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UNESCO report shows fewer than 5% of people in many countries benefit from adult learning opportunities
December 5, 2019 | 0 Comments
Adult education in Rwanda.Photo credit The New Times Rwanda

Paris, 04 December – In almost one-third of countries, fewer than five per cent of adults aged 15 and above participate in education and learning programmes, according to UNESCO’s fourth Global Report on Adult Learning and Education (GRALE 4). Adults with disabilities, older adults, refugees and migrants, minority groups and other disadvantaged segments of society are particularly under-represented in adult education programmes and find themselves deprived of crucial access to lifelong learning opportunities.

Published by the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning, the report monitors the extent to which UNESCO Member States put their international commitments regarding adult learning and education into practice and reflects data submitted by 159 countries. It calls for a major change in the approach to adult learning and education (ALE) backed by adequate investment to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to access and benefit from adult learning and education and that its full contribution to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is realized.

“We urge governments and the international community to join our efforts and take action to ensure that no one – no matter who they are, where they live or what challenges they face – is left behind where the universal right to education is concerned,” says UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay, endorsing the report’s recommendations. “By ensuring that donor countries respect their aid obligations to developing countries, we can make adult learning and education a key lever in empowering and enabling adults, as learners, workers, parents, and active citizens.”

The publication stresses the need to increase national investment in ALE, reduce participation costs, raise awareness of benefits, and improve data collection and monitoring, particularly for disadvantaged groups.

Progress in participation in adult learning and education is insufficient

Despite low participation overall, many more than half of responding countries (57% of 152) reported an increase in the overall participation rate in adult learning and education between 2015 and 2018. Low-income countries reported the largest increase in ALE participation (73%), trailed by lower middle income and upper middle income countries (61% and 62%).

Most increases in adult learning and education participation were in sub-Saharan Africa (72% of respondents), followed by the Arab region (67%), Latin America and the Caribbean (60%) and Asia and the Pacific (49%). North America and Western Europe reported fewest increases (38%) though starting from higher levels.

The data shows persistent and deep inequalities in participation and that key target groups such as adults with disabilities, older adults, minority groups as well as adults living in conflict-affected countries are not being reached.

Women’s participation must improve further

While the global report shows that women’s participation in ALE has increased in 59 per cent of the reporting countries since 2015, in some parts of the world, girls and women still do not have sufficient access to education, notably to vocational training, leaving them with few skills and poor chances of finding employment and contributing to the societies they live in, which also represents an economic loss for their countries.

Quality is improving but not fast enough

Quality ALE can also provide invaluable support to sustainable development and GRALE 4 shows that three-quarters of countries reported progress in the quality of education since 2015. Qualitative progress is observed in curricula, assessment, teaching methods and employment conditions of adult educators. However, progress in citizenship education, which is essential in promoting and protecting freedom, equality, democracy, human rights, tolerance and solidarity, remained negligible. No more than 3% of countries reported qualitative progress in this area.

Increase in funding for adult learning and education needed

GRALE 4 shows that over the last ten years, spending on adult learning and education has not reached sufficient levels, not only in low-income countries but also in lower middle income and high-income countries. Nearly 20% of Member States reported spending less than 0.5 per cent of their education budgets on ALE and a further 14% reported spending less than 1 per cent. This information demonstrates that many countries have failed to implement the intended increase in ALE financing proposed in GRALE 3 and that ALE remains underfunded. Moreover, under-investment hits socially disadvantaged adults the hardest. Lack of funding also hampers the implementation of new policies and efficient governance practices.

Download of the UNESCO Global Report on Adult Learning and Education:

About the UNESCO Global Report on Adult Learning and Education (GRALE)

The UNESCO Global Report on Adult Learning and Education (GRALE) monitors whether UNESCO Member States are putting their international commitments on adult learning and education into practice. These commitments are set out in the Belém Framework for Action (2009), the outcome document of the 6th International Conference on Adult Education (CONFINTEA VI, Belém, Brazil), and the Recommendation on Adult Learning and Education (2015). In addition to this monitoring function, each issue of GRALE examines a particular topic, the 2019 edition focusses on participation. GRALE is published every three years. The Report combines survey data, policy analysis and case studies to provide policy-makers and practitioners with recommendations and examples of good practice. It presents evidence on how adult learning and education helps countries address current challenges and contributes to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

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Gambia: GPU engages state security agencies on media relation, access to information
December 5, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

A total of twenty-five state security personnel from the army and navy, police and police intervention unit, prison services, fire and rescue services and other security agencies were engaged on access to information and national security.

