue-stream diversification. Nexign takes pride in its partner-centric approach to working with customers. For more than 27 years, the company has delivered on its promise of unlocking value in the short-term while ensuring customers’ investment are future-proof and support long-term growth.

Headquartered in St. Petersburg, Nexign employs 1,800 people in offices through Russia, the Commonwealth of Independent States, southeast Asia, the Middle East and Africa. The company has delivered more than 120 projects across 14 countries and had revenue of $200 million in 2018, an increase of 63 percent over 2017. For more information, please visit the website and follow the latest news from Nexign on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

 
About Giza Systems
Giza Systems, a leading systems integrator in the MEA region, designs and deploys industry-specific technology solutions for asset-intensive industries such as the telecoms, utilities, oil and gas, hospitality and real estate among other market sectors. We help our clients streamline their operations and businesses through our portfolio of solutions, managed services, and consultancy practice. Our team of 1100 professionals are spread throughout the region with anchor offices in Cairo, Riyadh, Dubai, Doha, Nairobi, Dar-es-Salaam, Abuja, Kampala and New Jersey, allowing us to service an ever-increasing client base in over 40 countries. For more information, please visit http://gizasystems.com/
Media Contact
Patrick Mkala
DUO Marketing + Communications (on behalf of Nexign)
+27 (0)10 140 3720
patrick@duomarketing.co.za

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Truecaller Launches User Verification Solution For The Mobile Web
July 16, 2019 | 0 Comments
  • Enables developers to instantly verify users on mobile web products

LAGOS, Nigeria, July 16th 2019, -/African Media Agency (AMA)/- Truecaller today announced the global launch of its Truecaller SDK solution exclusively for the mobile web platform. With this, Truecaller SDK now supports all the key mobile platforms across Android, iOS, React and now mobile web including Progressive Web App support. Developers can access the mWeb SDK from Truecaller’s global developer portal.

Across emerging markets like India and Africa, mobile web based experiences on smart phones are proving to be the first point of discovery for users trying to access products and services online. One of the key challenges in these markets has been to on-board users using email or other modes and getting verified using the inefficient OTP process. This SDK solution on mobile web is intended to simplify this process for developers through its OTP-less and free to use phone number based verification solution, allowing their users to seamlessly and securely access services using their Truecaller credentials.
This ensures there are reduced barriers along with fewer user drop offs and resulting in increased growth in verified users that contributes to minimized business risks for the developer.

Image 1Commenting on the launch, Priyam Bose, Global Head, Developer Platform & Relations, Truecaller, said: “Our vision has always been to enable the developer community by providing them with solutions that help them to build user focused, trust based and growth-oriented products. User onboarding and verification continues to be one of the critical use cases for developers as it is crucial in creating a first impression for their users in terms of building a seamless and secure product experience. On an average, developers in growth markets are starting to see anywhere between 40%-60% of their users now coming from mobile web, giving us more reasons to launch our Truecaller SDK solution for mobile Web interfaces.”

This launch extends Truecaller’s philosophy of building and solving problems at scale for users and developers globally, with value-driven functionalities. Truecaller SDK service for the mobile web platform can be used to fulfil use cases such as mobile number based signup, login, checkout, verification, and more such touch-points across the user journey.

Early access developer partners for this service also shared their experiences.

Mukund Laddha, Product Manager, OYO, said: “At OYO, we have been expanding globally at a rapid pace. Improving user experience during authentication has been a key area of focus. This integration with Truecaller presented us with an opportunity to present users with a reliable alternate login method with a large presence across countries. This has made user on-boarding on web more fluid and frictionless.”

Zairus Master, CEO, Shine.com, said: “At Shine.com, our constant endeavor is to improve our end-user experience by adopting best-in-class technologies. As an early access partner, the integration with Truecaller’s verification solution for mobile web platform will help candidates simplify their registration process on Shine.com and facilitate a constantly active and verified set of candidates on the platform, complete with their updated contact details. We believe that this product integration will give Shine.com a competitive edge over other job portals which solely rely on traditional, OTP-based verification.”

According to Udit Tyagi, Product Head, Times Internet Limited – Indian Languages News Business: “In the ever-evolving world of PWA’s the gap between app and mWeb is slowly fading away and users expect uniformity and seamlessness in terms of experience and onboarding irrespective of the platform. By leveraging Truecaller SDK for mobile web, we have been able to improve the on-boarding experience of users in our canvas of mobile web apps. In our case, onboarding conversions via Truecaller are 41% higher compared to standard onboarding processes.”

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

About Truecaller:
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 dialer 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.

For more information, please contact: press@truecaller.com

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Digital Transformation Vital to Secure New Customers
July 16, 2019 | 0 Comments

Tamer Farouk, Regional Senior Director – East and West Africa Applications Sales Leader at Oracle

Tamer Farouk HD

NAIROBI, Kenya, July 16, 2019, -/African Media Agency (AMA)/- Nowadays, customers can easily access product and service details through their devices at any time and compare competitors’ offers. Mobile devices, applications, machine learning, automation, and other technologies allow customers to get exactly what they want when they want it. Furthermore, these new digital technologies have led to a change in customer expectations, creating a new kind of modern buyer – always connected and aware of what technology can enable.

With the new types and levels of engagement that new technologies provide, customers generally rate organisations according to their digital customer experience. They make their impressions known publicly on various social and digital media, and they consider the comments of others when making a purchasing decision. This type of consumer-to-consumer interaction is forcing companies to rethink their approach to customer interaction and customer experience.

In Kenya, Longhorn Publishers experienced connectivity issues with its onsite applications that had a negative impact on customer experience. As a leading provider of learning solutions on the continent, it had to resolve these challenges as quickly as possible. It migrated to a cloud environment that not only shortened the procurement cycle, but enabled the publisher to launch its ebook store, elearning platform, and apps in the market resulting in a more engaging environment for its customers.

Customers expect highly targeted messages, which organisations can only deliver with a data-driven marketing strategy. Advances in machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), and big data and analytics (including predictive analytics) will allow organisations to create new customer experiences and new sales models.

In a recent survey conducted by the International Data Corporation (IDC) among businesses in East Africa, 34% of respondents indicated that their organisation is considering marketing innovation with the aim of improving customer experience. The leading sectors for adopting technology or seeking innovation in the service of customer experience in East Africa are government and transportation.

For example, the Kenya Revenue Authority, invested in a cloud-based CX solution for improving the process of filing tax forms and stand out as another successful example of a customer experience project in terms of customer service transformation.

Position data as an enabler of transformation

Digital transformation initiatives are accelerating disruptions in customer experience. Agility is another key factor in the new marketing approach, which can be supported by machine learning and AI. Organisations can create more demand with personalised marketing campaigns, as competition in the new digital marketplace will require speed and agility. Companies should also leverage structured and unstructured data for determining customer profiles, as well as predictive analytics to anticipate potential customer experience scenarios.

Organisations are now including customer experience roadmaps in their business strategy. Customer experience transformation can be a pre-designed process, and marketing teams can collaborate with IT, finance, and operations teams to help prevent unnecessary investments to establish realistic and aligned strategies.

Kenyan IT solutions provider Smart Applications International had to find a way to ensure the accuracy of the data on its biometrics identification and medical insurance automation application platform. This was vital to provide customers with a more reliable way of accessing their data. By transitioning into a cloud environment, it could digitally transform its processes and boost customer engagement thanks to an always available and accessible database. This resulted in its medical insurance provider clients and healthcare facilities clients being able to verify claims and process disputes 70% faster.

By keeping in mind that every department plays a vital role, companies can take a more holistic approach to customer experience. A positive customer experience has the potential to increase revenue through greater competitiveness and positive brand perception. Good brand perception, in turn, motivates employees, who feel proud to work for a well-known and successful company.

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

About Oracle
The Oracle Cloud offers a complete suite of integrated applications for Sales, Service, Marketing, Human Resources, Finance, Supply Chain and Manufacturing, plus Highly Automated and Secure Generation 2 Infrastructure featuring the Oracle Autonomous Database. For more information about Oracle (NYSE: ORCL), please visit us at oracle.com.

Trademarks
Oracle and Java are registered trademarks of Oracle and/or its affiliates. Other names may be trademarks of their respective owners. 

Media Contact
Natassia Badenhorst
Manager, Corporate Communications – South Africa & Sub Saharan Africa
Oracle
+27 64 880 2014
tash.badenhorst@oracle.com

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AFC provides US$100 million to Aker Energy’s Deep Water Offshore Oil Project in Ghana
July 16, 2019 | 0 Comments

ACCRA, Ghana, July 16th 2019, -/African Media Agency (AMA)/- Africa Finance Corporation (“AFC” or “the Corporation”), the leading infrastructure solutions provider in Africa, announces today it has financed Aker Energy A.S. (“Aker Energy”), a subsidiary of Aker ASA, one of the highest-quality-rated companies in the Norwegian market and a leader in oil, gas and industrials. AFC’s support is through investing in US$100 million of convertible bond notes with an intention to participate in follow on fund raising activities. The funds will be used by Aker Energy to finance the development of the Deepwater Tano Cape Three Points block (“DWTCTP” or the “Asset”), a block offshore Ghana containing multiple oil fields.

The Asset is owned by joint venture partners, including Aker Energy (50%), Lukoil (38%), Fueltrade (2%) and a 10% carry for the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (“GNPC”), wholly owned by the Government of Ghana. The Pecan field, which is the most appraised in the DWTCTP block and the field to be developed in the first phase, is an oil field estimated to contain reserves of about 334 million barrels of oil equivalent.

DSC_1759

This investment is aligned with AFC’s overall natural resources strategy, which entails building a portfolio of value added assets across the Energy value chain. By taking an early equity financier role in operational or near-operational upstream assets. AFC can enhance the revenue potential of African states to generate revenue required for investment in infrastructure and social services for its growing populations.

