NBS Corruption Survey And The Hidden Truth of How A Police Officer Conspired With Fraudsters To Bankrupt ASO Savings & Loans
August 19, 2017 | 0 Comments
Why do Buhari, Dos Santos and Mugabe go to hospital abroad?
August 19, 2017 | 0 Comments
By Damian Zane*
The presidents of Nigeria, Angola, Zimbabwe, Benin and Algeria all have something in common – an apparent lack of faith in the health systems at home.
In terms of time spent abroad getting medical help, Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari, 74, is the first among equals, but in the past year all these heads of state have travelled overseas for health reasons.
In many cases they are leaving behind poorly funded health services, which most of their citizens have to rely on.
In 2010, the average amount spent on health in African countries per person was $135 (£100) compared to $3,150 in high-income countries, the UN’s World Health Organization said.
In Zimbabwe, for example, state-run hospitals and clinics often run out of basic medicines like painkillers and antibiotics, according to health watchdog Citizens Health Watch.
It says that the public health care system “continues to deteriorate at alarming levels” with lack of money being the main problem.
As for Nigeria, the public health system is “terrible” because of poor funding, says BBC Abuja editor Naziru Mikailu.
A health insurance scheme for government workers and some private employees has given some people access to private medicine, but most people have to rely on government-funded services.
In both countries, good private healthcare is available to those with money but in some cases there is a feeling that things are better abroad.
The Nigerian president has spent more than four months in London this year getting treatment for an undisclosed illness, causing considerable disquiet at home. Unlike one of his predecessors, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua who went to Saudi Arabia to see a doctor, Mr Buhari did leave his deputy in charge, but this has not dampened the criticism.
Buhari’s unhealthy start to 2017
19 January: Leaves for UK on “medical vacation”
5 February: Asks parliament to extend medical leave
10 March: Returns home but does not resume work immediately
7 May: Travels to UK for further treatment
6 June: Aisha Buhari says his is “recuperating fast”
Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe, in power since 1980, has also been criticised by his political opponents for running the country “from his hospital bed” after his third medical trip to Singapore this year.
The Angolan government revealed in May that Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who has been president for the last 38 years, had travelled to Spain for health reasons. But as in the Nigerian case, the government was not forthcoming about the problem.
Evaristo Da Luz, spokesperson for the opposition Casa-CE, said that the trip “proves the incompetence of his government in place for four decades and shows the precarious nature of the health service”.
‘Very, very black’
The ill-health of Algeria’s President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, 80, has been known for a long time.
He suffered a stroke in 2013, was seen going to vote in a wheelchair in 2014 and later in the year travelled to a hospital in France. He was back there last November for one of what the government calls “periodic” medical checks, the AFP news agency reports.
The Benin government has been more forthcoming about the reason for the relatively youthful President Patrice Talon, 59, to travel to France in June. He went for two operations, one on his prostate and one on his digestive system, the government said.
But what is the attraction of seeking medical attention elsewhere?
Unsurprisingly, no presidential spokesman has come out to say that it is because the health service in general is better overseas.
Mr Mugabe’s spokesman, though, was sensitive to criticism about his boss’s frequent trips to Singapore, insisting in May that he was not turning his back on Zimbabwean medical help.
George Charamba was quoted by the state-run Herald newspaper as saying that the president’s doctor “is not only Zimbabwean, he is actually black… He is very, very, very black”.
The only issue was that the problem Mr Mugabe had with his eyes could only be dealt with outside Zimbabwe, as it had to do with “the level of sophistication of medical skills”.
It was this medical problem that meant Mr Mugabe had to sometimes rest his eyes during meetings, giving the impression that he was sleeping, the spokesman said.
The issue with these trips abroad is not only the implied criticism of the medics at home, but that they also serve to undermine the health system, leading Nigerian doctor Osahon Enabulele argues.
He calls the phenomenon “medical tourism” and says that the example set by political leaders costs countries millions of dollars.
In 2013 he estimated that Nigerians were spending $1bn (£770m) abroad on medical treatment and reckons that figure could have doubled by now.
By comparison, the federal government’s health budget for 2016 came to $800m.
Dr Enabulele, who is vice-president of the Commonwealth Medical Association, says that the money taken out of Nigeria could be invested in the health system at home.
“The whole ambition to have state-of-the-art facilities will remain a mirage if people keep going abroad for medical reasons.”
