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African Development Bank AgriPitch Competition: $120,000 in prizes on offer during African Youth Agripreneur Forum 3-17 November
October 22, 2020 | 0 Comments

The AgriPitch competition is open to youth aged 18 to 35 who hold African nationality or citizenship and who submit their application online by 23rd October.

There are just hours to go until the 23 October deadline to enter the African Development Bank’s (www.AfDB.org) AgriPitch Competition. Selected entries by African youth agripreneurs will be invited to showcase their agribusiness startup plans and compete for a share of $120,000 in funding seed prizes, a slot of the competition’s business development boot camp, an audience of online panel of experts and investors to pitch their agribusiness plans, as well as receive post-event mentoring and training.

The AgriPitch competition is part of the African Development Bank’s fourth African Youth Agripreneurs Forum (AYAF) – one of the continent’s most exciting platforms for African youth in agriculture start-up scene – to be held online for the first time this 3 -17 November, 2020.

“The African Youth Agripreneurs Forum and AgriPitch Competition has always been a high-energy gathering for young entrepreneurs in agriculture to meet, share experiences – and work the room for that next big investment,” said Edson Mpyisi, Coordinator of the Bank’s Enable Youth Program responsible for the event. “The COVID-19 pandemic may keep us from networking in person in 2020, however, the Bank and partners are gearing up to present a dynamic, knowledge-rich Forum online – as well as the most seed funding AgriPitch has ever awarded competitors,” he added.

In collaboration with partners like UN Women, the African Leaders for Nutrition and the Affirmative Finance Action for Women Africa initiative, this year’s AYAF and AgriPitch competition will have two segments:
AYAF webinars held on 3, 10  and 17  November.
The AgriPitch boot camp training from 2 – 13 November, followed by the finalists pitching on 16 and 17 November.
Under the theme Driving sustainable nutrition and gender inclusivity in Africa’s agri-food systems: youth agripreneurs seize the decade, AYAF and AgriPitch 2020 intends to attract hundreds of participants from across the continent including youth agripreneurs and representatives from agribusiness companies, academia, development organizations, financial institutions and government agencies.

“The event highlights how youth agripreneurs address nutrition and gender inclusivity while serving as entrepreneurial leaders within their communities and being involved in the agribusiness sector,” said Bank Director for Agriculture and Agro-Industry, Martin Fregene. “AYAF and AgriPitch aims to provide the knowledge, confidence, financing and networking boosts to grow their startups and make a greater impact,” he added.

The general public is invited to register for the webinars, scheduled to draw speakers and presenters from across the development, nutrition, gender and agriculture landscape. The weekly sessions will address three topics:
Policies for sustainable nutrition and gender inclusivity (3 Nov).
Empowering youth and women in agricultural value chains to address nutrition (10 Nov).
Strategic partnerships for Equity in Agriculture: Financing Women, Youth and Nutrition (17 Nov).
The AgriPitch competition is open to youth aged 18 to 35 who hold African nationality or citizenship and who submit their application online by 23rd October.

Competition organizers will select agripreneurs with promising proposals to participate in the AYAF/AgriPitch online training platform. In this ‘business development boot camp’, AgriPitch competitors can attend sessions on product

development, revenue channel identification, logistics, marketing, business management, investment readiness, financing and other issues, led by coaches, mentors and investors.

At the end of the boot camp, selected agripreneurs will pitch their business proposals to a panel of judges.Competition winners will be named in three categories: early start-up, mature start-up and women-empowered businesses.

In addition to receiving seed funding prizes and post-competition mentoring, winners will be invited for the AYAF online DealRoom. The DealRoom connects expansion-ready, youth-led African businesses with global investors (debt, equity and/or grant).

*SOURCE African Development Bank Group (AfDB
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Sudan’s record wheat harvest is proof that Bank agricultural transformation program will boost breadbasket goal
October 19, 2020 | 0 Comments

Despite coronavirus-related lockdowns, travel and transport restrictions, Sudan has just recorded its largest wheat harvest. According to Sudanese officials, the nation saw a wheat production level of a 1.115 million-ton harvest from 315,500 hectares of farmland. That’s quite an improvement from just five years ago, when farmers in Sudan working about a quarter-million hectares of land harvested just 472,000 tons of the grain.

Development experts and economists say the nation is on the path to become Africa’s next wheat-sourcing breadbasket, and Sudanese farmers and government leaders are crediting the African Development Bank’s Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation program, or TAAT, for delivering the latest technology of heat-tolerant wheat varieties to Sudanese wheat farmers at scale.

“Now, we consistently have good quality wheat and in record numbers,” says Sudan farmer Daf’Allah Mohamed Ahmed, one of more than 1,400 farmers and stakeholders taking part in the TAAT program.

