African Heads of State Endorse New Measurement of Progress on Neglected Tropical Diseases Reaffirming Commitment to Health Equity
January 28, 2018 | 0 Comments
|For the first time, annual African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA) Scorecard for Accountability and Action will reveal progress and gaps across five neglected diseases that affect countries’ poorest and most marginalised communities|
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, January 28, 2018/ — Today, at the 30th African Union Heads of State Summit , the African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA) added neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) to its annual scorecard on disease progress. The scorecard is personally reviewed by African heads of state every year, putting NTDs alongside malaria and maternal and child health as top health priorities for the continent.
Developed by the World Health Organization in collaboration with Uniting to Combat NTDs , this index reports progress for the 47 NTD-affected countries in sub-Saharan Africa in their strategies to treat and prevent the five most common NTDs: lymphatic filariasis, onchocerciasis, schistosomiasis, soil-transmitted helminths and trachoma. By adding NTDs to the scorecard, African leaders are making a public commitment to hold themselves accountable for progress on these diseases.
“My government is determined to make sure we can take ‘neglected’ out of these diseases,” said His Excellency, Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Hailemariam Desalegn. “Improving the health, education and productivity of our poorest citizens by eliminating NTDs can put Africa on the path to prosperity and universal health coverage. I urge my fellow African leaders to build on the progress already made and increase their efforts to tackle NTDs to make them a subject for much concerted effort and action at the African Union.”
A Health Priority for Well Over A Billion
NTDs are a group of diseases that affect the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people, often living in the most remote communities. More than 1.5 billion people are at risk for NTDs globally, including more than 620 million in Africa. Whilst NTDs cause hundreds of thousands of deaths each year, their primary impact is on the millions that are left trapped in endless cycles of poverty. They cause blindness, disfigurement, disability, stigma and discrimination. Parents are left unable to work and children unable to go to school.
Fortunately, the five diseases that are being monitored in the ALMA scorecard respond well to cheap, safe medicines, which are donated by pharmaceutical companies and are broadly distributed to treat and prevent the diseases. As a result of a global public-private coalition, more people than ever before are being treated for NTDs, and the number of people at risk of infection globally has dropped by more than 400 million in the last five years.
Good NTD coverage also promotes universal health coverage: NTD programs have trained over a million health workers and brought a variety of services, including family planning tools and vitamins, to people in remote communities otherwise unreached by the health system. This connection is discussed in more length in Uniting to Combat NTDs’ recent progress report, “Reaching a Billion: Ending Neglected Tropical Diseases: A Gateway to Universal Health Coverage,” launched last month.
“When it comes to diseases that affect the very poorest and most marginalised communities, it is up to political leaders to make them a priority,” said Thoko Elphick-Pooley, Director, Uniting to Combat NTDs Support Centre. “Beating NTDs is essential for Africa’s economic development, and we are thrilled that African Heads of State will be reviewing their progress every year and holding themselves accountable for equitable health outcomes.”
Progress in Africa, But More to Do
The scorecard shows the evidence of progress in Africa:
While most data points to progress, the scorecard shows areas of concern. Nearly two-thirds of countries have a NTD coverage index of less than 50%. The percentage of affected countries implementing disease-specific interventions ranges from 92% for trachoma to just 72% for schistosomiasis, suggesting that there is still much more to do.
“Beating NTDs will help lift millions out of poverty, improving the lives of some of the world’s poorest and most marginalised people. There is a huge amount at stake and we know that eradicating these diseases is too big a job for one sector alone,” said Tanya Wood, chair of the NTD NGO Network and CEO of the International Federation of Anti-Leprosy Associations. “With the ALMA initiative driving accountability and action, and new cross-sector partnerships like the Global Partnership for Zero Leprosy combining expertise, we are getting closer to a world where NTDs are neglected no more.”
African Leadership in Health
Because some NTDs are transmitted in the same manner as malaria, and shared community distributions platforms are used for both malaria and NTDs, ALMA has chosen to include NTDs in its scorecard.
“Malaria and NTDs both lay their heaviest burden on the poor, rural and marginalised. They also share solutions, from vector control to community-based treatment,” said Joy Phumaphi, Executive Secretary, ALMA. “Adding NTDs to our scorecard will help give leaders the information they need to end the cycle of poverty and reach everyone, everywhere with needed health care.”
The addition of the index happens just before the 6th anniversary on 30 January of the London Declaration on NTDs a multi-sectoral partnership of pharmaceutical companies, donors, endemic countries and non-governmental organizations committed to control, eliminate or eradicate 10 diseases by 2020.
About Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs)
African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA)
Uniting to Combat Neglected Tropical Diseases
I profoundly Respect The Partnerships And Values We Share-Trump in Goodwill Message To African Union
January 27, 2018 | 0 Comments
-Announces Extended Visit of Secretary Tillerson in March
By Ajong Mbapndah L
U.S President Donald Trump has expressed respect for the partnerships and values his country shares with Africa.
In a message to the African Union as it meets for its 30th Summit, Trump says the U.S respects the people Africa while expressing his firm commitment to strong and respectful relationships with African States as sovereign nations.
The statement issued on July 25, commends the leadership of current Chairperson Moussa Faki as it works to transform the AU into an effective institution to advance economic prosperity peace and positive outcomes for Africa.
“We are working together to increase free, fair, and reciprocal trade between the United States and African countries, and partnering to improve transportation security and safeguard legal immigration,” the statement reads.
