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2019 Africa Investment Forum: Achieving an African economy four times bigger with only a 50% increase in energy demand
November 12, 2019 | 0 Comments

Africa has the potential to expand the continental economy fourfold, with energy demands expanding by only 50 percent, according to a new report. The International Energy Agency (IEA) unveiled its report on the first day of the second African Investment Forum in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Africa Energy Outlook 2019 found that the continent’s future energy prospects look bright, but only if Governments can make the shift to more renewable energy sources. The report says there are three factors that will determine the continent’s future energy consumption – its growing population, the rapid increase in urbanisation and industrialisation.

Kieran McNamara, an analyst at IEA, noted that these will have “profound effects on Africa’s energy mix and how the economy develops.”
The IEA has for the first time conducted detailed modelling of the energy mix for 11 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, namely Angola, South Africa, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Côte d’Ivoire, Mozambique, Nigeria and Senegal.

The projected energy mix needed for Africa will be very different from the current one, with countries moving away from biomass and fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy.

About 600-million Africans have no access to electricity, although this has improved since 2013, according to IEA’s analysis. “In order to start to address the problem, we have to realize the scale of the emergency. And that data is extremely important. You have to be able to define the problem before you can actually address it,” said Wale Shonibare, Acting Vice President of Power, Energy, Climate and Green Growth.

Africa also needs to radically increase its investment in power generation from the current $30-billion to $120-billion by 2040, if it is to achieve universal access to electricity, according to Tae-Yoon Kim, another analyst at IEA.

If countries on the continent do not change current policies on energy use, Africa will not achieve the African Development Bank’s target of universal electricity by 2030.

But with improved policies, Africa can see the continental economy expand four times with matching energy demand that is only 50 percent greater than the current demand.

Kenya is one country where universal access to electricity could become a reality by 2022, if it continues with its current policy that has brought a large amount of renewables into the energy mix. Ethiopia could follow suit towards the end of the decade.   

The African Development Bank and the IEA, an autonomous agency aiming to improve the world’s energy markets, participated in a high-level side event during the African Investment Forum 2019. Other participants included the European Commission, the African Union Commission and the African Energy Commission.

Discussions were based on the African Development Bank’s “Light Up and Power Africa” strategy, through which the bank hopes to build knowledge of the African energy sector, and assist in achieving universal access to electricity on the continent. Governments, utilities, regulators and investors will hopefully use this knowledge to help them grow energy sectors, while reducing costs. The availability of quality data will improve African countries’ abilities to make informed energy policy decisions and to provide private investors with valuable market analysis.

Through the New Deal on Energy for Africa (NDEA), the Bank has positioned itself to lead Africa’s energy transformation. The NDEA is a partnership-driven effort launched in 2016, which aims to achieve universal access to electricity in Africa by 2025.

The Africa Investment Forum (AIF) brings together project sponsors and investors, borrowers, lenders, policy makers and public and private sector investors, to promote Africa’s investment opportunities.

The Forum runs from 11-13 November in Johannesburg, South Africa.

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Gambia goes to ICJ to defend Rohingya Muslims
November 12, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

Legal team
Legal Team

The Republic of The Gambia has filed today before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague a lawsuit alleging that the Republic of the Union of Myanmar has violated its obligations under the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide for its genocidal actions against the Rohingya people, a Muslim minority that lives in Myanmar.

 Genocide is a crime under international law, and all States have an obligation to prevent, to punish, and to not commit genocide. Myanmar has failed in adhering to its obligations on all counts in its brutal treatment of the Rohingya, who have been subjected to wanton acts of violence and malicious degradation with the specific intent of State actors to destroy the Rohingya as a group.

 The Gambia has stepped forward, on behalf of the 57 Member States of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and with the mandate of the Organization, to hold Myanmar accountable for its genocidal crimes against the Rohingya.

This action asks the ICJ to adjudge and declare Myanmar to have violated its obligations under the Genocide Convention, to order Myanmar to cease and desist from its genocidal acts, to punish the perpetrators, and to provide reparations for the Rohingya victims.

 The Gambia has also asked the ICJ to impose Provisional Measures, as a matter of extreme urgency, to protect the Rohingya against further harm during the pendency of this case by ordering Myanmar to stop all of its genocidal conduct immediately. The Gambia calls on the international community to support its legal effort, and to redouble all diplomatic and political efforts to cause Myanmar to stop, and never to repeat, its genocide against the Rohingya, and to assist in efforts to ensure justice and accountability for the crimes committed against them.

Justice Minister handover the lawsuit
Justice Minister handover the lawsuit

 The Agent for The Gambia before the ICJ in this case, and head of its legal team, is H.E. Abubacarr Marie Tambadou, Attorney General and Minister of Justice of The Gambia. The Gambia has retained the services of Foley Hoag LLP, an international law firm with many years of experience representing States before the ICJ, as its counsel. The Gambia will also be represented by Professor Philippe Sands, of University College London, and Professor Payam Akhavan, of McGill University.

