Call Us Now: (240) 429 2177

central-african-republic

PRESIDENT BUHARI TO DECLARE 61ST UNWTO/CAF MEETING‎ OPEN
April 11, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Olayinka Ajayi
President Muhammadu Buhari PHOTO: BAYO OMOBORIOWO

President Muhammadu Buhari PHOTO: BAYO OMOBORIOWO

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari is set to declare open the 61st Meeting of the United Nations World Tourism Organization/Commission for Africa (UNWTO/CAF), scheduled for 4-6 June 2018 in Abuja.

 Speaking, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, stated this in an advocacy visit to the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mallam Mohammed Musa Bello, to intimate him with details of the forthcoming international event.

“Mr. President has accepted to personally declare the meeting open‎. With this visit, the Honourable Minister of the FCT has become the second person to be invited,” he said.

The meeting is an annual platform through which the UNWTO Secretariat informs member states of the general programme of work for the African region and presents the reports of the various standing committees.

He said the theme of the 61st UNWTO/CAF Meeting is “Tourism Statistics: A Catalyst for Development.”

While speaking on the benefits that Nigeria will derive from hosting the meeting, the Minister said it would put Nigeria, and the nation’s tourism industry, under a global focus, in addition to attracting foreign research experts and promoting the necessary network that will form the basis for future cooperation.

“Also, it will provide Nigeria the opportunity to showcase itself to the world, especially in the area of its culture and tourism. And of course, we have a lot to showcase: Our tourist attractions, our rich culture, as well as our music and films, which have taken the world by storm,” he said.

Alhaji Mohammed said as the Minister of the Host City, the FCT Minister will play a major role during the meeting, which includes giving the welcome address on the official opening ceremony, another speech at the welcome dinner and also at the official opening ceremony for the Technical Seminar on the second day.

He gave the assurance that preparations for the event are in top gear, and called for the support of Nigerians to make the event a huge success.

In his remarks, the Minister of the FCT, Mallam Bello, commended Alhaji Mohammed for his untiring effort in securing the hosting right of the conference for Nigeria.

Mallam Bello, who expressed delight that this is coming on the heels of another hosting right for the International Press Institute Annual General Assembly also in Abuja, said the gesture is a reflection of how the global community now perceives Nigeria.

“For Nigeria  to get  to approval is something that I am sure involved a lot of hard work,” he said.

Nigeria secured the hosting right for the Meeting during the 59th Meeting of the UNWTO/CAF in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in April 2017.

0
Read More
African Development Bank is key to Africa’s economic development, say Southern African Governors
April 11, 2018 | 0 Comments

Bank described as trusted partner to jumpstart economic growth

The Southern African Governors of the African Development Bank have described the Bank as the future of Africa’s development, and called on it to lead the way to faster-paced development of the continent.

The Governors – Finance Ministers and Ministers of Economic Planning from Angola, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, São Tomé and Príncipe, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe – shared their thoughts at a regional consultation with African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina and Senior Bank Executives at the institution’s headquarters in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.

I thank the Bank for accelerating lending,” said Moeketsi Majoro, the Minister of Finance from Lesotho. He commended the Bank’s decentralization policy for bringing the institution closer to its shareholders.

According to Adesina, “The challenges ahead of Africa are immense, and the need for faster growth is even more urgent than ever before. Therefore, we cannot rest on our oars.”

In 2017, the Bank accelerated the scale and delivery of its lending and achieved the highest disbursement ever in the history of the Bank, with over $7.2 billion.

“It is clear to me today that the continent has a new and exciting sense of purpose as exhibited by the African Development Bank. The Bank is the future of African development, transformation, and respect,” said Mondli Gungubele, Alternate Governor and Deputy Minister of Finance for South Africa.

“I would like to join the chorus of Governors who have expressed appreciation for how the African Development Bank is being run and for its strong adherence to core principles of good governance,” Gungubele said.

“We strongly feel the increase of the Bank’s operations as well as its greater involvement in our country. The Bank came to our assistance when we most needed it. We feel its impact in the public and private sectors,” said Aia-Eza da Silva, the State Secretary of Budget and Public Investment, on behalf of the Governor from Angola.

She called for the Bank’s assistance to enable the country to deliver on project implementation faster.

Speaking further, President Adesina called for collective action on scaled-up implementation of Africa’s development, noting that a faster-paced development and development with pride is what the continent needs.

“We have just 12 years to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals! This is not a clock ticking. It is an alarm bell for the world. And the bell is ringing louder and louder,” he said. “The Sustainable Development Goals will not be achieved by a ‘business as usual’ attitude. And they will not be realized globally unless Africa achieves them completely and comprehensively.”

He assured that all the countries of the Southern region have a great opportunity to accelerate inclusive growth in the next few years and that the African Development Bank would be with them on this journey.

The Minister of Finance and Budget of Madagascar, Vonintsalama Andriambololona, noted that the many challenges faced by Africa require that the continent sits up in order to develop and to grow. She commended the Bank’s leadership in reducing time lags between project conception and first disbursements, which she noted was faster with the African Development Bank than with any other multilateral development institution.

“We are grateful to the African Development Bank for anticipating Africa’s funding needs and addressing them now. Africa needs more resources to grow. As such, we are favourable to a capital increase for the Bank to help it address Africa’s funding needs,” Andriambololona said.

The Governors expressed concern about the Southern African region’s low growth performance in 2017 and the fact that nine out of 10 developing countries will be in Africa by 2030. They identified the Bank as Africa’s trusted partner to lead the way to reverse the situation.

Despite a positive outlook, Southern Africa is facing serious economic challenges, the Southern Africa Regional Economic Outlook released by the Bank has revealed. The analysis presented to the Governors indicates that, like the rest of Africa, the region faces severe job deficits and challenging demographics.

The Governors lauded the Bank’s support in their countries and observed that a General Capital Increase would enable it to play a more effective role in fast-tracking Africa’s economic development, moving from billions to trillions.

According to data provided at the meeting, Bank operations are transforming the lives of millions of Africans. According to figures for 2010-2017, 18 million Africans benefitted from new electricity connections and 57 million Africans benefitted from improvements in agriculture. In the same period, 420,000 small businesses were provided with financial services, while 83 million Africans benefitted from improved access to transport and 49 million Africans benefitted from better access to water and sanitation.

The region’s growth projections for 2018 and 2019 are 2.0% and 2.4%, respectively, which are still insufficient for poverty reduction. The region produces 20% of Africa’s GDP and houses 16% of the population.

