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Kennie-O Cold Chain Logistics from Nigeria Crowned Champion of Africa’s First Scaling Up Nutrition Pitch Competition
October 19, 2018 | 0 Comments
Kennie-O Cold Chain Logistics was established in 2014 to provide reliable cold chain solutions for Nigeria’s food industry, thereby reducing post-harvest losses
Ope Olanrewaju Kennie-O Cold Chain Logistics holds the Grand Prize trophy for the SUN Pitch Competition presented to him by Jonathan Tench Senior Manager SUN Business Network, GAIN in Nairobi on 17 October

Ope Olanrewaju Kennie-O Cold Chain Logistics holds the Grand Prize trophy for the SUN Pitch Competition presented to him by Jonathan Tench Senior Manager SUN Business Network, GAIN in Nairobi on 17 October

NAIROBI, Kenya, October 18, 2018/ — A Nigerian business is celebrating after winning a competition involving some of the continent’s most exciting enterprises working to improve access to nutritious foods. Kennie-O Cold Chain Logistics from Kwarah State was crowned champion of the first Africa edition of the Scaling Up Nutrition Pitch Competition held at the Nutrition Africa Investor Forum ( in Nairobi, Kenya.

Kennie-O Cold Chain Logistics was established in 2014 to provide reliable cold chain solutions for Nigeria’s food industry, thereby reducing post-harvest losses.

Collecting the award, owner Ope Olanrewaju said, “Winning the pitch competition is so exciting! I am delighted to see recognition for companies working to reduce post-harvest losses. This experience has been wonderful, the training has added value to my business.”  

Denis Marangu, Kulamawe Poultry Industries, Kenya, receives at award from CJ Jones of GrowthAfrica at the SUN Business Pitch Competition in Nairobi on 17 October 2018

Denis Marangu, Kulamawe Poultry Industries, Kenya, receives at award from CJ Jones of GrowthAfrica at the SUN Business Pitch Competition in Nairobi on 17 October 2018

Organised by the Scaling Up Nutrition Business Network (SBN), the Pitch Competition is an initiative of GAIN (Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition ), a Swiss Foundation, and the UN World Food Program (WFP), plus local partners.

The competition showcased investment opportunities presented by SMEs working to improve access to nutritious food. Out of more than 450 outstanding entries, 21 SMEs were shortlisted from national pitch competitions in Nigeria, Tanzania, Mozambique, Malawi, Ethiopia, Kenya and Zambia.

Concurrent to this pitch competition was a ‘Nutrition Deal Room’ for larger investment opportunities facilitated by Africa Business Magazine with Asoko Insights. Fokko Wientjes, Vice President, Nutrition in Emerging Markets of Royal DSM, a purpose-led, global science-based company active in nutrition who participated in the initiative reported: “With 130 deal room discussions involving 20 investors and more than 20 companies, we can call this first ever Nutrition Africa Impact Forum a success!” All of the companies featured in both the Pitch Competition and in the Nutrition Dealroom comprise a part of GAIN’s pipeline of companies improving access to nutritious food. GAIN will be following up on these exciting investment opportunities as part of its New Nutritious Foods Financing Programme.

Neema Lugangira from Health Maisha in Tanzania receiving her award during the SUN Business Pitch Competition on 17 Oct in Nairobi

Neema Lugangira from Health Maisha in Tanzania receiving her award during the SUN Business Pitch Competition on 17 Oct in Nairobi

These two initiatives took place during the high-level Nutrition Africa Investor Forum attended by over 200 business leaders, policy makers and prominent development campaigners focused on unlocking the business potential of small and medium enterprises working to improve the nutritional quality of the food system across Africa. In addition to looking at private investments in nutrition, the forum called for effective leadership to drive collective action to improve nutrition. The former president of Tanzania H.E. Jakaya Kikwete urged the influential gathering to do everything within their power to tackle malnutrition in order to deliver on national and international obligations and targets to end extreme poverty by 2030. Speaking at the closing ceremony, Saul Morris, Director of Programmes at GAIN, said: “There are concrete things that we can do to scale up access to nutritious food in Africa and there are fantastic people and small and medium enterprises doing them!”