This investment also marks the beginning of AFC and Aker’s mutually beneficial relationship in the exploration and production sector across the African continent; AFC will offer support to Aker, open new opportunities, and mitigate potential geopolitical risks. Aker, with its proven track record of delivering complex deep water projects on time and budget, and a network of affiliates, such as Aker Solutions, a leading subsea equipment and services provider, is an ideal partner for AFC, as it seeks to broaden its partnerships with developers within the natural resources sector.

The Republic of Ghana (Ghana) which became an AFC sovereign shareholder in 2018, having acceded to membership in 2011, will benefit from this project through increased revenue and government royalty and taxation income. Deepwater Tano Cape Three Points field is one of the Ghana’s principal hydrocarbon assets and is expected to contribute to Ghana’s near term target of an annual production volume of 500,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.

Samaila Zubairu, President & CEO of AFC, commented on the announcement: “This is an exciting milestone for Africa Finance Corporation – we have partnered with the

subsidiary of one of the most highly respected international oil, gas and industrials companies to support its first project in the African market as an operator. This is an opportunity for AFC to invest alongside a technically and financially strong sponsor that requires project development expertise and public sector advice in Africa, both of which AFC is ideally placed to offer.”

Jan Arve Haugan, CEO of Aker Energy, added: “We value AFC’s vote of confidence by collaborating with Aker Energy and the commitment to further strengthening this partnership going forward. We believe AFC will be a valuable partner to help Aker Energy navigate the opportunities and challenges that lies ahead of us.”

Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of Africa Finance Corporation (AFC).

Notes to Editors

About AFCwww.africafc.org

AFC, an investment grade multilateral finance institution, was established in 2007 with an equity capital base of US$1 billion, to be the catalyst for private sector-led infrastructure investment across Africa. With a current balance sheet size of approximately US$4.5 billion, AFC is the second highest investment grade rated multilateral financial institution in Africa with an A3/P2 (Stable outlook) rating from Moody’s Investors Service. AFC successfully raised US$750 million in 2015 and US$500 million in 2017; out of its Board-approved US$3 Billion Global Medium-Term Note (MTN) Programme. Both Eurobond issues were oversubscribed and attracted investors from Asia, Europe and the USA.

AFC’s investment approach combines specialist industry expertise with a focus on financial and technical advisory, project structuring, project development and risk capital to address Africa’s infrastructure development needs and drive sustainable economic growth. AFC invests in high quality infrastructure assets that provide essential services in the core infrastructure sectors of power, natural resources, heavy industry, transport, and telecommunications. To date, the Corporation has invested approximately US$4 billion in projects within 28 countries across North, East, West and Southern Africa.

Follow us on Twitter@africa_finance

About Aker Energy

Aker Energy Ghana Ltd., a subsidiary of Norwegian-based oil exploration and production firm, Aker Energy AS, is the operator of the Deepwater Tano Cape Three Points (DWT/CTP) Petroleum Agreement, with a 50 per cent participating interest in the DWT/CTP Petroleum Agreement. Its partners are Lukoil Overseas Ghana Tano Limited (38%), the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) (10%) and Fueltrade Limited (2%). Aker Energy aims to become the oil and gas operator of choice offshore Ghana, by maturing and producing resources in a safe, efficient and reliable manner to the benefit of the company, partners and the people of Ghana. Aker Energy has offices in Oslo, Norway and Accra, Ghana. Please visit www.akerenergy.com for more information.

For more information contact:

Lucy Savage

Vice President, Communications Tel: + 234 1 279 9600 Email: lucy.savage@africafc.org

Buchanan Communications

Bobby Morse / Augustine Chipungu

Tel: +44 20 7466 5000

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‘We won’t get to zero cases of Ebola without a big scale-up in funding,’ UN relief chief warns
July 16, 2019 | 0 Comments

Deadly, attacks on health workers in Ebola-hit areas of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), including one at the weekend that left two dead, are an indication that combating the disease outbreak will require far greater international support, UN humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock said on Monday.

NEW YORK, United States of America, July 16, 2019,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/- Speaking in Geneva, Mr. Lowcock, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, insisted on the need to “be honest with ourselves” on tackling the haemorrhagic disease …unless there’s a big scale-up in the response, we’re unlikely to be successful in getting to zero cases”. 

At his side, World Health Organization (WHODirector-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus confirmed the attacks in Beni and the identification – for the first time – of an infected patient in Goma, a city of one million people bordering Rwanda. 

According to WHO, almost 3,000 health workers have so far been vaccinated against the disease in Goma.

Insisting that he was confident sufficient preventative measures had been put in place, Mr. Tedros announced that he had decided to reconvene an Emergency Committee “as soon as possible to assess the threat of this development and advise me accordingly”. 

The two top UN officials were chairing a high-level event on the ourbreak that included the DRC Minister of Health, Dr. Oly Ilunga, the Minister for Solidarity and Humanitarian Action, Bernard Biando Sango, and the Secretary of State for International Development of the United Kingdom, the Rt. Hon. Rory Stewart, as keynote speakers.

More than 2,400 cases of infection, 1,650 deaths 

Since the latest Ebola outbreak was officially declared in the eastern DRC provinces of North Kivu and Ituri last August, there have been more than 2,400 confirmed and probable cases and 1,647 deaths, according to latest data from the country’s authorities. 

Despite the high toll, the ongoing risk to neighbouring countries – not least Uganda, which has just overcome a recent case of DRC-originating Ebola infection – and reports that the disease has reached the large city of Goma for the first time via an infected pastor, Mr. Lowcock noted that “just a small fraction” of the $2 billion fund to tackle the 2014-16 West Africa Ebola outbreak has been made available to date. 

The UN official also credited MONUSCO, the UN peacekeeping mission in DRC, for facilitating the work of health teams tasked with tracing potential Ebola patients, in areas prone to attack by armed groups, in an appeal for greater political and financial support. 

Without this help, Mr. Lowcock warned, Ebola treatment centres risk closing. 
It is also likely that there will be fewer teams able to carry out the vital work to “immediately investigate, isolate, treat and trace each new case, no matter where the disease pops up”, he said. 

“We have started to get some momentum in former hotspots Butembo and Katwa, but unless we scale up the response we risk losing it,” he added. “The cheapest strategy is to invest fully at this point and to stop the current outbreak rather than to under-invest now and have the outbreak linger over a longer timeframe and possibly spread further geographically.” 

Health worker attacks near 200 since January: WHO’s Tedros 

Echoing that message, WHO’s Mr. Tedros noted that although the Ebola case in Goma was very concerning, the agency had already vaccinated 3,000 people and ensured that the infected pastor was receiving care. 

The deaths of two Ebola responders – “murdered in their home” – brought to almost 200 the number of attacks on health facilities and workers since January, with seven people killed in the violence to date, Mr. Tedros said, noting that every incident “gives Ebola an opportunity to spread..(it) gets a free ride in each and every attack”. 

“Just when we start to get control of the virus in one area, it appears in another,” the WHO top official said. “Every attack sets us back. Every attack makes it more difficult to trace contacts, vaccinate and perform safe burials.”  

Despite the complexity of the challenge in DRC and the “very high” risk of further spread, the efforts of front-line responders, the Ministry of Health, WHO and partners have been “heroic”, Mr. Tedros said, in reference to the more than 161,000 people vaccinated, 140,000 contacts traced and 71 million travellers screened, at a cost of $250 million “and counting”.

‘Frankly, I am embarrassed to talk only about Ebola’ 

Outside DRC, moreover, more than 10,000 people have been vaccinated in Uganda, South Sudan and Rwanda, he continued, while noting that after several visits to DRC, he had come to realize that it had many more problems to contend with than Ebola. 

“I have travelled to North Kivu six times during this outbreak,” he said. “Frankly, I am embarrassed to talk only about Ebola. Together, we will end this outbreak. But unless we address its root causes – the weak health system, the insecurity and the political instability – there will be another outbreak.”

Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of the United Nations.

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AU holds Sustainable Forest Management Workshop
July 16, 2019 | 0 Comments

NAIROBI, Kenya, July 16, 2019,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/- The African Union Commission in collaboration with the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), held a Validation Workshop for the AU Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) Framework to finalise it for submission for approval by the Ministerial Specialised Technical Committee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Water and Environment, scheduled to hold in October 2019.

The Framework established in 2015 has been characterized by broad based stakeholder engagement; an extensive desk review, sample visits to Member States, surveys and feedback.

Despite their prominent contribution to the development of Africa and the realization of the AU’s Africa Agenda 2063, as well as the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, forest resources are threatened and are under siege due to a number of factors including illegal exploitation and trade, conflicting policies at national and sub-regional levels, competing land uses, climate change and poverty.

In an effort to address these challenges, the Heads of State and Government of the African Union adopted – at the 23rd Ordinary Session of the AU Assembly in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, in June 2014 – the Malabo Declaration on Accelerated Agricultural Growth and Transformation for Shared Prosperity and Improved Livelihoods. The Declaration directed the AUC, in collaboration with African ministers responsible for forestry and energy, to put in place the Sustainable Forest Management Programme (SFMP) to assist AU member states and Regional Economic Communities (RECs) to sustainably manage and develop their forest sectors for socio-economic development and environmental protection.

The SFM Framework was validated at the July 9-10, 2019, workshop which, was opened by Mr. Harsen Nyambe, the African Union Commission Head of Division for Environment, Climate Change, Water and Land Management.
He stressed the importance of the African Union Sustainable Forest Management Framework, as important for providing strategic guidance to the sector, serving as a basis for addressing forestry related challenges on the continent including illegal exploitation and trade of forest resources, and serving as a basis for partnerships.
Mr. Nyambe further called upon the delegates to ensure that the framework was aligned to Africa’s development blueprint, the AU’s Agenda 2063, which calls for all forests to be fully conserved and sustainably used by 2063.