The Minister of Agriculture from Swaziland, Moses Vilakati, flagged two major concerns – climate change and the fact that by 2025, half of Africa’s youth are projected to be unemployed.

“We certainly need the Bank’s High 5 development priorities. We also need to increase domestic resource mobilization,” he said.

According to Adesina, “We have introduced strong performance and accountability systems. We are leveraging more resources for Africa. Last year, for example, we leveraged US $6 billion for the landmark Japan-Africa Energy Financing Facility, which will speed the implementation of our Light up and power Africa High 5.”

The Bank’s current portfolio in Southern Africa stands at US $8.3 billion in 201 projects, said Josephine Ngure, the Bank’s Deputy Director General for the Southern Africa region.

“Like other African countries, there is an urgent need for structural transformation to accelerate economic diversification in the Southern Africa region,” said Célestin Monga, the Bank’s Chief Economist and Vice-President, Economic Governance and Knowledge Management.

Botswana (4.3%), Madagascar (4.1%), Mozambique (4.3%), and Zambia (3.8%) led growth in 2016-2017, but South Africa, the region’s economic powerhouse, performed below potential. Significant resources are required for the region’s development and are estimated to be approximately US $7 billion per annum at the country level and US $70 billion for the Southern African Development Community regional programmes and projects.

Additional resources have helped Africa effectively respond to the financial and economic crisis and increased demand for the Bank’s resources in an evolving environment, said Hassatou Diop N’Sele, Acting Vice-President for Finance at the Bank, stressing that a stronger African Development Fund is needed to position the Bank as the leading arranger of Africa’s syndicated co-financing.

The Governors were optimistic that the inaugural Africa Investment Forum (scheduled for November 7-9, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa), would strategically leverage investments in Africa and scale up project preparation facilities and tools.

To facilitate the Bank’s closer relationship with Lusophone countries, President Adesina disclosed that the Bank had scheduled a meeting with a delegation from Portugal, including Portugal’s Secretary of State, to discuss key issues including the acquistion of the Portuguese language by Bank staff and de-risking tools for Lusophone countries.

According to the Bank Governor and Finance Minister for Zambia, Margaret Mwanakatwe, “There is no doubt in my mind that the African Development Bank is the key to unlocking the acceleration of Africa’s economic development.”

The Governors’ consultation on Africa’s development challenges and the Bank’s reforms is the fifth of five regional meetings involving all 54 regional member countries of the institution.

*AFDB

0
Read More
Ebola, Meningitis, Marburg and Lassa Fever to be piloted in African Risk Capacity Outbreaks & Epidemics Insurance Programme
April 11, 2018 | 0 Comments
An early discussion on pathogen selection for the ARC Outbreak and Epidemic Pilot Programme. Ebola, Marburg, Meningitis, and Lassa Fever were ultimately selected. Photo: African Risk Capacity

An early discussion on pathogen selection for the ARC Outbreak and Epidemic Pilot Programme. Ebola, Marburg, Meningitis, and Lassa Fever were ultimately selected. Photo: African Risk Capacity

JOHANNESBURG, April 10, 2018 – The African Risk Capacity (ARC), an agency of the African Union, is developing an insurance product to facilitate rapid, first-line financial responses to disease outbreaks. In the pilot phase, Ebola, Marburg, Meningitis, and Lassa Fever will be covered. Over 30 countries across Africa are at risk of an outbreak of one or more of these four epidemic-prone diseases.

The Ministries of Health in Guinea and Uganda, the two countries implementing ARC’s Outbreak and Epidemic (O&E) Pilot Programme, selected these four pathogens due to the history-based potential for outbreaks and accompanying devastating impact on populations and economies.

O&E builds on ARC’s successes in implementing climate disaster risk financing programmes in Africa. It is designed as an integrated system to enable governments to respond early and effectively to public health emergencies. The programme will work with countries to determine their epidemic risks and select pathogens to be covered, optimize early warning systems, create pre-established contingency plans for rapid response, and provide access to swift disbursement of financing through parametric insurance.

Mohamed Beavogui, Director General of ARC Agency and United Nations Assistant Secretary General said, Identifying this first set of pathogens for our programme is a significant milestone. After working closely with the governments of Uganda and Guinea, and with WHO AFRO, Africa CDC, and other stakeholders, this is a product that will make a difference for Africa, that targets the public health needs of Africans, and that was built through African and international collaboration.”

The highest global incidence of bacterial meningitis occurs in the “meningitis belt” of Africa, spanning 26 countries from Senegal to Ethiopia. West, East, and Central African nations are at risk of outbreaks of the Marburg virus disease and Lassa Fever, both of which are viral haemorrhagic fevers.

The 2015 Ebola outbreak in West Africa resulted in 11,310 deaths in Guinea, Sierra, and Liberia with an estimated economic impact on the three countries of US $2.8 billion, according to the World Bank. Studies estimate that initiating the Ebola response two months earlier could have reduced the fatalities by up to 80%.

On the need to rapidly respond to disasters on the continent, Mr. Beavogui said, “African governments identified the need for faster financing to avoid another tragedy like the recent Ebola outbreak in West Africa, and ARC is working in close collaboration with governments and our partners to address that need. We are creating an innovative system that acts early to finance efficient, effective responses to help stem an outbreak before it reaches a crisis level.”

The ARC O&E Pilot Programme is supported by The Rockefeller Foundation and Swiss Development Cooperation. Metabiota Inc, Health Systems Consult Limited and public health economists affiliated with Columbia University are collaborating with ARC on the development of its pilot product.

When launched as a full product in the fall of 2019 and made available to all African Union countries, O&E will help strengthen African health systems by contributing to national capacities in risk profiling and contingency/response planning, and ensuring that slow and unpredictable funding does not continue to prevent African countries and partners from adequately responding to outbreaks and epidemics.

About African Risk Capacity (ARC)

 ARC consists of ARC Agency and ARC Insurance Company Limited (ARC Ltd). ARC Agency was established in 2012 as a Specialised Agency of the African Union to help Member States improve their capacities to better plan, prepare and respond to weather-related disasters. ARC Ltd is a mutual insurance facility providing risk transfer services to Member States through risk pooling and access to reinsurance markets; it is owned by Member States with active insurance policies as well as KfW Development Bank and the UK Department of International Development (DfiD), as capital contributors.