Describing seminal Summit issues on advancing trade and development, resolving armed conflicts, and combatting corruption as critical for the future of Africa, President Trump said the African Union could count on the support and partnership of the U.S.
President Trump said he looked forward to building on relationships established during a lunch he had with African leaders on the sidelines of the last U.N General Assembly, and the Africa Ministerial Engagements in Washington.
The statement indicates that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will travel to Africa for an extended visit in March while the President looks forward to welcoming African leaders to Washington, DC.
Prior to his return from the World Economic Forum in Devos, Trump met with incoming Chairman of the Assembly, President Paul Kagame of Rwanda . President Trump faced a barrage of criticisms in the wake of remarks attributed to him describing Africa as a shithole. A number of U.S Ambassadors serving in Africa were forced to offer explanations on the statements of the President.
Describing the statement as a good start, Omar Arouna a former Ambassador of Benin to the USA and Managing Partner of the US-Africa Cyber Security Group thinks that this may be the closest to an apology Africa may get from a leader who is known to double down on his statements. Arouna, who is also a Member of the Washington, DC, Mayor’s Commission on Africa believes that the size, and importance of Africa, make it difficult for the Trump administration to ignore the continent.
Zambian Breweries brings clean water to the country’s townships to help avert cholera outbreaks
January 26, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Wallace Mawire
Zambian Breweries has provided a 30 000-litre water bowser to the
government taskforce on cholera and Lusaka Water Sewerage Company
(LWSC) to help distribute clean safe water and help stop cholera in
In response to the recent outbreak of cholera in Lusaka, the water
bowser will help in the provision of good quality water in the short
and medium term.
The company has also allocated funds to construct water boreholes in
the most affected areas that include Matero and Kanyama.
Local Area Member of Parliament and Minister of Commerce, Trade and
Industry Hon. Margaret Mwanakatwe thanked Zambian Breweries for taking
the step ad said: “When you see Zambian Breweries bringing on board a
30,000-litre water bowser, distributing water all around Lusaka,
that’s what I call awesome,” said Mrs Mwanakatwe.
“This shows that the will is there and the pulling of resources is
such that we are going to win the fight against cholera,” she added.
“We need to issue that our people have clean safe water.”
Mrs Mwanakatwe added: “Zambian Breweries has put forward K2.5 million,
of which part of it will be used to sink boreholes around Lusaka. I am
happy Bauleni is among those areas that are going to receive the
industrial borehole right here in my constituency.”
And Zambian Breweries Country Director Jose Moran during the official
ceremony in Bauleni said: “Access to safe water and sanitation
facilities is critical to stop the spread of cholera and waterborne
diseases. The 30,000-litre water bowser will help many townships in
Lusaka to have access to safe clean water.”
The water bowser will be ferrying water from LWSC sites to selected
townships in Lusaka.
Zambian Breweries is keen to improve access to potable water, which in
turn improves the livelihoods of the people in the townships. With
clean water it is easier to observe hygiene and food safety.
Some townships in Lusaka have been relying on shallow wells as a
source of drinking water, which is not safe for consumption due to
proximity to pit latrines. Because of this, ground water in these
places is contaminated and is not suitable for consumption.
“In our efforts to create a better world we continue with our support
in improving the lively hood of citizens in the townships. We recently
donated over K2.5 million of a wide range of items in support of
Government’s efforts to contain the outbreak of cholera,” said Mr
Cholera is a serious contagious disease, transmitted by the ingestion
of food or water contaminated by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae, and
can kill within hours if left untreated.
As government is coming up with long-term solutions, Zambian Breweries
is making sure it helps save lives from cholera and any other water
borne diseases. Water is a very important, we cannot do without it in
our homes and daily lives.
Hence, Zambian Breweries has pledged its support in helping stop the
spread of cholera with its donation of over K2.5 million of a wide
range of items to support Government’s efforts to contain the outbreak
K1 million was spent on cleaning materials, clinical equipment, office
furniture and assorted nutritional and carbonated soft drinks. The
balance of K1.5 million went towards constructing water boreholes in
two townships of Lusaka.
Zimbabwe issues ultimatum for Declaration of Assets to senior civil servants
January 26, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Prince Kurupati*
Zimbabwe’s new leadership is continuing in its drive to restore confidence in the public sector. This time the government of Zimbabwe issued an ultimatum for declaration of assets to senior civil servants. The ultimatum ends on the 28th of February 2018.
Dr. Misheck Sibanda, the Chief Secretary to the President and the Cabinet announced the news on January 23. He said that the directive targets mostly government ministers, their deputies, senior principal directors, permanent secretaries, board chairpersons and board members of parastatals and state enterprises, chief executive officers of local authorities, chairpersons and members of both executive and independent commissions, and chief executive officers of state enterprises.
The aforementioned are supposed to hand in written declarations of their assets to the Heads of Ministries by no later than 28 February. In their declarations, Dr. Sibanda said that they need to give details of all the immovable property they own or have an interest in with a value exceeding $100 000, this includes properties leased. The officials are also required to state any businesses they own, run or they have an interest in.
Dr. Sibanda said this is in line with the President’s vision of “creating a responsible, transparent, and accountable public service workforce that is sworn to high moral standards and deserved rewards.”
Crackdown on corruption or just electioneering
The move taken by the President is a bold but necessary one. On one hand, we can say that it is in line with his views on stamping down hard on corruption. When the President appointed his Cabinet, many thought that he had deviated from his inauguration speech in which he said, “Acts of corruption must stop forthwith… we have to aspire to be a clean nation, one sworn to high moral standards and deserved rewards.”