The two-day sensitization workshop on Media-Security Relation and Access to Information was held from the 21st to 22nd November 2019 at NaNA conference hall.

It was organised by the Gambia Press Union (GPU) as part of a two-year project it is implementing with funding from the United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF).

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Sheriff Bojang Jr, president of Gambia Press Union, said the engagement with security personnel was aimed at demystifying the current misconception that equates the promotion of free media and expression with incitement to violence.

He said the GPU has been engaged in rigorous consultations, sensitization and capacity buildings to change perceptions and influence a change to current laws and practices in favour of free speech.

Mr Bojang expressed optimism that the sensitization with security services would serve as the beginning of a new, smoother relationship between the media and security personnel in national development.

“We hope to smoothen the security and media relationship as they are both partners in development and not enemies,” he said. “Security and media are like two intimate lovers with long nose that despite their intimacy they can’t kiss each other.”

Madi Jobarteh, country representative of Westminster Foundation for Democracy, said there was a dire need for knowledge of human rights in the security services.

He said as democracy is unfolding in The Gambia, the men and women in security need to work together with people.

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Angola set to attract even more foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2020
December 5, 2019 | 0 Comments
Angola Oil & Gas Conference & Exhibition returns to Talatona June 16-17, 2020
LUANDA, Angola, December 5, 2019/ — Africa Oil & Power supports Angola with year-long FDI campaign in 2020 to promote capital inflow into bankable projects; Angola Oil & Gas Conference & Exhibition (AngolaOilAndGas2020.com) returns to Talatona June 16-17, 2020; “Angola: African Investment Capital 2020” will capitalize further on the critical reforms passed by Angola President H.E. President João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço

Africa Oil & Power (AfricaOilAndPower.com), the continent’s premier platform for energy investment and policy, will return to Angola in 2020 for a year-long campaign to promote and attract foreign direct investment in one of Africa’s biggest economies. ‘Angola: African Investment Capital 2020’ will capitalize further on the critical reforms passed by Angola President H.E. President João Manuel

Gonçalves Lourenço to bring attention to the investment opportunities that exist in Angola’s economy.

Endorsed by the Ministry of Mineral Resources and Petroleum and in partnership with the African Energy Chamber, the Angola Oil & Gas (AOG) Conference & Exhibition will return for a second year as the focal point of an international investment drive aimed at bringing new deals to the table and signing up new entrants to Angola’s oil and gas sector. The next edition will be held June 16-17, 2020 in Talatona. Surrounding the conference will be a year-long global drive to present opportunities to a targeted audience of relevant investors.

“Thanks to the President’s sweeping reforms, Angola has embarked on an ambitious drive to attract foreign direct investment,” said Guillaume Doane, CEO of Africa Oil & Power. “Africa Oil & Power is proud to support those ongoing efforts with a global promotional campaign. The AOG Conference & Exhibition, which has become an unmissable, unrivaled national investment event, will provide a strong anchor point for the 2020 initiative.”

Capital inflows into bankable projects will be a primary objective of the 2020 effort. Ongoing initiatives being promoted include the 2020 oil and gas licensing round, marginal field development, gas monetization, Sonangol’s Regeneration Program and attractive projects across the value chain, including the international tender for the Soyo refinery and the ramp-up of the Cabinda and Lobito refineries.


The AOG Conference & Exhibition is the second edition following a highly successful inaugural event in June 2019 that brought more than 1,700 delegates, 67 speakers and nearly 50 exhibitors. Officially endorsed by the Ministry of Mineral Resources and Petroleum, AOG 2019 gathered key government officials and C-suite executives from across the energy value chain for a week of keynote presentations, moderated panel discussions, exhibitions, networking gatherings and investment facilitation. With two days of conference and exhibition, and one day of workshops led by Microsoft, PwC, Centro de Apoio Empresarial, Friburge and Administração Geral Tributária, Angola Oil & Gas 2019 was one of the most highly attended events in Angola’s oil and gas history. H.E. President Lourenço and H.E. Diamantino Pedro Azevedo, Minister of Mineral Resources and Petroleum, opened the conference, with speeches delivered by H.E. José de Lima Massano, Governor of the National Bank of Angola, Eng. Seabstião Pai Querido Gaspar Martins and Eng. Paulino Jerónimo, CEO of ANPG. Private sector keynotes and appearances were given by Total CEO Patrick Pouyanné and ExxonMobil’s Senior VP of Upstream Oil & Gas Deepwater Hunter Farris, among others. The event received strong support from the Angolan oil and gas industry, with major players including Sonangol, Total, ExxonMobil, Chevron, Eni, Equinor, BP, Schlumberger, Baker Hughes, Halliburton and other international companies participating as sponsors, exhibitors, speakers and delegates.