With the support of the United Kingdom, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, Canada, France, and the United States, ARC assists AU Member States in reducing the risk of loss and damage caused by extreme weather events affecting Africa’s populations by providing, through sovereign disaster risk insurance, targeted responses to natural disasters in a more timely, cost-effective, objective and transparent manner. ARC is now using its expertise to help tackle some of the other greatest threats faced by the continent, including outbreaks and epidemics.

0
Read More
CAPITOL HILL RECEPTION TO LAUNCH U.S. ROADSHOW TOUR, ANNOUNCE PARTNERSHIP ON AFRICA INVESTMENT FORUM
April 11, 2018 | 0 Comments

Charles Boamah, Senior Vice-President of the African Development Bank, to announce partnership with IGD on the Bank’s Africa Investment Forum

 WASHINGTON, D.C. – April 4, 2018 – The Initiative for Global Development (IGD) will officially launch its inaugural Africa Investment Rising Roadshow Tour with a Special Reception on Wednesday, April 18 from 6:00-7:30PM at the Senate Dirksen Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

Charles Boamah, Senior Vice-President of the African Development Bank, will announce the Bank’s partnership with IGD on the Africa Investment Forum (AIF), which will take place in early-November in Johannesburg, South Africa. The AIF is an initiative championed by the Bank to actively engage the private sector and to facilitate projects that have the capacity of transforming the continent. Boamah is leading a delegation of Senior Bank Management to the Spring World Bank/IMF Meetings.

Boamah will offer remarks on the U.S. private sector’s role in accelerating Africa’s investment opportunities at the evening reception.

The U.S. roadshow tour, “Africa Investment Rising: Building Momentum for Investing in Africa’s Economic Prosperity”, taking place from April 18-May 1, is aimed at re-shaping perceptions on doing business in Africa by bringing trade and investment opportunities to U.S. companies and forging stronger connections between U.S. and African business leaders in key growth sectors.

Launching in Washington, D.C., the roadshow tour will travel to New York City to highlight banking, financing, and investment opportunities; Des Moines, IA for agriculture and agro-industry; and Houston, TX for energy and power.

The full roadshow tour will ultimately culminate in Johannesburg, South Africa, where roadshow attendees are invited to attend the IGD Frontier 100 Forum on Nov. 5-6, followed by the African Development Bank’s Africa Investment Forum (AIF) from Nov. 7-9, in Johannesburg, South Africa. The AIF is designed to enhance private-sector cooperation and drive investment in sectors of strategic interest within Africa.

“IGD is pleased to build on our partnership with the African Development Bank through the U.S. Roadshow Tour to accelerate Africa’s investment opportunities and help attract private capital to the continent,” said Dr. Mima S. Nedelcoych. “By bringing U.S. investors to the Bank’s investment forum, they will learn firsthand about bankable projects and will have the opportunities to broker deals that will deliver economic transformation in Africa.”

The African Development Bank (AfDB) Group and USAID’s East Africa and Southern Africa Trade and Investment Hubs are Sponsors of the U.S. Roadshow Tour.

Platinum sponsors as ChevronNorton, Rose and Fulbright LLPIowa State University Research ParkAGCOLilium Capital, and Orrick; Gold sponsors, SasolCorteva AgriscienceEndeavor Energy, and AllAfrica.com as Gold sponsors; and World Food Prize Foundation and Millennium Challenge Corporationas Silver sponsors.

Organizational Partners are PAN Diaspora Capital ManagementHarris Africa Partners/Grant T. Harris, The Serendra Group LLC/Robert van Zwieten, U.S. Bilateral African Chamber of CommerceGlobal Farmer NetworkU.S. Small Business Administration, and Invest Africa.

Media partners are Africa InvestorAfrica.com,  Afropop Worldwide, AlloAfrica.com  Asoko InsightFace2Face AfricaPan-African Visions, and VoxAfrica..

The Initiative for Global Development (IGD) is a Washington, DC-based network of African and global business leaders who are committed to advancing sustainable development and inclusive growth in Africa through business investment. IGD brings together CEOs and senior executives from leading African and global companies through our Frontier Leader Network to catalyze greater business investment and impact on the African continent.

0
Read More
Ecobank Group partners with MTN to deepen financial inclusion across Africa
April 11, 2018 | 0 Comments
(L-R) Charles Kie, Managing Director, Ecobank Nigeria Ltd; Serigne Dioum, MTN’s Executive, Mobile Financial Services; Ade Ayeyemi, Group CEO, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI), Rob Shuter, group CEO of MTN and Patrick Akinwuntan, Group Executive, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI)

(L-R) Charles Kie, Managing Director, Ecobank Nigeria Ltd; Serigne Dioum, MTN’s Executive, Mobile Financial Services; Ade Ayeyemi, Group CEO, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI), Rob Shuter, group CEO of MTN and Patrick Akinwuntan, Group Executive, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI)

LOME, Togo, April 10, 2018/ — MTN (www.MTN.com) has announced a collaboration with Africa’s leading independent banking group, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI) (www.Ecobank.com), enabling both companies  to leverage each other’s assets that will ultimately offer more value to their respective customers across the continent. MTN’s large subscriber base, comprehensive distribution, innovative digital products and drive for mobile financial services are being linked with Ecobank’s trail blazing digital banking products to provide instant bank accounts and remittances through Africa’s largest bank by network.

The two entities, with an extensive footprint on the continent, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to develop this partnership agreement, which will allow them to innovate and enhance access to affordable financial services via MTN Mobile Money and Ecobank Banking services.

This includes;

  • Enabling Ecobank and MTN Mobile Money customers to transfer money between mobile money wallets and bank accounts.
  • Leveraging of Ecobank and MTN’s assets to digitise international remittance, foster product innovation in the field of mobile saving and lending, and offer digital payment solutions to consumers, merchants and corporates.

Ade Ayeyemi, Group CEO of Ecobank said: “The changing landscape of digital banking and mobile telephony is creating unique opportunities in the way and manner customers are served. Africa will need to digitise financial services to rapidly scale up client acquisition and patronage. MTN and Ecobank are taking the big step today at this grand event to support this agenda”

Further he reiterated that “Ecobank’s digital strategy has long been committed to ensuring transaction convenience for the market. We have made giant strides in our mission to ensure financial inclusion and today’s agreement with MTN will greatly accelerate the easy availability of banking services to the previously unbanked.”

Commenting on the collaboration, MTN Group President and CEO, Rob Shuter said: “Partnerships between banks and mobile money operators are fundamental in the mobile money ecosystem, hence our long-standing partnership with Ecobank in many of our markets aimed at driving financial inclusion. We are excited to be taking this partnership to the next level as this latest development will spearhead innovative initiatives which will deepen financial access on the continent.”

About Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (‘ETI’ or ‘The Group’)

Incorporated in Lomé, Togo in 1988, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (‘ETI’) (www.Ecobank.com) is the parent company of the leading independent pan-African banking group, Ecobank. It currently has a presence in 36 African countries, namely: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo (Brazzaville), Congo (Democratic Republic), Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The Group employs over 17,000 people in 40 different countries in over 1,200 branches and offices. Ecobank is a full-service bank providing wholesale, retail, investment and transaction banking services and products to governments, financial institutions, multinationals, international organizations, medium, small and micro businesses and individuals. Additional information on Ecobank can be found at www.Ecobank.com.

0
Read More
WorldRemit partners with Lebara to connect new customers to its money transfer service to Africa
April 10, 2018 | 0 Comments
The strategic partnership unlocks digital money transfers for millions of Lebara customers to send money to over 40 African nations
Left: Graeme Oxby, CEO at Lebara; Right, Ismail Ahmed, CEO at WorldRemit

Left: Graeme Oxby, CEO at Lebara; Right, Ismail Ahmed, CEO at WorldRemit

LONDON, United Kingdom, April 10, 2018/ — Lebara (https://Mobile.Lebara.com) and WorldRemit (www.WorldRemit.com), two leading brands serving international residents, have entered into a strategic partnership making WorldRemit the exclusive global money transfer partner of Lebara, including transfers to over 40 African countries.

The deal allows over 3 million Lebara Mobile and Lebara Money users to use WorldRemit’s digital money transfer service seamlessly, directly from the Lebara app and website. With more than half of WorldRemit’s transfers now going to Africa, this partnership will support the company’s plan to serve 5 million customers connected to the continent by 2020.

Lebara customers living in the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Denmark and Netherlands will benefit from WorldRemit’s extensive payout network in over 145 countries. This will provide a more convenient and lower cost alternative to the 90% of migrants who still send money through offline routes.

As part of the deal, WorldRemit will also benefit from co-branding in Lebara’s full retail estate stores and advertising in Lebara Mobile simpacks sold in 260,000 stores across Western Europe.

Ismail Ahmed, founder and CEO at WorldRemit said: “We are delighted to be partnering with one of the world’s premier MVNO brands targeting international residents in Europe, giving its users access to our mobile-first service. With more than 260,000 points of sale, Lebara’s visibility and brand awareness complements WorldRemit’s strong digital capability. This partnership will introduce our safe, fast and low-cost remittance service to millions of new customers.

“WorldRemit has been working with telecommunication partners on the receive side, but this is our first strategic partnership with a mobile operator on the send side. We look forward to strengthening our leading position in the market with equally ambitious partnerships in the future.”

Graeme Oxby, CEO of Lebara Group adds: “This initiative is in response to a growing need of our valued customer base. Many of Lebara’s customers send money home to relatives and friends and we are delighted to be able to partner with WorldRemit to offer a simple to use and highly cost effective service”.

“Lebara mobile’s leadership position in the growing international residents market in Europe, coupled with a surge in smartphone users, creates an ideal platform for launching new and exciting services through partnerships. Our partners get unique access to a customer base which few other mobile companies can match.”

WorldRemit handles a growing share of the $600 billion migrant money transfer market – better known as remittances. Known for its mobile-first approach, one third of its transactions go to mobile money accounts; it currently handles 74% of international money transfers to mobile money accounts globally.

WorldRemit’s digital model allows customers to complete their transactions in just a few taps from a smartphone. Worldremit customers make more than 1 million transactions every month, using its app or website.

WorldRemit was advised by William Blair in this transaction as its financial advisor.

About WorldRemit 
WorldRemit (www.WorldRemit.com), is changing the way people send money. It’s easy – just open the app or visit the website – no more agents.

  • Transfers to most countries are instant – send money like an instant message.
  • More ways to receive (mobile money, bank transfer, cash pickup).
  • Available in over 50 countries and 145+ destinations
  • Backed by Leapfrog as well as Accel Partners and TCV – investors in Facebook, Spotify, Netflix and Slack.

WorldRemit’s global headquarters are in London, UK with offices in the United States, Canada, South Africa, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Japan, Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand.

About Lebara
Lebara (https://Mobile.Lebara.com) is a leading European mobile telecoms operator enhancing the lives of foreign resident communities by providing high quality and low cost mobile products and services. Lebara provides pay-as-you-go mobile SIM cards and related products and services customised to serve the international communities in 6 European countries – UK, Germany, Holland, France, Spain and Denmark. Customers have recognised Lebara for being trustworthy, honest, simple and offering great value. Lebara is ultimately owned by the Swiss family office Palmarium

0
Read More
Gabon: Bongo’s constitutional “power grab” and The Resistance
April 10, 2018 | 0 Comments

Sweeping constitutional changes mean Bongo could be president for life. Will Gabon’s citizens show their displeasure at the ballot box this month?

BY DAVID KIWUWA*

Ali Bongo took over from his father Omar, who came to power in Gabon in 1967.

Ali Bongo took over from his father Omar, who came to power in Gabon in 1967.

Despite being in power for over half a century, the Bongo dynasty in Gabon does not look like it will come to a close any time soon – in fact, the prospect of its end may be receding even further into the future.

After 42 years under Omar Bongo Ondimba and 9 years under his son, Ali, the government has made several far-reaching amendments to the constitution. Amongst other things, these recent changes mean that the president can now run for an unlimited number of terms, while power is more heavily centralised in the office of the presidency.

President Ali Bongo was on much shakier ground just two years ago. In August 2016, he officially won Gabon’s presidential election, but by a razor thin margin. Bongo got 49.8% of the vote. His main challenger and former brother-in-law Jean Ping garnered 48.2%.

With observers criticising the conduct of the vote and widespread allegations of fraud, opposition protesters took to the streets. Gabon’s parliament building was set on fire. The police’s response to the demonstrations led to several deaths and hundreds of arrests. Despite concerns over the judiciary’s independence, Ping challenged the results in the Constitutional Court. In late-September, the judges decided to uphold Bongo’s victory with the incumbent swearing in a few days later.

It was against this tumultuous backdrop that Bongo called for “dialogue” with the opposition precipitating the reform process. Amongst the 56 changes to the constitution’s 199 articles that this has led to, there were some concessions to the opposition. The revisions re-introduced two-round voting, for example, which should make elections more competitive. There is also additional language regarding “capacity building of the High Court of Justice”, increased control by the Court of Auditors over state finances, and greater Constitutional Court oversight of campaign accounts.

