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Nigeria: Omotola Makes Yahoo List
January 19, 2015 | 0 Comments

Photo: Capital FM Actress Omotola Jalade Ekeinde Photo: Capital FM
Actress Omotola Jalade Ekeinde[/caption] Nollywood actress, Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde, has been breaking boundaries for some time now. The gorgeous actress, who is currently celebrating 20 years in the movie industry, was recently put on Yahoo’s list of “The 10 Highest Grossing Movie Stars in the world.” This list named high grossing actors around the world. Omotola happens to be the only Nigerian, and African, on the list as well as being one of the two women on the list. Yahoo states: “Hollywood stars like your Tom Cruises and your Samuel L. Jacksons are ten-a-penny these days. You can’t leave the house without seeing their faces plastered on bus stops and the sides of buildings. What of the actors who have achieved great successes but receive no recognition for their work? Why, that bloke you were queuing behind in Waitrose could have been one of these guys, the 10 highest grossing movie stars you’ve never heard of.”

The aim of the list was to show to the world that there are other top actors around the world beside the popular Hollywood actors. The post goes on to list Frank Welker, Bob Bergen, Jack Angel, Mickie McGowan, Michael Papajohn, Martin Klebba, Clint Howard, Chris Ellis and Bollywood star, Shah Rukh Khan, on the chat. *Source Allafrica/Daily Independent]]>

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Kofi Annan on Boko Haram and Paris attacks
January 19, 2015 | 0 Comments

The BBC World Service released an interview on Thursday with the former United Nations Secretary-General, who spoke on ending the Boko Haram insurgency and why the recent terror attack in Paris caught the world’s attention [caption id="attachment_15622" align="alignleft" width="300"]Former U.N Secretary General Kofi Anan speaks on recent terror attack in Nigeria and France. Photo: Reuters Former U.N Secretary General Kofi Anan speaks on recent terror attack in Nigeria and France. Photo: Reuters[/caption] “I think we have to be realistic, people always tend to pay more attention to dangers which are immediate to them…The nature of that attack in Paris caused lots of tension in Europe, other cities were saying, ‘What next?’” Kofi Annan said of the international community, and media, focusing more on the Paris attack rather than the Baga incident in which over one hundred people lost their lives. Ultimately, the sense of solidarity after the Paris attack kept the world’s attention there. The diplomat also spoke about his hope of seeing more solidarity among Africans instead of waiting on the world to solve the continent’s problems. Annan is in Nigeria to support the February elections, and spoke more about what needs to be done during the radio interview. Listen to his views about ending the Boko Haram insurgency here. *Source thisisafrica]]>

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The Kenyan dance taking nightclubs by storm
January 18, 2015 | 0 Comments


indexOne of Kenya’s best-known bands are on a mission to reclaim the country’s dance floors and create their own national Gangnam Style hit. So they’ve taken a traditional dance and made it cool.

Sauti Sol are the hottest band in Kenya right now, so it’s surprising that they’ve turned to an old dance more common at rural weddings than city hotspots. Folk dances and fashionable nightclubs don’t usually go hand-in-hand but Sauti Sol chose the traditional moves of the Lipala for the video of their hit song Sura Yako – and it’s taken off in a big way. “It’s been a while since Kenyans have had a dance,” says singer Willis Chimano. “In my younger years we used to have the helicopter dance and the cuckoo dance – those moves were there in the clubs and everyone was doing them.” But as Kenyans became more prosperous and better connected to the international music scene, they started to copy the moves they saw on television and the internet, mostly foreign bands. Sauti Sol felt that got boring though – they had grown up inventing their own routines and didn’t just want to copy other people.  

“We never had access to those music videos and that’s why we came up with phenomenal dance styles,” says band member Bien-Aime Baraza.

Now Sauti Sol are making their own videos and becoming more influential – they won MTV Europe’s Best African Act 2014 – and they believe the time is ripe for a Kenyan-inspired dance floor revolution. “What we need to do is take back our dance, take back the streets,” says Baraza. index.jpg 5What was missing was a blend of the traditional with the contemporary. “The Lipala dance is actually a dance that has been practised by the Luhya tribe for the longest time ever,” says Delvin Mudigi, another member of the band. And because everyone’s familiar with it, it has really taken off, even spawning tributes on YouTube – like this one by the staff of a solar panel company. So we want to hear from you about which dance dominates the nightclubs in your country right now. *Source BBC]]>

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Running a development bank needs political will – Donald Kaberuka
January 13, 2015 | 0 Comments

Nicholas Norbrook* [caption id="attachment_15418" align="alignleft" width="480"]Donald Kaberuka, head of African Development Bank, AfDB. Donald Kaberuka, head of African Development Bank, AfDB.[/caption] With African development banks needing money to spend, Donald Kaberuka, AfDB chief, says he would rather see the pools of African savings being invested in low-yielding instruments, and sometimes even outside Africa, invested in local development banks for a good return.