During a recent visit by top-level Sudanese Ministry of Agriculture officials, the Bank’s Director for Agriculture and representatives from TAAT implementing partner the International Center for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas (ICARDA), Ahmed strolled through lush green wheat friends, gesturing for the cameras while describing his agribusiness success.

“My wheat yield increased from 2.5 tons, to 5 tons,” Ahmed says, with a big-bellied laugh and grinning from ear to ear.

Introduced in 2017 and adopted by Sudan in the 2017/2018 wheat season, TAAT is helping the country to boost yields and become self-sufficient in wheat by deploying productivity-enhancing technologies. TAAT aims to raise food output by 100 million tons and lift 40 million people out of poverty by 2025, by harnessing high-impact, proven technologies to raise productivity, mitigate risks, and promote diversification and processing.

Sudan’s bold ambition could be achievable. Agriculture makes up 40% of the national economy and occupies 80% of the workforce. Wheat, sorghum, and millet provide more than half of the calories consumed by Sudanese people every day. 

High temperatures, often exceeding 38°C during Sudan’s short wheat growing season, severely limit crop performance and yield, while climate change, lower and inconsistent yields inhibit efforts, and severely reduces farmers’ incomes.

The good news is that advances in crop science mean that the situation is changing. The TAAT Wheat Compact is focusing on accelerated production of high-quality certified seeds of heat-tolerant wheat varieties and ensuring they reach farmers who need them.  

In line with this push for increased wheat production, the Sudanese government, working with ICARDA and the Bank, set up eight innovation platforms to scale up innovative technologies, seed production and distribution in all of the country’s major wheat producing areas. 

The TAAT scheme worked with more than a dozen private seed companies to produce more than 45,000 tons of certified wheat seed in 2018/19 – enough to cover targeted wheat production areas in the country with high-yielding seeds better suited to Sudan’s hot climate.

“Sudan is optimistically referred to as an awakening giant, and its vast plains are seen by development experts as a potential bread-basket to feed Africa,” according to a report by the Bank’s researchers.

TAAT’s work has been a critical and a defining moment in the lives of 15,000 farmers who have benefitted from the program through technology promotion field days. Similarly, farmers like Ahmed along the wheat value chain – 44% youth and women – at innovation platform sites have been trained in wheat grain and seed production, value addition, and innovation.

“To put it in perspective, the additional production will make Sudan 100% self-sufficient in wheat production and put the country in the top three producers of wheat on the African continent,” said Martin Fregene, the Bank’s Director for Agriculture and Agro-Industry.

Bank officials say successful TAAT interventions in Sudan are not unique. In Ethiopia, TAAT funds are providing 28,000 farmers with seed that can withstand the lowlands’ high temperatures. TAAT also aims to scale up heat-tolerant wheat production tenfold, creating 220,000 jobs – and doubling farmer incomes.

Zimbabwe intends to leverage TAAT to reach more farmers, as well as drive public-private partnerships and attract anchor investment, among other goals. Since 2018, TAAT has paid for the fall armyworm pesticides used to treat 1,655 tons of drought-tolerant maize seeds. More than 165,500 smallholder farmers benefited from the treated seed.

In Kenya, TAAT established partnerships with 28 seed companies: through its partnership network, the TAAT Maize Compact recorded 1,003,640 direct beneficiaries with climate smart maize hybrids.

The freshwaters of Democratic Republic of Congo provided opportunity for the TAAT Aquaculture Compact to help build a resilient private aquaculture sector. Working with aquaculture SMEs, TAAT has impacted some 2,500 people working in the fish value chain, offering training in best management and practices for fish feed, fish pond management, fish conservation and the production of fish fry.

The Bank is also working with the Zambian government, seed companies and community leaders to distribute pesticide-treated and drought-tolerant wheat, maize and sorghum to farmers. In the last two years, TAAT has provided Zambia with more than 28,000 liters of chemical used to treat close to 5,000 tons of seed that resists Fall Armyworm infestation. Close to half-a-million Zambian farmers have benefited from the treated seed.

“We need collaborating partners such as TAAT, to come in and compliment what the government is already doing,” said Alick Daka Fall, Armyworm Coordinator and Deputy Director of Zambia’s Ministry of Agriculture.

These are just a few nations where TAAT interventions are making a difference. Back in Sudan, agricultural transformation and benefits of these new innovations are set to be felt beyond Sudan’s borders. In the next season, Sudan is expected to generate a surplus of seed that could help farmers in countries with similar climates, such as Nigeria, Mali, Niger, and Mauritania. 

Beyond helping farmers like Ahmed in wheat production, TAAT has helped to increase yields in local staples, including maize, rice, wheat, cassava, high-iron beans, sorghum, millet, orange-fleshed sweet potatoes as well as livestock and fish. 

