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IGD Frontier 100 Forum: African and Global Business Leaders, Investors Gather to Boost U.S. Investment In Africa
November 1, 2017 | 0 Comments
  • Global business leaders offer bold strategies to bolster private sector investment opportunities to scale African companies and growth sectors.
  • Fireside Chat with top U.S. government officials and congressional staffers laid out plans for greater private sector engagement in U.S.-Africa trade and economic policy
  • Forum hosted the Africa investor (Ai) Development Finance-Institutional Investor Roundtable

 WASHINGTON D.C. – October 31, 2017 – Top African and global business leaders and investors gathered for the Initiative for Global Development’s Fall Frontier 100 Forum in Washington on October 11-12, to build momentum and catalyze action on increasing greater U.S. investment in Africa and deepening business relations between U.S. and African companies.

The Fall Forum was held at the Ronald Reagan Building and Covington law office in Washington, DC.

The invitation-only forum convened for two days on the theme “Growing the ‘Middle’: Investing in African Companies for the Continent’s Economic Transformation”, where leading CEOs and senior executives from companies operating on the African continent, investors, and African and U.S. policymakers offered bold solutions to bolster investment opportunities to scale African companies and growth sectors.

Investment in the Sub-Saharan African region continues to lag behind other regions of the world, despite the growth and maturation of Africa’s private sector. The forum sessions sought to put forth solutions and specific targets to bolster investment in the region to fuel rapid job creation and the continent’s economic transformation.

“African companies are the engines of growth in Africa. Our Forums go beyond the typical networking and business discussions. As business leaders, we are all about action and solutions. We know how to solve problems in innovative and collaborative ways to accelerate investment and growth on the continent,” said Dr. Mima S. Nedelcovych, IGD President & CEO.

An interactive tri-sector collaboration session led by a team from PYXERA Global generated lively discussions among forum participants on how to create effective cross cutting partnerships between the public, private and social sector through simulation games and role-playing activities.

An investor dialogue captured the perspectives of an investor, Hurley Doddy, Managing Director and Founding Partner, and Co-CEO of Emerging Capital Partners (ECP) and an investee, Bunmi Akinyemiju, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Venture Garden Group, on the opportunities and challenges of finding the right investment partner.

Akinyemiju said a company’s success to scale depends largely on its founders, diversity of skills and the need for both local and diaspora talent. Yet from an investor perspective, Doddy emphasized that to attract investors, a company must structure itself to surpass the founder for the long term. In the end, Akinyemiju whose company has received more than $20 million in investment, noted that finding the right investor is “like a marriage” and the investor and investee must possess aligning interests.

A full-day of forum sessions featured engaging panel sessions on attracting private equity investments, financing Africa’s agro-processing industry, and exploring franchise investment opportunities.

The Fall Forum hosted Africa Investor’s Development Finance-Institutional Investor Roundtable, moderated by Ai CEO Hubert Danso,  with key leaders from the development finance industry with counterparts from the institutional investment community to generate new partnership strategies and vehicles available to de-risk and finance African infrastructure investment assets.

Burkina Faso’s Finance Minister Rosine Sori Coulibaly, in her luncheon remarks drew attention to investment opportunities in the West African country: “Burkina Faso is back and ready for business,” said the Honorable Sori Coulibaly.

Creating an enabling policy environment for investment and engagement with the U.S. and African private sector took center stage on the forum’s opening day.

Top U.S. government officials laid out their agency’s priorities to strengthen engagement with the private sector for sustainable development and inclusive growth in Africa during a Fireside Chat at the Ronald Reagan Building.

Mark Green, Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development and former IGD President & CEO, pointed out that the goal of foreign assistance must be to end the need for its existence. “The only sustainable way of reaching that goal is by tapping into private enterprise, turning to all of you to help tackle the challenges, and the opportunities that we all see,” Administrator Green told private sector leaders.

Jonathan Nash, acting Chief Executive Officer of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) spoke about MCC’s mission to reduce poverty through private sector growth and outlined the agency’s achievements in Africa in creating strategic partnerships, building new market opportunities and encouraging American firms to invest in African businesses.

Presenting his remarks immediately after a Capitol Hill hearing on the U.S. Foreign Operations budget, Ambassador Donald Yamamoto, acting Assistant Secretary, Bureau of African Affairs for the U.S. Department of State, spoke about proposed budget cuts to U.S. foreign assistance and underscored the importance of having more American businesses invest in Africa to propel growth.

A policy roundtable on shaping U.S.-Africa trade and economic policy highlighted an urgent need for the U.S. to foster stronger business partnerships for African companies to take full advantage of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), the signature U.S.-Africa trade law.

Both Republican and Democratic Hill staffers on panel agreed that bipartisanship is key in increasing the budget for Foreign Operations and moving U.S.-Africa related legislation forward.

An evening reception, sponsored by the African Development Bank, paid tribute to Babacar Ndiaye, former President of the Bank, who recently passed away in Dakar, Senegal. Charles Boamah, Senior Vice-President of the African Development Bank, shared progress on the “High 5s”, the Bank’s agenda for Africa’s economic transformation.

The Fall Forum closed with an evening reception to roll out a grassroots campaign on increasing U.S. investment in Africa. The grassroots campaign is part of IGD’s Africa Investment Rising campaign, a dynamic multimedia communications and advocacy effort aimed at changing the narrative on doing business in Africa.

The African Development Bank and African Export-Import Bank served as Collaborating Partners. Forum sponsors included Covington as Platinum Sponsor; Ex-Im Global PartnersAllAfrica.com and Accenture as Gold Sponsor; Clin d’Oeil Magazine as Silver Sponsor; and Africa investor as Organizational Partner.

Media Partners included Africa InvestorAfrica.comAfrica Trade magazineAfrican Business CentralAfroPop WorldwideAsoko InsightCenter Africa TVFace2Face AfricaQuartz AfricaPan-African Visions, and VoxAfrica.

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Infrastructure investment is breaking ground for new development and growth trajectories in Africa
November 1, 2017 | 0 Comments

By Tshepo Mahloele*

Tshepo Mahloele is the CEO of Harith General Partners with assets under management north of US$1.8bn. Harith celebrates 10 years this year.

Tshepo Mahloele is the CEO of Harith General Partners with assets under management north of US$1.8bn. Harith celebrates 10 years this year.

Historically, strategic infrastructure investments have altered the trajectory of a country’s economic and social development. From America’s Hoover Dam to Dubai’s international airport, infrastructure can transform people’s path to prosperity and propel entire nations to the global stage. I firmly believe we can achieve the same for Africa. It only takes leadership.

Whether it is connecting people to new opportunities through broadband, providing improved electricity access using renewable energy, or reducing geographic divides with world-class airports, investments in 21st century infrastructure has the potential to transform prospects and growth across the continent.

The disruptive power of infrastructure goes a long way. In 1935, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s government invested US$49million in the Hoover Dam (roughly US$840million today) and it took 5000 workers five years to complete. Today, it provides water for 25 million people and hundreds of thousands of hectares of agricultural land, and provides electricity to roughly eight million people.

Major cities like Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Diego, and Phoenix would never have grown as prosperous or strategically important without the Hoover Dam. And, California definitely would not have become the 7th largest economy in the world without it.

As Harith General Partners, together with our partners across the continent, we have made strides over the past 10 years in building a modern and well-developed Africa we can proudly bequeath to future generations.

Our investments are targeted at strategic sectors that are aimed at propelling African economies into higher growth trajectories. Our investment in Main One Cable is one such investment. It’s aimed at fuelling the rapid growth of broadband and internet access and had a particularly profound impact on West African countries. The 7000-kilometer submarine cable has connected Nigeria, Ghana, and other countries to the rest of the world and served as a catalyst for broadband and connectivity.

Main One has helped to reduce the prices for international connectivity services by 80 percent in Nigeria and Ghana. The social impacts of this are immense, with thousands of jobs being created and injecting a necessary boost to the ICT sector in these countries, with positive impacts on economic growth.

The sheer scale of the opportunity for investment and related challenges in Africa will require a collaborative effort between private investors, governments and development finance institutions.

Collectively, these partners will need to invest nearly US$100 billion annually over the next decade to fully reap the benefits available in the power, transportation, telecommunications, water and sanitation, and irrigation sectors.

Central government investments continue to ground much of the continent’s infrastructure development, contributing roughly $30billion needed each year for the maintenance of existing infrastructure.

However, public spending levels overall remain far too low to meet the region’s rapidly growing infrastructure needs. Given this, the private sector will continue to serve as a major player in filling the funding gap and reaching spending targets.

Importantly, while the need for investment is large, the potential return is also very attractive on a risk-adjusted basis. Compared to other developing regions, the growth potential in Sub-Saharan Africa is even greater. Approximately 40 percent of the region’s population lives in landlocked countries, and many economies are largely isolated from global market centres. Investments that help these less connected economies overcome geographic disadvantages, lower transportation costs and engage in trade, will open up a new opportunities for millions of people living across the continent.

Bridging the quantity and quality gaps in infrastructure could increase GDP per capita growth by 1.7 percent points each year, excluding South Africa. For lower-income countries in the region, the power sector offers the largest potential gains, while lower-middle-income countries could see particularly large gains from transportation sector investments.

With the assistance of our anchor investments such as the Government Employees Pension Fund and support from the African Development Bank 10 years ago, Harith was able to take risks and pursue a pan-African vision of infrastructure investments.

At the heart of my decision to pursue a pan African infrastructure investment vision was inspiration from former President Thabo Mbeki’s African Renaissance vision, which reignited Ghanaian President, Dr. Nkwame Nkrumah’s One Africa vision in the 1950s. Nkrumah recognised that Africa’s infrastructure is, to a large extent, a legacy of arbitrary borders and transport networks designed to feed former colonial powers.

Hence it takes up to 28 days for a rail shipment from Durban to reach Malawi. It is easier and cheaper to ship goods from Lubumbashi in the Democratic Republic of Congo to Durban than through the DRC port of Matadi. The continent is littered with such examples.

The most expensive infrastructure is the infrastructure you don’t have. It is impossible to calculate what growth is lost due to the absence of good quality road or rail networks.

While the US leap-frogged from a primitive agricultural economy to the world’s industrial behemoth in 200 years, Africa’s trajectory is likely to be even more surprising given the advantages of telecommunications and steady advances in education.

With political stability and good governance gradually taking root in many African states, the environment is ripe for both continent-wide and global capital to flow into our shores and, turn Africa into a permanent construction site for mega infrastructure projects to propel the continent into a higher economic growth trajectory.

*Tshepo Mahloele is the CEO of Harith General Partners with assets under management north of US$1.8bn. Harith celebrates 10 years this year.

 

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African cities must adopt holistic approach to tourism growth – Mastercard Global Destinations Index
November 1, 2017 | 0 Comments

 Tourism is a catalyst for economic growth in Africa – a key theme during the UN World Cities Day celebrated today around the world. The sector is especially important now when governments are seeking out ways to drive diversification as part of their growth strategies. African cities need to find efficient ways to develop into smart cities capable to not only attract visitors, but also to offer unique experiences and overcoming growing infrastructure demands.

The Mastercard Global Destinations Cities Index (GDCI) provides insight into the motivations and travel spend of visitors – a prime driver for development in the sector. The Index ranks 132 global destination cities in terms of visitor spend, and provides insight on the fastest growing destination cities, and a deeper understanding of why people travel and how they spend around the world.

There were thirteen African cities ranked in the Index, indicating a great opportunity for tourism authorities to work together to better position the continents full and diverse offering. Cities ranked included: Johannesburg, Cape Town, Lagos, Casablanca, Cairo, Durban, Accra, Dakar, Entebbe, Tunis, Nairobi, Maputo and Beira.

Learning from the world’s top destination cities

Bangkok, a city that remained the top-ranked destination city by international overnight visitor arrivals with 19.4 million visitors in 2016 alone, provides a good case study on what cities in African can adopt. Additionally London, with 19.06 million visitors, can be used as blueprints for future planning given their strong focus on mobility.

Across the top 20 destination cities, the majority of travel is conducted for leisure purposes. The Index indicates expenditure categories that illustrate how people are spending when they visit these top performers. Key contributors to spend include: dining, shopping, lodging and transport.

These top 20 cities provide a full experience, with many boasting strong infrastructure helping to enhance visitor’s opinion of the city and thus their willingness to spend.

GDCI indicates that more people than ever are visiting cities for business or leisure travel, and that at the same time, the research indicates that people expect their experience when traveling to be both seamless and personal.

African cities must do more to connect people with all that the continent has to offer – but it is critical that cities identify on their uniqueness and overall appeal to visitors. Cities that know what they are about, and what they want to represent, attract more visitors and thus more spend. The continent has the widest range of sights and sounds, with natural beauty, warm people and a uniqueness not often found around the world – this is very appealing to international visitors.

As the top destination city, Dubai sees over 14 million international overnight visitors, which is significantly higher than other cities in Africa. It’s no coincidence that Dubai ranks number one as having the highest percentage of visitor expenditure of GDP (30.3%), given its global positioning as a hot shopping destination. It has carved out a unique proposition and the city thrives on this positioning.

The benefits are obvious, more than half of the top 20 destinations reported an increase in spend consistent with or greater than GDP growth. This reinforces the important role that travel plays in a country’s economy and indicates that the sector is growing much more rapidly than the combined average of all economic areas.

What can African cities do today to build for tomorrow?

  • Infrastructure and public transport is key: For highly attractive destination cities, like Bangkok, London and Paris that top the list, ease of travel is a big factor in drawing visitors.  This is why Mastercard is working with governments and cities across Africa to simplify access to urban services like public transport, helping to enable users to pay for their train or bus simply by tapping their card or swiping their phone.
  • Look deeper at the purpose of travel and spend: It’s safe to say that Africa is no longer just a safari destination, and the reason for travel to Africa varies largely by what a city has to offer. Using data to understand what appeals to travellers will give cities an upper hand to mine the popularity of that destination, and then further enhance the offering. Data is a smart way for tourism authorities to effectively and efficiently gather important insights. Mastercard’s Tourism Insight Platform provides data on spend as well as insights from search engines – proving that data is the tourism industries greatest asset and must be taken seriously.
  • Build stronger cross sector partnerships: Expertise within the public sector must be harnessed, it is here where innovation is shaping African cities and helping to digitise economies. Tourism is a diverse offering, and governments are more willing than ever before to collaborate to realise the full potential of the sector. As indicated in the GDCI, cities must differentiate, provide unique experiences and ensure are capable of hosting people from around the world. This is achievable only via cross sector collaboration, and a willingness to adapt.

 

The Mastercard Index of Global Destination Cities ranks cities in terms of the number of their total international overnight visitor arrivals and the cross-border spending by these same visitors in the destination cities in 2016, and gives visitor and passenger growth forecasts for 2017. Public data is used in deriving the international overnight visitor arrivals and their cross-border spending in each of the 132 destination cities. This Index and the accompanying reports are not based on Mastercard volumes or transactional data.

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ICT Offers Africa The Best Opportunity To Bridge The Development Gap-Prof Victor Mbarika
November 1, 2017 | 0 Comments

By Ajong Mbapndah L

With ICTs Africa can bridge the development gap with the rest of the world says Prof Victor Mbarika

With ICTs Africa can bridge the development gap with the rest of the world says Prof Victor Mbarika

Information and Communication Technology (ICT’s) represent the best hope for Africa to bridge the development gap with the rest of the world, says Prof Victor Mbarika Founder and Board Chair of the ICT University. With campuses in Cameroon and Uganda, under the leadership of Prof Mbarika, Nigeria is on course as the third African country to host the University.

Based in the USA, the ICT University Foundation funds and designs quality education to people who do not have to leave Africa. The Foundation establishes Campuses across the world that have similar standards and curricula like those in the USA. With over 20,000 students served annually, from basic certificate programs to Ph.D. programs, offered onsite and online,the ICT -U has emerged as a formidable hub for education that meets 2st century development challenges.

With President Hage Geingob of Namibia. Prof Mbarika regularly travels across Africa to harp on the merits of investing in ICT as a driver of development

With President Hage Geingob of Namibia. Prof Mbarika regularly travels across Africa to harp on the merits of investing in ICT as a driver of development

The intent is to have a University in each sub region of the continent, and with a campus in Central Africa, East Africa ,and West Africa coming up, the goal is very feasible says Prof Mbarika. With affordable fees, Africans are able to receive education that matches U.S standards and the results have been phenomenal says Prof Mbarika who frequently travels across Africa to harp on the merits of ICTs.