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Mozambique mourns the death of 50 Malian soldiers
November 12, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Arnaldo Cuamba

President Nyusi
President Nyusi

The Mozambican President, Filipe Nyusi, deplores the deaths of 50 Malawian soldiers, victims of terrorist acts perpetrated by the Islamic State jihadist group.

In a message of condolence to his counterpart in the Republic of Mali, Ibrahim Abobocar Keita, Nyusi says that these actions draw attention to the creation of efforts to eradicate the problem.

“We must establish a joint and coordinated mission to eradicate not only the demonstrations, but also the roots and the moral and material constituents of these heinous crimes,” Nyusi said in a note seen by Pan African Visions.

Mozambique has also been a victim of extremist attacks since October 2017. More than 400 people were killed by unknown armed men. The Islamic State has made some claims as did on Monday when the group claimed killing 8 Mozambique soldiers in an ambush in Cabo Delgado area.

According to the Mozambican president the joint mission is necessary as actions tend to spread in Africa and the world, creating a climate of instability, ungovernability and insecurity.

“They are crimes that threaten the dreams of progress and well-being” he said in a message that ends up addressing, on behalf of the Mozambican people and in his particular name, the “most heartfelt condolences “to the people and Government of Mali and, in particular, the families of murdered soldiers.

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Internet freedom and access on the decline in Zimbabwe
November 12, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

Statistics from three publications released over the last few weeks paint a sober picture of internet access, use and freedom in Zimbabwe. A combination of factors have contributed to a drop in the number of Zimbabweans that use the Internet, while on the other hand, archaic and undemocratic laws continue to restrict free expression and access to information on online platforms, according to the Media Institute of Southern Africa-Zimbabwe (MISA).

   According to MISA-Zimbabwe, the first publication in exposing the challenges forgoing is the Abridged Postal & Telecommunications Sector Performance Report for the Second Quarter of 2019, which reported a decline in internet users in Zimbabwe. 

  According to the report produced by the industry regulator, Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ), at the end of December 2018 62.9% of Zimbabwe’s population had access to the Internet. By the end of June 2019, this figure had dropped to 57.2%.

   A major contributor to the drop in internet usage rates is the increasing cost of mobile data and connectivity fees. Accordingly, the statistics reveal that at least 95% of Zimbabweans access the internet via their mobile devices using mobile data from mobile network operators such as Econet, Net-One, and Telecel. Recent months have seen steep increases in mobile data costs across all three mobile networks while user income level have largely remained stagnant forcing internet users to prioritise spending on other services besides the internet.

   MISA-Zimbabwe says that any drop in internet usage is worrying given the fact that the platform is an enabler for the enjoyment of other fundamental rights such as the right to free expression, access information and other seemingly distance rights such as the right to education and the freedom of association and assembly.

  “Furthermore, if an increase in national internet usage contributes to the growth of a country’s economy, it must be true that a decrease in the number of internet users will also contribute to a reduction of a country’s national income and economic growth,” MISA said.

  It is added that while MISA Zimbabwe took a stand against internet shutdown in Zimbabwe in January 2019, they are worried that the cost to access in now shutting out users from enjoying their constitutionally granted rights, specifically under section 61 and 62 on free expression and access to information.

  The second publication is the Affordability Report 2019 published by the Alliance for Affordable Internet. The Affordability Report states that a lack of competition in the broadband sector leads to the high cost of broadband in low-income countries such as

Zimbabwe among others. In the same report, Zimbabwe slipped one position down in the Affordability Drivers Index (ADI) to position 53 of 61 countries covered in the report.

   The Affordability Report calls upon policymakers such as Parliamentarians and regulators such as POTRAZ to play a role in formulating policies and regulations respectively that supports healthy broadband markets that are affordable to the majority of citizens within a given country.

  Poor policies such as high taxation of the telecommunications sector can effectively drive up connectivity costs. For example, local mobile network operators pay an estimated 65 cents out of every dollar they make to various government entities in the form of taxes and contributions to sector specific funds such as the Universal Service Fund. These multiple taxes and costs are passed on to the consumers of telecommunications services.

  The third publication is the Freedom of the Net Report published by Freedom House. This report states that the state of Internet freedom has globally been on the decline for the past nine years. Zimbabwe is however, cited as one of the five countries which have experienced the greatest decline in Internet freedom in the past year. This decline is largely due to the six-day long Internet shutdown experienced by Zimbabwe in January this year and arrests as well as harassment of dissenting voices online.

    The report found that Zimbabwe’s Internet space is partly free.

Other factors that have led to a decline in the enjoyment of Internet freedom in Zimbabwe include the existence of laws in the country’s Criminal Law Code that criminalise fair enjoyment of the right to free expression. In 2019, a number of people have been arrested for sharing messages that are said to undermine the authority of the President over social media platforms.