On top of that, he says, top Nigerian doctors are then enticed abroad looking for the best conditions, exacerbating the situation.
Dr Enabulele adds that while he wishes the president well, he thinks that the treatment he needs could be found at home.
Looking at the big picture, underfunding of health does seem to be a problem.
Also, political leaders may not have the incentive to improve health services if they themselves can afford to go elsewhere.
Perhaps they could take the example of Sudan President Omar al-Bashir.
In January, he had what the official news agency described as “an exploratory cardiac catheterisation” at a hospital in the capital, Khartoum.
It was, however, a private hospital, not a state one.
Integrating Financial Services In Africa
August 18, 2017 | 0 Comments
A defining objective of the African Union is to promote sustainable development at the economic, social and cultural levels as well as the integration of African economies. This noble mandate, enshrined in Article 3, of the Constitutive Acts of the AU, actually predates the AU, and was a principal goal of the Organization of African Unity, OAU, the predecessor body of the AU.
Economic integration also provided a fundamental impetus in the formation of the various Regional Economic Communities, RECs, and monetary zones in Africa – viz. ECOWAS, UMOA, CEMAC, CEEAC, EAC, AMU, CEN-SAD, SADC, COMESA, IGAD, etc. Together, these RECs have striven to promote and co-ordinate social, political and economic integration in the continent.Interestingly, some countries are even members of up two or three RECs. This is a testament to the overarching criticality of economic integration in the vision, plans and activities of African states.
In this treatise, I will focus on the integration of financial services in Africa, an unheralded field, but where remarkable results are being recorded. A Payment System is a facilitator of monetary transactions, and a veritable integrative node. In the UEMOA zone, in West Africa, the Groupement Interbancaire Monétique de I’UnionEconomique et MonétaireOuestAfricaine, more widely known by its French acronym, GIM-UEMOA, set up by BCEAO, the Central Bank of West African States in 2003, in striving to create a cashless region, has grown to become a regional platform for cards, electronic payments, and clearing of interbank transactions. With over 100 banks, financial and postal institutions as members; cardholders in the GIM network,pay relatively low transaction fees.
Also, the Central African equivalent, GIMAC,created in 2013, under the guidance of the Central Bank of Central African States, BEAC, is working with Banks to integrate the electronic payments system in the region, and ensure inter-operability and acceptance of GIMAC cards, for ATMs, POS, etc, by banks and for international payments,and reduce transaction and cash handling costs, while facilitating e-commerce.
The East African Payment System, EAPS, provides a platform for the real time settlement of cross border payments in the region. Driven by the Central Banks in the region, and piloted in 2013, the payment system took off immediately in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and subsequently, Rwanda. More remarkable is that EAPS is based on direct convertibility, and the use of the currencies of participating countries for transactions and settlement, without the intermediary facilitation of any OECD currency. For instance, transactions initiated in Tanzania shillings can be directly settled in Uganda shillings or Kenya shillings.
In Southern Africa, the SADC Integrated Regional Electronic Settlement System (SIRESS),and the Regional Payment and Settlement System, REPSS, launched separately in 2014, are two integrative payments systems worth referencing. Through SIRESS, funds can be wired, real time, to beneficiaries with accounts in SIRESS commercial banks. REPSS, with a clearing house in Zimbabwe, and the Central Bank of Mauritius as its Settlement Bank, utilizes an electronic platform for cross-border payments and settlement.
Quite positively, these initiatives, operationalized under the auspices of Central Banks, and with the active participation of commercial Banks are technologically advanced, rapid, and secure. While leveraging on the real-time gross settlement systems of the countries, they seek to enhance efficiency, reduce settlement time, lower transaction costs and generally facilitate intra-African trade, and economic integration in the continent.
In tandem, the banking sector, in Africa, has expanded exponentially in the last decade, in asset size and profitability; geography -distribution channels and network; product sophistication- digital banking, cards, mobile payments; and, financial inclusion. Access to financial services continues to improve across the continent. Furthermore, leveraging on enhanced capacity, pan-African banks are increasingly able to collaboratively finance large ticket and transformational infrastructural projects through syndications and risk sharing. Currently, the top 20 pan-African Banks have assets over $800b, with over 11,000 branches. Beyond banking, we are also witnesses to the birth and growth of pan-African insurance, micro finance, and other financial service companies across the continent that offer greater diversity and depth of products and solutions. All these have led to the increase in the range, frequency, and diversity in the classes of risks that Banks, and other financial institutions, face. Concomitantly, risk management, regulatory compliance and corporate governance have become more stringent, and with onerous application, as they remain important variables for assessing the health of Banks, in the drive towards overall sector viability and sustainability.