  •  Graça Machel Award:

Winner: August Secrets, Nigeria

  •  BoP Inc Award:

Winner: Healthy Maisha, Tanzania

  •  GrowthAfrica Award:

Winner: Kulamawe Poultry Industries, Kenya

  •  DSM Innovation Award:

Winner: Miruku Agro Industria, Mozambique

  •  Grand Prize, SUN Pitch Competition Winner:

Winner: Kennie-O Cold Chain Logistics, Nigeria

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Africa is ‘on the rise’, says UN chief Guterres, urging collaboration for better future
October 18, 2018 | 0 Comments

Africa is “on the move and on the rise” with communities coming together to resolve their problems and offer mutual support, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres highlighted on Wednesday

GENEVA, Switzerland, October 18, 2018/ —

UN Photo / Loey Felipe | Secretary General António Guterres (4th left) addresses high-level event on the “Role of the AU-UN partnership in a globalized world”

UN Photo / Loey Felipe | Secretary General António Guterres (4th left) addresses high-level event on the “Role of the AU-UN partnership in a globalized world”

He urged everyone with a stake in Africa’s success to seize the new opportunities and work together with people on the continent for the common good.

However, alongside the progress and resilience, on the back of stability and improved governance, parts of Africa remain fragile with challenges to overcome, said Mr. Guterres, addressing the inaugural Africa Dialogue Series at the UN Headquarters, in New York.
The two-day series focuses on the nexus between peace, security, human rights, humanitarian and development in the continent. It replaces Africa Week, which was launched in 2010.
“The volatility of financial markets, the looming trade conflicts, and high levels of debt in some countries are causing concern over economies that may be vulnerable to shocks. The widening impacts of climate change will create additional strains in the years ahead,” he said.
“Inclusive, sustainable development in Africa is a goal unto itself.  It is also a leading tool to prevent conflict and crises,” added the UN chief.
On sustainable development, the Secretary-General noted the synergies between the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the AU’s Agenda 2063, and said that the policies and approaches two organizations “are more closely aligned [today] than ever before”.
Turning to the UN-AU partnership on peace and security, Mr. Guterres cited examples from the Central African Republic and South Sudan where UN is working closely with African-led initiatives.
“I will continue to advocate strongly for predictable, sustained and flexible financing for AU-led peace support operations authorized by the Security Council. These operations are contributing to global security and deserve multilateral support,” he said.
Making a ‘prosperous and peaceful Africa’ a reality – UN Special Adviser
UNMIL / Shpend Berbatovci | A voter in Liberia casting his ballot for a president in the second round of vote on 26 December 2017

UNMIL / Shpend Berbatovci | A voter in Liberia casting his ballot for a president in the second round of vote on 26 December 2017

Briefing on the theme of the dialogue and expected outcomes, Bience Gawanas, the UN Special Adviser on Africa, said that the Dialogue “bears testimony of the desire to engage with the UN to realize a prosperous and peaceful Africa.”

“Africa is changing […] and it is seeking to achieve peace, prosperity and socio-economic transformation,” she said, urging all actors to continue to work together in a coherent and coordinated response to the challenges.
Meanwhile, María Fernanda Espinosa, the President of the 73rd session of the General Assembly highlighted the central role of Africa in the multilateral system, highlighting the importance of stronger and more collaborative efforts between the AU and the UN.
Such efforts will strengthen multilateralism, she said.
Ms. Espinosa also noted the revitalization processes at the two institutions and expressed hope that the end result will allow them to “work together on behalf of all people.”
“Our focus remains the same as yours: to ensure that the UN is reflective of, and relevant to the needs of all people,” she said.
Africa can share lessons vital for sustainable development – ECOSOC President
Speaking alongside Ms. Espinosa, Inga Rhonda King, the President of the Economic and Social Council underlined the importance of synergies between UN’s 2030 Agenda and Agenda 2063 of the AU.
“The Economic and Social Council has an important role to play in sustaining peace and promoting sustainable development in Africa,” she said, noting the body’s collaboration with other entities of the UN system and beyond, to develop solutions to development and humanitarian challenges in the continent.
Noting the focus of next year’s High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) on Sustainable Development Goals on jobs, inequality, justice, climate change, education and partnerships, Ms. King called African countries, to share relevant lessons learned and ideas on progressing the 2030 Agenda forward.
Partnerships vital to overcome peace and security challenges – Security Council President
Also speaking at the Dialogue, Sacha Sergio Llorenty, the Permanent Representative of Bolivia and the President of the Security Council for the month of October, spoke of the link between peace, security and development.
UNMISS Photo | A UN integrated patrol at a protection of civilians site in Bentiu, South Sudan. After widespread violence across the country in July 2016, such patrols helped local communities feel more secure

UNMISS Photo | A UN integrated patrol at a protection of civilians site in Bentiu, South Sudan. After widespread violence across the country in July 2016, such patrols helped local communities feel more secure

He highlighted the importance of women and young people in peace and development efforts in Africa and called for political support at the highest level to ensure their meaning participation.