By appointing individuals who many claims were involved in corrupt activities in the Mugabe era, many saw the new leadership as more or less a resemblance to the ‘new wine in old bottles’. This was further compounded by the fact that those who were arrested on corruption charges stemming from years of mismanagement in the Mugabe era all entered into the pattern of ‘arrest and release’ without any one of them being convicted.
However, the new directive, if enforced, will serve two crucial purposes in that it will herald Mnangagwa as indeed someone fighting hard for ending corruption. It will also distance him from those who say he is targeting only those who were not on his side during the factional fights with a group (G40) aligned to the former first lady, Grace Mugabe before the military intervention.
Many Zimbabweans anxiously wait to see who owns what when the senior officials submit their declaration of assets that is if they are made public. We have already seen with the externalization ultimatum that the government may withhold information but if Mnangagwa wants the public’s confidence especially at this moment as the country prepares for elections, then he has to make the declarations public.
Some, however, have already started arguing that this is just a symbolic gesture by the President to gain much needed political scores as we are just four or five months away from elections.
The decision to make asset declaration classified or public after 28 February will determine if the President is cracking down on corruption or if it’s just another electioneering gimmick.
Africa Prefers Fair Trade to Marshall Plans –Nigerian VP Osinbajo
January 25, 2018 | 0 Comments
|Remarks by His Excellency, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, GCON, The Vice President of The Federal Republic of Nigeria, at an Interactive Session Titled “Stabilizing the Mediterranean” at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Wednesday, 24 January, 2018|
DAVOS, Switzerland, January 25, 2018/ — Remarks by His Excellency, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, GCON, The Vice President of The Federal Republic of Nigeria, at an Interactive Session Titled “Stabilizing The Mediterranean” at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Wednesday, 24 January, 2018:
Q: How realistic is Africa replacing China as the factory of the world, how realistic is that? How do you look at the Marshall plan for Africa, is it something you think is credible?
Vice President: Let me begin with the Africa Rising narrative and all of the possibilities around Africa replacing China as the factory of the world. I think that probably is in the natural cause of things. Even now, we see that as wage costs go up in China, Africa is becoming the obvious choice for some certain industries, so it is clear that will happen and there are quite a few initiatives in that direction already; there are a few countries like Ivory Coast, Nigeria, with the development of Special Economic Zones, with partnerships coming from China.
I think those sorts of arrangements will very quickly absorb labour because obviously, you are looking at growing populations in Africa, the projections as you know are in the next 20 years or so, we are looking at the youth population… probably 70% of Africa’s population would be young people and Africa would probably about be the third largest population.
I think that the critical thing is to see that we cannot deal with this in any quick way, there are no quick fixes to this, we have got to look at this long term, because clearly there’s no way that African economies will ramp off quickly enough to be able to meet all of the expectations, especially all of the projections around population. So this is going to be a long walk and I think that it is important for all of us to see this as such.
The idea of the Marshall Plan is to me, in some sense, bringing old solutions to what really is a dynamic problem. I think that what Africa needs and what a lot of the southern neighbours of the Europeans need are fairer trade policies and a cocktail of policies that centre on job creation in those locations, more investments, but I think more thinking through those ideas and policies that creates more opportunities, partnership between Europe and Africa.
I don’t think that aid has worked through the years. I think that there’s a need for possibly just much more commitment to the whole process. I mean there have been multi-processes, several of them, but I certainly think that if we look at this as a major global problem and when you look around and look at extremism, terrorism and all of the various things that are exported along with illegal migration, it is a global problem and we really does deserve a global solution and the way to look at that is by coming together to reason these things through, but frankly it is not by those Marshal Plans off the shelf, I think it is more nuanced than that.
Q: Do you feel that values of human rights are being compromised in order for Europe to have tactical immediate solutions?
Vice President: I certainly agree that it was a great shock to see actual slave dealings in this century; it was absolutely horrifying to see that. What we are seeing is a degeneration of criminal activities where you find that state capacity is unable to maintain international human rights norms.
One of the crucial things is to encourage repatriation. Nigerian government for example is working with the Libyan government in repatriating everyone who is in the camps. It is a slow process because there are those who claim nationalities because they see a way out of the camps. There is also a great deal of willingness on the part of those who are in the camps to go back because it is entirely voluntary. There is pressure where there is no state capacity or inadequate state capacity to maintain law and order and international human rights norms. The pressure is a bit too much for the Libyan authorities, so what you find is that the criminal gangs and all of these asymmetric type organizations dominate the space and we may not be able to do much without relieving the Libyan authorities of a lot of the illegal migrants in their custody or their country.
Q: With a Yes or No, 5 years from now, are we still going to be seating here having the same discussion?
Vice President: Would you give us a chance to say, “I hope not?” (Laughter). I really suspect yes.
*Courtesy of Laolu Akande,Senior Special Assistant to the President (Media & Publicity),Office of the Vice President
Ramaphosa Sees Progress in South Africa’s ‘Mammoth’ Corruption Fight
January 25, 2018 | 0 Comments
President Jacob Zuma won’t be treated with disrespect
South Africa now has ‘game plan’ to boost economy: Ramaphosa
South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa said the authorities are intensifying their attack on pervasive corruption in the state and are having “positive” discussions with investors about the future of Africa’s largest economy.