Imperceptibly, but surely, the regulatory environment of the financial services sector, is also being integrated. The Association of African Central Banks, headquartered in Dakar, brings together 39 regional and country Central Banks in Africa. In line with its statutes, and practices, its Assembly of Governors, usually meets yearly, to deliberate on financial system stability, monetary and payment system integration, the African Central Bank initiative, etc.Another critical arm is the Community of African Banking Supervisors (CABS) which works to strengthen banking regulatory and supervisory frameworks.In the last decade, I have observed, first hand, this increased collaboration between African Central Banks,with MOUs being signed, to facilitate cross border supervision, exchange of ideas and information sharing between host and home regulators. Also, the College of Supervisors set up by the Central Bank of Nigeria, as a forum that brings together host regulators of Banks, with headquarters in Nigeria, but with operations in other jurisdictions,to strengthen governance practices, and ensure soundness in the banking sector, is also a positive development.
An evolving trend in the African banking space, is the initiative to connect Africa, andenablecustomers of a bank to conveniently access their accounts, deposit cash and make cheque withdrawals in any branch, in different countries across Africa, where the bank operates, outside the primary country holding the account. This has the distinct capability to alter the face and operation of banking in the continent as it will open up and facilitate easy movement of goods, services capital, and people. I also look forward to the day, soon enough, for instance, when a Moroccan manufacturer of fertilizer visiting Zambia to negotiate a contract; agrees payment terms, issues a paymentinstrument right away to a Zambian exporter of high quality packaging materials and gets value immediately, using simple electronic payment instruments.
On the whole, these emerging trends contribute significantly to the on-going African-led processes of creating a powerful, vibrant pan-African financial infrastructure, to further undergird and deepen Pan African economic, commercial, business and social interactions through access to personal and business finance across Africa. Together with the various similar initiatives in different spheres by African economic communities identified above, these initiatives will serve as a powerful signal of the march of African economic advancement through financial facilitation to build a fully integrated financial system that enhances financial inclusion, and serves the people.
Work remains. To accelerate financial integration, existing regional mechanisms and frameworks, including those highlighted above, must now begin to coalesce and fuse into larger pan-African systems, Central Banking, common currency, payments and collections; intra-African trade facilitation; etc. In spite of existing differences, but given the importance and fluidity of finance to agriculture, infrastructure, industry and economic development, the largest economies in each region showered as regional anchors, within a defined framework of the Assembly of the African Union.
*Emeka is Executive Director; CEO Africa- Francophone at UBA Group.Piece culled from linkedin page.
“The intimidation of a population by words, by speech is an act of terrorism and this government intends to take this matter very seriously”Osinbajo
August 18, 2017 | 0 Comments
|Today We Draw Line, Hate Speech Will No Longer Be Tolerated – Acting President Osinbajo|
|It’s an act of terrorism, he warns|
ABUJA, Nigeria, August 17, 2017/ — Opening Remarks by His Excellency The Acting President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, San, Gcon, At The National Economic Council, NEC, National Security Retreat, at the Banquet Hall of The State House, Abuja, 17 August 2017:
I am delighted to welcome you to this special session of the National Economic Council, focusing on Security. As you’re all aware, the Buhari administration came into office on a vision that covered three key areas: Security, the Economy and the fight against Corruption.
All three issues are closely linked, of course. Without guaranteeing security, we will struggle to attract the kind of investments, domestic or foreign, needed to create jobs and prosperity for our people. And when those jobs are hard to find and keep, our people will naturally be more susceptible to the lure of criminal activity. Which means that governments that are serious about fighting crime ought to be extremely serious about fighting poverty.
And I take the point that the Chairman of the Governors’ forum made about investments in agriculture, although the N23 billion investment is one aspect of agriculture which is the Anchor Borrower’s Programme. Our total investment is well over five times that. If you look at all the other areas in which we are investing in agriculture, and that excludes what the States are also investing in agriculture. So I think that substantial effort is being made, still not enough but certainly more than N23 billion.
Corruption and Security are also interconnected. We are all witnesses to how, only a few years ago, much of North Eastern Nigeria was at risk to falling completely into the hands of Boko Haram, largely because widespread corruption in the military had robbed our troops of the resources and morale needed to fight and defeat the terrorists.