The Africa Report: You have spoken for the need to help African businesses to access long-term finance, but the development banks that once provided it were closed down during the 1980s because of corruption and political loans. What is the solution? Donald Kaberuka: I believe we can now have the second generation of development banks. This generation must have certain characteristics.
First, they must stick to long-term financing of viable projects, especially transformational projects. Second, they must be run on private-sector principles. The governance and business models must resemble those of the private sector. Third, they should be market oriented, there should not be the suppression of the financial sector – so if the charge of the loan is 8% and the government wishes to subsidise those loans, the government should put that on its own balance sheet, not that of the development bank. Here, I am somewhere between a developmental state, requiring a developmental bank but which is run on private- sector principles. And if you think that is surprising coming from me, remember Singapore Airlines. It is a state-owned airline. Ethiopian Airlines is a state-owned airline. They are run like private-sector businesses, and they work very well. How do you avoid the crony capitalism problems that might bring down such a bank? If there is the political will to have a development bank run on private-sector lines, you can put governance structures in place: credit committees, risk management committees, boards which are selected carefully, boards which are full of not only government people but also from the private sector. it’s not very complicated. What about the mobilisation of resources? African development banks need money to spend, and African countries don’t have much. You say that governments don’t have much money, but there are pools of savings on our continent that are now invested in low-yielding instruments, sometimes even outside Africa. I would rather see those savings invested in local development banks for a good return for them. When the regional development banks were set up 50 years ago – in Asia and Africa – they took their intellectual cue from the Bretton Woods institutions. How important for you has it been to build up the ‘brain’ of the African development Bank (AfDB)? Very important, and it has been quite deliberate. When I was a young boy, the development paradigm was the ‘resource gap’. By the time I was at university, the new paradigm was to let the free markets work, [with] the famous berg report. Then, since the free markets have shown their limits, we have turned to ‘capacity building’. When that was deemed to be incomplete, now it is all about ‘governance’. The reality is that it is about all those things – it’s not one or the other. All the G20 countries got to the top table by combining all those things in different ways. I thought it was very important that the AfDB says to its African clients, “there is no model ready-made that we can go and purchase and copy.” We need to think clearly ourselves, look at every country, every region, their history, their resources and figure out how to develop. We work closely with our colleagues at the international financial institutions, but we bring a different perspective. ●

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Cyril Ramaphosa – South Africa's leader in waiting
January 11, 2015 | 0 Comments

Crystal Orderson in Cape Town* After helping to found Africa’s largest trade-union federation and establishing a multi-billion-rand conglomerate, Cyril Ramaphosa is back in frontline politics. [caption id="attachment_15350" align="alignleft" width="710"]Simphiwe Nkwali/Sunday Times/Gallo Images/Getty Images Simphiwe Nkwali/Sunday Times/Gallo Images/Getty Images[/caption] Perhaps the most poignant task for Cyril Ramaphosa after his elevation to deputy president in June is to try to forestall the breakup of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu).

