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Ride the wave of the African Continental Free Trade Area, African Development Bank president Adesina Urges UK investors
January 22, 2020 | 0 Comments
African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina

Africa is on the cusp of unmatched economic transformation, and the UK must engage in a “partnership of change,” African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina said Tuesday in a keynote address at a UK Parliamentary Symposium. “The Africa of the 21st century is very different. The Africa of the 21st century is new and more confident,” he said.

The Symposium was co-organized by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Africa with the Royal African Society, Oxford Brookes University, and the Trade Justice Network under the theme UK-Africa Trade and Brexit. 

The Bank’s chief argued that Africa and the UK should be significant trading partners. “The reality, however, is that UK’s trade with Africa is trending downwards. From a $49 billion peak in 2012, trade decreased to $30.6 billion in 2018,” he noted. 

The decline in UK trade and investment in Africa is against a backdrop of projected business-to-business and consumer-to-consumer expenditures of $5.6 trillion by 2020, and a food and agriculture market worth $1 trillion by 2030.

“The fact that we are having this conversation in the UK Parliament is a great start. The convening of this Summit by Prime Minister Boris Johnson is an even greater start,” he acknowledged.

President Adesina used his engagement at the House of Commons to share Africa’s investment opportunities, “which speak for themselves.” Trading under the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, which represents a market of more than 1.3 billion people and a gross domestic product of $2.5 trillion, and is the world’s largest free trade area since establishment of the World Trade Organization, starts in July. 

Speaking earlier in the morning at the UK-Africa Investment Summit Sustainable Infrastructure Forum, the Bank’s chief said: “Investing in quality and sustainable infrastructure can spur Africa’s economic transformation.”

The Forum, organized by the Department of International Development (DFID) and Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner for Africa, seeks to facilitate new investment and commercial opportunities for the UK and promote quality infrastructure to deliver better services to African citizens. 

The Bank has been a forerunner in the race to rapidly close the continent’s infrastructure gap, which Adesina suggested be renamed “Africa’s infrastructure demand opportunity.” Investors who tapped early into information and communications technology infrastructure in Africa have seen those investments become game changers for Africa, he noted. 

“Just under two decades ago, Africa had fewer telephones than Manhattan in New York. Today, Africa has over 440 million cell phone subscribers. Returns on digital infrastructure are very high as the continent expands broadband infrastructure to boost connectivity and improve services,” Adesina said.

The African Development Bank has been a major investor in infrastructure development in the electricity, transport, and water sectors across Africa. Cumulative Bank funding for infrastructure on the continent rose by 22% from $66.9 billion in 2016 to $81.6 billion in 2017. During the same period, the value of infrastructure projects with private sector participation has increased from $3.6 billion to $5.2 billion. 

To meet Africa’s unmet infrastructure needs, project preparation is critical, the Forum heard.

The Bank has established several project preparation facilities to address the lack of bankable projects and ensure a robust pipeline of projects. These facilities collectively provide $30-50 million annually in support for project preparation. 

The African Development Bank and DFID are collaborating to explore how to better support fragile states, which are facing huge financing needs. DFID has been the Bank’s key strategic partner since it joined the Bank group in 1983. And its “strong and consistent” support for the African Development Fund has helped the development of low-income states, especially the fragile states. 

Instruments, such as the Private Sector Credit Enhancement Facility, a credit-risk participation vehicle from the African Development Fund, (ADF)’s concessional window to support Non-Sovereign Operations in low-income countries, are showing tremendous results. 

With $500 million in credit guarantees, provided through ADF, the Bank has leveraged $2.5 billion of financing into fragile states, with a zero default rate. 

“We are committed to quality infrastructure and ensuring that no one is left behind!” Adesina concluded. 

The Bank’s chief is on a three-day visit to the UK. On Monday, he joined African Heads of States at a reception at Buckingham Palace after taking part in a presidential panel at the UK-Africa Investment Summit convened by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

*AFDB

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Mozambique to get over £306m in UK investments
January 22, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Jorge dos Santos

Mozambique  is set to benefit from over 306 million pounds from the UK government for various projects in the country, as part of over 6.5 billion pounds package announced for African markets Monday.

A total of  £306m will be invested by Baker Hughes on export and investment of deep-sea equipment and scholarships, while Lloyds Register will invest £0.76m to set up operations in Mozambique.

The announcement was made at the UK-Africa Investment Summit in London.

The projects will be undertaken by UK companies and their African partners.

A statement published by the Department for International Development and Department for International Trade “the diverse and fast-growing economies of Africa offer huge potential to UK business”.