“The wheels of change are moving now and they are going to start speeding up,” Ramaphosa said Wednesday in an interview with Bloomberg Television at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. “Cleaning up clearly is going to be quite a mammoth task, but we have to start somewhere. Our people are clamoring for a clean government, and that is what we are going to give them.”
Ramaphosa, 65, was elected leader of South Africa’s ruling African National Congress last month, positioning him to succeed President Jacob Zuma, whose almost nine-year tenure has been marred by scandal. While Zuma’s second term is due to end in mid-2019, the ANC has said its newly elected top six leaders will determine when he should step down.
“We have taken a view that this is a very, very difficult matter,” Ramaphosa said, when asked if Zuma would serve out his term. “We have decided we are going to manage this transition very carefully. What we don’t want to see is him treated with disrespect. We will manage it so well so that it does not divide the nation.”
The rand has rallied on optimism Ramaphosa can bring in change and revive an economy that sank into its second recession in a decade last year. It’s the best performing currency tracked by Bloomberg since he won the party leadership, trading stronger than 12 to the dollar on Wednesday for the first time in almost three years.
A lawyer and one of the richest black South Africans, Ramaphosa has already shown his increasing influence over the government. His office announced sweeping changes to the board of cash-strapped state power utility Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. on Jan. 20, including the appointment of Jabu Mabuza, one of Zuma’s most outspoken critics, as chairman.
Last week prosecutors moved to seize assets of Trillian Capital Partners Pty Ltd., which was majority owned by an ally of the Gupta family, because of alleged unlawful payments from Eskom. The Guptas are in business with Zuma’s son, Duduzane, and have been implicated in alleged looting of billions of rand from state companies in reports by the nation’s graft ombudsman and a group of top academics. Zuma and the Guptas deny wrongdoing.
Ramaphosa said the government, business and labor are working together to address South Africa’s failings, and he’s confident the country can avoid further downgrades after two major ratings companies cut their assessments to junk last year.
“We now have a better story to tell to the ratings agencies. Some of the things that they were worried about, we are putting right now,” he said. “We are more stable. We are correcting issues of regulatory uncertainty. We are also addressing issues of where growth of our economy will come from and we are also addressing issues of state-owned enterprise reform. It is not like last year, or a year ago, when we were all over the show. We’ve got a game plan.”
Plans announced by Zuma last month to provide free tertiary education for poor students shouldn’t place undue pressure on the country’s finances, according to Ramaphosa.
“The burden may not be as large as we thought it was,” he said. “When the budget is announced, we will be able to find the money. I think we will find the solution for that. I think we should be able to have a well-balanced budget. We are on a good path. The discussions I’m having with investors have been very positive.”
President Mnangagwa: ‘Zimbabwe is open for business’
January 25, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Richard Quest and Sheena McKenzie*
Davos, Switzerland (CNN)Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa said the country was “open for business” after almost four decades of oppressive rule by former leader Robert Mugabe.
Compensation on land reform
Gay rights not changing any time soon
Can Mnangagwa deliver a new-look economy?
Who is the man they call ‘The Crocodile?’
Barclays Africa Group and Frontclear partner to develop Africa’s interbank markets
January 24, 2018 | 0 Comments
- Barclays Africa Group to support Frontclear’s Technical Assistance efforts through its Partnership Facility
- Barclays Africa Group has committed to supporting wholesale market development in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Ghana over the next 2 years
- Barclays Africa Group and Frontclear signed memorandum of understanding to implement TradeClear in key African interbank markets
Barclays Africa Group Limited (BAGL) has signed a 2-year agreement to provide financial support to the Frontclear Technical Assistance Programme (FTAP) through the latter’s Partnership Facility. The contribution reflects the bank’s commitment to building inclusive, stable and liquid interbank market development through providing training, regulatory support and essential market infrastructure. The programme will be rolled-out in in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Ghana.
BAGL and Frontclear also concluded a memorandum of understanding regarding the implementation of the TradeClear interbank guarantee facility in Kenya and other leading African financial markets.
The partnership allows BAGL to implement the findings of the Barclays Africa Financial Markets Index. Released in late 2017, the Index ranks the maturity, openness and accessibility of 17 financial markets in Africa, based on both qualitative and quantitative criteria. Development of local investor capacity and ability to attract foreign capital are also key points of focus.
“Our partnership with Frontclear and this investment in the FTAP Partnership Facility is a further demonstration of Barclays Africa Group’s commitment to expanding and deepening financial markets across Africa. The investment allows us to immediately act on the findings of our Africa Financial Markets Index, which through expert analysis of the African financial markets, draws attention to the considerable investment opportunities and uncovers the untapped market potential” – George Asante, Head of Global Markets Africa (ex SA) at Barclays Africa Group
“We are delighted to formalize our partnership with Barclays Africa Group and look forward to working together in building more liquid, stable and inclusive interbank markets. The developments of these markets are critical to economic growth, stability and poverty alleviation.” – Philip Buyskes, CEO Frontclear
The FTAP Partnership Facility is a unique initiative, in that it teams-up international donors with regional and global banks, in a highly targeted effort to build inclusive interbank markets in frontier economies. Its trainings, advisory and research activities combine to remove the barriers to well-functioning capital markets in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
The TradeClear interbank guarantee facility aims to establish secured trading interbank trading environments in Africa. Under the program, Frontclear guarantees financial losses for all participants incurred due to counterparty failure, thereby stabilizing the interbank market and improving liquidity. It is expected that TradeClear will be implemented in Kenya in Q1 of 2018.