The 2020 event aims to expand in size, scale and prestige. Anchored by a VIP program of senior government officials and global CEOs, AOG 2020 will be the premier gathering for deal making and networking. Discussion points will include offshore oil and gas exploration and licensing, gas monetization, market entry, the ease of doing business in Angola, digitalization and oilfield technologies. New to the conference will be a Digitalization and Technology forum, which will showcase advanced technologies pioneered in Angola on the exhibition floor.

* SOURCE Africa Oil & Power Conference
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Nj Ayuk Makes Top 100 Most Influential Africans List
December 5, 2019 | 0 Comments
Described as an “energy broker”, the listing highlights Nj Ayuk’s voice in offering remedies for the continents’ resource curse and praises his best-seller on Amazon
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, December 5, 2019/ — Nj Ayuk, Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber (https://EnergyChamber.org/) and CEO of the Centurion Law Group, has been named as one of the top 100 most influential Africans in 2019 by NewAfrican Magazine.

Providing a rapid review of some of the major events and developments across Africa, the Most Influential Africans (MIA) listing highlights key achievements of African individuals across geographies and industries this year.

The listing notably includes personalities and executives from sports such as Siya Kolisi, key politicians such as President Nana Akufo-Addo or Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, and movers and shakers of the business world such as Aliko Dangote and Ibukun Awosika.

Described as an “energy broker”, the listing highlights Nj Ayuk’s voice in offering remedies for the continents’ resource curse and praises his best-seller on Amazon, Billions At Play: The African Energy and Doing Deals (https://amzn.to/33T0gWx), for offering a comprehensive road map for Africa to do a better job at using its vast natural resources to fuel economic growth and improve the lives of millions of Africans.

“It is humbling, to be honored but in my heart, I know you did not buy into our message just for me, you did because you believe in what Africa and Africans can be. We should never apologise for being Pan African and Pro Africa,” declared NJ Ayuk. “This is proof that the message of the African Energy Chamber and Billions At Play: The African Energy and Doing Deals that energy must work better for Africans is being heard,” he added.


Others featured on the list include Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank; Marcia Ashong, Founder and CEO of The Boardroom Africa; Trevor Noah, Comedian and Political Commentator; Mark Bristow, CEO of Randgold Resources; Strive Masiyiwa, Businessman and Philanthropist and Tonye Cole, co-founder and former Group Executive Director of Sahara Group; Benedict Oramah, President of Afrieximbank to name a few.

Learn more about NJ Ayuk, Billions at Play: The Future of African Energy and Doing Deals and the African Energy Chamber here:

*African Energy Chamber
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Professor named National Academy of Inventors Fellow
December 5, 2019 | 0 Comments
Valentine Nzengung, right, receives the Academic Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2016 from Derek Eberhart, associate vice president for research. (UGA file photo)
Valentine Nzengung, right, receives the Academic Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2016 from Derek Eberhart, associate vice president for research. (UGA file photo)

Valentine Nzengung, professor of environmental geochemistry in the Franklin College Department of Geology, has been named a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, becoming the eighth UGA faculty member to receive the honor, all since 2013.

Nzengung is the founder and CEO of MuniRem Environmental, which provides remediation products and services for soils and physical sites that have been contaminated by residues from munitions and also for the neutralization and destruction of explosives in support of demilitarization. He has developed multiple sustainable remediation technologies that MuniRem employs in its services. In October 2019, Georgia Trend magazine picked MuniRem as “a trendsetter and planet protector.”

The NAI Fellows program highlights academic inventors who have demonstrated a spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development and the welfare of society. Election to NAI Fellow is the highest professional distinction accorded solely to academic inventors. To date, NAI Fellows hold more than 41,500 issued U.S. patents, which the organization says have generated more than 11,000 licensed technologies and companies and created more than 36 million jobs. According to NAI, $1.6 trillion in revenue has been generated based on NAI Fellow discoveries.