*AFDB

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Bank technologies for African agricultural transformation training in Ghana is raising farmer agricultural ambition
October 19, 2020 | 0 Comments

When Isaac Papanko started farming maize on eight hectares of farmland, he couldn’t have imagined that within just a few years, his agribusiness would grow to be 425 hectares – northern Ghana’s largest continuous plot of commercial farmland owned by an indigenous farmer.

“We will soon be counting money in dollars that will blow the minds of Ghanaians,” Papanko said, referring to what he calls ‘youth’ working in Ghana’s agro-industries.

Papanko, the 39-year old CEO of Idan Agro Ventures, says the training he received in the African Development Bank-supported Savannah Zone Agricultural Productivity Improvement Project, or SAPIP, was key to his success.

Papanko and more than 75 other farmers in Ghana’s northern savannah ecological zone enrolled in the government-administered SAPIP program, which provides land development support, financing for inputs like seeds and fertilizer, and mechanization, including harvesting and processing equipment as well as other services. As part of the larger Bank Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation – Savannahs (TAAT-S) initiative, Papanko also had access higher-tech farming methods and expanded his agricultural ambition past maize to include soybean production.

Since 2017, SAPIP has been targeting three agribusiness zones across several districts in the country’s north, with a focus on building sustainable agricultural food value chains, ensuring food and nutrition security, and improving economic wealth through increased agricultural productivity and diversification.

“The transfer of agriculture technologies like higher-producing seeds, conservation agriculture and climate-smart agriculture are improving farmer incomes and making better use of land that has proven able to grow more food,” said Martin Fregene, Director for Agriculture and Agro-Industry at the Bank. ”As a result, there are more jobs for local communities – not just working the farm, but in the processing, transportation, retail – all along the value chain.”

Co-financed by the African Development Fund ($39 million) and the government of Ghana ($9.1 million), SAPIP transformed more than 290 hectares of savannah covered with grasses, fire-resistant trees and shrubs, into more commercially viable, no-till agricultural land for farming soybean, maize and rice.

SAPIP was designed to align with Ghana’s Shared Growth and Development Agenda, is guided by Ghana’s Food and Agriculture Sector Development Policy, and supports numerous other government initiatives.

 “SAPIP has directly targeted or reached tens of thousands of people in this region alone,” says Philip Boahen, the Bank’s Chief Agriculture Policy Economist who has been with SAPIP since its inception. “Seeing farmers like Isaac Papanko grow their agribusiness in real time – and with real success – it is a true motivation to see the SAPIP and larger TAAT-S model replicated in other African countries.”

*AFDB

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Uganda: Sharp Decline in Cases of Typhoid Fever, Diarrhoea, in Capital, Thanks to Sanitation Project
October 19, 2020 | 0 Comments
Approximately 240 public sanitation facilities with hand-washing points have been built, as well as family facilities for landlords and tenants.

For several years now, typhoid fever and diarrhoea cases have fallen significantly in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, especially in the major district of Kawempe, according to an African Development Bank report published on 7 October.

Kawempe is an administrative subdivision that has developed rapidly, but water and sanitation infrastructure has not kept pace in this area dominated by swampy lowlands.

The Kawempe Urban Poor Sanitation Improvement Project (KUPSIP) (https://bit.ly/3o06vmN), benefiting from $1.3 million in African Development Bank funding and implemented from 2013 to 2018, has helped to reduce typhoid fever cases by 7.7% and diarrhoea cases by 49.3%.

“The project was highly successful in getting its message about improved sanitation out to the wider Kawempe community. This is reflected in the estimated number of people reached as a result of the campaign and also, more promisingly, in the recorded positive health outcomes,” the Bank’sproject completion report says.

Implementation of KUPSIP has enabled the development and installation of sanitation facilities in the main public places of Kawempe, particularly near markets and in school grounds. Extensive communication campaigns have been conducted in local media.

Approximately 240 public sanitation facilities with hand-washing points have been built, as well as family facilities for landlords and tenants.

Key achievements include the construction of sanitation facilities in five schools in addition to two hand-washing points, benefiting 2,523 pupils.

The project also included the construction of five communal four-cubicle latrines in public places, managed by local user committees. Each committee has recruited an attendant/cleaner and set a fee of $0.50 to use the toilets and $0.13 to use the washroom, which serves around 2,500 people.

No fewer than 25 sanitation & hygiene clubs have been created in schools to reach out to pupils on the subject of improved sanitation, using an approach combining distribution of information, education and communication materials with cleaning materials (wheelbarrows, handwashing cans, brooms, brushes, gloves, rakes and bins). Approximately 100,000 people have been reached through the hygiene & sanitation improvement messaging.