The 27 deals under the over 6.5 billion-pound investments in Africa have been listed as:

1. Aggreko signed an £80m contact extension for energy provision in Cote D’Ivoire

2. Airbus sold £80m of aircraft in Egypt

3. Anglo-Tunisian Oil and Gas invest £26m in Tunisian gas assets.

4. Aqua Africa win £26m export contract to supply solar powered water filtration systems in Ghana.

5. Baker Hughes £306m export and investment of deep-sea equipment and scholarships in Mozambique

6. BHM £80.3m work on the Tema-Aflao Road Project in Ghana.

7. Bombardier’s £3,180m construction and operation of 2 monorail lines in Cairo.

8. Contracta Construction UK win £120.5m export contract to upgrade Kumasi teaching hospital in Ghana.

9. Contracta Construction UK win £40m export contract to develop Kumasi airport in Ghana.

10. Diageo invest £167m to improved sustainability of breweries in Kenya & East Africa.

11. Globeleq invest £50m to help build of Malindi photovoltaic solar park in Kenya.

12. GSK invest £5m in Egypt to upgrade two production lines.

13. Kefi Minerals invest £224m in a new gold mine and to develop local infrastructure in Kenya.

14. Lagan Group win a £185 export contract for the construction of Kampala Industrial Business Park in Uganda.

15. Lloyds Register invest £0.76m to set up operations in Mozambique.

16. Low Energy Designs win an export contract to install street lighting for Oyo state in Nigeria.

17. Matalan invest £25m to open 13 new outlets in Egypt.

18. Moy Park to export £12m of frozen chicken to Angola.

19. Nexus Green export £80m of solar powered water pumping systems for irrigation in Uganda.

20. NMS Infrastructure invest £222m in the construction of 6 hospitals in Côte D’Ivoire.

21. Rolls Royce purchase £50m of aircraft engines in Egypt.

22. Savannah invest £315m in the acquisition and investment of ingas assets in Nigeria.

23. Tex ATC install 5 Airport control room towers worth £2m in Nigeria.

24. Trilliant install £5m of Smart Metering to Abuja DisCo In Nigeria.

25. Tullow invest £1,200m in continued oil production in Kenya.

26. Tyllium and Ellipse win an export contract worth £60m to provide 250 new beds for a general hospital in Koforidua in Ghana.

27. Unatrac win a £1.5m export contract to supply machinery for Ugandan roads.

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Turkey-Gambia Relations ‘Excellent’ as President Erdogan Visits Banjul Next Week
January 22, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay 

New Turkey Ambassador with President Barrow
New Turkey Ambassador with President Barrow

The Turkish Ambassador to The Gambia, Mr. Tolga Bermek has described as “excellent” the relations between Ankara and Banjul, which makes it possible for the Turkish President to select The Gambia among countries to visit next week. 

The President will be accompanied by a big business delegation to The Gambia, which the envoy said, will be “short but efficient”. 
After inspecting the quarter guard mounted by the State Gurads Battalion at the State House, he was led to the offices of His Excellency, President Adama Barrow who accepted his credentials. 

President Barrow formally welcomed him to The Gambia and described Turkey as a great partner and friend of the Gambia since he assumed office three years ago. The expected visit will help facilitate greater exchanges at the highest level and will result in other high level Turkish visits to Banjul in the future.

However, President Barrow calls for more Turkish investment in The Gambia as many existing opportunities are yet unexploited. 
Ambassador Bermek agreed to this and added that the trade volume between the two countries are not at desired levels. 
He described President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit as “a good start” for him as Ambassador, pledging that he will do his best to develop the relations in the future. 

For trade, he said both countries should do their best to increase its volume, while he will work to bring more Turkish investors to The Gambia. 
 

“We have a good opportunity on the occasion of the visit of our President. It will be the first time of such a visit to The Gambia at presidential level. I think it will open up new horizons to the relations of both countries,” he said. 

Turkish Airlines launched direct flights from Istanbul to Banjul in 2019 and the Turkish Ambassador said they will like to increase that flight frequency in the future if business relations develop.