“This is a humbling endorsement of the applied research I have focused on as a faculty member at the University of Georgia,” Nzengung said. “I never thought of the solutions to environmental problems that I have developed as deserving of this very high level of recognition. My focus has been and remains developing and applying innovative solutions that benefit human health and our environment.”

The 2019 Fellow class represents 136 research universities and governmental and nonprofit research institutes worldwide and collectively hold over 3,500 issued U.S. patents. Among the 2019 Fellows are six recipients of the U.S. National Medal of Technology & Innovation or U.S. National Medal of Science and four Nobel Laureates, as well as other honors and distinctions. Their collective body of research covers a range of scientific disciplines including neurobehavioral sciences, horticulture, photonics and nanomedicine.

“Valentine’s selection as an NAI Fellow is a testament both to his ingenuity and dedication as a scientist and to UGA’s commitment to innovation that benefits the broader world,” said David Lee, vice president for research. “I congratulate him on this honor, and my hope is that he and our other NAI Fellows serve as inspirations to their fellow investigators at UGA.”

“My election happened in part because of the enabling environment created by UGA’s administration to foster innovation and academic inventions by its students and faculty,” Nzengung said. “The years ahead at UGA look even more promising for faculty and students engaged in applied research.”

The new NAI Fellows will be formally inducted at a ceremony during the NAI annual meeting, to be held April 10, 2020, in Phoenix, Arizona. Laura Peter, deputy undersecretary of commerce and deputy director at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, will keynote the event.

A complete list of NAI Fellows is available on the NAI website.

*Source UGA Today

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IATF2020 Advisory Council Holds Fourth Meeting in Addis Ababa
December 5, 2019 | 0 Comments
A moment during the meeting of the IATF2020 Advisory Council in Addis Ababa. In the picture (L-R): Kanayo Awani, Managing Director, Intra-African Trade Initiative, Afreximbank; Soraya Hakuziyaremye, Minister of Trade and Industry of Rwanda; Olusegun Obasanjo, Advisory Council Chairman and Former President of Nigerian; Jean-Louis Ekra, Council Vice Chairman and former President of Afreximbank; and Albert Muchanga, African Union Commissioner for Trade and Industry.Photo credit Afreximbank
A moment during the meeting of the IATF2020 Advisory Council in Addis Ababa. In the picture (L-R): Kanayo Awani, Managing Director, Intra-African Trade Initiative, Afreximbank; Soraya Hakuziyaremye, Minister of Trade and Industry of Rwanda; Olusegun Obasanjo, Advisory Council Chairman and Former President of Nigerian; Jean-Louis Ekra, Council Vice Chairman and former President of Afreximbank; and Albert Muchanga, African Union Commissioner for Trade and Industry.Photo credit Afreximbank

The Advisory Council for the second Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF2020) has held its fourth meeting in preparation for the continental trade exhibition scheduled to take place in Kigali from 1 to 7 September 2020, with Rwanda restating its commitment to ensuring that the necessary infrastructure is in place for the successful hosting of the event.

Advisory Council Chairman Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, the former President of Nigeria, presided over the meeting which took place at the headquarters of the African Union in Addis Ababa on 26 November.

The Trade Fair is being organised by the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) in collaboration with the African Union Commission and is hosted by the Government of Rwanda.

Louise Kanyonga, Chief Strategy and Compliance Officer of the Rwanda Development Board, and representative of the Government of Rwanda on the Advisory Council, told the meeting that the government had concluded plans with relevant contractors for the construction work on the trade fair venue and that some activities had started.

She said that trade fair participants should expect worry-fee entry into the country as Rwanda had already implemented a visa-on-arrival policy for most African countries. In addition, discussions were ongoing with the customs authorities to ensure efficient and speedy processing of goods shipped into the country by exhibitors for use during the trade fair.

Chief Obasanjo commended the progress that had been made toward the holding of the trade fair and stressed the need for continued commitment on all sides.

The meeting reviewed the work plan for the trade fair, including the arrangements for the Trade Fair Conference, which is expected to attract several thousand participants.

It also heard updates from the various agencies engaged to support the hosting of the trade fair.