On the affordability of the programs, Prof Mbarika says tuition is kept very low to give opportunities to more Africans. While the fees may still be high for some people, it pales in comparison to what is paid to receive the same education in the USA. In addition, the University Management goes  the extra mile to source and provide scholarships an grants to deserving students from poor backgrounds ,Mbarika said.

Prof Mbarika in discussion with former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan,the goal is to have one ICT University in each sub region of Africa ,Mbarika says

Prof Mbarika in discussion with former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan,the goal is to have one ICT University in each sub region of Africa ,Mbarika says

Support from governments in countries where the Universities are located has been laudable ,Prof Mbarika said. In Cameroon, Prof Mbarika said the registration process was seamless with no bribes requested from him and the university is in the process of starting additional programs in agriculture and medicine. In Uganda, the government has equally been very supportive , Prof Mbarika went on. In Nigeria, where he has had the opportunity of meeting past leaders like General Gowon, Presidents Obasanjo, Jonathan as well as Officials of the current Buhari Administration, the response has been most encouraging ,said Mbarika.

Beyond the countries that host ICT universities in Africa today, many African governments have seen the importance of ICT ,and Prof Mbarika believes that this augurs well for development prospects. In Namibia, Prof Mbarika said he was impressed with the efforts of government to promote ICT. African governments are taking note of the importance of ICT’s and this could be a game changer for the continent, he said.

ICT University 4th Graduation Ceremony, Uganda Campus on May 26,2017.More than 100 students graduated from the ICT University.ICT University alumni are serving in diverse sectors across Africa ,Prof Mbarika says.

ICT University 4th Graduation Ceremony, Uganda Campus on May 26,2017.More than 100 students graduated from the ICT University.ICT University alumni are serving in diverse sectors across Africa ,Prof Mbarika says.

On projects that the University is working on, Prof Mbarika said there were plans to work on the promotion of agriculture using ICT tools. The University is also fanalizing  plans  to start  a Teaching Hopital in Cameroon with strong emphasis on  tele medicine where a professional can be in the USA and be able to treat a patient in a remote part of Cameroon,Prof Mbarika said.

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Oil gives short-term life to African economies, IMF says
October 31, 2017 | 0 Comments
Nigerian oil production is supporting broad-based momentum, though the IMF noted crude oil prices are still lower by historical standards.
Oil production gains fuel economic momentum for sub-Saharan Africa, though the potential is limited, the IMF said. File photo by vanhurck/Shutterstock

Oil production gains fuel economic momentum for sub-Saharan Africa, though the potential is limited, the IMF said. File photo by vanhurck/Shutterstock

Oct. 30 (UPI) — The economies of sub-Saharan Africa get some support from oil production in Nigeria and elsewhere, though it flattens out by 2019, the IMF said Monday.

The International Monetary Fund said in a regional report that the downturn for the economy is easing, with growth expected to improve from last year’s 1.4 percent rate to 2.6 percent.

“Growth is expected to reach 2.6 percent in 2017, but the pickup reflects one-off factors, notably a recovery in oil production in Nigeria and the easing of drought conditions in eastern and southern Africa,” the report read.

Nigerian crude oil production averaged 1.85 million barrels per day in September, according to economists with OPEC. That’s up 7.4 percent from July. The national economy came out of recession during the second quarter, after five straight months of contraction, but militancy has been a problem for Nigeria.

The IMF said that growth is supporting regional momentum, though that momentum is lopsided. About a third of the economies in the region are expecting growth at around 5 percent, though a dozen or so others could see their per capita income decline, the IMF said.

While crude oil prices last week reached fresh yearly highs, the IMF said most commodity price levels have stabilized at what it said were relatively low levels, “with oil and iron ore prices less than half their 2013 highs.”

Elsewhere, work is underway to bring the SNE oil basin offshore Senegal into service. When discovered in 2014, the basin was counted among the largest in the world. By the estimates of the companies involved, Senegal could hold more than 1.5 billion barrels of oil off its coast

Nearby Gambia also holds promising prospects, though regional spats over maritime borders and licensing issues with operating companies cloud the prospects.

The IMF said growth continues, supported even by lesser producers, though the momentum will be short lived.

“Growth is expected to continue to recover in 2018 to 3.4 percent, but will likely remain flat in 2019, and well below the levels achieved earlier in the decade,” the report read.

*Source UPI

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U.S. envoy Haley’s blunt diplomacy targets South Sudan, Congo
October 31, 2017 | 0 Comments

By Michelle Nichols*

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley meets South Sudan's President Salva Kiir and First Vice President Taban Deng Gai in Juba U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley meets South Sudan's President Salva Kiir and First Vice President Taban Deng Gai in Juba, South Sudan October 25, 2017. REUTERS/Jok Solomun

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley meets South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir and First Vice President Taban Deng Gai in Juba
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley meets South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir and First Vice President Taban Deng Gai in Juba, South Sudan October 25, 2017. REUTERS/Jok Solomun

JUBA, South Sudan/KITCHANGA, Democratic Republic of Congo (Reuters) – In a mountainous camp for displaced Congolese, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley wrapped her arm around an inconsolable woman who recounted being raped twice.

“It only makes me more passionate, it makes me more determined,” Haley told a small group of reporters traveling with her during her first trip to Africa. “I’ll carry the voices of the women that I met and things that they said.”

Dispatched by President Donald Trump to Ethiopia, South Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo, Haley’s trip was one of the first tangible signs of interest in Africa by the nine-month old administration.

Her challenge: how to show the United States is actively engaged in Africa, where humanitarian and political crises are often overshadowed by more urgent conflicts elsewhere and at the same time honor Trump’s avowed “America First” policy which puts U.S. economic and national interests ahead of international commitments.

As Africa struggles to win Trump’s interest, U.S. policy is more likely to be increasingly focused on countering militant threats. Washington also has a financial interest at stake as it tries to cut U.N. peacekeeping costs, for which it pays more than a quarter.

Trump has made a point of saying he would not impose U.S. values on others, raising concerns among activists that human rights issues could take a backseat.

Nowhere is that more in focus than in Niger where a deadly ambush killed four U.S. troops who were there to assist local Nigerian forces fighting a local Islamic State affiliate this month. At the same time, Washington has mostly turned a blind eye to the increasingly authoritarian moves of Niger’s former opposition leader, now president Mahamadou Issoufou, as it tries to stop the militant threat from expanding.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley (R), meets Democratic Republic Congo's national independent electoral commission's president, Corneille Nangaa Yobeluo, at the commission's headquarters in Kinshasa, DRC, Oct. 27, 2017.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley (R), meets Democratic Republic Congo’s national independent electoral commission’s president, Corneille Nangaa Yobeluo, at the commission’s headquarters in Kinshasa, DRC, Oct. 27, 2017.

Haley, a former governor of the U.S. state of South Carolina, was the most senior member of Trump’s administration to travel to the three sub-Saharan states in a trip that showed how she balances her political skills with her nascent foreign policy and diplomacy experience.

She was moved to tears after visiting displaced Congolese in Kitchanga in the conflict-ravaged east of the country. In Ethiopia’s Gambella region, she kicked off her shoes and sat down on the floor to play with South Sudanese toddlers.

“Those kids will be 18 one day,” Haley told a small group of reporters during her trip. “They will be an uneducated adult with no social skills that will have resented the fact that they were put in that situation and that’s dangerous for the United States and that’s dangerous for the world.”

‘BLUNTNESS IS IMPORTANT’

With U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson shying away from the spotlight, Haley has carved out a high-profile role for herself. Amid speculation about Tillerson’s future Haley said that if she was offered the job: “I would say no.”

Known for taking a blunt approach that has raised eyebrows among diplomats at the United Nations, Haley took her direct style to lengthy one-on-one conversations with the South Sudanese and Congolese leaders.

“I think bluntness is important, but I also expected it back and I got candid conversations back from them,” she said. “That was very much appreciated because we didn’t want to have to sit there and deal with the political talk, we wanted to get to the realities of the situation.”

It’s not clear yet if South Sudanese and Congolese leaders will heed her message.

In Kinshasa she spoke privately with President Joseph Kabila for 90 minutes. She had said Kinshasa must hold a long-delayed election to replace Kabila by the end of next year or the vote will lose international support.

But the Congolese opposition was critical of her statement there because it conceded there would be no election this year, in violation of a deal Kabila’s camp signed with the opposition last December, without extracting any concessions in return.

“Calling for Kabila to stay in power beyond Dec. 31, 2017 is the equivalent, pure and simple, of making oneself complicit with the evil genius!” opposition leader Olivier Kamitatu wrote on Twitter above a photo of Haley from her visit.

In Juba, Haley met with President Salva Kiir for 45 minutes, showing him photos of refugees from her visit to Gambella.

South Sudan spiraled into a civil war in 2013, just two years after gaining independence from Sudan, sparked by a feud between Kiir, an ethnic Dinka, and his former deputy Riek Machar, a Nuer.

The U.S. invested heavily in the process that led to South Sudan’s independence. The Trump administration has been far less engaged, let alone influential, in trying to end the war that erupted.

Haley plans to meet with Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster this week to discuss her trip.

“I’ll give options and then if asked I’ll give the recommendation,” Haley said. “(Trump) very much wants to know how everybody else feels, he very much takes all that into consideration and then he makes his decision.”

*Source Reuters  (Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Additional reporting by Aaron Ross; Editing by Yara Bayoumy and Sandra Maler)

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Young Emerging Entrepreneurs Share Anzisha Prize, Africa’s Premier Award for Young Entrepreneurs
October 27, 2017 | 0 Comments

22 year old, Ibrahima Ben Aziz Konate from Cote D’Ivoire takes Anzisha Grand Prize.

Ibrahima Ben Aziz Konate, the grand prize winner accepting his award.

Ibrahima Ben Aziz Konate, the grand prize winner accepting his award.

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, October 25, 2017,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/- African Leadership Academy and Mastercard Foundation are pleased to announce that 22 year old, Ibrahima Ben Aziz Konate from Cote D’Ivoire has been awarded the top prize at the seventh annual Anzisha Prize awards gala. Ibrahima Ben Aziz is the founder of Poultry D’Or, a poultry business that often has over 500 sales a day and employs 15 people. Ibrahima was selected from a competitive pool of diverse entrepreneurs from 14 African countries. For the first time ever, Anzisha Prize is thrilled to award the grand prize to an applicant from Cote D’Ivoire. This will truly expand the reach and impact of the Anzisha program across various countries.

“It is hard to believe that I was chosen as the winner of the prize. It has been a dream of mine to join the Anzisha Prize network since I first heard about it. The $25 000 is the difference that I need to scale my business and show the young people in my community that entrepreneurship is possible, even at a very young age,” says Ibrahima.

Each prize winner has founded a business that responds directly to a social or economic need within their community. The two runner-ups were Edgar Edmund, 17, from Tanzania and Victoria Olimatunde, 15, from Nigeria. Edgar Edmund’s business Green Venture Tanzania has created a method of turning recycled plastic materials found on the streets into durable construction blocks. His long-term vision impressed the Pan-African panel of judges and his business model showed potential for making a significant and long-term impact. While Victoria, the founder of Bizkidz, a board game that teaches students financial literacy was chosen from 219 applications from her home country. In her presentation to the judges she demonstrated great leadership potential and a commitment to job creation.

The winner of the Agriculture Sector Prize sponsored by the Louis Dreyfus Foundation was Ignatius Ahumuza from Uganda, founder of Art Planet Academy. Ignatius is already a role model proving that the agricultural sector can provide sustainable and fulfilling livelihoods for young people across Africa. Art Planet Academy’s purpose is to expand agricultural education across rural communities to increase farming skills and food security. This is an example of how a driven, industrious and energetic 21 year old can contribute to his or her country’s economic development.

“It is always a great privilege to meet the newest group of Anzisha Fellows. Their drive and commitment to improving the lives of their families, communities and nations is admirable and inspiring,” said Koffi Assouan, Program Manager, Mastercard Foundation. “Entrepreneurialism is an important driver of economic growth across the continent. As these finalists return home, they will become role models who will inspire the next generation to pursue their dreams.”

The Anzisha Prize is a partnership between African Leadership Academy and the Mastercard Foundation. The 15 Anzisha Prize finalists were selected from an applicant pool of more than 800 entrepreneurs from more than 32 African countries. The finalists and emerging business leaders were recognized at an exclusive, invitation-only ceremony on Tuesday 24 October 2017 in Johannesburg. The 15 finalists presented their ventures to a panel of judges after spending 10 days in a business accelerator camp to strengthen business fundamentals. They join a more than 70 strong pool of Anzisha Fellows and will receive ongoing business-consulting support, access to experts, and access to networking opportunities to enable sustainable venture growth.

“Young African entrepreneurs such as the Anzisha Fellows are a testimony to the need for youth organizations to promote and provide continued guidance on entrepreneurship and self-employment for young people. Ibrahima is an example of how entrepreneurship and self-employment is key for achieving smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.” says Lerato Mdluli, Program Manager for the Anzisha Prize.

Applications for the next cycle of the Anzisha Prize will open on 15 February in 2017. Nominations for promising youth entrepreneurs are welcome all year round.

For more information on the Anzisha Prize and to nominate an entrepreneur, please visit the Anzisha Prize website:

The Anzisha Prize is delivered by African Leadership Academy in partnership with Mastercard Foundation. Through the Anzisha Prize, the organisers seek to catalyse innovation and scale entrepreneurship among youth across the continent.

African Leadership Academy (ALA) seeks to transform Africa by developing a powerful network of entrepreneurial leaders who will work together to achieve extraordinary social impact. Each year, ALA brings together the most promising young leaders from all 54 African nations for a pre-university program in South Africa with a focus on leadership, entrepreneurship and African studies. ALA continues to cultivate these leaders throughout their lives, in university and beyond, by providing on-going leadership and entrepreneurial training and connecting them to high-impact networks of people and capital that can catalyse large-scale change. This year marks ALA’s Decennial, a milestone to reflect on and celebrate its progress to date, while investing the impact ALA will have in the future.

Mastercard Foundation works with visionary organizations to provide greater access to education, skills training and financial services for people living in poverty, primarily in Africa. As one of the largest private foundations, its work is guided by its mission to advance learning and promote financial inclusion to create an inclusive and equitable world. Based in Toronto, Canada, its independence was established by Mastercard when the Foundation was created in 2006.

The Louis Dreyfus Foundation helps to alleviate poverty and hunger by bringing sustainable solutions to smallholder farmers. The Foundation promotes projects in the areas of sustainable agriculture, food security and self-sufficiency, particularly through education and direct support to farmers, with a specific focus on developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America

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CCA Working On Trade Mission To Sudan
October 25, 2017 | 0 Comments

By Ajong Mbapndah L

CCA President Florizelle Liser

CCA President Florizelle Liser

With sanctions eased, U.S companies are relishing the prosepcts of doing business with Sudan .Taking the lead is the Washington,DC based Corporate Council on Africa which is working on Trade Mission to Sudan for its members in early December.

In a recent interview to discuss the state of US-Africa business ties, CCA’s President Florie Liser said, Members were excited with the opportunity of doing business with Sudan. The decision to undertake the Trade Mission follows a briefing to the CCA from State Department Officials on scope of measures taken by the Trump Administration to ease sanctions . Florie Liser also disclosed that during the recent World Bank/IMF meetings , the Sudanese Minister of Finance held a heavily attended interactive session at the CCA to discuss business related opportunities in Sudan.

Revisiting the last US-Africa Business Summit, Florie Liser said it was a success and post summit feedback has been very positive. While the choice of the host country has not been made, Florie Liser did confirm that the next Summit will take place in Africa .Mozambique has so far expressed strong interest and a decision is expected to be made at some point next year.

“I do think that the Trump Administration will want to gauge very positively on the issue of our commercial relationship with the nations of Africa,” said Florie Liser in answering questions on the way forward for US-Africa Business ties. On the encouraging signs, Florie Liser cited the presence of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Wright at the last US-Africa Business Summit,calls from President Trump to African leaders, and the reception he had for a number of African leaders on the sidelines of the last UN General Assembly Meetings.

Florie Liser, good afternoon.

Florie Liser: Good Afternoon.

You are approaching the symbolic one year milestone as president of the Corporate Council of Africa; how is the organization doing under your leadership?