However, for the most part, the amendments were drafted with little consultation, and the main opposition has called the move a brazen “power grab”.

Taken as a whole, the changes do indeed seem to strengthen the presidency. Under the proposed changes, for instance, the president will “determine the policy of the nation”. This replaces the previous wording that stated he or she would govern “in consultation with the government”.

Another worrying new provision allows the Constitutional Court to extend mandated terms. Changes to Article 8 look to reduce institutional oversight, consultative governance, and the role of the opposition. And Articles 15 and 20 require the heads of defence and security forces to pledge allegiance to the president.

Given these sweeping changes, many are concerned that the new constitution replaces Gabon’s semi-presidential system, in which the prime minister plays a prominent role, with one in which power is clearly centralised in the presidency. Added to the removal of term limits, some fear that this will allow Bongo to even further consolidate his rule and extend his powers.

As one opposition leader noted, “When one promises loyalty and fidelity to a man, and no longer to values or principles, it is the Republic that fades”.

Resisting Bongo

In 2016, the Bongo dynasty arguably came as close to be dethroned as it ever has. In the presidential vote, the usually fractious opposition coalesced and launched strong challenge against the ruling Parti Démocratique Gabonais (PDG). Dwindling oil revenues in one of Africa’s biggest producers had forced Bongo to cut back his patronage system, weakening the party and leading several former allies to defect.

In the end, the opposition Union des Forces du Changement (UFC) claimed Ping had won with nearly 59%. But the disputed official results said he had fallen short, albeit by a mere 5,594 votes.

This was perhaps the highpoint of the opposition’s fortunes. Since then, Bongo has restricted political space, following trends seen in Tanzania, Zambia, Uganda, Rwanda, DR Congo and many more countries where dissenting figures have recently been harassed, arrested on trumped up charges, jailed, deported or otherwise locked out of the political system.

In Gabon, leaders of dissolved parties such as the National Union Party have been barred from joining or starting new groups for five years. Meanwhile, already struggling with financial and organisational capacity, the main opposition UFC and Ping have been marginalised since the elections by a ruling party that controls 113 of the 121 seats in the National Assembly and 81 of the 102 seats in the Senate.

This dominance could change following legislative elections scheduled for this month. That vote will provide an indication of how the opposition is faring and whether its performance in 2016 was the start of a seismic shift or a flash in the pan.

Rising disaffection

These legislative elections could also provide an opportunity for Gabonese citizens to express their feelings about the constitutional changes. On this front, however, it is notable than unlike popular movements that have emerged across Africa in response to unpopular government actions, Gabon did not witness the rise of an equivalent to Senegal’s Y’en a marreBurkina Faso’s Balai Citoyen or Burundi’s Halte au troisieme mandate.

As parliament and then the courts passed Bongo’s sweeping constitutional revisions, there was no significant or sustained popular demonstration to push back against the regime. The opposition failed to mobilise its supporters, for whom the bloody memories of 2016 were still fresh, while it seems that civil society has largely been co-opted through the government’s patronage networks.

President Ali Bongo has managed to extend his family’s hold on Gabon to over 50 years now and has paved the way for it to stay there for much longer. His party dominates the political landscape and has restricted space for the opposition. The constitutional changes only serve to consolidate this status quo.

At the same time, however, all this will only add to growing popular resentment towards the Bongo dynasty. The extent of this disaffection – in a country where one-third of people live on less than $1.25 a day despite vast national oil wealth – was seen clearly in 2016. It remains to be seen if it expressed again at the ballot box this month, or in other more messy ways going forwards.

*Culled from African Arguments.David Kiwuwa is an Associate Professor of International Studies at the University of Nottingham. He works on on ethnic politics, conflict analysis, democracy and democratic transition, electoral and language politics.

0
Read More
OBASANJO ENDORSES AU REFORM PLAN, SAYS IT’S TIME TO “OWN OUR SECURITY”
April 10, 2018 | 0 Comments
Obasanjo praised the levy, describing the plan as “measurable, equitable and sustainable”.
Obasanjo

Obasanjo

Former Nigerian President and Tana Forum Board Chairperson, H.E. Olusegun Obasanjo, officially launched the 7th Tana Forum today, which will take place on 21-22 April 2018. This year’s theme, ‘Ownership of Africa’s Peace and Security Provision: Financing and Reforming the African Union’, corresponds with the ongoing AU reform process to ensure the organization’s long-term financial independence and sustainability. The keynote speaker for the 7th Tana Forum is President Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda and also the current African Union (AU) Chairperson. He put together an advisory team whose recommendations on AU reforms were formally adopted by the AU Assembly in January 2017.

Noting that the AU faces a rapidly changing security environment, Obasanjo emphasized that security is only one aspect of the current reform process. “We cannot talk about security without talking about financing,” he stated.

The current financial structure of the AU, where partners cover 60% of the budget, questions how African member states are expected to have ownership over their security while at the same time remaining reliant on external donors.

One of the major components of the reform plan is the 0.2% levy, which will be imposed on eligible imports from outside Africa. Obasanjo praised the levy, describing the plan as “measurable, equitable and sustainable”. He also remained positive when questioned on the political will required from member states to guarantee the reform’s implementation. “It is not the first time such an initiative is happening in Africa. For instance, ECOWAS did it before, and it has been fairly successful in West Africa”.

The Tana Forum’s financial independence – 70% of funds are provided by the Ethiopian government and the African private sector – was also noted as another example that encourages African ownership in setting the agenda and driving the narrative. The Forum’s participants, its board members, its technical committee, its partners, and its organizing secretariat at the Institute for Peace and Security Studies (IPSS) at Addis Ababa University, all represent a diverse grouping of African stakeholders in the area of peace and security.

In response to a question about the Forum’s effectiveness in bringing about changes in African leadership, the former president clarified that the Forum does not require or expect the implementation of its recommendations. Instead, its added value is in creating a space for the exchange of ideas and policies from around the continent. Furthermore, the Forum’s impact might not always be clear or credited, he stated, but “it’s good enough for us that African leaders make use of it”.

On the recently signed Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) Agreement, and the notable lack of Nigeria’s signature, Obasanjo was optimistic that the government would soon sign the agreement after holding national consultations with the necessary actors, including the parliament.