He also said that partnerships are critical to overcome challenges in the continent, as illustrated by the G5 Sahel Joint Task Force and the UN-AU Mission in Darfur (UNAMID).
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New EU Ambassador to Zimbabwe presents credentials
October 18, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

Timo Olkkonen

Timo Olkkonen

The European Union in Zimbabwe has a new Ambassador, Mr Timo Olkkonen who presented his

credentials to H.E. President Emmerson Mnangagwa this morning at State House.


Speaking after the occasion, Ambassador Olkkonen said: “I am honoured and excited to

start my tour of duty as the European Union’s Head of Delegation to the Republic of Zimbabwe

today. Zimbabwe stands at a crucial juncture and I am looking forward for the country to take back

its rightful place in the region, in Africa and in the world. The EU has provided significant support to

Zimbabwe since independence and will continue to do so as we develop our political, economic and

trade relations. The EU stands ready to assist and accompany Zimbabwe as the country moves

forward to implement much needed political and economic reforms.”


Ambassador Olkkonen is no stranger to this region. From 2014 to 2018, he served as

Ambassador of Finland to Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi, based in Lusaka; and from 2001 to 2005

he held the position of Second Secretary at the Finnish Embassy in Kenya.

After an initial engagement with the Ministry of Education in Finland, he joined the Finnish

Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1999 and has represented the country at multilateral organisations

and the European Union, mostly working on development policy matters.


Ambassador Olkkonen is in Zimbabwe with his wife and three children. He holds a Master

of Arts in General History from the University of Jyväskylä, Finland, and boasts an impressive

repertoire of languages  beyond Finnish, he speaks English, Swedish, German, French, Hungarian

and basic Kiswahili.

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Kenya:Uhuru, Raila to reap from famous handshake with peace award
October 18, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

President Kenyatta and Nasa leader Raila Odinga when they met at Harambee house on March 9, 2018.

President Kenyatta and Nasa leader Raila Odinga when they met at Harambee house on March 9, 2018.

President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga are expected to be honored with peace award following a truce between them after August 2017 bungled elections which almost plunged the country into severe chaos.

The award known as ‘RailaUhuru African Peace Accord’ will be presented to the two on October 18, during the Black History summit in the British Parliament, United Kingdom.

The Summit whose theme is ‘How to generate the political will and public will: influencing change in a complex democracy’, is an annual event where the achievements and roles of African Americans in US are celebrated.

The event will be aiming at narrow and broad concepts of political will act, public will power to react and leadership actions in critical political decision making in governance.

According to Black History Director Godson Azuz, the award will be issued annually to any African leader who promotes peace, values democracy and has a high level of political maturity and tolerance. He divulged that the awardees will go through strict criteria and vetting such as political tolerance, people-oriented leadership, political morality and political accountability to receive the prestigious prize.

Azuz lauded the two leaders for political sportsmanship and adherence to the principle of political tolerance to unite Kenyans who were in dire need of cohesion after elections period which held the country hostage.

“It is a great privilege to identify with their latest leadership style which infers immense political maturity,” reads Azu’s statement.

In a rare show of unity in March 9, President Kenyatta and Odinga put aside their political hard stance for the sake of the country following two presidential elections which almost crumbled the eastern African country.

The Opposition Chief Raila Odinga noted an end to ethnic division and promised to work with his new bosom to bridge the existing gap.

“We refuse to allow our diversity to kill our nation. We have travelled so far. We cannot make it to our destination without bridging the gap,” he said.

On his part, President Kenyatta assured Kenyans of a new political beginning. He noted their move will ensure no individual is left behind or left out.

“All we want is a common understanding that Kenya is greater than any individual. Leaders must come together to discuss their differences and what ails the country,” reiterated the President.