  The Freedom of the Net Report indicates an increase in the number of authoritarian governments that use internet based technologies and social media in particular to push their agenda that sometimes is in the form of misinformation campaigns. Since early 2018, the Zimbabwean social media space has seen an increase in social media accounts that express pro-ruling party sentiment.

   “There is nothing wrong with social media users expressing views in support of the political party of their choice. However, Zimbabwe has seen a significant increase in social media accounts that use pseudonyms and make use of generic stock images downloaded from the internet for their account profile images. This is exacerbated by rumours that political parties are investing in groups of social media users to defend that political party’s interests. These social media networks employ harassment and trolling to shut down any criticism of their political parties,” MISA said.

  According to MISA-Zimbabwe, the three reports indicate that a number of cost and policy related factors affect access to the Internet. The media organisation also says that they also show that the policy framework determines the level of enjoyment of rights and Internet freedoms. The reports also indicate that Zimbabwe has its work cut out in order to ensure a safe and affordable Internet for all.

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Fifth “Bloomberg Africa Business Media Innovators” Forum Convenes in Senegal to Discuss How African Media Can Adapt to New Disruptive Forces
November 12, 2019 | 0 Comments
Mahammed Boun Abdallah Dionne, Minister of State and Secretary General of the Presidency of the Republic of Senegal
Mahammed Boun Abdallah Dionne, Minister of State and Secretary General of the Presidency of the Republic of Senegal

Follows the 2019 expansion of the Bloomberg financial journalism training program to five new markets, including Senegal

November 11, 2019, Dakar, Senegal— Media, technology, business, government and community leaders from across Africa and beyond gather in Dakar, Senegal, today for the fifth annual Bloomberg Africa Business Media Innovators forum (ABMI). Under the theme of ‘Business Strategies for African Media’, the forum will explore some of the most promising approaches to fostering a vibrant, competitive media sector on the continent.

At a time when media companies around the world are facing challenges such as competition utilizing new technologies, the spread of misinformation and, in some countries, decreasing press freedom, ABMI will explore how African media can navigate and adapt to the changing landscape. Co-hosted by Justin B. Smith, CEO, Bloomberg Media Group, and Matthew Winkler, Editor-in-Chief Emeritus, Bloomberg News, the forum will also address the contribution media organizations make toward enabling economic growth by providing accurate, data-driven reporting and analysis to citizens, business leaders, investors, and public officials.

“The economy in Senegal is becoming increasingly diversified, so it is important that journalism and the media sector continues to develop accordingly,” said Mr. Mahammed Boun Abdallah Dionne, Minister of State and Secretary-General of the Presidency of the Republic of Senegal, who opened today’s forum. “I am confident that the conversation taking place at the summit will help us continue to drive this growth forward.”

Speakers at this year’s forum include media owners, senior editors, investors, business leaders, government officials and community leaders from 20 countries across the continent and beyond, including: Mr. Amadou Mahtar Ba, Co-Founder and Executive Chairman, AllAfrica Global Media; Mr. James Bennet, Editor, New York Times; Dr. Phillip Clay, Former Chancellor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Ms. Kelly Conniff, Executive Editor, TIME; Mr. Sachin Kamdar, CEO, Parse.ly; Dr. Retha Langa, Deputy CEO, Africa Check; Mr. Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard, Founder and Chairman, APO Group; Ms. Thabile Ngwato, CEO, Newzroom Afrika; and Ms Louise Stuart, Mergers and Acquisitions Executive, Naspers Limited, among others.

Justin B. Smith, CEO, Bloomberg Media Group and Mahammed Boun Abdallah Dionne, Minister of State and Secretary General of the Presidency of the Republic of Senegal
Justin B. Smith, CEO, Bloomberg Media Group and Mahammed Boun Abdallah Dionne, Minister of State and Secretary General of the Presidency of the Republic of Senegal

“Advancements in technology, new competitors, growth of social media, and the increasing use of mobile devices are requiring media organizations across the globe to explore innovative strategies and build new business models,” said Justin B. Smith, CEO, Bloomberg Media Group. “Africa is home to countries with some of the highest expected growth rates in the global media and entertainment industries. I look forward to discussing the future of media with this community gathered at the forum.”

The latest edition of ABMI follows successful gatherings in Zambia, Ghana, Kenya and South Africa. The annual event is a component of the Bloomberg Media Initiative Africa (BMIA), a pan-African program launched by Michael R. Bloomberg in 2014 to strengthen media capacity, promote innovation in the sector and improve access to high-quality data and information on the continent.

In January 2019, BMIA announced the expansion of its Financial Journalism Training (FJT) program to five new markets: Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, Tanzania, Ghana and Zambia. These markets follow Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa, where 652 delegates from 13 countries have graduated to date. This unique educational offering supports the advancement of financial journalism and contribute to economic development on the continent. Admittance to this event is on an invitation-only basis. For more information, please visit: http://www.bmia.org/innovators.