The press conference was later followed by a briefing with ambassadors and partners based in Addis Ababa. IPSS Director, Dr. Kidane Kiros, noted that one of the biggest setbacks with the AU reform agenda is compliance by member states when it comes to the implementation of various policies.

Obasanjo also noted that for effective implementation of AU reforms, trust has to be built between Regional Economic Communities (RECs), the AU Commission and individual African countries.

About the Tana Forum

The Tana Forum is an annual platform that brings together African leaders and stakeholders to engage and explore African-led security solutions. It is a response to the call by African Heads of State and Government for the elaboration of “African-centred solutions“ in the prevention, management, and resolution of conflict in the August 2009 Tripoli Declaration on the Elimination of Conflicts in Africa and the Promotion of Sustainable Peace.

*Source Tana Forum.

 

 

0
Read More
OP-ED: DO AFRICAN WOMEN EVEN DO POLITICS?
April 10, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Nanjala Nyabola*

On 21 March 2018, 44 African leaders made history in Kigali, Rwanda, when they signed up for the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA). The agreement will create one of the world’s largest free trade areas – a single market for goods and services for a population of over 1.2 million people – if all AU members eventually sign and ratify it. The AfCTA is in line with the broader goals of the AU reforms initiative, which intends to move away from the current situation of multiple, almost competing economic blocs to a single pan-African unit that facilitates the free movement of goods and services across the continent. The AfCTA is a milestone achievement that could change the economic trajectory of the continent.

A celebratory photograph of the various leaders who gathered in Kigali was rapidly shared across various media platforms to commemorate the singularity of events. Yet, anyone paying attention quickly noticed one thing about the photograph: there were no women.

Can the AU reforms process create room for women in the highest levels of political leadership on the continent? The final round of negotiations for the AfCFTA, unfortunately, coincided with the resignation of Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, the first female president of Mauritius. There are now no female heads of state on the continent. Before Gurib-Fakim, we had Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf in Liberia, Joyce Banda in Malawi and Catherine Samba-Panza in the Central African Republic. Of the four, only Johnson-Sirleaf completed a full term with both Gurib-Fakim and Banda leaving office under tenuous allegations of fraud and Samba-Panza electing not to run for office after serving as a caretaker president.

If there are any unifying lessons to be learnt from these experiences it is that African women political leaders are often held to higher standards than their male counterparts and that much more work can be done to incorporate women into political governance on the continent.

The subject of equality of women in politics in Africa is complex. In the pre-independence era, there are a number of examples of women rising to the top of their societies, particularly in fraught political moments. These legendary figures include Nzinga of Ndongo and Matamba who led the Mbundu people of Angola in resisting the Portuguese; and Somali legend has it that without the wisdom of Areewelo, they would not have survived the terrible Buraan Droughts. There are also more recent heroines. The Aba Women led the first organized protest against British colonization in Nigeria, while Mekatilili wa Mwenza of the Mijikenda and Queen Lozikeyi of the Ndebele led similar resistances in present-day Kenya and Zimbabwe respectively. Together with the unnamed female soldiers who fought in Algeria, Kenya, Angola, Mozambique and other countries, these stories affirm that women have always been part of African politics.

Yet in post-colonial Africa, a patriarchal understanding of the role of women that merely exchanged European patriarchy for an invented African tradition has all but erased the herstories of women’s political leadership. These themes are visible in stark relief in the ongoing mourning for Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, a leader of the anti-apartheid resistance in South Africa. Madikezela-Mandela was punished for doing exactly the same things that her male counterparts have done throughout the ages. As in other liberation and political movements, she put her safety and her private life at risk in order to confront the injustice of the racist regime. She was tortured, exiled and humiliated by the apartheid regime. And while she certainly participated in violence against a violent government, consider her enemy – the most racist and violent political system on the continent. For her tremendous sacrifices, Madikezela-Mandela was branded a murderer and denied a seat at the table of power in post-apartheid South Africa. Today, South Africa is the most unequal country in the world according to the World Bank, with entrenched poverty directly linked to the “enduring legacy of apartheid”.

Madikezela-Mandela’s experience echoes the experience of women on the continent who form a slight numerical majority of the population but are systematically shut out from high-level politics. Women were at the centre of liberation movements across the continent; not just in supporting roles but also leading political and military organizations. Fanon, Cabral, Sankara, and Lumumba all declared categorically that the liberation of Algeria, Guinea Bissau, Burkina Faso and the DRC, as well as the continent as a whole, would be incomplete without the liberation of women.

But in post-colonial Africa, vague appeals to an invented patriarchal African tradition conspire to keep women out of politics. African women who believed that participating in liberation movements would eventually lead to their own liberation are disappointed because colonial patriarchy has instead been substituted by post-colonial patriarchy.

Today, the situation facing African women in politics is mixed. Between 2005 and 2015, the proportion of women in legislatures in North Africa more than doubled from 7% to 18%, while in sub-Saharan Africa it increased from 15% to 22%. Globally, Rwanda has the highest number of women in parliament at 63.8% and, because of the increasing use of quotas, women make up more than 30% of the legislature in most countries in East and Southern Africa. And as mentioned, four countries have put women in the top seat, more than Europe or North America combined.

Nonetheless, there have also been significant losses, particularly where women aim for the presidency. In Southern Africa, Dr. Dlamini-Zuma put up a strong fight for the South African presidency, but despite her individual accomplishments, she was unable to shake the perception that she was her ex-husband’s protégé at a time when many voters wanted a change. Outside South Africa and Malawi, no woman has run for president in the Southern Africa region.

In Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa, Remi Sonaiya was the first female candidate, and despite a remarkable campaign, she could not break the unspoken “gentlemen’s agreement” on religion and ethnic background that shape political viability in the country. In Kenya, Uganda and Somalia, women who have challenged men for the presidency have faced violence and character assassination. In Rwanda, Diane Rwigara and Victoire Ingabire, two women who have challenged President Kagame for the presidency, are currently in prison.

In keeping with the AU’s position that women’s rights are part of a broader discourse on human rights, the ongoing AU reforms process does not explicitly provide for the increased inclusion of women in the organization. Currently, the AU framework on gender is informed by global standards that include instruments like the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Union also considers women’s rights to be an integral part of its human rights mechanisms, including the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights. Former AU Chairperson Dr. Dlamini-Zuma – the first woman to hold the seat – did make women’s participation a centrepiece of her leadership, and pushed for more women to be appointed to the secretariat.