Now I think is the time to implement our thinking and our talking; to add action to our analysis. And this action must be bold, ambitious, urgent – and, and very importantly – innovative. It was Albert Einstein who said, and I quote, that “We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created the problems in the first place.”
This is a challenge to all of us, to confront these matters with utmost seriousness. Because the problems we face as a nation are not static, but instead continue to evolve, our thinking and our solutions for them must also be equally dynamic, to take into account the peculiar realities of the 21st century. I have spoken at a number of recent fora about how technology and the internet have altered the nature of conflict and war in contemporary times, enabling and amplifying the efforts and impact of terrorists, insurgents, warmongers, secessionists, and peddlers of hate speech.
Against this backdrop, the question we should be asking ourselves, as Governments, especially as Chief Security Officers in our States, as Law Enforcement Agents, is: how can we take advantage of these same tools and technology to stay permanently ahead of those who seek to wield them to create mischief, and cause terror, fear and bloodshed?
But let me just reiterate an important fact, one of the reasons why the National Economic Council is so important is because the framers of our Constitution recognise that that the Federal Government alone cannot solve Nigeria’s security or economic challenges. Security is a collective enterprise, requiring the harmonization of efforts from all three tiers and branches of Government, and from the private sector, civil society and indeed the general public as well.
Yesterday, we took an important step in incorporating all of our society into this security issue and into the fight against insecurity in our country. Pursuant to our Constitution, I issued a directive to the Inspector General of Police to constitute the Community Policing Programme. As you know the Community Policing Programme is one that the Police itself had developed over the years.
But by this directive, we expect that the community Policing Programme will take root and take effect and all of our Police formations across the country will engage their communities in the very creative ways the Police themselves have prescribed in the Community Policing programme.
We expect that this will be a fundamental change in the way that policing is carried out in our country and that it will yield the kinds of results that we expect.
You are aware that this was not always the case; and prior to this administration, the National Economic Council had not exactly fulfilled its obligations as an economic council because of the unending series of conflicts between the Federal and State Governments over very many issues.
But we are determined to do things the right way, to be transparent in our dealings with you, to respect your views, regardless of partisan or ideological affiliations, and to join hands with you to create positive change in the lives of all our people.
Please permit me a comment on hate speech. The Federal Government has today drawn the line on hate speech. Hate speech is a specie of terrorism. Terrorism as it is defined popularly is the unlawful use of violence or intimidation against individuals or groups especially for political ends. The law, that is the Terrorism (Prevention) Act 2011 (as amended), defines terrorism as inter Alia, an act which deliberately done with malice which may seriously harm or damage a country or seriously intimidate a population.
The intimidation of a population by words, by speech is an act of terrorism and this government intends to take this matter very seriously. As I have said, we’ve drawn a line against hate speech, it will not be tolerated, it will be taken as an act of terrorism and all of the consequences will follow it.
I call on all business, religious and political leaders, whatever your political leaning, your religion or tribe or faith to condemn in the strongest possible terms at all times, hate speech.
Hate speech, and the promotion of the same throughout history from Nazi Germany and the extermination of Jews to the Rwandan genocide succeeded in achieving their barbarous ends by the silence of influential, voices from the aggressor communities.
When leaders in communities that speak in such a manner as to create dissension or to intimidate a population are quiet, they do a great disservice to our unity and nation.
In closing, let me remind you that our Constitution states that the primary purpose of government shall be the security and welfare of the people. And as President Buhari likes to say: “you cannot administer a country you have not secured.”
We will not relent in our vision to ensure a secure country, in which all citizens can confidently aspire to achieve their dreams and ambitions. I am confident that today will mark an important milestone in the achieving that vision.
— Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, plans to invest $20 billion to $50 billion in the U.S. and Europe by 2025, in industries including renewable energy and petrochemicals.
August 17, 2017 | 0 Comments
The 60-year-old Nigerian cement tycoon aims to move into these territories for the first time in 2020 after completing almost $5 billion of agricultural projects and an $11 billion oil refinery in his home country, he said in an interview with Bloomberg Markets Magazine this month.
“Beginning in 2020, 60 percent of our future investments will be outside Africa, so we can have a balance,” said Dangote, who’s worth $11.1 billion, according to Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index. Dangote Group will consider investments in Asia and Mexico, but will focus mainly on the U.S. and Europe, he said. “I think renewables is the way to go forward, and the future. We are looking at petrochemicals but can also invest in other companies.”