Delivering a statement on behalf of the FAO, Ms. Nora Berrahmouni, Senior Forestry Officer at the FAO Sub-Regional Office for Africa, emphasized FAO’s commitment to continue supporting the development of the SFM framework and forestry development in Africa.
Ms. Berrahmouni also expressed gratitude for the collaboration between the FAO and the African Union Commission, which culminated into developing the African Union Sustainable Forest Management framework.

Agenda 2063 outlines “The Africa we Want,” which is “integrated, prosperous and peaceful.” To achieve this strategic vision, Africa needs to harness domestic natural resources and citizens in order to take full charge of the continent’s destiny. Forest resources are a critical factor for the welfare of Africa and for financing the development of the continent. Trees and non-timber forest resources have significant economic and ecosystem services including contribution to food security, conservation of genetic resources, provision of habitat for biodiversity and reduction of emissions that cause global warming.

The workshop was attended by 43 African Union member states, most of which were Directors responsible for Forestry and other Senior Forestry experts, 5 Regional Economic Communities (RECs), Representatives of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), and partner organizations.

Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of the African Union Commission.

For more information:

Mr. Almami Dampha
Senior Policy Officer for Forestry and Land Management
Damphaa@africa-union.org

Ms. Carol Jilombo
Communications
Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture
JilomboC@africa-union.org

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The African Institute for Mathematical Sciences and the African Development Bank and the ink partnership to accelerate mathematics for industry expertise across Africa
July 16, 2019 | 0 Comments

ABIDJAN, Côte d’Ivoire, July 16th 2019, -/African Media Agency (AMA)/- The African Development Bank (AfDB) and the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Monday to strengthen education, training and research in mathematical sciences in Africa.

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Speaking at the signing, African Development Bank Vice President for Agriculture and Human Development, Jennifer Blanke stressed the strong partnership between the Bank and AIMS-NEI. “The MOU gives us a framework for the operationalization of the partnership,” she said.
The partnership sets the framework for collaboration between the two institutions on enhanced mathematical research and innovation in key areas of the continent’s development challenges. It will also facilitate the design and implementation of new projects and programs and further cooperation in events related to science and technology.

Thierry Zomahoun, President and CEO of AIMS said: “Africa must not sit on the sidelines as others create technology and we consume it. If we want to leverage AI and other cutting edge technologies and compete globally, we must train researchers and engineers who create the equations and algorithms that create transformative technologies. That’s what we are doing at AIMS and we look forward to operationalizing this partnership with transformative projects to serve African countries and industries,” said Mr. Zomahoun.

 
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Since its inception in 2003, AIMS has graduated close to 2000 students from 43 countries (32% women) from its six centres with a master’s in mathematical sciences. AIMS is unique in that 70% of alumni remain on the continent. Thirty-five percent of graduates are pursuing further studies with 253 having completed a doctorate (307 in progress). Fifty percent of alumni are working in the ten critical fields of education, ICT, data science, engineering, finance and statistics, trade, commerce, energy, and entrepreneurship. In 2018, AIMS launched a one-of-its-kind master’s in machine intelligence that gives students the foundational tools to create technology for today and tomorrow.
 
Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of The African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS).
 
About the AIMS
Founded in 2003, the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) is a Pan-African network of centres of excellence for post-graduate training, research and public engagement in mathematical sciences. The AIMS network has five centres of excellence teaching a Masters in Mathematical Sciences, including a co-operative option with a direct link to industry in three centres. Currently, the network has close to 2000 alumni from 43 African countries.
The network also includes research centres and programs with 108 researchers including six prestigious Chairs currently across the network. In Cameroon and Rwanda, AIMS is runs a gender-responsive teacher training program. As well, AIMS created two critical initiatives: Quantum Leap Africa to prepare Africa for the coming quantum revolution, and the Next Einstein Forum to propel Africa on to the global scientific stage.

Media contact
Nathalie Munyampenda
Director of Communications and Public Engagement, AIMS

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ANGOLA CABLES LAUNCHES ITS CLOUD SERVICE PLATFORM TO THE AFRICAN MARKET
July 15, 2019 | 0 Comments

LUANDA, Angola, July 17th, 2019,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/- Following the recent inauguration of their advanced Tier III AngoNAP data center facility in Fortaleza, Brazil, Angola Cables has announced that it has launched Angola Cables Cloud Service to the African market.

The launch of a single platform ‘Cloud as a Service’ follows the strong demand from companies operating across the African continent who are looking to innovate and accelerate their digital capabilities, without having to incur additional software licensing and other operating costs.

‘Cloud as a Service’ addresses these challenges by delivering an attractive alternative that improve business efficiencies, increases productivity and reduces some of the high costs and complexities associated with the purchase and maintenance of IT hardware and infrastructure.

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According to research conducted by World Wide Worx entitled Cloud Africa 2018, Africa’s appetite for Cloud services is growing at an unparalleled rate. Whilst some areas within Africa are not able to utilise the full benefits of Cloud-linked computing – and its various applications, due to slow or erratic internet connections, uptake by companies – both medium and large in using the Cloud has more than doubled since 2013.

António Nunes, CE of Angola Cables says that access to cloud services has multiple benefits for corporates and other entities requiring both scale and efficiency in meeting their expanding IT needs. “The Angola Cables Cloud Service offering is a very robust, yet flexible platform that offers on-demand hardware and software resources, accelerated processing and cloud allocated storage that can be accessed anywhere in the world – even by mobile phone.”

“Given Africa’s high number of mobile subscribers, Cloud-based applications offer the opportunity to adopt and embrace evolving digital technologies that can advance economic development and cultural change,” notes Nunes. “We are already seeing a steady increase in investments being made by governments, banking and financial institutions and other businesses on the continent in using the Cloud to deliver more secure, user-friendly applications and services to their customers.”

Angola Cables Cloud Service is available via the AngoNAP data centres in Luanda and AngoNAP Fortaleza Tier III in Brazil with direct linkages to the low latency South Atlantic (SACS) and Monet cable systems within scaleable, secure, co-location environments. Nunes adds, “Our current infrastructure is ideal for a wide range of customers from large multinationals to OTT content providers, backhaul providers, ISP’s and high data volume users that share data across the continents of Africa and South America and the rest of the world.”

“Given the flexibility of our infrastructure and the ultra-low latency routings available across our subsea cable network, we are in an ideal position to assist and support companies with their cloud migration and the digital transformation of their enterprises,” concludes Nunes.

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

About Angola Cables
Angola Cables is an Angolan telecommunications multinational founded in 2009, operating in the wholesale market, its business is the sale of international transmission capacity through submarine fibre optic cables and IP Transit. SACS, Monet and WACS are the three submarine cable systems operated by Angola Cables, which connect four regions (South America, North America, Africa and Europe). Angola Cables manages Angonix, an Internet Exchange Point located in Luanda and the third largest in Africa. Angola Cables also manages two data centers: AngoNAP Fortaleza, in Fortaleza (Brazil) connected to SACS and Monet and carrier neutral to every cable systems, Luanda (Angola), AngoNAP Luanda, connected to SACS and WACS. For more information, please visit: https://www.angolacables.co.ao

For any further information – or for any interview requests, please contact: Rick Robertson at Atmosphere Communications on email: rick@atmosphere.co.za

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REAL TIME channel Launches on DStv and GOtv
July 12, 2019 | 0 Comments

The new entertainment channel from DICOVERY INC. to dazzle customers with reverting reality programming

 

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JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, July 12th, 2019,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/- Multichoice Africa in collaboration with Discovery, Inc. today announced the expansion of its portfolio in Africa with the launch of Real Time on DStv and GOtv in more countries across the continent.

Real Time is Africa’s Newest Entertainment Channel featuring exciting programmes based on Real Lives, Real Nature, Real Crime, Real Medical. Real Time’s cleverly-curated schedule and dynamic mixture of lifestyle and factual content will ensure audiences get their daily fix of real reality and must-see entertainment all in one channel.

On the DStv platform, Real Time will be available on the Premium, Compact Plus, Compact and Family packages on channel 155; and on the GOtv platform the channel will be available on the GOtv Max package on channel 12 (112 in Ghana and channel 312 in Uganda), allowing for more premium content to reach a wider spectrum of viewers on the continent.

Discovery Inc’s portfolio of channels has been serving passionate fans with content that inspires, informs and entertains with leadership across deeply loved and trusted brands.

“We are incredibly excited to present Real Time to an even wider audience in the market, and further expand and diversify our local portfolio offering,” said Amanda Turnbull, Vice President & General Manager for Discovery in Africa and the Middle East. “With an already successful suite of pay-TV brands, Real Time affords us the chance to bring our world-class content to even more audiences across Africa, in the form of a channel designed to provide much-needed ‘me time’ to the modern African woman and her wider family.”

“Multichoice is excited to welcome this new channel which will give viewers access a wide variety of compelling television shows from Discovery Inc. on our platforms,” said Yolisa Phahle, CEO of General Entertainment at MultiChoice Group. “We work hard to bring the best of what the world has to offer to viewers and plan to keep delivering content that our customers love at a price they can afford. Real Time is a welcome addition to the wide range of content available only on DStv and GOtv.”