Barclays Africa Group Limited (‘Barclays Africa Group’ or ‘the Group’) is listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and is one of Africa’s largest diversified financial services groups. As of June 2017, Barclays PLC is a minority shareholder in Barclays Africa Group.
Barclays Africa Group offers an integrated set of products and services across personal and business banking, corporate and investment banking, wealth and investment management and insurance. We are strongly positioned as a fully local bank with regional and international expertise. We are committed to Shared Growth, which for us means having a positive impact on society and delivering shareholder value.
Barclays Africa Group operates in 12 countries, with approximately 40 000 employees, serving close to 12 million customers.
The Group’s registered head office is in Johannesburg, South Africa and owns majority stakes in banks in Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania (Barclays Bank Tanzania and National Bank of Commerce), Uganda and Zambia. The Group also has representative offices in Namibia and Nigeria.
For further information about Barclays Africa Group
Refugee Settlements To Be Transformed Into Digital Communities For Long-Term Economic Growth
January 24, 2018 | 0 Comments
Mastercard and the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Power Africa Initiative Announce Powerful New Public-Private Coalition
Davos, Switzerland – January 24, 2018 – Mastercard and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) today announced the launch of a public-private coalition that will bring together technology, solutions and experience from multiple sectors to transform refugee settlements into digitally-connected communities. This commitment delivers on a vision laid out in research conducted last year by Mastercard to better understand the critical needs of the over seven million refugees living in camps or settlements today.
The coalition, led by Mastercard and USAID’s Power Africa initiative, will launch pilot programs during the first half of 2018 to address some of the biggest barriers to development. For example, mobile phone and internet access is as critical to refugees’ safety and security as food, shelter and water. The organizations will work together to introduce internet and mobile connectivity, access to clean, efficient energy, and digital financial tools for communities in Kenya and Uganda, with plans to scale to other refugee-hosting countries around the world.
In addition to Mastercard and Power Africa, organizations participating in the coalition include: Accenture, Acumen, BRCK, Danish Refugee Council, Energy Peace Partners, Fenix International, GSMA, The Innovation Village, Lutheran World Federation, Mercy Corps, Microsoft, Moving Energy Initiative, NetHope, Norwegian Refugee Council, Off-Grid Electric, Pawame, PowerGen Renewable Energy, SolarKiosk, Tent Foundation, USAID Global Development Lab, U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, Vecna Cares Charitable Trusts, and World Vision.
“We’ve spent the past several years testing and learning with our partners to take what we do well as a technology company and apply it to help solve this humanitarian crisis,” said Tara Nathan, Executive Vice President, Public Private Partnerships, Mastercard. “Our payments technology has helped to reduce inefficiencies and expenses, add transparency, empower refugees, and stimulate local markets. Now we’re also acting as a force multiplier by combining our strengths with those of the coalition members to make an even bigger impact.”
Today, approximately 31 percent of the world’s refugees live in refugee camps or settlements. They are men, women and children who have fled from countries ravaged by war, political unrest and natural disasters, in hopes of a better life. But they spend an average of 10 years in exile, most often residing in low-and middle-income countries that are already under significant economic strain.
Uganda and Kenya are among the ten countries with the largest refugee populations. Uganda hosts 1.4 million refugees and is home to Bidi Bidi, currently the largest refugee settlement in the world. Kenya hosts approximately 490,000 refugees in settlements, including Kalobeyei, which was established in 2015 to improve the conditions of refugees and host communities through an economically integrated approach.
Mastercard recently published a recommendation for a new integrated model for refugee camps following a year of extensive research in the Kakuma and Kalobeyei camps in Kenya. The insights from the study helped identify the three key areas on which coalition members will focus:
- Connectivity – Coalition members will work together to create accessible and resilient connectivity platforms that deliver vital information to refugees and host communities and enable efficient management of settlement operations.
- Digital tools – Whether providing cash-based assistance or conducting outreach to refugees and host community members, agencies increasingly rely upon technology to effectively address needs. The coalition will work to design and implement an integrated set of identity, payment, and data tools that improve the delivery of essential services.
- Energy access – Power is not provided in settlements as a service, so refugees often rely upon donated solar lanterns for basic light, and poor quality, expensive diesel generators for small businesses. The coalition members will implement solutions for providing energy access to refugees and host communities in a more efficient and low-cost way.
This coalition complements the UN General Assembly endorsed Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF) and the Global Compact on Refugees, which seeks to ease pressure on host countries and enhance refugee self-reliance. UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency and lead for the CRRF, welcomes innovative private-public approaches to longstanding refugee situations that advance the sustainable development agenda and the CRRF.
The Tent Foundation’s Partnership for Refugees will host the Smart Communities Coalition website, enabling additional companies to join the effort to tailor their services to meet refugee and host community needs, a focus area for Tent. Mastercard joined the Tent Partnership in 2016, and this coalition is an extension of its pledge to explore better ways to integrate refugees in host communities.
Louise James, Managing Director, Accenture Development Partnerships:
“Accenture is proud to be a coalition member and to support the mission of this group. Our main goal is to help refugees have the connectivity they require through access to mobile phones and the internet. Connectivity will expand refugees’ access to critical vocational, health and safety information and services.”
Sherwin Das, Managing Director, Energy Peace Partners:
“Energy Peace Partners is pleased to be part of the Smart Communities Coalition and excited to leverage our Peace Renewable Energy Credit (PREC) instrument to drive new renewable energy investment in some of the world’s most fragile settings.”