Dangote has diversified rapidly in the last five years, both geographically and into new industries. He’s expanded Dangote Cement Plc, which accounts for almost 80 percent of his wealth, into nine African countries aside from Nigeria. In 2015, he began building a 650,000 barrel-a-day refinery near Lagos, Nigeria’s main commercial hub, and he’s constructing gas pipelines to the city from Nigeria’s oil region with U.S. private equity firms Carlyle Group LP and Blackstone Group LP. He said in July he’d invest $4.6 billion in the next three years in sugar, rice and dairy production.
Shares in Dangote Cement rose 2.7 percent to 219.80 naira in Lagos Thursday, extending their advance this year to 26 percent.
“When you look at it — not just in Nigeria but in the rest of Africa — the majority of countries here depend on imported food,” he said. “There is no way you can have a population of 320 million in West Africa and no self-sufficiency. So the first thing to do is food security. I believe Dangote Group is in the right position to drive this trajectory.”
Dangote, who mostly lives in Lagos and counts Bill Gates among his friends, said he was a passionate industrialist and ruled out moving into newer sectors such as telecommunications or technology.
“When I look at telecoms, for instance, I think that would be very tough for us,” he said. “Some players have been in this market for 17 years already. There’s no way you can go and jump over somebody after 17 years of their hard work. So I think we would pass when it comes to telecoms today. There are other businesses that we understand better.”
Dangote also said he has no plans to enter Nigerian politics.
The Africa Travel Association to host the 41st Annual World Tourism Conference in Rwanda this month
August 17, 2017 | 0 Comments
High hopes for cocoa farmers in Africa, as AfDB plans big for producing countries
August 13, 2017 | 0 Comments
Among other planned interventions, the Bank is considering support to Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire to reduce the volatility of the international prices of cocoa. Côte d’Ivoire leads the world in the production and export of cocoa.
Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire are now at the final stages of discussions for AfDB support. A final deal is expected to be announced in the days to come.
But following high-level meetings between the governments of both countries and the AfDB President, some key agreements have already been made.
The Bank has agreed to assist the countries to establish a Cocoa Market Stabilization Fund and a Cocoa Exchange Commission for the management of production.
The AfDB has also agreed to work with them to establish a Cocoa Industrialization Fund to further grow the cocoa industry. The Fund will help in developing the regional markets for by-products and domestic processing for targeted African regional markets. The overall objective is to stimulate and expand consumption.
In line with this, the two countries have jointly requested for US $1.2 billion for mutually identified projects: to tackle the cocoa swollen shoot virus disease; build storage and warehousing facilities; promote processing and consumptions; establish the Africa cocoa exchange; and to establish the stabilization fund.
The President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Akinwumi Adesina, stressed the commitment of the Bank during a three-day visit to Ghana, August 1-3, 2017.
Adesina stressed that although Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire produce 64% of the world’s cocoa, they play no role in controlling the market.
He spoke about the Bank’s plans to support Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire to transform the cocoa industry and create more jobs and wealth from the produce.
“AfDB has received a request for $1.2 billion from Ghana’s Minister of Agriculture and from the Cocoa and Coffee Board of Côte d’Ivoire. We are looking at building warehouses so you can store the cocoa and not have to sell immediately after harvest,” he said.
He said the planned establishment of a stabilization fund is to deal with the volatility of prices and also to recapitalize old cocoa plantations.
Part of the loan will also finance the construction of modern storage facilities, farm rehabilitation and disease control, including compensation to owners of cocoa trees ravaged by swollen-shoot viral disease, Adesina explained.
Ghana has to move to the top of the cocoa value chain by processing and adding value to what it produces, Adesina said. He also noted that Ghana has to work closely with other countries, particularly Côte d’Ivoire, to ensure that Africa plays a greater role in the cocoa production process.
“We must use agriculture to create wealth for our farmers. To do this, we must make sure that we add value and process everything that we produce. Agriculture is not a way of life. Agriculture is a business.”
Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) Joseph Boahen Aidoostressed the need to stimulate local consumption as part of efforts to enhance production. He spoke when the AfDB President visited the Cocoa Processing Company (CPC) in Tema, a city near Accra, Ghana.
Africa consumes very little of cocoa. Ghana is an example of a cocoa-producing country where local consumption is very limited.