Follow the conversation online using #ABMI2019

For more information on BMIA please click here.

About the Bloomberg Africa Media Initiative (BMIA) Launched by Mike Bloomberg in South Africa in 2014, the Bloomberg Africa Media Initiative (BMIA) is a pan-Africa program designed to accelerate development of a globally competitive media and financial reporting industry as well as promote transparency, accountability and good governance in Africa and beyond. The initiative has four components: It provides cross-disciplinary educational programs to increase the number of highly trained business and financial journalists, as well as supports research to stimulate new media innovations, convene international leaders to promote interactive dialogue and build strong relationships to enhance the quality of financial coverage and the availability of reliable and timely data on the continent.

About Bloomberg Philanthropies Bloomberg Philanthropies works in 480 cities in more than 120 countries around the world to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. The organization focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: Arts, Education, Environment, Government Innovation, and Public Health. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s charitable activities, including his foundation and his personal giving. In 2018, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $767 million. For more information, please visit bloomberg.org or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter.

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Africans Rising to launch people’s campaign
November 12, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

Africans Rising for Justice, Peace, and Dignity is launching a new campaign called ‘The People’s Campaign’,  that puts a spotlight on community challenges and triumphs throughout the African continent and all around the world.  

  It is reported that The People’s Campaign aims to bring together communities across the continent and in the diaspora through actions by mobilizing the masses to speak on the issues that jeopardize the well-being of every citizen on the African continent and deprive them of their right to live a prosperous life. 

The People’s Campaign intends to push for a unified front of actions on the continent with ‘ONE ACTION, ONE VOICE & ONE PEOPLE’.

 “We the people, civil society, organisations, movements, community leaders, scholars, intellectuals, artists, and activists have an obligation to shed light on the most important issues that stand against our freedoms and our right to pursue a life of sustainable peace, social justice and human dignity on the African continent and among Africans in the Diaspora,” Africans Rising said. 

   Africans Rising said that it encouraged organisations to get involved withThe People’s Campaign and stand for the pursuit of human dignity through teach-ins and forums, rallies, fundraisers, concerts and undertake online and offline activities to elevate the profile of the issues that matter the most to the continent.

  “Our first action in The People’s Campaign will be to host regional convenings in Nigeria and the DRC to discuss African youth in global development and we invite you to participate locally or online on Nov. 30. For more information about our upcoming events visit our Website and follow us on Facebook and Twitter,” they said. 

   As a part of The People’s Campaign, Africans Rising wants to hear directly from its members and remain accountable in their  work and  vision for the African continent.

  “Therefore we will be selecting mobilizers to implement activities for our grassroots organising in 2020. These selected leaders will work alongside our regional coordinators and participate in our mentorship program, where they can learn from some of the sharpest minds in organizing across the continent. We encourage you to nominate a mobilizer from your organization. In the following weeks, Africans Rising will announce the selected mobilizers who will join our mentorship initiative,” according to Africans Rising.

Africans Rising has a footprint in over 40 different countries on the African continent, a network of over 350 organisations across the continent, and continues to build partnerships with various entities and institutions that stand for peace, justice, humanity, and dignity.

 “With The People’s Campaign, we invite you to be a part of our large and growing network that offers our members a variety of opportunities to learn and develop through mentorship, leadership skills, media access, professional training, and an international platform. Join us today!” they said.

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COMESA and EAC hold regional consultative workshop ahead of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) and the Conference of Parties (COP25) meetings
November 12, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

COMESA Climate Change Advisor Dr Maclay Kanyangarara
COMESA Climate Change Advisor Dr Maclay Kanyangarara. Photo Credit KBC

The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA)   and East African Community (EAC) secretariats in partnership with the government of Rwanda  conducted  a regional technical consultative workshop in Kigali on 8 to  9 November 2019 as part of preparations for COP25.

  According to COMESA, the secretariats, both beneficiaries of the European Union’s ACP’s Global Climate Change Alliance Plus (GCCA+), grant agreed to jointly organize a Pre-COP25 technical meeting to come up with position papers for submission to guide Africa in the negotiations during COP25 sessions.

  The Pre-COP regional consultative meeting was  used to develop a regional policy position paper for EAC partner states and COMESA member states.

  The position paper will be submitted to the Africa Group of Negotiators (AGN) to guide negotiations during the 25th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) also known as COP25 sessions set for December 2019 in Madrid, Spain.

  Both the EAC and COMESA have an observer status to the UNFCCC processes and plan to participate in the forthcoming COP25 sessions to showcase the milestones, achievements and lessons learnt from the implementation of their climate change programmes in the region.

“This consultative meeting is important because it will ensure that the interests of African countries are adequately and fairly reflected in the ongoing climate change negotiations,” COMESA Climate Change Advisor Dr Maclay Kanyangarara said.