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Genesys Introduces Experience as a Service Enabling Organisations to Deliver True Personalisation
January 21, 2020 | 0 Comments

Rapid innovation, lightning-fast deployments and infinite scale solidifies Genesys Cloud as the world’s leading public cloud contact centre platform

Tony Bates, chief executive officer of Genesys
Tony Bates, chief executive officer of Genesys

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, January 21, 2020/ — Genesys® (https://bit.ly/2NJBqD6), the global leader in omnichannel customer experience (https://bit.ly/3axpLRC) and contact centre solutions (https://bit.ly/2tCLR4K), announces it is changing the name of its flagship software as a service (SaaS) offering, PureCloud®, to Genesys Cloud™. This shift reflects the evolution of the company and marks the launch of Experience as a ServiceSM powered by Genesys Cloud, which enables organisations to achieve true personalisation at scale. Genesys Cloud, an all-in-one solution and the world’s leading public cloud contact centre platform, helps organisations provide better experiences to their customers and employees.

“Through Genesys Cloud , we’re delivering Experience as a Service to make it easier for organisations to foster customer trust and loyalty. This starts by helping them know their customers as individuals, not profiles or segments, and leading with empathy throughout every connected moment,” said Tony Bates, chief executive officer of Genesys. “When businesses can provide distinctive experiences tailored for each customer, they’re achieving the level of personalisation today’s consumers are looking for – and that’s what we enable with Genesys Cloud.”

The solution for any organisation
Last year alone, nearly 500 new customers across the globe selected Genesys Cloud, including Banco Inter, Concord Servicing Corporation, eFinancial, Ethiopian Airlines, Medicard Philippines, Inc., Paycor, SITA and TechStyle. The company also announced it closed more than 1,000 deals with existing customers in 2019, helping them to further modernise the service they deliver through Genesys Cloud. Deployments range in size from 20 to 20,000 seats with nearly 90 percent of organisations fully implemented in just 90 days.

“As the fastest growing digital bank in Brazil, we chose Genesys Cloud because we needed a cloud-based omnichannel customer experience platform that could keep up with our accelerated growth strategy,” said João Marcus dos Santos, customer care IT leader of Banco Inter. “Genesys Cloud allows us to use a single solution to engage with our customers on every channel and provides the flexibility we need for our company’s rapid evolution, enabling us to add innovative and disruptive solutions quickly.”

New pricing gives businesses ultimate agility 
To make it even simpler for organisations to adopt Genesys Cloud, the company is rolling out new usage-based pricing. Beginning in the first quarter of 2020, customers have the flexibility to pay only for the hours they want and add as many users as required. In addition, customers can also make changes to their subscription bundle, such as increasing hours and adding digital channels or workforce engagement management seats. This gives customers unmatched versatility to tailor their subscriptions to meet evolving business requirements.

“After a nearly 30-year legacy of providing leading on-premises contact centre solutions, Genesys has successfully pivoted to the cloud – a feat many premises providers have tried but few have succeeded in making,” said Sheila McGee-Smith, president, McGee-Smith Analytics. “Genesys Cloud gives businesses the best of both worlds: one of the industry’s most powerful cloud platforms enabling rapid innovation and scalability, coupled with the knowledge and expertise of an industry pioneer. This winning combination enables even the most complex organisations to provide a differentiated experience to each customer, every time.”

The platform for rapid innovation
Easily and cost-effectively customisable, Genesys Cloud is an innovative development platform that allows organisations to address the unique needs of their customers and industry. With its robust feature set, open APIs and 100% microservices-based architecture, the platform was built for developers by developers. In fact, last year alone, 60% of the platform’s 7 billion and growing monthly API calls originated from customers and partners. In addition, organisations have even more opportunity to make Genesys Cloud their own by leveraging applications, integrations and services from the Genesys AppFoundry® , the fastest growing dedicated customer experience marketplace in the industry. 

The company also announced it is delivering all new innovations exclusively via the Genesys Cloud platform. This makes it easy for any Genesys customer – whether on-premises, cloud or hybrid – to consume new capabilities, including artificial intelligence, digital, predictive analytics and more, regardless of the Genesys product they use.

Every year, Genesys® (www.Genesys.com) delivers more than 70 billion remarkable customer experiences for organisations in over 100 countries. Through the power of the cloud and AI, our technology connects every customer moment across marketing, sales and service on any channel, while also improving employee experiences. Genesys pioneered Experiences as a ServiceSM so organisations of any size can provide true personalisation at scale, interact with empathy, and foster customer trust and loyalty. This is enabled by Genesys Cloud™, an all-in-one solution and the world’s leading public cloud contact centre platform, designed for rapid innovation, scalability and flexibility.

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Chelsea Center Back – Antonio Rüdiger Offers Le 1 Billion To Support Free Quality Education In Sierra Leone
January 21, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Uzman Unis Bah

Antonio Rüdiger & President Julius Maada Bio – photo credit. State House Com.