“Value addition is the only way we can have a say in the market. As it is now, international prices are determined either at the New York Stock Exchange or the London Stock Exchange. We do not have any say.”
He stressed how the price of cocoa had fallen by 40% in the past six months, dropping from about US $3,000 per ton to an average of about $1,900 per ton.
The only way out of the price volatility, he explained, is to improve upon processing and local production.
Ghana’s Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, called for support to increase the country’s earnings from the commodity.
“Between us and Côte d’Ivoire, we control 60-70 per cent of cocoa in the world. But we have remained price takers. That should not happen. That is because our leaders have not been working together. We are excited that the President of the AfDB is stepping in to help us. We are now working together to see how we can transform this industry.”
He stressed that both countries should work together to change the cocoa narrative.
Ofori-Atta pointed out that though the cocoa seeds alone generate US $140 billion worth of business, Africa earns very little from it.
“Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire are putting together a package to see how we stabilize and ensure that we get better deals in the future and change the fortunes of our farmers. We should be able to pay our farmers competitive prices,” he noted.
Ghana’s Minister of Agriculture, Owusu Afriyie Akoto, said the government was working on the restoration of existing warehouses to provide storage space to private traders to promote the purchase of produce at the farm gate and he welcomed the AfDB’s help.
Adesina assured of the Bank’s support and promised that support would eventually extend to other cocoa producers such as Nigeria, Cameroon and Togo.
Cocoa is a strategic crop because of its high contribution to Ghana’s export earnings. It is cultivated predominantly by smallholder farmers with an average of 2 hectares per farm. Only 10% of the estimated 800,000 hectares under cultivation are large-scale commercial farmers.
The grinding of cocoa to produce the primary cocoa product used for confectionaries and manufacturing is done outside the country, aside from small-scale domestic grinding including the Cocoa Processing Company, a subsidiary of the COCOABOD.
The cocoa sub-sector is currently adversely affected by policy failure, market failure and under-provision of critical domestic and regional public goods, leading to low and volatile global and farm gate prices. Production is worsened by cocoa swollen shoot virus disease.
Indeed, all the benefits from reforms such as yield increases, are diminished in light of low prices and result in reform measures benefiting consuming countries at the expense of local farmers. Trading and processing activities are dominated by few firms, while the production of the cocoa beans is dominated by many small-scale producers.
Cocoa bean prices are determined in the trade houses (since there are only a few buyers), this creates a favourable condition for traders and processors to influence prices. The attendant effect is low revenue from cocoa farmers.
Governments of both countries have been meeting at the ministerial levels to swiftly act on addressing the volatility in the international price. Issues being discussed include enforcing minimum value addition rather than outright sales of cocoa beans; stimulating/encouraging local and regional consumption of cocoa; and exploring the regional market dimension by promoting cocoa products other than chocolate.
The AfDB is mobilizing experts to undertake an assessment mission in the two countries.
How AfDB’s investments in youth raise hope for a new Africa
August 13, 2017 | 0 Comments
“The future of Africa’s youth does not lie in migration to Europe; it should not be at the bottom of the Mediterranean; it lies in a prosperous Africa. We must create greater economic opportunities for our youth right at home in Africa.” – Akinwumi Adesina to G7 leaders
Sixty per cent of unemployed people are young women and men. Of the young people who are employed, many are trapped in low-productivity work in the informal sector. Providing young African people with the education, skills and capacities for gainful employment is considered an urgent priority.
Thanks to the African Development Bank (AfDB), a new crop of highly inspired young Africans are gradually emerging. AfDB’s initiatives in this area are seen as model of how the continent’s young population could become a development asset for a new Africa.
To enable them contribute to the economy and to achieve an improved quality of life, a growing number of youths are embracing small, medium and large agriculture-based industries nudged on by the AfDB.
They are taking hold of their destiny. They can be also found in education, health, ICT and other facets of entrepreneurship.
Indeed, latest statistics reveal that many young Africans are not only exploring their inner potential, they are taking advantage of innovation platforms, inspired by the African Development Bank.
Through initiatives like the Jobs for Youth in Africa (JfYA), Empowering Novel Agri-Business-Led Employment (ENABLE) Youth, and the African Youth Agripreneurs Forum (AYAF), the AfDB is equipping young people with the right skills for business and employment. AfDB has also strengthened its support for science, technology and innovation training by investing in centres of excellence, working in collaboration with the private sector.