Florie Liser:Well I’d like to say, and I think my board would agree that it’s been, first of all, my one year appointment is at the end of January, so we’re not quite there yet, but I think I’ve been here maybe nine months and it’s been really exciting.  I feel like we have been building on CCA’s brand of twenty three years but I’m also enlivening our vision, doing some new things that we haven’t done before, but also some things we’ve done in the past, but making sure we do them in ways that meet the needs of our members.  So again, we are building on the brand we have, but we are doing some new things and repositioning ourselves in the market and making sure that people understand what CCA brings to the table and our value added for those companies that are members.   We’re growing our membership, since I got here I think we’ve gotten seventeen new members, including some big companies, some medium size companies, some small companies; so I’m very pleased about that.

One of your signature events in the past nine months that you’ve been president, was the USA -S Africa Business Summit last year.  What feedback are you getting from members and participants on post summit progress?

Florie Liser: So, the summit I thought was a big success.  We had over 800 registrants.  We had the Head of State for Mozambique, President Nyusi.  We had the president of the African Development Bank as well, who was the key note speaker. And we also had for the first time, I think we were the first ones to do this, to have someone senior from the Trump Administration, Secretary Wilbur Ross from the Department of Commerce to come and give remarks about the US strategy for engaging with Africa from an economic view point.  So we were very excited about that and thought the summit was a success.  As a result of that, we got some new members.  As a result of that, we have new initiatives that we are working on and continuing as I said to make clear what CCA has to offer to the US and African Business community.

At the time the summit took place, many were still wondering on the approach that the Trump Administration would take towards business ties with Africa.  What is your take on the way his Administration is approaching US Africa business ties?

Florie Liser:I think that if we listen to secretary Ross’ speech, at the US South Africa Business Summit, he made the point that Africa is an important economic partner of the United States, that we have a number of programmes and initiatives with them that are important. He mentioned  the President’s Advisory Council on doing business in Africa.  We call it the pack DBIA and that was something that was launched actually under President Obama, but he himself Secretary Ross, is supportive of it continuing and he has already spoken to the members  of the pack DBIA.  He talked about AGOA, he talked about two way trade between US and African Nations and he made it clear that Africa is a place of opportunity for US Businesses.  He also encouraged African Ministers and other Officials that were there, to consider what US businesses bring to the table when countries are considering bids for different projects.  Sometime American companies are dismissed maybe because of cost but Secretary Ross was saying ‘you do get what you pay for;’ and for US companies, we bring technology, we bring skills transfer and we bring the kinds of partnerships that we think are longer lasting and mutually beneficial which is not  necessarily the case for some of the other kinds of partnerships that Africans may have; but I think his message was a positive one and since then, there have been different interactions.

President Trump has called different African Heads of State, economic issues have maybe not at the The agenda for the call most times I think it’s been security and peace and issues, but the US Africa economic relationship has come up and then during the luncheon that president Trump hosted for African Heads of States, I think there were about eight of them in New York, the issue of the US Africa Economic Relationship also came up there.  So I’m thinking that it may not be prominent in the news and so forth, but I do think that the Trump Administration will want to gauge very positively on the issue of our commercial relationship with the nations of Africa.

I would like you to discuss a few other events that you have had in the course of the year beginning with the World Tourism conference in Rwanda, I think.  How did that go? 

President Trump meeting with African Leaders in New York during the UN General Assembly,I do think that the Trump Administration will want to gauge very positively on the issue of our commercial relationship with the nations of Africa says Forie Liser

President Trump meeting with African Leaders in New York during the UN General Assembly,I do think that the Trump Administration will want to gauge very positively on the issue of our commercial relationship with the nations of Africa says Forie Liser

Florie Liser:Well that went very well, but I want to mention one other that we did in early August, that was in late August but in early August, the Corporate Council on Africa, hosted the AGOA Private Sector Dialogue and this was at the request of the US government.  We’ve done it before and so we were in Togo for that and had several sessions with lots of both US and African companies who recognized the benefits of the African Growth and Opportunity Act and the possibility of increasing and enhancing the kind of trade that the US does with Africa focusing more on value added products, value added agricultural products etc.  So I don’t want to pass that by; and we had companies there like Whole Foods who is sourcing our value added Shea butter products from  Togo and other countries in the region and looking to do more and so we were very pleased with the participating in the AGOA forum which happens annually.

And then in late August, we were in Kigali Rwanda for the World Tourism Conference. As you know the Africa Travel Association became a division of the Corporate Council on Africa in late 2015, and in 2016 we started planning for this world tourism conference which we had in August and it was a great conference in many ways but the thing that I thought that was most interesting was we had sort of people who represent the whole platform in tourism, small travel agents and tour operators but then we also had companies that represents sort of the new platform for tourists in the world.

We had Expedia, we had Uber, Trip Advisor, Tastemakers Africa.  We had a number of organizations and businesses who were doing tourism in Africa in different ways and so we were very pleased to have those both old and new platforms , stake holders, and African Tourism come together.  It was a very successful forum.  President Kagame opened it and we also had as a part of our opening session, the Secretary General of UNCTAD, Kituyi.  UNCTAD had just put out a report on tourism in Africa as a major driver of economic growth and diversification on the continent and so when we reached out to him and said, ‘you’ve just put out this report, we would love for you to come and say some words ,he did do that.

So again we had excellent turn out at the conference and also a really good dialogue about how US and African stakeholders in the tourism sector can work together.

 And on the side lines of the UN General Assembly in September, the CCA also hosted a number of events.  Do you want to shed more light on that?

Florie Liser:Yes, we had several events while we were up there in different sectors, but let me start with the one that was the highlight for us which was a Presidential dialogue on the future of US -Africa Business Relations and at that session we had President Kagame and then Mr Dangote who is  on the CCA Board on a panel that talked about how they perceive the future of the US Africa Business Relationship and the key issues and areas that have to be focused on.  So they talked about regional trade in Africa, how that has to be strengthened, they talked sectors like agriculture where there has to be a lot of focus in African given who Africa is and what Africa is about.

They talked about misperceptions about investing in Africa which even today still exists.  President Kagame said that corruption is not something that is African, this is something that exists all over the world.  The importance of American businesses is having the right perspective about Africa and the opportunities there.   That was a large amount of what they talked about and that the perception of Africa relative to the reality is something that we still need to work on if we are gonna promote greater investment in FDI from the US to Africa, but also more  partnerships.

Mr Dangote talked about the  importance of partnerships where American companies come to the continent not just to sort of do business but to kind of go on their own but where they in a very collaborative way sit down with companies like his own that are doing things all across the continent.  It’s a Nigerian company but they are probably in a dozen countries across Africa in a wide range of product areas from cement to producing value added agricultural products.

As we do this interview, the US lifted sanctions on Sudan. What is the take of your members on doing business in that country?

We look forward to taking members to Sudan so that they can kind of see for themselves what’s on the ground and what the opportunities are there, says Florie Liser

We look forward to taking members to Sudan so that they can kind of see for themselves what’s on the ground and what the opportunities are there, says Florie Liser

Florie Liser:Even before the sanctions were lifted, we were talking with some of the companies from Sudan.  One of them Sudatel is a recent member of CCA, they joined in September. And talking about this, the US government did indeed make the decision in October to lift the sanctions, this would be a big deal, and they’ve been in place for quite some time.  There are still some sanction related restrictions, but for the most part, the sanctions were lifted and would allow for US companies to be there, which in the past they could not.  And so even as we were waiting to hear what the decision would be, we were already talking about what were some of the things they might be able to do from CCA’s perspective and one of them is a trade mission.  The other day, on Monday, we had  meeting here at CCA, it was a packed room.  I have never seen a room like that, it was standing room only.  I’m sure the fire Marshalls might not have been happy if they had come, but we had first US Government people from the Department of State come and brief our members and others about what this meant with lifting of the sanctions and the specifics of what they could now do in Sudan.  But it was a very positive briefing and then we had the Sudanese Minister of Finance and his delegation who had been here for the World Bank IMF meetings  and they came in to also talk about some of the particular sectors that are ripe for investment there.   Everything from renewable energy to mining, IT etc  They have a lot of opportunities there and it’s kind of like a whole new market that Americans haven’t been able to actually get into and so there’s a lot of excitement and we’ve decided and announced during that meeting on Monday that CCA will be organizing a trade mission to Sudan in early December.  So we are very much excited about that and looking forward to taking members to Sudan so that they can kind of see for themselves what’s on the ground and what the opportunities are.

What other measure of activities will the CCA be working on for the rest of the year.  I understand you just mentioned a Trade Mission to Sudan in early December that should be very welcome news for them.  What other activities do you have in place for the rest of the year? 

Florie Liser:So we are looking at a number of things, so for example, similar to that, we have been discussing with Morocco, the possibility, we don’t have anything firm yet, but we’ve been discussing with them the possibility of doing a CCA trade mission to Morocco maybe in the first quarter of 2018.  And so we hope that that will come to fruition.

We’ve also been talking with the UN Economic Commission for Africa, UNECA, about an event that we may organize on the side lines of the African Union Summit in January in Addis.  The major point of it would be to bring companies, both US and African companies there to have an opportunity to say to Heads of State and Ministers, ‘here is what we need in different sectors in order for us to drive more investment and more business;’ because we know that the AU has it’s AU 2063 vision, we know that the SDG’s have been established and talk about private sector, but on the ground, there are still  a number of  various issues and challenges and we thought that while Heads of States are still there, maybe what we could do is talk about them in a couple of key sectors, what do private sector people think people think need to really happen in terms of implementation.  They have the plans and they have the vision, but the question, is the actual implementation.

So one example, Mr Dangote who  as I said is on my board, mentioned there is an AU visa where he wouldn’t have to get individual visas,  country by country,  as he goes throughout the continent to explore business opportunity.  He said in principle, it’s there, but in practice it’s not functioning.  He still has to  go country by country to get visas.  And so these kinds of issues have to be addressed to move both people and goods across Africa in ways that promote, trade, promote investment, promote business.  We really need to address that  and we want to  see if we can get, maybe the first of a number of events like that, but we wanted to see if we could get commitments to do just a couple key things that are identified and then come back maybe six months later, nine months later and see which countries had actually been able to deliver on those commitments and then what kinds of maybe investments or business ventures had come out of that.  Just the lifting of some of those constraints I think would be a major incentive for lots of companies both US and African to do more business in Africa.  So it’s an idea, it’s not 100% certain yet, but it’s kind of moving forward.

I had the opportunity to meet with the new head of UNECA, the new Executive Secretary, her name is Vera Songwe.  We met last Saturday and discussed this again.  This is not the first time we’ve discussed it and I think that it’s something that we will do.  They think that CCA could do it and we think also that we could do this kind of event well, bring the private sector to the table to talk about what needs to happen.  Something concrete and we are looking forward to that.  I’m very excited about the possibility of that.

And no matter what the CCA does, everyone know that it’s  Flagship Programme is  the USA, Africa Business Summit.  The last one took place in Washington and a lot of people left with the expectation that the next one might take place in Africa.  Is this principle still in place and have you settled on the choice of the host country?

President Felipe Nyusi of Mozambique at the last US-Africa Business Forum, Mozambique has express strong interest to host the 2019 Summit

President Felipe Nyusi of Mozambique at the last US-Africa Business Forum, Mozambique has express strong interest to host the 2019 Summit

Florie Liser:Well, we haven’t settled on the choice of the host country yet, but what’s exciting, we do it every other year, so we don’t feel pressed to make the decision right away, but we do have some countries that have already expressed an interest.  One where the Head of State has actually written a letter and said ‘we would like to be the host is Mozambique,’ and I said the next US Africa Business Summit will be in 2019 and so I’m hoping sometime in the first part of 2018, that we’ll make a decision and then actually start the planning for it. Even though, we have a little time but we are not gonna wait till the last minute.

Is it  a certainty that its going to take place in Africa?

FlorieLiser:Absolutely.  It will take place in Africa.

And the last time I had an interview with you, you were also very optimistic, very upbeat about the future of the US Africa Business ties.  Now you have been President of the Corporate Council of Africa for the last nine months; do you still maintain that assessments?  What are the things that you’ve seen that support your assessment?  And what are the impediments to the kind of business ties that you want to see between the US and Africa? 

Florie Liser:So, I mean on the upside, I think that US investments into Africa are increasing but of course as a share of total, outbound FDI, Africa is still  relatively small. When we were in New York and I didn’t mention this, we had several sessions with some countries, either their Heads of State, in the case of Gabon but also with the ministers about five or six ministers from Nigeria and we had the opportunity to talk about the kinds of business environment in those countries and what they are doing. It was very positive. Beyond oil, beyond the gas, a number of the opportunities, we had people of there in the real estate sector, there are a lot of interesting and progressive things happening and in real estate.  We had people from the Health Sector who were looking at not just medical equipment but things that are happening in both the communicable and non-communicable diseases area. And so the continent is right for investment. Lots of countries are investing there. Lots of US companies are investing there. We have companies that are expanding.  Boeing has opened offices in Johannesburg and Kenya. There are various examples though off companies that are really looking at Africa as an opportunity.

Last Friday I took about four CCAs members to meet the Prime Minister of Cote D’Ivoire and we had such an excellent meeting because we talked about the opportunities there in aviation services. They were saying that at the end of their crises that they had in 2010, they had about 1 million people trafficking through there that dropped way off, now they are up to 2 million transiting through Abidjan and we had another company there from CCA that’s looking into equipment that’s been sold there, and the agricultural sector. We had someone there who is doing work in the education sector, and capacity building working with them on export processing zones ,and again we had someone there from one of our energy company who knows specifically what block they would like to bid on for the new oil fields that are in Cote d’Ivoire and we talked about the MCC compact that Cote d’Ivoire will be signing in November. President Ouattara will be here, we hope will have an event to host him and so essentially there are lot of good things that are happening in Africa, and at the CCA we are trying to be at the center of as many of them as we possibly can.

We can’t do everything, we want to be  strategic and we want to make sure that we are supporting our members in the key areas, in the key countries but again we think that we can make a difference from across a wide range of countries and across a wide range of sectors and our members represent that. We can do it for both multinationals as well as our smaller mid-caps and SMEs that are members of the CCA. We are getting ready to launch a membership drive, CCA membership drive to bring in more members into CCA, both US companies and African companies, big and small.  And I’m very excited about that because I think that we have something that we can offer to many companies that are operating on the continent.

Before we get back to membership to conclude the interview, let’s talk about the challenges. What is it that African countries can do to improve their business climate?  What is it that you will recommend they do so  that they can attract more US business interests into the continent?

 with Nigerian Vice President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo,African countries need more reforms to ease the business climate and attract more foreign direct investment says Florie Liser

with Nigerian Vice President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo,African countries need more reforms to ease the business climate and attract more foreign direct investment says Florie Liser

Florie Liser:A number of them are doing it and in some cases they really need to be focused on it. Using Nigeria as an example, their scores on the World Bank  doing business, ease of doing business index, not very good and one of the things that I really admire that they are doing now, is they have a team across a number of industries led by the Vice President Osinbajo,  putting in specific measures, regulations and so forth particularly aimed at specific things that they have to do. Reducing the number of days to get a license to operate, having a one-stop shop so people don’t have to go tracking all around to different ministries to figure out what to do. All of these things they are actually implementing right now.  My assessment is that in another year we will see that their scores will improve because they’ve been focused on it.  They are not just talking the talk but they’re also walking the talk. So things like that, ease of doing business in your country is very important. Governments in Africa take the lead on that. And if they make it easy for companies to do business there, then business will come. If you make it difficult then businesses have lots of choices and they have choices not just across the continent because they can decide I’m coming to this country and not to yours in Africa but they have choices all around the world. They can say well, we are not going to do with African countries because they make it too difficult  and we can go to Latin America or South East Asia or wherever. But I think ease of doing business is one thing. I think some other issues are important, we don’t want to ignore government’s rule of law, these are things that are very important because, you know, you can make it easy for companies to get licenses to operate but if rule of law is really not being honored and respected, if there is corruption etc. companies are gonna say well no it’s too difficult to do business there for those reasons. So I think governments can do a combination of things that make it easier for businesses to be there.

Obviously in areas where there is conflict, those countries really have a lot to do to attract business there. Many countries in Africa frankly are not in conflict and then you know, you have a newly elected president in Liberia, newly elected president in Angola, Kenya we know newly elected president once we know how things will unfold, in Rwanda, President Kagame has been reelected. I think for these different countries, the systems are working, democracy is working, rule of law is working and so I think we’ll see investments and business engagements in those countries. That’s what businesses are looking for.

Last question Florie. You said you are on a membership drive.  Can you make a pitch to companies out there both in Africa and in the USA on why they should join the Corporate Council on Africa. What does the CCA offer them?  