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Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) aiming to become Africa’s premier think tank, Vera Songwe tells African Ambassadors
October 18, 2018 | 0 Comments
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The Rockefeller Foundation and EPIC-Africa launch the first African Civil Society Organization (CSO) Excellence Awards
October 18, 2018 | 0 Comments
Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) are awarded for excellence across eight (8) major elements of organizational capacity
DAKAR, Senegal, October 16, 2018/ — The Awards highlight the importance of organizational capacity for civil society organizations to achieve program impact. Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) are awarded for excellence across eight (8) major elements of organizational capacity. Applications for the African CSO Excellence Awards are now open

EPIC-Africa , with the support of The Rockefeller Foundation  has today launched the call for applications for the first African CSO Excellence Awards . The Awards highlight the importance of organizational capacity to achieve program impact, and showcase civil society organizations who demonstrate excellence across eight key elements of organizational capacity: Strategic Ability and Adaptability, Leadership and Governance, Financial Health and Management, Human Resources and Staff Development, Operations, Communications, Partnerships and Alliances and Monitoring and Evaluation.

The awards are now open to civil society groups across Africa to apply for the opportunity to fundraise on the international GlobalGiving Platform, benefit from a series of capacity building workshops, increase their media visibility and participate in networking opportunities through the African CSO Excellence Awards community.

EPIC-Africa is at the forefront of the charge to strengthen the infrastructure that supports civil society organizations and to deepen philanthropic impact in Africa. Mamadou Biteye, Managing Director of The Rockefeller Foundation’s Africa Office said, “As a major development partner in Africa, it is imperative that we invest in initiatives that highlight the importance of organizational capacity for program impact. We are delighted to support EPIC-Africa in this innovative approach to map the pan-African CSO sector and showcase the highest standards of organizational excellence among CSOs in Africa. These awards will also expand the opportunity for increased partnerships among key organizations on the continent, for greater impact.”

Rose Maruru, co-founder of EPIC-Africa added, “We are pleased to launch these awards to showcase the EPIC work that CSOs are doing all across Africa and make the case for ever more support for organizational capacity. This will allow CSOs to  continue to be catalysts for the transformational change that our continent needs.”

Africa has the youngest population in the world. According to the UNDP, by 2055, the continent’s youth population (aged 15-24), is expected to be more than double ( the 2015 total of 226 million.

Adwoa Agyeman, co-founder of EPIC-Africa commented that “Africa will be relying heavily on the CSO sector over the next few decades to truly maximize its demographic dividend.” She added that “it will take concerted effort around key areas such as education, healthcare, employability, governance and human rights to reshape the continent. We know that CSOs cannot fully deliver on Africa’s promise to its young people when they have, among others, financing, human resources, and communications challenges to deal with on a daily basis. We are committed therefore to highlighting those who are thriving despite difficult circumstances and to share their approaches so that others can also learn.”

The African CSO Excellence Awards are open until December 31, 2018. Candidates will be shortlisted between January and March 2019 with the final winners announced in April 2019.

EPIC-Africa ( seeks to enhance philanthropic impact by filling critical data and capacity gaps in the philanthropic market infrastructure in Africa. We envisage a vibrant philanthropic ecosystem with diverse, influential, sustainable African civil society groups at the center. EPIC-Africa contributes to this transformative vision by enabling: Greater visibility, increased resources, widespread communication, more diversified and steady funding, transparency, accountability and a resilient ecosystem.


About The Rockefeller Foundation:

For more than 100 years, The Rockefeller Foundation’s ( mission has been to promote the well-being of humanity throughout the world. Today the Foundation is focused on securing the fundamentals of human well-being—health, food, power, and jobs—to ensure every family experiences dignity and opportunity in our rapidly urbanizing world. Together with partners and grantees, The Rockefeller Foundation strives to catalyze and scale transformative innovations, create unlikely partnerships that span sectors, and take risks others cannot—or will not.

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European Union Solar Renewable Energy Project Scores A First As Zimbabwe Moves Towards A Go Green Environment…
October 18, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Nevson Mpofu

 Zimbabwe in its consented effort to bring Renewable Energy home has been supported by European Union, SNV which is Netherlands Development Corporation and Davani Trust to develop Solar Energy projects. . In a multi-facetted move to disseminate the outstanding Solar Energy Project, Zimbabwe Women Resource Centre and Network and Practical Action conducted a Media Tour to news showcase the work so far done.