With 200 million Africans recorded to be between the ages of 15 and 29, youth unemployment and underemployment are high. Investing in skills through technical and vocational education will be essential to enabling young people to find jobs and business opportunities.
“We will keep Africa’s youth in Africa by expanding economic opportunities. This will help Africa to turn its demographic asset into an economic dividend,” Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank Group, said.
At the African Union Summit in January, the African Union (AU) adopted the theme for 2017 as “Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through Investments in Youth.”
AU Heads of States and Governments recognized a country-level demographic dividend as central to the continent’s economic transformation in the context of AU Agenda 2063 – its global strategy for socioeconomic transformation within the next 50 years.
Given Africa’s current demographic structure with a high youthful population, the regional body sees a substantial potential for economic transformation.
According to the AU Roadmap on Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through Investments in Youth, “Africa is on the march towards a more prosperous future in which all its citizens, young, old, male, female, rural, urban, of all creeds and backgrounds are empowered to realize their full potential, live with satisfaction and pride about their continent.”
AfDB is showing that this is doable and is already leading the way.
For instance, through its Jobs for Youth in Africa initiative, AfDB has taken a comprehensive and integrated approach to equipping young people for work and enterprise.
Over the next decade, Jobs for Youth in Africa projects to generate 25 million jobs and impact 50 million youths.
In the agriculture sector, the AfDB is focusing on Empowering Novel Agri-Business-Led Employment (ENABLE) Youth programs, developing small and medium enterprises and creating jobs in agriculture. ENABLE Youth is a programme for young African people (18-35 years old) wanting to start a business in the agricultural sector. It works to promote, enhance, and modernize agricultural entrepreneurship in Africa.
The stories from the ENABLE Youth participants are resounding.
In Uganda (the second largest producer of bananas in the world), Sam Turyatunga saw an opportunity in producing his own brand of banana juice. As a college student, Sam produced the juice in his own dormitory. Supported by AfDB, Turyatunga now produces 1,500 litres of banana juice daily and sells its product in three other countries in East Africa. His firm also supports 500 banana farmers.
At the African University of Science and Technology in Abuja, Nigeria, young scientists and researchers are being trained to enhance industrial innovation, competitiveness and sustainable development across the continent.
“We are integrating a youth employment component into new Bank projects, and are working closely with regional member countries to develop policies that promote youth employment,” said Adesina.
The Bank believes that harnessing the labour, energy and enterprise of young women and men is critical to driving economic growth and reducing poverty.
In line with its Jobs for Youth in Africa Strategy, the Bank is integrating a youth employment component into the design of every operation it undertakes.
The Bank is assisting its regional member countries to develop national youth employment policies, supporting innovative work on best practices to help young people become entrepreneurs, and making investments that catalyze the private sector to increase employment opportunities.
There is a consensus that the 2017 theme on Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through Investments in Youth, has the potential to have far-reaching implications that would address all the key issues that Governments have had to contend with, and change the development trajectory of Africa.
“We must create wealth and restore happiness to our nation. We can only do this when we have an educated and skilled population that is capable of competing in the global economy. We must expand our horizons and embrace science and technology as critical tools for our development,” said Nana Akufo-Addo, President of Ghana.
“The good economic prospects of our country must first profit our youth, because they are our greatest strength and our greatest wealth,” said Alassane Ouattara, President of Côte d’Ivoire.
AfDB’s leadership in this area is considered a viable example, which countries can tap into.
African Regional Center of New Development Bank to be launched next week
August 13, 2017 | 0 Comments
JOHANNESBURG, Aug. 12 (Xinhua) — The African Regional Centre of the New Development Bank (NDB) will be launched by the South African President Jacob Zuma on August 17 in Johannesburg.
This was revealed by the National Treasury in a statement on Friday. The African Regional Center will allow countries in the continent to have access to the bank.
“The launch of the African Regional Center will showcase the NDB’s service offering, highlighting the Bank’s potential role in the area of infrastructure and sustainable development in emerging and developing countries,” said the Treasury in the statement.
The NDB is an institution to solve the infrastructural development and funding problems for BRICS and developing countries particularly in Africa. The BRICS Summit in Brazil signed an agreement to establish the bank in 2014.
“Another key resolution taken at the 2014 Summit was to establish regional offices that would perform the important function of identifying and preparing proposals for viable projects that the bank could fund in the respective regions,” said the treasury.
The NDB headquarters were officially opened in Shanghai, China in February 2016. The NDB is expected to complement the work done by the Breton Woods institutions but not have strings loans like the latter.