London, United Kingdom, Antonio Rüdiger has donated Le 1 Billion (USD 101,000) to support Sierra Leone’s Free Quality Education initiative.

The player, meeting President Julius Maada Bio on the margins of the UK-Africa Investment Summit, said he was donating the money as his contribution to the President’s flagship project, which aims to support over two million children in primary and secondary schools in Sierra Leone.

The German professional footballer is born to Sierra Leonean parents in Germany. According to the governments press statement, “rüdiger assured the president that he was committed to supporting his government’s effort at rebranding the natural resource-rich country with huge potentials for investments.”

Rüdiger affirms his support for the West African nation “Sierra Leone is my home. I am not the talking type of a person; I am about action. You can count on us and do not hesitate. We are here to support your vision and agenda, especially on education. I am ready to take on my responsibility to change the narrative and image of Sierra Leone,” the presser states. 

Upon assuming power, Sierra Leone’s president has had series of overseas trips, with confidence, he believes the country needs to rebrand, and those trips are essential in boosting investors’ confidence, and attracting investors to the economically challenged nation. However, most of these trips reel with public criticism.

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WASHINGTON D.C. TO HOST INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON THE ARMED CONFLICT IN THE SOUTHERN CAMEROONS
January 20, 2020 | 0 Comments

MARCH 19-21, 2020 Conference to establish a majority position and develop a detailed framework for robust post-conflict reconstruction

Coalition members pose with US State Department Officials after a recent meeting

20th January 2020-(London | Berlin | Washington D.C)–For the past six weeks,           the Coalition for Dialogue and Negotiations has engaged in a broad-based consultative process with Southern Cameroonians on the need to organize an international conference on the escalating armed conflict. Southern Cameroonians are citizens of the former British Southern Cameroons, currently North-West and South-West Regions of the Republic of Cameroon, sometimes referred to as “Anglophones” or “Ambazonians”. The Coalition has decided to use the United Nations recognized appellation: Southern Cameroons or Southern Cameroonians.These consultations have involved Southern Cameroonian professionals of all walks of life,civil society leaders, all leaders of “restorationist” (separatist) groups, Southern Cameroons political leaders, activists, religious and traditional leaders, members of parliament, businessmen and businesswomen, youth leaders, academics, media personalities and members of the diaspora. Consultations have also involved multilateral institutions, members of the diplomatic community and international non-governmental organizations.
 
The Coalition received feedback from over 4,631 Southern Cameroonians with more than 95-percent in support of such a conference. Given this overwhelming support, and working with various stakeholder groups, The Coalition is very pleased to announce that the International Conference on the Armed Conflict in Southern Cameroons will take place in Washington D.C from March 19 to 21, 2020 under the theme: “Defining a Pathway for Our Future”
The Conference has two main objectives:Engage all segments and professionals of Southern Cameroons origin to establish the majority view on a pathway to a permanent negotiated solution to the armed conflict, andDevelop a detailed framework for a robust post-conflict reconstruction.Seven (7) Working Groups (WG) have been established to guide deliberations throughout the conference. WGs are made up of technical experts, representatives from major stakeholder groups and interested Southern Cameroonians. The 7 Working Groups are: (1). Mediation and 
Negotiations; (2) Economic Reconstruction; (3) Judiciary and Constitutional Affairs; (4) Peacebuilding and Public Security; (5) Healthcare and Humanitarian Relief; (6) Education and Vocational Empowerment; and (7) Governance.
 
Working Groups are further divided into Sub-Groups, which focus on specific areas. Sub-Group recommendations will be forwarded to the full Working Group for consideration and adoption. This bottom-up approach will ensure that the views and recommendations of average Southern Cameroonians are directly reflected in Conference resolutions. 
 
The Coalition therefore strongly encourages Southern Cameroonians from all walks of life to become actively engaged in defining a pathway to peace and the post-conflict future of Southern Cameroons. Individuals can become involved by clicking the following links: Register to attend conference
Join A Working Group
Become A Volunteer
Submit A Written or Oral Statement
 
On Twitter using #ICSC2020For important conference timeline please visit the website at: https://aic.coalitionfdn.org
 
To allow for proper planning the deadline for the accreditation of all conference delegates is March 1, 2020.
About the Coalition for Dialogue and Negotiations
The Coalition for Dialogue and Negotiations (CDN) is an international non-governmental organization (NGO) with the specific goal of facilitating dialogue and negotiations towards ending the war in Southern Cameroons. CDN is made of professionals from all works of life and over 20 partner organizations worldwide advocating for an end to the war. CDN members work with its partners to strengthen international involvement in resolving the conflict and building durable peace in the conflict affected territories.
 Contact: Kindly send all inquiries to Rick Ferreira, Executive Director at Rick.Ferreira@coalitionfdn.org