The Mashava Sustainable Solar Energy for Communities Project is located in Gwanda   Matabeleland South 800 kilometers away from the capital city of Harare, Matabeleland South Province. It consists of 400 panels with each 255 watts .It generates 100 kilowatts of energy which supplies 3 Irrigation Schemes , Mangongoni  , Sevasa and Rasta Gorge Irrigation , a clinic , Msendai Business Centre and Mashava .

An Expert in the field of Solar who works for Practical Action, Zibanai Kisimusi said the project is highly targeting 10,000 families around the area . However he said only a minimum number is at the moment utilizing the Energy resource because of the high costs in terms of payment.

‘’The challenge is that people in the areas surrounded are paying money in order for them to get the energy provision. However, it is a blessing to those at the school, clinic and some who can afford despite high costs.

‘’The cost of the renewable energy may sound high , but it’s not really high if we talk it in terms of energy utility for renewable energy support of the Green Energy for all . The high costs may be attributable to high standards of living.

‘’People in the area do farming along the Shashi and Thuli Rivers. This is their livelihood. This is Region 5 five, but they survive because of the Alluvial soils along the rivers . The soil is a bit fertile. They need water for sustainable Agriculture. The community has become livable particularly owing attention to Agricultural activities.’’

Mr Kisimisi said at the moment the community has means of survival because of the effort of these Humanitarian organizations which at first supplied energy for free. He pointed out that there is sustainability and livability in terms of Agriculture and food security because there are a total of 15 water pumps meant for the farming activities to move on well at the Gorge, Mangongoni and Sevasa schemes .

‘’Sustainability at the Centre of every development in terms of Agriculture is there yes because there are a total of 15 pumps , 8 hours supply . The Gorge has 41 farmers, Mangongoni 36 farmers and Sevasa 34 farmers,

‘’Sustainability’’, he reiterates, ‘’makes them be in a livable community. They are relying on both commercial crop farming and subsistence farming. They have better chances to feed the communities around the southern province.

‘’Livelihoods rely on this farming in support of this. However we call for more support though this may not completely do away poverty in the country. At list we reduce poverty and extreme hunger. As a country we move forward in success.

Professor Maria Tsvere a Lecturer in Sustainable Livelihoods at Chinhoyi University said it is a blessing to get donor funding done at the advantage of communities. However these people need training and input support in order for them to develop further. She also pointed that there is need for better models which practically must be put at the site,

‘’It is great work done by Donor Agencies. Poverty may be reduced and food security lifted up . Communities need training. Secondly, the need for better models at the site so that this sounds and looks practical.

‘’The kind of models spells out more on what the donor agency shows as an example on the ground pertaining what is being done and how best through practical demonstrations  activities are done and what they bring as profit to the community .’’

Giving a conclusion, Mazibisa came back into the discussion cycle. He said at the moment there is no smart –climate Agriculture. This, he said is impossible because of the Irrigation Technologies. He indicated that there is Flooding in terms of the Irrigation systems. Also Non-Governmental Organizations capacitating communities on smart climate, mitigation and adaptation and sustainable Environment are not yet quite active in the area.

The project which started in 2015 is going down in 2019. It stood up at a cost of US 1 million dollars. However there are fears that this may become a failed project is planning, leading, organizing and controlling fails community people in terms of holistic and strategic management.

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Zimbabwe’s Deeper Economic Impasse.Is There Need For Government Of National Unity ?
October 18, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Nevson Mpofu

With elections over, Zimbabweans want to see politicians work together to move the country forward

With elections over, Zimbabweans want to see politicians work together to move the country forward

Zimbabwe continues to swim deeper into oblivion owing attention to current economic melt-down. All that used to depreciate is now decomposing to ashes. Following the introduction of 2% tax on all electronic transactions by the Minister of Finance Mthuli Ncube hell broke loose.

Food prices like cooking oil have risen from 3 dollars 50 cents to between 9 and 15 dollars. Fuel increase in price has also contributed. Some food stuffs like bread have high prices because of the short supply of flour. However, wheat is running short.

The crisis has prompted MDC T Leader Nelson Chamisa to be called for a meeting by Zimbabwe Council of Churches. Chamisa said recently that he is ready to meet ZANU PF for the meeting. The meeting, he pointed out is ready to work out on solutions.

‘’The country is under- going a crisis. I am ready to meet ZANU PF. We need to talk about issues faced by the country. As we talk, they are certain new challenges sprouting from the ground. It is important to meet with ZANU PF. This is really a crisis. As a country, let us solve this once and for all.