Also participating in the meeting were Jean-Louis Ekra, Deputy Chairman and former President of Afreximbank; Amb. Albert Muchanga, African Union Commissioner for Trade and Industry; Kanayo Awani, Managing Director, Intra-African Trade Initiative, Afreximbank; Soraya Hakuziyaremye, Minister of Trade and Industry of Rwanda; Kebour Ghena, Executive Director of the Pan-African Chamber of Commerce; Ando Mensah, Manager, Industrialisation, Trade and Investment Climate, at the African development Bank; Dr. Edem Adzogenu, Chair of the AfroChampions Initiative; Hossam Elshafei, Director of Trade and Investment, Ministry of Trade and Industry of Egypt; Amadou Cire Sall, Senior Associate, Trade at the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation; Carol Weaving, Managing Director, Reed Exhibitions; and Terhas Berhe, Managing Director, Brand Communications.

*Source Afreximbank

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Canada, Gambia and Netherlands to form tripartite group on Rohinyga case filed at the International Court of Justice
December 4, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

By Bakary Ceesay

The Gambia filed a lawsuit at The Hague demanding accountability on the systematic violations of the rights of minority Rohinyga Muslims by the Government of Myanmar.

Following The Gambia’s filing of the Rohingya case at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Canada, Gambia and Netherlands have agreed to form a tripartite joint working group to pursue the case.  

The Honourable Minister of Foreign Minister, Dr. Mamadou Tangara, who returned from Jeddah where he attended the 50th anniversary of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, reported that The Gambia was highly praised by OIC member countries for its acceptance to pursue the case on behalf of the OIC.

While in Jeddah, Dr. Tangara held discussions with many of his counterparts all of whom renewed their countries’ steadfastness and support for The Gambia with a view to ensuring accountability for the potential crimes against the Rohinyga population.  

The Honourable Bob Rae, Canada’s Special Envoy to Myanmar, raised the need for accountability and Canada’s unflinching support to The Gambia in ensuring justice for the victims. The Indonesian Economic Affairs Minister, Mr. Darmin Nasution, also expressed his country’s support for Gambia’s bid to bring accountability for the Rohinyga minority.  

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister, Prince Faisal Bin Farhan Al Saud, assured Dr. Tangara that Saudi Arabia will continue working with The Gambia Government to pursue the case to its logical conclusion. Prince Faisal also revealed his country’s plan to open an Embassy in Banjul in the near future.  

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After Arsenal, Rwanda enters in partnership with French club PSG to advertise its tourism
December 4, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Maniraguha Ferdinand

Rwanda entered in partnership with Paris Saint Germain, a french football club
Rwanda entered in partnership with Paris Saint Germain, a french football club

Rwanda has announced that it is entering in partnership with a French club, Paris Saint Germain Football Club to  attract more tourists coming in Rwanda  around the world.

This partnership comes a year after Rwanda signed another partnership with British football club, Arsenal in which Visit Rwanda brand was highlighted on Arsenal jersey, and Rwanda tourism being shown on Arsenal stadium and on its online platforms.

Through Rwanda Development Board (RDB), Rwanda announced that this partnership with   Paris Saint-Germain Football Club will attract more French investors.

“Today Rwanda and PSG announce a unique and innovative partnership inviting the world to be part of the country’s inspiring transformation. The partnership will convey Rwanda’s openness to welcome business partnerships from France and across the world and share the country’s many opportunities for investment” the announcement reads on Twitter.

“For three seasons, the  Paris Saint-Germain Football Club   community and the world will have a unique opportunity to experience Rwanda’s breath-taking beauty, creative culture, innovative environment, and modern and distinctive” it adds.

Rwanda’s partnership with Arsenal brought controversy, with Netherlands members of Parliament asking their government to stop aiding Rwanda, emphasizing that they can’t accept that people’s money be used to advertise with a football club.

Money Rwanda pays Arsenal has not been disclosed, however  in June this year, Rwanda Development Board told journalists that so far Rwanda has benefitted  more than USD 38 million from that partnership.

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ARIPO hosts sub-regional IP conference on geographical indicators in Zimbabwe
December 4, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

A two-day subregional IP conference on geographical indicators has opened today at the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) headquarters in Harare, Zimbabwe.