Real Time’s impressive launch programming line-up includes:

Real Lives
OUR LITTLE FAMILY: Meet the Hamills! Parents Dan and Michelle are not raising the typical American family: the entire family of five has achondroplasia, a form of dwarfism. Dan and Michelle use their own life experiences to help guide their kids to overcome physical obstacles and learn to adapt to the world around them. (Wednesday 5 September at 21:00 CAT)

Real Weddings
MARRIED BY MOM & DAD: In this new social experiment, men and women who have been unlucky in love have agreed to put their love lives and their future in the hands of the people who know them best: their parents. (Tuesday 4 September at 20:00 CAT)

Real Medical
MY EXTREME EXCESS SKIN: In each episode of My Extreme Excess Skin we follow two people who have lost massive amounts of weight and are about to undergo a full body transformation through skin removal surgery. The reveal will not only change each subject’s self-image but will change their life. (Thursday 6 September at 21:00 CAT)

Real Nature
PREDATORS UP CLOSE WITH JOEL LAMBERT: This landmark series reveals nature’s apex predators as you’ve never seen them before. Using a new, unique and bespoke polycarbonate and aluminium ‘pod’, the Predator team come face to face with lions, hyenas, polar bears and sharks – close enough to carry out a range of original scientific experiments, and to feel the true power (and terror) of the natural world’s most effective killing machines. (Sunday 9 September at 20:00 CAT)

Real Headlines
IS OJ INNOCENT? THE MISSING EVIDENCE: Is O.J. Simpson innocent in the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman? In this six-episode series, investigators delve into one of history’s most infamous unsolved cases, exploring an overlooked suspect and never-before-seen evidence. (Saturday 8 September at 21:00 CAT)

Real Crime
PEOPLE MAGAZINE INVESTIGATES: America’s most popular weekly magazine, People, seeks to uncover the truth behind some of the country’s most infamous characters and iconic stories of crime. These are extraordinary tales of ordinary people who were thrust into the national spotlight. (Saturday 8 September at 21:00 CAT)

In addition to Real Time’s linear offering, from launch, a selection of the channel’s programming will also be available to stream and download via the DStv Now platform, ensuring all DStv customers can enjoy the best of Real Time, in their own time.

“With so much in store for our viewers and commercial partners, we look forward to establishing Real Time as Africa’s newest go-to destination for quality female-skewed programming,” continued Turnbull.

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

 
For further media queries contact: 
Raquel De Canha 
FleishmanHillard 
Tel: (011) 548 – 2047 

 

About Discovery:
Discovery, Inc. (Nasdaq: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK) is a global leader in real life entertainment, serving a passionate audience of superfans around the world with content that inspires, informs and entertains. Discovery delivers over 8,000 hours of original programming each year and has category leadership across deeply loved content genres around the world. Available in 220 countries and territories and 50 languages, Discovery is a platform innovator, reaching viewers on all screens, including TV Everywhere products such as the GO portfolio of apps and Discovery Kids Play; direct-to-consumer streaming services such as Eurosport Player and Motor Trend OnDemand; digital-first and social content from Group Nine Media and a strategic alliance with the PGA Tour to create the Global Home of Golf. Discovery’s portfolio of premium brands includes Discovery Channel, HGTV, Food Network, TLC, Investigation Discovery, Travel Channel, Turbo/Velocity, Animal Planet, and Science Channel, as well as OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network in the U.S., Discovery Kids in Latin America, and Eurosport, the leading provider of locally relevant, premium sports and Home of the Olympic Games across Europe. For more information, please visit www.corporate.discovery.com and follow @DiscoveryIncTV across social platforms.
About MultiChoice Group: 
MultiChoice Group is Africa’s leading multi-channel digital satellite and pay-television destination, offering its 15.1 million customers access to a world of entertainment, anywhere, anytime. MultiChoice Group includes MultiChoice South Africa, MultiChoice Africa, Showmax Africa, and Irdeto. MultiChoice has been in operation for the past 30 years and through its flagship product brand, DStv, the company delivers the latest and most compelling local and international content to millions of households across Africa. The company’s ongoing commitment to innovation and technology advancement resulted in the creation of its iconic high definition PVR decoder, the DStv Explora – which won the Product of the Year for 2015 and has now launched the improved HD6 PVR decoder.
Through its corporate social investment, MultiChoice actively participates in social transformation, ongoing investment in local content, job creation and skills development – which in turn strengthens the television and broadcasting industry and contributes to the South African economy.
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Tanzania: Justice must be done for death of journalist Azory Gwanda
July 12, 2019 | 0 Comments

GENEVA, Switzerland, July 12, 2019,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/- Following the disclosure by Tanzanian Foreign Minister Paramagamba Kabudi that investigative journalist Azory Gwanda, who disappeared in mysterious circumstances in November 2017, is dead, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes, Joan Nyanyuki said:

“It is very sad and extremely shocking that Gwanda is dead. But now that a senior government minister has disclosed this heart-breaking news to the world, it is time for the Tanzanian authorities to take prompt measures to ensure justice is done for this brave journalist’s untimely death.

“They must immediately launch an independent and effective investigation into his disappearance and his subsequent death and ensure that all those found responsible are held to account in fair trials.”

The Minister revealed Gwanda’s fate during a BBC interview aired on 10 July, saying; “The state is dealing with all those who have unfortunately died and disappeared in Rufiji… it was very painful for someone who was doing his job to pass on”.

Activists and fellow journalists have been asking about Gwanda’s whereabouts for months, including on #WhereIsAzory on Twitter, with no answer from the Tanzanian government. His wife, Anna Pinoni reported to the police that she last saw him when he was bundled into a car by four men and driven away from their home. He was investigating a spate of high-profile killings in the Rufiji area when he went missing.

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

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Applications now open for coveted 6-month 2020 internship at Boeing in Seattle
July 12, 2019 | 0 Comments
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, July 12th, 2019 -/African Media Agency (AMA)/- Are you studying, or recently graduated, and aiming for a career in aerospace? Now’s your chance, with a fully-paid, six-month opportunity in Boeing’s coveted International Business Intern Program (IBIP) in the United States.

Launched in 2012, IBIP gives valuable exposure to Boeing’s latest advances in business and technology. It offers hands-on experience of a variety of disciplines including finance, project management, strategy and marketing analysis, supply-chain management, and business operations. The program will be based in Seattle in the state of Washington.

“IBIP is a valuable opportunity and a superb bridge to the working world,” says J Miguel Santos, Managing Director for Sub-Sahara Africa of Boeing International and Director of International Sales for Boeing Commercial Airplanes in Africa.

“IBIP helps ensure a robust talent pipeline for the industry and it’s a splendid opportunity for the interns to get exposure and experience at the world’s largest aerospace company,” says Santos. 

 
Minimum requirements

* You must be currently enrolled or have graduated no earlier than January 16, 2019 from a foreign undergraduate or graduate business related degree program.
* Available to work fulltime in Seattle from January 2020 to July 2020.
* Business major or proven business experience in business, industrial engineering, accounting, finance, human resources, marketing, strategy, management, information systems, etc.
* Excellent communication and interpersonal skills.
* High academic achievement.
* Leadership & teamwork skills.

Process


* Entries close on August 6.
* Candidates will be interviewed in August and September, and the internships start on January 17.
* Link to apply: https://jobs.boeing.com/job/everett/international-business-internship-program/185/12395562
 

Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of Boeing. 
 
Contact
Shelly Stamatiadis/William Smook
Meropa Communications
Office: +27 21 6836464
Shelly: +27 82 3733684 / shellys@meropa.co.za
William: +27 833572837/ williams@meropa.co.za
Dana Salloum
Boeing Communications
Office: +971 2 694 4270
Mobile: +971 5 0228 9791
Dana.I.Salloum@boeing.com

About Boeing Company

Boeing is the world’s largest aerospace company and leading manufacturer of commercial jetliners and defense, space and security systems. A top U.S. exporter, the company supports airlines and U.S. and allied government customers in 150 countries. Boeing products and tailored services include commercial and military aircraft, satellites, weapons, electronic and defense systems, launch systems, advanced information and communication systems, and performance-based logistics and training.
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Over $40 billion in Trade Deals, Participants From 55 Countries Expected at IATF2020, Says Afreximbank President
July 11, 2019 | 0 Comments

 

IATF 2020

Clockwise: Afreximbank President Prof. Benedict Oramah, AU Trade Commissioner Amb. Albert Muchanga, and Rwanda Trade Minister Soraya Hakuziyaremye addressing guests at the launch of IATF2020 in Niamey.

 

NIAMEY, Niger, July 11th, 2019 -/African Media Agency (AMA)/- The organisers of the Second Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF2020) expect it to surpass the achievements of the inaugural trade fair held in Cairo in 2018 by attracting 10,000 participants and generating intra-African trade and investment deals worth more than $40 billion, Prof. Benedict Oramah, President of the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), has said.

Prof. Oramah was speaking on Saturday at the formal launch of IATF2020 during the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Business Forum 2019 held on the sidelines of the 12th Extraordinary Summit of African Union (AU) Heads of State in Niamey. He told guests that the trade fair, scheduled for Kigali from 1 to 7 September 2020, would attract more than 1,100 exhibitors from over 55 countries.

“Working with our esteemed partners, we will exceed the achievements of 2018,” he said, describing IATF2018 as a resounding success, not in the colourful displays exhibited, but in the showcasing of diversity of tradable goods by about 1,100 exhibitors from 45 countries and in the execution of deals worth about $32 billion.

That trade fair resulted in a Nigerian technology company winning a $100-million contract to provide technology-based solutions to the South Sudanese government; an Egyptian company winning contracts in many African countries to supply and install energy generation and distribution equipment worth close to $1 billion; Egyptian and Tunisian companies signing a $50-million partnership deal to create a joint venture for assembling home appliances; and the signing of a $3-billion energy generation project between an Egyptian company and an African government, the largest-ever intra-African project executed exclusively by African entities, including financial institutions, he noted.

“The momentum created by the maiden IATF and the historic launch of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) will sustain the growth of cross-border trade and investments,” he affirmed.