The KUPSIP project has acquired three trucks for the maintenance and emptying of both existing and newly-built sanitation facilities. Each truck carries out about 50 trips per month, the price for cesspool emptying being set at $36.

Overall, the project has helped to increase job opportunities: 76 direct jobs were created for cesspool emptying lorry drivers, bricklayers, latrine attendants and additional staff recruited to administer the loan programme.

“The Executing Agency estimated that the project reached over 165,000 people over the three years, through the different pathways of the project and this number continues to grow,” the report concludes. 

*AFDB
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A Heartfelt Tribute to Institutions and People Who Never Stop Caring
October 14, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Nafissatou N’diaye Diouf

Nafissatou N’diaye Diouf
The 2020 Nobel Peace Prize has created a renewed impetus to rally around hunger, scale-up efforts to mobilize much-needed funds.


The sight of David Beasley, in a recent tweet, sitting on the floor of the World Food Programme (WFP) office in Niger surrounded by staff, celebrating a well-deserved Nobel peace prize win, brought back memories of Nasseiba Ali.

I was on assignment for the Associated Press to uncover an ongoing acute food crisis in Niger. My journey led me to a life-changing encounter with Ali, a 20-month-old girl who weighed just 12 pounds.

I waved, talked, sang to her, but it prompted no reaction from Ali. Little did I know that her eyes clouded at night, one of the symptoms of her chronic malnourishment. 

A mission initially scheduled for one week stretched for an entire month and led me to Zinder, Maradi, Tawa, and Agadez. I met Ali and her grandmother at a feeding center set up in Maradi, 540 kilometers (335 miles) from Niamey, the capital of Niger.

Ali was lucky to make it to the center, barely alive after her grandma trekked several hours with her on her back.

Despite an exceptionally hard and emotionally charged assignment, I witnessed first-hand the outstanding work of hundreds of dedicated and selfless champions on the frontline of hunger. 

The WFP’s 2020 Nobel Peace Prize win is only natural. Indeed, it is a testimony of the humanitarians’ admirable mission to help end world hunger, often in emergency settings. 

Today, 690 million people still go to bed on an empty stomach.

One in nine people worldwide still does not have enough to eat.

The WFP’s gong is a defining moment in history, yes, but more importantly, it has moved the critical issue of hunger on top of the global agenda. Thus, igniting and conveying a renewed sense of urgency.

It is a defining moment for the institution forging ahead to move the needle on ending world hunger, the leadership of its Executive Director.

The 2020 Nobel Peace Prize has created a renewed impetus to rally around hunger, scale-up efforts to mobilize much-needed funds.

Despite raising US$ 8bn in 2019, US$ 4.1 billion is still needed to bridge the funding gap. 

At stake are the lives of millions on the brink of starvation.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee described the humanitarian organization as “a driving force in efforts to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict.”

Without taking away anything from the WFP, I can say that the WFP’s gong is a defining moment in history for multilateralism, and our collective resolve to save lives, change lives and make a difference.

Other equally dedicated multilateral institutions, such as the African Development Bank, the World Bank, the Asian Development, to name just a few, deserve our attention.

Indeed, these institutions provide lifesaving support to millions globally, often in extremely fragile settings.

At the Bank, we did our part to provide relief to our Regional Member Countries with a USD 10 billion COVID Respond Fund. The funds helped bring urgent relief and retool our economies in the wake of the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic.

When COVID-19 hit, WFP’s Beasley warned of potential famine of “biblical proportions.”

The Bank’s feed Africa strategy aligns with the WFP’s objectives to end hunger. Approvals under the Bank’s Feed Africa priority amounted to UA 884.7 million in 2019, making a difference in the lives of 20.3 million people, 9.6 million of them women .

Through my lens as an African woman, a wife, the scenes of empty thatched-roof huts where villagers store grain, the scenes of acacia leaves boiled into a thick paste, eaten in the evening in hopes it will lull the children to sleep are still vivid.

Fifteen years after my encounter with Ali, the world is still gripped by vast food insecurity. Yet, there is every reason to be hopeful. Not because the challenges are fewer, not because we have the resources at hand, but simply because there is a sense of renewed impetus around reversing hunger.

As Nelson Mandela said: “remember to celebrate milestones as you prepare for the road ahead.” The 2020 Nobel Peace Prize is a key milestone. A moment to celebrate while we brace up for future challenges and more wins!


About the African Development Bank Group:
The African Development Bank Group is Africa’s premier development finance institution. It comprises three distinct entities: the African Development Bank (AfDB), the African Development Fund (ADF) and the Nigeria Trust Fund (NTF). On the ground in 41 African countries with an external office in Japan, the Bank contributes to the economic development and the social progress of its 54 regional member states.