He had helped found it and became its first general secretary, turning it into a powerful movement with the United Democratic Front in 1985 to confront the apartheid regime. That coalition became the triple alliance of the African National Congress (ANC), Cosatu and the South African Communist Party. Today Cosatu is divided between those, such as its president, Sdumo Dlamini, who back President Jacob Zuma, and his opponents led by the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA), with some 350,000 members. Fearful of the consequences of Cosatu’s breakup, the ANC’s national executive committee asked Ramaphosa to mediate between the factions. But on 7 November, Cosatu announced it was expelling NUMSA, which immediately said it would appeal against the decision. Ramaphosa tells The Africa Report (TAR) that the ANC “would never leave Cosatu alone. We want to walk every inch of the way with them. The ANC has a responsibility to preserve and advance the integrity of Cosatu. We want workers to be united in their unions […] Cosatu should remain a militant voice advancing the interests of working people.”
Publicly, Ramaphosa has remained conciliatory towards NUMSA. Just before Cosatu’s expulsion order, he told TAR: “We’ve put all our energies in making sure that Cosatu remains united […] What we got very clearly from all the unions is that Cosatu is their home, and it’s our preference that Cosatu should remain united.” Farming reform Despite the setbacks, Ramaphosa will stay with the Cosatu project if only to limit the damage to the ANC. In November, to tackle growing rural discontent, he called together local government minister Pravin Gordhan and labour minister Mildred Oliphant with a group of farmers, farmworkers and trade unionists, including Cosatu. “Change has to happen. We cannot carry on like this, and we have to find a way for true and lasting transformation [in farming],” Ramaphosa tells TAR. He speaks of trade-offs and a new social contract based on the economic strength of the country’s agriculture. “Think out of the box, re-imagine a successful farming sector,” he told a gathering in Paarl, the centre of the country’s wine industry. He also called on “farmers to stop the evictions of farmworkers”. Antagonisms between farmers and farmworkers have continued, with illegal evictions pushing thousands of families onto the streets. Ramaphosa said there would be a moratorium on evictions until at least next year. Niklaas Koopman, 57, who faces eviction after living on a farm for 40 years, applauds Ramaphosa’s statement: “I am delighted he has announced the moratorium. It will help thousands of families.” Farmers were less impressed. Theo de Jager, deputy president of agricultural association AgriSA, says: “This is cheap politicking that will cost our country dearly. It speaks of poor leadership in the ANC and puts tremendous pressure on the only sector that has not collapsed under poor economic policies.” For Ramaphosa’s older supporters, his return to political centre stage is a reminder of the hopeful 1990s after the collapse of apartheid. “It is the Cyril of old, bringing sophistication and understanding to the issues. Unlike Zuma, who seems not to care, Cyril is much clearer as to what needs to be done,” says a senior trade union leader who requests anonymity. Those memories of Ramaphosa’s key political role go back to Nelson Mandela’s release from the Victor Verster prison near Paarl in the Western Cape on 11 February 1990. That morning Ramaphosa was in hospital recovering from pneumonia, reading a book by historian Barbara Tuchman. On hearing of Mandela’s imminent release, he pulled out his drip and left hospital. Six hours later, Ramaphosa held the microphone for Mandela as he made his historical freedom speech on the steps of Cape Town’s City Hall alongside his wife, Winnie, and Walter Sisulu. Taking a sabbatical That propinquity to Mandela suggested to many that Ramaphosa was his natural successor. Yet in 1996 after having led the ANC team to negotiate a radically new constitution, Ramaphosa resigned as ANC secretary general and member of parliament. ANC insiders explained that once it was clear that Thabo Mbeki, a leading figure among the ANC exiles and someone close to former ANC president Oliver Tambo, would pip Ramaphosa for the succession, the die was cast. Tom Lodge, a former professor at Witwatersrand University, writes: “Ramaphosa does not wear tweed sports jackets like Mbeki. He is his own man politically, and his experience in collective bargaining has given him an acute sense of the limits of possible.” It was seeing those limits – in the short term – that persuaded Ramaphosa to take a break from power politics. He went into business, becoming deputy chairman of the black-owned business New Africa Investment and then built an empire in telecommunications, mining and banking worth an estimated R6.5bn ($579m), according to local analysts. Lodge describes Ramaphosa as “a superb political negotiator, combining personal warmth and high-spirited humour with calculating courage.” He has the confidence and charisma to make him a prime target for journalists trying to decipher the latest political developments. Ramaphosa’s friends saw his sabbatical in the business world as a temporary aberration. Politics – not price-earnings ratios – remained his consuming interest. Ahead of the ANC national conference in Mangaung in December 2012, ANC members in KwaZulu-Natal led by Zweli Mkhize, a former premier of the province, lobbied for Ramaphosa to be on President Zuma’s slate of candidates in the party elections. It catapulted Ramaphosa back into frontline politics as the ANC’s deputy president. After this year’s national elections in May, Ramaphosa was appointed national deputy president and leader of government business. He has relentlessly criss-crossed the country, meeting farmers, workers, businesspeople and opposition leaders, and has flown to South Sudan on diplomatic missions. Tough questions As leader of government business, Ramaphosa fields questions in the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces, the upper house. Switching between the country’s main languages, he comes across as well briefed and knowledgeable. In November, Ramaphosa defended Zuma’s absence from parliament after Zuma was barracked by parliamentarians from the Economic Freedom Fighters party. He explains: “The relationship between government and opposition should be based on respect […] it becomes difficult when there is howling and screaming in the house.” A close aide to Ramaphosa insists that he wants to make parliament work for all sides: “The deputy president is not shying away from Lonmin or the Marikana massacre. He believes South Africa is a democracy, and he must answer the tough questions.” The worst blemish on Ramaphosa’s record goes back to the August 2012 Marikana massacre when he was a shareholder and non-executive director of Lonmin, one of the platinum mining houses involved in a labour dispute. Several emails were subsequently leaked in which he called for intervention from the highest levels of government to clamp down on the striking workers. Bruised reputation Ramaphosa then phoned the minister of police Nathi Mthethwa to ask for an increased police presence around Marikana to deter violence. Tragically, the fighting escalated and police shot dead 32 mine workers in the worst post-apartheid violence. Geoff Budlender, a lawyer for the mine- workers, holds Ramaphosa partly to blame for the police action. On the other hand, a senior official in Cosatu, which had opposed the strike at Marikana, argues: “There was lawlessness, and the police had to act against the violence and aggressive mine workers. It’s easy to blame Cyril.” It is unlikely that judge Ian Farlam’s commission into the Marikana massacre will hold Ramaphosa directly responsible, but the episode has damaged him, according to his generally sympathetic biographer Anthony Butler. “A picture emerged during the [Marikana] hearings of a businessman overstretched by multiple board memberships, inattentive to the living conditions of workers and serving as a broker between the company, the ANC, the National Union of Mineworkers and the government,” wrote Butler. The most merciless judgement on Ramaphosa is likely to come from his supporters in the growing black middle class and business world who have high expectations. Their highest expectations relate to the national economy – that he will somehow be able to use his twin experiences as a trade union militant and as the billionaire owner of Shanduka Group to tackle rising unemployment and labour unrest. He organised a Labour Relations Indaba (consultation) under the auspices of a National Economic Development and Labour Council meeting in November with unionists, executives and politicians. “We need to start looking at income inequality against the backdrop of labour relations,” he told parliament. “When we do succeed in finding solutions around these two issues […] we will expand our economy and improve the livelihood of millions of South Africans.” A big advance would be to win agreement on implementing the national minimum wage, he added. On the diplomatic front, Ramaphosa has been an envoy in South Sudan, Sri Lanka and Lesotho. After some hard bargaining, he helped broker a deal between Lesotho’s army, police and political factions. All this, he told parliament, was of direct interest to South Africa: “We are not Father Christmas in Lesotho. We have an interest we have to advance, and we buy our water from them.” A political bridge Despite this heavy workload, Ramaphosa is careful not to steal Zuma’s limelight, in an evidently difficult relationship. An ANC source describes Ramaphosa as “a bridge between the party, government and business. He is taken seriously and we need that bridge. The leadership issue tussle has not been talked about openly, but it is there and very underground. Right now he has the respect of the party”. Ramaphosa remains an ANC man to the hilt and will not hear talk of disunity in the party. “Our membership base is growing and our influence is spreading,” he tells TAR. “We remain robust and confident about our future prospects.” Many, inside and outside the party, argue that Ramaphosa will play a key role in those prospects. Few doubt that he has his sights on the presidency. Like Judith February, an analyst at the Institute for Security Studies, most forecast a “bruising battle”. Calls, from politicians such as Paul Mashatile, for Zuma to step aside for Ramaphosa are unlikely to help him. Ramaphosa’s best chance for the presidency would be for Zuma to retire before the end of his second term, allowing him to take over automatically and be in pole position for the next ANC elections. But for now, the best guess, judging by Zuma’s reinvigorated appearance, is that ‘number one’ is not going anywhere. And he has no intention of making things easier for ‘number two.’