Lyndsay Handler, CEO, Fenix International:
“Fenix is committed to providing affordable energy products and inclusive financing to the hundreds of millions of people in Africa living without access to the grid. We are proud to partner with the Smart Communities Coalition to find innovative technology and customer experience solutions to overcome the barriers of delivering clean energy and other life-changing products to this population.”
Lennart Hernander, Program Representative, Lutheran World Federation:
“LWF is proud to work with so many dedicated and professional partners in the ‘Smart Communities Coalition’. LWF has supported refugees in Kakuma for more than 25 years. We were among the first few partners present on the ground when the ‘Lost Boys’ from Sudan started to arrive. We see the ‘Smart Communities Coalition’ as a major step towards a future-looking and integrated solution for refugees and local communities, which through connectivity and renewable energy will provide new opportunities for all. The Smart Communities Coalition approach empowers communities in a dignified and accountable manner, this is at the very core of LWFs vision and objectives globally.”
Neal Keny-Guyer, CEO, Mercy Corps:
“At Mercy Corps, we have long held the belief that to solve complex problems, we need to work together across sectors – public, private and nonprofit – to bring to bear our collective knowledge to design bold solutions. We’re thrilled to be a founding member of the Smart Communities Coalition and hopeful about the possibility to bring needed technology and other services to refugee settlements.”
Ben Good, Project Director, Moving Energy Initiative and CEO, Energy 4 Impact:
“The Moving Energy Initiative believes that a paradigm shift in the way humanitarian sector “does energy”, including new types of partnership with the private sector, can create major benefits for the environment, for the agencies and for displaced persons. And, as it is with energy access, so it is with connectivity and the digital economy. We are therefore delighted to be partnering with the Smart Communities Coalition.”
Lauren Woodman, CEO, NetHope:
“Internet connectivity is a lifeline that connects refugees to information, resources, and opportunities. Put simply: Information is aid.”
Neil Turner, Kenya Country Director, Norwegian Refugee Council:
“Offering refugees increasing livelihood opportunities, unleashing their entrepreneurial skills, and creating environmentally friendly, energy efficient ways of doing this, is at the heart of the NRC’s work in Kenya.”
Xavier Helgesen, CEO and Co-Founder, Off-Grid Electric:
“We have long been a proud partner of Power Africa, and are thrilled by the opportunity to use our technology and experience in Africa to serve refugee communities with affordable & reliable power.”
Maurice Parets, CEO, Pawame:
“Pawame is a social enterprise distributing solar home systems in Turkana County, where Kakuma refugee camp is located. We launched our operations in September 2017 and Pawame is committed to creating jobs by distributing its solar home system, empowering the lives of refugees and reducing the carbon footprint. Through our solar home systems, which provide lighting, phone charging and television, we will empower refugees with increased energy access.”
Andreas Spiess, CEO and Co-Founder, SolarKiosk:
“SOLARKIOSK is thrilled to be one of the founding members of the Smart Communities Coalition. We look forward to enabling our solar powered infrastructure, the E-HUBB, to become an integral part of the Coalition’s mission to bring renewable energy and economic generating opportunities to refugee and host communities. With a network of over 200 E-HUBBs across Africa and Asia, experience with refugee and host communities in the Middle East and over five years of know-how in providing retail products and energy services to underserved markets, SOLARKIOSK can greatly contribute to the transformation led by the Coalition.”
Paul Amendola, Executive Director, VecnaCares:
“VecnaCares is excited to be a member of the coalition. Our goal is to develop and deploy an electronic medical records system and CliniPAK to help close the information gaps between patients, caregivers, and decision-makers. Digital patient-centered data in real-time will impact and improve patient health, clinical treatment, and medical resources for refugees.”
Kevin Jenkins, President and CEO, World Vision International:
“The Smart Communities Coalition represents the positive shift in how private and public partners are working together to address growing humanitarian needs, especially in refugee settings. As part of the Smart Communities Coalition, World Vision will work with our partners to identify technologies and approaches that will expedite the delivery of services to reduce the vulnerabilities of children and build self-reliance for their families, particularly in fragile and conflict contexts.”
Next Einstein Forum launches survey to measure gender gap in STEM education and research in Africa
January 24, 2018 | 0 Comments
KIGALI, Rwanda, 24 January 2018 -/African Media Agency (AMA) – The Next Einstein Forum (NEF), an initiative of the Africa Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) in partnership with Robert Bosch Stiftung, today announces the launch of an important survey that hopes to measure the existing gender gap in science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM) education and research in Africa.
The survey results will be announced through a report released at the NEF Global Gathering 2018 to be held 26-28 March 2018 in Kigali, Rwanda. Further, the results will inform a White Paper to be unpacked during the highly anticipated panel on bridging the gap for women in science and technology to be held on the first day of the NEF Global Gathering 2018.
“The NEF and our AIMS Women in STEM (AIMSWIS) Initiative are committed to promoting scientific excellence and gender equity. We believe the two go hand in hand, improving scientific output and outcomes. We have launched this survey to get a better understanding of what barriers exist and what best practices can be adopted organically to advance gender equity in STEM education and research on our continent,” said Mr. Thierry Zomahoun, President and CEO of AIMS and Chairman of the NEF.
Questions will focus on participants’ academic journey and work experience including the opportunities and barriers faced along the way. The results will be compiled in a report which will provide much needed primary data to inform discussion and recommendations among policy makers, academic institutions, funding partners and civil society.