Also speaking, Amb. Albert Muchanga, the AU Commissioner for Trade and Industry, said that the IATF was one of a set of activities planned by the African Union Commission to support implementation of the AfCFTA. The others included the African Trade Observatory, a portal for real-time information on business opportunities.

Soraya Hakuziyaremye, Minister of Trade and Industry of Rwanda, said that it was important for the African private sector to take advantage of IATF2020 to present and exchange their products and for entrepreneurs to use it to boost their visibility.

 

Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of Afreximbank.
 
About the Second Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF2020)
The Second Intra-Africa Trade Fair (IATF2020), which will take place in Kigali from 1-7 September 2020, is expected to attract more than 1,100 exhibitors from 55 countries and to provide a platform for sharing trade, investment and market information. It will enable buyers and sellers, investors and countries to meet, discuss and conclude business deals as well as provide an opportunity for exhibitors to showcase their goods and services and to engage in business-to-business exchanges.
The key features include an IATF2020 Conference, a Creative Africa initiative, which will showcase Africa’s creative economy, Country Days dedicated to specific African countries, and an interactive online Virtual Trade Fair.
IATF2020 is being organized by Afreximbank, in collaboration with the African Union, and is hosted by the Government of Rwanda. The event partners are the African Development Bank, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa represented by the Africa Trade Policy Centre; Afrochampions Initiative; Pan African Chamber of Commerce and Industry; World Trade Centre Miami; Export Development Authority of Egypt; and International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation.
More details about IATF2020 can be found at: www.intrafricantradefair.com
 
About Afreximbank
The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) is the foremost pan-African multilateral financial institution devoted to financing and promoting intra- and extra-African trade. The Bank was established in October 1993 by African governments, African private and institutional investors, and non-African investors. Its two basic constitutive documents are the Establishment Agreement, which gives it the status of an international organization, and the Charter, which governs its corporate structure and operations. Since 1994, it has approved more than $67 billion in credit facilities for African businesses, including $7.2 billion in 2018. Afreximbank had total assets of $13.4 billion as at 31 December 2018. It is rated BBB+ (GCR), Baa1 (Moody’s), and BBB- (Fitch). The Bank is headquartered in Cairo. For more information, visit: www.afreximbank.com
Media Contact: 
Theresa Koranicki
Africa Communications Media Group
011-463-1756
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‘Nothing left to go back for’: UN News hears extraordinary stories of loss, and survival as Mozambique rebuilds from deadly cyclones
July 11, 2019 | 0 Comments

As UN Secretary-General António Guterres arrives in the southern African nation of Mozambique on Thursday for a two-day visit, he will be surveying the damage wrought by the deadly back-to-back cyclones earlier this year. UN News reports from the ground, on some of the extraordinary stories of loss, courage, survival and recovery, that have defined the months since then.

NEW YORK, United States of America, July 11, 2019,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/- When the winds started blowing across Mozambique on the night of March 14, reaching a maximum speed of 195 kilometers per hour, the tin roof was the first thing to blow away at the home of the Mutizo family.

Inside the tiny coastal house, held together with pieces of plastic, cardboard, and bricks, 62-year Laurinda, her two adult children, Teresa and Ernesto, together with Teresa’s one-year old baby and the two teenagers the family adopted years ago, hugged and huddled together.

In a quick moment, Teresa’s hair salon, adjoining their house, simply flew away, she told UN News.

Moments later, it was Ernesto’s business shop, where the cyclone destroyed the copy machine and computer he had invested in, with the precious savings he had managed to put away, working as a barber.

The family hoped their remaining source of livelihood, the two little machambas where Laurinda grew rice, would survive, but in the morning, they found out that had been destroyed as well.

As the Mutizos realized their livelihoods had vanished, many other families came to the same conclusion. The deadly cyclones had left behind only debris where there had been businesses. According to UN, Cyclone Idai affected 1.85 million people in the provinces of Inhambane, Manica, Tete, Zambézia and Sofala. In the bustling coastal city of Beira in particular, 90% of all the infrastructure was damaged.

Pledging conference falls short

Just six weeks later, as people struggled to recover, a second devastating monster storm – Cyclone Kenneth hit the northern provinces of Cabo Delgado and Nampula, affecting more than 400,000 people.

Both cyclones were then followed by weeks of torrential rains. At one point, a UN humanitarian worker described the flooded area as “an inland ocean” that was as big as Luxembourg – about 125km by 25km across.

Mr. Guterres will begin his mission on Thursday by meeting President Filipe Nyusi, and receive updated briefings from UN agencies in the field, before visiting some of the affected areas.

Last month, the country hosted a donors’ conference, hoping to raise $3.2 billion to facilitate the reconstruction of the affected areas. International donors pledged only US$ 1.2 billion.

At the time, the UN Secretary-General stated that “this is the moment to translate into concrete gestures our solidarity with a country affected by one of the worst weather-related catastrophes in African history.” For him, the disaster “also warns us about the urgency of tackling climate change.”

Resilience, and building back

In Mozambique’s second-largest city, Beira, one of the places Mr. Guterres will visit, is the School 25 de Junho. It’s in the neighbourhood where the Mutizos live, although now they sleep in crowded classrooms and eating meals distributed by UN agencies and partners, until they can patch up their damaged home, and move back.

The principal of this school is Frederico Francisco. The school now hosts about 5,000 children, aged five to around 14. Organized in three shifts, starting at 6am, boys and girls dressed in dark and light blue uniforms, fill classrooms which take up to 90 students. 

“Before the cyclone, our priority was to build some bathrooms. We only have one toilet for boys and one for girls”, Mr. Francisco said this week. “But now the roofs are our main concern.”

The school has five different pavilions. One was completed last year, built by the community. Windows remain broken and the tin roofs have been blown away, with some pieces that got ripped off, which UN News observed was hanging over the students as they learn maths and sciences under the beating sun.

In the middle of the campus, one pavilion survived intact. It opened in February, one month before the cyclone, and was built by UN-Habitat, the urban development agency, with admirable consideration given to concerns for resilience to extreme climate events.

That’s where Ivanilda Samuel, 10 years old, is studying Portuguese, her favorite subject. She wishes her school had a new roof. But she’s also happy she was back in school after only two weeks. She said she was “very scared” during the cyclone and getting back in class, with all her friends, helped her not think of that night.

Back to life

As Ivanilda tried to get back to normal life, so have most Mozambicans. The Mutizos are preparing “bolinhos”, a fried butter pastry, which they sell on the street with other candy. Beira was cleaned up, with the help of more than 40 trucks made available by private companies. In the areas most affected by Idai, the distribution of emergency food is coming to an end, after a period of three months and some extensions. The same is happening at the end of July in the districts hit by Kenneth.

The World Food Programme (WFP) emergency coordinator for Idai, Peter Rodrigues, said the agency has reached about 1.6 million people so far. In the second phase of food distribution, which will last until next crop season, around March 2020, WFP will help “around 600,000 to 700,000 more vulnerable people”, at a cost of US$110 million.

Right now, all the temporary housing is being closed down. In Beira, there are around 46,000 people still living in 15 permanent resettlement camps. In the areas that have been badly affected by the second cyclone, there around 1,300 displaced in camps.

‘Nothing left to go back for’

Hortênsia Arnaldo Abreu Júlio, 26, and her three children are one of the families who are not going home. She lived in Mataquari, a neighborhood in Beira, but her house got completely destroyed. “I have nothing left to go back for”, she told us.

When the cyclone hit, she and her kids, ages 5 to 11, moved to her mother’s place. When that house became unsafe, they took refuge in her brother’s car for a couple of days. She then lived in a temporary shelter at a school and was then moved to one in a community center.

She says she “no longer had a way to find something to feed the children.” At these centers, she could “have something to feed them, at least a little bit of rice, flour, beans, something that we could eat.”

She was then given a permanent place to live in the Mandruzi camp, some 40 minutes north of Beira, along with some 375 other families. They live in tents given by the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, International Organization for Migration, IOM, and other partners. Many come from villages that flood constantly and were deemed no longer safe to live in.

Hortênsia’s three children have started having classes again at the camp supported by the UN, but she worries it’s not “a permanent school”, where they’ll get a certificate for their studies and progress in classes. She shows us around, and her tent is perfectly organized, with a division in the middle, and clothes perfectly folded and organized in little piles: there are pots and pans by the entrance closer to the fire, which she lights a few times a day to cook the rice and beans she’s given.

Around the tent, she has been able to cultivate about a dozen different varieties of vegetable, in just a few short weeks. There are beans, sweet potatoes, onions, and she has even started harvesting some greens.

Dreaming of a house again

“A piece of land has always been my dream”, she says. She said she “cried a lot” after the cyclone, when her kids had to sleep with dozens of strangers in crowded rooms. “I prayed for a house and a piece of land. A place where I and my sons could be safe.”

At the camp, she started dreaming about a house again. She’s hoping for materials and then she would build it herself. It was also at the camp that she discovered she has the name of a flower, hydrangeas, and marveled at how pretty they are when shown pictures on a smartphone.

“Maybe one day I’ll plant them in front of my house”, she said. “Can you imagine, after all this, having a house and flowers? People wouldn’t believe it.”

Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of the United Nations.

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DTC2019 to lead Digital Transformation conversation
July 11, 2019 | 0 Comments

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, July 11, 2019,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/- The second edition of the Digital Transformation Congress (#DTC2019) taking place on 30 July 2019 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg is set to dominate the digital transformation conversation in Africa.

#DTC2019 seeks to create a platform for business leaders and technology innovators to come together and collaborate on the re-invention of products, processes, cultures and technologies through digital transformation.

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According to a study that looks at digital transformation in the manufacturing industry by PWC titled, Digital Champions: How industry leaders build integrated operations ecosystems to deliver end-to-end customer solutions only 5 per cent of companies in EMEA regions can be regarded as “Digital Champions”, while none in South Africa were placed in that category.