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Heroic Muslim man saved Jewish hostages during Paris siege by hiding them in freezer
January 11, 2015 | 0 Comments

A heroic young Muslim hid Jewish hostages in a freezer as they sought refuge from a killer during a siege at a Kosher supermarket.

[caption id="attachment_15347" align="alignright" width="620"]Heroic: Lassana Bathily helped save six people Heroic: Lassana Bathily helped save six people[/caption] Lassana Bathily, originally from Mali in west Africa, is said to have shepherded terrified customers to safety in a chiller as the Islamist gunman took hold of the Hyper Cacher supermarket in Porte de Vincennes, Paris, yesterday. Coulibaly executed four of the 19 hostages before police stormed the building and ended the terror, killing the gunman as he attempted to flee. Mr Bathily has been praised for his quick-thinking actions since his role in helping customers. He told BFMTV: “When they ran down, I opened the door (from the freezer). “There are several people who came to me. I turned off the light, I turned off the freezer. “When I turned off the cold, I put them (hostages) in, I closed the door, I told them to stay calm.” Reports in France state Mr Bathily, 24, helped lead six people to safety. Several people called for Mr Bathily to be recognised for his actions as details of the episode emerged. One tweet from @worldwithjan read: “A true hero of the hostage crisis in the kosher grocery store yesterday.” Police are continuing to search for Coulibaly’s partner and conspirator Hayat Boumeddiene. *Source Standard

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Angelle B. Kwemo Joins The Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Program (TEEP) Selection Committee
January 8, 2015 | 0 Comments

New Program Set To Create An Impactful Economic “Tsunami” in Africa [caption id="attachment_15276" align="alignleft" width="402"]From L-R: Ms. Nimi Akinkugbe; Ambassador Jendai Frazier ; Ms. Wiebe Boer, Ms. ParminderVir OBE; Chairman Tony Elumelu ;Ms. Angelle Kwemo ; Mr. Ayodeji Adewunmi and Ambassador Josephina Washima. From L-R: Ms. Nimi Akinkugbe; Ambassador Jendai Frazier ; Ms. Wiebe Boer, Ms. ParminderVir OBE; Chairman Tony Elumelu ;Ms. Angelle Kwemo ; Mr. Ayodeji Adewunmi and Ambassador Josephina Washima.[/caption] WASHINGTON D.C., JANUARY 7, 2015-Angelle B. Kwemo, Founder & Chair, Believe in Africa (BIA) and Managing Director & CEO, Rimsom Strategies, Ltd., has been appointed to serve as one of the ten members of the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Program Selection Committee (TEEP). The TEEP committee’s mission is to identify 10,000 entrepreneurs to participate in a new entrepreneurship program. The $100 million TEEP initiative will create a new pan-African entrepreneurship program that will create 10,000 startups across Africa within the next 10 years. The TEEP initiative will identify the startups and entrepreneurs with ideas that have the potential to succeed in creating employment and wealth. Program participants will learn to grow their businesses through business skills training, mentoring, access to seed capital funding, information and membership in an Africa-wide alumni network. TEEP aims to create businesses that can generate at least 1,000,000 new jobs and contribute at least $10 billion in new annual revenue across Africa. “I applaud Tony O. Elumelu, chairman of Heirs Holdings and the Tony Elumelu Foundation, for his vision and this historical initiative. Like him, we believe in Africa, we believe in the potential of African entrepreneurs and the impact they can have on the long term economic transformation of Africa’s economies,” said TEEP Committee member Angelle Kwemo. “By democratizing access to opportunity, with an emphasis on tapping into the talent of Africa’s young people, this program strives to “institutionalize luck”, which is a key factor in the success of any entrepreneur” as M. Elumelu rightfully put it, “this program has the potential to create a long overdue economic “tsunami” in Africa. This is in line with Believe in Africa’s fundamental principles–Believing, Inspiring and Acting,” added Kwemo. ” Africa’s biggest asset is not only its natural resources, but more importantly, its human potential. It is time to harvest it. It is going to be challenging to select program participants from a legion of bright, innovative and commercially viable projects. But I stand ready and committed to the task.” She added: “The Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Program is the single largest investment program launched by an African born, raised and succeeding on the African soil to support African empowerment. This represents the evidence that the African private section has reached a maturity level allowing them to play a more active and responsible role on the continent’s future, providing a tailored made African solutions to African challenges. The so-called « rise » of the continent is no longer a simple slogan”. She concluded: “Africa needs to create 54 million jobs by 2020. Maintaining peace and security is one of the continent’s 21st century challenges. This program will contribute to addressing this non-traditional security threat. Also, building prosperity is a prerequisite to spur democracy. It is our hope that other leaders in the private sector will follow suit, and that African governments will liberalize their economies, embracing and enforcing policies that will allow those new entrepreneurs to strive and future “Elumelus” and “Dangotes” to emerge. This is Africapitalism in action. Therefore, I pray that all stakeholders, in Africa and abroad, will join forces as the TEEP ushers Africans to a new path, a new era of self-reliance, dignity and lasting prosperity. The World, Africa, and our generation are awaiting with an ardent desire to see the manifestation of the true potential of children of Africa. 2015 is indeed the Year of African entrepreneurs. I am proud and invite all of you to be on the good side of Africa’s history”. “Angelle Kwemo will be a great addition to the selection committee team, as she is passionate about empowering the next generation of African leaders. Africa’s future depends on Africans,” said Constant Nemale, co-founder of Believe in Africa and Chair of Africa24 TV. “I applaud Tony Elumelu, our Africapitalist-in-Chief, for his vision and leadership. He put his money where his mouth is. Under our label, Believe in Africa, Africa24 TV is committed to supporting African initiatives that will have an impact on Africa’s long-term economic growth and contributing to correct the misconception of Africa being a continent in desperate need of humanitarian assistance. Our entrepreneurs are looking for investments and partnership opportunities, not just handouts. This is what the TEEP will provide. The Tony Elumelu initiative reinforces our pride and dignity of a continent full of talent, generosity and resiliency. I salute Tony Elumelu, a true son of Africa, for this historical initiative. I am honored to endorse this program and to contribute to making 2015 the Year of African entrepreneurs.” “With the world fastest growing youth population, reaching nearly 200 million and expected to double by 2045, efforts to create jobs in the continent is a priority,” said Pape Samp, Chairman of the Global Youth Innovation Network (GYIN). “Africa needs an innovative entrepreneurship development program such as TEEP to address youth unemployment, provide start-up capital, and sustain businesses.” Believe in Africa(BIA) is an African diaspora-led initiative founded by former U.S. congressional staffers and African leaders in the U.S., to empower young Africans, promote the role of the African private sector, harness the power of the African diaspora, educate policy makers and the public about African economic growth and highlight the continent’s gradual rise in the global community *Source Believe In Africa]]>