*Source Coalition for Dialogue and Negotiations
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Janngo pledges €60 million at Davos to back African startups leveraging technology to achieve the SDGs
January 20, 2020 | 0 Comments

Janngo unveils Janngo Capital Startup Fund, its €60m Venture Capital fund dedicated to financing tech-enabled startup accelerating progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Africa, with a €15m anchor investment by the European Investment Bank

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, January 20, 2020/ — On the eve of its participation to the 50th World Economic Forum, Janngo (http://www.Janngo.Africa) pledges 60€ million to back technology startups with a double bottom line approach through its dedicated investment vehicle Janngo Capital Startup Fund. The fund is a first of its kind Venture Capital & Impact vehicle investing from seed through growth stage across Africa and targeting at least 50% of startups founded, co-founded or benefiting women. This initiative is part of Janngo’s broader commitment on financing the SDGs in Africa, as a member of the Goalkeepers Community and the Global Future Council on the New Economic Agenda of the World Economic Forum.

Entrepreneurship, a powerful engine to provide decent economic opportunities and create jobs in Africa

In Africa, only 3 million jobs are created every year when at least 20 to 30 million jobs will be needed to absorb its fast growing labor force in the coming years. In this context, unlocking entrepreneurship is a critical lever to massively increase the supply of decent jobs and bridge the unemployment gap, both in the formal or informal sector.

“In 2050, we’ll be roughly 2.2 billion people in Africa, which means that we need to find now massive ways to feed, educate, house, care for and employ more than 1 billion people in less than 30 years. We believe traditional development models have failed because they were unbalanced and unsustainable either only focusing on commercial returns or too heavily aid-based : our thesis strikes the right balance between delivering solid returns to our investors while being socially accountable, solving key market failures and leveraging technology to help leapfrog development. That’s ourikigai (http://bit.ly/2TFUOVm), our reason for being, as Janngo means “Tomorrow” or “Future” in Fulani.” explains Fatoumata BA, Executive Chair of Janngo and Managing Partner of Janngo Capital.

Venture Capital as a way to bridge gender inequality in accessing funding

African women are known to be the most entrepreneurial in the world with a 26% Total Entrepreneurial Rate in Sub-Saharan Africa where they are twice as likely to start a business than elsewhere (Source : Roland Berger). Yet, there is currently a $42 billion funding gap for women entrepreneurs in Africa according to the African Development Bank. Additionally, the larger the ticket size, the harder it is for women in emerging markets to get access to capital with only 10% of women entrepreneurs able to raise money from Series A vs 49% at seed stage.

“At Janngo, we believe that talent is equally distributed between men and women but opportunities aren’t; especially in terms of access to capital. That is why we are proud to be a female-led VC fund investing 50% of our proceeds in startups founded, co-founded by or benefiting women” adds Fatoumata BA, Executive Chair of Janngo and Managing Partner of Janngo Capital.

Financing the Sustainable Development Goals in Africa : the need for a stakeholder approach to accelerate progress towards delivery in the next decade

With a €60 million investment vehicle 100% dedicated to African startups achieving both an economic performance and a social impact, Janngo’s commitment is paving the way for SDGs financing in the Venture Capital Space in Africa. This pool of capital includes a €15 million ticket from the European Investment Bank (EIB), the world’s largest multilateral financial institution and the biggest provider of climate finance.

“Thanks to the support of the EIB, we will be able to invest between €50 000 and €5 million, from seed through growth stage in startups all across Africa demonstrating the ability to deliver financial and social returns. Every past investment and every startup in our dealflow is mapped against the 17 SDGs; their ability to create jobs for women, for young people and green jobs is also assessed. We act not only as financial partners but as operating partners with a very hands-on and long-term approach as well as an ecosystem thinking. That is why we have engaged with stakeholders sharing the same vision through our partnership with the EIB, our contribution to the WEF conversation on Financing the SDGs during Davos Annual Meeting and our commitment to the Goalkeepers community. We have a decade to deliver on the Goals and the clock is ticking : we need more than a positive capitalism, we need a stakeholder capitalism” concludes Fatoumata BA, Executive Chair of Janngo and Managing Partner of Janngo Capital.