Central to the NEF’s vision of propelling Africa onto the global scientific stage, the NEF actively works to increase women’s representation in STEM fields in Africa and globally. Leading by example, NEF Fellows and Ambassadors cohorts comprise at least 40% women.
To participate in the survey, click here. The first 100 completed surveys will receive a participation prize.
Launched in 2013, the Next Einstein Forum (NEF) is an initiative of the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) in partnership with the Robert Bosch Stiftung. The NEF is a platform that connects science, society and policy in Africa and the rest of the world – with the goal to leverage science for human development globally. The NEF believes that Africa’s contributions to the global scientific community are critical for global progress. At the centre of NEF efforts are Africa’s young people, the driving force for Africa’s scientific renaissance. The NEF is a unique youth-driven forum. At our headline biennial scientific events, 50% of participants are 42 or younger. Far from being an ordinary science forum, the NEF Global Gatherings position science at the centre of global development efforts. The next NEF Global Gathering will be held on 26-28 March 2018 in Kigali, Rwanda. In addition, through our Communities of Scientists, we showcase the contributions of Africa’s brilliant youth to Africa’s scientific emergence through its class of NEF Fellows, who are Africa’s top scientists and technologists under the age of 42, and NEF Ambassadors, who are the NEF’s 54 science and technology ambassadors on the ground.
The NEF is also working together with partners such as the African Academy of Sciences, Ministers’ of Education, Science and Research across Africa, foundations and other global scientific and private sector companies, to build an African scientific identity. By bringing together key stakeholders, the NEF hopes to drive the discussion from policy to implementation by leveraging buy in and best practice results from Africa and the world. Have a look at our benchmark Dakar Declaration.
Finally, the NEF is telling untold stories of scientific research and innovation across the continent through our various platforms. We want to recalibrate what ‘innovation’ means in Africa. We want to make the link between science and technology, even basic sciences, to everyday life. We want the public involved in science and we have recently concluded the first coordinated Africa Science Week – an annual three to five day celebration of science and technology through coordinated science events across the continent. We believe the next Einstein will be African.
The NEF has been endorsed by the African Union Commission, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Governments of Rwanda, Senegal and South Africa, the African Academy of Sciences (AAS) and a growing number of private sector and civil society partners from across the world who are passionate about positioning Africa’s scientific community as an influential member in the global scientific community, which will ensure sustainable human development in Africa and other parts of the world.
South African CEOs cautiously optimistic about their own company’s prospects for growth in the next 12 months: PwC annual CEO survey
January 24, 2018 | 0 Comments
|37%, compared to 45% globally are slightly more confident about their own company’s prospects for revenue growth over the next three years|
|JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, January 24, 2018/ —
Worldwide the majority of CEOs are optimistic about the economic environment amid geopolitical uncertainty, corporate misconduct and the impact of artificial intelligence on the future job market. This is according to one of the key findings of PwC’s (www.PwC.com) 21st survey of 1,293 CEOs around the world.
Fifty-seven percent of global business leaders say they believe global economic growth will improve in the next 12 months. This percentage is almost twice the level of last year (29%) and the largest ever increase since PwC began asking about global growth in 2012.
CEOs in South Africa are less confident than their global counterparts regarding their growth prospects in 2018. Only 22% of CEOs in South Africa are “very confident” of their company’s own growth in the next 12 months – 20 points below the global average (42%). However, South African CEOs – 37%, compared to 45% globally are slightly more confident about their own company’s prospects for revenue growth over the next three years. In addition, 37% of South African CEOs also expect global economic growth to improve in the next 12 months – 20 points below the global average.
Commenting on the survey results, Dion Shango, CEO of PwC Southern Africa, says: “CEOs’ optimism in South Africa is more tempered than that of the developed economies, especially regarding their own organisations’ prospects for revenue growth. The state of the economy, unemployment and political uncertainty, among other issues, are casting a shadow over business expectations.” Looking at the results by country, it’s a mixed bag.
CEOs’ outlook improved in several key markets, including in Australia (up 4% to 46%) and China (up 4% to 40%), where the share of CEOs saying they are “very confident” in their own organisation’s 12-month growth prospects rose.
In the US, CEOs’ confidence has recovered. After the US general election last year, the early focus on regulation and tax reform by the new administration has seen confidence in business growth prospects for the year ahead rising significantly – from 39% in 2017 to 52% in 2018. North America is the only region where a majority of CEOs are “very confident” about their own 12-month prospects.
In the UK, with Brexit negotiations only recently reaching a significant milestone, business leaders’ drop in short-term confidence is unsurprising (2018: 34% vs. 2017: 41%).
The global survey results, based on interviews with almost 1,300 CEOs from 85 countries, were released at the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos yesterday. In South Africa 41 CEOs from a broad spectrum of listed and privately-owned companies participated in our online survey.
Top countries for growth
CEO confidence in the US market extends overseas, with non-US based CEOs once again voting it the top market for growth in the next 12 months. This year, the US reinforces its lead on China (46% US vs 33% China, with the US lead over China up 2% compared with 2017).
Germany (20%) remains in third place, followed by the UK (15%) in fourth place, while India bumps Japan as the fifth most attractive market in 2018.
South African CEOs named the US (32%), the UK (27%), and China (24%) as the three most important countries for their organisation’s overall growth prospects over the next 12 months.