Florie Liser:So, first of all, I think that even though there are competitors out there, there are certain things about CCA that are unique. We are a business Association which has for all of its history been solely focused on, the only place we’ve been focused on is Africa and promoting business between US companies and African companies, between the United States and Africa generally.  We are an advocate ,both here in the United States as well as on the continent for making sure that people understand what the opportunities are and advocating for the kinds of policies, both US policies and African policies that really make it possible both for businesses to operate on the continent. The other thing that’s unique about us, we do have lots of large multinational members, multinational company members, we’ve got a lot of the big guys that are also members of the Chamber of Commerce but we have probably more than half of our members are mid-cap and SME companies.

We also have probably  the biggest associations in terms of membership. We have more African members than any, we feel that we are not just representing the big multinationals on the US side, we feel very strongly that our role is to advocate for more business engagement and so we feel that we can offer African companies something. We can bring them here so that they can have the kind of access and connections to the right people here in the US. We can even introduce African companies that may be smaller to bigger African companies in Africa. So again, our model is actions, access, connections, insight. We think that we provide insight into the doing business environment.  What are the key issues? What are the key challenges?

We think that we can easily speak to those and do so on behalf of our member companies. So again for both big and small US and African, I don’t think that there is an association that can  a more effective lead than us.  I’m not saying that they don’t bring something to the table, I have nothing negative to say about other organizations that are doing some of the same things that we do and then when you look around who is doing trade missions? Who is taking US businesses to Africa to see what is possible on the ground. CCA has been doing this for years and now we are sort of owning it and doing it in  more effective ways. I was just talking to my team about when we go to Sudan, we’ll have meetings with different ministers in charge of all sorts of sectors there but were also gonna take the companies that come with us on trade mission. We want to have them do a site visit, so that they can actually see for themselves some of what is happening on the ground. Because you go to countries, you can sit in conference rooms and hotels and, you know, offices and buildings and really not see for yourself what’s possible and I was saying to my team, ‘we are not gonna do that.  We are going to have those meetings but we are also  gonna get the people out of those meetings and out to see some things  that are on the ground in Sudan. You know people haven’t been there for a long time. A lot of people haven’t had a chance to see. I haven’t been to Sudan. I’ve been to many countries in Africa. I have never been to Sudan.  So I do not want to just sit there in a hotel or office building and see nothing. So another thing unique about CCA’s is that we do trade missions and I think we do them quite well and we’ll be doing them in bigger and better ways, going forward.

Florie Liser, thank you so much for granting this interview.

Thank you for having me. Thank you for coming back and following up.

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Near success against polio calls for greater greater domestic investment into routine immunization programs
October 24, 2017 | 0 Comments
The year 2017 has seen the lowest case count of polio in recorded history, but the job is not done yet
Abidjan, Dakar, Accra, Douala, Lagos, Nairobi, Kampala, Conakry, Lilongwe, Freetown, Monrovia.
DAKAR, Senegal, October 24, 2017,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/-  Fourteen days into a month long campaign to call attention on immunization, civil society across Africa join global efforts to call for continued vigilance to Polio, routine immunization programs and stronger health systems.
Polio cases have been reduced by 99.9% worldwide since 1988. Fewer than 40 cases worldwide were reported for all of 2016, thanks to the 10 billion doses of oral polio vaccine that have been administered since 2000.
“We cannot rest until polio transmission is interrupted and there are zero cases for at least three consecutive years.” Says Salisu Musa Muhammad, Deputy Director at Community Health and Research Initiative in Nigeria, as they have been actively calling the attention of the government performance on budgeting in immunization.
One of three countries still endemic for polio Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan, one is in Africa. Although Nigeria has not reported any cases of polio since the August 2016 outbreak, it is possible that the poliovirus is continuing to spread undetected in the Lake Chad region given ongoing inaccessibility, surveillance gaps and a fluid security situation. To stop the outbreak and respond to the ongoing risk in the area, Nigeria and neighboring countries have implemented large-scale vaccination campaigns.
“Global and national efforts to eradicate polio have been significant and sustained. This is why we are so close.” Boubacar Sylla, coordinator of the civil society platform POSSAV in Guinea, . “However, today as with the eradication of polio, comes the timely reduction of ressources allicated to polio. Polio ressources has for many countries supported the cost of routine immunization and strenghtened health services. With the ressouces allcated to polio reducing, countries will have to ensure that they increase their support to routine immunisation.”
In January 2017, African Heads of States endorsed the Addis Declaration on Immunization, through which they acknowledged that despite their endorsement of the Global Vaccine Action Plan, they are largely off track. The ADI reinforces their commitment at the highest level of political engagement.
These political committlents have to turn into adequate policies as well as concrete budget allocations in order to achieve universal access to immunization. To ensure that this time, countries get or stay on tract, civil society organizatons will continue to track the vaccines, the finances and the legislation.
The 33 days to Power Up Immunization campaign is a continuation of what was started with the Africa Vaccination Week and World Health Assembly.
Signed by,
1. Concern Health Education Project (Ghana),
2. Muslim Family Counseling Services (Ghana),
3. AFRIVAC (Senegal),
4. Community Restoration Initiative Project (Uganda),
5. Community Health and Research Initiative (Nigeria),
6. Nigerian Women Agro Allied Farmers Association (Nigeria),
7. PROVARESSC (Cameroon),
8. Coalition 15 (Cameroon),
9. KANCO (Kenya),
10. FENOS-CI (Côte d’Ivoire),
11. Public Health Initiative Liberia (Liberia),
12. POSSAV (Guinea),
13. Malawi Health Equity Network (Malawi),
14. Children Advocacy Forum Sierra Leone (Sierra Leone),
15. Confederation of Meningitis Organizations (CoMo),
16. Niyel.
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WHO AFRO and the Kuwait Fund Catalyze Global Support to End Neglected Tropical Diseases in Africa
October 24, 2017 | 0 Comments
The Kuwait Fund Director General, Abdulwahab Al Bader, World Health Organization Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Rebecca Moeti and His Excellency Jakaya Kikwete at a formal signing of Kuwait Fund's commitment in support of the World Health Organization's Expanded Special Project for Elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases

The Kuwait Fund Director General, Abdulwahab Al Bader, World Health Organization Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Rebecca Moeti and His Excellency Jakaya Kikwete at a formal signing of Kuwait Fund’s commitment in support of the World Health Organization’s Expanded Special Project for Elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases

KUWAIT CITY, Kuwait,24 October 2017,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/-Nearly 60 leaders from Middle East and global governments, the UN, African ministries of health, pharmaceutical companies, non-governmental organizations and the philanthropic community convened in Kuwait City for the “Donors’ Meeting to End Neglected Tropical Diseases in Africa.”

The historic meeting, hosted by the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED) and the WHO Regional Office for Africa (AFRO), is the first such meeting to be hosted in the Middle East. It seeks to galvanize new financial and other aligned support to reach global control and elimination goals for Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) in Africa.

Africa accounts for nearly 40% of the world’s NTD burden, or nearly 600 million of the 1.58 billion people affected by NTDs globally. “The Middle East is uniquely well positioned to make a significant contribution to the fight against NTDs in Africa, given the risk of disease spread from the region and the Middle East’s own success in reducing the NTD burden in our region,” said KFAED Director General Abdulwahab Al Bader.

This year, the global community marked the fifth anniversary of the 2012 London Declaration on NTDs, which galvanized unprecedented local, national and global action to end NTDs, including a historic $17.8 billion medicine donation commitment by pharmaceutical companies. This led to increased treatment coverage and reduced the number of people that required treatment for NTDs by 333 million between 2012 and 2015.

To further accelerate progress on NTDs in Africa, AFRO launched the Expanded Special Project for Elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases in May 2016 with the support of KFAED and other founding partners. “We are grateful to KFAED for its tremendous leadership and long-standing support for NTD control and elimination. This meeting of development partners is a key moment to celebrate progress, raise awareness of this urgent public health issue, examine the financial needs of the programme and further strengthen partnership opportunities with ESPEN. We hope other partners will follow KFAED’s lead and join us in this important fight.” said the WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti.

The meeting also featured a Call to Action on NTDs by former President of the United Republic of Tanzania Jakaya Kikwete, who underscored that the event was designed to kick off a series of high-profile events to expand the network of partners dedicated to supporting progress on the WHO’s 2020 NTD goals.

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Landmark Transaction in the Tanzanian Capital Markets
October 20, 2017 | 0 Comments

We are pleased to announce that Absa Corporate and Investment Banking acting through National Bank of Commerce (“NBC”) have advised Vodacom Group on the successful TZS 476 billion ($213 million) IPO of Vodacom Tanzania Public Limited Company (“Vodacom Tanzania”) on the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange (“DSE”).

Vodacom Tanzania is the leading telecommunications provider in Tanzania, offering voice, data and mobile money services to an estimated 12.4 million subscribers. On 1 July 2016, the Tanzanian parliament legislated that telecommunications licensees in the country are required to list a minimum of 25% of their shares on the DSE. Vodacom Tanzania is the first mobile network operator to list on the DSE fulfilling its license obligations.

 

African equity markets are at a nascent stage of development and in recent years have seen limited capital rising. Against this backdrop, the Vodacom Tanzania IPO stands out as a landmark and transformational transaction in the African capital markets, raising capital from domestic and international investors.

 

At USD 213 million, the Vodacom Tanzania IPO is the fourth largest in Sub-Saharan Africa, outside South Africa, since 2008 and stands out for a number of reasons:

 

  • The IPO size was nearly four times larger than any previous IPOs done on the DSE and approximately equal to the sum of IPOs combined in the previous 10 years.
  • landmark transaction on the DSE, raising the market capitalization of the exchange by c.10%
  • In excess of 40,000 local investors participated in the offer, many who were first time participants in the capital markets
  • Raised the profile of the DSE by offering an attractive, investable company for domestic and international investors
  • Vodacom Tanzania has successfully fulfilled its regulatory obligations to list
  • Vodacom Tanzania was the first telecoms company to market, attracting maximum participation from a developing domestic investor base. It has set the standard for all future telecom IPOs

“This transaction is a milestone in the evolution of the Tanzanian capital markets and consistent with Absa’s vision of Shared Growth in promoting development across the continent,” says Hasnen Varawalla, Co-Head of Banking at Barclays Africa.

“The Vodacom Tanzania IPO was the first IPO of this scale in Tanzania”, says Till Streichert, Chief Financial Officer for the Vodacom Group. “Its success is testament to the nature of the partnership between Vodacom Tanzania, Vodacom Group, the Absa and Barclays team, NBC and other advisors who worked together to deliver a transaction that met domestic regulatory requirements while incorporating international best practice.”

This success was possible as a result of:

 

  • A committed, supportive and experienced management team and shareholders that worked seamlessly with all advisors
  • Extensive investor education campaign driven by management, the Tanzanian broker universe and the receiving bank, NBC
  • Comprehensive roadshow across all major centers in Tanzania
  • Seamless execution by NBC acting as the Receiving Bank, which put a core banking system in place, procured specialised software and dedicated a trained 282-strong IPO team to manage and execute collections for the transaction – processing over 40,000 applications with zero errors

 

Trading of the Vodacom Tanzania stock on the DSE commenced on 15 August 2017.

 

“Through our own Shared Growth vision, paired with our expertise in capital markets, we have delivered a transaction that has transformed the Tanzanian capital markets and provides a platform for similar African IPOs. We congratulate Vodacom Tanzania on its debut as a listed company and wish it well for the future”, concludes Varawalla.

Barclays Africa Group Limited (‘Barclays Africa Group’ or ‘the Group’) is listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and is one of Africa’s largest diversified financial services groups.  As of June 2017, Barclays PLC is a minority shareholder in Barclays Africa Group.

Barclays Africa Group offers an integrated set of products and services across personal and business banking, corporate and investment banking, wealth and investment management and insurance. We are strongly positioned as a fully local bank with regional and international expertise. We are committed to Shared Growth, which for us means having a positive impact on society and delivering shareholder value.

Barclays Africa Group operates in 12 countries, with approximately 40 000 employees, serving close to 12 million customers.

The Group’s registered head office is in Johannesburg, South Africa and owns majority stakes in banks in Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania (Barclays Bank Tanzania and National Bank of Commerce), Uganda and Zambia.  The Group also has representative offices in Namibia and Nigeria.

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AfDB seeks global support for Africa’s young farmers
October 19, 2017 | 0 Comments
Highlights agribusiness as solution to Africa’s youth unemployment
Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank (AfDB)

Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank (AfDB)

DES MOINES, United States of America, October 18, 2017/ — The African Development Bank (www.AfDB.org) has called for global support for Africa’s young farmers and “agripreneurs”, highlighting how agribusiness is the answer to the continent’s youth employment.

In collaboration with the Initiative for Global Development, the Association of African Agricultural Professionals in the Diaspora (AAAPD), Michigan State University, Iowa State University, and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, the AfDB brought together stakeholders to discuss how to expand economic opportunities for Africa’s youth throughout the agricultural value chain, from lab to farm to fork.

The session titled “Making Farming Cool: Investing in future African farmers and Agripreneurs” was held on the sideline of the ongoing 2017 World Food Prize Symposium-Borlaug Dialogue (http://www.WorldFoodPrize.org) in Des Moines, Iowa, and had in attendance young entrepreneurs from Africa (http://APO.af/EcKEVJ), private sector representatives, policymakers and thought leaders.

Africa has the world’s youngest population with 60% being under 35 years old. There are 420 million youth aged 15-35 and this segment of the population is expected to double to 840 million by 2040.

Working with the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), the African Development Bank is empowering young farmers under the Empowering Novel Agri-Business-Led Employment (ENABLE) Youth program.

“Africa’s next billionaires are not going to come from oil, gas, or the extractives. ENABLE Youth is about investing in small agribusinesses today so that they can grow into large enterprises tomorrow,” President Adesina said.

“By empowering youth at each stage of the agribusiness value chain, we enable them to establish viable and profitable agribusinesses, jobs and better incomes for themselves and their communities.”

He explained how attracting a new cadre of young, energetic and talented agripreneurs – who will drive the adoption of new technologies throughout the value chain, raise productivity and meet rising food demands – is an urgent priority.

Recent studies indicate that as African economies transform, there are expanding opportunities for youth employment and entrepreneurship throughout high-potential value chains – literally from lab to fork – where consumer demand is increasing, including horticulture, dairy, oilseeds, poultry and aquaculture.

In addition, there are huge opportunities for engaging African youth in services and logistical sectors in key off-farm activities such as transportation, packaging, ICT and other technology development and light infrastructure – that add value to on-farm productivity and efficiency, in ways that could not envisioned before.

The whole idea of connecting farms to markets, particularly rising urban and regional markets, is where Africa needs to plug in this bulging youth population, Adesina said.

The Bank President highlighted major efforts needed to provide young Africans with new business opportunities, modern and practical skills, access to new technologies, land, equipment and finance that will allow them to transition from subsistence livelihood into higher-paying work, whether these are on or off the farm.

In his words, “This is how we intend to make farming cool!”

Through the ENABLE Youth program, the AfDB and its partners are empowering youth at each stage of the agribusiness value chain with plans to train 10,000 agriculture entrepreneurs, or “agripreneurs”, in African countries, launching at least 300,000 enterprises and creating 1.5 million jobs over the next 5 years.

Africa already has shining examples of successful youth agripreneurs, nine of whom were in the room as Adesina spoke.

He cited three examples of the thousands of young agripreneurs whose fascinating stories fill him with a sense of hope and urgency.

“We need to effectively utilize this African diaspora in the same way done by the Asian countries by leveraging on their expertise to fast-track Africa’s development agenda and allow all Africans to contribute, regardless of whether they are based locally within the African continent, or outside,” Adesina noted.

On agribusiness as a solution to Africa’s youth unemployment, Jennifer Blanke, AfDB’s Vice-President, Agriculture, Human and Social Development, called for access to finance for the youth agripreneurs by re-aligning incentives for commercial banks and other financial institutions to reduce lending risks.

“There are over 15 job groups along the whole agricultural value chain – from farm to fork,” she said.

Noel Mulinganya (http://APO.af/EcKEVJ), a young agripreneur and leader of the Kalambo Youth Agripreneurs (a group of 20 young graduates aged between 25-35 years old from different academic backgrounds engaged in collective agribusiness enterprises), spoke of the need for funding opportunities for young African farmers.

“My aspiration and those of my colleagues is to become business builders,” he said. “We would like this program to be a platform for sharing our knowledge and experiences in order to touch and engage youths as much as we can in agribusinesses.”