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Nigerian Billionaire Tony Elumelu's $100 Million Entrepreneurship Program Goes Live On Online Portal
January 3, 2015 | 0 Comments

Farai Gundan* [caption id="attachment_15139" align="alignleft" width="300"]Mr. Tony Elumelu, Chairman, Heirs Holdings Limited & Founder, Tony Elumelu Foundation, Nigeria Mr. Tony Elumelu, Chairman, Heirs Holdings Limited & Founder, Tony Elumelu Foundation, Nigeria[/caption] “If you think that you can be Africa’s Steve Jobs, then 2015 is the year for you to start the journey,” said Nigerian billionaire and revered business leader, Tony Elumelu in a video message announcing the official opening of his $100 million pan-African entrepreneurship initiative, the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Program (TEEP). The highly anticipated program went live at the stroke of midnight West Africa Time (WAT) today. Following the billionaire investor’s announcement at the Tony Elumelu Foundation headquarters in Lagos, Nigeria, on December 1st of his pledge of $100 million towards creating 10,000 entrepreneurs across Africa over the next 10 years; the annual program, the first ambitious undertaking of its kind, was opened for business ideas submissions and entries from applicants across Africa via its online application portal, TEEP. The multi-year program provides training, seed capital and mentoring and is primarily designed to empower the next generation of African entrepreneurs because according to Mr. Elumelu, “the private sector in Africa and entrepreneurs in particular have an important role to play in the growth and transformation of the continent”. Additionally, the celebrated business leader said that through TEEP, there was a need “to relentlessly create and nurture African entrepreneurs” given the numerous challenges on the continent; “limited access to finance, electricity, and to the markets”. According to the press statement, the $100 million entrepreneurship program, endowed by the Tony Elumelu Foundation, an African-based, African-funded philanthropic organization, will identify and support 1,000 entrepreneurs from across the continent each year over the next decade. Overall, the 10,000 start-ups and young businesses selected from across Africa will ”enable Africa’s economies to compete globally in the 21st century,” said Mr. Elumelu, add $10 billion in annual revenues to Africa’s economy and ultimately create one million new jobs.   Citizens and legal residents of all 54 African countries are eligible and encouraged to apply to the program. “Since the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Program was announced, we have been enthused by the level of interest and excitement from entrepreneurs across Africa. We are looking forward to reviewing the entries and identifying the first cohort of the continent’s next generation of business leaders,” Parminder Vir OBE, Director of Entrepreneurship, The Tony Elumelu Foundation said in a press statement. Applicants have until March 1st 2015 to submit their business ideas through the online portal and the qualifying submissions will be reviewed by the selection committee, whose members include some of Africa’s leading entrepreneurs and industry captains: Ory Okolloh, Director of Investments, Omidyar Network’s Government; Monica Musonda, CEO, Java Foods; Mariéme Jamme, CEO, Spotone Global Solutions; Dr Wiebe Boer, CEO, The Tony Elumelu Foundation. During the launch, Mr. Elumelu, who debuted as a billionaire this year on the FORBES list of Africa’s 50 Richest, spoke of his personal commitment to empowering African entrepreneurship and said that the program was “far more than a funding initiative or networking opportunity.” Mr. Elumelu, who holds Commander of the Order of Nigeria (CON), a Nigerian national honor, also added that it was “an act of faith in our entrepreneurs and our young people to transform our continent; to be the engine for the creation of both economic and social wealth, putting into practice what I have called Africapitalism.” Additional details about the program, including the application process, eligibility, requirements and selection process are available on the Tony Elumelu Foundation website *Source Forbes]]>

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Nigeria: Nollywood Divas in Their 30s, 40s Yet to Marry and Why – Rita Dominic, Benita Nzeribe
January 1, 2015 | 0 Comments