Threats to growth: CEOs fear wider societal threats they can’t control
CEOs across the world are increasingly concerned about broader societal threats – such as geopolitical uncertainty, terrorism, the rise of populism, and climate change – in addition to direct business risks such as cyber threats and the speed of technological change.
South African CEOs’ concerns around a broad range of business, societal and economic threats have risen. CEOs are “extremely concerned” about social instability (South Africa: 98%; Global: 73%); over-regulation (South Africa: 93%; Global: 83%); unemployment (South Africa: 93%; Global: 50%); uncertain economic growth (South Africa: 93%; Global 74%); exchange rate volatility (South Africa: 90%; Global: 70%); and populism (South Africa: 88%; Global: 77%).
Of business threats, 37% of South Africa CEOs (compared to 38% globally) said they were “extremely concerned” about the availability of key skills, 41% (compared to 40% globally) cited cyber threats, and 32% (compared to 38% globally) stated the speed of technological change as concerns.
It is notable that 22% of South African CEOs (compared to 14% globally) stated that they are “extremely concerned” about potential ethical scandals. This comes in the wake of a growing number of firms that have suffered reputational damage in the past year because of ethical lapses.
In addition, 39% of South African CEOs (Global: 32%) believe that changes in core technologies of production or service provision, such as artificial intelligence, will be very disruptive for their business over the next five years. A fifth of South African CEOs (20%), compared to 23% globally, think that changes in industry regulation will also be very disruptive to businesses over the next five years.
A year after the Paris Agreement was signed by 190 nations, which saw countries commit to voluntary action on climate change and low carbon investment, CEOs’ concern about the threat of climate change and environmental damage to growth prospects has now doubled to 31% of global CEOs (South Africa: 24%).
Driving corporate growth
This year, 80% of South African CEOs (compared to 79% globally), plan to expand by way of organic growth in the next 12 months. In addition, 56% of CEOs (compared to 47% globally) plan to enter into a new strategic alliance or joint venture, and only 44% (compared to 42% globally) propose a new M&A. Fifty-nine percent of local CEOs (compared to 62% globally) plan to implement a cost-reduction initiative.
Jobs and digital skills
It is notable that 37% of South African CEOs –compared to 58% in 2016 – plan to increase their headcount in 2018, while 54% of global CEOs plan to increase their headcount. In addition, only 18% of CEOs globally, compared to 22% of CEOs in South Africa, expect to reduce their headcount. Two-thirds of South African CEOs say this is mainly due to automation and other technologies.
On digital skills specifically, over a quarter (28%) of CEOs are extremely concerned about their availability within the country they are based, rising to 49% being “extremely concerned” in South Africa, 51% in China and 59% in Brazil.
Investments in modern working environments, learning and development programmes and partnering with other providers are the top strategies being pursued by CEOs to help them attract and develop the digital talent they need.
Impact of technology on employment and skills
While recent research by PwC found that workers were optimistic about technology improving their job prospects, CEOs admit that helping employees retrain, and increasing transparency on how automation and artificial intelligence (AI) could impact jobs is becoming a more important issue for them.
Two-thirds of CEOs globally, compared to 67% in South Africa, believe they have a responsibility to retrain employees whose roles are replaced by technology. In order to prepare for the digital age the majority of CEOs (91%), compared to 90% of CEOs in South Africa, strongly agree that they need to strengthen soft skills such as teamwork and communication alongside digital skills.
More than two-thirds of South African CEOs say they are taking action on a number of fronts – ranging from the way they work, to engaging external service providers and improving remuneration and training for their staff.
Trust and leadership: CEOs divided over whether future economic growth will benefit the many or the few
Echoing the theme of the World Economic Forum this year, CEOs acknowledge that we live in a fractured world. They are divided over whether future economic growth will benefit the many or the few. They see the world moving towards new, multifaceted metrics to measure future prosperity.
Shango comments: “CEOs across every region and country recognise that the world is moving away from measuring prosperity primarily through financial measures (e.g. GDP) and towards a more integrated approach that ‘measures prosperity through multifaceted metrics (e.g. quality-of-life indices).” Defining those metrics and capturing the data to accurately measure them will be a priority item on the business agenda in the coming years.
Examining the key challenges to trust for businesses, 60% of CEOs globally admit that delivering results in shorter periods of time (South Africa: 71%) is a challenge. There has also been a significant shift with the majority reporting higher levels of pressure to hold individual leaders to account (Global: 51%; South Africa: 83%), including for misconduct. Over a third report more pressure from employees and customers to take political and social stances (Global: 38%; South Africa: 78%).
To download PwC annual CEO survey, click here: http://APO.af/uxSNPo
African Union Diaspora Headquarters to be established in Accompong Jamaica
January 24, 2018 | 0 Comments
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, 24 January 2018 -/African Media Agency (AMA)/- African Union Permanent Ambassador to the USA, Hon. Dr. Arikana Chihombori Quao, has re-affirmed the decision to establish an African Union Diaspora Headquarters in Accompong Jamaica during the official ceremony to mark the anniversary of the signing of the Peace Treaty between the Accompong Maroons and the British.
The Ambassador applauded the Maroons for maintaining their African cultural heritage and traditions, and described the Maroon state as being a piece of Africa in the heart of the Caribbean.
The Right Hon. Colonel Ferron Williams, Accompong Head of State, welcomed the decision and said “Today we Maroons are vindicated for having fought to defend our African heritage and identity. We are honoured by our ancestors valor and victory against European colonialism.”