About Janngo:
Janngo (http://www.Janngo.Africa) builds, grows and invests in pan-African digital champions with proven business models and inclusive social impact. We build digital ecosystems in high growth sectors by providing business support and digital platforms allowing Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to scale and contribute to the economic empowerment of youth and women through job creation and capacity building.

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Gambia:First Lady, Partners Sign Memorandum on Medical Support
January 20, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

First Lady, Her Excellency, Madam Fatou Bah-Barrow on Monday presided over the signing ceremony between her Foundation, FABB, and a Switzerland registered, Saudi Arabian medical NGO (Albalsam Cure and Care).

The ceremony followed an audience with the visiting delegation of the NGO at the State House, and a conducted tour of the facilities at selected hospitals in Banjul,Kanifing Municipality and West Coast Region.

The group’s delegation is currently in the country on the invitation of the First Lady, who held talks with them during her visit to Saudi Arabia in November 2019.

“We are here to discuss ways to cooperate with the First Lady’s foundation for better improvement, support and care of babies and mothers,” Dr. Emad A. Bukhari, the CEO of the NGO, said.

Due to the First Lady’s special interest in the health of these category of the population, especially pregnant mothers, FABB is proposing special health caravans to deliver voluntary services to remotest parts of the country.

“For now, special attention is given to deworming in new born babies and pregnant mothers. That is one area where the partners have good experience in,” he added.

At the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital, the group handed over five boxes of highly specialised surgeon equipment to the hospital through the First Lady. These are used in operating on pregnant mothers, young babies and children.

In receiving the donated materials, Dr. Kebba Marenah, Orthopaedic Surgeon and Head of Surgery at the Hospital described the equipment as “very high quality, well-known brand surgical instruments” which will be a good addition to the department.

“Whenever we see the First Lady around, we know there is something good is store for us. These materials will be put into good use and we thank her for the endless support,” Dr Manneh said.

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British Prime Minister, African leaders urge investors to accelerate economic role on the continent
January 20, 2020 | 0 Comments

London, United Kingdom, 20 January 2020 – UK companies must leap at the chance to deepen economic ties with Africa, a continent with unmatched investment opportunities, several African leaders said at a high-level panel.

At an oversubscribed opening ceremony for the 2020 UK-Africa Investment Summit, Monday, attended by dignitaries and delegates from 16 African leaders, including President El Sisi of Egypt, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson made the case for bigger investments in Africa and called for increased and renewed partnership  between  the UK and Africa

Referring to Africa as a booming continent with “staggering levels of growth,” Prime Minister Johnson said:  “Look around the world today and you will swiftly see that the UK is not only the obvious partner of choice, we’re also very much the partner of today, of tomorrow and decades to come,” he said in his opening address.

The UK-Africa Investment Summit, the first of its kind hosted by the UK Government, was attended by foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, the international development secretary, Alok Sharma, and Prince Harry.

The President of Ghana, Nana Akufo Addo, of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, of Mauritania, Mohamed Ould Cheikh el Ghazouani,  African  Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina, and Secretary of State for International Development, MP Alok Sharma, addressed a plenary panel discussion on ‘Sustainable Finance and Infrastructure – Unlocking the City of London and UK financial services for growth in Africa.’

President Kenyatta who rang the opening bell at the London Stock Exchange (LSE) marking the launch of Kenya’s first green bond at the LSE, made the case for innovative and sustainable investments in energy infrastructure. “We all must think out of the box in terms of energy…to ensure we produce more green energy. This first-ever sovereign green bond of $41.45 million will be used to build environmentally-friendly student accommodation in Kenya.”

Responding to a question about UK-Ghana partnerships, President Nana Akufo-Addo said in a world where Africa’s wealth is undisputed, “the City of London can play a significant role in bridging Africa’s huge infrastructure gap… and LSE can be a pivot in the new relationship with the continent. Indeed, 1 in 4 consumers will live in Africa by 2030,” Akufo-Addo said.

African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina announced a new $80 million Bank-DFID infrastructure financing partnership.

According to Adesina, the continent’s $68-$108 billion infrastructure investment gap per year is massive, but it depends on how you look at it. “Either the cup is half empty or half empty. To us, that is a $68-$108 billion opportunity.”

Adesina added, “The issue of risk in Africa is exaggerated. The risk of loss is lower than Latin America. Yet, funds are not being channeled into Africa. “There are $8 trillion of assets under management in London, but only 1 percent is invested in Africa.”