The reforms process can be an opportunity to get more women into political leadership in Africa. This begins by grounding itself in the long running African feminist tradition of recognizing work that is already being done. A friend once told me something that profoundly altered my own perspective on feminism, “African women have never been stay at home mothers”. The challenge of women’s political agency is qualitatively different from those facing women in the West. The histories of Nzinga, Areweelo, Mekatilili, Lozikeyi and Madikezela-Mandela remind us that African women’s efforts have always been integral to politics on the continent, but that we are dealing with a process of systematic erasure.

For an example of the work women on the continent are already doing to make the goals of the process work, look at the thousands of female traders who cross Goma into Gisenyi to trade every day; they are living proof of what free trade and free movement of goods could look like. Study the chama systems of Kenya as a baseline for what financial sustainability at the continental level could be. Recognize women’s groups in churches and mosques across the continent that demonstrate what inclusive and inter-ethnic political leadership can achieve.

African women are present, political and ready for work. It’s time the leadership took note.

*Courtesy of Tana Forum.Nanjala Nyabola is a writer and political analyst based in Nairobi, Kenya. Follow her on Twitter @nanjala1.

0
Read More
Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) announces third MEST Africa Summit, June 18-20 in Cape Town
April 10, 2018 | 0 Comments
The MEST Africa Summit will bring together leading global investors, executives and entrepreneurs to discuss the Pan-African startup landscape
Jorn Lyseggen, Founder & CEO of Meltwater and MEST

Jorn Lyseggen, Founder & CEO of Meltwater and MEST

CAPE TOWN, South Africa, April 5, 2018/ — Now in its 10th year investing in tech entrepreneurs in Africa, Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology(MEST) (https://Meltwater.org) (www.MESTAfricaSummit.com) today announced the third MEST Africa Summit, which will take place in Cape Town, South Africa, June 18-20. Formerly the Africa Tech Summit, this year’s event will go Pan-African, bringing together top entrepreneurs, investors and executives from Africa, Silicon Valley and Europe, to network and discuss trends, challenges and opportunities affecting markets across the continent, under the theme The Year of the African Scaleup?

Following two successful events in Accra, Ghana and Lagos, Nigeria, this year’s Summit will take place in Cape Town, South Africa – the location of the third MEST incubator, which officially launched  in November 2017.

MEST is also announcing the MEST Africa Challenge, a Pan-African pitch competition open April 1 in Nairobi, Lagos, Accra and Cape Town. The final pitch event for the competition will be held on Day 2 of the Summit and will include winners from each city’s regional event, which will be held in late April/early May. Details and application can be found at www.MESTAfricaSummit.com.

“We’re excited to bring together leading players in the tech and investment space from across the continent and the globe once again, this time in our new home in Cape Town,” MEST Managing Director Aaron Fu said. “The MEST Africa Summit serves as a meeting ground for Pan-African entrepreneurs, investors and ecosystem partners, and this year looks to ignite discussion around the real challenges and opportunities businesses face when reaching scale, as the startup space in Africa continues to mature.”

Panel discussions during the Summit will feature expertise from leading African entrepreneurs, investors and executives, and will highlight those companies looking to scale to new African markets and the partners who can help them succeed. Topics include a debate over the best African country to start a business; a discussion of the latest fintech, agritech and blockchain innovations, why women code better, and more. Tickets are now available at Eventbrite.com(https://goo.gl/QUY4FS). Space is limited.

MEST is currently accepting applications for partners and speakers. Early sponsors include Merck and MTN (www.MTN.co.za) and ecosystem partners AfricArena , SiMoDiSa ,(www.SiMoDiSa.org), Wesgro (www.Wesgro.co.za), Alpha Code(www.AlphaCode.club) and Silicon Cape (www.SiliconCape.com). Previous Summit partners include Samsung Business, AB Consulting, Google, Interpay, Agrivi, Interswitch, VC4Africa and more. Past speakers include Mitchell Elegbe of Interswitch, Jason Spindler of I-Dev, Funke Opeke of MainOne, Matt Flannery of Kiva, Iyin Aboyeji of Flutterwave, Angel Adelaja of Fresh Direct, Jason Njoku of iROKO, Tomi Davies of ABAN and more.

In November 2017, MEST launched incubator spaces in Lagos, Nigeria and Cape Town, South Africa, adding to its flagship incubator and training program in Accra, Ghana. Truly Pan-African, MEST also has a presence in Nairobi, Kenya and Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.

Since its inception in 2008, the Meltwater Foundation has invested $20 million into the program, supporting aspiring African entrepreneurs through the training program and incubator. Now in its 10th year, nearly 300 individual entrepreneurs have graduated from the training program and over 50 tech companies have been launched via seed funding and mentorship from MEST. Three companies — Claimsync, AdGeek and messaging app Saya — have been acquired.

MEST entrepreneurs have developed solutions addressing local and global markets, received outside follow-on funding from global investors, and have gained admittance to top accelerator programs such as Y-Combinator, 500 Startups and TechStars. MEST entrepreneurs have also been selected by President Obama as representatives of the African business community at the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, D.C.; have been named Mandela Washington Fellows, a flagship program of Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI); and have been selected for Forbes’ 30 Under 30 in Africa.

About MEST
Launched in 2008 by Meltwater (http://Meltwater.com), MEST (www.MESTAfricaSummit.com) is a Pan-African training program, seed fund and incubator for technology entrepreneurs in Africa, providing critical skills training in software development, business and communications. Headquartered in Accra, Ghana, MEST is funded by the Meltwater Foundation, the non-profit arm of Meltwater, a global leader in media intelligence.

About Jorn Lyseggen
Jorn Lyseggen is the Founder & CEO of Meltwater and MEST. A Norwegian entrepreneur and philanthropist, his previous ventures included 2 exits and an IPO. He founded Meltwater in Oslo, Norway in 2001 with an investment of just $15,000. Built on the notion of Outside Insight, Meltwater is now a global leader in B2B online media intelligence, with over 60 offices across six continents. He founded the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST), a training program, seed fund and incubator for African entrepreneurs, in 2008, and launched Shack15, a data science hub in London, in 2016. In November 2017, he released his first book, titled Outside Insight. Jorn has been featured on CNN, TechCrunch, TedX and more.

0
Read More
$1 billion in transactions processed on Ecobank Mobile App in Africa
April 10, 2018 | 0 Comments
With over 4 million users, the Ecobank Mobile App is available to all, enabling users to open an Ecobank Xpress™ Account instantly on their mobile device
Ade Ayeyemi, Ecobank Group CEO

Ade Ayeyemi, Ecobank Group CEO

LOME, Togo, April 9, 2018/ — The groundbreaking Ecobank (www.Ecobank.com) Mobile App, a single, unified financial services application across 33 African countries, has processed 9 million transactions worth over $1 billion since launch less than 18 months ago.