**Nafissatou N’diaye Diouf is the Ag. Director, Communication and External Relations of the African Development Group. A former Associated Press Journalist for West and Central Africa, Diouf has covered several crises including an acute food crisis in Niger in 2005.
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African Development Bank & Africa Energy Forum Launch “African Utility of the Future” Competition With $5,000 Prize
October 9, 2020 | 0 Comments

The African Development Bank (AfDB) and EnergyNet, organisers of the Africa Energy Forum (AEF), have created the ‘African Utility of Future’ competition enabling teams to compete for a USD $5,000 prize.

The Power, Energy, Climate and Green Growth Complex (PEVP) of AfDB will participate at AEF2020, mainstreaming the concept of: “The African Utility of the Future” – the theme for the 2019 AfDB-APUA CEO Leadership Forum. This is a continuation on the concept of “The Second Wave of Power Sector Reforms” as it relates to the Sustainable Utility Transformation (SUT) agenda of the Bank – a key component that will continue to drive the Bank’s ‘Light Up and Power Africa’ strategic objective.

The competition seeks to inspire team-building and innovative ideas to transform current utilities into Advanced, Futuristic, SMART, Sustainable and Agile African Power Utilities. The overarching principle is to create a platform for current asset-owners to come up with innovative, realistic, practical and implementable ideas for “leap-frogging” existing utilities in the future. The design will be grounded around the five pillars of the Sustainable Utility Transformation (SUT) agenda:

  • Improved Sector Governance
  • Least Cost Integrated Resource Planning
  • Human Capital Development
  • Sector Reforms   & Financial Sustainability
  • Smart Partnerships & performance monitoring

Submission criteria

The competition opened 8th October with a submission deadline of 6th November 2020. Team entries will remain anonymous, and the use of team names are encouraged. As the objective is to solicit realistic and practical ideas relevant to African utilities currently operating, only submissions from teams representing current Distribution asset owners will be allowed. These Distribution asset owners can be public or private sector, and on-, off- or mini-grid based.

Only the winning team will be named, unless (based on the quality of the submissions) the judges feel that the proposals of the 2nd and 3rd place teams should be mentioned.

Finalists will be announced on 11th November, with the winning team announced on 13th November – the closing date of AEF 2020.

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Siemens continues its humanitarian relief efforts in Sudan with delivery of protective gear
October 9, 2020 | 0 Comments

Siemens – in partnership with Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ) – has developed multiple programs that deliver humanitarian, economic and educational benefits to the marginalized people of Sudan.

Serving the societies in which we work is one of our core values at Siemens, says Sabine Dall’Omo, CEO of Siemens in Southern and Eastern Africa

 Siemens delivered 3,000 personal masks to Sudan’s Ministry of Health last month to assist in the battle against Covid-19, the company’s latest humanitarian investment initiative aimed at improving living standards in Sudan.

Siemens – in partnership with Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ), which is working on behalf of the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), as well as HELIOZ, and Plan International – has developed multiple programs that deliver humanitarian, economic and educational benefits to the marginalized people of Sudan.

“Serving the societies in which we work is one of our core values at Siemens,” said Sabine Dall’Omo, CEO of Siemens in Southern and Eastern Africa. “Through our partnerships, we are working to address the basic human needs and improve the quality of life of Sudan’s rural and marginalized communities.”

Sudan declared an economic state of emergency on September 10. This crisis demands an even greater response from the private sector to fulfill its social responsibility duties to help the people of Sudan wherever it can, especially those living in marginalized communities.

In addition to the delivery of protective gear, Siemens is executing the following humanitarian projects in the country:

  • Siemens signed an agreement on July 31 with HELIOZ, a social enterprise active in the field of water disinfection and development of climate proj­ects, to develop a multi-year water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) program for marginalized residents of Khartoum, as well as Kosti in White Nile State where there is no access to potable water. 
  • In partnership with Germany’s BMZ and GIZ, Siemens is investing EUR 500,000 to train 30 Sudanese trainers at the Um Haraz Training Center in Khartoum, who will train another 190 Sudanese trainees to become technicians and engineers, able to provide essential infrastructure to those who need it the most.
  • Siemens is investing another EUR 500,000 in partnership with Plan International, a development and humanitarian organization that advances children’s rights and equality for girls, to modernize and expand two schools, one in Kosti and the other in Al Kashafa refugee camp in White Nile State, which hosts 170,000 refugees, the majority of whom are women and children.

The schools project also includes the installation of off-grid solar systems, which will provide energy and increase the potential for economic activity. These green energy systems will become teaching tools for students on renewable energy infrastructure. The initiative will also develop rainwater catchment facilities to ensure the availability of potable water in the dry season.