Boko Haram: Between Oil and Religion
August 12, 2017 | 0 Comments
South Africa to host 2017 forum on internet freedom in Africa
August 12, 2017 | 0 Comments
By Wallace Mawire*
The Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern
Africa (CIPESA) and the Association for Progressive Communication (APC) are set to co-host the 2017 edition of the Forum on Internet Freedom in Africa (FIFAfrica).
According to a CIPESA spokesperson, this year’s forum will be held
in Johannesburg, South Africa, on 27 to 29 September, 2017 expanding the physical footprint of the forum which has since inception in 2014 been held in Kampala, Uganda.
It is also reported that the landmark event convenes various
stakeholders from the internet governance and online rights arenas in Africa and beyond to deliberate on gaps, concerns and opportunities for advancing privacy, access to information, free expression,non-discrimination and the free flow of information online.
The forum is also expected to bring together human rights defenders,journalists, government officials, private sector players, global information intermediaries, bloggers, developers, the arts community, law enforcers and regulators, all of whom have a role to play inadvancing internet freedom in Africa.
According to the organisers, the highlights at FIFAfrica include the
launch of the annual State of Internet Freedom in Africa research
report, the commemoration of the International Day for Universal
Access to Information (IDUAI) that falls on September 28, digital
security clinics and this year, an exhibition showcasing the work and
products of various players in the internet freedom arena in Africa.
Africa: A.P. Moller Holding launches new infrastructure fund with a focus on Africa
August 12, 2017 | 0 Comments
|The new fund will focus on investments in infrastructure in Africa to support sustainable economic growth in the region while delivering an attractive return to its investors|
|COPENHAGEN, Denmark, August 10, 2017/ — A.P. Moller Holding (www.APMoller.com) has together with PKA, PensionDanmark and Lægernes Pension launched a new infrastructure fund with a focus on Africa. The fund has received commitments of USD 550 million from anchor investors.
The new fund will focus on investments in infrastructure in Africa to support sustainable economic growth in the region while delivering an attractive return to its investors.
The fund will be managed by A.P. Moller Capital, which is an affiliate of A.P. Moller Holding, and consists of a team lead by four partners, Kim Fejfer, Lars Reno Jakobsen, Jens Thomassen and Joe Nicklaus Nielsen. The partners all have extensive industrial and investment experience combined with a substantial network in Africa.
“We are very pleased with the significant support from the Danish pension funds and A.P. Moller Holding. Together, we will build and operate infrastructure business in Africa to support sustainable development and improvements in living standards across the continent. We will combine the best from industry in terms of project management and operational capabilities with the best from private equity in terms of agility and focus,” says Kim Fejfer, Managing Partner and CEO of A.P. Moller Capital.
“A.P. Moller Holding was established to build value creating businesses that have a positive impact on society. Africa, with a working-age population likely to reach more than one billion people in the next decades, has a pressing requirement for more investments in infrastructure. In this respect, we are delighted to have established a new promising company in our portfolio with a strong team, who hold the right capabilities and experience to manage infrastructure investments in emerging markets,” says Robert Mærsk Uggla, CEO of A.P. Moller Holding.
The fund has a duration of 10 years and has an initial target of 10 to 15 investments in total.
Peter Damgaard Jensen, CEO at PKA: “PKA has for many years invested in infrastructure both in Denmark and abroad. We have positive experiences investing in Africa and we have for a long time wanted to invest more on the continent. With this new fund we will be making infrastructure investments in Africa and get the opportunity to provide a good return to the pension savers and at the same time make a positive difference in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals”.
Torben Möger Pedersen, CEO PensionDanmark: “We are delighted to be among the seed investors in Africa Infrastructure Fund I. We see this as a unique opportunity to invest in a region with high economic growth and attractive investment opportunities alongside a partner, A. P. Moller Capital, that has extensive investment experience combined with a strong network and a promising pipeline of potential investment projects. The fund is a good example of how private capital can be mobilized on large scale to implement the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals”.
Chresten Dengsøe, CEO at Lægernes Pension: “Lægernes Pension are delighted to invest in the development of sustainable infrastructure in Africa together with similar-minded Danish pension funds. The team has many years of experience and a proven track record in the region and we expect them to provide attractive investment opportunities going forward”.
Following first commitments, the fund will be open for additional institutional investors for the next 12 months. The ambition is to raise USD 1bn in commitments.