By Juliet Ebirim [caption id="attachment_15116" align="alignleft" width="260"]Rita Dominic Rita Dominic[/caption] The dream of every woman is to find a man to spend her entire life with. Even the Holy religious books have enjoined men and women, to seek each other out and cohabit as man and wife. But as beautiful and simple as this may sound, marriage has long gone from being a simple item on a menu, it has become a task, as finding a true life partner has become as difficult as finding a needle in a haystack. It is particularly more difficult for the womenfolks as they have to be proposed to. As liberated as our society is now, it is hard to find a woman that would go out of her way to propose to a man. The norm is the other way round. So, for a woman, waiting to get a marriage proposal may me as certain as waiting for the proverbial hen to play a golden egg. It doesn’t have to do with beauty, wealth or status, or else all the Nollywood divas would have been long married before they hit their 30s. Why are these ladies still single in spite of their relative affluence and beauty? Meet some of Nollywood singles in their 30s, 40s still single and why: RITA DOMINIC has an axe to grind with the media

Blessed with a young and beautiful face, popular Nollywood actress, Rita Dominic, who has carved a niche for herself in the industry is yet to tie the knots at about 40 years. The actress who produced the blockbuster movie, The Meeting, is seen by many as a wife material, but it is amazing to her fans that she is still single. She was rumoured to have dated Jim Iyke in the past and recently disclosed that she will settle down once she meets the right person as she didn’t choose to remain single. She once accused the media of ruining her relationships, each time she has any looking good for the altar. BENITA NZERIBE still searching for true love Benita Nzeribe is one actress whose works have brought recognition. When it comes to marriage though, she has not been lucky. When asked why she is yet to get married, actress Benita Nzeribe said: “If I have to say the truth, marriage is not all about money or the little things of life. We should marry for real love. That is why I see myself as being able to marry whoever I am in love with, no matter his status in life. That is to say,even if the guy is a wheelbarrow pusher, I would marry him as long as my heart is with him.” I am not under pressure to get married – Halima Abubakar Halima Abubakar is one actress that is well endowed physically, but is yet to get married. Hear her:”I don’t know why people always seem to be putting pressure on others to get married. When the marriage doesn’t work out, they will be the first to criticize you. My parents are not pressurising me to get married; my family is not pressurising me to get married either. So, I don’t see why I should let anyone pressurise me into marriage.” As a woman I am ready for marriage –  Franca Brown Popular Nollywood thespian, Franca Brown recently spoke about her single status and her readiness to get married if marriage comes her way. The actress who is over 40 has a daughter. Speaking to Vanguard recently, she said “I believe in marriage. I was born into a home, I have a father and a mother. But marriage has not come my way, and I don’t think it’s yet a challenge to me. When it comes my way, it comes. As a woman I am ready for marriage”.
When any good man comes along – ANGELA PHILIPS The beautiful and busty ‘Peacemaker’ star actress talked about her single status to Vanguard recently. Her words “If any good man comes to marry me and I like the person, why not? Maybe the ones coming are the wrong ones. I will like to marry a God fearing man, a trustworthy person, a friend who will be like my brother, father and husband. Everything rolled into one”. I have not found the right man – Ejiro Okurame Beautiful Delta State born actress, Ejiro Okurame spoke about her marital status recently. “I am old enough to get married and have children. What has kept me single this long is the fact that I have not found the right man”. Qualify me as a late starter in marriage – Ada Ameh 40 years old plus-sized actress, Adah Ameh is still single though she has a grown up daughter who she had at 14. The actress talked about her single status in a newspaper interview. “I am still very single. I believe I will get married some day. I don’t know when, but I will be married. I am beautiful. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. When the time for marriage comes, it will happen. Some people are late starters while some others are early starters. Maybe you will qualify me as a late starter in marriage. The most important thing is that I will get married some day.” *Source allafrica]]>

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Meet the former egg seller who made millions by shining shoes
December 31, 2014 | 0 Comments

Alex Court* [caption id="attachment_15093" align="alignleft" width="640"]Lere Mgayiya (right) had a rough first day in business with just basic chairs and no pedestals for his customers. Now his business offers clients plush leather armchairs to relax in whilst getting their shoes shined. Lere Mgayiya (right) had a rough first day in business with just basic chairs and no pedestals for his customers. Now his business offers clients plush leather armchairs to relax in whilst getting their shoes shined.[/caption] Suede slip-ons, elegant high-heels or lace-up brogues — whatever shoes you wear in an important business meeting you want to look your shiny best. Some people apply polish with a brush and others choose a cloth, while those coming from afar often leave the task to the capable hands of craftsmen who can make travel-worn footwear look like brand new.

If someone has shined your shoes in a South African airport, it’s probably thanks to Lere Mgayiya.

“We’re the biggest shoe-shine company in Africa,” he explains without sounding arrogant. “In Johannesburg we shine about 350 pairs of shoes a day, and about 120 pairs in Cape Town and another 120 in Durban.” In total, Lere’s Shoe Shine business has 45 employees across the three major airports, and the boss is now eyeing partnerships in America and UK, as well as expansion across Africa.

On this particularly day, Mgayiya, 40, is wearing Clarks — black slip-ons. With annual revenue nearing 2.5 million rand ($227,000), his demeanor resembles his feet — comfortable.

But things weren’t always on such a sure footing for Mgayiya. The resourceful South African had to go through a string of failures to get to where he is today — a spectacular entrepreneurial journey of risk, belief and reward.

Airborne beginnings

Long before becoming South Africa’s shoe shining king, Mgayiya started his professional career distributing boarding cards for South African Airways. But after five years with the airline and a promotion to supervisor, Mgayiya was made redundant. “I wasn’t ready to leave,” he recalls. “If the truth be told, I was afraid — it gave me a push.”