Siemens has been active in Sudan since 1922 and is dedicated to improving the lives of all Sudanese people.

Siemens AG (Berlin and Munich) is a global technology powerhouse that has stood for engineering excellence, innovation, quality, reliability and internationality for more than 170 years. Active around the world, the company focuses on intelligent infrastructure for buildings and distributed energy systems and on automation and digitalization in the process and manufacturing industries. Siemens brings together the digital and physical worlds to benefit customers and society. Through Mobility, a leading supplier of intelligent mobility solutions for rail and road transport, Siemens is helping to shape the world market for passenger and freight services. Via its majority stake in the publicly listed company Siemens Healthineers, Siemens is also a world-leading supplier of medical technology and digital health services. In addition, Siemens holds a minority stake in Siemens Energy, a global leader in the transmission and generation of electrical power that has been listed on the stock exchange since September 28, 2020. In fiscal 2019, which ended on September 30, 2019, the Siemens Group generated revenue of €58.5 billion and net income of €5.6 billion. As of September 30, 2019, the company had around 295,000 employees worldwide on the basis of continuing operations.

*SOURCE Siemens AG

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Nigeria: African Development Bank partners with government and Microsoft to launch Digital Nigeria eLearning Platform
October 2, 2020 | 0 Comments

The African Development Bank, the government of Nigeria and Microsoft on Monday launched the Digital Nigeria eLearning Platform, to provide marketable digital skills to the country’s youth.

The platform offers courses in web development, content creation, and data science, among others. The platform also uses gamification techniques to teach problem solving, collaboration, creative thinking and basic coding. The platform will be continually updated with new courses and leverage partnerships to provide training certifications. Within 24 hours of launch the platform recorded over 16,000 user registrations. Nearly 6000 of registrants had completed at least one training course and earned a  certificate

Content will be accessible via a web site and a mobile app.

The platform will leverage the African Development Bank’s Coding for Employment initiative and build linkages between the public and private sectors to create 9 million jobs in Africa’s digital economy in the next ten years.

“We are championing a paradigm shift that lays emphasis on skills…This is a growing trend across the globe. The digital literacy and skills pillar recognizes the fact that citizens are the greatest assets in any economy, including the digital economy. It will support the development of a large pool of digitally literate and digitally skilled citizens,” said Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, Nigeria’s Minister of Communication and Digital Economy at the launch.

Ebrima Faal, Senior Director for the Bank’s Nigeria Country Department, said the new normal had accelerated the demand for digital services and fourth industrial revolution technologies across all sectors.

“From artificial intelligence, the internet of things, social media communication, digital learning platforms, augmented and virtual reality, drones, 3D printing and so much more – the world has undergone a massive disruption. The African Development Bank is committed to supporting the Nigerian government to realize a fully integrated digital agenda,” Faal said.

Ghada Khalifa, Middle East & Africa Director for Microsoft Philanthropies, also attended the launch.

“Microsoft Philanthropies is committed to creating inclusive economic opportunities in light of the economic crisis created by COVID-19. We are investing in building the capacity of 5 million African youth by 2025, and excited about our collaboration with the African Development Bank and the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy in Nigeria with the launch of the Digital Nigeria platform to provide Nigerians with access to digital skills to meet the demand of the job market,” she said. 

The Digital Nigeria eLearning Platform is a key component of the Digital Nigeria programme, which aims to empower innovators and entrepreneurs with the requisite skills to thrive in the emerging digital economy.

The Digital Nigeria programme aligns with the African Development Bank’s strategic agenda to create 25 million jobs in agriculture, information communication technology (ICT) and other key sectors by 2025, and to equip 50 million African youth with competitive skills.

*AFDB

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African Development Bank flagship annual report wins top international award
October 2, 2020 | 0 Comments

The African Development Bank has been recognized by the Stevie International Awards, joining the prestigious list of organizations that have received one of the business world’s highest honors.

The Bank was awarded two prizes for its 2019 Annual Report, taking gold in the publication category, and bronze in the video category.

The Stevie International Awards competition was created in 2002 to recognize outstanding organizations and highlight their positive contributions globally. More than 12,000 nominations are received each year.

“I am proud to lead an organization that has consistently been recognized for its commitment to excellence. This award is a great honor for the African Development Bank and especially for its staff for their dedication to exemplary work,” said Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank Group.

“Awards like these re-energize our efforts to deliver the highest level of service to the people of Africa,” Adesina said.

“This is an excellent achievement for the Boards of Directors, Management, and the Bank’s staff. The award is a true reflection of the commitment, diligence, dedication, and high-quality of work of the Bank,” said Ahmed Zayed, Executive Director and Chairperson of the Boards’ Committee on External Communications and Preparation of the Annual Meetings, African Development Bank.