   The regional consultative meeting brought together negotiators and policy makers including National Climate Change Focal Points for UNFCCC and ministries responsible for EAC affairs and representatives from COMESA countries.

   According to experts, it is important that African countries engage effectively in intergovernmental climate change negotiations, decision-making processes and eventual implementation of the decisions taken.

  The two blocs are cognizant that Regional Economic Communities have a critical role to play in supporting solutions to trans-boundary issues related to a changing climate.

   It is reported that during the meeting in Rwanda, issues of regional importance were identified with a clear road map of how to mainstream them into regional programmes and national implementation processes and opportunities for the Regional Economic Communities to deliver on the Paris Agreement.

   Most of the EAC and COMESA member states are fully engaged in the on-going discussions and negotiations to find a lasting and sustainable solution to the challenge of climate change. They have all ratified the Paris Agreement of 2015 and submitted their ambitious Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) given their circumstances.

  The combined list of Member States participating in the negotiations are: Burundi, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Eswatini, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Seychelles, Sudan, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

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Sixth Mozambique gas summit and exhibition opens Wednesday
November 12, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire 

The National Hydrocarbons Company (ENH) and the events company CWC, from London, will host  the 6th edition of the Mozambique Gas Summit and  Exhibition at the Joaquim Chissano International Conference Centre, Maputo on 13 to 14 November.

 It is reported that the event will be officially opened by His Excellency Filipe Jacinto Nyussi, President of the Republic of Mozambique.

This 6th edition will address the key topic: “Post-FID Gas infrastructure development-Economic diversification-industrialisation.” 

  It is reported that High-level representatives from the global oil and gas industry are expected to attend the conference   from around 55 countries and over 50 speakers from different areas of the energy sector.

 The event is also hosting 130 exhibitors, representing the entire oil and gas value chain, as well as 700 attendees including national, from various levels and international delegates, representing a record attendance since this event began.

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African Energy Chamber and Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Discuss Technical Cooperation at Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition & Conference (ADIPEC)
November 12, 2019 | 0 Comments
The Chamber will be assisting in the organization of an OPEC Technical Workshop in Dakar in early 2020
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates, November 12, 2019/ — A team of the African Energy Chamber (https://EnergyChamber.org/) led by Executive Chairman Nj Ayuk met with the Secretary General of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) H.E. Mohammed Sanusi Barkindo today in Abu Dhabi. Both parties discussed the sharing of best industry practices and technical cooperation with new and upcoming African oil producers.

Given the increasing number of African producers who have rejoined OPEC, and the strong support of non-OPEC African nations for the Declaration of Cooperation, both parties agreed on the opportunity to strengthen the technical dialogue between OPEC and Africa.

In order to cement OPEC’s engagement with new and upcoming producers, the Chamber will be assisting in the organization of an OPEC Technical Workshop in Dakar in early 2020, which will be open to regional technicians from ministries and national oil companies. “As OPEC expands, it is important to open its technical meetings and workshops to non-member countries who could potentially join the Organization later,” explained Nj Ayuk, Executive Chairman at the African Energy Chamber and CEO of the Centurion Law Group.

H.E. Mohammed Sanusi Barkindo welcomed the initiative as a very timely one, insisting that now is the right time for countries such as Senegal to engage with OPEC and the global oil industry. “Such technical workshops can establish a framework for the long-term sharing of best industry practices for new African producers. They ultimately benefit the development of transparent and sustainable industries, this is good for Africa and Africans.”

*Africa Energy Chamber
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Interswitch and Visa enter into strategic partnership
November 12, 2019 | 0 Comments

  • Visa to acquire a significant minority equity stake in Interswitch
  • Partnership expected to expand the digital payments ecosystem across Africa, the world’s most underpenetrated market
  • Interswitch and Visa share a vision to drive financial inclusion across the African continent

(Tuesday 12th November, Nigeria): Interswitch Limited (“Interswitch” or the “Company”), a leading technology-driven company focused on the digitisation of payments in Nigeria and other countries in Africa, and Visa Inc. (“Visa”), the world leader in digital payments, today announced a strategic partnership that will further advance the digital payments ecosystem across Africa.

As part of the agreement, Visa will acquire a significant minority equity stake in Interswitch. The investment makes Interswitch one of the most valuable African FinTech businesses with a valuation of US$1 billion. Visa will join globally renowned investors, Helios Investment Partners, TA Associates and IFC, as shareholders in Interswitch, alongside Company management.  

Founded in 2002, Interswitch disrupted the traditional cash-based payments value chain in Nigeria by introducing electronic payments processing and switching services. Today, Interswitch is a leading player in Nigeria’s developing financial ecosystem with omni-channel capabilities across the payments value chain, processing over 500 million transactions per month in May 2019.