Mgayiya stopped handling paper and joined the family livestock transportation business. “I enjoyed being out and about,” he says, while explaining his role negotiating with farmers. “I enjoyed setting my own goals and achieving them.”

But life in a family business wasn’t all plain-sailing. When Mgayiya suggested taking a loan and securing exclusive contracts, his uncle asked him to move on. After a year, he was jobless again.

Failed attempts

His mother’s brother took away his job, but Mgayiya kept in contact with his farmer clients and soon embarked on his next project: selling the farmers’ eggs to the kitchen of the South African parliament. Making just $6 profit per egg box, this however was not a lucrative operation. “I fell behind with payments to farmers,” he remembers. “I didn’t have money to start my car. You need big pockets to run a supply business.”

When his chips were down, Mgayiya stayed optimistic and entered the Sandlam Money Game — a TV competition for entrepreneurs. Marketing execs at Red Bull liked his advertising idea, and Mgayiya won the game. “I got 35,000 Rand ($3,100) in two days,” he says. “It was great.”

He took that money and invested it all in a tree-planting company which he then started working for. But six months later things went sour, and Mgayiya was penniless again and back at square one.

[caption id="attachment_15094" align="alignright" width="640"]When he started shining shoes, Mgayiya had no experience. He often slipped and got polish on his customers' socks which upset people. When he started shining shoes, Mgayiya had no experience. He often slipped and got polish on his customers’ socks which upset people.[/caption]

Mgayiya had already experienced hard times, but the year to come was to test his resolve. “I needed a steady income, so I decided on a shoe-shining business at Cape Town airport. A hungry man can’t think, and I was starving.”

He got in touch with his contacts from his airline days and applied for the business space in November 2002. The authorities took until September 2003 to give him the go ahead. “In that year I sold my car…I worked as a receptionist for three months. I begged and borrowed just to make ends meet.”

Business beginnings

Before he could start shining shoes, Mgayiya pawned his fridge to buy business equipment. But on his first day Mgayiya and his sole employee arrived to bad news. “The supplier I had paid to provide pedestals failed to deliver,” Mgayiya remembers. “I polished shoes in my lap.”

In the beginning, both staff members worked flat out 5am to 9pm every day of the week except Sunday. “I left the house before my family woke up, and only got home after my young daughter had gone to sleep,” he recalls. “It was tough.”

But customer numbers soon got a boost after a client suggested that the business name should highlight the personal, chatty aspect of the business. “Airport Shoeshine” became “Lere’s Shoe Shine,” and people liked it — after just four months. the team had grown to five and business was booming.

Big plans

[caption id="attachment_15095" align="alignleft" width="640"]Mgayiya can afford to smile now that has business is seeing success, but he has known failure in the past when he was fired from South African Airways and then lost his investment in a tree-planting company. Mgayiya can afford to smile now that has business is seeing success, but he has known failure in the past when he was fired from South African Airways and then lost his investment in a tree-planting company.[/caption]

Success in Cape Town didn’t cool Mgayiya’s ambition, and after a year he got a chance to pitch to the person in charge of all South African airports. She liked his idea, and expansion started soon after. At its height, the company had 60 employees in five airports across the country. Today, Mgayiya has scaled back to the three major ones: Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg.

“I have my own house and send my daughter to private school,” he beams. “And I could afford to get married — a proper marriage.” He no longer works from 5am to 9pm either. “I just do the one shift from 12,” he says, laughing. “The family loved that one.”

“When starting a business in South Africa, you need self-belief,” is his top advice for young entrepreneurs. “All the conditions will never all be favorable at the same time. If you don’t start, you won’t go anywhere — you have to start.”

While he’s under way now, Mgayiya shows no signs of stopping. He has his eyes on Angola, Kenya and Nigeria for expansion, as well as partnerships in U.K. and America. His shine for business may have emerged from a number of failures, but this entrepreneur shows how smudges and setbacks shouldn’t get in the way of success.

*Source CNN


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'I'm born winner' says football star Weah after poll win
December 30, 2014 | 0 Comments

Liberian politician and ex-footballer George Weah speaks during a meeting for the opening of political campaign activities for senatorial elections on November 14, 2014 in Monrovia ©Zoom Dosso (AFP/File) Liberian politician and ex-footballer George Weah speaks during a meeting for the opening of political campaign activities for senatorial elections on November 14, 2014 in Monrovia ©Zoom Dosso (AFP/File)[/caption] Monrovia (AFP) – Football legend and Liberian opposition leader George Weah declared himself a “born winner” Monday, after trouncing the son of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in a Senate election in the Ebola-ravaged country. In his first victory at the polls since he went into politics 15 years ago, Weah won by a landslide in Montserrado county, the most populous in the west African country, taking 78 percent of the vote in a race against Robert Sirleaf. “I am a born-winner,” the ex-AC Milan goal ace told AFP. “I have always defeated Madam Sirleaf in Montserrado. The son could not do what the mother did not. “I have always won the elections, but my victories were stolen from me,” he claimed. The only African to take the Ballon d’Or as European footballer of the year, Weah won the first round of the 2005 presidential election, but lost the runoff to Johnson Sirleaf. He lost out again to her in 2011 when he was the vice-presidential candidate on the opposition Congress for Democratic Change ticket. “It is time now to work for the people of Montserrado and that is my priority,” he said. Weah, a popular figure in Liberia since his days as a deadly centre-forward, told AFP in May that he intends to run again for president in 2017. Robert Sirleaf, who took only 10.8 percent in the much-delayed December 20 poll to fill half the seats in the Senate, conceded defeat on national radio. “I congratulate Mr. Weah for his victory. I thank all those who voted for me. I will continue to do what I have been doing for the people of Montserrado,” he said. Among other winners in the poll — put back three times by the epidemic which has killed 3,384 in Liberia — was Jewel Howard Taylor, a former wife of ex-president Charles Taylor (1997-2003), who has since been convicted of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity in neighbouring Sierra Leone. She was reelected in the central Bong district, which she has held since 2005. The country’s electoral commission said it had received complaints from candidates in three counties. But spokesman Joey Kennedy said: “That does not stop the process. The winners will be certificated on Saturday. “The cases of protests will go to the Supreme Court. Any decision from there is what we will go by,” he added. *Source AFP]]>