The study reveals that South Africa is lagging behind on the digital transformation journey due to the fact that South African companies often do not have the advantage of setting up robust digital operations from factory automation, workforce, and even organisational IT networks.

The Digital Transformation Congress will bring together leaders who will explore how to increase efficiency and agility with operational excellence while creating customer-obsessed experiences that grow revenue and re-invigorate businesses.

The programme will also include various tracks designed to bring you the most progressive examples of real-world digital transformation journeys found in the IT industry.

Key topics for DTC 2019 include:

  • Accelerating Digital Transformation in Government for Enhanced Service Delivery
  • The Role of the CIO in Enabling Effective Digital Transformation in complex organisations
  • Digitizing the Manufacturing Industry
  • Using the cloud as a platform for Digital Transformation
  • Digitally Transforming the Energy and Utility Sector
  • Preparing for the disruption that’s coming to your industry
  • Becoming a Transformational Business Leader to Ensure a Smooth Transition to Digital
  • Upskilling your Workforce in Preparation for the 4th Industrial Revolution

View the DTC 2019 Agenda

Who should attend DTC 2019?

The Digital Transformation congress is the key meeting place for IT and business executives in Africa. The conference will attract senior decision-makers, local and international CxOs, line-of-business (LoB) executives as well as heads of innovation, technology and strategy.

How to participate:

Join as an attendee: Join local and international CxOs, line-of-business (LoB) executives as well as heads of innovation, technology and strategy to discuss the techniques and tools required to implement a seamless digital transformation strategy that will drive profitability and customer centricity.

Join us as an exhibitor: Showcase your technology innovations, projects, and solutions. Put your organisation, company or SME at the centre of this one-of-a-kind gathering. Find new partnerships, investors, leads, and opportunities.

Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of IT News Africa.

For more information regarding the conference, visit: http://www.digitaltransformationcongress.com/
[t]: 011 026 0981/2
[e]: events@itnewsafrica.com

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Applications now open for coveted 6-month 2020 internship at Boeing in Seattle
July 11, 2019 | 0 Comments
Applications have opened for the coveted 6-month 2020 IBIP internship at Boeing in Seattle.
 
Successful interns on the 2019 programme included Kenyan students Aogah Winnie Achieng and Monica Nyawira who received valuable hands on experience of a variety of disciplines, including business operations, finance, marketing, and strategy in the aviation industry and exposure to Boeing’s latest advances in business and technology.
See details of the criteria and application process below which closes on 6th August.
 
 
NAIROBI, Kenya, July 11th, 2019 -/African Media Agency (AMA)/- Are you studying, or recently graduated, and aiming for a career in aerospace? Now’s your chance, with a fully-paid, six-month opportunity in Boeing’s coveted International Business Intern Program (IBIP) in the United States.

Launched in 2012, IBIP gives valuable exposure to Boeing’s latest advances in business and technology. It offers hands-on experience of a variety of disciplines including finance, project management, strategy and marketing analysis, supply-chain management, and business operations. The program will be based in Seattle in the state of Washington.

“IBIP is a valuable opportunity and a superb bridge to the working world,” says J Miguel Santos, Managing Director for Sub-Sahara Africa of Boeing International and Director of International Sales for Boeing Commercial Airplanes in Africa.

“IBIP helps ensure a robust talent pipeline for the industry and it’s a splendid opportunity for the interns to get exposure and experience at the world’s largest aerospace company,” says Santos. 

 
Minimum requirements

* You must be currently enrolled or have graduated no earlier than January 16, 2019 from a foreign undergraduate or graduate business related degree program.
* Available to work fulltime in Seattle from January 2020 to July 2020.
* Business major or proven business experience in business, industrial engineering, accounting, finance, human resources, marketing, strategy, management, information systems, etc.
* Excellent communication and interpersonal skills.
* High academic achievement.
* Leadership & teamwork skills.

Process


* Entries close on August 6.
* Candidates will be interviewed in August and September, and the internships start on January 17.
* Link to apply: https://jobs.boeing.com/job/everett/international-business-internship-program/185/12395562
 

Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of Boeing.
 
Contact
Shelly Stamatiadis/William Smook
Meropa Communications
Office: +27 21 6836464
Shelly: +27 82 3733684 / shellys@meropa.co.za
William: +27 833572837/ williams@meropa.co.za
Dana Salloum
Boeing Communications
Office: +971 2 694 4270
Mobile: +971 5 0228 9791
Dana.I.Salloum@boeing.com

About Boeing Company

Boeing is the world’s largest aerospace company and leading manufacturer of commercial jetliners and defense, space and security systems. A top U.S. exporter, the company supports airlines and U.S. and allied government customers in 150 countries. Boeing products and tailored services include commercial and military aircraft, satellites, weapons, electronic and defense systems, launch systems, advanced information and communication systems, and performance-based logistics and training.
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ECOWAS and The Netherlands to step up development cooperation
July 10, 2019 | 0 Comments

ABUJA, Nigeria, July 10, 2019,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/- The Commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Kingdom of The Netherlands are stepping up their cooperation to maximise their existing cordial relations for the benefit of the people of West African.

To this end, the parties held discussions on the 9th of June 2019 in Abuja, Nigeria, to examine areas of mutual interest regarding peace and security, regional trade, economic cooperation and development, agriculture as well as cooperation in food security, among others.

Conferring with the Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and International Cooperation Ms. Sigrid Kaag, in this regard, the ECOWAS Commission’s Vice President, Madam Finda Koroma stressed the importance of a secure, congenial environment for sustainable development.

According to Madam Vice President, the ECOWAS Commission remains a steadfast partner of The Netherlands in the desire to pursue co-prosperity in the region having regards to the peace, security and stability of ECOWAS Member States.

She stated that the collective pursuit of regional security is an endeavour that can strengthen current efforts at curtailing the problems associated with transhumance and violent extremism.

ECOWAS, she added, recognises the important role of stakeholders such as civil society and faith-based organisations, religious as well as traditional rulers, in forging strong partnerships to resolve the problems arising from the engagement of the eco system by citizens of West Africa.

Regional citizens are to benefit from training in various fields of agriculture which is expected to translate to a boost of the food security of the region with greater production of products such as Rice, Cashew and other staple foods in accordance with the strategic planning vision of the Commission.

Giving a cursory political, social and economic situation report in some member states, while disclosing that a Platform on nutrition is to be raised by the regional leaders, Vice president Koroma said the synergy being called forth in all fields, also requires a more coordinated approach to mediation.

Giving insights into her government’s engagement roadmap with the ECOWAS Commission, Minister Kaag stressed that the “prevention agenda” is strategic to the peace and security cooperation, towards the enhancement of trade and development as well as the promotion of exclusive economic growth.

Noting that phenomena such as human trafficking and climate change issues have to be tackled headlong, while dealing sensibly with seasonal labour migrations, Ms Kaag admitted that time is a limiting factor relative to the scale of work to be done as well as the scope of investment that the cooperation with ECOWAS is to bring about.

On regional trade, capacity building and skill acquisition for sector actors, Minister Kaag said that in line with the recognition being accorded women as traders and the support they deserve, the government of Netherlands was in full support of intra-regional trade and seeks to support capacity building efforts with favourable trade policies and through its digitalisation strategy.

She enthused that the Orange Corners which have been helping citizens with start-ups, is a testimony to the capacity building and citizens’ development disposition of the government of the Kingdom of The Netherlands which it is also willing to share with ECOWAS.

Led by the ECOWAS Commission’s Commissioner for Trade, Customs and Free Movement Mr. Tei Konzi, the Commission’s Directors and senior officials in charge of Trade (Mr. Gbenga Obideyi), Agriculture (Mr. Alain Traore), Free movement (Albert Boateng), Peace Support (Col Ollo Palle) and Elections (Mr. Francis Oke, brought the visiting Minister up to speed with the programmes and strides of their various Directorates.

The ten-man delegation of Minister Kaag comprised the “Chargé d’Affaires” of the Netherlands embassy in Nigeria Marion Kappeyne Van de Coppello, Departmental Directors as well as the coordinator, West Africa of her Ministry’s Africa Department, Mr. Stefan Hulisz.

Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of the ECOWAS Commission.

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Ethiopia: New journalist arrests put press freedom gains at risk
July 10, 2019 | 0 Comments

GENEVA, Switzerland, July 10, 2019,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/- The Ethiopian government risks rolling back the great progress it made on media freedom last year, said Amnesty International, after the government announced plans to charge journalists and media outlets for their reporting on the armed forces.

Since taking office in April 2018, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government has overturned the repressive civil society law and released dozens of detained journalists and bloggers. By the end of 2018, not a single journalist remained behind bars, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, and, in 2019, Ethiopia leapt 40 places up the World Press Freedom Index.

However, following a wave of arrests of journalists in the past weeks, the Ministry of Defence on 8 July announced plans to charge journalists and media houses for “publishing defamatory information about the Ethiopia National Defence Forces”.

“After making great strides on press freedom, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government received glowing tributes, and the honour of hosting this year’s World Press Freedom Day event,” Joan Nyanyuki, Amnesty International’s Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes said.

“This new round of arrests is a hugely regressive move that risks rolling back the progress witnessed in 2018. All journalists arrested must be immediately released and all charges against them unconditionally dropped.”

Berihun Adane, Editor-in-Chief of the privately-owned Asrat TV and the weekly Berera newspaper, was arrested on 26 June, while Elias Gebru, editor of the Enqu magazine, defunct since 2014, was arrested on 6 July.

Both journalists have since been charged under the Anti- Terrorism Proclamation (2009), which was used by previous governments to bring trumped-up charges against its critics.