The Bank president urged investors to look to Africa and recalled the achievements of the Africa Investment Forum – a game-changing initiative led by the African Development Bank and key partners, to accelerate investment in the continent. The unique multi-sector platform is designed to advance bankable deals to financial closure. Deals valued at $40.1 billion secured investment interest in 2019 during the three-day event, which took place in Johannesburg, South Africa. 

President Mohamed Ould Cheikh el Ghazouani of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, sharedopportunities offered by the blue ocean economy and substantial reforms currently under way to attract foreign investors.

“We have reinforced security along our coasts. Other measures include the establishment of a Council on Investment. These huge efforts are showing tremendous results and it is giving comfort to investors,” he noted.

The African continent is home to eight of the 15 fastest-growing economies in the world. By 2020, 42% of the world youth will be African and by 2030, will constitute an incredible workforce and potential consumers.

In his concluding remarks, UK Secretary of State of for International Development, MP Alok Sharma expressed confidence in the continent. “Africa has a fabulous future.” Sharma announced five partnerships to mobilise private sector investment in quality infrastructure on the continent. “The City of London can play a role in mobilizing resources for Africa,” Sharma said.

Speaking earlier, Prime Minister Boris Johnson made a major announcement on the UK’s policy on climate change.

“From today, the British government will no longer provide any new direct development assistance for thermal coal mining or coal power plants overseas,” Johnson said.

The declaration aligns with the African Development Bank’s green agenda aimed at increasing investment in renewable energy. President Adesina announced last year at the UN General Assembly that the Bank was moving away from investing in coal.

*AFDB

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Telecel Zimbabwe adopts five year strategic plan to address recapitalisation issues
January 20, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

Telecel Zimbabwe (Pvt) has revealed that it has formulated and adopted a five year strategic plan to address recapitalisation issues affecting the company.

 The company has revealed that it would like to assure all its stakeholders and customers, that while the it is facing some challenges, the company is not on the brink of collapse and continues to offer quality service to its customers.

 It is reported that like all other local organisations, Telecel Zimbabwe’s operations have been affected by a host of factors, both macro and micro economic, but attributed mainly to limited funding for the company over a long period of time, in the face of challenging economic conditions in Zimbabwe.

  It is reported that specifically, rapid depreciation of the local currency and the levels of tariffs increases approved, which continue to lag behind inflation, have affected the ability to meet the foreign currency denominated obligations, especially spares for equipment and Service Level Agreements and support.

 It is added that this limited vendor support has resulted in some network disruptions during the festive season, which have since been rectified.

 The company says that in order to mitigate the challenges, the company has been on a very aggressive import substitution and local skills transfer initiative.

  It is areported that the company’s main switching centres are in the industrial area and have been subjected to prolonged power outages which have resulted in the company’s technology operating costs ballooning due to the use of alternative power, particularly diesel, and has in turn affected base station availability in other parts of the country.

 “The Company is in advanced discussions with the power authorities and government officials in the ministry of Energy to ensure a dedicated power line to the switching centres and in addition the company is investing in alternative power solutions such as Tesla solar batteries for its base stations,” the company said in a statement.

 It is added that the company and other industry stakeholders continue to engage all the relevant authorities to ensure that the tariffs are adjusted in line with the cost movement of other basic operational costs.

 It is added that the Telecel board and shareholders are aware of the ongoing challenges.

 It is added that the finalisation of all  outstanding financial statements is on course and it will open avenues for new funding from financial institutions.

 It is reported that the business continues to focus on ensuring that it offers the most affordable service to its customers in light of the depressed consumer disposable incomes.

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Kenyan bank to spend million dollars on needy students’ education
January 20, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma|@journalist_27

Gideon Muriuki

Co-operative Bank of Kenya has announced that it will pay school fees to over 600 needy and gifted form one students.

According to the Bank’s Managing Director Gideon Muriuki, the institution has set aside $1.55 million for the programme under the Co-operative Bank Foundation Scholarship Scheme in 2020. Mr. Muriuki revealed that 420 beneficiaries have been identified by the bank’s Regional Delegates’ Forums and the remaining scholarships were awarded to 5 students per county across the country which brings the total number of beneficiaries to 655. The scholarship with cater for their secondary education.

1,088,986 students sat for 2019 Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) and all of them are expected to join form to pursue their secondary education latest by January 24 in line with the government’s new policy of 100 per cent transition from primary to secondary school.

Announcing KCPE results in November last year, Kenya’s Education Cabinet Secretary Prof. George Magoha warned parents against failing to take their children to school.

He said, “We shall go after parents and they will tell us why the children are not in school. If we find the children, we will take them to school ourselves and we will do if forcibly.”