Chamisa according to most sections of society and church denominations is the central figure of acrimony in the Zimbabwe politics. They invited him for a meeting. Kenneth Mtata , Secretary General of the Zimbabwe Council of Churches indicated that a crisis talk is the only maneuver in the Zimbabwean politics to solve thorny issues .

‘’Zimbabwe is in crisis. The only solution is to address thorny issues at hand. A dialogue of some sort is the only solution. We need to bring peace of mind to bring unity between the two. How-ever. This must not be a long hill climb.

Giving his few words comment, Dr Francis Danha said it is all about building on a new Zimbabwe. The problem lies with politics of greedy Leadership in the country. We have seen that the country is in squabbles. What then is the ultimate answer to problems we have?

‘’Politics is creating poverty for the country. This is not new. This has been on and on for some time. There can be meetings to come up with solutions but if it bounces, there is always an answer to questions remaining unanswered ‘’, he said .

Several companies have threatened to close. Big Department shops are running their day to day business because of the confidence they have with them. Many small shops in high density suburbs have remained closed for some days. To make it worse, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has separated Foreign Accounts from the Local Real Time Gross Settlements Accounts.


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AIMS launches novel masters in machine intelligence, a first in Africa
October 18, 2018 | 0 Comments
Mr. Thierry Zomahoun, President and CEO of AIMS

Mr. Thierry Zomahoun, President and CEO of AIMS

KIGALI, Rwanda, 16 October 2018,-/African Media Agency (AMA) /- Today, the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) launched its African Masters in Machine Intelligence (AMMI) at its AIMS Rwanda Campus in partnership with Facebook and Google. AMMI is novel one-year intensive foundational masters that will offer Africa’s talented scientists and innovators world class training in machine intelligence, preparing them to think about new ways to solve local and global challenges.

“When Neil Turok created the AIMS in 2003, he was motivated by the notion that curiosity and intellectual ability was not limited by geographical location or race. He believed Africans could and should be doing cutting edge research in Africa. He was also motivated by the desire to see young Africans using advanced research in all fields to solve the challenges the continent faces. Fifteen years later and over 1800 graduates later, we still hold firm to those three principles and the AMMI program provides young Africans an incredible opportunity to use AI and machine learning to advance knowledge and solve the continent’s challenges,” said Mr. Thierry Zomahoun, the President and CEO of AIMS.
The first cohort of AMMI includes 31 students from 11 countries including 40% women. Using the existing AIMS model of learning, lecturers from all over the world will teach in two three to six week blocks.
Prof. Moustapha Cissé, Founder and Director of the AMMI program at AIMS and Head of the Google AI Center in Ghana
“Every course at AMMI will be lectured by leading experts from prestigious international institutions and we plan to expand the program to other African countries starting next year. My secret dream is that in five years every course will still be taught by the best scientists in the field, the only difference will be that those scientists will be AMMI alumni,” said Prof. Moustapha Cissé, Founder and Director of the AMMI program at AIMS and Head of the Google AI Center in Ghana.
Dr. Jerome Pesenti, VP of Artififical Intelligence at Facebook
“I really enjoyed meeting the first cohort of the AMMI. What an amazingly diverse, eager and bright set of students! Facebook is really thrilled to support the AMMI and help nurture AI talent in Africa as it will be immensely valuable to whole AI community,” said Dr. Jerome Pesenti, VP of Artififical Intelligence at Facebook.
To see a recording of the launch, click here & to meet some of the AMMI students, click here 
Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS)
About AIMS
Founded in 2003, the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) is a Pan-African network of centres of excellence for post-graduate training, research and public engagement in mathematical sciences. The AIMS network has five centres of excellence teaching a Masters in Mathematical Sciences, including a co-operative option with a direct link to industry in three centres. Currently, the network has over 1800 alumni from 43 African countries.

The network also includes research centres and programs with 90 researchers including six prestigious Chairs currently across the network. In Cameroon and Rwanda, AIMS is runs a gender-responsive teacher training program. As well, AIMS created two critical initiatives: Quantum Leap Africa to prepare Africa for the coming quantum revolution, and the Next Einstein Forum to propel Africa on to the global scientific stage.