In 2018, electronic payments in Africa accounted for only 12 per cent of transactions by volume, compared to 54 per cent in Europe and 79 per cent in North America. Sub-Saharan Africa is the fastest-growing digital payments market in the world, with electronic payment volume expected to grow at a CAGR of approximately 35 per cent from 2018 to 2023 in the region (excluding South Africa). This progress is expected to be driven by the deepening payments infrastructure, population and urbanisation growth, GDP growth above the global average, increased mobile and internet penetration, as well as a supportive regulatory landscape for electronic payments and financial inclusion.

Interswitch’s core market, Nigeria, is the largest economy in Africa with a rapidly growing electronic payments market. Point of sale (“POS”) and ATM transactions per adult grew at a CAGR of 94 per cent and 59 per cent from 2013 to 2018, respectively. In Nigeria, there were only 11 card transactions per adult per annum in 2018 compared to 92 in markets like South Africa, 126 in Brazil and 465 in the UK. Despite this market under-penetration, POS card transactions in Nigeria are expected to grow at a CAGR of 63 per cent between 2018 and 2023.

In addition to its switching and processing services, Interswitch owns Verve, the largest domestic debit card scheme in Africa with more than 19 million cards activated on its network as of May 2019. The business also operates Quickteller, a leading multichannel consumer payments platform, driving financial inclusion across Nigeria with over 270,000 access points, as of 2018, from which consumers can initiate peer-to-peer transfers, bill payments, airtime purchases, and other e-commerce transactions, processing over 42 million transactions monthly as of 31 July 2019 (equivalent to over NGN560 billion (US$1.5 billion) through direct, indirect and Paypoint channels). Interswitch’s unique market capabilities and strong consumer proposition, has enabled it to deliver consecutive years of sustainable profitable growth.

The partnership will create an instant acceptance network across Africa to benefit consumers and merchants and facilitate greater connectivity for communities. Both parties will also retain their respective independent solutions, and Interswitch will retain its scheme neutral strategy.

Mitchell Elegbe, Founder and Chief Executive of Interswitch, said; “Sub-Saharan Africa is the fastest growing payments market in the world, with growth driven by a young and dynamic population, rapidly evolving consumer behaviour, and an increasing desire for payment solutions that can be accepted across the continent and abroad. I am delighted that Interswitch has formed a partnership with Visa, with whom we plan to drive the next phase of transformation in the African payments landscape.

Andrew Torre, Regional President CEMEA, Visa, said; “Africa is a priority region for us, and we continually seek strategic partnerships with local players to further strengthen our leadership position and enhance the payments ecosystem across the continent. This partnership aligns with our global strategy to work with and invest in innovative partners, and we look forward to working with Interswitch to provide new consumer and merchant experiences and support the rapid growth of digital commerce across Africa.”

Babatunde Soyoye, Helios’s co-founder and Managing Partner, added, “A strategic investment by Visa, the world’s leader in digital payments, into Interswitch is a substantial endorsement of the Company’s expertise in African payments. As an active investor in leading African payments businesses, we see tremendous opportunities to digitise payments across the continent and have worked closely with Interswitch’s management team to build a high quality and scalable platform geared to address some of these opportunities. We look forward to further collaboration with the Company alongside Visa.” 

The transaction is subject to the relevant regulatory approvals and is expected to close by Q1 2020.

FT Partners acted as exclusive strategic and financial advisor to Interswitch on this transaction.

Enquiries

Interswitch Group Marketing & Corporate Communications Cherry Eromosele, Enyioma Anaba, Tomi Ogunlesi   +234 1 6283888 Ext 1253 gmcc@interswitchgroup.com  
International public relations adviser to Interswitch Smithfield, A Daniel J Edelman Company John Kiely, Charles Harrison, George Yeomans   +44 20 3047 4228 Interswitch@edelman.com
Nigeria public relations adviser to Interswitch Vaerdi Oluyemisi Lanre-Phillips, Rob Newman +234 909 888 2196 Interswitch@Vaerdi.org
Visa Global Corporate Communications Shannon Reed   Corporate Communications Nigeria Niyi Adebiyi +1 650.432.2990 press@visa.com   +234 816 6109761 dadebiyi@visa.com
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Senegalese Police Major, Seynabou Diouf is UN Female Police Officer of the Year
November 12, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Amos Fofung

Major Seynabou Diouf, has been awarded the 2019 female police officer of the year for her “exemplary service, which has a direct and positive impact on the community and the Congolese national police.”

She currently leads a task force that helps to prevent and end sexual exploitation and abuse with the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC.

Major Seynabou Diouf of the Senegal National Police was selected as the 2019 United Nations Female Police Officer of the Year after been handpick from a competitive list of 30.

She is set to receive her award during the 14th United Nations Police Week after an outstanding career serving with the United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) and the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA.

At the national level, her experience spans 33 years with the Senegal National Police which also happens to be the largest contributor of police to UN peace operations and is among the top five contributors of female police officers.