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Zuma moves to defuse Dar, Kampala, Kigali tensions
December 29, 2014 | 0 Comments

[caption id="attachment_15051" align="alignleft" width="595"]South African President Jacob Zuma (centre), Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni (right) met in Kampala on December 21. In their meeting, the two leaders discussed peace and security in the Great Lakes region. PHOTO | FILE South African President Jacob Zuma (centre), Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni (right) met in Kampala on December 21. In their meeting, the two leaders discussed peace and security in the Great Lakes region. PHOTO | FILE[/caption] Defusing rising tensions around the imminent deployment of the East African Regional Standby Force to disarm Rwandan Hutu rebels in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, was the major reason for South African President Jacob Zuma’s surprise visit to Dar es Salaam and Kampala earlier this week, The EastAfrican has learnt.

Zuma held meetings with his Tanzanian and Ugandan counterparts during which they discussed peace and security in the Great Lakes Region, according to official statements. It turns out, however, that this was a euphemism for differences over the proposed deployment of troops from the East African Standby Brigade in the DRC in early January to attack “negative” forces that threaten regional security despite the recent routing of the M23 rebels by a combined Tanzanian, Malawian and South African force.
The major negative force is the Forces Démocratiques de Libération du Rwanda (FDLR), which the United Nations Security Council gave a January 2, 2015 deadline to surrender, demobilise and renounce its genocide ideology or an international force would be brought in.
The other is Ugandan rebel group Allied Democratic Forces (ADF). Recently, some 1,000 former M23 rebels fled from a camp in western Uganda to avoid forcible repatriation to the DRC.
Fittingly, Zuma’s visit to Dar on December 21, and Kampala the following day was about regional peace and security, although Uganda and Tanzania do not seem to pull in the same direction on the FDLR issue.
Tanzania is a member of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), with close ties to South Africa. Given the bad blood between President Jakaya Kikwete and Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame, who like Museveni favours an all-out attack on the FDLR, analysts say Zuma’s mission to Kampala was to delay the deployment of Ugandan, Kenyan and Rwandan combat units under the East African Standby Forces (EASF).
It is said EASF, mandated by the African Union’s Peace and Security Council, is itching to attack the negative forces in eastern DRC, particularly the FDLR, following the UNSC’s verdict that the group will not meet the deadline to fully demobilise.
“Since July 2, no further voluntary surrenders of the members of the FDLR have happened and the FDLR have failed to deliver on their public promise to voluntarily demobilise. Only substantial progress towards the full demobilisation called for by the region and committed to by the FDLR could justify further reprieve from military action against the FDLR,” the UNSC said.
But SADC states, led by South Africa, Tanzania and the DRC, are edgy over this imminent attack. South Africa has economic interests in DRC — mining, oil and gas, as well as food chains —which an attack on FDLR could hurt.
The EastAfrican has learnt that in the meeting between Presidents Zuma and Museveni, it was agreed that a quick mini-summit be held to “first consult Angolan President José Eduardo dos Santos on his position for this deployment.”
Museveni would then carry the position of the ICGLR chairman to his counterparts Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta and Rwanda’s Kagame, on whether to proceed with or suspend the onslaught on the FDLR.
“President Museveni and Uganda have a very inspiring position of pan-Africanism as well as the defence of our continent. When we come here, we come to consult and we come when we are sure that we get good advice,” Zuma said after the meeting with Museveni.
Dos Santos is the chairman of the 12-member state regional peace and security pact, the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) comprising Angola, DRC, Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania. The other members are Burundi, Kenya, Sudan, South Sudan, Congo Brazzaville, the Central African Republic and Zambia.
“It’s the festive season but the presidents are not resting; the deadline for the FDLR to surrender is almost one week away. Tomorrow, we are heading to Addis Ababa, where Museveni will meet Dos Santos,” a highly placed government source said.
Zuma’s intervention is seen as an effort to stop the bad blood between Rwanda and Tanzania spilling over into a regional fight for hegemony over who controls eastern Congo, where South Africa, Tanzania and Malawi deployed an international brigade in 2012 to fight the M23, a rebel force that Rwanda is allegedly sympathetic to.
As SADC states, both Tanzania and DRC are seen as having recently struck up an alliance that seeks to stop Rwanda from influencing the geopolitical configuration of eastern Congo.
Zuma also discussed the role South Africa can play in helping the Intergovernmental Authority on Development in the proposed transitional government of national unity in South Sudan.
Rival groups led by President Salva Kiir and Dr Riek Machar have been seeking Pretoria’s intervention in the formation of transitional government and a power-sharing structure, where Igad proposed an executive president and the nominal slot of prime minister to be taken by the opposition. But Machar’s side is pushing for an executive prime minister.
 *Source theeastafrican

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