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Investors to explore USD 82 million worth of business opportunities at the first Nutrition Investor Forum in Africa
October 18, 2018 | 0 Comments
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South Africa:50 000 Jobs sustained through the Workplace Challenge Programme
October 18, 2018 | 0 Comments
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Think exponentially, not incrementally: How the rules of the game are changing in Africa’s banking sector
October 18, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Sunil Kaushal*

Sunil Kaushal, CEO, Africa & Middle East at Standard Chartered Bank

Sunil Kaushal, CEO, Africa & Middle East at Standard Chartered Bank

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, October 17, 2018/ — Think exponentially, not incrementally: How the rules of the game are changing in Africa’s banking sector

An abundance of opportunities

We are fortunate to witness a period of monumental progress in Africa. The changes are visible across all sectors. African start-ups have raised a record breaking $560 million in 2017, an increase of 53% from the previous year. African governments have welcomed technology into the continent, hoping to inspire a revolution across all industries and sectors. Some of the brightest minds are determined to rewrite the rules of the game by harnessing technology to tackle some of the continents greatest challenges – with one of them being the distinct lack of access to banking services for large parts of the population. Only 4 years ago, an astounding 66% of Sub-Saharan Africans ( did not have a bank account. Now, Africa has been described as a “leapfrogger” with the application of a technology driven economic model to reach the unbanked.

FinTech remains to be the most appealing industry for investors as African start-ups look to bridge the financial gap. Several of the largest deals in 2018 involved African FinTech companies: Kenyan-based Cellulant raised close to $50 million from investors this year, while microfinance company Branch received another $20 million investment to continue funding their mission to bring digital financial services to the Sub-Saharan continent.

While some banks may feel threatened, an abundance of opportunities are hidden within this transformation, most of which come down to partnering with the disruptors. There is a clear chance to leverage existing customer relationships and a deep understanding of the sector in the form of a forward-looking collaboration, which can fundamentally improve ways of doing business on both sides.

Think exponentially, not incrementally

It is a reality that the financial industry is experiencing disruptions on all fronts. As banks, we have a choice as to how we approach and address this change. One of the most important principles to master this evolution is to move from managing people and processes to managing purposes and principles with an entrepreneurial mindset.

US-based Singularity University, one of the world’s leading incubators and think-tanks in the field of technology, stresses that the greatest challenge for established institutions is to reinvent themselves using a digital mindset by thinking exponentially and not incrementally. This doesn’t mean the core of what companies do today has to be discarded, rather it is about innovating to foster sustainable growth.

Driven by unhindered obsession

An impressively large number of companies as well as individuals are investing in research, innovation and ideas for execution to keep up with the ever-changing demands of African consumers. Just in the first half of 2018, nearly 120 deals between investors and start-ups were signed. The time when start-ups were considered small, insignificant companies is long over: in fact, with their entrepreneurial spirit and unconventional approaches, they have the power and ability to shape the future of the continent. It can even be said that the people leading these small enterprises hold the key to growth by prioritising the greater good over personal goals. This is perfectly aligned with our bank’s  mantra ‘Good enough will never change the world’.

During a recent trip to San Francisco, I had the opportunity to meet Patrick Collision, co-founder of Stripe (think PayPal). Started only seven years ago, Stripe displaces the need to have a merchant capability and enables sellers and buyers in e-commerce to invoice and collect payments. He believes it can be a large company, but it would have to have the mindset where people prioritise the greater good over personal goals. I thought this insight was fascinating, as for this kind of culture to grow, there must be unhindered obsession about doing better every single day.

Africa’s Bright Digital Future

Halfway through 2018, total funding for start-ups in Africa has increased by nearly four-fold compared to the first half of last year. Digital entrepreneurs are changing the Sub-Saharan continent, and we have an opportunity be part of this monumental transformation. However, it requires all of us to embrace both exponential thinking and the latest technology to the fullest. The banking sector has taken promising first steps in the right direction with a rage to think differently to support client needs in Africa. Our ‘Women-In-Technology’ incubator program in Kenya and the launch of our first truly digital Bank in Ivory Coast give me confidence we are on the right path. I am proud to see unhindered obsession and exponential thinking come to life despite the challenging hurdles of a global banking operation.

We must do everything we can to harness technology and champion the next generation of entrepreneurs in Africa. We must put our faith in people who are on a mission to accelerate the continent’s development. In the words of renowned African entrepreneur and philanthropist Tony Elumelu, we have a responsibility to ‘collectively invest in our young people, and if they succeed, we all succeed’. I am inclined to agree.

*Sunil Kaushal is  CEO, Africa & Middle East at Standard Chartered Bank

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