 An inspiration to dozens across Africa, Diouf became the first female police officer in her country to be honored as a ‘Gardien de la Paix’ or ‘Guardian of peace’ an accolade previously reserved for male officers.

Established in 2011, the United Nations Female Police Officer of the Year award seeks to recognize exceptional contributions of female police officers to UN peacekeeping and to promote the empowerment of women.

Previous recipients have been; Ghanaian police officer Phyllis Osei (2018), Assistant Inspector of Police Annah Chota from Zimbabwe (2017) and Police Superintendent Yvette Boni Zombre from Burkina Faso (2016).

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Anglophone Group recommends 11-point special status proposal for Cameroon’s troubled regions
November 12, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Amos Fofung

Attendees during the closing ceremony of the Major National Dialogue
Attendees during the closing ceremony of the Major National Dialogue

Faced with silence from the government since the National Dialogue ended, a college of English-speaking Cameroonians has tabled eleven recommendations towards an amicable arrangement to stem the ongoing political crisis in the country.

The recommendations put forward by civil society actors who tagged themselves as the Special Status Work group, say the ideas presented are what it takes to protect minorities and their interests in the country; a critical point that can be attributed to have triggered the crisis in the North West and South West regions.

Comprising educationists, religious leaders, politicians, lawyers, activists and human rights advocates among others, the group referenced a recommendation from the just-ended Major National Dialogue which pushes for granting a Special Status to the Northwest and Southwest Regions as a prerequisite to putting an end to civil unrest in the Anglophone regions.

Members of the work group include; Geoffrey Mbaku, Dr. Nick Ngwanyam, MD., Marceline Hoyle, Marilyn Ndua Bekima, Daniel Abwa Akwo and were supported by other participants among them; Barrister Agbor Nkongho Felix, Azong Wara Andrew, Eno Chris Oben, Joseph Fomba Fombason, Dr. Maxwell Mbah, Dr. Mafor Nono Edwan PhD, Bishop Dr. Leonard, Hon. Rev. Dr. Ayukachale Peter Egbe, and venerated journalist, Eric Chinje.

“The Major National Dialogue is the government’s first major attempt to engage in discussions that seek to bring peace and a return to economic activity in the area. The most important recommendation coming out of the MND in this regard is to effectively legislate a solution that recognizes the Special Status of the two regions”, a section of the resolution reads adding;

“This will be done based on the constitutional provision that allows the state to legally recognize the specificities of any parts of the national territory.”

Pointing out that the notion of “special status” is not specific to Cameroon or new to constitutional law, the group cited the experiences of Quebec in Canada, Hong Kong in

China and Northern Island in the United Kingdom as lessons that could be drawn upon in designing a similar constitutional arrangement for Cameroon.

“The State shall transfer to Regions, under conditions laid down by law, jurisdiction in areas necessary for their economic, social, health, educational, cultural and sports development…In line with the constitution which allows for Regionalism of the 10 provinces, the Northwest and Southwest will be considered, beyond the devolution of administrative authority that comes with decentralization, as two separate and distinct autonomous Regions within the special status regime.”

On a larger scale, the group advanced that each Region should determine its health, education, economic, social, cultural and environmental policies.

The proposal comes at a time of increasing pressure and scorn for those who attended the National Dialogue which many thought it was designed to fail. A month after the event, President who neither spoke at the opening session, nor the closing ceremony has largely remained mute leaving many wondering if his government has any intention of implementing the recommendations. In the meantime, the crisis continue to rage on with some two million people affected per recent UN reports.

Below is the list of recommendations as put forth by the Special Status work group;

1. The House of Assembly:

The House of Assembly will be the legislative body of the “Special Status” Region, deriving its powers directly from the people. It shall be comprised of representatives from all counties/divisions within the current North West and South West Regions. Each of the 2 regions will have its House of Assembly. All laws passed by both Regional Houses of Assembly take immediate effect after the (Elected) Governor signs the bill. There will be no ratification by National Parliament except as concerns those laws with specific application to border security, international relations and monetary policy.

Concerned citizens may constitute themselves and pursuant to a signature of at least 10,000 tax-paying citizens, table a motion for consideration by the Regional Houses of Assembly.

2. The House of Chiefs:

This institution will act as an advisory body to the House of Assembly like it did previously before reunification, with no legislative or veto power, as captured below:

The function of the House would be to consider and by resolution to advise on any matter referred to by the [Governor] or on any question or matter introduced by a member. The House would consider proposed (legislation) and important matters of police and its resolutions would be laid on the table of the House of Assembly when it would be open to the Government or any member to take them up.

Queen mothers and other female traditional royalty shall be eligible to sit in the House of Chiefs. Each of the 2 regions will have its House of Chiefs.

3. An Elected Governor.

The elected President of the Regional Council will serve as Governor. He/She will be the Regional Chief Executive. He/She will be assisted by a Lieutenant Governor who will also be elected. Each Region will have an elected Governor and a Lieutenant Governor.