The latest round of arrests in the wake of the 22 June assassination of the army chief of staff and other high-ranking government officers, has also targeted activists and members of the opposition National Movement of the Amhara.

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

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Equatorial Guinea: Dissolution of an NGO shows escalating crackdown on civil society
July 10, 2019 | 0 Comments

GENEVA, Switzerland, July 10, 2019,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/- Authorities in Equatorial Guinea should immediately rescind their decision to dissolve a prominent civil society organization and allow human rights defenders and activists to work without fear of reprisals, Amnesty International said today.

The country’s Minister of the Interior and Local Corporations published on 5 July, a decree revoking the authorization granted to the Center for Development Studies and Initiatives (CEID) – one of the few independent NGOs that denounce human rights violations in the country, which the authorities accused of undertaking political activities.

“Forcing NGO to close is a blatant violation of the right to freedom of association and shows the lack of commitment by the Equatorial Guinea government to end its long history of harassing and intimidating human rights defenders and civil society activists,” said Marta Colomer, Amnesty International West Africa Senior Campaigner.

“By dissolving this NGO and ending its operations, the authorities have demonstrated that they are not serious about ending the persecution of human rights defenders and independent civil society.   Authorities should immediately rescind their decision to dissolve the CEID and allow civil society organizations to carry out their work without fear of reprisals.”

In the decree, the Minister accused the CEID for having undertaken “political activities” in recent years. Authorities said the fact that CEID took part in political activities is not in accordance with the statutes authorizing apolitical organizations. Amnesty International considers the dissolution as a clear violation of the right to freedom of association guaranteed by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights to which Equatorial Guinea is a state party.   

The move also took place in the context of a 20-year-old legislation regulating non-governmental organizations’ activities, putting several obstacles on their registration process, independence, functioning and development.

Furthermore, human rights defenders in Equatorial Guinea are increasingly under attack on an alarming scale.  In the last three years, several prominent human rights defenders have been targeted, ill-treated and arbitrarily detained.

Examples include the case of Alfredo Okenve who is also the vice-president of the CEID who, in March was arrested after having been banned from receiving in the capital Malabo the “Franco-German prize for human rights” for his work. Amnesty International has documented other instance where he was beaten in October 2018 by unidentified armed men using the butts of their guns and sticks. 

Violations of the rights of human rights defenders occur with repression and crackdown on political activists and the civic space.  Some opposition supporters even face torture when arrested. Joaquín Elo Ayeto, a member of the opposition party Convergence for Social Democracy and member of the Platform Somos+ was subjected to torture at least twice while at Central Police Station after his arrest earlier this year which resulted in physical injuries. He was also threatened with death by police.  At present Joaquín Elo Ayeto remains in preventive detention in Black Beach prison. 

As President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo is marking his 40 years in power, Amnesty International is calling on him to ensure that his government moves swiftly to respect, protect, promote and fulfil human rights of everyone in the country including the rights of human rights defenders and civil society activists.

“A first step would be to ensure that his government allows registration of non-governmental organizations and enables their full and independent functioning,” said Marta Colomer.

“The government should also adopt concrete and effective measures to prevent and punish cases of harassment and intimidation of human rights defenders and civil society activists.”

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

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Young Ghanaian innovator shows Africa’s future lies in its talented youth
July 9, 2019 | 0 Comments

Self-taught coder develops model for diagnosing breast cancer; looks to solve some of the continent’s biggest challenges and inspires youth across the continent as Africa Code Week Youth Ambassador for 2019.

Mustapha_1
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, July 9, 2019 -/African Media Agency (AMA)/- “It takes a village to raise a child”: as the Fourth Industrial Revolution sweeps across Africa and more of its youth develop coding and other digital skills, there may come a time to update this old saying to: “It takes one child to raise the prospects of a village.” And based on the quest of one young man from a village in Ghana to solve some of the major problems faced by his community, this saying could become commonplace as more young innovators enter the fray.

Inspired by global technology success stories, Mustapha Diyaol Haqq, a 19-year-old from Kumasi in Southern Ghana, realised he too could deliver innovation where it was most needed, starting with his very home town. “Seeing how the big tech companies used innovation to solve some of the world’s biggest problems made me realise how important it is to learn to code,” says Haqq. “I looked online for any free courses that could help me develop coding skills and completed as many as I could.”

Despite being self-taught, Haqq was able to develop a potentially life-saving solution for women across the continent. “I used my knowledge of coding and machine learning to develop a model for diagnosing breast cancer, which I hope to release freely to communities across Africa,” says Haqq. Also high on his agenda, hunger and food security which he sees as two of the biggest challenges faced by the continent’s rapidly growing population. “Africa relies heavily on smallholder farmers to meet its food production needs. However, much of the produce from farms are spoilt before it reaches the markets in the cities. I’m currently working on a machine learning and AI model that can help reduce post-harvest losses and ensure the work our farmers do translate into food security for our communities.”

Connectivity challenges remain limiting
Mustapha_2One of Haqq’s biggest challenges when learning to code was accessing the internet. “We don’t have a good internet connection where we live, so I had to walk kilometres to an internet café where I could access free online coding courses. Internet access is expensive but, thanks to the generous support of my parents, who made some sacrifices to give me a chance to complete a few online courses, I built sufficient coding skills to start developing solutions to some of the problems affecting our community.”

Ghana suffers from poor internet penetration, with only 14% of the population having access to the internet. Despite this, the Ghanaian government has set out an ambitious plan to position the country as a leader in ICT innovation in the sub-Saharan Africa region by 2023. Young innovators such as Haqq will undoubtedly play a crucial role in achieving the government’s ambitions and inspiring more youth to pursue careers in tech.

Haqq says internet access is also the single biggest obstacle to greater adoption of coding among African youth. “Our continent does not enjoy the fixed-line infrastructure of our more developed peers, and mobile internet can be expensive. For me to afford the internet cafes where I learned to code, my parents had to make sacrifices. Global companies can play an invaluable support role by investing in providing internet access to our communities to support us as we get ready for a digital future.”

Lighting a coding fire among Africa’s youth as Youth Ambassador for Africa Code Week 2019
Mustapha_6One of the initiatives working to address digital literacy in Ghana is SAP’s Africa Code Week, an annual, continent-wide digital literacy programme that has engaged over 4.1 million youth in 37 African countries since 2015. “I participated in Africa Code Week as an opportunity to share my knowledge with young people in my community and inspire more youngsters to learn one of the most important languages of our time: coding,” says Haqq. “I am also a volunteer and instructor for Ghana Code Club, and with the help of some friends we have established coding clubs in several communities, where we spend our free time and weekends teaching both kids and adults to code. Being appointed Youth Ambassador for ACW 2019 is a dream come true, and a unique opportunity to inspire change on a global platform, encouraging young talents across the continent to learn digital skills and code the change they want to see in their community.”

SAP, UNESCO and over 130 partners from the public, private and non-profit sectors are currently gearing up to introduce coding skills to 1.5 million youth across 37 countries in October 2019. According to Claire Gillissen-Duval, Director of EMEA Corporate Social Responsibility and Africa Code Week Global Lead at SAP, this 2019 edition will feature a strong focus on empowering girls and building teaching capacity at the community level, hence the importance of role models like Mustapha. “We are extremely proud and honoured to welcome Mustapha as our Youth Ambassador for ACW 2019. He overcame major challenges and his amazing journey has the power to inspire many. As a young innovator and change maker, his mentorship and guidance will be crucial as we strive to empower an entire generation and strengthen teaching capacity in ICT education among African communities.”

Stay tuned for #ACW2019 taking place in October across 37 countries. For more information visit www.africacodeweek.org

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

For more information, visit the SAP News Center. Follow SAP on Twitter at @sapnews, @SAPAfrica.

About Africa Code Week
Spearheaded in 2015 by SAP’s EMEA Corporate Social Responsibility department as part of its social investments to drive sustainable growth in Africa, Africa Code Week is instilling digital literacy and coding skills in the young generation, to drive sustainable learning impact across Africa. Strong partnerships with the public, private and non-profit sectors are the driving force behind the initiative’s ability to drive sustainable learning impact in support of UN Sustainable Development Goals.Africa Code Week has benefitted over 4 million young Africans so far and is now actively supported by UNESCO YouthMobile, BMZ, Google and over 130 partners and 120 ambassadors across the continent. SAP also works closely with UNESCO to increase girl participation in ACW workshops. The fifth edition of ACW will see thousands of free coding workshops organised for 1.5 million youth across 37 countries in October 2019, with a strong focus on girl empowerment and community capacity building.
Join SAP and partners by visiting www.africacodeweek.org to find out more.

About SAP
As the cloud company powered by SAP HANA®, SAP is the market leader in enterprise application software, helping companies of all sizes and in all industries run at their best: 77% of the world’s transaction revenue touches an SAP® system. Our machine learning, Internet of Things (IoT), and advanced analytics technologies help turn customers’ businesses into intelligent enterprises. SAP helps give people and organizations deep business insight and fosters collaboration that helps them stay ahead of their competition. We simplify technology for companies so they can consume our software the way they want – without disruption. Our end-to-end suite of applications and services enables more than 437,000 business and public customers to operate profitably, adapt continuously, and make a difference. With a global network of customers, partners, employees, and thought leaders, SAP helps the world run better and improve people’s lives. For more information, visit www.sap.com.

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Leaders from Sub-Saharan Africa join forces to accelerate elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases
July 9, 2019 | 0 Comments

On the sidelines of the African Union Summit, national and international leaders join the “No to NTDs” movement to reduce the burden of neglected tropical diseases in sub-Saharan Africa

DAKAR, Senegal, July 9th,  2019, -/African Media Agency (AMA)/-  The high-level side event was convened as part of the African Union Summit, by policy and advocacy tank Speak Up Africa, in partnership with the Ministry of Health and First Lady of Niger, H.E Mrs. Aïssata Issoufou. Held under the High Patronage of His Excellency Mr. Mahamadou Issoufou, and chaired by the First Lady of Niger, the convening saw high level speakers from across the region discuss the challenges to NTD elimination and collaborative strategies to accelerate progress against diseases that currently blight the lives of millions of people across the region.