Lilian Uwintwali (http://APO.af/EcKEVJ), whose firm provides ICT platforms that serve over 10,000 farmers in Rwanda − linking farmers to markets, banks, insurance companies and extension services, said, “I aspire to get partnerships and investment opportunities here in the USA and I believe the discussions here at conference will help me shape a better business model for my project, m-lima, in Rwanda.”

She speaks of how farming could generate income for African youth.

“I am talking from experience because it has sustained me for the past 5 years,” she said.

The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) (www.AfDB.org) is Africa’s premier development finance institution. It comprises three distinct entities: the African Development Bank (AfDB), the African Development Fund (ADF) and the Nigeria Trust Fund (NTF). On the ground in 37 African countries with an external office in Japan, the AfDB contributes to the economic development and the social progress of its 54 regional member states.

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SOUTH AFRICAN AIRWAYS VACATIONS® OFFERS SAVINGS OF $500 PER PERSON ON A 5-NIGHT AIR- INCLUSIVE CAPE TOWN AND WINE REGION PACKAGE
October 18, 2017 | 0 Comments

Air, Hotel and Cape Peninsula Tour for $1499* Per Person Fort Lauderdale, FL (October 18, 2017) – South African Airways Vacations® (SAA Vacations ®), a division of South African Airways, the national airline of South Africa and Africa’s most awarded airline, is offering, savings of $500 per person for an air-inclusive vacation to Cape Town and the surrounding Cape Winelands. The “Cape Town and the Winelands Super Saver” starting at $1499* per person, will captivate travelers with the breathtaking views and exhilarating activities in sophisticated Cape Town and a 2-night stay in South Africa’s wine and culinary capital, Stellenbosch. The “Cape and Winelands Super Saver” package is available for sale now through October 31, 2017 for stays through December 09, 2017 and January 10 – March 31, 2018.

“Our focus is to offer travelers the best of South Africa at an incredible value,” said Terry von Guilleaume, president and CEO of SAA Vacations®. “The next few months are absolutely spectacular in Cape Town and Stellenbosch, with mild weather during the Southern Hemisphere’s spring and summer season. This special offer will enable travelers to enjoy spending time in the Cape Winelands region, enjoying the spectacular scenery and visiting the many wineries to indulge in South Africa’s finest award-winning vintages.” THE “CAPE AND WINELANDS SUPER SAVER” – STARTING AT $1,499* INCLUDES: · Round trip international Economy Class airfare from New York-JFK International Airport or Washington, D.C.-Dulles International Airport to Cape Town on South African Airways · 3-nights at the Sun Square Cape Town.

 

  • Full-day Cape Peninsula tour to visit Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope · 2 -nights at the Evergreen Manor and Spa in the Cape Winelands in Stellenbosch · Breakfast on a daily basis · Airport and ground transfers in South Africa “The Cape and Winelands Super Saver” package is available for new reservations made by October 31, 2017. To book this package, contact one of SAA Vacations® Africa Specialists by calling 1-(855) 359-7228. South African Airways Vacations offers vacation options for all budgets to ensure its clients experience the vacation of their dreams. For more air-inclusive vacation packages throughout Africa, visit www.flysaavacations.com.

A division of South African Airways (SAA), South African Airways Vacations® (SAA Vacations®) is highly regarded for its wide array of affordable luxury packages to Africa and uses SAA’s extensive route network to create packages for travel throughout South Africa, Botswana, Victoria Falls, Namibia, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Tanzania, Senegal, Ghana and the Indian Ocean Islands. Offering more than 80 air-inclusive packages, which range from value to superb luxury. Our specialty-themed programs offer unique experiences, whether you are interested in safaris, culture, cuisine, romance and adventure. The program is managed and fulfilled by Destination Southern Africa (DSA), which was founded in 2001 and offers an extensive portfolio of tour programs with a variety of hotels, game lodges and safari companies throughout Southern Africa.

South African Airways (SAA), South Africa’s national flag carrier and the continent’s most awarded airline, serves over 75 destinations worldwide in partnership with SA Express, Airlink and its low cost carrier Mango. In North America, SAA operates daily nonstop flights from New York-JFK and direct flights from Washington D.C.-IAD (via Accra, Ghana and Dakar, Senegal) to Johannesburg. SAA has partnerships with United Airlines, Air Canada and JetBlue Airways, American Airlines and Virgin America, which offer convenient connections from more than 100 cities in the U.S. and Canada to SAA’s flights. SAA is a Star Alliance member and the recipient of the Skytrax 4-star rating for 15 consecutive years.

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Rabobank and UN Environment kickstart US$1 billion program to catalyze sustainable food production
October 17, 2017 | 0 Comments

Nairobi, Tuesday October 17th, 2017: Rabobank – the world’s leading food and agricultural bank – announces its global activation program, ‘Kickstart Food’ to accelerate the transition to a sustainable food supply. One of the first steps in this program will be the launch of a one billion dollar facility to initiate land restoration and forest protection initiatives.

 

Focus on four food issues

 

The facility is being launched in partnership with UN Environment. It marks the start of a three-year initiative to kick-start and scale up Rabobank’s support for clients and partners in the transition to a more sustainable food and agricultural sector. The Kick-start Food initiative has four key focus areas: EarthWasteStability and Nutrition. This facility is part of the first focus area: Earth, which is centered on sustainable and environmentally sound food production. The Waste program will focus on reducing food waste throughout the food supply chain. The Stability program aims to create a more stable and resilient food and agricultural sector. The Nutrition program will focus on ensuring a healthy and balanced diet for everyone. Rabobank has been present in Kenya since opening a Representative Office in 2014.

Mission Critical Initiative

 Chairman of the Executive Board Wiebe Draijer said: “Our global lead role in financing food production urges us to accelerate developments in sustainable food supply. With our knowledge, networks and financing capabilities, we aim to further motivate and facilitate clients in adopting a more sustainable food production practice globally. We are proud of this major initiative with the UN Environment. We will engage others to expand the initiative. It fits very well with our mission of Growing a better world together.”

 

 

 

Commitment to SDG

 With this mission, Rabobank embraces the UN Sustainable Development Goals. With the world’s population growing towards 9 billion, the decline in available arable land, and the impact of agriculture on climate change and the environment; food production is now at a critical juncture. Therefore, Rabobank is increasing its support for efforts to increase food production by at least 60% towards 2050 while reducing the sector’s environmental footprint by 50%.

Around the globe, Rabobank is actively promoting sustainability certification for its clients. The bank is also advising them on sustainable production methods and soil management. The facility together with UN Environment aims to offer grants and open the door for clients to initiate large scale land restoration and forest protection projects. It positively impacts their risk profile, which leads to easier access to loans.

 Building on Existing Initiatives

 Significant progress has already been made in many areas by Rabobank. For example, in Brazil, Rabobank has been promoting and financing Integrated Crop, Livestock and Forestry (ICLF) farming. Working with the World Wildlife Fund and local partners, we will endeavor to restore underutilized or degraded arable land under the management of Brazilian farmers owning 17 million hectares (42 million acres).

Together with clients and influential partners such as UN Environment, the WWF and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, Rabobank will increase and scale similar efforts around the world. A kickstart with Justdiggit will be prepared in Africa. Coming at a time when four million Kenyans are facing starvation and drought, this is a timely initiative. Rabobank’s Africa CEO Coert Beerman said “with Rabobank’s Kickstart Food initiative, we are now extending our depth of knowledge, skills, networks and financing resources to the entire value-chain’.   

This joint effort with UN Environment is designed to be an open platform for others to join. Rabobank invites stakeholders from across the entire food and agricultural sector to join the Kickstart Food program.

Rabobank is an international financial services provider operating on the basis of cooperative principles. It offers retail banking, wholesale banking, private banking, leasing and real estate services. As a cooperative bank, Rabobank puts customers’ interests first in its services. Rabobank is committed to being a leading customer-focused cooperative bank in the Netherlands and a leading food and agri bank worldwide. Rabobank employs approximately 44,600 people internally and externally. Rabobank Group is active in 40 countries

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World Food Day: African Development Bank (AfDB) urges African leaders to make agriculture attractive to young Africans and stem migration
October 17, 2017 | 0 Comments
“We must get youths into agriculture and see it as a profitable business venture not a sign of lacking ambition”- Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank
Akinwumi Adesina

Akinwumi Adesina

DES MOINES, United States of America, October 17, 2017/ — On the occasion of the 2017 World Food Day, the African Development Bank (www.AfDB.org/en) has highlighted how Africa’s food security depends on attracting young people to agriculture and agribusiness. The sector can potentially create wealth and employment for African youth, thereby stemming migration.

World Food Day, celebrated yearly on October 16, promotes worldwide awareness and action for those who suffer from hunger and the need to ensure food security and nutritious diets for all. This year’s theme focuses on the need to ‘Change the future of migration; Invest in food security and rural development’.

The AfDB’s ENABLE Youth program, which grooming a crop of young agriculturists, is on course to make this happen.

Mahmud Johnson, 26, is the Founder of J-Palm Liberia which works to improve income for Liberia’s smallholder oil palm farmers by 50-80%. He is also creating additional jobs for over 1,000 young people to work as sales representatives for his products.

“Despite the tremendous odds, we (African youth) are determined to maximize our abundant agricultural resources to create wealth, jobs, and socioeconomic opportunities in our countries and across the continent. We need our stakeholders to view us as serious partners in Africa’s transformation, and to work with us to expand our enterprises,” Mahmud said.

Mahmud and some of his employees have benefited from capacity building programs under the AfDB’s Empowering Novel Agri-Business-Led Employment for Youth initiative.

Like Mahmud, many African youth are passionate about staying back on the continent to create wealth and employment, if given the tools and opportunities to put their skills to use. Under the ENABLE Youth program, the Bank is working with the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) to develop a new generation of young commercial farmers and agribusiness entrepreneurs.

“Our goal is to develop 10,000 such young agricultural entrepreneurs per country in the next 10 years. In 2016, the Bank provided US $700 million to support this program in eight countries and we’ve got requests now from 33 countries,” said Adesina.

The Bank considers investment in agriculture as key to making Africa youths prosperous, thereby stemming the tide of migration.

This goal, and theme of 2017 World Food Day, are well aligned with two of the AfDB’s High 5 development priorities – Feed Africa  and Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa  – said Jennifer Blanke, Vice-President, Agriculture, Human and Social Development at the AfDB.

“A thriving business sector in Africa will provide the jobs and returns that will attract and retain Africa’s best talent on the continent, while improving the quality of life of all Africans,” she said.

With more than 70% of Africans depending on agriculture for their livelihoods, it is imperative for the sector’s full potential to be unlocked, and by doing so help to vastly improve the lives Africans.

Accordingly, one of the goals of Feed Africa is to eliminate hunger and malnutrition by 2025.

Due to the finite nature of mineral resources such as gold, diamonds, crude oil, among others, African countries must diversify their economies. This cannot be done without a significant emphasis on agriculture given that the great majority of Africans depend on it for their livelihoods.

Increased food demand and changing consumption habits driven by demographic factors such as urbanization (internal migration) are leading to rapidly rising net food imports, which will grow from US $35 billion in 2015 to over US $110 billion by 2025 if trends are left unchecked.

Given that African smallholder farmers are on average about 60 years old, Africa’s food security depends on attracting young people into agriculture and agribusiness and empowering them. Governments can support these shifts through the right enabling environments via policy reforms for increased private investment in agriculture and agribusiness. And also by better articulating the importance of agriculture for their economies in their interaction with the public.

“Food security, rural development are closely interlinked with issues of migration, fragility and resilience. The Horn of Africa and the Sahel provide compelling examples of how global factors such as food insecurity, radical extremism and migration reinforce state fragility and have devastating effects on development,” said Khaled Sherif, AfDB Vice-President for Regional Development, Integration and Business Delivery.

“The lack of economic opportunities, infrastructure, employment opportunities and unpredictable climactic changes in these countries are key sources of fragility that often times result in the forced migration of peoples seeking a desperate alternative. The Bank has, where appropriate, adopted risk-based approaches at both country and regional levels in addressing fragility.”

Ahead of the World Food Day, the AfDB joined Côte d’Ivoire’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development and other developing partners on October 14 in a day-long set of activities to promote agriculture as a business. They emphasized the need for governments to invest in agriculture to create jobs and stem the flow of migration that has undermined the security and economies of African countries.

The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) (www.AfDB.org) is Africa’s premier development finance institution. It comprises three distinct entities: the African Development Bank (AfDB), the African Development Fund (ADF) and the Nigeria Trust Fund (NTF). On the ground in 37 African countries with an external office in Japan, the AfDB contributes to the economic development and the social progress of its 54 regional member states.

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SOUTH AFRICAN AIRWAYS PUTS FARES ON SALE TO SOUTH AFRICA
October 16, 2017 | 0 Comments

Fares from $829* (restrictions apply) round-trip to Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban

Fort Lauderdale, FL (October 16, 2017) – South African Airways (SAA), Africa’s most awarded airline, has announced special sale fares to South Africa at prices as low as $829* (restrictions apply) round-trip for travel from New York-JFK International Airport or Washington, DC-Dulles International Airport. Fly to South Africa and enjoy the rich culture and urban sophistication of Johannesburg for $829* round-trip. Explore the beautiful city of Cape Town for $859*round-trip, or relax by the warm tropical beaches on the Indian Ocean in Durban, for just $869*round-trip. These sale fares are available for purchase now through October 31, 2017, for travel from October 26th – December 9, 2017 and January 10 through March 31, 2018.

 “These sale fares coupled with the strong currency exchange rate are making it more affordable than ever to visit South Africa.” said Todd Neuman, executive vice president, North America for South African Airways. “SAA’s low fares provide a great opportunity to visit family and friends in South Africa or take that bucket-list African vacation of a lifetime.”

 South African Airways offers the most daily flights from the U.S. to South Africa with daily nonstop service from New York-JFK International Airport and direct service from Washington, DC-Dulles International Airport to Johannesburg. Onboard, SAA provides an in-flight experience designed for pure comfort for long-haul travel. Our customers enjoy a spacious Economy Class cabin, gourmet cuisine and a selection of complimentary spirits and award-winning South African wines and generous checked baggage allowance. Also included are individual audio / visual entertainment systems that deliver an extensive menu of first-run movies, music choices, and games. Via our Johannesburg hub, SAA links the world to over 75 destinations across the African continent and Africa’s Indian Ocean islands.

 Reservations can be made online at www.flysaa.com, by contacting South African Airways at 1-

800-722-9675 or by contacting your professional travel consultant. Other low fares are also available to many destinations throughout SAA’s extensive route network on the African continent for similar travel periods.

South African Airways (SAA), South Africa’s national flag carrier and the continent’s most awarded airline, serves over 75 destinations  worldwide in partnership with SA Express, Airlink and its low cost carrier Mango. In North America, SAA operates daily nonstop flights from New York-JFK and direct flights from Washington D.C.-IAD (via Accra, Ghana and Dakar, Senegal) to Johannesburg. SAA has partnerships with United Airlines, Air Canada and JetBlue Airways, American Airlines and Virgin America, which offer convenient connections from more than 100 cities in the U.S. and Canada to SAA’s flights. SAA is a Star Alliance member and the recipient of the Skytrax 4-Star rating for 15 consecutive years

 

 

 

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Nigeria to start issuing visas on arrival for Africans: AU
October 14, 2017 | 1 Comments

 

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — Nigeria has decided to start issuing visas on arrival for all Africans, the African Union said Friday, in a major step toward the goal of free movement on the continent.

The continental body’s deputy chairman Kwesi Quartey praised the action as a “laudable move towards Africa’s integration agenda” in a Facebook post.

The AU has advocated for a “single African passport” that aims to improve intra-African trade and has called for “the abolishment of visa requirements for all African citizens in all African countries by 2018.”

A spokeswoman for the AU chairperson, Ebba Kalondo, told The Associated Press they were waiting for details from Nigeria as the news was “announced verbally with no formal communication.”

Nigerian officials could not immediately be reached. Nigeria announced the action at a retreat for permanent representatives, the AU’s political affairs office said in a tweet.

 Africans need visas to travel to 55 percent of the continent, according to AU figures.

According to the African Development Bank’s 2017 Africa Visa Openness Report , Africans can get a visa on arrival in just 24 percent of other African countries, while North Americans, for example, have easier travel access on the continent.