4. Government Official/Liaison to the “Special Status” Regions:

The President of the Republic shall appoint a person as his/her representative to the

region, with offices within or without the Governor’s office, with the duty of observing and reporting to the President on matters of national interest within the region. This Liaison Officer shall be a Special Technical Adviser on areas of national domain like the borders, ports, parastatal corporations and national security. The Liaison will focus on the administration of national matters, as opposed to issues relating directly to the Region and shall not be above the elected Governor and Lieutenant Governor. Each Special Status Region shall have a Liaison officer appointed.

5. Judicial System:

A mix of inherited Common Law, Customary Law and an injection of modern law will form the exclusive judicial system of the Special Status Regions. The Regional Common Law Bar Association shall recruit legal candidates who understand and excel in Common Law to serve the Judicial System. The Judicial System shall recruit to serve as judges within the Regional courts, legal professionals who have practiced Common Law.

We also believe our Traditional rulers can serve as the first line of a functional local judiciary through the Customary Courts. Judges may refer cases brought to their benches to a local traditional ruler or customary court for mediation by persons duly trained and accredited to mediate the issues. If such mediation does not resolve the issue, the parties can then bring back the dispute before the judge.

Empowering the Traditional rulers through Customary Courts will solve two issues: providing revenue to our Traditional rulers to remain financially viable while successfully handling community disputes, and at the same time getting them to remain apolitical.

6. Revenue sharing

The National Government and the Regional Administrations shall agree on a formula for revenue sharing as pertains to revenue from natural resources present within the Special Status Region, with a minimum percentage staying within the Region, and a commitment by the National Government for a minimum percentage of the national budget to be guaranteed for the region. There will also be an agreement on a minimum amount of revenue to be retained or redistributed to the Region from all parastatal corporations based in the Region. Revenue sharing will be applicable exclusively to natural resources, extractive industries and revenue from parastatals. Property and other local taxes shall remain with the Local Government and shall be used locally.

The Governors, his/her cabinet, the Mayors, and representatives from the House of Chiefs, the Regional Assembly, and the Government liaison form an Executive Council which oversees appointments to public companies in the Special Status Regions. This Executive Council could also serve in the capacity of an advisory and consent organ. This Executive Council will be engaged in negotiating revenue sharing with the National Government.

7. Representation in the National Government, Executive and Judiciary.

At least 10 Senators should be exclusively reserved for Anglophone Senators irrespective of those who run for election on a political party banner. This means that 10 out of the 30 members of Senate appointed by the Head of State should come from the North West and South West Regions.

At the National Assembly, a proportionate number of seats, based on the most recent internationally recognized census results, should be reserved exclusively for the Special Status Regions, irrespective of political affiliation.

The National Government will ensure quotas for citizens of the Special Status Regions so that they can be adequately represented in the Judiciary, Legislative and Executive branches of government.

8. Change in the country’s name

The country’s name should be changed from The Republic of Cameroon to the United Republic of Cameroon. There is no better moment in our history than now to rename our country with words that accurately capture our vision and desire to remain one and indivisible. A United Republic of Cameroon captures it perfectly.

9. ENAM, CUSS, ECOLE DES POSTES, IRIC and similar public institutions

Graduating from these faculties will not automatically lead to employment by right in the Special Status Regions. All recruits into the local civil service will be screened by the Department of Public Service that will administer exams/board certifications and take charge of human resource planning and management. All State universities in the Special Status Regions will have a faculty of Public Administration or Public Policy. Graduates from these faculties will also be recruited into the civil service through exams and board certifications. Cameroonians from East Cameroon (the other 8 Regions) can be recruited into the civil service of the Special Status Regions after they pass an English proficiency exam.

The Special Status Regions will define their own educational policies from nursery to the university. The education system shall be STEM oriented, giving youths the opportunity to be productive and be job creators with abilities to generate wealth and foster development.

10. Special Regional Commissions

Special Regional Commissions on critical aspects of communal living will be set up as required and come into force after approval by a two-thirds majority in the Regional House of Assembly. These may include the following:

A Commission of Inquiry for matters of governance and investigation of senior government officials.

 A Vehicle Inspection Authority to ensure road safety and the road worthiness of automobiles and all mechanized road users.

A Sanitary Inspection Unit to oversee matters of public health and sanitation as well as the urban environment.

11. Police, Gendarmes and Other uniformed agents

Local councils would have jurisdiction of police stations throughout the North West and South West Regions in order to ensure community policing. For far too long Anglophones have repeatedly complained about abuses and torture from police officers who in most cases can barely effectively communicate with them. Furthermore, with the ongoing crisis, the need for local police is needed to restore trust, safety, and order in the Anglophone regions. The police training facilities in Mutengene should be run by the Special Status Regions to train their own police forces. Each Special Status Region will have its own police academy. Prison Warden and Forest guards should be trained locally.

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