Over 100 participants attended the event including H.E Mrs. Sika Kaboré, First Lady of Burkina Faso, H.E Mrs. Hinda Deby Itno, First Lady of Chad, H.E Mrs. Antoinette Sassou Nguesso, First Lady of Congo and current President of the Organization of African First Ladies for Development (OAFLAD), the Queen of ESwatini, Dr. Matshidiso Rebecca Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Abdourahmane Diallo, Executive Director of the RBM Partnership to End Malaria, Mrs. Joy Phumaphi, Executive Secretary of the African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA), Dr. Idi Illiassou Mainassara, Minister of Health of Niger, Mrs. Françoise Vanni, External Relations Director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

 The event provided attending leaders with a platform to assess the progress toward NTD elimination on the continent and learn from best practices for informed decisions on the creation of sustainable partnerships for universal health coverage.

 

His Excellency Mr. Mahamadou Issoufou, President of Niger

His Excellency Mr. Mahamadou Issoufou, President of Niger

His Excellency Mr. Mahamadou Issoufou, President of Niger, underlined the importance that his government attaches to health, particularly through the implementation of Niger’s Renaissance program, which will help the country achieve its universal health coverage objectives.

H.E Mrs. Aïssata Issoufou, First Lady of Niger, commented: “After all progress, particularly in countries most heavily burdened with NTDs, depends on strong and consistent country leadership and regional coordination, to ensure that all people, particularly the most vulnerable and marginalized, have access to quality health services and NTD prevention methods.”

Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) are a diverse group of communicable diseases which affect more than 1.5 billion people worldwide, 39% of whom live in Africa. NTDs affect the most vulnerable members of society, and whilst there has been some progress in recent years, attendees at the event emphasized that failing to do more to fight NTDs now, including developing new tools and resources, will have significant consequences for future generations in Africa.

In Niger, NTDs including lymphatic filariasis, schistosomiasis, soil-transmitted helminthiasis and trachoma are endemic. A highlight of the event was therefore the formal launch of a new monitoring and accountability tool to help better manage NTD prevention and treatment initiatives in Niger. Launched by the Government of Niger, the new NTD ‘scorecard’ will measure national and sub-national progress against NTDs, including the number of cases of these diseases reported in each region, the number of interventions supplied to prevent cases of NTDs, and the rate of treatment offered to those affected.

Dr Matshidiso Rebecca Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, commented: “As we make progress in the fight against NTDs, the momentum presented by universal health coverage is a unique opportunity to harness our synergies to ensure that no one is left behind”.

Ms. Yacine Djibo, Executive Director, Speak Up Africa, commented: “The elimination of neglected tropical diseases is within reach. All of us here, in this room and beyond, have a responsibility to act to accelerate the elimination of these diseases by 2030. More than ever, we need to mobilize our financial and technical resources. The commitment and ownership of this NTD control and elimination by the communities remains crucial to overcome these diseases.”

At the meeting, HE Mrs. First Lady of Niger Aïssata Issoufou stressed the need to adopt new innovative approaches. Three days before the meeting, the government of Niger launched a national coalition against NTDs, which aims to strengthen coordination among partners to maximize available financial and technical resources and diversify partners fighting for the elimination of NTDs. This marks the launch of the ‘No to NTDs’ campaign in Niger, implemented in partnership with Speak Up Africa. The campaign aims to increase commitment and ownership of NTD elimination at all levels of society.

Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of Speak Up Africa.

About Speak up Africa
Headquartered in Dakar, Senegal, Speak Up Africa is a policy and advocacy action tank dedicated to catalyzing leadership, enabling policy change, and increasing awareness for sustainable development in Africa. Speak Up Africa ensures policy makers meet implementers; that solutions are showcased and that every sector- from individual citizens and civil society groups to global donors and business leaders –contributes critically to the dialogue and strives to form the blueprints for concrete action for public health and sustainable development.

Find out more on:
* Website: www.speakupafrica.org/
* Twitter: @SpeakUpAfrica1  
* Facebook: @SpeakUpAfrica 
* Instagram: @speakupafrica 
* LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/speak-up-africa

Media contact:
Fara Ndiaye
fara.ndiaye@speakupafrica.org

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Mashrou3i Supported Entrepreneurs Prove Environmental Protection and Economic Growth Go Hand in Hand
July 8, 2019 | 0 Comments

TUNIS, Tunisia, July 8, 2019,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/- Protecting the environment is a global priority and is as urgent in Tunisia as it is anywhere else in the world. Economic growth has at times been detrimental to the fragile natural environment and there is a rising call for a new mindset to help mitigate climate change.

In 2014, Tunisia became one in a handful of nations to enshrine its commitment to climate stewardship in its constitution, recognizing the necessity of preserving the environment and protecting natural resources for future generations. Its Article 45 also obligates the state to “provide the necessary means to eradicate environmental pollution”. And while the government has paved the way for action, Tunisian businesses play a significant role in realizing the transformation to a greener economy.

This month, we shine a light on entrepreneurs supported by the Mashrou3i project who are proving the power and potential of green business. We explore how the private-public partnership between the Tunisian government, USAID, the Italian Cooperation, the HP Foundation and UNIDO is merging green skills with business know how to foster a new generation of eco-minded entrepreneurs in Tunisia’s interior regions.

Investing in Clean Energy

To expand the country’s renewable energy capacity, the Tunisian government is investing heavily in the sector. The country aims to increase the share of renewable energy in electricity consumption from the current 3% to 30% by 2030. Many farmers have already received subsidies to power their wells and irrigation systems with solar energy. The state-run energy agency also offers discounts for homes that heat water with solar panels. But what about entrepreneurs in this field?

Forward-thinking entrepreneurs like Nizar Thlijani from Kairouan are proving that cleaner energy is a sound investment. In 2018, Mashrou3i provided Nizar with a 10-day technical training on the maintenance of hydraulic pumps and the installation of photovoltaic panels for rural irrigation. The 33-year-old entrepreneur also took part in a HP LIFE workshop to strengthen his business and IT skills. Since then, Nizar has gained several clients, promoting clean energy use in the region’s agricultural sector.

Championing Sustainability

When the Tunisian government introduced a ban on the sale of plastic bags, Nouha Issaoui saw an opportunity to launch a business that produces a sustainable alternative. With Mashrou3i support and training she launched Bio Bag, a firm producing recycled paper bags in Sidi Bouzid with an investment of 250,000 Tunisian Dinars. Actively promoting ecological practices in Tunisia, the young entrepreneur is also about to start exporting her products to other African countries and Europe.

Supporting Local Development

A huge amount of plastic doesn’t get recycled. It ends up in landfill or littering our oceans, leading to the release of harmful toxins into the environment. Mohamed Fadhel identified an eco-friendly business idea to help solve this challenge. Launched in 2018, Plastic Recovery, specializes in the collection and recycling of household and industrial plastic waste. Once the plastic is sorted and cleaned it is transformed into plastic granules that are then sold to plastic injection companies for reuse.

Plastic Recovery also shows that green businesses can and do benefit local communities. The firm is not only successfully generating a profit. It’s also creating jobs and stimulating Sidi Bouzid’s social and solidarity economy.

In addition to support from Mashrou3i’s regional expert, Mohamed received several trainings to improve his sales, communication skills and empower him to assess and enhance the environmental impact of his business activities.

Green Business can also be Low Tech

Green solutions are not all about photovoltaic panels and biofuels. Inspired by her passion for decoration and textiles, 28-year-old Olfa Romdhani launched a business that encourages people to breathe new life into their furniture, rather than simply throwing it away.

Combining traditional tapestry techniques with modern designs, Alpha Déco offers customers the possibility to upcycle their belongings. By prolonging the life cycle of objects and avoiding waste, the business ultimately challenges our throw-away society. Olfa is one of many entrepreneurs who received support from Mashrou3i as she started the journey of entrepreneurship.

Green Means Business

Contrary to popular criticism of environmentalism, green business practices and economic growth are not mutually exclusive. In fact, they often they go hand-in-hand.

Mashrou3i is promoting energy efficiency and its business benefits among students through the integration of the HP LIFE program into Tunisian higher education institutions. Samir Arfa, an Educator in Electrical Engineering at ISET Kairouan has played an active role in the adoption of the HP LIFE training into the higher education institution’s curricula, including the program’s ‘Energy Efficiency: Do More for Less’ course. Through the online training, students learn how to assess and conserve energy to save a business money and protect the environment.

 So far, more than 100 students from the ISET Kairouan have enhanced their energy awareness through the HP LIFE e-Learning program.

A New Wave of ‘Green’ MSMEs

Green businesses, are by and large micro, small and medium sized enterprises (MSMEs) -whether a renewable energy company, recycling firm or locally sourced handicraft business. And even if these MSMEs do not have a green mission at their core, they are deeply rooted in the needs of their community and local environment, and therefore often have an incentive to be good environmental stewards.

Mashrou3i is fostering a new cadre of green entrepreneurs through the HP LIFE e-learning program, deep dive business coaching and technical assistance. In the last two years, the private-public partnership between the Tunisian government, USAID, the Italian Cooperation, the HP Foundation and UNIDO has provided intensive training to over 104 people in environmental techniques to improve their waste management and enhance their environmental awareness.

By empowering future generations with the right tools and know-how, like the Mashrou3i supported entrepreneurs seen here, green entrepreneurship in Tunisia has a bright future.

Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of the US Embassy in Tunis.

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