*AP/Washington Post

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Women Entrepreneurs in Africa: Overcoming challenges to boost the continent’s development and economic growth
October 14, 2017 | 0 Comments

By *

One of the things that African market places in sub-Saharan Africa have in common is the active presence of women, sailing food, vegetables, clothes and many other consumers’ products. Women are very visible in most capitals, playing a vital role in the socio-economic fabric of the country. Unfortunately, their economic activities are often limited to the informal or domestic areas. Their potential is yet to be unleashed.

According to McKinsey institute in August 2016, in the private sector in Africa, only 5% of women are CEO’s, 29% are senior managers, and 44% have senior positions. Women do not only represent more than 50 percent of Africa’s population but various reports have shown that women spent their revenue in their household, therefore their economic empowerment will unequivocally bolster economies and have a positive impact on health, education and the wellbeing of the communities and the society as a whole. Such gender inequality has a negative economic impact on economies, with an estimated annual lost of revenue of $95 billion lost annually in Africa.

You cannot ignore over 50% of the population of a continent and still hope to harness and exploit its full potential. This is the shift that all decision makers need to make for the betterment of all.

Empowering women goes beyond feminism, or gender inequality. It is an economic imperative.

Although the importance of the role of women is recognized, we still have a lot of cultural and legal barriers that are preventing women entrepreneurs to turn into global businesswomen.

African women entrepreneurship paradox

Women entrepreneurship activities have intensified in recent years. Their global business activities have grown by 10 percent, reducing the gender gap by 5 percent since 2014. Sub-Saharan Africa is the only region where women make up the majority of self-employed individuals.

The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor reported that Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest percentage of female entrepreneurs in the world, defying the odds but only few of these women-owned businesses reach national and/or global stage. They also have the highest failure rate of 8,4 percent.

Why?

There are several key constraints that hold back African women entrepreneurs such as education, cultural mindset, legal barriers, and lack of access to markets, capital, and networks.

In the banking sector for example, statistics show that close to 1 billion women have no access to financial services. Only 20 percent of women in Africa have access to financial services, more than 50 percent of them have it through their husband and only 1 percent has access to capital in the formal sector.

In the agriculture sector, women represent more than 70 percent of the workforce. They are very active in the entire value chain but yet also lack access to credit and have no land ownership, therefore no capacity to become competitive at the national and export level. Agriculture development is a prerequisite for Africa wants to boost economic growth and reach food sufficiency. For that, mechanisms need to be put in place to transform those women from being subsistence farmers into agribusiness leaders. If women were given the necessary tools, they could succeed like any man or any westerners. Living examples are successful agro-preneurs like Sirebara Fatoumata Diallo in Mali championing “Above ground cultivation”, Korka Diaw producing rice in Senegal and Mosunmola Umoru with Pretty farmers in Nigeria.

It is imperative that we overturn these traditional mind-sets and customs and promote inclusivity in business and in this particular industry, the agriculture sector, by tapping into the immense untapped resources offered by women.

There are several key constraints that hold back African women entrepreneurs such as education, cultural mindset, legal barriers, and lack of access to markets, capital, and networks.

We need to turn women from being job seekers into job creators, becoming entrepreneurs and businesswomen

How do we do that? The complexity of the challenges requires investment from all sectors of society and commitment from all stakeholders.

– The public sector should implement specific policies and create the enabling environment for women to prosper and become competitive. Setting up government agencies in charge of women affairs does not suffice. It needs to be accompanied by an intra-government approach integrating gender parity into all programs from various sectors. Furthermore, greater incentives should be given to encourage women participation into the procurement processes such as giving preference to women-owned businesses.

– We need to depart from postcolonial models of economic production and promote a “made in Africa” market. This will allow African industries to succeed by producing, through their own specific patterns, what they consume and consume what they produce. This approach will make women businesses profitable, especially in the agricultural sector where they are most active.

– Creating the ecosystem for women to create value-added products. Women should be able to turn raw materials into value-added products that can be sold in local and international markets, thereby increasing their income and economic power.

– Capacity building and training are two key tools for helping women understand and produce products for the wider market. Giving them access to information, sharing best practices, providing affordable business development services and improving their financial literacy will also help them access financial services and grow their business ventures.

Above all this, more importantly, women are master of their own destiny. Creating mentoring and networking platforms to share experiences, skills and best practices to support each other will go a long way. “Women are the largest untapped reservoir of talents in the world” said Hillary R. Clinton. It is time to put all our hands to the task, take action and use all our human assets to make Africa’s economic transformation a reality.

*Source Medays.Angelle B. Kwemo is a lawyer by training, author of “Against All Odds”, Africa Director of Washington Media Group and advocate. She is the founder of Believe in Africa, a US based non-profit organization aiming at promoting Africa’ economic prosperity, women and youth empowerment.

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Greenpeace ship arrives for the first time in Cameroon with a message for the protection of the Congo Basin forest
October 14, 2017 | 0 Comments

The Congo Basin forest is the second largest rainforest in the world. More than 75 million people and a wide range of endangered species depend on it for survival.

DOUALA, Cameroon, October 13, 2017/ — The Greenpeace ship –The Esperanza (www.Greenpeace.org), has docked at the port of Douala in Cameroon on the first leg of its tour in Central Africa. For four weeks, the Esperanza will sail through the waters of Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Republic of Congo to engage with local communities and raise awareness on the importance of the Congo Basin forest. The tour has been named ‘Give the Congo Basin forest a chance’.

“By bringing our ship to Central Africa and in Cameroon for the first time, Greenpeace Africa seeks to emphasise its commitment to working with local communities and stakeholders in addressing issues of industrial agriculture and logging that have plagued the Congo Basin region for decades,” said Lindlyn Moma, Greenpeace Africa Programme Director.

The Congo Basin forest is the second largest rainforest in the world. More than 75 million people and a wide range of endangered species depend on it for survival. However, logging and exploitative agribusiness has often contributed to forest loss and land grabbing. This often means local and indigenous communities loss the customary rights to their lands to logging companies.

During the ship tour, local communities will undertake a range of activities to show their support for the protection of the Congo Basin forest. Greenpeace Africa will seek to amplify these voices locally and internationally.  The voices of these communities will be heard in the form of traditional dances, forest fashion parade and a wish tree capturing wishes of communities for their forest. These wishes will be handed to world leaders meeting in Bonn- Germany during the CO 23 climate meeting. Open boats and guided tours of the ship will also be available to the public.

“We are excited about the opportunity to engage with Cameroonians on the issue of forest protection. Forest destruction is a major threat to the global environment which depends on the Congo Basin forest to regulate carbon compound in our atmosphere. It is imperative that collaboration between the states be reinforced to promote land use planning. We also must encourage ecotourism and community forestry to guarantee the protection of our forest for present and future generations” said Sylvie Djacbou, Greenpeace Africa  Forest Campaigner.

For the next four weeks, Greenpeace’s Esperanza will host stakeholders in the region to increase the urgency required to deal with the current unsustainable approach to forest management. These activities will also help imbue a sense of pride and conservation in the youths of the region.

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“Internet Refugee Camp” and other takeaways from FIFAfrica17
October 11, 2017 | 0 Comments

By Sodiq Alabi

The 2017 Forum on Internet Freedom in Africa held in Johannesburg between September 27 and 29. According to the organisers, the Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA) and the Association for Progressive Communication (APC), FIFAfrica is an annual assembly of discussions towards promoting a Free and Open Internet in Africa. I attended the forum as a representative of Paradigm Initiative and I share some important insights I learnt during the 3-day Forum.

  • How Internet Refugee Camps helped Cameroonians during shutdown: Have you ever wondered how people managed to survive the 93-day internet shutdown in parts of Cameroon? The keynote speaker at the Forum, Rebecca Enonchong told the gathering about the resilience and innovation of the people of Cameroon who were denied internet services for more than three months. Internet refugee camps were created in areas where there were internet services. People would travel a great deal of distance to make use of internet in those centres. Sometimes they would give their phones to others travelling to those places so their pending messages and emails could be received. As Ms Enonchong, a tech entrepreneur shared this experience, I began to appreciate more the centrality of internet services to our lives.  It is important that no government should have the right to turn it off just to deny citizens their freedom of speech.
  • Africa as a country: Over the course of several panels with stakeholders from different countries in Africa, I noticed several similarities in many of the stories the panellists and audience shared. These similarities were so strong that it was possible to mistake a discussion on terrible tech policies in Zimbabwe for one on Tanzania. The only major differences are the actors and the countries concerned, but other details of an attempt to stifle dissent, to regulate (read: emasculate) civil society, the use of national security as a defence for internet shut down or regulation, all these details stand. When it comes to the internet, Africa may as well be a country where all the provinces compare notes on how to deny their citizens and residents inalienable rights. Just look at the number of African countries that have used their recently passed Cybercrime laws to persecute dissenters. Look at the number of African countries that have embarked on comprehensive and multiple data capturing of their peoples without a decent data privacy law and framework.  Look at the number of African countries that have passed or are about to pass an NGO regulatory bill, something Kenya has shown to be quite effective in muzzling the voice of an NGO the government does not like.
  • Platform and collaboration remain paramount: For digital rights advocates to be able to put up a decent fight against governments bent on discarding digital rights, there is a need to create, sustain and expand platforms for sharing of ideas and incubating collaborative efforts. Platforms like FIFAfrica and Paradigm Initiative’s Internet Freedom Forum must be sustained and expanded to ensure sufficient coverage of all countries in Africa. In addition, Francophone Africa deserves more attention than they are currently getting and there is a need to nurture platforms in those countries that are currently under-covered. Closely related to that is the issue of collaboration between organisations with interest in digital rights and inclusion. The impact of collaboration could be seen in the way organisations came together to protest against internet shutdown in Cameroon and Togo. Collaboration also extends to sharing of information, ideas and leveraging others’ resources and expertise instead of reinventing the wheel. This is already happening to an extent, but it is important to improve the system and platforms that enable collaboration. As Delta Ndou, a Zimbabwean journalist and digital activist said at the Forum, advocates must also learn to amplify their messages using traditional media, which remains largely the media of the elite and political leaders. That we are working on internet freedom does not mean the advocacy should be limited to online platform. While the coverage of the Forum online was excellent with the hashtag trending throughout the duration of the Forum, the coverage in the traditional media of South Africa was far from perfect. This is heartbreaking because many important issues explored at the Forum would have benefited from media coverage. We must do more to collaborate with print and broadcast media to amplify our messages. This is important because oppressive internet policies affect human rights online and offline. Operators of traditional media should also be more receptive to collaboration on digital rights issues as a gag on online media will affect traditional media eventually.
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African Innovation Foundation – Call for Applications: Innovation Prize for Africa 2018 Awards
October 10, 2017 | 0 Comments

“Investing In Inclusive Innovation Ecosystems”

A pan-African open call inviting submissions for the seventh edition of the Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA) awards from 10 October 2017 to 10 January 2018 

 Grand share prize of US$ 185 000 to be awarded to top ten African innovators who demonstratescalable, impactful, market-oriented, and outstanding innovations solving African challenges

 African women innovators especially encouraged to participate, following a record number of entries in the previous edition.

Accra, Ghana | Tuesday, 10 October 2017: The African Innovation Foundation (AIF) today announced the seventh edition of the Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA) themed “investing in inclusive innovation ecosystems” thereby inviting submissions to reward the best home-grown innovations on the continent. The annual Award seeks to celebrate outstanding breakthroughs that deliver practical, and commercially viable African solutions that are innovative and sustainable.

Affirming AIF’s purpose to catalyse the innovation spirit in Africa, Pauline Mujawamariya Koelbl, the IPA Director commented, “We are pleased to launch IPA 2018 and are confident that this edition will prove bigger and better in terms of participation and quality of submissions. With each edition, IPA has gone from strength to strength attracting innovators across disciplines and with outstanding solutions to African challenges. For this seventh edition, we also look forward to expanding our ever-growing network of innovators, enablers and partners in order to join hands and build stronger, more sustainable innovation ecosystems that will propel the continent forward.”

 IPA Awards timeline and eligibility

The call for entries will run for three months starting from 10 October 2017 with a submission deadline of 10 January 2018 at 23:59pm GMT. IPA’s goal is to strengthen African innovation ecosystems by supporting a culture of innovation and competitiveness, whilst spurring growth of innovative, market-driven African solutions to African challenges. Specifically, IPA honours and encourages pioneering achievements that contribute towards developing new products, increasing efficiency and/or saving cost in Africa. Applications will be accepted from all Africans including those living in the diaspora.

This edition encourages greater participation from women innovators who are increasingly playing a key role in driving African economies forward through business and entrepreneurship.

The submissions will be judged on the backdrop of IPA’s themes supporting social and economic innovation in the following five categories: manufacturing and service industry; health and well-being; agriculture and agri-business; environment, energy and water; and ICT showcasing ground-breaking innovations.

IPA 2018 winners will be announced at an annual ceremony in July 2018 (exact dates and country to be confirmed). The Award is the leading innovation event on the African calendar, bringing together some of Africa’s most inspiring innovators and entrepreneurs, leaders of hubs and accelerators, angel and venture capital investors, development institutions, government leaders, media practitioners and  other game changers.

Creating an enabling environment for local innovators

This year’s theme ‘Investing in Inclusive Innovation Ecosystems’ calls for African governments and innovation stakeholders to invest in building bridges for more inclusive ecosystems that will accelerate and scale African innovation at all levels of society. The aim is to increase access to innovative financing and know-how and to enhance collaboration between African nations to enable local innovators to access higher value markets for their solutions at a faster rate.

“IPA is a platform to showcase the inherent ingenuity that exists in Africa,” said Walter Fust, Chairman of the AIF Board. “Each year, several hundred participants submit their entries with new solutions to overcome African-specific challenges. This year we want to drive greater pan-African synergies across our network of enablers and partners to create inclusive opportunities for local innovators and together disrupt business models, empower people and drive positive social impact across the continent.”

Register NOW for IPA 2018

Last year saw over 2 500 applications from across the continent, with the highest number of women applicants (482 representing 19%). This year promises to be even bigger. To date, IPA has attracted more than 7 500 innovators spanning 52 countries featuring 55 of the continent’s top innovators and 400+ innovation enablers making it a truly a pan-African initiative.  Previously AIF has supported past winners and nominees with over US$ 1 million to move their innovations forward. Due to the exposure received via IPA, past winners have gone on to secure over US$ 30 million in investments to grow and scale their businesses.

In addition to the lucrative share prize of US$ 185 000 cash, selected innovators are offered many opportunities including access to the AIF networks via its platform, ZuaHub, where AIF connects innovators with resources and help them grow.

AIF has contributed to building African innovation ecosystems and has witnessed increased opportunities for African innovators in comparison to 2011 when IPA was launched.

The selection process will be led by an expert panel based on their knowledge and experience within the aforementioned IPA five key sectors as well as their influence and contributions to the tech and business industry on the African continent.

For more details, please check out www.innovationprizeforafrica.org and apply for IPA 2018 NOW by clicking on https://ipa.africaninnovation.org.

 Get involved and sponsor IPA 2018

In the last six years, the IPA has recognized numerous Africans for their innovative solutions aimed at improving the lives of people across the continent. The IPA Awards celebrate African ingenuity by showcasing and rewarding the very best African innovators solving African challenges and creating new opportunities which lead to inclusive growth across the continent.

For this edition, the IPA will bring together select stakeholders comprising of innovators, entrepreneurs, investors, leaders of innovation hubs and technology parks, policy makers as well cutting-edge African training institutions. It is an opportunity for companies to forge important partnerships, synergies and collaborations with innovation enablers from across the continent to strengthen Africa’s investment climate through innovation.

Organizations can register their interest in supporting African innovation by contacting AIF for more details on the IPA sponsorship opportunities available.

 

 

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African Innovation Foundation (AIF) works to increase the prosperity of Africans by catalyzing the innovation spirit in Africa.

 

Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA) is a landmark initiative of the AIF. Its goal is to strengthen African innovation ecosystems through supporting a culture of innovation and competitiveness, whilst spurring growth of innovative, market-driven African solutions to African challenges.

 

Previous IPA editions were held in Ghana (2017), Botswana (2016), Morocco (2015), Nigeria (2014), South Africa (2013) and Ethiopia (2012). IPA was endorsed at its inaugural edition in Addis Ababa in 2012 where African ministers at the joint Africa Union (AU) and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) passed a resolution to support AIF to promote innovation-based societies across the continent.

 

Besides a host of exciting side events and brand new initiatives for Africa by Africans, IPA 2018 will offer the following prizes and incentives to winners and nominees:

√ Grand prize of US$100 000

√ Second Prize of US$25 000

√ Special Prize for Social Impact US$25 000

√ A voucher for each of the seven IPA nominees of US$5 000

√ Additional incentives include investment opportunities, training and access to a vibrant network of innovation enablers, ongoing PR support and media coverage, and invitation to join ZuaHub.