 The Sub-Regional IP Conference on Geographical Indication is jointly organized by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) to coincide with the Master’s in Intellectual Property (MIP), which takes place at the ARIPO Headquarters in December each year.  Since 2014, the objective of these IP conferences has been to provide a platform for MIP students and participants from ARIPO Member States to be exposed to emerging issues in Intellectual Property and existing opportunities in the strategic use of the IP system.  The 2019 IP Conference will take place under the theme “Geographical Indications in Africa: Territorial Development, Economic Integration and International Trade”

Geographical Indications (GIs) are used to identify products as originating in the territory of a country, region or locality where a given quality, reputation or other characteristic of the products is essentially attributable to that geographical origin.  Similar to trade names and trademarks, GIs are designed to enable consumers to distinguish between products, but more importantly, they enable producers to protect the reputation of those products developed around specific characteristics and often over many years and thanks to great effort.  In addition, GIs are considered as a mean to strengthen the potential of products’ places of origin to attract investors, consumers and tourists as well as to guarantee them local quality products and services specifically linked to local resources.

  It is reported that the Member States of the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) are replete with traditional agricultural and craft products whose quality and origin can be usefully promoted through GIs and other collective quality schemes, thereby contributing to the development of local and rural communities.  In a bid to support such efforts, in 2017, the African Union adopted the Continental Strategy for the Development of Geographical Indications in Africa.  ARIPO is a key actor of its implementation.

The sub-Regional IP Conference is meant to be part of that continental and regional process.  It is intended to be an important step to raise the awareness of policymakers responsible for GIs and students of the need to be empowered with national, regional and international instruments to protect and promote origin products, but also to consider the development and effective implementation of national and regional projects and policies on GIs.

The overall aim of the 2019 IP Conference is to provide a platform for the participants to understand the importance of the strategic use of GIs for socio-economic development and wealth creation in Africa, while deepening their understanding of the IP rights available to protect brands for origin products (geographical indications and trademarks) as well as the exceptions and limitations to that protection (in particular generic terms and prior trademarks).

The specific objectives of the sub-Regional IP Conference are to obtain updated information on current systems of protection of GIs in Africa at national, regional and continental levels, to learn about recent developments in the field of GIs at WIPO and at the international level, to discuss with international experts specific experience and issues related to the development and implementation of GIs with a focus on key factors for a successful GIs and their effects on local development; the role of producers’ associations and the establishment of control and certification schemes bring together institutional representatives from ARIPO and its member States who are responsible for GI protection in their countries or are interested in instituting such procedures, as well as students from ARIPO member States interesting in studying more about the development and implementation of GI schemes in Africa,to serve as a place to share and build knowledge on the issues, benefits and challenges related to the recognition, protection and promotion of GIs.

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Credit platform Migo raises $20 Million Series B
December 4, 2019 | 0 Comments

Valor Leads Round as Fintech Startup Expands to Brazil

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIF. (December 3, 2019) — Migo (formerly Mines.io), a startup reinventing the way people access and use credit in emerging markets, has completed a Series B equity round of $20 million led by Valor Capital Group, a Brazil-focused venture capital firm. Existing investors, The Rise Fund (managed by TPG Growth) and Velocity Capital, also joined the funding round. This financing will support talent acquisition and Migo’s launch into the Brazilian market, as well as its continued growth in Nigeria.

Migo is a cloud-based platform that enables companies to offer credit to their customers, augmenting traditional bank and payment card infrastructure. Companies like banks, telecommunications operators and merchants integrate Migo in their apps and Migo underwrites customers to provide them with a digital account and credit line. The customers can use this credit line to make purchases from a merchant or withdraw cash without the need for point-of-sale hardware or plastic cards. Migo serves underbanked customers who are not typically covered by credit bureaus, having underwritten more than seven million of these customers to date. An estimated 90 million adults in Nigeria and 100 million adults in Brazil have no access to credit, and this is a massive area of untapped growth for emerging market banking ecosystems.

“Our mission is to drive commerce around the world by injecting liquidity into the last-mile retail sector,” explains Migo CEO, Ekechi Nwokah. “We believe the best way to achieve this goal is to build digital infrastructure to empower local enterprises that already serve millions of consumers and small businesses.” 

Migo offers a simple API so its partners can offer co-branded credit services in their own apps and websites, increasing customer engagement and serving customer segments they were not previously able to serve. Migo is particularly attractive for merchants and payment gateways since it can grow merchant revenue due to increased customer purchasing power and transaction completion rate.

As part of the financing, Antoine Colaco from Valor Capital has joined the Migo Board of Directors. “Migo combines world-class technology with a deep understanding of the needs of consumers and small businesses in emerging markets. We are excited to partner with them in Brazil and beyond,” Colaco said.