 “We will go for parents of children who have been married off and forcibly take the children to school to ensure that all class eight candidates transit to secondary school,” added the tough-talking Magoha.

The 100 per cent transition may not be realized going by the reports by the local media of poverty stricken students whose parents cannot afford secondary school fees. Many students are yet to report to their respective schools as the deadline looms.

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Zimbabwe Civil Society Organisations Scaling Up Nutrition Alliance calls on govt to make SMART commitments in preparation for the 2020 Japan Nutrition for Growth summit
January 20, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

Zimbabwe Civil Society Organisations Scaling Up Nutrition Alliance (ZCSOSUNA) formed  in July 2013 with the aim of providing a platform for Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Zimbabwe to contribute to the global Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) initiatives  is concerned that there is no substantial report to provide information on the progress that has so far been made on nutrition issues in the country.

  According to Kudakwashe Zombe, ZCSOSUNA National Coordinator, according to the  Global Nutrition Report 2019, Zimbabwe has made progress in meeting its 2013 commitments but there were challenges in assessing the progress due to language which was not clear and specific and also the tracking systems and capacity to track the progress was poor.

 “It is against this background that we as the civil society are calling on the government to seize this perfect opportunity presented by Japan Nutrition for Growth 2020 Summit to make commitments which are Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound (SMART) and rejuvenate the fight against malnutrition,” Zombe said.

  The alliance is made up of several international, regional, national and community based organisations and networks working in various areas including nutrition sensitive programs, WASH programs, livelihoods, small-holder farmers, human rights defenders, women’s groups, humanitarian aid assistance agencies, advocacy and research entities, consumer groups and many others.

  According to ZCSOSUNA, the year 2020 presents a perfect opportunity for the Zimbabwe  government to renew its commitment towards the fight against malnutrition in all its forms.

  It is reported that in December this year, governments of several nations with support from the Japan government will convene and take stock of previous Nutrition For Growth  (N4G) commitments and the same platform will be used to renew and make new commitments towards improving the nutrition status of citizens.

  It is added that the Tokyo N4G summit provides a historic opportunity to transform the way the world tackles malnutrition. The summit signals the beginning of a new race toward a healthier, better-nourished future, a race to end malnutrition in all its forms in all countries and Zimbabwe cannot be left out, according to ZCSOSUNA.

  It is added that this comes at a critical time, with only five years to achieve the World Health Assembly targets on Maternal, Infant and Young Child nutrition and 10 years to reach the SDGs.

  It is reported that the commitments to be made at the summit will focus on the following core areas, health, food, resilience, promoting data-driven accountability, securing new investment and driving innovation in nutrition.

  “As the country’s Civil Society Alliance in Scaling Up Nutrition, we applaud the government of Zimbabwe for making a commitment during the 2013 London Nutrition for Growth Summit, the commitment was aimed at putting nutrition at the centre of the country’s development agenda and making good nutrition one of the top political priorities as a way of facilitating increased domestic financing for nutrition,” Zombe said.

   The government has been urged to formulate SMART commitments which are in line with the summit’s core areas namely health, food, resilience, promoting data-driven accountability, securing new investment and driving innovation in nutrition and  to periodically report on progress made in honouring the 2020 commitments. 

  ZCSOSUNA says that good nutrition is a basic need for everyone, everywhere.

  The alliance also adds that imagine a world where all women and children have the nutrition they need to live healthy, productive lives, nurturing their families and communities and putting the world on a path towards greater economic prosperity.

  It is added that nutrition fuels  ambitions such as  for children to go to school ready to learn, stay in school, and go on to better jobs. Nutrition fuels  health, providing the foundation for the well-being and that of future generations. Nutrition also  fuels  progress, investing in  collective brainpower meaning a more productive workforce and thriving economies.

  It is also added that nutrition fuels the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), averting malnutrition will help achieve at least 12 of the 17 SDGs and help create a healthy, prosperous, and stable world in which no one is left behind.

 ZCSOSUNA says that investing in nutrition is also one of the best buys in global health and development: for every $1 invested in nutrition, $16 is returned to the local economy.

  The alliance adds that the Tokyo Nutrition for Growth (N4G) Summit provides a historic opportunity to transform the way the world tackles the global challenge of malnutrition. The Summit continues the N4G legacy and signals the beginning of a new race towards a healthier, better-nourished future, a race towards ending malnutrition in all its forms in all countries.

  “This requires ensuring that all people, including the most vulnerable, have access to safe, affordable and nutritious food by 2030, as called for by the SDGs,” ZCSOSUNA said.

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