 

 

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Facebook gets behind African entrepreneurs in a ‘celebration of tech’ week as part of its sponsorship of TechCrunch’s Startup Battlefield Africa
October 10, 2017 | 0 Comments
The event will see entrepreneurs and developers compete across three categories: social good; productivity and utility; and gaming and entertainment
Ime Archibong, Facebook's Vice President of Partnerships

Ime Archibong, Facebook’s Vice President of Partnerships

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, October 9, 2017/ — Showcasing Facebook’s (www.Facebook.com) passion for investing in creative, diverse talent across Africa, and nurturing the tech and startup ecosystem, Facebook announces a week-long celebration of activities as part of its sponsorship of TechCrunch’s Startup Battlefield Africa 2017 (http://APO.af/wJeqkQ).

In the first event of its kind on the continent, TechCrunch’s Startup Battlefield Africa 2017, will search for the best innovators, makers and technical entrepreneurs in Sub Saharan Africa. The event will see entrepreneurs and developers compete across three categories: social good; productivity and utility; and gaming and entertainment. It will tell the founders’ stories, uncovering the next wave of disruptive innovations and putting African invention under the global spotlight.

Ned Desmond, COO, TechCrunch adds, “We’re really pleased to be able to bring the first Startup Battlefield to Africa. This is an exciting event, with opportunities to discover the creativity, talent and imagination of startups from across the continent. TechCrunch has held events across the world, and being able to hold Battlefield Africa is a natural progression. We can’t wait to see the results.

Commenting on the partnership, Ime Archibong, Facebook’s Vice President of Partnerships said: “Our partnership with TechCrunch on Africa’s first ever Startup Battlefield event is a natural fit. We’re big believers in supporting and developing young, creative, diverse talent, and we also have a passion for supporting small businesses and startups as they grow, and nowhere is this more exciting than in the rich, diverse continent that is Africa.”

The Facebook team will be in Nairobi, Kenya from 9-12 October to take part in and host a number of events aimed at connecting, listening and learning from the startup and wider tech community:

  • TechCrunch’s Startup Battlefield Africa 2017 – a day-long event aimed at celebrating and uncovering the best innovators, makers and technical entrepreneurs in sub Saharan Africa. Taking to the stage will be:
    • Ime Archibong, Facebook’s Vice President of Partnerships
    • The Startup Journey to Success panel hosted by Emeka Afigbo (Facebook’s Head of Platform Partnerships for Middle East & Africa) with Chijioke Dozie (Co-founder and CEO, OneFi), Mark Essien (Founder and CEO, Hotels.ng) and Eric Thimba (Co-founder and CEO, MOOKH)
    • Uche Ofodile from the Facebook Connectivity team, taking part in a panel on ‘Solving Africa’s Connectivity Equation’
  • Facebook Platform Meetup, bringing together entrepreneurs, developers, and senior leaders at early-mid-stage startups in Kenya to learn how Facebook’s Platform products can help to accelerate their businesses 
  • Facebook Developer Circles Africa Masterclassa three-day training course bringing together Developer Circle leaders from across sub Saharan Africa
  • Women in Tech event – designed to engage with influential women working in Nairobi’s technology ecosystem and to share Facebook’s mission on Diversity
  • Developer Circles Nairobi Meetup – bringing together the Developer Circles Nairobi community in an evening of networking
  • Facebook Community event – aimed at bringing together Community Groups from across Nairobi
  • SMB, Agency & Content Creators Workshops – several workshops providing Kenyan entrepreneurs, agencies and SMB’s on how to grow their business using Instagram and Facebook

“With more than a billion people in Africa, we want to do more to enable businesses in the region to connect with people,” says Emeka Afigbo, Facebook’s Head of Platform Partnerships for Middle East & Africa. “We are excited to be part of a showcase of how African developers and tech entrepreneurs are empowering people and growing the economy.”

 

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SITA to provide 100% bag tracking for airlines at Istanbul new Airport from day one
October 10, 2017 | 0 Comments
SITA technology will allow airlines at one of the world’s biggest airports to track bags at every step
ISTANBUL, Turkey, October 9, 2017/ — İGA, contractor and designated operator of Istanbul New Airport, has appointed SITA (www.SITA.aero) to implement its innovative baggage tracking solution at what will be one of the world’s largest airports, allowing airlines to meet IATA Resolution 753’s baggage tracking requirements from day one.

The airport, due to open in 2018, will have capacity to accommodate 90 million passengers a year. Upon completion of all four phases, the passenger capacity will reach over 200 million passengers annually and will be required to track more than 750000 bags an hour. The potential for bags to be mishandled in such a busy environment will be significantly reduced with SITA’s baggage solution by providing information on where every single bag is on its route through the airport.

SITA’s baggage solutıon (http://APO.af/QvebHa) provides the IT infrastructure that makes it possible for airlines to track bags at key points in the journey, including check-in, transfer and arrival. Airlines will also be able to receive updates on where their baggage is at each step of the journey, allowing them to comply with IATA Resolution 753.

Yusuf Akçayoğlu, CEO of İGA Airports Construction said: “We fully understand that having the right technology will be essential to the successful operation of the new airport and future-proofing it for decades to come. It is also critical to ensuring our passengers fully benefit from our new, world-class facilities by providing innovative systems that make the journey through the airport enjoyable and effortless. We are confident that we will conclude this cooperation successfully.”

Ersin İnankul, CIO of İGA Airports Construction said: “In building a new facility, we have the opportunity to implement technology or capacity to accommodate new technologies. One of the technologies that will become a must-have is baggage tracking to meet the June 2018 deadline of Resolution 753. As a service to our airlines, we have partnered with SITA to implement the technology to meet the requirements from day one of operation.”

Jihad Boueri, SITA Vice President Airports for Middle East, India and Africa said: “Baggage is one key area where technology is improving the passenger experience. Increasingly airlines and airports are helping to relieve the anxiety of waiting for bags to arrive by providing real-time information on the status of their bags to passengers. At the same time, by understanding where a bag is at any point in its journey, airlines will be able to act proactively to ensure that a bag is correctly allocated to a flight, ensuring it arrives with the passenger at its destination.”

SITA’s Baggage Report 2017 showed that baggage management by airlines globally improved again in 2016 as the industry focuses on technology investments. According to the report, the rate of mishandled bags was 5.73 bags per thousand passengers in 2016, down 12.25% from the previous year and the lowest ever recorded.

SITA (www.SITA.aero) is the communications and IT solution provider that transforms air travel through technology for airlines, at airports and on aircraft. The company’s portfolio covers everything from managed global communications and infrastructure services, to eAircraft, passenger management, baggage, self-service, airport and border management solutions. Owned 100% by more than 400 air transport industry members, SITA has a unique understanding of its needs and places a strong emphasis on technology innovation.
Nearly every airline and airport in the world does business with SITA and its border management solutions are used by more than 30 governments. With a presence at more than 1,000 airports around the world and a customer service team of 2,000+ staff, SITA delivers unmatched service to more than 2,800 customers in more than 200 countries.
In 2016, SITA had consolidated revenues of US$1.5 billion. SITA’s subsidiaries and joint ventures include SITAONAIR (www.SITAONAIR.aero), CHAMP Cargosystems (www.Champ.aero) and Aviareto (www.Aviareto.aero).
For further information go to www.SITA.aero.

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Asoko Welcomes Submissions for Africa 2017 Forum Deal Room with COMESA
October 10, 2017 | 0 Comments

The Deal Room will connect some of Africa’s most enterprising SMEs and fast growth companies with investors to help them scale up their businesses.
London, 09 October 2017: Asoko Insight (Asoko), Africa’s largest repository of privately-held company information, will facilitate their second Deal Room at the forthcoming Africa 2017 Forum, to be held in Sharm El Sheikh between the 7th and 9th December.

Africa 2017 is the biggest B2B and B2G forum to take place in Africa this year, bringing together government delegations from over 30 countries and over 1,000 business leaders from across the continent.

The Forum, which will take place on the 8th and 9th December in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, will be preceded by a Young Entrepreneurs Day, on the 7th December aimed to connect tomorrow’s future business leaders, with like-minded entrepreneurs and help them, through a series of workshops and discussions, take their businesses to the next level.

The Deal Room is a platform that connects high investment potential African companies with angel investors, venture capital and private equity companies with the aim to help them raise capital and accelerate their growth. Asoko will facilitate the identification of these companies, support their preparation to pitch and use its network amongst the investor community to match capital to proven business models with great potential.

Speaking on the partnership, Asoko CEO and co-founder, Rob Withagen, said “We are delighted and excited to be an official knowledge partner at the Africa 2017 Forum. African businesses are rapidly growing in number and sophistication, but the challenge of positioning themselves in front of institutional investors and global corporates, remains. Being part of initiatives such as this, designed to enhance private sector cooperation and drive investment in sectors of strategic interest within Africa, is at the core of our vision at Asoko”.

The Deal Room at Africa 2017 will focus on companies from 3 sectors: i) agri/agribusiness;; ii) transport and logistics; and iii) light manufacturing. Each of these industry sectors align with the theme of Africa 2017 to promote inclusive growth and cross border trade in the African region.

The selection process will be completed by the end of October. Companies who meet the criteria can apply for consideration by submitting their company details through the following link by the 20th October:

Asoko Insight (Asoko) is Africa’s largest online repository of privately-held company information. Our objective is to facilitate instant access to reliable information on Africa’s most dynamic companies, at scale. With support of research teams based in Addis Ababa, Accra, Lagos and Nairobi, we have captured in-depth profiles on more than 10,000 mid to large cap corporates thus far and are rapidly adding to that number. We work with investors, corporates and governments worldwide who are looking for business partners and investment opportunities.

Africa 2017 Forum is held under the high patronage of H.E. Abdel Fattah Al Sisi on 7th to 9th December 2017 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, and is organized by the Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation of Egypt and the COMESA Regional Investment Agency (RIA).

The 2017 edition builds on the success of the inaugural Africa 2016, which saw participation of 6 Heads of State and more than 1,000 delegates from 45 countries. This year the programme has been enhanced with exclusive Presidential Roundtables with African leaders and CEOs as well as a Young Entrepreneurs Day.

Africa 2017 remains the premier business platform to nurture new partnerships; meet investors and fast track your business objectives in Africa. More information available here www.businessforafricaforum.com

*Asoko Insight

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Conferencing in Africa reaches for the stars
October 10, 2017 | 0 Comments

African conferencing facilities are becoming more than just venues for local gatherings and are now attracting major international events. The continent’s breath-taking natural beauty, rapidly developing infrastructure and vibrant multi-cultural people offer an increasingly attractive destination for some of the biggest global strategic events.  Elzaan van Rhyn, Groups and Convention Manager at Peermont discusses the growing sophistication of conferencing facilities in Africa and how they can benefit companies and local communities.

Peermont Walmont at The Grand Palm, Gaborone,Botswana

Peermont Walmont at The Grand Palm, Gaborone,Botswana

With the global economy expected to grow by just 2.7% in 2017 and the African economy by 2.9%, live events have maintained their relevance in a time of cost-cutting. This is despite the potential challenge from teleconferencing technology, which is delivering a much higher image and sound quality than ever before. While the global village is relying more and more on technology to connect people, nothing beats a live event where people can interact with each other for longer periods of time and in genuine ways.

Long-term relationships and contacts can be built without the worry of losing Internet connection or electricity, and nothing could ever replace the subtle nuances of face-to-face contact that are lost even through the most advanced digital contact. Along with a vibrant grass-roots economy, the continent’s unique cultural and tourism experiences mean the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) industry in Africa is starting to boom, despite budget cuts.

In fact, while companies and government departments might cut marketing, advertising and promotion costs, budgets are being diverted to conferences and exhibitions, as the measurable return on investment is more substantial and impactful. Increasingly, conference organisers are looking for fresh locations that leave attendees inspired and energised – especially where team building, sales, strategy and creativity are critical elements to the event process.

Global conference organisers also want to host their events at the best locations, where their delegates won’t be distracted by the hustle and bustle of big city life. The growing trend towards ‘bleisure’ hospitality, where companies seek to combine ‘business’ and ‘leisure’ elements, is serving to create memorable, informative experiences in stress-free environments.

Developers are picking up on this trend and leading leisure properties are being renovated to include world-class conference centres to cater for business and industry events, along with entertainment. In this way, visitors to African destinations are offered the benefit of sophisticated corporate facilities along with the natural beauty and excitement of the African continent.

There’s no better time than now for owners of traditionally leisure-focused assets to boost their conferencing capabilities. While upgrade costs might be daunting, the long-term benefits are immeasurable. Owners benefit from referrals and marketing their properties while the surrounding economy is stimulated through job creation and new supply chains.

The Grand Palm in Botswana and the Umodzi Park in Malawi are two exciting properties that are attracting people who might otherwise have not even visited the continent.

In 2016, The Grand Palm Resort, located in Gaborone, erected a new multi-purpose marquee to add versatility to the resort, especially for large scale events. Since then it was picked as host to the widely televised World’s Strongest Man contest, performances by musician Monique Bingham and the Royal Moscow Ballet, among others.

In 2017, The Grand Palm’s four-star Walmont hotel began upgrades to create a world-class aesthetic quality, including a complete revamp of its Okavango and Moremi conference rooms. With new interior design and a full refurbishment of the main conference hall and breakaway rooms, the Conference Centre received a modern facelift that rivals leading venues abroad. With the casino also being completely overhauled, delegates will experience the same standard of excellence across the entire resort.

In Malawi, construction on Umodzi Park commenced in 2009 and was completed in 2012 as a mixed-use facility. It is the ideal business getaway, featuring the 130-room President Walmont Hotel, the only five-star hotel in Malawi. Adjacent to this is the Bingu Wa Mutharika International Convention Centre, which has 15 different venues and the capacity to host 1,500 people in its main auditorium.

The Convention Centre was picked to host events such as the 2017 Miss Malawi pageant and the successful African Land Forces Summit, which received delegates from 44 countries in May, including the US, France, UK, Brazil and leaders from across Africa.

 

 

These properties are rare jewels in the African hospitality industry, and as more people enjoy their state-of-the-art features, they will continue to attract interest from global conferences, international musical performances and mega trade exhibitions.

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Nigerian industrialist Aliko Dangote shares secret of backward integration with investors: “Produce the entire value chain”
October 10, 2017 | 0 Comments
Nigerian industrialist Aliko Dangote shares secret of backward integration with investors: “Produce the entire value chain”
 
Aliko Dangote

Aliko Dangote

LONDON, United Kingdom, October 9, 2017/ — At the Financial Times’ 4th annual Africa Summit (http://APO.af/qv2dZF) at Claridges in London, editor in chief Lionel Barber conducted an extraordinarily candid public conversation with Nigerian Aliko Dangote, Africa’s most successful business leader, in the presence of Nigerian vice-president Professor Yemi Osingajo, Congolese presidential hopeful Moise Katumbi, and about 300 business leaders.

Mastering detailed production statistics and highly-compelling demographics on promising sectors of the African economy, Dangote outlined the key to his success: self-sufficiency and backward integration, a manufacturing strategy that extracts value from entire processes. “We are not going to import anything any longer,” he said. “In Nigeria we are learning how to produce the entire value chain.” Once a heavy importer of fertilizer, Nigeria is now gearing up to produce 3M tonnes of locally manufactured fertilizer, transforming the nation into one of the largest fertilizer exporters in Africa.

In 2007 Nigeria was the second largest importer of cement after the US, Dangote reminded the audience of business elites. “Today, we have not only satisfied domestic needs; we have become a leading exporter of 6-7M tonnes of cement,” he added.

Diversifying into agriculture, Dangote has eyes on the dairy industry motivated by the fact that “98% of all milk consumed in Nigeria is imported.” Same for rice.  Dangote Group has invested heavily in rice production by investing in local farmers and then offering to buy back the 1M tonnes at open market prices that they are growing. “Soon we will be able to feed not only Nigeria but the entire 320M large West African market.”

Dangote’s business accumen was on rare exhibition as FT editor Lionel Barber himself seemed impressed with the business mogul’s quick familiarity with the nuts and bolts of his businesses. “Are we going to continue to import everything?” Dangote asked. “Freight rates are now cheap but they will go up soon. A population of over 200M cannot continue to import basic needs on a daily basis,” he answered himself.