Recent Stevie International Awards winners include Acer Inc., Apple, BASF, Ford Motor Co., ING, Roche Group, Samsung and the International Finance Corporation of the World Bank Group.

“This award validates the commitment of the staff and management of the African Development Bank Group to produce world-class knowledge products that support the policies and decision-making processes that contribute toward improving the lives of Africans,” said Bank Ag. Vice President and Chief Economist Charles Leyeka Lufumpa, whose Research Department led the preparation of the 2019 annual report.

“The award is a testimony to the African Development Bank’s dedication to excellence and ability to set high standards for corporate delivery to serve Africa. The report is a product of great collaboration across teams of the Bank and with the Board of Directors,” added Hanan Morsy, Director of the Research Department.

The Bank will be recognized during a virtual ceremony to be held on 1 December 2020.

The institution’s annual report is a statutory corporate publication that aims to convey concise information on its activities and achievements during the year under review. The report also highlights financial management and financial statements during the period.

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African Development Bank wins global award for COVID-19 bond issue
October 2, 2020 | 0 Comments

The African Development Bank was selected in a poll of bond market players as the best issuer in 2020 of a COVID-19 bond for its $3 billion dollar-denominated Fight COVID-19 social bond issued on March 27, 2020.

The winners of the GobalCapital Bond Awards 2020 were announced on 30 September at a ceremony held virtually for the first time in 12 years. GlobalCapital is a leading source of information on global capital markets with coverage of all market segments.

“We are grateful for the market’s recognition of the Bank’s effort in responding quickly to the needs of the continent with its Fight COVID-19 Social Bond which is an important instrument in alleviating the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on African economies and lives. Thanks to the very strong support received by investors, we were able to provide an efficient response at a very challenging time while also catering to the needs of socially responsible investors looking for impactful investments,” said Ms. Bajabulile Swazi Tshabalala, the Bank’s Senior Vice President and Chief Finance Officer.

The Fight COVID-19 bond, floated on the Luxembourg Stock Exchange and significantly oversubscribed, was the world’s largest social bond at time of issuance. The Bank has since listed the bond on both the London Stock Exchange and Nasdaq. Bond proceeds, with a three-year maturity, will go to alleviate the impact of the pandemic on livelihoods and Africa’s economies.

 “The primary debt capital markets’ response to the coronavirus crisis has been resilient and robust.  Institutions all over the world from governments and multilateral development banks, to domestic lenders, to companies have raised vital financing to see them through this extraordinary period,” GlobalCapital noted in its winners’ announcement release.

The bond issue is part of a suite of interventions the Bank has rolled out to strengthen African countries’ responses to the health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes a COVID-19 Response Facility of up to $10 billion to provide flexible and emergency assistance to the Bank’s members to shore up their national budget, economies and livelihoods of their citizens. 

“The African Development Bank is proud of the success of its landmark “Fight Covid-19 Social Bond”, launched  to help alleviate the impact of the pandemic on people’s lives and livelihood. This transaction, the largest social bond at the time of issuance, reflects investors’ confidence in the Bank’s Social Bond framework, and its capacity to deliver. We were among the pioneers in the Social Bond market, and would like to thank all our partners, including the arrangers and investors, for their continued trust and support and share this award and success with them,” said Hassatou N’Sele, Treasurer of the Bank.

The Bank is a recognized pioneer in the social bond sphere. In March 2020, it received the Environmental Finance’s 2020 bond of the year award—SSA category— for a successful one billion Norwegian krone (NOK) social bond issued in 2019. It was the first social bond ever launched in the Norwegian market, and the Bank’s first transaction in Norwegian Krone.

In 2018, the Bank was recognized as “Second most impressive social or sustainability bond issuer” at the Global Capital Socially Responsible Investments Awards. Since 2017, the Bank has launched nearly $5 billion worth of such instruments denominated in US dollars, euros and Norwegian krone.

The Bank is rated AAA by all the major rating agencies. In late 2019, the Board of Governors of the Bank Group approved a 125% increase in the General Capital of the Bank, raising its capital from $93 billion to $208 billion, the largest increase in the institution’s history.

*AFDB

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African Development Bank named to the board of World Business Angels Investment Forum
September 29, 2020 | 0 Comments
The Forum engages with a wide range of institutions to help shape the global agenda.

 The World Business Angels Investment Forum today announced the African Development Bank (www.AfDB.org) as its newest Board Member. In this capacity the Bank will represent Africa’s early-stage equity markets, entrepreneurship and startup ecosystems, small and medium enterprises and high-growth businesses, angel investors, and private equity funds. Abdu Mukhtar, the Bank’s Director of Industrial and Trade Development, will occupy the Bank’s Board seat.