Migo enables some of the largest retail enterprises in Africa—from mobile operators like 9mobile and MTN to payment companies Interswitch and Flutterwave to banks like Bank of Industry and Fidelity Bank.  Migo is now expanding to Brazil and partnering with some of the largest retail enterprises in Latin America. “The typical Silicon Valley approach of move-fast-and-break-things doesn’t work well in emerging markets. To create durable solutions, it is important to combine the audacity of cutting-edge technology with humility to the nuances of local markets” says VP of Growth, Adia Sowho.

Migo started out as a research project on high-performance artificial intelligence led by Migo Chief Scientist, Kunle Olukotun, a professor of computer engineering at Stanford University. This project came to life after a chance meeting between Olukotun and Nwokah, a computer scientist working on big data projects at Amazon Web Services. Following their meeting, the pair teamed up to direct the technology toward solving credit in emerging markets. This big data approach is one of the company’s key advantages, as it aggregates massive amounts of data across all of its partners to improve population coverage and credit decisions over time.

About Migo

Migo is a cloud-based platform that enables companies to offer credit to their customers, augmenting traditional bank and payment card infrastructure. Companies like banks, telecommunications operators and merchants integrate Migo in their apps and Migo underwrites customers to provide them with a digital account and credit line. The customers can use this credit line to make purchases from a merchant or withdraw cash without the need for point-of-sale hardware or plastic cards. Migo is headquartered in San Francisco, California.


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SuperEagles Defender, William Ekong Leads Charge Against Neglected Tropical Diseases That Affect Over 120 Million Nigerians
December 4, 2019 | 0 Comments

.the Super Eagles defender is campaigning in partnership with the END Fund and Common Goal

LAGOS, Nigeria, December, 3rd, 2019 -/African Media Agency (AMA)/- Nigeria national team defender William Ekong has started a campaign to draw attention to neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) that affect more than 120 million Nigerians. In partnership with the END Fund and Common Goal, William appears in a public service announcement where he calls on affected Nigerians to seek free treatment.
Neglected tropical diseases are a group of parasitic and bacterial infectious diseases that affect more than 1.7 billion of the world’s most impoverished people, including 1 billion children. They include intestinal worms, schistosomiasis (bilharzia), river blindness, trachoma, and lymphatic filariasis.

Translated in pidgin, the public service announcement sheds light on how NTDs affect all aspects of life. Thus, calling upon Nigerians to take advantage of the ongoing mass administration of medication (MAM) efforts being led by community health workers all throughout the country.

Please visit your local health center for more information on how to get treatment in your local government area in Nigeria.

*AMA

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Cameroon: STEM Prize Finalists trained on Project writing, Project Management Skills
December 4, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Agathe Djomeghu Director of Programs at D&L
Agathe Djomeghu Director of Programs at D&L

(Yaounde, Cameroon) Finalists for the 2019 STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Prize have in a two-day workshop trained on project writing by the Denis and Lenora Foretia Foundation. The aim is to educate the participants on how to get their project implemented which will attract funding.

Vera Kum, Economist and Research Fellow at the Nkafu Policy Institute, and one of the trainers edified participants on writing a research proposal, project visibility, communicating a project, marketing a project, and the importance of networking. 

To her, the finalists of the STEM Prize were trained so that when the funds are made available to them they can be able to make use of it, “to come up with more powerful proposals than what they submitted us. It will make their projects more visible, and attractive to many donors.

She added that. “Like the project on plastic bottles, it requires about FCFA 6.7 million, but the foundation is not giving them up to that, so the training on project visibility will help to boost them, so they can apply for many more funding, and be able to better implement that project.”

With respect to the evaluation of the projects submitted, Vera Kum said that, “One thing the evaluators do is to look at the content and the impact that project has for the community and beyond. There were about five evaluators who were charged with the evaluation of each project anonymously.”

During the training, the finalists were drilled on how to become an entrepreneur, and giving tips for survival in an entrepreneurial world. They were equally taught on how to translate their education into opportunities with a visit to the Technical Department of the national media, CRTV.

At the end, participants were awarded certificates for participating in 2019 edition of the STEM competition.

To Loni Tande Miriam, “The training on project writing which was giving to us was very helpful because I learned a lot of things which I did not even know. Like when writing a project you have to include your future goals, and with respect to being a finalist I need to go back am improved with the money we won during the competition.” “My team, and I are surely going to invest it in a business so, it can generate more income to realize our project.”

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