By 2100 Dangote stated Africa will represent 49% of the world’s population, up from 30% today. “If you don’t think big we won’t grow at all,” he said. “In Africa you have to play long-term.”

Aside from Nigeria, which African nations do you think are good growth opportunities? Barber asked Dangote. “Aside from Nigeria?” the business leader repeated and smiled. “I’d have to pick Nigeria. I am a big fan of Nigeria. We are only using 8% of our land.”

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SOUTH AFRICAN AIRWAYS EXTENDS GROUP BOOKING PROMOTION
October 9, 2017 | 0 Comments

Get a complimentary* ticket when booking 10 or more passengers traveling to Africa

Fort Lauderdale, FL (October 09, 2017) – South African Airways (SAA), the national flag carrier of South Africa and Africa’s most awarded airline, has extended its special group booking promotion of offering one free tour conductor ticket* (restrictions apply) for every 10 group passengers traveling on SAA.

This offer is valid for new group bookings made and deposits received by October 31, 2017, for travel from October 26 through December 9, 2017, and January 11 through March 31, 2018. Travel is applicable on SAA-operated flights from New York-JFK Airport or Washington, DC-Dulles Airport to any
SAA destination in Africa.

“We invite families, friends, coworkers and travel clubs to take advantage of SAA’s low group fares and this special tour conductor offer to explore and experience the wonders of Africa,” said Todd Neuman, executive vice president, North America for South African Airways. “With this tremendous value, your group can experience the vibe of Africa’s cosmopolitan cities, enjoy an exhilarating game safari to view the Big Five, indulge in amazing wine and culinary delights, or spend quality time together under the majestic African skies.”

South African Airways offers the most service from the U.S. to South Africa and an extensive route network throughout the African continent. SAA’s competitive group fares and its dedicated group sales specialists are available to assist with all your group’s travel needs, including complimentary seat assignments. We invite groups big or small to experience SAA’s award-winning in-flight service designed
for pure comfort for long-haul travel with a roomy economy class cabin, gourmet cuisine and a selection of complimentary spirits and award-winning South African wines and, generous checked baggage allowance. Also included are individual audio / visual entertainment systems that deliver an extensive menu of first-run movies and music choices. Via our Johannesburg hub, SAA links the world to over 75
destinations across Southern Africa and Africa’s Indian Ocean islands.

To request your group quote, email GroupsNA@flysaa.com, or contact your local professional travel consultant. Visit www.flysaa.com to learn more about the exciting destinations we service.

South African Airways (SAA), South Africa’s national flag carrier and the continent’s most awarded airline, serves over 75 destinations worldwide in partnership with SA Express, Airlink and its low cost carrier Mango.

In North America, SAA operates daily nonstop flights from New York-JFK and direct flights from Washington D.C.-IAD (via Accra, Ghana and Dakar, Senegal) to Johannesburg. SAA has
partnerships with United Airlines, Air Canada and JetBlue Airways, American Airlines and Virgin America, which offer convenient connections from more than 100 cities in the U.S. and Canada to SAA’s flights. SAA is a Star Alliance member and the recipient of the Skytrax 4-Star rating for 15 consecutive years.

Complimentary Tour Conductor tickets are subject to applicable taxes & surcharges. Complimentary Tour Conductor ticket is awarded after a group of 10 or more paying passengers. Special is valid for new bookings only. Valid for ad-hoc groups only (no
series producers). Valid for travel 10/26/2017 – 12/9/2017 & 1/11/2018 – 3/31/2018. Valid for travel from New York (JFK) or Washington
Dulles (IAD) to Africa. Entire group (including tour conductor) must travel together. Valid on SAA-operated flights only. Groups must be booked and deposited by 9/30/2017. Seats are limited and may not be available on all flights. Change & cancellation penalties apply, per applicable group reservation and fare rules. Baggage and optional service fees may apply. Reservations made 7 days or more prior to scheduled departure may be canceled without penalty up to 24 hours after the reservation is made

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Hilton Launches Africa Growth Initiative
October 7, 2017 | 0 Comments
Initiative expected to add 100 properties to its portfolio over the next five years
DT Hurlingham Nairobi Reception

DT Hurlingham Nairobi Reception

MCLEAN, United States of America, October 5, 2017/ — Hilton  has committed a total of $50 million over the next five years towards the Hilton Africa Growth Initiative to support the continued expansion of its Sub-Saharan African portfolio.

These funds are intended to support the conversion of around 100 hotels (roughly 20,000 rooms) in multiple African markets into Hilton branded properties, namely into its flagship Hilton Hotels & Resorts brand, the upscale DoubleTree by Hilton and the recently launched Curio Collection by Hilton.

Patrick Fitzgibbon, Senior Vice President, Development, Europe, Middle East and Africa, Hilton said: “Hilton remains committed to growth in Africa having been present on the continent for more than 50 years. The model of converting existing hotels into Hilton branded properties has proved highly successful in a variety of markets and we expect to see great opportunities to convert hotels to Hilton brands through this initiative.”

DT Hurlingham Nairobi restaurant

DT Hurlingham Nairobi restaurant

“It enables us to rapidly grow our portfolio and delivers returns for owners by increasing exposure of their business to more international, inter-regional and domestic travellers, and specifically to our 65 million-plus Hilton Honors members, who look to stay with us in our suite of industry-leading brands. We see huge potential here in key cities and airports, as well as allowing us to develop our offering in resorts and safari lodges.”

These hotels will receive all the benefits associated with Hilton’s industry-leading brand proposition and world-class commercial platforms. Guests will also be able to take advantage of  Hilton’s innovative technology platforms such as online check-in and the ability to choose individual rooms when booking via the Hilton Honors App.

Fitzgibbon added: “The range of brands we have at our disposal allows owners the flexibility to pick the right fit for their property. We have already deployed this initiative in the signing of two hotels: our first DoubleTree by Hilton property in Kenya, and our first hotel in Rwanda, and expect to be able to announce further additions before the end of this year.”

DoubleTree by Hilton Nairobi Hurlingham

The first hotel to benefit from this initiative is the 109 guest room Amber Hotel on Nairobi’s Ngong Road, which will re-launch under the upscale DoubleTree by Hilton brand. The hotel, which opened in 2016, is currently undergoing a series of renovations and will join the brand by the end of the year. Following the refurbishment, the hotel will be known as DoubleTree by Hilton Nairobi Hurlingham and will continue to be operated by the owner under a franchise agreement through the leadership of its current General Manager, Elisha Katam.

DoubleTree by Hilton Kigali City Centre

DT Kigali City Centre

DT Kigali City Centre

The 153 room Ubumwe Grande Hotel in the Kigali central business district will trade under the upscale DoubleTree by Hilton brand when it fully converts in 2018. This franchised property – with 134 guest rooms and 19 apartments – opened in September 2016. The hotel will undergo some changes in order to rebrand and will be Hilton’s first property in Rwanda. Once rebranded, the hotel will trade as the DoubleTree by Hilton Kigali City Centre.

Hilton currently operates 19 hotels in the Sub Saharan Africa region with a further 29 in its pipeline. It has held a presence on the African continent for over 50 years.

Hilton  is a leading global hospitality company, with a portfolio of 14 world-class brands comprising more than 5,000 properties with more than 825,000 rooms in 103 countries and territories. Hilton is dedicated to fulfilling its mission to be the world’s most hospitable company by delivering exceptional experiences – every hotel, every guest, every time. The company’s portfolio includes Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Canopy by Hilton, Curio Collection by HiltonTM, DoubleTree by Hilton, Tapestry Collection by HiltonTM, Embassy Suites by Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton by Hilton, Tru by Hilton, Homewood Suites by Hilton, Home2 Suites by Hilton and Hilton Grand Vacations.

The company also manages an award-winning customer loyalty program, Hilton Honors. Hilton Honors members who book directly through preferred Hilton channels have access to instant benefits, including a flexible payment slider that allows members to choose exactly how many Points to combine with money, an exclusive member discount that can’t be found anywhere else and free standard Wi-Fi.

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Off-grid Solar set to triple in Africa
October 7, 2017 | 0 Comments
The IEA has found that the amount of power from solar grew by more than 50%, and has officially increased energy output globally at a faster rate than any other fuel
LAGOS, Nigeria, October 6, 2017/ —

  • Off- grid solar will bring basic electricity services to almost 70 million more people in Asia and sub Saharan Africa

A new report has confirmed that Solar is now the fastest growing energy source in the world, and is making a major impact in Africa. The International Energy Agency’s 2017 report on renewables forecasts that off-grid solar capacity in Africa is set to almost triple in the next five years, saying that it will “bring basic electricity services to almost 70 million more people in Asia and sub Saharan Africa”.

The IEA has found that the amount of power from solar grew by more than 50%, and has officially increased energy output globally at a faster rate than any other fuel. The report specifically highlights off-grid solar as a ‘dynamic’ sector set to accelerate this growth.

Lumos (www.Lumos-Global.com), a company that offers one of the fastest growing off-grid solar services in Africa, is at the forefront of this expansion. Lumos launched its Mobile Electricity Service and the Y’ello Box in partnership with MTN in Nigeria earlier this year. The device transforms the sun’s energy into electricity and is paid for via your mobile phone.

According to the IEA, off-grid capacity in Africa and Asia is set to reach “over 3000 MW in 2022.” CEO of Lumos Nigeria, Yuri Tsitrinbaum, said: “This is the latest evidence that off-grid solar is providing the answer to growing energy demand in Africa. There is no other option available that can provide energy that is as affordable, reliable, and clean.”

“We are changing the way people access electricity, and this is only the beginning. Mobile phones improved millions of lives, and now we are seeing the same thing with mobile electricity.”

Lumos Mobile Electricity Service is available at MTN stores across Nigeria. By subscribing to the service, customers get one of the revolutionary Y’ello Box systems that converts solar energy into electricity for the home, paid for by phone credit and a simple text message. It’s reliable, affordable and powerful.

The IEA report projects that over the next five years, services like Lumos will be the catalysts and drivers of innovative payment solutions that can allow low-income populations access to electricity.

Lumos (Lumos-Global.com) brings affordable, modern and clean electricity to communities that have been living off-grid.
Lumos connects the dots between the mobile payment revolution and solar energy through its patented, self-deployable solar power system, with integrated cellular payment and advanced security mechanisms. With Lumos, households in the off-grid world can replace generators, candles, and flashlights with modern electricity that can power lights, cellphones, fans, laptops, TVs and other small electronic devices, and all for less the cost spent today on generators – on a lease to own basis, subscription via the mobile phone.

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Taking an intelligent approach to Africa’s promising mobility revolution
October 7, 2017 | 0 Comments
Despite the continent’s transport infrastructure lagging behind global standards for decades, Africa is bracing itself for a transport revolution as more countries embrace the onset of new technology
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, October 5, 2017/ —

  • Kevin Pillay - Vice President for Mobility at Siemens Africa

    Kevin Pillay – Vice President for Mobility at Siemens Africa

    Electrification, automation and digitalization of existing infrastructure gives citizens access to safe, reliable and efficient modes of transport

  • Intelligent traffic systems reduce road congestion, automated rail infrastructure improves train efficiency and commuter safety
  • Well-integrated intelligent mobility network promotes a culture of eco-friendly travel and healthier living

Despite the continent’s transport infrastructure lagging behind global standards for decades, Africa is bracing itself for a transport revolution as more countries embrace the onset of new technology.

This sets the scene for a new era of intelligent mobility in Africa, writes Kevin Pillay – Vice President for Mobility at Siemens Africa (Siemens.com).

Intelligent mobility involves the electrification, automation and digitalization of existing transport infrastructure, and gives every citizen access to safe, reliable and efficient modes of transport.

The need and demand for intelligent mobility in Africa has never been greater – World Economic Forum competitiveness data reveals that only three African countries feature in the top 50 globally for quality of roads, quality of rail and quality of ports infrastructure respectively.

World Bank data also indicates that the Sub-Saharan African railway network has declined to 59,634km today, down from 65,661km in 1980 with only about 70% of the railway network in operational state.

At face value, it seems as though the continent faces insurmountable transport challenges. But the reality is that we are already setting the wheels in motion to create interconnected, more modern and efficient African transport networks that keep economies on the move, rather than hindering them. This development will not happen overnight, and will be realised one step at a time.

Intelligent traffic systems 

Many African cities have traffic infrastructure plagued by unreliable power supply. To the frustration of motorists, timing of traffic lights stays the same regardless of actual conditions, and many are faulty and take weeks to repair. This means that the road infrastructure can’t handle peak traffic, not because of technology but because of the lack of proper technological investment.

The challenge is partly that these traffic systems have grown in an unco-ordinated way, with lots of different suppliers and systems cobbled together. Speeding and traffic light violations are a problem, and there is limited technology deployed to support effective traffic law enforcement.

Concern of this situation has been expressed by officials and road users alike, who say congestion and accidents have reached alarming levels. Inefficiencies in these transport systems affect a country’s ability to attract and maintain investment.

So where do we begin?

The adoption of intelligent traffic systems (ITS) will keep Africa’s busiest cities as fast-moving investment destinations. ITS includes deployment of smart sensor systems with intelligent algorithms to automatically adapt to improve traffic flow.

Two-way communication can be enabled by running fibre between traffic junctions and a central control centre to gather information from intelligent networked systems, sensors and cameras at every junction. This allows traffic lights to be adjusted according to demand.

Nigeria’s Edo State government recently announced its intention to upgrade to a technologically-advanced ITS system that provides real-time traffic information in Benin City. As part of the integrated solution, motorists and commuters will be informed about travel times, weather conditions and traffic jams on radio or online.

With all traffic management systems automated and digitalized, technology like automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras can be utilised to efficiently enforce traffic rules.

Average speed over distance (ASOD) technology captures the time when a specific vehicle enters and exits the ASOD zone. The journey time is compared against the distance travelled and authorities are automatically notified if the prescribed speed limit was exceeded.

This improves the safety of drivers, passengers and pedestrians. It also minimises the risk of corruption, while promoting best practice among traffic enforcement officers who are exposed to a new skillset when trained in operating these new systems.

Automated rail infrastructure 

Another effective means of reducing congestion on overburdened and under maintained roads in Africa is through greater investment in upgrading passenger rail networks.

Some of the world’s cities with the most advanced transport networks feature fast, efficient, safe and clean rail mobility networks powered by Siemens, and African cities can benefit from expertise in centralised traffic management and automation systems, including train control systems with minimum line side equipment linked to modern control centres.

A clear case in point is the Gauteng Nerve Centre (GNC) in South Africa. The 3400 m2 state-of-the art control centre for centralised rail traffic management in South Africa’s economic hub of Gauteng accommodates 35 train control operators in one place, and constantly monitors Gauteng’s rail traffic where over 600 trains carry more than 500,000 commuters on a daily basis.

The GNC boasts world-class automation capabilities and can immediately respond to any operating failures, accidents and other incidents, thereby enabling greater efficiencies in rail operations and train safety, while offering a more reliable service through higher infrastructure utilisation.

Siemens’ proven railway capabilities are set be bolstered further, following the mobility business’ recent announcement of its intention to merge with French railway engineering specialist Alstom.

With a strong presence in, and dedicated commitment to Africa, this anticipated partnership will create an African champion in mobility.

Intelligent, integrated mobility ensures environmental sustainability 

Transportation is the world’s second-biggest producer of greenhouse gases. In 2015 motor vehicles, trains, ships, and planes emitted 7.5 billion tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere, accounting for almost a quarter of all CO2 emissions worldwide.

Today transportation-related emissions are already about 60 percent higher than in 1990. One of the reasons for this is the dramatic increase in the number of vehicles in developing countries and emerging markets – of which Africa is home to many.

According to forecasts, transportation-related CO2 emissions will increase by another 67 percent between now and 2050. Clearly, in view of this, the global community must take decisive action to bring about a worldwide transition to sustainable transportation systems.

A well-integrated intelligent multi-modal transport network promotes a culture of eco-friendly travel and healthier living, as it reduces traffic congestion and COemissions by transporting more people more safely and more comfortably, using newer and cleaner technology without relying on fossil fuels.

The time for intelligent mobility is now 

If Africa truly wants to unleash its full potential, then sufficient funds must be responsibly invested in upgrading existing transport and logistics infrastructure like road, rail and ports, in addition to new concepts that include electric bus rapid transport and ferries, to name a few.

Intelligent and integrated traffic systems are part of the future of transport in the world’s advanced cities. If Africa seizes the opportunity, many of its cities will be on that list, and the continent’s citizens will reap the rewards. That is the way forward.

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