“We are delighted to have the African Development Bank Group as a global board member of the World Business Angels Investment Forum,” said Baybars Altuntas, WBAF’s Executive Chairman. I am confident that by including AfDB, WBAF will be able to provide a wide range of opportunities for start-ups, scaleups and high growth businesses in Africa—ones that will open the doors for economic development. By working together across borders, with a common vision, and with these smart dynamics in mind, we are well placed to bring about positive change in the Africa and global economy.”

WBAF promotes access to finance for businesses from start-up to scale-up, with the goal of generating more jobs and social justice worldwide. The Forum engages with a wide range of institutions to help shape the global agenda.

The African Development Bank is Africa’s preeminent Development Finance institution, and the only one with a Triple A credit rating. The Bank fights poverty and works to improve living conditions on the continent by promoting public and private capital investment in projects with the potential to drive regional economic and social development. The Bank has 81 shareholders: fifty-four regional member countries and 27 non-African countries.  As of November 2019, the bank had a capital base of $208 billion.

‘I am excited about joining the WBAF Board and am quite impressed by its vision. Support for innovation, entrepreneurship and SME development is very important to us, especially since these areas are directly linked to some of our development objectives, including job creation and women empowerment, said Director Mukhtar. I look forward to working with the experts on the WBAF Board to advance these objectives. I am sure WBAF and AfDB will create a great impact in the startup, angel investment and SME markets of Africa. The ultimate goal is to produce more jobs and social justice in Africa.”

WBAF is a partner of the G20 Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion (GPFI), a platform for G20 members, interested non-G20 countries, and relevant stakeholders to advance financial inclusion, and implement the G20 Financial Inclusion Action Plan. Other  board members include Abdulaziz N. Al-Khalifa, Chief Executive Officer of Qatar Development Bank;  Dr. Abdul Malek Al Jaber, President, Middle East Business Angels Network (MBAN) ; Dr. Hashim S. Hussein, Head of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization – Investment & Technology Promotion Office (UNIDO-ITPO) and Prof Dr Inderjit Singh, Co-president, World Entrepreneurship Forum (WENF).

“I welcome Dr Abdu Mukhtar to the Board, and I look forward to working with him in our mutual efforts to ease access to smart finance to create more jobs and more social justice worldwide. I believe AfDB’s efforts to convert the world and Africa economy to a smart economy in cooperation with the World Business Angels Investment Forum will be very productive,” said Altuntas.

He added, “WBAF is committed to collaborating globally to empower the economic development of the world by fostering innovative financial instruments for startups, scaleups, innovators, entrepreneurs and SMEs and to promoting gender equality and women’s participation in all sectors of the world economy.”

*AFDB
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Namibia: Walvis Bay Port now a regional logistic hub as new container terminal fully operational
September 15, 2020 | 0 Comments

The new container terminal at the Namibian Port of Walvis Bay, built between 2014 and 2019, gives the country a high-end port facility. The terminal, commissioned in August 2019, is now fully operational, according to a report by the African Development Bank published on 3 September 2020.

Constructed on 40 hectares of land reclaimed from the ocean as part of a nearly $300 million project, the expansion has steered  Walvis Bay towards becoming a logistics hub for southern Africa that aims to meet the growing demand for freight ,while promoting new maritime access to serve the landlocked countries of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC). The African Development Bank provided a ZAR 2,982 million loan representing over 70% of the project funding.

The works included the dredging over 3.9 million cubic metres of sand, used partly for the reclamation, construction of a 600-metre quay wall, the laying of 304,000 square metres of paved surface and the construction of a workshop and administrative buildings. It also entailed the installation of four ship-to-shore (STS) cranes, the construction of a one-kilometre road, the laying of 2.3 km of rail lines, and the installation of service networks. The facility’s electricity supply was also successfully upgraded, the report noted.

“Overall, the project has fully achieved its goals,” the report said, increasing the terminal’s capacity from 355,000 TEUs (20-foot equivalent unit) to 750,000 TEUs yearly. It has also reduced vessel waiting time to less than 8 hours and cut container transit time from 14.5 days to 9.5 days. 

Expanded activities required the training of seven pilots and 26 ship-to-shore crane operators, including one woman.

The demand for services from the port of Walvis Bay has increased by about 8% following the commissioning of the new terminal, the report notes. Cargo volumes, revenues and income from other services (maritime, port, berth and light dues, and other storage and handling fees) are expected to increase by at least 8% in 2020 and 2021. After that, growth should reach 5% yearly the report projects.

The project completion reporting team was led by Richard Malinga, Bank Principal Transport Engineer and Task Manager for the project.

The Walvis Bay expansion aligns with the Bank’s High-5 strategic priorities, including promoting the integration of Africa

*AfDB

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