With over 4 million users, the Ecobank Mobile App is available to all, enabling users to open an Ecobank Xpress™ Account instantly on their mobile device (providing an easy route to financial inclusion for the previously unbanked). There are now over 4 million Ecobank Xpress™ Account holders on the Ecobank Mobile App and USSD platforms. Other bank customers may onboard the Ecobank Mobile App with their MasterCard or Visa cards while Ecobank customers do so using their card or retail internet banking credentials.

Users of the Ecobank Mobile App are able to transfer money instantly within Ecobank locally or across Africa using Ecobank Rapidtransfer™, a unique service that is faster and more affordable than competing options. Consumers may also make transfers to other local bank accounts, mobile wallets and to Visa cardholders using Visa Direct on the Ecobank Mobile App. The App offers easy payments using Ecobankpay Scan+Pay through Masterpass, mVisa and Mcash, and has options to pay utility bills, school fees, subscriptions, make donations, buy airtime instantly and generate payment tokens using Ecobank Xpress™ Cash to do cardless ATM withdrawals or at an Ecobank Xpress™ Point (agent locations).

Ade Ayeyemi, Ecobank Group CEO explained that Ecobank’s strategic mission is built around using mobile banking to deliver innovative, efficient and cost-effective services to those who have typically sat outside of the formal economy, and therefore goes far beyond the reach of the traditional branch and ATM networks. He noted that they had processed almost as many transactions on the Ecobank Mobile App in the first few months this year as they did in the second half of 2017.

“Customers can enjoy 24/7/365 access to financial services from the convenience of their mobile devices with the Ecobank Mobile App,” he said. “We have brought world-class functionality to consumers in the 33 countries in Africa where Ecobank operates.”

Patrick Akinwuntan, Ecobank’s Group Executive, Consumer Banking says that Ecobank is committed to providing easy access to financial services for all Africans, leveraging the ubiquity of mobile phones via the bank’s Mobile App and at Ecobank Xpress™ Point agents wherever physical interaction is necessary especially for cash deposits.

Patrick Akinwuntan, Ecobank’s Group Executive, Consumer Banking

Patrick Akinwuntan, Ecobank’s Group Executive, Consumer Banking

“We aim to be the leading consumer financial services franchise in Africa and have developed a range of products and services relevant to meeting the daily banking, financing, investment and transactional needs of our customers,” said Mr. Akinwuntan. “The Ecobank Mobile App provides easy access to these services anytime and anywhere and we are very pleased with the fast and increasing uptake.”

Incorporated in Lomé, Togo in 1988, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (‘ETI’) (www.Ecobank.com)  is the parent company of the leading independent pan-African banking group, Ecobank. It currently has a presence in 36 African countries, namely: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo (Brazzaville), Congo (Democratic Republic), Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The Group employs over 17,000 people in 40 different countries in over 1,200 branches and offices. Ecobank is a full-service bank providing wholesale, retail, investment and transaction banking services and products to governments, financial institutions, multinationals, international organizations, medium, small and micro businesses and individuals. Additional information on Ecobank can be found at www.Ecobank.com.

 

0
Read More
Claudio Oben On Defying The 6TH
April 6, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Destiny Kwenchia

Claudio Oben

With the world premiere set for the USA on April 8th, Actor and Producer Claudio Oben discusses Defying the 6th, his latest production. I have grown and gotten better from when I started 8 years ago, thus by default making DT6 my most experienced work yet, says the hard working actor who also stars in Defying the 6th.

Your latest film defying the 6th hits is set to premiere in the days ahead, what is the movie about?

The movie is about the causes of suicides, struggles and trauma that people deal with that eventually if not strong enough drive people to commit suicide.

What message do you seek to convey in that film?

For this film, I seek to start a conversation with people in dark places in their lives or with people who know someone in a dark place that we hear them, we can share their pain and ending one’s life if not the only way out.

Where was the movie shot and could you introduce the cast for us?

The movie was shot 90% in Cameroon and 10% in the United  States. Main Cast: Claudio Oben (Myself), Berlinda Nahbila, Malvis Ann, Lucie Memba and Libota MacDonald.

Where would you rank Defying the 6th in terms of other movies you have produced and starred in?

To me, it’s really not a matter of ranking but more of growth and like anything we do in life, the more you do it, better you get at it. So, as a filmmaker, I believe I have grown and gotten better from when I started 8 years ago, thus by default making DT6 my most experienced work yet

What were some of the challenges faced in the production of the movie?

Besides the regular challenges you face when dealing with schedules of a hand full of people, it was more so filming in Cameroon, something I had not done in my career yet. I had to learn and understand the way it is done there and at the same time implement my findings on set on the fly, so it was a huge experience that made me learn a lot.

You have been one of the key actors trying to promote the put Cameroon film industry, how is it

doing and what else needs to be done to get it better?

The Cameroon Industry, just like every industry on cooperation that is belt on talent, art and passion has grown a great deal and it just keeps getting better. That is very evident with the quality and quantity of good film being produced under that umbrella so its a good time to be part of that family.

And for what else needs to be done better: We the artist, be it producers, actors, directors and all need to remember that without us the art dies, so we need to concentrate more on the art and forget about fame and recognition. Those things come by default when the work is done right.

Could you share more information about the Premiere, venue, fees, and any other side shows taking place ?

DT6 will be premiered in MD this Sunday, April 8th, 2018 at the Old Greenbelt Theatre from 7pm-11pm. Tickets for that are $20 even and can be purchased at the gate or on eventbrite. Thereafter, it will be premiered in Cameroon. on Saturday, April 21st, 2018 at the Mountain Hotel in Buea. Tickets for those are: 5000 cfa-Regular, 10.000 cfa-VIP (Comes with 2 drinks), Tables- 50.000 cfa.

 

What next for Claudio Oben after Defying the 6th, any other projects coming up?

After the premieres and film festival runs, Claudio Oben and Zeallmatic pictures will get back to work, if not already in the works for the spin-offs of DT6. That’s all I am allowed to reveal for now.

Thanks for talking to PAV                           

Thank you so much for having me and hope to see you at the premiere. Stay blessed.

 

 

0
Read More
1 123 124 125 126 127 171